The Kids Ride Wild team is here to help you choose between the best swing sets to find the one that will inspire your child’s creativity, while also giving you and your family the best bang for your buck!
You’ll find our top 5 picks for wooden, steel, and plastic playsets that offer the coolest features with the highest durability and safety on the market.
There’s nothing better than going outside to play in the backyard, pretending you’re a pirate or a princess or a spy saving the world. Anything can happen in the backyard with a big imagination! The right outdoor playset can help make these dreams even more a reality by providing the right equipment to live out this pretend play.
Quick Links To The Best Swing Sets
- Backyard Discovery Prairie Ridge All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set – Top Pick
- Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set With 9 Foot Wavy Slide – Runner Up
- Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing Set – Premium Choice
- Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Extension – Most Popular
- Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set – Budget Pick
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Price Ranges: $ [$350 – $500] | $$$–> [$550 – $800] | $$$$ –>[+$900]
Best Outdoor Playsets: Our Top Picks
So you’re ready to swing off into new territory and purchase a new playground set for your kids! Here are our reviews of the top 5 products we would choose (and have already chosen) for our own backyards and families.
Backyard Discover Prairie Ridge – Wooden Playset and Swing Set
This Prairie Ridge Playset Swing Set is perfect for the imaginative explorer in your family. This heavy-duty set has a large upper play deck that they call the “backyard discovery kids fort.” It has a sun-shaded canopy to help them escape the rays and hideout with their friends. It also has a solid front wall with observation window that allows them to look out into the vast expanse of the imaginative world before them—while staying safe and secure inside the fort. Coming down from the upper deck is an 8-foot slide that’s wide enough to be safe and comfortable, but the small bumps make for super acceleration!
To the left, you’ll find the swing area with a three-position swing beam with plenty of room. It comes with two standard belt swings and a two-person glider. The glider’s navigation wheel design will have your kids feeling like they are the captain of a ship ready to sail into magical seas! The swing beams are sturdy, thick, and durable—so much so that all swings can be in motion at the same time and the beams won’t move an inch. The support beams are triangle-shaped which adds stability and security. The easy attachment rings on the top allows you to easily change swing-types (like to a baby’s swing, etc.) without any tough maneuvering.
To the right, you’ll find even more imaginative activities! The monkey bars on this cedar playset are a challenging way to strengthen your child’s coordination, while also having a ton of fun. The bars have an easy-up standard ladder and lead off into the observation deck—so they can hurry through the trenches, away from the bad guys, and safely into their hideout. Better yet, the climbing rungs do not flex or roll in use like many monkey bars do, so your child will always feel comfortable grabbing on to them. There is also a sandbox area that holds up to 350 lbs of sand and a snack stand with a built-in bench!
This Prairie Ridge is one of the safest and toughest playsets you’ll find. It’s made from 100% cedar with a tight-knot structure, so it’s less likely to develop cracks or splinters. It has been proven rot resistant, mold resistant, UV resistant, and resistant even to natural decay. The cedar wood is pre-stained for a smooth and attractive appearance. It is also pre-cut to speed up assembly, and it is quick and fast to put up (about 3-6 hours). The swing beam is laminated so it’s even stronger, and it has steel clamshell brackets so it will never crash down on your little one.
The Backyard Discover Prairie Ridge also has safety hardware with patented Safe-T-Fuse screws, which makes assembly easy and secure. The safe, cedar playset meets all ASTM standards. The approximate play zone is 20 x 10 feet with 6 feet additional room. A large play area means all the more fun!
Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure – Metal Swing Set with 9 Foot Wavy Slide
Parents cannot stop raving about the Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set! See the reviews for yourself! This metal swing set is sturdy, dynamic, and has plenty of room to grow into for kids of all ages. The swing area is capable of holding three swings, and the set comes with three fun belt swings. These chain swings have soft rubber grips to prevent pinching or little fingers getting stuck.
This backyard playset also has a trapeze bar with gym rings made for pull-ups, flips, turns, and so much more! Your kids can work their triceps while working their imagination! The 9-foot wavy slide is guaranteed to get your kids moving and grooving during playtime. There is also a safe and comfortable set of monkey bars, which are extra-wide to make learning and swinging even easier. Did we mention that there’s even a cool fire pole attached to the monkey bars?
This metal swing set is designed for safety and durability. It’s made from powder-coated galvanized steel which is weather and rust resistant, so your set won’t crack, chip, fade, rot, warp, or peel. It will look like new every day, no matter the weather! It’s also made of high-density polyethylene, which is smooth and maintains strength and toughness.
The steel coating ensures that the set won’t heat up or burn little hands on sunny days. Plus, all edges are rounded and covered with plastic caps so hair, hands, and clothes will stay free, safe, and ready to play. The Lifetime Monkey Bar Set passes all playground performance and safety standards!
