How Do I Choose the Best Backyard Swing Set?

Dan Cavallari

In the past, the best option for a backyard swing set was a metal contraption that could rust and bend or break easily. More modern designs use other materials that are less prone to rusting or corroding, and they can be safer for the children playing on the backyard swing set. Before you head out to the store to purchase a swing set, measure the space in which you intend to set up the unit. Don't forget to measure the available height, as overhead lines or tree branches may interfere with the top of the swing set.

Some larger swing sets include additional features like monkey bars.
Some larger swing sets include additional features like monkey bars.

Once you have a clear determination as to how large of a backyard swing set you can purchase, think about the materials you would prefer. Common materials include certain types of metals, woods, composites, and plastics. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, and the cost of the backyard swing set will be affected according to which materials are used. Metal swing sets made from low grade steel will rust after time, and the legs of the unit will be susceptible to bending; this is, however, one of the least expensive options. Wood is much more expensive, and it is generally durable and attractive. Wood will require some maintenance as well, as the wood can splinter or crack as it dries out.

Modern swing sets use materials that are less prone to rust and corrosion.
Modern swing sets use materials that are less prone to rust and corrosion.

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Composite materials and plastics are the most commonly used materials on the most modern backyard swing set models. Such swing sets will be more expensive than metal ones, and in some cases wooden ones, but they will require less maintenance and will have a very long life. Composite materials are less susceptible to water damage such as warping or cracking, though some can fade in color over time and with continued exposure to the elements. If you choose a composite or plastic backyard swing set, be sure to choose a set that uses high grade plastics that do not bend easily and will not crack or warp when exposed to sunlight.

Larger swing sets tend to have more features, while smaller sets may only feature two swings. Decide how many features you want for the backyard swing set, and remember that larger sets will cost more money. Some additional features include climbing ladders, slides, monkey bars, and other climbing structures. Be sure these structures are stable and safe, and make sure the features are not set so high that a child can get seriously injured if he or she falls.

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