With the days getting warmer, it makes sense that the kids are ready to get out of the house and soak up the sunshine. But how do you keep everyone entertained at the same time? A playground set is an excellent investment for large and small yards, and it has enough activities for a whole group of kids to play on and experience.
Since there are so many playground sets available in a huge range of sizes, it can take time to research them all and compile a list for comparison. This is where we come in. We’ve done the research for you and picked out 10 high-quality playground sets. You can use the reviews to compare them, and let our short buying guide help you find the perfect set that draws all of the neighborhood kids to your house.
Choosing a playground set can be an exciting time for your kid, and you can have them make a list of things they want to have on it so they get the most use out of it possible.
1. ALEKO Outdoor Wooden Swing Playset – Top Pick
This is our top pick for the best playground set because it comes with a very sturdy frame, and it has Chinese fir spruce as the main material that is durable while being resistant to different weather conditions, no matter what planting zone you’re in. There are two swings and a see-saw that can provide your kid hours of entertainment while encouraging them to get outside and play. There is a UV-resistant polymer cover on it that helps provide shade for your kids as they play, and this allows them to play longer without getting a sunburn. The slide is six feet long, and it has a small bump in it to make it more fun for your kids.
This model is great for kids who are nine years old or younger, and you will have to assemble it partially when you get it. All of the hardware you need comes included in the purchase. It has a slide, two swings, shaded fort, and a glider. It’s great for use any time of the year, and it can accommodate several children at one time without running out of room. The wood comes pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained to make it easier to assemble, and the stain provides another layer of protection against rain and mold.
- UV-resistant polymer cover
- Six-foot long slide
- For kids up to nine
- Wood comes pre-drilled and pre-cut
- Has stain on it
- Resists mold and mildew
- Made out of Chinese fir spruce
- Might not be sturdy enough
2. Buckley Hill Wooden Swing Set – Step- Up Pick
Backyard Discovery is one of the more well-known playground set manufacturers on the market, and it’s a more affordable choice for people who have limited space. It is suitable for kids up to 10, but kids up to 7 are more appropriate due to the design and size. There is a fun upper fort that has mesh enclosed walls to give your kid more protection, and you can see through the mesh to keep an eye on your kids. There is a rock climbing wall that is perfect for younger kids to play on and climb up into the fort with, and there is a hidden chalkboard that they can play with too.
The upper fort isn’t extremely high off the ground with this playground set, and this reduces the chances of injuries from falls. There are two swings and a six-foot wave slide included in this set, and it’s a nice sturdy option for under $500. It will take two people between four and eight-hours to assemble it from start to finish, and there is an interactive app you can download and get step-by-step installation instructions. The wood comes stained for additional protection against the elements, and there is a plastic coating on the swing chains to prevent pinched fingers.
- Suitable for kids up to 10
- Rock climbing wall
- Wood comes stained
- Interactive app for assembly
- Has a fort with a cover for sun protection
- Very study
- From a reputable company
- Takes two people to put it together
3. NinjaSafe Obstacle Course – Mid-End Budget Pick
If you’re on a slightly tighter budget but you want a playground set to go with your kid’s playhouse, this is a solid choice. This playhouse gives your kids a host of fun workout activities to help them improve their overall strength and core strength. You get four accessories with this set with four of the most popular items, including a climbing ladder, climbing net, freestyle rings, and a 360° spinning wheel to challenge your kids and keep them coming back for more. It’s a great gift because it comes packaged in a very nice box, and it’s very quick to install as long as you have two trees that are between 20 and 45-feet apart in your yard.
The instructions are very clear with this playground set, and you can easily have it up and ready to go for your kids in a few hours. The set features very durable materials that are safe for everyone, and it has certificates from UKCA, CPSC, and CE to ensure that each part is safe for your kids to use. You’ll also get two gymnastic rings, two monkey fists, one carrying bag, and 13 connectors when you order. It all packs up neatly into a storage bag between uses to make transporting it easy and quick.
