Best Backyard Playsets
Buying a playset can be challenging, just because there are many factors you need to take into consideration. Some of them include the size of the playset and the yard, the features, the quality, and, of course, the price.
So, which is the best one? If you ask children, the best playset is the one with the most components to play with. For you, the children’s safety comes first. Luckily for you, we’re here to spare you from reading millions of words to find out. In this article, we give you the best backyard playsets and all the information you need to help you choose the most suitable one.
Top Backyard Playsets for Small Yards and Big Yards
Best Overall Backyard Playset – Lifetime A-Frame Adventure Playset Review
Our top pick is the A-Frame Adventure Playset by Lifetime. This free-standing playset for kids aged 3-12, comes with many features that will keep your child busy for hours.
This heavy-duty playset consists of:
- 9 Foot Wavy Slide
- Two Swings
- One Trapeze Bar
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Cargo Net
- Propeller Swing
- Activity Board.
Before assembling the playset, prepare the ground. The unit takes 13′ 11″ x 15′ 9″ area, so make sure you have enough space in your yard to put it. Also, being free-standing, the set doesn’t require cement or anchoring. It needs to be set at ground level. Once assembled, a safety zone of at least 27′ 9″ x 29′ 8″ must surround the equipment.
|5-year limited warranty|
The playset features quality construction and is built to last. The high-density polyethylene and powder-coated steel make the playset weather resistant. It won’t crack under any weather condition; therefore, the set guarantees durability. Moreover, there is a swing bar attached, with three heavy-duty molded swings and one rubberized steel trapeze bar with gym rings. The covered clubhouse features a heavy-duty roof and marine quality decking.
What is of utmost importance is that the backyard playset is safe. Unlike the playsets in our early days, the hard edges of this one are rounded or covered with plastic caps. The chains are rust-resistant and zinc-coated with rubberized grips, which prevent the child from being pinched. So, you don’t have to worry about your child getting injured, and the set is perfectly safe.
However, it takes patience to put the set together. The playset comes at a thousand different parts. Just follow the instructions (which might be a little bit unclear). It may take a day or two to set it up, but you’ll get there.
The set comes at a higher cost, but it guarantees hours of enjoyment. Taking into consideration all its features, this one comes as the best backyard playset on the market.
Best Wooden Playset – Big Backyard KidKraft Magnolia Cedar Wood Swing Set / Playset F23290 Review
The Magnolia Wooden Playset by KidKraft comes fully equipped to make your kid spend hours of entertainment. There’s room for up to 8 kids at once, aged 3-10, with a maximum weight of 110 lb per child. And the following features, which make it the best wooden playset on the market, will probably do make the children forget about the cyberspace.
- Café Area – Of course that after hours of fun and games, the kids will have to take a break. And this sandbox area with canopy, two bright yellow stools, and sunrise-print façade is perfect for it.
- Rock-Climbing Wall – For children to access the upper clubhouse, covered with a wooden roof. Because stairs are too mainstream.
- Chalk Wall – Before sliding down from the upper clubhouse, why not express their creativity and draw something.
- High-Rail Wave Slide – Raised handrails complement the smooth waves for a safe ride.
- Play Phone – To call their friends. Although, they’re probably over there already.
- Trapeze Rings – To enhance their acrobatic skills.
- Two Belt Swings – To soar into the sky.
The first thing to do before setting the playset in your backyard is to prepare the ground. Make sure that there’s a safe zone of at least 6 feet around the equipment, so the kids play safely. It will take approximately 10-14 hours to assemble the set, so it’s recommended to have someone next to you to lend a hand. Follow the instruction manual when installing, although they might be unclear at times.
|Up to 8 kids capacity||Time-consuming assembly|
|Reistant to decay and insect infestation||Expensive|
|Rich amber stained|
|5-year limited wooden component warranty|
What’s more, the playset is made of cedar lumber so that it won’t undergo decay or insect infestation. And the rich amber makes the set child-friendly, and beautiful as well.
So, if you have decided to go with a wooden playset, you won’t find any better than this one.
