Complete Buyer’s Guide for Trampolines
I. The shape of the trampoline
II. The size of the trampoline
III. Which factors impact the bounce of a trampoline?
IV. Should I get a safety enclosure for my trampoline?
V. The bottom line
Playing on a trampoline conjures up the exhilarating feeling of soaring in the air. It has the amazing advantage of providing both lower and upper body exercise while having fun. You cannot forget the joy you get from a session on a trampoline and imagine having one in your backyard where you can jump any time you desire.
The challenge is in deciding which type and size of the trampoline to bring home. There are several shapes with varying benefits and applications and they come in different sizes which further complicates the purchasing process. Each trampoline model has various features to consider including price, size, bounce quality, frame strength, safety features, weight limits and many more features.
Trampolines vary in shapes from the traditional round shape, square, rectangular, oval and even hexagonal. It can be very difficult to know which to buy, how to know which one is better and can offer the benefits you are seeking. This guide has all you need to make the right purchasing decision and bring the best trampoline home to your family.
I. The shape of the trampoline
These can be best described as entry-level trampolines and are mostly used with an enclosure for the safety of small children and those just starting out with these play products. They are essentially outdoor playpen which brings great joy and exercise time for children and adults alike. Round trampolines are very common in domestic applications and are synonymous with the name trampoline. The springs work concertedly to produce a powerfully consistent bounce for optimum fun.
Due to their round shape, these trampoline types tend to draw users to the center even when they jump near the perimeter. This is caused by the natural action of the springs that line the outer perimeter of the trampoline. One can only maintain a balance when jumping at the center and nowhere else in the available surface. This sweet spot is located in an even distance from all the springs in the center of the jumping mat. They are ideal for a single user and are very safe since the nature of the bounce that draws the jumper to the center ensures one does not fall over the edge.
You may find it challenging to make a positive progression in your jump if you are not at the sweet spot. This advantage can become a serious disadvantage if you share the trampoline as it is not easy to share. This effect can get significantly amplified if the users are of different weights.
When purchasing a round trampoline, pay close attention to the maximum weight capacity of the frame and spring to avoid having to regularly replace the broken sections of your frame or extended springs. When used properly, the round trampoline is an excellent choice and has a more aesthetic appeal among other types.
| Pros of round trampolines
-Great starter & overall trampoline: Its shape makes it suited for various purposes. Since it does not produce a strong bounce like the rest, it is preferable as a starter trampoline. Beginners and children can get adequate practice on this. They are perfect for home use and are easy to assemble.
-Rebound toward center: The round trampoline rebounds towards the center hence a better jumping experience. Its shape causes each spring to stretch evenly to distribute the force evenly unlike the unevenness in rectangular types.
-Light weight: It is lightweight and easy to ship compared to the conventional models. One person can assemble it in the backyard or transport the trampoline to another location.
-Fair price: It is priced fairly since it requires less steel in its construction. Its entire frame absorbs the force from the jump, therefore, decreasing the amount of weight required to create a sturdy frame.
Cons of round trampolines
-Bounce: the bounce will never be as strong as with rectangular trampolines
The primary shape of professional trampolines is rectangle. They are also getting more and more popular with residential users due to the better safety when being used by multiple jumpers. Its four-sided design gives it a better bounce than the square and round types. The shorter width span gives it the necessary stability and an incredibly reliable reactive bounce while at the same time increasing the surface lengthwise to accommodate many jumpers. The rectangle trampoline delivers excellent consistency and control in bounce performance.
The rectangular trampoline is the primary type used by experts and gymnasts. In the earlier days, they only came in this shape. Why this shape is preferred is its powerful rebound and increased jumping height caused by the springs which act in the same direction.
This type allows users to achieve effortless bounce and is left to enjoy the jump longer. When used by multiple jumpers, there is a decreased risk of collision when using a rectangular type of the trampoline. Jumpers can comfortably jump on opposite ends without affecting one another since each end works on independent springs. Jumpers with significant weight variances can safely jump together, which is ideal when the whole family wants to jump and have fun together.
