Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best garden sheds made from wood, plastic, and metal reviewed

This article was last updated on December 7th, 2021 at 6:16 am

People use garden sheds for all manner of things. From simply being a convenient place to keep the rake and edging shears, to a fully fledged workshop, the best garden sheds in combination with shed security cameras, a shed alarm, and shed locks can keep our property safe and in excellent condition, and in general help us use our outdoor spaces to their full potential safe in the knowledge our tools and bbq are close by and easily accessible.

Best garden sheds will last an improve the look in your garden.

When I was growing up, everyone had a wooden shed, including my house – I still use the exact same wood preserver too. These days, improvements in material sciences have created stronger and more hardy plastics, as well as reasonably priced metal shed options, so now there are lots of extremely popular wooden shed alternatives out there, especially outdoor plastic storage sheds. Which type is better, I hear you ask? To be honest, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. One thing you definitely can’t do is install windows into your shed or setup a legal RCD electric supply with plastic 😀 and we will point these out in our best garden shed buyer’s guide. But if you want standard shed size, just to store a few bits the pick has to be plastic these days – I know, after berating plastic sheds 😀 If you want really big shed come workshop, like one of my personal sheds, you need wooden structure and of the sheds in this review, you can get a Power Shed that’s 20 * 6 feet if you follow the links then search for the larger), if you want larger still, you’ll need a custom build – my joists are 5 by 2, but we warned, they start at around £5000 for this quality with an apex roof and that’s without full shed insulation:

Wooden shed taken from my Ring security cameras

Here’s a look at how large that is from ground level to be sure of how large we are talking (5.5m by 5.5m):

Large shed – wooden and well built – notice the extremely large shed lock on the right hand door.

So let’s take a look at the best UK sheds at the moment:

Best shed overall: Keter Manor Outdoor Plastic Garden Shed

Best wooden shed: Power Sheds 10 x 6 wooden shed – this is a very nice manufacturer, dependable and trustworthy

Best plastic shed: Keter Manor Outdoor Plastic Garden Shed

Best metal shed: Duramax ECO 6′ x 4′ Hot-Dipped Galvanized Metal Garden Shed – Total bargain and hard to find a good metal shed

Budget ideas: Duramax metal shed is very hard to beat – if you want cheap and good this is it and comes with a 15 year guarantee.

Heavy duty shed pick: Lifetime Outdoor Storage Shed – this is what you pick if you want the best of the best, no question but it is pricey.

Best large shed/workshop: Power Sheds 20 x 6 wooden shed – follow my links and you’ll find even bigger of the Power Sheds 10 x 6 wooden shed! There’s no reason for a seperate review as they are the same construction but longer. 

Best small shed: Dunster House 6.7×3.4FT Outdoor Bike Shed – ideal for bike storage – very secure.

Best garden shed buyers guide:

Above we have offered up a great selection of plastic and wooden garden sheds, but if you’re still wondering which material is right for you, have a read of this buyer’s guide that will hopefully help you to make up your mind.

Hinges

One of the first things that’ll go on your shed is the hinges. On wooden sheds nice big tee hinges and the way to go. Obviously with a wooden shed, if your door fails or breaks, you can fit a new shed door and mount the tee hinges easily. With a plastic frame like the Woodbridge the hinges are slotted. If the bracket breaks you’re pretty much done because it’s hard to repair plastic properly. Not that the Woodbridge is known to fail easily mind, just an observation between the two.

Best tee hinges for garden gates – cheap and effective

Then you’ve got security screws on the hinges – this is important as someone can grab a cordless drill and simply undo it – notice on these gates I installed I went with cheapies because theres no loss – galvanised is all that’s required outdoors. By contrast on my shed filled with tools I have hinges that would be tough for a cordless grinder, granted they aren’t carbide but good enough:

Big quality hinges will take a lot of noise and fuss to cut off

There are better hinges than both of these options though, if you go with the Lifetime Outdoor Storage Shed then the hinges are completely hidden. This solves that problem but we aware anyone armed with a reciprocating saw or circular saw, or grinder will get in.

