What Is Greenhouse Plastic?
There are many types of plastic and many different situations that call for a plastic sheet or film. Greenhouse plastic in one such instance where the plastic is made especially to both protect plants in a garden or nursery as well as potentially provide benefits that exposure to the pure, unimpeded elements may restrict.
Who Needs Greenhouse Plastic?
Technically, greenhouse plastic can be used for a wide variety of gardening projects. Someone who has a small garden in their backyard can see just as much benefit for the scale of their garden as can someone who grows multiple acres worth of food. So long as you are trying to grow something, greenhouse plastic can provide some kind of benefit.
What Makes a Good Greenhouse Plastic?
Of course, the type of plants that you are trying to grow and the location you are trying to grow them will play an important role in determining if the greenhouse plastic is actually any good. Keep in mind, there are plenty of greenhouse plastics that work great for one situation but may not work so well for a different one.
How Do You Find the Best Greenhouse Plastic?
We know that figuring out which of these seemingly identical products can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best greenhouse plastics, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the greenhouse plastic that best suits your gardening needs.
Best Greenhouse Plastic in 2019
|Product||Size, ft||Thickness||UV Treated||Warranty|
|12x25 | 20x25||6 Mils||Yes||4 years|
|Ginegar Suncover||10x50 | 12x25 | 14x25|
16x25 | 20x25 | 24x15
24x25 | 40x25
|6 Mils||Yes||4 years|
|Green-Tek||14x25 | 16x25 | 16x55|
16x100 | 20x25 | 20x75
20x100 | 24x55 | 24x75
24x100 | 32x55 | 32x75
36x55 | 36x75
|6 Mils||Yes||4 years|
|SHANS||12x50 | 12x100 | 20x25|
20x50 | 20x100 | 24x25
24x50 | 32x50
|6 Mils||Yes||5 years|
|Bootstrap Farmer||12x26 | 16x70 | 16x90|
16x110 | 20x26 | 20x40
24x80 | 24x60 | 28x60
28x80 | 42x50
|6 Mils||Yes||3 years|
1. Grower’s Solution Greenhouse Clear Plastic Film – Best Greenhouse Plastic
Grower’s Solution may be somewhat of a recent company, having been founded a little more than a decade and a half ago, but they have clearly marked their company with a particular specialization: agriculture. As a small business headquartered in Cookeville, TN, some may wonder whether or not the company is able to meet the exacting demands of professional consumers. With a few tweaks to the normal approach, we believe that Grower’s Solution not only accomplishes this task, but they also put out the best growing greenhouse plastic.
A big part of the reason that we believe in the Grower’s Solution has to do with its material. First, this greenhouse plastic is made of polyethylene which is a veritable industry standard for greenhouse plastic. Aside from the fact that this greenhouse plastic is made of the expected material, it also comes in at a solid 6 mils thick. This thickness will provide excellent general durability as well as torsion strength and puncture defense. Because of the durability afforded by the thickness of this plastic, Grower’s Solution also feels comfortable providing a solid 4-year warranty on their product.
What is Real Lifetime of Greenhouse Plastic Film?
Beyond the actual quality of the polyethylene plastic alone, the Grower’s Solution greenhouse plastic also makes it a point to provide other benefits and reinforcements to make sure that you do not have anything to worry about.
How to Install Greenhouse Plastic Film
2. Ginegar Suncover Greenhouse Plastic Film – Best Budget Greenhouse Plastic
Suncover is a bit different than the other companies on our list in that they are not actually their own autonomous organization. Instead, Suncover is a subsidiary brand of the Ginegar corporation. Thankfully, Ginegar is well-known in the industry for providing some of the best greenhouse plastics available. This has to do with the fact that Ginegar has been making various agricultural cover products for almost half a century. On top of that, this Israel-based company must also figure out how to deal with the brutal heat of the Middle East. Still, arguably the most surprising part about this product is the fact that it is the least expensive on our list.
Because this product was developed in a region known for its harsh sunlight and brutal summers, it should not come as much of a surprise that the Suncover greenhouse plastic offers plenty of protections. It just so happens, that this greenhouse plastic even offers protections that many others do not and that are definitely a sign of its origin. For instance, this greenhouse plastic is treated for UV protection, but that is not too terribly surprising.
