Last Christmas, even though our daughter had just been walking for six or so months we decided to get a big family present that year and buy a trampoline. Get outdoors, have some fresh air and family time, develop coordination and bone strength… What’s not to like about trampolines? I wanted one so much when I was a kid and the husband was desperate to get one so it was just as much for us as it was for her (although at the time we bought this my pelvic floor was maybe not quite up to the task again yet!).
A lot of research went into our decision and it would have been so useful to have it all in one place. So here are my top tips for buying a trampoline for the family.
Picking a size
How much space do you have in your yard? What’s your budget? How many kids and/or adults do you want to fit on it at the same time? Does the trampoline allow for more than one person to bounce at once? These things affect the size of the trampoline you should get and also the weight rating.
It can be easy to get sucked into a special sale for a large, cheap one, but that’s not going to do you much good if it won’t suit your family or last the distance.
The weight rating is always only an estimate for what the trampoline is capable of handling – typically based on the weight of jumper/s, and possibly how high and fast they jump. It doesn’t mean the trampoline will automatically break when too many jumpers are on it, but it does mean you may end up ‘hitting’ the ground at the bottom of your jump!
i.e. You probably should steer clear of a trampoline with an 80kg weight rating if you want to get two adults and a child on it at the same time. Many companies recommend to only have one child on a trampoline at a time but we all know that rarely happens in family situations…
For yard size don’t forget you’ll need to get into and out of the trampoline so you need some clearance space for ladders – more space if you want to mow the lawns around it. If the trampoline has ‘upgrades’ you want to get, such as a slide off the edge, you’ll need to allow extra space for this too.
Budget-wise you generally get what you pay for when it comes to size – the bigger the trampoline the more it costs. However, more about this later as it ties in with quality and how long your trampoline will last. Cutting costs to buy a cheaper tramp just because it’s bigger may cause problems down the track if parts break or begin to rust out sooner rather than later…
Finding the brand that’s right for you
Generally speaking, each brand has its own benefits. The things we took into consideration when picking our trampoline included warranty, brand reputation, ongoing maintenance, longevity, quality and safety.
In New Zealand you can typically purchase trampolines from large department stores like The Warehouse, Farmers or Kmart, fitness stores such as No. 1 Fitness, or companies that specialise in trampolines like JumpFlex and Springfree Trampoline. The latter tend to be more expensive but the quality and ongoing support will often be substantially better.
WARRANTY & MAINTENANCE:
How long do you want this trampoline to last your family? Once you start thinking about buying a trampoline, you’ll probably start noticing them in other people’s front yards as you drive around – and how many of them look really run down and potentially unsafe.
The initial warranty period is useful to get you through the first year or two of ownership, but what happens if a spring breaks or the safety netting rots after this? Are the framework and bolts rust-proof? What parts are covered by the warranty? Can you easily get spare parts through the original company? Will they be cheap or expensive?
SAFETY & SPRINGLESS TRAMPS:
When I was a kid there was pretty much just one type of trampoline available: the kind where the springs rusted out and the edge pads would rot/fall off after a short time, there was no safety net and you’d almost always either fall off it or your foot would slip down between the springs mid-jump at some point. As with any physical activity, there is always risk of injury. These days trampolines come with plenty of safety features to help alleviate this risk.
Springfree trampolines are said to be safer as they provide a smoother, non-jarring bounce and don’t have the typical springs around the edges you’d see on most trampolines (which also means they usually don’t need edge padding).
This may be better for little kids especially, as their bones and joints are going through a period of growth. However, we decided to get a regular one with springs as they reportedly bounce better and our daughter doesn’t have much weight or height into her jumps yet anyway; we’re thinking about what she might want to do with the tramp years down the track. This one’s completely down to personal preference.
Padding around the edges to cover up springs and hard metal edges is more hardy than it used to be. However, some aren’t designed to handle wet weather or UV light so well, so take this into consideration if you’re choosing for quality safety padding that will continue to look decent.
Safety netting may help stop jumpers from falling off the sides, but it’s also often one of the first things to get holes in it or to rot if it’s not good quality. They’re usually not designed to be jumped into at full force, but more to provide a little backup if someone does happen to bounce a wayward jump.
How difficult is it going to be to put together? The husband and I took turns with assembling ours but it took most of the day and was probably really a two-person job given the size of it even though it was actually pretty straightforward.
Are added extras your thing?
There are all sorts of attachments you can get for some trampolines. From slides to shade sails, water sprinklers to basketball hoops, there are a number of ways you may be able to upgrade your tramp.
At the very least I would recommend some kind of anchoring system; especially if your yard isn’t fenced in and/or it gets windy in your area at times. We’ve all seen those pictures on social media of trampolines ending up down the street in a high-wind storm…
What we went with
In the end we went for the largest sized trampoline from JumpFlex. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest option on the market, however the tramp we bought came with a great deal package including a sprinkler hose attachment (so the kids can play on the trampoline in a water shower) and a shade sail to cover the top of it in the summer.
It also has a great warranty, a good reputation from what families said online in forums and on facebook, and spare parts are easy to obtain through them if anything goes wrong. We’ve had it for over a year now and it’s pretty much in just as good condition as when we first bought it apart from a little fading on the logo (located on the edge padding).
I’d love to hear about what trampoline you’re thinking of choosing and why. Let me know in the comments below as it may help someone else with their decision!
Image / NZ Real Health