When I first started looking at trampolines for our yard, I was struck by the wide range in pricing. It was possible to get a smaller round trampoline for a few hundred dollars. Yet, it was also possible to spend thousands of dollars on a trampoline that looked very similar from a distance. I asked myself, are these expensive trampolines worth it?
In most cases, more expensive trampolines are worth it for the extra bouncing area, as well as the higher quality springs, mat and steel frame. More expensive trampolines are often rectangle in shape, giving better bounce and multiple jump zones. The frame and springs have higher quality coatings, helping to protect them from rust longer.
In our quest for Mission: Backyard Adventure, let’s go through this in more detail. Just like Goldilocks, you don’t want to buy a trampoline that is too cheap, is unsafe, breaks quickly and is unsalvageable. Nor do you want to buy one that is too expensive, and makes you feel sorrow and regret every time you look at it. You want one that is just right for your situation. And that might just be a trampoline that is not too cheap, and not the most expensive, but is something in the upper mid range.
Just for fun, if you want to see the most expensive trampolines on Amazon, click here to check them out.
What Makes A Trampoline More Expensive?
I’ll go through the tangible reasons why some trampolines are more expensive first (like steel quantity and number of springs). Then, I’ll share my view of the more intangible elements that make a trampoline more expensive than another (like branding and safety).
First, let’s discover how the price of trampolines is made. Then we’ll look at the specifics of each element in the article below.
Trampolines are priced by calculating the materials needed for that particular combination of size and shape trampoline, as well as quality of materials and safety features. These safety features include padding, ladders and netting. Then, the manufacturer overlays their cost of production with the margin they and the retailer need, as well as the price premium that their brand can demand.
Factors that Make a Trampoline More Expensive
Broadly, the larger the trampoline, the more materials they need to manufacture it. This is everything from the amount of steel used in the frame, the size of the jumping mat, the number of springs. It all adds up. We’ll go through each of these elements one by one.
Bigger Trampolines Use More Materials
|Size of Round Trampoline (Diameter)||Perimeter Length (approx. feet)||Mat Area (typical square feet)||Number of Springs (typical)|
From the table above, you can see that a round 14’ trampoline has a perimeter of 44’. This is almost double the 8’ trampoline perimeter of 25’. If the perimeter is almost double, it will use almost double the amount of steel in the frame.
A round 14’ trampoline has a mat that is almost 3.5 times the size of an 8ft round mat, and will have almost double the number of steel springs at 96 rather than 56.
This means that it will cost more in materials across the frame, the springs and the mat to make a larger round trampoline than a smaller round trampoline. This is also true for the safety net and padding materials.
If you’re wondering what size trampoline to get, check out How to Choose The Right Size Trampoline for Kids.
More Materials are needed for Rectangle Trampolines vs Round Trampolines
A rectangle trampoline will often cost double what a comparable size round trampoline will cost. This is because the round trampoline skips out the corners, whilst the rectangle trampoline has to put the steel frame all the way around, including the corners.
A rectangle trampoline uses more materials again compared to a round trampoline. If the perimeter of an 8 ft diameter trampoline is 25’, then the perimeter of a square 8ft trampoline is 32’.
As the four-sided trampolines get larger, the differences become more pronounced. Another usual size for a large rectangle trampoline is 10’ x 14’. This will have a perimeter of 56’, which is significantly larger than a round 10’ trampoline at 31’ or a 14’ trampoline at 44’.
As well as using more steel in the manufacture, the rectangle trampoline has more springs and a larger mat than a similar round trampoline. This means that it will be cost more to make, and therefore be more expensive.
Round or rectangular? Oval or Round? Check out How To Choose The Best Shape Trampoline for Kids.
Quality of Materials – Frame
As well as the amount of steel in the frame, the price of the trampoline is also influenced by the quality of the materials, and the process used to make it.
Very cheap trampolines have thin and/or weak steel. This poor-quality metal is prone to bend and bow over time, and will negatively affect both the bounce and the safety profile of the trampoline.
Low quality cheaper steel can also allow the springs to pull open the hole that used to hook the mat to the trampoline. This is especially common when several heavy kids use the trampoline at once. They will jump closer to the edge, rather than all in the center. This puts more strain on the springs, and so damage the spring holes in the frame.
The best quality steel is more expensive, and more likely to be dipped in hot galvanizing zinc. This allows the steel tube to be coated in rust-proof material both inside and outside, protecting it from corrosion and rust. It will be between 1/8th to 1/16th inches thick.
