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comparison of the two best swing sets

Gorilla Playset vs Backyard Discovery: A Detailed Comparison of Two Best Swing Sets

When it comes to playset kits, two big names stand out: Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery. Both brands offer a wide selection of high-quality wooden swing sets, playhouses, and other outdoor toys.

We compare key features, price points, and pros and cons of Gorilla and Backyard Discovery playsets. Read the article to discover which brand may be the best fit for your family and backyard!

Key Takeaways

  • Gorilla Playsets lead in premium quality and durability with their hand-selected cedar lumber but come at a higher price point.

  • Backyard Discovery offers excellent value for more budget-conscious buyers, with quality sets for very affordable prices.

  • Both brands prioritize safety and ease of DIY assembly, using pre-cut, pre-drilled parts and detailed instructions.

  • Gorilla Playsets has a wider range of sizes and customization options, while Backyard Discovery also provides good variety.

children playing on the backyard discovery lakewood cedar playset

    Brief Brand Overviews

    First, let’s provide a quick snapshot of each company before diving into the side-by-side comparisons:

    Gorilla Playsets

    • Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Canton, GA
    • Manufactures premium wooden swing sets and play centers
    • Uses high-grade cedar wood for all playsets
    • Known for quality standards, safety testing, innovative designs
    • Diverse product line for ages 2 to 12

    Backyard Discovery

    • Established in 1968 and headquartered in Pittsburg, Kansas
    • Provides a wide selection of wooden and metal swing sets
    • Utilizes quality pine, cedar, and galvanized steel
    • Delivers affordable pricing with durable construction
    • Accommodates toddlers up to young teenagers

    Key Factors to Compare Gorilla and Backyard Discovery

    Now, let’s take an in-depth look at how Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery stack up across these crucial decision factors:

    Quality of Materials

    One of the most important factors in a playset with swing and slide is the quality of materials used. You want something built to last through years of active outdoor play.

    Gorilla Playsets has the edge when it comes to premium materials:

    • Uses 100% real wood - no composites like Backyard Discovery utilizes in some models
    • Hand selects and custom cuts their pine and cedar lumber
    • Kiln-dries the wood to maximize stability - prevents warping
    • Structural wood members exceed 1.5 inches thick for strength
    • Utilizes old-growth timber not as vulnerable to cracking
    • Zinc-plated hardware won’t corrode like standard galvanized steel

    Backyard Discovery uses quality materials, but at a slightly lower grade:

    • Uses a composite wood product for some structural parts
    • Pine and cedar lumber meets PS-51 standards but not hand-picked
    • Kiln-dried lumber but prone to more warping and checking
    • 1.25 to 1.5 inch thickness on structural wood pieces
    • Galvanized hardware is sufficient but not as robust as zinc-plated

    Both brands produce solid swing sets, but Gorilla Playsets wins out with closer attention to premium details that affect long-term durability and integrity. Their hardwood lumber resists splintering, rotting, and termite damage better as well.

    Safety Features

    All quality swing set brands meet the ASTM-required safety standards. This includes requirements for:

    • Load testing - weight capacities and structural stability
    • Head entrapment avoidance
    • Lead paint avoidance
    • Toxicity testing on plastics
    • Sharp edges elimination
    • Guardrail heights and ladder rung coverings

    Beyond the basics, some brands go above and beyond to enhance safety:

    Gorilla Playsets Safety Features:

    • Taller protective guardrails, often over 6 feet
    • Thicker guardrail spindle spacing - under 3.5 inches
    • Wrapped ladder rungs and handrails
    • Plastic anti-pinch and anti-snag components
    • Double-anchored swing beams and hardware
    • Independent laboratory testing and certification

    Backyard Discovery Safety Features:

    • Meets all ASTM and CPSC safety standards
    • Guardrails at minimum ASTM height requirements
    • Ladder rungs wrapped on wood models
    • Secure deck spacing and barriers around slides
    • Independent testing by firms like Intertek

    Both brands produce very safe outdoor playsets. Gorilla Playsets exceeds baseline standards more significantly in some regards like their extra-tall guardrails on play decks. But Backyard Discovery also makes safety paramount.

    children playing on gorilla playset double down playset

    Range of Sizes and Features

    Both Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery offer a wide variety of swing set sizes and features.

