I am sure we all remember being kids.
For some of us it is a more distant memory than others, but those memories we do hold will usually be of long summer days of freedom and fun with friends.
One way you could possibly help your child create lifelong memories is to buy them a swing set, but it won’t be a cheap investment.
So are swing sets worth it?
Let’s find out…
Are Swing Sets Worth It?
All the time your kids are using it, a swing set is worth it. Studies have shown that physical activity and being outside reduces stress, anxiety and depression, something that is on the rise in children. The consensus seems to be that the younger your children are when you buy a swing set, the better an investment it is and the more likely they are to use it over a prolonged period of time.
I am not going to pretend there is a cut-and-dry answer to the question of whether a backyard swing set is worth it.
For some of you it will be, for some of you it won’t.
All the time your kids are playing regularly on it, it will be worth it. If they don’t use it, it won’t be worth it, it is as simple as that.
And as you know your own kids better than I do, I trust you to make that judgment better than me, haha!
So what I am going to do is try and outline some things to consider, and some genuine first-hand experience from parents of whether their investment in a swing set was worth it.
Will a Swing Set Be A Good Investment? Some Things To Consider…
#1: How Active Are Your Children?
Depending upon the age of your kids, this will be difficult to answer.
If your child is still a toddler, then you probably don’t know how they are going to develop and if they would rather be inside playing with toys or out in the yard going up and down a slide numerous times.
If your kids are athletic, then there will probably be plenty of opportunities for them to join sports teams. And that will most likely keep them busy.
Will they then want to come home and use a swing set too?
Also without making this article sound like ‘all our yesterdays’, things have changed over the past few decades.
I grew up in the 1980s, when there was limited TV, no video games, no internet.
Me and my friends spent literally all of our spare time in the summer months outside, either playing in the woods, kicking a football around, or on my friend’s (amazing!) swing set.
Today, as your children grow up, there will be so many more distractions that might absorb their attention.
Trouble is, as I mentioned above it is so difficult to predict with any certainty how much use your swing set will get if you do buy one.
However, in almost every bit of research I did, there does appear to be one commonly held belief that will give your swing set the best chance of being well used…
RELATED ===> Buyers Guide: The Best Swing Sets on the Market
#2: Get A Swing Set When Your Children Are As Young As Possible
The general consensus is if you get a swing set when your child is a toddler, that they will grow up with it and you will get much more use out of it over a prolonged period.
The feedback above are by no means isolated examples either.
So if your kids are under 3 years old and you are thinking about buying a swing set for your backyard, then the advice would be to go do it!
#3: If You Aren’t Sure, Buy One Second Hand
It was alluded to in the screenshot above, but if you are still unsure whether a swing set will be worth it for you, take a look on Craigslist to see if any are available secondhand.
Ironically, the people who are trying to get rid of these will be those for whom a swing set definitely HASN’T been worth it!
Brand-new, top-spec playsets can cost a lot of money, easily $2k upwards, but if you look hard enough and have a bit of patience you can get some really good second-hand playsets for a fraction of the cost.
Shop around on Craigslist to see what is available.
#4: Buy One That Will Last
It goes without saying that if you do part with your hard-earned cash for a swing set, then you want it to last as long as possible.
As with anything, the best things usually come at a price and the high-end swing sets that cost upwards of $2k will normally last longer, some of the top-end swing sets even adults can use too.
A good swing set should easily outlast your child (by that I mean the swing set should still be going strong, way past the time your teenage son/daughter will still be bothered about playing on it!).
If you are buying new, compare warranties for the companies you are considering. Some offer 20-year warranties, some even offer lifetime warranties, so do your research.
And you can buy swing sets that you can upgrade.
For instance swap out the baby bucket swing for a tire swing, then as they approach their teenage years install a hammock swing.
That will help you get the best use out of a swing set.
#5: A Swing Set Can Increase Your Home Value
According to a number of sources, a swing set can make your home more desirable to potential buyers.
Add to that the fact that the outdoor and sports toy market is rapidly growing. According to sales data, the market has grown by almost 38 percent over the past two years.
These same statistics revealed that the market was worth $5.86billion in 2021, more than any other segment of the toy market.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Research Group, 61% of home buyers aged between 30 and 39 have a least one child at home.
That age group makes up the largest percentage of home buyers.
So I guess what I am saying here is, if you have your house on the market and you have a lovely swing set in the yard that you are prepared to leave behind when you move home, it might give your property the extra edge over a number of competing properties.
#6: A Swing Set Can Promote Health and Happiness
It is no secret that playing outside can have huge physical and mental health benefits, but here are some rather scary statistics:
- One in five school-aged children has obesity (a 300% increase since the 1970s).
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- In 2010 a study showed that children were spending an average of seven hours per day consuming media.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
- Antidepressant use in under 18-year-olds is increasing rapidly, with the fastest growing segment found to be children aged 0 to 5 years old.
Source: Study by Delate, Gelenberg, Simmons and Motheral
But on the plus side:
- Regular physical activity can help build strong bones and muscles and reduce anxiety and depression (along with a number of other benefits).
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Children who spent more time in outdoor spaces have lower levels of stress.
Source: Barcelona Institute for Global Health
But beyond the benefits to physical and mental health a swing set brings, there are also the memories it creates that will last forever.
I thought this quote I found on Reddit sums everything up perfectly.
But Why Are Swing Sets So Expensive?
So why are swing sets so expensive? And in fact, are they expensive at all?
Let’s look at the bottom and top-end prices for some known swing set brands:
- Backyard Discovery: Prices range from $399 for its Heavy Duty Durango Swing Set to $2,799 for its Eagles Nest Elite Swing Set.
- Lifetime: Prices range from $599 for its Lifetime Kids Swing Set to $4,299 for its Lifetime Double Adventure Tower with Monkey Bars.
- Gorilla Playsets: Prices range from $299 for its Basic Swing Set to $7,999 for its Empire Extreme Swing Set.
- KidKraft: Prices range from $524.99 for its Seacove Playset / Swing Set to $2,999.99 for its Outdoor Odyssey Swing Set / Playset.
I think it is fair to say that $8k is expensive for a swing set, however $300 isn’t.
But even if you were to spend $8k on a swing set, let’s say your children got daily use out of it (in the better weather) for around 15 years, so is it really that expensive?
That would work out at $533 a year or around $10 a week.
And that is one of the most expensive swing sets out there.
Buy a swing set for $2k and get regular use out of it and it probably could be considered a good investment.
But of course this all comes back to the point we make it the start, this is if your children using it regularly!
So as you can see, it isn’t a simple case of saying yes swing sets are worth it, or no they aren’t.
There are a whole number of factors at play. Undoubtedly a swing set will have massive benefits for your child’s physical and mental health if they use it regularly, but will they?
To round up, I thought I would leave a few links here to questions posted one forums I found when I was researching the subject.
If you read through these comments you will see that the answer is an overwhelming, yes swing sets are worth it:
- Reddit: Outdoor Playset Yay or Nay?
- Reddit: For Those Of You Who Bought A Pricey Swing Set, Slide, Play Structure Set, Was It Worth It?
- Reddit: Experiences With Backyard Playground Equipment?
- Houzz: Do/Did Your Kids Use A Swing Set?
- The Bump: Was Your Swing Set Worth The Investment?
If you do decide to get a swing set, I hope your children get many years use out of it. Try checking out our list of the best swing sets for older kids for some inspiration.