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Published Sep 12, 2023 4:30 PM
Whether you’re looking for a greenhouse to start your growing season early (think trays of tomato starters) or you just want a light-filled room to escape to on a cold day, one of these enclosures is a great way to capture the sun’s rays and make a space a little more comfortable for all living things (plants and humans included). Whether you’re ready for a structure the size of a shed or just have a little space on your apartment’s back deck, here are the best greenhouses and tips to help you pick the best one for you.
How we chose the best greenhouses
To find the best greenhouses, we scoured the internet over dozens of professional reviews and scores of consumer reviews, looking for essential criteria to meet our readers’ needs. We aggregated these reviews and looked for those specific features and built markers that could help us differentiate the quality, durability, and usefulness of dozens of greenhouses until we found our favorites for seasoned pros with terraced yards full of raised beds and new plant parents alike.
The best greenhouses: Reviews & Recommendations
What are you looking for out of a greenhouse? Are you trying to fully optimize your garden growing and maximize plant growth no matter the cost? Or, are you trying to start your garden a bit ahead of the growing season or start from seeds? If you’re starting from seeds or just trying to beat the cold by a few weeks, a smaller greenhouse will work great for starters. If you want to keep your plants in your greenhouse all year, pick a larger greenhouse that can accommodate all the fully-grown seeds you’re looking for. No matter which direction you’re going in, we have a great option for you.
Best overall: Veikou Greenhouse Kit
Why it made the cut: This relatively affordable model offers great looks and sturdy construction
- Dimensions: 6’ W x 6’4″ L x 11’10″ H
- Material: Polycarbonate
- Floor: Yes
- Shelves: No
- Affordable for size
- Looks great and modern
- Roof vent
- Windows can fly open during heavy weather
This is our favorite greenhouse thanks to its affordable price, handsome design, and durable construction.
The greenhouse is easy to assemble with the included instructions and is entirely surrounded by UV-resistant polycarbonate panels to let light into your plants, built around an aluminum frame that will resist corrosion and rust for years to come. This construction makes it durable to the elements, including snow, but in high winds the door can fly open, one of the only downsides of this greenhouse.
The spacious greenhouse is easy to walk in to to work on your plants, though you will need to place them on the ground or bring your own shelving as this greenhouse does not have shelves. It does, however, have ventable windows so that you can control the flow of air and temperature for your plants.
Overall, this greenhouse is a winner. It looks great. Is affordable. And will keep your plants happy.
Best value: Home-Complete 8-Shelf Greenhouse
Why it made the cut: This easy-to-assemble model is lightweight and offers plenty of space.
- Dimensions: 4’8”W x 4’8”L x 6’4” H
- Panel Material: PVC
- Floor: No
- Shelves: Yes
- Assembly is required but easy
- Great shelf storage
- Good Value
- PVC walls can tear
- Not prettiest
This greenhouse is a breeze to set up and move around and comes with a lightweight price tag to boot. This affordable option gives you a great greenhouse footprint and even comes with shelves to pack even more plants into the structure.
The PVC walls are easy to install and flexible enough to pack up, but they do have the potential to tear in heavy weather and abuse. On top of that, the dangling PVC sheets are not the prettiest, so this greenhouse is not quite a display piece. Even so, the steel structure will be ready for years of work, which is hard to beat at this price, making it one of our best value picks.
Best for cold climates: Little Cottage Company Colonial Gable Greenhouse Cottage
Why it made the cut: Its cute cottage design offers a great footprint for plants.
- Dimensions: 10’ x 16’ x 11’
- Panel Material: Polycarbonate
- Floor: No
- Shelves: Yes
- Large and well-made
- Easy to assemble
- Great ventilation
If budget is no concern, this polycarbonate panel greenhouse is one of our favorites. The cute cottage-like design has a big footprint but is handsome enough to not only help your plants grow but also improve the look of your backyard.
Your plants will love the windows and polycarbonate roof that let light in and are durable enough for all weather, even heavy, heavy snows. You’ll have plenty of room to place plants on the deep shelves that ring three of the interior walls. Keep them at the perfect temperature with two vents. It even has a big locking door that will stand strong in heavy weather and let you keep tools inside the greenhouse without worrying about someone stealing them (though you may also want a dedicated storage shed, depending on how deep you go into yard improvement and maintenance).
You’ll need a platform of some sort to place this greenhouse on, though, as it will not come with a floor. While it is largely pre-assembled and primed, you will need to paint it to protect it from the elements, though that gives you the chance to get just the color you’re looking for.