    Gorilla Playsets provides more options for customization with activities like:

    • Multiple swings including saucer, tire, and infant swings
    • Long and spiral slides up to 12 feet tall
    • Rope ladders, rock walls, climbing ropes
    • Gliders like see-saws and 2-person gliders
    • Monkey bars like swing bars and trapeze bars
    • Picnic tables, playhouses, flower boxes

    This allows you to tailor large multi-level play centers for older kids.

    Backyard Discovery also has a diverse swing set selection including:

    • Traditional and infant swings
    • Long, short, and curved slides
    • Climbing walls and pole climbers
    • Teeter-totters
    • Swing bar monkey bars
    • Playhouse accessories

    But Gorilla edges them out in a range of activities and the ability to expand and customize your set.

    So while both offer excellent variety, Gorilla Playsets has the advantage of catering the perfect playset to your backyard with more activity choices.

    Assembly Time and Process

    Swing set assembly is often a key concern. Parents want the process to be as quick and painless as possible.

    Both Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery aim to simplify assembly with DIY-friendly features:

    Gorilla Playsets Assembly:

    • Pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained parts
    • Step-by-step instructions with diagrams
    • Color-coded and numbered hardware
    • Pilot holes for power tools
    • Assembly times range from 5 hours for a small setup to 24 hours for a large multi-station set

    Backyard Discovery Assembly:

    • Pre-cut and pre-drilled parts
    • Detailed visual instructions provided
    • Hardware sorted into labeled bags by step
    • Allow 15-20 hours for small sets, and 40+ hours for big play centers
    • Optional professional installation is available

    While both brands make it feasible for homeowners to assemble swing sets themselves, Gorilla Playsets has a slight edge. Their color-coded hardware, pilot holes for power tools, and reduced assembly times simplify the process a little bit more. But Backyard Discovery also focuses heavily on easy assembly.

    children playing on Backyard Discovery Woodland Cedar Swing Set

    Customization and Expandability

    An ideal swing set grows as your kids grow. Customization allows you to expand and adapt the playset to match your age and abilities.

    Gorilla Playsets Customization Options:

    • Buy a starter kit then add attachments like slides, monkey bars, picnic tables
    • Rearrange play elements into different configurations
    • Add higher guardrails, sun shades, and accessories over time
    • Swap out swing types, slides, and other features when purchasing

    Backyard Discovery Customization Options:

    • Start with the core kit then add supplemental items later
    • Accessory add-ons like steering wheels, flower boxes, and sandboxes
    • Extend guardrails and replace swing seats as kids grow
    • Less flexibility than Gorilla but can purchase pieces individually

    Gorilla provides more versatility, especially with the ability to reconfigure layouts and switch out major elements like slides. But both brands allow for customization as family needs evolve.

    Price and Value Comparison

    When it comes to price and value, Backyard Discovery generally offers more affordability and bang for your buck across their swing set line. You’ll get excellent quality for the pricing.

    With Gorilla Playsets, the adage “you get what you pay for” applies. The premium quality and construction justify the higher prices for many buyers. They are viewed as an investment purchase.

    Depending on your budget, both brands deliver outstanding value. Backyard Discovery is the winner if keeping costs down is the priority. Gorilla is worth the higher prices for families focused on premium materials and longevity.

    children playing on Backyard Discovery Skyfort wooden cedar swing

    Reputation and Brand Comparison

    Gorilla Playsets enjoys an industry-leading reputation, known for its craftsmanship, safety, and durability across its model line. Families recognize them as the “best of the best” for residential swing sets.

    While not viewed quite as premium, Backyard Discovery also has fantastic brand recognition. They deliver reliability, longevity, and customer satisfaction with their quality swing sets that come in at more reasonable prices.

    Both companies have excellent reputations and standing in the swing set manufacturing business. Gorilla edges out Backyard Discovery but both provide brands families can trust.

    To summarize the key differences between Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery, here is an overview comparing the brands across crucial factors:

    Here is a comparison overview table I would recommend adding near the beginning of the article:

    Gorilla Playsets Backyard Discovery
    Wood Quality Premium pine and cedar Good pine, cedar, and redwood
    Size Range More variety and customization options Good variety in sizes
    Assembly Very easy with color-coded hardware Easy with detailed instructions
    Safety Exceeds standards with extra features Meets safety standards
    Reputation Considered "the best" by many Known for quality and value
    Price premium materials justify the cost very affordable pricing

    Which one is Best? Pros and Cons of Both Brands

    Pros of Gorilla Playsets

    • Made of high-quality, long-lasting materials
    • Cedarwood won’t rot, crack, or splinter
    • Designed for safety with tamper-proof hardware
    • Easy DIY assembly with pre-drilled parts
    • Wide variety of sets and activities to choose from
    • Can expand and customize over time
    • Ideal for ages 2 to 12 years old

    Potential Cons to Consider

    • Premium sets are pricier than budget brands
    • Large sets require significant time to assemble
    • Will need occasional stain/sealant to preserve the wood

    With attention to detail, safety, quality, and fun, Gorilla Playsets are designed to provide years of enjoyment and value. They are consistently rated as a top brand for residential swing sets.

