Building a Swing Set vs. Buying One - Weighing the Pros & Cons

Mother swinging her child on the swingset

DIY swing sets may be a cheaper upfront investment but are they really a better long-term choice? This blog will weigh the pros and cons of a DIY swing set and contrast it with a professionally made set, showcasing the safety superiority and longevity of Innovative Playtime's offerings.

First — Are Swing Sets Worth the Money?

Pricing is  typically one of the first factors  a family considers when purchasing a swing set. A quick online search will display no shortage of swing sets, ranging from cheap to luxury. But the benefits of outdoor swing sets for kids — such as increased exercise and the ability to foster creativity and imagination — are definitely worth it. It’s  up to you to decide exactly how much  you’re looking to spend.

We’ll help you get a better idea of what may be right for you by comparing and contrasting cost vs. quality.

The Cost vs. Quality Debate When Choosing Between Building a Swing Set vs. Buying

First, when looking at a swing set, be sure to look at the features it offers. A list of the most common accessories you’ll see on a swing set includes:

  • Slide
  • Rock wall or climbing wall
  • Ladders
  • Stairs
  • Flying saucer
  • Baby swing
  • Monkey bars
  • Climbing rope
  • See-saw

All of these features, while fun, can serve as a safety hazard if the materials and setup aren’t up to par. This is precisely where the cost vs. quality question comes into play. If you’re looking at either a budget swing set or building one yourself, the chances are you’ll be getting a product that isn’t necessarily built to last — or the safest option.

It’s important to know that purchasing a swing set should be viewed as an investment. And while it’s typically not as major of a purchase as buying a new vehicle, you will get way more from your investment if you opt for a high-quality, expertly manufactured option.

Common Issues with Building Your Own Swing Set

We know some people have the DIY spirit, and we think that’s great. And while some things make for a great weekend project, building a swing set may not be one of them. To help you gain a better understanding of some of the common issues people run into when building their own swing set, we’ll take a look at four of them below.

#1 People Often Don’t Finish Them

As good as your intentions may be, putting together a swing set is pretty challenging and time-consuming. In the midst of your busy schedule, it’s important to ask yourself when pursuing hobbies: is this a project I’m ready/willing to undertake? Also, is it something you think you can realistically finish within a reasonable amount of time?

#2 Safety

There’s a real possibility of purchasing damaged or poor-quality lumber and cheap materials, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. You don’t want to risk your children playing on a structure that isn’t conducive to energetic play, and as good as a parent’s intentions may be, there’s a lot of room for errors when you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of a professionally constructed swing set.

#3 Marked-Up Materials

How much does it cost to build a swing set? It depends on the type you’re building, though it could be upwards of a couple of thousand dollars when all is said and done. The goal behind a DIY swing set is typically to keep the cost down. 

And while you do save on labor, you may find yourself paying a steep markup price on the kit materials themselves. That — coupled with markups on lumber — may mean you’re actually paying more than you need to in the long run.

#4 Simple Swing Sets

Simple swing sets can make the best swing sets for a small space. However, you also don’t want to be locked into only having a simple swing set. Building your own swing set can force you to go smaller and negate the possibility of add-ons. For example, you likely won’t have access to the whole range of large sets that feature multiple interconnected towers, multiple stories for climbing, or other unique design features.

Is it cheaper to build a swing set? Overall, yes. However, the cost-to-quality ratio may not be worth it, especially when you factor in the money spent on getting the right tools and the time spent doing it.

Buying a Swing Set

Buying a swing set from a trusted manufacturer is your best bet. If you’re looking for a long-term investment that’ll ensure you get your money’s worth (and then some), a professionally constructed swing set is the way to go. A few of the benefits of buying a swing set include:

  • Safety. Purchasing a swing set from a trusted manufacturer is a great way to ensure you’re getting a structure that is sturdy enough to withstand your children using it day in and day out. At Innovative Playtime, all of our swing sets and play structures are made of non-splintering surfaces for effortless and safe play.


  • Exciting accessories. We touched on the limits of a DIY swing set in our “Issues with Building Your Own Swing Set” section above. Conversely, one of the benefits of purchasing a professional swing set is getting a model that allows for a seemingly endless amount of combinations. The more accessories you can add, the more a swing set will be able to grow as your family does.

  • A professional look. Looks certainly aren’t everything, but you also don’t want an eyesore in your backyard. Getting a high-quality, beautiful swing set that looks as professional as it feels can (1) improve your happiness with the overall product, and (2) boost your home’s potential resale value.

  • Manufacturer’s backing. Having a trusted warranty just in case something happens to your swing set is important. Spending all that time and money on a DIY swing set just to see a storm damage it or your children accidentally break a piece can be frustrating, to say the least.

At Innovative Playtime, all of our residential swing sets offer a 20-year warranty on our set’s frames and a 5-year warranty on all accessories. With some of the benefits of buying a swing set covered, let’s briefly explore how to pick the right swing set.

How to Pick the Right Swing Set: 3 Factors to Consider

With all of the different options on the market, choosing the right swing set can start to feel as overwhelming as building one. Thankfully, we’ve broken the search down into three major factors to consider.

#1 Material

Choosing the right material for your swing set is up to you and your preferences, though there are some things to consider. Wood and vinyl are typically a better choice than metal, as they reduce playground burns during the summer months. Also, metal can rust over time as well as become sharp.

At Innovative Playtime, we offer heavy-duty vinyl-encased wood for the best of both worlds. You get the sturdy design of high-quality lumber with the safe and weather-resistant offerings that vinyl boasts.

#2 Size

The size of your swing set is dependent upon two components: (1) the size of your space and (2) your budget. Smaller yards will benefit from something like the A-1 Climber Swing Set, while properties with spacious backyards may like something like the RL-4 Super Tower Swing Set.

#3 Options

Choosing a swing set with a lot of add-on features can be the gift that keeps giving. If you’re purchasing a swing set while your children are still young, it can be a good idea to buy one that can grow alongside them. Components such as slides, glides, and climbers can all be added down the road. Something like our A-5 Deluxe Swing Set is the perfect option for this.

Looking for more information on finding the perfect swing set? Check out our wide range of options and feel free to contact us with any questions.

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