We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
The best swing sets provide enjoyable, safe backyard fun for toddlers, school-aged children, and tweens.
A swing set's durability is of utmost importance; a well-made product keeps children safe and stands the test of time.
But which is the right swing set? You'll find all kinds of options out there, and it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. That's where we come in! At BestReviews, we want to help you pick the perfect swing set for your little ones. We're dedicated to writing the most honest and unbiased reviews out there.
We never accept free products from manufacturers. Instead, we buy products off of store shelves, test them in our labs, consult experts, and examine feedback from product owners.
Our ultimate goal: to become your go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations whenever you’re faced with a buying decision.
At the top of this page, you'll find descriptions of our five favorite scanners on the market. These highly rated products all qualify for our top-contender list.
Note: The above product recommendations were updated June 2017. The products below were our original choices and have yet to be updated.
A swing set's durability is a direct reflection of the quality of its materials. The best swing sets on the market are made of materials that ensure child safety and stay well-preserved in weather of all extremes.
Since most swing sets must be assembled by the purchaser, ease of installation is an important consideration. Some swing sets take hours to assemble while others take days. The quality of the parts and the clarity of the instruction manual are the main contributors to a swing set's ease of installation.
Kelle is a certified teacher, a leader of multiple children’s organizations, and a mother of two small children. Her professional network of colleagues and extensive knowledge of baby/child-related products makes her a valuable resource here at BestReviews. When she’s not caring for children or studying products, you may find Kelle engaging in watersports and other exercise.
Swing sets range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The price typically reflects the quality of the materials and the number of features offered. Cheaper sets are often made of "flimsy" metal, whereas more expensive sets tend to be constructed of hardy wood or industrial grade steel.
The best swing sets on the market sport features that keep children occupied and entertained. Common features include swings, a slide, and monkey bars, but the offerings vary from set to set.
You'll want at least six feet of empty space around the perimeter of your swing set to safely accommodate the swinging, jumping, and running of exuberant children.
The Skyfort comes un-assembled with sturdy cedar lumber and patented Safe-T-Lock hardware. According to customers from different regions of the U.S., the wood holds up well in extreme weather, both hot and cold. Most customers we surveyed said that, after the lengthy assembly processs, they had no problems with the set's sturdiness and overall quality. This is an exceptionally large and heavy set, but in spite of its weight, it needs to be anchored to keep it from lifting off the ground. Anchors are provided with the box set.
The Backyard Discovery Saratoga is a wood-based play structure made of pre-stained cedar. Owners give mixed reviews on this set's ability to withstand weather extremes; while some complain of slight cosmetic wear after a cold season, others say that the set continues to look "brand new" in spite of tough weather. This structure is sturdy enough to support kids and adults, but the wood has been known to chip and splinter, and some owners comment that the lumber is not as thick and substantial as they would have liked. Overall, our research suggests that the Saratoga is a durable structure with minor imperfections that don't have a significant impact on safety.
If your swing set is not exceptionally heavy, we recommend anchoring it to the ground to prevent tipping over.
We give the Lifetime A-Frame Swing Set top ratings for its exceptionally sturdy materials and durable construction. This set does not have the same number of features that some other sets do, but if you're looking for a simple, playground-quality structure that will stand the test of time, this is an excellent choice. Because this set is very heavy, anchoring is not required, but some owners choose to anchor the legs for extra security. The heavy steel poles and swing chains are powder-coated to prevent rust. The materials are solid enough to support both children and adults, and many parents confess that they like to play on this swing set as much as their children do.
The German-made Kettler Trimmstation is a superior-quality play set made of heavy-duty steel. The brightly colored bars are powder coated for a fade-resistant finish that holds up well for years, according to most of the owners we surveyed. Only one customer, a Florida resident who lives in an excessively rainy climate, reported any incidence of rust. We give the Trimmstation a high rating for its durability and playground-like quality. One satisfied owner calls it the “BMW of swing sets.”
