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9 best garden swings for babies, toddlers and older kids

We've picked the swings and swing sets in a range of prices, sizes and age ranges, including nest swings, baby swings and swings you can adapt to grow with your child

best garden swings for babies and children

All small children – and quite a lot of bigger children – love a swing. Whether they’re gently swaying back and forth thanks to a parental push or properly working their legs to zoom up and back, the sensation of their body moving through the air has something both magical and thrilling about it.

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And, as well as getting your child out in the fresh air, a good swing session can help develop balance, focus and spatial awareness.

We’ve spent time searching for the very best wooden and metal swings on the market, testing them out for quality, value for money, safety and, most of all, fun. We’ve selected our top 9, choosing the swings that stood out in a range of sizes, prices and age suitability – and featuring different styles of swing from traditional bucket seat to the glider seat, the baby seat and the more laid-back nest seat.

Best swings at a glance

  • Best value baby to older-child swing: Hedstrom MO8836 2-in-1 Toddler and Kids Garden Swing, £74.99
  • Best for siblings: Plum Glide Nest Swing Accessory, £114.99
  • Best for extra climbing features: JollyJade Wave XXL, £495.95
  • Best for large gardens: TP Triple Swing Set with Glider, £259.99
  • Best wooden toddler to older-child swing: Plum Quoll Wooden Swing Set, £269.99
  • Best foldable/portable swing: Smyths Toys Foldable Baby Swing Set, £59.99
  • Best nest swing: Hedstrom Fabric Nest Swing, £167.99
  • Best simple wooden swing for preschoolers: Plum Bush Baby Wooden Swing Set, £224.99
  • Best budget preschooler swing: Chad Valley Kids Garden Swing, £50

What to consider when choosing a swing

How much space do you need? Swings can take up a lot of space. You not only need room for the dimensions of the swing itself but you also need a bit of extra clearance around it so people can safely walk past while your child is playing. “We recommend a 2m safety perimeter that is free from obstructions such as fences, garden furniture and buildings, as well as hanging obstructions like trees or a washing line,” says David Woodman, Head of QA and Product Development at Plum.

What is it made from? – A good swing frame should be durable and lasting – able to withstand both the British weather and the rough and tumble of children playing. Whether you’re choosing a metal-framed swing or a wooden swing, check to see if the materials have been treated to prolong life and ward off rust/rot, especially if you’re splashing out on a pricey product. With wooden swings, Plum’s David Woodman recommends that, “at the end of each season, you treat your swing set with a water-based wood treatment suitable for use on children’s play equipment, to ensure longevity”.

What’s the age range? – Check whether the swing you are considering is suitable for your child’s age and stage and consider how long it will last them before they outgrow it. Some sets have the option of changing the seat from a baby seat to an older-child seat, so this is worth bearing in mind if you want something which will last for years.

What weight can the swing take? Check the maximum weight of the swing to make sure your child is safely within the limit before you buy. This will also give you a good idea of whether you can risk having a go on it yourself!

How do you secure it to the ground?  All swings and swing sets will need something to stabilise them and you’ll usually need a set of ground anchors (stakes or pegs) for this. Most swings will come with anchors included but do check: sometimes, they’ll be priced separately. With bigger swings, you’ll find that the manufacturer may recommend you secure the base of the frame with concrete for extra safety. Obviously, if you follow this recommendation, you’ll need to plan in the time to do this.

How easy is it to assemble? – Some swing companies do offer a build service (which you pay extra for) but, generally speaking, it’ll be you putting the thing together once it’s delivered. And that can take anything from 30 minutes to several hours and involve Allen keys, drills, spanners and decoding of sometimes not completely clear instructions. We’ve tried to indicate how long/difficult the assembly is for each of our selected swings.

Here’s our pick of the best swings for children…

1. Hedstrom Deluxe 2-in-1 Swing, £94.99

– Best value baby to older-child swing

Age suitability: 6 months to 10 years | Best for ages: 1 to 7 | Size:  L154cm x W180cm x H182cm | Maximum child weight: 20kg (toddler mode); 45kg (junior mode) | Main materials: Powder-coated steel frame and blow-moulded plastic seats

This swing comes with 2 seats and additional frame segments so that it cleverly converts from a toddler swing into a junior swing – allowing your child to get more years of play for your money.

