Are Swing Sets Worth It? Cost Vs Quality Analysis


Every summer parents are faced with the dreaded words booming from their children’s mouths. “I’m bored.” Not only do parents loathe hearing this, but children do not enjoy feeling this way. One way to keep your children entertained and outdoors is with a swing set. But, some can be quite costly.

Swing sets are highly beneficial to families with children, particularly in providing an area for active play that is outdoors. However, choosing a swing set that is worth its cost will depend on your family’s needs, budget, space, and more. Buying or building a swing set that will get used, will be worth the cost.

Of course, every family’s needs, budget, space, and other components that play into a decision will vary. With this said, it is important to do the research on various models of swing sets to determine the model that will be right for you and your family. Almost every child (and often adults) can enjoy a swing set. It’s just important to pick the right one.

Are Swing Sets Worth the Money?

When choosing a swing set for your family, pricing is probably going to fall into one of the top factors for consideration. Considering that swing sets range from $200 budget swing sets to $4,000 luxury swing sets, the costs are clearly variable. To say that a budget swing set is right for your family or that the luxury swing set will be worth its cost is ultimately up to you.

In short, yes, swings sets are definitely worth the money if you buy the right one for you. If only for keeping the kids outside and the house quite for a bit.

There are many reasons that swing sets are worth the money. Whether making your own or buying a pre-made swing set, this backyard piece provides hours of fun for your children. With larger families, this can save in costs of other sorts of summer entertainment.

Though, the amount you spend on a swing set might not be directly indicative of how much fun it will provide.

When you see that your neighbor has just installed a swing set that you can see from miles away, it might make you think that this is something you need for your kid, too. While this might be true, and your child might enjoy a luxury, high-quality swing set, this might not necessarily be the case.

Some swing sets with more moderate price tags will provide just as many fun-filled memories as a more expensive model. Again, this is all about considering the needs, budget, space, and more for your family. In making the decision that will be right for you and your family.

Swing sets can be worth the money when you choose to invest in a quality swing set that fits your needs and budget.

When playing outdoors is not something they are exposed to as often, then repeat exposure, a positive mindset, and engaging with your children on the swing set the first few times (i.e. showing them how to use it enthusiastically) can help to shift their mentality.

It is possible that this could take some effort on your part, but you will thank yourself later when the swings are full and the living room is quiet for even just a few moments in the summer.

Cost Vs Quality

When deciding on a swing set, you’ll want to look at the features it offers and which ones will get the most use from your group. Here’s a list of the most common things you’ll see on a swing set.

  • Swings (of course)
  • Slide
  • Rock wall or climbing wall
  • Ladders
  • Stairs
  • Flying saucer
  • Baby swing
  • Monkey bars
  • Climbing rope
  • See-saw

Knowing what your swing set needs to have, and what would be a cool add-on before you start looking can help you narrow down your decision. There’s a lot of options out there online now to choose from. So start with an idea of what you’re looking for to keep from getting overwhelmed.

A simple swing set with 2 swings can be found for under $200, while a model with all the bells and whistles will be well over $1000. In my experience, a swing set in the 300-400 dollar range is a good compromise, and offers the best cost for the quality.

Let’s go over the most popular swing sets being sold today to give you an idea of what you’re looking at. Then, we’ll cover more about how to pick the right swing set below.

Popular Swing Sets

These are some of the most popular and highly rated swing sets on the market today. All of these options have great reviews and high ratings, but they all come in at different price ranges. This way you can see what you could expect to get out of your budget.

Top Basic Swing Set Pick

The XDP Recreation Free N’ Swing Swing Set (link to Amazon) is our top pick for a standard backyard swing set. With great reviews and enough add-ons to keep a bunch of kids busy, this is great pick at a reasonable cost.

Components:

  • Galvanized Swing Frame
  • Swing Seats
  • See-Saw
  • Super Disc Swing
  • Wave Slide
  • Foam Covers
  • Chain with PVC Covers

There’s enough extras with this set to keep the kids busy for longer periods of time. The main complaints with this set are that it doesn’t come with any ground anchors. Not many do, and Swing Set Ground AnchorsOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon) will cost you another 20-30 dollars. But overall, this is one of the best swing sets if you want some added components.

