Best Swing Sets and Kids Playsets – A Buyers Guide 2020

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Best Swing Sets and Kids Playsets

Swing sets and playsets are a fantastic and fun outdoor addition to any family’s backyard.

In this modern world where TV, computers, and tablets are a common problem, it has become more important than ever to encourage our children to get outside again and play. But with so many different types of swing sets and playsets to choose from, purchasing the right one can be a difficult task.

We’ll give you the ultimate swing sets buyers guide – The heads up on what options are available and things you need to look out for before spending your hard-earned cash.

A little bit about Swing Set and Kids Playsets Construction…

Swing sets and playsets fall into three general product categories – plasticmetal, and wooden.

Plastic playsets are usually small and aimed at the baby/toddler market. They are a good choice for young children as they tend to be designed to very high safety standards and so have fewer hazards than other sets.

Superior quality metal sets are made from galvanized or powder coat painted steel tubing for durability, making them rust-resistant and strong.

Wooden swing sets and playsets for kids are typically the most sturdy of the three and can be more versatile, allowing for more accessories to be added as well as construction variation.

The outdoor playset design that you select will ultimately depend on your child’s age, the dimensions of the site that the swing will be erected upon, the degree of portability that you require, and of course, your budget. Read about swing sets for kids.

Swings set to suit all budgets

Wooden swing sets and playsets for kids that incorporate other play equipment features such as slides, ladders, climbing walls, and forts, tend to be larger in overall size compared to plastic and metal swing sets and also more expensive.

A well-built metal swing set is often the cheaper option but with fewer extras, kids tend to outgrow a metal set much faster than a more expensive wooden option. Similarly, a plastic set, although cheaper, will have a limited life-span due to the child out-growing it.

What size swing set do I need?

The size of your yard is obviously a major consideration when choosing your new swing sets for kids.

If you have limited space then a larger wooden set may be out of the question.

Visualize the set in your yard and bear in mind that if you purchase wisely then the swing set will remain there for years to come.

Purpose & Life Span

If you are just looking for a swing set to occupy your child during their early childhood years then there is probably not much point in spending loads of money on an expensive wooden swing set. On the other hand, if you want to play equipment that will grow with your child into their early teens then spending a little more from the outset makes perfect sense.

Unique swing sets. Look for a set that allows for ready-to-assemble accessories such as a rope ladder, trapeze bar or covered play deck to be easily added as the child grows older.

Portability of play equipment

A significant downside to larger swing sets for kids is that they are very heavy and not easily moved once constructed.

If your family moves house a lot then a much lighter, the temporary structure would be more appropriate. If, on the other hand, you plan to live at the same address for most of your children’s’ developmental years then a more permanent decay-resistant structure would be ideal.

Swing set and playsets safety

One of the main factors for consideration when choosing a backyard swing set should always be safety.

As with most children’s toys, the swing set you choose needs to be age-appropriate meaning that the potential for injury is relatively small. Be mindful that children of all ages will stumble and fall and if your child is particularly accident-prone then a low to ground set is probably your safest bet.

Look for sets that are sturdy with no protruding parts that can catch on clothes or skin. For very young children, stick with brands that cater specifically for that age group such as Little Tikes and Step2 and you shouldn’t be disappointed. For older kids there are many more options to choose from but remember, the larger the structure, the further your child has to fall. Read more about swing set safety.

Building Regulations

Some areas require adherence to building regulations when constructing large playground equipment. It is recommended you check with your local authorities before purchasing any residential play equipment.

The Top Selling Brands of Swing Sets and playsets

Popular swing sets and kids playsets brands include Little Tikes, Hedstrom, Gorilla, Step 2, and Kettler. Whether buying online or locally, make sure you check the warranty conditions carefully and also that the set includes all the necessary hardware required to build the set to completion.

All about Metal Swing Sets: Is Steel A Steal?

For every type of product on the market today, there are good ones and bad ones. This certainly holds true of metal swing sets. While some are poorly made and won’t withstand even a season of the rough play children can give them, others are made to last and last and will afford your child years of fun. Knowing what to look for when purchasing a metal swing set will allow you to make the most of your money.

