Best Swing Set - HAPPY PIE PLAY&ADVENTURE Nostalgic Children to Adult Wooden Hanging Swings Seat

Best Swing Set for Those Priceless Backyard Moments

It’s easy to determine the world’s best swing set when you’re a kid. It’s always the one you’re playing on, no matter the location — your backyard, the school playground, a friend’s house, or someplace else.

Parents don’t have it as easy. Shopping for the best swing set requires striking the right balance between several variables, starting with the size of your budget.

Plastic or metal? Swings only or slide too?

How big should it be? Which part of the lawn is best?

HAPPY PIE PLAY&ADVENTURE Adult Super Big Wood Tree Hanging Swings SeatImage from Amazon

Sifting through the choices to find the world’s best swing set is one of those milestone decisions in the life of a family. Get it right, and it will provide unforgettable moments of fun, laughter, and love. Do your homework, and you’ll be sure to deliver priceless backyard memories.

What’s the best swing set? You’ll know it the first time you hear your little ones gleefully cry: “give us an UNDERDOG!” Some things never change. Other things, like swing sets themselves, do.

On This Day in Swing Set History

Backyard Discovery Skyfort IIImage from Amazon

The backyard swing set is a relatively recent phenomenon. But the urge to swing — to experience flying, without wings — definitely is not.

Archeological discoveries including drawings in caves and other artifacts suggest a deep fascination with swinging, perhaps as long ago as 1450 B.C.

The first examples of swings “may have been fashioned from plant fiber and woody vines of tropical jungles,” according to the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York,

The first swing sets in the United States date to the early 1800s, but were anchored in nature, the Toy Hall of Fame indicates. If you had a tree, you could establish a swing for your children.

The concept of public playgrounds began spreading toward the end of the 19th Century and into the beginning of the 20th Century. A key milestone was the formation of the Playground Association of America, which advocated for play spaces to help with the physical and emotional development of youth.

Skyfort IIImage from Amazon

The popularity of backyard swing sets came into its own in post-World War II America, according to Backyard Discovery, a maker of playsets.

In the decades since, home swing sets and playsets have evolved to feature different materials and different configurations to capture youthful imaginations.

The sets provide more option and are safer than ever, but there’s still plenty of think about before you buy.

How to Pick Out the Best Swing Set

Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing SetImage from Amazon

The first and most important factor in selecting the best swing set: Know your child.

Today’s swing sets will clearly state the age ranges they support. But even then, consider your child’s unique personality before you decide. What activities will he or she most enjoy? Do you just want swings, or would you like to add on a slide or a rope climb or a jungle gym?

You’re also going to have to know your yard. You want to place the set on flat ground with enough clearance at the front and the back — sometimes this is required. Children are known to appreciate the flying forward dismount, after all.

Consider what materials fit your style and budget. Plastic and metal sets tend to be lower on the price range but are geared toward younger and lighter children. Wood sets tend to be more expensive but will usually last longer.

The material you choose will impact the challenges of installation. If you’re someone who wants to do it yourself, and you choose a wood set, you’ll need skills with a measuring tape, a hammer, a saw, and other tools. Or you’ll need some extra budget to hire professional installers. Metal sets tend to be a little easier to construct.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you should take time to think through issues of safety. Swingsets have their hazards, so you’re going want to make sure you read reviews and consider the safety recommendations and record from the manufacturer you choose.

Follow the directions to the letter — for instance, one company stresses that you should use only commercial-grade hardware. You don’t want protruding bolts or screws to create scratches, or worse!

Safety Rules!

Backyard Discovery Big Brutus Heavy Duty Metal Swing SetImage from Amazon

Safety is essential even after building the best swing set for our family.

You’re going to want to teach your kids and their friends to follow some basic safety rules. This may well impact which set you choose as the best swing set.

Backyard Discovery Big BrutusImage from Amazon

Even with a buffer zone, make sure your children know to avoid walking near friends and family who are swinging, either in front or back.

As well, kids shouldn’t stand on swings (though they will try to — didn’t we do that when we were young too?) The swings are made to be operated from a seated, balanced position.

One element you can control as the adult owner of the playset is ongoing maintenance. Make sure you regularly examine all the nuts and bolts on a swing — perhaps as often as twice a month during peak months, according to PlayNation.com. You want to spot any situations early-on where bolts have come loose.

Also, as the years go on, look at swings and other parts of the set for cracks or other signs of wear. Sometimes aging from the weather can catch up on you.

All that said, don’t go into the world of swinging with fear. Follow a few basic rules, such as these from Good Housekeeping, and the best swing set will give you memories to last a lifetime.

How We Selected the Best Swing Set

Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing SetImage from Amazon

Americans love their playthings. And so do publications and media organizations established to keep parents informed of the smartest choices. To build our list of best swing sets, we consulted reviews and recommendations from publications both in the lifestyle category as well as those focused on parenting and the family.