Here’s what XDP Recreation advertises with this set:

  • Galvanized Steel Frame with 5-Year Warranty
  • 5 play stations allows up to 7 Kids can play at once
  • 100 pound capacity per seat/play and recommended age use of 3-8 years
  • Foam frame leg guards are included for additional safety
  • Swing Set is ASTM and CPSIA compliant

Top Premium Swing Set Pick

The Backyard Discovery Mount McKinley All Cedar Wood Swing SetOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon is our top premium swing set pick. With slides, ladders, rock walls, and climbing ropes; this swing set is more like your very own play ground. With quality materials (all cedar) and some of the best ratings out there, this is a great option for under $1000.

There are of course, bigger (and more expensive) premium swing sets. But this one checks all the boxes for a good price. The only complaints are about assembly being a bit of a project. But most people agree, it’s totally worth the effort.

Components:

  • Full width, double rock wall with climbing rope offers a much larger climbing structure that can allow 1 or 2 children to use at the same time.
  • 6. 5 ft. Rope ladder extends higher than normal rope ladders and offers another entry point to large upper clubhouse.
  • With safety in mind, We added flat step rungs which provides a safe and easy entry point for kids of all abilities.
  • Multi-position, single piece swing beam is made of solid cedar wood and attached with heavy duty, powder coated steel brackets.
  • Wave slide featuring higher rails than leading competitors, providing additional safety All the way down.
  • Large open air upper fort with over 16 square feet of space
  • Full 1-Year as well as a 5-year pro-rated on wood. Maximum children: 9

Low Cost Swing Set (Budget Pick)

The Sportspower My First Metal Swing Set with SlideOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon) is our best budget pick. This swing set does have a slide and hang bar, but not many other add-ons. But, for under $180, it’s a great deal for a simple backyard swing set.

Although this set had great reviews, there were some complaints about its construction, and the set being wobbly. That’s to be expected with a low cost option like this, but many still feel this swing set is worth its cost.

As Advertised:

  • Kids outdoor play set with 2 swing seats, 1 trapeze, and 1 slide for up to 4 children at once
  • Swing and twirl on the trapeze for more active play, while all swing chains are able to be adjusted for optimal experience
  • Crafted from 2-inch heavy duty weather-resistant steel tubes and hardware with a powder-coated paint finish for superior durability
  • Meets or exceeds ASTM safety standards and includes foam-padded legs to make playtime even safer; components are pre-drilled for assembly
  • Ideal for medium to large backyards; measures 89″L x 89″W x 74″H; supports kids weighing up to 100 lbs. each, up to 400 lbs. total

Mid-Range Swing Set Pick

The Ranger Wooden Swing Set with SwingsOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon) is our mid-range swing set pick. This wooden set is made of solid material, has great reviews, but come with no extra add-ons. This is meant to be a simple, quality, solution for a backyard swing set.

This set does come with ground anchors, and for under $300 the reviews are excellent. There were a couple complaints about cracks in the wood after some time of use. That could be a hassle to deal with getting replacements if that happens to you. But overall, this set is a winner.

As Advertised:

  • Intended for backyard residential use only
  • Measures 104″L x 92″W x 82″H when fully assembled; Swing Chain Material: Plastisol coated chain prevents pinched fingers and will not rust
  • Includes all wood, hardware, and fully illustrated instructions needed to assemble play set
  • Features two swing seats and a ring/trapeze combination swing, all with pinch free coated chains
  • Each swing supports up to 115 pounds
  • Classic design that is easy to assemble
  • Meets and/or exceeds ASTM safety standards for backyard residential use only

High-End Swing Set Pick

The Gorilla Playsets Outing Wood Swing SetOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon) is our high-end swing set pick. With swings, a slide, ladder, rock wall, rope, and other add-ons; this swing set is another playground. You can even add an additional tube slide (for extra cost) out of the back of the covered play area.

Included Components:

  • Includes an alpine wave slide
  • Rock wall
  • Climbing rope
  • Safe entry ladder
  • 2 belt swings
  • Trapeze swing
  • Built-in sandbox area
  • Steering wheel
  • Telescope

This really is a quality, high-end, pick, and for just over $1000, you get what you pay for. This company is known for it’s quality materials, and the reviews reflect that. The only complaints were with assembly. But you should expect assembly to be a bit difficult with this size of swing set.

