How to buy the best trampoline
When choosing a trampoline that's best for your family, you'll want one that's the right size, won't be too difficult to put together, will be able to withstand the elements, and is safe for your children to use again and again.
How much do I need to spend on a trampoline?
Trampoline prices vary significantly, depending on the type and size you're after. Prices start from around £80 for a 6ft trampoline, up to £600 for a 14ft model. The brand Springfree is more expensive because of the design of its trampolines, which are made without springs, and the premium materials used. They range from £800 to about £2,000.
Because it's important to get a trampoline made from quality materials, it's worth doing some investigation and looking into reputable brands before you go for the cheapest option.
What size trampoline should I buy?
Trampolines come in standard sizes: 6ft, 8ft, 10ft, 12ft, 13ft and 14ft. The size options are different for Springfree trampolines. It's worth noting that the size tends to be measured by the diameter of the actual jumping surface, and excludes the surrounding springs and padding, so take that into account when measuring what size you can fit into your garden.
In a June 2020 survey of parents who owned a trampoline, the most popular size is 10ft, closely followed by 12ft.
Most popular size of trampoline
The other thing to note is that the wider the trampoline, the higher the netting and base tend to be.
What should I look for when buying a trampoline?
Trampolines will need to be able to withstand the elements, as they're permanently stationed outside. Here are some things to look out for:
Thickness of the padding
The surrounding padding that covers the springs helps to protect your children from getting caught in the springs or hitting themselves on hard metal.
The foam padding needs to be resilient in the rain. Open-cell foam will soak up water and rot, while closed-cell foam will retain its integrity for longer.
Quality of the PVC covering
The plastic covering needs to be resistant to UV light, as prolonged exposure to it could increase the risk of it perishing.
Quality of the metal frame
The trampoline base and frame will be constructed from hollow steel poles. The thicker the walls of the poles, the stronger they'll be – but they will also be heavy to carry and put together. Also, if the poles aren't galvanised both on the inside and outside walls, they will be susceptible to rusting.
Quality of the netting
The netting also needs to be able to withstand wind, rain, sun and children bouncing against it – so make sure it's made from strong and durable material.
Some trampolines have the net running along the outside of the spring padding, which leaves children more susceptible to hitting the springs or getting caught. Look for one where the net runs inside the perimeter of the padding to maximise protection from the metal parts of the trampoline.
Number of springs
The more springs there are on the trampoline, the bouncier it tends to be.
Spring-based vs Springfree trampolines
Springfree is a brand that manufactures trampolines with fibreglass rods instead of springs – see the image above. Springfree claims its trampolines are safer, as they eliminate the impact areas that can cause injury. It's also the only brand on the market endorsed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). However, they cost a significant amount more than regular spring-based trampolines.
Small indoor trampolines
According to RoSPA, full-sized trampolines are not suitable for children under the age of six. This is because children younger than that aren't sufficiently physically developed to control their bouncing.
Manufacturers and retailers make small indoor trampolines, some of which are designed as fitness equipment for adults, and some as trampolines for toddlers or young children. They usually measure less than a metre squared, and the kids' small trampolines may have a handle for your child to hold on to as they bounce.
Make sure you check the safety warnings for these trampolines before buying, as some are only suitable for children over the age of three years, while others are suitable to use from one year old. They're usually only a foot or two off the ground, but you should still monitor your child while they use it to reduce the risk of injury.
We don't recommend letting young children use fitness trampolines or trampettes, as many don't have a handle to hold on to, so your child may lose their balance when bouncing and hurt themselves.
In-ground vs above-ground trampolines
In-ground trampolines have their advantages: they take up less space than above-ground trampolines, are less of an eyesore in the garden, and may be safer as your child can't fall off.
However, they're labour intensive. You'll need to dig a big hole in the ground to fit it in – this may need to be as deep as 90cm for the widest trampolines. You'll also need to ensure proper drainage to prevent rusting and deterioration below the ground.
An above-ground trampoline is easier to set up and move around, and will be easier to maintain than an in-ground one, so is likely to last longer. However, it can take up a lot of space, and there's the potential for a child to fall or hit the framing.
How to safely set up, store and maintain a trampoline
Make sure you position your trampoline on soft ground, such as lawn or wood chippings. If that isn't possible, buy some extra shock absorbers for the base, and some crash matting to surround the trampoline.
Tie your trampoline down or use an anchoring kit for a larger model, so it doesn't get caught up in gusts of wind. This has the potential to cause significant damage.
With smaller trampolines, you can flip them upside down when not in use as a way of anchoring them. Using some sandbags to weigh down the upturned trampoline is also a good way of holding it in place.
If your trampoline is left outdoors, particularly during winter, think about where you position it, as the PVC plastic covering could degrade if it's left out in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
If you're unlikely to use the trampoline over the winter months, you may wish to remove the mat and springs and store them indoors. Some trampoline frames are made of galvanised steel to help reduce the risk of rust, but it's still worth getting a cover to keep it dry.
Remember to check your trampoline regularly. Look out for any wear and tear, sagging, stretching, and deterioration of the fabric or stitching. Lift up the foam spring cover to check the state of the springs, and whether any are beginning to rust. Take a look at the frame itself to see if it's become bent in any areas, or if the welds are beginning to weaken.
Most common trampoline faults and problems
Check your trampoline's warranty
As with any product you buy, we recommend looking into the warranty for your chosen trampoline. Commonly, the warranty is valid only if you have your trampoline positioned on a soft surface such as grass or woodchips, and not on a concrete patio.
Also check to see if your warranty covers your trampoline being caught up in high wind, as not all do. Some trampolines come with ground-anchor kits, which are worth using to prevent this.