The toddler seat (pictured, inset) is a high backed and moulded seat with a 5-point safety harness and (UV-treated) fabric around the sides, while the junior seat comes with soft-touch ropes that can be adjusted to suit your child’s height. The junior seat isn’t completely flat– it slopes up gently at each end – but it’s quite narrow and really only suitable for a confident preschooler, so your toddler is going to have to stay in the enclosed seat for longer than you (or they!) might think.

The powder-coated steel frame has also been treated to make it UV-resistant and comes with ground pegs to secure it into grass. It’s worth noting that Hedstrom do recommend securing the swing into concrete for additional stability.

It’s pretty easy to assemble and very simple to swap the seats over, so it could be feasibly be shared by siblings at different stages – though whether you’d want to be spending your days swapping seats is another matter…

Lisa mum of our child tester Maeve, 1, said, “I love that it will adapt with my daughter as she gets a bit older. It feels very safe while she is small. It’s not too big and was really easy to build.”

You can also buy a 3-in-1 version from Argos, which has a toddler, child and junior seat: the child seat has a nice high back but the enclosed toddler seat doesn’t have a harness and is only suitable from 18 months.

Pros: Age adjustable and suitable from 6 months, good value, doesn’t need huge garden, ground pegs included, UV-treated, easy to assemble
Cons: Child would have to stay in toddler seat until at least 3 years old, manufacturer recommends concreting in base

Available at: Amazon, Very, Uber Kids, Argos and Littlewoods

2. Plum Glide Nest Swing Accessory, £114.95

 – Best for siblings

Age suitability: 3 to 8 | Best for ages: 4 to 8 | Size: L160 cm x W52 cm x H19cm | Maximum child weight: 100kg (in total) | Main materials: Alloy steel and plastic

The beauty of this swing from Plum is that two children can enjoy it at the same time – making a great choice for siblings who don’t like waiting for their turn. The swing seat itself is large and made from super-tough material, so will have no problem accommodating 2 children of primary-school age. It’s very comfily padded, with handlebars on the side, and actually makes a pretty cool hammock if you’re not in a gliding/swinging mood.

But – and it’s a big but – it comes without a swing frame, which you’ll need to buy separately. Plum sell great quality, simple wooden swing-set frames from £149.99 and, though initially a bit fazed, Sammy, mum of our child testers Taran and Griffin (pictured above), loved the possibilities this more personalised mix-and-match approach offers. “We’ve got the single swing for the Glide Nest – which my boys love – but we did get a couple of other attachments too (a ‘normal’ seat and a rope ladder), which allows us some variety.

“The whole thing was fairly easy to put together, very solid wood and looks good in the garden. I’d definitely recommend it!”

Pros: Big enough to share, very comfortable seat, easy to assemble
Cons: Doesn’t come with a swing frame, not suitable for younger children

Available at: Amazon, All Round Fun, Plum and Activity Toys Direct

3. JollyJade Wave XXL, £495.95

– Best for extra climbing features

Age suitability: 3+| Best for ages: 5 to 10 | Size: L313cm x W260cm x H215cm | Maximum child weight: 50kg per seat | Main materials: Solid wood and polyethylene

If you have a big, wide garden and you’re looking for something that’s more just a swing, this swingset certainly has the extra wow factor. As well as the 2 side-by-side swing, there is a sturdy A-frame climbing ladder, canvas seat, grab handles and wobble plank (a low rope bridge you wobble you way across) built into the set.

It’s certainly not cheap and it will take up lots of room but it’s made from strong, hard-wearing wood (with a 10-year guarantee) and it’s flexible – you can change which end you have the climbing frame at and you can buy a rope ladder, a hanging tyre and a baby seat separately to extend the play and age options. It comes with a tarpaulin to help protect it in bad weather or when it’s not in use.

Assembly will take some time (you’ll need to let the moisture dry out of the wood for 2 days first and then you’ll need several hours with a drill) and you will need anchors to safely secure the set but these, annoyingly, are not included – although you can add them in for an extra £65. You can also buy separate safety mats if you’d like a little fall protection.

