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The Best Playhouses

Where Can You Buy the Best Playhouses?

A playhouse can be a simple, inexpensive way to keep a toddler occupied for a few hours in a pop-up structure in the living room - or a sturdy, wooden structure that might last long enough to give your children and later your grandchildren years of happy memories. From pirates to princesses, kitchens to caves, the adventures provided by playhouses are only limited by one's imagination.

Your first consideration when buying a playhouse is where it will be used. Obviously you won't want to buy a cardboard design for use outdoors, but it could be exactly the thing for a rainy day inside. If it's going to be set up outside, you'll want to choose a playhouse that can withstand the elements where you live, from snow to sunshine, and that fits the space you have in mind.

Tuesday, September 27th

2022 Playhouse Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Wayfair Review 5 Star Rating

Wayfair

5 Star Rating
  • Over 300 playhouses to choose from
  • Prices range from $33 to $10,500
  • 30-day return policy
  • Free shipping on orders of $35+
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Whether you want to buy a super-inexpensive pop-up playhouse for the playroom or an elaborate cottage complete with front porch for playtime in the backyard, Wayfair will never disappoint you with respect to selection. Their inventory of more than 300 playhouses literally has something for everyone.

Use the filters for faster shopping

Because there are so many different options with Wayfair, you'd be wise to use the filters to narrow them down a little. Maybe you have a preference for the material (wood or plastic), you need it to be specifically for indoor or outdoor use, or you've got a budget in mind. Those are just a few of the helpful filters you can apply as you shop for a playhouse here.

Wayfair's Choice offers ball-launching fun

The most popular playhouse sold by Wayfair during our most recent visit to the site was the WonderBall Fun House by Step2. Priced at $153 and with 460+ shopper reviews averaging a near-perfect five stars, it's easy to see why it was named as Wayfair's Choice among playhouses. Who wouldn't love launching balls onto the roof and then watching them come down through the chutes?

Options under $50

On the low end of the price spectrum, Wayfair features a number of polyester or cardboard playhouses designed for inside use. You'll pay under $50 for any one of these models, some shaped like rocketships and tents, and others styled more like a typical house or castle. The cardboard ones come in black-and-white, letting kids have the fun of coloring them in to their hearts' delight.

Several high-end playhouses on offer

The most expensive playhouses sold by Wayfair are made by UltraPlay: three metal designs styled to look like a schoolhouse, cottage, and even a chapel. They're priced at $9,100+. Wayfair also offers several designs by Big Logz, so if you ever wished your Lincoln Logs came in life-size, be sure to check them out: just look for the Paul Bunyan Cabin, Stockade Cabin, and Little Camper Cabin. Prices range from $3,249 to $6,799 on this line.

Best Playhouses

More than 300 designs to choose from

Of course, with more than 300 playhouses in stock, you'll find plenty of in-between options at Wayfair too. Sturdy plastic models by the well-known brand Step2? Yep. Two-story wood models by Little Tikes? That too. You'll also find some of the playhouse brands we've reviewed separately - and because shipping is free on all orders of $35+ at this online retailer, you won't pay anything for delivery on any playhouse you order (with the exception of one indoor/outdoor playhouse that was priced at $33.22 at the time of this evaluation). That might make it worth your while to buy your playhouse from Wayfair instead of purchasing directly from the brand's online store.

Plenty of product information

When you select a playhouse that interests you, you'll find extremely detailed information to help you make your decision. Wayfair usually displays photos from multiple angles, an in-depth description and brief overview that tells you the targeted age range and "occupancy" , plus any available customer reviews. We really appreciate that the product info also tells you when you can expect it to be delivered and how many are left in stock.

30-day returns

Wayfair offers a generous 30-day return policy, not just on playhouses but on most items they sell. The playhouse needs to be in its original condition, undamaged and disassembled, and in the original packaging when possible. You're on the hook for the return shipping fees, though, which could get expensive if you've ordered a large wooden playset or other heavy playhouse.

Good reputation

Wayfair continues to earn the Better Business Bureau's accreditation and "A+" rating. Don't let the 4,000+ complaints filed there scare you: with nearly $10 billion in sales every year and 1.5% of all e-commerce sales nationwide, Wayfair is bound to get its fair share of negative reviews. On the whole, however, the online-only retailer does a fantastic job of providing an incredible selection of products and handling any issues with those items when they arise.