Best plastic: Palram Canopia Hybrid
Why it made the cut: Despite its durable construction with delicate look and elegant design
- Dimensions: 8’W x 4’1″D x 7’3″H
- Panel Material: Polycarbonate
- Floor: No
- Shelves: No
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Weatherproof, including wind and snow
If you’re looking for an elegant greenhouse with all the classic looks of glass but the durability of polycarbonate, this is your perfect option. This kit might take a bit of time and diligence to assemble, but it can meet your needs thanks to the fact that it’s available in four different sizes and two different colors. The greenhouse is made almost entirely out of clear panels so that you can see your plants at all times from almost all angles, and they will still get light as the sun changes its position in the sky throughout the day and year.
While it looks delicate, the durable aluminum frame is ready for many seasons of heavy weather, and the door makes for easy entry and exit.
Best budget: porayhut Pop-Up Greenhouse
Why it made the cut: This small option comes at a super-affordable price.
- Dimensions: 2’4”L x 2’4” W x 2’8” H
- Material: PVC
- Floor: No
- Shelves: No
- Very affordable
- Small footprint
- Easy to store
- Too small for more than a few plants
Maybe you don’t need a whole greenhouse. Maybe you just need a green tent that can keep a few plants safe from the elements with minimal cost and fuss. This pop-up greenhouse offers a bit more than two feet of space in every direction. That’s obviously not enough space to shelter an entire garden, but it can provide plenty of room to shield a few particularly fragile plants from the outdoors.
This model is extremely easy to put in place. It pops up from folded like a hamper or some tents. Despite its easy setup, it’s still fairly sturdy. You can secure it to the ground with anchors to keep it from blowing over in heavy wind. It works outdoors, but you can also keep it indoors to keep pets or kids away from specific plants. Plus, it comes with a handy carrying case to take it on the road or easily store it when not in use.
Things to consider when buying the best greenhouse for you
While there are tons of greenhouse options on the market, you should know some common information before comparing models. Here are some essential questions to ask and variables to consider before spending your cash:
Leave it up or take it down?
Are you limited with space? Will you want to take down your greenhouse when it isn’t in use? Or, are you committed to the ease of leaving your greenhouse up all year round? Some greenhouses are easy to assemble and disassemble and store, while others are more of year-round installations. Decide if you need the space, and buy for the space, time, and storage that you have to optimize your greenhouse both when it’s in use and out of season.
Your neighborhood and zoning
While you might be dreaming of a large permanent structure you can leave up year-round, like the Little Cottage on our list, check your local and neighborhood rules. In some areas, putting an additional permanent structure in your yard can be quite the hassle; you’ll have a lot of red tape with those green vegetables. Research what is allowed in your area before you have to tear down what was supposed to be a permanent installation.
Wind and weather
What kind of weather and wind do you get? While flexible side walls can be great for moving with snow, some soft PVCs can get torn up in the wind. Know what weather you expect, and buy your greenhouse for what you have. If you have a hard-sided greenhouse with doors and windows and you’re in a windy area, make sure they can latch securely, and make sure you remember to latch them securely, or on a windy night, you might wake up to the sound of a banging door, or worse, cracking side panels.
Q: What are the strongest greenhouse panels?
If you’re thinking about a greenhouse, the first thing that comes to mind is probably big glass panels, but glass can be fragile, especially when dealing with snow. When buying a greenhouse kit, synthetic materials are now more common. For a bit more durability, consider a material like polycarbonate sheets that are rigid and clear like glass but better able to deal with the weight and abuse of snow and other weather. Just be careful to see if it yellows over time, as yellowing polycarbonate can change the light that reaches plants. Also, consider polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. It is flexible, lightweight, affordable, durable, and able to handle heavy snow loads. If you get UV treatments, PVC will even resist yellowing.
Q: What color is best for a greenhouse?
While some colors can be better for fruit production, in almost all cases, a clear greenhouse will be best for your needs. Clear panels let in the full spectrum of light to ensure that plants get everything they need from the sun.
Q: What is a good size for a greenhouse?
The larger the greenhouse, the less temperature fluctuates, but that doesn’t always mean bigger is better for your needs! About 6’ X 4’ or 6’ X 8’ is often a good size for a sizeable hobby greenhouse, allowing you to grow many plants. But the size that is right for you depends on your needs, including how much space you have. If you only have a small apartment terrace or balcony, even a small tabletop greenhouse will let you grow more plants than you could with no greenhouse at all!
Final thoughts regarding the best greenhouses
If you’ve already decided to buy a greenhouse, you have a great growing season ahead of you. But doing your research, knowing your space constraints, and possibly most important, your budget, will ensure you have a fun, stress-free experience. Make sure to accurately measure the space you are putting your greenhouse in, how long you are allowed to keep it there, and the size and number of plants you put into it. Of course, also make sure you check your weather. Unlike you, your plants will be in the greenhouse all day long. Make sure they are safe and comfortable regardless of the weather outside. With that, you can be sure that your greenhouse is a sound investment and a great addition to your garden dreams.
Why trust us
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Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.