Gumtree’s Guide to Trampolines: go ahead and jump!Tuesday 15 July 2014, by The Media Team
Summer holidays are here and what better way for the kids to enjoy your garden than with a trampoline?
Trampolines have enjoyed a massive surge in popularity in recent years and gleeful bouncing bodies are now a common sight up and down the country. And it’s easy to see why they’ve become so trendy – they’re brilliant fun for kids (and adults, too!) and a great way to incorporate exercise into your day.
But where to start? Well, before you bounce off and buy the first trampoline you see, it’s a good idea to spend a moment considering your options. Trampolines come in many shapes and sizes and choosing the right model could be the difference between lumping yourself with an oversized trampoline or one that provides you and your family with years of happy bouncing.
Choosing a trampoline shape
Choosing a trampoline shape isn’t just a matter of aesthetic preference. The subtle differences between the four most common trampoline shapes – round, oval, rectangular and octagonal – might influence your choice of trampoline.
The most common shape, round trampolines offer a classic jumping experience with the best jumping available at the centre where there is an even pull on the springs. This makes round trampolines relatively safe because jumpers are naturally drawn to the centre of the trampoline, away from the sides. For the same reason round trampolines are not always the best choice for multiple jumpers (several children at the same time for instance) especially if they are of different weights.
Oval trampolines are a good idea if you anticipate two people jumping simultaneously because they offer an increased jumping area which doesn’t draw jumpers towards the centre. Oval trampolines are also a handy shape to incorporate into the average garden, maximising your jumping area while slotting into a corner and wasting less surrounding space than a round trampoline. In many ways oval trampolines represent a good compromise between round and rectangular shapes.
Traditionally a shape that is more associated with professional gymnasts, rectangular trampolines offer a high performance jumping experience, with a bounce that is typically more controlled and accurate. Rectangular trampolines can also help jumpers achieve greater height making them a good choice for anyone with advanced jumping technique.
A less common shape, the octagonal trampoline is nonetheless a good option for inexperienced jumpers thanks to the even distribution of pressure offered by eight straight sides. This ensures that jumpers are less likely to be thrown off balance.
Does size matter?
The size of trampoline you opt for is likely to be influenced by the amount of space you have available and your budget. It’s never a bad idea to go for a trampoline that’s as big as your garden or budget allows – bigger trampolines are generally safer and better quality – but there’s no point in getting a massive trampoline if you only expect it to be used by single, small child. It’s also worth considering that a larger trampoline will often deliver a higher bounce so, again, think about who will be using it, their style of jumping and how much experience they have.
The following guidelines offer a rough idea of the sort of size you should consider depending on your requirements:
8ft Trampoline – Ideal for small gardens and young users (think 8 years and under), an 8ft trampoline is perfectly fine for young kids jumping alone but consider that they might outgrow it at some point.
10ft Trampoline – Still pretty compact, so good for small gardens or those who don’t want a trampoline that dominates the space; 10ft trampolines are big enough for slightly older / heavier kids but not ideal for teenagers or adults.
12ft Trampoline – A good all round size that should offer a decent jumping experience for a wide variety of weights and sizes making it a good option for all the family and a trampoline that young kids won’t grow out of.
14ft+ Trampoline – A pretty sizable trampoline that demands plenty of space and should suit more ambitious jumpers looking to develop their technique. If you or your kids require enough space to achieve decent height and perform tricks like summersaults and backflips this could be the size for you.
Placing a trampoline
It’s important to think about where your trampoline will be situated and make sure that you take into consideration the following guidelines to ensure a safe jumping experience.
- Make sure that your trampoline is placed on a level surface.
- Place your trampoline on a soft surface like grass and try to avoid surfaces like concrete or tarmac which will be unforgiving in the event of a fall.
- Ensure that it is positioned well away from obstacles like trees or hedges.
- Allow plenty of space around the sides of the trampoline so it’s easy to get on and off. A perimeter of 2.5 meters is advisable.
Extra features to look out for
- Look out for tough galvanised steel frames that offer good weather resistance and are sturdy enough to cope with high levels of stress.
- Zinc coated springs offer a high standard of durability and weather resistance.
- Look for weld-free construction. Welded trampolines can be weaker and less durable depending on the quality of the weld so a weld-free construction should guarantee enhanced strength at critical points in the trampolines structure, ultimately ensuring a safer jumping experience. Tramp Klamp or Plum brackets are fairly common weld-free options.
- Check that spare parts are readily available for your choice of trampoline. Components like the pad, enclosure and springs may need to be replaced so ensuring that you can source replacement parts is an important means of prolonging the life of your trampoline.