#1 for all types of playhouses

There's no reason not to use Wayfair to buy a playhouse. You'll get the world's best selection, free shipping, and a generous 30-day return policy. Chances are good that if you can't find what you're looking for here, it doesn't exist. Wayfair remains at the top of our list among retailers of playhouses.

Cedar Works Review 4.5 Star Rating

Cedar Works

4.5 Star Rating
  • Infinite number of designs you can create
  • Options for indoor and outdoor play
  • Prices depend on the elements you select, usually $2,500+
  • Earth-friendly, kid-friendly materials
  • 10% of purchases go towards charitable causes focused on children and the environment
  • Warranty covers 1-2 years on accessories and 5-10 years on structural cedar
  • Made in Maine
  • "A+" rated by the BBB
  • In business for over 40 years

Any playhouse you buy from CedarWorks is going to be gorgeous - and spendy. The company is based in Maine and makes all of their playsets to order; there are literally thousands of designs you can choose from, or create your own from scratch, incorporating every element you've ever dreamed of. Want to see a starry sky in the dome of your playhouse? Want your kids to be able to swing like monkeys and climb like mountain goats? Done and done here - for over 40 years, earning an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau.

Generous warranty on long-lasting cedar

All of CedarWorks products are made with rot-resistant, naturally splinter-free, maintenance-free Northern White Cedar. You can choose to stain the wood if you like; otherwise, it will weather to a more silver-gray over time. At that point, you can wash the playhouse with a bleach/water solution to brighten it and eliminate any mildew. Depending on the playset you choose, you'll get either one or two years of warranty coverage on the accessories, and five or ten years on the structural cedar.

Thousands of playhouse styles

Shopping for a playhouse is a little different on the CedarWorks site, compared with your experience on other retailers' stores. Start by choosing whether you're looking for an indoor or outdoor playset. Next, select a style; for example, on outdoor playhouses, you can go for Architectural, Classic, or Rustic. Then, you can click on "See Examples" to view some of the designs on offer here. There are a LOT: over 1200 in the Classic category alone. However, you'll have to sign in with an email address and zip code to see pricing, which isn't our favorite way to shop.

Take a quiz to zero in on the best-matching playhouse

Another option is to take CedarWorks' quiz. Choose a style, size, age range of the kids who will be using the playhouse, the desired shape, any activities you'd like to incorporate (like swinging, sliding, climbing), if you'd like it to be natural or colorful, and you'll be taken to a computer mock-up of the set that best fits what you selected. Not quite what you were thinking? Click the "See Another" button until you spot one that's a closer match.

Best Playhouses

$42k for the most expensive model here

Because of the bespoke nature of these playhouses, there's no way to tell you exactly what you'll spend on yours. For grins and giggles, we went into the Architectural category and moved the price slider as far to the right as it would go. Voila: CedarWorks' most costly example was the Architectural 1290 (if you want to enter the number and see for yourself), priced at an oh-so-jaw-dropping $42,040. Honestly, this playset is like something you'd see at a nice playground or an upscale daycare center, with three slides, a tire swing, three bridge-connected towers, you name it. In fact, with most of the playhouses sold here, you might have a hard time keeping the neighborhood kids from thinking your yard is a park.

Hands-on ordering process

Expect to work closely with CedarWorks' staff when you purchase one of their playhouses. When you've created a design or selected a previously-made one, you'll have to click to request a quote with shipping fees and a delivery timeframe. According to shopper feedback, that process is pleasant and the employees make sure they're keeping you up to date with delivery timeframes and any installation options you've chosen.

Check them out on social media

We encourage you to take a look at CedarWorks' Facebook page and other social media channels. It's a great way to see some of their designs in real life, plus the comments from the people who bought them. They're almost universally glowing praise, by the way.

Expensive but well worth it

Although the price tag for a CedarWorks playhouse may be out of range for some shoppers, we still give this company one of our highest recommendations. There's no doubt that you'll get more life out of these all-cedar playsets than anything made of plastic or a less-sturdy wood, and the craftsmanship here is hard to match. This is an investment in thousands of hours of healthy playtime, and we think it's well worth it to see if a CedarWorks playhouse is an option for your yard.

Backyard Discovery Review 4 Star Rating

Backyard Discovery

4 Star Rating
  • 10 wood playhouses to choose from (plus 40+ swing sets with playhouse features)
  • Prices range from $249 to $1,799
  • Free shipping
  • 30-day return policy, 15% restocking fee
  • Assembly available for an extra fee
  • In business for 30+ years
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB

Backyard Discovery has been making high-quality wooden playhouses, swing sets, and backyard leisure products for more than 30 years. Based in Kansas, this retailer is owned by Step2, another big name in playhouses (though typically the plastic kind).

