For years we have assisted organizations with the design, purchase, and installation of high-quality playground equipment. Durable, safety-certified play structures that help protect children from injury during play are the hallmark of contemporary playground equipment. While buying new equipment can give you peace of mind, obtaining funding for outdoor recreational projects can be a difficult process.

When budgets are tight, some customers have inquired about purchasing used playground equipment in order to stretch their purchasing power. In their minds, finding a used play structure may provide a sufficient amount of saving on a project. However, buying used playground equipment is a risky endeavor because it can quickly become more expensive than a new equipment purchase altogether. Here are three reasons why.

1. Damage

Routine maintenance is required on all commercial playground equipment. Used buyers have no way of knowing if the previous owner scheduled regular inspections. This could leave the purchaser vulnerable to safety hazards such as exposed screws, outdated safety standards, or dangerous materials, like lead.Will you be the second owner of the playground equipment or the third? It can be virtually impossible to detect some types of damage that can quickly lead to injuries.

2. Non-Compliant Designs and Safety Standards

Safety regulations for playground structures and furnishings change periodically. Unless you are a playground inspector, it can be difficult to ascertain whether the used equipment you are purchasing is safety-certified. The open-ended liability for injury on public playground equipment that is not up-to-date can result in hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars in personal injury suits. Unless you can be absolutely sure that the equipment you are purchasing is compliant with the most recent safety standards, consider the potential risk and liability you are undertaking by installing used equipment in your park or playground. It's just not worth it.

3. Compromised Warranty

Most commercial playground manufacturers offer a comprehensive warranty on the products they sell. Like almost all new products, the original manufacturer’s warranty expires when the product changes hands. Replacement parts normally covered under the original purchaser’s agreement are unlikely to be honored. In many cases, transfer of ownership voids the warranty outright, leaving your organization or community vulnerable to the expense of replacement parts. In other words, you can't just buy a used play structure and replace the broken slide with a new one. The warranty for the new slide is voided because the deck and upright posts it may attach to are not also under original warranty.

When you consider what is at stake—namely the safety and well-being of children within your community—sometimes the best deal is no deal at all. At American Parks Company we recommend the purchase of quality outdoor commercial playground equipment and furnishings that are new, safety certified, and guaranteed with our industry-leading warranties.

Remember that it can save you a great deal of time and money, and possibly lives buying new. Purchase with assurance and peace of mind by choosing only new playground equipment for your project. And, if funding is truly your organization's biggest hurdle, we not only offer financing, but can help council you on creative ways to raise money. Call us at 1-800-381-4491 to speak to a playground specialist.