So, you are interested in buying a trampoline. Well trampolines can be great fun for the whole family.
While young kids under 3 should not jump on big trampolines, there is still options with smaller indoor ones. If your kids are between 4 and 10 you can move to a larger outdoor trampoline of around 12 feet.
Older kids and adults still like to jump too, so that is when the even bigger 15 feet ones should be considered. Those make the best family trampoline. Visit our best kids trampoline buying guide for details and buying options.
Why would older people want to jump though? Well outside of being fun, trampolines offer excellent cardio work out.
They also allow great muscle building opportunities, especially in the legs and core. You have to propel yourself upwards somehow, right? You can read more about the health benefits in our trampoline exercises article and check our rebounder selection in our best mini trampoline buying guide.
Another area that trampolines are used a lot is in gymnastics. While jumping on a trampoline you may be able to perform certain moves, such as a backflip, that you haven’t mastered from a flat surface yet. The recommended trampolines for gymnastics and tricks are rectangle trampolines. You can find our selection of rectangular trampoline on our best rectangle trampoline guide. We cover the best trampoline brands: Springfree, Skywalker and Pure Fun.
Now that you know the basic benefits of jumping on trampolines and general age recommendations, what else should be considered?
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a trampoline. First thing that most people will worry about is budget, but this should really probably be factored into the decision closer to the end.
You really should consider who is going to be using it and specifics about the trampoline. Things such as the jumpers weight, area where the trampoline is going to be set up at, material that the trampoline is made out of, the trampoline size and shape, and the list goes even farther, should be the first things considered.
The rest of this buying guide will go into detail and cover these things and much more.
The most important thing to consider when buying a trampoline is the area it is going to be set up in. The area must be flat, so as to insure maximum stability. Soft grass is the best surface for this area for multiple reasons. The obvious one is if you accidentally fall off, which you shouldn’t since you should have an enclosure, then you don’t get hurt as badly.
The more important reason to set it up on soft grass is this protects the frame from any shock it may get from recoil. You don’t want your frame bouncing against concrete or a hard surface if for some reason it wiggles a little while jumping.
The next important thing to consider about the location of placing the trampoline is the amount of space in the area. You should have a minimum of 24 feet of overhead clearance. You should also have at least 6 feet of horizontal clearance on all sides of the trampoline.
It is important to have space around the trampoline clear, even with an enclosure, again to protect from accidents. This is also true for in ground trampolines.
So now that you know how to find the right space you have to determine the right trampoline size to purchase. As has been mention age is a factor in determining this, as well as if the jumper is still going to be growing. If the child is below three they have small indoor trampolines that are only a few feet wide and only a few inches off the ground. These are great start for kids learning to jump, and will help the child have strong legs.
If the child is older though or you have multiple children you should consider a big trampoline. Weight is also a factor, but generally that comes in with build quality, which we will consider later. Trampolines are measured by frame diameter. This means if you purchase a 12 foot trampoline that it is 12 feet from the edge of one side of the frame to the other. The size is not the same as jumping area. In our 12 foot example the jumping area may only be 11 feet wide.
Most trampolines for adults can hold up to 200 lbs. But the best rated trampolines can hold even more.
Another key factor on jumping area is the shape of the trampoline. The shape affects more than just jumping area, but that is a key thing it effects with relation to size. Round trampolines, which are the most common, have an equal amount of jumping area in all directions.
An oval on the other hand has a longer side to side jumping area, but similar other properties to the round trampoline. Square trampolines on the other hand have more jumping area compared to the round one of the same size. This is due to standard geometry. They also have more corner to corner jumping area.
The last shape you may run into is rectangle. Rectangles have more jumping area then a similar oval trampoline, while still having the same benefit of longer side to side jumping area. Rectangle trampolines also have more even bounce across the surface, so they are preferred by gymnast. If you are wanting a trampoline for gymnastics, then a rectangle one should be highly considered.
Now that you know how to pick a location for your trampoline and how to figure out what size to get, and that you know what the different shapes effect, especially when dealing with size and jump area, we can now discuss the parts and different material they are made of. A trampoline is relatively simple. The main parts consist of the frame and legs, the springs, and the jump mat.
Starting with the frame and legs, the frame is in the shape that you have already picked out, but can affect the number of legs. Generally there are four to six legs evenly spaced. This is important because it provides the best stability. Legs can come in either U or W shape. The shape of the leg can affect stability and normally the W is more stable than the U due to the fact that arches are stronger shapes.
