wood or metal swingsets? which is better?

Amanda - posted on 02/29/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




I have 3 year old twin girls. I would like to get them a swingset for this spring / summer. Which do you recommend: wood or metal swingsets? advantages / disadvantages? Im on a budget and dont want to go over the top with the price as we do live not too far from 5 different parks.


Brittney - posted on 03/01/2012





Metal swings are a common choice because they are much cheaper to get than wood swing sets. The parts are cheaper to make and acquire, and they can be put together easier and faster than a wood swing set. They still are very strong, though. The metal they are being made out of also lasts a long time and isn’t as prone to rust.

What are the cons of a metal swing set?

Though metal swing sets are cheaper and easier to make, they are some negatives to choosing it over another material. First, they aren’t as strong as wood. A metal swing set may not be able to support the weight of older children, and could bend or break easier.

Metal Swing Sets also might not last as long as a wood set. Wood that it treated correctly is not as susceptible to the weather as metal is, meaning that a metal swing set may rust and become unusable faster than wood.

Consider how long you’re going to have the swing set, and how much you can spend, before you go out to buy one. Wood will last longer and will be sturdier, but if your child is not going to be using it for many years, you may choose metal instead.


Environment. If you want your yard to have a more "natural" feel then a wooden play set may be your best choice. It will add to your backyard elements much more easily than a plastic one. It is also much more eco-friendly than a plastic set.

Choices. It seems as though with a wooden set, the possibilities of what can be built are endless. Do you want the slide on the left or right? Straight or curved? Swings, teeter totter, monkey bars? Imagination is your only limitation.

Repair. If part of the set breaks, it is much easier to replace a wooden board than to wait for a replacement piece from the manufacturer.


There are also several things that may deter you from choosing a wooden structure.

Maintenance. The wooden structures often need frequent maintenance updates. Every couple of years they need to be painted. They may also need some tightening of screws and bolts.

Wasps. If you are allergic to bees or if your children are, this would probably not be the best choice. Often times wasps use the wood to make their nests and are a nuisance in areas with wood.

Build time. If you are not a do it yourselfer, this would not be a good selection unless you plan to pay someone to put it together for you. My husband spent many hours himself putting ours together. It was a big task!


Maintenance. With a plastic swing set, there is very little routine maintenance that you need to do. In most cases just a rinse with the hose will do the trick.

Safety. Many parents worry about their children getting splinters on a wooden set. They can definitely be more friendly in that case.

Cost. The cost of plastic swing sets tend to be a little cheaper than their wooden counter parts. They are easier on the pocket which often makes it a best choice for families on a budget.


Age. In my experience the plastic sets do not hold the attention of children for as long as the wooden sets. There does not seem to be as much for them to do and they are not built to entertain older children as well as the wooden sets.

Activities. Plastic swing set are usually limited to some swings, a slide, and maybe a little house area. There is not much in being able to redesign the set in the way that you may be able to do with a wooden one.

Aesthetics. The look of a plastic swing set is not as appealing to the eye. The sun starts to fade the color of the plastic and it does not look as nice. It also may not fit into your landscape design.

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2012




I have had both the metal and the wooden. The metal ones are nice in that they are cheaper and have a variety of different kinds of swings on them. But if you are looking for something that will be long term (7-10yrs+) they are not as good as the wooden ones. The metal rusts and the plastic swings break. What I also found is that after that many years the swingsets have changed, so you can't just replace a swing or two that have broken.

The wooden ones are more expensive but do have things on them that work for kids as they get older. The wooden ones also will last forever. You still have the issue with the plastic getting old, but I think you are able to change out old products with new ones more easily. You can also buy commercial grade swings that have a warrenty with them.

Kay - posted on 03/01/2012




Honestly, I would recommend a good wooden set. They last longer, in my opinion, and are sturdier. Also, there are some that have very strong warranties, and use wood that is from sustainable sources and naturally resistant to pests. We went with a Rainbow for my son's swing set and three years later, it looks like it did they day they installed it.

I really recommend having someone install it. Having worked at a major toy retailer, I can't tell you how many times we had to handle calls from customers whose swing set was broken or destroyed by weather because it wasn't anchored right. Ours has never moved.

Good luck! :)


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