Best Bike Shed: Secure, Practical and Weatherproof
A bike shed is the best place to store your bicycles if you keep them in your garden or yard. And the best bike shed should be secure, weatherproof and practical to use on a daily basis.
As usual there's tons of choice! And as usual I will guide you through the simple steps to find the best one for you.
First of all you need to think about size. Where in your garden or yard will you put the shed? How much space is available there? And most importantly: how many bikes do you want to store in it?
Secondly, you need to think about what it's made from. How do you want it to look? What's your budget? And what sort of security, durability and maintenance levels do you want?
Finally it's time to choose a specific shed based on your requirements and my recommendations!
Of course, if you're still unsure that it's a bike shed you need, check out these bike storage ideas. They're mostly aimed at indoor storage and there's a ton of different options. I'm sure you'll find something you haven't considered!
And if you haven't got room for a shed, you could also combine a good bike cover with a heavy duty lock and ground anchor.
But if you know you want some kind of bike storage shed, let's crack on...
Step 1: What size bike shed do you need?
How many bikes will it store?
What size storage shed you'll need will obviously depend on what exactly you want to keep in there! How many bikes? What size are they? How many accessories will join them?
And perhaps you'd like a bit of space to work on your bikes too? If so, you'll need a place for a bike stand and enough space to work around it.
Now, obviously I don't know the answers to these questions! But if we look at the average bike's dimensions, we can get some idea of the minimum amount of space you'll need and we'll be able to compare different sheds accordingly.
I go into this in much more detail in what size shed do I need for my bikes. But in summary, these are the shed sizes you'll need for different numbers of average sized, adult bikes:
- 1 bike needs a 6' x 2' shed
- 2 bikes needs a 6' x 3' shed
- 3 bikes needs a 6' x 4' shed (or sometimes 6' x 3')
- 4 bikes needs a 6' x 5' shed (or sometimes 6' x 4')
- 5 bikes needs a 6' x 5' shed
Of course these numbers are a general guideline only. You may have a bigger bike. Or a bike with a child seat. You may have a much smaller bike. You may only want to store kids bikes.
Obviously the only answer here is to measure your bikes and everything else you plan to store in the shed!
What I would say is: be generous. The shed needs to be easy to use. And if you have to cram everything in so that there's no room for maneuver, it's going to get really stressful and annoying!
How will I access the bikes?
And remember, it's not just about whether they will actually fit in there. It's also about the process of getting them in and out!
In the ideal shed, each bike could be added and removed without interfering with any of the other bikes already in the shed.
This would mean the bikes go in forwards or backward rather than sideways. Unfortunately there aren't too many bike storage sheds that allow this!
If some of your bikes are rarely used this isn't so much of an issue. They can go at the back. But if you have several bikes that are always being used (usually by different people), then it's worth hunting out a shed that does allow forward access.
Location, Location, Location (where will it go?)
Of course it's not just about what you're going to store in the shed. It's also about where you're going to put the shed. And this may restrict the sizes available to you.
Maybe you have limited floor space. Maybe the height will be limited by fence or wall heights or other aesthetic concerns. Maybe there are planning permission restrictions?
You're going to need a dry flat area that not only provides enough space for the shed, but also enough space to easily access and open the doors.
Location and Security
There are also security issues here. A shed in your front garden or yard, which will be visible to everyone who walks past your house is much more at risk than a shed that's hidden away at the back of the house.
However a shed should never be hidden away from you! A shed door that's visible from the house is less attractive to thieves than one where they're able to work on breaking in in private.
In the same way, sheds that are closer to the house are safer, as the thief will be more concerned that their activities will disturb you (especially if you have a shed alarm).
In general, I recommend that you position the shed behind the house, away from the street and passing eyes. But close by the back of the house with the doors visible from your rear windows.
Of course this won't be possible for everyone and if you're forced to compromise, I'll talk about extra security measures you can take to nullify the threat later on.
Step 2: What should the bike shed be made of?
You basically have three choices here: plastic (resin or vinyl), metal, or wood. And each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages.
However it's worth noting that these qualities can always be increased or reduced by the quality of the particular shed you choose.
Wooden Bike Storage Sheds
Wood is the material that has traditionally been used to make sheds since sheds were invented! And there are many good reasons for this...
Wood is relatively cheap, strong, easy to work with and looks fantastic in a garden setting. A well made, well looked after wooden shed will also provide your bikes with great protection from the weather.
Wooden bike sheds come in a vast array of shapes and sizes and they're easy to customise, so you'll always be able to get one exactly how you want it.