- Workout-based activities
- Sets up in minutes
- Comes in a durable carrying case
- Each activity features high-quality materials
- Works well for different fitness levels
- Fun colors
- Makes a great gift
- Not suited for kids under five
4. CDCASA Swing Rope Set – Bargain Budget Pick
Our bargain budget pick isn’t a whole playset per say, but it does give your kids hours of entertainment. You get a 12-inch disc swing with platforms when you order this product, and it’s made out of very safe and strong materials that can hold up to 440-pounds. So, even the adults can play right alongside their kids. The climbing rope is braided, thick, and easy-to-grip because it’s made out of polyethylene, and this helps it withstand a lot of use or wear and tear. The rope swing is very bright, and this makes it very attractive to children when they see it hanging in your yard.
You’ll get a seven-foot long rope with five colors on the foot holders, and you get a 21-inch long tree hanging strap to secure it with a safety carabiner, and this ensures that it doesn’t move once you get it attached and your kids start to play on it. It’s a very nice gift idea, and it’s a nice way for your kids to build up their stamina, strength, coordination, balance, and confidence levels. You’ll get a satisfaction guarantee on this set, and this allows you to return it if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
- Holds up to 440-pounds
- Has a 12-inch disc
- Very bright colors
- Seven-foot long rope
- 21-inch hanging strap
- Helps build coordination
- Easy to install
- Not a full playset
5. Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set – Best For Durability
The playground sets from this company have a reputation for being high-quality and durable. They make metal swing sets, and there are definite benefits to going with this style over more traditional wooden ones. Generally speaking, you’ll have less maintenance because they’re more resistant to wear and tear. It’s a nice price range, and it has a fireman’s pole and monkey bars to help encourage your children to get out and play. The slide is wavy and stretches out nine-feet, and you get three durable swings that have a plastic coating on the chain to help protect them from wear and tear while stopping your kids from pinching their fingers.
This is one playground set that is easy to assemble straight out of the box, and it features steel for the material that gets sealed with a powder coating to protect it from the elements that won’t crack, peel, or chip. There is also an acrobatic bar with rings on one side, and the monkey bars lead right up to the slide platform. It will take two people between four and six hours to put together from start to finish, and it comes with sturdy bases on the bottom of each pole so you don’t need to set it in concrete.
- Steel for the material
- Has a powder coating on it
- Relatively easy to assemble
- Plastic feet add stability
- Several playing areas
- Has a full monkey bar set
- Lower maintenance required
- Hardware isn’t very sturdy
6. Sky View Wooden Playset – Best For Older Kids
This is one of the highest-rated wooden playground sets you can buy on the market for under a grand, and it comes with a host of standard features that you’d expect like a rock climbing wall, wave slide, and two swings. However, this model also packs more play areas in, including a glider swing, picnic table, sandbox, and a nice fort area. The fort has a telescope, captain’s wheel, and binoculars to help encourage imaginative play, and you get it all wrapped up into a cute-looking design. However, putting it together can easily take a day or two with two to four people working on it, so this makes it a little more difficult.
The safety area for this playground set is 22-feet by 30-feet, and this means that you have to set aside a larger space for it to ensure your kids have room to move around without getting hurt. The solid cedar wood framing naturally resists rot, mold, and mildew, and this can help it last longer without any ongoing maintenance for you, and it comes pre-stained to add another layer of protection. It can support up to 420-pounds or four occupants at one time, and it works best for kids aged 3 to 10.
- Supports up to 420-pounds
- Larger design
- Lots of unique play areas
- Solid cedar construction
- Encourages imaginative play
- Stable legs
- Wide age range
- Can take a few days to assemble
7. Swing-N-Slide Tremont Tower – Best For Smaller Yards
If you have a smaller backyard with a lot of yard decorations or a large container garden, this playground set can fit right in. One area of this playset is enclosed with the other area open to give you kid a perfect view with the attached telescope. There is a small fort area underneath the playset for your kids to explore, and it has a decently-sized rock climbing wall for them to scurry up. They can play on the trapeze bar, two swings, or ride the eight-foot wavy slide down to the ground. It has a very compact design with a host of features, and it won’t gouge your budget to get it.
This playground set does come with a slightly more challenging assembly process to it because you have to go online and print out the instructions since the included instructions are challenging. You also need specific tools to assemble it and it can take between 8 and 16 hours from start to finish. You do get pre-cut lumber when you order it with all the hardware you need. The slide is made in the United States to strict quality control standards, and it has a patented bracket system that will save time when you install it.
