Updated: December 2017
Swing Set Reviews:
- What is a quality backyard swingset?
- Benefits of wooden swingsets
- How much do swing sets cost? Which should I buy?
All children love playing outside on a play structure or swingset. Swinging, climbing, and jumping help children develop strength, agility, balance, and coordination as they get the exercise they need. Purchasing a swingset for your yard can be a big investment, but it is one that will immediately start paying dividends in healthier, happier kids.
In the old days, most swingsets or jungle gyms for backyard use were made of metal or aluminum, and they were pretty unstable. You can still buy cheaper, smaller swing sets made out of metal, but most of the larger, more solid units are made out of solid wood (usually cedar or redwood, which are decay resistant).
When choosing a playground set, you need to consider how much space you have in your yard, how many children you plan on having using it at once, whether you plan on building it and installing it yourself, and of course how much you want to spend. How much does a good swingset cost? You could easily spend up to four or five thousand dollars on a large, full-featured playset. On the low-end, expect to pay $750-$1000 for a good unit without all the extras. See some more examples below.
The video below shows talks about Outdoor Playset Installation and Safety Tips:
What to look for in a swingset?
What are the best swingsets? The leaders in swingsets are Rainbow, Woodplay, Lifetime, Gorilla Playsets, Playnation, and Cedarworks. While most wooden swing sets are made of redwood or cedar, some also come in pressure treated southern yellow pine. Some will warn you to stay away from the pine or Chinese fir, while others will complain about the sealing and maintenance required on redwood playsets.
The truth is, probably any wood you select will last for the 10 years or so you will use your swingset. There really is no secondary market for selling your 15 year old "used" play structure anyways, so worrying about whether or not it will last for 20 years and beyond is not an issue for most people.
When it comes to installation, expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a professional to install it. These guys can put the unit together in a few hours, and if you've ever struggled with instructions on Christmas Eve trying to build something out of a box, you'll be glad you saved yourself weekends of frustration of trying to do it yourself.
However, if you are a competent do-it-yourselfer and you have a helper for lifting and aligning the heavier pieces, it is certainly a task a layman can handle. RECOMMENDED - You can browse the most popular swing sets online here.
Start your swingset purchasing adventure at Playnation.com. They offer a huge selection of swingset models and options. Most are modular designs that allow you to add components that you want - how many swings, a slide, a tire swing, a climbing wall, a canopy covered fort, a sand box, etc. They use all bolt construction so nothing ever comes loose, and huge 4x6 beams to support the swings, and vinyl dipped swing chains.
As you browse their site or catalog, you will see they have some pretty amazing structures, from the Hunters Hideaway to the Royal Palace. You can order a printer catalog or view a downloadable PDF catalog. They guarantee all the wooden components of their sets, whether pine, cedar, or redwood, for life, with a 2 year warranty on other metal and plastic components.
RECOMMENDED - The Gorilla Playsets on Amazon are some of the most popular that we could find with good owner reviews. You can see the Blue Ridge Frontier Play Set to the right. It features factory stained and sealed wood so it's resistant to decay, rot, and insect damage. Comes with a slide, swings, trapeze, swing beam, and play deck. Check out all the top rated Gorilla playsets here.
To check out all the different types of backyard swingsets - click the image below to go to video.
Another popular swingset and play structure manufacturer is Woodplay.com. They've been building and selling swingsets and playsets for over 30 years, always using rugged redwood. They offer a 45 day return policy if you are unhappy for any reason, and a 2 year warranty, as well as a lifetime warranty against rotting or insect damage. They have a nice section on their website about choosing a playset. Check out their SkyKing playset, one of our favorites, with angled ladders, lots of deck space, and a broad angled base allowing you lots of design options.
GorillaPlaysets.com is another good site, and unlike many others, they list prices clearly on their site. Their Jungle Adventure swing set goes for $879, with free shipping. Their larger Congo Climber is $1500 and is 17' by 23'. They use ACQ treated southern yellow pine in their products, along with redwood, and they offer a 10 year structural warranty on lumber components. All their units come ready for assembly, a job that should take 5-7 hours, so be prepared to spend a weekend on this project. See kids playhouses here.
Cedarworks Playsets and Swingsets:
CedarWorks.com specializes in playsets made out of, you guessed it, cedar. Cedar does not require sanding or sealing or any other regular maintenance, and it is one of the longest lasting woods for outdoor equipment and furniture. They ship directly to you from their manufacturing facility in Maine.
Their website lets you design your own custom, modular playset with your choice of swings, slides, forts, money bars, climbing walls - whatever. They offer both cedar swings and sling swings, tire swings, horse swings, and baby swings. All swingsets are assembled on site upon delivery, and can easily be dismantled and taken with you if you move.
They offer a free catalog if you would rather review their products that way. You can't go wrong with any of these companies, as they all offer good warranties. Your best bet is to visit a local dealer or representative where you can see the various options and models in person. Even better, if you have a friend or neighbor with a swingset your kids love, just contact the manufacturer for a current catalog of similar products.
More videos and resources are here on our Swingset Resource Page.
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