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METAL GARDEN SHEDS COMPARED
Metal garden sheds are becoming increasingly more popular in the UK. One of their prime advantages over wood and plastic construction is the security they offer. Lawnmowers, garden and household tools, strimmers, bikes, rotovators and much more can be stored with security.
Another key advantage of metal sheds is that they can last a lifetime with almost no maintenance, unlike wood built sheds. Price is also in favour of metal sheds.
In this article we guide you through the maize of manufacturers and retailers of metal sheds so that you end up with the shed that best suits your needs and is within your price range. It deals with full sized garden sheds rather than bicycle, motorcycle and other smaller storage sheds.
This article is not for the faint hearted! It is stuffed full of facts, figures, comparisons and expert opinions, just what you need if you are serious about investing in a metal shed.
All our advice is totally
impartial, we are not affiliated to any shed manufacturer.
All the pictures are taken by us and not copies of manufacturer's glossy pictures.
Wherever possible we have viewed for ourselves, and critically evaluated, each of the sheds mentioned in this review. Where we have not viewed a manufacturer's sheds it is because they do not have a display site in the UK.
Our stance is that if a manufacturer won't let the public see their metal sheds before they are purchased, then the quality must, at the very least, be considered suspect.
We have written a page dedicated to secure metal sheds because they are a specialist market.
At the end of this article we include an email from Darren G who has specific experience of Asgard and Biohort metal sheds. Well worth reading.
METAL SHED MANUFACTURERS
There are fewer metal shed manufacturers compared to the number of retailers. If you can get an accurate opinion of the manufacturers of metal sheds you will be well placed to narrow down the choice of which models offer good value within your price range. You can then decide if you want to buy direct from the manufacturer (if that is an option) or through one of their approved retailers.
The list below is in alphabetic order.
Asgard specialise in high security metal storage solutions. As well as garden sheds they also provide bicycle, motorcycle and caravan storage. As far as security is concerned Asgard is the company which others aspire to equal, but rarely do.
They are part of a larger company, Flexiform Business Furniture Ltd and have been in business for over 40 years.
All their products are designed and manufactured in England and have a ten year warranty. Unusually, their sheds come with a fully integrated metal base included in the basic price - this adds significantly to the security of the shed.
Shed walls are 1.2mm thick and this is about as thick as they come! Compare that to to the majority of metal sheds which generally have a wall thickness of 0.25mm and you begin to appreciate the strength of Asgard sheds.
If you look at the walls of an Asgard shed you will see that they are flat, this is only possible because of the thickness of the steel. Other shed manufacturers have ribbed walls, this is because their walls are so thin that they would have difficulty supporting the structure unless the walls were ribbed. Ribbed walls are not a sign of strength, quite the opposite.
A typical Asgard metal shed
Other design features which make Asgard metal sheds stand out include double folded joints for additional water resistance. Assembly on a suitable base is easy and straight forward. Allow four hours and most people, including those diy challenged like me, will have completed the shed assembly.
The locks on an Asgard shed door are about as secure as they come. Even their cheaper models have an enviable three point locking system. Moving up the range they have a five point locking system. All of the locks are pick resistant.
To minimise the risk of condensation, not only are the fascias vented but also the roof. Many of the sheds come with an installation service.
Asgard Sheds can be bought direct online through the Asgard website. They can also be bought through GBC who have displays of them in many of their garden centre sites throughout the UK. They don't market them as Asgard but the secure metal sheds they sell with straight walls are Asgard ones.
Many are displayed on their sites at garden centres if you want to view before you purchase. Several other online retailers also sell Asgard sheds including Tiger Sheds.
Click here for a more in depth review of a typical Asgard shed.
Company address: 1392 Leeds Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD3 7AE
Contact Number: 08456 580 730
Biohort are an Austrian company who manufacture three ranges of garden sheds in the medium to high price ranges. They are the Europa, Avantgarde and Highline garden shed ranges. To date we have been unable to find any of their sheds on display in the UK.
Whatever the quality of their garden sheds we would not recommend them, simply on the basis that you can't see them before buying. It seems very likely to us that any descriptions or pictures on the internet about Biohort sheds are simply a rehash of the descriptions from the manufacturer and not from first hand experience.
This is not a brand of garden shed we would recommend for purchase in the UK
GARDEN BUILDINGS DIRECT / BillyOh
Garden Buildings Direct are at the very low end of the metal sheds market is concerned. All their sheds are marketed under the BillyOh brand name. They do not offer a fitting service.
There are several online review sites that feature BillyOh sheds. Reviews.co.uk have some recent reviews which can be found here.
