Since the beach holiday your child would like to build sandcastles every day? With a sandpit, you can also fulfil this wish at home. Find out here what you should look out for when choosing this special play equipment.
In our sandpit test 2022, we present the best and latest models from the respective categories. We also give you important tips and tricks about hygiene in the sandpit. Whether it's a wooden or plastic sandpit, you'll find the best sandpits on the market here.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Sandpit: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a sandpit
- 4.1 Which sandpit designs are there and which is the right one for you?
- 4.2 When are sandboxes suitable for children?
- 4.3 When and why do I need a sandpit fleece?
- 4.4 How much sand do I need to fill my sandpit?
- 4.5 How deep should a sandpit be?
- 4.6 Do I need a sandpit cover?
- 4.7 Which wood is best suited for the wooden sandpit?
- 4.8 What does a sandpit cost?
- 5 Decision: What types of sandboxes are there and which is the right one for you?
- 6 Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate sandboxes
- 7 Facts worth knowing about sandboxes
- 7.1 Can I build my own wooden sandpit?
- 7.2 How do I make my wooden sandbox weatherproof?
- 7.3 How much does play sand cost and where can I buy it?
- 7.4 Which sand is the right one for the sandbox?
- 7.5 How often do I have to change the sand in the sandbox?
- 7.6 Where is the best location for my sandpit?
The most important facts
- A basic distinction is made between sandpits made of wood and sandboxes made of plastic. Sandpits made of both materials are available in a wide variety of designs, shapes and sizes.
- A sandpit made of plastic is light, quick to assemble and dismantle and can usually be transported without much effort. A wooden sandbox, on the other hand, looks good in a garden, is more stable and more environmentally friendly.
- When buying a sandbox, you should pay attention to the size, the construction, the depth of the sandbox and the weather resistance. The material is also the most important purchase criterion.
The Best Sandpit: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a sandpit
Which sandpit designs are there and which is the right one for you?
- Sandpit with playhouse
- Sandpit with roof
- Sandpit ship
- Sandpit shell
In the following, we will go into what each design is all about and what advantages and disadvantages they bring with them.
What is a sandpit with playhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A sandbox with a playhouse offers variety when playing. It stimulates your child's creativity and imagination and offers a dry place in rainy weather as well as a shady place in sunny weather.
The combination of a sandbox and a covered play corner makes your sandbox an all-round play experience.
The sandbox with playhouse is a real outdoor play equipment and ranges from the combination of a sandbox with a small hut to the multi-storey play tower with slide, swing, climbing wall and much more. Each model has its own individual advantages and disadvantages.
In general, a sandbox with a playhouse offers a shady, UV-protected place to play. It also offers your little ones a dry retreat to play in during rain showers. Many sandboxes with playhouses are available as kits. The construction is of course more time-consuming than that of normal sandboxes. A little manual skill and a few supporting hands are advantageous here.
Sandboxes with playhouses are almost always made of wood. It is therefore worth taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a wooden sandpit and how to weatherproof your wooden sandpit. So in addition to the advantages and disadvantages of a wooden sandpit, a sandpit with a playhouse comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
What is a sandpit with a roof and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A sandbox with a roof is ideal for you if your intended location for the sandbox is in the sun and thus offers the children no protection from the sun and its UV rays. Sandboxes with roofs are available from various manufacturers in both wood and plastic. The advantages and disadvantages of the two materials have already been discussed in detail here.
Whether made of plastic or wood, a sandbox with a roof offers one decisive advantage over a sandbox without a roof: shade! This is especially important for the little ones, as children's skin is particularly sensitive to UV radiation and sunburns and thus permanent damage to the skin can quickly occur.
Furthermore, a sandpit with a roof also offers a dry place when it rains and thus enables largely weather-independent play fun. If the sandbox is placed under a tree, the child is also protected from falling objects such as fallen fruit.