Best High-End Playset
CONGO Monkey Playsystem #1 with Swing Beam
The CONGO Monkey Playsystem with Swing Beam, unlike the playsets reviewed before, comes at a much higher cost. Also, in a bigger size. With extra features as well.
This ready-to-assemble playset includes:
- 4′ x 7’6″ Fort
- Rock Wall
- Wonder Wave Slide
- Fireman’s Pole
- 3 Position Swing Beam – 2 Swings and Trapeze Bar
Being made of Woodguard lumber that is coated with a protective polymer and UV protective agent, makes the playset 100% splinter-free and low maintenance. Also, it won’t undergo any decay or insect infestation. Therefore, you won’t have to spend extra money and time on maintaining the set throughout the whole year. It’s designed to withstand the elements.
|Resistant to decay and insect infestation||Expensive|
|Safe||Low headroom over the slide and entry points|
|Low maintenance||Vague instructions|
As we already mentioned before, it’s essential to prepare the ground before assembling the playset. Ensure that there’s a 28′ x 26′ free area. You don’t want your kid to slide into a pool. The assembly will take time and patience since the set comes with so many parts. Due to its sturdiness and the heavy elements it consists of, it takes at least two people to set the playset up. But, the manufacturer doesn’t provide a weight limit for the set. Even you can join the children and have fun, but only if you’re limber enough to get the head under the headroom over the slide and entry points.
The CONGO Monkey playset is one of the best wooden playsets on the market. If you have the budget, it’s worth the buy. And most importantly, your kids will love it!
Best Playset Under $1000
If the previously reviewed products are too expensive for you, we have a solution for that, too. Here are the best backyard playsets under $1000.
Backyard Discovery Tanglewood All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set
Featuring a swing set with an upper backyard fort and a lower clubhouse, The Backyard Discovery Tanglewood playset is an excellent choice if you want to keep your kids outside for hours. Also, it comes at a reasonable price.
- Snack Stand with Window and Covered Built-in Bench
- 8 ft. Speedy Slide
- Big Kid Swing Set
- Rock-Climbing Wall
- Wooden Roof
It’s recommended for kids aged 3-10.
Being made of 100% cedarwood, the playset is resistant to mold and decay. It doesn’t contain any chemicals, as well. The plastic parts are UV resistant. Moreover, the brackets are heavy-duty, so they won’t get damaged when exposed to the elements, and it comes with Safe T-Fuse hardware for easy and safe construction. Therefore, the Backyard Discovery playset should guarantee quality and durability. But, the swing set creeks, and the wood splits easily during assembly, making the set unsafe for children. Although once assembled the playset looks very lovely, you don’t buy it only for its beautiful look.
|Heavy-duty brackets||Filmsy wood; poor quality|
|Safe T-fuse hardware|
|5-year limited warranty|
Unlike the playsets we’ve reviewed so far, this one comes with a clear instruction manual. The assembly will take a day or two since there are thousands of parts to put together. It’s recommended at least two persons to install the playset. Lastly, make sure that there’s at least 6′ safe zone around the equipment.
Taking into consideration the features, it’s the best wooden playset you’ll get for the price you’ll pay. However, if you’re looking for a playset that will last for years, take a look at the other products.
Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set with 9 Foot Wavy Slide
The Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set, for kids aged 3-12, comes with 3 belt swings and a trapeze bar with gym rings. The swing chains are covered with rubber grips so that the kid doesn’t get pinched. Moreover, the hard edges are covered with plastic caps to avoid any potential injuries. The swings are constructed of powder-coated galvanized steel and high-density polyethylene, which makes them not only extremely safe but also weather and rust-resistant.
Also, the Monkey Bar Swing Set features a fireman’s pole and a 9 ft. wavy slide, designed to be weather resistant. It doesn’t require any painting or staining, so it takes low maintenance to keep the slide in its original shape. Furthermore, the whole playset is UV resistant, so it maintains its color, even when exposed to the elements. Also, since it’s free-standing, there’s no need for cement or anchoring.
