We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Commercial Playground Equipment?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The world of commercial playground equipment has grown immensely in the past ten years. Gone are the days of playgrounds with one or two slides, something to spin on and a simple jungle gym. Modern playground equipment is made of a dizzying array of materials, comes in hundreds of shapes and colors, and provides every sort of stimulus imaginable.

A commercial playground begins with the structure of the ground. Classically, substances such as wood chips or mulch were used to provide a somewhat soft landing for children. These materials could cut and gouge, however, and might contain splinters. Many modern playgrounds now use soft synthetics such as PermaLife as a base. With these rubberized floors, children can fall without risking scratches or bruises.

While most commercial playground equipment was at one time made out of either metal or wood, plastics are becoming more and more common in the modern playground. Not only are plastics softer, resulting in fewer injuries, but they also allow for easier installation and come in a wide assortment of colors. Commercial playgrounds can now captivate children's visual sense as they provide physical entertainment.

Commercial playground equipment can be divided into five main types: sliding, spinning, balancing, hanging, and climbing.

Slides may be covered or uncovered, made of steel or plastic, bumpy or smooth, curving or straight, and with or without a jump at the end. They range from short four foot (1.2m) to tall twelve foot (3.6m) models, and may be stand-alone with a ladder or attached to a larger play structure.

When most people think of spinning playground equipment, they think of the classic roundabout, a large metal disc children can sit on while it is spun. A more modern variant of the spinning toy features a straight pole with a curve at the top and a small standing platform at the base; by standing on the platform, starting oneself spinning, and pulling one's center of gravity in, greater speed can be achieved than with the classic roundabout. As more and more commercial playgrounds remove older roundabouts due to safety concerns, these modern spinning toys are replacing them.

Balance beams, log rolls, and stepping stones are just some of the many pieces of commercial playground equipment that aid in the development of a good balance sense. These offer good ground-level activities for a playground while helping to build important dexterity skills.

There are many different pieces of equipment for hanging activities. From traditional monkey bars, to rolling bars, to strange shapes and twists, to hanging trapezes, there are enough options to challenge a wide range of ages and skill levels.

Climbing activities are one of the newer areas of commercial playground equipment. These come in one of three main configurations: a large flat plane with bubbles to hold on to and climb, similar to a climbing wall; cargo net configurations; or bar lattices akin to angled monkey bars.

A relatively new area of innovation in commercial playground equipment is a focus on activity panels, such as alphabet boards, large mirrors, or spinning blocks with images and words. With more developmental psychologists being brought on board for the major creators of playground equipment, it is likely that new and exciting pieces of playground equipment will continue to emerge in the years to come.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon320823 — On Feb 19, 2013

Some of my best memories from my childhood were on commercial playground equipment. There's this gorgeous playground near my house with some of the coolest climbing equipment I've ever seen. I love how creative architects are getting now. I can't wait to take my kids to them!

By mutsy — On Aug 24, 2010

Suntan12- You know Little Tykes commercial grade playground equipment is also popular with daycares.

Much of the Little Tykes commercial playground equipment is made of sturdy plastic with beautiful bright colors.

Usually the playhouse and the swing set are a must to any outdoor swing set.

By suntan12 — On Aug 24, 2010

Greenweaver-My favorite commercial grade playground equipment are the seesaws and the sandboxes. I used to love riding a seesaw when I was little.

I also like the spinning top. You would get on and paddle the merry-go-round with your feet, and once it picked up speed, you lifted up your feet and enjoyed the ride. You could also have someone push you on it which is just as fun.

By GreenWeaver — On Aug 24, 2010

Cupcake15- Commercial grade playground equipment should be really sturdy in order to provide safety for children.

Commercial indoor and outdoor playground equipment also includes rock climbing walls that can be used and for up to 50 children ages 5 to 12. These commercial playground equipment prices can range from $2000 $21,000.

Many of these companies offer playground surfacing in the form of wood chips, safety tiles, or sand for an additional fee. This also provides safety for children because when they fall on something soft.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 24, 2010

Anon53416- I agree with you. You know an outdoor playground would not be complete without a playground slide.

It could be a be a simple one in which the children climb up a ladder and then slide down, or it could be as elaborate as the tunnel slide that is used in many water parks.

Commercial playground equipment swings are also a must for any outdoor playground. These swings have the U. shaped swings for older children, or the round harness swings for younger children. This is my children's favorite part of the playground.

By anon53416 — On Nov 21, 2009

Really great post on the different types of commercial playground equipment.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.