You have your swing set all picked out, customized perfectly, and now you are considering a mulch pit. You see that we offer both wood mulch and rubber mulch. Which is better? Should you get one over the other?

This blog post will discuss the differences between wood mulch and rubber mulch to help you make an informed decision. We will tackle major points, so skim until you reach the one you are curious about!


Wood mulch is significantly less expensive than rubber mulch. As you read through, you will see why so I won’t go into much detail right now. Simply put, wood mulch doesn’t require as much upfront cost, but rubber mulch is the better long-term investment.

Fall Protection

Rubber mulch beats wood mulch when directly compared at the same depth. For many commercial applications, you need nearly twice the amount of wood mulch as rubber mulch for the same fall protection. The superior fall protection is why most people choose rubber mulch over wood mulch.


It is important to replace loose playground surfacing to maintain your fall protection. Rubber mulch doesn’t biodegrade, so your replenishment rate is much lower than wood. Wood mulch biodegrades, so you have to keep a watch on your depths to keep up your fall protection.


Wood mulch is a natural product, and rubber mulch is made from recycled materials. If you need to get rid of the mulch, wood mulch biodegrades, making it easy to dispose of, while rubber mulch is a bit trickier as you actually have to bag it and trash it. Both are non-toxic. Both are safe for your kids and pets.


While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, rubber mulch does come in several color options. This allows you to match the color of your slides or swings if you desire. Wood mulch is natural, helping it to blend into a wooded environment.


Rubber mulch is the better product for discouraging insects. Wood mulch can attract insects due to the moisture and nutrients in the wood. Rubber mulch would be the way to go if you have a high insect population around your home.


Aside from replenishing the mulch, both types have similar maintenance levels. You need to keep it spread evenly throughout the playground site. Wood chips compress a bit more than rubber mulch, so if one has the advantage here, it would be rubber mulch.


While both have a layer of weed guard laid down to kill the weeds and grass, rubber mulch is better at preventing other weeds. As wood mulch biodegrades, weed seeds can find their way into the mulch, and if conditions are right, they can grow. Rubber mulch doesn’t provide the environment for weeds to grow.

Want some more info? Check out this playground surfacing guide here!

Adding a mulch bed under your playset can be a significant investment. We are here to answer any questions about rubber or wood mulch, and we want you to be fully informed.