Written by Terry Smith
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UK’s best garden storage benches 3 year testing 🤓 on Keter with wood and rattan alternatives
This article was last updated on December 30th, 2021 at 2:56 am
Almost everyone has a garden bench or seating of some description – why not get the most out of your space? I recently reviewed some cracking wheelie bin storage options (no surprises Keter came out on top, they also double as garden bike / general storage) and it got me thinking about my trusty Keter Eden Bench Outdoor Storage – yep three years in the garden now – the kids abuse it, and so do I – jamming crap in there – the poor thing is bulging at the seams but puts up with it 😀 This storage bench just can be broken! With that said, it’s hard for to me to look at other brands knowing what I know from so many years of testing – and it’s not just limited to the best garden storage benches either – I’ve worked closely with their sheds, small sheds, and of course the entire plastic shed range. They all come up trumps – but the good news is, there is finally some stiff competition (about bloody time) which I believe has helped keep prices in check a bit (needed with the way things are going!). And even more importantly, the competition are far more stylish if that’s what you’re looking for! It’s also worth having a peak at the garden storage bench buyers guide – there is a trick or two to pick up there as well. Let’s start with a picture of my battered storage bench. To say I’ve sat on this thing for a couple of hundred hours whilst waiting on my trusty charcoal bbq to do it’s magic is probably an understatement – this is tested to the max and beyond and I weigh far more than the average! Here’s a look uncleaned (don’t worry – I’ll show you how easy it cleans up with a pack of wet wipes further down the review):
Not sold on the Keter? Good, if I’m honest their market dominance is a bit annoying for me as someone that want’s to bring a rounded, unbiased opinion. I know that sounds a bit mad, and probably even disloyal given all the Keter I use and have personally bought that’s been really good to me, but still, there’s never been a better time to look elsewhere, with cool rattan options (that’ll match your current rattan seating) and even some sensible wooden picks like the AIRWAVE .
Happy reading. Happy sitting!
Best garden storage benches – editor top picks
Best garden storage bench – Keter Eden Bench Outdoor Storage – tried, tested, and abused for three years – like new still and all I do is wipe it down with wet wipes and it keeps on coming up like new again. What more can I say? If you’re buying and want maintenance free this is the best of the best by far (now with new colour style too).
Best rattan garden storage bench: Rowlinson Rattan Storage Bench, Grey
Best wooden storage bench: AIRWAVE Wooden 2 Seater Garden Storage Bench or the Deuba if you want something a bit more sophisticated looking
Budget picks: AIRWAVE for wood and the Keter Eden Bench because it just can’t be beaten for lasting. For out and out price you go with the GSD if you don’t mind no back to your seat.
No tool assembly!!: GSD Waterproof Plastic Garden Storage Bench Box
Heavy duty pick: Hudson Keter Iceni Eden Plastic Garden Storage Bench Box This will take two 20 stone people!!
Largest storage capacity: Rockwood Garden Storage Bench Box Large Keter Resin Furniture
Christow Waterproof Garden Storage Box With Lockable Lid, Plastic Wood Effect Outdoor Storage Box
Garden storage bench buyers guide
Enter the garden storage bench. For decorating. For storage. Or just for sitting. The garden storage bench is a staple to host your guests (as well as a nice patio set and pop up gazebo for the upcoming Covid outdoor rules likely to be in force in the UK again) whilst storing away those those bits and bobs you want to get out the way. Whether it’s plastic, wooden, or even for the stylish amongst us, rattan, there’s something for everyone. If you want to get the low down on which materials would work best, what benches will work for your garden, and about bench maintenance, keep reading.
What can you actually store?
You need to be sensible about what you’re going to fit into these – my Keter Eden Bench is just full of small garden toys, I also fished out my bbq tool set which no doubt the smallest son was kind enough to ‘tidy up’ for me 😀 Straight away I’ll tell you without doubt my top pick isn’t any more than that. For a far more serious solution that you can still use as a seat look to the Rockwood which is practically double the storage space.
