Swinging ranges from a calming back-and-forth rhythm to a wild ride through the air. It rocks babies to sleep and absorbs kids’ energy while keeping them entertained outdoors. In adults, swinging can bring back fond memories of childhood. Tree swings build core muscles and develop motor skills in users young and old.
The limb of a big, strong tree can support a backyard swing while also providing shade to the play area. There’s a wide variety of tree swings from infant to adult designs, with multiple styles to choose from.
Read on to explore types of swings, learn quality features to look for, and find out why these models soared among the best tree swing options available.
- BEST OVERALL: PACEARTH 40 Inch Saucer Tree Swing
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PACEARTH Swing Seat
- BEST ROPE: Jungle Gym Kingdom Tree Swing Climbing Rope
- BEST MULTI-PERSON: Trekassy 700lb Giant 60″ Platform Tree Swing
- BEST TRADITIONAL: HAPPY PIE PLAY&ADVENTURE Nostalgic Wooden Swing
- BEST STAND-UP: Swurfer, the Original Stand-Up Surfing Swing
- BEST BUCKET: Eastern Jungle Gym Full Bucket Toddler Swing Seat
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tree Swing
The best tree swing contains high-quality materials and solid safety features. Its size and style must match your needs—solo swinging, entertaining your kids, or youngsters in the neighborhood. Keep these factors in mind when shopping for a backyard swing.
Tree swings come in numerous styles for kids and grownups. They can be single- or double-rope designs, with seating for none, one, or several riders at once.
- Traditional tree swings are made of two ropes or chains and a board seat. These single-seat swings are used by adults and older children who have graduated from a baby or bucket swing. Flexible seats offer more security for younger users, but older kids and adults tend to prefer a rigid seat for roominess.
- Rope swings are made with a single length of rope, often passed through a disc and knotted beneath. Their significant range of motion requires greater strength and dexterity to operate safely. Rope swings are best for users over the age of 10 for these reasons.
- Multi-person swings may be supported by a single- or a double-rope system. Most are classified as saucer swings, so named for their disc-shaped seat. Saucers, like rope swings, offer more range of motion. Other multi-person models resemble porch swings or feature a broad rectangular platform.
- Baby and toddler swings are designed for infants and toddlers to enjoy a gentle back-and-forth motion. They help young children transition to traditional swings. Bucket swings are particularly common; these designs “fit” like a pair of shorts, with a top-entry approach—which protects against sliding out of the seat.
- Standing swings are suitable for big kids, designed for a dynamic play session. These options range from single- to double-rope designs, with a variety of secure platform tree swing styles.
Tree swings are made of various materials that offer durability and comfort. Some are most common in specific types of swings, while others are more universal.
- Wooden plank seats are still available for traditional swings to maintain a classic aesthetic.
- High-quality disc and platform tree swing models typically incorporate tubular steel frames and heavy-duty oxford fabric.
- Swings with a more modern style often contain heavy-duty plastic that holds up better in different weather conditions and resists UV rays. EVA plastic is safe and BPA-free, so it’s a popular material for molded baby swings and other swing components.
- Polyester rope is ideal for tree swings as it’s strong, doesn’t stretch, or sustain damage from the elements. It should be thin enough to grasp easily; thicknesses between 5/8 inch for a double-rope swing and up to 1 inch for a single-rope swing are sufficient.
- Metal chains are tough and can support considerable weight, but the moving links may pinch fingers.
- PVC-coated swing chains provide the strength required of a metal chain, with added protection to prevent injury.
Weight & User Capacity
Types of tree swings vary in their user capacity and coinciding weight limit. Consider how many kids, adults (or both) will be part of the backyard fun.
- Traditional wooden plank swings accommodate one user at a time. Most are rated for a maximum weight of between 200 and 250 pounds.
- Larger disc swings hold one adult or several small children comfortably. They are made with heavy-duty frames and sturdy fabric covers that can hold 600 to 700 pounds or more.
- Multi-person and larger stand-up tree swings can hold two or three adult riders or numerous children. In general, oversized swings may be rated for weights up to 700 to 750 pounds or more.
- Baby swings usually have weight limits between 20 and 40 pounds. To put that into perspective, the average weight of a 3-year-old is a little over 30 pounds, so this age is a suitable time for toddlers to graduate to a bucket swing.
- A typical bucket swing can support toddlers and young children weighing 50 to 60 pounds. That said, a child approaching this weight limit may already be ready for an older kid’s swing.
Tree swing injuries range from sprained fingers and rope burns to broken bones and much worse. Adult supervision and a few simple safety considerations will limit the chances of injury.
- Site or location establishes the foundation of safety for tree swings. This includes a strong and healthy tree branch, with a swinging area and landing zone free of branches, stones, exposed roots, and other hazards. The ground should be covered with grass, leaves, or mulch.
- A safe anchoring system is crucial for connecting the swing to the branch. Straps made of webbing are superior to rope or bolts. They protect the branch from abrasion, do not restrict growth when properly secured, and eliminate the need to drill into the wood. Look for anchor straps with reinforced, stitched web loops and locking carabiners.
- An enclosed seat and anti-pinch features are important for swings used by babies and toddlers. The best swings for babies have harness-style supports for the shoulders and torso. A rope or coated chain is the most suitable mounting material to avoid pinched fingers.
