Metal vs Wood Swing Sets

Dec 31, 2019



Your childhood wouldn’t have been the same without sliding down a fireman’s pole or swinging back and forth on a swing. Now your older and you want your kids to have that same exhilaration and excitement with their own playset. Whether you are considering a wood swing set or a metal playset, we hope to help your search by comparing the two types of play structures.

It is interesting to note that swings have existed for thousands of years. In the United States swings started being incorporated as part of playgrounds in the Colonial period. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that playgrounds were built for the purposes of health and education.

Most metal play structures are designed for commercial playgrounds, which are known for long-term durability. However, there are a few manufacturers of residential metal swing sets that are primarily designed for younger children, but the majority of backyard swing sets are made of wood.


Cheap metal swing sets can easily bend or break, especially when subjected to rust or corrosion. Be sure to look for high quality metal playsets that use thicker gauge steel to ensure long-term durability on a metal structure. Cedar lumber playsets are the best for outdoor use because cedar is naturally decay resistant and does not require the use of harmful chemicals to preserve the lumber. There are other good lumber options for long-term durability, such as redwood, but nothing has better value, with longevity, than a cedar swing set.


All high quality manufacturers of residential playsets follow the ASTM safety standards to ensure your children and friends are safe while playing. It’s important to find out if the swing set you are considering has been engineered to meet the recommended safety standards. Construction materials and design are both important factors for safe play. Metal and wood are both strong building materials, but it’s also important to look at how the materials are used. Does the structure have proper stability for climbing and swinging? Is all hardware properly recessed or covered with safety components? Can children safely climb into the play structure using flat steps and out of the play structure on a slide appropriate for their age? You will see a variety of options for play activities, and it’s important to watch how your children play while shopping for a playset. You know your children and their capabilities the best. Look for play features that safely challenge your kids to improve strength and dexterity.


Not all swing sets are as customizable as the rest. Wood playsets tend to have more options or customizable designs, whereas metal play sets are usually sold are pre-designed kits. Of course this is not always the case with every metal or wood swing set. Some modern metal swing sets have tons of attachment options, including yoga swings, spin swings and cubby swings. We encourage you to work with a local swing set dealer/retailer who is an expert at helping families design the best playset for their family, their backyard, and their budget.


Metal playsets do not generally require maintenance, unless the metal coating is scratched or chipped. Wood swing sets should be stained every 1-3 years, but with a little care wood playsets can last a lifetime. Maintenance services are usually available by contacting a local wood playset dealer. It’s important to check all hardware regularly regardless of what material was used to build your swing set.


Because both wood and metal can be very strong building materials, it’s important to purchase a metal playset with heavy gauge steel or a wood playset with thicker timbers for the structure and play surfaces. The best wood swing sets are those that also incorporate metal brackets at key structure joints so you get the beauty of wood combined with the strength of steel.


The material used for swing set construction, wood or metal, does not really determine how hard or easy installation will be. If you are planning to install your own playset, we recommend asking these questions. Are all holes pre-drilled? Does my swing set come with detailed installation instructions? How many hours does it take on average for two experienced installers to build my playset? Do I need any special tools for assembly? It’s always best to hire professional installers from a local dealer to install your playset so you will have peace of mind knowing your playset is built right.


Playset aesthetics vary widely from different construction materials and limitless designs. The preferred appearance of swing sets is a personal decision for each family. Metal playsets tend to be more colorful and offer the same designs in multiple color options. Wooden swing sets generally use more neutral colors on the main structures with brighter colors on accessories. However, most customers still prefer natural and neutral looking playset colors to compliment, rather than stand out in, backyard settings.


Whether you are shopping for a small playset or a massive play structure, it’s important to consider safety, durability, appearance, modularity, and maintenance as part of your purchase decision. Installation services are also very important to most families, so getting references from friends or family about their swing set installation experience is highly recommended. Most importantly, we recommend shopping at a store where you and your children can test all playset features.

We encourage you to visit your local Backyard Adventures dealer where knowledgeable play set designers will work with you to customize the play system that’s right for your family, your backyard, and your budget. Your experience at one of our dealer showrooms will bring to life all these benefits, and more, of owning a Backyard Adventures playset!

To order or get pricing please call us at (888) 980-4515 or visit



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