Building a Swing Set vs Buying: Which Approach Makes More Sense?

  • 8 min read

Installing a swing set is one of the best ways to transform your property. From years of outdoor family fun to increasing property values, the list ofswing set benefits is endless. But if you want those benefits, you must decide if you'll build or buy a swing set.

There are several layers to the debate of building a swing set vs buying one, including your budget, DIY skills, design goals, and more. But you don’t have to decide between building a swing set vs buying one alone.

In today’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the right choice for your family. Let’s dive right into it by exploring each option in detail.

Overview of Swing Set Buying Process

Purchasing a swing set for your home is a fantastic option, but there’s a lot to consider while shopping. You’ll need to learnhow to choose a swing set among several options, including your budget requirements, desired accessories like slides and swings, and installation methods.

While there’s a lot to take in initially, shopping for a swing set is the perfect way to provide your family with a fun and safe play experience.

Researching the Best Options

Swing sets are a long-term investment into your property, with the best sets lasting decades. When figuring outwhere to buy a swing set, it’s vital to do your research.

Thankfully, shopping for a new swing set is a fun process! Search the internet for popular manufacturers like Gorilla, Playground One, and King Swings to understand each company’s style. 

You’ll also want to consider the type of material, such asmetal vs wood swing sets. Beyond the sets, we recommend learning more about the reputation of the retailers you plan to buy from.

Look for companies with a history of satisfied customers, including detailed reviews. Quality retailers also provide excellent customer support to help guide you throughout your shopping process.

Considering Budget and Features

Creating a budget for your swing set will help you pinpoint the best options. You can find entry-level wooden sets starting at $1300 before installation or delivery fees, while metal and vinyl sets begin at around $2500.

These numbers will vary significantly based on the features you want on your set. Accessories like unique swings, slides, rock walls, and clubhouses can also affect your budget. If some of your desired features push against your budget, you can add them later.

Understanding Installation and Delivery

The debate between building a swing set vs buying also requires you to consider delivery and installation. Most playset companies will offer complete installation services for additional fees.

Opting to have a retailer install your set helps ensure the safety and long-term durability of the set. Alternatively, you can have a professional carpenter install your new set.

Delivery can also come with fees, especially with national retailers.

However, working with local retailers can save you some of the hassle. Many playset shops offer in-store pickup if you can transport all the materials.

Overall, buying a playset offers a hassle-free way to breathe new life into the outdoor play areas of your home. Going with a retail playset is only one of our choices, however.

We'll also need to explore the DIY route to determine if it’s better to build or buy a swing set.

What Goes Into Building a Swing Set?

Creating a DIY swing set is a challenging endeavor. You’ll need an airtight design plan, high-quality materials, and the skills to install everything together. But if you’re handy enough to make it all work, building a swing set vs buying can be a fulfilling option.

Planning and Designing Your Swing Set

Designing and planning a DIY swing set isn’t something to take lightly. You’ll begin by choosing a material to serve as your base. For example, choosing betweenvinyl swing sets vs wood can lead to drastically different results and maintenance requirements.

Once you have your material, select the accessories you want to add to your set. Each accessory, from slides to monkey bars, must be appropriately spaced to provide a safe play experience. Without expertise in designing playsets, this can prove challenging.

Conduct thorough research and verify your design against industry standards, like the United States CSPC guidelines for swing sets.

Sourcing Materials and Tools

Once you’ve created a solid, safe design, you must source all the tools, equipment, and materials to bring your plan to life. Whether crafting acedar swing set or a metal one, finding a reliable and affordable supplier for your hardware is critical.

These tools also include additional equipment, like bolts, chains, shackles, and swivels. Unless you have experience installing playsets, you should purchase extra of each material, as replacements during construction will be inevitable.

Navigating the Construction Process

Even with a rock-solid design plan and high-quality materials, construction takes skill. Careful measuring and cutting are needed to construct load-bearing joints, swing beams, and railings.

There are also tasks like drilling precise holes for hangers and swivels, anchoring the set into the ground while ensuring everything is level, and managing inclement weather or temperatures during installation.

Additionally, if you misstep at any point during construction, it could lead to severe compromises in your swing set's structural integrity.

Several challenges are present in the DIY route, making it unreasonable for the average family looking for a hassle-free experience.

We’ve explored each option in detail, but now it’s time to decide. Should you build or buy a swing set?

Building a Swing Set vs Buying: Which Approach Makes More Sense For You?

We’ll need to pit the two options against one another across several key categories to find an answer. From budgeting and time commitment to safety and durability, there’s much to consider when deciding between building a swing set vs buying.

Which is Cheaper?

Part of the appeal of DIY projects is to save money, so at first glance, this may seem like a win for building a set yourself.

However,swing set costs aren’t just about the sticker price you see on a retail product. You must invest in lumber or metal, hardware, tools, and replacement materials with a DIY set. These costs can quickly match or exceed retail sets, even with upfront costs.

