View Full Version : swingset purchase

W. Edwards
10-27-2001, 09:52 PM
Has anyone looked into buying a swingset. The prices are making my head spin! If anyone has found a good deal I would love to hear about it.

12-11-2001, 10:54 PM
We looked into Creative Playthings play systems when they were running a "50% off floor model" sale at the showroom in our area. I have to say I was impressed with the construction details, but when I went home to think about it I looked up an old review of wooden playsets in Consumer Reports (from 1997 I think) and Creative Playthings systems were rated only fair because of some safety issues. If you have access to back issues of CR, I suggest reading that article first before you do serious shopping.

Regarding price, even on sale and with free delivery/installation, the system we liked best would have run close to $1,000. That's a hard penny to swallow! Also, we watched our not-quite 2-year-old as he played on the floor models and saw that many of the major features he is still just too young to use/enjoy. So we decided to put off the purchase decision another year and let him continue to play with the Little Tykes garage sale find we currently have in our backyard. HTH!


Vikki G.
03-15-2002, 09:00 PM
I am also looking to purchase a playset and am having a tough time coming up with independent reviews and ratings that are current (1-2 years). If I am going to spend this kind of money, I want to be sure that I what I am getting is as good as they say.

Any suggestions?

06-12-2002, 01:21 PM
Our 18-month DS is a serious climber, so we investigated outdoor swingsets/jungle gyms this summer. The three brands we looked at were Rainbow Play Systems (www.rainbowplay.com--HIGH end!), Play Mor swing sets (some photos at www.hartvillekidsworld.com--moderate prices), and Hedstrom (www.hedstrom.com--go to Toy Finder and search for swing).

The Rainbow stuff was VERY expensive (starting about $2000 for smallest choice, plus installation) and designed for probably 5+. The ladder rungs were spaced too far apart for our little guy. Thank God, because we would have had to take out a mortgage to pay for one of these. They look great and seem to be quality swingsets. We didn't choose these because of both expense and age inappropriateness.

The Play Mor sets were more reasonable (starting at about $1500 with installation included). The dealer in Bowling Green, OH, sets it up in about an hour (a major bonus!). Some friends have one that is wonderful and are very happy with it. DS loves it and can get up the ladder without help. We decided against this set because the difference between this set and the build-it-yourself set from Hedstrom was about $1000. That's just more money than we were willing to spend.

We went with the Mountaineer III from Hedstrom. Our local dealer packages the kit with all the pieces with lumber and sells it for one price. We ended up spending about $550, plus time and labor. It is taking us forever to get it together (about 24 man-hours so far, probably another 20 to go), but we just couldn't pony up the extra $1000 for the above set with installation.

If you decide to go the "do-it-yourself" route, find at least one other person to help the builder! Someone has to watch the kid(s) so you'll need to find another "volunteer." It will take one person three times as long to do it by himself. Just a suggestion!

Good luck!


09-24-2002, 08:42 AM
While I agree that the Rainbow systems are quite expensive, we decided to splurge last year and get one for our daughters (now ages 4 1/2 and 19 months). We are extremely happy with our purchase. The wood and swing brackets are guaranteed for life, the safety features and stability are second to none, and if you move, the company will come disassemble it and set it up for you at your new house for a nominal fee. The features that we believe make this set such a worthwhile purchase is that it is taller than most other sets - we know our daughters will be able to use this for years to come. Also, the attention to safety details and the quality of the construction were huge selling points for me - injuries can happen too easily on equipment of this nature and I wanted something that would be extremely safe and durable for my girls. Also, a neighbor of ours bought a put-together-yourself swingset a few months ago and is already worried about how shaky it feels and is wondering if it is really going to hold up over the long haul. When he came over and checked out our swingset, he was extremely impressed with how stable and well-made ours was. Also, while I know the price is over-the-top, you can get deals on these sets by shopping in the fall. Supeior Play Systems, a Rainbow dealer in the Philadelphia area, had great end-of-season deals - the play system we picked was on sale for $700 off of the price that it was in the spring. We got if about $1900, but that was including about $200 in additional accessories and the $225 delivery and installation fee. If you have a little extra money, I think this is a great system to splurge on.

04-01-2003, 04:56 PM
We have a Cedarworks set. My inlaws bought it for dd and any future kids. LOL We set it up when she was about 15/16 months old and she's been able to climb to the top and go down the slide since day one!

We also looked at Rainbow sets and I didn't like the ladders or the openness of the platform. The Cedarworks set has internal platforms so it's EASY for even toddlers to climb up. And we bought extra 'fences' for the top so that it's more enclosed. We LOVE it! It think it was the best $2000 anyone ever spent on us. LOL

04-07-2003, 03:00 PM
Most warehouse clubs around here are starting to carry cedar swingsets.
The one I'm interested in is sold at BJ's Warehouse Club.
It's made by Backyard Products, which is a division of Hedstrom. I tried their website but it's being updated. At $599, the set looks like a steal, but I have two concerns:

1) The main posts are not cedar but a green plastic material. What's with that?

2) There have been at least two recalls of Backyward Products swingsets, mainly due to defects in the swings themselves, not the wooden frame. Will the quality and safety be there?

I know these sets are very popular as the clubs always sell out by June or so, so I am hopeful that someone will have direct experience.

04-20-2003, 05:12 PM
One other suggestion: your local Home Depot or Lowes sells these items and they usually have a list of contractors who will set it up for you (my brother-in-law makes his living doing this). The cool thing about this is that you can customize it however you want - ladders too far apart, have them add extra rungs, got a swampy area in your back yard, have them span it with a footbridge. Of course, this will depend on who your contractor is and how creative he wants to get.
Jen in Okinawa
Mom to Noelle (10/25/01)

NY mom
05-06-2003, 10:05 PM
We also invested in a playset by Cedarworks. Once I saw the "sure-step" access system they have, I was convinced this would be the only swingset our kids could really use from a young age (we have a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 mos. old). We also looked at Rainbow and Eastern Jungle Gym (they have sales going on now), but there was no safe way for the little ones to access the fort 5 feet above the ground except via the ladder. W/Cedarworks, they climb up a set of graduated platforms that are located inside the structure below the "fort" above. They're truly unique in that way. Also, everything can be completely customized, so we'll add some more challenging things as the kids get older. The price of a basic climber is about $1,200 plus shipping/installation. But when you consider your kids can start using it at a young age, you eliminate having to buy 2 sets over their childhood years. If you can wait until September, you'll save 10%. Also, it pays to wait to add on to your system - once you're a customer, you get 20% off all additional accessory purchases bought during the month of November. My 2 1/2 year old loves to climb - he now has so many ways to do it, and safely on a playset that will last. I expect his little sister will join him when she's 15-18 mos. old.

09-19-2003, 08:41 PM
I also have to put in a plug for Cedarworks. It definitely isn't cheap, but the quality and versatility were a great deal in my mind. My son was only 16 months when we bought ours, and he was able to climb up to the top safely the first day. Those "sure-step" platforms were a huge selling point for me - no other swingset stood up to Cedarworks once I saw those!

They have had a couple of sales this year - in May you could get free swings, and in June you could get a free slide (up to $275!).

Thanks for the note about the sale on accessories - I had thought about future accessory purchases as Christmas presents - know I know that I'll get a deal!