The fact that the roof of some sandboxes can also be used as a cover by cranking it down when not in use is another advantage. This kills two birds with one stone and saves you having to buy a separate sandbox cover. Some models offer the possibility to adjust the roof sideways individually.
This allows the roof to be perfectly adjusted to the height of the sun and the children can dig in the shade even when the sun is low. If this function is not provided, the roof may not cast any shade on the play area. The possibility for adults to sit next to the child on the bench is limited by the height of the roof.
When buying a sandpit with a roof, look for high-quality workmanship so that your children cannot crush their fingers.
If you have already bought a sandpit without a roof, you can also add a sun awning or gazebo to give your children a shady place to dig. You can also provide shade for your children by putting up a parasol.
What is a sandpit ship and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A sandpit ship promises fun for your little buccaneers well beyond the age of use of an ordinary sandpit. Whether a sandbox pirate ship, a sandbox Viking ship or a normal sandbox boat, a sandbox ship stands for adventure, creativity and pure fun.
Most sandpit ships are made of wood. However, there are also small sandpit ships made of plastic, but these tend to fall under the category of sandbox shells. From a small sandpit ship with a sail to a large pirate ship with a mast, sail, steering wheel, flag, cabin and much more, everything is possible here.
A large sandpit ship is ideal for fun children's birthday parties and offers enough space for several children. Most sandbox boats offer storage space in the top of the ship for the sand toys of the little ones.
Often on board a sandpit boat are sun sails that provide protection from the sun's UV rays. However, the protection is often not optimal and does not cast its shadow over the entire sandpit. Consequently, it is advisable to either place the sandpit boat in a shady spot such as under an eaves or the shade of a tree, or to additionally purchase a sun sail or gazebo for your sandpit.
What is a sandpit shell and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A sand shell is just the thing for you if you don't have a lot of space for a large sandbox and you still want to give your little ones relatively inexpensive fun digging in the sand A sandbox shell is a large plastic shell that is filled with sand and can be used as a sandbox.
Alternatively, the shell sandbox can also be filled with water and used as a paddling pool. The plastic bowl is called a shell sandbox because it is often shaped like a shell. However, it is now also available in various other shapes, such as frog, ladybird, boat or turtle.
Sand shells are usually very small and therefore ideal even for small gardens or terraces. The sand shell can even be placed on the balcony. Since the sand shell is a sandbox made of plastic, it comes with the advantages and disadvantages mentioned here.
When are sandboxes suitable for children?
However, at this age, a supervisor should always be present when playing in the sandpit. It is certainly a great experience to watch the little ones let the sand run through their fingers and to learn about the properties of sand.
With the different coloured sand figures such as shovels, ships, cars or other things, you can learn colours with your child in a playful way. This way, your child will have fun learning and playing!
It can happen that toddlers put sand in their mouths. They will quickly learn that the sand does not taste good. However, a few grains of sand will still end up in the mouth at first, but they will not harm the children. Manufacturers often state age restrictions of "from three years". However, this usually refers to screws or other small parts for the construction that could be swallowed.
The rules of the legislators are usually very strict here. From the age of three to four, children can also play in the sandbox largely without supervision. However, it does not hurt to keep an eye on the sandbox. You can find out more about choosing the right location in the next question.
When and why do I need a sandpit fleece?
Without a fleece, even a 50 cm layer of sand is not safe from weed growth. The proliferation of plants in the sandbox would inhibit the joy of playing.
In addition, a sandpit fleece is permeable to air and water, which allows water to drain away and prevents moisture from accumulating at the bottom. In addition, the fleece prevents creepy-crawlies and other ground vermin from quickly settling in the sandbox. The sandbox fleece is usually made of plastic and can be purchased either in garden and DIY shops or from various online shops.
How much sand do I need to fill my sandpit?
As already mentioned in the guide, this depends on the age and toys of your child. Depending on how deep you dig the sandbox, you can individually increase the depth of the sandbox. To fill a sand shell, it is recommended to buy three 25 kg bags of play sand. You will probably not need all three bags to fill the shell sandbox. The rest of the third bag can be used as a reserve.