    Pros of Backyard Discovery Swing Sets

    • Made of durable, rot-resistant woods and rust-proof metals
    • Designed for easy DIY assembly with pre-drilled parts
    • Tested rigorously for safety and stability
    • Accommodate kids aged 2 to 12 years old
    • Wide selection of sizes and activity features
    • Expandable and customizable with add-ons
    • Excellent quality and features for the pricing

    Potential Cons to Consider

    • Won't last as long as old-growth cedar or redwood swing sets
    • It does not have as wide of a selection as some other brands
    • Need periodic staining, sealing, or powder coating touch-ups

    Verdict: Who Makes the Best Swing Set - Gorilla Playsets or Backyard Discovery?

    When it comes to the best swing set, both Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery have stellar options that will provide years of enjoyment. Gorilla Playsets takes the top spot if you're willing to invest more for premium materials built to last generations. Their swing sets are unmatched in quality and durability.

    However, Backyard Discovery prevails as the best value option. Their excellent construction rivals premium brands at budget-friendly price points accessible to more families. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with either brand. Focus on the features and size needed for your kids and yard and weigh the importance of price versus premium longevity. Both Gorilla Playsets and Backyard Discovery make exceptional swing sets perfect for backyard play and memories.

    Final Words

    Key factors like quality of materials, safety features, ease of assembly, brand reputation and price make one brand preferable over the other depending on your priorities. 

    Use this detailed brand comparison as guidance when choosing the perfect swing set for your kids. Consider which features and activities will keep them active and engaged for years while also fitting your backyard space and budget. With the right swing set, your family is sure to make memories that will last a lifetime! Let the backyard fun begin!

    children playing on Backyard Discovery Woodridge playset


    Is a wooden swing set better than a metal swing set?

    Both wooden and metal swing sets have their advantages. Wooden swing sets are known for their durability and natural aesthetics, while metal swing sets are often more affordable and require less maintenance.

    Which swing set is best for older kids?

    If you have older kids, you may want to consider a swing set with features like taller swings, a trapeze bar, or a rock climbing wall. In this case, the Gorilla Playsets Outing Wood Swing Set and the Backyard Discovery Buckley Hill Wooden Swing Set can be great options for them.

    Which swing set is best for a small play area?

    If you have a small play area, the Backyard Discovery Buckley Hill Wooden Swing Set is a great option. It is compact in size but still offers multiple swings, a slide, and a sturdy construction.

    How do I choose a quality swing set?

    To choose a quality play structure with slide, look for one that is made with sturdy materials such as pressure-treated wood or heavy-duty metal. Additionally, check for safety features like strong swing chains and secure anchor points.

    Where can I purchase Gorilla Playset or Backyard Discovery swing sets?

    Gorilla Playset and Backyard Discovery swing sets are available for purchase at various retailers, including online stores like Amazon and the official websites of the respective brands.

    What are the features of the Gorilla Playsets Outing Wood Swing Set?

    The Gorilla Playsets Outing Wood Swing Set features swings, a slide, a climbing wall, and a play deck. It is made with sturdy wood construction and is designed for long-lasting durability.

    Previous article Gorilla vs Rainbow Playsets: Which Backyard Playset is Best for Your Kids?
    Next article What Type of Wood is Best for Outdoor Playsets? Find the Best Wood for Swing Sets

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    About The Author

    Andy Wu - Resident Expert

    Andy Wu - Resident Expert

    Andy Wu is the resident backyard products expert and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. His passion for crafting outdoor retreats began in 2003.

    As a fellow homeowner, he founded Backyard Oasis to provide top-quality furnishings and equipment, collaborating with leading manufacturers.

    His main focus is on sheds and generators!

    In his spare time he like to hike the tallest mountains in the world and travel with his family.

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