Belle DuChene is an award-winning digital content producer and professor of communications who has a passion for all things lifestyle including fashion, food and French culture. (And wine, of course!) Her career in the fashion industry has taken her to New York City, Chicago, London and Paris. Belle's focus is on demonstrating a can-do, DIY attitude for incorporating artistic elements into one's wardrobe, home, and lifestyle. She currently owns an award-winning content creation agency and teaches at three colleges and universities. She holds a B.A. in French and Textiles and Apparel as well as an M.A. in Communications from the University of Northern Iowa.
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As we brace for winter, you may be searching for ways to keep your home warm without breaking the bank. If you feel a draft, you can install one of these top window insulation kits in less than 30 minutes. They prevent the heat in your home from leaking out, which prevents your heating bill from skyrocketing.
“Window insulation kits function by creating an air barrier between the interior living space and the window,” says Elias Benson of the Building Construction Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. “This air barrier works well as insulation because it prevents cold air from entering while allowing sunlight in.”
With so many variables, choosing the best window insulation kit can be overwhelming the first time. But once you know what to look for, the job is a cinch. “When shopping for a window insulation kit, the only things you really need to be looking at is size, how you’ll use it, and its price,” says Andrew Dominguez, assistant manager at Home Depot.
Our top pick to stop throwing money out the window is the Duck Brand Indoor Insulator Kit for its easy installation, durability, and ability to be reused. Backed by our research and hundreds of reviews, here are the nine best window insulation kits.
Why You Should Get It: It’s easy to install and durable enough to be reused several times.
Keep in Mind: It can be a little tricky to figure out how to measure the correct dimensions.
Overall, the best window insulator kit is the Duck Brand Indoor Insulator Kit for its easy installation and its ability to be reused, which saves you money in both the short and long term.
The kit includes one durable 62 x 210 inches and 84-foot roll of mounting tape that is double-sided to make attaching it easy. Each kit comes with enough material to cover five 3 x 5 windows, so your energy bill is sure to go down.
Not included in the kit are a measuring tape, scissors, a hairdryer, and a little patience (because it can be a little tricky to cut the film to size the first time). To avoid any mishaps, follow the directions carefully before making your first cut. If you forget to add an extra 2-inch allowance to each side, the plastic won’t extend far enough to reach the tape.
After the film is secure, shrink it with a hairdryer. The result is a surface so transparent you’ll have a clear view of falling snowflakes. As long as you’re careful while removing the tape, you can store the kit to use again next year.
Keep in mind that it’s not recommended for use with plaster, drywall, or unfinished wood because the tape can pull up those surfaces. It is safe to use on painted or finished wood, aluminum, or vinyl.
Price at time of publish: From $20
Why You Should Get It: It’s an affordable option with quick and easy installation.
Keep in Mind: It’s not reusable and the tape can strip some surfaces during removal.
The 3M Indoor Insulator Kit is the best budget window insulator kit because it’s an incredible deal as a pack of five. It’s a small price to pay to increase the energy efficiency in your home so you can keep cozy and save money at the same time.
The kit comes with one rolled-up sheet of film that’s large enough to cover up five standard-sized windows. At .75 millimeters thick, it’s thicker than most, which makes it extra durable against cold air. Once you use a blow dryer to shrink-wrap it, the plastic becomes crystal clear, ensuring your view will never be obstructed by wrinkles or sagging.
It's the double-sided Scotch tape in two 12-foot rolls makes it one of the best window insulator kits. The tape is easy to peel, adheres securely to several surfaces, and bends easily around corners. It creates an airtight seal with a strong bond that will hold up all season long.
One thing to note is that the tape should only be applied to painted or varnished wood, aluminum, or vinyl-clad molding. It is strong enough on some surfaces when it’s removed. Remove any residue left by the tape immediately.
Price at time of publish: From $16
Why You Should Get It: For such a low price, you’d be hard pressed to find something larger or as energy-saving.
Keep in Mind: It tears easily, cannot be reused, and the tape can leave a residue.
The Frost King Extra Large Window Insulation Kit is the best window insulation kit if you’re needing to insulate two large picture windows or if you have multiple small windows. It comes with two 62 x 210-inch plastic sheets with 168 feet of double-sided mounting tape, which is enough to cover two picture windows or 10 separate windows without fear of running out.
