Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Real Men Sow
Polytunnels to Ensure
a Bumper Crop (Reviewed 2021)
Birchtree Greenhouse Polytunnel
VonHaus Polytunnel Greenhouse
Outsunny Steel Frame Poly Tunnel
The Best Garden Polytunnels
Ever thought of setting up an easy to access greenhouse of your own at home? When setting up your own plot or greenhouse at home, you will need to ensure you do all you can to protect your growths against all weather conditions.
However, greenhouses can sometimes be pretty pricey on the whole, and what’s more, they can be a lot of work to set up. There are plenty of great reasons why you should look for high quality greenhouses if you are serious about making a go of growing at home. However, many people find polytunnels a more appealing alternative – and good value, too.
A polytunnel is often seen as an easy to set up, high quality greenhouse alternative. A polythene tunnel, to give its full name, is a lasting option which you should be able to pop up at short notice.
However, there is more to the best polytunnel choices online than just polythene covers. That’s why, in this guide, we’re going to look at a few of the best price picks – as well as top quality polytunnels – that are easy for you to get started with in your own garden. If you have plants that need a little more TLC than most throughout the colder weather and temperatures, make sure to look at one or more of our polytunnel choices in the guide below to keep your greens UV protected and more besides.
In This Review?
Birchtree Greenhouse Polytunnel Best Walk-In Polytunnel
As the name suggests, this is a long, sizable polytunnel that’s going to be more than basic enough for you to walk into and out of as and when you like. The best reviews for this polytunnel advise that the size and room is more than enough for rows of plants, fruit sowing and even bags.
What’s more, this is one of few polytunnels out there which you can feel the quality for as soon as you walk in. Not only is it a solid size, it’s a cosy build, and you immediately benefit from an anti-rust framing. Therefore, you are looking at a polytunnel that’s going to provide you with long resistance against the weather.
This is one of few polytunnels which also offers you a nice, variable humidity and vent system, meaning that depending on the crops you are cultivating, you will find it easy to switch up the humidity level and to let fresh air in and out. This is a polytunnel product that is long and thin with hoops built into the design.
You’ll get UV protection as standard, and to make sure that more than one or two of your greens last the wintry conditions ahead, all you will ever have to do is double zip the door. Unlike many greenhouses, this polytunnel will do its best to protect anything you’re likely to grow against the worst that Mother Nature may throw at them.
Dimensions:6 m x 3m x 2m
- Impressive ventilation and humidity control
- Double zip door for extra protection
- Six hoops design to help section the space off
- Protected against UV light as well as rust to the main base and structure
- May be a little pricey
- Pretty heavy compared to some polytunnels
VonHaus Polytunnel Greenhouse Walk-In Polytunnel Tent with Steel Frame and Steel Frame Door Best Value For Money Polytunnel
This is a fantastic value polytunnel which is easy access and which gives you more than enough space for a variety of plants.
You receive a full floor space inside measuring six metres squared, along with an impressive steel framing system that is easy to set up. We’d recommend you have someone on hand to help you assemble, especially if this is one of the first tunnels you’ve ever considered setting up.
Many people review this polytunnel highly when it comes to the heavy duty polythene cover, which should give you stacks of protection against the weather, with a zippable door to help keep much of the strong wind at bay. Just long enough for a mid to large garden, this is one of few tunnels which actually gives you solid construction and long term protection for money that won’t break the bank.
You can even lock in the humidity easily, too, meaning you may find growing plants and fruit that need a lot of heat a breeze inside. Take the time to look at the other polytunnels in our list, but do make a point of checking out this Vonhaus polytunnel first – it may just be everything you and your greens need.
Dimensions: 3m x 2m x 2m
- Lots of volume for reasonable ground size
- Very easy to assemble to set up or build at home or on the allotment
- Built to last – rigid base and resistant against weather and years of use
- Very reasonably priced, a top buy for your first tunnel
- May need a bit of extra support for the structure if you are likely to experience high winds
Outsunny Steel Frame Poly Tunnel Steeple Greenhouse Best Wide & Low Polytunnel
Wow – take a look at that price! One of the cheapest price tags for garden and allotment polytunnels, this flexible and reasonably sized tunnel might be your best option if it’s one of the first tunnels you’re considering setting up.
While a little smaller than our two choices of polytunnel above, this doesn’t mean the Outsunny 270 isn’t any good. Far from it – it’s brilliant if you are looking for an easy polytunnel set up that you can be really flexible with across all weather conditions.
Built with a structure in powder coated steel, you benefit from a plastic mesh covering and plenty of ventilating, with the added benefit of there being more than one or two doors that you can easily roll up.
This is a polytunnel system that is built for use all year round, meaning that you shouldn’t have too big of a problem putting it to ideal use during growing season as well as during harvesting. Assembly instructions for the entire structure are easy to follow, and it’s a top pick for growers on mainland UK allotments.
Dimensions:0.9m x 2.7m x 0.9m
- A good price for a good all around greenhouse alternative
- Very simple to set up and get going with
- Extremely lightweight, though this can be a blessing and a curse
- Powder coated to resist much of what the weather has to throw at you throughout the year
- May not be the best against strong winds and rain – buy carefully.
