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.
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).
Also be sure to look into the newer age options – split level and curved edges, among them.
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 is 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 claim to carry the weight of a car.
As a general rule, a trampoline with an 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 in-ground model – but even then, there may be occasions when you still need one), otherwise known as a safety enclosure. The brand TP calls its own safety net systems yoyo
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 bounced our way through trampoline after trampoline to find the best of them, based on ease of assembly, value for money, quality of the jump, safety aspects and longevity of the product.
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This 14ft round trampoline is next level and we strongly suggest watching the YouTube video on the website to get a feel for what it’s capable of. The clue is in the name for the key difference, with the curved edges giving a unique shape that allows freestyle play for learning new skills such as a triple front somersault or an Ollie on the bounce board. Extra brownie points for the silence of the bounce too – the 136 soft bungees are powered together by movement, meaning you can say goodbye to that awful squeaking that comes with most trampolines. It takes three people three hours to put together – not bad in terms of assembly time. But it’s definitely not one for the kids to go on all at once – this is strictly one kid at a time.
Chad Valley my first outdoor kids’ trampoline
If both your garden and your kids are on the smaller side, this is a brilliant buy. At just 4ft wide, it squeezes into the narrowest of spaces and is a great starter trampoline for children as young as three. Compared to other trampolines of this size, we found it significantly more robust, and the weather resistant paint should keep it looking good for years to come. The bright green looks great against the black and the combination of the smaller bouncing mat and the high net enclosure made our little testers feel secure enough to bounce to their heart’s content. Parents will like the fact that it took two of us just an hour to assemble. It’s obviously no good for more than one child on at once, though.
Sportspower 8ft outdoor kids’ trampoline
If the price tags of fancier trampolines make you gasp, then feast your eyes on this more affordable option. Available in 8, 10, 12 and 14ft, there’s a size to suit every garden size and age group. We tried the 8ft, which is the most popular size, and it took two people just over two hours to build, helped by the galvanised steel frame and wonderfully clear instructions. Our tester was six years old – the youngest age recommended by the manufacturers – and she reported an “ace bounce”, which was certainly better than we’d expected for the cost, presumably down to the more robust springs than in other trampolines around this price. But there’s no ladder included.
JumpPro black oval trampoline
Oval trampolines are brilliant, both because they don’t propel kids back to the middle as with round ones (so you get a superior bounce and it’s much safer if you have more than one child on at once) and because they slot nicely into narrow or awkward shaped gardens. This one comes in three sizes – 10ft x 7ft, 12ft x 8ft and the one we tried, the 15ft x 10ft. Although the brand isn’t as established as some, we were instantly wowed by the spec of the materials, including top quality foam and PVC pad, while the all black aesthetics gave a neat, minimalist and contemporary look. We tried the installation service which is top-notch – they arrived bang on time and got the job done in record time.
Chad Valley 3ft indoor kids’ trampoline
The tiniest of tinies can get a slice of the action with this cheery looking purple and green mini trampoline for kids aged 18-months and over, that can be used either inside or out (at least on dry days). The patented stretch material and padded edges keep it extra safe and it is designed to distribute the tension nice and evenly. The soft grip handle is a good height for toddlers to secure themselves while bouncing and the frame is robust enough to stop it wobbling about on the ground even for high bounces. There’s a pink and purple one available too.
Springfree 8ft compact
Research shows springs are one of the main causes of trampoline-based accidents, making Springfree’s trampolines one of the safest on the market. Having introduced its first spring-free version nearly 20 years ago when the founder’s wife wouldn’t let him buy a normal trampoline for his daughter, there are now oodles of shapes and sizes available. We’ve chosen to feature its entry-level and most affordable option, but don’t let the size put you off. The rod design that replaces the springs means it’s equivalent to a traditional 10ft trampoline. Great for smaller spaces, then, without compromising on the bounce area. We love how quiet it is too – none of those annoying squeaking sounds.
North Explorer 11.5ft x 8ft oval
This Swedish brand is new to the UK market and its main USP is that you can customise the springs to get the best bounce according to your child’s weight, size and ability. As they grow, you simply make the necessary adjustments. It is incredibly safe, thanks to the self-closing entrance which can’t be left open by mistake, and the guarantee of zero contact between the net enclosure and the springs. The bounce is noticeably different to cheaper trampolines – it takes you much higher and gives a beautifully gentle landing. It’s easier to put together than others too, mainly due to the zero-bolt design. Available in three sizes (11.5ft x 8ft, 13.5ft x 9.5ft and 16ft x 11ft), the oval one is good for awkward shaped gardens.
