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Nothing lasts forever, but we sure hope our purchases do. That's why we should invest in a high-quality swing set built to last. A playground swing set should last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. Its lifespan is influenced by several variables, including usage, maintenance, and material quality.

Always review the warranty, as it is a reliable indicator of how confident the manufacturer is in the product's longevity and durability.

Swing set durability by material

According to the CPSC Guidelines, materials used in making swing sets should withstand weather conditions without breaking down during use, and should be non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals.

There are three types of material commonly used in making commercial swing sets:

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Plastic

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to consider the specific needs and preferences of your child before making a decision.


Metal is the most durable material commonly used in making a swing set. However, it should be resistant to rust and corrosion, and should be free of harmful chemicals.

  • Galvanized steel is the cheapest of the commonly used metals for making commercial swing sets. Galvanized steel has undergone a galvanization process in which a protective layer of zinc is applied to prevent rusting. This makes it a popular choice for swing sets as it is durable and affordable.
  • Stainless steel is known for its rust and corrosion resistance due to its chromium content and is highly nonreactive, making it suitable even for food and medical applications. It's also more durable and requires less maintenance than galvanized steel, but it's more expensive.

Whether you choose between galvanized or stainless steel, having a durable powder-coated finish will not only enhance its appearance but also extend its lifespan by providing an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Powder coating is a dry finishing process that creates a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint. Additionally, powder coating is environmentally friendly as it emits zero or near-zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it a safe choice for both your family and the environment.




Wood is also commonly used in making swing sets, as long as it is resistant to insect infestation, rot, and decay that would compromise its durability.

  • Cedar is a popular choice for wooden swing sets due to its natural resistance to rot, decay, and insects since it naturally contains tannin. It costs less than Redwood but also ranks lower on the Janka Hardness Scale.
  • Redwood is also a great option for wooden swing sets, although it tends to be more expensive than cedar. It's also naturally resistant to rot and decay. Redwood contains tannin, a natural chemical harmless to humans but toxic to fungi and insects, making it naturally resistant to insect damage.
  • Pine is also one of the most commonly used woods for making swing sets; however, it needs to be pressure-treated to prevent rot, decay, and insect infestation. Pressure-treated pine is a cost-effective choice compared to cedar and redwood.

Wood has the advantage of not becoming too hot to the touch in hot weather due to its lower heat absorption compared to metal or plastic. Wood is also less expensive than metal, but it requires frequent maintenance and may not last as long.


According to the CPSC Guidelines, swing seats should:

  • Avoid using wood or metal due to the potential for injury from impact and splinters.
  • Be made of durable materials that will not crack, splinter, or deform under normal use conditions.
  • Be full bucket seats when used for younger children. This provides support on all sides and between the legs to prevent sliding out. These seats should not allow the child to enter or exit the seat without adult assistance.
  • Be designed to reduce the severity of impact injuries.

You can easily follow the above guidelines set by the CPSC by selecting swing seats made of high-quality plastic, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or HDPE. These materials are durable and resistant to cracking, splintering, or deforming, ensuring a safe and enjoyable swinging experience for your children. 

How long does a metal swing set last?

A well-maintained metal swing set could last for at least 15 years.

According to the American Galvanizers Association, hot-dip galvanized steel can last for several decades—50–75 years before requiring significant maintenance, depending on the environment.

Stainless steel structures can last even longer than galvanized steel, even exceeding 100 years in some cases, making them an incredibly durable option for playground equipment.

How long does a wood swing set last?

Generally, a well-maintained and treated wood swing set could last for 15 - 20 years.

Cedar and Redwood do not need any treatment because they're naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. But, you can still coat them with high-quality stains, paint, water-repellent, or wood preservers oils to make them last longer.

Pressure-treated pine is infused with nonarsenicals that act as fungicide and insecticide, and makes it more durable and last longer.

Wood is an amazing building material and is also cheaper than metal as a whole but, for it to last decades it really needs a lot of maintenance.


We all want to make the best use of our money, which is why we invest in high-quality commercial swing sets. Whether you choose metal, wood, or plastic, understanding the materials' benefits and maintenance requirements is critical for extending the life of your swing set.

Choosing a commercial swing set from a company that is certified and follows industry standards is a good starting point in making your decision.

If you want a balance of cost and durability one of the best options would be to opt for galvanized steel with a powder-coating finish. 

This combination would give you the best of both worlds. Galvanized Steel is cheaper than stainless steel and requires less maintenance compared to wood. 

Also, check the product’s warranty; it indicates the manufacturer’s confidence in the durability of their product.

By choosing the right materials and maintaining your swing set properly, you can provide a safe and fun environment for years to come.




Learn about the author: Nic Breedlove