6' x 8' Palram Canopia Hybrid Walk-In Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse


A greenhouse with polycarbonate panels is amongst our most popular type of greenhouse. This might come as a surprise to some greenhouse traditionalists, who tend to favour a ‘proper’ glasshouse (glass greenhouse). But, when you examine the benefits of buying your own greenhouse made from polycarbonate, it’s easy to see why so many people choose them. 

So, if you are considering buying a polycarbonate or glass greenhouse, read on as we explain why we prefer polycarbonate greenhouse panels.

What is polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate is a high-performance chemically produced material widely used in greenhouses for its exceptional properties. The unique characteristics of polycarbonate include being lightweight, shatter resistant, virtually indestructible, and UV-resistant nature, making it ideal for greenhouse applications.

There are various types and variations of polycarbonate panels available, including single-wall, double-wall, and multi-wall options, each offering specific benefits for greenhouse needs. These are usually manufactured in large polycarbonate sheets before being cut into panels for use in a greenhouse.

As a greenhouse covering, polycarbonate's versatility and durability make it a preferred choice, providing excellent insulation, excellent light diffusion, and protection for plants, ensuring optimal growing conditions within the greenhouse.

Polycarbonate vs glass greenhouse

When exploring the question, “should I choose a polycarbonate or glass greenhouse”, several factors come into play. Standard glass has been the traditional material for greenhouses for many years and for a good reason. Glass greenhouses allow maximum light penetration and has an aesthetic appeal that many gardeners love. However, as we all know, glass glazing is fragile and can break easily under impact, posing a safety risk.

For some buyers, toughened safety glass or tempered glass has been an option. It is true, safety glass or tempered glass is safer, as it is designed to break into small, safer pieces. Another fact to consider is that tempered glass also has slightly reduced clarity compared to regular glass. So, in our opinion, this is not a good option either! Traditional and toughened glass also does not provide as much insulation as polycarbonate, leading to higher heating costs in cold weather months.

On the other hand, polycarbonate greenhouses offer superior durability and insulation. Polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable, providing a safe and long-lasting structure. Its ability to diffuse light can prevent plant scorching in hot weather and promote even growth. While it may not have the same traditional appeal as a glass greenhouse, its practical benefits make it a strong contender in the polycarbonate vs glass greenhouse debate.

Polycarbonate vs plastic greenhouse

You might then wonder about plastic, as many confuse this with polycarbonate given their similar appearances.

Plastic greenhouses, often made from polyethylene, are usually the cheapest option available. They are lightweight (handling larger glass panes can be exceptionally heavy) and easy to set up, making them a popular choice for beginner gardeners or those on a budget. However, plastic greenhouses do not offer the same level of durability or insulation as polycarbonate material. The plastic can tear easily and may need to be replaced every few years.

Polycarbonate, while more expensive than plastic, offers superior longevity and performance. Its high impact resistance ensures it can withstand harsh weather conditions without damage. Furthermore, the insulating properties of polycarbonate can maintain a more stable temperature in the greenhouse, promoting better plant growth.

So, let’s explore in detail 7 of the most significant polycarbonate advantages when choosing a greenhouse.

7 clear benefits of a polycarbonate greenhouse

In simple terms, polycarbonate is a high-end plastic with a glass-like appearance, and it ticks just about every conceivable box for making great greenhouse glazing. Here’s the proof, with our seven polycarbonate advantages listed, consider these when choosing glass or polycarbonate:

6'x4' Palram Canopia Harmony Small Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse6'x4' Palram Canopia Harmony Small Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse

1.    Cost-effectiveness and low maintenance

Price isn’t a bad place to start, is it? There are no two ways about it, when comparing like for like, you get far more greenhouse for your money if you choose a model with polycarbonate glazing.

The reason for this has nothing to do with quality, it’s simply down to the fact that one of the main polycarbonate advantages is that it is cheaper to produce than glass or acrylic panels.

Their lightweight nature reduces delivery and installation costs, while their longevity ensures fewer replacement expenses. Additionally, polycarbonate's energy efficiency results in reduced heating costs, making it a budget-friendly option for greenhouse enthusiasts.

Unlike glass, polycarbonate glazing requires minimal upkeep, saving both time and money for greenhouse owners. This greenhouse glazing is durable and does not corrode, rust, or fade over time, reducing the need for frequent repairs or replacements. Moreover, their self-cleaning properties allow dirt and debris to be washed away naturally by rainwater, significantly lowering maintenance efforts.