Pros: Great quality materials, great extras, big enough to share, tarpaulin included
Cons: Expensive, takes up a lot of garden space, not suitable for younger children, long assembly time, anchors not included

Available at: Amazon and Fatmoose

4. TP Toys Triple Swing Set with Glider, £259.99

– Best for large gardens

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 5 to 8 | Size: L378cm x W279cm x H240cm | Maximum child weight: 60kg swing seat; 35kg glider seat | Main materials: FSC-certified wood and blow-moulded plastic

This big, high pine swingset takes up a large footprint so you’ll need a big garden to accommodate it but it can be used by 4 children at once with its 2 apple-green moulded-seat swings and 2-person glider. It would be a great choice for twins as when they want to play together, they can use the glider but there’s also a separate swing each for when they’d rather do their own thing.

It comes with swing collar brackets, so you can adjust or change the position of the swings and glider. Assembly is pretty straightforward but will takes at least 2 hours – and you’ll need to concrete in the anchors (which are included) to make sure the frame is safe and stable.

It’s a great quality swingset, made from sustainably sourced wood that’s been treated for rot (with a 1-year guarantee) and we like its clean, simple minimalist look. You can buy variations of this swingset – with a basketball hoop on the side or with a button seat instead of the 2nd swing, for example – direct from TP Toys.

Emma, mum to our child testers Freya and Joshie (pictured above), both 3, says, “The twins love this swingset. It’s very robust and the children love to get on and off themselves, independently. They both taught themselves to swing without help using this. We have even bought a pirate boat swing to swap in as they get older.”

Pros: Great quality materials, eco-friendly wooden frame, big enough to share, anchors included
Cons: Expensive, takes up a lot of garden space, not suitable for younger children, fairly long assembly time

Available at: All Round Fun and Amazon

5. Plum Quoll Wooden Swing Set, £269.99

 – Best wooden toddler to older-child swing

Age suitability: 12 months to 12 years | Best for ages: 1 to 8 | Size: L120cm x W230 cm x H220cm | Maximum child weight: 50kg | Main materials: FSC-certified wood and moulded plastic

This wooden swing has a relatively modest footprint and great longevity, thanks to its robust timber frame and no less than 3 seat options to take your child from young toddler to almost-at-secondary-school age.

The ‘baby’ seat has a nice high back with cute animal-face detailing and a T-bar at the front to slot your child’s legs through (it doesn’t come with a harness, though). When your child’s older and more confident, you can remove the T-bar but keep the high back. And then finally, you can remove the back to turn it into a more traditional older-child seat.

The frame has cross braces for extra stability and the metal swing attachments encircle the top pole, rather than go through it, so you won’t need to drill holes for this in the timber (which is also guaranteed against rot for 5 years). Assembly is pretty straightforward (and any needed holes in the timber are pre-drilled) but not quick – a little over 1 hours for 2 adults working together. Although anchors are supplied, Plum do recommend that you use to cement the base in the ground (unhelpfully, this is not stated clearly at the beginning of the instruction leaflet).

Profits from the Quoll are shared with the Born Free Foundation animal charity and, if you buy the swing direct from Plum them, you’ll also get a little animal adoption pack, complete with cuddly animal toy.

Pros: Age adjustable, robust materials, eco-friendly wooden frame, doesn’t need huge garden, reasonable assembly time, anchors included
Cons: Pricey, manufacturer recommends concreting in base

Available at: Robert Dyas, Very, Early Learning Centre, Amazon and Plum

6. Smyths Toys Foldable Baby Swing Set, £59.99

– Best foldable/portable swing

Age suitability: 6 months to 2 years | Best for ages: 6 to 18 months | Size: L160cm x W115cm x H120cm | Maximum child weight: 15kg | Main materials: Metal and moulded plastic

This small, colourful metal swing has a frame that sits quite low to the ground and can be folded up neatly (see picture, above right) to take indoors, to store or even to take away with you (it should fit in most cars).

The seat has a good high back and a T-bar in front but it doesn’t come with a harness, so your baby will need to be able to sit very well before using it – and you may find you need to support them with a cushion and/or your hands. There is a well positioned grip handle on the back of the seat, so you can push your child if they’ve haven’t really got the hang of swinging by themselves.

The frame is weather-resistant and it doesn’t need anchoring to the ground because, instead, it has 4 ground stabilisers in the shape of doggy paws that pop on the bottom of each pole. Do be warned, though, that assembling it is a real project (it’s supposed to take 2 people 2 hours – and it definitely will!): the instructions are really unhelpful and you need a longer (Phillips) screwdriver than you’d think to do the job properly.