Wooden vs plastic vs metal

It’s no secret I am a fan of wooden sheds. Firstly I love woodwork, secondly, I feel plastic isn’t really where I want to go with a shed. However that’s a personal bias and I have still rated a plastic shed the best in Britain! The thing is for larger scale stuff you can really only go wood. You are not limited – you simply increase the timber thickness as you move up the size of shed, with plastic that doesn’t work so well on scale. But it does work well up to 4m2, no question. The Lifetime Outdoor Storage Shed is almost impossible to pick fault and the Keter Manor just looks great in any garden.

The downside to wood is the maintenance, there’s no getting away from that, shed roof cleaning, gutter on your shed need cleaning (and you probably want gutter guards), the wood even needs cleaning and refurbishing. But the results are super and it’ll come up like new every time, even if you let it rot you can replace the boards as necessary:

Shed roof after cleaning with pressure washer

 

Cost

Probably the deciding factor for most people, is the price of the shed and so it’s not hard to see why the Duramax ECO 6′ x 4′ Hot-Dipped Galvanized Metal Garden Shed is the best seller online at the moment. Generally speaking, plastic sheds are going to save you money when compared to a wooden shed of the same type and size – when you get to the larger end of the market, the mid range stuff with rising prices is about the same. There are maintenance costs to consider too, and again, plastic sheds are the cheaper option. However, a well looked after wooden shed will probably fare better in the long run, so if you’re good at remembering to keep things painted or treated, that might be a better option.

Assembly

Wooden sheds usually take a little more skill and tools to assemble. You often have to drill holes and screw things together. Tongue and groove wooden sheds reduce this down to a minimum though.

Plastic sheds often just click together and screw nut and bolts, however this is more common with the smaller plastic sheds, and the larger ones still need screwing together. Actually, in my own personal experience, the larger plastic sheds can be quite bothersome to get things lined up properly if you don’t know what you are doing.

Metal sheds are pretty much the same as plastic but can be dangerous and you definitely want a pair of thick gloves when handling the edges of sheet material.

Longevity – wood vs plastic vs metal

Because it is low-maintenance, plastic sheds will generally last longer than wooden ones but it does depend on a few factors. First of all, how good is the plastic quality and how good is your shed base? Then metal relies on not rusting in the same way as wood rotting.

Cheap plastic will crack, dent, bend, etc. quite easily and there isn’t really a way to repair it, you’ll just have to replace it. High quality plastic will last for a very long time though.

Wooden sheds have to be treated with a wood preserver for sheds and a shed stain or paint, and kept close eye on if they’re going to last, but it is possible, with proper care, that they will last for years. I recently converted my shed into an office, in the end it comes down to how much attention you will give to your shed.

looking after a wooden garden shed

Another factor is how you will be using the shed. If you have to make alterations, like adding shelves, or a shed window for more light then wooden sheds are much better and are often designed to allow such things. Plastic sheds are not as good for that kind of thing, and you can actually negatively affect the integrity of the structure of them by doing so. You can’t make repairs on a plastic shed easily either, but on my wooden shed I’ve done all sorts, including fitting a new shed door.

Aesthetics

There’s a reason why so many manufacturers try to give their plastic sheds a faux wooden look, and to be perfectly honest, even the best of these are nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as traditional timber. That’s not to say plastic sheds are ugly, some of them look great, it’s just that they can’t compete with wooden sheds, in my opinion anyway.

Most plastic sheds won’t have glass windows, although many have Perspex as an alternative, but again, for me, they just don’t look as good as a well cleaned, glass shed window sparkling in the sun.

Armed with this info, picking the best garden shed should now be a walk in the park 🙂

When it comes to top-quality plastic garden sheds, there aren’t many better-known names than Keter, so it’s no wonder that we feature a couple of their products in our list. When you follow my link you’ll see there are many different sizes and options, not just the large 6 by 5 shed in this review.

