Best Metal Swing Sets

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
371 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best metal swing sets

Last Updated December 2019

If you’re looking for a way to entertain your family outdoors, it’s hard to find a better investment than a swing set. Not only do they provide hours of fun away from screens and electronics, they can help your kids develop motor skills, burn off excess energy, and even stimulate creativity with interactive role-playing exercises.

And while plastic and wood swing sets certainly have their appeal, the best metal swing sets stand apart for several reasons. The most obvious is durability, as a metal swing set will simply last longer than one made from alternative materials. In addition, metal versions have low maintenance requirements and feature expansive designs that resemble the mega-playsets you’ll find in public parks and playgrounds — nothing lights up the eyes of a child quicker.

Designed primarily for youngsters between the ages of 3 and 12, modern swing sets have clearly come a long way from the handmade tire swings of old. Read on to learn more. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our recommended models.

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, sets safety and durability standards for a wide range of materials, products, and services. If your swing set features an ASTM certification, rest assured that it’s of the highest quality.

Key considerations

Size

You’ll need a decent-sized yard to install a metal swing set, but there are options for properties of all shapes and sizes. Choose one that fits appropriately with your space, remembering to leave room for a safety zone of at least 6 feet in every direction around the structure. For the area around the swings themselves, you may want to leave even more. Also keep in mind that larger swings are heavier, harder to move around, and require longer assembly times.

Construction material

Considering the strain swing sets are under and the elements they’re exposed to, longevity is a huge selling point. That’s why metal swing sets sit at the top of the quality chart, as they’re sturdier and tougher than their alternatives. Powder-coated variants take it one step further, as the coating prevents rust and excessive heat buildup.

Other materials aren’t without their advantages, though. If it’s properly coated, polyethylene plastic stays cool even on hot days, and it’s generally cheaper than a metal unit of similar size. Wood certainly offers a unique rustic look, but it’s prone to rotting and splintering and requires more long-term maintenance than metal.

Swing setup

Swing sets offer an abundance of features, but the swings themselves are the main attraction. There are many varieties — web and bucket swings for little ones, standard belt swings, back-to-back horse-glider swings, tire swings, and even trapeze bar and ring swings for older kids and would-be acrobats. Choose the style that’s best for your family, and remember that swings fastened with metal triangles, chains, and S-hooks are significantly safer than plastic or rope substitutes.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many swing sets offer a modular design, where different components — swings, monkey bars, hanging bridges, etc. — can be placed on different sides for different configurations. This allows you to customize your set to your own space.

Features

Playhouses

Swings are the centerpiece of any outdoor play structure, but playhouse-style features turn them into full-fledged adventure zones. Generally consisting of a walled edifice with a roof for shade, playhouses can include chalkboards, ship’s wheels, observation viewfinders, tic-tac-toe games, eating areas, and other installations that let your kid’s imagination run wild. Some sets even have basketball hoops, soccer goals, and trampolines, but they aren’t a part of the main unit. Choose a set that fits with your child’s interests, because whether they dream of being a soccer star or a sea captain, there’s an option out there for them.

Climbing equipment

Climbing installations, like walls, nets, rings, and bars, improve physical strength, sharpen fine motor skills, and enhance hand-eye coordination. They’re also useful for building confidence. Climbing can be quite challenging for the developing body and mind, and conquering obstacles like this results in well-earned pride and satisfaction, which further encourages risk-taking.

Slides and poles

Sometimes it’s all about the dismount. Slides and poles offer a fun way for young ones (and brave adults) to get a different type of exercise on their swing set, and they can be great tools for building balance and spatial awareness. Slides are also helpful when teaching social skills, like cooperative play and sharing, as there’s often a wait to use them.

If you’re installing your swing set over hard ground, consider purchasing interlocking EVA foam tiles to place under and around the structure. If you prefer a more natural look, you can add a layer of protective mulch.

Metal swing set prices

Inexpensive: Basic metal sets can be purchased for as little as $120, but don’t expect more than a few simple swings and perhaps a small slide. These models also tend to be flimsier in their construction and are designed for young children.

Mid-range: In the $300 to $500 segment is where you really start to see high-quality designs and features that will keep your kids interested. You’ll find more swings for larger families here, as well as sturdier tube steel, bigger slides, and some climbing equipment.

Expensive: If you make the jump to high-end metal swing sets, expect to pay $1,000 or more. You’ll certainly get a lot for the money, though, including enclosed play forts with interactive equipment, multiple slide options, external activity stations, and the highest-quality frames and anchors.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Swing set structures often have sharp edges and joints that can pinch. Inspect these areas before buying, as many include rounded caps and soft rubber grips for extra safety.

Tips

  • Install your swing set over flat, clear ground with at least 6 feet of space in every direction around the structure. This improves stability, enhances safety, and prevents the swings from hitting objects as they move.
  • When installing your swing set, sort all your pieces first and label them if they aren’t already. Swing sets contain dozens if not hundreds of small parts, so extra organization up front will make the whole process easier.
  • Some swing sets don’t require anchoring, but you may want extra stability if you live in a windy area. To accomplish this, dig two-foot holes where each support post sits. Fix concrete anchors to each post, fill the holes with concrete, and place the posts while the material is still wet. Let the concrete harden for at least 24 hours before using.

Other products we considered

The benefits to swing sets are plentiful and so are your shopping options. The 40-Inch Metal Web Tree Swing from Super Deal is a great value, but its simplicity and lack of features kept it off our list of top picks. However, it may work well for those with small families or yards. The Flexible Flyer Play Park swing set also impressed us with its multiple swinging options and slide, but we felt similarly priced options offered more accessories.

Powder-coated metal doesn’t absorb heat like other materials, but there’s still a risk of temperature buildup in the hot sun. To reduce the risk of burns, orient your set’s slides and other metal surfaces to face north.

FAQ

Q. How does delivery work for large swing sets?
A.
Metal swing sets are big, heavy, and come in cumbersome boxes, so your standard Amazon or UPS delivery isn’t going to cut it. Metal swing sets are typically delivered to your home via semi or flatbed truck, where the driver uses a pallet jack to place the box near your doorstep or inside your garage. They may even place the set in your backyard for easy assembly, but it’s best to contact the seller before buying to get an accurate idea of what the process is like.

Q. How difficult are metal swing sets to assemble and what tools are needed?
A.
Basic metal swing sets may only take a couple hours to put together, but more complicated units — some of which are featured in our recommendations — are like IKEA furniture on steroids. These options can take eight hours or more to assemble and are best tackled over a couple days to preserve your sanity.

For these projects, read the assembly instructions before diving in, organizing the steps into larger chunks that are less daunting to cover. Then, inventory and separate the major parts, labeling things appropriately if they didn’t come that way.

As far as the tools required, you’ll likely need a level, a hammer, and a cordless drill with Phillips head and socket driver attachments. Don’t forget extra batteries.

Q. What are the best ways to maintain my swing set?
A.
High-quality metal swing sets will be strong, durable, and powder-coated to prevent corrosion. That doesn’t mean they’re maintenance-free, though. Check the nuts and bolts periodically to make sure they’re tightened down, and if scrapes and scratches cut through the powder coating, seal them appropriately to reduce the risk of rust. The best way to do this is to sand the area down, apply a rust-resistant primer, and either reapply the powder coat or cover with a non-lead-based paint.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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