Wood vs plastic vs rattan:
Deciding between the three materials can be tricky but, to be honest, the main difference goes with looks and the level of maintenance (and lifespan) you’re willing to put up with a.k.a. whether you want to get a cover or not. As well as can you accept when your rattan eventually gives way – if you’ve got kids like me or pets then rattan is a hard ask if I’m honest – whilst looking stunning, this would break my heart:
It’s a bit of a conundrum though isn’t it 🤔? There’s no way I’d throw them away – I’d find a way to refit the seating and put a cushion over by the way. I’m not that wasteful! And, I mean whilst it’s in good nick the aesthetics just can’t be denied:
Plastic tends to offer better protection weather-wise, as some wooden benches allow leaking depending on the design (slatted or gaps in the wood). This works two ways though, if the contents can get wet, then it also benefits from airflow and so remains dry without mould too. Another upside with plastic is it generally requires less maintenance. Just clean with a bit of soap and water or in my case some wet wipes. If it got bad enough I’d probably blast it with my cordless pressure washer.
Wood might be more attractive depending on your tastes, or if you’re feeling the rattan hype – some have stability issues. Although, if the bench is well built this shouldn’t be a problem. But it can be higher maintenance so you may want to think about added modes of protection. (See the next section for more information!)
Wooden benches tend to be on the pricier side and plastic does offer some cheaper options, especially with boxes. So, it really depends what you’re willing to pay for. There’s definitely some give and take though. Rattan looks great but fails quicker, plastic looks ok and lasts ages – proven with extensive testing my end. Wood will last as long as plastic but will need oil or varnish to keep it looking happy.
Wooden benches need varnish or oil protection
Or I would suggest getting yourself a good waterproof covering if you’re nervous about leaving benches uncovered. It’s cheap and easy to throw on your wooden bench to protect it and its contents against our charming UK weather.
1. Keter Eden Bench Outdoor Storage Box Garden Furniture
UPDATE EDIT: I wrote this a few years ago now, and so it’s been nice to re-read my thoughts on the Keter Eden Bench Storage Box – nothing changes, in terms of price and quality this has to remain best garden storage box – how could I knowingly recommend anything else when this has taken a complete kick-in from myself and the kids – we’ve not even had to maintain it as you can see from the absolute state of a picture it was in. I was embarrassed to post it if I’m honest but it’s a true statement of the quality. One two things I thought might give up was the hinging or the seat (plastic could be thicker for a big bloke) but nope, they are still going strong. They’ve got a lighter colour option now too which I would have gone for if available at the time – looks nicer to me – it’s pretty much the inverted colour of the original with the frame taking the seat colour and vice versa:
I’ve added some final thoughts to my initial write up at the bottom too. So here’s what I wrote back then:
I’ve heard a lot of buzz from my customers about the Keter Eden Bench, so I was excited to try it out with our tests. When Summer approaches. And everyone’s being moved outside if they want to see family and friends. Now is the time to spruce up that neglected (in my case) garden space ready to host those people you haven’t seen in months.
First thing’s first. Take it out of the packaging, toss aside the instructions because who needs instructions 😀 – yeah really, that’s what I did 🙂 short lived glory – see the pile of parts and nails. Turn back to the instructions because who do I think I am 🤦♂️ There are a few too many bolts and pieces to be that blasé. So with that said:
So, the instructions were very easy to follow with a comprehensive leaflet. I might suggest making it a two-person job, just maybe not with a partner if you want to avoid the rows. I came across a slight hurdle when it came to putting the base together and clicking in the sections but nothing the average DIY’er will come unstuck with. Overall though, it was a relatively easy and mostly swear-free assemble. And definitely worth it. I should have taken a video sorry about that but this guy fills the blanks – I used an impact driver but you can use a cordless drill or even a screwdriver no problem:
Now up, we have a decent-sized bench that comfortably fits two adults. With dimensions 132.5L x 75W x 18.5H, there’s plenty of room. Time to find my garden tools, tar pool, and everything and anything I can find to put inside. According to the instructions, it has a 265 Litre capacity, which does show – it feels big – you could easily put the kids in there 🙂
The wife sits down, does a little wiggle. Everything holds. Not surprising from the feedback from our customers (and my amazing DIY skills 😅) – they all agree it does hold a decent amount weight – I am now too in agreement from personally testing it.
