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the best brand of outdoor playsets of 2023

What is the Best Brand of Outdoor Playsets in 2023?

Are you looking to build a fun, safe backyard playground for your kids? Investing in a quality outdoor playset is a great way to keep your children active and entertained right at home. But with so many brands, selecting the right playset for your family may seem like a daunting task.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing the best outdoor playset brand for your needs and budget. We’ll overview the top five playset brands on the market, and help you pick a playset that will provide years of backyard fun and adventure for your kids.

Key Takeaways:

  • When selecting an outdoor playset, the most important factors to consider are your budget, desired activities, child ages, yard space, and safety.

  • The top 5 playset brands compared are Lifetime, Gorilla Playsets, Kidkraft, Backyard Discovery, and Rainbow Play Systems.

  • For younger kids ages 3-7, Kidkraft playsets promote fun, creative play at affordable prices.

  • Lifetime Playsets offers the most activities like swings and climbers at budget-friendly pricing. Their durable construction withstands active play.

  • Premium brands like Rainbow and Gorilla Playsets provide quality wooden playsets loaded with customizable options for families willing to invest more.

children playing on Gorilla Playsets Pioneer Peak Treehouse Wooden Swing Set

    Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Playset Brand

    There are several important things to think about when choosing the best outdoor playsets. Consider the following factors:


    Outdoor playsets can range dramatically in terms of price. The average cost of a wooden playset is between $500 and $5,000, while metal or plastic playsets run from $100 to $2,000. Higher budget playsets from premium brands like Rainbow can cost upwards of $10,000. Define your budget upfront so you can quickly narrow your options to playsets you can realistically afford.


    Playsets are most commonly constructed from wood, metal, or plastic. Consider which material will best suit your climate and backyard. For example, cedar and redwood are attractive natural options that withstand the weather well. Low-maintenance plastic is another climatic concern-free choice. Metal playsets are durable but can heat up in the sun.


    Measure your available backyard space and compare it to the size specifications of any playset you’re considering. A good rule of thumb is allowing 6-foot clearance on all sides of the structure. Larger playsets provide more play activities but eat up more square footage. Optimize fun versus fitting the right size playset for your yard.

    Safety Features

    Safety should always be the number one priority, so look for playsets with rounded edges, rock walls, sturdy anchoring, and non-slip grips. Check that the brand meets ASTM and CPSC safety standards. Prioritize age-appropriate heights, secure guardrails, and good construction integrity.

    Age Appropriateness

    Consider whether you’re buying for toddlers, pre-schoolers, or elementary age and up. The best playground equipment for a 3-year-old differs greatly from a 10-year-old in terms of height, climbing accessibility, slides, activities, etc. Choose a playset designed specifically for your child(ren)’s age range.

    Number of Activities

    If you have multiple children who will use the playset together, prioritize larger structures with more activities like swings, monkey bars, climbing walls, sandbox, playhouse, and slide(s). This variety keeps kids of all ages happily engaged. For just 1-2 kids, you may not need as many bells and whistles.

    Ease of Assembly

    Some playsets can be installed in a few hours, while more complex structures take days to erect and require professional installation. Consider your DIY skills and willingness to take on a weekend project. Pre-assembled playsets are the easiest but cost more.


    Playsets are a major investment, so you want one built to last. Look for the best materials, construction workmanship, and weather treatments to extend the playset's lifespan as long as possible. The average wooden playset longevity is 5-10 years. The higher cost usually brings better durability.

    Visual appeal

    Given playsets are backyard centerpieces, you likely want one with the curb appeal you’re excited to show off. Most brands offer various “fun” elegance like colors, doors, roofs, and other ornamental flair. Be sure you like how the playset looks in addition to its functions.

    Here's a breakdown of everything you should look for:

    Factor Description
    Budget Playset prices range from $100 - $10,000. Define your budget first.
    Materials Wood, metal, and plastic each have pros and cons. Consider climate.
    Size Measure yard space. Allow 6 ft clearance around the playset.
    Safety Features Rounded edges, guardrails, sturdy construction.
    Age Range Heights, activities, and complexity differ by age.
    Number of Activities More activities keep multiple kids engaged.
    Assembly Time Some playsets assemble in hours, others take days.
    Durability Higher cost often means better longevity. The average is 5-10 years.
    Visual Appeal Playsets are backyard centerpieces. Pick a style you love.

    Overview of the Top 5 Outdoor Playset Brands

    Now that you know what factors to evaluate, let’s dive into a detailed comparison of the five best outdoor playset brands on the market today. We’ll outline what each brand offers in terms of playset types, pricing, age ranges, materials, unique features, and pros and cons. Use this analysis to determine which leading playset brand is right for your backyard!

