If you’ve shopped around for trampolines, you’ve probably noticed that most models have their weight limit advertised upfront or printed in the product specifications. It’s only natural to wonder how this figure was arrived at – some people are even inclined to view it as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. But weight limits do matter, not just for safety but for getting your money’s worth out of your trampoline – and it pays to understand why.
So, in this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about trampoline weight limits.
Factors That Determine a Trampoline’s Weight Limit
Firstly, it’s helpful to understand why a given trampoline has the weight limit that it does. There are a few key factors that go into this equation: namely, the size and shape of the trampoline, and the quality and durability of its frame, springs, and mat.
The size of a trampoline is a major determinant of the amount of weight it can handle. In general, the bigger the trampoline, the higher its weight capacity will be – but this isn’t true in all cases. It will largely depend on the brand and quality of materials.
The shape of the trampoline can also play a part in how much weight it can hold. In most cases, rectangular trampolines tend to have higher weight limits than square or round ones. This is mainly because of the way weight is distributed among the springs on each bounce, with fewer springs being engaged on a rectangular model than on a round one, depending on where the jumper lands. But again, this depends on the specific model – some round trampolines have extremely high weight limits despite all their springs being engaged on every bounce.
Most trampoline frames are made from durable galvanized steel tubing and are designed to handle a whole lot of weight. But not all frames are created equal. The trampoline’s weight capacity will be partly determined by the thickness of the tubing and how well the frame is reinforced.
The springs on a trampoline bear the brunt of the weight as well as the bounce force, making them one of the most important aspects of a trampoline’s weight limit. Like the frame, most springs are made from galvanized steel. Spring weight capacity is ultimately a function of thickness and length, which is why different styles of trampolines are designed with different types of springs.
In general, the longer the spring and the thinner its coils, the more bounce it will provide but the lower its weight capacity will be. So a large trampoline with a high weight limit will typically have springs that are long but also extra-thick and tightly coiled to be able to handle the load.
Trampoline mats (aka jumping pads) are typically made from a polypropylene or nylon weave. The density of the weave and the overall quality of the mat are directly related to the trampoline’s weight capacity – too much weight, in combination with bounce force, will cause the mat to stretch and wear out faster than normal, so high-limit trampolines tend to have very durable, well-made mats.
How Much Weight Can a Trampoline Really Hold?
How much weight a trampoline can hold depends on its size and the specific model – but in general, trampoline weight limits usually range from around 150lbs. (smaller models) to around 450lbs. (larger models). However, weight limits aren’t always an exact measure of the trampoline’s total capacity.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the weight limit describes the maximum weight of the person or people jumping on the trampoline, not the total weight it can hold in general. A trampoline’s maximum static load rating is typically around 3 to 4 times higher than its listed weight limit.
That’s not to say that it’s a good idea to set up a couch on your trampoline – leaving a significant amount of weight on it will still wear out the mat and springs over time – but if you and a few other full-grown adults want to pile on and do some stargazing (not jumping), you’re probably in the clear.
Trampoline weight limits exist for two main reasons – the safety of the users and the longevity of the trampoline itself. In other words, the limit is there to help prevent damage that may result in an injury – or an unsatisfied customer. But not all manufacturers share the same level of concern.
Naturally, a higher weight limit is a major selling point for many consumers, so some manufacturers may market their trampolines as having a weight limit just within the bounds of safety standards. Other brands may err on the side of caution and list a slightly lower weight limit than their product is actually rated for, providing an extra safety margin.
Related Article: How Much Weight Can a Trampoline Hold? (With REAL Examples)
Why Are Trampoline Weight Limits So Low?
Trampoline weight limits tend to be low due to the inherent limitations of the materials used (particularly in terms of the springs and mat). Most trampolines are also not designed to accommodate multiple adults. Manufacturers set limits low enough to ensure safety and prevent undue wear & tear.
While it may seem that the weight limits on some trampolines are unnecessarily low, the limit is ultimately there for the safety of everyone who uses it. In some cases, the weight limit may be low not only to prevent damaging the trampoline but also to restrict the number of people using it at one time, which can prevent head collisions or other injuries due to overcrowding.
Even manufacturers of commercial and gymnastic-level trampolines, which have some of the highest weight limits of all, can only go so far without compromising safety or failing to meet quality standards.
What Happens If You Exceed the Weight Limit On a Trampoline?
The consequences of exceeding your trampoline’s weight limit can range from relatively minor to extremely dangerous, depending on how much you exceed it. In some cases, it may result in a serious injury, while in others it may simply cause your trampoline to wear out and deteriorate faster.
If you go over your trampoline’s weight limit by 10 pounds or so, it will probably have little to no effect on the trampoline or its safety (again, many companies lowball the weight limit to create some extra breathing room). But going way over the limit (100 pounds or more) is asking for trouble. We’ve all seen clips of someone jumping on a trampoline that’s way too small for them – how many of them ended well?
Going over the weight limit can damage the trampoline in several ways, both gradual and immediate. The mat can rip, springs can snap or fly off, the frame can bend or collapse, etc. Any of these scenarios can cause serious injuries and leave you with a broken trampoline. To top things off, most warranties are voided if the recommended weight limit is exceeded.
Trampolines are already considered somewhat risky without overshooting the weight capacity. So for the sake of safety and extending the lifespan of your trampoline, it’s always best to stay under the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit. And when shopping for a trampoline, you’ll want to consider who all will be using it and whether the weight limit will suit your needs long-term, as your kids get older and go through their growth spurts – or as you find yourself wanting to blow off some steam with a good bounce!