- Smaller and more compact design
- Host of features
- Able to adjust the swing height
- Has a tub slide
- Lumber is pre-cut
- Made in the United States
- Wood comes with stain on it
- Need a completely level space to set it up
8. Grandview Twist Play Set – Best For Larger Families
The tube slide is one of the big draws for this playground set because it’s a feature that usually gets reserved for larger models. You also get a second curved slide and monkey bars with this set with two swings, a rock climbing wall, a glider swing, and dual platforms to climb on and survey the yard. It does take up a decent amount of room when you get it all assembled, and the slides come outfitted with a lifetime warranty that makes them easy to replace if something were to happen. This company also puts a five-year limited warranty on all of the wood components to help you protect your initial investment, and this is great news for people who want to get a lot of use out of it.
Since this is a larger playground set, kids of higher ages will like it just as much as kids under 10, and it’s a great way to get all of your kids outside and playing at one time. The instructions are relatively easy to follow, and it shouldn’t take more than a day or two to assemble. There are a lot of parts, so staying organized is the key here. One of the platforms comes with a wooden peaked roof that helps protect your kids from the sun, and it also has stain on the wood to help seal out moisture or mold due to wet conditions.
- Wood comes with a coat of stain
- Suitable for kids up to 15 or 16
- Has a larger rock climbing wall
- Features a wavy slide and a tube slide
- Dual platforms
- Very clear instructions
- Several playing areas
- Has a ton of smaller parts
9. Lifetime Adventure Tower – Best For Smaller Kids
If you have younger kids who still like to have sleepovers and want a safe way to wear them out, this metal playground set is a nice option. It comes with an upper play area that has a steering wheel with plenty of space to write or draw, and the lower fort area allows for imaginative play. There is over five-feet of standing room without having to hunch over, and your kids can play on the nine-foot wavy slide. For the older kids, they can play on the swings and slides this playground set offers, and there are two rock climbing walls on either side of the structure with a more challenging arched climbing ladder to reach the top.
It’s great for kids between 3 and 12 years old, and this is a very highly-rated metal playground set that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or upkeep from you to keep it looking like new. It can take between 10 and 16 hours for two people to assemble from start to finish, and you get full color instructions to help you along the way. The sturdy steel material will resist rust and corrosion, and it comes with a powder coating on parts of it that won’t peel, chip, or wear away to provide another layer of protection.
- For 3 to 12 years old
- Metal construction
- Offers over five feet of standing room
- Upper and lower play area
- Arched climbing ladder
- Dual rock walls
- Has sun protection
- Screws and bolts can snap off easily
10. Gorilla Playsets Mountaineer Playhouse – Best For Imaginative Play
The final playground set on the list is also one of the most expensive, but it’s an exceptionally well-built option. Additionally, Gorilla playground sets have a reputation for having some of the most durable hardware and wood in the industry. It comes backed by a five-year manufacturer warranty from the date of purchase, and it has virtually anything a kid could ask for. You’ll get a wavy slide, extreme tube slide, rock climbing wall, climbing rope, and a climbing ladder. The swing portion has dual swings and a trapeze bar, but you can replace this with a third swing. There’s a picnic and sandbox area under the playset, and the top of the fort is a decent size.
When your kids get to the top of the playground set, they’ll find a telescope that is perfect for pretend play and a tic-tac-toe board. You can purchase and add additional accessories if you like, including a pirate ship wheel. The assembly process is straightforward, and it packs a large amount of features without being a huge set. The wood comes pre-cut, sanded, and drilled to make the assembly process easier, and it’s premium cedar that resists rot and mold damage. In turn, this can easily survive for years without showing wear and tear.
- Very well-built
- Five-year warranty
- Huge amount of play areas
- Can buy and add more accessories
- Made out of Cedar
- Full color assembly manual
- Mold and mildew resistant
Playground Set Buying Guide
Before you start shopping for a new playground set for your home, measure the yard and see how much space you can dedicate to it. You don’t want to accidentally buy something too big and not have enough room to set it when you put it up. Once you have an idea in mind, you’ll have a direction to go in when you shop.
