Glass vs. Polycarbonate

Glass Vs. Polycarbonate

Today we will look at an important question many of our customers ask: How does glass compare with polycarbonate? (i.e. do I buy a glasshouse or a greenhouse?)

  • Both options are good, as long as they are high quality (i.e. do not buy either from China as it is very likely to be low quality and will not last)
  • Glass is more expensive but can last forever with proper care – breakages are unlikely with our 4mm thick toughened glass
  • Shade is more important with glass – use a shade cloth
  • However, comparing studies have proved inconclusive and we believe personal preference is very important- Read our Guide below and make your own decision.

The main differences:

glass vs polycarbonate


Glass has long been the preferred traditional glazing because of its longevity and pleasing aesthetics. Some glasshouse manufacturers offer a range of glass grades but we strongly recommend you avoid the 3mm standard glass as it is extremely dangerous due to its brittle and fragile nature. All Eden Glasshouses come with 4mm Toughened Grade-A Safety Glass so you can be sure you’re only getting the best. Although it’s more costly, 4mm glass also provides slightly better thermal efficiency than the 3mm float glass, and will last a lot longer due to its strength and durability, while still providing you the traditional clear glass look that you want.


  • Longevity
  • Traditional look – More aesthetically pleasing
  • Better clarity and light transmission
  • Stronger against the wind


  • Fragile and less forgiving to knocks
  • Thermal efficiency not quite as high as Polycarbonate (4mm glass R=1.0)
  • Potential to burn plants if not correctly shaded due to the level of clarity
  • More expensive than Polycarbonate

What to look out for

  • Be sure you get toughened safety glass, otherwise it will be a hazard. The 4mm glass supplied with all Edenlite Glasshouses is significantly stronger than standard 3mm Safety Glass


Check out our range of premium Aluminium Glasshouses here.


Rion Greenhouses are supplied with ‘Virtually Unbreakable’ Twinwall Polycarbonate made by Palram in Israel – world leaders in polycarbonate manufacturing. The opaque panels used in the Ecogrow models and the Opaque Grand Gardener models has a double layered configuration, separated by flutes. This provides a double glazing effect and improves the thermal efficiency of this product. The Rion Ecogrow comes with 6mm Twinwall polycarbonate wall panels and 4mm roof panels, as do the opaque models of the Grand Gardener Range. The Clear models of this range also come with 4mm twinwall roof panels, along with clear side panels.

If a polycarbonate greenhouse is your choice, good quality polycarbonate is essential. Polycarbonate panels from world-leading such as Palram in Israel (where all Edenlite polycarbonate products are from) the panels can be expected to last 15 to 20 years. However, cheaper polycarbonate sheeting from China is very poor quality and does not last well in New Zealand and Australian conditions. It will fail very quickly, go yellow and brittle, and will need to be replaced within two or three years.


  • Good thermal efficiency (6mm Twinwall R=1.54). Keeps the warmth in longer into the night and offers better frost protection
  • Very tough and durable, good longevity (provided it is a premium grade polycarbonate)
  • Twin-Wall polycarbonate produces a slightly diffused light due to ribbed channels- These break the sun’s rays helping to reduce the need for shading
  • Palram polycarbonate is ‘Virtually Unbreakable’ – shatter resistant
  • Lightweight and easy to move if needs be
  • Cheaper to buy


  • Less traditional look
  • Can warp over time, or get scratched. The Polycarbonate supplied with Rion Greenhouses is of excellent quality and will last 15-20 years BUT Glass can last a lifetime!


Check out our range of quality Polycarbonate Greenhouses here.