Are Metal or Wood Swing Sets Better? | Rainbow Play

Are Metal or Wood Swing Sets Better?

If you’re thinking about buying a swing set for your children, you’re probably considering a lot of different factors, such as cost, ease of installation, safety, durability, warranty, and more. While these are all important things to consider, nothing makes a bigger difference than material type. Specifically, wood versus metal swing sets.

Swing set materials act as the driving force behind all other factors, completely shaping your experience as an owner, and your children’s playtime experience. So, instead of casting such a wide net for your research, narrow your focus down to this: are metal or wood swing sets better?

Answering this question will point you in the right direction, where you’ll be able to compare apples to apples in your final purchase decision. So, let’s discuss wood versus metal swing sets, and what makes the most sense for you and your family.

Benefits of Wood Swing Sets

H3: Additional Play Features
Wood swing sets are often much more than swing sets – they’re entire playsets! Rainbow Play offers a ton of exciting features beyond just swings, including slides, climbing walls, sandboxes, theaters, playhouses, and other fun add-ons and accessories.

Higher Weight Limits

Quality wood swing sets make for the strongest residential play structures, with some models capable of holding up to 2,000 lbs – far exceeding the weight limit of residential metal swing sets. Rainbow Play Systems takes it one step further, producing swing sets with virtually no weight limit for children under the age of 12.

Impressive Safety & Durability

When properly maintained, wood swing sets can last throughout an entire childhood and beyond – depending on the quality of wood, hardware, and construction techniques.

Rainbow swing sets, for example, feature 100% natural big beam cedar construction and industrial-grade hardware, which is backed by an exclusive lifetime warranty. When manufacturers use high-quality building materials and techniques like this, wood swing sets are just as durable – if not more so – than their metal counterparts.


Unlike metal, wood is a renewable resource. This gives wood swing set manufacturers the chance to embrace sustainable practices. While metal can be recycled, not all metal can be recycled locally, and mixed materials can’t be recycled.

Beautiful & Natural Look

Wood swing sets blend into nature, adding a pleasant, more natural aesthetic to your yard. Depending on the wood and stain that’s used, wooden swing sets can make for an impressive backyard feature.

Benefits of Metal Swing Sets

Lower Prices

Metal swing sets tend to be significantly cheaper than wood ones, due to lighter materials and more simplistic construction techniques.

Less Maintenance

Because they don’t need to be painted or stained, metal swing sets require less maintenance than wood swing sets. This can be beneficial, eliminating some of the effort and costs of ownership.

Great Durability in Harsh Conditions

Although high-quality wood swing sets are quite durable, when it comes to withstanding rain, snow, and extreme temperatures, nothing can withstand the elements quite like metal.

Easy Assembly

Since metal swing sets are lighter with less complex construction techniques, they’re fairly easy to install. They’re also easier to transport, with less bulk and mass to worry about.

Drawbacks of Wood Swing Sets

Higher Price

Wood swing sets are heavier and more complex than metal swing sets, so they tend to come with a higher price tag. Although smaller, DIY-style wood swing sets can be built relatively cheaply, a safe, high-quality wood swing set makes for a bigger investment.

Wood Decay

Lower quality wood swing sets may be made out of cheap, untreated wood, which is susceptible to rot, decay, insect damage, and splintering – especially when exposed to harsh weather. However, it’s important to note that higher quality woods, such as redwood or cedar, are resistant to these issues.


No matter what type of wood is used, all wood swing sets need to be cared for. This involves occasional inspection, cleaning, and staining.

Tougher Installation

Because wood swing sets are heavier and more complex – with a variety of hardware and construction techniques – they can be tougher to transport and install. If you’re a handy person, you might appreciate the challenge of putting it together. However, if you’re not familiar with these types of projects, it could be a bit of a headache.

It may be worth it to hire a professional for the installation, whether it’s an independent contractor or a dealer.

Drawbacks of Metal Swing Sets

Limited Accessories & Add-ons

Unlike wood swing sets, metal swing sets don’t usually offer any additional features. While swinging is always fun, there are no other play features to foster your child’s growth and imagination.

Lower Weight Limit

Although metal seems like it should be stronger than wood, most metal swing sets are made from relatively thin metal tubing. While this cuts down on weight, making the product easier to handle, it also severely limits the swing set’s structural integrity. Surprisingly, most residential metal swing sets can only support up to 250 lbs, making them far less sturdy than a high-quality wood swing set.

While more durable residential metal swing sets do exist, the majority of what’s on the market is somewhat flimsy.

Metal Heats Up!

When it’s hot outside, metal swing sets are not particularly safe. In the heat of the summer, the frame and other components of metal swing sets can get dangerously hot – potentially causing burns. Unfortunately, summertime is likely when your kids will use the swing set most, so this is something to factor in while making your decision.

Rust Concerns

Over time, metal swing sets can rust. This not only puts the strength of the swing set in jeopardy, but also poses the risk of contracting tetanus.

So, how do you keep a metal swing set from rusting? There are ways, such as metal primers and metal paints, but this does require extra effort – offsetting some of the low-maintenance benefits.

Not as Aesthetically-pleasing

Even residential metal swing sets look rather industrial. Whether the tubular framing is bare metal or painted, metal swing sets will never have that ‘natural’ look that people appreciate in a wood swing set. If you’re concerned about the appearance of your backyard, the aesthetic of a metal swing set may not please you.

How Rainbow Play Addresses the Drawbacks to Wood Swing Sets

With nearly 40 years of experience, Rainbow Play has mastered creating the funnest, safest, most durable swing sets on the market. It’s no coincidence or oversight that Rainbow uses only high-quality cedar wood in its structures, not metal.

So, if you’re turning to the experts to ask if metal or wood swing sets are better, the answer is clear: wood swing sets are the winner, offering greater benefits than their metal counterparts. Although wood swing sets have some drawbacks, Rainbow Play has been able to minimize several of these concerns.

The Difference of Natural Cedar Wood

Cedarwood is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects, making for a more durable swing set with less maintenance concerns. Because this material has such great longevity – oftentimes lasting for hundreds of years in outdoor applications – Rainbow Play is able to offer an exclusive lifetime warranty.

Aesthetically, there’s no substitute for the natural beauty of cedar. Ingrained with decidedly crisp, superbly rich, tonal properties, cedar enhances traditional outdoor home decor and inspires innovative eye-pleasing architecture.

Professional Delivery & Installation

Interested in a high-quality wood swing set, but not the installation process? Rainbow Play offers professional delivery and installation, taking all the grunt work out of setting up your swing set! Plus, you can rest easy knowing that it’s built and installed safely and correctly.

Being the best of the best, a Rainbow Play swing set – or any high-quality wood swing set – is a more substantial investment than a metal swing set. But, it’ll offer a superior play experience for your kids, and last several times longer than many of the cheaper options on the market. If you’re interested in exploring products from Rainbow, check out the customizable selection of Castle Swing Sets, Clubhouse Playsets, and Specialty Playsets.

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