Hitting as many buying criteria as possible when you start shopping for a swing set with monkey bars helps to ensure that your kids will be thrilled with their new set up and ready for backyard play with the playground equipment day in and day out.
How big are the kids that are going to be using your playground set? Do you want something they can grow up with, or are you more concerned with finding something your younger kids can enjoy? The different age ranges will have different activities on them to keep everyone happy and entertained. For example:
- Five and Below
- Plastic equipment with rounded corners and no gaps that could pinch
- Any platforms should be four feet tall or less for safety
- Mobile parts, playhouses, and themes can help encourage their imaginations
- Swings should have straps or buckles, front supports, and high backs to keep your kid safe
- Stairs and ladders should be slightly wider, have solid railings, and be five steps or less
- Slides should have a gentle slope to them, and they should be less than five feet tall
- 5 to 9
- Platforms can safely reach up to seven feet tall
- Slides can be between seven and nine feet long with a more steep slope
- Swings should have U-shaped seats with no back or front support
- Rock walls and vertical, horizontal, and arch climbers are welcome
- 9 and Up
- Sliding poles and steep slides over nine feet long
- Tire swings and monkey bars. Monkey bars build strength
- Horizontal bars encourage strength building and physical fitness
- Climbing pieces are welcome
- Chain and rope climbers set at angles provide a challenge
Most play sets and playground equipment for backyard play have a suggested age range on them that will tell you if it’s suitable for your kid(s) or not. You can buy it a little bigger and give them something to grow into as well.
Ideally, you’ll go with a well-known brand for your playground set. Doing so will help ensure that you get a product that is built to last, and more reputable brands usually pay closer attention to the hardware and material they use than lesser-known ones do. Gorilla Playsets, Lifetime, and Backyard Discovery are all well-known manufacturers who offer playground sets in a range of prices.
Once you decide on an age range for your outdoor playground set, you should pick out a material. Not only does this help to narrow down your choices straight away, but you can compare the different materials to see which one will work best with your environment. This way, you’ll have a general idea on how long your outdoor playground set will last. The three biggest materials are:
- Wood – Wood is a cost-effective and durable option, especially when it has a sealant on it and is pressure-treated. It works best in areas that have a dry climate because it can develop mildew and rot away. You may have to apply a new layer of stain once a year.
- Plastic – Popular for smaller kid playsets, plastic is one of the most durable choices you have. It can survive both indoors and out in various weather conditions, but it’s the least sustainable because it’s not possible to recycle it.
- Metal – Many commercial-grade playgrounds use metal for their material because it can last a long time. Galvanized steel is popular because it resists rusting or corroding, but it does get hot to the touch in the summer months.
The different playset materials all have pros and cons associated with them, and picking out a type right away will help you filter out many options to make your choice easier.
Since you have to set up this playground set yourself, the installation process is very important. Ideally, you’ll get larger pieces, clear instructions, and clearly labeled bags. However, this may not be the case. You have to be able to follow both text and visual instructions. Double-check what the reviews say about the installation process. Chances are, someone will be truthful about how easy or complicated it is. If you need special tools, make a note of it.
Making sure you have enough room for your new playground set can be tricky, but it’s better to set it too far away from objects than put it together and find out it’s too close.
How much time do you have to dedicate to maintaining your playground set? Wood can require more ongoing vigilance and maintenance to maintain than a metal one does, especially if the metal one has a powder coating on it. Decide how much time you have to keep it looking its best before you commit to one particular design. If you don’t maintain it, it can fall into disrepair much sooner.
Since this can be an expensive purchase, it should have some type of warranty attached to it. Generally, the warranty will be much longer on the structure or frame itself than it will be on the components. You want at least a two-year warranty on the more expensive models if not more. Check and see what the warranty will and won’t cover, and see if you’d have to cover shipping costs.
Picking out a durable playset is one way to ensure it lasts for years, even when you live in harsh environments with a lot of different weather conditions.
The best playground sets give your kids a place to explore, play, and let their imaginations run wild. Our top eight reviews allow you to compare several high-quality options side by side, and our short guide outlines the important components you need to keep in mind when you shop.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.