Best Cold Frame Reviews 2017

As a gardener, we’re sure you’ll love a good head start towards the next planting season. You can get that with a cold frame by planting your seeds in it and letting them grow in a controlled environment and eventually transfer them when its time. Cold frames can also be used at the end of the season, to protect plants from overnight frosts as well from bad weather spells. As with every product that provides such an edge, it’s difficult choosing one because of the many options out there. We’ve did our research and come up with 5 of the best cold frames, in a variety of styles to give you an idea of what is out there. As you read through our review, be sure to keep in mind that these trusted cold frame brands make other models so you can check them out if you don’t find one in our review that truly excites you.
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Overview
PROS
CONS
Our Top Choice
Exaco JUWEL ColdFrames
Since 2001, Exaco Trading has specialized in the distribution of high-quality and uniquely designed garden and lawn products.
8mm polycarbonate panels with no-drip coating. Stops condensation. UV-resistant. Weather-resistant aluminum frame. 3 windows. Adjustable windproof ventilators.
The automatic opening mechanism is sold separately.
Best Value
Zenport Garden Cold Frame Greenhouse
Zenport is popularly known for manufacturing specialty horticulture supplies and tools for gardening, agriculture and irrigation.
Compact size is ideal for small spaces. Transparent cover. Tubular steel frame with zipped roll-up covers. Adjustable for humidity control and ventilation.
The plastic transparent cover is too thin according to some users.
Tierra Haxnicks Garden Wooden Cold Frame
For almost 20 years, Tierra Garden has been offering innovatively designed, high-quality, and efficient gardening tools and accessories for serious gardeners.
Compact size. Sturdy and durable. UV-stabilized covering provides insulation. Hardwood frame. Polycarbonate cover.
The lid might shatter in heavy winds if not closed.
Outsunny Portable Backyard Flower Garden
Outsunny specializes in making your backyard and outdoor experiences marvelous with its top quality and durable outdoor specialty products.
Walk-in design gives unhindered access to plants. Lightweight and above-ground. Powder-coated steel frame. Transparent PVC covering. Wide door for easy entry and ventilation.
The stitching is a little weak.
Gardman 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse
Gardman is a leading supplier of high-quality and superior performance garden, household, and pet care accessories.
Doesn’t take up much ground space. Free tier for gardening supplies. Strong tubular steel frame. Weather-resistant. Designed for efficient drainage.
Shelves may need additional securing for heavy plants and pots.

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How Do I Choose the Best Cold Frame?

(Updated )
There are some seeds that won’t do well if you just plant them in the ground; they’re better off being groomed in a nursery before being moved outside. It could be that, as a gardener, you want to enjoy your hobby throughout the year with no regard to what the weatherman has to say. Or you just want to have a decent head start for the coming planting season. A nice cold frame can help you achieve all of this.

Cold frames are similar to portable greenhouses that let you carry out small-scale gardening in a controlled environment. In addition to extending the “front end” of the growing season, they can also be used to keep established plants alive longer when colder weather arrives.

The best cold frames have a sturdy construction and covering that’s UV-resistant and can provide the required insulation. They give you convenient access to the contents for watering or adding organic fertilizer or bloom booster. They’re durable and packed with features that make them convenient to use. There are cold frame accessories that lets the windows open and close automatically and water the plants at pre-set times. Ultimately, the cold frame you go for should be one that’s compatible with how you intend to use it.
Price
As with any product, different variants look and function differently and of course carry different price tags. Cold frames are like that too, and the material used, the size, and the extra functionality added are some of the factors that determine the cost. Inasmuch as we’d like to have the best cold frames with all the bells and whistles available, we should also be aware that we’re not allowed to spend all our money on cold frames.

