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9 best swing sets that will bring all the fun of the park to your garden

For gardens big and small, these are the sets to hang out on this summer

Rosie Shephard
Monday 02 August 2021 10:44
<p>If opting for a larger model, make sure you have two meters of swinging space either side </p>

If opting for a larger model, make sure you have two meters of swinging space either side

The swing is the undisputed king of the playground – so popular that queues formed at parks during the pandemic when every other swing was removed for social distancing purposes. A smart move is to invest in a swing set for your back garden – this provides hours of fun for the little ones, while you can get on with things at home. Unless you are required to “push!” of course…

These days a swing can be anything from a rope swing tied (safely) onto a (sturdy) tree, to a planning-permission-inducing construction project including swings, slides, pirate ships and possibly even a mud kitchen sink.

When buying a swing set, we suggest talking to all stakeholders. Will the kids love it and use it enough to compensate for sacrificing a chunk of your garden? Get your tape measure out. Some swing sets are huge and you have to allow for two metres of swinging space either side to prevent children from splatting against the garden fence or sailing over it. Look at the ground. How will you secure the swing in place?

We rounded up the best options for all budgets and back gardens, looking for safety, style and the all-important fun factor. We tested them on toddlers up to five year olds so you can buy early and maximise your investment

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The best swing sets for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Sportspower double swing and glide: £79, Asda.com
  • Best for big families – Hedstrom Neptune 2 x swing and glider: £105, Wilko.com
  • Best for little adventurers – TP explorer metal climbing frame set & swing black edition: £309.99, Tptoys.com
  • Best for big gardens – Fatmoose JollyJade wave XXL: £349.95, Fatmoose.co.uk
  • Best for longevity – Plum mandrill wooden climbing frame: £349.99, Plumplay.co.uk
  • Best for all ages – TP forest acorn growable swing set with quadpod – FSC: £209.99, Tptoys.com
  • Best for little ones – Dolu 7-in-1 playground frame: £179.99, Thetoyshop.com
  • Best for small gardens – Plum wooden swing set with nest: £239.99, Plumplay.co.uk

Sportspower double swing and glide

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: H 179cm x L 140cm x D 280cm

This is a lightweight version of a familiar swing set style for a younger family of 3-8 year olds – perfect for smaller outdoor spaces. The double swing and glider means four little ones can play together and the ropes can be adjusted as they grow.

Ground anchors are provided, and it took two grown-ups a couple of hours to assemble – with no bickering! We were impressed at the sturdiness – it’s good quality for the great price. It looks bright and colourful, too, and the little testers loved it.

Hedstrom Neptune 2 x swing and glider

Best: For big families

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: H 195cm x L 367cm x D 180cm

We managed to keep four kids busy for ages on this swing set with two seats and a glider. Designed for 3-10 year olds, we love how the plastic seats are chunky and blow-moulded for extra comfort.

The swing seats can be adjusted for different heights – ground anchors are provided, and concreting is advised. We assembled the structure with ease and the result is a strong, eyecatching set. Extra accessories can be added over time to extend its appeal and we loved the potential longevity. This one is currently out of stock at Wilko, but you can sign up to be notified via email when it becomes available again, or shop it via Amazon.

TP explorer metal climbing frame set & swing black edition

Best: For little adventurers

Rating: 9/10

  • Dimensions: H 203cm x L 350cm x W 205cm

This has been TP Toy’s best seller for 20 years, and with good reason! The deluxe black version comes with a shaded play area which we tested as a ball pit and sandpit – both were great successes. There is a cute and cosy den at the top of the climbing frame with a viewing window and fold down flaps. It even comes with an adventure play mat for imaginative play. And of course, there is a sturdy swing with a ‘rapide’ swing seat for the main business of swinging.

We love how much you get for your money and that you can add accessories if you wish. It took two mortal men six hours to assemble – but the only complications were due to user error. It is excellent quality and will withstand time and weather. The finished result looks awesome and our little testers whooped with excitement and shot straight up into the den. We haven’t seen them since and that was three days ago. Although this one is currently out of stock, it will be ready to order again by 6 August.