Also, the more poles the frame and legs have, the more stable it is, and this also effects the trampoline weight limit. One important thing to consider about the frame, outside of the diameter, is the frame height. For younger jumpers you want a frame lower to the ground.
The next part to consider is the springs. Trampolines can have a varying number of springs and this will play an effect on how high you can bounce. Also, it will effect stability and can factor into the trampoline weight limit.
Material, which will be talked about soon, will also affect the trampoline weight limit. Galvanized steel can generally hold more weight. The larger diameter the trampoline is, the more springs it should have. The more springs means you will have more even bounce, so this will distribute the weight better. Also, the more springs should help you get higher bounces, as the jump mat will have more tension.
The last main part is the jump mat. The jump mat is generally black and is the thing you are jumping on. It is normally woven together, and it is important to get one with a tight weave. This is important because it prevents fingers or toes from getting caught in it. It is also important to have a tight weave because outside of the material it is made of, it is what contributes to durability.
A tighter weave will generally last longer because things will not get caught in it, and there will be more individual fibers handling the force of the bouncing. Also, it is important to find a jump mat made of a material that is UV resistant, which will help it last longer because it will be protected from the sun fading it, or damaging the fibers.
So now that we know about the main three parts of the frame and legs, the springs, and the jump mat, we can cover the material that they can be made out of. The frame and legs you normally have one of two options. You can purchase one made of galvanized steel, or you can get one of powder coated steel.
The advantages to a powder coated steel is you can get the color you want. Also, they are normally a little bit lighter weight wise, which makes assembly easier. The downside is that the powder coating can, and will wear off, which exposes the steel to rust. For this reason we recommend the galvanized steel option. They are stronger which leads to better stability. Also, since the galvanized steel is made specially, it cannot rust due to the chemical scientific properties of the metal. The springs are normally galvanized steel so they will not rust.
Most trampolines also come with a few other things besides the three main parts. One of these is a simple spring cover. This protects you from getting fingers and toes caught in the springs and getting pinched. Also, it is an added bit of protection. Like the jump mat, it is important to try to get one with built in UV protection to help the spring cover last longer. The spring cover comes in a variety of colors, so you can get one that matches your preference.
Another common thing that most trampolines come with, or can be purchased for your trampoline is an enclosure. An enclosure is a key part to help ensure maximum safety. The trampoline enclosure is a net that goes all around the trampoline. The safest trampolines are the ones with enclosure.
They attach in different manners. Some attach on the outside, so the springs are inside the enclosure. Others however attach closer to the jumping mat, so the springs are not in the enclosure. People have varying opinions on which is better.
Those extra concerned about preventing pinching by the springs will probably want to get one that attaches, so the springs are on the outside, but due to the spring cover this may not be one hundred percent needed as long as you have an enclosure.
Outside of where the enclosure attaches, they also attach in different manners. Some attach with straight poles, others with arches, and a third option is one solid top ring. The straight pole method comes with straight poles that generally have a padding cover that goes over them.
The poles are spaced evenly around the trampoline and attach to the frame. Then the net part of the enclosure is hooked on to the poles so it is help up straight. The arch method is similar, but instead the poles are curved. This makes the enclosure a bit more stable, so if a jumper accidentally jumps into it, it should hold them better.
Lastly the solid ring method has one solid ring at the top and bottom that the net hooks on to. The advantage to this method is there are not poles spaced around that a jumper may run into. The solid ring also may look better visually to some people.
Outside of those two common accessories there are many others you can get for your trampoline for various reason. Some add an extra safety benefit while others are just for some additional fun. Some that help with safety are a ladder.
If you have smaller children, but a larger trampoline than a ladder is a helpful accessory. It hooks to the side of the trampoline, so the jumper can climb up easily to begin jumping. Getting on easily is important because by having the ladder it prevents the need for the person climbing on to grab at the spring area or spring cover to get up onto the trampoline. This will help ensure even more that fingers do not get pinched.
Another accessory type item that is mainly for safety is an anchor kit. An anchor kit is similar to your tent stakes, if you are familiar with camping. The stacks have a string that go around the legs and then hook into the ground. If you live in a windy area, then it is a really good idea to get a trampoline anchor kit. This will keep your trampoline grounded while jumping, so no one gets hurt. It will also keep your trampoline on the ground in your backyard instead of finding it blown over to the neighbor’s yard, and finding it damaged. You want to protect your investment as much as you can.