Let’s look at how this thing is going to hold up – weather-resistance. It’s waterproof which is great for those who can’t remember to cover their furniture with plastic every time it rains. Totally understandable. It’s the UK. Need I say more. It cleans up lovely too. I left it to get really dirty:
After a quick clean up with some antibacterial scrubs it was back to clean in no time. A complete thumbs up 🙂
Keter Eden Bench, I’m impressed. A great bench and, equally important, it looks really attractive and not cheap, especially considering the price is – the cheapest backrest bench out of the lot.
Haha, I knew I wouldn’t look after it even back when I first bought it and my justification is pretty flimsy – it’s the UK weather :D. Now further to add to this from the years of abuse it’s had. I find some of the negative reviews awkward – I mean to be honest I weigh twenty stone – the breaks they’ve had to me must be bad luck manufacturing. My ones been solid. You notice I put this on grass – this was seriously manky when I lifted and moved it for a revamp of the garden but again it cleaned up – plastic loses on aesthetics – there’s no question the wooden AIRWAVE and Deuba look much nicer, and the Rowlinson Rattan Storage Bench blows them away too. But for lasting with zilch maintenance – here’s your best garden storage bench in the UK and it has been that way for quite some time. My only fault and potential problem you may face is storage capacity – if you want big, look at the Rockwood which is more of a trunk size.
- Three years testing and still like new
- Hinge mechanism still up to the job
- Abused by myself and the kids – still in good nick
- Maybe you don’t like the plastic look
- If you need bigger storage look at the Rockwood
2. Rowlinson Rattan Storage Bench, Grey
Last time I had this ranked third – it must have been a bad day and my eyes all wonky when I wrote the review last time – how can I seriously place this so far down the list when aesthetically it is the best by miles! Every now and then you have a bad day I guess but that’s fixed now:
It’s Rattan! The big material of the moment. Unsurprisingly, the Rawlinson Rattan Storage Bench is on the pricer side of storage benches. This bench is the most expensive out of this selection and I’m putting that simply down to the rattan look. Nice colour too. Whilst I do very much appreciate my Keter Eden Bench, how it loses in style to this by some serious margin. The only question is, are you ok with knowing you’re buying style that won’t last as long? If yes, this is the one…
Down to the practicalities… Putting it together? Maybe not as easy as some of the other benches to put together but still pretty good all things considering – rattan seating is almost always standard flat pack so don’t panic but it does require some skills. It’s also worth mentioning, as with the other storage benches, you can pay an extra £55 to get the bench assembled if you don’t feel up to the task. (if you’re wondering why this is the most expensive to assemble it’s because it’s the hardest – probably why I’m throwing out these warnings too 🙂 )There’s a massive advantage to pre-assembled though, and that is no worry of parts missing – how often do I stress myself out over that just to find all the bits are there in the end? 😀 The other thing is damaging it whilst assembling – not your problem if someone else does it – of all the benches in this review it would probably be the one time I’d take advantage of the assembly service (assuming my DIY was ropey). But this bench is completely manageable yourself if you take your time – a few hours max even with tea breaks. I would suggest an extra person though, especially when you’re attaching the hinges to the garden seat:
The downside? The Amazon seller describes the bench as weatherproof. But it’s rattan, so it’s not entirely water resistant when it comes to heavy rain – waterproof is the GSD. Plastic is waterproof. I did notice on my Rattan the contents got a bit damp when stored without protection so I’d say it definitely needs a little extra coverage to protect the bench. As a storage bench that could be a deal-breaker if you’re looking for more ease like I was. If you want/know rattan and have experience of it, this doesn’t phase you as you’re used to it – and you also know over time the thread and bindings give – no doubt something you’ll have to look forward to on this – the price of aesthetics basically. But I do think the looks stack up to the downsides.