Playhouses + swing sets = full inventory

When you look just at the playhouses sold by Backyard Discovery, you might be less than impressed with the selection of just 10 styles. We'll focus on just those items, but we invite you to also look at their Swing Set section: there are more than 40 designs there, many of which have the features you might be looking for in a playhouse.

Solid options under $300

This retailer's most affordable playhouse is the Sweetwater. At a retail price of $249, this cute model has lots of features, from a play sink, stove and cordless phone to a snack window and flowerpot holders by the front door. Shipping is included, and there's a link to check general arrival estimates; for this model, it said to expect 7-10 days within the Midwest and 10-17 days on the East and West Coasts. There were over 100 customer reviews for the Sweetwater playhouse, averaging 4.8 stars out of 5; many of them mentioned wood not being as high-quality as they expected (splitting during assembly), but most people raved about this adorable, affordably-priced playhouse.

Affordable even on the high end

On the highest end of the price spectrum, Backyard Discovery sells the Eagles Nest Playhouse for $1,799 (down from an original retail price of $2,299). This is a fantastic choice for your children to grow into, with a rock wall, full picnic table and benches, and a 10-foot wave slide. We loved looking through the customer photos in the nearly 300 reviews and hearing all the ways this playhouse has made for some treasured family memories.

Best Playhouses

Assembly available for an extra fee

All of the playhouses here have assembly as an add-on, through a service called GoConfigure. Just look for the option in the product description; the price will change accordingly. For example, the price on the Sweetwater went from $249 to $499 when assembly was included. And as you'd expect on a much larger playhouse, the extra charge for assembly on the Eagles Nest was $1,100.

Strict on returns

You might want to see if your Backyard Discovery playhouse is available through another retailer in our review (after all, we spotted more than one of their models as we evaluated other stores). Why? The return policy here is pretty strict, much more so than than the third-party retailers who also offer their playhouses. It's understandable, because Backyard Discovery is a much smaller company than a big-box home improvement store, but it still impacts you as a customer: 30 days, you're responsible for the return shipping fees, and you'll have 15% deducted from your refund as a restocking fee.

Great brand - wherever you buy it

We absolutely recommend this brand of playhouses. They're well-built, affordable, and get rave reviews from customers. While you'll need to determine if it's better to buy one direct from their store or through a reseller, Backyard Discovery deserves to be a contender if you're shopping for an affordable-yet-sturdy wooden playhouse.

Whole Wood Playhouses Review 4 Star Rating

Whole Wood Playhouses

4 Star Rating
  • 27 ready-made playhouse designs to choose from, or customize your own
  • Prices range from $2,810 to $23,500 on ready-made playhouses
  • Free delivery in the lower 48 United States
  • 14-day return policy

Whole Wood Playhouses offers outdoor fun that is about as far from mass-produced as you could imagine. This small, Florida-based business creates wooden playhouses that are delivered in panels, allowing the average person to set them up within an hour.

Not a huge corporation

You're going to notice the mom-and-pop nature of this business as you browse the site and if you decide to call them for help with your order. We spotted quite a few typos, and when we called the toll-free number, it was answered with a simple "Hello?" (We promptly got a call back that identified itself as Whole Wood Playhouses' sister brand, Petite Chalet Cabins, also based in Florida.)

Most playhouses start at $3,000

But, don't let that stop you from giving their playhouses a serious look. You've got three overall options here: DIY kits, 6x8 outdoor playhouses, and custom. You'll want to click through all three types as you decide which Whole Wood Playhouse design is right for you - or if you want to create one that's as unique as the children in your life. Because of the durable nature of these playhouses, don't expect to find much here that's under $3,000.

Check out the photos and specs

Looking just in the Outdoor Playhouses category, you'll see what we mean. The lowest-priced option in this category is the Natural Wonder for $5,990. Because it doesn't come stained or painted, it's meant to be a fun project you'll complete on your own (ostensibly with the kids who'll be using it) that will add to the memories they make. There are plenty of photos and specs you can consider prior to placing your order, and even a handful of customer reviews (all very positive).

Best Playhouses

A playhouse for a princess - for almost $24K

If you want a playhouse suitable for royalty and you've got $23,500 to spend, check out the Princess model. With five windows, two stories (connected on the outside and with a wooden staircase inside), balcony, slide and sandbox, this playhouse may mean that your kids never come inside their actual home again. We noticed that the delivery timeframe on this model was anywhere from 8-13 weeks. Unsurprisingly, there weren't any customer reviews on this model.