The Keter Manor is what I would call a ‘proper’ shed, in that it is tall enough to stand up inside (even if you have to stoop because you’re tall – the door height is 1.85m – at 5ft 9 I pass under no problem), and has windows. It also features air vents, which is important with plastic constructions as they don’t naturally ventilate as well as wooden sheds which leads to mould and other fungal issues. The nicest thing is big double doors that give you every chance to use the space without having to pull your lawn mower out to get to the pressure washer and so on…

Although there are no drain pipes, the sloped roof does allow rainwater to run off and won’t accumulate on top in puddles – there’s no reason not to install a gutter though. This roof was easy to assemble, but it is tricky to get it to connect properly to the sides without a bit of help and some basic DIY skills. The result is a superb looking storage space:

Keter Manor Outdoor Plastic Garden Storage Shed, Grey, 6 x 5 ft – looks lovely

The Keter Manor does have its own floor, but it is not meant to be used as the main base, you definitely want slabs, concrete, pallets, or a gravel grid shed base, instead to help take the load. By doing this, you will find that assembly is much easier as there is less movement and warping of the different parts.

This isn’t a quick build, and might be a bit tricky for beginners, but if you follow online advice and get someone experienced to help you, you will be awarded, after a few hours work, with a very solid and sturdy shed that also looks great. I saw one shocking review that it fell to pieces of the tens of thousands of sold units – looking closely the ground was really uneven – make sure yours is flat or it won’t take the twisting and warping – if you can’t have reasonably flat then don’t buy this, if you do have flat it’s solid, you could go with wood but you’ll still have a similar problem.

Cleaning and maintenance wise I can’t wait – shed stain or wood treatment are a thing of the past with this. Just blast the petrol pressure washer when it gets a film of Algae – yes you want algae remover, once every couple of years will do – almost all plastic ends up looking tired without a bit of a clean – look at my Keter storage bench: by the way, my lids not twisted, it’s full of kids toys 🙂 Once I cleaned that up it looks super again so the plastic Keter are using is very durable and anti fade, I know this from the last three years of personal use and that’s with a wet wipe, not a full on deep clean – just check the link above.

There’s a few complaints of quality – not something I’ve noticed – the walls are three quarter inch thick nearly and feel very durable. Since they slot together, if you don’t plan to move the shed you can silicone it all together – word of warning though, that would invalidate your warranty. Given there are literally tens and twentys of thousands of these sold, you’re going to get the odd failures I think. It’s inevitable. Overall these are good sellers with a fairly priced product.

Pros:

  • Super looking
  • Low maintenance
  • Decent head height
  • Lovely double doors

Cons:

  • Install takes a fair bit of work

Since the last review the guys have made this unit with a double door – I’m not sure it was a wise move to lose all their superb feedback but it’s a clear sign of honestly – not surprising, these guys make lovely wooden sheds – you you follow my link you’ll find a whole myriad of sensible priced wooden sheds they supply. Made in the UK, and a recipient of all kinds of awards, Power Sheds’ products are some of the best that you can get delivered to your door, and they are living up to their name with this outstanding wooden shed. And whilst I very much like the look of the Keter Manor Outdoor Plastic Garden Shed I do personally feel a robust timber build is better for someone that has the time to maintain it.

Measuring 10x6ft, it is a heavy duty shed that would make a great mini workshop for hobbyists of all kinds. It’s a enough sturdy frame, made from 2 by 1 pieces of high quality, Scandinavian redwood, is backed up by internal corner bracing in all the wall panels, and this creates a very solid structure. There’s a fair old bit of assembly – there’s no getting away from it. The instructions are good but you’ll use a couple of days on this. Don’t even dream of spending this much money with putting in a solid shed base first. the shed comes treated so you wont have to clean shed or treat for a year at least I’d recommend crecote – gives a super hard wearing finish – here’s 12 months on from my last treat:

Shed cleaned and coated with creocote a wood preserver

This is the darker creocote – you’ve got a lighter one too – back on topic – on top of that, throughout the entire structure there are no corners cut with cheaper materials like chipboard, and instead tongue and groove panels have been used for all panels, not excluding the roof or floor either. Even the hinges on the door, and the handle, have been paid special attention and so they are galvanised to protect them from rust.