JumpPro 23ft x 10ft giant rectangular trampoline
Welcome to the world’s largest garden trampoline – a similar shape and size to those used in the Olympics and with a quality of bounce to match. You’ll need a fair-sized outdoor space if you don’t want it to completely take over, but it’s well worth it if you do. Once up (which takes two to three people two to three hours), it’s absolutely awesome, allowing a massive 180kg user weight limit. The patented frame is as sturdy as they come and the double layered jumping mat, combined with the 156 specially designed 9in springs, enables seriously high jumps with soft landings, while the sheer amount space allows for some impressive moves.
Salta rectangular comfort edition trampoline
From one of Europe’s best-known trampoline brands, this one is available in different sizes (7ft x 5ft and 10ft x 7ft) and colours (pink, green and black). We tried the smaller pink one – the most popular size for rectangular trampolines – and it looked a treat in the garden, especially thanks to the black glossy coating which helps stop the trampoline looking tired, even years down the line. The construction is exceptionally strong for the price, with galvanised steel frame and steel top ring, which also helps keep the shape. The mesh is taut and stays that way, unlike on some trampolines where it quite quickly loosens and is less safe. We also give brownie points to the extra wide and thick safety pad. Our testers gave it the thumbs up for high bouncing too – “I was practically flying,” said one.
Capital Play 10ft x 6ft in-ground trampoline
Worried your new trampoline will be an eyesore in your garden? This company specialises in inground ones that are completely level with the ground. There’s a patented air vent system in the surround pad for a great bounce and there are loads of add ons available, including the first ever under trampoline lighting and in-ground basketball hoops. The round one comes in four sizes (8ft, 10ft, 12ft, and 14ft), but the rectangular ones have been increasingly popular in recent years – these come in three sizes (10ft x 6ft, 11ft x 8ft, 14ft x 10ft). Safety padding is available in either green or grey and all in-ground trampolines now come with a full safety net (and they sell half ones as extra too).
Plum web springsafe trampoline and enclosure
This is Plum’s first foray into the spring free market and makes for a more affordable alternative to the spring free range. Thumbs up for the patented design – the elasticated, woven bungee alternative doesn’t feel like you’re compromising on the quality of the bounce or materials. Our testers were aged six and over – as per Plum’s recommendations – and they told us it gives a nice gentle push upwards, has room for more than one person and feels safe and well made. They also liked the 20 per cent bigger jumping area – the extra space a result of no springs. We like the black finish and the L shaped zip with claps is a good safety feature. Shame it only comes in one size, although 10ft is a good size for medium and large gardens anyway.
TP 10ft infinity octagonal trampoline
The octagonal frame promises a more predictable vertical bounce than you get with a standard round trampoline, and our testers agreed they soared really high on their jumps rather than being automatically steered back to the middle. The frame is heavy-duty, the pads are well padded with robust PVC, the springs are reassuringly well-engineered and made and we also like the patented TP igloo door entry, which can’t be left open in error as there’s no zip to do up. Whereas some trampolines block the child’s view with thick black mesh, the nylon enclosure on this one keeps things nice and visible without compromising on quality. Plus, it also goes up and comes down very easily. Available in two sizes – 10ft and 12ft – it also has adjustable feet which keep things steady on uneven ground. Like the infinity leap trampoline, it also has the brand's own system of the surround netting.
TP infinity leap
This is nirvana for kids who dream of ever more mammoth leaps. Another world first in trampolines, it has two horizontal jump zones at different levels, linked by a bungee sprung bounce slope and the result is “absolutely awesome” according to our testers in between soaring from the higher to lower level and back. The safety net, which uses the brands own system, is nifty – it means you can take down and elevate the enclosure in less than a minute, which makes it last longer. And the zip free access via the igloo tunnel door means kids never fall out by accident. Jumpers are kept well away from the springs and the frame pads live up to their promise of being some of the thickest and softest on the market. But it’s more limited for conventional jumps.
The verdict: Trampolines
We are giving the Plum bowl the top spot in this round-up because it’s so different to anything else available on the market. If you can’t afford the steep price tag, but still want something out of the ordinary, we recommend the TP infinity leap or – if you have the space – the JumpPro 23ft x 10ft giant rectangular trampoline.
For more ways to keep your kids entertained this summer, read our review of the best climbing frames that are bound to inspire your children's sense of adventure, or the best swing sets that bring the fun of the park to your garden
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