Christow Garden Polytunnel Large Grow Tunnel Greenhouse
Once again, this is a solid mainland UK polytunnel structure if you are looking to save yourself some money. The price for the two hoops or two section model is amongst the cheapest you’ll find online for this kind of build. There are construction options available in three and four hoops, too, depending on how many growths you’d like to cover over the years to come.
This grow tunnel benefits from individual door sectioning and extremely thick polythene cover support. The mesh is designed to offer plenty of support when it comes to sunlight, and what’s more, you do get a fair amount of insulation across the hoops.
The size of this polytunnel is likely to be one of the most appealing factors when considering value. It’s remarkably easy to build, on the whole, and you will be able to easily tweak ventilation for your seedlings, fruit and vegetables, too.
Dimensions: 89cm x 25cm x 9cm
- An impressive size for a price
- Top quality sunlight protection with mesh design and color
- Very easy to put both the base and frame together
- None to report
Outsunny Outdoor Polytunnel Large Galvanised Steel Frame
This is a good size polytunnel that’s likely to help you grow vegetables, plants and more besides. It’s specifically a walk in polytunnel, which means there should be now awkward ducking or dodging around. In fact, it’s probably a tall enough tunnel for most gardeners and growers to walk through with ease.
This particular model is the largest of the polytunnels from Outsunny, and like the smaller system reviewed above, it’s available at a great price. The cloth covering is nice and ventilated, and like other polytunnels in the Outsunny line, the metal frame in place is one of the best picks for a strong, long-lasting construction.
All in all, this particular product in the Outsunny line is just as great value as its smaller version thanks to its no-frills approach. It should fit easily in your garden or at your allotment, making it a great product choice if your plants need ventilation as well as weather coverage for the years and years to come.
Dimensions: 4.5m x 2m x 2m
- Nice and light, making the base and construction easy to set up time and time again
- Much loved in reviews for its powder coated metal
- Fantastic polythene covering with UV protection and age resistance
- Very convenient to zip the door up and down
- As with the other Outsunny product in our list, this is a polytunnel unlikely to last in strong winds and heavy weather. We would advise you to consider your options carefully!
Gardman 7624 Poly-Tunnel Poly-Tunnel with Reinforced Cover and Windows
This long lasting product boasts a heavy duty polythene cover to keep off the rain and the sun, with enough space for you to easy keep one or two rows of plants and veggies ticking away safely inside.
What’s impressive about this low price polytunnel is the fact that it may be one of the easiest tunnels you’ll find to set up. There isn’t much fiddling around at all – despite its size, there’s no need for tools, and you should find putting together the base, framework and covering fairly simple.
Simple roll up doors and dedicated room space available make this a good all-around first tunnel choice, and one of few polytunnels which should work just as well in the garden as it does at the allotment. It’s also built to last for the years to come. If you could use a good tunnel to help boost your growing off the ground, then this could be the first option worth looking into.
Dimensions: 3m x 1.9m x 2m
- Brilliant price for the space available
- Heavy duty polythene covering
- Easy to roll doors up and down when you need to
- One of the simplest polytunnel construction systems available
- None to report
BGSL Polytunnel Strongest in Its Class
Okay – so, BGSL really does lead with a confident name here, and why not? This is one of many polytunnels with six hoops, but it really does stand apart from the pack if you are looking for a product that’s going to stand the test of time.
Larger than many of the polytunnels on our list, you’ll benefit from a fully galvanised frame, meaning you won’t have to worry too much about rust getting in the way of your plant or veg cultivation.
You also benefit from a solid cover to help protect your greenery from the weather, a roll up door, and as with all good tunnel systems, you’ll have simple humidity control to ensure that your plant life gets as much or as little heat as they desire. Ventilation in this system is great, too. It’s one of a few tunnels in this list that we like for the look, too!
Dimensions: 6m x 3m x 2m
- Very hardy and reliable over long time periods
- Simple to get off the ground and set up
- 12 different windows to roll up for maximum ventilation
- Ground skirt available for simple anchoring
- May be a little expensive for some gardeners
What is a Polytunnel?
If you want to grow plants or vegetables at home but are struggling with heat and weather, a polytunnel may be just what you need.
Much like a flexible greenhouse, tunnels are great for growing all kinds of things. You’ll be able to pop up your polythene tunnel and, thanks to window vents, door ventilation and protective polythene, you can give your crops the light, humidity and weather protection they demand.
A polytunnel is a great choice if you want to get plants out of the ground and into pots and bags with plenty of heat. You can use polys all year round, too. Take good care of the best polytunnel systems and you might get five years, 10 years, maybe even 20 years out of them!
That’s why it’s a really good idea to take the time looking for a polytunnel that’s going to suit your long term use. Got a decent idea of what you’d like to grow? Then keep your eye out for the best tunnel for the job.
What Are You Able to Grow in a Polytunnel?
You can grow pretty much anything you’d find in a greenhouse in a polytunnel!