On Trust Pilot they have a rating of 3 out of 5 stars (see here). Amazon is sometimes useful for reviews of products and they do have a few reviews of Garden Building Direct sheds but the highest shed review (excluding the bike storage ones) currently is a 2 star (out of 5 stars) with all the others being 1 star. You can see these reviews here.
There are several MumsNet reviews which can be found here, they make unpleasant reading.
One worrying aspect about this company is that we have been unable to locate any showroom where you, or anyone else for that matter, can actually view the product before buying it. Call me picky but I would like the option of seeing the sheds before actually buying one of them.
Delivery schedules are quoted as being from two to thirty days. Deliveries will be to the kerbside and the driver(s) will unload all parts. Unusually the company write "we may not accept claims for damaged goods if the courier has obtained a clean signature for delivery". That is an unacceptable condition in our view and probably not legally enforceable.
This is not a range of sheds which we would recommend.
Company address: FAO Sales and Customer Services, Kybotech Limited, Dukeries Industrial Estate, Claylands Avenue, Worksop S81 7BQ
Contact Number: 01636 858377
Website: Click here
GLOBEL / LOTUS
Globel are an Australian company based in Victoria. They have been in business since 2006 so are a relative newcomer to the metal shed business. They ship their sheds in kit form from Australia, sell to retailers in the UK who then market them under various names. The most common is Lotus but others include GrandChoice.
The sheds walls are thinner than most, presumably to reduce transport costs from Australia to the UK. Many are surprised by the flimsy nature of the panels and the doors when they unpack them.
This apparently flimsy structure lead us to investigate the guarantee which some online stores offer with Globel / Lotus sheds. What we found was slightly worrying. In all the cases of online only retailers we looked at, the guarantees which come with these sheds are the responsibility of the manufacturer (in Australia) and not the retailer.
In effect, you have a few potential problem areas to consider when buying this brand of shed. Firstly the online retailer has written into their terms and conditions that they are not responsible for the guarantee. It's difficult to pressurise a business which only exists on the internet. Secondly, the manufacturer, who is responsible for the guarantee, is in Australia.
Interestingly, the Globel website does not even give their physical address, it only gives a P.O. Box number. Put all of those concerns together and our opinion is that you need to seriously consider how useful the guarantee really is and the quality of the sheds.
The sheds look good in the pictures (the retailers use the manufacturers pictures, not their own) but we have significant doubts about how they would fare over a few years of use. This is definitely not one of our recommended brands of metal garden sheds.
Company address: P.O. Box 607, Toorak, Victoria, Australia 3142
Contact Number: +61 1300 GLOBEL
Website: Click here
TriMetals have been in business for just over 50 years and are one of the most established shed manufacturers. They sell their products based on several claims - a 25 year panel guarantee (the longest of all), fire resistance (all metal sheds claim to be fire resistant), maintenance free (all metal shed manufacturers claim this), easy assembly, strength and security.
TriMetals sheds are slightly unusual when you look at them because their cladding is neither ribbed nor straight, the panels have a horizontal overlap appearance as the picture below shows. Many find this appearance one of the more attractive ones.
A typical TriMetals shed
The 25 year panel guarantee is without doubt impressive and it is certainly the longest given by any shed manufacturer that we know of.
The "easy assembly" claim is difficult to verify without actually buying one of their sheds and comparing it with several other sheds. There are no downloadable assembly instructions for TriMetals full sized sheds which might give some insight into how easy they are to assemble.
As far as strength is concerned, TriMetals sheds do a very good job of being stronger than most of the metal sheds on the market but not as strong as Asgard sheds.
Security is not as good as we would have hoped given that Trimetals sheds are one the most expensive of all the manufacturers. Common across their range is a two point locking system controlled by a decidedly weak looking lock. It is better than all the cheap models but not as good as the best and definitely not what we would have hoped for for the price.
You can see an example of the TriMetals door lock we viewed if you go to our Secure Metal Shed comparison. It did not impress us at all.
As far as looks go, we are impressed by the TriMetals sheds. No metal shed can ever compete with the beauty of a wooden one but they do have some of the best looking metal sheds of the lot.
You can view a selection of TriMetals sheds at GBC show sites around the country. Check before going what model is displayed where, by using this link here. TriMetals sheds are also sold by a number of other retailers who have no display areas, notably Screwfix.
Click here for an in depth review of a typical Trimetals shed. We would recommend you consider a Trimetals garden shed although they are far more expensive compared to much of the competition.
Company address: Trimetals Limited, Sunrise Park, Blandford, Dorset DT11 8ST
Contact Number: 01258 459441
Website: Click here
Waltons source most of their metal gardens sheds from an Australian company called Absco, some of the smaller storage solutions are sourced from an unknown Chinese company. So in effect, when you buy a metal shed from Waltons, you are normally buying an Absco shed.
