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gorilla vs rainbow playsets

Gorilla vs Rainbow Playsets: Which Backyard Playset is Best for Your Kids?

Picking out a outdoor playset designs is one of the most exciting purchases for a family. Kids get a fun place right at home to play and stay active outdoors. But with so many playset brands and options to sort through, how do you choose what's best for your family?

This article compares two top playset makers—Gorilla and Rainbow. Whether you want excellent value or premium features, this guide will help you make an informed decision. The goal is to match your family's needs and backyard to the ideal playset that will provide years of enjoyment. Let's explore!

Key Takeaways:

  • Rainbow playsets excel in customization, premium quality, safety engineering, and durability for the highest lifetime value.

  • Gorilla playsets shine for affordability, quicker shipping, compact size, and easier DIY assembly for families on a budget.

  • Carefully weigh factors like budget, installation, yard size, customization, and expandability when choosing.

  • Do your homework to match the playset features and brand to your family's priorities and needs.

children playing on the Rainbow Monster Double Whammy Monstrosity playset

    An Overview of Rainbow Play Systems

    • Rainbow Play Systems started as a small custom swing set shop has now grown into one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of wooden swing sets and playsets.
    • They offer a wide variety of wooden playset designs, including swing sets, playhouses, forts, and more. Popular models include the Clubhouse and Castle designs.
    • They use 100% cedar lumber that is naturally decay and pest-resistant. The cedar is sustainably harvested from managed forests in the U.S.
    • Rainbow playsets utilize a modular design so you can customize your playset by adding or removing components.

    Why Choose Rainbow Play Systems?

    Here are some of the top benefits and advantages of Rainbow playsets:

    • Safety – Rainbow goes above and beyond safety standards to engineer incredibly safe playsets. Safety is engineered into every step of design and production.

    • Quality – From lumber selection to hardware and accessories, everything is top-notch for durability. Made in the U.S.A. with meticulous craftsmanship.

    • Big Beams – Massive beams like 4x6 and 4x8 cedar create an incredibly sturdy structure built to last.

    • Customization – Every playset is made-to-order so you can get the exact features, accessories, and layout you want.

    • Warranty – Rainbow offers a lifetime warranty on all wood components against rot and decay. One of the best warranties in the industry.

    • Resale Value – Quality Rainbow playsets retain exceptional resale value in case you sell your home.

    Downsides of Rainbow Playsets

    While Rainbow has many advantages, there are some downsides to consider:

    • Price – Their playsets can be more expensive than competitors like Gorilla Playsets. But you pay for quality.

    • Professional Installation Required – Their playsets are mostly recommended to be installed by a professional Rainbow playsets installer. It is difficult to install it as a DIY project.

    • Long Lead Times – Custom playsets often require more for production and shipping. Plan ahead.

    children playing on Gorilla Playsets Pioneer Peak Treehouse Wooden Swing Set

      Gorilla Playsets Overview

      • Gorilla Playsets is another popular brand of wooden swing sets and playsets that started in 1993.
      •  Their goal is to make playsets affordable but still high-quality.
      • They offer pre-designed playsets but also give you some customization options. Choose from recommended add-ons and accessories.
      • Gorilla Playsets has a modular design so it can grow with your family over the years.
      • Their playsets utilize pine or cedar lumber and are designed for safety and durability.

      Why Choose Gorilla Playsets?

      Gorilla Playsets offers several advantages that make them a popular choice among families:

      • Affordability – Gorilla aims to offer quality playsets at a more affordable price point than some competitors.

      • Easy Assembly – Gorilla Playsets are designed for easy assembly by the customer. Complete DIY playset kits.

      • Customizable – Choose from many accessories and add-ons to personalize your playset.

      • Compact Options - Great selection of high-value playsets designed for smaller yards.

      • Treehouse Look – Many Gorilla playsets feature an integrated elevated clubhouse or treehouse element.

      • Quick Shipping – Standard production time is very fast so you don’t have to wait as long.

      Downsides of Gorilla Playsets

      The downsides of Gorilla Playsets include:

      • Warranty - Warranty is not as long as Rainbow. However, workmanship defects are covered.

