When it came time for Pat and I to look for the best trampolines on the market, we knew immediately that the best place to start was with other trampoline reviews (even though we had quite a bit of jumping experience ourselves).
Why? Because no one person knows it all, no matter how much time you spend in the air (and we spend a lot).
So what did we do? We scoured through loads of trampoline reviews on Amazon (it didn’t take us that long). This allowed us to uncover weaknesses, and more importantly, spot the best trampolines out there. Quite simply, we leveraged the wisdom of the crowd.
We continue this same practice today for you. We blend the huge resource of public reviews with our own professional opinion. This helps us serve up the most helpful tips and buying guides.
The Top Rated Backyard Trampoline – Skywalker
Regular readers of this site know that we are a very active family. When Jan and I were looking for a large outdoor trampoline for ourselves as well as our kids, we wanted one with safety in mind. But we also wanted durability and quality.
When looking for the best trampolines and researching trampoline reviews, without a doubt we narrowed it down to two brands, Skywalker and AirZone, with Skywalker being our clear favorite.
You can read our full reviews of Skywalker units here:
What we really like about Skywalker, is that the enclosure net interlocks directly to the jumping surface, rather than to the metal frame. This leaves the springs outside the enclosure net, away from your landing feet. This reduces the risk of injury.
Two alternatives to Skywalker are AirZone and Upper Bounce. AirZone offers a less expensive product. Upper Bounce does not have nearly as broad a selection as Skywalker, but is an up and comer in the outdoor trampoline industry. All three of these trampoline brands have received lots of positive feedback on public review boards. They also offer a full range of sizes to accommodate any size yard:
Comparison of Top Selling Backyard Trampolines
|Feedback||Best reviews||Good reviews||Mixed reviews|
Click image for latest pricing
|Diameters||4 - 17 ft.||8 - 15 ft.||7.5 - 16 ft.|
You may come to a different conclusion, and that would be perfectly fine. No trampoline brand is perfect for everyone. But for what we were looking for, we found these to brands to be far and away the best reviewed, and best choice, both for our money and for other reasons.
Optimized Safety Nets
One thing we look for in a backyard trampoline is an optimized safety net. By optimized, we mean connected directly to the jumping mat, rather than to the outer frame. Take a look at the pictures below to see what we mean:
An optimized net is safer. It ensures jumpers stay on the mat, which is softer. It prevents jumpers from stepping or falling on the spring assembly. Sure, you can try to live without an optimized net, and pin your safety on the ‘covers’ that slide over the spring assemblies. These covers may even prevent your foot from falling through the springs, but they won’t prevent all the other injuries that may occur from stepping or falling or slipping on the spring assembly.
After safety, the next thing we look at is durability.
Outdoor trampolines take a beating. First, they have to withstand hours of use, and the stretching and material stress that goes along with it. Then, they bake in the hot summer sun for months. The sun’s radiation gradually weakens the fibers of the mat as well as the safety net. That is why it is a good idea to change your safety net every year.
Then there is moisture. Rain and humidity can rust cheap parts, even parts that are supposed to be stainless steel!
Then, if your trampoline still has survived all this, it must survive the harsh elements of winter. Many new trampoline purchasers don’t realize that in six months their trampoline will look like this (see pic).
They ain’t what they used to be
Despite advances in material science, trampolines in general are less durable because manufacturers skimp on materials in order to meet economy price points. After all of our research, and observational testing, we believe Skywalker, of all the modestly priced mass market trampoline brands, comes out on top in terms of durability.
We base this opinion solely on the mat and safety net. The mat and the net are the two parts of the trampoline that degrade the quickest in the elements, so we weighted them most heavily in our assessment. Other Skywalker components, such as the legs, are on par with competing brands.
The ‘Cadillac’ of Outdoor Trampolines
Price is a top priority for all of us. But…if you are looking for the ‘Cadillac’ of large backyard trampolines, and money is no object, then take a look at the Springfree Large Oval Trampoline. In our research, this proved to be one of the most expensive trampolines, costing about $2,000.