For example, you might want to grow tropical plants which need a humid climate. You might also want to protect weaker plants from the weather and blustery conditions. The best-designed polytunnels will give you weather cover as well as useful humidity and temperature control.
Therefore, your garden is your oyster. Think carefully about what you’d like to pot up in your first tunnel, and as always, read up on what verified reviews have to say about your chosen products, too.
What is the Average Polytunnel Growing Season?
This will vary depending on what you’d like to grow inside your polytunnel!
As all gardeners know, you’re able to grow vegetables, fruit, flowers and more all year round. However, if you are looking for your first tunnels to buy, or are completely new to polytunnels and polythene covers, you’d probably be forgiven for thinking that you need a specific tunnel for a specific season.
The fact is, it’s worth doing your homework depending on what you are sowing. These tunnels simply give your growths that little bit of an extra push as far as temperature and weather protection are concerned.
If you are looking to buy your first tunnels but have already used greenhouses in the past, treat buying a tunnel the same as you might when setting up a greenhouse for the first time. You don’t need to be an expert to make the most of polytunnels, but we would generally advise you to do a bit of homework before you make any big purchases.
Will I Need to Buy Polytunnel Covers?
Not normally, as you would normally find a cover included with many polytunnels packages.
After all, the cover is pretty much the selling point, as it helps to lock in the heat in addition to keep the worst of the rain and weather off.
To avoid having to switch to a different cover, it would be prudent to look for polytunnels you know would offer you years and years of use.
Do ensure to take a look through the top polytunnels in our list and arrange for delivery of a unit that’s going to keep things warm, safe, and off the ground – with a cover that doesn’t block out the best of the sunlight.
What Should I Look For in the Best Polytunnel?
Here are a few things you should be looking for when shopping around for polytunnels.
Just please just keep the above in mind that these are suggestions. What works well for you might depend on what you want to grow or cultivate over a prolonged period. However, do ensure you use our buying guide and top picks as a template of sorts to aid your buying decision.
Size matters greatly when it comes to polytunnels! You’re going to want to look at height first if you want to walk in and out, but all dimensions matter when it comes to being able to store plants, especially those with height and of course vegetables to your heart’s content.
Ease of setup
The whole point of polytunnels is that they are super easy to set up and use. Otherwise, you may as well switch back to using greenhouses. The best systems won’t need you to arrange for delivery of tools or any extra bits and pieces. The models we’ve found in this list, for example, are all largely self-assembly. That said, we would normally advise you have someone to hand who can help you assemble and get off the ground. You can say thanks to them later!
Naturally, the best polytunnels will benefit from the best metal structures. Powder coating and galvanisation will both help to bolster your frame, and to make sure that it is resistant against rust. If you’re going to keep your tunnel outside in all weathers, then you are going to need a metal framing that won’t fall apart the moment a bit of water touches it.
All polytunnels should have quality covers and coverings, however, it’s worth looking for a few key features here and there. For example, UV protection is a must. This is ideal if you have particularly sensitive plants and growths which are only going to falter in the sun. What’s more, you need a cover that is easy to roll up and down as well as to secure via zip.
Keeping your plants at the right humidity can be a nightmare unless you really know what you’re doing. Thankfully, top polytunnels and designs will help you to fine-tune this. You can easily vent tunnels to let air in as and when you need, and what’s more, you should be able to monitor the temperature inside your enclosure so that your greens get neither too warm nor too cold.
This really does fall under ease of assembly and use, on the whole, but the heavier the tunnel, the less practical it’s going to be for you if you choose to work alone. That said, heavy grade tunnels tend to work well if you are looking for something a little more robust than the average. We normally suggest setting up tunnels with help in any case.
Many people invest in polytunnels for the fact that they tend to be easier to get up and running than, say, a complex greenhouse. However, there are plenty of reasons why you should be looking carefully at the shelf-life of your polytunnels, too. If you don’t, you might end up with a system that falls apart in the slightest of wind, or that your galvanisation simply isn’t up to scratch in the long run.
Price, of course, plays a very big part in finding the top polytunnels to do the job for you. Greenhouses, of course, cost a pretty penny to set up and run, meaning another huge benefit to tunnels lies in the fact that they are more or less the budget variation. We’ve found tunnels varying in price from £30 to £40 all the way up to £300. There’s a lot to be said for what’s true value and what isn’t, so again, really make sure you read what people have to say about your eventual choices.ntent
Of course, please just keep the above in mind as a template. What works well for you might depend on what you want to grow or cultivate over a period. However, do ensure you use our buying guide and top picks as a template of sorts.
Polytunnels are fantastic investments if you really want to sample the greenhouse experience for less. Ideal if you have limited or temporary space, or if you are really short on the budget side of things, we can recommend a variety of tunnels to help you make the most of your veg and crops.
Have you found the perfect tunnel for your needs? As always, do a little homework and read up on what others have to say. If you’d like more insight into greenery in polytunnels, why not contact us here at Real Men Sow? We’re all for sharing tips and ideas, too, so really don’t be shy about reaching out.
Could polytunnels be your ticket to a back garden allotment you’ve always dreamed of? It’s worth finding out – take a look through our top picks, and start making plans.