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How to Choose a Swing Set for Kids | Expert Tips

21 Nov 2023
Three kids swinging on a swing set.

Figuring out how to choose a swing set for kids can feel like navigating a jungle gym maze.   

That’s why we will use our expertise as a swing set brand to give you actionable steps for choosing a fun and safe swing set.  

You’re going to want to read until the end because, after this article, you will have a full roadmap to purchasing the best swing set for your kids.   

What to Look for When Buying a Swing Set 

To help in drawing out that roadmap for how to choose a swing set, we’ve ranked the most important things for you to consider:  

1. Type of Swing Set  

There are three major types of backyard swing sets: Metal swing sets, wooden swing sets and playsets.   

There are other swing set types (multi-swing, single swing set, vinyl swing sets, toddler swing sets, plastic swing sets, etc.) However, the three swing set types below are the most common:   

Metal Swing Sets  

Pros: Durable, stable, low maintenance, suitable for various climates, affordable, relatively easy to assemble.   

Cons: Limited customization options, absorbs heat during sunny days, cheaper models might be less aesthetically pleasing than wooden swing sets.   

Four kids on a metal swing set.

gobaplay Swing Set. 

Wooden Swing Sets 

Pros: Visually appealing, highly customizable, sturdy, versatile, absorbs heat better than metal, typically lasts longer and is generally smooth.   

Cons: Can be expensive, require more maintenance, more difficult to assemble, susceptible to decay, insects and rot, and may cause splinters.   

Two kids on a wooden swing set.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.   

Playsets  

Pros: Diverse, multiple activities in one structure, accommodates numerous children, versatile design, inspires imaginative play.   

Cons: High upfront cost, difficult to assemble, must have space to accommodate its size, may require regular maintenance.  

Multiple kids playing on a wooden playset.Photo courtesy of Gorilla Playsets.   

2. Age/Number of Children  

In terms of how to choose a swing set for kids, it doesn’t get much more important than considering the kids themselves. That means, finding an age-appropriate swing set.  

  • Toddlers: Parents of toddlers and younger children will likely want to look for a basic swing set with bucket seats or a secure harness.  
  • Elementary School Children: With elementary kids, you can start to look at diverse structures with swings, slides and climbing elements.  
  • Multiple children: If you have multiple children, a multi-dimensional swing set or playset would be recommended to reduce waiting times.   

3. Safety Features

According to Calbom and Schwab, 50,000 swing set injuries per year result in an ER trip for children.  

That statistic is not meant to scare you away from buying a swing set. It just means you need to take the time to study which features are most crucial to a swing set’s safety.  

The following are the swing set safety features to look for:  

  • A robust and durable frame that is ideally galvanized steel, pressure-treated wood or high-quality plastic.  
  • A swing set that has smooth edges and rounded corners. 
  • A structure that uses non-toxic materials such as powder-coated steel, cedar or redwood.  
  • A swing set with weather-resistance finishes that protect against rust, corrosion and deterioration from the elements.   
  • A reliable anchoring system.  
  • A high-weight capacity.  
  • A protective cover over the chains (if the swing set has chains).  
  • A swing set that is ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certified.  

Safety isn’t just about the structure. You must anchor your swing set and install it on impact-resistant surfacing, like rubber mulch or wood chips. You also need to assemble the swing set correctly.   

Tip: Choose a spot that is level and a safe distance from exterior structures while making your swing set plans.   

Ensure that the clearance in front of and behind the swing set is at least twice the height of the swing bar. Fully assemble the structure and then decide on what to put under the swing set  

Here’s a good example of a swing set assembled in a safe area:  

A swing set assembled on soft surfacing.

Photo courtesy of KidKraft.  

4. Longevity  

How long do you want to have a swing set? Is it a short or long-term purchase? 

If you’re looking for a short-term swing set for your child’s current size, then a basic metal or wooden swing set should suffice. Just ensure that it meets the safety features we discussed previously.   

A single swing set from gobaplay:  

A kid happily on a swing set. 

For those with loftier ambitions, you’re going to want to look at larger swing sets with modular designs and interchangeable components. This will help avoid product fatigue and last through your child’s developmental stages.   

You’ll also want to look at swing sets built for the long run, with longer warranty periods that hint at the product’s expected longevity.   

Tip: For a long-term swing set, it’s best to give a “grow into” mentality. Buying a swing set with adjustable features should be a priority so your child can grow with the swing set.   

5. Customization/Accessories  

How to choose the right swing set for kids also comes down to which swing set accessories your child desires.   

Here are some of the common accessories/features you can include with a swing set:  

  • Swings (of course!) 
  • Slides 
  • Climbing elements, like rock climbing walls. 
  • Clubhouses or forts.  
  • Monkey bars. 
  • Interactive panels (think tic-tac-toe.) 
  • Sandboxes.  
  • Shade structures.  
  • Exercise elements like swinging rings.  
  • Educational features, alphabet panels.   

Multiple kids on a playset with green slides. 

A swing set with multiple accessories, courtesy of Adventure World Play Sets: 

Go through which accessories your child wants and look through the swing sets that include those features.   

Tip: Modular swing sets are recommended if you want to regularly make modifications to your swing set.  

6. Budget  

Of course, you must set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend on a swing set. But don’t compromise on your goals or the safety of your children to save a few bucks.   

Swing sets can cost anywhere from under $100 to over $40,000. It all depends on the swing set’s material, size, features, brand and added accessories.   

Set your goals first and then determine a budget. Consider any financing options available, especially if buying a large swing set or playset.   

Other Considerations on How to Choose a Swing Set for Kids  

You can consider the six factors above as “core considerations.” But there are others you should evaluate before you click “buy” on your next swing set.   

(We at gobaplay are a new swing set brand, but we are the makers of Springfree Trampoline – the world’s safest trampoline.)    

  • Warranty length – Five years is a solid warranty for basic swing sets; for premium swing sets, you want to see at least 10 years.  
  • Homeowner’s insurance – Contact your insurance company to see if owning a swing set would affect your rate.   

While these may not be make-or-break factors, they could help “swing” your choice.   

It’s Time to Choose Your Swing Set 

After taking in all the considerations for how to choose a swing set for kids, the time has come. You’re ready to find the best swing set for your family.   

Which brand or model you choose will ultimately be up to you. Now that you know what to look for, you should be able to start picturing it in your mind.   

We at gobaplay offer high-quality swing sets for kids. Whether you’re looking for a single swing set or a multi-swing set, a gobaplay Swing Set could be a stylish and exciting addition to your backyard.  

(Also check out our brand new Geometric Climbing Dome if you want to elevate your child’s backyard fun even further!) 

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