Best Window Screens

Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for best window screens

A screen window is a huge benefit when you’re trying to overcome the stifling summer heat. It’s also nice when you just want to let a fresh breeze pass through your home.

If you don’t have screens built into your windows, you may feel you have no options in this area. However, an adjustable window screen is a possible solution. An adjustable screen nests in the area that stands open when you raise your window slightly, letting fresh air in and keeping bugs and debris out.

When shopping for window screens, you will face a range of features, options, and other issues, such as sizing and installation. This guide will introduce you to the world of window screens and help you determine what’s right for you and your particular needs. We also examine the various price ranges for window screens and offer our endorsements for some of the leading screen windows on the market today.

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The EPA cites indoor air quality (IAQ) as a potential health concern. One way to improve IAQ is through the use of window screens.



Before buying a window screen, you need to know how difficult it is going to be to assemble and install. In the case of the majority of window screens, both should be fairly straightforward. Most screens should ship fully assembled, and installation is often as simple as adjusting the screen to the width of your window, placing it in the window opening, and lowering the window so it rests atop the screen. You don’t need to go outside the house to install one of these, and there are no ladders involved.

This ease of installation also leaves the screen easy to move from window to window. No tools or hardware should be needed to put in or take out the majority of these screens.

Note: Check the product carefully before ordering, as some products advertised as “window screen” consist of nothing but a roll of mesh. It will be up to you to cut and fit this trimmable screen to a frame you already own or purchase separately.


Due to their design, these screens can fit a wide range of windows. They are manufactured in various heights, from as little as 10 inches to as much as 24 inches or even more. The width of the screen can usually be adjusted from 20 inches to 36+ inches, although this varies from product to product.

Some screens can also be adjusted vertically, usually by flipping the screen on its side. We have yet to run across a screen that can be adjusted both vertically AND horizontally at the same time, however.

Before you order a window screen for your home, measure the dimensions of your current window. Although these products are adjustable, you want to be sure that the product you order will fit your window. Dimensions will be provided by each manufacturer in the product specs. Check these carefully against the dimensions in your home.


While the majority of window screens ship with one screen to an order, check carefully to verify this. Some listings offer two, four, or even or more screens per order. If you have a number of windows that you wish to place screens in, buying them in bulk is one way to save a considerable amount of money.


Frames can vary considerably in their construction materials, from aluminum to steel to wood. In many cases, a window screen frame will incorporate a variety of materials into its design. For example, there may be rust-resistant metal in the sliding frame and varnished wood on the screen ends. A frame may consist of anodized or galvanized metal to help it hold up to extreme weather. The nails may be zinc-plated to resist rust. Weather-stripping may be incorporated into the edges of the frame to seal them and keep out moisture and insects. The frame may even be painted, offering additional protection from the elements.

Whatever a frame is made from, it should be rugged enough to resist warping, breaking, and cracking.


Much like the frame, the mesh element of a screen may be constructed from a variety of materials. Some mesh is made of fiberglass; some is made of a more durable steel that is less likely to tear. Still other mesh incorporates nanofiber technology that can block out everything from pollen to smog.

Note how the mesh is attached to the frame. Machine-clamping offers a rugged bonding of the two that holds up over time. Tenoned corners will help keep the screen square. Also note what color the screen is. Some are a bright metal hue; others are charcoal gray, white, or black. The choice is yours.


While not standard, some window screens are designed with metal louvers or ventilation slats. These not only give you a more rugged screen — a plus for anyone with a destructive cat — but they can also provide protection against rain and give you more privacy.

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Did you know?
You can use clear nail polish to seal minor holes on the edges of your screens.

Window screen prices

Window screens start under $10 and can occasionally reach over $100 apiece. The majority of them are in the lower range, with higher-quality screens going for around $20 or $30. Build quality is a large determinant of price in this range, with steel mesh and steel frames costing more than fiberglass and aluminum frames. As mentioned, you can usually save substantially by buying window screens in bulk.

Replacement screening tends to be the cheapest option, but you will also need to factor in the cost of frames and other supplies if you make your window screens a DIY project.

At the top end ($100+), you will find screens that use nanofibers to filter out pollen, diesel fumes, and other pollutants.


  • If you want more security in a window screen, search for one with wood in the frame, and use screws to attach it to your window frame. Note that the screen will be more difficult to remove or move to another window if you do this.

  • Adjustable window screen tracks can be cleaned with a disposable foam brush to keep them free of debris and operating smoothly.

  • A finer mesh size will help to keep out a wider range of insects, but it will also cut down on both visibility through the screen and the amount of light that the screen lets in.

  • Since window screens are generally not anchored to the window frame in any way, take care when using them around small children or pets who may easily push them out.

  • If you are purchasing a roll of screening to replace an old window screen in your home, you will also need to buy spline and a spline tool to complete the project.

  • Repair tears in screens when you first notice them, as they tend to grow larger (and more difficult to repair) over time.

  • If you are worried that the metal mesh of a screen may rust, brush some thinned varnish or enamel on the mesh to protect it.

Other products we considered

With the Senneny DIY Custom Fiberglass Screen Mesh, you can repair your existing screens or build your own. The mesh offers 75% UV protection, and the roll in total is 59 x 106 inches.

The Fenestrelle Adjustable Window Screen measures 10 inches high and is adjustable from 19 x 36 inches. It easily converts from horizontal to vertical, and it ships as a four pack.

Also 10 inches tall is the Howard Berger Adjustable Window Screen, which offers a slightly larger 22-inch to 37-inch adjustable width. This screen is constructed from durable mesh made of steel.

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A pair of screens set up in opposing windows will create a ventilated stream of fresh air through a room.


Q. How should I clean my screens?

A. Screens can become caked with dirt and grime over time, which can clog the screen’s mesh and cut down on airflow and air quality. To clean your screens, first remove them from the windows. For light dirt, use a lint brush, rolling it on both sides of the screen. If this doesn’t do the trick, try using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment on both sides of the screen.

If the screens are still dirty, graduate to warm, soapy water with a soft cloth or a toothbrush, gently scrubbing both sides of the screen. Be sure to completely dry your screens before re-installing them.

Q. Can these screens be used vertically?

A. Generally not, although there are exceptions. The majority of these screens are used horizontally in windows that slide up and down. If you need one for windows that open horizontally (sliding to the left or right), search for convertible screens. These will open either vertically or horizontally with a slight adjustment to the screen.

Q. Can you slide these screens open and closed after they are installed?

A. Because of their design, they really aren’t built to do that. The majority stay in place using the weight of the window above and the placement of both ends snug up against the window frame. If you try to slide the screen partially open, the screen will no longer be secure in the window and could easily fall out.

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