A Buyer’s Guide
Trampolines are a diverse bunch. You can get them in sizes as small as a coffee table or as huge as an average apartment– yet they all have their uses. As a buyer, especially if it’s your first time picking out trampolines, it can be very difficult to choose what you need.
Many buy whatever adequately priced trampoline they see first. That’s a bad idea, since with a little more research you can get just the trampoline you’d like that you’d enjoy much more. Now you might say, how can I know which trampolines I need if I’m completely clueless about trampolines?
That’s where we can help you. In this article, we will explore the most common trampoline shapes and outline what they are good for. This will allow you to make informed purchasing decisions instead of buying absolute trash on a whim – yes, we say trash because brick and mortar stores really can and do sell trampolines that aren’t worth whatever the price tag they’re asking. With our advice, such trampolines will become a thing of the past.
- Round Trampolines
Round is the most common shape you’ll find around. It’s only natural since making a round trampoline on average requires less material and thus, costs less. The round shape allows for the impact forces to be uniformly distributed around the trampoline, so there is no need for using as much steel or rebar. These savings are transferred directly to the consumer, which explains why round trampolines are usually the most economical option.
But the price isn’t the only factor. The round shape of the trampoline pulls the user inward to the centre of the trampoline. This makes it very safe to use, especially for younger and inexperienced jumpers. Bounce is also the strongest the closer you get to the centre, so this is yet another incentive to remain within the safe area.
Round trampolines come in a wide assortment of sizes. From small 4 ft. rebounders ideal for living room exercise to 16 ft. backyard centrepieces with over 30 sq. ft. of jumping surface. The prices vary accordingly – from $30 for rebounders to over $2000 for top tier trampolines. Expect to pay about $300-500 for quality 14 ft. round units – the most common size that gives you the best bang for your buck.
The best mid-range round trampolines come from Skywalker, Skybound and ExacMe as a cheaper option. High tier manufacturers include Vuly, Springfree and AlleyOOP.
- Rectangular Trampolines
Rectangular trampolines used to be reserved for pros and gymnasts only, but the tides have begun to turn. Some trampolines are still pro-only and don’t even come with an enclosure (and carry a huge price tag of over $2000), but there are more consumer grade rectangulars around.
Rectangular trampolines combine the great bounce of square trampolines with usability of oval trampolines. They provide among the best bounces of all types and lend themselves well to various tricks, somersaults and flips. As such, we would recommend them to more experienced jumpers.
The bounce is gentler, more free-form and more pleasant. However, the trampoline requires the use of stronger steel structure, which lends itself to higher costs. They are a must if you or your kid plan on doing any kind of professional moves.
They are more expensive than round units; expect to pay upwards of $500 for good rectangular trampolines. There aren’t as many sizes to choose from, mostly ranging from 7×11 to 10×17 ft.
One of the companies we heartily recommend is Acon, with its understated but quality-made units.
- Oval Trampolines
Oval trampolines are a perfect compromise between rectangular and round ones. They have a larger ‘ideal bounce surface’ compared to round trampolines, and they also don’t pull jumpers into the middle of the trampoline. In theory, this is among the safest shapes if several people were to jump on it at the same time (which we don’t recommend).
However, the bounce won’t be as high as with similar round trampolines. They can be trickier to assemble, but once you do, you’ll have a great shape with you. Ample trampolines are available, and we recommend Skywalker and Springfree.
- Square Trampolines
Square trampolines are among the first trampolines ever made. They provide great bounce in the middle, but it becomes rather inconsistent the closer to the edges you get. It’s still quite better than the rounds or ovals if you stick to the middle portion.
The great benefit, however is over 20% more jumping surface for the same width compared to round units. They can usually take more weight than comparable rounder units due to higher gauge steel. They are a rarer find than other shapes, but several companies, like Vuly or Springfree, still make quality units.
Children’s trampolines are often square, but come with ample padding and handle bars.
Overall, round trampolines will fit most people who are on a budget. Rectangulars are great for pros, and ovals fit very nice in all back yards and play well with all ages. Get square trampolines if you’re after the best bounce in as little space as possible. And remember – always get an enclosure and play safe!