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Tool Sheds: A Full Overview of the Options

tool sheds
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Have your tools outgrown your good ole’ toolbox and you now want a bigger space for optimal organization and storage? If so, a tool shed might be just the right solution! While tool sheds are a bit more expensive than most toolboxes (obviously!), they are still quite affordable. Plus, you will not have to deal with missing or misplaced tools next time you are ready to conquer a building project or heroically fix the sink. In this article, we’ll cover the most common tool shed options, average tool shed prices, and the most asked questions surrounding outdoor tool sheds. Let’s get started! 

What Are Tool Sheds? 

Not every shed is equally suited to be a tool shed. There are, in fact, a few key features that set tool storage sheds apart.  

A tool shed is smaller than most sheds, usually ranging in size from 3’x5’ to 10’x12’. Due to their smaller size, tool sheds are more affordable and offer greater flexibility in terms of placement on your property. Plus, tool shed interiors are often designed for easy organization and accessibility of your tools. 

Here is a quick overview of the definition of a tool shed. 

  • Smaller in size – generally ranging from 3’x5’ – 10’x12’ 
  • Cheaper on average than other sheds
  • Compatible with most backyard spaces 
  • Interior laid out for easy organization

Now, let’s look at some of the tool shed exterior options available. 

The 4 Most Common Tool Shed Exteriors

There are four common exterior tool shed materials: plastic, metal, wood, and vinyl. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks which makes them unique and offers you the ability to choose which material will serve your situation best.  The most common tool shed materials are:

1. Plastic (Resin) Tool Sheds

tool sheds plastic
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The Benefits:

A plastic tool shed offers you one of the most maintenance-free materials since plastic is water-resistant and weatherproof. Plus, plastic does not attract bugs or other pests since it is completely synthetic. All these factors play into a long life for a plastic tool shed. Plastic tool sheds are also one of the cheapest options out there.

The Drawbacks:

The biggest inherent disadvantage of plastic tool sheds is the weakness of the material itself. Plastic tool sheds do not hold up well to heavy winds and need to be specially anchored to keep them stable during storms. While there are some larger plastic tool sheds available, the majority of them fall into the “ultra-small” category, with sizes of 6×8 or smaller.

Plastic sheds are also more difficult to make secure which could put your expensive tools at greater risk of burglary. 

Additionally, customization is impossible with a plastic shed, so what you see is what you get for your tool shed. Most plastic tool sheds come in a limited color pallet of whites, browns, and greys, or other neutral colors.

2. Metal Tool Sheds

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The Benefits:

A metal tool shed offers a fairly durable exterior. Thanks to the metal tool shed being as “tough as nails” this exterior material also guarantees you a long-lasting shed. Another benefit is that metal material is resistant to fire, insects, and rot. Also, metal tool sheds can be a bit cheaper than wood and even some plastic.

The Drawbacks:

Even though metal is impervious to bugs and rot, it can be susceptible to rust and impact damage. Metal tool sheds can be dented if objects such as a stray baseball or branch encounter them. 

If purchased as a kit from a big-box store, metal tool sheds do not offer much in the way of customization. Plus, their frames are known to be susceptible to high winds, snow load, and other natural elements, as evidenced by customer reviews like this.

3. Wooden Tool Sheds

toll sheds
Size: 8×10
Starting At $2,458
Starting price is shown. Building displayed in photo may include optional upgrades.

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While all plastic tool sheds and many metal tool sheds come just as they are, there is much more flexibility to customize with wood. Most wooden tool sheds are hand-built by a shed manufacturer. The majority of shed manufacturers (including Sheds Unlimited) offer customization options including siding type, paint or stain color, trim color, and much more. Wooden sheds can be delivered fully assembled or as a shed kit.

The Benefits:

In the past, most wooden sheds were built with simple wood paneling. Over the past few decades, the number of quality wooden siding options has expanded dramatically, and now includes: 

  • T1-11
  • Engineered wood panel (SmartSide, etc)
  • Clapboard
  • Board-and-batten
  • Log
  • And more…

This variety of exterior options mean wooden tool sheds can fit budgets of all sizes, from simply painted paneling on the low end to beautiful clapboard options on the high end. Plus, the new engineered wood siding options offer great weather protection, pest resistance, and durability (as seen in this video of hockey pucks and baseballs vs engineered wood siding).

Interior customization is also straightforward with wooden tool sheds. Thanks to the wooden framing, it’s quite easy to add shelving, pegboards, etc. 