The Suncover greenhouse plastic meets all of the expected industry standards and then some. For instance, this greenhouse plastic is made out of polyethylene – which should be a minimum standard. On top of that, the polyethylene plastic is 6 mils thick which provides ample durability against tearing and puncture.
3. Green-Tek GT4 Clear Greenhouse Film – Most Durable Greenhouse Plastic
When it comes to greenhouse plastic – really, when it comes to pretty much any component of greenhouses – Green-Tek is a major player in the market. With a specialization that is squarely focused on greenhouse related products, it should not surprise anyone that the Green-Tek greenhouse plastic is rated as the most durable on our list. Still, as another small company on our list, some may wonder if they can handle professional level orders. It just so happens that this company not only offers the most sizes of greenhouse plastic but even accepts custom orders.
First things first, it is always good to get out of the way the qualities that you expect to find to make sure that none are missing. Thankfully, Green-Tek dotted all the I’s and crossed all of the T’s and put forth a product that meets or beats industry standards. First, the polyethylene film comes in at a solid 6 mils to provide durability against wind and rain. On top of that, the plastic is rated at a 92 percent light transmission, so your plants will not be inhibited by an overly opaque greenhouse plastic. Finally, this greenhouse plastic comes with a 4-year warranty.
When it comes to greenhouse plastic, none are as thorough as Green-Tek. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Green-Tek has made a product that is more durable than most other greenhouse plastics yet still functions with pretty much the same specs. For one, this greenhouse plastic is rated to be protected from UV radiation up to 33 percent better than the average competitor. On top of that, this greenhouse plastic is also rated to be 164 percent more resistant to tearing than standard polyethylene film. All combined, this makes the Green-Tek greenhouse plastic by far the most durable that we reviewed.
4. SHANS Greenhouse Clear Plastic Film – Best All-Around Value Greenhouse Plastic
SHANS is definitely a unique company on our list for multiple reasons. First, this is one of the few only online companies that we reviewed. Generally, this means that the manufacturer can provide lower prices due to the absence of certain expenses, but it seems that the SHANS is actually a bit more expensive compared to its competitors. That said, this brand does focus primarily on various types of sun covers made of different materials, so they do at least know how to make a solid greenhouse plastic film.
Though this is not technically the most durable greenhouse plastic that we reviewed, it is not too terribly off the mark and was almost rated as such. Unfortunately, SHANS does not release too much specific information about their products and do not yet have a home website. However, one of the inferences that one could make – and arguably one of the primary reasons that this greenhouse plastic is rated as the best all-around value – is the fact that the company will stand behind their product for a full 5 years which is 25 percent longer than any of the other products on our list.
Though some of the finer details of the greenhouse plastic are omitted, there is still plenty of information to let us know that the SHANS provides the same standard of quality that you would expect from any other manufacturer. For one, the plastic is made of polyethylene and it is rolled into sheets that are 6 mils thick. This rating is noted for often outlasting the 4-year warranty provided by most other brands, so there is little reason to believe it would not do so for the SHANS greenhouse plastic. It is also treated for UV protection and even comes with helpful labels to tell you which side of the plastic is meant to be the exterior of the greenhouse.
5. Bootstrap Farmer Greenhouse Plastic – Best Tunnel Greenhouse Plastic
Bootstrap Farmer is likely the most recent company on our list, but they have a pedigree that suggests quality. Specifically, the entire company was started due to the fact that a restauranteur needed better quality materials to grow his own commercial garden for his restaurant. From that humble idea, Bootstrap Farmer grew from a backyard project motivated by an inspired inventor to a full company that specialized in a variety of greenhouse equipment and supplies – not just greenhouse plastic. That said, this is easily one of the better greenhouse plastics that we reviewed, and were it not for a niche specialization, it might be the best performing too.
It should be noted that this greenhouse plastic was designed with the intention of being used for greenhouse tunnels. While it can conceivably be used for any size or shape of a greenhouse, the dimensions themselves, of which Bootstrap Farmer offers 11 in total, were made to be used for a tunnel design. As such, if you do not use this greenhouse plastic for a tunnel greenhouse, chances are that you will have to make far more cuts than with other greenhouse plastics – and you will also likely waste far more of the plastic due to this.
