Plastic Bike Shed: The Convenient Storage Option
Plastic bike sheds (also know as resin or vinyl bike sheds), are something fairly new. But they’re an increasingly popular choice with cyclists who are looking for practical and economical storage solutions for their beloved bicycles.
And the truth is, while plastic bike sheds used to be the cheap and cheerful option, there are increasing numbers of both high security and stylish plastic sheds out there to choose from.
They won’t be the right choice for everyone though. So in this article we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of plastic bike sheds. And then I’ll recommend some of the best models that I’ve found.
Finally at the end, you’ll be able to compare a whole load of different plastic bike sheds for size, shape, capacity and price.
Of course if you're not yet sure whether a plastic shed is the best choice for you, then check out my complete guide to choosing the best bike shed first.
Advantages of Plastic Bike Sheds
Plastic bike sheds are all about convenience. They’re easy to assemble. They’re easy to maintain. And because they're so light, they’re easy to move if you want to change their location in your garden or even take them to a new garden!
I think it’s the low maintenance that really appeals to people though. They don’t rust. They don’t rot. They’re resistant to rodents and insects and any other critter you can think of. Plus they’re waterproof.
So once they’re up, all you need to do is give them a wash with warm soapy water now and again, and that’s it.
Compare this to wooden sheds which need yearly maintenance to keep them in good shape. Or even metal bike sheds which are prone to rust if you don't look after them.
Unlike some of the older plastic sheds, those made from modern resins and vinyls are less likely to become brittle and crack or fade in the sun.
And while in the past they were difficult to customise, these days, there are models that you can saw and paint just like wooden sheds!
Security wise it’s a mixed bag. In general, “out of the box”, even the most basic plastic bike shed will be more secure than a basic wooden bike shed.
This is because the hinges tend to be hidden and the plastic walls will bend rather than break if someone tries to force their way in.
However most plastic sheds are difficult to customize, so (unlike wooden sheds), it’s difficult to make them more secure than they already are.
Which brings us on to…
Disadvantages of Plastic Bike Sheds
Despite copying the style of traditional wooden sheds, plastic shed tend to be much less visually attractive. They can often look cheap and fake! Or like over sized children's toy furniture.
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what the problem is. But in general, they don’t usually add to the attractiveness of the space that they’re in!
You can't customize most plastic sheds. You can't paint them. And you can't easily add hooks and shelves to the inside.
And this means it's also difficult to make a plastic shed more secure than it already is by adding extra security features.
The super lightweight ones can be a bit flimsy too. So a really heavy snowfall might buckle the roof. And a really windy storm might blow the walls in!
And if they’re exposed to hot, direct sunlight for long periods, some of them can become soft and start to bend!
Also, just like metal sheds, they can be prone to condensation if they’re not properly ventilated. This is really important in a bike shed as moisture can damage bicycle frames and components.
Plastic Bike Shed Buying Tips
So bearing in mind the advantages and disadvantages of plastic sheds, how can you make sure you get a good one that minimises the drawbacks and best suits your circumstances?
Well, as usual, it’s largely down to money! You can avoid some of the most common issues with plastic sheds by not buying a really cheap, flimsy one!
So, look for plastic sheds with internal steel supports for extra structural strength. Most of them will have supports in the roof. But supports in the walls add extra strength. These will protect it against heavy snow and strong winds.
Look for plastics with UV protection to minimize fading and cracking. Make sure your shed has ventilation grills to reduce moisture build up inside. And twin walls will also help reduce internal condensation too.
If you’re prepared to spend a little more money, then look for a plastic bike shed made from Duotech. This (new) material is designed to keep the advantages of plastic while adding the strengths of wood.
Sheds made from Duotech will be stronger than other plastic sheds. And the wood like finish means you can paint and cut and drill into Duotech sheds. So customisation becomes possible!
What size do I need?
I’ve written a whole post on what size shed you’ll need for X number of bikes! But bear in mind that it will very much depend on the shape and size of your particular bikes. So the best way to work this out is with your own measuring tape!
However, if you can’t be bothered with all that for the time being, here’s my estimation based on the average sized adult bike…
- 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
It’s worth stressing that you should be as generous as the size of your garden or yard allows you to be.
Cramming bikes into the smallest space possible is going to make accessing them more difficult and will only stress you out!
So my general advice is: go for the biggest plastic bike shed that you can fit in the area that you’ve earmarked for it.
