Wooden Vs. Metallic Playset – Which Is Better For Your Kids?

It might come down to price and that shiny look, but there's a lot more when choosing between a wooden playset or a metallic playset for your backyard. Take the time to find out the advantages and disadvantages of each type of set and do your homework to be sure you're really making the best choice for your family.

Are you planning to buy your kids the best playset to keep them engaged throughout the day? There are many choices to consider with the most common materials being wood and metal. 

The main differences between a metallic and a wooden playset are safety and durability. Metallic playsets are much more durable than wooden playsets. On the other hand, wooden playsets are considered cheaper than metallic.

Let’s have a deeper look at the main differences between wooden playsets and metallic playsets.

1. Durability

Before you buy any playset, one of the things you should consider is how durable it is. Remember, a durable playset will help you save some money. This will allow you to invest in other types of playsets as your kids can love to have a variety.

What Determines the Durability of The Playset?

The durability of both playsets will highly depend on where you’ll place them and the users. If you put a wooden playset in a moist area, it will most likely rot or have mold, compromising its lifespan. The same applies to a metallic playset as they’re prone to rust and become weak when left in the open where water gets into its surfaces.

In line with the durability of these playsets, you need to check their prices. For example, a cheap metallic playset means they’re made of low-quality metal, which can break or bend easily, especially when not cared for well. 

A boy playing with his wooden airplane.
One of the things you should consider before buying is how durable it is.

So, go for a high-quality metallic or wooden playset, which will last longer as it can withstand extreme conditions. For a wooden playset, you can opt for one made of cedar or redwood, which is rot-resistant and doesn’t require preservatives to last long.   

Since both playsets can be durable according to the type you’ve chosen and where you place them, it’s advisable to factor in this after purchase. Otherwise, a wooden playset best suits outdoor use, while a metallic one will last longer if you use it indoors.

2. Safety

Another major thing you should consider before settling for either playset is how safe they are. Note that even though the manufacturers of these playsets follow safety guidelines, some features make them safe to use.

What Affects the Playset’s Safety?

First, consider the quality and materials the playsets are made of. A high-quality playset tends to be safe to use. Also, check on other safety features like stability and accessibility to the playset. For example, if this is a swing, the climbing structure needs to be textured, not high but big enough to prevent accidents.

Additionally, check if the playset can be a brooding ground for some insects like wasps that can endanger the kids’ lives. Wooden playsets, in this case, tend to host such insects, making them not safe for your children unless you thoroughly inspect them before every use.

A toy with a word blocks "safety".
A high-quality playset tends to be safe to use.

However, the safety of these playsets also depends on where you’ll place them. If you put a metallic playset where there’s direct sunlight, your kids are likely to get sunburns from the hot surfaces. On the other hand, a wooden set will be harmful if treated with dangerous chemicals or left on wet grounds where they become slippery.

So, if you opt for a metallic playset, ensure you put it away from direct sunlight or in the shade. But do paint, smoothen, and finish your wooden playset to improve its safety.

3. Maintenance Requirements

If you’ve got a metallic playset, you’ll not do regular maintenance unless it has scratches or dents. But the wooden playset will require you to stain it at least after every year. You also need to tighten your wooden playset’s screws or bolts often, unlike when you’ve got metallic ones. This means that metallic playsets are a better choice as you’ll only paint it after you realize it’s likely to rust. Furthermore, some metallic sets have plastic parts that act as additional protection.

4. Cost

If you opt for wooden playsets, be ready to spend more as they’re expensive.

Total Cost of a Wooden Playset Vs. Metallic Playset

First, you’ll pay more for a thick, high-quality wooden playset. You will also spend more on regular maintenance on a wooden set, unlike on a metallic playset. Furthermore, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets to prepare the ground you want to install the wooden playset to prevent it from rotting or being eaten up by insects. Don’t forget you’ll have to pay for a professional to help you install it as wood is labor-intensive in setup and requires the right skills to handle.