6'x8' Palram Canopia Rion White Lean to Greenhouse6'x8' Palram Canopia Rion White Lean to Greenhouse

2. Polycarbonate greenhouses are stronger

Polycarbonate is widely used in bullet-proof greenhouse glazing and jet aeroplane canopies, so there’s no wonder it has the nickname ‘transparent steel’ Completely weatherproof and better insulated than greenhouse glass too, high-impact polycarbonate might be lighter than traditional greenhouse glazing, but it is much, much stronger than glass structures.

With their exceptional impact resistance, resilience against weather and UV radiation, and impressive longevity, polycarbonate greenhouses stand as a resilient investment for greenhouse enthusiasts. By choosing a greenhouse with polycarbonate panels, gardeners can rely on a sturdy and enduring structure that continues to safeguard their precious plants for the long term.

Strength-related polycarbonate advantages include:

  • Harsh weather and UV resilience - fthere is excellent protection in cold weather months, see the safety section below
  • Prolonged longevity - compared to traditional materials such as greenhouse glass panels or acrylic sheets, polycarbonate has an extended lifespan. The exceptional durability of polycarbonate ensures that the greenhouse remains structurally intact and visually appealing for years, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacements
  • Exceptional impact resistance - see safety section below
6'x6' Palram Canopia Rion EcoGrow Small Green Polycarbonate Greenhouse6'x6' Palram Canopia Rion EcoGrow Small Green Polycarbonate Greenhouse

3.    Safe polycarbonate greenhouse glazing

Many buyers choose a greenhouse with polycarbonate panels for safety reasons, which include impact resistance and UV protection, which we detail below.

Impact resistance

Polycarbonate greenhouse glazing is renowned for its remarkable impact resistance and extended lifespan, ensuring lasting protection for both plants and the greenhouse structure:

  • Exceptional impact resistance - polycarbonate greenhouse panels have outstanding impact resistance, making them virtually unbreakable. This feature ensures that the greenhouse can withstand accidental impacts, hailstorms, or falling debris without damage, providing durable protection for growing plants and peace of mind for greenhouse owners (this is not the case for glass greenhouses!)
  • Harsh weather conditions and UV resilience - polycarbonate's robust nature allows it to endure colder climates and adverse weather conditions and prolonged exposure to UV radiation without degrading. The material's UV-resistant coating shields the panels from harmful rays, preventing yellowing, brittleness, or fading over time, thus maintaining the greenhouse's clarity and functionality. There is no need for a shading system as there is with glass greenhouses

UV protection and plant health

The second of our safety-related polycarbonate advantages is that it is so safe that it blocks up to 100% of UV radiation, so is an effective shield for gardeners and plants against harmful UV radiation. Further details are:

  • Benefits of UV protection - the UV protected surface plays a crucial role in promoting optimal plant growth. By blocking damaging ultraviolet rays, polycarbonate creates a safe and conducive environment for growing plants to thrive. This protection fosters stronger roots, healthier foliage, and enhanced photosynthesis, resulting in healthier and more abundant harvests
  • Filtering harmful UV rays - polycarbonate greenhouse panels are designed with a UV-resistant coating that filters harmful ultraviolet rays from direct light. This shielding property prevents excessive exposure of plants to damaging UV radiation, reducing the risk of plant stress and DNA damage
  • Reduced risk of sunburn and disease - in conventional greenhouses, direct exposure to intense sunlight can cause sunburn in delicate plant leaves and flowers. However, polycarbonate greenhouse panels reduce the risk of the burning sun by diffusing direct light, providing a more gentle and evenly distributed light. This minimises the chances of sunburn and creates an environment that discourages the growth of harmful pathogens, contributing to reduced disease incidence among plants
6'x10' Halls Green Frame Polycarbonate Greenhouse6'x10' Halls Green Frame Polycarbonate Greenhouse

4. Light transmission in polycarbonate greenhouses

Polycarbonate greenhouses provide even better natural light transmission than real glass greenhouses. What’s more, there are different types of polycarbonate panels available, each tailored to specific gardening requirements:

  • Single panel - the first type is the single polycarbonate panel. This looks like regular glass panels and provides the highest possible levels of light diffusion and
  • Diffused - the second option is diffused. This usually comes in the form of twin-wall panels of polycarbonate, which create an even, balanced light, reducing both plant scorching and shaded areas alike.

Some greenhouses use a combination of diffused light panels on the roof and crystal-clear single panels on the walls to offer a happy medium.