What A Good Metal Swing Set Should Have

  • Galvanized steel – Galvanized steel is tough and it is virtually rustproof. This means that you won’t have to worry that the legs of the swing set will rust through and cause a danger to your children.
  • Closed S Hooks – While those open S hook designs make it easier to attach and detach those swings they also mean that a swing can slide off the hook while a child is in it. Closed S hooks provide you with the security of knowing that the swing isn’t going to let go on one side while your child is in midair.
  • Rust Resistant Chains – Make sure those chains that hold those swings, rings, and trapezes are rust-resistant. Not only are rusted chains a danger but they can also be an eyesore and prevent your swing set from working as well as it should.
  • Commercial Grade – although commercial grade metal swing sets run a little more expensive you can be sure they will hold up to your children and a handful of friends as well.

Things To Consider When Buying A Metal Swing Set

While a top quality metal swing set is vastly affordable compared to those wooden swing sets and may need less maintenance there are a few things you need to consider.

  • Even the best metal swing sets are not maintenance-free. You still need to check bolts and screws and make sure they are holding every few months.
  • Unless you purchase a metal swing set that combines metal with plastic or wood features these swing sets aren’t going to offer your child as much variety in activities as do plastic and wood swing sets. Metal swing sets do often contain jungle gyms, gliders, swings, trapeze bars, and rings but often lack climbing walls and ropes and towers for kids to use as clubhouses.
  • You also need to keep in mind that metal swing sets need to be well shaded as the metal can often get hot enough to burn a child’s skin. There have been a number of small children burned quite badly from metal slides in particular.
  • You also need to make sure that metal swing sets are well anchored into the ground usually with cement to keep the swing sets legs from lifting out of the ground.

Metal swing sets can be an excellent addition to a backyard play area as long as they are well shaded and a well-designed product.

Plastic Swing Sets and playsets

Plastic Swing Sets: Built To Last

Plastic or vinyl swing sets and playsets are usually made from a tough and durable plastic vinyl that will outlast your children’s play years and then can be resold or given to other relatives for their children. Probably the most recognizable name in plastic swing sets is Little Tikes but there are many other companies that make vinyl outdoor adventure sets as well.

Plastic swing sets run the gambit from those modest small models that hold a swing or two and a slide to large adventure sets with rope ladders, climbing walls, swings, rings, towers or elevated play houses, built in picnic tables or sandboxes, Ships wheels and telescopes and even basketball hoops.

These swing sets often called adventure sets have plenty of things for children to do and encourage them to let their imagination go playing pirate, forest ranger or princess in a tower as well as many other invented games.

Age Level

More often than not plastic swing sets will easily hold the weight of children up to 10 or 12 and often are recommended for children up to 10. However, in reality in most cases, peer pressure and advertisements usually influence the children so most over the age of 8 are embarrassed to be seen playing on plastic swing sets regardless of the number of activities or how well built the play set may be. However, when not around their friends somewhat older kids still seem to enjoy these well-made swing sets.

Benefits Of Plastic Swing Sets and playsets

There are many benefits to a plastic swing set that you won’t find in wooden or metal swing sets and these benefits include:

  • Plastic swing sets usually won’t fade and don’t need constant painting and maintenance even when exposed to extreme weather conditions. The best made of these swing sets have been known to last for two or more generations.
  • These swing sets are made from a material that is easy to mold and therefore usually has rounded corners which makes them safer for toddlers and young school-age children. Children are simply not going to be injured by sharp corners or splinters. However, young children still need to be supervised because they can still take spills and tumbles.
  • Usually don’t get hot like metal swing sets so there is little risk of your children getting burned from sliding or climbing on hot metal.
  • Plastic swing sets vary in price but are usually more affordable than wooden or metal swing sets. That doesn’t mean they are cheap, many of the larger ones run $4000.00 or more. But you usually get a ton of activities with these swing sets for a lower price.