The high-end and large sized cold frames usually cost around $500 while the more affordable ones that won’t have as many features will go for less than $50. There are the cheap cold frames too, but these ones are recommended for people who would be better off flushing money down the drain since most are not built to withstand either time or weather.
Features
You can have a great head start ahead of the gardening season with a good cold frame. If you don’t have a lot of space or you just prefer to nurture your seedlings in a nursery before they go out into the ‘wild,’ a well-chosen cold frame has you covered. The following are features to look out for when choosing a cold frame that’ll serve your needs well:
  • Material
  • Size
  • Design
  • Accessibility
  • Accessories
If one of your goals is to protect your outdoor potted plants during bad weather, it needs to have shelves enough to hold the weight. There are also ones designed with an “open bottom” that can be placed directly over the top of established ground plants.

You now have a good idea what features are important in a cold frame. As you read along, you’ll further understand how these features affect the efficacy of cold frames.
Construction and Design
Materials used in making cold frames are in two categories: the frame and the covering. The frame has to do with the structural integrity, shape, and size of the cold frame. The popular materials used are aluminum, steel, plastic, and wood. Though they all offer a sturdy structure, you’ll have to consider some other factors that’ll affect the performance of your cold frame. These factors include things such as the ease of assembly, weight, cost, aesthetics etc.

There are also different types of materials used for covering up the frame; they usually affect the seeds and plants you’ll be housing in them. You may also want to consider the insulation, lighting, and protection when deciding on the material you want for your covering. Glass, polythene, and polycarbonate are mostly used for cold frame covering. These materials have different weights, so if you’ll be moving your cold frame around for whatever reasons, you should consider the lightweight coverings. The thickness of the covering affects the insulation of the cold frame, so a good knowledge of the temperature your seeds and plants will thrive under will help you decide the thickness of the covering you go for.

We all know plants need light, but some need it more than others. In that case, you need to consider how much light you want to get into your cold frame. Coverings often affect light in different ways; diffused coverings will reduce the intensity of the light that gets into the cold frame while clear coverings let in light as is. Semi-diffused combines the benefits of both types.

The size of the cold frame you go for will likely be determined by how much space you have to keep it. There are some cold frame designs, which we’ll talk about soon, that’ll help you manage space while you plant more. Some cold frames are big enough to allow you enter and tend to your plants. This brings us to accessibility, which is simply that an ideal cold frame will give you convenient access to its content.
Performance and Ease of Use
Cold frames come in different styles and designs, there are the ones that are used to cover seeds and plants while they are in-ground to protect them from the weather, rodents, and to control temperature. There are also some you need to fill with soil and drop your seedlings into so they can sprout in a controlled environment. A third design is one that’s similar to the in-ground design but is mainly used for potted plants and can be used indoors. Most of the indoor designs have clear coverings that let the beauty of the plants be appreciated, which can more or less serve to beautify your balconies and patios. Some designs help you save space as they have a compact footprint but are layered upwards, allowing you to plant more while using less space. This type is ideal for users who don’t have a backyard they can use for gardening but can’t be kept away from the hobby they love.

There are other cool features which cold frames can have that’ll add an edge to their performance. Glass could crack under too much heat and plastics will eventually succumb when exposed to sunlight over time. So, some cold frame covers are treated to be UV-resistant so they can withstand direct sunlight, thus extending their durability. There are some cold frames that have tiers and allow you to customize the shelves to suit your gardening plans. You can reduce the distance between layers if you’re just starting out with seedlings and increase it when the plants start to sprout so they can have the space they need to grow.

There are some accessories you can use with your cold frame to make them all the better. Automatic louvers can be installed with your cold frame so you can control the ventilation and insulation. The louver will automatically open when the heat in the cold frame reaches a set level and shut when heat needs to be retained. Automatic irrigation can also be installed too, which will water your seeds and plants at pre-set times with the aid of some battery-operated device.

With this information you now have, we hope it’ll help you decide which features are critical to how you intend to use the cold frame and will also make it easier for you to decide on a particular one to buy.

What is the Best Cold Frame?

