10 Super Fun Backyard Playsets for Under $300

10 Super Fun Backyard Playsets for Under $300

Backyard Playset

The ubiquitous wooden backyard playset isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. They’re giant beasts, heavy and expensive, and they’re not the easiest things to put together. Not everyone is willing to risk their marriage on the complicated, hours-long assembly required by these behemoths, and not everyone is willing to shell out a couple grand for an elaborate wooden outdoor playset their kids will abandon someday, leaving a faded monstrosity jacking up the backyard view.

Abandoned equipment

Happily, backyard playsets come in myriad shapes, sizes, materials, and prices. Even if you’re on a tight budget, low on space, or can’t assemble your way out of a paper bag, there’s something for you. The fact is, you can create a spectacular backyard playground with one or more playsets that won’t cost you an arm, a leg, and a marriage. Here, then, are 10 backyard playsets you can get on Amazon for anywhere between $100 and $300.

1. Wooden Swing Set

This wooden swingset is super easy to assemble and features two swings and a ring/trapeze combination. All three components feature coated, pinch-free chains to protect little fingers. Made of cedar lumber and clocking in at 104 inches long, this backyard playset is versatile, since you can swap out the included swings for other playthings, such as a bench swing, baby swing, or toddler swing. When the kids grow out of this playset, you can hang a platform swing with lots of pillows to prop you up while you sip wine and read. Each swing included with this swingset supports up to 115 pounds.

Amazon reviewers give this backyard playset 4.3 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers cite its easy assembly and their happy children, while negative comments include the fact that it’s smaller than it appears in pictures. Which is why one should always note the written dimensions when ordering anything online.

2. Geometric Dome Jungle Gym

This fun, domed climbing structure is an American classic. Made from powder-coated steel, it’s weather- and rust-resistant and features high-density polyethylene climbing grips for slip-free fun. This jungle gym is 10 feet in diameter and five feet tall and has a weight capacity of 600 pounds. It’s suitable for children aged three to 10.

Verified purchasers give this backyard playground equipment 4.6 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers cite the sturdiness, ease of assembly, and lack of rusting after three years. One reviewer said she purchased a 20-foot play parachute and tossed it over the structure to create an awesome fort. Another reviewer installed a swing on the top bars. Negative reviewers cited the complicated assembly and visible rust after a year.

3. IronKids Backyard Playground Metal Swing Set

As far as metal backyard playsets go, this baby has all of the essentials. It comes with two contoured plastic swings featuring coated chains to prevent pinches; a UV-treated slide with rolled sides and an attached ladder; a 42-inch trampoline with a sturdy steel frame and an attached safety bar; and a monkey bar with a non-slip grip. This swingset is 156 inches long and ideal for kids under 100 pounds.

Reviewers give this swingset 4.8 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers like that it’s heavy-duty and it comes with anchors to bolt it down. The only negative review cited a missing bolt.

4. Lifetime Ace Flyer Teeter-Totter

A perfect addition to the backyard playground, this airplane-shaped teeter-totter can seat up to seven kids at a time and features side-to-side and front-to-back dual action. It’s easy to assemble and won’t crack, rust, warp, or fade. It has three different height settings for kids aged three to 12. Interactive features include a steering wheel, a dashboard with gauges, and a spinning rotor. This teeter-totter is eight feet by eight feet.

Reviewers give this backyard playset 4.6 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers overwhelmingly cite how fun and surprisingly sturdy it is. Many reviewers point out that assembly can be challenging. One reviewer recommends keeping the bolts slightly loose until they’re all in, and then tightening them. Another recommends laying out all of the pieces the same way they’re laid out in the instructions. Negative reviewers say the bolts get loose over time and it’s a pain to tighten them all. Others complain of rust, so it’s probably a good idea to seal it each spring or fall.

