To try to help you make the right decision we highlight what you should look out for and what you should avoid and - as importantly WHY. Whilst the cheapest price is what we all want for our garden shed it's really important that you ensure you buy a building which will fill all your needs and, very importantly, will stand the test of time. This is why you need to do a little homework beforehand. Yes, I know, we were all not keen on doing 'homework' but believe me this homework is vital to ensure you are happy when your new building is delivered.
1/ Diagonal Bracing on Doors
The garden shed door is the only part of the building which moves (or should be) so it's important that the door is made correctly to respond to this movement. This means that there should be a minimum of two diagonal braces on the shed door in between the horizontal timber ledges. With these in place the door will be braced and supported against any dropping. Without these braces the door will sag after only a short while meaning the door will stick, making it harder to close, and there will be gaps at the top.
This is not a good scenario for the long term. You may not notice when buying sheds this important feature and many cheap shed manufacturers don't have any bracing at all and quite often only two horizontal cross braces. The only thing holding the door together are the nails through the wood. Ludicrous. So ALWAYS check before buying. You can see whether there are any diagonal bracing by looking on the inside of the door. If you don't see the garden shed beforehand ask the manufacturer directly. Don't take chances!
2/ Height of Shed Doors
The height of the shed door should be checked as some are only about 5ft (1.5m) or less tall which means you have to be very careful with your head. Most decent garden sheds will have doors sizes of at least 5ft 6in (168cm) which is more reasonable and some are taller than that. Some manufacturers offer an option for a taller door.
3/ Hinges and Locks
To help against the constant moving of the shed door you should ensure three hinges on each door. This will ensure a long life for it. If there are only two then the door may twist whilst opening and closing. As far as securing the door is concerned it's recommended that you have at least a padbolt on the door. This is a sliding bolt onto which you can fix your own padlock. Many of the better garden sheds will have a rim lock with a key and handle. A rim lock screws onto the inside of the door and is locked with a key from outside and there would normally be an handle. The best lock is a mortice lock and that is fitted into the door frame itself. Again it has a key and lock but you would normally only get this on very expensive sheds or with, maybe, an optional joinery door. Be very wary if you don't have at least a padbolt. On the cheap sheds you may only get a turnbuckle, essentially a flat bit of metal with an hole in it which is screwed onto the door frame. Cheap option.
4/ How Tall Will Your Shed Be?
Some garden sheds are very small with heights sometimes less than 5ft tall. OK if you are a midget but for day to day use will be a right pain (in you neck mainly) for the average man or woman. Most decent sheds would have a minimum height of at least 5ft 6in (168cm) and most up to 6ft (183cm), usually with an option for extra height, if required. Give some thought to this before spending your money, don't regret it.
5/ Internal or External Measurements?
Another issue to watch out for when comparing garden sheds is whether the measurements are internal or external. Internal would be the usable space inside the building, external may be a disappointment to you as this would include the height of the shed floor and the roof. This may be a difference of 4in (100mm). If the shed has a lower height to start with then being 4in shorter would make it even worse. Again double check before buying.
6/ Optional Extra Height
If you find the height of the shed is not enough for you then consider buying from a manufacturer who has an option for extra height. Or buy some packets of headache tablets just in case.