Suncast Playcenter Swingset from Costco

Over the weekend, we hit up the Oak Brook Costco and came across this behemoth.  This is the Suncast Wood and Resin Playcenter - Costco Part #588674.  It is priced at $1299.99 (see the bottom photo for pricing details).

This is the 2012 version of the VERY popular Costco backyard playground/playset series.  Last year, they featured the Cedar Summit Panorama - which we brought home.  This year, they've gone with the Suncast Wood and Resin Playcenter which has many of the same features as years pasts.

***Update on 2/28/12 - If you are looking for the Cedar Summit Mountainview Resort Playset you can find the details here.  Turns out Costco is indeed selling a Cedar Summit swingset, but just not in Texas or the Midwest.  ***

The 2012 Suncast structure is made up of both wood and a lot of plastic parts - unlike the Cedar Summit.  There are certainly plastic elements in the Cedar Summit version, but they're mostly highlight/enhancement pieces like window frames.  The Suncast playset has a full plastic climbing wall,  a really nice (gently arched) plastic ladder (which is nicer than the Cedar Summit one and clearly more toddler/kid friendly), and even a series of plastic (or resin as they call it) walls.

The slide isn't set up on this one in the store, but it is billed as being 'configurable', so you can put the slide, ladder, and climbing wall in any one of three spots.  That's a nice feature.  It doesn't appear that the swing support arm can be configured in the same way, rather just like on the Cedar Summit one from 2011, it is anchored and only changeable through a hard hack.

There's three swings and a really weird suport structure for the swing arm.  Our local Costco appears to have rigged it up with a treated lumber 4X4 (you can see it in the photo below), and has some weak-looking support legs.  They're just 2X4's and the 2 pieces that connect with the ground look like fence planks are are thin.  Not sure if that's the way it is sold or if the Oak Brook Costco employee tasked with building this took some liberties.

I'm (obviously) biased because I bought the playset last year, but I'm pleased with that decision.  While I think this one is nice, it is priced the same but has much more of a plastic look than ours.  The plastic roof especially stands out and a bit jarring to the eye.  This doesn't appear to be able to blend in with the natural settings of many backyards as the past editions have.

Being Costco, I'm guessing that they fully vetted this vendor and they'll stand behind it, so if you are in the market for a playset, you can buy with confidence.





Comments

  1. I'm looking at this set too. I'd love to hear from someone that picks it up.

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  2. I just saw the set today at the Orland Park Costco. I'm so sad I didn't buy last year's model now. Any idea what the slide looks like? Is it a tube slide?

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  3. I checked this out down here in TX. If it is like other plastic resin products I can't see how it's going to hold up in our climate. What if it breaks and my kids get sliced open by the shape edge...YIKES!

    Thanks for the review though.

    A Mom in Dallas

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  4. I am looking into this as well. I am just wondering how long it would take for one Dad to assemble. Thanks for the great info and pics

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  5. I built mine two weekends ago. Paid $999+tax on sale in Houston. I have to say I was impressed by the design and ease of construction.

    Everything (all wood, plastic and metal parts as well as bags of fasteners) was comprehensively numbered, labelled and very logical. The instructions were clear, concise and evidently complete, I only found one very mild omission which was an obvious 'do these steps twice to use all the parts you just picked out and make two of these' instruction. One nice feature was the robust printed-on-plastic fastener identification sheet designed to allow you to distinguish easily between nuts and bolts and washers in case they get segregated from their numbered bag.

    The instructions suggest 12 to 18 hours assembly time for two people. I put the whole thing together with my next door neighbor's assistance in under ten hours including about an hour spent leveling the patch of yard we situated on. With that said, he and I are mechanically adroit and we were expecting a quick build. Your mileage (and timing) will vary. I have a metric buttload of spare fasteners left over, lots and lots of spares, absolutely no need to go to the hardware store for anything missing.

    In large part, the quick assembly is a testament to the parts labeling, instructions and general kit quality. There were only a handful of fasteners that needed a little 'tweak' to get lined up.

    On the negative side, I'm not in love with Chinese Cedar as a building material. It's not bad from a rotting perspective but it's very light and low density. On other cheap playsets that use wood for roofs and railings and floors, this would concern me more. On advantage of the 'resin' construction is that all the fiddly little bits that usually rot out quickly are made of plastic, so the low density cedar is only used for big supporting beams, and should be a lot less susceptible to degradation during aging. It remains to be seen how long the 'resin' (high density polyurethane doped with UV protective agents) survives in the Texas sun, but I'd be surprised if it aged much worse than a set made entirely out of the Cedar. It will certainly be much easier to maintain (much smaller area to re-stain every couple of years)

    In terms of playability, my only complaints revolve around the slightly lower play deck height, the ladder, rock wall and slide are under five feet high. The higher level deck is a nice height and well enclosed. The upside of all this personally is that my 1.5yr old and 3 year old can play in relative safety, but I imagine they'll get bored of it a bit sooner than if it was higher and more challenging.

    Anyway, TL;DR version is as follows; Very nice kit for the money (ridiculously good value for money on sale), thoughtfully designed (very obviously lots of CAD involved), super-easy to assemble and the kids have played on it every single day since it was built. Hours and hours and hours. Don't forget to re-stain every year or two to maximize the lifespan of the low-rent Chinese Cedar. Otherwise, enjoy!

    (sorry if I sound like a manufacturers shill, I assure you I'm not, I just like a well designed, nicely executed product)

    Dermot.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for a fabulous write-up, Dermot. I was considering this for my 5 year old daughter, and I think you have convinced me. Just one question - from your experience, do you think it is possible to switch the position of the ladder with the slide or would that upset the play deck's stability? It would be a little less work for me to fit it in my yard in an L shaped configuration...

      Brian

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    2. We also put this up April 6, 4 guys (part timers)took 8 hours. The slide, rock wall & ladder are inter-changable. My kids love it.

      Deana

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    3. You can, yes. I rearranged the three on mine, ladder at the back, rock wall on the side and slide on the front. Only trick is making sure you put the top 'spar' with the climbing rope hole in it over the rock wall, wherever you decide to put that. The whole thins is quite cunningly designed to make this relatively trivial.

      Dermot

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  6. I live in Michigan and just finished assembling this for my daughter. The set is very good quality for the price and the resin material will last far longer than cedar in almost all weather conditions.

    It came with lots of extra bolts and washers so you always had plenty to spare. I assembled it by myself in around 12 hours. With two people it should only take about 8 or 9.

    Anonymous- the slide and and ladder are completely swappable you just install them in the locations that you want when you get to that step in the install.

    This product just proves again why I love shopping at Costco.

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