Despite the immense technological advancements of our age including the development of children’s computer games, physical play remains a vital component of any child’s life. It is not a luxury, so let them play freely. But what about their safety?

Well, this is not a question of the paranoid mums only, it rings in the mind of every parent. And they’re all right! While a playground is a perfect place for children to have fun on a summer afternoon, it poses a significant risk of injuries, especially from falls. A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that about 60% of injuries sustained by children in the playgrounds are a result of falls to the ground.

Covering a playground with mulch is therefore critical in protecting children against the impact of their inevitable falls as they play. After evaluating all the available options of surfacing materials, we bring you a guide on the best mulch for the playground and we’re sure it will be helpful.


Product Name

Editor's Rating


Playsafer Rubber Mulch

5 out of 5 stars

Kidwise Playground Rubber Mulch

4.8 out of 5 stars

 NuPlay Rubber Nugget Mulch

4.7 out of 5 stars

Colored Bulk Rubber Mulch

4.5 out of 5 stars

RevTime Outdoor Rubber Tiles

4.4 out of 5 stars



Why Should You Buy the Best Mulch for Playground?


Are you still wondering whether it’s worth investing in a playground mulch? We got more than enough reasons to help you make a decisive move.



Generally, mulches unlike asphalt or concrete floors, provide a cushioning effect during any ground fall preventing or reducing the extent of injuries like concussions. Depending on the type of mulch, children are protected against the impact of falls from the height of 10-16 feet. Always remember to check out for the certified playground mulch to guarantee quality.


Environmental friendly

Playground mulches such as rubber mulch are usually generated from recycled materials which help reduce carbon footprint. Playground wood chips are by-products of the timber industry that are biodegradable and impose no harm on the environment.



The best rubber mulch for playground barely requires any maintenance and will serve you for years without losing its color or looks despite the weather conditions. As a result, you save money and time while giving your children a comfortable area for playing freely.



Finally, playground mulch will complement the looks of your compound whether it is a residential or a commercial play area. From synthetic turf to shredded wood, you have the freedom to select the mulch that perfectly matches your preference and enhances the aesthetics of your home.


Top 5 Best Mulch For Playground Review


1. Playsafer Rubber Mulch


As an IPEMA-certified product, Playsafer rubber mulch is by no means a mistake in this curated list of 5 top mulches for playgrounds. It guarantees a safe play area for children both in commercial and residential places. With this rubber mulch, a filling depth of just 3 inches is sufficient to offer the required impact attenuation in residential playgrounds.



Primary Features

All-weather friendly: Playsafer rubber mulch nuggets drain easily releasing excess water even after a heavy downpour. The surfacing material, therefore, dries quickly to ensure your children can resume playing as soon as possible. Even in extremely cold weather, the mulch does not freeze making it suitable for play at all times.

Easy Installation: Packed in 40-lb bags, the nuggets are made easier to apply with just one spread giving satisfactory results. Besides, the mulch does not harden or decompose and therefore does not require regular maintenance exercises of reapplication.

Durable and ecological: compared to the ordinary cheap mulch for playgrounds, the mulch nuggets will offer your children an extra six years of comfort and comfort without losing their original color. Its constituents are also made from recycled rubber with a metal content of less than 0.1 percent. The mulch is therefore totally eco-friendly.



  • Excellent shock absorbency
  • Ultra-low level of maintenance required
  • Lasts for nearly a decade before replacement is necessary
  • Drains quickly and does not absorb water which may lead to freezing.
  • Can be used for rock surfacing too.



  • Finding a replacement may be difficult depending on the region.


2. Kidwise Playground Rubber Mulch

Kidwise is a certified mulch for playgrounds as it meets the American Standards for Testing Materials (ASTM) guidelines making it safe for nearly all pediatric users.

Primary Features

Clean Play Area:
This rubber mulch provides a splinter-free surface, unlike wood chips that leave particles clinging to the children’s clothing as they play. This also reduces the risk of injuries that would be caused by splinters from shredded wood for instance.

Higher fall height rating: With a depth of 6 inches the mulch provides cushioning against the impact of a fall as high as 12 feet while a fall height of 5 feet is achieved by applying the mulch 3 inches deep. This is almost double the rating of other loose-fill surfacing materials.

Steel-free: Among the best mulch for a playground, Kidwise poses no threat to the environment as it is 99.9 percent free of steel. Its recycled content also makes it eco-friendlier since it helps reduce its carbon footprint.



  • Gives a clean area of play without splinters
  • Offers double fall height compared to other mulches.
  • Safe to the kids and environment
  • Gentle on the feet and skin in general




  • May discolor in extreme conditions
  • More bags may be needed to fill the play area for adequate impact reduction.

3. NuPlay Rubber Nugget Mulch

Available in five different fade-free colors, the Nuplay mulch is quite popular among landscapers. This is backed by the amazing features packed in these rubber nuggets making it a gold standard as the best rubber mulch for playgrounds.