Fatmoose JollyJade wave XXL

Best: For big gardens

Rating: 8/10

  • Dimensions: H 215cm x L 260cm x W 313cm

Kids will love this swing set that comes with an in-built MagicSurf wobble plank for riding the waves. It also has a climbing frame with a lookout seat at the top – perfect for budding lifeguards. Our little testers thought this was very cool.

The Fatmoose set comes with two ClassicRider swing seats, but you can change the frame configuration to add other accessories such as a baby swing or climbing rope. Anchors and safety mats must be bought separately; the solid wood is pressure treated and comes with a 10-year guarantee. It’s not the easiest to assemble, with lots of build stages – it might be wise to hire in some DIY expertise – but the end result is fabulous and looks amazing. We love that you can modify this set and add accessories.

Plum mandrill wooden climbing frame

Best: For longevity

Rating: 8/10

  • Dimensions: H 210cm x L 320cm x W 305cm

At least five children can have hours of squabble-free fun at the same time with this set. You get a lot for your money – there’s two swings, a glider for two and a slide. We love that the metal swing attachments encircle the pole so there’s no drilling during assembly. The wood is premium FSC certified and sustainably sourced and the steel corner brackets are galvanised to prevent rust. It looks gorgeous and very high-end, and feels sturdy and safe – it will last for years.

It’s suitable for children from three years and adults up to 50kg, and the swing ropes are adjustable for when little legs grow longer. It took two of us five hours to assemble.

We loved that it is great value for money and the height adjustable rope allows swings to be easily changed – we added a toddler swing for our nine-month-old tester. The kids loved that it can also be used as a den base, climbing frame and assault course. This one is also well suited to smaller gardens. Sign up to be notified when it’s back in stock.

TP forest acorn growable swing set with quadpod – FSC

Best: For all ages

Rating: 7/10

Dimensions: H 183cm x W 156cm x D 209cm

This swing is perfect from six months to eight years, so it makes a great investment. It starts off with the frame at 123 cm high with a full TP Quadpod baby seat. The seat comes apart, getting smaller in four stages until it is a simple swing seat, while the frame height increases to 209cm. Smart, huh?

We love that TP timber is cut, air dried, planed and kiln dried before being pressure treated with an environmentally friendly preservative that penetrates deep into the wood. This means that performance guarantees do not rely upon the annual application of a stain to the surface of the wood.

Essentially, it’s designed by clever folk who want to make your life easier – also evidenced by the fact that it’s surprisingly easy to build. We appreciated the classic design and longevity. Again, you can sign up to be notified when this one is back in stock.

Dolu 7-in-1 playground frame

Best: For little ones

Rating: 7/10

Dimensions: H 124cm x W 250cm x D 150cm

This swing set is for very little ones from two to six years old. There’s a lot going on on top of the baby swing – there’s a slide, basketball hoop, football net, and water tray, as well as a desk for catching up with crayon correspondence.

When the swing gets too small it can be removed, leaving the frame to be used as a bar to hang on to. We love how many skills our little ones can build with this 7-in-1 set. There’s no need for concreting into the ground either, so it can be brought indoors on rainy days. It’s relatively compact, super simple to assemble and feels safe and sturdy. We love how much little ones can do with it in such a small space.

Plum wooden swing set with nest

Best: For small gardens

Rating: 7/10

  • Dimensions: H 220 cm x L 240cm x W 220cm

If you have two kids but only space for one swing, a giant nest swing may be the option for you – this one has space for two children over 36 months old to play at the same time. The strong fabric nest is designed for sociable play, with soft-feel ropes for comfort and durability. We found that it’s also great fun for only children, as it creates a fun place for them to swing their toys!

The sustainable dimensional timber is FSC certified – it comes with all installation hardware and ground anchors to concrete into the ground, and we left a two-metre space around it. It took two grown-ups three hours to set up with no difficulty. It looks great – straight out of an adventure playground – and feels sturdy. Our little testers loved playing together in it – however, it only takes 50kg of weight, so unfortunately you can’t curl up in it with a G&T after the kids have gone to bed.

The verdict: Swing sets

Safety is most important when choosing a swing set, followed by value. This is why the Sportspower double swing and glide is our winner, as the price is amazing and the quality and safety isn’t compromised. The set from Hedstrom Neptune is a close second – we love how it can be modified over time to keep the little ones interested.

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