The best swing sets of 2024

Here are the best swing sets to make your backyard into your kid’s dream playground.
The best swing sets let your kids have fun without leaving home.

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A swing set can be lots of fun for kids and also provide parents with recreation right in the backyard. When the weather is nice, nothing beats letting little kids run around outside to expend energy. But if you’re buried in the demands of work and parenthood, you may not always have time to take the little ones to the playground or the park. We’ve rounded up our recommendations of the best swing sets will have them sliding and climbing for hours, right in the safety of your own backyard.

How we chose the best swing sets

Swing sets can provide years of fun for your kids right in the backyard, but as they’re typically a big purchase that often comes with additional costs, like delivery, assembly, and add-ons, choosing can be a daunting task. Of course, safety considerations are paramount, as are size, durability, and price. Depending on its complexity, building a swing set can also be a challenge, so we took into account the ease of assembly. We considered options from trusted brands such as Backyard Discovery, Little Tikes, and KidKraft in making our recommendations. We also looked for kids’ swing sets that will provide new challenges and opportunities for fun for children as they get older.

The best swing sets: Reviews & Recommendations

Kids are notorious for getting bored easily, so any swing set you purchase should have enough features to hold their attention. Our recommendations will help you find the right playground sets for backyards for the age of your children, the size of your yard, the features you want, and your budget.

Best overall: Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 175 inches D x 178 inches W x 128 inches H
  • Materials: Polyethylene (plastic), steel 
  • Weight: 505 pounds
  • Age suitability: 3 to 12 years old

Pros

  • Serves a range of ages
  • Comes with swings, slide, clubhouse, climbing ladder, storefront, and more
  • Available in three colors

Cons

  • Some users say it’s not easy to assemble

An outdoor swing set is a major purchase that will likely spend years in your backyard. That’s why it’s smart to pick one that will keep your kids entertained from when they are toddlers to pre-teens. The Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set fits the bill. Designed for ages 3 through 12, this comprehensive unit comes with two swings and a wavy slide for younger kids. As your children get older, the climbing ladder and the rope ladder present new physical challenges. This swing set with slide also features a clubhouse with a blackboard so kids can have an outdoor classroom. 

Keep in mind that at 178 inches across (roughly 14 feet) and 505 pounds, this set will require substantial space in the backyard. It does come in three colors (green, brown, and tan) that will blend in better with the surroundings than many other swing sets. And the Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set also comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

Best wooden: Backyard Discovery Lakewood Playset

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 135 inches D x 168.5 inches W x 103 inches H
  • Materials: Cedar
  • Weight: 227 pounds
  • Age suitability: 3 to 6 years old

Pros

  • Good for small backyards
  • Comes with sandbox, rock-climbing wall, and built-in bench
  • Instructions are easy to follow

Cons

  • Some users say the wood is low quality

Backyard Discovery’s Lakewood Playset is a relatively basic set that comes with a few extra features, like a sandbox, rock climbing wall, and a snack stand with a built-in bench. Like most modern swing sets, it comes unassembled and you’ll have to put it together yourself, but the instructions are clear and the finished product is a safe and sturdy cedar swing set that you can feel confident letting your kids monkey around on. Then take a breather and watch from your porch swing.

Best for small yard: Backyard Discovery Bay Pointe Wooden Swing Set

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 107 inches D x 123 inches W x 92 inches H
  • Materials: Cedar, plastic, metal
  • Weight: 118 pounds
  • Age suitability: 3 to 6 years old

Pros

  • Smaller footprint
  • Less expensive
  • Made of cedar

Cons

  • Only suits a small range of kids
  • Looks somewhat unfinished

Even if your backyard isn’t spacious, your kids can still have plenty of fun. The Backyard Discovery Bay Pointe Wooden Swing Set measures 10 feet wide, which is small enough to fit in a range of yards. Should you need to move it, this swing set for small yard is also comparably lightweight at 118 pounds. This small swing set with slide also features a rock climber and a fort with a blackboard. Less expensive than many other options, it’s a great starter swing set for kids ages 3 to 6 years old. And it comes with a 5-year warranty.

Best for large yard: Backyard Discovery Skyfort II

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 12 feet 4 inches H x 21 feet 11 inches W x 16 feet 9 inches D
  • Materials: Cedar, plastic
  • Weight: 709 pounds
  • Age suitability: 3 to 10 years old

Pros

  • Comprehensive entertainment system
  • Made of rot-resistant cedar
  • Comes with easy-to-follow instructions

Cons

  • Expensive 
  • May be too big for many yards

This model from Backyard Discovery is almost 22 feet long and spans from monkey bars, to a play fort and slide, to a pair of swings and a two-person glider. The play fort has windows, a covered porch, and a sun deck, making it a great swing set for big kids. The swing set with rock wall is made from 100 percent cedar, which has a natural resistance to rot and decay and with basic upkeep can last for over twenty years. While it’s a big assembly job, Backyard Discovery offers a 3D interactive assembly app that makes it super easy to follow. And when you’re done, take a well-deserved break in one of the best hammocks.

Best toddler swing: Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Swing

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 16 inches D x 16.3 inches W x 17 inches H
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Age suitability: 9 months to 4 years old

Pros

  • Classic product
  • Adjusts as toddler ages
  • Can use in a variety of settings (indoor and outdoor)

Cons

  • Just one swing
  • Not connected to a swing set

The ubiquitous Little Tikes toddler swing is easily recognizable due to its popularity, and that popularity is earned. The item is made from lightweight plastic and is fitted with a T-bar and straps to keep your tot safely secured while they swing and is able to bear up to 50 pounds. While it’s not a toddler swing set, the swing has hooks to hang, or you can purchase an additional adaptor to hang it from a tree or other sturdy structure. 