Playhouses that come with furniture

We're impressed that these playhouses come with so many options and included extras. For example, every playhouse in the Outdoor collection comes with a matching wooden table, two chairs, and a bench, as well as a wooden inside loft and an outside terrace. Also, we got a pop-up offer when we were browsing the Whole Wood Playhouses store. Entering our name and email address got us a $50 discount on our first order.

Limited return and refund policy

As you might expect from any small business, the return policy here is not as generous as you'll find with a big corporation: just 14 days, and you'll pay a 20% fee if your return isn't in the original box or is missing parts/materials. You're also responsible for the return shipping fees, and any initial delivery costs (paid by you or by Whole Wood Playhouses) will be deducted from the refund too.

Small business for the win

Customers have nothing but compliments for Whole Wood Playhouses. They praise the hands-on nature of working with the company to get just the right structure, making sure the assembly goes well, and the overall process. If you've got the money and you want a made-in-the-USA, one-of-a-kind playhouse, we think you'll love this family-owned business.

Walmart Review 3.5 Star Rating

Walmart

3.5 Star Rating
  • 500+ playhouses to choose from
  • Prices range from $23 to $10,636
  • Free 3-day shipping or in-store pickup on many playhouses
  • Free 90-day returns on playhouses sold and shipped by Walmart

Everyone knows that Walmart has it all, from toothpaste to toys, and that certainly applies to playhouses. Since our last evaluation, their inventory has expanded to more than 500 options, ranging in price from $23 for a basic plastic pop-up to over $10,000 for an Outdoor Living cottage.

Use the filters to sort through 500+ playhouse choices

That's one of the advantages of shopping for a playhouse with Walmart: whatever your budget and style, you're probably going to find it. You should use the filters to make it easier to track down the type of playhouse you have in mind: material? Target age? Customer rating? That's the easiest way to eliminate the playhouses that don't fit your backyard or your budget.

Lots of info to help you decide

The Little Tikes Castle Jungle Gym Playhouse is a Walmart best-seller. Priced at $399.99 and averaging 4.4 out of 5 stars over 240+ customer reviews, it's an affordable, fun option for indoors or outside. At least on this particular model, there were plenty of photos to see it from more than one angle, and reading through the buyer comments added helpful information (like ways to prevent little fingers from getting pinched in the door). We noticed that there was a $49.99 freight shipping charge on this playhouse - which surprised us, considering that other, more expensive playhouses also with freight shipping didn't have that fee.

Best Playhouses

Be aware of third-party businesses selling on the Walmart store

One of the tricky aspects of shopping at Walmart - not just for playhouses but literally anything - is the inclusion of third-party "marketplace" sellers. You might spot the exact model you had in mind and think you're getting Walmart's shipping and 90-day refund policies - only to find that your purchase was fulfilled by a partner seller. Be sure to read the description carefully; it's okay to buy from a third-party business, but take the time to find out what you can expect from them, since Walmart won't be the one handling any problems that may arise.

Best for less-expensive playhouses

Should you buy your playhouse from Walmart? We'd say that depends. There are some definite advantages, like being able to return a shipped item to a store, and maybe even seeing some models in person before doing more research and placing your order online. You could also find some of the specific playhouse brands in our reviews sold here - maybe for less money or with a better shipping or return policy. On the other hand, Walmart can be notorious for offering poor customer service, and if there's a problem with your purchase, you might have a hard time finding anyone who gives a care. We'd suggest Walmart for playhouses under $500, while using a smaller, more customer-centric company for ones that represent a significant investment of time and money.

Home Depot Review 3.5 Star Rating

Home Depot

3.5 Star Rating
  • 20+ playhouses to choose from
  • Prices range from $150 to $5,861
  • Free delivery and/or ship-to-store on some models
  • 90-day returns on most playhouses

Home Depot might not be the first place you think to buy a playhouse, but this home improvement superstore has about 20 different styles for you to consider.

Limited selection and product info

What kinds of playhouses can you expect here? On the low end, we found the Unicorn Dream Playhouse by Pal Play for $149.99. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, this model is geared for kids ages 2-6. Home Depot didn't have multiple photos to consider on this item, making it challenging to see all the features in the description. At the time of this evaluation, we were able to choose to have it shipped to our local store for pickup within 4-6 days, or delivered to our home in 5 days. There were no customer reviews on this item, but we spotted that the brand had an overall rating of just 2 out of 5 stars.

