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the best time to buy a swing set or a playset

When do Playsets go on Sale? Best Time to Buy a Swing Set or a Playset

Outdoor playsets with monkey bars can widen a child's imagination while keeping them active for years. But let’s be real - those elaborate wooden play fortresses with rock walls, rope ladders, and zip lines don't come cheap. We're talking possibly $5,000 or more! The good news is you don't have to empty your wallet to fulfill your kid's dreams. 

Savvy shopping at the right time of year can save you hundreds. Follow these insider tips to score incredible playset deals. The secret season for dramatic discounts may surprise you. Read on to find out when timing is everything for playset savings.

Key Takeaways

  • Playset prices hit their lowest from November to December during holiday sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Expect 25-50% off or more.

  • Avoid buying at peak times in spring/summer. Shop off-season fall/winter for dramatically discounted pricing.

  • Used floor models and display units often see incredibly steep discounts of 50%+ off retail.

  • Move fast during short holiday sales windows for the best deals. Know your budget and desired models ahead of time.

Kidkraft Bear Cave Lodge Playset

    When Do Playsets Go on Sale?

    Playsets go on sale mainly during the late fall and early winter months of November and December. This lines up with most major gift-giving holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and after-Christmas sales events.

    On the flip side, spring and summer is when playset prices are at their highest. This coincides with warmer weather and kids being home from school - in other words, peak playset buying season.

    To illustrate the price fluctuation, here is a table showing the average price range by season:

    Season Average Price
    Fall/Winter $800 - $1,200
    Spring/Summer $1,200 - $1,800

    Holiday Sales Are the Best Time to Buy a Playset

    Definitely keep an eye out for deals around Thanksgiving through Christmas. Here are some major sales to watch for discounted playsets:

    • Black Friday Sales - Major retailers will discount select playsets, sometimes up to 50% or more off. Browse through Black Friday ads online and in newspapers starting in early November.

    • Cyber Monday Deals - The Monday after Black Friday continues the sales frenzy online. Search for playset deals on all major retailer websites.

    • After Christmas Clearance - Look for leftover holiday deals and inventory closeouts after December 25th both online and in-store.

    • Presidents Day Sales - Some retailers will continue holiday sales into February with Presidents Day discounts on selected playsets. And don't forget the Labor Day sales in September.

    Consider Buying in the Off-Season Rather Than Peak Times

    Beyond key holiday weekends, anytime from October through December is prime playset deal hunting time. This end-of-year timeframe aligns perfectly with retailers looking to unload inventory before new stock arrives.

    On the other hand, you'll almost always pay more if you buy in peak seasons. Try to avoid the height of spring and summer if you're looking for the best deal on a play structure with slide.

    fall sale sign

    What Makes Fall/Winter the Best Time to Buy Playsets?

    There are several key factors that make the fall and winter months your best opportunity to get a discounted price on playsets:

    Retailers Are Making Room for New Inventory

    As mentioned above, most major retailers will be bringing in new 2024 playset models starting in January and February. That means they need to sell off older items come November and December.

    Rather than hold onto excess stock and idle inventory, they will heavily discount the previous year's playground equipment. This includes marked-down prices on floor models, clearance items, and bundled packages.

    For shoppers, this inventory turnover provides a great opportunity to score steeply discounted quality playsets retailers are eager to move.

    Less Demand Compared to Warmer Months

    With cold weather and snow in much of the country, playset demand declines in the late fall and winter. Kids are back in school, families are busy with the holidays - it's just not top of mind.

    Retailers are well aware of this dip in interest. By marking down prices, they can entice buyers who may not otherwise be thinking about playsets during cooler months. The deals also help move inventory off the shelves.

    Kidkraft Portland Playset with a free shipping sign

    Tips for Finding the Best Playset Deals

    Here are some top tips for making sure you find the absolute best-discounted price when playset shopping in the fall and early winter months:

    Check Retailer Ads for Upcoming Sales

    Start scanning Black Friday and holiday sales ads from retailers like Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us as early as October. This will give you an idea of upcoming discounts on playsets.