Pros of rectangular trampolines
-The best bounce: With the equal distribution of the force of each jump, the rectangular trampoline provides the opportunity to achieve optimum bounce, which is far better than the bounce compared to round types. The high bounce and jump that permits all types of stunts makes it the preferred choice for athletes and gymnasts.
-Thick construction: The rectangular trampoline has a thick steel construction that can withstand the rebound impact even when used by multiple heavy users. This heavy, sturdy construction gives the product a solid structure
-Fits your backyard: The rectangular shape makes it fit perfectly in the backyard corner and leave some space for other activities. Rectangular trampolines have an ordered appearance that makes it complement most of the shapes in any backyard. It takes up a small space in your available play area. Round types can only fit in certain areas, however, this one will fit in various spots around your backyard. This maximizes the available space and keeps it out of the way.
-Large jumping surface: The trampoline provides more space for the jumper to performs variations to the jump and other tricks. Its multiple bounce zones distributed across the jump mat gives it the superior bounce performance. A round type will only provide a single safe jumping area in the entire surface.
Cons of rectangular trampolines
-Higher Weight: due to the heavy structure, rectangular trampolines become too heavy and difficult to move around.
-Higher Price: The main drawback to the rectangular trampoline is the inability of the shape to effectively self- support it. This is however enhanced when the frame has strong springs and heavy reinforcement. They may be priced higher, but the rectangular types have a quality build that will give you value for your money.
-Uneven wear of frame: The force of impact on this trampoline is usually directed to specific points along its frame resulting in uneven wear of the frame.
-Harder to handle: Uneven weight distribution on the jump mat may result in unexpected rebound. This risk increase as the jumper moves closer to the edge or corner. This makes it a bit harder to handle and more suited for the professional or experienced jumper.
-Price: Due to their size and thicker material, rectangular trampolines come at a higher price point.
These trampolines usually have larger jumping surface due to their shape. This larger jump area, in addition to the long surface from end to end, makes it fun to play on and do more.
Ever since they became mainstream about ten years ago, the oval trampoline has made a significant impression. They are a hybrid between a rectangular and round trampoline and this gives it some advantages.
The surface is large and requires the jumper to make more effort to get a better bounce. The oval shape has some of its frames shaped differently, this means you should pay extra attention to the assembly instructions to get them correctly as directed. When you get it right, the jump experience that awaits you will be amazing.
A jumper cannot bounce along the elliptical edges of the trampoline as easily as they can on the edges of a round type. It is easy to bounce towards the center but not towards the edges. The experienced jumper who requires to specialize in some techniques will prefer this type of trampoline.
Pros of oval trampolines
-Jumping area: Rather than have a pull to the center like the round type, this one has two bouncing areas at each end. These two do not interfere with one another allowing multiple jumpers to play concurrently. If the two bouncers stray towards each other, the springs at each end will bounce them back to the individual bouncing centers. This design minimizes the risk of collision.
-Safety: A domestic application works best with a round or oval trampoline due to the enormous benefits and overall safety. This makes them very popular with children and family use. Multiple family members can play simultaneously without having to wait for one to finish.
These types have equal edged square sides and are mostly used by professional jumpers and experts. They provide a better bounce than a round type, but less than what the rectangle ones provide. As the surface of the square trampoline reduces so does the effectiveness of the bounce it produces. Due to the uneven wear of the material in the corners without providing a better bounce like the rectangular types, the square trampolines are getting more and more uncommon. Mostly they are preferred by gymnasts and athletes for a change in bounce experience.
This type of trampoline provides a middle ground between a round and rectangular trampoline. It provides an average bounce and construction quality. It has distinctive sides compared to the round type. This shape forms several reference points around the surface which significantly reduces the deflection jumpers experience when positioned off center like in the round types.