      • Less Customizable – Cannot customize every element like Rainbow playsets allow. More pre-configured.

      • Quality – Some components may be cheaper than Rainbow, but still offer good durability.

      Now that we’ve provided an overview of both brands, let’s directly compare Rainbow and Gorilla playsets across several factors.

      rainbow playset vs gorilla playset

      Quality and Durability Comparison 

      The quality of materials and durability of the frame/structure are crucial for any playset expected to handle years of use from active kids. Here is how Rainbow and Gorilla compare:

      Lumber Quality

      Rainbow - Uses 100% cedar lumber that is selected for structural integrity. Cedar has a natural resistance to rot, decay, and insects. Lifetime warranty against wood rot.

      Gorilla - Typically uses pine lumber, but sometimes cedar. Their pine is good quality, but pine is not as naturally durable against the elements as cedar.

      Structural Design

      Rainbow - Uses notched beam construction secured with massive 1/2” hardware to create an incredibly sturdy structure. Large beam dimensions like 4x6.

      Gorilla - Playsets use interlocking notch beam construction with dual bolts for stability. Beam dimensions are usually 4x4 or 4x6.


      Rainbow - Has oversized, heavy-duty hardware to withstand years of swinging and wear and tear. Zinc coated for rust resistance.

      Gorilla - Utilizes good commercial-grade hardware and zinc-coated swing hangers. Comparable to Rainbow.

      Weight Limits

      Rainbow - Very high weight limits around 300-600 lbs for activities like swings, monkey bars, and rock walls. Playhouses up to 1500 lbs.

      Gorilla - Suitable weight limits of around 300 lbs for swings, and monkey bars. Houses up to 900 lbs.


      Rainbow - Every playset is made-to-order by master craftsmen. Highest standards of construction quality.

      Gorilla - Playsets are mass-produced but still have good construction practices. It may have minor variances.


      Rainbow - Lifetime warranty against wood rot/decay. One of the best in the industry.

      Gorilla - More limited 10-15 year wood warranty. 1 year on accessories/hardware.

      Based on lumber quality, structural engineering, weight limits, hardware, and warranty - Rainbow playsets win for durability and quality. But Gorilla still builds solid playsets.

      two large playsets with children playing - rainbow vs gorilla

      Safety Feature Comparison

      Safety is the number one priority when choosing a playset for your kids. Here is how Rainbow and Gorilla compare:

      Design Approach

      Rainbow - Designed where safety is the starting point. Every design element is assessed for safety first.

      Gorilla - Utilizes basic safety design practices. Not as safety-focused upfront as Rainbow.


      Rainbow - Fully enclosed tube slides for safety. Made of UV-resistant HDPE plastic.

      Gorilla - Open slides or partially enclosed. Vinyl-coated slides.


      Rainbow - Include overwrap chains that fully enclose the swing hanger for finger protection.

      Gorilla - Uses basic swing chains.


      Rainbow - Guardrails with closely spaced vertical spindles so kids can’t slip through.

      Gorilla - More widely spaced balusters on guardrails.


      Rainbow - Designed to avoid any entrapment hazards between ladder rungs, railings, etc.

      Gorilla - Generally safe design but a few potential entrapment gaps.

      Based on the design approach, slides, swings, guardrails, edges, and entrapment prevention - Rainbow playsets are safer. Rainbow goes above and beyond safety norms.

      playset parts laid out for assembly

      Ease of Installation Comparison

      The installation process is another factor that can influence which playset brand you choose:


      Rainbow - Must be assembled by a certified Rainbow installer. Cannot install it yourself.

      Gorilla - Ships as a modular kit you assemble yourself at home with everyday tools. DIY friendly.


      Rainbow - Detailed instructions are provided to the installer. Complex sets can take 40+ hours to install.

      Gorilla - Clear illustrated instructions with numbered steps. Usually takes 10-20 hours for home installation.

      Help Available

      Rainbow - Installers have full technical support and training from Rainbow.

      Gorilla - Provide decent customer support if issues arise during home installation.

