Metal vs Wood Swing Sets: Which is Better?

children swinging on wooden swing

Kids and adults alike love making use of a swing. Whether it’s a swing attached to a tree in the back garden, a full swing set at the park, or a rope swing over a river, there’s something universally appealing about swinging.

If you’re reading this blog though, the chances are that you’re looking at buying a swing set for your back garden. Before getting carried away and choosing one on impulse, it’s important to do the research and consider durability, safety, and maintenance, as well as thinking about how it will look in your garden for years to come.

This post looks at all these factors and compares wooden vs. metal swing sets so that you can choose which design is best for you and your family.

Safety & Durability

Both metal and wooden swing sets are strong, and like all play equipment, it’s important that you read the instructions to ensure that you are adhering to the recommended ways to use it. For example, ensure that the maximum weight capacity isn’t exceeded. When it comes to plastic elements of the swing set, the seats are usually made from durable injection moulded plastic, which is then enhanced with fillers to add even more strength.

Metal swing sets like the Plum Jupiter Swing Set are made from powder coated steel ensuring that they are protected against rust and won’t absorb heat. This means that the material is protected against weathering, making it a good option for those who plan to keep their swing set for years into the future.

Wooden swing sets are often made from pressure treated pole timber which is chemically treated to resist rot, decay and pests. The wood is put into a pressurised tank where chemical preservatives are forced into the wood’s fibres, making it perfect for long term placement outside.

Winner: Metal Swing Sets


How you decide to look after the swing set is up to you, but generally, metal swing sets require less maintenance than wooden swing sets. If you choose a wooden swing set, it could need annual wood treatments and sealants in order to maintain its look – check with the manufacturer before buying.

It is really important to clean the swing set in order to keep it maintained. Fallen fruit or bird poo can affect how the swing set looks, as well as preventing kids from jumping on and having a go. Use hot soapy water to get rid of any dirt, and reseal it afterwards if necessary.

Winner: Metal Swing Sets

Ease of assembly

If heaviness is of concern to you, you should buy a metal swing set. As the poles are hollow, they are generally lighter in weight than a solid wood alternative. All swing sets will come with pre-drilled holes and all the parts you need to set it up in the garden, although some larger swing sets may need to be set into the ground with cement to stabilise the frame. If you’ve bought a larger swing set, you might prefer to hire professionals to install it for you, but if you have chosen a smaller one, you’ll be able to install it with only one or two people – like this Plum Wooden Baby Swing.

Winner: Metal Swing Sets


This one comes down to personal preference, but there are some objective comparisons to be made between wooden and metal swing sets. The most obvious difference is that metal swing sets can come in lots of different colours while wooden swing sets are all, well, wood effect. However, it’s really easy to buy wood varnish to alter the colour of your wooden swing set which actually makes it easier to match to the rest of your garden than a metal alternative. On top of that, we think that wood just naturally looks better in gardens anyway, and is more likely to fit in with garden furniture and ornaments.

Winner: Wooden Swing Sets

Which one to choose

The scores are 3-1 to metal swing sets, but that number doesn’t do wooden swing sets justice. As much as it sounds like a cop out – which type of swing set you choose really should come down to which one you like more.

Check out our full range of swing sets here and see which ones catch your eye, using this guide as your assistant.

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