With this advantage, there will be an increase in control and fun experienced by the jumper. This means you do not have to spend lots of efforts balancing and minding the center when playing.
Conclusion - The best trampoline shape
Each trampoline shape plays a role in its performance, durability, safety and makes them suited for particular purposes. Some types are however best suited for certain groups of users than the others.
For those interested in gymnastics, the rectangular type will be the best shape to buy. They provide very high bounce and have a large jumping area that makes them suitable for a gymnast. The rectangular type is also best suited for multiple jumpers.
Those who have young kids and are not interested in the high bounce, consider an oval, round or square-shaped trampoline. The square and round types best suit single users while the oval one can be used by two jumpers at the same time. The oval and square shapes provide greater bouncing surface compared to the round one.
When the investment is considered, the round trampoline leads to cost efficiency. They are lightweight and budget-friendly and are suited for domestic use.
II. The size of the trampoline
Trampolines come in various sizes and this may further complicate the buying decision for you. Size is a major factor that determines the price and application of any trampoline. Other than the budget, many factors go into buying the right trampoline, however, with the best price size ratio, you can get whatever you desire for the available space and user age. A standard sized model may be too big for the space in your backyard and in some situations, it may be just right.
Trampolines come in various sizes to serve different purposes. They range from the smallest which measure 36 inches and is meant for three-year-old kids to the largest, Olympic sized trampolines measuring 17 feet. Now even oversize trampolines with up to 18 feet have entered the market. Indoor kids’ trampolines are available from 36, 38, 40, 48, 55 inches, 3 feet and 7 feet. The mini-trampolines or the mini rebounder is available in 32, 36, 38, 40, and 49 inches. The outdoor trampolines range from 6 feet which is the smallest to the largest which measure 18 feet.
ROUND TRAMPOLINE SIZES
8-10 foot: Any round trampoline measuring less than ten feet in diameter is suitable for if you have a small backyard area. If this is your chosen size, there are a few limitations you have to work with. The safety rules dictate that only one user should be on the trampoline, but it is possible this rule may be broken time and time again.
12 foot: Can be considered as a medium size for round trampolines. This size can allow you to break the one jumper rule with smaller kids while with teenage kids it might be too small for multiple jumpers to jump at the same time.
14+ foot: This falls under the big trampoline category and provides more flexibility to play but come at a higher price tag. This size requires a bigger backyard and it will make your home the place to go for kids in the neighborhood.
Conclusion: The bigger sized trampolines are much safer than the smaller ones as long as you follow the safety rules, even though it is never said. They provide the jumper with a large landing surface and reduces the chances of one landing on the frame, spring, or falling off the surface.
The large round trampolines are excellent for almost any age group and give the most return on investment. It still provides an excellent bounce to kids under ten without much effort so you do not have to worry if the kids are too small or if it is adults playing on the trampoline.
RECTANGULAR TRAMPOLINE SIZES
When shopping or a rectangular trampoline, you also need to consider the available space in your backyard. Buying one that is too big will be a disappointment to you.
When weight and age of the user is taken into consideration, rectangular trampolines are different. They have a firmer bounce compared to the round types. This makes them less favorable to little kids since they have to work harder to get a good bounce that brings the fun.
8x14 feet: starter size for rectangular types
9x15 feet: medium size
10 x 17 feet: this is the Olympic size trampoline suitable for kids over nine years. Younger kids may not exert adequate force to get the best bounce on this.
11x18 feet: oversize for an extreme bounce and performance.
MINI TRAMPOLINE SIZES
For younger kids, the best rectangular size is the mini trampoline. This is suitable for those under six years. Several brands make these for indoor and outdoor use and they are the perfect entry level trampoline for the little ones.
III. Which factors impact the bounce of a trampoline?
Without a bounce, a trampoline is not worth playing on. It is designed to produce a springy action for the fun and exhilaration when users jump on it. Apart from the shape, the main components that determine its bounciness are the springs and mat. Without these two there cannot be any bounce or rebound when you jump on the trampoline.
