Outdoor trampolines and children go together like peanut butter and jelly. In neighborhoods across the world, squeals of joy can be heard coming from kids as they temporarily launch skyward with their friends on a trampoline. Bouncing on a tramp is a right of passage – and it’s just fun.
I’ve always said the best outdoor trampoline is the one children actually use. That’s not as easy of a target to hit as it sounds – not every trampoline is going to work for both the kinder-gardener and the freshman in high school. Making sure the little bouncer is safe on the same equipment that can entertain an older child is a tall order. Some trampolines are made for a wide range of ages – while others are made for children of a specific size.
Below you’ll find our picks along with a buying guide to help you as you shop for a trampoline.
Our Recommended Picks
Skywalker Trampolines Jump N’ Dunk Tramp
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Zupapa TUV Certified Trampoline
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SkyBound Stratos Trampoline
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Merax 14ft Round Trampoline
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Clever 7 ft Round Kids Trampoline
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Best Trampolines For Kids
This 15ft round trampoline from Skywalker Trampolines is one of the most popular available today, and for good reason. Safety is a prime concern in the design of this model. It’s so important, Skywalker has made sure this model exceeds all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requirements. That’s not required by law; they choose to exceed those targets to make sure their products are among the safest on the market.
This trampoline is rated to hold 200lbs of weight. With a 3yr/1yr frame/parts warranty, they stand behind their product. We like the ‘W’ supports – they give more stability to the product. The padded poles and enclosure net are well-made. The basketball hoop is a nice touch – it has a breakaway rim and even comes with 2 basketballs. You should be able to finish assembly in an afternoon.
Best For: Overall value, pre-teen trampolines
Rated Weight Limit: 200lbs (from manufacturer)
The Zupapa 2018 Trampoline is built to last. It’s made of hot-dip galvanized steel which should protect your frame from rust for years to come. The net, padding material and mat are all covered by a uv-resistant coating. At nearly 200 weight lbs delivered, it’s much heavier than most other trampoline sets of the same size. It can hold up to 375lbs of jumping kid at one time. It’s a nice sturdy beast.
We like that you can fit more, larger children on this trampoline at the same time. You can probably get on and jump with one or two of your children if you want to. Some of the smaller models don’t give you that option. It’s also well-equipped to “grow” with your children, so you won’t be forced to buy a higher weight-certified model in a few years.
The 15ft model comes with a safety pad, ladder, enclosure net and trampoline rain cover. This model is TUV certified.
Best For: Larger families, kids of all ages, families
Rated Weight Limit: 375lbs (from manufacturer)
The SkyBound Stratos 12 foot outdoor trampoline will take you from opening the box to jumping in about an hour, thanks to their patented Easy-Installation System. You’ll see how much thought was put into not only making this an easy-to-assemble product, but also a well-built one. At 330lbs, you will be able to fit the neighborhood kids on this easily!
The Stratos is marketed as having “ultimate rebound” – that’s because of the 9″ springs which give a great push to your child. Don’t worry though – the enclosure net and sturdy support poles will keep your child safely contained on the mat. I personally like the black and yellow color scheme, but your tastes may differ.
Best Trampoline For: Smaller yards and Adrenalin junkies
Rated Weight Limit: 330bs (from manufacturer)
The Merax 14ft Trampoline has everything you need in one package. The four-step ladder will get your kid up and bouncing quicker. The enclosure net is sturdy and will keep your children from flying off the equipment. It’s rated to hold 300lbs of jumper, so invite the neighborhood kids over too!
The basketball hoop sits high on the tramp pole, so it shouldn’t get in the way on day-to-day, non b-ball jumping. It is a nice additional feature for when your children want to live their NBA dreams. Some people have indicated the hoop and backboard catch some wind in larger storms, so if you live in an area with large storms you might want to take that into account.
Best For: Larger families, Adrenalin junkies
Rated Weight Limit: 300lbs (from manufacturer)
If you have really young children, this trampoline is a great choice. It’s obviously not for middle-school or older kids, but for toddlers stretching up to tweens this is a fun choice. There are many safety features built in. The frame is supported by sturdy steel legs which isn’t always the case at the 7ft size mark. The protective mat covering the springs is of very high quality.
It’s not for everyone, but if you have say a 3 and 6 year old, you should take a look at this trampoline. You’re children will love it. It won’t dominate your yard. It’s also reasonably priced.
Best For: Young Children
Rated Weight Limit: 100lbs (from manufacturer)
What To Look For When Shopping For An Outdoor Trampoline:
How Much Space Do You Have In Your Yard?
It’s a pretty obvious idea, but you need to decide how much of your backyard you are willing to give up to a trampoline. You’ll also need to get comfortable with how visible the structure is from both in your house and from the road. Many people like to be able to see what their kids are doing from the comfort of their own house – so they don’t need to be outside with their kids all of the time.
