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gorilla playsets vs kidkraft - which is the best in 2023

Gorilla Playsets vs KidKraft: Which one is the Best Swing Set Brand in 2023?

Kids bouncing off the walls? Then it's the time to transform your backyard into a playtime paradise. But when it comes to outdoor playset kits, you've done some research, but don't know who to choose between Gorilla Playsets or Kidkraft? These top brands both create amazing playgrounds but with key differences.

This guide cuts through the confusion, comparing quality, safety, customization, costs, and more. You'll get the inside scoop to pick the perfect playset for your family's maximum summer fun! Let the backyard games begin!

Key Takeaways

  • Gorilla Playsets are the premium choice, with all-cedar construction, robust hardware, and designs built to last decades. The higher price brings lifetime value.
  • KidKraft playsets cost less upfront but may need repairs sooner. Excellent budget choice, but longevity is shorter.
  • Both brands meet safety standards. But Gorilla's reinforced guardrails and ladders add an extra layer of protection.
  • KidKraft offers more pre-designed color and theme options. Gorilla enables full customization flexibility.
top part of gorilla playset with telescope and flags

    Overview of Gorilla Playsets

    Gorilla Playsets is one of the most well-known and trusted names in swing sets. The company was founded in 1992 by an entrepreneur who started it as a small home business, making just one playset design from their garage!

    Over the years, they grew exponentially in popularity due to their reputation for:

    • Premium quality materials - Gorilla uses 100% cedar lumber that is pre-stained, pre-cut, pre-sanded, and pre-drilled for easier assembly. Their hardware utilizes rust-resistant powder coating or electro-galvanized plating for added protection and durability.

    • Innovative playset designs - Gorilla offers over 20 different playset designs with options like multi-level clubhouses, rock climbing walls, built-in picnic tables, and more. They frequently add new innovations while keeping classic favorites.

    • Rigorous safety testing - All Gorilla Playsets are independently tested to meet ASTM safety standards for home playground equipment. This gives parents peace of mind.

    • Sturdy, long-lasting construction - With robust 4x4 beams, metal reinforced joints, thick swing set frames, and sturdy materials, Gorilla Playsets are built to last for years of rough play.

    Some of the most popular designs offered by Gorilla include:

    • Chateau Treehouse - A fun multi-level clubhouse with windows, bay windows, a covered entryway, and a crow’s nest lookout at the top.

    • Sun Valley Extreme - Action-packed playset with rock climbing wall, rope ladder, trapeze bar, and dual slides plus elevated fort and canopy.

    • Mountaineer Clubhouse - Huge playset with upper and lower play decks, picnic table, 10-foot speedy slide, swings, and outdoor fireman’s pole for exciting access.

    Gorilla provides a 10-year limited warranty on all wooden swing sets components to protect against rot and decay. They also offer a 1-year limited warranty on all non-wood components like swings, hardware, accessories, etc.

    children playing on the Kidkraft Canyon Ridge Wooden Swing Playset

    Overview of KidKraft Playsets

    KidKraft is another market leader when it comes to swing sets and playsets. They’ve been in business for over 50 years, starting in 1968 making wooden toys and furniture. In the 1990s, KidKraft expanded into making full backyard swing sets and playsets.

    Some key features that make KidKraft a popular playset brand include:

    • Traditional playset designs - KidKraft focuses more on classic playset elements like basic forts, standard slides, and A-frame roofs. They don’t offer as many elaborate themed or multi-level designs.

    • Cedar construction - KidKraft uses 100% cedar lumber for their higher-end Cedar Summit line of playsets. Cedar naturally resists decay and insect damage.

    • Complies with safety guidelines - All KidKraft swing sets are tested for compliance with ASTM safety standards, so parents can have peace of mind.

    • Budget-friendly prices - KidKraft playsets are generally 15-30% cheaper than comparably sized Gorilla Playsets, making them appealing for cost-conscious buyers.

    Some of KidKraft’s best-selling playset designs include:

    • Austin Wooden Swing Set - Classic A-frame fort with 8-foot slide, swings, climbing wall, and picnic table.

    • Hilltop Playset - Compact design with raised clubhouse, 8-foot slide, canopy-covered swings, and rock climbing wall.

    • Cozy Escape Playhouse - Let the fun go up, instead of out, taking up less yard space. The lower level boasts two entrances, a sink, and a play stove.

    Now that we’ve covered a brief overview of each brand, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of some of the most important factors for choosing a new swing set.

    Comparison Between Key Features of Both Brands

    1. Quality and Durability Comparison

    The materials used and overall construction quality have a big impact on the safety, stability, and longevity of a playset.

    Gorilla Playsets uses 100% cedar lumber milled to their custom specifications for all structural components. Cedar has natural rot-resistant properties and is less prone to cracking, warping, and insect damage than other woods.

    KidKraft uses a combination of woods including cedar as well as Chinese fir, southern spruce, and some plywood. While cedar offers rot-resistance, spruce and fir are more susceptible to decay and insect damage long-term. Any plywood edges can also deteriorate quicker than cedar.

