The Best Trampoline To Buy [UPDATED]
Here's our comprehensive guide to help navigate the purchasing decision, with our picks for the best trampolines to buy. In addition to classic outdoor trampolines, we're including recommendations for indoor models that are great for kids, and also for those who want a sturdy, reliable little trampoline for exercise.
the best trampoline to buy
You can find plenty of cheap full-size outdoor trampolines (10' and up in diameter) sold online in the range of $200 to $300. But if you're buying a basic low-price trampoline, you shouldn't expect it to be the safest or longest-lasting product. Cheaper trampolines are notorious for being shipped with missing parts, or with factory-made screws or poles that are bent or that don't quite fit during assembly. They're also lightweight and prone to wobbling when people are bouncing or the wind picks up. And the materials used tend to be lower quality, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when the mat or safety netting shows signs of wear and tear after a winter or two.
If you want a trampoline that's as safe as possible and will have a long lifespan, it's best to pay more than the bare minimum. Good outdoor trampolines, which generally run $500 and up, feature heavy-duty rustproof steel frames (typically galvanized with a layer of zinc), lots of strong springs for a nice, consistent bounce, plenty of padding over the springs and frame poles, and a tough safety netting around the bounce area. It's particularly important to get a higher-quality, more durable trampoline if you live in an area with lots of wet weather or long, cold winters, assuming you plan to keep the trampoline outside year-round (which is what most people do).
In most cases, though, jumpers get the best bounce in a relatively small spot at the center of a round trampoline. Jumpers are also nudged toward the center of a round trampoline every time they bounce.
If you like the idea of getting a more consistent bounce spread throughout the trampoline, consider an oval or rectangular model. Bear in mind that non-circular trampolines are usually a bit more expensive, especially when you're buying a high-quality model.
Confusing things further, trampolines usually advise that they should be used by only one jumper at a time. What's more, some people may not want the highest weight limit possible. Why? Trampolines with substantial weight limits feature stronger, thicker springs, which require a fair amount of weight to depress and use for bouncing. That means it can be very difficult for kids and lightweight people in general to get a good bounce off of them.
Some trampolines come with soft basketball hoops, which can add to the fun, as well as a ladder to help with getting in and getting out of the trampoline. Stakes or anchors might be included, and you may or may not need them depending on the trampoline design and how it sits in your yard. Any accessories or extras that aren't included in the main price can usually be purchased separately.
When the time comes to assemble your trampoline, be sure to have two or three people handy to help out. Read the instructions carefully and patiently, and take your time. Many problems with trampolines stem from a mistake during assembly, like a spring that was attached incorrectly.
And if you're the type who isn't good with assembly or gets frustrated with such projects easily, it's wise to look into outsourcing the job to a pro. You can search for a general handyman or trampoline assembler in your area at sites like HomeAdvisor, or by posting on Facebook or Craigslist.
When things do go wrong, it's key that the company offer good, responsive customer service. You can look into comments on trampoline manufacturer social media accounts to see how quickly (or slowly) they are to respond to questions and complaints. Another way to get a sense of a company's service is simply calling up and asking questions. If no one answers or gets back to you, or if the agent you speak with is rude or clueless, those obviously aren't good signs.
We're not going to lie: Trampolines can be dangerous. Some of the most common trampoline injuries that send kids to the emergency room, according to the Mayo Clinic, are broken bones in the wrist, radius or ulna, as it's natural to try to brace yourself if you're falling. Trampoline accidents can also result in fractures in the ribs, sternum and even the head.
What can you do to make trampolines safer? For one thing, be sure to use a safety net. That alone may cut the rate of fractures in half, the Mayo Clinic estimates. Also, while this may seem like it's killing the fun, it's best to allow only one person to bounce at a time, because many injuries occur due to collisions between jumpers. "A significant mismatch in size and weight, such as a teen and a toddler, is especially dangerous," the Mayo Clinic says.
Finally, take care of your trampoline. Make sure it's built correctly, and inspect it periodically for wear and tear. Tighten up bolts and make other adjustments as needed. Trampolines are usually left outside in the sun and cold for years, and even the strongest materials and designs can dilapidate over time.
