The $13 Amazon Buy That Solves Every Renter’s Biggest Winter Problem

updated Oct 23, 2020
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The advent of wintertime means one thing: in many parts of the country, people are hunkering down for a season of cold temperatures and snow. Keeping your rental warm throughout the season can be a challenge when you’re at the whim of your building’s management—and you can’t make the major efficiency improvements that would make your unit a wee bit cozier on your own. But the solution may lie in a very simple product: indoor window insulation kits.

These kits keep cold air out and warm air in via heat-shrink window film and tape. In addition to keeping you toasty and warm, you’ll be surprised by how much it can reduce your heating bill. But the best part for renters? You can find them for under $15 at most home retailers (and, of course, Amazon) and they come in a variety of window sizes.

Do window insulation kits work?

It sounds too good to be true, but experts say the product is actually very effective. Dave Miller, an HVAC technician who runs the blog HeatTalk, explains that the seemingly simple kit works on a few different levels to keep your home a warm respite from the cold all winter long:

“Firstly, they provide draught-proofing, helping you to create an effective barrier to prevent cold air currents making their way into your home,” Miller says. “Secondly, they create an air gap on your window panes, which works much like a regular thermal window.”

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He notes that window insulator kits are particularly useful in older properties, which often still have single-pane windows and are unable to install the much more energy-efficient modern frames that are common in new construction.

Although the kits are not a permanent or as effective a solution as new windows, they are a great option for those who are unable to invest in new insulation or windows for the time being.

“Windows and doors are some of the largest sources of heat drafts, so you will probably get the money you spent on the kit in a few months after buying it,” says Matthias Alleckna, an industry analyst at, which compares energy companies for Canadian consumers. “They are not a long-term solution, but they will certainly provide you with more comfort and energy savings this winter.”

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Another great benefit to the insulator kit is that it’s easy to install yourself. 3M’s five window kit is $13 and has a solid 3.9 out of 5-star rating with more than 2,000 reviews on Amazon. Several customers mention how quick and easy they found the installation.

Installation tips

Depending on the type of window frame you have, you may experience the tape not sticking well enough or sticking too well, which can leave a messy residue come spring. To avoid these problems, Cristina Miguélez of recommends testing the tape in an inconspicuous area (like on the side or bottom of the trim) before installing the plastic so you can see how it works. If it doesn’t stick, try double-sided tape. If it harms the finish, try tape designed specifically to use on woodwork.

If you’re looking for other affordable, simple, and effective ways to insulate your home from the cold this winter, Mark Liston, brand president of Glass Doctor, recommends installing door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors. Another option is a door snake, which is a weighted fabric tube placed at the bottom of the door. For windows, Liston says insulated curtains can provide extra warmth, as long as you’re willing to keep them closed most of the day. (Though if it’s a small room and your windows are well-insulated, you may want to keep them open as the sunlight may effectively warm the room.)