And because they're so easy to work with, there's loads of things you can do to improve the "out of the box" security level.
A wooden bike shed is probably the most environmentally friendly option too (more on this later).
However, wooden sheds do need lots of love and attention! You'll need to re-treat the wood every few years. And even the best wooden sheds will need their roof re-felting eventually.
You may need to put dome effort in to keep rodents, insects and other animals out. And you'll need to watch out for rot which will reduce the security and shorten the life of a wooden shed.
Most importantly the default security level of the vast majority of wooden bike sheds is very poor. So again, you'll need to do something about that (although as I've already mentioned this is very easy).
When choosing a wooden bike shed, make sure the planks are at least 12 mm thick (anything less won't be strong enough) and go for tongue and groove rather than the cheaper and poorer quality overlap cladding.
If you think that wood is the right material for you, check out my guide to wooden bike sheds, where I talk about all this in a lot more detail!
Metal Bike Storage Sheds
Metal sheds have also been around for a long while and although we don't usually think of metal as traditional shed material, for storing bikes it's actually very useful.
The best thing about metal bike sheds is the level of security they provide. A metal shed will protect your bicycles from theft better than any other kind of outside storage solution.
They’re also extremely weather resistant. They won’t fade, crack or bend in the sun. And since they’re really strong, they hold up well against heavy snow and wind.
A good metal shed, that’s been properly galvanised won’t rust. They’re resistant to rodents, insects and any other animal you can think of.
And just like plastic sheds, they’re virtually maintenance free. A quick wash down with soapy water now and again is all you need to worry about!
However, metal sheds aren’t the prettiest option. They’re also more difficult to customise than wooden sheds. You can’t paint them and it’s more difficult to add shelves and hooks. And if they don’t have decent ventilation, they can suffer from condensation.
Most significantly, metal sheds can be a nightmare to assemble! There’s usually a mixture of loads of small, fiddly parts and some really heavy, big parts. And it can take a couple of people a day or more to put everything together.
Also be aware that most metal sheds don’t come with floors. So you’ll need to prepare some kind of level, dry base!
When choosing a metal bike shed, look for panels that a more than 0.25 mm thick (for strength), make sure it’s got decent ventilation (to prevent condensation), and be prepared for a full day or two of assembly.
If you think metal could be the best choice for you, I've written a complete guide to choosing a metal bike shed where I talk about them in much more detail.
Plastic Bike Storage Sheds
Plastic (also called Resin) sheds are the new kids on the block. And they're increasingly popular.
Plastic bike sheds are easy. They’re easy to transport (because they’re so light). They’re easy to assemble (because they’re so light and there are so few parts). They’re easy to look after (because they won’t rot or rust).
And they’re also easy to afford (because they’re relatively cheap)!
They’re immune to insects and rodents. Plus the modern plastics are less likely to fade or become brittle and crack in the sun.
In fact, they’re pretty much maintenance free. Once they’re assembled all you need to do is give them a wash now and again with warm, soapy water.
However, you wouldn’t call most plastic sheds attractive (aesthetically). They can look cheap and fake. Most of them are impossible to customise. Which means you can’t improve on the (average at best) “out of the box” security levels.
They’re less sturdy than wooden or metal sheds. So they can be damaged by strong winds or heavy snowfall. And hot, direct sun can cause some plastics to bend! Plus, just like metal sheds, they can suffer from condensation if not properly ventilated.
So when choosing a plastic shed, look for ones with steel supports in the roof and walls (for extra strength), twin walls and ventilation grills (to prevent condensation) and UV protection (to reduce fading and brittleness).
If you think plastic could be the right material for your shed, check out my full guide to buying a plastic bike shed where I talk about all this in more detail.
Metal, Plastic or Wood for Security?
Straight form the factory, metal storage sheds are generally the most secure. Then plastic sheds. And then finally wooden sheds.
Metal is obviously the strongest construction material. Their locks are usually decent. And metal storage units are most often specifically designed for security.
Plastic sheds tend to be slightly more secure than those made from wood, if only because when they're attacked the plastic will bend rather than rip like wood.
But neither plastic or wooden sheds are usually designed with security as a priority. A concerted attack will defeat both of them.
The difference is: there's a lot you can do to increase the security of a wooden shed, while with a plastic shed you're much more limited.
So in the end, if you put some effort in, wooden sheds can in fact be far more secure than plastic sheds!
Also, check the bikes are covered by your household insurance policy while stored in your shed. If they're not (or you think the cover is inadequate) then consider specialized bicycle insurance.