      If you want the easiest assembly experience, Gorilla is the winner for installation. But some families don’t mind a longer complex install for a premium playset.

      Here is a quick rundown of the key differences between both brands:

      Factor Gorilla Playsets Rainbow Playsets
      Cost More budget-friendly Premium pricing
      Materials Pine lumber, sometimes cedar 100% cedar lumber
      Durability Durable but not as long-lasting Superior lifetime durability
      Safety Meets standards  Engineered for maximum safety
      Customization Some pre-designed options Fully customizable configurations
      Installation DIY-friendly kits Professional install recommended
      Warranty 10-15 years on wood Lifetime warranty 
      Yard Size Better for smaller yards Needs more yard space
      Expandability Can expand over time Most modular & expandable

      Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Gorilla vs Rainbow Playsets

      • Budget - Gorilla playsets are more affordable for families on a tighter budget. Rainbow is better for those who can invest more.

      • Safety - Rainbow sets the highest safety standard for security-focused families. Gorilla is also safe.

      • Installation - Rainbow is ideal for families wanting professional installation. Gorilla is better for DIY-capable households.

      • Customization - Rainbow is best for creative families wanting to customize their playset design.

      • Durability - Rainbow is superior for families needing lifelong durability. Gorilla is also durable.

      • Backyard Size - Gorilla is great for families limited by small yard constraints. Rainbow needs more space.

      • Expandability - Rainbow's modular design is easiest to expand for growing families.

      Either Rainbow or Gorilla can be excellent choices that provide years of enjoyment and healthy activity for your kids and family. Carefully consider which features and factors are most important to you before selecting the ideal playset.

      gorilla playset vs rainbow playset

      Rainbow vs. Gorilla: Which Should You Choose?

      When choosing between Gorilla and Rainbow, Rainbow playsets are the clear winner for most families. Yes, they come at a higher price point than Gorilla. However, the unmatched quality, safety, durability, and customization that Rainbow offers make them worth the investment. 

      They set the gold standard for excellence in backyard playsets. Every component is engineered for safety first and constructed by master craftsmen for longevity. The customizable designs allow you to create a playset perfect for your family's needs and backyard layout.

      While Gorilla playsets can save money upfront, you may end up paying more in the long run for replacements and repairs. For families who can afford it, Rainbow's premium playsets are built to last generations while providing peace of mind with top-tier safety. 

      If you want the very best for your kids, Rainbow playsets are undoubtedly the superior choice. The memories and years of enjoyment they will provide are priceless.


      When researching backyard playsets, it's clear that both Gorilla and Rainbow offer quality options with their own unique advantages. Ultimately, the right choice comes down to weighing your family's needs, budget, and backyard space. Carefully consider which features you want the most.

      And whichever brand you select, invest in the highest quality playset you can comfortably afford. Consider it a long-term investment in memories, fun, and activity that will pay dividends for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, a playset can last through multiple childhoods, bringing joy to generations.

      children playing on the Rainbow Castle Pkg V with 360˚Spiral Slide

      Frequently Asked Questions

      How much spacing is needed for playsets?

      Check your local laws, but you typically need at least 6-8 feet of clearance between structures and property fences/boundaries for safety. More space is better!

      How much does professional Rainbow installation cost?

      Installation averages $500 to $1,000+ depending on the playset size and complexity. Larger sets or adding accessories add cost. Get quotes from local authorized dealers in your area.

      What is a swing beam?

      A swing beam is the main horizontal beam on an a playset with slide and swing that supports the swings. It is typically made of sturdy material such as wood or metal.

      What is the roof option for a playset?

      The roof option for a playset refers to the type of roof or canopy that is included with the structure. Some playsets may have a wooden roof, while others may have a fabric canopy for shade.

      How long do playsets typically last?

      Playsets can last for many years to come with proper care and maintenance. The lifespan of a playset can vary depending on factors such as the quality of construction, the type of wood used, and the climate it is exposed to.

      Previous article Vinyl vs Wood Playset: Which one is Better?
      Next article Gorilla Playset vs Backyard Discovery: A Detailed Comparison of Two Best 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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