A Buyer's Guide To Rubbermaid Storage Sheds: What To Know Before Investing

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Rubbermaid is practically synonymous with storage, and plastic storage at that. So when it comes time to consider a plastic resin shed for your backyard, the company's offerings should probably be on your shortlist. But plastic sheds in general, and Rubbermaid sheds in particular, are always going to involve some tradeoffs. Sure, they're affordable, but the price is not trivial — you can easily spend $1,600 or more for a Rubbermaid shed. And they're sturdy for something you and a friend can pick up and move around, but they won't last forever — the most common lifespan estimate seems to be five to seven years.

Plastic sheds usually come in smaller sizes than those made with other materials, so it's a good idea to think through your shed sizing before you decide what to buy or DIY. Depending on where you live, the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) of Rubbermaid products might not be the most durable material for your backyard storage shed, since HDPE tends to warp and crack in hotter climates. But they are comparatively easy to assemble, and Rubbermaid makes two of our top-rated DIY shed kits.

Shed types, features, and product lines

Excluding smaller options like deck boxes and storage benches, Rubbermaid offers a solid variety of solutions among a relatively small number of products. This includes both walk-in sheds and vertical, horizontal, and slide-lid sheds, which are essentially cabinets that you stand outside of and peruse (such as the Big Max Storage Shed). There are three more traditional shed options ranging in size from a 24.5-square-foot Big Max up. All three traditional sheds come in roughly 49-square-foot options. As you might expect, size is the key feature, as it determines how much you'll be able to store. Unfortunately, Rubbermaid classifies size in a number of ways: square footage, number of pieces, cubic feet, gallons, and vague terms like "mini" and "large."

Features other than size are minimal. The sheds come in one to three colors, depending on the model. The horizontal slide-lid design allows you to easily access the recesses of the shed without unpacking it. Accessories are available for some sheds and include shelves, a basket, and hangers specifically made for items like power tools and garden hoses, as well as more general-purpose wall-mounted hooks. The Big Max shed comes with an accessory kit that includes two windows to help with interior lighting. Some Rubbermaid sheds are branded Roughneck or Big Max, but these don't seem to mean much. The un-badged Storage Shed is touted as stronger and more durable than the Roughneck, and the Vertical Storage line includes the smallest of the three traditional shed options.

Not the same as it ever was, and other common complaints

Reviewers have a lot to say about Rubbermaid's sheds, and as you'd expect, the negatives tend to be more detailed than the positives. Interestingly, unlike many companies, Rubbermaid doesn't seem to be shy about posting negative reviews on its own site. These are often the same reviews you see on sites like Lowe's, suggesting they're curated by a third-party company like BazaarVoice. Customer favorites like the Roughneck shed are often praised for Rubbermaid's design choices compared with competitors'. Reviewer Csim, for example, notes that the Roughneck's interlocking panels are more durable and easier to assemble than Suncast products with hundreds of screws that tend to strip out of plastic. Amazon reviewer Nick Jacinto has five vertical sheds next to his driveway and is very happy with their size, durability, and ease of assembly.

Less thrilled reviewers often compare current Rubbermaid products to past offerings. Amazon reviewer Big apes describes herself as a "huge fan of the brand" based on past experience, but is disappointed with her new slide-lid shed. Johnny bought a new slide-lid because of a good experience with a 10-year-old model, but is frustrated with design choices that make the newer one comparatively flimsy. Missives about design and durability are by far the most common complaints. Tractor Supply customer Beyond3 says that their shed's doors "do not stay tight to the shed even when they are locked" — not a good quality in an otherwise weatherproof shed.