The playset includes:
- 3 x Belt Swings
- 1 x Trapeze Bar with Gym Rings
- 9 ft. Wavy Slide
- Fireman’s Pole
- Monkey Bars
Of course, to get a nice looking playset in front of you, you must assemble it in the first place. But, since the playset comes with large components, the assembly won’t cause any trouble. Two people will manage to install it in just a few hours.
|UV and weather resistant|
Finally, if you encounter some issues with the playset, the manufacturer backs it with a 5-year warranty.
So, the only disadvantage of the Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set is that it’s pricey. However, it’s among the best backyard swing sets, and you’ll get value for money.
Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension
The multifunctional swing set with playhouse and climber by Step2 offers fantastic ways for the kids aged 3-8 to have fun outdoors for hours. They will surely enjoy soaring into the sky on the two swings or climbing on the safety ladder to the roomy deck, to glide down the slide.
The Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension includes:
- Lower Level Playhouse
- 5’ Slide
- 2 Swings
- Non-Slip Ladder
The playset is easy for one person to assemble. It comes with anchors to keep it secure to the ground. You might have to enlarge the pre-drilled holes, but that’s nothing of concern. Moreover, the set features a lower level playhouse, where the kids can take a rest, or have a snack after hours of playing. But, the room inside can be small for the bigger kids to fit in, and there aren’t any bench, or stools to sit on, too. Moreover, although it says the playset is for up to 8 years old, the younger ages will fit better because of the short swing ropes.
|Easy to assemble||Unclear instructions|
|Safe||Small room in the playhouse|
|2 year warranty for manufacturer's defects|
However, with the Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension, you’ll get well-designed and solidly constructed playset without spending a ridiculous fortune. The big kids might not be happy with your choice, but toddlers surely will!
Best Playset for Small Backyards
If you worry about your yard not being large enough for a playset to fit in, you shouldn’t. There’s a number of sets not only for large yards but small ones as well. Here’s our top pick of the best small backyard playsets.
Backyard Discovery Somerset All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set
The Backyard Discovery Somerset Swing Set is perfect for your yard, whether it’s small or large. It’s designed for kids aged 3-10. The playset features:
- Rock-Climbing Wall
- 3 Position Swing Beam
- Trapeze Bar Swing
- 8 ft. Speedy Slide
- Snack Stand and Bench
- Canvas Roof
- Standard Step Ladder.
Being made of cedar wood, the playset is rot-proof and resistant to decay. The lumber is pre-stained, pre-cut and prepared for assembly. It comes with Safe-T-Fuse hardware. Although, there might be a need for drilling in some parts of the construction by yourself. For easier and faster assembly, it’s recommended that at least two people set the playset up.
|Safe-T-Fuse Hardware||Unclear instructions|
|Heavy Duty Brackets||Flimsy wood|
Compared to the Backyard Discovery Tanglewood we reviewed before, apart from the roof, both of them come with pretty much the same features. This playset features a green and yellow canvas roof, instead of wooden. Also, it comes at a lower price.
On the other hand, the material isn’t of the best quality. Since the boards are very thin and lightweight, it comes to splintering and cracking. This makes the playset not safe enough for the children to play. But still, they’ll love it.
Sometimes you actually get what you pay for. One thing is certain – it will fit your yard. If you’re ready to patch the playset as needed, go with this one. However, the child’s happiness is the most important.
Best Playset for Toddlers
Not only the ‘big’ kids want to have fun, but the little ones, too. That’s why we give you the best playset for toddlers.
Little Tikes Hide and Seek Climber
With easy-to-climb features, the Little Tikes Hide and Seek climber comes as a great way for little ones to spend hours of fun, and enhance their motor skills as well.
The climber offers a slide, a rock-climbing wall, and a crawling tunnel underneath for hide-and-seek play. Moreover, since it doesn’t require enormous space, it’s suitable for any room, as well as outdoors. Never place the climber on a hard floor. No special tools are needed to assemble, and it won’t take more than 30 minutes.
|Gentle slope slide for soft landings||No steps|
|For both indoors and outdoors||Not sturdy|
|Easy to assemble|
However, the kid shouldn’t be left to climb by itself, without parental supervision. Instead of steps as a safer alternative, there’s only a rock climbing wall to reach the top, which can be slippery. Also, since the structure isn’t sturdy, it can be shaky at times so that the kid can lose balance. But you’re here to help it practice climbing, aren’t you?