Public sandboxes in particular often have a reputation for not being clean enough. Therefore, the sand should be changed every two years, especially on public playgrounds. However, this can often be a very expensive affair. That is why sand cleaning machines are a good way to reduce high costs.
How deep should a sandpit be?
For a toddler, a few centimetres (approx. 10 cm) of sand height are completely sufficient for sitting in the sand and playing with small moulds. The older the children get, the more the sand height becomes an important factor in terms of play fun. If the children already reach the bottom after digging 5 cm, digging, digging and shovelling is no fun.
Therefore, we recommend a digging depth (filling height) of at least 20 cm (better more) so that the little ones have enough sand to play with and can build big sand castles with deep trenches. However, the sandpit should not be too deep either, as it has already happened that small children have suffocated in holes. Therefore, we recommend a maximum digging depth of 60 cm.
Since the sandbox is to be the play centre in the garden for several years, it makes sense to design it attractively right from the start. To draw conclusions from the depth of the hole (sand height) to the depth of your sandbox, the following rule of thumb can be used: 2/3 of the sandbox should be filled with sand. If you decide on a sandpit depth of 10 cm, a sandpit height of 15 cm is optimal.
For models without a base, the depth of the sandpit can be increased individually by digging out the garden. Therefore, the depth of the sandpit is of secondary importance.
Do I need a sandpit cover?
Furthermore, the cover protects the sand from other contaminants such as leaves in autumn. A sandbox cover is often included in the delivery. If not, you can retrofit your sandbox cover or order one directly. These are available as tarpaulins in different sizes. They are often attached to the corners with rubber.
Such tarpaulins are waterproof, hard-wearing and can be folded up to save space. We recommend buying a sandpit cover to keep the sandpit clean for as long as possible. In addition, the covers are not very expensive and are available from about 10 pounds.
Which wood is best suited for the wooden sandpit?
Better, but more expensive, are larch, Douglas fir or robinia. These woods usually withstand the weather for at least 5 years. If you have several children and want to use the sandbox for years, we recommend that you use these types of wood. There are many different types of wood with which you can build your sandbox.
Even the markets that offer construction kits often have a wide range of variations. We will help you find the right type of wood for you. The most important information can be found in the following overview:
|Spruce||Not resistant to weathering / susceptible to wood rot||Low|
|Fir||Not resistant to weathering / susceptible to wood rot||Low|
|Pine||Not resistant to weathering / susceptible to wood rot||Low|
|Larch||Resistant to weathering for at least 5 years||Medium to High|
|Douglas fir||Resistant to weathering for at least 5 years||Medium to High|
|Robinia||Resistant to weathering for at least 5 years||Medium to High|
The wood should be untreated or boiler impregnated if possible. Other impregnations contain pollutants that are washed out by the rain and thus get into the sand. Since children often tend to put sand in their mouths, boards with other impregnation are unsuitable.
When buying a sandpit or wooden boards, take a close look at the surface of the wood. Splintering wood poses an increased risk of injury from splinters and should be avoided at all costs.
What does a sandpit cost?
For larger wooden sandboxes with special shapes and weatherproof woods, however, you have to dig deeper into your pocket. Sandboxes with a roof are available from 50 pounds. Here too, the price increases with the size of the sandbox, the material or the adjustability of the roof. Simple sandboxes with a playhouse are available for around 100 pounds.
For extravagant multi-storey playhouses or play towers with slides, swings, climbing walls and much more, the price can go into the high three-digit range up to the low four-digit range. A sandpit boat is available in a simple version for as little as 80 pounds. However, depending on the equipment and size of the boat, the prices increase.
