Window Facts

Hopper Windows vs. Awning Windows; Whats the Difference?

Hopper and Awning windows are very similar. In fact, if you haven’t looked at window replacement options in the past it’s unlikely you’d be able to tell the difference between these types of windows. They look extremely similar when they are closed, making it even harder to tell them apart. Each of these windows serves a different purpose, and work best in their respective places within the home. This article will go over the different features, as well as the similarities between hopper and awning windows.

Operational Direction

The biggest difference between these two windows is the way that they open and how they operate. To understand how these windows work, first we need to know some window terminology. The term sash, or sashes in the plural form, refers to the part of the window that moves or holds the glass in place. Essentially, your traditional windows that slide up and down and can be opened from the top or the bottom have 2 sashes. The picture below outlines a few other vocabulary terms.

Terms associated with windows

Now awning and hopper windows both only have one sash. The part where they differ is how they open. An awning window pivots using the top 2 corners of the sash. Meaning that they stay attached to the window frame while the bottom half of the window opens outward. The window then acts like an awning to the window sill, thus where the window got its name from.

Awning windows opens outward from the bottom

The hopper window on the other hand does the opposite. While the top two corners of the sash are still the ones connected to the frame, and the window still opens from the bottom, hopper windows open inward. This means that the window actually opened into the house, as seen below in this picture. There is another version of hopper windows that is also rather popular. This version, the window still opens inward but it opens from the top. This means that the bottom two corners of the sash stays connected to the window. The difference in designs can be outlined in the two images below.

The design difference between these windows is minimal. However, knowing the slight differences makes it easier to review the independent benefits and features that each window has to offer.

Energy Saving Efficiency

The energy efficiency rating may differ depending on the manufacturer, which is why we always recommend krypton insulated windows with Heat Mirror Technology to save the most on your energy bill. However, there are a few aspects that most manufacturers keep similar between hopper and awning windows. Awning windows usually rely on a compression seal for maximum efficiency while the window is closed. The seal eliminated the gap between the sash and the frame, eliminating the possibility of moisture and drafts from entering.

It is possible for some hopper windows to utilize the compression seal as well, it is more common within the industry to rely on weatherstripping to seal the gap. Weatherstripping operates less efficiently than compression seal making it more likely to be susceptible to drafts and moisture entering through the window. Therefore it can be said with certainty that awning windows are more energy efficient than hopper windows.


Hopper and awning windows open in different ways also. Awning windows usually have a crank mechanism with a fold down handle that operates the window. This allows for easy access and operation of these units.

Hopper windows on the other hand, usually do not have any mechanical components for ease of operation. When opening the window, it usually is done manually then hooked into a latch once the window reaches 90 degrees. This makes it important to know how heavy the sash is, and who will be operating the window. Some old hopper windows are very heavy and difficult to lift. This could be dangerous if someone who is not strong enough to lift the sash is attempting to open the window.

Where They Work Best

Hopper and Awning windows do not operate in the same way, so naturally they serve different purposes in the home. Awning windows are much more versatile, and are the ideal choice for bigger areas that require ventilation year round. For example, the kitchen is an excellent spot for awning windows. Since the kitchen needs frequent ventilation year round, awning windows make the perfect choice. The awning features works great even if there is slight precipitation occurring outside.

The awning window is perfect for the kitchen

Hopper windows serve a similar purpose, but are better choices in different environments. Hopper windows also work great as ventilators for rooms and parts of the house but are better for less accessible places. Since they are harder to operate compared to awning windows they work better in areas like the basement or the attic. They still provide the necessary ventilation to rooms that need it, keeping the temperature in your home as close as possible to what you want it to be. Now that you have expanded your knowledge on the differences between hopper and awning windows, now you can look for other indicators when searching for new replacement windows.

Hopper window in the basement

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for suggesting to use awnings in a kitchen setup to provide better ventilation. As soon as I started cooking as my home hobby, I realized just how unfit for constant cooking my kitchen was since the smell of the food gets constantly trapped in the room and can lead to some very uncomfortable moments after cleaning up. With that said, I’ll look for a window installation service that can stop by my house and get me some awning windows for the kitchen.

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