Buying a trampoline is a pretty big investment. And like anything else, they’re available at a wide variety of prices. Ideally, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck while still getting a safe trampoline that will last a long time, and will stay bouncy throughout its life. But the search for the perfect trampoline isn’t all that easy, which is why a guide can help. So read on to learn everything you need to consider when buying a trampoline.
From shapes, sizes, the best brands, and the latest in safety features, we’ve got you covered with this trampoline buying guide. We’ll also discuss in-ground vs traditional trampolines. Plus, we’ll touch on the increasingly popular Spring-Free trampolines you may have seen advertised.
First, let’s start with the shape.
Which Trampoline Shape is Right for You?
There are four main trampoline shapes on the market: Round, square, rectangular, and oval. Round is the most popular, but it has its drawbacks — especially if multiple people are jumping at the same time. Let’s take a look at each.
Round trampolines are very popular for backyards. The round shape means that all the springs around the trampoline work equally on every jump. This also means that people tend to move toward the center as they jump. For one person, this isn’t an issue. For two people, it’s pretty easy to keep apart. But any more than two can cause collisions on the trampoline.
Square trampolines, although less common than round ones for backyards, are fairly common in jumping gyms and gymnastics arenas. They allow for jumpers to stay in place more easily and are ideal for single jumpers.
Rectangular trampolines are even more common than square ones in gymnastics. They’re used by people who want to do tricks, as the rectangular shape allows for more control when bouncing and landing.
Since these trampolines allow for more control, they’re ideal for use with multiple jumpers, as it means that the jumpers won’t easily collide. They offer a large surface area in which people can do flips and other tricks.
Oval trampolines give the best of both worlds, combining the evenly distributed force of a circular trampoline with the jumping area of a rectangular trampoline. These can help jumpers stay in place better than a circular trampoline, and they allow for room for tricks and flips.
Best Trampoline Shape?
There’s a reason round trampolines are so popular. There are many more options on the market for round trampolines than any other. This means that you can find a quality round trampoline significantly cheaper than any of these other shapes.
However, if you plan on having three or more jumpers on the trampoline at once, or you have an aspiring gymnast in the family, you may want to spend the extra money to get a rectangular or oval trampoline.
The springs on round and oval trampolines tend to wear down evenly, whereas springs on square and rectangular trampolines wear down unevenly.
Trampoline Size and Weight Limits
Now that we’ve covered shapes, let’s talk about sizes and weight limits, as these two categories often go hand-in-hand.
There are a few different common sizes for each shape. Let’s look at them to give you an idea of what’s available:
Common Round Trampoline Sizes and Weight Limits:
- 8 to 10 feet – 150 to 200 lbs.
- 12 feet – 250 to 350 lbs.
- 14 feet – 350 to 400 lbs.
- 15 feet – 400 to 450 lbs.
Common Square Trampoline Sizes and Weight Limits
- 12 feet – 250 to 300 lbs.
- 13 feet – 275 to 325 lbs.
- 14 feet – 325 to 375 lbs.
- 15 feet – 350 to 400 lbs.
Common Rectangular Trampoline Sizes and Weight Limits
- 14 feet – 300 to 350 lbs.
- 15 feet – 350 to 400 lbs.
- 16 feet – 400 to 450 lbs.
- 17 feet – 450 to 500 lbs.
Common Oval Trampoline Sizes and Weight Limits
- 15 feet – ~200 lbs.
- 16 feet – 200 to 250 lbs.
- 17 feet – 250 to 300 lbs.
These are just common sizes and their corresponding weight limits. You must be clear on the exact weight limit on the trampoline you end up choosing before you buy it. Some trampoline makers use lighter materials for the frame and springs to make a more affordable trampoline. These often have lighter weight limits than other, more heavy-duty trampolines.
Determining the Right Size and Weight Limit for You
When thinking about the right size and weight limit, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions to determine the correct trampoline for your needs.
How Much Space Can You Spare?
This may be the most important question you ask yourself. After all, if you don’t have enough space for your trampoline, it won’t matter how many people plan on using it or what the weight limit is. You definitely don’t want your trampoline crammed up near other structures or items in the yard.
When considering how much space you’ll need, keep in mind that there should be at least four to six feet of clearance all around the trampoline. This is essential for the safety of the jumpers — even if you plan on having an enclosure net.
You’ll also want the ground to be level and even, and not over a septic tank or a septic drain field.
Once you know the maximum amount of space you have to spare, you can move on to the next question.
How Many People Will Use It?
It’s best to think in terms of the maximum number of people that are likely to use the trampoline at the same time. Think about you, your kids, and any neighbor kids that may want to jump on it. While it’s important that kids have adult supervision while they jump, there are times when kids will surely invade the trampoline. If that’s only a few kids, then you won’t need to worry much about size and weight limits.
However, if you think the trampoline will see a lot of use from a lot of different kids, you’ll probably want to go big, getting a trampoline that’s as large as you can safely fit and one that allows the maximum amount of weight you can find within your price range.
And if you want to make for a relatively safe experience, you may opt for a rectangular or oval trampoline to prevent (as much as possible) any collisions that are more likely to happen on a round trampoline.