You can buy a plastic sandbox for as little as 40 pounds. Depending on the size and features of the sandbox, it can go into the high double-digit to low triple-digit range. Sand shells are usually priced between 10 and 50 pounds.
|Wooden sandbox||From approx. £ 30|
|Sandbox with roof||From approx. £ 50|
|Sandbox with playhouse||From approx. £ 100|
|Sandbox ship||From approx. £ 80|
|Plastic sandbox||From approx. £ 40|
|Sand shell||Approx. £ 10 - 50|
In addition to the initial cost of a sandbox, there is the cost of the sand. There may also be costs for sandpit fleece, roof (or other sun protection) and or cover. Depending on whether these are included in the delivery or not.
Decision: What types of sandboxes are there and which is the right one for you?
In general, we divide sandboxes into two different types according to their materials:
- Wooden sandpit
- Sandpit made of plastic
Both materials have their individual advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you value most, either a wooden sandbox or a plastic sandbox is the right choice for you. In the following section, we would like to help you find out which material is best for your sandbox. To do this, we will first compare the two materials and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
What makes a wooden sandpit and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Wood is a natural product and usually looks very good in a garden. However, it also entails extra effort for construction, cleaning and maintenance. The wooden sandbox is the classic among sandboxes. Wooden sandboxes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
In addition to sandboxes made of square wood, there are also different variants made of round wood. A sandbox made of the natural product wood usually fits visually very well into the garden. With a coat of the same wood stain that is already used for existing garden furniture or garden houses, a harmonious image is created in the garden.
Wood is a naturally renewable resource, is biodegradable and therefore a very environmentally friendly material. Most wooden sandboxes include a comfortable and wide bench. With a wooden sandbox, minor injuries caused by wooden splinters or corners and edges cannot be ruled out. To reduce this risk, we recommend that you pay attention to good workmanship of the materials when buying.
Wood is also susceptible to weathering, can be attacked by pests, fade or absorb moisture. To prevent this, a wooden sandbox requires proper and regular care. With good care and quality, your wooden sandbox will last for many years. Choosing the right wood for your wooden sandbox also has a decisive impact on its weather resistance.
Wood is a heavy material and therefore requires a longer and more time-consuming construction.
What makes a plastic sandbox and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A plastic sandbox is light, quick to assemble and easy to maintain. However, as the name suggests, plastic is a man-made material and therefore difficult to biodegrade. When buying a plastic sandbox, make sure that it does not contain PVC. A plastic sandpit has several advantages.
For one thing, the material is very light. This not only facilitates the purchase of the sandbox, but also makes it easy to relocate a sandbox that has already been set up. The assembly of a plastic sandbox is very simple and can be done quickly by plugging or screwing the sandbox parts together.
A plastic sandbox is not as susceptible to weathering as a wooden sandbox and is therefore very durable. The usual fading of the colour due to sunlight does not occur with the newer and high-quality models.
The risk of injury for your little ones is very low and the sandbox is also very easy to maintain. Just wipe over the dirt with a damp cloth once and the sandbox will look like new again. In addition, a plastic sandbox is available in a wide variety of colours and shapes and can provide a great colour accent in your garden. However, the usually very bright colours of plastic are often a matter of taste.
Since plastic is a man-made material, it is not biodegradable and therefore not as environmentally friendly as a wooden sandbox. When buying a plastic sandbox, it is important to make sure that it does not contain PVC. PVC contains plasticisers and other substances that are classified as harmful to health. Plastics that are considered harmless are: Polyethylene, polypropylene or acetyl-butyl-styrene.
Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate sandboxes
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate sandboxes. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular sandbox is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:
- Sandpit size
- Depth of sandpit
- Sandpit with or without base
- Sandpit with or without cover
- Age recommendation
In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
We have already gone into detail about the two different main materials, wood and plastic, above. Nevertheless, we would like to point out once again that the material is probably the most important criterion when buying a sandbox.
Many decisive purchasing factors depend on the choice of material. If an environmentally friendly material that looks good in your garden is important to you, then a wooden sandbox is the right choice for you.