5. Dome Climber Slide

This fun little backyard playset combines climbing and sliding. Designed for ages three to 10, the heavy-duty, powder-coated steel construction supports up to 350 pounds. The finish is weather- and rust-resistant, and the heavy fabric platform supports falls and provides a place to congregate. The base diameter of the climbing structure is is 83 inches, and the height is 3’9”. The six-foot slide features rounded edges for safety and comfort.

Reviewers gave this playset 4.6 out of 5 stars. Positive comments include how much the kids adore it, but most agreed that it’s a nightmare to put together, which you can kinda tell by looking the picture. But for one reviewer, a few hours of misery turned out to be worth it, because the kids play on it constantly.

6. Platform & Tent Jungle Gym

This cool backyard playset makes me think of a space ship. It looks very Mid-Century Modern. It features an adjustable, galvanized steel climbing frame with a minimum height of 22 inches and a maximum height of 47 inches. The mesh vinyl platform is super strong. The canopy is made from polyester and features round windows and a roll-up door. This is a lightweight, inexpensive, and good-lookin’ (to me) backyard playset designed for ages three to 12. It can hold up to 220 pounds.

Reviewers give this playset 3.8 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers gush about how much their kids love it. One suggests that children over five or six may not be terribly impressed with it, but another says her 7- and 10-year-old sons use it as the neighborhood fort and for Nerf gun wars. Two reviewers warn against tightening the bolts until they’re ALL in, contrary to what the instructions say.

7. Saucer Swing

Who doesn’t love a saucer swing? Nobody, that’s who. This saucer swing combo set includes the frame and the swing, plus all hanging hardware. You can also get just the swing if you have the perfect tree for it, or you can get just the stand if you already have a saucer swing. The saucer is 40 inches in diameter and can hold as many kids as can pile up on it—it’s safety rated to over 700 pounds. The nylon hanging ropes are super strong and durable and feature steel rings that connect to the frame, which is made from two-inch, heavy-duty steel tubes with weather-resistant, powder-coated paint. Oh, look! The frame only holds up to 220 pounds, so mind how big that kid pile gets. The frame is 70.9 inches tall and 86.6 inches long.

This saucer swing gets 4.2 out of 5 stars. Customers loved how easy it was to assemble, how sturdy it is and how much fun their kids (and they) are having on it. Negative comments include advice for the manufacturer on how to make the assembly instructions better.

8. Four-Seat Merry-Go-Round

Every backyard playground needs a merry-go-round. This baby seats up to four kids at a time and clocks in at 82 inches tall and 60.5 inches wide. The weather-resistant seats are contoured for comfort and safety and hold up to 100 pounds each. The support beams feature foam cushion padding for added safety.

Reviewers give this merry-go-round 3.4 out of 5 stars. Positive reviews cite the quick ’n’ easy assembly and the fun their kids are having on it. One negative reviewer wished that it could spin on its own so that she didn’t have to be there spinning it. She also complained that her one-year-old slides off the seat, lolz. As usual, another reviewer thought it would be bigger than it is. Overall, this backyard playset is a big hit with parents and kids alike.

9. Spinning Teeter-Totter

This fun outdoor playset is a perfect marriage between the teeter-totter and the merry-go-round. The bottoms of the seats have wheels that let it keep spinning even when it hits the ground. That may or may not work, depending on the surface beneath. But the wheels also act as shock absorbers so the kids don’t risk whiplash when their jerk playmate suddenly jumps off mid-teeter. The heavy-duty frame can carry 300 pounds and features a weather-resistant powder coat that protects against rust and corrosion. The cushioned seats soften the landing, and the ergonomic handlebars are covered in soft rubber grips. The length of this teeter totter is 57.2 inches.

This spinning playset gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. The kids adore it. One reviewer describes how all seven of her children pile up on it. Another said that their 14-year-old and her friends kick the 5- and 6-year olds off and spin really fast on it. Overwhelmingly positive reviews cite how solid this backyard playset is and how easy it is to put together. One lady’s 11-year-old son put theirs together himself. A few negative reviewers say that the seats disintegrate after a year or two. A couple of reviewers said the seats bleed red dye onto their kids’ clothes. According to a few others, the manufacturer will replace defective seats at no cost.