Primary features


Long-lasting: The NuPlay rubber nuggets are heavy enough not to be blown away by either strong winds or leaf blowers. They will remain in place for years without requiring much maintenance. And the nuggets also come with a 12-year guarantee of color.


ASTM-certified: Tested and surpassed all the ASTM F3012 standards, this mulch is safe for kids, pets, and animals. It is also cold and heat-resistant retaining its features in some harsh conditions.


Eco-friendly: The mulch is made from entirely recycled old tires and is wire-free contributing to its safety to health and the environment. Also, the rubber nuggets repel bugs and do not support the growth of fungi or slime development.


  • Color guarantee for up to 12 years
  • Certified by American Standard for Testing Materials
  • Environmentally friendly being made from 100% recycled tires.
  • Provides adequate impact attenuation with as low as 2-inch mulch depth.
  • Does not support fungus growth or insect infestation.



  • Hydrophobic and can therefore take in water and freeze.
  • Costlier than other mulches such as wood chips


4. Colored Bulk Rubber Mulch

Whether you want to mulch your school, backyard, park district, or daycare center’s play area, this rubber mulch is a perfect choice. It offers adequate protection against falls due to tripping and from equipment alike.

Primary Features

Sustainability: Like other rubber mulches, the product is also made from recycled waste tires that are non-toxic to the environment, people, and animals.


Durability and aesthetics: Once you install the mulch, you can forget about it for nearly a decade before you think of a replacement. Its vibrant colors, available in up to 5 different shades, will also not fade despite the conditions.


Easy to install: As a DIYer, you can apply the mulch without the help of any professional. One ton is enough to cover an area of a playground measuring 14 x 14 inches when spread at the depth of 4 inches.


  • Low maintenance required saving time and money
  • Wire-free material that is non-hazardous to the environment and children
  • Multiple colors give freedom of choice for color preference
  • High durability lasting for up to 10 years

  • Quite expensive as it is bought together with the swing set.


5. RevTime Outdoor Rubber Tiles

The RevTime rubber tile measures 20 x 20 x 1 inches is designed for DIYers who want to fix their play areas, outdoor gym floors, and sports floors.

Primary features


Premium material: The tiles are made from high-quality rubber that is quite durable and does not wear. It’s also elastic enough to provide comfort even to the feet of those using the mulch.


Unique design: Built with a pole-connecting design, the tiles have plastic pegs which allow installation without the use of use adhesives in rarely used areas. As the material is elastic, the tile can be expanded limitlessly to increase the area of coverage without significantly compromising the stability.


Micro-porous: The granular rubber material has tiny pores that make the tile permeable to water and breathable. Consequently, it becomes a good anti-skid surface even in the rain.

The RevTime outdoor rubber tiles do not require any unusual cleaning and should any tile be damaged, they can be easily replaced without altering the looks.



  • High-density rubber material imparts ultra-durability
  • Thick, thereby providing adequate cushioning against any high impact activity
  • Straightforward installation that does not require a professional
  • Radiant color that complements modern backyard looks
  • Non-slip making them suitable for any outdoor use.

  • Fades over time depending on the frequency of use and general weather.
  • Does not blend well with the loose ground as unevenness may occur.


Best Mulch for Playground Frequentky Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What type of mulch is best for the playground?

A: Playground woodchips have been a popular surfacing material for decades. However, this material will soon harden and thin requiring regular maintenance to remain effective; which is all costly. Currently, rubber mulch coming in different textures and colors is the best mulch for the playground as it’s maintenance-free, IPEMA certified for safety, and greatly enhances looks.


Q: What is the difference between playground mulch and regular mulch?

A: Made from either rubber or woodchips, playground mulch is designed for use in play areas and other places like a dog run with the primary goal of providing safety. On the other hand, regular mulch is entirely organic and is meant for use in the garden or terraces. Prevention of water loss and growth of weeds are some of the reasons for installing regular.


Q: Does playground mulch attract bugs?

A: Typically, playground mulches are made from inorganic materials and are resistant to bug infestation, unlike the regular mulch that attracts various insects.


Q: How thick should playground mulch be?

A: The degree of impact attenuation not only varies from one playground mulch to another depending on the material but also on the depth of the mulch. Generally, mulch for playground should be between 3-6 inches deep.

Nonetheless, you can make it deeper to offer greater cushioning against falls especially if the play equipment is higher.


Q: How long does playground mulch last?

A: The lifespan of playground mulch is largely dependent on the type and the prevailing weather elements. Rubber for example, which is the best mulch for playgrounds, will last approximately a decade while playground woodchip although cheaper will last a maximum of 4 years as it is vulnerable to extreme weather effects.


Final Words

Currently, rubber mulches are the preferred surfacing materials for enhancing the safety of playgrounds.

But the market is also saturated with different brands of mulch making it quite cumbersome for ordinary consumers to select the appropriate material for their play areas or sporting floors.

However, with this list, we are confident that you find the best mulch for your playgrounds.

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