Planning for your playset: the most important question to ask

Expert Advice  |  4 years ago

Planning for your playset: the most important question to ask

You’re ready to take the leap. This is the year you are buying a new playset for the family. Your kids are the right ages, there’s a good space in the backyard, and spring is here. You might even have budgeted how much you want to spend on your new playset. The real question is, what can you get for your money?

For most people, an outdoor playset is a one-time purchase. They probably have no idea how much a playset costs (let’s be honest, you likely haven’t spent your adult life price-shopping playsets the way you might other purchases). Do playsets cost $500? $1,500? $5,000? More? All of those answers are correct, but a $500 playset is going to be very different than one that costs $5,000 in terms of size, materials, accessories, and longevity. It may be that the $500 swing set checks all your boxes, or it may be that you are envisioning something bigger and longer-lasting. Either way, it’s helpful to know what you can expect to find in various price ranges.

Under $500:

If you plan to spend less than $500, you can expect to find a variety of mass-market swing sets made of metal or plastic. These playsets will be small and fairly simple, usually consisting of a couple of swings and maybe a slide. They will also have lower weight limits limiting how many kids can use the set at one time. They are usually best for smaller children.

Swing sets in this price range can be found at large national retail chains (“big box” stores) and online.


In this price range you will find more metal and plastic playsets, but you will also see some wooden playsets made of Chinese cedar. Closer to $1500 you will also find that the sets get bigger with more accessories. They won’t be as sturdy as pricier playsets, but they will be big enough and strong enough for more kids to play on them.

Swing sets at this price range are easy to find at the large national retail chains like Walmart or Target and online.


Most playsets in this range will be made of Chinese cedar though there are also playsets made of pressure treated and vinyl covered pine. These sets can be quite large and elaborate with fort-style structures or towers, and a variety of swings, slides and accessories.

National retail chains and online retailers sell playsets in this price range, but you may also find them at authorized playset dealers and brand showrooms.


At this price range, you are moving into “premium” playsets made with bigger wood and higher quality construction. These playsets may be made from Chinese cedar, but at this price, you will also find playsets made of higher-quality domestic woods like redwood and Northern White Cedar, so they will generally be better made and more durable.

Premium playsets are usually sold directly from the playset brand’s website or sales department or through showrooms or authorized dealers.

$5000 and above:

This price range represents true premium playsets, and they can cost significantly more than $5000). Playsets in this price range will be Northern White Cedar, Redwood, or vinyl coated wood though you may still find a few very large playsets made of Chinese cedar. In general, these playsets will only use the highest quality construction methods and materials. These playsets can often be custom-designed or modified, so they can truly be as big and elaborate as you want with large forts, towers, multiple swing options, spiral slides and pretty much any accessory you can think of.

Premium playsets can be purchased at brand showrooms, from authorized dealers, or on the playset company’s own website.

For more information about price ranges including weight limits, assembly, and brand names, see our full Swing Set Buyer’s Guide. For more information about planning your playset purchase including what to look for in different materials, visit Swing Sets 101.