It is the ultimate play area in addition to being a safe jumping unit. There are no springs and the frame is far beneath the jumping area—this reduces the risk of injury. It is 30 times more shock absorbent than other pads and has a flexi-net enclosure to help cushion jumps and falls.
The quality of the Springfree seems impressive. The high price no doubt scares people away, so there is little public feedback of the unit. But from what we see, it is one of the best units out there.
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Kids trampolines (4 – 7 feet)
A quick story about kids trampolines. I remember when my daughter wanted to graduate from a small toddler trampoline to something bigger. But she wasn’t quite ready for a large adult sized trampoline. I wanted something where she could learn the fundamentals of a trampoline, and also one that could be used both indoors and outdoors. Going against my better judgement, I decided to buy a cheap unit from a dealer in the neighboring county. I think the brand was ‘Jump Max’, or something like that. It was a purchase purely motivated by the cheap price.
I can’t say it was the greatest purchase I ever made. The materials were ok, but the design was ‘weak sauce’, to use a popular term. Instead of springs, it used some kind of rubber attachment that never quite worked right. The following spring, after an icy winter, the unit was shot. But the experience taught me what to look for, and prepared me to make better purchases in the future.
Easier Choices Nowadays
Today, the choices for consumers in the 4 – 7 ft. category are much easier. For some reason, the products in this category are either terrible, like the Pure Fun 55-Inch Kid’s Trampoline and Enclosure Set – just look at the scary reviews –, or are awesome, like the My First Indoor/Outdoor Trampoline Combo with Enclosure. The second review on this page shows 1 star, but if you read through it, it is clear she actually loves the unit.
Even better is the SkyBound Super 7 Kid’s Indoor/Outdoor Trampoline. Both of these trampolines cost around $200. That may seem a bit pricey for a toddler’s trampoline. But quite frankly, the other units for sale all have reviews that give me pause for concern. These two units, in contrast, have a much stronger review profile.
The “SkyBound Super 7” really piques my interest. It isn’t your average kid’s trampoline. It has a really neat plastic frame that is super sturdy and durable. At only 62 lbs, it is lightweight for indoor and outdoor transporting. This is a solid trampoline to teach jumping fundamentals and for the kids to just jump on and have a blast!
Indoor toddler trampolines
Reader guest post by Melchior “Melky” Lainez
The little ones sure do love keep busy and active. It can be easy for a parent to place their kids in front of the television for their favorite cartoons or learning programs, but keeping them moving is a better option. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that toddlers should have at least 60 minutes of active aerobic exercise daily.
While my toddler is very active, there are days that when she does not attend pre-school or her play group that she is somewhat sedentary at times. I decided to purchase an indoor toddler trampoline for the upcoming winter months, to assure she remained active and healthy. I eventually chose the Diggin JumpStart.
My daughter just loved it. It had a simple design and the price was less than a week’s worth of groceries! So it was affordable! This trampoline is triangle shaped and is somewhat reminiscent of a scooter or bike—which is why she loved it! You can check out my full review of it here.
It is a great piece that allows her to really get good use out of her legs while she gets full support from the front handles. We could also easily take it outside because it is lightweight and portable.
We also looked at The Lily Pad Adventure Bouncer by Skywalker. This trampoline also got nice reviews, but some reviewers said it was more appropriate for children aged two and less. It has a safety enclosure and other great safety features such as:
- A 360 degree handle for great grip support.
- Gap-free enclosure
- Stretch bands without springs
But in the end, we felt that clearly, the Diggin Jumpstart was better. So, if you are looking for a trampoline for small tots, this is one to consider.
Indoor mini-fitness trampolines
Reader guest post by Silvia Hristakis (thank you Silvia!)
When I started my fitness journey, I really wanted to incorporate an indoor mini fitness trampoline into my workout program. I tried many, but purchased the Marcy Cardio Trampoline Trainer.