Your choice of polycarbonate glazing could be determined by various factors, including the orientation of your garden, how much natural light you get, and what you intend to grow.

That said, don’t get too hung up on choosing a particular type of polycarbonate glazing because all of our polycarbonate greenhouses provide a happy, healthy plant-growing environment.

8'x4' Palram Canopia Hybrid Silver Lean To Wall Walk In Greenhouse8'x4' Palram Canopia Hybrid Silver Lean To Wall Walk In Greenhouse

5. Ease of installation

The ease of installation is one of the significant advantages of a greenhouse with polycarbonate panels, making them an attractive option for both DIY enthusiasts and professional greenhouse builders. These are some of the reasons:

  • Adaptability - the panels can be easily adapted to various greenhouse designs, including gable, lean-to, and freestanding structures. Their flexibility allows for creative designs and customisation to suit specific gardening needs and available space
  • DIY-friendly - with their user-friendly design and clear installation instructions, polycarbonate greenhouses are suitable for DIY projects. Gardeners with basic construction skills can confidently assemble the greenhouse themselves, saving on installation costs
  • Interlocking design - the panels often feature an interlocking design, allowing them to seamlessly connect to one another. This interlocking system ensures a tight and secure fit, minimising the risk of water leakage and ensuring a robust structure
  • Lightweight material – the material is lightweight compared to traditional glass, making them easier to manage during the installation process. Their reduced weight simplifies transportation, reduces the need for heavy lifting equipment, and facilitates quicker and more straightforward assembly
  • Pre-cut panels - many come pre-cut to standard sizes, eliminating the need for extensive cutting, or shaping during installation. This convenience saves time and reduces the risk of errors, ensuring a precise fit and professional-looking finish
  • Quick assembly - the ease of installation of polycarbonate greenhouses results in quicker assembly times compared to other materials. Greenhouse owners can enjoy their functional and productive space in a shorter period, allowing for faster gardening activities and plant cultivation

Provided they are installed properly, polycarbonate panels are excellent, some care is needed though to avoid leading gaps, which can make the panels prone to condensation and getting dirty.

12'x10' Palram Canopia Victory Orangery Large Walk In Polycarbonate Greenhouse12'x10' Palram Canopia Victory Orangery Large Walk In Polycarbonate Greenhouse

6. High-specification greenhouses

Looking beyond conventional greenhouse glazing, and towards polycarbonate, suggests a manufacturer that is forward-thinking. In our experience, this usually translates into a greenhouse with a high overall specification. Look for features such as:

  • Advanced greenhouse glazing - look for twin/triple walls, UV-protection, better light diffusion, anti-glare coating, high light transmission, and impact resistance
  • Advanced ventilation - such as automated roof vents or louvre windows
  • Irrigation - built-in irrigation systems, which can be connected to your water supply or rainwater harvesting system
  • Premium frame - a sturdy and robust frame, constructed from premium materials like galvanised steel or pressure-treated timber
  • Rainwater harvesting - built-in gutters and downpipes for rainwater harvesting
  • Security - high-quality door fittings and locks are a hallmark of a premium greenhouse
  • Storage - sturdy shelving units, providing ample space for potting, storing tools, and organising your gardening supplies

7. Superior insulation and temperature control

Polycarbonate greenhouses excel in providing superior insulation and precise temperature control, ensuring optimal conditions for plant growth.

Polycarbonates possess excellent heat retention properties, trapping warmth inside the greenhouse during cooler periods. Their unique multi-wall construction further enhances insulation by creating insulating air pockets that retain heat, maintaining a consistent and favourable climate for plants.

Polycarbonate's exceptional heat retainer capabilities help create a stable environment within the greenhouse. This insulation prevents temperature fluctuations, protecting plants from sudden temperature drops or spikes that could impede their growth. The controlled environment allows for better cultivation of delicate or temperature-sensitive plants, ensuring consistent growth and yield.

Polycarbonate greenhouses are energy-efficient due to their ability to retain heat. The increased heat retention means less reliance on heating systems, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced heating costs. This retaining heat makes polycarbonate glazing an eco-friendly choice, contributing to sustainable gardening practices, and reducing overall greenhouse operation expenses.

