With summer comes trampolining. Here are some things to think over before the big purchase.
• Consider who is going to use the trampoline: just children or adults too? Check the trampoline weight limits on the models you are considering
• Quality trampolines are built to last, and may cost a little bit more but the investment is worth it.
• Will it be too small for your growing children in 2 to 3 years time? Think about the overall size. Bear in mind that a 14′ round trampoline has 44% more jumping area than a 12′ model making it suitable as your children grow.
• Is it for family fun or for the more serious gymnastic practice? Round or rectangular
• If you have young children then a safety enclosure is an option you should consider.
The list above will probably give you more questions, so here are some answers:
Rectangular Trampolines can be divided into three groups:
Child - These range from 7′x5′ with 5.5 inch springs, up to 10′x 7.5′ with 7” springs. The upper weight limit on this range is approximately 12 st (83kg).The jumping beds are non abrasive polypropylene mesh. These trampolines are designed for solo use and would suit children age 7 to 11.
Adult/Advanced - These range from 11′x8.5′ with 8.5 inch springs, up to 17′x10′ with 9.25 inch springs. The upper weight limit on this range is approximately 22st (140kg).The jumping beds are either polypropylene mesh or two-string woven nylon mesh.
Sports Hall/Club These are the type you will find at your local sports club or leisure centre and are professional gymnastic apparatus. Often a fold away design, they meet competition size and specification. They are not on sale to the general public.
Professional sports hall trampolines have always been rectangular. The springs work at different rates giving a quick response and results in a more powerful lift. This makes it much more suitable for gymnastic use. However, because of these characteristics rectangular trampolines should only be used by one jumper at a time.
Round Trampolines can be divided into three groups:
Top - Robust frame with thick steel .Superior pads with heavy vinyl . Springs must be 8.5 inches and more springs naturally increase the upper weight limit.
Mid - The frame diameter is narrower than on the Top Band. The steel will be thinner. Springs will be 7 or 8.5” .On the 14 they will range from 88-96 springs, with 80 springs on the 12′. Pads will also have a lower spec than on the Top Band.
Budget - Large number available and you will need to proceed with extreme caution. As a bare minimum we would recommend 88x 7 inch springs on the 14 foot and 72 but preferably 80×7 inch springs on the 12 foot model. The welded joints are of particular concern on these cheaper models, as this is the weakest point on any trampoline frame. We would recommend frames with a three way ‘T-Junction’ socket where the leg meets the top rail, as they are extremely strong and reinforce a lightweight frame. They are the safest option at this level.
On round trampolines all the springs work at the same rate. This gives an even, softer, and more stable bounce, suitable for children of any age or ability. Round trampolines at the higher end are all suitable for adults.
The springs are what provide the bounce in your trampoline. These should be made from high quality steel wire which is fully galvanised to protect against rust and corrosion. It should have a helical coil type.
Having established the quality of the springs, take note of the length and number. On domestic round trampolines springs range in length from 8.5″ to 5.5″.The heavyweight rectangular trampolines sometimes use a 9.25″ spring. The longer and more numerous the springs the greater the upper weight limit will be.
Some trampolines have elasticated bands sewn onto the bed in place of springs. They give an inferior and harder bounce than springs. Another disadvantage is when the elastic perishes you will have to replace the entire bed, as the bands cannot be replaced individually.
The jumping bed of a trampoline fall into 2 main categories:
Black Polymesh - is generally found on round trampolines. It should be manufactured from Grade A non-abrasive, Permatron polypropylene. This does not provide any additional elasticity, but the tight ‘weave’ does provide a smooth surface which does not graze children’s skin.
2-string bed - is made of nylon, and is found more typically on rectangular trampolines. The wider weave allows good air flow giving a higher bounce, and will dry quicker after rain. However it does have a rougher surface and may cause grazes to elbows and knees i.e. ‘trampoline mat burn’. Trampolines with a 2-string bed are better suited for adult use or gymnasts who are used to performing more advanced trampoline moves.
The bed should be attached to the springs by galvanised steel triangular rings or injection mouldings (UV stable) the perimeter stitching should be in UV stable thread, and in multiple rows for extra strength.
Safety enclosures surround the trampoline and are designed to provide a safe environment for young or inexperienced trampoline users to experience the fun of bouncing.
The net should be at least 6 feet (1.8m) high to stop high bouncers going over the top. The 8 support poles should be thickly padded to prevent nasty accidents. Some models link the poles in pairs with cross bars, which improve the stability and strength of the safety enclosure.
Weight limits given by trampoline companies on any given model are a guide only. The skill of a user can also be a factor, since the higher the bouncer jumps, the greater the loading on the springs.
Bearing this in mind a jumper could be under the maximum recommended weight for a particular trampoline, but due to his adeptness could still manage to overload the springs. If in doubt buy a bigger, space permitting, or a more robust model.
Trampoline guarantees which cover against faulty materials or workmanship are usually specified for different parts of the trampoline.
Frames you should look for a ten year guarantee on top quality trampolines, with 2 - 5 years on lower specification models.
Typical guarantees on the jumping bed and springs are 5 years, and 1 year on the frame pads.
‘Lifetime’ guarantees should be treated with caution as they are in reality meaningless.
And please be aware there are many poor quality, cheaply made trampolines cashing in on the trampoline boom. Problems you will encounter are poor performance, weak springs, poor rust protection, inadequate pads and danger of breakages in the first couple of years.
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