I absolutely love it. It is a compact trampoline that has many different options to bring to my fitness routine. It’s foldable, which is a plus for me as I am an apartment dweller. It does not come with a carry-on bag—but I am not planning on bringing it anywhere. My grandma still thinks I’m nuts for even using a trampoline – if I brought it with me when I go visit her, she really would start to get concerned about me!
It has a handrail which was a real benefit when I was starting out. Until I got really used to jumping on the trampoline. I did feel like I was going to fall off and it took me a while to get my equilibrium adjusted to the bouncing action. I no longer have to use the hand rail but it is still a great feature to have.
I recommend this indoor fitness trampoline because it is provides a solid low-impact workout space. There are comfortable foam pads on the edge that assist in preventing injury. There are eight legs on this piece so it has maximum stability—so when I am bouncing around on one or both feet, I feel secure it will remain stable as my weight shifts.
After going through lots of trampoline reviews, I became confused. So I decided I simply wanted to start off with something economical, and the Marcy Cardio Trampoline was under $100. I had seen good reviews on it and I really liked the price—which was lower than most other trampolines on the market. Once I unpackaged it, I noticed there were a lot of extra pieces to put together. It looked intimidating at first, but I got it together nonetheless.
Overall I am really happy with the Marcy Cardio. It has a price tag that would suit any beginner, but has carried me straight through into intermediate level rebounding.
Trampline Safety – What to Look For in Mini Rebounders and Large Outdoor Trampolines
Trampolines are among the most classic of children’s toys. In fact, many adults like them, too. There is a very human fascination with the idea of jumping up, leaving the ground and hanging in mid-air, and defying gravity for the briefest of instants.
Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, trampolines have gotten a bit of a bad name in recent years. That being said, there’s evidence that this reputation is not only unwarranted, but a direct result of the growing popularity of backyard and home-owned trampolines. Advances in the industry have also gone a long way toward making them even safer than they already were.
Before we get into what to look for in a trampoline to ensure safety, let’s take a look at some of the numbers.
Despite warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics, using a trampoline by some measures does not appear to be more dangerous than other sports.
According to data from the the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), trampolines are noticeably safer than other sports that could be engaged in. In 2010, only two percent of reported accidents were caused by trampolines, as compared to 13% each from basketball and bicycling. In fact, 6% of injuries were caused by playground equipment, and another 9% from exercise equipment and machines. Twelve percent of injuries that year were the result of football.
Now, surely these figures are due to the fact that fewer people use trampolines than engage in other sports. But on the face of it, it would seem a bit absurd to suggest that trampolines are particularly unsafe, especially more so than other physical activities that people might engage in.
So why are they singled out for particular attention? Most likely because of an increase in raw numbers.
Between 1996 and 2006, there was a 240% increase in trampoline usage in the United States, leading to a much higher pool of potential injuries. What’s interesting about that number, though, is that over the same period the rate of injury only increased by 3.1%. In much the same way that the percentage of car accidents decreased as more cars were put on the road with additional safety measures, trampolines have come a long way from being a tightly stretched membrane on a frame.
Part of that is attributed to the invention of the safety net enclosure by JumpSport in 2000, a year that saw a drastic drop in the number of accidents and injuries. In fact, looking at the data it’s pretty easy to see that the safety net enclosure and other innovations in the industry have made trampolines a lot safer than they ever were.
But what are these innovations? What should you be looking for? It rather depends on whether you’re looking for a mini trampoline or a full sized one.
Mini Trampolines – What Makes Them Safe
Mini trampolines are by far the most popular type of trampoline for a number of reasons. Like with many things, economic factors play a large role in how many of them are available and in use. A mini tramp is far cheaper than a full sized rebounder would be. It’s compact, lighter, requires less packaging and shipping costs, and uses fewer materials.
Mini tramps are also a lot smaller, obviously, so they are easier to set up wherever they will be most enjoyed. Indoor or outdoor, these can be placed where you want them, used to your heart’s content, and then put away. In many cases, they are used by adults as a method of fun, energetic exercise in a way that full sized trampolines generally aren’t.
That all being said, they come with a number of unique safety concerns.