Our list of resources included Family Living Today, Good Housekeeping, The Spruce.com, Gardener’s Path, and Heavy.com. We also looked at reviews in mass-market publications such as the Chicago Tribune and others, as well as Amazon.com — with a particular emphasis on customer feedback.

From our analysis, we selected swing sets that will appeal to various age groups. And we’re confident you’re going to find one that fits your definition of the best swing set.

The Best Swing Set for Priceless Backyard Moments

Plastic. Wood. Metal. Surprisingly enough, the best swing set could come from any of these materials.

Notably, some might just offer positions for swinging. Others provide an all-around experience involving slides, and climbs and clubhouses. For older kids, there may even be an opportunity to go back to nature and use a tree branch as you anchor.

The best swing set will always be the one you have in your backyard. Follow our advice, and you’ll be a backyard hero in no time.

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Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Wooden Swing Set

Backyard Discovery Skyfort II All Cedar Wood Swing Set
  • Elevated play: Backyard Discovery offers a large, raised Clubhouse on the sky fort II featuring a wooden roof, trimmed...
  • Crow’s nest: the elevated crow’s nest with telescope provide a rare Feature that will bring out imagination and...
  • Lower fort: a lower deck packs in ground level fun by including a snack stand picnic table as well as a sandbox area,...

Why settle for swings when you can build a fort in the sky? That’s the question behind the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Wooden Swing Set. This set will allow your kids to move their play to another level.

The Skyfort II offers three swinging positions – two for belt swings, one for a two-person glider swing. But that’s just the start of the fun.

As the name suggests, the centerpiece of the Skyfort II is a raised clubhouse, complete with a wooden roof, bay windows, a covered entryway, and – get this – a porch! It provides a place for kids to escape the sun or enjoy a snack.

The set also comes with a crow’s nest with a telescope to encourage imagination and a rock wall for climbing skills.

Pros

  • Multiple play options
  • Three swing positions
  • Clubhouse for shaded rest

Cons

  • Footprice – set requires a big lot
  • Assembly – not a one-person job
  • Cost, this is not a budget item

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Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set

Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set, Primary Colors
  • Featuring 3 Belt Swings 9-ft. Wavy Slide All-Weather Resistant – Will Not Crack, Warp, Rot, or Splinter
  • Fireman's Pole, Free-Standing – No Need for Cement, Gym Rings
  • Hard Edges are Rounded or Covered with Plastic Caps

Perhaps your brood isn’t the sky fort type. Don’t fret. Many swing sets offer other pathways to activity, such as the Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set made by Lifetime, in a more streamlined fashion.

The Monkey Bar Adventure features three swing positions, all of them for belt swings. But it also offers a set of other activities –- primarily a 9-foot wavy slide that the company promises will not “crack, rot, warp, or splinter.”

While there is no clubhouse in this set, your kids can also climb across a set of monkey bars, use the fireman’s pole, or get acrobatic on a trapeze bar with a set of rings.

Pros

  • Three swing positions
  • 9-foot wavy slide
  • UV resistant

Cons

  • Pretty pricey
  • Lower-quality hardware
  • Slide too high for young children

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Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing Set

Gorilla Playsets 01-0021 Nantucket Wood Swing Set with Wood Roof, Two...
  • Tongue and Groove wood roof protects from the elements
  • Recommended for ages 3 to 11 years old
  • 3-stations provide space for the belt swings and trapeze bar

It’s probably OK to assume that a swing set/playset made by Gorilla is built to take a beating that even a gorilla could dish out. Interestingly, the Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing occupies a smaller footprint than others on this list but is still full of fun and possibility. It’s worth a look as your best swing set.

The Nantucket offers three swing positions, one of which can be used for a trapeze bar. It also comes with a smaller wave slide, as well as a free-form open clubhouse –- definitely a place where the kids can take a breather or wait out a rainstorm.

Additional features in the Nantucket Swing Set include a rock wall with climbing rope as well as a separate safe entry ladder to the clubhouse.

Pros

  • 10 separate activities
  • Three swing positions
  • Sturdiness

Cons

  • Cost, not a budget item
  • Assembly – took one customer eight hours to build
  • Inconsistent customer support

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Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension

Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension
  • Climber has roomy deck with balcony railing
  • 5 1/2 foot slide; Adult assembly required
  • Secret playhouse with door and crawl-through portals

Not every parent is up for a neighborhood-sized construction project. That’s not to say they couldn’t do it, but sometimes either the budget or the age of the kids won’t allow them to go big. If you’re in this category, consider the Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber and Swing Set Extension.

The Naturally Playful Playhouse combination set is made of plastic, allowing it to come together (or apart for moving) reasonably easily. The Playhouse includes two belt-swing positions and a more manageable 5.5-foot slide. This alone makes it a contender for best swing set.

