The Best Trampoline for Kids – Buying Guide
Trampolines are an excellent way to ensure your kids don’t spend all their time on their video games and get some exercise outdoors. A trampoline allows your children to play with other kids, further enhance their motor skills, and promote physical health. Unfortunately, when shopping for a trampoline, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should be looking for to provide a safe and fun environment for your kids. Numerous features, brands, and models can present a dizzying array of choices when looking for the perfect trampoline. Below, we have outlined some of the most important aspects of a trampoline you should be aware of before making your purchase. These characteristics are integral in ensuring your kid’s next or first trampoline provides a safe and enduring place to have some fun outside of the house.
Size and Weight Capacity
One of the most important decisions you will make when picking out your next trampoline is the desired size and weight capacity. As your children grow, they will need plenty of room to maneuver and practice their increasingly complex acrobatics. Neighborhood kids, friends, or siblings will also be participating, so it is usually best to account for this and make sure the trampoline is large enough to support the number of potential jumpers. For most, 15’ trampolines are simply too large for younger children to fully enjoy. They often may not weigh enough to get a good bounce. Usually, the 8’ – 12’ versions are best, depending on the age of your kids. Teenagers usually require trampolines 12 feet or larger and a higher weight capacity.
The weight capacity is integral in determining how many jumpers should be using the trampoline at the same time. Young children can often have multiple jumpers due to their low weight. Remember to limit the number of jumpers to safe levels, regardless of total weight. Most trampoline’s weight capacities will be fine for children in this age range. Depending on the number of participants and their age, 220 lbs weight limit should work for most families. Higher weight capacities are usually needed for those that anticipate multiple jumpers around the teenager range.
As is always the case, safety is your primary concern for anything regarding your children. Finding the best trampoline for your kids is no different. Today’s trampolines offer numerous features to help protect the safety of your little ones. Some of these features include safety padding for the springs, enclosure nets, and ladders. Most trampoline manufacturers also include their own “special” safety enhancements. The safety netting is almost a necessity for children to prevent accidents from occurring by falling off the trampoline while jumping. The spring padding is also an excellent way to prevent spring-related injuries. Some manufacturers also offer a type of no-gap technology that eliminates gaps between the jumping mat and spring padding to provide further protection. Overall, ensure you are aware of the safety features inherent in the trampoline you are thinking about buying. A safety net and spring padding are essential in providing as much protection as possible to young children.
Check the Frame
An excellent trampoline should guarantee stability and durability. You don’t want to be buying one trampoline after another. The frame should be made of durable, sturdy, and thick metal. You can often find frames that are constructed using galvanized steel that helps to withstand the elements and reduce rust. Although most don’t, ensure that there are no sharp edges on the frame that could harm jumpers that may get a little out of control during their jump. Naturally, kids are curious, and so anything around the trampoline will always be within their reach.
Response to Weather
This is another factor that you should consider when you are buying a trampoline for your kids. If you intend to have it used outdoor, then you must be aware of the materials used in construction. Generally, the material should be weather resistant. It should not react to water or respond negatively to UV rays. Most trampoline mats and nets are designed to withstand prolonged period of exposure to rain, cold, and heat to extend their lifetime. The trampoline’s metal parts should be made of steel or galvanized steel so that it does not rust. Even if you are planning to use it indoors, you should still consider a weather-resistant material as they are often more durable than the non-weather resistant kind.
A bounce strong enough for your kids to have fun is the primary requirement when purchasing a new trampoline. The bounce comes from the springs or the fiberglass rods fitted on the floor of the trampoline (for the springless models). The firmer the mat, the less flexibility you have to get those super high bounces. For kids, this may be desired, depending on their age. If you kids are a little older, such as teenagers, higher bounces may be just the thing you need. On the flip side, if the mat is too flexible, it will not have enough rigidity to propel the jumper high into the air. It is imperative to find the right ratio of weight capacity to maximize the bounce. Too much weight will hinder the bounce and performance. Too little weight will not provide enough force to propel the jumpers up.
While you may want to, you don’t have to carry your kids to test it before you buy. You can determine what type of bounce will be provided by inspecting the spring length. For the most part, shorter springs will deteriorate quickly over time due to the constant stretching. Longer springs provide a stronger bounce and last for an extended period when compared to the shorter versions.
One more thing to be aware of with trampolines is that they become more flexible over time. If your trampoline has a very firm feel to it immediately after setup, it may be that it needs to be “broken in” a bit before you can get the best performance. Some models can take as long as 6 months to fully break-in and get the full extension of the mat’s bounce.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will my trampoline last?
Trampolines are built to last for a long time, depending on the level of care the owner takes. To help prolong the life of your trampoline, remember to keep it out of direct sunlight as much as possible. The sun will damage the mat, enclosure, and spring pads over time. If you have a rain cover, use it to further prevent the mat and soft materials from deteriorating. These are the parts that are most commonly replaced and should be cared for gently. Most quality trampoline frames and springs are made of galvanized steel to help reduce or eliminate damaging rust. Therefore, you can expect these parts to last for many years.
Which trampolines are the safest for my kids?
While trampolines take certain precautions to promote safety such as safety enclosures, spring padding, and safety certifications, it is ultimately how the trampoline is used that determines the levels of safety. First, ensure that the trampoline being used is age-appropriate. Most large trampolines are intended for children ages 6 and up. Secondly, make sure that the trampoline is set up correctly. One of the fastest ways to an injury is improper assembly. Amazon offers setup and installation for most of the products available with them. Another tip is to ensure that the correct number of jumpers are using the trampoline simultaneously. Too many jumpers could exceed the weight capacity or cause injury. Finally, ensure you are using a safety net enclosure and spring padding. This is sometimes provided, depending on the model of trampoline you purchase. If not, you can purchase these separately.
What are trampolines made of?
Trampolines consist of a metal frame, metal springs, and polypropylene or canvas mat. The frame usually consists of 4-6 legs of heavy-gauge metal that is commonly made of galvanized steel. The springs, which supply the bounce, can consist of numerous materials, depending on the trampoline. For standard trampolines, expect them to consist of galvanized steel, similar to the frame. Other trampoline springs may be made up of straps or even fiberglass rods (springless trampolines). If you need to replace the springs, make sure that they are the proper length, as they come in various sizes. Finally, the mat is commonly made up of a waterproof polypropylene or canvas material. A good mat will be protected from UV rays and will feel smooth under your feet. Stitching is usually protected, but it will eventually degrade, and the mat will need to be replaced.
Trampolines are an excellent way to get your kids out of the house to play with their friends and exercise at the same time. Before you buy a trampoline, make sure that you are aware of everything that should go into the purchasing decision such as safety concerns, materials being used, performance (bounce), features you need, and durability. Checking off the criteria for each of these ensures that you are buying the best possible product to keep your kids happy, fit, and safe. Happy trampolining!