More information on bigger brands

Home Depot's best-selling playhouse - with over 100 ratings averaging 4.5/5 stars - is Backyard Discovery's Scenic Heights Cedar Playhouse, priced at $800.11 (which, incidentally, was a few cents higher than the price on the Backyard Discovery store itself; you can find our evaluation of that brand in our reviews too). This playhouse had many more images than the Unicorn Dream, and we were pleased to see ample details about the dimensions, weight capacity, and manufacturer's warranty. Home Depot also offers a Question & Answer section; if you've got a question about this playhouse (or any other), you might find it already answered there, and if not you can always ask. The Scenic Heights playset wasn't available for ship to store, but we could get it delivered within 5 days.

Best Playhouses

Some higher-end options too

The most expensive playhouse among the 20+ options at Home Depot was the Sunflower Playhouse by Outdoor Living Today. We're not sure it's worth the hefty $5,861 price tag, though, unless you're really excited about having a working water pump with paddle wheel and bucket - but, P.S., the slide shown in the image isn't included.

90-day return policy

Home Depot's standard return policy seems to apply to all of the playhouses they sell. You'll have 90 days, and we'd recommend taking it to a store near you if possible. You could also call Home Depot's toll-free number to make arrangements for UPS pickup, but they don't specify if that comes with a fee. We also noticed that the return policy says it applies to "new, unopened merchandise" - so if you go to set up your playhouse and find that it doesn't fit or isn't what you expected, Home Depot could theoretically deny your return. But, in our experience, this retailer is generally pretty gracious about accepting returns, even in open condition (as long as it's not damaged).

Good store, small selection of playhouses

Home Depot isn't a bad place to buy a playhouse, if they have what you're looking for. You probably won't find it at a significantly better price anywhere else, and a 90-day return policy might make your life easier. But, to get a better selection, we recommend checking out the higher-ranked retailers of playhouses in our review.

Lowe's  Review 3.5 Star Rating

Lowe's

3.5 Star Rating
  • Up to 36 playhouses to choose from
  • Prices range from $40 to $1,889
  • 90-day return policy, in store or via parcel return
  • Free shipping or in-store pickup on most playhouses

Lowe's is one of the biggest names in home improvement, with over 19 million transactions every week. If a playhouse is on your to-do list, you might find something that fits here.

Playhouses shown aren't always in stock

Compared with the other big-name home improvement store in our review, Lowe's initially seemed to have a bigger selection, with three dozen playhouses to choose from. But, as we browsed the options, we noticed that many of them were marked as unavailable for delivery or pickup, and we could only click the "Notify Me" button to get a message when it was back in stock. When we hid all of the unavailable products, we were left with just 21 options.

Playhouse fun for $50

The least-expensive playhouse Lowe's offers is the Princess Play Tent with 100 Balls by Goplus, priced at $50. Even on this low-budget item, there's a detailed product description and several photos displaying it from multiple angles. We were able to get it delivered for free or pick it up locally in about 10 days.

Best Playhouses

Most expensive playhouse: $1,799

The highest-end playhouse on offer here was the Eagle's Nest by Backyard Discovery. The price was only visible by adding it to the cart; Lowe's says they have to do that when their price is lower than the manufacturer's, but we found the same price for this model on the Backyard Discovery store (a retailer you'll find in our reviews too): $1,799. Almost 300 Lowe's customers left ratings for this playset, averaging 4.6 stars, and it was really helpful to see user-submitted photos for how it looks in different settings. This playhouse also came with free delivery and free in-store pickup, but our wait would be almost two weeks if we wanted the latter option. Lowe's provides a Q&A section on all of its products, but we didn't usually see any on the playhouses.

90 days for returns

Lowe's has a 90-day return policy on most things they sell, and that applies to playhouses. Your items need to be in new and unused condition, but if there's something about your playhouse that just isn't right, you'll probably have no trouble getting a quick and friendly resolution - whether you bring it to your local Lowe's or you send it back via parcel carrier (as designated on your return slip).

Not bad - but not an impressive selection

You might want to buy a playhouse from Lowe's if there's one nearby, especially if you're interested in getting a Backyard Discovery playhouse with a more generous return policy (since the brand's own refund period is just 30 days, with the potential of expensive restocking and shipping fees). However, Lowe's selection isn't going to impress you, and you may want to keep it in reserve only if you don't find what you're looking for at another store.