    For hardware, Gorilla Playsets uses zinc-coated steel throughout for superior rust resistance and security. Load-bearing hardware undergoes double or quadruple zinc coating for maximum protection.

    KidKraft also utilizes zinc-coated hardware in most places. However, some decorative hardware lacks zinc treatment and may rust quickly.

    In terms of construction, Gorilla Playsets are assembled using sturdy wood joinery along with metal brackets and lag screws into the wood beams. This provides tremendous joint strength and helps the set resist loosening or deterioration over time.

    KidKraft relies more heavily on screws driven into the wood ends and metal brackets rather than joinery for connections. This allows more rotation but it's prone to loosening at joints as the playset ages.

    When it comes to weight limits, Gorilla playsets excel with capacities up to 800 lbs depending on the model. Beams measure a minimum of 4x4 but often 4x6 inches for enhanced stability under heavy use. KidKraft sets have a maximum capacity of around 110-300 lbs, partly due to using slimmer 3.5 x 3.5 beams.

    For families with multiple older children playing simultaneously, Gorilla offers superior durability and sturdiness. KidKraft works fine for 1-2 younger kids at once but may sway or lean more over time under heavier loads.

    Overall, Gorilla Playsets edges out KidKraft when it comes to construction quality, durability, and stability. Their all-cedar lumber and robust joinery are built to last decade after decade.

    2. Safety Features Comparison

    Playset safety should be the number one priority for any backyard model. Reputable brands like Gorilla and KidKraft design their products to meet ASTM playground equipment safety standards.

    Guardrails, protective barriers, ladder depths, and more all help minimize the risks of injuries from falls, slips, or entrapment.

    While both brands aim to meet current safety guidelines, Gorilla Playsets goes above and beyond in a few areas:

    • Guardrails surround elevated deck areas on playsets. Gorilla guardrails range from 26”-42” tall depending on the model. KidKraft guardrails meet 16” minimum heights but run slightly shorter around 20”-30” high. The taller Gorilla guardrails provide extra security.

    • Gorilla playset ladders use a minimum of 15” deep side rails to avoid falls. KidKraft meets the 12” depth regulation but some parents note their ladders feel flimsier than Gorilla’s.

    • Gorilla reinforces all ladder rungs with steel rods for added handheld stability. KidKraft ladders lack this extra measure of rigidity.

    • For a playset with slide and swings, the recommended ground cover material for cushioning falls is 12+ inches of wood chips, sand, or rubber mats. Gorilla Playsets provides clear depth guidelines for proper fall zone coverage around slides and swings. KidKraft does not specify depths as clearly.

    • Both brands use plastic shields and close guardrail spacings to prevent head entrapment according to safety protocols.

    While KidKraft designs meet all legal safety standards, Gorilla Playsets edge them out with design choices that enhance overall security and accident prevention. Their reinforced guardrails and ladders plus transparent ground cover guidelines demonstrate their commitment to safety.

    3. Style and Customization Comparison

    Along with safety and durability, the appearance and play value of a swing s should be considered when deciding between brands.

    In terms of color and design variety, KidKraft offers far more choices out of the box. They provide over a dozen pre-stained/painted color schemes from natural tones to bold bright hues. Gorilla Playsets use unstained cedar lumber with attractive reddish-brown tones but lack bold colors.

    For themes, KidKraft partners with leading entertainment brands to offer playsets featuring Disney princesses, Paw Patrol, planes, cars, and other concepts sure to spark the imagination. Gorilla Playsets are mostly designed around natural woodsy fort motifs rather than licensed characters.

    Gorilla Playsets have an advantage when it comes to customization flexibility. Their playsets can be adjusted in size and layout before ordering to perfectly fit your backyard. Substitute or switch out components as desired. KidKraft only allows add-on purchases, not core layout changes.

    For immediate aesthetic variety, KidKraft is the winner. But Gorilla enables much more customization to tailor the playset to your child’s interests both now and in future years as they grow and their needs evolve.

    4. Play Accessories

    Add-ons like steering wheels, benches, and snack windows boost interactive play possibilities.

    Both companies offer a range of accessories and add-ons to make your playset even more fun and engaging. Popular options include:

    • Steering wheels & dashboards
    • Snack/serving windows
    • Picnic tables
    • Chalkboard panels
    • Sandboxes
    • Swings (belt, trapeze, glider options)
    • Climbers and monkey bars

    Gorilla Playsets has a longer list of playset accessories to mix and match. But both brands offer plenty of ways to customize and expand the play value of your backyard structure.

    5. Pricing and Value Comparison

    Playset pricing can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Money does not always equate to the best value over the full lifecycle.

    As a premium brand, Gorilla Playsets range from $1,500 up to $13,000 depending on size, accessories, and intricacy of design. Their flagship wooden playset models typically cost $4,000 to $8,000 with options to go bigger.

    KidKraft provides much more budget-friendly pricing in the $300 to $2,000 range for most residential playset models. Their basic swing/slide sets cost as little as $300. More elaborate clubhouses with towers or activities max out around $2,000.