It’s good value for money but, obviously, has limited longevity as it’s only suitable up to 24 months.

Pros: Foldable, good value, doesn’t need huge garden, suitable from 6 months, no need for anchors
Cons: No harness on seat, hard to assemble, not suitable beyond 24 months

Available at: Smyths Toys

7. Hedstrom Fabric Nest Swing, £167.99

 – Best nest swing

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for ages: 3 to 10 | Size: L215cm x W153cm x H180cm | Maximum child weight: 100kg | Main materials: Powder-coated steel frame, fabric and nylon

This swing can hold up to 3 children at a time in a big comfy circular plastic seat, which is great if you have several children but only space for standard single swing frame in your garden. And lots of children love the idea of pile onto a swing together.

The steel frame is powder-coated steel frame and the nest is made of UV, water and tear-resistant fabric, with heavy-duty, soft-touch, adjustable nylon ropes.

The frame is easy to assemble but the nest seat needs 2 people and a lot of patience – the instructions aren’t great but we found this video on YouTube, which helped a lot. You get high-tensile Allen keys and anchors included in the packaging but it’s worth noting the manufacturers recommend setting the base in concrete for extra stability.

Pros: Large enough to share, doesn’t need huge garden, anchors included
Cons: Tricky to assemble, manufacturer recommends concreting in base

Available at: Amazon, Uber Kids and Argos

8. Plum Bush Baby Wooden Swing Set, £224.99

– Best simple wooden swing for preschoolers

Age suitability: 3 to 12 | Best for ages: 4 to 8 | Size:  L230cm x W160cm x H210cm | Maximum child weight: 50kg | Main materials: FSC-certified wood, blow-moulded plastic

Don’t be misled by ‘baby’ in the name (it refers to a bush baby, not a human baby); this is definitely a swing for preschooler age and up. It’s reasonably compact and has a simple, natural-looking design that should mean it’ll tuck nice and unobstrusively into a garden corner.

The frame’s made from pressure-treated, sustainably sourced Scots pine and the plastic seat is attached with adjustable soft-feel rope to metal fittings that encase the top pole, so there’s no need to drill through the top timber. There are cross braces for added stability, and it comes with anchors which Plum do recommend that you use to cement the base in the ground. It’s straightforward to assemble and takes 1 person roughly an hour but you will need a drill and a good spanner set.

This is not cheap swing but could be a great choice if you’re looking for a quality wooden swing for an older child and don’t have the space or the interest for one of the bigger swings with lots of extra seats and features.

Pros: Robust materials, eco-friendly wooden frame, doesn’t need huge garden, reasonable assembly time, anchors included
Cons: Pricey for a single swing, not suitable for younger children, manufacturer recommends concreting in base

Available at: Amazon, Robert Dyas and Plum

9. Chad Valley Kids Garden Swing, £50

– Best budget preschooler swing

Age suitability: 3 to 8 | Best for ages: 3 to 6 | Size: W198cm x D161cm x H183cm | Maximum child weight: 45kg | Main materials: Powder-coated steel and plastic

This great-value single swing has a steel frame and a nice, compact footprint. It’s impressively solid and sturdy for the price, although some children found the seat a little too ‘slidey’.

It’s very straightforward to assemble (30 minutes with 2 adults working together) and comes with an anchor kit, spanner and Allen key.

You may find, with children at the top end of the age/weight suitability range who are swinging pretty high, that it has a slight wobble if you don’t make sure to check the anchors are firmly pushed in before (and after) each swinging session. And it doesn’t have quite such an extensive age range as other older-child swings in our selection anyway.

But it’s a great, no-frills choice for a preschooler. Also comes in Pink.

Pros: Great value, doesn’t need huge garden, quick assembly time, anchors included
Cons: Slightly restricted age range, not suitable for younger children, may need re-anchoring

Available at: Argos

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How we tested:

When choosing and testing these swings we considered size, age suitability, price, assembly, sturdiness, safetey and extra features.

Out 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our testing during the MadeForMums awards and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club.

Each year, 1000s of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, but instead a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we aim to help you discover what is best for your family.

About the author

Catherine Ball is a parenting journalist and mum of 4 girls aged between 4 and 13. She’s written for national newspapers and magazines, as well as writing parenting features and reviews for MadeforMums, Mother and Baby, the Evening Standard and Parents.com

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