Neither Waltons nor Absco give many facts on their websites which would allow the quality of their metal sheds to be determined. In particular the shed weights and the thickness of the panels are not given. Their sheds are more secure than many other manufacturers but not up with the best by any means.
However, it is clear from our investigations that Waltons metal sheds in their Titanium range are definitely thicker than most of the competition. There is flex in the walls but it is far less than the majority of the competition. This range of sheds has been tested to withstand wind speeds of 147kmph which is particularly reassuring.
Waltons offer an installation service for their Titanium range of sheds at a very reasonable £200.
They also has the advantage of being far easier to construct compared to most of the other sheds we examined.
Waltons do have a show site where they display one of their metal sheds, and this is very reassuring see our picture below.
Waltons Titanium range of metal sheds
The Waltons shed range is shared by the Mercia brand. They originally started in 1878 making wooden beehives and now sell over 100,000 sheds every year. We would strongly recommend you include the Walton's Titanium range of metal garden sheds in your buying list.
Company address: Mercia Garden Products Ltd., Old Great North Road,
Newark, Nottinghamshire NG23 6QN
Contact Number: 01636 821135
Website: Click here
Yardmaster have been in business for over 30 years and manufacture economy metal sheds. They sell their sheds via their own online store and also through some very large retailers such as Homebase, Argos, Tesco and a few other online only stores.
One major disadvantage with their metal sheds is the lack of a show site and we were unable to find any of their retailers which have their metal sheds on display. If you do buy a Yardmaster shed it would be based purely on the manufacturers claims although we do give some very specific data on their sheds further down this section.
One thing is very clear from the reviews of this shed, it is a bit of a nightmare to put up and the holes don't always align. Apparently there are a huge number of parts and screws, far more than normal. Allow at least two people and two days to erect the shed.
The instructions have almost no words in them, just pictures which are not always clear. Our advice would be to avoid this brand of metal shed unless you fell you are have some degree of DIY competence. No assembly service is provided.
Reviews can be found at the following websites:
Yardmaster metal sheds are definitely not secure, the panels are thin and the padlock (not supplied) mounts are plastic. Even a 12 year old with a medium sized screwdriver could prise their way into a shed of this construction. However, this is the same with all the economy sheds.
The Yardmaster website is very short on factual information concerning the construction. Judging by the weights quoted, we have estimated that the panels of their 8" x 6" metal shed are between 0.2 mm and 0.25 mm thick. About average for a low range metal shed. Expect the panels to feel very flimsy, especially the doors.
The range of medium sheds includes ship lap style sheds and standard sheds. Whichever shed you choose the quality is the same.
Of all the metal garden sheds at the low economy end of the market, this is probably the best. The reason we say that is because they are retailed by large companies like Homebase, Argos and Tesco. If you buy from companies like that your ability sort things out if they go wrong are higher than buying from online only businesses.
Company address: Cahore Road, Draperstown BT45 7AP, Northern Ireland
Contact Number: 028 7962 8270
Website: Click here
Below we include an email from Darren G about his own experience of Asgard and Biohort metal sheds.
"I have an Asgard and a Biohort.
Both I assembled on my own. The Asgard is fixed from the inside until you do the final roof trims. Being so solid you can lay safely on the roof where access is limited by fences etc.
The Biohort I bought for the size with the double doors on the long side. If they were at the end you'd loose space having to access the far end. It is just as the pictures/details the sellers use. With this it was useful to have some bluetack to hold the flush head bolts in place whilst you fix from the inside. Two people would make it easier of course. Quality was very good. Follow the instructions and everything fits exactly.
Although not as thick as the Asgard, it is really solid when the roof goes on.
The Asgard is primarily for 2 motorbikes, but with the accessory hangers I've got a three section ladder in there (which doubles as a shelf for more stuff) and many, many garden tools (lawn raker, vacuum shredder, electric trimmer, buckets, hand rakes, etc) and bike tools and spares. Oh yes, a load of pantiles I kept when I put windows in my loft.
The Biohort is for the garden. The hangers and shelves that come with it are well designed and very handy. Because you enter it from the long side I have put two racking units on the opposite side. It is quite capable of holding all my household tools as well as garden tools, 2 workmates, a step ladder, 2 mowers and a weber bbq.
Being metal I found they both suffered when in full sun. I have remedied this with 25mm wingspan on the sunny sides and roof panels. To keep airflow/ventilation these are offset from the metal with cabinet levelling blocks. 2 summers and 2 winters have proved this to work very well. I've checked behind the panels and there are no condensation problems.
I'm picky at times, but both of these are well worth the cost.Hope my waffling will help anyone looking at your (very useful) website."