If that wasn’t enough to have you reaching for your wallet, this wooden shed features toughened glass windows with PVC sills to help seal them off, and a hard wearing polyester roofing felt. the toughened glass is a big deal, not just for security either – if you don’t know – it’s the same glass that you have on the side of your car windows that fractures into hundreds of pieces. So it’s safe for kids and pets too.

It’s not only the build quality of this wooden shed that made me pick it as our number one (for the wood category), it is also how convenient the modular design makes things. This design means that you can have the panels where you want them, so you’re not scratching your head trying to work out how to fit it into your garden and still have the door and windows in a place that makes sense.

There’s really not many metal sheds that I like the look of in the UK but the Duramax ECO 6′ x 4′ Hot-Dipped Galvanized Metal Garden Shed is the absolute standout. Some of them are flimsy and literally rattle in the wind and absolutely nothing like the reasonably inexpensive metal farm barn shelters you may have seen, on the other hand. This resembles that quality – you see decent roof vents, nice riveted door handles, and pretty thick supporting sections for the roof and walls – certainly enough for it to not be flimsy.

Being powder coated is a big deal. This pretty much insures unless you literally scrape the paint off with a chisel, your metal framework will be protected from the elements. With regards to the metal itself, it’s a reasonable gauge for the money – enough that it is sturdy enough to avoid too much rattly noises in heavy winds but not like some real heavy stuff – the entire shed still only weighs 37kg and really wants securing to the ground through the base.. Remember this doesn’t have a base so you’ll want to construct one. The shed bases I recently reviewed are a good shout for this.

Assembly is refreshing straight forward with decent instructions – have you ever looked at the Ikea instructions? They are pretty sensible, you can expect the same from these with decent pictures denoting what goes where, and in what stage – I’d say a DIY enthusiast with an impact driver and a base ready to go will have this up in three hours. Anyone not think that’s possible? Email in we will have a video bet – I can do this in two 🙂 The biggest downside though is the edges of the sheet metal – if you’re unfamiliar with this then prepare for the sharpness – don’t take this lightly, wear a decent pair of gloves.

As far as head height clearance, you’ve got a full two metres, so that’s all sound, even for the tallest of us. The doors seal well but there’s no point in heavy duty locks. Anyone that wants to get in this will make light work of the walls with a decent cordless reciprocal saw in about 30 seconds. Mind you, that’s pretty harsh – the same could be said for the plastic and wooden versions too. All in all it’s a quality unit and well worth the spot at my best pick for a metal shed.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and strong
  • Nice quality powered coat means rust can’t get going.
  • 15 Year guarantee

Cons:

  • Sharp edges of metal when building

A fair bit pricier than most plastic garden sheds, Lifetime’s outdoor storage shed is also a lot roomier, and has some nice touches that warrant the higher price tag. Available in a variety of sizes, from 7x7ft all the way up to 11x21ft, and all with good head clearance inside, these plastic sheds are some of the best you can buy – they are real heavy duty quality.

A mainly polyethylene construction, this shed will not crack or fade, and won’t degrade, no matter what weather it has to deal with. The wall panels are double layered too, to reduce the risk of unsightly dents or bumps occurring. As a result of the plastic being so thick you can actually hang shelves on them:

You can actually hang shelves on the lifetime shed

The overall structure is given a lot more support and sturdiness thanks to steel trusses, and security has been improved through the implementation of shatterproof polycarbonate windows, and lockable, steel reinforced doors.