3 of our favourite polycarbonate greenhouses

If you are sold on the idea of a new polycarbonate greenhouse but unsure about which one to choose, here are 3 of our favourites:

6' x 4' Palram Canopia Mythos Grey Greenhouse6' x 4' Palram Canopia Mythos Grey Greenhouse

6' x 4' Palram Canopia Mythos Grey Greenhouse (1.85m x 1.26m)

This tough little greenhouse is expertly constructed from 4mm twin-wall shatter resistant polycarbonate panels, supported by a grey aluminium frame and galvanised-steel perimeter base. It is built to last.

Completely weatherproof, the polycarbonate glazing is UV-protected and promotes an even temperature inside the greenhouse by increasing thermal insulation, while reducing extreme sunlight exposure.

The door is secured by a magnetic catch and padlock fixing (padlock not included). Other notable features include integral guttering, a roof vent and 5-year warranty. Click here for details of this greenhouse.

6'x8' Palram Canopia Hybrid Walk In Green Polycarbonate Greenhouse6'x8' Palram Canopia Hybrid Walk In Green Polycarbonate Greenhouse

6' x 8' Palram Canopia Hybrid Walk in Green Polycarbonate Greenhouse (1.8m x 2.4m)

Combining 4mm twin-wall polycarbonate roof panels with crystal-clear 0.7mm polycarbonate side panels, this 6x8 greenhouse is one of our most popular models. The green aluminium frame and traditional apex roof provide a contemporary take on a classic greenhouse design, which is sure to appeal to many gardeners.

Supplied with a 5-year warranty, this greenhouse for sale comes with integral guttering and an opening roof vent as standard. The panels of polycarbonate are delivered precut and with uniform profiles, ensuring a straightforward, hassle-free assembly. Click this link, to view this greenhouse.

6'x14' Palram Canopia Harmony Large Walk In Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse6'x14' Palram Canopia Harmony Large Walk In Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse

6' x 14' Palram Canopia Harmony Large Walk in Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse (1.8m x 4.2m)

Supported by an aluminium frame and galvanised-steel perimeter base, this beautiful greenhouse uses crystal-clear 0.7mm polycarbonate greenhouse panels with the latest Fine Shield Technology™ to ensure a very high light transmission rate but complete UV protection.

The lockable door can be positioned with a left or right-hand opening – the choice is yours. Two opening roof vents allow you to regulate the temperature inside the greenhouse, while the integral guttering system offers a free and sustainable water supply for your plants. Click this link to read further information about this greenhouse.

Premium polycarbonate greenhouses for sale

Think Shedstore if you want to buy a greenhouse with polycarbonate panels for sale, from the world’s leading greenhouse manufacturers, in all of the popular greenhouse sizes. This includes mini greenhouses aimed at beginners, through to large greenhouses suitable for experienced gardeners.

6'x4' Halls Green Frame Polycarbonate Greenhouse6'x4' Halls Green Frame Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Pros and cons of polycarbonate greenhouses summarised

As should be very clear by now, polycarbonate greenhouses have many advantages, compared to buying a glass greenhouse or a plastic greenhouse. They are incredibly durable and can withstand adverse weather conditions without damage. The panels are UV-resistant, protecting plants from harmful rays. Polycarbonate is also excellent at retaining heat, maintaining a more stable temperature in the greenhouse than glass or plastic. This can lead to better plant growth and lower heating costs.

However, there are also some cons to consider when choosing between glass or polycarbonate. Polycarbonate panels can scratch more easily than glass, and over time, they may yellow or become cloudy, reducing light transmission. While they are more affordable than glass, they are more expensive than plastic greenhouses.

Conclusion: are polycarbonate greenhouses better?

In conclusion, whether glass or polycarbonate greenhouses are better largely depends on your specific needs and circumstances. If you value durability, safety (shatter resistant panels), and insulation, then a polycarbonate greenhouse may be the better choice. It offers many advantages over both glass greenhouses and plastic greenhouses, making it an excellent investment for many gardeners. However, if aesthetics or cost are your primary concerns, then a glass greenhouse or plastic greenhouse might be more suitable. Ultimately, the best greenhouse is one that fits your budget, meets your gardening needs, and brings you joy.

So, to find the greenhouse that’s right for you, view our fantastic range of polycarbonate greenhouses for sale NOW!

Contact us

If you are still deliberating whether to buy a glass or polycarbonate greenhouse, we can help! We have explained many polycarbonate advantages above, including better light diffusion, but our team is always available for further discussions. Contact Shedstore in the following ways:

Main image: 6' x 8' Palram Canopia Hybrid Walk In Silver Polycarbonate Greenhouse (1.8m x 2.4m)