And in the long run, purchased sets are the only way to guarantee a durable build that stands the test of time. Conversely, a DIY set will require more frequent replacement due to weak designs and poor installations in most cases.

Time and Effort Required

Creating an entire set yourself is a massive undertaking. Planning alone can take several hours, in addition to sourcing materials and constructing the set. The DIY route can take 50+ hours, which can feel like a lifetime to your children who just want to start swinging and sliding!

Conversely, purchased sets can be ordered and put together all within a day’s work. The time spent researching which set to buy is minuscule compared to creating your own.

Just work with a retailer, have them deliver and install the set for you, and your family will have fun outdoors together in no time.

Skill Level and Tools Needed

When deciding to build or buy a swing set, the difference in skill level and tools required is no contest. Purchasing a set from a reliable retailer requires no skill at all beyond being a savvy shopper!

You’ll need advanced carpentry and construction knowledge and a complete toolbox, including drills, levels, and wrenches. Using improper tools can spell disaster for the structural integrity of your playset.

Even if you decide to install a purchased set yourself, you’ll still have a much easier time doing so compared to a DIY design. Retail sets usually only require essential tools like a socket wrench and provide peace of mind with their engineer-backed designs.

Customization and Personalization

Another major appeal of DIY projects is the ability to tailor your designs to fit your goals. While this may be helpful with small projects, it can be challenging and dangerous with swing sets. 

To properly customize a swingset you’ve built, you need structural integrity and proper spacing for your accessories.

The good news is retail sets are straightforward to tailor to your family’s wants and needs. Browse any major playset company’s inventory, and you’ll quickly find sets meeting these descriptions:

  • swing sets with monkey bars
  • swing sets with tire swings
  • swing sets with tube slides
  • swing sets with sandboxes
  • swing sets with rock walls
  • In addition to fun accessories, retail sets have cohesive designs that are difficult to replicate with DIY builds. Many of these sets are also modular, allowing you to add or remove swings, slides, and other accessories later.

    Quality and Durability

    The quality and lifespan of a DIY set relies wholly on your carpentry skills. Any errors in planning or construction can spell disaster.

    Conversely, purchased sets use commercial-grade wood, steel, or vinyl, cross-checked by engineering teams to ensure a long-lasting installation. Professional sets are also better at withstanding weather conditions and wear and tear from play than a DIY build.

    Safety and Compliance

    When you purchase a retail set, you can rest assured you receive a product meeting industry standards. ASTM and CPSC are US-based organizations that test all retail products to ensure a child-safe design free of defects and flaws.

    Without these industry safeguards, a DIY build could easily endanger your family.

    Resale Value and Longevity

    Purchased sets last for decades, and if you plan on moving in the future, they are the only way to guarantee resale value. You can easily resell an old set made under a trusted brand, allowing you to recoup some costs in the future.

    While DIY playsets are neat, finding a new buyer within their shortened lifespan is next to impossible.

    So, Should You Build or Buy a Swing Set?

    Retail swing sets provide long-term durability, the only way to guarantee a safe design, and are even cheaper than DIY. Choosing a purchased set is the only viable option for your family to enjoy the outdoors.

    With the debate established, all that’s left is to find thebest place to buy a swing set!

    Visit NJ Swing Set to Streamline the Process and Eliminate the Hassle of Buying or Building Swing Sets!

    If you are in New Jersey or the surrounding area, you’ve come to the right place. NJ Swing Sets is the #1 home for vinyl &wooden swing sets in NJ. We’ve been in business for over a decade, working with thousands of families to craft unforgettable outdoor play experiences.

    We carry major brands likeGorilla Playground,King Swings, and Playground One, featuring everything from basic designs toclubhouse swing sets. When you work with us, you’ll connect personally with our owner, Jay, who is passionate about helping you find a fantastic set to create lasting memories.

    In addition to our residential andcommercial swing sets for sale, we are also one of the bestplaces for kids birthday parties in Bergen County NJ. We offer open play and events with our in-store playsets, which is the perfect way to involve your kids in the shopping process.

    Once you’ve found a playset that catches your eye, you can rest assured that our NJ-based installation team will help facilitate a speedy delivery and installation to get your family ready to play as quickly as possible.

    Final Thoughts on Building a Swing Set vs Buying

    Overall, there’s only one winner between building a swing set vs buying one. Purchased sets are superior to DIY sets in every category, from safety to cost.

    If you enjoyed our guide, check out our blog for other articles on outdoor playsets, like thebest wood for swing sets,Gorilla vs Rainbow playsets, andwhy you shouldn't buy a cheap swing set.

    Otherwise, if you’re ready to get your hands on a wood orvinyl swing set in NJ, you’re in the right place. The #1 home forBergen County swing sets is NJ Swingsets. Browse our inventory, call us at (201)-670-4000 or stop by our Bergen County showroom to get started!

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