When you’re young, there’s nothing quite like a space in the backyard to call your very own.
The best swing set for kids is one that’s always there to welcome their imaginations and keep them safe. While they’re all awesome in their own way, not all swing sets are made the same… or made of the same thing.
What are the most commonly used swing set materials?
When purchasing a new swing set, you’ll be met with three main material options: plastic, wood, and metal. Each option has its own unique pros and cons.
Plastic can be appealing for swing set seekers on a budget due to its lower purchase and set-up costs. More often than not, however, this benefit is outweighed by plastic’s lack of long term functional and aesthetic durability.
- Lightweight, making them easy to relocate as needed
- More size options for preschool age children and younger
- Affordable and available for purchase on demand from big box stores
- Lower weight capacities make these swing sets inappropriate for older children
- Prone to sun-bleaching, losing vibrancy and color depth rather quickly
- No landscape flexibility, requiring flat ground for set up
- Activity limitations, with plastic swing sets usually including two swings and a slide (or less)
- Sensitivity to weather, with extreme cold leading to potential cracks
- Can warp in extreme heat
- Their lightweight nature makes them prone to moving, shaking, and potentially falling in high winds
Did you know that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright once called wood “universally beautiful to man”? He wasn’t wrong — wooden swing sets are undeniably one of the most popular options for backyard play equipment.
- Natural looking and aesthetically pleasing
- Almost always custom built, offering more individualized options
- More environmentally friendly than alternatives
- Longevity, with many wooden swing sets capable of lasting for multiple decades
- High weight capacity, so kids big and small can play
- Strong enough to stand up to high winds without issue
- Wood swing sets come with higher up-front cost and frequently involve professional installation help
- Risk of splinters if wood is untreated, though easily avoided by purchasing pre-stained wood
- Wasps and bees are able to nest in wooden swing sets more easily than plastic or metal
The first playground in the United States was constructed in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1887. It was revolutionary because the swings weren’t suspended from trees but instead from their own freestanding metal structure. Since then, metal swing sets haven’t changed too much.
- Durable and strong, with higher weight limits than plastic sets
- Easy to purchase, assemble, and find replacement parts for
- Susceptible to rusting
- Risk of injury with higher likelihood of sharp edges
- Temperature sensitivity means they’re not as easy to play on during particularly cold or hot days
- If painted, they need to be frequently repainted to maintain appearance
What’s the best material for swing sets?
The best swing set material for your family is always going to be dependent on your unique needs and available space.
That said, when it comes to overall longevity, quality, and safety, cedar wood will always be your best bet. There are some cons, like listed above, but Rainbow Play can help you avoid all of them with our treated wood and care suggestions. It’s quick drying, a natural pest repellent, and straightforward to both maintain and repair.
The best swing set for your kids is one that lasts long enough to grow with them and adapt to their changing styles of play. We have a variety of family friendly swing set options — big and small — available for anyone interested, and our available accessories mean you can update your playset to match your child’s skills. Pricing available upon inquiry.