For me on the money front, it’s worth it as it looks good and doesn’t look cheap At 120 x 60 x 90 centimetres, it’s a decent size and comfortably fits two adults sat down. Also, it’s very comfy which is a big bonus – the one other thing you have to question is the value when compared to other rattan garden furniture though 🤔.
- Stunning to look at
- Fits any rattan design
- Sensible size for the money
- Rattan doesn’t last the longest
- This ones tricky to assemble without an impact driver or drill.
3. AIRWAVE Wooden Darcy 2 Seater Garden Storage Bench Seat
Enough Keter, enough Rattan, bring me some good old wood. And how lovely and simple the AIRWAVE is. It is basically screwed together on the outside (so you see the holes but makes assembly all the easier). Speaking from experience, as wooden benches go to assemble, this is about the easiest you’ll ever take on so I wouldn’t be in a hurry to pay for assembly if you’ve got a drill or impact driver. This unit is pretty much in direct competition with the Deuba though they’ve used a lower grade wood to shave off a huge chunk of the cost, and in my mind it’s worked. It doesn’t matter if it’s hardwood or not to be honest, you’re still going to need to varnish or oil it.
The first thing you’ll notice when unpacking this is the wood – it’s not bad. You’re expecting rough and low quality to reflect the price but I think it’s fair to say it’s better than the money your paying – hence finding it’s way to my best budget pick!
Being 1.28m wide it’s bigger than the Rowlinson and the Keter Eden Bench. This translates into more storage space too as the frame is equally as thin, not too bulky. Which by the way is handy otherwise being wood you’d be struggling to lift this about the garden – at 17kg it’s well up there. Don’t be too concerned by the weight though, more means more timber and better quality – this is a sensible balance in my opinion when compared to the Deuba that’s 22kg and made of hardwood but costs considerably more.
When I compare this to the aesthetics of the Deuba I feel it comes up short. But basic isn’t bad – it fits most garden settings and because the seat isn’t hinged, it’s just a lid, there is nothing that can fail on this. However, with that said, in terms of practicality this is screaming out for a hinged seat to make going in and out far more practical – I can see this becoming a real bore if your kids are moaning every five minutes for their toys. You will struggle to fit hinges retrospectively as the lid slots over the top. You could probably cut in some storm proof hinges but that would be hassle.
The other thing is, whilst I like the traditional look it may not be for everyone – the Rowlinson looks miles better if I’m honest and this won’t exactly fit a contemporary garden setting – that suits me but may not others.
So all in all, what you get is a decent bench, big chest for storage, looks sensible, and at reasonable money – I think it’s hard to beat in the UK at the moment as far as budget goes.
- Price wise it’s great
- Simple design built to last
- Sensible timber quality
- Lid screaming out for hinges to make it more practical to use
4. Deuba Wooden Garden Bench 2 Seater With Storage Chest Made of Hardwood Water Repellent Cushion
How I love, love, love the look, style, and design of the Deuba Wooden Garden Bench 2 Seater With Storage. It’s by far much nicer than the budget pick AIRWAVE but how that comes at a price in terms of practicality 🙁.
You know I’m not alone on this either. The AIRWAVE should be outselling this all day long based on out and out functionality but it’s not. So many people are taking the risk of buying this because the design is absolutely superb, only to be disappointed by the quality. It’s a real shame considering it weighs 22kg, the timber density is there and so the quality should be too. Let’s work out what’s going wrong:
Here’s the thing, with a design flaw like this you’re wondering how this made it to my reviews. Well from having a go myself being a hefty lad I can tell you sitting down gently it’s fine. To break this you need to stand on it or slam your backside into it. Now, I agree this shouldn’t be the case, and I have to say these guys should know better, their wooden day bed is stunning so I know they can get it right – just compare the two timber thicknesses 🤦♂️but for the money, this storage bench just looks superb:
So let’s be clear – the number of breaks I’m aware of over thousands of sales is about 15. Enough that my conscience could not let this slip or go unmentioned, but if you go steady its a super looking chair. The assembly is inline with the AIRWAVE and the slatted sections are all pre-made so no need to be daunted by that. In terms of assembly theres a couple of holes that must be pre drilled or you stand a fair chance of splitting the wood.