According to Dominguez, this kit is the most popular. “It’s a budget buy, but it’s effective,” he says.
Installation is easy but may require a ladder and a partner. Once the insulation is secured and heat is applied with a hairdryer the film will shrink to be crystal clear, tight, and wrinkle-free.
It’s worth noting that your surfaces must be clean, dry, and grease-free for the adhesive to stick. The mounting tape should not be applied to wallpaper, wallboard, plaster, or veneer surfaces. It can be easily installed on metal, painted, varnished wood, or vinyl-clad window frames.
At the end of the season, remove any residue left by the mounting tape immediately with rubbing alcohol.
Price at time of publish: $15
Why You Should Get It: Its maximum strength plastic is so strong it stands up to high traffic and is reusable.
Keep in Mind: It costs a little more upfront.
It’s good to find a product that saves you money, but it’s great to find one that can save you money year after year. For a little extra money, the Duck MAX Strength Heavy Duty Insulating Film Kit is the best window insulation kit for creating a lasting seal–and it can be reused several times.
At 1.5 millimeters thick, the puncture-resistant film is more than double the thickness of others. Designed to be tough enough to last several years, it does well in high-traffic areas where pets and children may play.
The kit also has versatile instructions that make it easy to install–even for those who don’t consider themselves super handy around the house. Follow a few steps to cut it to your desired size and secure the right placement. Use a hairdryer to smooth out any wrinkles.
When the temps start to rise again, removing the shrink film is easy. We love that the tape won’t strip painted surfaces like many other options we’ve found. It can be applied to aluminum, finished wood, and painted surfaces without worries. Be sure to check if the tape leaves any sticky residue behind. If it does, apply adhesive remover as soon as possible.
Price at time of publish: $24
Why You Should Get It: It's pre-cut to fit a standard patio perfectly and is the clearest film available.
Keep in Mind: The mounting tape can leave a sticky residue and isn’t safe for all surfaces.
It’s no secret that all-glass sliding patio doors can make a home feel cold as ice in the dead of winter. If you want to save your energy bill from soaring, the best window insulation kit is the 3M Indoor Patio Door Window Insulation Kit. The plastic film blocks all chilly drafts so you won’t get a chill every time you walk past your patio door.
The kit comes with Scotch film tape to keep cold drafts out and warm air in, which will reduce your heating costs during the cold winter months. The film shrinks tight around your door frame and is made to reduce condensation and prevent frost build-up. The film creates a perfectly transparent, wrinkle-free fit.
The roll of double-sided mounting tape will hold all season and can be used with aluminum, vinyl-clad, painted, or varnished wood molding–but it could harm veneer paneling. When the temps start to rise, removing the tape and shrink film is easy. But be sure to check if the tape leaves any sticky residue behind. If it does, apply adhesive remover as soon as possible.
Price at time of publish: $21
Why You Should Get It: It holds up to the elements, greatly reduces heating costs, and installs as easily as an indoor kit.
Keep in Mind: High winds can take their toll on the plastic, making them difficult to reuse.
If you prefer to install a film on the exterior of your home, the best window insulator kit is the 3M Outdoor Window Insulator Kit. It was specially developed to withstand the elements, though it will most likely only last one year and shouldn’t be reused.
Designed to help significantly reduce heating costs, the kit comes with a sheet of .75-millimeter thick film large enough to cover two 3 x 5 windows and 14 yards of double-sided Scotch tape. Together they reduce condensation and prevent frost buildup, which can lower your heating bills during the winter and make your home more energy-efficient.
With the exception of a ladder and an extension cord to reach it, this insulator kit is installed the same way–and just as easily–as an indoor kit. Simply measure, cut, tape, shrink, and trim. We were pleased to learn that it pulls just as tight and clear as the indoor options.
Keep in mind that high winds can cause small wrinkles in the film and after a long winter of wind, it most likely can’t be reused. One pro tip by the manufacturer is to never install this insulator kit when the outside temperature is below 50°F
Price at time of publish: From $13
Why You Should Get It: It can be used year-round to keep a garage warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Keep in Mind: Installation is time-consuming and can be confusing.
