Are Inground Trampolines As Bouncy (And How To Make Bouncier)?

Inground trampolines sit in the ground, leaving the jumping mat flush with the lawn, or just a few inches above it, depending on the model. In general, they are also more expensive than their regular above ground trampolines. This may cause you to ask, “Are inground trampolines as bouncy as normal trampolines?”

Typically, inground trampolines are not as bouncy as above ground trampolines, and you won’t be able to jump as high. The bounce on an inground trampoline depends on airflow. The air finds it harder to move in and out from under the jump mat quickly, and so it is like jumping on a springy cushion.

Let’s go into this in more detail, as well as discover what you can do to make it bouncier.

If you already know you want an inground trampoline, check out this article on how to choose an inground trampoline and install it yourself.

The Inground Trampoline Bounce Is Slower and Smoother

Whilst you might not jump as high on an inground trampoline, you will find it a slower and smoother bounce. As the air exchange under the mat takes more time, there is a slight delay between when you first land, and when you reach the deepest point of the bounce. This makes if feel a good deal less jerky when compared to an above ground trampoline.

Why Is Air Exchange Important On An Inground Trampolines?

As you jump up, the mat returns to its original flat position, and air rushes in under the mat. When you return to the mat for your next bounce, the air gets pushed away from the mat so that the mat can depress into the pit.

If the air can’t move away fast enough, it is like jumping on a giant cushion. Equally, if the air can’t rush back in quickly, the springs won’t be able to work against that vacuum force very well. You won’t be able to bounce as high.

Why Is It Difficult to Exchange Air On An Inground Trampoline?

Compared to a regular above ground trampoline, inground trampolines find it difficult to move the air under the mat because the air flow is blocked. It is blocked at the sides by the trampoline pit, as well as on the top by the trampoline safety pad and jump mat.

There’s a design tension at the top of the mat. On one hand, manufacturers want to make it as easy as possible for the air to move in and out, as this will improve the quality of the bounce. On the other hand, the easier it is for air to move in and out, the easier it is for things to fall into the trampoline pit. This includes favorite toys, small animals, and sometimes even your toddler. These can be difficult to get out without removing springs and shifting the mat around.

The sides of the trampoline pit are not easy to reshape without damaging the structural integrity of the pit.

How Can You Make An Inground Trampoline Bouncier?

To make an inground trampoline bouncier, there needs to be better air exchange. Ideally, it would be seamless for the air to move in and out from underneath an inground trampoline, just like an above ground trampoline.

To improve the air exchange on an inground trampoline, manufacturers and installers use a number of mechanical and technological approaches. These broadly cover three areas: getting better air exchange through the mat, making the springs work harder, as well as improving the venting around the trampoline as it is installed.

Inground Trampoline Mats and Bounce

Trampoline mats provide a great deal of resistance to air flow. Manufacturers try to compensate for this by increasing the size of the airholes in the weave of the jump mat.

Almost all inground and most above ground trampoline mats are made of woven UV-resistant polypropylene (PPE) that is rolled flat. PPE is a good material for a jump surface. It’s resistant to tearing, and when carbon black is applied, can withstand degrading when put in the yard exposed to the sun.

The manufacturers of inground trampolines use a wider weave in the trampoline mats. This leaves a larger gap in between the woven strands of PPE. These larger airholes are designed to allow greater air exchange between the trampoline mat and the air above.

Whilst the larger airholes do make a difference, it’s not the same as a regular trampoline which has the entire sides of the trampoline free for airflow.

Check out the reviews for Berg’s Inground Trampoline on Amazon. Their Airflow technology on the mat claims to have 50% higher airflow than a regular trampoline mat.  

Inground Trampoline Springs and Bounce

The other area that manufacturers have spent time improving is the trampoline springs on inground trampolines.

Given that the springs are responsible for the quality of the bounce, if they can get the springs working harder, then the springs can compensate for some of the air-cushion lag in the bounce.

Berg is one of the better manufacturers of inground trampolines. As well as the higher airflow on the mat, they also arrange their springs in V-Shapes between the frame and the mat. This makes the springs work harder in recoil, and gives a bigger jump zone on the mat.

Click here to check out the reviews of Berg Champion Inground trampolines on Amazon.

Installation – Improve Venting For Inground Trampolines

The final area that can make a substantial difference is the venting around the interface of the ground and the trampoline.

Whilst some inground trampolines sit entirely flush with the lawn, others have a design that raises them a few inches off the ground. These models are generally of a similar price, however, they can significantly change the amount of air exchange that can happen in a micro-second.

The bounce on a slightly raised inground trampoline will typically be better than one that is completely flush with the lawn, especially if the safety pads completely covering the springs.

Why Do the Pads Make a Slap Noise on Inground Trampolines?

When there’s not quite enough air exchange through the mat or the venting (see above), the air will try to escape through anything that looks like a valve.

The pads sit covering the springs of the trampoline. They often attach on just one side of the pads. Whilst they don’t move when the air is being sucked under the mat and into the pit, they have a tendency to act like a valve when you land on the mat. The air is forced from the pit, and will try to exit the pit anyway it can.

You can hear the trampoline pad slap against the springs as the valve lifts up, the air pressure equilibrates, and then sits back down again.

You could stop the noise by either tying them down on both sides or by leaving them off entirely. Tying them on both sides will make the quality of the bounce significantly worse. And leaving them off entirely runs the risk of something falling into the pit. Did I mention it’s a big job to get the precious things out of the pit again.

How To Make An Inground Trampoline Bouncier

1. Choose an inground trampoline with good jump mat airflow. These will generally have larger airholes built into the weave.

2. Make sure the springs are designed for maximum strength and bounce. These should be stronger than regular springs, and may be placed in a V-shape to shorten the distance between the mat and the frame.

3. When installing, include a few inches of venting around the trampoline. This might include leaving it sitting just above the ground level.

4. Don’t install the safety pads. Whilst I don’t recommend this from a safety point of view (and a practical point of view when you have to rescue things from deep in the pit), it is an effective way of improving the air flow.

In Summary

You wanted to know – Are inground trampolines as bouncy? Inground trampolines are not as bouncy as above ground trampolines. For inground trampolines, the air flow isn’t as good, and so you get a slower, smoother bounce, without being as high as an above ground trampoline.

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