Why are swingsets so $%#*(@ expensive?!
October 10, 2007 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Good source for swing sets, either in-store in the Baltimore/Washington metro area or online (with affordable shipping)?

We're looking for a pretty basic and reasonably-priced wooden swingset for our son (he's about to turn 1, but we're thinking ahead). Our backyard is really miniscule so we don't want a huge one. A couple swings, a small tower, maybe a slide -- just the basics. Problem is, I can't find one to save my life (this has been ongoing since July).

As far as stores, we've checked Walmart (never anything in stock), Target (never anything period), Lowes (only build-it-yourself over $500), Home Depot (ditto), and some specialty place called Creative Playthings (nothing under $1K). I've looked at a ton of online retailers, and they all seem to be in the $600-$18K (no joke) range, and shipping is at least $150-$200.

We don't mind assembling something but would prefer not to have to truly build it ourselves (i.e. purchase lumber, etc). We also strongly prefer some kind of wood, rather than metal or plastic. I'd say our budget is about $300-$400 max. And, we're hoping to purchase ASAP (it's still in the 80s here in October, so we can still get plenty of use out of it this year). Any ideas?
posted by justonegirl to Shopping (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you'll need to budget twice what you'd like. Even the sets at Costco and BJ's start at $800 to $900. The ones there come with all the parts you need. The wood is precut and the holes are drilled. You just put it together. Do the kits from Lowes and Home Depot also have the precut, pre-drilled wood? If so, $500 is really pretty good.

We searched for a year for the same thing. When our son was approaching 2 we got a kit from BJs. When we sold that house, we let it convey. So, we had to do it a second time. If you do buy a kit from one of the box stores, you'll need a truck or a large van without back seats to get the huge boxes home.

Two adults can do the work. It is easier with three. If you've never built one, allow yourself a full weekend. Also, have a table with all the bolts, nut, etc grouped for easy identification as you need them. That will save you time and you won't be digging through a 10 lb bag of bits looking for 3 bolts of a particular size.
posted by onhazier at 8:31 AM on October 10, 2007

How about DIY?

It seems pretty easy to reverse engineer.

2 wooden posts on each side in a V angle, joined at the top with another wooden or metal post, with 2 chains hanging down.
Secure the bottom of the V to the ground with some concrete.
posted by PowerCat at 9:32 AM on October 10, 2007

Best answer: I agree that two adults can easily do the work. We bought a wooden playset from SamsClub for around 1000 dollars and my husband and I put it together in two days.

You might want to look at Craigslist. I notice several for sale in your area, although some prices are high. I don't know how close Leesburg, VA is to your area but this one is free.

I also notice loads of playsets in suburbia that aren't being used. Children outgrow them and they still remain in the backyard. Keep your eyes peeled, tell your friends. Some of these people may be willing to sell them for cheap.

My friend got one for around 400 bucks. It was discontinued and a display in the parking lot at Toys R Us.
posted by LoriFLA at 9:37 AM on October 10, 2007

We wanted a fancy "rainbow system" but didn't want to pay. We watched craigslist and paid about $800 for one that would be $3000 new...
posted by thilmony at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2007

Response by poster: Well, I feel foolish for not thinking of Craigslist, but keep your fingers crossed for me -- we are supposed to purchase a used set tomorrow morning! Thanks everyone!
posted by justonegirl at 12:56 PM on October 10, 2007

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