If you want to insulate your garage doors or windows all year long, the best window insulation kit is the Reach Barrier 3009 Garage Door Insulation Kit. It keeps the temperature moderate in your garage, so you can comfortably utilize the extra space for a home gym or hangout.
Each kit contains eight pre-cut bubble insulation panels, 48 permanent bond adhesive stickers, a cleaner sponge, and an instruction book. Once installed it’s permanent. This kit won’t keep your garage ice cold in the summer or heat it up in the winter, but it will block up to 95% of radiant heat in the summer and retain heat in the winter.
We didn't love that even though the instructions are simple, it's time-consuming. There’s a lot of measuring and rechecking. If you have a really dirty or greasy door, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly for the adhesive stickers to stick. It takes also takes 24 hours to stick.
Price at time of publish: From $51
Why You Should Get It: You can insulate your windows year-round but still be able to open them and see out of them with an unobstructed view.
Keep in Mind: The adhesive could be stronger.
For a window insulator that won’t make it impossible to open your windows–or blurry to look through, the best window insulator is the Yotache Foam Tape Weather Strips. Because they are only attached at the edges,
Unlike window insulator kits that won’t allow you to open your windows or can be annoying to look through, they won’t obstruct your view and open your windows.
The kit contains two rolls of foam tape in 16 different sizes. They are easy to bend, cut, and shape, making them highly customizable. In fact, many online reviewers have found dozens of other uses for the strips, which makes us think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to order two kits for other projects.
On one side of the foam is a thick Neoprene foam tape that can withstand temperatures of -58 °F to 301°F, which allows you to use them year-round. In addition to being adaptable, the foam strip on the other side is weatherproof, oil resistant, dustproof, flame retardant, soundproof, anti-skidding, and insulating.
It’s worth noting that the adhesive on these strips won’t last forever. Cleaning the surface before sticking it on will help with longevity.
Price at time of publish: $13
Why You Should Get It: Its strong yet flexible silicone can be used year-round against cold drafts, dust, and bugs.
Keep in Mind: Some reviewers found the gaps between two weatherstrips unattractive.
If you prefer a more permanent option to fill in the small cracks and gaps around your windows and doors, the best window insulator kit is the Duck Max Strength Silicone Weatherstrips. The strips can be used year-round and last longer than adhesive foam strips, so you can do the job once.
The flexible silicone barrier won't crack or split over time and lasts longer than foam strips. They will not freeze or crack in temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, making them a great solution for old window and door seals.
If your windows and doors are older, this is the best insulation kit for replacing the seals that can wear down over time. The barrier will block drafts from outdoor air, dust, pollen, and insects, so you can put off spending a fortune on replacing older windows and doors a little while longer.
This weatherstrip seal is quick and easy to use. All you need is a pair of scissors to cut the proper length, peel a lining off the back and stick it into place.
Price at time of publish: $12
During the cold weather months, windows become a prime spot for energy loss. Taking on a great DIY project like installing window insulation kits is worth a little time to stop throwing money out the window. As the outdoor temperature plummets, you’ll feel nice and cozy as you snuggle into your warm home, a feeling you can take to the bank.
For our research, the Duck Brand Indoor Insulator Kit is the best overall window insulator kit for its easy installation, durability, and ability to be reused. Plus, it saves money in both the short and long term, making it a sound–yet incredibly affordable–investment.
When shopping online for the best window insulation kits, there are a lot of great options to consider. Some kits are plastic, magnetic, and have reflective foil. They all have different levels of thickness, dimensions, and rules for installation.
It's important to consider the sizes and number of windows you want to cover, research different materials, and settle on a price you’re willing to pay before you go shopping.
Windows come in all different sizes, so it’s important to know their dimensions to ensure the kit you choose will work for them. If you have an older home with lots of drafty windows, look for a kit that can cover as many as 10 windows. Then, like cutting out a pattern or cookies from the dough, figure out how many windows can be covered by the film in the kit.
Most of the kits on this list come in packs of plastic sheets and double-sided tape so you can seal several windows. The plastic and tape can always be trimmed down, so getting a film that’s too large is not a problem. But if your window is bigger than the film and tape, you won’t be able to use it at all.