The Flexible Flyer swing set consists of a metal frame with a powder-coated finish. Although most users do not report problems with rust on the frame, our research found that the bolts and other hardware on this set tend to rust rather quickly. Many users we surveyed reported structural issues with the Flexible Flyer, including rungs falling off the slide ladder and the see saw needing repair. One unhappy parent blamed the poorly made see saw for her child's broken arm; another complained that her children kept sliding off the “slippery” swings and hurting themselves. Overall, we give the Flexible Flyer a low durability rating because it does not appear to safely accommodate “vigorous” play.
To preserve the integrity of your investment, remove all plastic and wooden attachments (swings, rings, etc.) when the temperature dips below freezing.
This is an extremely well-made set, but it comes at a cost: its lengthy assembly time. One customer reported that, under the constraints of his busy lifestyle and full-time job, it took him five weeks to put the set together. The instruction manual is 100+ pages and contains many diagrams that some people find confusing. While a few customers we surveyed reported that their kit included a surplus of materials, others said their kit did not include all of the necessary wood and hardware. Overall, this is not an easy swing set to put together, but because kids really love it, most buyers find it worth their efforts in the end.
The Saratoga takes time to assemble. Most owners we surveyed said it took them between one and three days to put it together. While some customers complain that the Saratoga's pre-drilled holes are difficult to line up, others report no major construction problems. Two of the most valuable pieces of installation advice we gleaned from our research are as follows: use a level when assembling this set to ensure that it sits properly on the ground, and don't tighten the hardware until you are certain that the set is indeed level to the ground.
If you decide to put the swing set together yourself, be prepared for a lengthy process. Some take tens of hours to stand safely.
You'll need some muscle to put together the Lifetime A-Frame Swing Set. It's a heavy piece of equipment that is best assembled by two or three people. The owners we surveyed reported that it took them approximately one afternoon of hard labor to complete this project. The directions are clear and easy to understand, but some owners complain that the bolts don't easily fit into the holes. Elbow grease is needed during the final stage of assembly - when the top horizontal bar is attached to the A-frame. Several customers recommend using a C-clamp to bring all of these heavy parts together.
The Kettler's instruction manual consists of a series of pictures, not words. This manual style frustrated a few of the owners we surveyed. Parts are not labeled, but users report that if you sort the hardware before beginning construction, the process is a lot smoother. In general, installation takes less than one day, and the most difficult part is digging the deep holes needed to anchor this set in cement. The users we surveyed dug holes anywhere from 8 to 17 inches deep. The deeper the hole, the lower the Kettler will sit to the ground - an important fact to keep in mind if you have smaller children who might find the monkey bars and trapeze too high off the ground.
The Flexible Flyer is the easiest and quickest to install out of all the swing sets in our survey. Most owners report that it took them only an hour or two to assemble this set. Because it is less "solid" than the other play sets we reviewed, the Flexible Flyer definitely needs to be anchored to the ground. Anchors are included in the kit, but some owners choose to also use concrete for extra stability.
If your aim is to create an exciting adventure zone for your children, this is the swing set to buy. The Skyfort comes with a clubhouse and balcony that will make your kids the envy of all of their neighborhood friends. There's plenty for children to do: swing, share a glider ride, climb the rock wall, ride the wave slide, sit at the picnic table, or play in the sand box. If that's not enough, you can purchase add-on items such as a telescope, trapeze, steering wheel, and tic tac toe game. The only place your kids might find more outdoor fun is your local playground. Then again, they might not; this swing set is deluxe in every sense of the word, and it gives many public park sets a run for their money.
This is a fun swing set with something for everyone. The downstairs clubhouse features windows and a real door that opens and closes. Outside the door is a play bench covered by an awning, and atop the clubhouse is a play deck with an A-frame roof. Kids can access the upper deck by ascending the ladder or, for those who prefer the challenge, by swinging across the three metal monkey bars. The Saratoga also features two belt swings, a two-person glider, and an eight-food slide. Kids won't get bored on this set which is very similar to the Skyfort except that it has a few less bells and whistles.
