You’ve decided to get your kids a trampoline. You might have even picked out a spot in your backyard that you think would be perfect. But, there are a lot of factors to consider before making an impulse buy, and ignoring them could lead to an unsafe situation.
You want to make sure that your kids will have a fun and safe experience bouncing around with their friends. So let’s dive into understanding what size and shape trampoline would work best for you, your yard, and your family. Also be sure to read our full guide on how to buy a trampoline.
Safety is the #1 Priority
In a typical year, there are more than 200,00 people injured on trampolines in the United States. In 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Review reported more than 100,000 trampoline injuries that resulted in trips to a hospital emergency room. The vast majority of those injured were children under the age of 14. Most trampoline injuries occur in the home environment, and nearly one-third of those injuries resulted in fractures.
Trampolines are growing in popularity. They’re excellent for low-impact exercise, and the rhythmic movement of bouncing can improve coordination and strengthen the musculoskeletal system by increasing bone mass. A trampoline in your yard can provide endless fun for your kids, particularly in the warmer summer months.
But along with that increase in popularity, the number of injuries has increased as well. A lot of these injuries occur because the trampoline was too small to accommodate multiple users.
So, it’s pretty clear that your plans to install a trampoline need to be done with safety in mind. And trampoline safety is one of the biggest factors you’ll be using to determine the size of your trampoline. You may also want to check with your insurance company, some policies exclude trampolines.
At The Backyartisan, we believe that knowledge is power. So let’s break down what factors can help you decide what size and shape of trampoline are right for you and your family.
Size and Shape Factors
When searching for the right size and shape trampoline for your backyard, one of the biggest considerations is the number of kids jumping on it. If only one person is going to be on the trampoline at a time, a smaller, round trampoline would be adequate. But if you have a larger family and you want to enjoy jumping together, you should consider something larger.
You also need to consider the dimensions of your yard when determining the size and shape of your trampoline. You need plenty of room overhead; experts recommend at least 24 feet. At that height, you can accommodate jumpers of all sizes and skill levels without worrying about anyone hitting a tree branch.
Ideally, you would also have six feet of clearance around the perimeter and a soft surface of grass or soil underneath it. Trampolines should not be placed on concrete.
You should also plan accordingly for the chance that someone is injured while using your trampoline. Place it someplace that is accessible so that in the case of a severe injury needing an emergency response, there is easy access, unhampered by fences, steps, plantings, and other ornamental features.
And, if you think you have a young gymnast on your hands who will want to do a variety and combination of flips, somersaults, and jumps, you should look for an appropriately sized rectangular trampoline. A round or oval shape is more appropriate for less demanding users.
Standard Sizes For Round Trampolines
Round trampolines tend to come in a pretty wide variety of sizes, with diameters of 11, 14, and 17 feet being very common. You can also find models measuring almost anywhere from about 7 to 17 feet in diameter. There are also some oval models on the market that might help you maximize your yard space.
Standard Sizes For Rectangular Trampolines
Rectangular trampolines also come in a variety of sizes and are more suitable for heavy athletic use than round versions. Most models are proportionally rectangular, where one side is about 50% longer than the other. Some standard sizes are 10×6, 14×10, and 11×8.
Sizes For Different Age Groups
Different size kids need different size trampolines. A good rule of thumb is that the bigger the kids get, the bigger the trampoline needs to be. So if you have kids who are under 10, you can probably look at models from about 6-10 feet in diameter or length. If your kids are 10-12 years old, you should get a larger model in the 12-14 foot range. Kids 13 and older can still use a trampoline that is about 12-16 feet, but will they be using it with their friends? Will there be older kids or family members who want to join in the fun? If that’s the case, you should consider a larger trampoline.
If you think your kids will enjoy using the trampoline for years to come, you may want to start large and avoid having to upgrade in the future, saving yourself some money. Remember, children under the age of 6 should not use full-size trampolines at all, but there are some mini-trampolines intended for use by toddlers and little kids.
How to Measure Trampoline Size
If you need to measure a trampoline, whether for replacing parts or sizing purposes, there are a few best practices to follow to ensure accuracy. Perhaps most importantly, remember to always measure the frame, not the mat. Mats will stretch with use, so they are not reliable for measuring for replacement.
It’s also a good idea to have an extra set of hands to help. It’s difficult to keep the tape measure hooked on the frame without a helper to hold it in place. This will help you ensure that you can pull it taut and obtain a quality measurement.
To measure a round trampoline, place your tape measure from one spot on the frame directly across the middle of the mat to the other side of the frame. Do this in 3 or 4 different locations, working your way around the perimeter, and calculate the average value. You should also measure the spring length and count the number of v-rings and springs (they should be the same) if you are ordering replacement parts.