10. Slidewhizzer

The Slidewhizzer is a stand-alone, 10-foot long and 5-foot high slide. The sturdy steel frame is well-supported, and the durable steps and slide chute are made from fade-resistant, coated plastic. According to the manufacturer, the slide exceeds ASTM safety standards and is made for kids aged three to 10.

The Slidewhizzer earns 3.7 out of 5 stars. The positive reviewers cite how much the kids love it and how safe and sturdy it is. One reviewer suggested doing what her kids did and putting a slip ’n’ slide at the bottom. Another reviewer liked how portable the slide is. A couple of negative reviewers (and a few positive ones) say that this equipment is rather hard to put together. One negative reviewer thinks the slide is very cheaply made. Another negative reviewer, who doesn’t understand how slides are measured, complained that the slide is not really 10 feet high.

Bonus: ‘The Ultimate’ 8-Station Metal Swing Set

Okay, so this backyard playset is just slightly over $300, but I’ve included it because it’s an epic piece of playground equipment that promotes all sorts of physical activity and imaginary play. This baby can keep nine kids busy at once. It includes a 36-inch trampoline, a 32-inch saucer swing, a slide, a glider, a monkey bar, and a swing. The side of the unit incorporates a basketball hoop with a backboard and a soccer goal net. Designed for children between three and eight years old, this mother of all outdoor playsets is 175.5 inches long and is made from two-inch, powder-coated tubular steel.

Amazon buyers give this playset 4.3 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers cite ease of assembly, durability, and the amount of fun kids have for such a low price. Negative reviewers cite the difficulty of assembly; the fact that it’s not made out of the heavy-duty steel that swingsets were made of in the days of yore; and the fact that once the kids reach 8 or 9 years of age, the playset will be too small for them.

Things to Keep in Mind About Backyard Playsets

Backyard playsets do more for your kids than just keep them out of your hair so you can eat lots of bonbons and binge-watch Netflix. (JK, we all know you’re mopping the kitchen.) Outdoor playsets help kids develop gross motor skills, including coordination, balance, reaction time, body awareness, and physical strength. They promote healthy social skills, such as taking turns, collaborating, and cooperating. And of course, they foster creativity. Don’t be surprised when the kids pull the slide over to a mud puddle, jump out of the swing aiming for the kiddie pool, or turn a swing and a two-by-four into a teeter totter. These things may be unsettling to the parent, but they’re actually really, really good for the kids.

vintage playground.jpg

Still, before you purchase backyard playground equipment, keep these considerations in mind:

You’ll need to maintain your playset.

Playground equipment made for the backyard obviously won’t be as sturdy or durable as the equipment installed on the school playground or public park. But rest assured backyard playsets are required to meet certain safety standards set forth by ASTM International.

Still, some reviewers complained of rust after a year or two. While these outdoor playsets are weather-resistant, they’re not weather-proof. To prevent rust on metal playsets, give them a protective coat of clear Rustoleum every spring or fall to help them better weather the elements. You can use the clear coat on plastic, too.

Mind the playground surface.

Think about where the kids are gonna fall off the equipment when they inevitably do, and make sure the landing will be as safe as possible. It’s obviously best to avoid putting backyard playsets on concrete. Grass is the surface most often used, but if you want to boost the safety of outdoor play and make the backyard playground more cohesive and attractive, there are a number of playground flooring options for all aesthetics and budgets.

Figure in clearance.

The specs of the playground equipment will tell you how much clearance you should give the playset on all sides for optimal safety. Before you purchase, make sure you can spare the recommended space.

Have Fun!

The backyard playground can be anything you want it to be. You know your kids best of all, and you know what they’d probably enjoy in backyard playsets. Go with your instincts to create a playground in your back yard that’ll rival the neighborhood park and keep the kids busy and active outside.

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