Deciding between a springfree vs spring trampoline can be difficult. The springfree trampoline is hands-down safer than a coiled steel spring trampoline due to a number of clever design factors. However, the spring trampoline is more affordable and gives a better bounce.
In our quest for Mission: Backyard Adventure, we’ll go through these factors in more detail so that you get the best trampoline for your kids.
Pros – safer than traditional trampolines
Cons – more expensive. Less bouncy, especially for smaller kids. The net is so enclosed that it can be difficult to keep leaf matter off the mat.
Pros – The shape of the frame gives a bigger mat area for bouncing, and the bounce is better
Cons – Whilst the safety design is improving, most still have opportunities to improve.
Trampoline Safety Considerations
Trampolines are seen as a joyful backyard staple for many families. Growing up, I *knew* that the kids who had trampolines in the backyard were genuinely cooler (or at least had cooler parents) than those who didn’t. It was a huge draw card in my own backyard, and other neighborhood kids would wander past just to see if they could use it.
Having said that, there will always be some risk involved for kids when bouncing three feet or so off the ground with some force. This risk grows if there is more than one kid on the trampoline at a time. They often seem to crash into each other, as though it were crazy fun!
(In fact, my eight year old son this morning told me about a new game they started playing on the trampoline. It’s called Zombies, and you have to bounce into each other with your eyes closed…)
Other accidents happen too, especially around impact on the springs and the frame, and falling off if there is no net. Sometimes there is a net, but because of the design of the steel posts, the kid will just bounce straight into the post.
Fortunately, clever engineers have looked at all of the ways that kids can injure themselves on trampolines, and have come up with ways to mitigate most of these. (You’ll have to do the final one which is to only have one kid bouncing at a time. Good luck!)
Why Is A Springfree Trampoline Safer?
If you’re not familiar with what a springfree trampoline looks like, I’ll put a picture of an oval springfree in here so that you can see what I’m talking about. You’ll immediately see the diagonal composite rods, instead of just the frame.
There are no springs in a springfree trampoline
The springs are replaced with composite rods. The coiled steel springs can be like traps for hair, little toes and little fingers. The main problem is if there is one kid lying or sitting with some part of their body or hair lying over the springs. Another kid jumps on the mat, pulling the springs open a little, and for the kid resting their hands on the springs, the skin on their fingers gets pinched. Or, if it was a very big jump, the whole finger can be trapped.
Here’s what the trampoline spring looks like up close. It’s pretty darn strong.
The springfree trampoline replaces these springs with composite rods. These just remove the chance that anyone can get their hair or fingers caught in the springs. There are just no springs.
The composite rods and frame are below the mat, not beside it
A springfree trampoline is safer because the kids can’t hit the frame whilst they are jumping.
For regular trampolines, the top of the steel trampoline frame, the springs, and the mat are all in line with each other, on the same horizontal frame. This means, depending on where the safety net is and how it is constructed, it is possible to have a crazy bounce, and land on the frame.
Most modern trampolines come with a pad over the springs. This can get moved, or shift during a bouncing session. Or if it’s been out in the elements, it can crack, water gets in, and it gets moldy, and then you remove it because it looks so ugly and skanky. And mold is super dangerous in other ways.
If you land head first on the steel frame, or even just land plain awkwardly, this can be quite painful and damaging.
For springfree trampolines, with the composite rods below the mat, and then the frame below the rods, it’s not possible to come in contact with the frame. Even with the most cray-cray of bounces.
Springfree trampolines have the net at the edge of the mat
Springfree trampolines have the safety net right at the edge of the mat.
Spring trampolines can have outside mat designs. The mat is in the centre, then springs (often covered with a pad) are beside it and then the netting is on the outer side of the springs. This means that whilst your child can’t do a mad bounce off the trampoline, they can fall or get caught between the springs if the padding moves or slips. Or if you’ve taken it off because it got moldy.
Because the springfree trampoline has the net continuously attached to the mat, there is no way for your child to fall off the trampoline whilst bouncing.
Springfree trampolines always have ‘no climb’ nets
Trampoline nets are the nets that go around the trampoline so that the kids can’t fall off the trampoline.
Nets have become a lot taller. Some trampoline nets are 6ft high, whilst others are even 8ft. When you combine that with the height of the trampoline off the ground, if they get to the top and topple over on the outer side, it’s quite a way to fall.
‘No-climb’ nets mean that your little monkeys can’t race each other to the top. The holes are too small for fingers or toes to get a grip.
These are becoming more popular, even for the regular spring trampolines. However, for springfree trampolines, these are entirely standard.
Springfree trampolines have a flexible net frame
When you look at the old-style traditional trampoline, you’ll see that the enclosure net is supported by vertical steel posts. These can be painful (or dangerous) to bounce into. Some traditional trampolines may even have wooden posts.
The springfree trampolines have a flexible net enclosure. There are supporting posts that bend out in a concave fashion. And when you run into the net, the posts will bend outwards a little. It’s just not possible to crash into them.
Traditional trampolines are more affordable
On the upside for coiled steel spring trampolines, they are way more budget-friendly. Springfree trampolines are more expensive.
A 12ft round traditional trampoline with springs might range from $200-$700. There are of course outliers where they are more or less expensive, but most of them sit here.
The same size springfree trampoline can range from $1,600-$2,200 depending on the brand. Again, you will find exceptions to the rule, and every now and then, there will be a sale. But overall, they are likely to be more expensive than their springy equivalents.
In Summary for springfree vs spring trampoline?
A springfree trampoline is a safer option, as it eliminates the root cause of many trampoline accidents. No coiled steel springs, no gaps between the mat and the frame, and no ability to hit the frame at speed.
The downside is that they do have a different bounce profile (harder for very light kids), and tend to be more expensive.
I’ve written another article on What is a Springfree Trampoline where I go through both the true springfree trampoline and the leafspring trampoline (no coiled steel springs) in more detail.