If you have been looking at buying a swing set, you might have noticed that the swing beams are usually a standard height from the floor.
Is there a reason for this?
Are you thinking about building your own, and wondering if a swing set can be too tall? Then this blog is for you.
So let’s dive straight in.
Can A Swing Set Be Too Tall?
If you don’t have sufficient space in your garden then a swing set can be too tall. Also, the taller a swing set is, the more danger it poses should your child fall at the top of the arc of a swing. However, going for a small swing set means your child will soon outgrow it and it will be defunct. It is tough balancing act!
Swing Sets: Does Size Matter?
As we have alluded to in the introduction, swing set manufacturers tend to build swing sets at specified heights.
Look at any popular model, and the swing beam will nearly always be somewhere between 4 feet and 9 feet (1.2m and 2.75m) from the ground.
But if you wanted to you could go much higher…
For instance, when I went traveling, I visited Queenstown in New Zealand.
It is an amazing town that combines the best of everything, beautiful location, amazing nightlife and it is known as the adventure capital of the world.
Amongst the numerous adrenaline-fuelled activities you can take part in is the Nevis Swing.
It is a swing situated 440 feet (134m) above a canyon just outside of Queenstown, with a 985 feet (300m) swing arc.
Yep you read that right, 440 feet high and a 985 feet swing arc.
Suffice to say I wasn’t brave enough to do it.
So this shows, theoretically you could build a swing set to pretty much any height.
What is the main reason we all went on swings as a kid? To have fun!
The taller a swing set is, the faster and more thrilling speeds and heights the swing will be able to reach. And that is the main benefit of building a swing set higher than say the standard 8 or 9 feet from the ground.
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But then there are a number of disadvantages.
First of all, it will of course be much more dangerous for your child. If they come off at the top of a particularly high arc, the consequences could be very serious.
Secondly, the taller a swing set is, the more expensive and more difficult it will be to safely construct.
You will need more reinforcement and attention to detail when building it, you don’t want the chain coming free from the beam at the highest point and your kid flying through a window…
And thirdly, the higher you build a swing set, the more space you will need, we don’t all have huge canyons in our backyard…
So can a swing set be too tall? If you have the space, the skills and the confidence to build a swing set to an unusually tall height possibly not.
But there are reasons swing set manufacturers tend not to have swing beams that are higher than 9 feet or so off of the ground…
So How Tall Should A Swing Set Be?
Let’s start the discussion of how tall a swing set should be, by looking at the real experts, ie the companies that make them.
Here are a handpicked selection of swing set sizes, by some of the more popular manufacturers:
- Heavy-Duty Durango Swing Set: 6 feet 6 inches
- Buckley Hill Swing Set: 5 feet 8.5 inches
- Skyfort II Swing Set: 6 feet 11.75 inches
- Eagles Nest Elite Swing Set: 6 feet 11 inches
Source: Backyard Discovery website
- Kids Swing Set 90952: 7 feet
- Metal Swing Set 91137: 9 feet 4 inches
- Big Stuff Deluxe Swing Set: 7 feet 9 inches
- Big Stuff Adventure Swing Set: 7 feet 9 inches
Source: Lifetime website
- Basic Swing Set: 6 feet 10 inches
- High Point II Swing Set: 7 feet 4.75 inches
- Empire Wood Swing Set: 7 feet 8 inches
- Great Skye II Treehouse Swing Set: 7 feet 8 inches
Source: Gorilla website
- Seacove Playset: 6 feet 3.5 inches
- Meadowvale II Wooden Swing Set: 6 feet 10 inches
- McKinley Wooden Swing Set: 6 feet 10 inches
- Lewiston Retreat: 7 feet 4 inches.
Source: KidKraft website
As you can see, with a couple of exceptions, most swing sets are between 6 feet and 8 feet high.
We touched on swing set heights in the section above when we mentioned that the taller a swing set gets, the more space you need and the more potentially dangerous it is.
If we go to the other end of the spectrum, and you buy a 4 feet high swing set, it might be great for your toddler, and it might be much easier to put up and take up much less space in your garden, but there is one big problem…
Pretty soon your child will outgrow it and it will become defunct.
That is why it is a better idea to hedge your bets and go for a larger swing set that will last longer, some made by companies like Rainbow are able to accommodate adults too.
Also lots of swing sets now come with swings you can swap in and out as your child gets older.
If you are really restricted for space then try and get at minimum a swing set that is 5 feet tall, but ideally a swing set in the 6 feet to 8 feet bracket will provide maximum longevity and excitement for your child.
How High Should A Swing Hang From The Ground?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has laid out some guidelines on how high a swing should be from the ground.
In its Playground Information factsheet, it recommends:
- Swings for preschool-age children: 12 inches from the ground.
- Swings for school-age children: 16 inches from the ground.
- Tot swings (swings with enclosed seats for children under 4): 24 inches from the ground.
This is just guidance, however it is worth taking note of.
Also worth a read if you are building something in your yard to keep the kids entertained is the CPSC Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook.
A swing set can be too tall if you don’t have sufficient space in your yard.
Remember the taller a swing set, the bigger footprint it takes up and the bigger safety zone you need.
Also, there is more potential for a fall to have serious consequences.
Most swing set manufacturers’ swing sets are somewhere between 4 feet and 9 feet high for a reason.
But you have to be equally cautious about getting a swing set that is too small.
Whilst initially you may be really pleased that it only takes up a tiny space in your garden, your child will outgrow it much more quickly.
If you can look for a taller swing set with a swing you can change as your child gets older, then you really will get good value for money from it.