To measure a rectangular trampoline, you must measure the length and width. Measuring from the outside of the frame, stretch your tape measure across the mat from one short side to the other short side, making sure you’re going straight across. You can slide the tape measure down the frame and measure in a few spots to ensure accuracy. That’s your length.
Now do the same thing, but measure from the long side to the other long side of the frame. That’s your width.
Measure an oval trampoline by measuring the shorter side and then the longer side, remembering to go start and end at the outer edges of the frame.
Inground vs. Above Ground Trampolines
- Increase Safety – In-ground trampolines are even with the ground level so that if someone falls off, they don’t fall as far.
- Increased Confidence – Because they are low to the ground, kids will be less intimidated because they’re not as high up off the ground.
- Presentation – In-ground trampoline models don’t stick up over your fence line the way an above-ground model does, particularly when you add a safety enclosure, something that we always recommend.
- Easier to Incorporate – Because of its built-in look, it’s much easier to make an in-ground trampoline part of the landscape. You can integrate it into the yard by designing your yard’s plantings and other features around it. Even if it is not the centerpiece of your backyard like a swimming pool or patio, you can make it look integrated with a few thoughtful design elements.
- Immobile – By definition, an in-ground trampoline doesn’t move. So you may have to rearrange your backyard to accommodate it. And once it’s in, it’s very difficult to move.
- Limited Airflow – If you have a wet backyard, an inground trampoline could be susceptible to rust. There isn’t much room underneath for air to circulate, so keeping it dry can be difficult. You may need to incorporate drainage into your design to ensure that it remains rust-free and lasts.
- Maintenance Difficulty – To access the area under the trampoline for maintenance, the trampoline will need to be lifted, and that’s not always very easy, especially with larger models. And when someone inevitably loses a sock underneath, or a nuisance animal moves in, you may have a headache on your hands. Head over to our full guide for more on whether or not we think in-ground trampolines are worth it.
Above Ground Trampolines
- Less Expensive – Above-ground trampoline models are usually less costly than their in-ground cousins.
- Convenience – No digging or extended preparation is needed to set one up. Just assemble, place it on the grass and enjoy.
- Portable – If the need arises, you can move the trampoline to a new location in your yard, another convenience factor.
- Simple Maintenance – Everything is right at eye and hand level for easier troubleshooting and hands-on work, with no lifting required.
- Easier to Remove – When the time comes to try and sell your trampoline, it’s much easier to attract a buyer for an above-ground trampoline. If it’s small enough, it may even fit in a large truck while fully assembled.
- Eye-Sore – When an above-ground trampoline joins your landscape, it is very noticeable and can be disruptive to the ergonomics and aesthetics of your yard. Especially with an enclosure on top, it is also probably quite visible, even over your fence.
- Less Safe – In the case of a fall, their increased height is inherently more dangerous than a built-in trampoline. There is more distance to travel, and the landing will be that much harder. A fall of more than twice a child’s height is often considered a major mechanism of injury and can result in serious trauma.
Coil vs. Springless Trampolines
- Affordability – Coil trampolines have been around for a long time. Their design is simple, proven, and generally affordable across models and sizes.
- Easier on Joints – Due to the way they are designed, springless trampolines shift under a user’s weight, rather than just moving up and down. This lateral stretching creates a bounce, but it may lead to some joint discomfort during and after use.
- More Impact Points – With rigid springs and rigid enclosure poles, coil trampolines offer more opportunities for impacts with hard objects.
- Exposed Frame – Springless trampolines incorporate the frame into the jumping area, removing another impact point and increasing aesthetic appeal.
- Pinch Points – An exposed spring can easily pinch someone who gets caught in one during trampoline use.
- Potentially Safer Choice – Due to their spring-free design, these trampolines keep your kids safer by removing metal from their jumping environment and by relocating the frame under the mat. You don’t have to worry about the spring cover moving and exposing a sharp spring. We have our doubts about this though, traditional spring trampolines have come a long way in their safety measures over the years. Read more in our article investigating if springless trampolines are worth the money.
- Integrated Enclosure – Most springless trampolines integrate the enclosure into their design, making it more likely to catch a kid who bounced a bit outside the boundary of the surface. Spring model trampoline enclosures will tend to just toss the errant jumper back onto the jumping area.
- Price – Springless trampolines often use composite materials that are quite expensive. And they cost more to manufacture. So, they are going to hit your wallet harder.
Now you’re ready to make a decision. You know what shape of trampoline is best for your intended use, and you know what size you will need to accommodate the number of jumpers you will have. Now you can get to work facilitating some backyard fun!