Parents have a tough job when it comes to picking out the right swing set. They have to find a playset that will accommodate all their kids, is exciting enough to keep the little and big ones happy, fits into the backyard, and also fits into the budget. That’s not an easy task, so we’d like to lighten the load a little. Here are 8 tips for stress-less playset purchasing.
Tip #1: Read Reviews
Reviews give you a window into the product you’re interested in without actually having to purchase it for yourself. Reviews can be a double-edged sword though. On the one hand, they give you accurate information from people who have had hands-on experience with the exact product you are looking into. This is invaluable insight for purchasers on the quality, longevity, accuracy, and ease of use of an item.
On the other hand, you don’t know anything about the reviewers and their biases. Perhaps this person who is complaining about the small size of the swing set has an incredibly small backyard. Or maybe the person who said it was too hard to assemble on their own is just terrible at all handy jobs and also can’t build a simple tower out of blocks!
Bottom line, there are always going to be people who find something negative to say. Reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. Stick with the majority rules adage, and you can get a lot of good information from reviews. If a company has good feedback from the majority of the reviewers, you can assume this is a legitimate brand and a quality product.
Tip #2: Consider Seasonal Discounts
Wooden swing sets are the best option for quality, longevity, and safety. They are also going to cost you a decent amount of money. After all, you get what you pay for. So naturally, parents want to save wherever they can when purchasing outdoor playsets.
Here is a good tip that will help save you a nice amount on your next swing set purchase: Early spring is when the birds start chirping and the flowers start blossoming. This is also the time when the prices for a typical wooden swing set skyrocket! If the time is right for you to make this purchase, don’t let the price tag stop you, but if you can wait till it’s off-season, you’ll likely find great deals and sales that bring the price down considerably.
Tip #3: Some Assembly Required?
Those are the three most lethal words in the English language when it comes to kids having a good time. After several frustrating hours, dad throws his hands up in defeat, and the kids are left without a swing set.
Parents fail to realize the complexity of most outdoor playsets, which is why you need to do your research before you purchase. If you are having the company assemble and install your jungle gym, then this doesn’t matter, but that’ll cost you. If you’d like to try and tackle this project on your own (and save some money), first find out what the job really entails.
Some playsets come with several of the larger/more complicated parts already put together, so it only takes a few hours to assemble the entire swing set. Playsets that require you to assemble every wall, bridge, and support will leave you exasperated at best and out several thousand dollars at worst, so opt for a pre-fab model if you are going the DIY route.
Tip #4: Ask About Total Costs
Another thing many companies don’t tell you about are the hidden costs of your outdoor playhouse. For example, the listed price may be $850, a real bargain. But when they knock at your door, the delivery service will ask you for an additional $250. Lob on top of that another $250 for installation, and suddenly your steal of a swing set has climbed to $1350!
There is nothing wrong with spending $1350 on playground equipment if it is within your budget. It’s only wrong if the company is misrepresenting the information to you in an attempt to deceive you. Before you take out the plastic, make sure you know exactly what is included in the price.
Tip #5: Think Safety First
Safety has to come before fun, accessories, or even price because our children’s health is just that important. When looking into playsets, make sure you:
- Check the quality of the wood, the durability of the hardware, and the strength of the accessories.
- Look out for sanded wood with pre-drilled holes (for easier and safer assembly), and recessed hardware that won’t hurt your children.
- See that all swing set accessories meet safety regulations such as sufficient guardrails, proper gap spacing, and enough room to play safely.
Tip #6: Consider Who You’re Buying For
Many parents make the mistake of buying the first playset they like without taking their family into consideration. Before you buy, consider who you are buying for. Ask yourself:
- How many kids will be playing on this set?
- What ages need to be entertained?
- Is this the only outdoor play option or are there parks around as well?
- Who else will want to join the fun (neighbors, friends, relatives)?
When browsing various jungle gym options, keep the answers to these questions in mind, and buy an outdoor playhouse that can accommodate all of your needs. But also remember that a family’s needs are ever-changing, so what you need now won’t necessarily be what you need in two years. That’s why flexibility is so important, which leads to our next tip...
Tip #7: Look For Flexibility
Everyone wants to find the perfect swing set for their kids. The problem is that “perfect” quickly changes as your kids get older. That’s why it’s essential that your playset is flexible enough to accommodate these changes. When shopping for a backyard playset, ask yourself:
- Can you easily remove the toddler swing for a bigger, more kid-friendly model?
- Will the other features such as slides, ladders, and bridges work for older children or can they be replaced with stronger, taller, and larger options once kids have outgrown them?
The beauty of wooden swing sets is that they are modular for the most part. This means it is easy to add or replace parts as your kids develop and require more challenging swing set accessories to keep them entertained. It also means you don’t have to spend as much to begin with because you can always add on pieces later on.
Tip #8: Think About Placement Before You Buy
Giving your kids a colossal playground equipment unit is certainly a dream, but look before you leap! Is your backyard big enough to accommodate such a purchase? Carefully peruse your perimeter to determine what is realistic and which models need to be nixed. A few helpful tips include:
- Make sure to measure the area at least twice before making a final purchase. The last thing you want is to have the playset spread out in pieces across your backyard without sufficient room to assemble it.
- Also, anticipate growth. As much as we’d love them to, kids don’t stay small forever. Realize that your children will grow with every summer that passes, so make sure your swing set area can accommodate that growth generously.
- Don’t forget about the safety aspect. Even if your kids are old enough to play on their wooden swing set on their own, you’ll need to be able to see your children and check up on them periodically. Bear this in mind when considering placement.
Outdoor swings are great fun for kids of every age, and with a little smart shopping from the parents’ side, the playset can even make you smile too. Want more tips? Grab your free copy of The Ultimate Swing Set Guide for Parents today!
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