First, because of the size of them, they tend to have the springs attached directly to the trampoline mat. In order to keep things compact, it’s important that there not be a lot of space between the mat and the frame, so it becomes very easy to jump up and land on a spring. While this is unlikely to do any real damage, it can hurt pretty badly and should be avoided.
That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that the mini trampoline that you get has a padded vinyl spring cover that goes all the way around the frame and covers the springs completely. You also want to make sure that the cover fits snugly, and is fastened well enough that it won’t come loose while you’re jumping since you’re unlikely to notice and could then injure yourself.
Next, you want to make sure that you get a trampoline that remain firmly in position while you jump. While the larger ones are ok with that since they are higher off the ground and can be built to handle jumping, a folding mini tramp is inviting disaster. Being so low to the ground, there is a much better chance that the force being applied to the legs will cause them to bow in until one or another collapses.
Finally, if you’re using a mini trampoline for exercise, definitely get a stabilizer bar. When you’re tired and working very hard, it’s easy to misjudge distance or not put enough energy into a jump. A stabilizer bar gives you something to hang on to in order to maintain your balance and not flail yourself off the side of the trampoline simply from being tired.
Safety on Full Sized Trampolines
By far, the most work has gone into ensuring the safety of users of full sized trampolines. Larger trampolines give the jumper more height and power. But they also have a larger landing surface. This mitigates any risk associated with a momentary loss of balance, or even ‘jumper drift’. Jumper drift is when the jumper for one reason or another, and usually involuntarily, drifts to the side of the jumping surface.
The biggest and most visible advance in trampoline safety is probably the net enclosure. Invented by JumpSport in 2000, this is a loose, fine mesh that forms walls several feet high around the entire frame of the tramp, making it so that accidental run ins gently catch the person and let them slide down to the base of the mat. These have since been adopted by most trampoline makers, usually included but at least as an option.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is how the legs on the trampoline work. Since full sized trampolines are larger and higher off the ground, the legs need to be thicker in order to handle the additional weight and force. Having enough of them is also important.
One of the things that many modern trampolines are adopting is a support system that actually becomes more stable as weight is applied to it by having the “legs” cross under the tramp and splay outward with the downward motion, spreading the pressure over a wider area.
There is no substitute for smart prevention
I can’t emphasize this enough: the biggest way to reduce the risk of injury on trampolines is to follow these three safety rules:
1. Only allow one jumper on the trampoline at a time.
2. Do not allow children to jump unsupervised.
3. Do not allow children to attempt dangerous maneuvers.
In my experience, most trampoline injuries come from not following these three rules. When more than one child at a time jumps, it invariably leads to rough housing and carelessness. Children hit heads, land on each other’s limbs, and throw each other off balance. Trust me, children jumping together is an invitation for injury.
If you follow safe jumping practices (see above), you can reduce the risk of injury. Combined with a well designed trampoline and safety net, you will be at much smaller risk than folks were 30 years ago.
But What Do You Think of Aosom?
Frankly, I am not thrilled about Aosom trampolines.
Before we looked at Skywalker and Airzone, we looked into several other brands, including Aosom. Aosom models are basic-style trampolines that are affordable. However, if you look closely at the Aosoms, you will see that the saftey net attaches to the outer frame, leaving jumpers exposed to the springs. Sure, the springs have covers, but I prefer models where the safety net attaches inside the springs, not outside. I have a friend who had a Pure Fun, but she was not thrilled with it either — particularly with the safety enclosure. We did research their products though, and their specs met basic requirements such as:
- Rust-resistant galvanized steel frame
- W-shaped legs for balance on contact points
- Secure fit of T-section pieces
- Traditional steel springs for that “extra” bounce action
Overall, while Aosom is an economical trampoline, the safety net design is not the best, and market feedback seems ho-hum. There are other brands out there that are more worth your while.
Update 3/5/14: I have to add the Bounce Pro 15 ft. Trampoline. I actually review it here. I had been hearing good things about it, so I went over to Amazon and read thru all (or mostly all) of the reviews. Looks like a solid product.