If, however, you attach more importance to easy care, quick and easy assembly and a weatherproof material, then a sandbox made of plastic is interesting for you. Another advantage of plastic sandboxes is that some of them (such as a sand shell) can also be used as a paddling pool.
The sandpit with playhouse, sandpit with roof, sandpit with ship and sandpit with shell have already been described in detail here. Before buying, you should familiarise yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of the different types to make sure you choose the right one.
A sandbox with a playhouse certainly offers the greatest possible variety for your little ones. In addition, they offer a place to retreat in bad weather and a shady spot in sunny weather. A shady spot is also provided by a sandbox with a roof. A sand shell is particularly suitable for you if you don't have much space for a sandbox and your children are still smaller. The shell can also be used as a paddling pool.
A sandpit ship provides creative play fun and also encourages slightly older children to play in the sandpit.
The right size depends above all on your living situation, the age and the number of children who are to play in the sandpit. How big the sandbox should be depends first of all on your living situation and the space available for a sandbox.
If space is limited, you may prefer a smaller sandbox (such as a sand shell) instead of a large wooden sandbox. If you have enough space for a sandbox in the garden or on the terrace, you should choose a sandbox that is not too small. If the sandbox is too small, the fun will be limited as soon as the children grow up.
Depth of the sandbox
The depth of a sandbox is a factor to consider, especially for sandboxes with a bottom. As already indicated above, the depth of the sandpit determines the fun of digging. For sandpits without a bottom, the digging depth can be increased individually by digging out the bottom.
This is not the case with sandpits with a base. For this reason, the depth of the sandpit must be taken into special consideration for sandpits with a base. For small children, a sandpit height of about 15 cm is completely sufficient.
To ensure that older children also have fun digging, digging and shovelling, the sandpit should be significantly deeper. Alternatively, a model without a bottom can be used.
Before the fun begins, most sandboxes have to be assembled. There are big differences between the various sandbox types in terms of simplicity and the time required for assembly. As a rule, sandboxes made of plastic come out on top. Sandboxes made of plastic are light and can be assembled quickly and easily by plugging or screwing the sandbox parts together.
Wooden sandboxes require a little more manual skill and time. Special shapes such as a sandpit ship or a sandpit with a playhouse take more time than a simple square wooden sandpit. Especially when assembling sandboxes with multi-storey play towers, a helping hand is an advantage.
|Type||Time required for assembly|
|Sand shell||Very low|
|Sandpit made of plastic||Low|
|Sandpit made of wood||Medium|
|Sandpit with roof||Medium to high|
|Sandpit ship||Medium to high|
|Sandpit with playhouse||High to very high|
The transportability of a sandbox depends very much on the material. Sandboxes made of plastic are lighter and therefore easier to transport. Sand shells are the most transportable due to their small size and light weight. Even when filled, it is usually still possible to move the sandbox with relatively little effort.
The bottom of a sandpit limits the depth of the digging and thus also the fun of digging. Therefore, we recommend the purchase of a sandbox without a bottom for older children. With a sandpit without a bottom, the depth can be extended as desired by digging out the garden.
This allows your little ones to have lots of fun digging in the sand and thus the possibility of digging deep trenches when building sand castles. The mixing of sand and soil is ensured by attaching a sandbox fleece. This also provides protection against weeds and crawling animals.
Due to the shallower depth of the burrows, we recommend sandboxes with bottoms rather for small children. They are also a good choice if you plan to install the sandbox on the terrace or balcony anyway.
Sandpit with or without cover
A cover for the sandpit has many advantages and is therefore more than just a "nice-to-have". This makes it a clear plus point in the purchase decision if a sandpit cover is already included in the scope of delivery.
A sandpit cover keeps the sand clean and protects against too much moisture. We recommend a sandpit cover for reasons of hygiene alone. It is therefore very practical if the cover is already included and you do not have to buy an additional cover.
The manufacturer's age recommendation should not play too big a role when choosing your sandbox. The age recommendation is usually set at 3 years because of easily swallowed small parts such as screws.