The stronger frame will also provide a better bounce. With less give or micro-movement in the frame, the springs will be able do a better job as they have a stronger anchor to pull off from.
Quality of Materials – Springs
The springy material can be made of either metal springs (known as extension springs) or rubber bungee cord. The rubber cords are much cheaper, but will also deteriorate a lot faster in the sun and weather.
Steel springs come in a variety of lengths and treatments.
Shorter springs are cheaper and give less ‘spring’ than longer springs. In fact, they can even be jarring if they are too short. Ideally, you’ll get springs that are over 8.5” to give a soft enduring bounce.
The width of the spring is also important to both the price and quality of the spring. The ‘fatter’ the spring, the better the bounce. This is because the higher diameter means that there is a bigger circle to pull sideways as the spring stretches.
Finally, the shape of the spring can help as well. A more expensive ‘conical’ shaped spring has to be made by a different machine. It is narrower at the ends, and moves to wide center. This allows for slightly less metal to be used, but still has a good bounce with the bigger circle springs in the center.
Regular metal springs that are a metallic color are probably stainless steel. This will have been zinc-galvanized, giving a silver look.
More expensive ‘gold’ zinc is 2-3 times more durable than a silver-colored zinc. It’s often branded “Gold Springs” by the manufacturer, but is just a different, and better, galvanizing process. The yellow color comes from the color of the chromate that is applied after the zinc has been deposited, and helps make the zinc more durable.
Other materials such as the spring-free carbon fiber rods are more expensive again. Whilst they are in the prime of their life, they are However, these can deteriorate in the sun and then splinter fairly easily.
Quality of Materials – Mat
The quality of the materials plays a big role in how expensive a trampoline will be, as well as the method used to manufacture. For example, the trampoline mat might be of a good material, but it also needs to have good stitching and have good quality rings to attach the springs to.
A cheaper mat will be made of a low-grade nylon, and have no UV-protection built on. This means that over even a couple of years, it has the potential to split after being damaged by the sun.
Most good quality mats are made from a woven plastic polypropelene. This is a high carbon fiber, and will be UV-treated to make it more stable. A good indication of when the UV-treatment is breaking down is when the black carbon starts to rub off on to the kids’ clothes.
More expensive mats are made from Polymesh, a polyester knitted fabric. When combined with UV-treatment and stitched with marine grade stitching, these mats should last up to 7 years.
The ultimate in expensive mats are professional gymnast quality mats. These are often woven like netting, and have less air-resistance compared to lesser mats, allowing for a better bounce. They are generally for indoors though, and rarely have the same UV-treatment. If you are looking for a backyard bouncer, I would avoid this expense as this particular one won’t be worth it.
There is a very expensive mat made from a two-string terylene fabric (Dacron), a higher grade polyester. However, like any fine artist, these mats are very sensitive. They will tear from animal claws or fallen branches, so they’re not really suited to backyard adventures. Most also need to be re-treated with UV protection paint every couple of years. Avoid this one also.
Quality of Materials – Padding
The padding on a trampoline is the safety pad that goes over the top oof the spring. Its main role is to protect fingers, toes and hair from getting caught in the springs. Good quality padding should last 5-10 years outdoors, whilst poor quality padding rarely lasts a year. The main components to evaluate the quality of padding are the padding cover material, the foam padding itself, the ties attaching the padding to the trampoline, and the stitching.
Low quality padding splits in the sun letting the rain in. The padding material inside then goes soggy, followed quickly by moldy. When this happens, you’ll find that you don’t want your kids near the mold, and you’ll be left with the choice of banning kids from the trampoline, buying replacement pads, or letting them jump without the pads.
It’s just better to get the good quality pads right from the start.
The cheapest material for padding covers is polyethylene (PE). It isn’t truly waterproof, and will generally split around the stitching first.
The more expensive polyvinyl chloride (PVC) lasts longer, but still needs to be a premium quality, ideally around 0.5mm thick. This is where you will get a much longer lasting life expectancy.
The padding also needs to be securely attached to the trampoline. If it’s not, it will bounce off or blow away in no time. Thin fabric material ties will break quickly. Higher quality, and more expensive, toggles are used for longer lasting fixings.
Finally, truly good padding made from expanded polyethylene (EPE). This is a semi-rigid closed cell foam that is used for shock absorption. The very best manufacturers will cut this in a tapered-shape to allow the rain to drain away quickly, rather than pool on the surface of the padding.
