We have been in or around the swing set industry for a while, and everyone runs into the same question: what’s the difference between a swing set and a playset? At the Backyartisan, we tend to use the two interchangeably, but we can put our flag down with an answer, if needed. A playset incorporates forts, slides, and other accessories, while a swing set is made for the pure enjoyment of swinging. We are going to highlight the best swing sets that we’ve come to recommend.

Here are our recommendations for the best swing sets, purely swing sets.

The Backyartisan's Short List: Best Basic Swing Sets

Backyard Discovery Little Brutus Metal Swing Set

Best Metal Swing Set

Backyartisan Rating: 4.0 stars

The Little Brutus is a solid metal swing set that happens to also look good. The proportions and thickness look good, the structure is made of steel, and it comes in some attractive colors. We think that the Little Brutus is hard to beat. That is precisely why it also made our Short List of the best metal swing sets.

Where It Shines:

  • Three swing positions
  • Sturdy metal construction
  • Gliding nest swing

Where It Could Improve:

  • Not a cheap swing set for what you get
  • Obviously limited in accessories

Heavy-Duty Swing Station from Gorilla Playsets

Best Wooden Swing Set

Backyartisan Rating: 3.5 stars

A good looking, classic cedar swing set. This swing set comes with very beefy 4x4 framing and steel plates for fastening. Sporting an acro-bar for the third swing position, Gorilla gets it done in wood for your traditional swing set.

Where It Shines:

  • Beefy structure
  • Classic wood look

Where It Could Improve:

  • Not a cheap swing set for what you get
  • Obviously limited in accessories

Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set

Best Swing Set+

Backyartisan Rating: 3.7 stars

Okay, we are fudging a little bit here - we said that technically slides and other play elements belong to the playset category, but the Monkey Bar Adventure swing set by Lifetime is worth making an exception for. You get 4 swing positions, plus monkey bars, plus a slide - that’s why we call it a Swing Set+, and we’ll stand by it.

Where It Shines:

  • Great for young kids
  • Four swing positions
  • Slide, fireman’s pole, and monkey bars to boot!

Where It Could Improve:

  • Not heavy duty for older kids
  • At $1,400, you could probably opt for a cheaper wood playset with fort

How We Picked the Swing Sets on This Short List

Shipping & Receiving Process

The shipping and receiving process for swing sets is always a little complicated. Most swing sets and playsets are shipped via freight or LTL, so you have to deal with trucking company appointments, delivery, unboxing, and other details. Some swing set manufacturers make that process a lot easier than others. Fortunately for basic swing sets like these, the total weight of the delivery and the unboxing process isn't as bad as bigger playsets. Your order will probably only be in a couple of boxes.

Installation & Setup

Swing sets take a while to get set up. A DIY swing set installation can take up an entire weekend sometimes, so how the swing set manufacturer organized all the parts in the shipment, their instruction manual, and just the overall assembly of the structure matter a lot.

Stability & Durability of Materials

Obviously, you want to make sure that the materials used in the swing set are durable, safe, and can stand the test of time. We look at factors like joint quality, wood thickness, plastic thickness, quality of the metal, and testing or safety certifications that the swing set has.

Play Elements

Basic swing sets don't come with too much in terms of play elements, just the classics - a couple of swings and potentially some other accessories like monkey bars or a slide, like we featured above. Still though, the quality of those play elements matters a lot. After all, you want your kids to enjoy them!

Price & Value

The overall price tag is always an important consideration, but even more important is the value you are getting for your dollar. There are a lot of cheap swing sets out there that are a load of crap. Same goes for some expensive playsets too. We sift through all of the hype to find the swing sets that are going to stretch your dollar the furthest and get you the best quality out there for your budget.

For more factors you should consider, head on over to our full article on how to buy a swing set. And for all of our playset recommendations, make sure to read our best outdoor playset guide.

Recap: The Best Basic Swing Sets


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