Although the manufacturer recommends the climber for kids aged 1-4, it’s more suitable for 1-2 years old. For older ones, the climber would be small and unstable. Also, it’s recommended a maximum of 2 kids to play at once.
However, the climber comes among the top-rated products on the market, which isn’t in vain. You won’t spend a fortune, and you’ll make your kid happy at the same time.
Best Backyard Playset Under 500
Even if the playsets we gave you so far are still too expensive for you, guess what? Take a look at the list below, here come the best backyard playsets under $500.
Big Backyard KidKraft Andorra Cedar Wood Swing Set
The Big Backyard KidKraft Andorra Swing Set, with its 80 sq. ft. is perfect for small yards. It handles up to 7 kids at once, with a maximum weight of 110 lb. per kid. The playset comes with:
- High-Rail Wave Slide
- 2 Swings
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Canopy-Shaded Upper Deck
The set would be easy to assemble if it only came with clear instructions. But, as with most of the playsets we reviewed, it didn’t. Also, its parts aren’t marked, so you’ll have a challenging task when putting the pieces together. It’d be better to sort them together before you begin. The assembly will take hours, so better you don’t do it all by yourself.
|7 Kids Capacity||Cheap Wood|
|Good Price||Bad Instructions|
|Made of Cedar Wood||Not labeled pieces|
The playset is made of cedar wood, which is supposed to guarantee quality. However, you’ll come across mixed reviews and experiences regarding the playset’s quality and durability. On the one hand, according to many, the playset is a great buy. On the other, the wooden pieces start cracking shortly after buying it.
Despite being recommended for kids aged 3-10, the playset is small-sized. The bigger kids might not fit into the swings, and the smaller ones will outgrow it very soon. The Big Backyard KidKraft Andorra Swing Set isn’t among the best wooden playsets on the market for sure. But, for the price you’ll pay, you’ll get a playset which will be good for at least a few years.
Backyard Discovery Dayton All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set
The Backyard Discovery Dayton All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set brings swinging and sliding fun to your kids for a reasonable price. Designed for kids aged 3-10, the playset features:
- 2 Belt Swings
- 8 ft. Slide
- Trapeze Swing
- Fabric Canopy Cover on the Upper Deck
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Standard Ladder
The kids will have a lot of fun for sure when they climb the wall to reach the upper deck, to glide down the 8 ft. slide right after. However, featuring a standard ladder, this playset offers a safer option to reach the top. The deck is covered with a blue and yellow striped canopy, and underneath there’s a sandbox. Then, the kids can continue to fly through the air on the swings or improve their acrobatic skills on the trapeze swing. For extra safety and stability, the playset frame is angled. Also, it includes a mesh protector for the deck. The metal parts are powder-coated, meaning they’re protected from the elements.
On the other hand, the set is recommended for kids aged 3-10, but the big kids might not fit into the swings. However, it won’t be a problem for the little ones.
|Heavy-duty swing brackets||Poor quality|
|Weather-resistant||Minimal swing set|
|Warranty: 1 yr. parts, 5 yr. wood for rot/decay|
The Backyard Discovery Dayton Swing Set is easy to assemble. It’ll take a few hours, but the easy-to-follow instructions in the manual will make the whole process easier. To have someone next to you to assist you, will make it faster, too.
Lastly, it’s possible for the wood to start cracking and splitting. If you encounter any problems with the playset upon arrival, or while assembling, the manufacturer backs it with a 5-year limited warranty.
The Backyard Discovery Dayton Swing Set isn’t out of this world. But, if you want something easy and inexpensive to amuse your little ones, this one is the way to go. Otherwise, we have better solutions for you.