Safety Net – Having a safety net will add some cost to your trampoline, but in my opinion, this is well worth it. Kids of all ages can get enough of a bounce up to land dangerously off the edge of the trampoline.
The safety net has a couple of key elements. There will be cost in terms of the frame that holds the safety net in place. You either want a frame that is well padded if the kids can come into contact with it, or that is bent outside away from the trampoline.
The net should be of sturdy material. There should be minimal stitching, as this is one area that can break and fray first. The highest quality, and higher cost, material is a woven knot-free polyester.
Ladder for Access – It’s hard to believe that there are trampolines sold without ladders to safely access them. But there you go!
In our quest for Mission: Backyard Adventures, we want to be able to yell “Go Forth, Kids!”, knowing that the kids will be able to get on and off the trampoline without mishap. We recommend the more expensive trampolines that come with a ladder. The best ones come with UV-stablized plastic that doesn’t get too hot in the sun, and flat steps to be non-slip when it gets wet.
Regular trampoline vs. Springfree Trampoline
Springfree trampolines are more expensive than their same sized springed cousins. These are touted as being the safest on the market.
The carbon fiber rods replace the springs. Whilst the carbon fiber rods are more expensive, and there are safety benefits to not having springs, there are too many stories of the carbon fiber rods deteriorating in the sun, and the company being unresponsive in fixing them in warranty. This is important, as even one splintered carbon rod at ground level is a hazard for kids and pets running around on the grass.
The other factor that makes Springfree trampolines more expensive is their branding. They were super innovative, distinctive and have a very believable origin story. This makes them compelling, and this consumer demand lets them price their trampolines at a higher price point.
Overall though, if you are happy to maintain them with new carbon fiber rods proactively, the more expensive springfree trampolines are worth it from a safety point of view. But if you are anything like me, due to the feedback on the carbon fiber rods deteriorating quickly under warrranty, I would say that they aren’t worth it.
Read more about Springfree trampolines here:
- What is a Springfree Trampoline and Do I Want One?
- Spring vs Springfree Trampolines – Which One Is Best For My Kids?
Regular trampolines vs. More Expensive Inground trampolines
You’ll also notice that in-ground trampolines are more expensive than the above ground regular trampolines. It’s not just because they have a nicer design aesthetic (in my view!).
This higher cost is primarily due to the quality of materials and the overall average size of the trampoline.
Inground trampolines use a higher-grade steel with thicker galvanizing layer so that they are stronger and more rust-resistant. The environment under the trampoline can be damper, as it is built into the ground. Depending on where you are, the soil can have more moisture in it. In addition, the rain can pool in the bottom if it not dug out properly.
Inground trampolines also use a higher-grade technology in the mat and padding. They need to allow greater airflow than a regular trampoline, otherwise it would be like jumping on a giant air pillow. The air needs to be able to get from under the jumping mat easily, and then return quickly with each bounce. It’s common for the trampoline mats to use stronger weave, with more gaps. The pads can also have holes put into them to help with the airflow. This means that they need a higher density of foam to maintain the structural stability.
Trampolines that are built into the ground are also generally larger, which leads to a higher cost price for the frame overall also.
You may be interested in reading our The Best Inground Trampoline 2021 Guide.
A longer warranty means a more secure guarantee. It means that the company is more likely to back their product, as they have more confidence in the quality of it. This confidence is built up over time from having a more rigorous testing regime.
When a company has a focus on quality, customer service and is willing to back that with a warranty, then you can typically expect the product to be more expensive.
Other Intangible Factors
Professional Gymnast vs Backyard Recreational – for most of this article, I’ve hinted that professional trampolines are much more expensive, driven primarily by the quality of the mat.
For most backyard jumping kids, you won’t find the higher price of the gymnast quality trampolines worth it.
But of course, if you are a professional gymnast, the more important the quality of the bounce is, the more you will spend for incremental improvements.
Brand – the ultimate intangible. If you were to look on Amazon, most trampolines seem fairly interchangeable. But there are some brands that stand out. Skywalker. Vuly. Springfree. Borg. And these are the ones that command the higher prices.
It might be that the quality came first, and then the brand. Or perhaps they both grew with each other. And maybe they put more into getting their message across. Regardless, the net result is that all of these brands are known for their excellent quality, good warranties, and fantastic feedback scores.
To wrap up, if having a large, long-lasting trampoline is valuable to you, then a more expensive trampoline, or at least one above the mid-range, will be worth it.