The Best Plastic Bike Shed
The best plastic bike shed for you will depend on how many bikes you need to store in it and how much money you can afford to spend.
I would strongly advise against getting the cheapest plastic bike shed you can find though. It's a false economy. It wont last long and you'll be forced to replace it.
Here are five of the best plastic bike sheds that I found so far...
Plastic Bike Sheds for 2-3 Bikes
Lifetime 6' x 3.5' Heavy Duty Storage Shed
If your space is limited, in the UK, it's hard to beat the Lifetime Heavy Duty Storage Shed for two or three bikes. It's compact, easy to build and use and it's very reasonably priced.
It beats my previous choice (the Keter Store-It Out Ultra [Amazon]) because it's slightly longer and more secure...
Externally it measures 191 x 108 x 132 cm (width x depth x height) so it can fit into very tight spaces
Internally the shed measures 183 x 100 x 128 cm (width x depth x height), so there should be enough space for 2 or 3 adult bikes.
The lid lifts up easily, aided by hydraulic pistons. And the doors at the front are very wide. These features make accessing your bikes straightforward.
It comes with a floor. It can be mounted directly on a lawn if you like. And there is literally no maintenance involved beyond giving it a wash with a hose now and again!
Plastic sheds may be slightly more secure than wooden sheds out of the box. But unlike wooden sheds, there's not a lot you can do to improve the security...
However this Lifetime shed is better than many other I've seen (including my previous favorite, the Keter).
All the hinges are hidden away from attack and there's a hasp and staple which can be locked (padlock not included). Plus a casual attack is likely to bend rather than break the walls.
So, as an easy to build, maintenance free storage solution for two or three of lower value bikes this is a very good option.
Suncast 5' x 3' Horizontal Stow Away
In the USA, your best option is probably the Suncast 5' x 3' Horizontal Stow Away [Amazon] which is a similar size to the Keter.
The external measurements are 70.5 x 44.25 x 49.5 inches (width x depth x height), so again, it will fit into tight spots.
And the internal measurements are 66.5 x 38.5 x 49.5 inches (width x depth x height). So with some twisting of the handlebars it's capable of fitting 2 (possibly 3 smaller) adult bikes.
Just like the Keter, there are hydraulic pistons to help you get the lid up and the doors are very wide, so accessing your bikes is easy.
There is an integrated floor, which helps keep things weatherproof. And being plastic. there's no maintenance needed!
Like any plastic shed, it's not super secure, but the hidden hasp (padlock not included) will be difficult to attack, so it is more secure than other plastic sheds such as the Keter.
So all in all, if you're looking for maintenance free storage in a tight spot for 2 or 3 inexpensive bikes then the Suncast Horizontal Stow Away is a great choice [Amazon]!
Plastic Sheds for 3-4 Bikes
While the above sheds are great if your space in limited, there are more practical options if you have a bit more room.
Suncast 6' x 4' Glidetop Storage Shed
In the USA, the Suncast 6' x 4' Glidetop Storage Shed [Amazon] isn't specifically designed for bicycles, but it might as well have been!
Externally it measures 58 x 80 x 52 inches (width x depth x height). So it's deeper than it is wide and that's what makes it so great for bikes. Because...
Internally it measures 50.25 x 71.75 x 49 inches (width x depth x height). Which makes it's deep enough to store your bikes straight on.
If your storing 4 regularly used bikes, that's a big deal. Each bike can simply be rolled in and out without interfering with it's neighbors.
And this shed is wide enough to store 4 bikes next to each other just like that! So you get easy access to each bike immediately.
There is a slide top roof that glides backwards so you can actually walk your bikes in and out of the shed.
And don't worry about the weight of you and your bikes. It's got a heavy duty floor that's designed to support lawn mowers.
There are holes in the roof and the door handles which will take a padlocks (not included). So it can be locked in two places. But these holes are in plastic so they're not super secure. But since plastic bends when attacked they should at least deter the opportunist thieves.
So, if you have 3 or 4 bikes, or even if you just have a couple of bikes, then this is a fantastically practical, low maintenance and reasonably priced [Amazon] way to store them.
Rubbermaid 6' x 4' Slide-Lid Storage Shed
In Europe the equivalent is the Rubbermaid Slide-Lid Storage Shed. It's a similar size, measuring 140 x 193 x 132 cm (width x depth x height) externally.
And since it measures 132 x 183 x 107 cm (width x depth x height) internally, we can also store 3 or 4 bikes straight on in this one too!