KidKraft Review 3.5 Star Rating

KidKraft

3.5 Star Rating
  • About 18 playhouses to choose from
  • Prices range from $240 to $1,200
  • 30-day return policy
  • Free shipping on orders over $75
  • "A+" rated by the BBB
  • In business for 50+ years

KidKraft is a well-known name when it comes to wooden playhouses, in business for more than 50 years and "A+" rated by the Better Business Bureau. You'll probably see their products when shopping on sites that sell playsets from multiple brands, but the best availability is on their own online store.

Most playhouses here are under $500

The KidKraft shop shows just under 20 playhouses to choose from, though at the time of this review there were two listed as out of stock. Most of the options here are between $240-$500, like the Modern Outdoor Playhouse (available in white, white/raven, and natural, all for $349-$369) and the themed Disney Frozen Arendelle and Nerf Geo Strike designs.

Cool design, limited info

KidKraft's most elaborate playhouse design is the Cozy Escape, priced at $1,199.99 and only available in navy during our most recent visit. Complete with two stories of fun that include a rock wall, flower planters, sink, play stove and twisty tube slide, this playhouse is recommended for kids ages 3-10. We were surprised to see that KidKraft doesn't offer much more than that in terms of weight capacity or other specifications.

Check out the reviews and Q&A

Most of the playhouses on the KidKraft site have ample reviews and answered questions. For instance, the Cozy Escape had over 200 reviews and 140 questions; it's always good to see how a playset looks under actual use and not just the stock photos, and to see what issues people had (if any) with the installation. For what it's worth, customers tend to say that these playhouses are easy to install; one person compared it with setting up IKEA furniture - but a much longer process, particularly on the larger items.

Best Playhouses

Save 15%

At the time of our most recent visit to the KidKraft site, we got a pop-up offering a 15% discount on our first purchase if we provided our email address and phone number (with a maximum savings of $100, not valid on sale items). See if that can save you some cash if you order here - though we found a comment from one shopper who said that they got the coupon only to be told it "didn't apply" to the purchase they wanted to make.

30-day return policy

KidKraft's return policy is fairly standard. You'll have 30 days from the purchase date to return your playhouse, as long as it's in unused condition with all of the original packaging, parts, and documentation. You're responsible for the return shipping costs, and any delivery fees that KidKraft covered on the outbound end will be deducted from your refund as well.

What's the scoop on warranty and product care?

A few downsides we noticed with KidKraft playhouses are worth mentioning. First, there's nowhere we could find that clearly spelled out the warranty coverage. You can register your purchase through the links at the bottom of the site, but nothing in the product description mentioned what is covered and for how long. Another issue is that there are no care instructions provided. We went into the question-and-answer section on a few playhouses and found that KidKraft reps recommended checking with a local hardware store for sealant/staining suggestions, to improve the products' longevity - but that wasn't stated anywhere in the description. We would have missed it if we hadn't gone looking for it.

A bit of room for improvement

KidKraft playhouses are fun and affordable, whether you buy them directly from the source or through a third-party seller like some of the retailers we evaluated who carry this line of products. We think this brand is good, but it falls short of earning "great" because of a lack of detail, mostly with respect to warranty coverage and care instructions to make the playhouses last as long as possible.

Little Cottage Company Review 3 Star Rating

Little Cottage Company

3 Star Rating
  • 10 base playhouses to choose from, all customizable
  • Prices range from $3,172 to $23,798
  • Made in the USA by Amish craftspeople
  • Free freight shipping on most DIY kits
  • 15% restocking fee on returns
  • In business since 1999
  • "A+" rated by the BBB

Little Cottage Company is located in the heart of Ohio's Amish community. This store offers a wide range of Amish-crafted products, from barns and sheds to furniture and playhouses.

Look for a discount

When we were browsing the Little Cottage Company site during this review, there was a 25% discount code featured at the top of the page. Be sure to see if there are any promos at the time of your purchase.

Prebuilt best for locals

Unless you live within 30 miles of this store's Ohio location (zip code 44610), you probably will want to opt for a DIY kit instead of a prebuilt playhouse. What's the difference? The DIY kits will be assembled by you, while the prebuilt models come via truck and trailer at a cost of $2.50-$3 per loaded mile (plus any necessary permits). That adds up. We encourage you to visit the Step-By-Step instructions page to see if your handyperson skills are up to the challenge of a DIY kit, which includes installing shingles you have to purchase separately at your local hardware store.

