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The 5 Best Playscapes and Swing Sets (2023 Review)

Playsets allow your children to enjoy the outdoors while swinging, sliding, climbing, and playing. Keep reading to learn about our picks for the best playscapes on Amazon.

Simplay3 Climber and Activity Playset and KidKraft Appleton Swing Set and Playset isolated on a green grid paper background Courtesy Amazon

Playscapes give your children a way to play outside and burn off their energy. Play sets vary widely in size and can have anywhere from a few swings to several swings, slides, forts, and rock walls, among other activity areas. They can also be made of wood, metal, or plastic. To learn more about your options, read our review on the best playscapes and swing sets on Amazon.

In This Guide: Top 5 | Buying Guide | FAQs | Why Trust This Old House


Top 5 Playscapes and Swing Sets


Compare the Best Playscapes and Swing Sets

Product Weight Capacity Material Recommended Age Weight Dimensions
Product Weight Capacity Material Recommended Age Weight Dimensions
Backyard Discovery All-Cedar Wooden Swing Set 150 pounds Cedar 36 months to 10 years 271 pounds 169 x 173 x 118 inches
Simplay3 Climber and Activity Playset 60 pounds Plastic Not listed 25 pounds 49 x 32 x 29 inches
Swing-N-Slide Ranger Wooden Swing Set 350 pounds Wood 3 months to 10 years 85 pounds 104 x 92 x 82 inches
KidKraft Appleton Swing Set and Playset 110 pounds Wood and plastic 36 months to 10 years 140 pounds 108 x 123 x 95 inches
Step2 Shaded Canopy Playset Not listed Plastic 24 months to 8 years 40 pounds 47.5 x 47.5 x 60 inches

Most Comprehensive: Backyard Discovery All-Cedar Wooden Swing Set

Kids playing on a Backyard Discovery all-cedar wooden swing set

Backyard Discovery All-Cedar Swing Set

  • $799

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This playscape has three swings, a slide, a fort with a ship steering wheel and telescope, a rock climbing wall, a picnic area, and monkey bars, giving your children several activities to do. Thanks to its sturdy wood frame, it can hold up to nine children.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Includes an acrobat bar and monkey bars along with the two heavy-duty belt swings
✔ The slide is eight feet long
✔ Is easy to assemble thanks to the manufacturer’s app, which provides step-by-step instructions

✘ Excellent value, but more expensive compared to other playscapes and swing sets
✘ Kids 10 years and older may damage the playset

What Customers Are Saying

Many reviewers thought that this playset was ideal for kids older than toddlers, but younger than nine or 10 years old. Most families were satisfied with the number of physical activities this all-cedar wooden playset offers. Conversely, there were several complaints about the quality of the slide, stating that it felt flimsy and the included screws for installation didn’t seem sufficient.


Best for Toddlers: Simplay3 Climber and Activity Playset

Simplay3 plastic multicolor climber and activity playset

Simplay3 Climber and Activity Playset

  • $160

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Designed for toddlers or children who weigh less than 60 pounds, this climber-friendly playset will help inspire your child’s sense of adventure. It features a low-to-the-ground slide, steering wheel, and climbing ramp, which has easy-grip hand and foot holds.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Is made of weather- and UV-resistant plastic
✔ Fits through a standard doorway
✔ Is lightweight, so parents can easily move the playset indoors or outdoors

✘ Has limited features compared to other playscapes
✘ Some customers thought that this playscape was overpriced

What Customers Are Saying

Parents who reviewed this climber and activity playset valued its simplicity and quick, pain-free assembly. They also liked that the playset was safe for younger kids given its lack of small objects and being low to the ground. However, other reviewers said that the playset was much smaller than they expected and that their little ones quickly grew bored of the set.


Best Swing Set: Swing-N-Slide Ranger Wooden Swing Set

Swing-N-Slide wooden swing set with teal-green swings and yellow trapeze bar

Swing-N-Slide Ranger Wooden Swing Set

  • $232
  • $299
  • 23% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This is a simple swing set for up to three children. It has two belt swings on the outer edges for sitting and a trapeze bar in the middle for swinging by your arms. The set has a wood frame with support beams to hold up to 115 pounds per swing.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Uses Plastisol-coated chains to prevent pinched fingers and rust
✔ Includes pre-fabricated materials and detailed instructions for assembly
✔ Meets and/or exceeds ASTM safety standards for backyard residential use

✘ Some customers said that the set was smaller and less sturdy than they expected
✘ The swing set can’t support fully-grown adults or those over 115 pounds

What Customers Are Saying

Positive highlights in customers’ reviews included the quality of materials, clarity of the assembly instructions, and responsiveness of the manufacturer’s customer support team. Negative feedback included the swing set’s relatively small size and flimsiness.


