Our Greenhouse Review Panel says:
Dollar for dollar, we have found this to be the best deal for a hobby greenhouse on the market today.
The first nice feature we discovered for the Rion Hobby Gardener Greenhouse was the wide variety of size options. You can get anything from 8'x8' up to 8'x24' or more. That means there is a size available that fits just about any requirement, from a starter greenhouse to a near-nursery sized greenhouse. The Rion Hobby Gardener expands in size in 4' increments, and you can purchase the 4' extension kits at any time. So if you go with an 8'x8' to start, then decide you really need an 8'x12' greenhouse, you simply purchase an extension kit and add 4' of middle space, expanding from a 8' length to 12' in length.
The next nice feature is that the greenhouse ships in several reasonably-sized packages via common carrier (Fedex or UPS typically). The exact number of packages varies depending on which size you go with. Many greenhouses ship via something called LTL Freight, which basically means a flatbed truck of some sort. When shipped via freight, the package size can be quite large, and the customer is often expected to help with unloading of the packages at the delivery site. Having the Rion Hobby Gardener configured to break down and ship in the smaller, easy-to-move boxes, was very nice and much better for our backs!
The frame of the Rion Hobby Gardener is constructed of high quality UV Protected PVC Resin, which is extremely strong, rigid, warp-proof, fade-proof, and lightweight. Most greenhouse frames on the market are aluminum, but we found the resin frame to be more rigid and less susceptible to shifting or bending. In fact, many of the aluminum frames are quite flimsy without the added support of the polycarbonate panels to keep the frame pieces in place. Whereas the Rion resin frame does not require the panels for support or tension to keep it in place. As for strength, it has been tested for snow and wind loads, and can withstand 1100+ pounds of snow and 80mph winds, which makes it a great choice for virtually any climate, no matter how severe the weather gets. It also has a white color frame option, which is a good choice for hotter climates.
Installation of the greenhouse is a snap - literally. The pieces are constructed to push-fit together, and don't require cutting or drilling like some of the wood-frame and aluminum-frame greenhouses on the market. Instructions are clear and well-thought out, and can be easily followed by all but the least technically minded people.
The Rion Hobby Gardener has an optional base kit which provides a secure foundation for the greenhouse. You can install the greenhouse directly on the ground, on a concrete slab, or even on a self-built wood base, but we found the Rion base kit to be the best option for a secure and sure footing. If you decide to go the custom-built base route, you will spend almost as much in lumber constructing your own base, and the time and work involved will be quite a bit more than if you use the Rion base.
Another nice feature is the variety of accessories that are available for the Rion Hobby Gardener. Some come with the greenhouse, such as the roof windows, a rear louver window, and automatic window openers. The auto-openers, if you haven't seen these before, are quite a neat feature. They attach to the windows, and as the temperature inside the greenhouse rises to a certain point, a material inside the openers expands from the heat. As they expand, the openers work like a piston which pushes open the windows and allows the greenhouse to vent and cool. The best part is, this is all done automatically without any thermostatic settings required or electrical hookups. Other accessories that can be added to these greenhouses include shade nets, solar-lights, potting benches, misting/feeding systems, etc.
Conclusion: The Rion Hobby Gardener Series is our Top pick due to a number of great features which include it's method of shipment, ease of assembly, variety of sizes, expandability, strength and durability, accessory options, and more. Finally, it also has a very reasonable price, which can save the average buyer hundreds of dollars or more over similar sized greenhouses from other manufacturers.