The Belmont wooden swing set by Backyard Discovery is our choice for the best budget swing set in our Short List of the best backyard playsets of 2021. It packs in a little bit more than the average budget swing set, and still meets your lightweight price point at roughly $650. This review will take a hard look at all aspects of the Belmont swing set, help you get a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into, and let you know if you’re getting what you need for your money.
The Backyartisan's Verdict
In this review, we will cover the following aspects of the Belmont wooden swing set. These are the Backyartisan ratings for each on a 5-star scale. Next to each category, we have the weight we give each category, as well as an overall rating. You can see 30% of the weight is given to the playset before its use, 45% to the use of the playset, and 25% to the value of your purchase. Okay, here’s the Backyartisan rating for the Belmont by Backyard Discovery.
Shipping & Receiving
You want to be sure you check out our article on what exactly you should expect when ordering a playset. You’ll get a good idea in that article of what to expect and how to proceed when receiving and taking inventory.
Our Belmont verdict: The Belmont comes in three separate boxes, two weighing 45 lbs. or less, and the large one being only 130 lbs. Overall, this is an extremely easy playset to receive, unload, inventory, and get ready for assembly. The only issue you may run into is damage to the exterior of the boxes, so you want to take a good look around the entire pallet before signing everything with your shipper.
Trucking Company Appointments
These are still fairly large boxes, so the Belmont ships via LTL freight. That means you’ll need to make an appointment and be home when the delivery is scheduled. In general, freight is by far the most cost effective way of shipping throughout the US. That said, it just isn’t as simple and sweet a deal as your normal FedEx or UPS parcel.
Dealing with Pallets
The Belmont comes on an 8’ pallet, So you will have to deal with disposing of that when you’re done. Just because the pallet is so large, I would highly recommend avoiding the liftgate service that you’re shipper may try to suggest. In general, they are expensive and totally unnecessary if you’re willing to hop up into the van of the truck and pull boxes off by hand. That’ll also put you in a good position to go ahead and snap some pictures of the shipment before getting started.
Unboxing and Taking Inventory
This one is pretty straightforward with only three boxes. Please do inspect and take plenty of pictures of the pallet and shipment for your records. If everything looks good, of course sign off on it. If you do run into an issue, I’d give the retailer who sold it to you a call before signing anything. Typically they’d like for you to make notes and send them pictures before moving on. It’s always best, unless there is a crazy amount of damage, to go ahead and receive the shipment noting issues on the paperwork.
Box Weight and Dimensions
With only 130 lbs. on the heaviest box, this is a pretty simple unload. We still recommend you have that buddy of yours who might drive you to the airport come over and help you. Many hands make light labor.
With the Belmont or any other place at, it’s always nice to know what to expect when you take out your toolbox. Installation and assembly of a playset is legit work and likely the most important thing you’ll do for the safety of your kids with this product. Please check out our guide on playset installation for planning and more tips.
Our Belmont verdict: Backyard Discovery advertises this as a 7 hour job for 2 intermediate handyman. We find that to be a fair assessment for this particular swing set. Being above average of an installation process, we get this 4 stars.
You’ll need some fairly basic tools for this set. Be sure you’ve got a hammer, a level, some common wrench sizes, and a carpenter square. You’ll also need an electric drill with a Phillips head attachment and two standard size drill bits (⅛” and ⅜”). Some playsets can require more specialized equipment, but you’ll see the Belmont is pretty straightforward.
Ease and Timeframe of Installation
The manufacturer suggests 7 hours for total installation, which seems about right. It’s always nice to round up a little bit to give yourself a decent estimate. If you are organized and orderly, this really should take you one days work with a buddy.
Quality of Directions
In general, I think Backyard Discovery excels in their assembly manual. The directions for the Belmont are well-written and have plenty of extra helpful tidbits and information in the first 10 or so pages before you even get to assembly. This includes good information about surface areas and maintenance.
I do wish that Backyard Discovery would add a little bit of color to their manual. I have found that it is helpful when delineating between certain pieces, but it is by no means a requirement to get it done.
The total safe play zone of the Belmont is 20.5 feet by roughly 31 feet. The peak height of the fort tarp is 9.5 feet, and the maximum fall height is just over 6 feet. Not a very huge playset overall. You’ll still want to allow 6 feet around the entire installed playset, but that is included in the safe zone above.
Stability & Durability
You know, this is where we start getting into the realm of discussing what exactly a budget swing set is. You should not expect a fortress at a price tag of $700 or less. Heck, you shouldn’t expect a fortress for under $2,000. That’s just the way pricing works with these playsets.
Our Belmont verdict: We give the Belmont swing set 3 stars because it is quite average in its stability. You’ll learn below about board thickness and joints and realize what exactly you are getting yourself into. It’ll last a couple of years, which is about average, which is about 3 stars.
Joints & Hardware
Backyard Discovery is fairly average in its durability, and the Belmont is right on par. The hex bolts are 5/16 inches and essentially what you would expect from other value-based brands. The lag screws are actually a little bit thicker than I would expect, so that’s a nice surprise. But the wood screws are #8, which is sufficient but not knock your socks off.
The joint and bracket hardware is pretty standard at this price. The thickness of these plates are okay at best. You’ll probably find yourself holding it in your hand wondering how long this set will last. That said, it’s to be expected at this price.
