Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big greenhouse test 2021. Here we present all the greenhouses we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best greenhouse for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a greenhouse.




Summary

  • Greenhouses come in a wide variety of designs. Whether large or small, purpose-built or stylish, inexpensive or expensive.
  • Greenhouses enable the cultivation of plants from distant countries, accelerate growth and are suitable for raising young plants.
  • If you want to build your own greenhouse, you should inform yourself in advance at the building regulations office. Here the standards and guidelines differ from state to state.

Greenhouse: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a greenhouse

Who is a greenhouse suitable for?

A greenhouse is basically suitable for anyone who likes to spend time in the garden. Due to the many different types, every garden lover will find the right greenhouse.

Greenhouses come in a wide range of sizes. So everyone can find a suitable one. (Image source: unsplash.com / www.zanda.photography)

The so-called greenhouse effect makes it possible to grow plants, vegetables and fruit at home - all year round. It can also be used as a show house for exotic plants.

Whether functional or homely, purpose-built or stylish, a greenhouse is weather-independent and accelerates the growth of seeds. So if you enjoy spending time in the garden and are ready for new tasks, you should consider buying a greenhouse.

What size of greenhouse is suitable for your own household?

Greenhouses come in a wide variety of designs, sizes and styles. From mini greenhouses to metre-high glass buildings. The right size depends on the location, the requirements and the budget.

To find the right greenhouse for your household, you should consider the following questions:

  • What would I like to grow?
  • How much space should my greenhouse take up?
  • What is my budget?
  • Is my greenhouse purely functional or should it also look stylish?

What regulations do I have to observe for greenhouses?

If you decide to buy a larger greenhouse, you should thoroughly check the legal regulations beforehand. The requirements vary from state to state and can be found at the respective building regulations office.

In most cases, greenhouses up to 30 square metres in size do not require a permit, but they do require an application. Therefore, inform yourself in advance about the standards and guidelines of your federal state.

What does a greenhouse cost?

The costs depend on the type of greenhouse. Decisive parameters are size, quality, material, space and equipment.

From mini greenhouses to very large greenhouses, there are almost no limits to the price. The cheapest greenhouse starts at around €10, lean-to greenhouses start at around €450.

Type Price
Mini greenhouse from 10€
Foil tunnel from 12€
Freestanding greenhouse from 250€
Lean-to greenhouse from 450€

If you are looking for a high-quality, customised greenhouse, you can expect prices in the five-figure range.

What alternatives are there to a greenhouse?

There are no real alternatives to greenhouses. To create and use a greenhouse effect, the stored heat must remain in the greenhouse. As an alternative to classic greenhouses, variants that are embedded in the ground can also be constructed.

Here, however, it should be clarified beforehand which seeds are suitable. If you do not want to plant exotic plants, vegetables or fruits, a conventional bed is sufficient.

Decision: What types of greenhouses are there and which one is right for you?

Greenhouses can be found in many different designs. Basically, you can distinguish between the following greenhouses:

  • Freestanding (classic) greenhouse
  • Lean-to greenhouse
  • Foil tunnel
  • Mini greenhouse

What distinguishes the freestanding greenhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The freestanding greenhouse with a gable roof is considered a classic. This type of greenhouse is versatile. Like the other types, it accelerates the growth of the crop, protects frost-sensitive plants in winter and can be used for raising young plants.

Advantages
  • Upright working possible
  • Can be used all year round
  • Durable
  • Climate easily regulated
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Due to the price, more interesting for advanced growers
  • Foundation is needed

What are the characteristics of a lean-to greenhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Lean-to greenhouses score points for their wide range of uses. They are space-saving and less expensive than classic greenhouses. Lean-to greenhouses are so named because they are attached to the wall of a house, garage or other building.

This alternative is particularly suitable for gardeners who lack space in their garden. The lean-to greenhouse is also often used as a winter garden and can also use the heating system of the house. This means that no additional, external heating system needs to be integrated.

Advantages
  • Space-saving
  • Lower energy costs (heat source)
  • Can use the supply infrastructure (electricity, water) of the house
  • Can be used as a winter garden
  • Can be used all year round
Disadvantages
  • Has one less sunny side
  • Visual blemishes (if not adapted to house wall)

What are the characteristics of a foil greenhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A foil tunnel consists of a UV-permeable foil that is stretched over the bed with the help of a support frame. This type of greenhouse can be used individually and is expandable.