Disadvantages of Plastic Swing Sets

Plastic swing sets do have some disadvantages these include:

  • Lack the cool factor. Many kids find themselves using these swing sets less often starting around 8 due to the fact that they seem a “little kiddish” to them and they feel too grown up to play on plastic swing sets.
  • Some of the lesser known brands are cheaply made so you really need to do your homework to ensure that they are going to last and be worth the money you pay.

In most cases, plastic swing sets will last your child many years and allow them to enjoy many adventures. They are an excellent choice for families on a budget.

Wooden Swing Sets

The first thing you need to know about wooden swing sets and playsets is that there really is no such thing as an all-wooden swing set. Even that old wooden swing hanging from a tree in the back yard uses rope for a swing chain and those backyard wooden swing sets are no different. After all, a wooden slide wouldn’t be very much fun so wooden swing sets need to use either plastic or metal slides as part of their set. This is not a bad thing just something to keep in mind when considering if a wooden swing set is the right choice for your family.

Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set

Best Swing Sets and Kids Playsets

Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set, 55006, Bronze

The Prairie Ridge is a full-featured cedar swing set established with monkey bars your children will certainly appreciate for years. They’ll have hours of healthy enjoyable climbing up the common ladder to the huge top play deck with sunlight shaded cover or going across the monkey’s bars, and after that zooming down the 8′ Super Safe Speedy Slide. Turning on the swing set and having fun on the covered top deck make wonderful summer season memories. Out on the swing beam of light, there are two belt swings plus a two-person glider for hours of turning enjoyable! There’s an observation window up top for optimum high level enjoyable and also a treat home window down below with an integrated bench. And also when it’s time to cool down, the constructed-in sandbox will certainly unleash your kid’s creative imagination! Upper deck dimensions: 60-in x 30-in.

Best Swing Sets and Kids Playsets

Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set, 55006, Bronze

Features of Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set

  • The large upper play deck
  • Monkey bars
  • 8′ speedy slide
  • Snack stand and bench
  • Two belt swings
  • Ship’s wheel glider
  • Upper deck height: 4′
  • Lumber pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained
  • Includes all wood, hardware, swings, and slide
Best Swing Sets and Kids Playsets

Play Features of Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set, 55006, Bronze

Best Swing Sets and Kids Playsets

Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set


What Wooden Swing Sets Do Offer

Because wood can be both sturdy and durable, is easy to attach thing to, it may be the ideal choice to offer your child a wide range of activities. Wooden swing sets or playsets can not only allow your child to have swings, rings and trapezes to play on but, teeter-totters, gliders, forts, sandboxes, climbing walls, climbing ropes, and many more options. This means that you can basically turn your backyard into a park for your child and his friends.

They Do Require A Lot Of Work

Wooden swing sets do require a lot of work. Most wooden swing sets come in kits. This means that you get everything you need to put the swing sets together and the lumber for it is usually pre-cut. However, it does take some time, effort and skill to put a wooden swing set together and if you haven’t had much building experience that can prove to be a real challenge to start with.

Then there is the upkeep. Wooden swing sets often need more upkeep than metal or plastic swing sets due to the fact that wood needs to be treated to help prevent it from rotting, molding and being attacked by insects. Choosing a wooden swing set made from red cedar will help cut down on some of the maintenance but won’t free you from it entirely.

You are also going to keep an eye on all those screws, bolts and other appliances that you use to put your wooden swing set together. Not only can these little pieces work loose from time to time, but overtime the wood around them can become worn and widen making it easy for screws and hooks to come out of the wood.

On the other hand, well-maintained wooden swing sets can last years and certainly outlast a growing child while offering them a variety of activities and play experiences. Best of all wooden swing sets often are designed to hold adults, which means that you and your child can play together creating a perfect way for you to bond.

Make sure before purchasing any wooden swing sets that the set is fairly easy to assemble, is made of good solid wood and that it is exactly what you are looking for or can be added to in the future. That way, you can be assured that you and your child will get your money’s worth out of that backyard wooden swing set.

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