The cushion is a nice touch too – very comfortable. It also helps to distribute the load – be warned – being open slated it’s not waterproof – something you really want to consider carefully, unlike my Keter Eden Bench which stays dry almost all the time when compared.
Overall the looks speak for itself, if you’re going to go gently this is a serious bargain for the style. Don’t be surprised to see the seating area flaw addressed in future models and I’ll be willing to bet the price goes up a hundred quid, and people still pick it down to how lovely it looks, I know I would especially when I know I can reinforce the underside of the chair with some cheap batten and I have a high end unit for bottom end money…food for thought.
- For the money looks superb
- Decent size equal to the top picks but slightly smaller than the AIRWAVE
- Nice and comfy cushion provided too
- Known flaw on the seating area – needs to be stronger.
5. GSD Waterproof Plastic Garden Storage Bench Box
If you’re looking for a cheap option, this garden bench offers a lot for the money priced at £45 and well well deserving of joint top budget pick. Giving this one the edge for assembly because there wasn’t much. Easy to assemble and all clicks together. No tools are needed! That’s the biggest bonus of all when compared to all other units in this review and is standout on that point alone. Personally I like to have a back on my bench but if you can live without or placing this against the wall then it’s an absolute bargain, even more so when you consider just how strong this thing is:
Onto the durability. It’s definitely waterproof and very sturdy – holds up to 300kg so can easily be sat on. It’s can be outside in the downpour and everything inside will still be dry. It’s definitely passes the test for storage – and you can thank the design for that. Whilst it makes for less comfortable seating, the curve definitely ensure water runs away. Combine that with the lid that slots over the top so water can leak down the sides and you have a very sensible storage solution for bargain money:
Here we’ve got your practical option. With a litre capacity of 300 Litres, the GSD Waterproof Plastic Garden Storage Bench Box has received lots of compliments from our customer base. Good for your garden bits and bobs, although I would say it’s not huge if you’re wanting to store furniture/large cushions above is pretty much what you can do with it – for larger storage items this isn’t the right thing. This is designed to clear up the nick knacks…
- Super price
- Genuine waterproof storage bench solution
- NO tool assembly!
- Not the most comfortable to sit on with a curve
6. Hudson Keter Iceni Eden Plastic Garden Storage Bench Box
This is your strong bench. What you see is what you get. The first thing people rate when talking about the Hudson Keter Iceni Eden Garden Storage Bench is its sturdiness. And, to be fair, you can already tell that from the images. I’m not entirely sure I’m sold on the sweeping style – it’s a bit traditional The instructions say they hold a weight of up to 272kg/600 lb so it’s a pretty decent hold and inline with the highest rated GSD– and doesn’t have any give because of the metal rods so you do feel secure when you sit down which is also far more comfortable than the GSD incidentally.
The picture style instructions make for a pretty easy assemble. Most stumble across a bit of a roadblock when it comes to slotting in a couple of the parts but you’ll got there in the end – I’d say it’s on par with my top pick Keter Eden Bench for this element of the review. A pretty smooth putting together.
Onto the bench. Fits up to 227 litres, so offers plenty of space but no where near as much as the GSD which is significantly cheaper. You can fit a lot of tools, nick knacks, etc in there. And it’s not surprisingly very comfy with the back swooping away leaning you deeper into the seat, almost holding you in actually. What you gain with comfortable, I feel is a trade off with aesthetics – as I say, not sold on the traditional design with plastic! If you’re looking for strong though, you should have your eye on it for practical storage reasons so it’s a good surprise when you finally sit down on it assembled!
Great for storage, great for sitting. A solid garden storage bench and definitely the heaviest duty out and out garden bench with storage.
- Super heavy duty
- Built to last, probably even longer than the Keter Eden Bench!