The Drawbacks:

Because they are hand-built, customized, and (usually) delivered fully-built, wood tool sheds often cost a bit more than similar-sized plastic and metal options from large stores or online retailers. 

Wood is not naturally resistant to moisture, mildew, or insects. Wooden tool sheds may require a bit more maintenance, such as repainting, to keep them in optimal condition. However, the new engineered wood siding options are treated to be moisture resistant, fire-resistant, and rot-resistant, making this less of a concern than in years past.

4. Vinyl Tool Sheds

amish vinyl sheds in delaware 1920x1920
Size: 10×12
Starting At $4,495
Starting price is shown. Building displayed in photo may include optional upgrades.

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While vinyl is a relative to plastic, it still maintains a category of its own. Vinyl is a separate type of plastic called PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride. Vinyl tool sheds are typically built with a wooden frame and simply use vinyl for the exterior siding material. (This is in contrast to plastic/resin sheds which use plastic for the entire building, including structural components.)

The Benefits:

The primary benefit of a vinyl tool shed is its low maintenance requirements. There is no painting required, and the building exterior can be easily pressure-washed if needed.

The vinyl exterior material is also fire retardant, meaning your tool shed is less likely to catch fire if it comes in contact with sparks or even an open flame. 

As an additional benefit, vinyl tool sheds can be easily matched to most houses, as vinyl siding is one of the most popular home exteriors, especially in the United States.

The Drawbacks:

Vinyl has a tendency to fade over time if exposed to direct sun. Due to the material costs involved, vinyl can be a pricier option than some.

Which Tool Shed Material is Best?

At the end of the day, you need to choose the tool shed material that best meets your needs. We find wood and vinyl to be the most popular tool shed exteriors among our customers. You can compare a variety of our tool shed siding options here.

Let’s take a look at some popular tool shed sizes.

Popular Tool Shed Sizes

8x10 portable sheds 1920x1920
Size: 8×10
Starting At $2,458
Starting price is shown. Building displayed in photo may include optional upgrades.

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Proper sizing of your tool shed is important. One helpful tip for ensuring you choose the right size is to write out a list of all the items you wish to store inside your shed. Think of both your present tool collection and future items you may wish to add. Also, scope out the spot in your backyard where you wish to put your tool shed as well.

Some of the most popular tool shed sizes include:

  • 3×5 – Perfect for very basic tool storage like a few rakes, hand tools, and a bag or two of potting soil, etc. This size is common among plastic/resin tool sheds. (This size is not available from Sheds Unlimited.)
  • 4×8 – This size holds enough room for basic tool storage, plus enough space to add a bike or a couple of larger-sized tools like a blower or chainsaw. (This size is not available from Sheds Unlimited.)
  • 6×6 – Inside a 6×6 you can store a small push mower and your basic tool storage such as rakes, hand tools, etc.
  • 8×10 – You can store a mower, power equipment, ladders, and all your basic tool storage items inside an 8×10 tool shed.
  • 10×12 – A 10×12 tool shed can store a riding mower, garden tiller, power washer, push mower, and all your basic tool storage. 

Buying a Tool Shed: Where, How, and How Much?

portable and cheap sheds 1920x1920
Size: 8×12
Starting At $2,717
Starting price is shown. Building displayed in photo may include optional upgrades.

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If you are seriously considering a small tool shed for your backyard the next step is to choose where you want to purchase it. Let’s go over the options available to you.

Who Sells Tool Sheds?

You have 3 routes to your tool shed purchase.

1. Online retailers

You can order your tool shed online from popular retailers like Wayfair, Amazon, Overstock, etc. Most of these sheds are small plastic or metal tool sheds and will require some assembly after delivery.

2. Chain home improvement stores

Home Depot and Lowes are popular chain stores that provide tool sheds. Most tool sheds sold at these stores are small- to medium- size.  Many of these sheds are sold as kits and will require assembly, in some cases including full construction. Tool sheds from these locations cannot be customized.

3. Local shed builders

Dedicated shed manufacturers generally offer the most styles and customization. Here at Sheds Unlimited, we offer dozens of styles of storage sheds that can be used as tool sheds. However, any one of those buildings is simply a starting point to create your own customized tool shed!

Tool Shed Prices – How Much Do Tool Sheds Cost?

Tool shed prices are determined by size, style, material, and custom features. Here’s a comparison of some of our most popular tool shed sizes, styles, and material types.