However, if an adult supervises the children, children can play in the sandbox as soon as they can sit upright on their own. However, it is important to consider the size of the sandbox, as smaller sandboxes (such as a sandbox shell) are more suitable for toddlers.
Since most sandboxes are intended to stand outside and last for a few years, it is especially important to pay attention to the weather resistance of the sandbox. If you don't want to take care of the weatherproofing of the sandbox yourself, a plastic sandbox is a good choice. Newer models are not only water-repellent, but also do not fade when exposed to sunlight.
Wooden sandboxes, on the other hand, require a little help with weather resistance, as without the right protection the wood will swell and rot over time.
Facts worth knowing about sandboxes
Can I build my own wooden sandpit?
Of course! With a little bit of time and craftsmanship, you can also build your wooden sandbox yourself. You can find numerous building instructions on the Internet, ranging from simple square sandboxes to more complicated shapes such as Viking ships.
You can easily find all the materials you need in a DIY store. In the next question you will find helpful information for deciding which wood you should use for your sand playground.
How do I make my wooden sandbox weatherproof?
The first step to a weatherproof wooden sandbox is to choose the right wood. In addition, the wood should be treated with an appropriate protection. If the wood has already been impregnated, make sure that it is a chrome-free pressure impregnation.
If the wood is untreated, it should be made weatherproof by applying a wood stain or water-based varnish. It is important to ensure that the stain and varnish are non-toxic.
The impregnation process must be repeated regularly, every two to three years.
How much does play sand cost and where can I buy it?
You can either order play sand conveniently on the Internet and have it delivered, or you can buy sandbox sand at your local hardware store. If you buy sand on the internet, you may have to pay high shipping costs.
It is also worth comparing the prices of offers with free shipping costs, as the shipping costs are often included in the prices. A 25-kilogram bag of play sand (equivalent to 20 litres in volume) is often available from DIY stores from 1.99 pounds. For filling larger sandboxes, there are often big bags with 750 to 1,000 kilograms of sand. Here the price point is around 50 pounds.
Which sand is the right one for the sandbox?
When filling the sandbox with sand, special play sand should be used. When filling the sandbox, it is important to use the right sand. It is important to emphasise that not all sand is the same. The sandbox sand should have the following properties:
- Dimensionally stable
- Free from dirt and pollutants
- Not too fine-grained (less than 0.06 mm), otherwise it will become dusty
- Easy to remove from clothing
- Quickly drains after rain
- Not too coarse-grained (over 2 mm), otherwise it could be sharp-edged
- Clay and dust free
- Easy to clean
Therefore, special play sand should be used when buying sand. This sand fulfils the above-mentioned properties and has the optimal grain size (0.06 to 2 millimetres). Only then is maximum fun guaranteed when building sand castles or baking sand cakes.
How often do I have to change the sand in the sandbox?
As a rule, the sandbox sand should be replaced or at least partially replaced with a new filling in spring. However, changing the sand can also be necessary earlier or later. This depends on the following factors:
- Location of the sandbox
- Is a sandpit cover used
- How often and how many children play in the sandbox
Where is the best location for my sandpit?
The best place is one that is protected from the wind, in view from the home and ideally in the shade of a large tree or a house. Plastic sandboxes are lightweight and can be moved around. This is somewhat more difficult with wooden sandboxes. Once a location has been chosen, it is difficult to move it.
Therefore, the choice of location is particularly important for wooden sandboxes. Sandboxes should ideally be placed in the shade of a large tree or house. Care should be taken not to place the sandbox directly under the tree. The fallen leaves or needles will soil the sand.
Especially fruit trees should be avoided, as the blossoms or later the fallen fruit attract many bees and wasps. If the sandbox is not shaded around the clock, a sunshade or a sun sail can help. You should always be able to keep an eye on the children in the sandpit from inside the house. Sufficient space for the lawn mower should also be considered. A possible extension of the sandpit with a slide or a swing should also be kept in mind.
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