Best Outdoor Baby Swing 2017 (May) — Complete Buyer Guide

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, swings have been a wonderful pastime for children and adults alike. Unfortunately, that ability has rarely extended to infants and toddlers who are far more delicate and require more security.

However, today, plenty of companies have sought to alleviate this problem by designing swings explicitly for infants and toddlers. Still, determining which swing is the best outdoor baby swing can be difficult. That is why we have put together a list of ten best baby swing reviews and a helpful buyer’s guide.

Best Outdoor Baby Swing in 2017 — A Comprehensive Guide

Swings are intimately familiar with most of us, so it can be easy to assume that they are all more or less the same. Sure, it is easy to see some cosmetic difference between the different types of swings, but how those slight differences affect the swinging experience may elude us.

However, understanding the differences between swings and what that means for your child is especially important between the infant and toddler stages. That is why we have broken down the different qualities of swings, carefully examining how they affect your child’s experience.

Moreover, we examine which features are most important at different stages and why. With this buying guide, you can feel comfortable that you are making the right choice for your child without needing to read a million baby swing reviews.

Type of Swing

The type of swing you choose for your baby will ultimately impact the other factors on this list. However, that does not mean that one type is superior than others. Granted, if your baby is an infant, your options are far more limited, but once your child reaches the toddler stage, you can comfortably branch out into other types.

Bucket swings are the most popular for young children. They provide a high back for support and usually include various safety measures to keep the child securely in place. Unfortunately, bucket swings do not age well and are rarely suitable for children beyond the toddler stage.

Disk swings can be seen as having the opposite issue. They come with few, if any, safety measures, and are not at all suitable for children who cannot support their own weight. However, disk swings can often grow with children and remain suitable years past the toddler stage.

Gliders are another type of swing that is unsuitable for infants. However, this type of swing provides a bit more security than disk swings. Gliders usually include hand holds and may also include feet rests for additional support. This type of swing will grow with the child but has a lower cut-off date than disk swings due to weight or size issues.

Finally, there are belt swings. This is the most common form of swing consisting of a straight seat suspended by usually either rope or metal. This is the least safe seat for young children, and you should never use one with an infant. However, this seat will also allow grow with your child the longest–potentially even to adulthood if the weight capacity is high enough.

Safety

As with any product for babies, safety is the primary concern. All the other factors may be more or less of a priority, but even the fanciest outdoor swing is worthless for use with a baby if it is not safe. Different types of swings include different safety measures, and some are designated explicitly for their safety features.

Bucket swings exist solely to provide additional safety and support to the youngest of swingers. The high back of a bucket swing allows your baby to relax while swinging without risk of falling backwards. Likewise, most bucket swings also feature either a system of straps, a t-bar, or both at the front of the swing to prevent the child from slipping forward.

Few of the other types of seats offer safety features, though the other types of swings can still provide a safer experience for your child. The hand and foot holds of gliders provide your child the ability to stabilize their self.

For all types of swings, the materials can further ensure safety. Lightweight plastic can prevent injury should the child get hit by the swing when they are not swinging, and rope supports can prevent your child’s fingers from getting pinched while holding on. However, even chain supported swings sometimes use a plastic sleeve to prevent pinching, though this plastic can wear out due to extended use or the elements.

Size

While not necessarily as relevant for an outdoor swing, the size of the swing will factor for the swing’s appropriate age group, the safety of the swing, and the swing’s longevity.

Bucket swings are often the most restrictive in size. Their molded seat limits the breadth of the child using the swing, but even for children who can fit, the comfort may be compromised. This factor is further exacerbated if the seat includes any molding for the legs. If the bucket seat also includes a t-bar that cannot be removed, the seat will only be suitable for small children.

However, too big of a seat, and small children will not be able to swing securely and with stability. In this regard, you will have to weigh how long you intend the swing to last before purchasing a replacement.
Large seats will generally last the longest, though they will be far more restrictive for age appropriateness. The belt swing usually provides the largest seat with capabilities of lasting until the child is well into their teens.

Comfort

This feature is more important for the infant to toddler age range, but will impact the longevity of your swing regardless. An uncomfortable swing will often dissuade infants from wanting to partake of the activity, though toddlers are more willing to suffer some discomfort for the enjoyment of swinging.

In fact, once a child is able to support their self, they will often find a way to swing regardless the comfort. Unfortunately, this means the child may use the swing in a way that was not intended, like standing in the seat, which can be dangerous.

