Trampolines give more play value for a wider range of ages than pretty much any other outdoor toy. Plus they keep little ones fit, energised and nice and tired by bedtime. No wonder so many parents rave about them.
Before you buy one, think about whether you want an inground one (more discreet) or overground (cheaper) and whether you want a round (most popular), rectangle (good for those more serious about gymnastics) or oval (good for narrower gardens and they also outperform rounder ones in terms of overall jumping area).
Next up, think about size, bearing in mind that the amount of space needed for a trampoline is usually underestimated – and make sure the area you’re doing your measuring on grass rather than patio due to the high risk of injury from falling out.
It’s worth remembering that some trampolines have a more compact footprint than others, meaning you get more jumping space even though it’s smaller overall. The weight limit is important to consider too as some are rated for just one light user, while others – such as Vuly2 – can carry the weight of a car. As a general rule, a trampoline with 8ft diameter is ideal for one to two people; 12ft diameter for one to three people; and 15ft diameter for two to three people.
Always get a safety net (unless you get an inground model – but even then, there may be occasions when you still need one), otherwise known as a safety enclosure. Indeed, it’s estimated that around 80 per cent of trampoline injuries occur when there isn’t one and jumpers fall out. Other features to tick off are adequate padding over the springs, a durable frame and rust-resistant springs. Finally, make sure there’s a good warranty in place and that spare parts are available. After all, there are several parts that can break over time, while mats can get worn and padding deteriorates.
We have done a lot of bouncing, along with some young helpers, to bring you this roundup.
1. Jumpking ZorbPOD: From £599, Argos
Launched last year, this futuristic-looking trampoline is well thought out, with the rounded net shape ensuring jumpers have even more room to bounce, while the frame is particularly stable and durable. Parents will be happy too as the interlinking base means everything slots together far more easily and quickly than with other trampolines of this size, so you don’t have to give up a whole day to set it up. Available in two sizes: 12ft and 14ft.
2. Early Learning Centre 6ft Trampoline and Enclosure: £80, ELC
This red and black model is a good one to get younger kids used to the concept of trampolining. Suitable from three years old, it’s strong and stable with well-covered edges to stop little tootsies getting trapped. The zip works well (so many are prone to sticking) and it’s better value than some similar-sized trampolines on the market.
3. TP Genius Round: From £349.99, TPToys
TP’s most popular trampoline has been updated for this year with a black paint finish where normally it’s boring old stainless steel, plus a bright blue finish on the poles, padding and top rim. As for safety, the patented crawl-through tunnel-style entry and exit system means there’s no zip to leave undone (one of the biggest causes of trampoline injuries) and what’s more, children shouldn’t be able to come into contact with the springs (one of the others). Available in three sizes, it’s extremely robust too.
4. Sportspower Trampoline with Folding Enclosure: From £99, Argos
Available in four sizes, this is a top choice among grandparents and anyone on a tight budget. The galvanised steel frame is more robust than some others at this price point and the safety enclose can easily be removed if you want to store it away in the winter. Unlike with some trampolines, the ladder is included and the padding on the poles and frame helps prevent bruises.
5. Vuly2: From £499.99, TP Toys
Vuly trampolines – known for their outstanding bounce and longevity – have been available in Australia for over a decade, but this is the first year they’ve been sold over here. This one has a particularly heavy-duty frame, which is less likely than other trampolines to rust because it’s made from twice-galvanised steel, which is covered in a matte black powder coating. The springs are also less stretchy and it’s easy to put together as there are no nuts and bolts and it can take 150kg of weight – much more than most. Available in three sizes.
6. Capital Inground Trampoline: From £625, CapitalPlay
This inground trampoline – which comes in various round and rectangular sizes – has proven quite a hit among families who don’t want tall monstrosities taking over their garden. There’s a patented air vent system in the surround pad to give a great bounce and various safety net options. You could, for example, get a corner net on a rectangular trampoline to protect the kids from perimeter fencing, while the full net has a full length zip to makes entry easier. Add-ons include trampoline lighting for bouncing after dark and inground basketball hoops.
7. Springfree Smart Trampoline: From £895, Springfree
Springfree was the innovator of spring-free trampolines (the safest type) back in 2003 and this year they’re innovating once again with the world’s first smart trampoline. The four sensors on the trampoline mat connect via Bluetooth to your tablet, which hangs in a holder on the top of the enclosure, and these track your movement, incorporating it into games with the aim of improving bouncing skills. Plenty of shapes and sizes are available, and you won’t need to go as big as with other trampolines because the lack of springs around the outside gives you a much greater jumping surface.
8. Chad Valley Kids’ Junior Indoor Trampoline: £29.99, Argos
Tinytots can get a piece of the action with this mini-trampoline that you can use both inside or out. There’s an easy-grip handle for those still finding their feet, while safety features include padded edges and a strong steel frame. Meanwhile, the elastic panels instead of the more usual single cord of elastic help even distribute the bounce over the whole surface. Not the easiest to put together, though, or to store.
9. Plum Reversible Colours: From £199, Very
Here’s another vibrant option, this one with a reversible colour pad and two separate foam sets, so you can easily and quickly switch colours as the kids demand. Practically, its stand-out points include the patented design that keeps jumpers separated from the springs and the fact that it’s available in four sizes. Although Plum says the rounded enclosure poles make for a bigger jump space, we didn’t find this to be the case, but that won’t bother younger jumpres. Also watch out for Plum’s launch of Create Your Own Trampoline later this year, in which you can choose your colours for everything from the foam sets to safety pads, as well as opting for black or silver legs.
10. Rebound UK Maximus Pro Rebounder: From £159, Amazon
If you’ve got a teenager who wouldn’t be seen dead on a traditional garden trampoline – or you don’t have a garden or the room for one anyway – then cast your eyes on this this bungee-sprung fitness trampoline. A great way for them (and you) to get fit either indoors or outdoors, it comes with fitness aids – including stability bar, resistance bands and weights – as well as a useful DVD to show you how to make the most of them. It can take up to 15 stone in weight and comes with a carry bag that means you can fold it away or cart round a friend’s house.
11. Berg Champion Deluxe Oval Trampoline: From £580, Capital Play
Available in four circular sizes, as well as an oval, this has a twin spring system with 30 per cent more springs, which provides a more controlled and fluid bounce – in other words, less flinging up in the air and potential whiplash. Safety features include the double-layered door that self-closes (two bits of material overlap, creating a crawl tunnel) and extra-wide safety padding to keep kids away from the springs, while the steel construction is wider and thicker than usual, as well as being rustproof. No wonder the manufacturer, which has a long history of making great quality outdoor toys, is happy to give a whopping 13-year warranty.
12. Plum Inground: From £349, Toys R Us
Unlike most inground trampolines in this price range, this one is completely flush to the ground. There’s a vented jumping mat and safety pad that reduces airflow to create better bouncing too, all of which combine to make this one of Plum’s best-selling products. Choose an area with good soil – that is, not too wet or hard – and you’ll need a mini-digger to dig the hole first – or a landscaper to do it for you. Available in three sizes.
We’ve chosen Jumpking ZorbPOD for our Best Buy because we wanted to recommend something with a mid-range price tag that stands out when it comes to value for money. Aesthetically, the inground options – both Capital Inground and Plum Inground – are our winners (the latter being better for those on a tighter budget). Meanwhile, for sheer longevity, safety and performance, both the Springfree Trampoline and the Vuly2 are outstanding.
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