There are three basic types of window insulation projects:
Plastic Film Plastic film insulation kits are the best cost-effective way to cover your windows. The double-sided tape uses an airlock to hold down a plastic film that is sloppy looking and baggy until a hairdryer is used to essentially shrink-wrap the window frame. The thicker the film, the more durable and easier to remove.
Magnetic Magnetic insulation kits require you to adhere to magnetic strips around the window and cut the film to match those dimensions. They are typically trickier to install, have a loose seal, and have low ratings. It’s for this reason that no magnetic insulation kits made this list.
Reflective Foil Reflective foil insulation kits use thin metal to create a barrier to keep cold air out. They are not transparent like the plastic options, so they can be an eyesore. They also tend to be more expensive.
“Window insulation kits vary from each manufacturer, so be sure to read all of the instructions and find the one that suits your needs,” says Benson. The directions for whether you are buying the best window insulation kit indoors or out will be included in the box. While you could typically use the film interchangeably, it's the tape that can make the difference. In a pinch, you could get away with using a plastic film made for the outdoors inside your home, but only if you buy tape made for use indoors. Outdoor tapes may be too strong and could damage your surfaces during removal.
DIY fans, rejoice! Window insulation is not supposed to be a forever fix. It’s more of a tactic to help cut the cost of your energy bill when you can’t afford to replace or upgrade your windows. For the most part, the only tools you should need include a measuring tape, scissors, and a hairdryer.
According to Dominquez, it’s easy to install a window insulation kit, but he advises to not go it alone. “You’re going to want someone to help you install your kit,” he says. “Installation is easy, but it’s not a one-person job. You’ll appreciate having help from a friend the first time.”
Read the instructions that come with your kit and follow them step by step.
Step One: Dust and Clean Dust or wipe down and dry every surface so the adhesive will stick. This is your last chance to clean your windows before they are sealed up.
Step Two: Measure Measure the width and height of the window from the outside edges of the trim. Add at least two inches to each side of the window to overlap with your adhesive tape.
Step Three: Cut Cut the plastic film and adhesive tape to the correct measurements.
Step Four: Apply Line your window or door with double-sided tape to the frame where the plastic will overlap. Benson suggests using more than one piece of tape but says they should overlap to avoid leaving spaces where cold air could sneak in.
Step Five: Install Peel off about six inches of the adhesive tape backing and begin to install it in short increments. “Start by pressing the sheet to an upper corner and then work it across the top of the window,” says Benson. He cautions not letting any plastic hanging loose to avoid having it stick to any tape in the wrong places.
Step Six: Shrink Turn your hair dryer on high heat to reinforce the tape, shrink the film, and smooth any wrinkles. Don’t get too close, or the heat will melt a hole in the plastic,” says Benson.
Window insulation kits provided everything you need to create an airtight seal between your window and the inside of your home. This trapping of air is called airlock and it's essential to creating a boundary.
“Because heat travels from hot to cold areas, the heat generated by a home heating system will leak out to the colder environment,” says Benson. “Window insulation kits function by creating an air barrier between the interior living space and the window. When installed properly, window insulation kits are completely see-through.”
Yes and no. In the summer months, a reflective insulation kit in your garage can be a great way to block up to 95% of radiant heat. (Think of reflectors people put on the dash in their car.) But you wouldn’t use these in your living room because they would block your view.
Instead, using light-colored thermal blocking curtains would be a better bet. Shut them during peak sunlight hours to save energy and stay cool.
Belle DuChene is an award-winning digital content producer and stylist who is often seen in Better Homes & Gardens home and garden videos. She is the agency director of a micro-influencer talent agency and teaches strategic digital communications at three colleges and universities.
For this article, Belle researched a variety of window insulation kits, looking at dimensions, material, suggested use, and more to pick the best window insulation kits. She also consulted Elias Benson of the Building Construction Technology Department at New England Institute of Technology and Andrew Dominguez, assistant manager at Home Depot.
Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products and we let you know that we got it for free to remain as transparent as possible about our picks.
Active Pressure Washer Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers.