Your children are the most important part of your life. You want them to be happy, healthy and safe. While you know you can’t always do those things, you can do your very best to try. That’s why you’re reading this article. You want to make them happy by getting a swing set they’ll use for years to come.
There is no shortage of decisions when it comes to buying a swing set for kids. What material is it made from? Will someone else have to install it? Does it have a high safety rating? If this is your first go-round buying a swing set, the choices can seem daunting and overwhelming. Below you can find all the information you need to help you buy the best swing set for your backyard.
For those that want to jump right into our favorites, here you go:
Best Swing Sets Comparison Table
5 Best Swing Sets for Kids
If you’re looking for a quick rundown of the best swing sets for kids, below you’ll find my five top picks along with pros and cons.
- Frame material is powder-coated galvanized steel
- Free standing – no need for cement
- Passes playground safety standards
- Low maintenance – no staining required
- UV resistant
- No lead-based materials including paint
- Soft rubber grips covering swing chains to promote safety and comfort
- Assembly can be difficult
- Slide is not as sturdy
- Steps up to the ladder can be slippery
This swing set by Lifetime checks all the major boxes you’re looking for. It’s durable, well-designed and one of the safer products on the market. The monkey bars and wavy slide are a hit with 3-year olds and 9-year olds alike. The variety of activities will provide your kids with hours of play. The warranty and materials used to construct the swing set make it one of the best metal swing sets available.
- Free standing playset for kids aged 3-12
- High-density polyethylene and powder-coated steel
- 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
- Playground-performance rated
- Well-constructed material
- Large variety of activities for hours of sustained fun for kids
- Safety is foremost concern – no rough edges
- Freestanding – no cement required
- Difficult to assemble
- Instructions are hard to follow
- Takes up a large amount of backyard space
The Lifetime Big Stuff Adventure Play set not only offers swings and a slide, but also a platform with a roof, a rock wall and a climbing net. If you’re looking for variety to keep any age kid busy through the years, this is one of the best backyard swing sets on the market. The fact that it is difficult to assemble just means you should take advantage of an assembly service or call upon a few friends to help get it done.
- Ages 3-10
- Made of cedar
- Meets and/or exceeds American Society of Testing Materials (ATSM) standards
- Four kids can swing at once, two on the glider and two on the individual swings
- 8-foot slide
- Playhouse on the bottom with a covered bench and snack area
- Two ways to get to the upper deck; a set of stairs over the covered playhouse and monkey bars
- Cedar wood has to be re-treated to keep it looking good
- The wood can stay wet and mildew can grow
The Saratoga model is considered one of the best wooden swing sets according to reviews. The set offers a playhouse underneath the covered deck portion. The playhouse has functioning windows and doors, and it gives kids a realistic playhouse feel, not just a covered wooden hut. Just off the playhouse is a covered snack bench, perfect for enjoying some lemonade or doing something messy such as painting.
4. Swing-N-Slide Orbiter Complete Wooden Swing Set, Safety Tested for Backyards with Two Swings and Trapeze Handle Bar
- Made using Woodguard technology
- Heavier and more durable than metal swing sets
- Meets and/or exceeds American Society of Testing Materials (ATSM) standards.
- Maintenance-free Woodguard technology keeps the swing set from succumbing to natural elements
- Cold tolerant to -45 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Fast and easy to set up
- Each swing or trapeze supports up to 115 pounds
- Economically priced, especially for the quality of the materials
- The design may be too simple to maintain kids’ attention long-term
If you are looking for just your basic garden-variety metal swing set, the Swing-N-Slide Orbiter is perfect for you except for one simple fact; it isn’t made of metal. While the set looks metal, it is actually a heavy-duty plastic-encased wood. This makes the set heavier and sturdier. The footprint needed is much smaller than other swing sets, while the height of this set is 2 feet taller than most, measuring 8 feet tall at the apex. The swings can be moved up to accommodate kids as they grow taller. At this price point, this swing set could very well be one of the best backyard swing sets.
5. Chateau Cedar Swing Set w/Timber Shield, Wave Slide, Rock Climbing Wall, Two Swings, Ring/Trapeze Bar and Picnic Table, from Gorilla Playsets
- Recommended for children ages 3 to 11
- Can hold a combined 800 pounds at one time
- Meets and/or exceeds American Society of Testing Materials (ATSM) standards
- Cedarwood is protected with Timber Shield technology to keep it from weathering and breaking down
- Includes slide, rock wall with a climbing rope, rope ladder, safety ladder, two belt swings with protected chains to keep hands from getting injured, trapeze swing and other accessories to keep kids playing for years to come
- Area below the deck is complete with a snack bench; perfect for a sand box too!
- Attention to detail at every corner
- The climbing net doesn’t appear to have a piece to attach it to
- The directions can be difficult to follow at times when assembling
- The cedar needs to be refinished over time due to weathering
If you want to give your kids an adventure-seeking swing set, then look no further than the Chateau Cedar by Gorilla. This swing set is guaranteed to keep your kids occupied for years. The rock wall and climbing net will give even the most timid climber some great experience. The slide is fun and never seems to get too hot. The snack bench underneath can easily be a sandbox. The sturdy construction and cedar make this playset solid and in no danger of falling over, even with regular use.
Swing Sets for Kids FAQs
You are bound to have a ton of questions, but rest assured, you aren’t the only one. To help you get started, check out these frequently asked questions. They may help clear up some of your initial queries.
Are swing sets worth it?
The answer to this question will vary based on your own individual family needs. For starters, if your kids aren’t super active outdoors (they’ve already been sucked into the vortex of all things digital), maybe investing in a huge swing set isn’t the right choice. However, if your kids do enjoy playing outside, investing in a swing set for your backyard is a great option. If you believe that a fun play structure out back will entice kids that are usually indoors to venture out, then maybe making a small investment to start is the way to go.
How much are swing sets?
The price of the swing set depends on a few variables. First, the material the set is made from. Wooden play structures are durable and usually large, and more often than not, the most expensive. On the other hand, a metal swing set that just has a few play features typically costs less. Second, the size of the structure and the features offered will also dictate the price you pay. The prices typically range anywhere from $119 all the way up to $5,000.
Can a swing set tip over?
If a swing set is not installed properly, then yes, there is the danger that it may fall over. If you have a 3-year-old happily swinging on a swing, the chances of it tipping over are far less than if you have two 12-year-olds doing the same. Your best bet is always to follow installation requirements. If for some reason you cannot install the play set as directed, perhaps you need to look at getting a different one.
When is the best time to buy a swing set?
Swing sets are a seasonal item. Your children will get the best use during the spring and summer months if you live in a four-season climate. If you live in a warm-weather climate, your kids can get year-round use. Regardless, the best time to usually buy a swing set for kids is in the winter or the end of summer. Purchasing in the winter may yield you a cheaper price.
At what age can my kids use a swing set?
Because swing sets are adaptable, your kids can start using them as soon as you desire. If you have a baby swing installed, you can start pushing your eight-month old while your three-year old helps herself to a few trips down the slide. The multi-functionality makes a swing set one of the most versatile and long-lasting investments you can make for your kids.
When do swing sets go on sale?
The cheapest time to buy swing sets is the offseason, typically the end of the summer or in the winter.
Now that you hopefully have some of your basic questions answered, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of swing sets.
Basic functions of swing sets
With so many options, you can really customize a swing set to suit your individual family needs. One of the best things about having a swing set is it invites imaginative play. Think about how you as a kid spent your time at a park, swinging and running, climbing and sliding. You probably had many adventures with your friends, and if they weren’t around, maybe you had a favorite toy with you. If you enjoy watching your children play independently, then you won’t tire too quickly with one of these sets in your yard. It will encourage your kids to be independent, active and imaginative, while at the same time offering you the opportunity to join in or just enjoy the break from the sidelines.
Common features of swing sets
If you go to a park and have swing set envy, you aren’t alone. Some playsets have five or six sections with everything from boat wheels to climbing nets all the way up to a rock wall. While this is an extreme, there are certain basic and common features replete in most swing sets.
Swings: There are usually at least two swings.
Slide: Slides are frequently attached to the swing set no matter what the material.
Climbing feature: This can be a ladder, rungs or foot holds—something to get up to the slide.
Glider swing: This is a two-person swing that allows a see-saw type of motion when utilized.
Playhouse: If you opt for a wooden playset, there is usually a covered house-type feature, either on top, by the slide, or elsewhere.
Materials used for swing sets
There are a few standard materials most swing sets are made out from.
Metal: Metal swing sets are very popular and can be the least expensive choice. Powder coating keep rust and corrosion to a minimum. Over time, the protective coating may break down, exposing the metal. You usually stick metal sets into the ground like fence posts.
Vinyl: Vinyl is a hard plastic that is very durable and can withstand all the elements. A swing set made with vinyl is usually a mixture of vinyl and composite wood elements. Vinyl swing sets are easy to maintain. This is one reason vinyl swing sets are usually expensive.
Wood: Wooden swing sets are typically made from stained cedar, pine or redwood. This allows for an aesthetically pleasing and heavy structure. Over time, the wood will need to be sanded and refinished so as to minimize the run-down look. This kind of playset is the most popular, and, depending on the customizations, on the middle to high side of the price scale.
Plastic: Plastic can be about the same price as metal. It is durable, although plastic will start to crack due to exposure. These sets are highly portable and very low maintenance overall.
Most popular swing set brands
Gorilla – Gorilla brand swing sets have been around since 1992. The variety they offer ranges from simple, two-swing sets with a slide to large play areas. One of the best thing about Gorilla products is each set is ready to install right out of the box. Aside from regular basic tools, no drilling or digging is required. If you prefer to have someone install it for you, they have representatives that can also assist. Gorilla also offers a 10-year warranty on their sets. With a large variety to shop from and high safety marks, it’s no wonder this company is so popular.
Lifetime – Much like the name implies, this company prides itself on building long-lasting quality products for families to enjoy long into the future. Lifetime is a leading innovator in making kids swing sets fun and safe. They offer a variety of products in the mid-to-upper price range.
KidKraft – KidKraft’s line of swing sets for kids is called Big Backyard. They offer a huge assortment of quality constructed wood, plastic, and vinyl swing sets. You can fully customize your play area based on the space you have available and the features you want to add. They also offer free installation on certain sets. The price is at the mid-to-upper end of the spectrum.
Backyard Discovery – For years, Backyard Discovery has been the leader in backyard swing sets. They pride themselves on their evolving engineering, design and customizable options. They specialize in wooden swing sets but do offer metal options. With over 50 designs to choose from, they have one of the largest inventories in the country.
Congo – Congo swing sets are made using powder-coated wood. They manufacture and install low maintenance, high quality swing sets and playsets.
What’s the best swing set for kids?
At the end of the day, you really do get what you pay for. While there are some less-expensive swing sets reviewed here, the one I would choose, hands down, is the Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set with 9 Foot Wavy Slide. While it is on the pricier side, it has all the essential elements that make a swing set long-lasting and fun for kids. The materials don’t rust or rot. There is never a need to refinish it. Hands down, it’s the best investment you’ll make to encourage your kids to go outside and play!
How the best swing set for kids was picked
Being a mom with kids who don’t always love to go outside, it’s important to have something that will make them want to go running out the door. They’re little bundles of energy, so I went in search of something that would keep their attention for more than 10 minutes, something they could grow and still use, and something that would still be standing strong after a year. There’s no sense in investing in a swing set to watch it rust out or rot before your eyes.
It’s important to do your own research and find the elements of a swing set that are best for your kids. Reading other parents’ reviews really helps to gain an honest perspective of the type of product you’re getting. If you see too many negatives, cross that option from your list. It isn’t worth the hassle to hope that your experience is different than 50 other people had. Also, remember that there is a swing set for kids that fits every budget, but in the end, you get what you pay for.
Relevant products, accessories or materials to buy
If you go online, you’ll see that there are hundreds of swing set accessories you can buy. If you start out simple and want to expand your swing set as the kids grow, know that you can find everything from extra swings to gliders to playhouses to rock walls. Make sure that the swing set you purchase now can support some additions as you and your family grow.
Final review of the best swing sets
At the end of the day, your kids’ safety is one of your top priorities. You want to keep them happy and yet make sure you aren’t saying yes to something reckless that’s going to fall apart in a year. Doing some research and getting them one of the best swing sets you can afford is a great investment in their health, happiness, and wellbeing.