When it comes to choosing a swing set, you can either select metal or wood.
Both of these swing set types have their pros and cons. The swing set you decide on is going to depend on your personal preferences as well as the children who will be using it.
Well, we went ahead and compared the two in a variety of different categories to help you make your decision!
Keep reading to learn all of the advantages and disadvantages of metal vs. wood swing sets.
Both swing sets have their advantages when it comes to durability.
Metal swing sets are very durable when you first purchase them, as the metal chains and structure are built strong.
However, as time goes on, the metal on the swing set can become rusted and less resilient. Because of this, metal swing sets are ideal for younger children who aren’t going to be putting a great deal of weight on the swing. Older children may be a little too heavy for the swings once they start to rust and lose strength.
On the other hand, wood isn’t as durable as metal is when it’s first purchased.
Wood can’t support as much weight when it’s brand new as metal can. Regardless, wood is excellent for older children, as the wood stays in great condition if appropriately treated. If you don’t address the wood to avoid rotting, decay, or insect damage, it will wear quickly.
When it comes to durability, metal swing sets make a great beginner swing set for children.
The goal of a beginner swing set is to save money but last for a couple of years, which is what the metal swing set provides. Wood swing sets will be a great option if it is for commercial use, as it can last longer and fit larger children safer.
Both of these swing set types have their pros and cons when it comes to safety.
Metal swings can quickly get too hot in the summer.
If left directly in the sunlight, metal swings can heat up enough to burn your children’s hands when they grab the chain handle. Also, the chains on a metal swing set can have gaps large enough for children to pinch the skin in. While this typically doesn’t cause any severe injuries, it’s uncomfortable for the child.
With a wood swing set, yellow jackets, and wasps, creating nests in the material becomes a concern.
Wooden swing sets often have holes in the top that are just large enough for pests to create nests. If you have a family member who is allergic to wasps or yellow jackets, this can be incredibly dangerous.
Playset wood was once commonly treated with chemicals that can be harmful to children after an extended period. In 2003 the industry stopped production of this type of wood, and it is now no longer a concern if you’re buying a new playset. WebMD has more information on different wood types and making your backyard safe for children.
Avoiding Safety Issues
There are some simple fixes to make each swing set a little safer.
For example, moving the metal swing set into the shade will reduce the chances of your child burning their skin on them. When not in direct sunlight, the swing set isn’t going to be sitting out all day collecting heat. You can also fasten the chain links a little bit tighter to avoid the possibility of pinched skin.
When it comes to the wooden playset, make sure it is painted, smoothed, and treated correctly. Look out for chemicals like alkaline copper or copper azole, as these are the ones that can cause certain types of cancer. To avoid wasp nests in the structure, stay vigilant in inspecting it, and treat pests as needed.
There is maintenance work that goes into both metal and wooden swing sets.
Metal swing sets are reasonably easy to maintain.
Although they will rust or corrode over time, there are ways you can maintain them to slow the process. Using a sealant, finish, or paint can help preserve the quality of your metal swing set for longer. Also, adding plastic covers to the chains will help them last longer.
Aside from preventing rust and corrosion, the only maintenance work that goes into metal swing sets are the knicks and scratches that you can fix. That’s a matter of personal preference, as knicks and scratches usually only take away from the swing set visually.
Occasionally a piece in a wooden swing set will break.
Luckily, you can find the necessary parts at most hardware or home improvement stores, so there’s no need to wait for them to ship to you. That said, most wooden playsets do offer a worry-free warranty of 1 – 5 years on replacement parts. While this makes owning a wooden swing set a little more convenient, the swing set does require quite a bit of maintenance with painting, tightening bolts, and replacing parts.
All in all, wood swing sets do require more maintenance work than metal swing sets. There are a lot of moving parts that go into owning a wood swing set, and to make sure they last, you will end up spending quite a bit of time working with it.
If you’re concerned about maintenance time and costs, you may find that a metal swingset is an easier option.
On average, a wooden swing set is more expensive than a metal swing set.
If you factor in the cost of buying the swing set in the first place along with the cost of maintaining it, you will end up paying much more for the wood swing set. The extra money may be worth it for you, depending on what you’re looking for or who you are buying the swing set for. Wooden playsets typically have a more visually appealing design and multiple clubhouses that you can’t find in the majority of metal playsets.
Is Metal or Wood Better?
Depending on what you’re looking for in your swing set, you may find the pros and cons of each type to be more acceptable.
When it comes to comparing metal vs. wood swing sets, both could make a great addition to your backyard.