The more molded the seat, the less likely it is to be comfortable as children do not come from a standardized assembly line like the swing and will quickly grow out of its specifically designed mold.

Outside of an un-molded bucket seat, the belt swing is often the most comfortable, using a malleable soft plastic that bends to the child’s weight, regardless the child’s shape. However, swings that use metal or wooden components are often not as comfortable as those that use plastic, rubber, or fabrics.

Components

While the seat often gets all the attention as it is where the child remains, the other parts of a swing can be just as important when determining the safety and longevity of the swing. Metal is generally more durable, though it also presents the risk of injury. Nylon can be an adequate substitute, and rope can be suitable for the support.

The hangers are what allow the the swing to be fastened to the scaffolding. Considering children can rarely reach the hangers, metal is preferred for its durability, though nylon hangers are available.

Fasteners are connected to both ends of the support and allow the swing seat to be switched out. Fasteners rarely come in any material outside of metal, though the may be excluded altogether if the supports are made from nylon or rope.

The supports come in either rope, nylon, or chain links. Metal is more durable but can pinch if not encased in a protective plastic sleeve. Rope is the least durable with nylon serving as an adequate substitute if you prefer rope supports but desire more durability.

1. Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Swing

best outdoor baby swingLittle Tikes is one of the more trusted brands in infant and toddler equipment for a reason. Their understanding of a baby’s needs allow them to provide products that satisfy all levels of development.

Consequently, they have captured numerous spots on this list, including the number one spot. The 2-in-1 is an ideal swing for all stages between infant and toddler development with any flaws posing more an inconvenience than serious issue.

First, this swing provides a reclinable position which is a necessity for infants that cannot yet hold up their head. Moreover, the back is sufficiently high that even as the child grows, they will still be supported.

However, a high back is not the only thing that allows this swing to grow with your child. The t-bar and safety restraints can be completely removed when your child is ready while the 50 pound maximum weight capacity ensures they will still be able to use the swing well past 2 years of age.

The main issue with the 2-in-1 involves the safety restraints which can often be a nightmare. You will want to carefully inspect the safety restraint buckle as there have been some made that do not latch. This has been fixed with further product lines, but may still crop up if you receive and older model from an unscrupulous seller

PROS

  • A reclined position is great for children learning to hold their self up
  • A high back supports well
  • Can remove the t-bar and straps

CONS

  • The shoulder straps are a bit short
  • Occasional faulty buckles
  • Difficult to adjust the safety restraints

VERDICT

For the full range of development between infant to toddler, the 2-in-1 is our pick as the best outdoor baby swing. While the safety restraints will need to be checked ahead of time, they are perfectly safe and secure once cleared—though they do present difficulty with adjustments.

However, the ability to recline the seat while also being able to remove the t-bar and straps places this swing in a unique position as being designed not for one stage or another, but to genuinely grow with your child.

 

2. Step2 Infant to Toddler Swing

best outdoor baby swing

The Step2 is similar to the Little Tikes, though it presents a few limitations, especially with longevity, that limits its overall value. Still, it provides one of the better experiences for infants even if it is a bit limited for toddlers.

On the plus side, the Step2’s seat is a thing of beauty. While it does not recline to the extent that the 2-in-1 does, it still provides reasonable support for infants who are learning to hold their head up. Furthermore, the smooth dip supports the child without forcing them to conform to a mold.

One advantage of the Step2 is the safety restraints. These are easy to adjust and well-made. Unfortunately, the t-bar is rather large and will prevent larger children from fitting comfortably. However, unlike the 2-in-1, the Step2 does not allow you to remove the t-bar or safety harness as your child develops.

This limits the Step2’s appropriate age range, more so because the buckles are more easily manipulated by wandering little fingers. Still, so long as you baby is not yet able to release the clasp, the safety restraints are not only durable, they are perhaps the most effective on this list.

PROS

  • A comfortable seat
  • A high back provides plenty of support
  • Excellent safety restraints

CONS

  • The t-bar is broad and may limit longevity
  • Older babies can undo the restraints
  • Cannot remove the safety harness as the child grows

VERDICT

While it performs admirably, the Step2 is not quite up to snuff when compared to the 2-in-1. Granted, it is not a poor baby swing for outdoor use, but it seems to focus more on the smaller toddler stage.

The inability to recline somewhat limits the infant stage use, while the large t-bar that cannot be removed will limit the upper ends of the toddler stage. However, for that middle area, the safety restraints are both secure and reliable.

 

3. PlayStar Commercial Grade Toddler Swing

best outdoor baby swingThe PlayStar holds a bit of a unique position on this list. While it does have its place and distinct advantages, it is not suitable for all situations.

One of the best qualities of the PlayStar is its strong, rugged design. At 155 pound maximum weight capacity, the PlayStar is easily the strongest swing for a single occupant. Of course, this strength does come at a bit of a cost.

The seat itself is made from hard plastic that does not feature the same rounded edged as many of the other products on this list.

This will make the swing a bit less comfortable at the arm rests and between the thighs. For the arms, this presents problems because the supports are chains that are not encased in a protective plastic covering. This can lead to pinched fingers or arms.

For the legs, this can cause chaffing in an area that already carries a consistently high risk of that issue without the addition of further inflation. Finally, this bucket seat is one of the few that does not include any form of safety restraint.

This means the PlayStar is completely unsuitable for any infant as they may slump or be jostled during the swinging motion. However, this also presents problems for toddlers who may try to get out of the swing on their own.

PROS

  • The bucket seat is molded to fit any child
  • The sides and back are set high
  • A 155 maximum weight capacity is incredible

CONS

  • No safety restraints
  • No protective plastic covering the chain supports
  • Not suitable for infants or toddlers who cannot hold their self up

VERDICT

A no frills bucket swing, the PlayStar is best suited for developed toddlers with the ability to see use well into early childhood. The rugged design and astounding maximum weight capacity ensure that it will last as long as it remains a viable option. However, the lack of any safety restraints definitely places a rather high floor in regards to appropriate age, while the use of chains without a protective plastic cover present unnecessary pinching risk.

 

4. Little Tikes High Back Toddler Swing

best outdoor baby swingThe second Little Tikes swing on our list is fairly similar to the 2-in-1, but has a few subtle design features that decrease its longevity and effectiveness. One of the biggest differences between the two is that this swing is not at all suited for infants.

First, the swing’s back is not that high which prevents adequate support of the head during the swinging motion. However, this swing does not offer the reclined position like the previous model either.

To further push this model out of the infant market, the safety restraints only strap across the waist. This allows babies who cannot yet hold themselves up to be potentially shifted forward while swinging.

Still, this swing is not all bad, it simply is not as versatile as the 2-in-1. The t-bar is actually part of the seat preventing any issues and is thin between the thighs which can accommodate larger babies. Moreover, the sides are set higher which prevent the baby from escaping, while the unmolded seat provides a comfortable spot to stay put.

Unfortunately, the safety restraints may be undone by sufficiently advanced toddlers, and the seat’s design would then allow them to stand up which is dangerous.

PROS

  • The bucket seat is molded to fit any child
  • The sides are set higher than most
  • Wide leg openings for larger babies

CONS

  • The safety restraint only secures the waist
  • Not ideal for infants who cannot hold their self up
  • Easy for experimenting children to undo the restraints

VERDICT

The next Little Tikes produces an adequate, if unspectacular, experience. Unlike the previous model, this swing does not recline, and the only safety restraint is a seat belt. However, the sides and back are exceptionally high to prevent slipping or falling. The t-bar is molded as part of the seat which could limit some use in the later stages of development, but the leg openings are larger than most to help account for growth.

 

5. Fisher-Price Infant To Toddler Swing

best outdoor baby swingFisher-Price is a legacy in the baby equipment market and, along with Little Tikes, is one of the most trusted brands available. This is why it may be a surprise to find their first product in the middle of the list. This should not be seen as an indictment against the product but a recognition of its niche limitations instead.

While this swing may advertise that it is designed to accommodate the development of children from infants to toddlers, that may be a bit misleading–unless they intend that to mean the swing should end once the child reaches the toddler stage of development. For infants, this is probably the best option on this list, but it does not truly offer enough room for growth beyond that stage.

However, there are numerous features that suggest this swing was explicitly designed with infants in mind. First, the seat can adjust its rear support to allow either a reclined or an upright position which is perfect for infants who cannot yet hold up their head or those are just learning to do so.

Moreover, the seat offers thigh moldings rather than a t-bar. While this will limit the Fisher-Price’s longevity once the child starts getting bigger, it is a novel approach.

However, the molded seat allows another feature not often seen which is ideal for infants: a tray. Allowing a place to put hands or food, the tray snaps in place and can be lifted up for easy child retrieval.

PROS

  • Ideal for infants and smaller toddlers
  • Comes with a tray to hold snacks
  • Easily adjusts to recline and support the head

CONS

  • Thick seat molding will not be comfortable for all babies
  • The molded bucket will likewise reduce the seat’s longevity
  • A 45 pound maximum weight capacity is low

VERDICT

While not truly well-suited for toddlers, especially those further along in development, the Fisher-Price is likely the best swing available for infants. With its ability to recline, a moulded thigh bucket, and a removable tray, this swing can provide plenty of use for an infant. However, with a fairly light 45 pound maximum weight capacity and too much molding to be comfortable as a child grows, the Fisher-Price is not ideal for toddlers–especially larger ones.

 

6. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe First Swing

best outdoor baby swingThe Cozy Coupe is definitely a luxury purchase, though it is not any more or less expensive than most of the products on this list. However, it only does some of the things you expect from an outdoor baby swing adequately but has a couple of glaring flaws to hold it back. That being said, there is still definitely a place for a niche item like this on our list.

First, the Cozy Coupe is not at all cozy, though that should be seen as an advantage not a flaw. With a bigger bucket seat than any of the other buckets on this list, even the largest toddlers will feel comfortable. This design also allows the Cozy Coupe to provide high sides to all four sides which will help keep children within its confines.

Unfortunately, it needs those high sides as the only safety restraint is a seatbelt. Aside from the fact that this can allow more advanced toddlers to undo their own restraints, it also prevents the Cozy Coupe from being suitable for infants or other babies that are still learning how to hold themselves up.

Another concern is that the lack of safety restraints combined with the exceptionally large bucket seat allows toddlers to more easily stand in the swing which can lead them to falling out. On a final note, the Cozy Coupe does at least come with a steering wheel and horn which may provide added entertainment to persuade children to stay put.

PROS

  • Large seat accommodates larger babies
  • Steering wheel and horn provides more entertainment
  • More protected bucket to prevent falling or slipping out

CONS

  • The safety restraints are not as good as other bucket swings
  • Easier for a child to stand in resulting in a fall
  • Not suitable for babies who cannot sit upright on their own

VERDICT

If you are only purchasing a single swing for your baby, this should not be the one. However, if you want a second swing that can grow with a developing toddler, the Cozy Coupe provides a number of features you will not find elsewhere. The steering wheel, horn, and large bucket provide plenty of space and entertainment.
However, this is not an appropriate swing for infants and even toddlers should be carefully monitored as they may be able to get out on their own.

 

7. Back To Back Glider With Chain

best outdoor baby swingOur first divergence from the bucket design comes from Creative Playthings. While the brand may not be nearly as well-known as the other makers on this list, they have produced an exceptional glider that is ideal for toddlers and will provide entertainment well beyond the point that children will generally still be swinging.

This swing is the first and only glider on our list. One thing to keep in mind, gliders are not appropriate for infants or toddlers that are still learning how to hold themselves up. However, for toddlers around 2 years of age and older, this is an excellent addition.

One of the best features of this glider is its ability to hold 2 children simultaneously. Aside from the fact this allows your child to swing with a playmate, the back-to-back seating design will also teach them the rudimentary of teamwork and cooperation.

The Creative Playthings is also exceptionally sturdy with a maximum weight capacity of 175 pounds, making it suitable for children beyond the toddler stage of development. With large hand and foot holds, your child is able to maintain adequate control and stability without becoming entangled in the swing should they fall off.

PROS

  • Holds two children
  • Hand and foot holds are large to prevent getting stuck
  • Excellent weight capacity

CONS

  • Not suitable for infants or toddlers who cannot hold their self up
  • Chain supports are not encased in plastic
  • Does not come with brackets and the chain is a bit short

VERDICT

Once your baby reaches that toddler stage and is ready to begin using swings that demand more ability to hold oneself up, this glider is an excellent start. With the ability to seat two children at once and a maximum weight capacity of 175 pounds, your toddler will be able to swing and develop nascent social skills simultaneously.
Just be sure to watch for the chain and always require your child to use the hand and foot holds. Also, remember to purchase brackets.

 

8. Little Tikes Disc Swing

best outdoor baby swingIn another first for our list, Little Tikes provides the best disk swing for toddlers and young children. Again, it should be noted that without any type of backing or safety restraints, this swing is not at all suitable for infants or toddlers still learning how to hold themselves up.

That being said, this is an excellent disc swing which will grow with your child well into the later stages of their childhood development. While it is unadvised to do so, this swing can support a full grown adult. Granted, that should only occur to test its holdings, but the fact that it can do so for even a short amount of time is impressive.

This disk swing does not include a spinner, so you are not advised to twist the rope and spin your child. However, the Little Tikes does provide a few features to offer protection all the same. For instance, this disk swing provides a plastic neck that is molded into the seat. The neck protects your child’s legs from getting pinched or burned as they swing.

To make things more convenient, this disk swing does not require hangers and can be mounted to any scaffolding that will support the swinging weight. Furthermore, it is an excellent value and the durable construction will last for years.

PROS

  • The only disk swing made exclusively for toddlers
  • Plastic neck prevents rope burns
  • Can be hung from any scaffold

CONS

  • Not suitable for infants or toddlers who cannot support their self
  • Does not include a spinner, which can make spinning dangerous
  • The seat can be a bit small as children get beyond the toddler stage

VERDICT

Once your toddler is ready to start swinging without the use of supports or additional safety features, the Little Tikes disk swing provides an excellent option. With a rope that can be tied to any scaffold and an impressive maximum weight capacity, this swing will grow with your toddler well into childhood.
Moreover, the plastic neck is molded into the seat, so you do not have to worry about your child’s legs being pinched.

 

9. Little Tikes Mga Cozy Swing

best outdoor baby swing Following the trend of firsts, we come to the first belt swing. Like with all the other non-bucket seat swings, infants should not use this product and only toddlers that can comfortably and consistently hold themselves up should be allowed on it.

As belt swings are generally the point when children have moved on from toddler toys, it may seem off to see one on this list. However, the Little Tikes provides a few safety measures that make it attractive, while also being suitable for the transition from toddler to young child.

One thing that aids this is the maximum weight capacity of 60 pounds which is heavier than many swings on this list. On top of that, while the swing is supported by chains, the chains are encased in a plastic cover to prevent pinching fingers or skin. Be forewarned, the plastic can trap water and cause the chain to rust.

After years of you, the chain may break. Unfortunately, the Little Tikes belt swing does not use fasteners on the seat, so a broken support cannot be replaced. Of course, by this point, you would have gotten your money’s worth, but you should probably replace this swing before that event.

PROS

  • Supports are encased in a protective plastic sleeve
  • Able to grow with your child, increasing its longevity
  • Comes pre-assembled

CONS

  • Not suitable for infants or toddlers who cannot support their self
  • The absence of fasteners prevents you from replacing a broken support
  • The chain will rust over time

VERDICT

The final stage in learning how to swing involves the belt swing. Keep in mind, only toddlers should use this swing, and they should be sufficiently advanced and well-developed. If they are, this swing provides chain supports encased in plastic to prevent pinched skin or fingers. Be forewarned, the chain is likely to rust, and the swing should be replaced after a few years–regardless your child’s size.

 

10. Little Tikes Hide and Seek Climber and Swing

best outdoor baby swingOur final entry is the first complete set on our list. Part of this has to do with the fact that few complete sets are designed for infants or toddlers. In fact, this set itself has plenty of limitations in that regard.

Specifically, large and heavy toddlers may not be able to fully utilize all of the features of this swingset. Still, for children between 1-3 years of age and maybe some smaller 4-year-olds, the Hide and Seek Climber and Swing provides plenty of entertainment.

The swing itself features a bucket seat with a 3-point harness, but no t-bar. This means that it is not suitable for infants, but perfectly acceptable for toddlers. One point of note about the safety harness is that the straps can be difficult to adjust. As such, it is advised to adjust the straps ahead of time, only tightening once the child is seated.

One great advantage of this baby swing for outdoor use is that you can also use it indoors, provided you have a sufficiently large clear area to do so. Moreover, despite the fact that it comes with far more parts than the other entries on this list, all of the pieces are large and easy to assemble.

PROS

  • Easy to assemble
  • Able to fit indoors
  • Includes a slide and climbing wall

CONS

  • Difficult to adjust safety restraints
  • Too small for bigger toddlers
  • The most expensive swing on the list

VERDICT

As the only playset on our list, this provides the entire playground experience from the comfort of your own home. The swing utilizes a bucket seat with an exceptionally secure, if difficult to adjust, safety restraint.
However, this is a bit of an investment, and only suitable for early and middle toddler development, making it a questionable value.

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