Large, double, barn-like doors provide a spacious entrance for you to fit your larger tools like a lawnmower inside quickly and easily, and they also provide great insulation and natural light in during spring and summer. If the weather changes, you will still get great airflow with the doors closed via the decorate, screened vents just below the roof.

With its sloped plastic roof, you don’t have to worry about rainwater build-up on top as it’ll simply run straight off and onto the ground. During our tests with this product, we got a spell of very heavy rain, and there was no leaking from any of the joints whatsoever. You only have to look at the roof to see why:

Lifetime shed roof quality

The shed comes with its own floor that again is made from polyethylene. It has been made with a non-slip grip, and is easy to clean if you spill any oil or other liquids onto it. However, it should not be thought of as the main base for the shed, and you should build on top of a proper concrete or wood shed base for stability.

This isn’t a particularly hard plastic shed to build if you follow the instructions carefully and keep rechecking them. This does mean that it is quite a slow process though, so be sure you have a friend or family member to lend a hand, and at least half a day to get it done. They do look very nice though you have to say:

Lifetime shed – lovely looking shed

Probably the most sturdy plastic shed out there, but one you have to be ready to pay a bit extra for, Lifetime’s product is nonetheless extremely good.

Pros

  • Easily the most heavy duty plastic shed on the market
  • Well built with metal reinforcement
  • Lovely doors and design
  • You can actually hang shelves on plastic – unheard of until now

Cons

  • The price – you can get a bigger wooden shed for this money.

Having a smaller garden doesn’t have to mean you can’t have a lovely wooden shed of your very own. With the Dunster House sentry box shed, you get to make the most of what space you’ve got and still have a great spot for your tool storage.

Named the ‘sentry box’ for good reason, this wooden shed very closely resembles the small huts that the Queen’s guards stand in front of at Buckingham palace, only with a closable and lockable front door.

While only 4ft wide, it stands nearly 7ft tall, and this gives you a lot of storage space inside the shed, and the free tool rail, plus the height adjustable shelf, give you plenty of options when it comes to just what, and how you can keep in there.

Although relatively small, it is as steady and sturdy as they come with a sub frame made from 35mmx35mm timber, and 15mmm shiplap cladding as the wall panels. These wall panels are a lot thicker than many wooden sheds I’ve come across, and do a great job of providing security and insulation.

The timber used for this wooden shed is of exceptional quality, and for your convenience has been pre-cut, planed smooth, and pre-notched. This makes assembly a little easier, but you should still be prepared to spend a few good hours, with help, putting the shed up.

Dunster houses have thrown in some of their polyester roof felt with the shed as part of the deal, and like their timber, it is very high-quality stuff and a welcome addition. The roof itself is sloped nicely to provide rainwater runoff, and the shiplap cladding has been designed to prevent any of that run off from entering the shed itself via the panels. A job that does incredibly well.

So, if you’re pushed for space, but would love a top-quality wooden shed, this Dunston House product is worth some serious consideration.

Duramax really now a shed, they are about the only people I trust to includes with regards to a metal shed. This is another good choice for those of you looking for a larger, walk-in, plastic shed is the Duramax Woodbridge 2, available at pretty sensible money when compared to the smaller size of the Keter Manor Plastic Shed. That might seem expensive, but actually a wooden shed of the same size would likely cost you quite a bit more.

Furthermore, while a wooden shed requires painting or staining regularly to fend off rot and weather damage, there is no maintenance required with this PVC construction, and to top it all it is fire retardant too.

While mostly a plastic shed, the Woodbridge 2 does incorporate some metal structural reinforcements to provide extra strength, and that’s always welcome when those gales come sweeping across the UK in winter. This extra strength, helped along by roof trusses, allows you to install shelves inside the shed too without worry about compromising the over structure of the shed. It also means that you don’t have to panic when snow builds up on the roof. the doors are fitted with slotted hinges so can be easily lifted off – only when unlocked.