    Lifetime Playsets

    Founded in 1986, Lifetime Products manufactures its outdoor playground sets using powder-coated steel and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. Here’s an overview of Lifetime outdoor playsets:

    Playset Types:

    • Adventure towers
    • Monkey bar climbers
    • Geometric dome climbers
    • Teeter-totters


    Steel and HDPE plastic construction. Durable, weather-resistant, and low maintenance.

    Price Range:

    $299 - $2,999


    Kids ages 3-12 years old

    Unique Features/Activities:

    Lifetime Playsets sets itself apart with its clubhouses and hardtop roofs that provide interior play spaces for roleplaying. Their structures also integrate cargo nets, wavy slides, rock climbing walls, and fireman's poles not found with other brands.


    • Durable and long-lasting
    • Easy to clean and maintain
    • Resists fading, cracking, warping, and rust
    • 5-year limited warranty


    • More expensive than some brands
    • Fewer customization options
    • Not a natural wood look/feel

    Lifetime playsets offer durable, low-maintenance playtime for active kids ages 3-12 years old. Their plastic and steel structures hold up well to weather and heavy use and their adventurous designs keep kids engaged. Though Lifetime playsets cost more than metal brands, they make up for it in longevity and require little upkeep. If you want an active, modern playset that’s built to last, Lifetime is an excellent choice.

    Gorilla Playsets

    Gorilla Playsets has specialized in quality wooden swing sets and play structures since 1992. Here are the key features of their outdoor playsets:

    Playset Types:

    • Swing sets
    • Playhouses
    • Elevated clubhouses
    • Slides


    Premium cedar wood, pre-cut, pre-sanded, pre-stained, and pre-drilled for easy assembly. Treated with kid-safe water-based stain.

    Price Range:

    $499 - $7,999


    Kids ages 3-11

    Unique Features/Activities:

    Gorilla Playsets stands out for its ornately designed playsets incorporating customized wood roofs, chimneys, sunbursts, and other ornamental elements. Their structures also feature tunnels, bridges, and balconies that enable multi-level play.


    • Attractive, natural cedar wood
    • Customizable and versatile designs
    • 10-year limited warranty on wood, 1 year on accessories


    • More assembly time and tools required
    • Can attract insects or mold

    Gorilla Playsets are known for their beautifully crafted cedar swing sets and playhouses. Their wooden structures encourage creativity and imagination in kids ages 3-11. Though cedar playsets require more upkeep through staining and sealing, families love the natural, timeless look of real wood. Gorilla Playsets offers customization for a playset tailored to your child’s interests.

    Kidkraft Playsets

    Founded in 1968, Kidkraft builds its outdoor play equipment using quality wood materials and child-safe paints. Here is an overview of their backyard playsets:

    Playset Types:

    • Swing sets
    • Playhouses
    • Climbers
    • Sandboxes


    Cedar wood construction. Painted in weather-resistant, UV-protected child-safe water-based paint. Reinforced with heavy-duty brackets and hardware.

    Price Range:

    $189 - $1,999


    Kids ages 3-10

    Unique Features/Activities:

    Kidkraft Playsets are unique for their whimsical charm and attention to detail. Their playsets incorporate shiplap roofs, flower boxes, mini kitchens, and other ornamental elements that bring imaginative play to life.


    • Colorful, charming designs
    • Easy assembly and installation
    • 5-year wood warranty, 1-year accessories


    • Less durable/study than some brands
    • Fewer customization options

    Kidkraft delivers whimsical charm with their outdoor playsets designed for kids ages 3-10. From mini backyard cottages to nautical pirate ships, Kidkraft sets spark imaginative play. Their playhouses and climbers are on the smaller, simpler side. So while Kidkraft playsets score points for style, they lose out on size and durability compared to leading brands. Still, for preschool and young elementary ages, Kidkraft playsets deliver backyard fun.

    Backyard Discovery

    Backyard Discovery has been making quality outdoor playsets since 1989. Here’s an overview of their products:

    Playset Types:

    • Swing Sets
    • Playhouses
    • Elevated Play Sets
    • Slides


    Cedarwood stained with kid-safe water-based stain. Protective coating guards against rotting, decay & insects.

    Price Range:

    $399 - $2,999


    Kids ages 3-10

    Unique Features/Activities:

    Backyard Discovery sets itself apart by allowing the most customization through add-ons like personalized roofs, flower boxes, chalkboards, and more. Their designs can be tailored to each child's interests.


    • Attractive, natural cedar wood
    • Customizable, versatile designs
    • 5-year pro-rated wood warranty, 1-year accessories


    • More assembly time/tools required
    • Can attract insects or mold

    Backyard Discovery playsets offer the natural beauty of wood coupled with inventive playground designs kids adore. From pirate ships to frontier forts, Backyard Discovery sets spark imaginative play. They score extra points for versatility through add-ons like picnic tables, sunshades, and sandboxes. Though Backyard Discovery playsets require invested assembly time, their quality cedar construction stands the test of time.