Your kids will enjoy the mystery of a secret below-deck playhouse as well as a ladder that leads to a deck (with a safety balcony railing.) The playhouse offers portals and windows for fun escapes to work out your kids’ fine motor skills.

Pros

  • Easy-to-assemble
  • Lightweight for relocation
  • Appeals to younger children

Cons

  • Assembly directions hard to follow
  • Tight space for kids to maneuver
  • Inconsistent service

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Backyard Discovery

Backyard Discovery Woodridge II All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set
  • A woodridge swing set with an enormous upper backyard fort, porch and even a crow's nest. There are also a lower...
  • Heavy duty Backyard Discovery kids fort with wood roof. Covered side porch with 5-ft high sun deck. An elevated tunnel...
  • Railings surround the lower wooden playdeck with a bench seat and a sandbox for kids in this large swing set

Sometimes kids just want to swing. For that, we recommend you consider the Backyard Discovery.

Big Brutus offers three swing positions with two belt swings, and a trapeze bar included. Additionally, it’s free-standing with molded feet and built-in anchors.

We liked the super durable swing chains. Some kids just want to go high, and these will give you the durability you can trust. The swings themselves are manufactured to be low-maintenance, resisting even some of the harshest conditions.

Big Brutus is rated for kids 36 months to 10 years of age.

Pros

  • Affordability
  • Safe – heavy-duty construction
  • Easy assembly, directions available on the app

Cons

  • Assembly – more than a one-person job
  • Only a swing set

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Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing Set with Ladder Climber

Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing Set with Ladder Climber and UV...
  • Swinging burns calories and engages muscle groups, particularly hamstrings and quadriceps
  • Monkey Bar -Builds arm strength and helps keep off excess weight through exercise; Also the arms, shoulders and chest...
  • Ladder Climb -Helps grow a kid's sense of balance and co-ordination; Climbing on bars strengthens both arm and leg...

It could be that Big Brutus strips things down too far for you and your family. If so, then consider the Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing Set with Ladder Climber as a candidate for best swing set.

The Ironkids Challenge is mostly focused on swinging but includes a couple of additional features. For example, the set consists of a ladder for climbing, a glider for two-person swinging, and two swing positions.

The set builds in a UV protective sunshade. While it’s not a clubhouse, it’s still a way for the kids to continue enjoying their swing time without melting in the heat.

In addition to the glider and belt swing, the set also comes with a position for a monkey bar.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Sunshade design provides UV protection
  • Multiple activities in a small footprint

Cons

  • Tricky assembly — screws connect inside pipes
  • Inconsistent customer support
  • Unsturdy feel

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Lifetime 90188 Playset

Lifetime 90188 Playset, Children’s Picnic Table and Bucket Swing...
  • Bundle includes: 1 a-frame playset, 1 children Picnic Table and 1 bucket swing
  • Clubhouse with hardtop roof, 9-Ft. Wavy slide, 1 trapeze bar and 2 belt swings
  • All-weather resistant – will not crack, warp, rot, or splinter

Our last candidate for best swing set is one that offers additional value outside the A-frame that makes your swing set. In addition to swings, the Lifetime 90188 Playset comes with a children’s picnic table and a bucket safety swing. Significantly, for parents on the go, the four-seat picnic table is easily folded for transit to the park or grandma’s house.

The set itself has plenty to keep your children happy. In addition to the two belt swings, there is room for a trapeze bar. Your kids can also escape beneath a clubhouse with a hardtop roof and take a ride down the 9-foot wavy slide.

Lifetime promises that the set will last through all kinds of weather, resisting rot, or warping.

Pros

  • Very sturdy
  • Multiple activities, including a picnic table
  • Accessories available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Assembly – confusing instructions
  • Requires ladder to install roof

(Bonus) Who needs a swing set to swing?

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You don’t necessarily need to invest in a full-fledged swing set to give your little ones the thrill of swinging. That’s because sometimes the best moments are made from spur of the moment inspiration — particularly for children at the younger end of the spectrum.

For those little ones, we offer the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Grow With Me Swing. This is a safety swing with a T-bar that can be made portable — attaching to a sturdy tree branch, for example, or taken to grandma’s for the afternoon.

Notably, one of the nice things about the swing is it can adapt according to the needs of your child. If necessary, you can secure him or her with a T-bar and straps, but you can also remove these as the child gets older.

For less than a family trip to McDonald’s and some ingenuity, you can have instant swing fun.

Swinging and Singing

As we’ve said, the mind of a child, the best swing set is the one you can get to the fastest. But the designs of modern playsets have grown to be highly sophisticated, offering children multiple enjoyable play options.

Determining the best swing set will be a very personal decision because it involves understanding what your child can do and wants to do. It also means having insights into how your child will grow and the ability to envision where your set will fit!

When you come right down to it, the swing set represents a snapshot in the life of your child growing up. Choose for fun, choose for safety, but most of all, choose for the memories it will bring.

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