And then there are the situations in which trampolines are simply not covered at all by a homeowners insurance policy. If that's the case, the homeowner would be entirely responsible for costs of any injuries or damages related to a trampoline on the property. The insurance company could also use the presence of a trampoline as a reason for not renewing the policy.
Again, the rules and insurance consequences of having a trampoline on your property can vary widely. So before buying one it's wise to look into your particular situation to see how a trampoline would impact your home insurance.
Most trampoline springs extend straight between the frame and the bouncing mat, creating a fairly small spot at the center that's optimal for jumping. Many Berg trampolines, including those in its Champion line, are different. They utilize more springs than a typical trampoline, and they attach diagonally in a "V" shape between the mat and frame. The result is a better, more consistent bounce, with a larger area on the mat that's perfect for jumping.
As you'd hope in a pricey brand, Netherlands-based Berg doesn't skimp when it comes to materials and design. The company's trampolines incorporate rustproof springs and a sturdy steel frame that's powder-coated and galvanized with solid zinc to withstand all weather conditions. They also come with thick padding (nearly 1") covering the springs that's encased in a UV-resistant material, plus a thick layer of foam padding around all of the safety net poles. There are even fiberglass poles (covered in padding, of course) looping around the top of the 7' high safety net, which is very unusual for trampolines and provides additional stability and safety.
We like Happy Trampoline, based in California, because the brand puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to the strength and durability of its products, offering a lifetime warranty on its trampoline frames and springs. There's a 2-year warranty on the mats, nets and spring covers as well.
Happy Trampoline's products, which come in a variety of round and rectangular shapes and sizes, have over 100 heavy-duty galvanized and rustproof springs, as well as thick steel frames that are galvanized inside and out. As a result, the company's trampolines are capable of handling an above-average maximum weight of 550 pounds.
With such a high weight limit, these trampolines can easily handle adult jumpers. In fact, one complaint some users have lodged is that the mats and coils are so strong and stiff that kids and smaller jumpers are too light to get a good bounce.
It's also notable that some reviewers complain about the quality and durability of some of Happy Trampoline's parts. Nets and mats have been known to get tiny tears in them after a year or so, the zippers at the entrance have broken, and the ladder's hooks can bend, making it unusable. In some cases, users say bolts were missing or slightly off in size when their trampolines arrived.
Before buying a Jumpflex trampoline, take note of a few potential hiccups. One is that shipping typically costs extra ($49), even if you're ordering via Amazon and you're a Prime member. Another source of confusion for customers has been that Jumpflex trampolines are shipped in multiple boxes, and sometimes the boxes arrive on different days. The good thing is that Jumpflex customer service has a strong reputation for being fair and responsive.
When you buy a cheap trampoline, you get just that: a cheap trampoline. It shouldn't come as a surprise when it arrives and the assembly instructions are mystifying or parts are missing or don't fit just right. Or when, soon after it's assembled, nets or mats tear or frame poles bend. The point is: Buyer beware when it comes to ordering a low-price trampoline from an unknown brand, with a warranty that doesn't offer much help if and when there are problems.
All that said, a cheap basic trampoline may be a good fit if all you're looking for is some inexpensive short-lived fun for a younger child, and you're not particularly worried about durability or the fact you may have to hit the hardware store for DIY fixes. Just be sure to look closely at the one- and two-star reviews of any trampoline before you buy, to know what you're getting yourself into.
Skywalker also makes smaller and even less expensive trampolines. We've seen an 8' Skywalker model that comes with a net and soft basketball hoop starting at under $200. A trampoline like this would really only be good for small kids, mind you.
Skywalker says its products meet all international safety standards for trampolines, and it offers a 3-year warranty on the frame and a 1-year warranty on the parts. The Skywalker gets an overall 4.6-star rating at Amazon, based on nearly 5,000 reviews. Among the complaints from reviewers are that it is lighter and less sturdy than one might hope, so it's prone to wobbling and may feel unsafe with a lot of weight bouncing on the mat. (The maximum recommended user weight is 200 pounds.) Some buyers have also been upset that assembly was very difficult because the instructions were confusing or parts were missing, bent or didn't line up properly. 041b061a72