Buying a garden trampoline? Follow these top 10 trampoline buying tips and you will find the right trampoline for you and your children that will give years of fun.
1. If I buy a trampoline, will it get used or ignored?
We find all parents are surprised once they have bought a trampoline just how much use it gets and we hear time and again them saying, “..the trampoline was the best thing we have ever bought for our children – they are on it every day”. These are the comments after just a week and also after several years.
2. Should I buy a circular or rectangular trampoline?
Circular trampolines are most common for use in the garden as they are less powerful than the rectangular trampolines which are used by experienced gymnasts. The circular trampolines naturally direct the jumper to the centre of the trampoline mat so making them safer. For most children it would be too dangerous for them to use a rectangular trampoline at home without constant expert supervision for them and their friends.
3. Does size matter?
Make sure you know how much room the trampoline will take up in the garden. Round trampolines sold in the UK have a size measured in feet which refers to the diameter (or overall width from the very outside of the frame, across the centre, to outside of frame the other side). Sizes can range from as small as 6ft up to a whopping 16ft. You will also need to allow approximately 18 inches around the trampoline to allow room for the enclosure net to flex when a user falls against it. The best site in your garden for your new trampoline will ideally be fairly level and free from overhanging cables and branches. Why not measure and lay rope out on your lawn to get an idea of the space it will take up before you buy a trampoline online to avoid a surprise when it arrives. It is always a good idea to get the biggest trampoline with enclosure that will fit and also that the budget will afford. Don’t forget – most adults love to be big kids and will definitely want to use the trampoline as well!
4. How long will they last?
Many modern trampolines are built to last and last and come with warranties of 5 years or so. With that in mind, don’t just choose a trampoline which is big enough for your child to use now – pick one that will still be ideal for your child to use in years to come. It will save you having to buy a bigger one after a couple of years.
5. How do I choose which supplier to use?
A trampoline package will be large and heavy so most people will not have a car big enough to collect one and take it home from a shop. The majority of trampolines are therefore home delivered by a mail order or internet supplier. You should pick one that specialises in trampolines as they can advise you on choice of trampoline, installation and ongoing product support will be invaluable. They will also hold a stock of parts and accessories that you may require in the future. Try phoning them to see how much they know about their own models. Some suppliers sell many different products and could well be selling something else next year just when you are in need of a spare part or an accessory. Find out how long they have been selling trampolines.
6. What features of the product should I look out for?
Frame – the frame of the trampoline is about the most important part, these are usually made of galvanised steel (a process that coats the metal against rust) and better quality ones will have the galvanised protection both on the inside and outside of the tubing. Frames that are powder-coated might be cheaper but provide much less protection against rust. The weakest part of the frame can be where the circular ring joins the uprights. On most trampolines this is a welded joint but these welds can be of poor quality and even good quality welds may crack in time and render the trampoline useless. Atlantic Trampolines, for example, use a patented T-joint for their trampolines which avoids the need for a weld and the difficulties that can result from this method of construction.
Bounce mat and Spring Padding – the bounce mat needs to be strong and hard wearing. It also needs to be smooth when a jumper falls against it with their bare skin. Better trampolines use a mat made of Permatron Polypropylene which is also UV resistant and will stand up to years of exposure to direct sunlight. The spring padding is also exposed to bright sunlight and the PE material used by many manufacturers will crack after a year or so of use. Atlantic Trampolines, for example, use Polyester on the top surface of their spring padding which provides a much longer life span.
Number of springs – manufacturers will normally state how many springs they use for each size of trampoline they sell. Larger trampolines will have more springs than smaller ones. However, when comparing similar size trampolines from different manufacturers the one with the most springs is not necessarily the best or most powerful. The number of springs needed for the optimum bounce is related to the weight of the user. A large number of springs can make it very hard or impossible for a young child to bounce. If in doubt ask your supplier’s advice.
Weight limit – most trampolines will specify a maximum safe weight limit. A weight limit of around 100kg (16 stone) should be ample for most families.
7. What accessories should I consider buying?
Safety enclosure – always pick a trampoline set that includes a safety enclosure. No matter what age the users are, or how careful they are, you can be sure that without one fitted there will be an accidental fall from the trampoline. If an enclosure is not fitted you will also have to allow extra space around the trampoline in case of falls. There are many different designs of safety enclosure on the market. As long as there is good safety padding over the springs then a net that secures on the outside of the trampoline circular frame is ideal. This will maximise the usable space inside and an adventurous somersaulter will not be hindered by a net located inside the springs.
Ladder – a trampoline ladder is essential as it allows easy access for older but especially younger children. They are also less likely to jump off the trampoline and risk an injury. If you have very young children you can stop them accessing the trampoline when you are not present by taking the ladder away. We recommend a ladder that has flat steps rather than tubular steps as these can be uncomfortable for children to use without shoes on. Some suppliers will automatically include a ladder with the trampoline but others will sell it as an extra item.
Weather cover – an all weather trampoline cover goes over the trampoline mat and protects it from leaves and bird droppings. It will usually have a hole in the centre to allow water to pass through.
Anchor Kit – a trampoline anchor kit is essential if you are leaving your trampoline out in the garden all year round. Although the trampoline is a heavy piece of equipment we have seen them lift off the ground, even in small gardens, where they have the potential to get damaged or cause damage to your house and other property. An anchor kit helps keep the trampoline secure to the ground during windy weather.
8. I’ve seen pictures of trampoline tents, what are they all about?
Special trampoline tents have been designed to sit like a dome on the trampoline and fold down like the roof on a convertible car so the user can bounce or use the tent with ease. Tents can provide a useful all-weather play area for younger children and protect them from strong sunlight. For older children they offer the flexibility to turn the trampoline into a den or space for a sleepover. Whatever reason they are bought for, it means the trampoline can be used in all weathers and at all stages of the year!
9. What about delivery?
When comparing prices of products online, don’t forget to check what the delivery charge would be. Some retailers add a fixed delivery price, some charge extra based on the weight of the packages and some even offer free delivery. Delivery of the product to your home will normally be during the working week but some will offer Saturday delivery for an additional payment. The product is heavy and the driver might require assistance. Make sure there is somewhere safe and undercover to store it until you are ready to put the trampoline together.
10. What if I need to know more?
If you are unsure about anything, ring or email the retailer and ask. It will help to clarify your point and will also give you a chance to see how well they know their products and if you feel you can buy from them with confidence.