It has the same type of sliding roof that allows us to walk our bikes into the storage space. The walls are double thickness and there is a steel frame in the roof for extra strength. So it should easily be robust enough to use for bike storage.
There is a metal staple (loop) for a padlock (not included), so it is lockable. And if we protect the staple from bolt cutters this is reasonably secure. A casual attack will only result in bent plastic.
As a plastic shed it's certainly not high-security. However, it is extremely practical. And I think this is one of the best ways to store 3 or 4 adult bikes currently available.
Most Secure Plastic Bike Shed
Plastic bike sheds don’t have a great reputation for security. But that’s not because plastic is inherently unsecure. It’s because the companies that make plastic sheds don't usually design them with security as a priority!
In fact, it’s perfectly possible to make a secure bike shed out of plastic.
And just to prove it, Cyclepod is a company that make high security, plastic bike storage lockers called Lockerpods, which are rated by the independent security testing organisation Sold Secure.
There are three different pods in the Lockerpod range.
The most basic, is a wedged shaped container, designed to hold just one bike. This one is locked with two external padlocks and is not rated by Sold Secure.
This is because the looped, integrated staple that you put a padlock through could probably be cut relatively easily.
So while this Lockerpod almost certainly provides better security than the vast majority of other plastic bike sheds, if you need a high security storage solution, then it’s probably not the best choice.
A step up is the Lockerpod Bronze, which is box shaped and measuring 1m wide, 2m deep and 1.35m high, is designed to fit up to 4 bikes!
It features an internal, three point locking system, with its own key, so you would essentially have to rip the door off to break into it. And this means it’s strong enough to have received a Sold Secure Bronze rating.
Which isn’t bad. But with the addition of Sold Secure Gold ground anchor, you get the Lockerpod Gold, which (you guessed it!), is rated Sold Secure Gold.
Other than that, the two lockers are identical. They’re made from 4-6 mm thick, “medium density polyethylene”, a strong, durable and weatherproof plastic which can be recycled.
And they both have a handy (and very secure) metal rib running around the middle (inside), onto which your can lock your bike.
You can choose different door and locker colours from a huge range. And best of all: you don’t have to assemble it. It will be delivered to your door fully assembled. So all you’ve got to do is find somewhere to put it.
You can either leave it free standing or bolt it into the ground for extra security using the fixtures they provide.
I think the Lockerpods are great. To the practicalities of plastic (no assembly, super lightweight build, low maintenance), they add proper security, to provide a convenient storage solution that you can be sure is safe enough to survive in the front gardens of the most crime ridden cities!
Plastic Bike Sheds: 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 inches. The first number is external, the second one (in brackets) is internal.
Installing a Plastic Bike Shed
Plastic sheds are the easiest of all garden buildings to put together. The pieces are light and you won't need many tools. One person can usually build a plastic shed in two or three hours. If you get help, it will obviously be even quicker.
However, it's really, really important that you build the shed on a completely level base. If not, it will be difficult to put together (because the parts won't line up) and when it's finally built, it won't be structurally sound so the door may not open properly and ultimately it may start to fall apart!
Also, although plastic sheds aren't susceptible to water damage in the same way as wooden sheds, if you place them directly on ground that gets wet, the moisture will permeate the air inside the shed and corrode your bike frame and components.
For these reasons, it's a good idea to install a proper shed base, to put the shed once it's built.
Plastic Bike Shed Summary
A plastic bike shed will provide a practical, maintenance-free place to store your beloved bicycles. What's more, if you’re prepared to spend a bit of money, you no longer have to make sacrifices in security or even aesthetics!
There are increasingly secure options. There are increasingly attractive options. And some of the newest plastic sheds even allow a high degree of customisation! You can paint them, drill into them, install shelves and more.
But even if you just want a standard plastic shed, improvements in technology mean that modern models look much “classier” and are less inclined to fade in colour or go brittle and crack after exposure to the sun.
Make sure you get one with ventilation grills (and preferably twin walls too) to reduce the chance of internal condensation. And if you can get one with reinforced steel supports in the walls and roof, it will withstand the weather better.
To be honest if you live in a climate where the shed is likely to be exposed to extreme weather conditions (whether it's direct hot sun, high winds or very heavy snow), I’d recommend going for a strong wooden or metal shed.
But if your climate is relatively mild, then a plastic bike shed can definitely provide everything you need to keep your bicycles safe and sound!
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