Prices start just under $3,200

So, assuming you go with a DIY kit, there are 10 options to choose from here. The lowest-priced is the Cape Cod, priced at $3,172 for the 4x6 size and with options for sizing going up to 10x12. You can also add a loft and a deck/rail, but not all features are available with every size.

Best Playhouses

A mini-mansion for your mini-me?

For the ultimate luxe playhouse, check out Little Cottage Company's Grand Portico Mansion. No upgrades or options are offered - or necessary - when your playhouse already comes with 22 working windows (with screens), loft with ladder, 10 flower boxes, and an adult-size French door in the back. The price? "Just" $23,798. Surprisingly, on this playhouse and every other one in the inventory here, freight shipping was included at no extra charge.

Plan ahead because returns are expensive

There's no specific return policy timeframe specified by Little Cottage Company. Their policy simply states that you'll pay for all outbound and return freight charges, and a 15% restocking fee will be deducted from your refund. You will find images of the lift gate delivery pallets on the Shipping and Returns page, so that you'll know exactly what to expect at the end of your driveway (and to plan on the help you'll need to move it into place).

Good overall reputation

Customer comments aren't numerous, but the overall reputation of this company is good. It earned an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, and most of the feedback we saw on Little Cottage Company's social media channels is positive. Some shoppers were frustrated with communication issues during times of supply chain delays, and a few felt like LCC's representatives weren't as helpful or forthcoming as they could have been when something went wrong. By and large, though, you'll get the one-on-one treatment you'd expect from a small family-owned business.

Extra costs add up

There's a lot to love about the playhouses offered by Little Cottage Company, and if you live near their Ohio location, we recommend you reach out and see if one of their playhouses is right for you. For those who live elsewhere, especially those who may not have the time or skills to handle a more complex DIY kit, these playhouses are going to get expensive quickly - going beyond the price of the structure itself to include professional setup (that has to be arranged for separately), the parts like shingles and floor kits that aren't always included, and so on. Those factors are the main reason why we give this playhouse maker a three-star rating, not because of the quality of the structures themselves.

Cedarshed Review 3 Star Rating

Cedarshed

3 Star Rating
  • Customize your playhouse with multiple designs and add-on options
  • Prices start at $5,479 on Backyard Kids Clubhouses and $6,164 for Kids Bunkhouse Kits
  • Free shipping
  • "A+" rated by the BBB
  • In business for 40+ years

Cedarshed is based in British Columbia and has been making playhouses, sheds and pergolas from Western Red Cedar for over 40 years. There are two styles of playhouses available here, Bunkhouse Kits and Clubhouse Kits, and you'll need some basic carpentry skills to put yours together (or to hire someone else who does).

Clubhouse kits in multiple sizes

Cedarshed's Clubhouse Kits are priced from $5,479 to $8,759. You'll see all of the different configurations in the dropdown box, with lower pricing on OSB roofs (that will require you to buy and install shingles or metal roofing) than on cedar roofs. Sizes range from 8x12 to 10x20, and all styles include a covered porch. It's not easy to tell from the product images how to get a slide included, since the designs are all one-story models.

Choose a bunkhouse for a larger floor plan

Bunkhouses have a slightly different style and are generally larger than the clubhouses, starting in a 9x10 size priced at $6,164 and going up to a 12x14 for $8,889. These models have 6' high interior walls, so you can add a storage loft if you wish. While all of these playhouses have opportunities for upgrades and options, the lack of photos showing more than just a few outside shots leaves a lot to the imagination.

You'll want to add a finish for greater longevity

We appreciate that some details on care and maintenance are provided on the Cedarshed site. They recommend that you apply a protective finish within two weeks of assembly, depending on what's appropriate in your geographic area. This could include water-repellent preservative and oil with fungicide, semi-transparent stain, solid color stain, or paint.

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Positive feedback from customers

Reputation-wise, Cedarshed is probably not going to be a disappointment. The company has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and the handful of reviews we found on the website, the company's social media channels, and a few other places were positive overall.

Limited warranty and return period

There are a couple of reasons why Cedarshed doesn't rank as highly as their competitors. First, the company offers no refund/return policy: all sales are considered final once they've shipped, and the only exception is for items that are damaged in transit and can't be salvaged. Also, you only have 14 days from the date of delivery to notify Cedarshed if there are any broken or missing pieces; unless you get an extension (in writing) within that first 14 days, you'd better plan on setting up your playhouse soon after it comes. Finally, their playhouses and other structures are only warrantied for one year after purchase; another cedar-based playhouse brand in our review offers coverage of 1-2 years on accessories and 5-10 years on the wood components.

