Metal vs. Wood Swing Set: Which One Should You Pick?

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Nothing beat the good ol’ days when you used to play on your favorite swing set in the backyard. Now, you want your children to share in the fun, so you plan on getting them a swing set that will last. The most common problem people face is whether to invest in the metal vs. wood swing set. 

Even when picking something as simple as a swing, you have a lot to think about. With just three basic manufacturing materials, metal, plastic, and wood, only these two stand out when it comes to durability and strength. The metal and wood ones are always a great pick, but which one should you go for? 

Here, we have decided to make your life easier and list all the advantages and disadvantages of owning a metal or a wood swing set. So, let’s get right to it.

Comparing Metal Vs. Wood Swing Set

You’ve definitely come across a bunch of different swing sets in people’s gardens, playgrounds, public parks, or shops, like the Lifetime Heavy Duty Swing Set, for example. 

Sets like these come in various shapes, sizes, and with plenty of different accessories. Some feature bridge and a pole, others have a playhouse, ladder, or a slide like the Flexible Flyer Swing Set, for example. 

metal vs wood swing set which one should you pick

Since the first time swing sets were created in the 5th century B.C., the design has drastically evolved. Their first primary purpose was to promote fitness and health in playgrounds, but now, they are one of the most popular things to have at home. Today, they can be made of plastics, wood, and metal with a more intricate, detailed, and creative design, so that children can enjoy playing with it. 

When picking the ideal metal or wood swing set, there are a couple of things you should think about, like:

  • Lifespan
  • Safety
  • Maintenance
  • Price
  • Customization
  • Installation

Let’s take a look at some of these crucial factors you should consider when choosing a metal vs. wood swing set.

Lifespan

The material it’s made of will determine the durability of a swing set. Some are long-lasting, while others can break apart easily. If you think whether to go for a metal vs. wood swing set, then you should know that both of these materials offer excellent durability, strength, and reliability.

In general, wooden sets are manufactured to last from 20 to 40 years and up to a lifetime. The quality of the wood is the reason for its long lifespan. So, depending on the structure, manufacturing process, and quality of wood, the wooden set can last for more than 40 years. Such sets are manufactured from top-quality thick wood. The wood is then stained and sealed to make it last longer. 

If for example, a poor quality wood, like cedar, is used to manufacture the swing set, it won’t last anywhere near 40 years. Cheap quality wood doesn’t have the power and capacity to withstand long-term use if the swing set frame is not strong enough to support it.

Metal sets, on the other hand, are designed to last for about 15 years. But, if the set is left to rust without any maintenance, the metal can break and bend very easily. If the metal is properly managed and kept away from harsh weather conditions, it can last longer than that.

Safety

Another important thing you should consider when comparing metal vs. wood swing set is safety. Every material provides security and comfort in its own unique way; however, they also come with a set of disadvantages. 

For a swing set made of metal, the primary problem people face is where to place it. If the set is directly exposed to the sun, particularly in summer, the seats and chains will be very hot to touch. It will be very easy for the child to pinch the skin when playing on the swing unintentionally.

The reason for that is relatively simple. Metal is a heat conductor. When it is too hot outside, the material will absorb all that heat and keep it on the surface of the swing set. Of course, those manufactured from wood are not flawless either. 

Many wasps will nest next close to a swing set made of wood. If a child with wasp allergy uses the swing every day, it will be more vulnerable to these insects. Furthermore, the surface of the wooden swings is often uneven and pointy. It will be very easy for a child to get splinters after playing with the set.

If you are looking for the perfect metal set, put it in the shade. Make sure to place it in the area where it wouldn’t be directly exposed to the sun. If you want a wooden set instead, go for painted and smoothed surfaces. They are ideal for day-to-day usage.

Maintenance

What many people don’t know is that wooden swings are high maintenance. This means you will always need to take good care of the wood; it must be stained and sealed. Otherwise, it will decay, and the structure will weaken. You will also have to paint the surface, tighten the bolts, and screws. But, if a part breaks, you don’t have to contact the manufacturer, you can replace it easily with anything you can find. 

Maintaining a metal set is slightly different. You will only need to do a couple of touch-ups, fix the scratches, and scrapes, paint it, and make sure it doesn’t corrode or rust with time. Some of these sets also feature plastic sheaths that protect them from humid climate, which can be a great plus for the upkeep. 

Price

Since you will be focusing on a lot of maintenance and upkeep, the swing sets made of wood will cost you a lot more than those made of metal. If there are some very important defective parts, then you will have to spend a hefty sum to purchase new ones. Metal, however, is much cheaper and easier to keep. 

Customization

A lot of people are looking to customize their swing sets to get the ultimate playing area for their children. Whether you want a playhouse, climber, slide, or a mix of all, you need to think about the build. The main difference between a metal vs. wood swing set is the customization options. 

With wood, you can work with anything. You can add or remove pieces, work the aesthetic, and customize it the way you see fit. The complete form will be an eco-friendly product that children will love to play with. 

With metal, however, customization is more difficult. You can’t just quickly add or replace parts. You must order any accessories you might want from the manufacturer. This makes it impossible to improvise and be creative.

Installation

Last but not least is the installation process. Every swing set you will order will have to be installed in your backyard. Picking the one that is easier to put together will save you a lot of effort and time. It’s a lot quicker to put together a metal set than a wooden one. 

For those who prefer to do it by themselves, this is the ideal option. If you do plan on purchasing a wooden set, you will have to hire professionals to assist you. Otherwise, you might assemble the piece incorrectly and risk its stability, safety, and durability.

Final Thoughts

For any child, a mini backyard playing area is an ideal thing to have. But, when you are looking to spend on quality over quantity, then the swing sets are the ultimate thing to invest in. 

A metal swing may not have the lifespan customization of a wooden one, but it’s much cheaper, easier to install and maintain. The wood, on the other hand, is built to last a lifetime, has plenty of options to customize, it’s stable, safe, and incredibly strong. 

As you can see, both the metal and the wooden ones have their positive and negative sides. Pick the one that suits you the most.