A wooden playset.
Wooden playsets are more expensive than Metallic playsets.

But a metallic playset will not cost you much compared to the wooden playsets. You’ll also not spend much money on maintenance, and fixing them is not involved. Chances of a metallic breaking, while you’re setting them, are minimal, reducing the amount you’ll spend on them. This makes the metallic playsets an affordable option.

5. Installation Process

Even though installing these playsets may not be involving you’ve got to know their weight. A weighty playset will require you to have someone help you install it. Additionally, you’ll have difficulty establishing a playset that doesn’t come in a ready to install form. This will require you to drill the holes to join the joints.

To have an easy time installing both playsets, ensure you ask the seller about the installation process and instructions. Also, enquire if they’ve got all the installation tools or if you’ve got to buy a specific one for this job. Don’t forget to request a referral for a professional installer who’ll do this work to the best standards without compromising your kid’s safety. This is if you do not know how to install it.

6. Appearance And Attractiveness

Before you buy a playset, remember kids love colorful things. This means you’ve got to settle for an attractive playset with the right colors to make your children love it. To get this, you should opt for a metallic playset that comes in various designs and colors. A metal playset also allows you to paint it to your favorite color easily.

A colorful playsets.
You’ve got to settle for an attractive playset with the right colors to make your children love it.

However, wooden playsets are mostly natural or neutral colors that can be dull to the kids. It’s advisable to ask your kids what they want to get the most adorable playset they’ll enjoy playing on. If you’re going to influence their choice, try and convince them to avoid spending much money on something they’ll not love playing in.

7. Customization

Even after identifying the type of playset you want, check other additional features you’d wish yours to have. But this cannot be possible on some playsets, especially those in pre-designed form. So, take your time to talk to the seller to know if the playset is customizable to get exactly what you had in mind for your kids.

Wooden playsets are more customizable than their metallic counterparts. The wooden playsets also come in various designs and models, not limiting your choice. All you need to do with a wooden playset is be creative to make a customized playground for your kids.

Since not all metallic playsets are customizable and you’ve got to buy additional parts, you’ll spend more money customizing them. This makes wooden playsets the best choice in terms of customizability.

8. Structural Strength

Both wooden and metallic playsets are strong. However, their structural strength depends on the type of wood or metal you settle for. Heavy-duty steel is stronger and will last longer. Also, a wooden playset comprising thick hardwood timbers tends to be strong. But the strongest wooden playset should have metallic brackets, which will make it last longer.

Wooden Playset Vs. Metallic Playset: Which One Should You Choose?

If you want to get the best playset, first identify the age bracket of your kids and the condition of the location you’re to install it at. If you’ve bigger adventurous kids, it’s good to go for the most durable and strongest playset. But for smaller kids, safety should be your number one priority as they may fail to be cautious when playing.

However, your budget and ability to install or maintain the playset without spending too much money is also a factor to consider. Also, if your kids love beautiful and unique playsets, you’ve got to get them precisely to allow them to get what they’ll enjoy playing in.

A woman thinking.
Any safe, durable and affordable playset which meets your kid’s demands fits to be the best.

If your backyard receives too much sunlight, a metallic playset is not ideal for your kids as the metal will get hot and burn them. A wooden playset that requires regular maintenance and inspection is also not the best pick for busy parents. This is because your child might get injuries from insects like wasps, who like hiding on such surfaces without your knowledge.


Which is the best playset for your kids?

Any safe, durable and affordable playset which meets your kid’s demands fits to be the best. This is regardless of the material composition, as either will lift your kids’ spirits.

What’s the main thing I should consider when buying a playset?

Your kids’ safety comes first. Then you should consider its cost and durability to avoid spending much money on it.

Bottom Line

Both wooden and metallic playsets have advantages and disadvantages which you should consider before settling for any. However, you should focus on your kids’ safety, installation process, durability, and budget.

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