Now you know your cold frames and have made up your mind on the features that are critical to how you intend to use it. Go ahead and read our review of individual brands/products while looking out for those features you want. It’s our hope that this approach will make it easy for you to find one that’ll turn out to be the best cold frame for you and will be at an affordable price.
Our Top Choice
The Exaco Juwel Cold Frame has a sturdy weather resistant aluminum frame and 3 windows with adjustable windproof ventilators which allow you control exposure to the elements. If you’d rather have a cold frame with dual sides, check out the Exaco Double Sided Cold Frame Greenhouse with twin-wall polycarbonate panels.
Exaco Trading Company Juwel BioStar 1500 Premium Cold Frame - Patented Design

Exaco Cold Frame BioStar


Features
Exaco Trading Company is a division of Exaco which was founded in 1987 as a family owned business based in Austin, Texas. Exaco Trading serves at the pleasure of lawn and garden enthusiasts by distributing unique and superior quality gardening products that make the environmentally-friendly hobby fun and worthwhile. Its range of products include kitchen and outdoor compost bins, planters, rain barrels, and so on.

The Exaco Juwel Cold Frame is a great way to start preparing for the next planting season as this easily assembled cold frame is spacious enough to serve as a mini nursery. Its sturdy construction will adequately protect your plants and its adjustable ventilators control exposure to the elements, ensuring the proper propagation of your plants. The following are some more features of this premium quality cold frame:
  • Patented design
  • Sturdy aluminum frame
  • 8mm polycarbonate panels
  • It has 3 windows for proper ventilation
  • Adjustable ventilators to control exposure
  • Weather-resistant design
  • UV-resistant panels
  • No-drip coating to prevent condensation
  • Child-safe rounded corners
  • 10-year polycarbonate UV guarantee and a 2-year warranty
Best Value
The Zenport Garden Cold Frame is designed for raised beds. It has a tubular steel frame with zipped roll-up panels and is adjustable for humidity control and ventilation. If you’d prefer a stacked design, go for the Zenport 4-Tier Versatile Mini Cold Frame which has a sturdy steel frame and a transparent waterproof cover.
Zenport Garden Cold Frame Greenhouse Cloche for Easy Access — Available With 2 Assembly Options

Zenport Cold Frame SH3212A — Without Expert Assembly


Features
Zenport Industries is located in Oregon, USA and is a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of consumer and professional horticulture tools and supplies. Its products are widely used in the irrigation, agriculture, landscape, and lawn and garden markets. This brand is committed to offering innovative, durable, and high-quality products and makes them available to its teeming customers through its dealer and distribution networks.

The Zenport Garden Cold Frame is a portable mini-greenhouse that’s great for balconies and patios, as well as raised bed gardens. The structure is made with tubular steel, giving it a sturdy frame, and it’s covered up with transparent plastic that lets you easily see the contents. This cold frame is designed for above-the-surface such as potted plants and can adequately serve as home décor.

The following are some other features of this compact cold frame:
  • Compact design
  • Roll-up zippered panel
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Transparent waterproof plastic cover
  • Ideal for seed propagation
  • Creates warmth and insulation while letting in air
  • The transparent cover lets in adequate light
  • It’s easy to assemble
The Tierra Garden Wooden Cold Frame has the acacia hardwood frame which is joined with stainless steel screws and polycarbonate cover giving your plants adequate protection. If you’d also like a cloche, go for the Tierra Garden Haxnicks Easy Tunnel Garden Cloche which comes in 2 sizes and 4 styles to suit any preference.
Tierra Garden Haxnicks Hardwood Cold Frame Greenhouse — Available in 2 Styles

Tierra Garden Cold Frame 50-4400 — Greenhouse Box


Features
Tierra Garden was founded by Charles Stenftenagel due to his struggles to find adequate tools for his various gardening activities. He got together other gardening specialists who face the same problems and established the company. For almost 20 years now, the brand has become one of the forerunners supplying the gardening community with top quality, efficient, and innovatively designed gardening tools and accessories that make your gardening experiences what it’s meant to be – Bliss!