- Adequate rope length entails enough rope to go around the branch, tie a knot, then run below the swing seat and add another knot. An easy way to calculate the proper length of rope for safety is to multiply the branch height by 2, and then add 12 feet (4 yards).
- Adequate chain length will be shorter than rope because the chain is fastened to an anchor system at the top and bottom. There’s no need to add the extra 12 feet, so measure twice the distance from the branch to the ground.
Our Top Picks
We factored in different swing styles, materials, and safety to compile these recommendations. Choose one of these high-quality tree swings for backyard merriment. Whee!
The PACEARTH 40 Inch Saucer Tree Swing is certified “Safe for Children” by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and boasts superior strength thanks to heavy-duty, UV resistant 900D fabric. This swing includes tough multiple-strand braided rope with a 660-pound load capacity.
The kit includes nylon webbing straps and locking carabiners to hang the swing. The 40-inch round platform is large enough for an adult with a small child, or several small children. The adjustable ropes have a maximum length of about 70 inches. The mounting straps are suitably long for an 8- to 10-inch diameter branch.
The reasonably priced PACEARTH Tree Swing, with its 660-pound load capacity, is strong enough for children or adults. The kit includes a 26 by 5.5-inch EVA plastic sling seat, 68.9-inch safety coated chains, and 23.6-inch polyester web hang straps. Locking buckles at the seat and branch connections allow for easy setup and adjustment.
The hang straps safely attach to a tree branch without drilling, friction, and girdling that would damage the tree. The EVA seat and zinc-plated chains have all-weather durability and the PVC coated chains prevent pinching.
This swing quickly assembles and adjusts at the top or bottom with threaded, locking quick links. The 26-inch U-shaped seat is comfortable for small children and larger adults.
The Jungle Gym Kingdom Tree Swing Climbing Rope offers a highly active play experience with both swinging and climbing options, with all materials ASTM approved. The kit includes a 12-inch seat disc, four textured 4-inch climbing platforms, a soft braided polyethylene climbing rope with a metal ring, a locking carabiner, and a 4-foot tree strap.
This swing is rated for a weight limit of up to 150 pounds. The overall length of this rope swing is 129.6 inches. The rope adjusts shorter by raising the seat and tying a higher knot, or by either adding or removing slack in the tree strap.
The Trekassy 700lb Giant 60” Platform Tree Swing has plenty of room for the whole family. The 25mm tubular steel platform frame measures 60 by 32 inches. It is covered with tight weave 900D oxford fabric and connects to the ropes with steel eye bolts. The 12mm thick polyethylene ropes adjust from 47 to 71 inches.
Two 5-foot tree straps and stainless steel carabiners securely and safely attach the swing to any suitable tree branch. This swing should be mounted to a larger branch, 10 inches in diameter or greater, to safely swing at the full weight capacity. This is a sturdy family swing with capacity for up to two adults or five children.
For an old-school feel, the HAPPY PIE PLAY&ADVENTURE Nostalgic Wooden Swing has the look and feel of wood and rope. It connects easily to either a tree or a backyard playset. The durable 17.32 by 6.89-inch pinewood seat has a natural, paintable finish. The included polyethylene ropes are adjustable from 46 to 70.8 inches.
This kit includes the wooden seat and pre-installed polyethylene ropes. This swing makes an excellent upgrade for when a child outgrows a baby swing or bucket swing. It easily attaches to an existing playset, or to a strong tree limb.
The Swurfer’s unique curved shape is designed to deliver more power and stability with a wider range of motion than a traditional flat swing platform. The 33- x 10-inch board, made of a single piece of hard maple, is individually shaped, sanded, and finished by hand, with a clear coat for weather protection and grommets to protect the board from rope wear.
The adjustable handles fit riders of any height, but this stand-up swing is best suited for ages 6 and up, with a maximum weight of 200 pounds. The kit also includes two wood handles and two 30-foot lengths of double-braided UV and mildew-resistant rope.
The ideal branch height for maximum movement on this swing board is 15 feet; branches lower than 8 feet will not allow the rider to achieve the full range of motion.
Little ones can get into the swing of things with the Eastern Jungle Gym Full Bucket Toddler Swing. It’s made of durable, flexible copolymer plastic designed to hold up to the elements without fading or cracking. The deep bucket design features a high back that provides plenty of support to keep your tyke snug and secure.
The kit includes 66-inch zinc-coated chains, with 30 inches of protective plastisol coating that eliminates pinching and snagging. This is a quality transitional swing for toddlers and young children who can support their own weight but need the added security of a wraparound seat.
FAQs About Your New Tree Swing
To get the most out of your new tree swing, consult these answers to frequently asked questions. Learn how to best install and maintain a tree swing for many years to come.
Q. Are tree swings safe?
If made of quality materials, installed properly, and used correctly, tree swings can be a safe way to have fun. The tree, seat, rope, or chain, and all connections should be checked at least once per season.
Q. How do you choose a tree for a swing?
Choose a strong tree species, like beech, oak, sycamore, or maple. Avoid weaker species such as pine, poplar, spruce, willow, and birch. The tree should be strong and sound, with no signs of disease, decay, or cracks.
Q. How high should a tree swing be off the ground?
Hang the swing so that the seat is 16 to 24 inches off the ground while unoccupied. When occupied, the seat should be at least 10 inches off the ground. The ideal branch height for a tree swing is between 10 and 15 feet.