I think we should consider the environmental impact of all our purchases these days. But as with most things, it's not quite as straightforward as it might first seem!
For sure: wood is the most environmentally friendly building material of the three. Unlike metal or plastic it pulls carbon from the atmosphere as it grows and stores it for the duration of the shed's life.
So the wood in a wooden shed has a negative carbon footprint. Whereas huge amounts of CO2 are produced during the manufacture metal and plastic.
All the plastics and metals used in other sheds can be recycled. And that's all well and good. But don't forget the process of recycling also produces CO2!
Having said all that, we have to think about longevity too. How long will your shed last? Which is better a wooden shed that you need to replace every 6 years or one plastic shed that lasts 30 years?
So whichever type of shed you choose, make sure it's good quality and it's built to last. "Buy cheap and buy twice" goes the old saying. Not only this uneconomical, it's also bad for the environment.
If you choose a wooden shed, make sure the wood is sustainably sourced. Ideally look for wood that comes from close to home with The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation.
And make sure you're committed to maintaining the shed!
But if you choose a metal or plastic shed, buy the best quality you can possibly afford, ideally from an established company that publishes specific, accountable environmental commitments.
Wooden vs Metal vs Plastic
So wooden sheds are going to appeal to people that prefer traditional looks, that are prepared to do some maintenance work and that are happy to upgrade the utility and security of their sheds themselves.
Metal sheds will appeal to those who prioritize high security and low maintenance, that don't care so much about how the thing looks and that are prepared for a potentially challenging assembly process!
And plastic sheds will appeal to people who just want an easy life! They'll want easy assembly, easy maintenance and in general they won't care too much about high security or how the shed looks.
Best Bike Sheds
So by now you should have a good idea of what size shed you'll need and what material it will be made from. Next you'll find some of my top recommendations.
And if you don't like those (!), I've added some tables where you can compare loads of different sheds depending on whether you're in the USA or Europe.
I've split them up like this because the ranges available are very different depending on what side of the pond you're on.
Wooden storage sheds for example, aren't very popular in the US. Whereas in the UK there's tons. Conversely, the range of plastic sheds in America is much greater than in the UK at the moment.
For my specific recommendations I've dismissed the really low price, low quality sheds. As I've already said they're a false economy. And considering the amount of effort you have to put into constructing a shed, you don't want to be doing it again anytime soon (when the first one fails)!
Cheap brands like BillyHo, Rowlinson, Yardmaster and Arrow are best avoided unless you want to give yourself a headache.
Spend a little more, go for quality and you'll get something that will last for many years if properly looked after...
Best Plastic Sheds for 2-3 Bikes
If you're in the UK and have limited space, then the Lifetime 6' x 3.5' is a great choice for storing up to 3 bikes.
It beats my previous choice (the Keter Store-It Out Ultra [Amazon]) because it's slightly longer and significantly more secure. Read a proper review of the Lifetime 6' x 3.5' on the plastic bike shed page!
Lifetime 6' x 3.5'
Suncast 5' x 3'
If you're in the US (where the Lifetime is unavailable), then the Suncast 5' x 3' [Amazon] is a good alternative. It's slightly smaller, but you'll definitely be able to fit 2 (and possibly even 3) bikes inside it.
And you can read more about why I like the Suncast 5' x 3' on the plastic bike shed page.
Best Plastic Sheds for 3-4 Bikes
If you've got a bit more space or need to store more bikes, then these deeper plastic sheds with sliding roofs are definitely worth the upgrade as you'll be able to wheel your bicycles straight into them!
The Suncast 6' x 4' Glidetop Storage Shed [Amazon] will allow you to store up to 4 adult bikes side by side for easy access. Read more about why I like the Suncast Glidetop on the plastic bike shed page!
Suncast 6' x 4' Glidetop
Rubbermaid 6' x 4' Slide-Lid
The Rubbermaid 6' x 4' Slide-Lid Storage Shed is almost identical in size and function to the Suncast. But I think the way you lock it (with a metal hasp), is actually slightly more secure.
You can also read more about the Rubbermaid 6' x 4' Slide-Lid on the plastic bike shed page.
Most Elegant Bike Storage Pod
While it's true that most plastic bike sheds are neither secure nor attractive, the Alpen Bike Capsule turns these generalisations on their head, by being both!
Made from 0.33” (83 mm) thick, roto-molded polyethylene (the same material and manufacturing process that’s used to produce super tough kayaks and canoes), the Alpen’s shell is extremely durable and resistant to all kinds of weather and attack.