I personally am not in love with the way the upright posts are constructed on all budget swing sets. Generally, the cross beam is connected to one post which is connected to two more in an A-frame. I would rather see solid upright posts connected to solid cross beams. The reason it is done with the truncated A-frame is to save on shipping dimensions and costs.
The swing beam on the Belmont is 2 inches thick. That’s it. To put that into perspective, most heavy duty beams are 4 x 4 and some of the less expensive playsets will have double beamed swing beams. The upright posts are 1⅜ inches thick and most everything else is 1 inch or thinner. Just wanting you to understand that this will not feel beefy to you at all.
For the sake of shipping, the slide is actually broken down into three pieces: the main run and 2 sides. I’m not in love with this model, and you’ll find yourself wondering why you need to screw so many screws into a plastic slide to support it, but that is one way you get the cost savings that you need.
Wood Stain & Finish
The wood stain looks fine, the finish looks fine. Nothing to write home about, but it’s pretty straightforward and smoothly done. If you’ve read one of our reviews before, you’ll know that we are just not fans of the standard colors that are always part of these places.
Backyard Discovery recommends a maximum of 120 lbs. per child on play elements that can’t handle more than one child. Four play activities that are supposed to only handle one child, the manufacturer recommends a max weight of 150 lbs. The overall max capacity for the Belmont is 9 children.
Check out our checklist for maintaining a wooden playset. The better attention you pay to it, the longer it should last. This includes tightening screws, sanding and restaining the playset, and inspecting in great detail at the beginning of every play season.
It is probably worth mentioning that you are paying about 20% the cost of something that is heavy duty, so you should probably expect it to last 20% of the amount of time. The heavy duty sets may last up to 15 years, so I would think it’s fairly safe to say that three years is about an average amount of time to expect out of the Belmont.
For this section of the review, we’ll talk through the different social and solo play elements, and give you an idea of what all comes with your kit.
Our Belmont verdict: I like what all the Belmont fits into this place set at this price range. With the added picnic table and trapeze bar swing, it really edges out the competitors at this price point. In terms of a budget swing set, the Belmont does a little bit more than the rest on the market.
Ups, Downs & Acrosses
This section is about getting up, down, and across The playset. For the Belmont, there really is no across, it’s just getting up to the fort and down from the fort. You’ve got a decent rock ladder going up and a standard slide coming off. On the whole the ups, downs, and acrosses is fairly limited.
Here’s a spot where the Belmont really shines. Though the crossbeam is not extremely heavy duty, Backyard Discovery gets 3 total swings out of it with a trapeze bar. I will say, it gives me a little bit of pause to add the extra weight to this crossbeam, but it is a nice feature.
Social Play Accessories
For a budget swing set, the picnic table is a nice touch on the Belmont. This provides a place for children to get together and hang out. The way that it is set up also allows for children to put on a show for each other. Overall, at this price you shouldn’t expect just a whole lot, but the Belmont does give you something.
Solo Play Accessories
We have basically covered everything that the Belmont offers so far. There are no chalkboards or spy glasses in the Belmont, so you can expect a fairly straightforward inexpensive playset.
Roof & Kit Options
There are no real options that come with the Belmont. Backyard Discovery has really dialed in the cost effectiveness of this place at. That said, the extra tarp overhang for the picnic table is a pretty nice touch to provide extra coverage. Personally, I think it makes a roofline an entire place at a little more interesting looking. Don’t necessarily count on it to provide a whole lot of shade.
Price & Value
Now that you’ve gotten the in-depth review across-the-board of the actual playset, let’s see how it stacks up against the cost and overall value. At $700, you know that this playset is at the very starting point of what you’d expect to pay. But what does that mean?
Our Belmont verdict: The Belmont gives you a little bit more than your run-of-the-mill low-cost play sets. We put it right at four stars overall for the offering.
I do think the Backyard Discovery offers a slightly inadequate warranty. I don’t love the limitations that they put on it, but it is about par for the industry.
This place that does offer slightly more than you would expect at this rate. With that math involving shipping information below, the product alone probably should retail for $500. Assuming some profitability to the manufacturer, this playset probably only cost $150-200 to produce. Looking at all that goes into it, that sounds pretty good. That’s why we give it some pretty solid marks.
Most retailers will offer free shipping at the price of $700. From our experience the retailer or manufacturer is actually eating a cost upwards of $200-300, so that might give you a little bit better sense of what their manufacturing cost is.
Installation should run you roughly $300-500. A pro can really knock this out quickly, and it might take you the better part of a day. Don’t go thinking that this is a very complicated assembly. With a little bit of organization and basic know how, you really can put this together yourself in a day. What your time is worth to you, only you can say.
The Backyard Discovery warranty is probably my main knock on this place at. Everything essentially comes with a 1-year warranty from the date of purchase. Period. Wood components have a sliding scale over a 5-year period, and there are plenty of outs for the manufacturer in terms of coverage. That means that only a couple years into ownership, you could owe 40% of the cost of replacement parts and all shipping of those parts.
The Belmont Wooden Swing Set by Backyard Discovery is a great playset at the lower price point. It gets all of your basics and a few extra touches here and there while other companies get very little.
You may find yourself With both a limited timeframe and age range for the swing set. Kids may outgrow it somewhat quickly and/or you may need to be replacing it in the not too distant future.
Thanks for reading and learning more about the Belmont swing set in this Backyartisan review!