As Advertised:

  • Comes ready-to-assemble with step-by-step assembly manual
  • all required hardware
  • all lumber is pre-cut and pre-sanded at the factory – even the main beams are pre-drilled to reduce the time of assembly
  • 3-stations provide space for the included belt swings and trapeze bar
  • Play deck height of 4 feet provides ample room for children to play under the deck
  • Recommended for children aged 3 to 11 years
  • Solid 3 in. x 3 in. wood framing and 3-3/8” x 5-3/8” x 95” swing beam

How to Pick the Right Swing Set?

So you are on board with getting a swing set for your children, and you are determined that your children will not complain of boredom this summer. But, with so many options available, how do you choose the swing set that is right for you and your family?

To pick the right swing set:

  • First begin by prioritizing your family’s needs, space, and budget
  • Consider creating a list of “must-have” features and determine a price point that you will not exceed
  • Then, compare models that include warranties, are built of different materials, and will ultimately fit in the aesthetic of your backyard
  • Do not forget to include the installation costs in your budget unless you plan to assemble the swing set yourself

Clearly, there are many different components that go into picking the right swing set. It’s important to make the personalized decision that is best for you and your family. Otherwise, you might not feel like you are not getting the best value out of the swing set, which could lead to you regretting the decision to purchase it in the first place.

To be satisfied in your selection of a swing set for your family, follow these guidelines to pick the right one:

Prioritize your family’s needs

Think about the different things that your children already like to do. Do they enjoy climbing on your furniture? Consider a climbing wall. Do you have children that range in ages from toddler to teen? Consider a model that has age-appropriate attachments and pieces or one that can feature many different components.

Prioritize your family’s space

You will need to consider the logistics of choosing the right swing set. If you do not want one that will take up your entire yard, then you need to consider the dimensions that you do not wish to exceed. If you have a larger yard, you might have more wiggle room here, but it is still important to consider your space and the placement of your future swing set.

Prioritize your family’s budget

The budget that you come up with for a swing set will be highly personalized to your family. Nobody can tell you how much or how little to spend on a swing set, and being confident in your decision will help you to feel comfortable spending on the swing set of your choice in the long run. At first, try to develop a range that you will look at options in.

Create a list of “must-have” features

As you begin your research, you might become overwhelmed by the number of available features on a swing set. While some might sound enticing, it is important to consider which features your family will actually use. Again, this will also depend on the age and number of children in and around your family during the summer months.

Additionally, if you are consistently the “fun” house that hosts lots of play-dates, be sure to consider the number of spots available on the swing set itself.

Instead of having to listen to children argue about the number of swings, for example, you can guide them to other features like the see-saw or the rock climbing wall.

Determine a price point that you will not exceed

Going back to your budget, once you have begun to review the options that are available, you can take a look at your “must-have” features and determine the highest price point that you are willing to reach. By giving yourself a maximum price tag, you will ensure that you and your family will be comfortable in this buying decision in the end.

This can be an effective budgeting component in principle, anyways. Spending more than you are initially willing to spend can cause you to regret the decision and feel ill-will towards the backyard accessory.

But, choosing to stay within your budget (and not exceed the highest price point that is appropriate for your family) will help you to have more confidence in the decision and feel that the swing set was worth the money in the end.

Compare models made of different materials

One of the variables that has the most influence on the cost of your swing set is going to be the material that it is made from. Choosing a model like cedar will protect from wear and weather better than other wood options. An option like vinyl will ultimately cost much more, but you should not have to worry about upkeep at all.

Compare warranties that come with your swing set options

Many high-quality, luxury swing sets come with warranties that last up to 20 years. This is honestly pretty impressive to consider that the swing set will likely outlast your children and not vice versa. If you are willing to spend a little more on a higher quality swing set, be sure that the company believes in its own product by providing a long warranty.

Include the installation and assembly costs

Another side note to be sure to include in your budget are any costs for installation and assembly. You might have to level out your yard or add some type of surface to make the ground even. Additionally, you might need a professional who delivers the swing set to help you assemble it.

These costs can add up quickly, so be sure to include this in your total budget.

Allow your children to participate in the decision

Though your children might not even know what they want, it is often a good idea to allow them to participate in the decision. This can help them to engage in the idea of the swing set before it has even arrived.

To help with this process, use simple decisions that will not overwhelm your children. For example, instead of asking them “what they like”, consider asking them if they would prefer monkey bars or a rock climbing wall. This will allow you to provide them with options that are realistic based on the models you are considering that fall in your budget.

If you come to find out that you need a custom swing set, consider building one yourself. Check out our How To Build A Swing Set article for a step by step guide.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

Recent Content