    Rainbow Play Systems

    Rainbow Play Systems has been crafting quality wooden swing sets since 1985. Here are the key features of their outdoor playground equipment:

    Playset Types:

    • Playhouses
    • Castles
    • Clubhouses
    • Forts
    • Trapeze bar


    Kiln-dried redwood and cedar wood. Hand-sanded and sealed to prevent warping, splitting, or cracking. Water-based kid-safe stains.

    Price Range:

    $999 - $19,999


    Kids ages 2-12

    Unique Features/Activities:

    As the premium brand, Rainbow Play Systems offers unmatched quality, customization, and activities like zip lines not found with other brands. Their structures bring premium fun to backyards.


    • Premium quality redwood & cedar
    • Fully customizable designs
    • Lifetime warranty on wood


    • Most expensive brand
    • Extensive assembly time required

    Rainbow Play Systems is renowned for its premium wooden playground sets built to last generations. Their structures inspire creative, active play for kids ages 2-12. Rainbow Play Systems warranties their redwood and cedar construction for life – a true testament to quality and durability. Given their first-rate materials, customizable options, and top-notch workmanship, it’s no wonder Rainbow playsets also cost the most. For families who consider wooden playground sets an investment, Rainbow delivers incredible value and memories to last a lifetime.

    Recommendation for the Best Brand Based on Key Factors

    Brand Materials Price Range Ages Unique Features
    Lifetime Plastic & steel $299-$2,999 3-12 Clubhouses, roofs
    Gorilla Cedar wood $499-$7,999 3-11 Ornate designs
    Kidkraft Cedar wood $189-$1,999 3-10 Playhouse charm
    Backyard Discovery Cedar wood $399-$2,999 3-10 Customizability
    Rainbow Redwood & cedar $999-$19,999 2-12 Premium quality

    Now that we’ve compared features of the top five outdoor playset brands, which one rises to the top as the best?

    While the “best” playset brand ultimately comes down to your family’s budget and needs, a few brands stand out for delivering exceptional value across the most important factors.

    Kidkraft is a top choice for younger kids ages 3-7. Their imaginative cottage-style playsets promote creative play at a reasonable price point.

    Lifetime Playsets is the best backyard playsets brand with activities like swings, climbers, and slides at budget-friendly prices. Their durable plastic/steel construction withstands active play.

    For shoppers willing to invest more, Rainbow, Gorilla, and Backyard Discovery offer premium wooden playsets loaded with customizable options to suit older kids as well.

    But for affordable, engaging playsets perfect for younger children, Kidkraft leads the way. And for budget-conscious families wanting the most activities, Lifetime Products delivers. Compare these top-value picks to your family’s needs.

    Use this guide to narrow your preferred playset brand based on budget, material, size, safety, age range, and desired activities. By comparing the pros and cons of each leading brand, you can confidently select the perfect playset to create lasting backyard memories with your family. The sound of kid’s laughter is priceless, so choose playground equipment that will make your playtime dreams come true.


    Creating a backyard playground for your children is one of the most rewarding home investments you can make as a parent. Outdoor playsets encourage healthy activity, imaginative play, and special bonding moments that strengthen your family. With top-selling playset brands like Lifetime, Gorilla Playsets, Kidkraft, Backyard Discovery, and Rainbow Play Systems, you’re sure to find playground equipment perfect for your family’s needs and budget.

    Start by measuring your yard space and considering key factors like ideal materials, play activities, child age range, safety, aesthetics, and your target budget. Compare features of the leading brands’ playsets outlined here to narrow your preferences. The right playground set brings years of laughter, fun family memories, and active playtime in your own backyard. So go have an adventure – your kids are waiting!

    What is the best overall outdoor playset brand in 2023 for a toddler?

    The best overall outdoor playset for toddlers in 2023 is the Lifetime. It offers safety features such as swing chains and a secure swing seat that kids can enjoy securely, making it one of the best swing sets for a toddler to play on.

    Is there an outdoor playset that includes a monkey bar in 2023?

    Yes, the Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set includes a monkey bar in their 2023 offerings. These sets further cater to kids' love for climbing games and challenge their physical abilities in a fun and safe way.

    What is the best budget wood swing set for kids in 2023?

    The best budget wood swing set for kids in 2023 is the Kidkraft Lookout Extreme Wooden Playset. This set also features two belt swings and a trapeze swing, offering kids ages 3 to 10 years old an array of play options.

    Is there any playset that comes with a picnic table in 2023?

    Yes, the Kidkraft Woodland View Playhouse FSC comes with a picnic table in 2023, besides its standard swing seat features, offering a space for kids to relax or engage in imaginative play.

    What is the best vinyl swing set brand in 2023?

    The Backyard Discovery is the best for vinyl swing sets, offering durability and easy maintenance without compromising on fun, and it has features that kids will absolutely love.

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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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