Storm doors are a fantastic way to add extra protection against all the harsh weather that may come your way, from hurricanes to the chilling winter cold.
It is essentially a ‘second door’ installed in front of your regular front door to provide additional safety.
Storm doors can come in many forms and be made from various materials, including wood, aluminum, PVC or fiberglass.
All of which have their unique benefits and drawbacks.
For anyone in the market for a new storm door, the Pella and Larson are two of the most popular choices.
But unless you’ve researched these heavily beforehand, it can be difficult to know which will suit your particular needs.
The main difference between the Pella and Larson storm doors is that Pella is considered a slightly more budget-orientated storm door.
It’s made of aluminum and has limited screen options.
But it does have a very generous 20-year warranty as standard.
On the other hand, Larson is made from a far more robust steel and wood with a range of view types and more screen options.
But this comes at an added cost and a shorter warranty.
What is a Pella storm door?
Pella is a well-respected home decoration manufacturer that makes everything from windows and patio doors to storm doors for home use.
They offer a good selection of aluminum double storm doors that can be purchased in various colors to suit your preferred decor style.
Users praise these because they are affordable and they have some handy guides on their website on how to install them yourself so that you can save even more on installation costs.
Some users have criticized their rather ‘basic’ look a little.
But overall they are understated and inoffensive so you shouldn’t face any problems finding one you like the look of.
Cost-wise, you’ll be looking at about $340 to $460 for their most premium model.
What is a Larson storm door?
Larson focuses on premium specialty glass doors, windows and screens made to the highest quality, emphasizing material choice and aesthetic design.
Depending on your preferred style, they can come in a steel or wood door frame which is highly robust and will stand up against the harshest of weathers.
A more comprehensive range of screen types is available, allowing you to customize the look and function to your preference.
They come in about 20-30% more expensive than Pella doors and as standard, have a shorter warranty.
But if you are looking for a door that will last a long while and protect you and your family from the elements, that increased material quality may be worth it.
What is the difference between a Pella and Larson Storm Door?
Just because Larson is generally considered a more premium product, this does not mean that they are the only appropriate choice.
Depending on your location, budget, and the kind of climate your door is subjected to, it may well mean Pella might be the better option here.
But let’s break down each of their differences so you can make an informed decision on which one is best for you.
1. Material types
When considering the best material types for a storm door, we are looking for two main qualities.
Firstly we need durability so it can withstand harsh winds and abuse without becoming damaged and thermal insulation keeps the cold out and the heat in.
Larson does an excellent job of combining the thermal insulating qualities of wood with steel to get a nice balanced storm door that looks functional and will hold up to all manner of weather types.
Pella, on the other hand, uses aluminum.
As a material, it’s pretty tough stuff and it’s light too.
But its ability to resist corrosion and repel the elements is not quite as good as Larson in this scenario.
2. Visibility qualities
Double storm doors and their visibility fall primarily into three categories: full view, mid view and high view.
As the name might suggest, full view is a single full glass panel that spans the entire length of the security door or sometimes it might have a single strip along the middle.
Mid view is similar by design, but the ‘frame’ of the sliding glass door is far thicker, reducing visibility by about 30%.
This can make it more rigid and reduce the light that will make its way through.
Finally, we have a high view, which means there is just a small pane near the top, which you must actively walk up to to see outside.
Full view doesn’t necessarily mean better here, either.
Sometimes you don’t want easy visibility into a room for which high-view doors are great.
Unfortunately, Pella doors are only available as full view or mid view, whereas Larson is available in all three view types making them more versatile.
While screens are not technically a part of the security itself, they are part of the ‘storm door package’.
They can allow you to keep the sliding glass door open while still providing protection against bugs, birds and mosquitos and even help deflect a bit of wind.
Larson has a more extensive set of screen types available, including self-storing, interchangeable, retractable and fixed.
At the same time, Pellas offerings are more limited, with only interchangeable and retractable screens available.
4. Insulation qualities
The glass in a storm sliding door is mainly responsible for how well it insulates against the elements.
Generally, in storm doors, we see three main types of insulation being used:
- Tempered glass, in certain states, is a requirement as part of the International Residential Code. Tempered glass is toughened, sometimes referred to as safety glass.
- Low E glass refers to low emissivity glass, which essentially has a thin coating that helps reflect heat, thus increasing its thermal performance.
- As the name might suggest, single-glazed is glass that uses just a single pane. It is weaker than tempered glass and less thermally efficient than Low E glass. But it’s cheap, at least!
Larson storm doors are available in all three glass types, while Pella doors are only available as tempered or low-e.
While a storm sliding door needs to tick all the boxes in terms of pure functionality, they also need to fit the aesthetic look and decor of your home.
While Pella has some good colored door frame choices, Larson has a larger selection of available looks, materials and colors, making them more likely to fit your intended look.
By design, storm doors are meant to be able to withstand some punishment.
But sooner or later, something will need fixing (torn screens are a common point of failure here).
You need a good warranty if you don’t want to spend a lot of money fixing your screen door.
Pella provides an incredibly flat 20-year warranty with all their purchases, while Larson comes in with a lackluster 5.
However, these five years can be upgraded to a lifetime warranty if you’re willing to spend the extra cash.
While you should never purchase something just because it’s popular, sometimes increased popularity means sourcing parts or getting repairs done is easier.
If you need to call someone out for repairs, you stand a better chance with Larson, as it’s a more popular and widely known brand.
In general, repairers are more familiar with working on their products.
Sometimes you don’t always have to go for the pricey option.
If it’s a back screen door or a garage door, maybe you can save some pennies and still get the job done.
Pella is the more affordable of the two, with prices in the $340 to $460 range.
At the same time, Larson comes in a bit more expensive, ranging from $400 for their cheapest doors and going as high as $600 for the expensive ones.
Pella vs Larson Storm Doors: Are they the same?
While both of these are perfectly adequate storm doors that many users have reported being happy with.
Some minor differences may make one more appealing than the other for your given use case.
- Larson doors are made with wood and steel, while Pella uses aluminum.
- All three view types (Full view, Mid view, and High View) are available in Larson’s range. Pella only offers a full view and mid view.
- Larson has a broader selection of screen types available than Pella.
- Pella doors are available with tempered glass and Low emissivity glass, whereas Larson is available in single-pane glass.
- Both companies offer a good range of colors for their storm doors, but Larson has a more extensive selection of looks available.
- Pella has a 20-year warranty, whereas Larson has only a 5-year warranty (which can be extended).
- Larson is the more popular of the two brands.
- Pella is cheaper than Larson.