Available in your choice of a greenhouse box or cabinet, the Tierra Garden Wooden Cold Frame is ideal for starting your seeds in any weather. It’s constructed with acacia hardwood sources from sustainable forests so you don’t have to worry about rust and the frame is put together with stainless steel screws. The sides are covered with double-layered, UV-stabilized polycarbonate for exceptional insulation. This cold frame is constructed to be both sturdy and durable.

The following are other features of this wooden cold frame:
  • Shatter-proof walls
  • Semi-diffused covering to avoid excessive light
  • High-quality wood frame
  • Provides maximum insulation
  • Will last at least 10 years if wood is treated annually
  • Can be placed in balconies and patios
The Outsunny Backyard Flower Garden is ideal for home gardens with its powder-coated steel frame, transparent PVC covering and wide door for easy access and ventilation. If you’d prefer a bigger flower garden, go for the Outsunny Portable Flower Garden Greenhouse.
Outsunny Portable Backyard Flower Garden Greenhouse with Zipper Door

Outsunny Cold Frame 01-0468


Features
Outsunny is a popular brand that’s well known for its top quality and innovative outdoor furniture designs. It has a wide range of outdoor furniture and items that add excitement to backyard relaxation and activities such as gazebos, outdoor lounges, portable greenhouses, fire pit tables and much more. This brand is committed to continuous development and customer satisfaction.

The Outsunny Backyard Flower Garden has a design that lets you walk in so you can get all personal with your potted plants. It’s spacious enough to accommodate a reasonable amount of plants at a time. It has a wide zipper opening on one side that allows for ventilation and can be closed when the plants need to be protected from the elements and animals.

Here are some other features and benefits of this backyard cold frame:
  • Maintains a stable internal temperature
  • Transparent and waterproof PVC covering
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Zipper entrance to control ventilation
  • Great protection from the elements and rodents
  • Portable and lightweight design
  • Provides season long protection to plants
  • Easy to assemble
The Gardman Mini Greenhouse has a tubular steel frame that’s sturdy enough to handle the weight of the plants and withstand weather; it’s also designed for efficient drainage. If you want a raised and wooden cold frame, go for the Gardman Raised Wooden Cold Frame which is constructed with FSC certified timber.
Gardman 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse — Available in 2 Assembly Options

Gardman Cold Frame R687 — Without Expert Assembly


Features
Gardman is a UK company operating out of Peterborough and is a leading supplier of garden products. It has over 400 lines of products spread across many categories such as gardening, backyard and patio, wild bird and pet care, horticulture and so on. It has a wide distribution network which makes its products always available when needed.

While the Gardman Mini Greenhouse is technically not a “true cold frame,” we chose it for people who want something they can use to start seeds in the spring, as well as to protect outdoor potted plants during it’s designed for efficient drainage. It’s an ideal way to keep a garden even if you don’t have enough ground space. It gives you a chance to start ahead of the planting season with a sturdy 4-tier frame that lets you keep your plants on your balcony or patio. This structure is lightweight and easy to assemble making portable gardening a convenient and pleasurable experience.

The following are some other features of this mini greenhouse:
  • Hard wearing steel frame structure
  • Clear polythene cover for protection
  • Roll-up zipper for quick access
  • Internal Velcro fastener to keep cover in place
  • Metal stakes and guy ropes for stability
  • Compact design with small footprint
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lattice design for proper drainage
  • Free shelves can store unused pots and other small garden tools
  • The 4 shelves can accommodate a good amount of plants

Get the Best Cold Frame of 2017!

Welcome to the end of our review! Well-done; now that you’ve seen some of the best cold frames available on the market, we hope you now have all the information you need to be confident enough to order your new cold frame. If that’s the case, don’t wait any longer; go ahead and make that purchase. If you haven’t decided yet, be sure to check out the other variants made by these trusted brands we featured.

Our Top Choice
Exaco JUWEL ColdFrames
Best Value
Zenport Garden Cold Frame Greenhouse
Tierra Haxnicks Garden Wooden Cold Frame
Outsunny Portable Backyard Flower Garden
Gardman 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse