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Wooden Climbing Frames VS Metal Climbing Frames | Which is the Better Investment?

When it comes to choosing a climbing frame for your family, one of your first decisions will probably be choosing between a wooden or a metal structure. Each type has its own set of advantages and considerations. In this article, we'll compare the benefits of wooden climbing frames, with a focus on Rainbow Play's exceptional quality, against the pros and cons of metal climbing frames. We'll also delve into cost, durability, and sustainability factors to help you make an informed choice when considering a climbing frame for your family. With our extensive experience and knowledge on wooden climbing frames, these are the main benefits we found:

Benefits of Wooden Climbing Frames

Styling | How it looks in your garden

This is very subjective and totally personal to your individual look and style, whether you like metal or wooden climbing frames. In our opinion/experience,  If you’re looking for a more natural look that is sympathetic to its surroundings, then a wooden climbing frame blends smoothly into your garden. Wooden climbing frames are known to have a more timeless, rustic appeal that complements and works well in most gardens. If you are looking for a metal climbing frame, it might stand out more in your garden. However, this might be more appealing to some families! Metal frames can be painted or powder-coated in a wide range of different colours, so if you would prefer a metal climbing frame but you also want something that blends into your garden, this achievable with a bit of work! 

Durability | How long will it last?

High-quality wooden frames often offer warranties on their timbers. Rainbow Play, for instance, offers customers a  lifetime warranty on all timber components and is renowned for its sturdy cedar timbers that resist decay and ensure years of use. Other companies however, use pine or spruce. These materials are durable, however, they are less resistant to insect damage and decay. Through our years of experience, we’ve learnt to be realistic with our advice and if you’re looking for longevity, companies that use pine or spruce might not be the best option if you want a long lasting wooden climbing frame. 

Personalisation | Make it work for your little ones

Wooden climbing frames can be personalised to suit your specific wants and needs, specialised to each family and garden. You are able to incorporate unique features that might not be options on metal climbing frames. With Rainbow, our climbing frames are completely modular which allows customers to have complete control in the design and personalisation of their climbing frames. Not all wooden climbing frame companies have this modular option, so ensure you do the right research, comparing the brands you’re interested in. With Rainbow you are able to add different accessories as your kids grow older, so they don’t grow out of it, they grow with it!

Safety | Peace of mind

Wooden climbing frames are typically designed with smooth edges and fewer pinch points, compared to a metal climbing frame making them safer for your children. 

At Rainbow we have 35+ years in the industry so we have heard and seen it all! We have always considered safety as one of our main priorities and ensuring the quality of the wood used (ensuring it doesn’t splinter) and rounded edges to again avoid injury. Design has been considered through every stage to ensure safe play for your kids. 

Environmentally friendly | Choosing the sustainable options

Wooden climbing frames are often seen as the more eco-friendly and sustainable option as it is a renewable resource. Rainbow Climbing Frames are a big advocate for sustainability and not making negative impacts on the environment. Planting five trees for every one tree they cut down to build a Rainbow Climbing Frame, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Maintenance and care | How to look after your wooden climbing frame

Most advice given tells you to keep monitoring your wooden climbing frames and look out for loose bolts, sharp edges, check for any sign of splintering, grease any moving parts, clean any tarps and we recommend every year/ every couple years to water seal your wooden climbing frame. 

Our team at Rainbow offers this as an extra service for our customers to offer peace of mind and help from the experts themselves! If you want to read more on advice on how to maintain your wooden climbing frame, click here or call us on 01276 477461 to book in your Full Rainbow Health Check today!

Benefits of Metal Climbing Frames

We might be slightly biassed when talking about other types of climbing frames, because nothing really compares to a Rainbow, but with all these years of experience in the industry we’ve seen a lot and this is what we’ve noticed. If a sleek and modern look is what you’re looking for, a metal climbing frame might be something you would want to consider…
  1. Strength and Stability = Metal climbing frames are known for their robustness and stability, making them suitable for larger families or more adventurous play. 
  2. Low Maintenance: Metal frames require less maintenance than wooden ones. They are resistant to rot, insects, and weather damage. However, rust can occur. If this is the case it is suggested to replace the rusted parts as soon as possible. 
  3. Affordability: Metal climbing frames tend to be more budget-friendly upfront, making them accessible to a wide range of families.
  4. Lighter Weight: Metal frames are typically lighter and easier to move, which can be advantageous if you like to rearrange your outdoor space. With that being said, you will likely have to invest further in some anchors to keep the metal climbing frame firmly on the ground.

Average Cost Comparison

The average cost of wooden climbing frames is often higher than that of metal ones due to the premium materials and craftsmanship involved. While Rainbow Play's lifetime warranty on timbers adds extra value, it does come with a higher initial investment. Metal frames, on the other hand, are generally more affordable upfront. 

At Rainbow Play, we offer finance options for families that don’t want to pay all of the cost upfront, but would prefer to break up the cost over time. With prices at £1,975, we want to be the very best option for all families.

Durability and Longevity

Both wooden and metal climbing frames can have long lifespans if properly maintained. Most climbing frame companies offer some sort of warranty which helps to make your investment last as long as it's worth. Often the warranty will depict how long your purchase is going to last and the quality of the item you’ve purchased. The warranty of the climbing frame  is worth checking out as they do tend to vary quite a bit!

We can proudly say that with over 35 years of designing and building, Rainbow Play’s wooden frames have industry leading, lifetime warranty on our quality cedar timbers. This means our play frames can last for decades. We are so confident in the quality of our products that we make sure our warranty covers the timber on your Rainbow over its lifetime. Now you don’t see that very often!


From a sustainability perspective, wooden climbing frames are often considered more eco-friendly. Cedar is a renewable resource and when sourced responsibly, it has a lower carbon footprint than the production of metal frames. Whilst metal isn’t renewable as such, when recycled properly it can be re-used and made into something else, which would not be a waste of fossil fuels because of its infinite life cycle. 

Owning a Rainbow means making the environmentally responsible choice. For every one tree harvested to make a Rainbow, five new trees are planted. This is our way of giving back to the environment. 

In conclusion, the choice between wooden and metal climbing frames depends on your preferences, budget, family and specific needs. While wooden frames like those from Rainbow Play offer lifetime warranties and durability, metal frames are budget-friendly and require less maintenance. We would recommend you do some research into all of the options before your purchase and, remember, the experts are there for you to ask lots of questions. 

If you want to get in contact with a Rainbow expert, reach out to us! We’re here to make your decision making easier.