However, if you are in the market for tunnel greenhouses, then the Bootstrap Farmer’s greenhouse plastic is an excellent option. While all of the greenhouse plastics that we reviewed are UV protected, not all of them offer too many other specific protections. That makes the Bootstraps Farmer greenhouse plastic a bit rare in that it is treated to exhibit anti-dust properties.
Best Plastic Film for Greenhouse – Buyer’s Guide
Depending on what type of plants you are trying to grow, this may be more or less important. Though to be clear, the thickness of greenhouse plastic is generally accepted to be better or worse depending on how thick the plastic is. While this makes a fair amount of sense when considering the thickness of the plastic will often play an outsized role in determining its torsion strength, the thickness of greenhouse plastic can offer other benefits as well.
Regardless, greenhouse plastic is measured in terms of mils. Mils are one-thousandth of an inch thick. While this may not seem like much, there is a surprising difference between the durability of plastic that is only 4 mils thick compared to plastic that is 6 mils thick. On top of the general torsion strength of the plastic, the number of mils also often put somewhat of a limit on how many layers the plastic can use and what type of protection they can apply.
Beyond the thickness of a greenhouse plastic which covers a general sense of durability, the next qualities to look for are the different specific protections that the greenhouse plastic provides. While some of these protections are fairly standard in order to ensure a durable product, many of them are not applied to the vast majority of products and either offer a benefit that is more appropriate in some regions or with some plants.
This is actually the most common type of protection that comes with a greenhouse plastic, though it is not actually intended to protect the plants from UV radiation. As we know, UV radiation is simply light not visible to the human eye – but that does not mean it goes unnoticed by your plants. Still, the main point of UV protection is that it prevents the UV radiation from prematurely degrading the polyethylene plastic which will generally rot in under a year without it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some greenhouse plastics actually come with an additive to the polyethylene formula that allows the plastic to trap infrared radiation within the greenhouse. As a lower frequency form of light, you do not have to worry about infrared radiation causing damage to the plastic, the plants, or you. Instead, this additive simply allows the greenhouse plastic to keep the interior about 20 degrees warmer than the ambient air.
It is important to remember that this type of protection is meant to protect plants against the cold. While this kind of additive does not actually provide the plants any form of insulation, it will quickly get them heated once the sun comes out. Of course, this means that regions with plenty of sunlight and which already reach hotter temperatures should skip this protection.
This is another type of protection that is not necessarily common but can be a lifesaver if you have a legitimate need. Essentially, anti-dust greenhouse plastics are made with a coating of ionized polyethylene. The positive charge of the polyethylene helps prevent the silica dust from clinging to it – something that often occurs due to the greenhouse plastic developing a negative charge from a combination of heat, light, and friction.
While technically you can use a greenhouse plastic with anti-dust protection in any region and with any type of plant life, it makes the most sense to use this type of plastic in an arid or desert region where dust storms can cause significant damage to crops or gardens. If you do not live in this biome, then you should not worry about paying extra for this protection.
Based on our product reviews, it would be forgivable if you merely assumed that all greenhouse plastic was made of polyethylene. While the best greenhouse plastic most certainly is made of polyethylene, it is far from the only type of plastic used for greenhouses. The other popular type of plastic used for greenhouses is polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. However, this material is less durable and lets less light through its surface than polyethylene. The singular advantage that a PVC greenhouse plastic has over polyethylene is that it can adhere directly to a PVC support – however, this benefit is far too insignificant to justify using an otherwise inferior material.
In the end, the best greenhouse plastic will depend on too many factors for any single product to satisfy all customers. Depending on where you live, one greenhouse plastic may offer features that are especially suited to your needs. For example, people living in an arid region likely do not need the additional warmth provided by an IR treatment, but could likely make use of anti-dust protections.
Of course, for most general purposes, you simply want a greenhouse plastic that will facilitate the growth of your plants. For that, we recommend the Grower’s Solution. For one, this greenhouse plastic provides the second best light transmittance at 91 percent. Even better, this greenhouse plastic also features the infrared additive alluded to earlier which allows you to trap more heat in the greenhouse.
For the alternative situation where the heat is already too much and the dry, arid landscape can cause problems of its own, we recommend the Suncover from Ginegar. While this greenhouse plastic may be a bit more opaque than some prefer, it still offers plenty of light transmittance. However, it is the inclusion of metallocene and an anti-dust treatment that truly makes this greenhouse plastic stand out from the rest.