Size & StyleWood SidingVinyl Siding
8×10 Standard MiniBarn Tool Shed$2,458$3,250
8×10 Standard Workshop Tool Shed$2,667$3,514
8×10 Standard MaxiBarn Tool Shed$2,872$3,780
10×12 Standard MiniBarn Tool Shed$3,421$4,495
10×12 Standard Workshop Tool Shed$3,698$4,856
10×12 Standard MaxiBarn Tool Shed$4,049$5,308

You Should Get What You Pay For!

It’s very important to partner with a shed company that prioritizes quality materials and building methods, not just price. Additionally, make sure to review the warranty offered on any tool shed you’re considering. You can find the Sheds Unlimited warranty here; it applies to every building we sell.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. You deserve to get a good deal!

Popular Tool Sheds from Sheds Unlimited

Below are some of our popular tool sheds:

8×10 Standard Saltbox Tool Shed

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An 8×10 Standard Saltbox tool shed gets the job done for many homeowners’ basic tool storage needs, while adding a little extra flare to their properties! Your push mower and tools will stay safe and sound inside this cute little shed with its extra-wide overhang.

  • Wood Siding = $2,872
  • Vinyl Siding= $3,780

10×12 Standard MaxiBarn Tool Shed

amish barn sheds pa 1920x1920
Size: 10×14
Starting At $4,363
Starting price is shown. Building displayed in photo may include optional upgrades.

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10×12 is a popular tool shed size for storing larger outdoor equipment in addition to hand tools. Thanks to its gambrel (or barn-style) roof, the Standard MaxiBarn style offers the greatest storage flexibility out of all our tool shed models. We offer built-in lofts as an option; they’re a great way to take advantage of all the extra overhead space. 

  • Wood Siding = $4,049
  • Vinyl Siding = $5,308

Other Tool Shed Styles

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Perhaps you wish to invest a bit more into your tool shed. If so, check out our Classic or Premier Workshop tool sheds. For the ultimate tool shed, check out our Legacy Workshop shed; it offers two full floors of customizable work and storage space!

Tool Shed FAQs

Here are some of the most-asked questions about tool sheds.

Will tools rust in a shed? 

The real answer is, “It depends.” If a tool shed is not properly built and ventilated, then your tools could begin to rust over time due to moisture buildup. If your shed is built on a concrete slab without a moisture barrier, condensation can form on the concrete floor and encourage rust on your tools. 

However, if you buy a tool shed with a built-in wooden floor and proper ventilation, your tools should stay rust free.

Can I store power tools in a shed? 

Yes, power tools can be stored in a shed. Be sure your tool shed is built weathertight and is well ventilated. If you want to ensure the best quality of life for your power tools, consider insulating the walls of your tool shed to help keep temperatures more regulated. Plus, proactive care of your tools, such as keeping them off the ground and regularly applying a protective oil coating will certainly help to maintain their quality.

As most power tools are higher-value items, you’ll also want to make sure your shed is well-secured against theft. 

Is it cheaper to build my own tool shed? How much does it cost to build a tool shed?

It depends. If you have all the necessary tools, lots of free time, and general construction knowledge, you may be able to save off the up-front cost of a pre-built tool shed. The average cost for building your own small tool shed ranges from $1,300 – $5,000 depending on the size, type of materials, accessories, and the shed’s level of complexity.

Keep in mind that shed manufacturers have several advantages that make their tool shed prices surprisingly competitive. First, they set up their shops to enable maximum efficiency, meaning they can get more done per hour of labor. Second, they buy materials in enormous quantities, meaning they get the best prices possible. When you purchase directly from a shed builder like Sheds Unlimited (rather than through a dealer or middle-man), some of those savings are passed on to your building. All in all, this makes the price of a pre-built shed surprisingly competitive with the price of building your own tool shed.

How do I build a tool shed? 

Nowadays there are a host of how-to videos on YouTube to help you DIY practically anything! If you’re certain you want to tackle building your own tool shed, the following videos are great resources for guiding you through the process.

How to build a garden tool shed?

How to build a small tool shed?

– – –

If you have any more questions about tool sheds, don’t hesitate to check out all our shed FAQs.

As a sidenote, if you are looking for a shed to store your ATVs, feel free to read our article on ATV sheds.

If you’re in the Mid-Atlantic United States and are interested in purchasing a tool shed, you can get the process started by requesting a free estimate or designing a shed with our 3D shed builder.

Your New Tool Shed Awaits!

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