Concrete can be used to firmly anchor the swing set to the ground, especially if the set is a lighter model.
We love this set for its sturdiness, but we're disappointed with its smaller-than-average number of structural offerings. For a price of $448, all you get are two swings and a trapeze. These pieces are extremely well made, but we worry that some children would miss the fun of the slide and glider swing that come standard with most sets. Thankfully, you can lower the swings and trapeze with an extra chain if they're too high off the ground. Overall, this set is a good choice for school-aged children who prefer swinging over other playground activities.
The Kettler Trimmstation's star attraction is its monkey bars, which are sturdy and fun for both kids and adults. It also comes with one board swing, a trapeze, and a climbing rope. Adding or swapping accessories is not as easy with this set as it is with the others we reviewed, although the Trimmstation does accommodate Kettler's separately sold baby swing. The major feature this swing set lacks is a slide, although some users have purchased a separate, free-standing slide from the Kettler company. The recommended age range for this set is 3-8, but most owners agree that it works best for children ages 5 and up.
This set includes three swings, a see saw, and a low-to-the-ground slide. The stated weight limit is 630 pounds, implying that up to six 10-year-olds could play on it at once, but most owners we surveyed agreed that this product is targeted more toward toddlers. We were disappointed to learn that both the slide and the see saw have durability issues which could threaten kids' safety. One owner described the Flexible Flyer as a “you get what you pay for” product.
Although swing sets with more attractions are pricey, they will also last longer and keep your children entertained beyond their preschool days.
The Skyfort is the most expensive swing set we surveyed, but we also found it to be the most "complete" package on offer. For $1640, you get a durable, all-cedar product with a large array of fun features. Installation takes time and work, but owners unanimously agree that the effort is worth it in the end. The Skyfort delivers hours of backyard fun to children of all ages.
For a price of $849, the Backyard Discovery Saratoga is like the Skyfort's younger, slightly inferior cousin. Like the Skyfort, it is constructed of durable cedar, but our surveys indicate that the wood tends to chip and splinter. The Saratoga has fewer bells and whistles than the Skyfort, but it's still a great buy if you're looking for an all-cedar play set with a clubhouse.
Don’t forget to measure out the size of your yard and consider how much space you are willing to sacrifice for the set.
The Lifetime's biggest benefit is its sturdy construction. The owners we surveyed love the fact that it is made of industrial grade, long-lasting steel. For a price of $448, however, we wish this set included more than just two swings and a trapeze.
At a cost of $649, the Trimmstation delivers high quality for a middle-of-the-road price. Although a slide is not included, some owners have purchased a separate, free-standing slide to complement their Kettler set. If you're looking for an exceptionally sturdy swing set and don't mind the extra effort of cementing it into the ground, this could be the right buy for you.
This swing set is by far the cheapest we reviewed. At only $212, some owners report complete satisfaction with their purchase. However, others state that they wish they hadn't bought this product because of its safety hazards and poor durability. Overall, we find the Flexible Flyer to be a risky purchase. If you're considering this swing set, keep in mind that most owners we surveyed found it to be more appropriate for toddlers than school-aged children.
The Skyfort All-Cedar Play Set is the very best swing set we reviewed. This quality structure has everything: slide, swings, glider swing, rock wall, clubhouse, play deck — even a crow's nest. If that's not enough, there are extra add-ons you can purchase for the Skyfort, such as a telescope, binoculars, and tic tac toe game. This apparatus is on par with the equipment you see in public parks and school playgrounds in terms of quality and fun. Owners report complete satisfaction with the sturdy, all-cedarwood construction of this play structure. If you've got the space in your yard and don't mind spending a little more money, this could be the perfect play set for you. We admit that the Skyfort is not the easiest piece of equipment to install, but the owners we surveyed say the effort was worth it in the end.
Children are entertained for hours in the Skyfort All-Cedar, exercising their bodies and stretching their imaginations with this all-inclusive play set.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.