Most people faced with buying a garden trampoline for the first time find a confusing array of products on the market. The following 10 tips will help you find the right trampoline for you and your children. We find most people are surprised once they have bought a trampoline just how much use it gets and we hear time and again parents saying, “…the trampoline was the best thing we have ever bought for our children – they are on it nearly every day”.
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 the inexperienced trampolinist. 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.
What size trampoline should I buy?
Round trampolines supplied in the UK have a size measured in feet being the diameter of the trampoline measured from the very outside edge of the frame across the centre to the opposite outside edge. The smallest is around 6ft and the largest around 15ft. We recommend you get the largest size that you can fit in your garden and that you can afford. As your children grow they will want a bigger bouncing area. Although use of a trampoline should be limited to one at a time, children will want to play on it with their friends and a bigger trampoline gives them more room. So check how much room you have first. The ground will need to be level and preferably soft, such as on grass. The site should be away from overhanging branches and cables. You also need to allow about 18 inches between the edge of the trampoline and side structures such as walls and fences. If you don’t want a safety enclosure (see below) then this distance needs to be much greater.
Which suppliers should I consider?
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 so they can advise you on the trampoline to choose. 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 goods 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. Ask if they provide a range of accessories, such as those listed below, as this will provide evidence that they are a quality supplier.
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 powercoated 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 cover – 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 Polypropolyene which is also UV resistant and will stand up to years of exposure to direct sunlight. The spring cover 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 covers 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.
Apart from the trampoline what accessories should I consider buying?
Safety enclosures – safety enclosures have been developed in recent years to fit a net around the trampoline to prevent the user falling off. These have proved very popular and successful at preventing accidents. You should seriously consider buying a trampoline with safety enclosure unless you intend to sink your trampoline into the ground so that bounce mat is at ground level. Safety enclosures that fit outside the spring padding allow a greater bounce area for the user.
Ladder – an access ladder is essential as it allows easy access for older and 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 trampoline ladder that has flat steps rather than tubular steps as these can be uncomfortable for children without shoes on. Some suppliers will automatically include a ladder with the trampoline but others will sell it as an extra item.
Weather cover – a weather 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.
Tent – special tents have been designed for use on a trampoline. They 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. These can provide a useful all weather play area for younger children and protect them from strong sun light. For older children they offer the flexibility to turn the trampoline into a den or space for a sleepover.
Anchor Kit – an anchor kit is essential if you are leaving your trampoline in the garden all year. 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. A trampoline anchor kit helps keep the trampoline secure to the ground during windy weather.
Provided a trampoline is looked after it will require minimal maintenance. An anchor kit will stop it blowing away and you may want to collapse any safety enclosure during stormy weather to prevent it being damaged by flying debris, such a sticks or branches. A weather cover will keep the trampoline mat clear of leaves and bird droppings. A good quality trampoline frame that is galvanised both on the inside and the outside of the tubing can be left outside all year round if necessary as children will enjoy using it even during the Winter. Sometimes, despite good care, damage can occur, so picking a supplier who holds stocks of parts and accessories all year round can make fixing damage a lot cheaper and easier for you.
Mail order and online suppliers will normally deliver the product to your home during the working week. 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. When ordering check what the delivery cost will be as some suppliers will charge a significant extra amount on top of the cost of the trampoline but others will include it in the price by offering free delivery.
We hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions not covered by what we have written or aspects you would like to discuss further then please do call us, we are happy to help whether you buy from us or not. Call our trampo-line free on 0800 032 5879
Happy trampolining from Atlantic Trampolines!