Bow Window vs Bay Window – What’s the Difference

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Adding an expansion window to your room has many benefits. The extended area not only adds extra space to your room, making it look bigger, but the multi-pane extensions also increase the curb appeal and value to your home. They come in two different styles: bow windows and bay windows. Bay and bow windows can be added to any room but the are more commonly seen in kitchens, living areas, or family rooms. We will compare bay windows vs bow windows below to help you choose the best style for your personal taste and home space.

Bay Windows

Bay windows are three-sided windows that include one large picture window in the middle and two smaller windows on either side. Each window frame is angled are angled between 25 to 45 degrees. Bay windows come in different sizes and colours to match the needs of your home.


As mentioned, bay windows come in a variety of sizes and styles so it is easy to add one to almost any room of your home. The expansion of the window’s design easily adds more space to your room and makes the area look bigger. The side windows can be made to open so you will get more natural air in your room, thus improving the air flow and ventilation. Of the two styles, bay windows are more cost effect than bow windows.


Bay windows allow less natural light into your room. Because the jut further out of the home’s exterior, you are restricted on where bay windows can be installed. Homes that are close to sidewalks, streets, or other external features will find this style not suitable.

Bow Windows

Bow windows are more rounded and less angled than bay windows to they do not protrude from the exterior of the home as far as bay windows. Bow windows are made of four to six window panes all equal in size. Bow windows can be installed on a flat wall to give a room more space, or they can be wrapped around the corner of a home to create an enticing, elegant nook between two sides of your home.


Bow windows are very elegant in design and style so they give your home a very Victorian and luxurious appearance both inside and out. The multi-glass window style is bigger than bay windows so more natural light gets into your room. Bay windows can be added to a flat wall or corner to give you a more panoramic view of the outside. Because they do not protrude as far out of the home’s exterior wall, you are not as restricted on where to install them.


Bow windows generally do not have panes that open so natural air flow cannot get in, reducing the natural ventilation of your room. Because of the elegant, classic style, bow windows are not always suitable for every room or house design. Bow windows are considerably more expensive than bay windows and are much more complicated to install. Only a certified professional with experience installing bow windows should add this type of window design to your home.

Difference Between Bow Window and Bay Window

While they look similar, there are some very clear differences between bow windows vs bay windows. Bay windows have three glass panes with one large window in the middle and two smaller windows on either side. Bays protrude further out of the wall than bow windows. Bow windows are a more rounded, softer style that is made of four to six panes of equal size. Bay windows are noticeably more angled than bow windows. Bay windows are also less complicated and more cost effective to install than bow windows.

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Bay windows just out further than bow windows because they are more angled. Bay windows have a 25 to 45 degree angle while bow windows typically have a ten degree angle. Bay windows have three glass frames while bow windows can have four to six window frames.

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Bow windows provide better natural lighting in a room than bay windows because the bow style is bigger and made of more glass frames than the three-paned bay windows.

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Because windows that open can be added to either side of the bay window’s centre picture window, they provide better ventilation to a room than bow windows. Bow windows are made of four to six equally sized picture windows that cannot open because they are too close together so there is no natural air flow.


When comparing the installation between bay windows vs bow windows, bow windows are more complicated expensive to install than bay windows. The bow is less angled than bay style windows and have four to six equal size window panes that must be installed at equal degrees to the window has a natural bowed appearance. The three panes on bay windows just out further and are less complicated to install.

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Bow windows cost more than bay windows because they are bigger and have more glass panes. Bow windows are also heavier and more complicated to install so the labour costs are usually higher than bay window installations. Depending on the size and location, bow windows can cost almost twice as much to install than a bay window.


Energy efficient bay and bow windows can save you on your heating and electric bills because they allow more natural light into a room. Well made window panes are secure, insulated units so air cannot escape from your room, making both styles more efficient regulating your room temperature. When comparing bay windows vs bay windows, there is very little difference in the energy efficiency.

Exterior Space

Bay windows need more exterior space because they protrude almost three metres from the home’s exterior. Bow windows, on the other hand, are narrower so they protrude up to 24 centimetres from the home’s exterior. 

Contact CanPro  Windows and Doors today to help you plan your bay or bow window installation.

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