House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
It’s really hard to deny that skylights are wonderful inventions! Apart from serving as an amazing gateway to the outside world, they also offer several practical benefits. Depending on your location, a skylight can help cut down on your electrical lighting costs and also add that necessary light into a dark room on the attic or an RV. Indeed, there are no limits to the number of benefits you can derive from the best skylights.
However, no skylight will serve the needs of everyone equally, so the right model for you will depend on your type of building and your needs. With that in mind, we’ve decided to help you eliminate confusion from selecting a skylight, by compiling the best skylights on the market. Of course, we took some factors into account, which includes the thickness and the sizes available to determine the rooms you can use each model for. We also considered the certification and warranty for pretty obvious reasons.
Since skylights are not popular products, we made sure to invest more time into the research for this guide, totaling tens of hours. We have included a neat comparison table, which highlights the best features of our picks. We have also reviewed all the models comprehensively, garnished with their pros and cons. And we thought you may need some tips for your shopping, so we included a buying guide as well. All in all, we’re confident that this article will guide you to the ideal skylight for your needs.
More features: the installation hardware is included
With more than 75 years in the industry, Velux is probably the most reputable company in the skylight business. On the evidence of the VELUX FCM 2246 0005 Skylight, it’s easy to understand why they are so respected. While the unit lacks some of the extra frills of a couple of other products in our review, it comes with the usual standard of brilliance that often trails the company. For one, its windows are produced using tempered glass, which makes it very durable. That apart, however, the tempered glass also makes it transparent.
Moreover, the glass of the skylight is smeared with a low-e glaze, helping to prevent infrared light waves from getting inside the house. Sadly, this particular model of skylight isn’t double-glazed, so it can still allow some high-frequency light waves to penetrate. However, these generally don’t produce as much heat as the lower frequency waves as they tend to penetrate through matter.
Furthermore, the VELUX FCM 2246 0005 Skylight has a top-quality mounting, designed not to leak heat or water. Thanks to the combination of the glazed and tempered glass with the premium-quality frame, this unit is guaranteed to save you a lot of money on energy. Speaking of money, it’s also important to note that this model is reasonably priced.
Despite this impressive combination, however, the Velux allows you to make just a couple of customizations, and this can be a cause of annoyance for some people. The model comes in a single size only and can’t be vented. While the manufacturer produces other models with these kinds of custom alternatives, they are a lot costlier than this one.
Materials: double-glazed tempered glass (dome); pressure treated pine wood (frame)
Dimensions: 24 x 46 inches
Weight: 67 lbs.
More features: available in left and right opening options; the wood is coated with acrylic lacquer
With twenty years of experience and a market share of 15 percent in the manufacturing of roof windows and skylights, FAKRO is company that has built a strong reputation for its great services and innovation. If you are looking for a Skylight that you can be opened to enjoy the cool breeze and view, then the FAKRO FWU-L 69158 Egress Roof Window should be one of your top considerations. It’s unarguably one of the best vented models.
This product is a high-quality unit and is one of the most expensive skylights on our list, albeit justifiably. The price is justified not because of the high-quality materials with which it is made only, but because it also meets every safety standard. It usually comes in two sizes – 24 x 38 inches and 24 x 46 inches. Compared to the other skylights, this one fully opens up to 90 degrees, which allows it to double as an emergency exit. Moreover, the double-glazed tempered glass enables natural light to enter the room.
Furthermore, the skylight is designed to be optimally durable, with a frame that is produced using pressure-treated pine wood. However, this skylight is not suitable for flat roofs, as it’s more designed for roofs that have an angle between 15 to 55 degrees. Besides, the extension rode is quite small, so the user will not be able to open the window if the ceiling is too elevated.
Dimensions: 24 x 24 inches (dome); 35 x 35 inches (outer)
Weight: 32 lbs.
More features: 4-5/8-inch rubber flange; built-in curb
Durability is always the most vital factor as far as skylights are concerned. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we have included the ultra-durable SIG FMB Self-Flashed Glass Skylight in this list. This unit is very durable that the manufacturer backed it with a lifetime warranty, which speaks volume about their confidence in its durability. To explain its supreme sturdiness, the unit has a heavy-duty aluminum welded frame with tempered glass, and the aluminum is also powder-coated, which even adds more light.
It’s important to note that most skylights for flat roofs usually need extra flashing, which is, of course, an addition to the overall cost. However, this fully leak-proof skylight requires no extra flashing, which saves you a bit on overall costs. Obviously, you will need high-quality sealant and adhesive, but that shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do for an experienced skylight installer.