Best Playset Under $400
FITNESS REALITY KIDS ‘The Ultimate’ 8 Station Sports Series Metal Swing Set
Just take a look at the features (its name says it all!), then at the price. This is a bargain! The FITNESS REALITY KIDS ‘The Ultimate’ 8 Station Sports Series Metal Swing Set comes with several activity stations that will keep not only your child but also 8 more children busy for hours. The playset includes:
- 36” Fitness Jumper Trampoline – Made with a steel frame; features a safety handler.
- 32” Flying Saucer –An adjustable rope to adjust the saucer height.
- Fitness Slide With Ladder – Made of Poly Propylene plastic, it’s weather resistant.
- Swing – Made of plastic, with covered chains for maximum protection.
- Glider – 2 plastic seats with footrests and tube handles
- Soccer Goal with Net – So the kids enhance their soccer skills.
- Monkey Bar with Handles – To strengthen the arms, shoulders, and chest.
- Basketball Hoop and Backboard
- Basketball, soccer ball, and an air pump
Each station handles up to 80 lbs. The playset is designed for kids aged 3-8, and it’ll help them improve their skills, develop their balance, endurance, as well as build their confidence.
|8 activity stations||Might have to drill in some pieces by yourself|
|Up to 9 kids at once|
|Warranty: 2 years frame, and 6 months on all other components|
Before assembling the playset, make sure there aren’t missing pieces. Also, you might have to drill larger holes, if the pre-drilled ones are too small. However, with the instruction manual, it’ll be easy to assemble. Not fast, though. Make sure not to install the set over hard surface. Lastly, leave 6 ft. clear area around the playset.
If you want to go with something that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but still offers value and quality, the FITNESS REALITY KIDS ‘The Ultimate’ 8 Station Sports Series Metal Swing Set is the best choice. As we already said, this is a bargain.
Things to Consider When Buying a Playset
Before buying a playset, it’s essential to take the following factors into consideration that will ensure a safer investment:
The first thing to consider is space. The set’s dimensions are not the only thing important, but also the free space that must surround the equipment. When the kids are swinging, and jumping out of the swing, there must be a clear area, so they don’t suffer any potential injuries. So, when buying a playset, you have come across the ‘Recommended Safety Zone’. This is the area the Playground Safety Commission recommends to be provided around the playset, no less than 6 feet from any structure or obstruction to the playground.
The next important thing to take into account is the material. Today on the market, you’ll come across two types of playsets: metal and wooden, referring to the main framework structure. The belt swings and slides, for example, are made of high-density plastic, in both metal and wooden playsets.
- Metal – Constructed from steel, so they are sturdy and last longer. The powder-coated finish is applied, to make them rust-resistant, and capable of withstanding the elements. To last for years, all the playset requires is proper maintenance.
- Wood – The lumber in wooden playsets is pressurized to prevent rotting and insects from destroying the wood. Since some of the wood treatments use arsenic, make sure the playset is safe before buying it. It takes special wood preservative treatments, so the playset keeps its beauty and lasts longer.
The child’s safety comes in the first place for you, as a parent. Neither you nor the children want all the fun to be ruined. When buying a playset, make sure that:
- The edges are rounded, with no exposed edges to cause injury
- The slides are with raised handrails, to prevent the child from falling off
- There are rubberized grips on the swing chains to prevent the child from getting pinched
- The structure is non-toxic
Playsets as activity centers are great, and your kids can get a lot of exercise, but you need the peace of mind that they are safe.
All the playsets come with thousands of parts that need to be put together. For some of them, you might even need professional installation and at an extra cost.
If you are assembling the playset by yourself, first, make sure there aren’t missing parts. Then, follow the instruction manual to set it up. Moreover, the whole process would be more straightforward if you have someone next to you to give you a hand. Depending on the playset, the assembly usually takes a day or two.
Some of the playsets may require cement for stability, while the others are free-standing and all they need is a free space in the backyard (always put them at ground level).
Finally, take a close look at the warranty. Make sure that the playset comes with a non-pro-rated warranty, meaning they provide full protection and you won’t have any extra costs should it come to replacement or repair.