Basically, it serves to extend the gardening season. This alternative is the cheapest type of greenhouse.

Advantages
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to expand
  • Suitable for beginners
  • No foundation required
  • Uncomplicated
Disadvantages
  • Visually not very attractive
  • Limited durability of the films
  • Low wind stability

What are the characteristics of a mini-greenhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The mini-greenhouse, also called a propagator, is the smallest form of greenhouse. It is suitable for flowers, herbs and young plants and is also often used as a show house.

The mini-greenhouse is particularly interesting for all those who do not have a garden, as this variant can also be kept on the balcony or in the room.

Advantages
  • Small
  • Inexpensive
  • Space-saving
  • Suitable for room/balcony
  • Garden feeling in the flat
Disadvantages
  • Not so versatile
  • Only small area for cultivation

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate greenhouses

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to decide between the many possible greenhouses.

The criteria you can use to compare the greenhouses include:

  • Material
  • Location
  • Size
  • Intended use

In the following, we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Material

The material of the various greenhouses differs from type to type. The price also reflects the material used.

Type Description
Freestanding greenhouse The freestanding, classic greenhouse consists mainly of glass, a steel, aluminium or wooden frame. The roof can be made in different construction methods. There are also free-standing foil greenhouses.
Lean-to greenhouse The lean-to greenhouse is a stable and storm-resistant greenhouse. This is mainly achieved by leaning it against a stable building. It is made of either aluminium or plastic constructions.
Film tunnel The film tunnel consists of a support frame and a UV-permeable film. The support frame is usually made of spring steel, the foil of plastic. Additional ropes and pegs can be used for more stability.
Mini greenhouse The mini greenhouse consists of either a wood-glass construction or a wood-plastic construction.

Location

The location of the greenhouse is one of the most important criteria. The greenhouse effect can only be guaranteed by sufficient sunlight. Therefore, no matter which design you prefer, your greenhouse should always face south.

Mini greenhouses should therefore be placed by the window, but protected from the blazing midday sun.

Size

The ideal size of the greenhouse depends on the intended use, the space available and the budget planned.

For free-standing greenhouses, the size should be at least 10 square metres, so that the air volume and temperature can be optimally regulated. The side walls should be chosen in such a way that you can stand upright.

The cultivation greenhouse can usually be planned individually. The rule here is: it is better to build bigger in advance than to enlarge the entire structure afterwards.

The foil tunnel is very variable. Basically it makes sense to cover at least 80cm width/50cm height and 2-5m length.

The size of the greenhouse can be individually designed - depending on the available space. (Image source: unsplash.com / Katie Treadway)

Intended use

The intended use, i.e. what the greenhouse is to be used for, is one of the most important factors. Basically, all greenhouses pursue the same goals:

  • faster growth
  • Cultivation of exotic plants/vegetable and fruit varieties/fruits
  • year-round cultivation of seeds
  • Raising of young plants
  • overwintering of frost-sensitive goods

You should therefore ask yourself in advance what is to be grown and in what quantities.

Facts worth knowing about the topic of greenhouses

How do I prepare my greenhouse for the winter?

If you want to use your greenhouse all year round, you should take some precautions. As the cold days start to accumulate in autumn, you should start preparing your greenhouse for winter.

First you should check the condition of your greenhouse. Are there cracks in the film or a stone chip in the glass? Look for possible defects. Damaged greenhouses provide shelter for pests and rodents.

The windows of glass greenhouses should be cleaned. This allows the sun's rays to penetrate the greenhouse better.

To use the greenhouse in the winter months, you need a greenhouse heater or heating mats. This is the only way your crop can continue to grow.

If you want to minimise the heating costs for the greenhouse, you should also insulate your greenhouse. Nevertheless, it is important to ventilate the greenhouse from time to time to counteract possible mould.

How do I protect my greenhouse from voles?

Voles may be cute for some people. However, these small rodents are arch enemies for all garden lovers.

Voles prefer to nibble the roots of fruit trees and thus cause plants to wither. The best time to fight the little beasts is from autumn to spring, as there is a shortage of food during these months.

A distinction is made between pincer traps and box traps. As the animals suffer an agonising death with pincer traps, these are not recommended.

Box traps, on the other hand, do not injure the animals. Here the culprit has to pull hard on the bait. Alternatively, barbed wire can be used.

Image source: unsplash.com / Peter Ivey-Hansen

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