We also love the physical design of this metal swing set. The dimensions are 13.8 W x 18.6 D. It’s both wide and long, while most sets are only wide across. This unique design allows for more area play and it better fits into unusually shaped backyards. Plus, it is a freestanding set so there is no need for cement or a special play area—it can go right in your grass, anywhere in the yard! Assembly is easy and there’s no painting or staining required.
The Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set is one of the best outdoor playsets you’ll find for active kids!
Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing Set – Another Good Wooden Playset
This Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing Set is an attractive, awe-inspiring wooden playset that will even make parents jealous! We absolutely love the upper-level clubhouse on this set. It has tongue and groove wood roof sunbursts, dormers, and even a chimney! There are two windows with real, working shutters, so kids can open them and look out or close them for a secret meeting. It even has toys like a tic-tac-toe panel, a steering wheel, and a telescope! This attractive design will make your children feel like they have a home away from home, right in the backyard.
Kids can access this clubhouse with a safe entry ladder or even a rock wall with a climbing rope! Kids absolutely love this rock wall for imaginative outdoor play! To get down from the clubhouse is a fun wave slide! There is also a swing section with two belt swings and a trapeze swing—perfect for tricks and fun! Plus, the swing chains are covered in plastic so it won’t catch on hair .The swings are attached with a simple carbiner system, so the swings are easy to take down in certain weather conditions or replace with other types of swings. There are more than 10 activities on this one set!
The Gorilla Nantucket Set is made from quality cedar wood and is redwood finished. It has a 4 x 4 solid wood framing and a 4 x 6 3-position swing beam. The design is high-quality with strong attention to detail. There is also a patented one-piece-a-frame bracket, which adds durability and toughness. Parents love the look and stability of this wooden playset. It holds up to 800 lbs and is recommended for kids ages 3-11.
Overall, it is 16 ft L x 13 ft W and has an approximate height of 10.5 ft. It comes with thorough instructions and well-marked parts for assembly, but it does take awhile to put together. It’s also not entirely weather-resistant, so we recommend adding your own sealant during assembly.
Your kids will love the Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing Set for an imaginative and creative play experience!
Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse – The Best Outdoor Playset for Little Tikes
This Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse is the best outdoor playset for little tikes. They can climb, slide, crawl, swing, hide, and imagine on this fun and exciting climber! This plastic swing set has a climber with an easy, standard ladder and a roomy upper level deck that even has a balcony railing so the kids can look out! Coming down from the top is a 5 and a half-foot slide that is elevated at the bottom so kids won’t bruise their bums and can catch themselves on their feet.
Underneath the slide and climber is a secret playhouse with a working door, windows, and crawl through portals. It is the ultimate spot for tons of imagination and fun to happen! The Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber also has a swing extension that fits two strap swings. It uses a simple clasping system, so you can separately purchase and attach infant and toddler bucket seats for the younger tikes as well.
This is a plastic swing set, which is good for little hands that need a softer surface. This plastic is also sturdy and easy to clean and sanitize, keeping your child safe and healthy as they play outside. The colors are muted and natural, so they blend into the backyard nicely, as opposed to more vibrant plastic playground sets. The Step2 is also smaller, so it easily fits into the backyard.
Assembly and installation is not the easiest, and you’ll definitely want to make sure you find a way to anchor this set to the ground. Although the material is sturdy, plastic always needs to be secured in order to stay in place.
The Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber and Swing Extension is the best starter backyard playset for younger kids looking to grow their imagination and boost their outdoor play!
Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set
The Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set is made for little tikes ages 18 months to 5 years, and it brings all of the fun of the park right to your backyard! This clubhouse has a playhouse with two ways up: a climbing wall and a rope ladder. At the top there’s even a fun steering wheel so your little tikes will feel like they’re roaming the seas in the clubhouse. The large slide has handrails, perfect so kids feel safe and comfortable—and won’t fly off!
There are also two cozy toddler swings that won’t hurt little hands and provide enough room to safely learn to swing. It comes with simple mounting hardware that allows you to change it out for toddler bucket seats or “older kid” seats with ease—it’s the ideal set for your kids to grow on! The support beams are sturdy and durable, and don’t shake or move when your kids play. However, the Little Tikes set does need to be anchored down because it is a bit lightweight.
Still, it is a durable and sturdy playground set that can handle four little tikes at one time! Because it’s made of plastic, it’s great for children who have all sorts of play-types, from rough to gentle and from relaxed to daring. The Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set is our top pick for younger kids who need a safe and comfortable play environment.
