Plenty of gardeners eventually decide to get a greenhouse for their garden. This enables them to grow crops over a longer period of time than might otherwise be the case. It might also mean other crops that require hotter growing conditions can be grown more successfully.

If you are considering buying a greenhouse, you’ll probably already have come up against a specific question: Should you buy a glass greenhouse or go for a polycarbonate one instead? Here, we look at both types to see whether one is better than the other, and to discover what the differences between them are.

Polycarbonate vs glass glazing

If you want to buy a greenhouse, your budget will no doubt come into play. The first thing you will notice when comparing polycarbonate greenhouses with glass ones is that polycarbonate is usually cheaper. For example, you can get a Palram 6’ x 4’ Mythos silver polycarbonate greenhouse for just a little over £200. Its frame is built from rust-resistant aluminium and it has opening vents in the roof to control airflow, not to mention many other appealing features.

Polycarbonate greenhouses used to be a lot more expensive than glass ones. However, this is no longer the case. In reality, the quality of polycarbonate (and the way it is made) is much better and has also become cheaper.

Of course, there are pros and cons with all kinds of greenhouses. Let’s focus on those here so you know what to expect.

Pros and cons of glass greenhouses

The main disadvantage that will immediately come to mind is the relative fragility of the glass. Yes, it is designed to be strong and to withstand certain impacts, but it may not withstand a football kicked against it, or a stray tree branch getting knocked onto it by a storm.

Of course, if a pane does break, you can have another one cut to replace it. Doing so, however, may not be as easy (or as cheap) as you would like it to be. You will also want to clean the glass regularly in order to keep it clean – a job that no one will particularly enjoy doing.

One advantage of opting for glass is that it does look good. It has the look of a traditional greenhouse and provides excellent insulation properties. However, on the other side of the coin, you have to bear in mind they are harder to install. The glass panels are going to be more fragile than polycarbonate ones by their very nature.

Pros and cons of polycarbonate greenhouses

When it comes to polycarbonate greenhouses, we’ve already discovered they can be easier on your budget. However, they are also shatter-resistant, which means they are far more likely to withstand that fallen tree branch or errant football. The panels are designed to be long-lasting, so even after several hits from a ball or other knocks and scrapes, the average polycarbonate greenhouse should still be in good shape.

10' mythos silver polycarbonate greenhouse

The heat retention properties of this type of greenhouse are excellent, which is good news for any fruit and vegetables you want to grow. You’ll lose less heat through the roof panels than you would with a glass greenhouse. Another perk concerns light diffusion, which is better with polycarbonate than with glass. If you’re not careful, plants can be almost scorched by the sun when they are under glass on a hot day. This won’t happen with a polycarbonate greenhouse. It also filters out UV rays, which is another benefit for your plants.

It is also much easier and cheaper to find a larger polycarbonate greenhouse than it would be to get a glass one of an equivalent size. Take a look at this 6’ x 10’ Mythos silver polycarbonate greenhouse by Palram, for example. This sizeable greenhouse can be kitted out with a variety of extras, such as shelf kits, trellising kits and a work bench, depending on your needs.

How could a polycarbonate greenhouse change the way you garden?

This is a good question, and possibly one you might want to ask yourself if you are keen on making the most of your garden. Many things grow better in warmer surroundings, but unfortunately, the British weather doesn’t always provide the heat required.

When you have a polycarbonate greenhouse to hand, you can easily grow tomatoes under cover, along with peppers and even grapevines if you wish. There is all manner of other plants that benefit from being started off in a greenhouse too, as they require warmer temperatures and protection from the elements to get underway.

As you can see, this type of greenhouse does have its advantages. With a long-lasting greenhouse like this close at hand, you could start producing lovely tasty crops all year round, long into the future.