This shed comes complete with a metal foundation kit, which is very handy indeed, but please be aware that there is no floor included and you will either use your wood or concrete base as the floor, or build one on top, yourself.

Due to its roomy interior, this shed can be used for so many purposes. Need a new workshop? No problem. Personal gym or training space? Here you go. Somewhere to house your new hot tub? Plenty of space inside for that.

The one downside to this plastic shed, is that it is not that easy to build, and you shouldn’t attempt it yourself if you’re not a little bit savvy when it comes to DIY. There are small adjustments that have to be made throughout the process to keep everything square and lined up, and it really is a test of patience, even if you do know what you are doing. Having said that, if you stick with it, and take your time, you will be rewarded with a super-strong plastic shed that has enough space inside for you to store whatever you like and still have room to spare.

Most bicycle thefts are opportunist acts. The thieves are on the prowl, then see something that looks easy to snatch, and before you know it your bike is gone. It’s sad to say, but it’s unfortunately a common occurrence in the UK these days.

You’d be surprised how effective an outdoor bike shed can be when it comes to reducing the risk of yours and your kids bikes from being stolen. It seems like the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ saying really does play a part here. Of course, you won’t ever be able to completely stop a determined thief this way, but it does cut down the risk of opportunism.

Coming from Dunster house, this wooden, outdoor bike shed is, unsurprisingly, made from high quality, pressure treated timber in order to fight off fungi and insects. This timber is also thicker than average, and this helps to provide a good level of stability and security.

The front of the shed consists of two large, double braced doors that open outwards to provide a large opening, perfect for getting bikes in and out of. Once closed, the fitted latch can be secured with a padlock to make things ever more difficult for any sticky-fingered fiends wandering around.

Like with the other Dunster House product we reviewed earlier, some free polyester felt is provided to cover the sloped roof of the shed, and the panes have the same overlapping, ‘shiplap’ cladding to provide waterproofing. The felt is already pre-attached to the roofing boards which certainly speeds up assembly time.

This shed is fairly straightforward and easy to assemble and you don’t need to be skilled to do so. However, I will say that you should take time and care when putting the finishing touches to it, like with the trim, to really ensure there are no leaks when the rain comes.

At just over 2 metres wide, 1.75 metres high, and having a depth of just over a metre, you can comfortably fit a few bikes in there, whether kids’ size or adult, and you have enough space to get your head inside to look around at the same time.

A great alternative to the plastic bike sheds that are very common these days, this Dunster House product gives you the same security, but with a sore eye-pleasing, traditional look.

We bring our top ten garden sheds reviews to a close with this wooden, walk-in shed from Pinelap that is available in various sizes. First off, this is a fantastic looking shed, not just from the outside, but also when standing inside. The tongue and groove redwood panels that have been used throughout the construction give everything a very polished feel and there is no ugly chipboard in sight.

Combined with the 45mm x 27mm framing, these tongue and groove panels give the overall structure of the shed a lot of stability and it makes you feel confident that it would survive any strong winds that come its way.

The braced front door has been given three galvanized tee hinges in order to keep rust at bay, and not to be outdone, the timber can have its own treatment in the form of an antifungal preservative if you ask for it during your purchase. Alternatively, you could just do it yourself before construction.

As standard the Pinelap wooden shed comes with two glass windows, however you can opt when buying not to have these if you so wish. Personally, I always want some natural light in my sheds, but I know it is not a big deal to some people, and that the fact the shed will be easy to set up without the windows might be more important.

For extra security, the company fitted a lock on the door and provided the key, and I was happy with the quality of both, especially considering the competitive price of this shed.
Despite some pretty unclear instructions, we managed to assemble the Pinelap shed without too many hiccups, and it took about three and a half hours with two of us pitching in.

This isn’t a perfect shed, and some of the timber for the frames can be a bit rough, but for the price it is very good value, and with a little bit of extra work, treating the wood and a bit of extra sanding, you can end up with a cracking shed and a great deal.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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