    It is clear Gorilla commands premium pricing. But their outstanding quality, construction, and lifetime warranty on wood components ensure the playset will last for decades without needing full replacements. Factor in potential resale value years later, and the Gorilla investment often returns over 50% or more.

    KidKraft is very affordable, especially for families on a tight budget. The trade-off comes in longevity and stability, where cheaper wood types and hardware may deteriorate quicker over the years. However, KidKraft still presents reasonable value for cost.

    For maximum ROI over decades, Gorilla edges out KidKraft. But for families unable to spend over $2,000 for a playset, KidKraft gives a good bang for the buck.

    6. Assembly Time and Maintenance

    Putting together a full playset takes time and teamwork. Understanding the process and upkeep needed for each brand is helpful.

    Gorilla playset assembly times range from 15-40 hours depending on the size and intricacy of the design. For large multi-level forts, expect 30+ hours of construction time. KidKraft sets advertise slightly quicker 10-30 hour average assembly. Basic frames can potentially be built in a day.

    The main tools needed are similar: power drill, hammer, wrench, ladder, level, etc. Gorilla Playsets stand out with extremely clear pictorial instructions guiding each step with their assembly manual for every product. Some KidKraft owners report directions being vague or confusing in places.

    Post-assembly maintenance needs also favor Gorilla. Their all-cedar construction withstands weathering for decades with minimal rot or repairs aside from tightening hardware and occasional staining. KidKraft's use of fir and spruce means closer inspections for deterioration and potential part replacements may be needed sooner.

    Overall, the superior Gorilla blueprints and slower decaying cedar wood minimize headaches both during initial assembly and over years of use.

    7. Warranty Comparison

    Product warranties provide important protection in the event of defects. Both brands offer warranties but with different terms.

    Gorilla Playsets offers a lifetime warranty covering the entire structure including wood components and hardware against manufacturing defects. This coverage applies when you purchase directly through and use a certified Gorilla dealer/installer.

    For playsets bought online and assembled independently, Gorilla provides a 10-year warranty on wooden parts and 1 year on hardware/accessories. Either way, they offer strong backing, especially for authorized dealer buys.

    KidKraft provides a more limited 90-day warranty for missing parts, a year warranty for material defects, and a 5-year warranty for wood rot. That's nothing compared to what Gorilla Playsets offer.

    For the longest coverage, especially on critical structural elements, Gorilla Playsets offers superior warranties to give confidence in your substantial investment. Even with independent installation, their protection terms beat KidKraft.

    kidkraft vs gorilla playset - which is best overall

    Which is Best Overall: KidKraft or Gorilla Playsets?

    Based on this detailed comparison, Gorilla Playsets emerge as the superior choice in almost every regard:

    • Construction quality and durability
    • Safety reinforced by design
    • Overall stability and weight limits
    • Ease of assembly with detailed instructions
    • Minimal maintenance needs over decades
    • Strongest lifetime warranty options

    The only clear advantage held by KidKraft is lower pricing and a variety of themes. Their mid-range price points make playsets more accessible for families on tighter budgets.

    For parents willing and able to spend more upfront for safety, longevity, quality materials, and excellent resale value, Gorilla is worth the premium investment. You can expect years of memories for your family especially when compared to other premium playset brands.

    Those needing a more budget-friendly playset should still consider KidKraft. While not built to last as long, their innovative play themes and decent construction still provide years of enjoyment at affordable rates.

    No matter which brand you select for your family, be sure to carefully follow assembly instructions, annually check/tighten hardware, monitor for deteriorating components, and properly maintain ground cover beneath the playset. With routine safety measures and attentive supervision, generations of kids can create lasting memories.


    What should I consider when choosing between a Gorilla Playset and a KidKraft swing set?

    When choosing between Gorilla Playset and KidKraft swing sets, you should consider factors such as the size of your backyard, the age of the children who will be using the swing set, and your budget. Additionally, you may want to compare the features and materials used in each brand's swing sets.

    What are the main features to look for in a swing set?

    The main features to look for in a swing set include sturdy construction, safety features such as secure swing chains and a stable swing beam, multiple play areas such as a clubhouse or a climbing wall, and age-appropriate activities for toddlers and older children.

    What is the best swing set for toddlers?

    The best swing set for toddlers is one that has safety features such as a secure harness or bucket seat, low platforms for easy access, and age-appropriate activities such as slides and climbing walls. Gorilla Playset and KidKraft both offer swing sets specifically designed for toddlers.

    What is the best metal swing set?

    The best metal swing set is the Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set. It is known for its durable construction, safety features, and versatile play options.

    What is the best wooden swing set?

    The best wooden swing set is the Backyard Discovery Buckley Hill Wooden Swing Set. It features a sturdy construction, multiple play areas including a climbing wall and a clubhouse, and is designed for both safety and fun.

    Where can I purchase a Gorilla Playset or KidKraft swing set?

    Gorilla Playset and KidKraft swing sets can be purchased at various retailers including online stores, home improvement stores like Home Depot, and specialized swing set retailers.

    Previous article Playset Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Swing Set
    Next article Cedar Summit vs Gorilla Playsets: Which Backyard Swing Set is Best for Your Kids?

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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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