How to Choose the Best Wooden Swing Set

You’ve made it as far as deciding that a wooden swing set is a great way to entice your child away from video games and into the backyard this summer.

Now, how do you choose the safest, sturdiest, most adaptable wooden swing set?

Woodplay, the original redwood playset company, and the swing set industry leader in affordability, durability and sustainability, offers this checklist of questions parents should ask when they are comparing outdoor playsets:

1. How do I know it’s safe?
Look for wooden swing sets that comply with all ASTM standards for quality and safety. ASTM is a leading standards organization whose quality, testing and safety guidelines are recognized globally. Woodplay Playsets, built inRaleigh, N.C., not only comply with ASTM standards, the company’s product engineers serve on the ASTM board. Look for recessed hardware that doesn’t “stick out.” Recessed hardware increases safety for children climbing on a swing set and keeps clothes from snagging on rough edges. Also, see that the hardware used throughout the swing set is commercial-grade. Commercial-grade hardware is heavy-duty and is galvanized or coated with a corrosion resistant protectant such as Dacromet. Look for safe ladders. For instance, Woodplay Playsets is one of the very few swing set companies that use non-slip flat steel safety rungs as opposed to the common round pipe which can be slippery when damp. When comparing other climbing features on swing sets, look for accessories that offer angled, rather than vertical, climbing surfaces. Angled surfaces allow children more stability when climbing on the playsets.

2. What’s the engineering behind the design?
“One thing to look for is how the joints are made,” says Woodplay Product Manager Tom Ellingson. “Swing sets require extremely strong joints because once you add a swinging apparatus, that back-and-forth motion works to loosen joints. That’s the reason Woodplay uses triple-joint construction, which means your wooden swing sets will last longer and require less maintenance.” Also look for bigger beams. Bigger beams reduces warping, twisting or cracking. Any swing that is lightweight should be off-limits to your kids.

3. Can I add to my wooden swing set as my kids get older?
Look for modular swing sets, where a base can be selected and your choice of components can be added to the base to make just the swing set desired. With Woodplay’s countless accessories and options, such as rock climbing walls, monkey bars, over seven types of slides and ten types of swings, there’s plenty of flexibility to make the set unique to your backyard now, and to add on later. You can even choose a second base and connect it to the first with bridges and tunnels. Not all swing set companies offer this kind of add-on capability.

4. Why wood instead of metal or plastic?
Plastic sets are the least expensive but also the least sturdy and don’t have a long lifespan. Metal sets can rust and bend and because they are anchored into concrete, they are not adaptable as the kids get older. Wooden playsets are parents’ top choice for safety, strength, resilience and adaptability. In fact, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) recommends natural wood for outdoor playsets. Also, wooden swing sets are strong. This is important because, remember, you want a playset strong enough so parents and grandparents can play on it with the kids, too.

5. What kind of wood is best?
Redwood. Woodplay Playsets are built primarily of the finest wood – redwood – which is resistant to insects and decay. Because insects aren’t attracted to the wood, it doesn’t need to be treated with dangerous chemicals (unlike wood species that use pressure treating to artificially extend product life.) Redwood, harvested mostly from California, is also one of the fastest-growing tree species, which makes it a highly sustainable resource. Woodplay uses certified mills that comply with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which plants five trees for every one harvested to insure the sustainability of the resources for generations to come.

6. Are there guarantees?
Ask to see the swing set guarantee. Woodplay has the best warranty in the industry – a limited lifetime warranty for the lumber and five years for all other components and accessories.

7. Swing Sets Reviews?
Search for “Best swing set reviews” or “Swing Sets Reviews” on line and you will find a host of valuable resources that give the opinions of parents and grandparents like you.

Buying a long-lasting wooden swing set is an important decision for a family. Selecting the safest, most well-engineered swing set is very possible when you know the best questions to ask.

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