Good playhouses, less-than-impressive process and policies

Could you get the playhouse of your dreams here? Maybe. Will it take quite a bit of extra work to determine if Cedarshed has what you want, how long it will take to get to you, and how to put it together? Absolutely. And, there are other cedar playhouse companies out there that aren't quite as difficult to figure out. We wouldn't say there's anything bad about Cedarshed; it's just not quite up there with our highest-ranked retailers.

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Continued from above...

The next factor in your decision is the age range of the kids who will be using the playhouse. A huge climber with rock walls, rope swings and a lookout tower will be the envy of the big kids in your neighborhood, but if the child(ren) in your life can't quite walk yet, it's not going to be the right fit.

Finally, are you looking for a playhouse that's permanently installed or something that can be moved - around the yard or across the country? The most long-lasting, packed-with-features playhouses usually require you to set them up with the expectation that that's where they'll stay.

There are so many places you can buy a playhouse online, from your trusted home improvement store's website to family-owned companies that have been making sturdy wood playhouses (complete with window boxes and porches) for decades. Where should you start? Follow this list to help guide your decision:

  • Playhouse Type. As we said, you may be looking for a small plastic design for a toddler or a structure that can be used by kids of all ages. While some online retailers offer both kinds, you'll usually find that it's an either-or situation.
  • Selection. How many playhouse designs does the retailer have to choose from? Are they all in stock?
  • Delivery. Will you pay for shipping? How long will it take for your playhouse to be delivered? On the custom-made wood styles, it's not uncommon for it to take a month or more for it to be made to order and trucked to the destination.
  • Refunds/Returns. It's not all that common for people to want a refund or return on their playhouse orders, but it happens (especially for the lower-priced models). What is the store's policy?
  • Reputation. What do previous customers say about the playhouses and the company's fulfillment on orders? Can you browse reviews or see user-submitted photos of the playhouses in different, real settings? Can you expect a friendly, professional response if you need to reach out for some reason?

To help you add the most fun to your basement or backyard, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular retailers of playhouses. We're sure this information will make it easy to get the cutest cabin or climber for the children in your life!

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Playhouse FAQ

Playhouses are used for having fun! They are a place where children can make memories and use their imagination. They might pretend to be adults and make meals, take care of babies, and have sleepovers with siblings or friends. Playhouses often look like mini replicas of real homes and can be as simple or fancy as you want them to be. The selection available online for children's playhouses is extremely impressive.
It's not uncommon to put a children's playhouse in your backyard or playroom. As long as you have plenty of space and a good area for adult supervision when necessary, a playhouse could really go anywhere. Just make sure it's on level ground to ensure doors can open freely so that kids can play safely!
The simple answer is that playhouses should be big enough for children to easily walk in and out and play inside without feeling too constrained. Most people don't have an area in or outside of their house for a giant playhouse, so it just needs to be big enough to play comfortably. The technical answer is that some experts say playhouses should be between 50 and 100 square feet with a maximum wall height of 6 feet.
When buying a playhouse, you could either go with a wood exterior or an all-weather durable plastic. Wood is easy to paint and customize whereas plastic won't show as much wear and tear overtime like dents, paint chips, or scratches. When deciding what you want your playhouse to be made of, consider the weather in your area, how hard your kids will be on it, and if it will be inside or outside. You also might decide just based on the style.
Playhouses can be expensive if you want your children to have a mini mansion in the backyard! If you want a multi-level, fully accessorized playhouse, you can easily spend a few thousand dollars. This is definitely not necessary though. You can get a fun, long-lasting playhouse your kids will love for barely over $150. The end cost will really be determined by the style and size of the playhouse you choose.
Playhouses are most commonly used by kids between the ages of 1 and 12. But let's be honest, adults have a blast playing with children in the playhouses too! They are a staple "toy" that everyone can enjoy and they'll entertain children for hours on end. Whether you have boys or girls, playhouses are one of the most fun purchases you'll ever make for your kids.
Most retailers allow you to return playhouses within 30 days if it is in new condition. However, you'll probably pay hefty shipping costs that might deter you from deciding to send the playhouse back. If it comes damaged or has missing parts, you'll be able to exchange it for a new playhouse at the expense of the company you purchased the playhouse from.
Playhouses are built to last for years! It's not uncommon for parents to buy a playhouse for their children and hang onto it for their grandchildren to use as well. As long as it is well taken care of, your playhouse will probably be around longer than you will, and the memories too! It's a purchase that will be worth the cost tenfold.

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