Best budget: KidKraft Appleton Play Set

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 108 inches D x 123 inches W x 95 inches H
  • Materials: Cedar, plastic, hardware
  • Weight: 137.7 pounds
  • Age suitability: 3 to 10 years old

Pros

  • Comes with lots of features
  • Less expensive
  • Good for smaller yards

Cons

  • Not as substantial as other models

This play set from KidKraft comes in under $500 and is made of high-quality cedar wood. It boasts two swings, a slide, a rock-climbing wall, a sandbox, and a vinyl chalk wall at the top of its play deck for creative fun. The weight limit is slightly less than more expensive models (about 770 pounds, while others generally hold about 1,000 pounds) but it’s plenty steady enough.

Things to consider before purchasing a swing set

Swing sets can be expensive, so you’ll want to make sure you weigh a range of factors before making the investment.

Safety

The number-one thing to think about when buying the best swing sets for kids is safety. Confirm that the structure is sturdy and stable, and stay away from anything that feels lightweight. Something that’s too light could run the risk of tipping over when your child climbs on it. 

Expandability

Because a kids’ swing set is such a big purchase, and because kids grow so quickly, you may want to splurge on an expandable design model that can grow as the kids grow. These types are modular and allow you to build onto the mainframe as your child’s wants and abilities expand. On the other hand, you may prefer a less expensive, non-expandable model with the understanding that your kids may be interested in something entirely different in a couple years.

Materials

Then decide what material you’re interested in. Decades ago, metal was the most widely available material for backyard swing sets, but now wood or plastic are more popular. Wooden swing sets are the most durable of the three, which comes at a higher price, and many would argue that it’s the nicest looking option. Metal and plastic are less costly, but that comes at the expense of a low weight capacity and susceptibility to bend and break.

Metal swing sets can run the risk of rusting and bending, but one made from durable, quality materials should be long lasting. A galvanized steel model with powder coating will be strong and carry protection from natural elements that tend to rust and deteriorate metals. Keep an eye out for a model that comes with rubber or plastic caps on the end pieces to protect kids from sharp edges.

Wood is the most durable material for an outdoor swing set. Quality materials come at a higher price, but the splurge may be worth it for a structure that will last all through the childhood years, and possibly beyond. Backyard Discovery swing sets are one of the most popular brands for wooden models and come in a variety of different frames.

Size

A larger swing set offers extended play. Kids love forts and secret hideouts, and many playsets now come equipped with hideouts, porches, and sun decks. A larger extended playset has all this and more, and in many instances will come in modular versions so that you can add on to the set as your kids grow and require more challenges in their play.

If you have a toddler and aren’t quite ready to throw down money for an entire swing set that they aren’t old enough to use yet, a single toddler swing is an inexpensive option for outdoor swinging. These individual swings are easily adapted to hang from different secure locations.

Price

Swing sets are by nature a big purchase, so in this instance, “on a budget” means roughly under $500. Here’s a tip for the frugal: even the best swing sets are often sold at a discount during the off-season, especially if you live in a climate with cold winters. A wide assortment of plastic and metal options are available in that price range, but we also found some wooden swing sets that are inexpensive and reliable.

FAQs


Q: How much does a swing set cost?

Depending on the material, size, and number of features, swing sets can range from less than $100 for models that are bare bones to thousands of dollars for mini-playgrounds that feature rock climbing walls and forts in addition to the typical swings and slides.

Q: Are metal or wood swing sets better?

While this is a loaded question and depends somewhat on a person’s individual needs, overall we would say that wood is better than metal for your backyard swing set. A quality wood model is durable enough that, with proper care and maintenance, it can withstand years of use and weather. A metal swing set could potentially bend and break after sustained use, and you may find yourself dealing with rust.

Q: How long do wooden swing sets last?

In general, you can expect about twenty years of life from a wooden swing set—possibly longer depending on the kind of wood. Pressure treated pine, a preserved wood, is the most durable and long lasting, and it requires the least amount of maintenance and upkeep. Cedar, another popular option, is not preserved and needs to be stained or painted periodically.

Q: How much weight can a swing set hold?

You should check the specifications of each model you’re considering to find out how much weight it can hold. As long as you’re not going with the absolute cheapest model, you shouldn’t have any need to worry about the weight limits. Most wooden swing sets list at least 1,000 pounds as a conservative limit, but you want to be safe and check the specs.

Some final thoughts on the best swing sets

The best swing sets for your backyard will offer your kids years of outdoor play and get them off electronics like tablets. Swinging, sliding, and climbing are great ways to get exercise and keep the kids happy—and keep the parents happy when the little ones are sleeping soundly through the night after a busy day of play. Adding a swing set to your yard is a big decision, but one that pays back tenfold in the end. You’ll love watching your kids play for years.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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Billy Cadden

Senior Director of Commerce

Billy Cadden is the Senior Director of Commerce for the science, tech, and outdoor group at Recurrent. He began working as the Commerce Editor at PopSci in 2017, where he spent 5 years diving deep into every product he could get his hands on. Cadden splits his time between Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and Woodstock with his dog Wanda. He spends his time seeking new coffee shops and writing for his solo music project

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