Unlike most plastic sheds, it features an integrated barrel lock that offers no obvious weak points. And there are bolts that secure the capsule to the ground from the inside, to prevent the theft of the entire unit.
What I like most though, is the design, which is sleek and modern, with a clever rotating door.
While it’s not a super small unit (measuring 79” long, 32” wide and 53” high), the circular design minimises it’s physical presence, so it won’t be an overly imposing visual addition to the outside of your home.
In fact, the sculptural aesthetic (which is evocative of both the Sydney Opera House and the buildings of Tatooine), is likely to add to the attractiveness of your outside space!
The Alpen Capsule is designed to accommodate 1 bike (of most types), with plenty of space for your cycling gear (which can be organised using the peg boards on the internal walls).
Best Wooden Bike Sheds: Mid-Range
Power bike sheds come in a 2 different styles (pent or apex roofs) and 5 different sizes (for 1-6 bikes)!
They're really well made, easy to put together, they're guaranteed for 10 years, and will last for up to 25 years if you look after them properly. Plus the customer service you'll get from Power is exceptional.
If you need a really secure storage shed, then you'll need to do some work on them (change the hinge fittings for security screws and add an extra lock). But these are cheap and easy mods that anyone will be able to do.
I think Power sheds are a great choice if you're looking for a high quality wooden shed that won't break the bank. Read more about Power sheds in the wooden bike shed page.
Best Wooden Bike Sheds: High-End
If you're looking for the best wooden bike shed money can buy then, you've got to consider a The Bike Shed Company.
They come in two styles (one taller with storage) and two sizes (one for 3 bikes, one for up to 5 bikes). They're built like tanks. All the security you will need is already included. And the delivery includes onsite assembly and installation.
What more could you want? Find out more about The Bike Shed Company sheds on the wooden bike shed page!
Best Metal Bike Sheds: Mid Range
As far as I know, the Duramax Bicycle Store [Amazon] is the only mid price metal shed that's specifically designed for bikes!
It's deep enough to store up to four bicycles, head on, so accessing the bikes is as simple as wheeling them in or out of the shed. And there are four ramps that can be set at different heights so that the handlebars of the bikes don't clash.
The metal sheets are thicker than the average metal sheds (for extra strength and security). And it comes with a decent integrated lock. Plus there are air vents to prevent condensation.
You'll need to put aside some time to put it together. But if you're looking for an affordable, metal bike shed for four bikes, it's a hard to think of anything better! Read more about the Duramax on the metal bike shed page.
Best Metal Bike Sheds: High End
The most secure bike sheds are made from metal. And Asgard make the most secure metal bike sheds. This means an Asgard bike shed is really, really secure!
Their metal panels are thicker than other sheds. Their locks are stronger than other sheds. Their hinges are better protected than other sheds. So all in all, they're pretty much impregnable!
Asgard bike sheds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, accommodating anywhere between 1 and 12 bicycles. I've chosen the Asgard 7' x 3' here which can store up to 4 bikes.
It features an integrated metal floor (which is unusual in metal sheds), easy access through front doors and gas assisted roof, and a 10 year anti-rust guarantee.
You can read more about Asgard sheds and how they compare to the high security bike sheds from Trimetals in the metal bike shed page.
Best Bike Shed: The Competition
If you don't like my recommendations, or you're looking for something bigger to store more than 4 bikes, you can check out the competition in the table below.
The measurements are in centimetres. The first number is external, the second one (in brackets) is internal.
Bike Shed Summary
If you need to store your bicycles outside, then a decent bike shed is the best way to do it. It will keep them protected from the weather, safe from thieves and should help you use your bikes in a more stress free way.
Which shed you choose will depend on how much space you have, how many bikes you want to store in it, and which material best meets your security and aesthetic requirements.
Plus don't forget how much effort you're prepared to put in to it's construction and maintenance!
I recommend that you think very carefully about the security aspect. Your bikes are much more likely to be stolen from your yard or garden than from inside your home or even your garage.
So if you choose a wooden shed, please look into the relatively simple ways you can massively boost their security.
If you choose a plastic shed, make sure the lock fixings aren't made from plastic. And in fact, there's a few things you can do to boost plastic shed security too...
And don't forget you'll need to prepare a level, dry base to put your shed on (ideally before you buy it!).
Do you use any of the sheds in this page to store your bikes? How are they doing? Do you have any tips for choosing a bike shed that I've overlooked?
Let me know in the comments below!
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