- Comfortable swooping back
- Not convinced of the style with plastic – a personal thing and does not detract from what is otherwise a high quality garden storage bench.
7. Rockwood Garden Storage Bench Box Large Keter Resin Furniture
If you’ve got a lot to store, the Rockwood is the storage bench for you. Boxy in shape, it holds up to 570 litres. This is your typical storage box – more of a box than a bench but still sturdy so you could definitely still sit on it. Even spruce it up with a cushion or two.
Solid brown wooden design – looks very attractive for a storage box and it also comes in grey too. Size-wise, it could fit up to two people comfortably. Although it is quite high with a height of 62 centimetres, so maybe not for the short-legged among us. Does triple-up as a useful garden table though. I have to say the most important thing is the internal measurements – after all you bought this for space, no doubt:
Now, there’s talk among some of my customers that sometimes water can run along the lid when it’s lifted. The thing with storage boxes is that even if they’re waterproof, with this design there is going to be some water collection on the lid which is going to drip down, the GSD handles it pretty well because of the curve – this is flat and so more useable – it seems like there’s always a trade between usability and practicality as well as aesthetics! Sorry about that but it’s really the case. This isn’t a deal breaker though – it’s a simple case of wiping the lid. Apart from that, no damp garden tools! And talking of tools – you can easily whack the same lock you use on a shed on the clasp and it’s secure.
The lid props open as well which useful for when you’re packing/unpacking the box because you don’t have to keep lifting the lid – this is much like the Keter wheelie bin storage range which is miles ahead on practicality too! Just remember to close the lid if you want your box to be waterproof 😀
The bottom line. This is your typical storage box and it does hold a lot. I’ve managed two deckchairs, my tools and a whole load of big cushions.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, maybe get another person to help with assembling though, especially when it comes to the lid. Tried it on my own and makes for a slightly awkward assemble trying to screw it into position.
- Massive storage
- Well priced
- Automatic hydraulic arm holds it open for you
- Bit of a water drip around the rim of lid
8. Christow Waterproof Garden Storage Box With Lockable Lid, Plastic Wood Effect Outdoor Storage Box
Here’s another cheaper option if you’re trying to save your money for other things this summer. Priced at £49.99, this is one to consider if you’re not feeling spending too much. Puts this bench as one of the cheapest of the selection. It holds 190 litres, which does explain the price. Although it’s worth comparing this to the 300 litres of the GSD storage box (also £50). The Christow shows signs of being a quality unit like the Rockwood with arms to support the lid – a nice touch considering it’s bargain basement money.
The main difference between the two is based on looks. First impressions: this box is very attractive, especially as you can choose colour. The options are black & grey or mocha & dark brown. I would go for the second one as it is very nice. In terms of the material, it’s a plastic/aluminium combination with a wood effect. Both benches at this price are plastic, but this might take the looks edge because of the attractive wood effect.
In terms of assembling, you do need to have a bit of strength on you (or the helping hand of someone strong) to join some of the pieces together. But, apart from that, the assembly isn’t too bad. Good for storage, although you can’t fit as much as some of the other storage benches. Again, this is understandable for the price.
Keeps things dry so a good plus for weather proofing abilities. However, I have heard from some of our customers that the bottom is a bit flimsy and I can see how it would be difficult to move once it’s full. But that’s not a problem if you’re happy to keep it in one place – especially as it looks good – there has to be some trade off when you compare prices – this is cheap!!!
As to be expected with products of this price, perhaps this wouldn’t be the bench for a particularly windy/unsheltered space as it seems to rattle. A big plus though; it comes with a lockable lid (assuming you can get yourself a padlock), which has flagged up as an issue on some of the other benches. So, couple this with the fact that you can’t really move it once it’s full… no one’s going to be stealing your box!
Overall it rounds off the garden storage bench article nicely – it’s a sensible bit of kit for the pricetag.
- Lid has an arm to hold it open like the Rockwood
- Well priced – looks great for the money
- Sensible to sit on
- Base is flimsy