The Buyer’s Guide in Choosing the Best Swing Set
You’ve seen our top 5 picks for the best outdoor playsets for your kids, but how do you choose which one is right for your family? Below you’ll find our ultimate, practical guide to choosing from the playground set that will be perfect in your home.
The first thing you should consider is the material of the playset. You should take into account the age of your child and their play habits as well as the general weather and humidity conditions of your town.
If you are in a more humid area, you will want to look at swing sets that are resistant to rotting and rusting. If you are in an area that gets a lot of rain, you should ensure that the material is weather resistant or can be weather resistant if painted or sprayed.
If you live in an even keel climate, then consider how your child will play on it. Will you need something more durable for older kids or something softer and friendlier for toddlers?
The three primary types of background playset materials are wood, steel, and plastic. Wooden swingsets are the most popular (and classic) as they tend to be the safest for children and hold up in most weather conditions. If you are going for wood, we recommend cedar. It is not only the cheapest option but it’s also resistant to rotting, durable for all types of play, and it’s a generally attractive wood grain and stain that will look lovely in the backyard!
Steel tends to be found in a lot of public playgrounds because it is the most sanitary and durable. However, it is less common for backyard playsets because it can cause more boo-boos and rust quickly if not taken care of properly. If you get low-alloy steel that is powder-coated though, these problems go away and steel playsets can be a fun choice with a lot of activity options.
Plastic playsets are the best for children under the age of 4. You won’t have to worry about them putting their mouth or hands on splintered wood or cold steel, and their knees won’t get as scuffed up. However, plastic tends not to hold up well in weather conditions, so these playsets often “expire” faster than other types.
As we just mentioned, durability is absolutely key when purchasing a backyard playset. This will answer the question not only “how long will it last” but also “are you getting your money’s worth?” These playground sets are not cheap and they’re not disposable. You want them to last. Always be sure to look at reviews and descriptions to determine durability based on weather, weight, humidity, material, and wear & tear.
You’ll notice that all of the swingset picks on our list have significant features and high quality materials to ensure that price, quality, and durability all go hand-in-hand-in-hand.
Safety is the most important thing when choosing between backyard playsets. Generally you want to ensure that the set has rounded corners with no sharp edges. For wooden swing sets, you also want to ensure that the wood has been smoothed and stained so that splinters are kept to a minimum.
Also take a look at the swing and support beams. These pieces should be solid and thick so they don’t break while your child is playing. A swing beam should be at least 4×4 inches and the support beams should have a base firmly planted in the ground.
Furthermore, take a look at the hardware and mechanisms used to put together the set. Do they use simple nails that could come loose, or is it a safety screw and locking nut? Do they have steel brackets to ensure maximum protection from weight and weather elements? You want to ensure that the hardware will: 1) keep the swingset together despite wear and tear and 2) have a rounded, safe surface that won’t catch on clothing or cause bumps and bruises.
Take a look at your yard space and do some measurements before purchasing your new playground set. How much space do you have to accommodate the swing set easily? Don’t forget to take into account not only the physical dimensions of the set but also the swing range and the ability to play near and around the set.
You may want to consider creating an enclosed space filled with woodchips or turf that houses your playset. This will section off the area and help you determine how much space you will need in the backyard. (It also makes one less area to deal with when you’re cutting the grass!)
Along with size, you also want to consider whether or not your swing set can “grow” with your child. Can new elements be added on as your child’s imagination (and physical size) grows? Can you change the swing types, slides, and hardware? This does not necessarily mean that your playset will be “customizable,” but having an expandable design means that it can have additional pieces (often from the same company) that can later be attached to create a long-lasting toy and memory.
Ease of Installation
How easy is the swing set to install? Generally, most playsets are complex and challenging to put together. Some families choose to hire outside help or a handyman to ensure that their set goes up properly (and to save themselves the headache). However, the result is always stunning and the not-so-ease of assembly is worth it. Nevertheless, you want to ensure that you will be able to put up your swing set without too many complicated parts or issues.
Finally, you want to make sure that your new backyard playset has all the features that your kid will want! Does it have a slide, monkey bars, a rock wall, a rope wall, a sandbox, or an observation deck? How many swings can the beam accommodate and what kinds of swings are available? Does it have a “snack window” or other imaginative and play features? If you think it’s cool, your kid probably will too. (For example, we always love a good, bumpy, speedy slide.)
It’s important to take into account the durability, make, and safety of your playset—but don’t forget to have fun with the purchase too!
The Bottom Line of the Playground Sets for Kids
We’ve listed the five best swing sets we would put in our backyards and also given you a practical guide to choose the right one for your family! These playground sets are for those kids who love to play in the backyard, imagining far off lands and exciting adventures! Finding the best outdoor playset for your kids could mean opening up their world to new fun, play, and journeys! Swing on over to find the right set for you!