Speaking of protecting your investment, another additional item that can be purchased is a waterproof trampoline cover. If you get a galvanized steel frame one, then it already has some protection, but the jumping mat and spring cover is not protected very well from rain, and especially snow.
In winter months you should take all the trampoline down, except you can leave the galvanized steel frame up. A powder coated frame however should also be taken down in the winter. For none snowing times, you still want a waterproof trampoline cover to keep rain off. This is extra important to keep parts from rusting and it keeps the jumping mat from deteriorating. It is not hard to remove the weather cover when it comes time to jump, and it is important to protect your investment, so it last as long as possible.
As for some fun items you can purchase to use with your trampoline you can get an item known as a bouncing board. It is a board that hooks onto your feet like a snowboard does. You then jump with it and can do different trampoline tricks. You can pretend that you are Shawn White snowboarding.
You can also get a basketball hoop for trampoline. It hooks onto the side and either comes with its own pole that hooks or, it can hook on to one of the poles for the enclosure. Having a trampoline with basketball goal will allow anyone to fly high and dunk the ball in style.
Another fun item you can get is a trampoline tent cover. This is a cloth material that is exactly like a tent, but it hooks on the top of your trampoline. This is fun because then you can camp in your backyard. It has the added benefit of you are sleeping on a soft flat surface off the ground, so you get better sleep then in a normal camping situation. It also keeps you dry, so the morning dew doesn’t get on you and your blankets if you think you can sleep on your trampoline without a tent accessory.
We already covered maintenance some with how important it is to take your trampoline down if it is snowing. Also, we mentioned getting a weather cover to protect the rest of the trampoline from the rain and sun.
Other maintenance things is you should inspect it regularly and if you notice any parts rusting, then get replacement parts. It is important when choosing a trampoline that gives you the ability to just buy the few parts you need.
Also in the maintenance area is that you should only jump in bare feet. Shoes will damage the jumping mat and jumping in socks could lead to injuries since they are slick and you may fall. You can purchase shoe storage shelfs, so shoes do not get lost or are not tripping hazards laying all around the trampoline, and so they don’t end up under the trampoline.
While jumping nothing should ever be under the trampoline to ensure safety. Shoe storage containers are also really helpful if your jumping area is indoors, such as a gymnastic facility. One last aspect of maintenance and preventing damage to your trampoline is you should stay off the padded edges as much as possible. I know when getting onto the trampoline you have to cross over the springs, but the edge is not designed to be sit on. Sitting on the trampoline can bend and damage the frame.
Now some people may have fear when purchasing a trampoline that you will get something pinch in the springs. As long as you follow proper use this should not happen. It is very important to use the spring cover to keep them from being exposed. Also, it is important to have a ladder to climb on, so jumpers are not grabbing onto the springs to get up.
Another time when you might think of getting pinched is assembly. This issue has been solved though with a spring tool. You hook the spring into the hole on the trampoline where it goes, then connect it to the tool and use the tool to pull the spring to the part on the frame where it connects. This keeps your fingers back, and if any slipping occurs your fingers are out of the way. If that is still a concerned to you then, they do have spring less trampolines now.
The spring less trampolines have the jumping area connected to the base vertical with evenly spaced thinner pieces of metal, at an angle. When you jump the top layer compresses downwards, and then springs back up when it gets to the bottom.
So reading this far, you are now a lot more informed then when you first started reading this guide, and you are probably saying you still have not talked about budget. Well the answer to budget is buy the best you can afford. Getting a trampoline of top material and build quality is important because your investment will last longer.
Some things that affect cost outside of the material is the size and shape. The round trampolines tend to cost less because they are the most common produced. Also, the smaller the trampoline the cheaper, so if you want to save a little money, and now you don’t need the benefits of a larger trampoline then you can get a smaller one. Budget however should not be the determining factor. You can find good trampolines in all price ranges. Read our how much do trampolines cost guide for more information on trampoline prices.
Instead of being worried about trampoline prices when buying you need to focus on first who is going to be jumping on it. Then you need to consider the amount of space you have to figure out the best size and shape to get for your area.
After you know the size you need, you need to consider the material, and build quality. Once you got the trampoline picked out, you can add on other accessories to increases the fun or protection of the trampoline and safety. Following these simple steps, will help your trampoline buying experience go smoothly and you will be able to have fun bouncing for years and getting exercise at the same time.