Also, the unit has a double-glazed tempered glass, which permits more natural light without any hindrance. Impressively, the allowance of the natural light doesn’t affect the room temperature, which is a plus. However, the area that is receiving the sun may be a bit warmer, but that is only when the unit is directly facing the sun.
While this skylight may be a bit expensive when compared to others, it’s your sure bet if glass durability is your major concern. Plus, it is super easy to install, something that can’t be said for the other models.
More features: multi-surface wet seal, exterior weep gutters
The Sunoptics SUN R2020 Prismatic Flat Skylight features prismatic lenses that provide the maximum amount of light while eliminating glare and hot spots, as it offers 100 percent diffusion. This provides an energy efficient way to illuminate areas of your home properly with an added bonus of natural air ventilation. The prismatic design offers up to 50 percent more light compared to a traditional white bubble skylight for more hours each day.
The skylight also features a superior frame that provides a fully insulated thermal break and moisture protection redundancy across the underside of the frame to reduce condensation concerns significantly. The multi surface wet seal and integral condensation weep gutters ensure that any interior moisture is drained out of the frame. The triple glazed, impact modified lenses also ensure there is additional thermal protection, while the powder coated frame is fully welded and sealed to eliminate expansion. This can help you to brighten up a dark kitchen, bring light and ventilation into an internal bathroom or convert your garage into a studio or office space. You can enjoy a lighter space without any uncomfortable glare and UV that can fade furnishings and carpeting.
What we liked:
Offers 50% more light compared to traditional skylights
Dimensions: 14 x 22 x 4 inches (dome); 18 x 26 inches (outer)
Weight: 3.85 lbs.
More features: impact resistant material; needs ICON Skylight Sealant for installation
If you wish to install many skylights around your house, then it could be expensive to buy premium models. If your main goal is for the room to get more light, then the budget-friendly ICON Technologies Ltd 01819 Skylight could be an excellent choice. This model is so affordable that you can buy it in multiples with the price of one Sunoptics model.
Of course, you have to be willing to compromise on some of the biggest features that often come with the high-quality models, but the primary goal is to get more light into the room, and that will be achievable with this unit. However, temperature could be your problem. If you live in a warmer climate, the unit will raise the room temperature, making it a bit uncomfortable.
But it is easy to install, even though the edges seem not to be well-sealed. This model is a complete one-piece unit that is produced using impact-resistant polycarbonate, making it a durable unit. While it is surely not as aesthetic as glass, it does not look bad at all. Despite it’s mainly designed for RVs, installing it in one of your rooms on the attic is not that unachievable.
Your home may need many skylights to enhance the light. Therefore, you will need to opt for a model that is budget-friendly so that you can purchase as many skylights as possible. You will be able to do exactly this with the ICON Technologies Ltd 01819 Skylight.
What we liked:
Cheap compared to other models
Easy to install
Allows maximum light into the room
Looks good despite the cheap price
What could be better:
Unsurprisingly lacks some big features
May not be well sealed
Mainly designed for RVs
Things to Consider
Installing the most suitable skylight for your home helps reduce energy consumption considerably and also warms the room in the winter, amongst many other benefits. However, you may not get to enjoy these benefits if you choose the right model. For you to choose the right model, you need to equip yourself with adequate knowledge, which is why we have compiled this enlightening guide.
What you need to install a skylight
Apart from the skylight, there are some things you will need during the installation of your skylight. First of all, you will need finishing supplies and drywall for the ceiling. Some other hardware required includes 16d galvanized nails, roofing nails, and roofing paper, continuous flashing, and step flashing. Besides, your toolkit has to include a hammer, a circular saw, tin snips, a utility knife, and a flat pry bar.
Types of skylights
There are mainly three types of skylights, which are fixed, ventilated, and tubular skylights, with each one having its own pros and cons. The type of skylight that is ideal for you will depend on the major purpose for which you want to use the skylight as well as your location.
As indicated by its name, a fixed skylight is a model that has a fixed window, which can’t be opened to allow for more ventilation. The window only permits light to penetrate either through tempered glass or diffusing prismatic glass. Fixed skylights are often suitable for flat roots and homes located in the colder regions. The Sunoptics SUN R2020 Prismatic Flat Skylight is an example of a great fixed skylight.
Another type of skylight is a ventilated one. These skylights can be opened using an extension rode system to allow some ventilation into the room. Ventilated skylights are ideal for houses located in hot areas. While the window utilizes both the glass and plastic materials, the skylight uses glazed windows to allow for the maximum amount of light and to maintain the room temperature. An excellent example of this type of skylight is the FAKRO FWU-L 69158 Skylight.
If you want the additional light that a skylight adds but don’t want any increase in the room temperature, the then tubular type is what you need. This kind of skylight utilizes a tube that has a diffusion dome at each end. The dome’s primary purpose is to channel the maximum amount of light into the room via diffusion.