As mentioned before, the bounciest are the rectangular trampoline types, closely followed by the oval and square type, with round trampolines being the least bouncy ones. But there are more factors that influence the bounciness and a high quality round trampoline with a good mat and springs could be bouncier than a cheap or worn out rectangular trampoline.
The trampoline springs are designed to stretch and retract with every jump and still retain their shape even after extended use. After having assembled a new trampoline and it seems not to have the right bounce, do not worry, this is common. The springs are usually tighter initially but stretch over time to deliver the perfect bounce.
With technological advancement, so does the spring performance improve. Some trampolines use rod-based technology where fiberglass rods create a coiling action instead of a spring. This technology provides a softer bounce and a similar lifespan to the traditional types, however, they come at a higher price. These types are safer since they provide a generally safe bounce level and present no spring gaps like the spring types.
A great overall recommendation is to upgrade to higher quality springs when getting a spring replacement for the first time after a few years.
For the ultimate bounce, you need a professional-grade trampoline mat. The ones used by gymnasts have excellent bounce allowing them to perform aerial flips and other types of jumps. They have beds woven with less than six millimeters of nylon. These types can present a bounce of over 33 feet. If you are looking for an excellent bounce, consider the mat weave and quality.
If, however, you want a recreational trampoline for the backyard, the standards are not as high as the professional types but should still be easy to bounce on. These are commonly made from a polypropylene fabric that plays a remarkable bouncing role. The rectangular trampolines use more springs hence the additional bounce, however, round ones do not have as many as similar sized rectangular one.
THE JUMPER’S WEIGHT
Don’t forget the jumper’s weight! Other than the spring and mat, you also play a part in the bounce. The size of the jumper is important no matter the equipment type used. A kid weighing just a few pounds will not cause serious bounce hence the light springs on their trampolines. Someone with a large body or older than 13 years will have adequate weight to generate significant bounce even on a large trampoline.
IV. Should I get a safety enclosure for my trampoline?
Whenever you want kids or beginners to use the trampoline, it is recommended that you put the safety enclosure!
Playing on a trampoline brings lots of joy but it needs to be used with great care. It makes sense to put a safety feature around the trampoline to protect the jumper from falling off and onto the ground. When you have a sense of security, you will enjoy the jump more. The safety net enclosure around the boundary will keep the user safe in case he goes close to the boundary of the surface. The net pushes the user back to the center to play safely. Those with children value the safety feature especially when they want to leave the kids to play unsupervised in the backyard. Any enclosure can always be taken off later on if needed, which is often done by more experienced jumpers after a few years of practice.
A safety net of inferior quality may serve the purpose for a while but is a safety risk as it may contribute to more injuries. This material may wear out faster than claimed by the manufacturer and tear without warning resulting in a dangerous fall onto the ground.
V. The bottom line
Each trampoline model is designed for a different purpose and age group. It beats logic to buy a professional trampoline for beginners or small kids. Please always make sure to follow the age recommendations for trampolines to avoid injuries.
Most trampoline manufacturers make various models and sizes to suit various age groups and uses. Some are made with a greater surface for a better bounce while some models have many springs to provide better rebound. These design features are considered when recommending specific models to age groups. Professional users require trampolines with extreme rebound. These types are, however, not recommended for home use due to the extreme levels of risk they carry for the amateur.
As you choose the right trampoline, there are factors to consider. The space available in your backyard is the first thing you should look into. The number of jumpers who will sue it is the other factor. If you just have one kid, smaller models will be suitable but give the allowance of the kid playing with a friend. You may have to consider a trampoline meant for four kids even though you only have one.
You should also take into account their age which also determines their average weight. For a durable product that will last many years, a larger round trampoline will be the best choice as long as you have space.
The shape of the trampoline will depend on your preferences. The budget, space and intended use will all dictate the shape of the trampoline you bring home. Just make sure to check the safety features of the product, its durability, and go through reviews before settling on one.