Best Budget Playscape: KidKraft Appleton Swing Set and Playset

KidKraft wooden swing set and playset with shaded canopy

KidKraft Appleton Swing Set and Playset

  • $400
  • $430
  • 7% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This playscape is a solid choice for a basic model for younger children that still includes two belt swings, a wave slide, a rock wall, a sandbox area, and a chalkboard, entertaining up to six kids at once. It has a compact footprint of only 80 square feet.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ The beginning-level rock wall helps inspire confidence in young climbers
✔ The wave slide has extra-high rails at the top for safety
✔ The covered deck offers kids a cool, shaded spot to play

✘ The swing set can only accommodate kids aged 3 to 7
✘ A trapeze bar isn’t included

What Customers Are Saying

Parents of young kids liked this playset for its value and overall build quality. Some users also said that the swings accommodated fully-sized adults, despite the manufacturer recommending against this. Other users thought that the instructions were unclear and that the playset was smaller than they imagined.


Best Portable Playset: Step2 Shaded Canopy Playset

Step2 interactive plastic playset with green canopy

Step2 Shaded Canopy Playset

  • $190
  • $200
  • 6% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This canopy-covered playhouse provides curious learners with a shaded area to explore their imagination. The set is lightweight and the canopy can be removed easily, so it’s not a pain to transport from one backyard to another or indoors.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Includes a 16-piece accessory kit for enhanced pretend play
✔ The walled plastic construction is durable and resistant to chips, fading, and cracks
✔ The playset is designed to encourage and develop fine motor skills, role-playing, and more

✘ Doesn’t have a swing set, slide, or traditional playscape amenities
✘ Some reviewers complained about poor customer service

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers enjoyed watching their kids play for hours on end using this simple plastic playset, stating that it was easy to put it together. On the other hand, some customers thought that the assembly instructions were unclear, and wished that the set came with more interactive toys.


Buying Guide

From material to assembly, here are a few of the factors you should consider before purchasing a playscape or swing set.

Activities

Your playset may have swings, slides, tunnels, rock walls, monkey bars, climbing ropes, and forts, among other activities, depending on the model you buy. If your child has a specific activity they want to be able to do on their playscape, make sure to choose one that includes it. However, we recommend choosing a playscape that has several other activities in addition to the one they prefer to give your child some variety to play and explore.

Material

Swing sets are made of wood, metal, or plastic. Some may have components made of a combination of materials.

Wood

Wooden playsets have an outdoorsy appearance that allows them to blend in with your yard. They also have a sturdy frame. However, they can take a long time to assemble, and they require yearly maintenance in the form of staining and other wood preservation treatments. They also cost more, but this is balanced out by their decades-long life.

Metal

Metal swing sets are highly durable as long as they have a powder coating to protect them from the elements. They’re also fairly stable and easier to assemble than wooden playscapes. However, as soon as their coating starts chipping, they can bend, break, and rust. They don’t have the same aesthetic appeal as wooden swing sets, either.

Plastic

Plastic swing sets are the most affordable and easiest to assemble. They’re usually smaller in size with a lower weight capacity and fewer activities, making them best for toddlers. The plastic material can also warp or fade from being repeatedly exposed to the elements.

Size

Measure your backyard and choose a playscape that will comfortably fit. Leave extra space on all sides to ensure that your child can maneuver around it and use climbing ropes, slides, and other activities that stick out from the frame.

Weight Capacity

The manufacturer will tell you how much weight its playscape can hold. This is usually expressed in terms of how many children can play on it at once and how much each child can weigh. These numbers vary depending on the set’s size and material, but most will be able to hold at least two or three children who each weigh around a hundred pounds.

Assembly

It can take days to safely assemble a swing set yourself, especially if it’s made of wood or has several built-in activities. If you want to speed up the process, get a friend or family member to help you or hire a professional. Choosing a metal or plastic set will also cut down on installation time.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my children from getting injured on a playscape?

Small injuries, such as falling off the swings, are inevitable with a playscape because children are still learning how to balance and maneuver their bodies. However, you can prevent major injuries by following these steps to ensure your swing set is safe:

  • Ensure that moving parts, springs, and hooks are covered to prevent your children’s fingers from getting jammed, pinched, or crushed.
  • Do a thorough inspection of your swing set at least once a month to ensure that all of the parts are working correctly and that it’s not showing signs of wear.
  • Oil metal parts once a month to ensure smooth movements.
  • Sand your wooden swing set when you see splinters forming.
  • Apply a stain to your wooden playscape once a year.
  • Surround the playscape with sand, mulch, or wood chips to ensure a softer landing if your child falls.

How much do playscapes cost?

It mostly depends on the types of material used in their construction:

  • Wood: Basic wooden swing sets with just a few swings cost $100–$500. A medium-sized playscape with a few activities can cost $500–$2,000. A massive playscape with several activities can cost upwards of $10,000.
  • Metal: Standard metal swing sets cost $80–$500, but you can get high-end models for $500–$4,000.
  • Plastic: Plastic playscapes are much cheaper, usually costing between $100 and $1,200.

Are playscapes and swing sets the same thing?

The terms playscapes, playsets, and swing sets are used interchangeably, but technically speaking, swing sets just have swings, while playscapes and playsets have several activities, usually in addition to swings.

At what age should a child get a swing set?

The recommended age for a child to get a swing set is between three and four years old. Generally, if your child is able to safely climb onto the seat of the swing without any assistance, they’re old enough to swing. However, at this age, parental supervision is still recommended.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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