In-Ground, Traditional, or Spring-Free?
Once you have a size and weight limit in mind, you’ll also want to consider the type of trampoline you want. You have a few options here: traditional, in-ground, and springless.
Traditional trampolines are the most common type. They sit on legs atop the ground, usually have an enclosure net, and often come with some type of ladder so people can get on. These are the most widely available and cost-effective trampolines. They’re also easy to move when compared to in-ground trampolines.
You’ve probably seen pictures of these trampolines. They look great once installed in a large hole in the ground, and they provide a slightly safer experience since people don’t have far to fall if they leave the trampoline’s surface. However, they tend to be several times more expensive than traditional trampolines when you factor in installation. Read my article for more on In-Ground trampolines.
These trampolines are exactly what they sound like. Instead of springs, they use a series of bendable rods that provide bounce. This system eliminates the need for springs around the trampoline, which is an added safety feature, as there’s no chance someone’s leg or arm will get tangled up in the springs. These are a bit more expensive than traditional trampolines but, according to the manufacturers, they last longer.
Which Type of Trampoline is Best?
Given the modern enclosure nets available for traditional trampolines today, there’s not much use in getting an in-ground or a spring-free trampoline unless you really want one. Traditional trampolines are often cheaper than their newer counterparts. The added safety you may get from a spring-free or in-ground trampoline isn’t that much more beneficial than a good enclosure net on a traditional trampoline.
What Features Do You Want?
Okay, now you should have a good idea of the type, shape, and size of trampoline you want. With those in mind, it’s time to think about the features you want. First, let’s cover safety features.
The most basic safety features available today are the enclosure net (available for all types) and the spring pads (available for in-ground and traditional). Most trampolines come with these included, but not all of them do, so it’s important to make sure you know what does and doesn’t come with any trampoline you choose.
You can often also get additional safety features, like reinforced stitching for the safety net and a ladder to make it easier for people to get on and off the trampoline.
If you live in a place that sees a lot of rain and/or snow, you may want to upgrade the trampoline’s jumping mat and springs, if possible. While all outdoor trampolines are technically built to withstand the elements, they do make “waterproof” mats that are reinforced to hold up in wet climates.
The same can be said for springs. Not all springs are built to withstand heavy moisture or salt-water air. Buying heavy-duty, weather-resistant springs can help you ensure you don’t have rusty springs in a couple of years.
There are plenty of fun features you can add to your trampoline. Some of the most common include:
- Basketball Hoop and Ball
- Attachable Sprinklers
- LED Lights
- Trampoline Party Lights
Injuries and Liability
With safety enclosures, pads, and proper precautions, trampolines can be pretty safe. But none of that takes away the fact that kids (and adults) are likely to get hurt while they’re jumping around. For this reason, it’s good to check with your insurance agent to see if your homeowner’s insurance covers your trampoline.
If not, you may be able to get an umbrella policy that covers the trampoline in case someone gets injured. For a more in-depth look at this subject, read my article on trampolines and homeowner’s insurance.
Most trampoline injuries are fairly minor (provided you have an enclosure net), but it’s still a good idea to follow all of the manufacturer’s safety and care instructions. Also, adult supervision is always a good idea when kids are using the trampoline.
Other Things to Consider
There are a few other things you may be curious about, which I’ll cover in this section.
Trampolines Are Excellent for Exercise
Trampolines aren’t just fun, they’re also good for exercise. This is one of the main reasons parents purchase a trampoline for their kids. It gets them out of the house and helps promote exercise. Studies show that jumping on a trampoline is actually better than jogging for burning calories. This type of exercise also promotes cardiovascular health, improves blood flow, and strengthens bones.
Trampolines and Winter
Many people are hesitant to get a trampoline because they’re worried they’ll need to take it down in the winter. While this may be true for some trampolines, the vast majority of them can stay up during the winter.
Of course, if you want to increase your trampoline’s lifespan, you’ll want to take some basic winter precautions, such as using a trampoline cover, removing snow that gathers on the trampoline, and making sure it’s anchored down. This is especially important if you live in a place with extremely wet or snowy winters.
Trampolines last an average of 6 to 9 years. With proper maintenance, you can get your trampoline to last even longer. However, it’s important to consider that your trampoline will wear down quicker if you live in an especially wet climate or you live near a coastline where salt in the air tends to wreak havoc on anything left outdoors.
This wouldn’t be a trampoline buying guide if I didn’t recommend a trampoline or two for you. The best overall trampoline is characterized by a combination of desirable factors, such as budget, ratings, construction, accessories, and weight capacity. With that in mind, I’ve put together a handy table with the best trampolines for each shape.
Once you know what to look for, it’s pretty easy to locate a good trampoline for your needs. Taking into account things like weight limits, size, shape, durability, and safety features is really all it takes. Thinking about how many people will be enjoying the trampoline and what kind of weather you experience where you live will help you make the most informed choice possible.
I hope this trampoline buying guide has helped you determine what trampoline is best for you and your family. They’re tons of fun and excellent for exercise!