KidKraft Vs. Backyard Discovery: Which Playset Brand Is Best?

When it comes to outdoor playsets for kids, two big names stand out from the rest – KidKraft and Backyard Discovery. As leading manufacturers of swing sets, playhouses, slides, and more, both brands offer ample backyard fun for families.

But when it comes down to important factors like price, quality, safety, and durability, significant differences emerge.

This comprehensive guide compares KidKraft and Backyard Discovery across all metrics that matter to help you determine which brand best suits your family’s needs and budget.

We analyze wood types, hardware materials, warranties, assembly times, and key accessories to name the top swing set provider. Let’s dive in!

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureKidKraftBackyard Discovery
HeadquartersDallas, TXPittsburg, KS
Wood MaterialCedar, pine, engineered woodCedar
MetalsPowder coated steelZinc coated steel
PlasticsHDPE, plastic woodHDPE
Warranty1-5 years depending on product1-15 years depending on product
Assembly TimeVaries by set complexityVaries by set complexity
Price Range$100 – $2500$500 – $4000
Top ProductsCottage Yard Playhouse, Buckingham Playhouse, Midcentury Kitchen PlaysetTimberlake Playset, Ridgeview Summit Playset, Bridgeport Playset

Both KidKraft and Backyard Discovery offer excellent outdoor playsets and comparable features in many regards. But by comparing warranty lengths, build quality, included accessories, and cost across top products, one brand edges out the other overall.

Pros and Cons of KidKraft And Backyard Discovery Playsets



KidKraft Playsets
  • Very affordable price points from $100 to $2500
  • Huge variety of playhouses, kitchens, swing sets, and more
  • Safe, durable plastics and metals
  • Quick 1-3 hour assembly times
  • Creative, realistic toy designs


  • Mainly pine and engineered woods
  • Limited 1-3 year warranty periods
  • Less customization options
  • Geared more towards younger kids

Backyard Discovery


  • Premium cedar lumber retains integrity better
  • Massive and taller swing sets for ages 3-14
  • Long 10-15 year warranties on materials
  • High degree of customization
  • Very safety focused brand


  • Much more expensive at $500-$4000 range
  • Complex sets require full weekend to build
  • Fewer accessory pieces like play kitchens
  • Swing sets need more space than KidKraft’s

Both companies produce fine swing sets and playhouses, but families shopping on a budget may find more suitable options from KidKraft based on lower prices alone.

However, Backyard Discovery justifies higher costs through superior warranties, weather-resistant cedar, and extreme height/size possibilities for older kids entering tweendom.

Brand comparison winner: Tie – either playset company works depending on budget, yard room, and family size considerations.

Factors To Compare Brands

Now, let’s explore the vital factors that distinguish KidKraft vs. Backyard Discovery when determining the ideal brand for your family.

  • Assembly Time
Backyar Discovery Playset
Backyar Discovery Playset

KidKraft maintains quick assembly times between 1-3 hours for most average-size swing sets using detailed instructions and labeled parts.

Larger cottage-style playhouses may require up to 6 hours over a full weekend.

In contrast, Backyard Discovery’s epic jungle gym and tower designs take even handy homeowners a full Saturday and Sunday spanning 10+ hours.

Buyers must prepare accordingly and have power tools available before purchasing massive Backyard Discovery installations.

For families lacking the time, tools, or patience to construct towering playset frames from scratch, KidKraft presents a quicker and less frustrating option better suited to busy households.

  • Hardware & Materials

KidKraft uses a blend of quality HDPE plastics, powder coated metals, pine lumber, and medium density fiberboard (MDF) engineered wood to balance affordability and integrity.

Backyard Discovery only utilizes top-grade cedar lumber and zinc coated steel hardware for the ultimate in weather resistance and durability. Cedar ages far more gracefully than pine when facing outdoor elements year-round. And thick zinc coatings outlast powder coating on swing set joints.

Ultimately, Backyard Discovery offers longer-lasting materials capable of surviving harsher winters and direct sun exposure over a decade or longer. But KidKraft compensates with cheaper price tags for families on a budget not needing sets to endure for 15 years.

  • Safety

Safety remains the top priority for both premium playset manufacturers. All products meet or exceed ASTM standards for playground equipment with safeguard measures like:

  • Round plastic edges instead of sharp wood cuts
  • Capped bolts and reinforced joints
  • Powder coated or zinchardware to avoid rust
  • Slip-resistant ramps, ladders, and bridges
  • Full enclosure fences for some models

Backyard Discovery goes further with net enclosed trampolines, true timber construction using thick cedar cuts, and steel reinforced swing beams rated for higher weight capacities. So for families wanting even safer swing sets able to withstand rowdy, adventurous play for years, Backyard Discovery ranks best for peace of mind.

  • Warranties

The warranty terms reveal how much faith each company puts into their products’ quality. And here’s where Backyard Discovery pulls far ahead, offering ample 5-15 year coverage on different swing set components compared to KidKraft’s 1-3 years for average products.

For instance, a $3000 Backyard Discovery Parkview II Playset enjoys 15 years on wooden parts, 5 years on plastics, and 2 years on accessories. Comparable medium-size KidKraft swing sets and playhouses usually come with 1 year on accessories and just 3 years for main structures.

By providing 5-15x longer appliance-level warranties, Backyard Discovery reassures buyers about longevity.

  • Age Range Appeal
KidKraft Playsets
KidKraft Playsets

Both companies market playsets towards younger kids approximately ages 2-10.

However, Backyard Discovery differentiates itself by also catering to older children nearing tweendom with epic monkey bar jungles reaching 14+ feet tall with 10+ elevated decks off the ground.