Features to consider when choosing a skylight
Before a skylight will be perfect for your space, a lot of things have to be involved. Since you’re probably a first-time buyer or simply don’t buy skylights every other day, we have compiled a couple of factors you need to take into account when choosing the best skylight for your space.
Most dome skylights are built with materials that are capable of resisting hazing, discoloration, and strength loss. That is why polycarbonate and acrylic are the most common materials for dome skylights. Apart from being resistant to different sorts of damage, these materials meet the fire code requirements as well, though you need to be very careful when using the acrylic domes.
Skylight frames are usually made of metal, vinyl, wood, or a seamless combination of the three materials. The curb seen from inside may be plywood, white vinyl, or solid wood. With most skylights, other parts of the frame are made of vinyl and aluminum, which includes a thermal break for the resistance of heat transfer. Most of them have a durable aluminum exterior layer with a sturdy finish.
A skylight’s glazing refers to both the material of the window and the various coatings used on it. Most often than not, the material will determine the transparency of the skylight, whilst the various kinds of coatings will determine the window’s heat retention. Also, this is related to how many spacers or panes applied.
Plastic – Generally, this material is some kind of acrylic, even though they also use polycarbonate as well. While acrylic windows are translucent, they are not transparent, which means that you can’t see through them. On the other hand, polycarbonate windows can either be transparent or translucent, though they often distort the picture even when they are transparent.
Single – The simplest and most basic type of window is single. To prevent the entrance of some sorts of light wavelength, the window may be glazed. However, it is still the least durable and also the least energy-efficient.
Double – Generally, a double-paned window is seen as the supreme configuration. Apart from being more durable, it also offers more surface area for the application of multiple coatings and is even capable of supporting insulation between the spacers.
Your skylight’s shape can considerably affect your home’s interior. For a more contemporary house, rectangular or square shapes are capable of adding complexities to a home’s aesthetics. A circular feature skylight can help highlight curved stairs.
Bear in mind that all the rooms in your house can’t have a skylight put in a central position because of the structure of the building. You can install tubular skylights in an “off center” location and reduce its visual impact. Go for a shape of skylight that speaks volume about your home and improves the overall aesthetic.
High-quality skylights from reputable companies often come with a warranty to make sure products will serve you exactly as you want. For instance, the VELUX FCM 2246 0005 Skylight comes with a guarantee of ten years, which is quite remarkable.
It is very vital to verify the warranty terms on any skylight you are considering buying before making your final decision. While you definitely hope that everything goes smoothly, it’s nice knowing that you are well covered in the event that anything goes wrong after you have bought the purchase.
If you want a high-quality skylight, you also have to consider if it comes with excellent extra features. Some of the most useful extras include coating, the availability of an inbuilt curb and a flange. You may also check if there are other configurations available, as that especially increases the versatility of the unit.
Which accessories you might need
If you wish to run to your skylight and use your hand to crank it down each time it’s about to rain, then you must not ignore the different accessories that can aid convenience and comfort. Of course, there are many important accessories you might want to consider. It’s always better to find them in the original package than spending extra money buying them. Horizontal shades and blinds that can shut the light out when required can be excellent accessories to consider.
If you live in a cold region, the double pane tempered glass is the most suitable dome material for you. Renowned for their incredible ability to resist cold, the material is almost efficient as a wall.
A lot of people see the option of doing their skylight installation by themselves as a way of saving money. However, it’s necessary to carefully think about it before doing this. If a skylight is installed improperly, your home could be left exposed to moisture, extreme weather conditions, and draughts. Most often than not, hiring a professional to do the installation could be expensive initially, but will be worth it in the long term.
The first thing you have to do is to apply a self-sticking waterproof underlayment. With this underlayment, any water that manages to get through the metal flashing will be directed onto the roofing felt. Make sure install it from the bottom up, and lap each one over the lower one.
The next thing you have to do is set the base one-piece flashing over the shingle course. Make sure you do not nail it into the roof. Instead, nail it at the upper corners only. Of course, install from the bottom and lap each one over the lower one.
Now it’s time to set the step flashing up the skylight’s side as you install every shingle course. Make sure you nail it at the upper corner only.
The top flashing is a one-piece flashing that wraps around the sides. Obviously, this piece has sealed and soldered corners and seams. Install and fit the next row of shingles and leave about ½ inches of flashing bare.
Being one of the oldest companies in the skylight business, Velux is a company that has garnered a lot of experience. On the evidence of the VELUX FCM 2246 0005 Skylight, they are not ready to relinquish their top spot anytime soon. For its supreme durability, leak-proof window, transparency, and reasonable price, this model is the best skylight on this list.