    Create a list of desired playsets and note which retailers will feature them on sale so you can price compare. Signing up for retailer newsletters and email alerts can also tip you off to the best deals.

    Compare Prices Across Retailers

    Don't just look at prices from one retailer and assume they're the lowest. Compare prices for the playset you want across multiple stores, both online and local showrooms.

    Including shipping or delivery fees, you may find better pricing from a retailer you wouldn't normally consider. Cast a wide net when shopping around.

    Look for Floor Models and Display Units

    If you really want to score a bargain, consider lightly used floor models or display unit playsets. Retailers will often sell these at steep discounts just to get them out of the showroom.

    Inspect the unit closely for damage or wear, but otherwise, these can be great playset finds for 50% or more off retail. Definitely check availability toward the end of the season.

    Factor in Shipping Costs

    A playset deal may not be so hot if shipping or delivery really boosts the overall price. Compare free shipping thresholds and fees across retailers. Also, consider whether "free" assembly is included or will cost you extra.

    For bulky playset shipping, your geographical proximity to the retailer warehouse can make a big difference too. Weigh all costs.

    Measure Your Space Before Buying

    A rewarding part of buying a playset is customizing the perfect size, accessories, and layout for your backyard space. Before pulling the trigger based on a sale, measure your yard carefully so you get the right playset fit.

    Map out the ideal place for the playset, accounting for obstacle buffers and play zones around it. Know your dimensions and any size restrictions before buying.

    When deciding on a playset model, first check our guide to the best outdoor playsets for 2023. We cover top-rated playset brands and key features to look for.

    october to december 2023 calendar

    When Should You Start Looking for Deals?

    Once you've measured your space and decided on playset must-haves, here's a timeline for when you should start hunting for seasonal sales:

    • October - Scan retailer ads and websites for early Black Friday and pre-holiday sales. List desired models and best prices.

    • Early November - Price comparison across retailers as Black Friday ads release. Check for online pre-sales and plan your shopping strategy.

    • Thanksgiving Week - Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales launch! Be ready to buy from your list at the best-discounted prices.

    • Mid-December - Keep an eye out for retailer promotions for last-minute holiday shoppers. Expect discounts and free shipping offers.

    • Late December - Look for post-Christmas clearances, especially on floor models, displays, and excess seasonal inventory.

    • January - With retailers shifting to new year inventory, remaining older playsets may get final closeout pricing.

    The Takeaway: Shop Off-Season for Playset Savings

    While kids love playing on backyard play systems year-round, the peak season prices reflect that strong demand. By shopping strategic sales in the fall and early winter, you can save hundreds off retail pricing on sturdy playset models.

    Now that you know when discounts will be strongest, take time to measure your space, browse retailer offerings, and make a wishlist. When Black Friday and end-of-year sales roll around, you'll be ready to snag that dream playset for your family at the best possible price!

    children sitting inside the Kidkraft Timberlake Playset


    How much can I expect to save buying at off-peak times versus peak seasons?

    You can typically save 25-50% or more by buying playsets during the holiday sales months compared to paying full price in spring or summer. Those $500+ savings really add up!

    Will installation be more expensive during the winter months?

    Most retailers offer free installation any time of year as an incentive to buy. Some may charge slightly more for off-season delivery but negotiate this when buying your discounted playset.

    Are used/pre-owned playsets worth considering?

    While you can sometimes score deals on pre-owned playsets, safety should be your top concern. Carefully inspect the unit and make sure any used playset meets current safety standards.

    What are some good alternatives to playsets if I miss the end-of-year sales?

    Trampolines, swing sets, climbing domes, and obstacle course inflatables are all great alternatives to playsets if you can't find an ideal discounted model. Comparison shop year-round for these as well.

    Should I wait until November/December or buy if I see an earlier good deal?

    If you spot an exceptionally discounted price earlier in the fall or at the end of summer, carefully compare it against last year's prices. If it's an unusually great deal for the model, you may want to jump on it. But definitely reference historical low prices when possible.

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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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