To begin, you’ll need to decide where in your yard you’d like the tramp to go. Once that’s decided, you can measure out how big that ideal space is – that way you’ll have an idea of just how big or small you’ll need to look at for your perfect backyard structure.
Round, Square or Rectangle Shape?
One of the first decisions you need to make is what shape trampoline you want in your backyard. This might be a surprise to you since the vast majority of backyard tramps are round in shape. In general, the circle shape is a great choice for most children. Bouncers energy tends to be aimed toward the middle of the trampoline which helps prevent injuries. Injuries are also minimized versus square or rectangular-shaped trampolines by the circular distribution of the springs. Finally, less energy is transmitted through the trampoline surface – meaning kids aren’t bounced as high as they would be on the other, right-angle shaped surfaces.
That doesn’t mean square and rectangular tramps don’t have their place. Gymnasts and others that need the airtime provided by the higher energy of a rectangular jumping mat should hunt one down. But for general, day-to-day jumping play-time, a round trampoline is the best overall choice.
What’s The Maximum Weight Capacity
One common way children get hurt on a trampoline is when a trampoline breaks after being overloaded. This usually means a rip in the surface itself, but can also happen if the springs give way. No matter what the cause, this type of injury can be avoided by following the weight limits.
Each trampoline can hold up to a certain weight. Some very small toddler mini-trampolines are rated for a 69lbs or less of weight. Most outdoor trampolines are rated for at least 200lbs, with larger ones being able to safely bounce 400 or more pounds of weight.
The important thing to remember when shopping for a trampoline is how much weight you’ll need to support at any one time. Make sure to give some extra poundage leeway for growing children, additional friends that may come over, and a general safety cushion of 50 lbs more than you think you will need. In our experience, all else equal you want the highest rated weight limit you can both fit in your yard and afford. Trampolines attract neighborhood children like bees to sugar water!
What Safety Features Do I Need?
There are four “must-have” safety features I’d look for when buying an outdoor trampoline.
- A well-fitted enclosure net. Notice I said “well-fitted”. These nets enclose the trampoline and make it difficult for children to accidently bounce out and off of the trampoline.
- A protective mat cushion to cover the springs.
- A strong anchor system to make sure the trampoline stays firmly on the ground under load.
- A ladder to get on and off of the bouncing mat.
Some people don’t get a ladder immediately. It’s often easier to purchase one separately after you’ve used the tramp a bit. The first three safety features are, in my mind, a requirement from the get-go. If you are looking for an indoor trampoline, we’ve got an article for you as well here.
How Old Are Your Children?
The age and size of your child will have a big impact on what size trampoline you should buy. While you might be tempted to get a smaller tramp for a grade-school aged child, remember they will grow in the future. You don’t want to get something too small where you’ll be forced to buy another model in a year or two.
That said, toddlers should be on a smaller model. Their lack of balance could be dangerous on a higher-up model. They will also have trouble entering and exiting on their own. Wait until they are school age before going with the “big girl” models.
Sturdiness and Durability
Different models of trampolines can have varying levels of both strength and quality of materials. There is quite a bit of force being absorbed by the equipment when a bunch of kids are jumping at once. You want to make sure your model is both sturdy and durable.
You are looking for a few features here. First, you want the legs to be reinforced, or at the very least W-shaped for added support. Second, steel is a must for frame construction. Galzanized steel (or even stainless steel) will help resist rusting and maintain strength into the future. Finally, don’t forget the spring cover. Since it will be taking a beating from the sun, all day, every day, you want to make sure it has some sort of UV resistant coating.
How Easy Is It To Put Together & Take Apart?
Most people will set up their kids outdoor trampoline once and leave it in place. In that case, it’s not as important how easy it is to disassemble since it won’t happen. However, some people like to move their trampoline around the yard, or take it apart for the winter. In that case, you’ll want to check both children trampoline reviews for the model you are looking at, along with talking to friends, to see how big a deal construction is for that model.
If you are a little handy with tools, putting up a trampoline is a doable endeavor. If you are not, or you have more money than free time, a handyman can easily put one together in an afternoon.
How To Care For Your Trampoline
For the most part, your trampoline is relatively maintenance free. I did say “relatively” :)
During the winter months, you need to take some of the less-sturdy parts inside and keep them dry. These include the net, jump mat, springs and foam.
During the outdoor season, you’ll want to check periodically to see if any of the springs need to be replaced. You need a replacement spring when there are gaps in the coils, or you can see signs that the springs are stretched out. This isn’t a hard repair to do on your personal best trampoline for kids, but one you need to do for safety purposes.