KidKraft focuses more on short playhouses and compact swing sets tailored for toddlers and young kids under age 8.

So backyard discovery extends more long-term value by giving growing kids upwards of a decade of thrilling play.

Key sets like Timberlake, Bridgeport, and Ridgeview Summit all carry 250+ lb weight loads and 13-14′ heights providing enough challenge for teenagers and pre-teens once properly assembled.

Comparable gargantuan play experiences won’t be found across KidKraft’s simpler product line missing true multilevel monkey bar towers.

Top Products Comparison

Now let’s directly stack up KidKraft’s and Backyard Discovery’s leading outdoor playset offerings to crown the best option in three key categories.

Best Swing Set

KidKraft Ainsley Swing Set

  • Powder coated steel with weather resistant canopy
  • Includes belt and trapeze swings plus lawn chalk
  • Mold-resistant wood composite lumber
  • Lower cost at $599 with quicker assembly

Backyard Discovery Oakmont Cedar Swing Set

  • Two regular swings, two infant swings, trapeze swing
  • Snack stand and raised fort with wooden roof
  • Massive 10’H x 16’L x 12’W footprint
  • 10 year wood/hardware warranty
  • $1399 price but all cedar and highest quality

Winner: Backyard Discovery Oakmont Swing Set

With room for 5 kids to swing at once from cedar beams, snack stand, and lookout fort, the Oakmont provides endless entertainment at a reasonable sub-$1500 investment comprehensively backed by 10 year warranty coverage. It epitomizes why Backyard Discovery takes the cake for older kids needing to burn energy.

Best Playhouse

KidKraft Cottage Yard Playhouse

KidKraft Cottage Yard Playhouse
KidKraft Cottage Yard Playhouse
  • Adorable lilac and white cottage colors
  • Built-in kitchen, pretend grill, and working doorbells
  • Large enough for groups of kids
  • $479 price won’t break the bank
  • Fast and simple assembly

Backyard Discovery Pergola Playhouse

  • Sophisticated wood pergola frame over hangout space
  • Outdoor bench seating for parents integrated
  • Can decorate with string lights for extra delight
  • $899 price but comes with 10 year warranty

Winner: KidKraft Cottage Yard Playhouse

The Cottage Yard hushes all arguments with irresistible roleplaying charm straight out of a storybook.

KidKraft knows little imaginations obsessed with fake kitchens, stoves, and doorbells matter more than cedar frames with basic benches. As a true cozy “home away from home,” this $500 playhouse propels backyard pretend fun for years on families’ budgets.

Best All-In-One Play Center

KidKraft Ainsley Playset

  • Swing set, ladder, slide, chalkboard and sandbox
  • Bright yellow and green color scheme
  • Made of weather resistant wood
  • Easy connectivity to other KidKraft sets
  • $899 price with 3 year warranty

Backyard Discovery Timberlake All Cedar Playset

  • Massive raised clubhouse fort with picinic table
  • Rock wall, ladder, 10′ speedy slide
  • Swings, glider toys and monkey bars below
  • Flagstone-effect roof with flower boxes
  • $3799 price but 15 year warranty

Winner: Backyard Discovery Timberlake Playset

This custom-built backyard oasis centered around an airy fort spells backyard magic. The open 10′ slide, monkey bars, swings galore and rock wall equip kids for endless adventures without leaving home. And at a fair $3800 cost, families invest in over a decade of memories covered by one of the best warranties around.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand of swingset?

For families prioritizing safety, longevity, quality assurance through better warranties, and overall play value over many years, Backyard Discovery stands as the premier swing set brand. Sets like the Oakmont and Timberlake earn top marks across all evaluation criteria.
That said, KidKraft offers worthy low-cost alternatives fitting tighter budgets needing just 1-3 years of playset enjoyment. Affordability makes their scaled-down sets a reasonable choice too.

Where are Backyard Discovery products made?

The company designs products at headquarters in Pittsburg, Kansas and operates their own manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and China where skilled craftspeople build swings sets to exacting American safety specifications. Globalized production enables remarkably fair pricing for U.S. families.

What is the best surface under a playset?

While wood chips, mulch, and pea gravel can work, poured rubber surfacing and artificial grass mats better cushion inevitable falls. Plus these synthetic options won’t erode or grow weeds over time. IdealWare makes excellent porous rubber tiles for absorbing impact. And KoolGrass synthetic turf perfectly mimics lawn aesthetics without maintenance.

What are KidKraft playsets made of?

To meet aggressive budget price points, KidKraft constructs playsets mainly using easy-to-source pine lumber, engineered wood composites insusceptible to moisture, along with powder coated steel joints and thick HDPE plastics avoiding splinters. These inexpensive, child-friendly materials keep production costs down while upholding enough safety and integrity to entertain young kids for 1-3 years as designed.

Closing Remarks

KidKraft and Backyard Discovery both excel at encouraging outdoor playtime and imagination for energetic families. KidKraft shines brightest with quick-assembly playhouses, swing sets and kitchen stations priced under $1000 tailored towards younger kids under age 8.

Meanwhile, Backyard Discovery justifies premium investments 10x as costly through ingenuitive complexes with elevated multi-level forts that growing kids won’t outpace until the 8-14 age range. Plus unbeatable hardware durability guarantees over a decade of use.

Ultimately, both brands enrich children’s formative years with outdoor fun. KidKraft fits cost-conscious shoppers on a budget, while Backyard Discovery rewards families playing the long game who don’t mind spending more on lumber integrity and added play flavors to delight kids into early teens.

Now that you know the full KidKraft vs. Backyard Discovery comparison, hopefully choosing your perfect playset feels far less intimidating. So take the research done here and confidently start creating your child’s dream backyard playground today!

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