Trampolines vs Bounce Houses: What’s Better For Your Kids


There are many different options for what you should have in your backyard to keep your kids entertained.

Some of those options include trampolines and bounce houses.

Trampolines are a good option because they are cheaper than bounce houses, you can keep them up year-round, and clean-up is relatively easy. Bounce houses, on the other hand, are safer for kids, more kids can jump at one time, and can be used indoors and outdoors. Overall, trampolines are a better option for kids.

Read on to find out the pros and cons for each before you make your final decision.

Why the debate

When thinking of a party at someone’s house, nothing gets kids more excited than hearing a trampoline or bounce house is going to be there.

Even as an adult, I get excited when I hear “bounce house”, even though by the time I get in there, I realize I’m too old and big to fully enjoy the bounce house experience.

But we also have had a trampoline and my kids could never get enough of it.

So, the debate rages on “which one is better for your family?” and I will try to answer with the following.

Safety

The most important part of either of these toys is the safety factor.

First, when you purchase a trampoline, it typically comes with the trampoline only, which is the net, frame, and springs.

Pay a little bit extra and you might find your trampoline a little safer.

For example, you can purchase a safety net and spring pad for your trampoline.

The safety net will significantly decrease the number of injuries that are going to occur on your trampoline since most injuries deal with kids or adults falling off of the trampoline.

The spring pad will protect the jumpers from the springs.

This is especially important if jumpers are not paying attention and jump on a spring instead of the pad.

Second, bounce houses are pretty safe on their own.

The idea behind the bounce house is you fill it with air and then that is what the kids bounce around on.

Outside of that, bounce houses are supposed to be enclosed, meaning the bounce house part is inside, making it incredibly difficult for someone to get hurt.

That doesn’t mean that someone can’t, though.

For example, if you had too many people jumping in the bounce house, someone could accidentally land on someone else or land awkwardly and end up hurting their leg.

So a bounce house isn’t completely without caution.

And I believe you would be hard-pressed to purchase anything you can add to your bounce house to make it any safer.

But because the bounce house is pretty safe on its own, the bounce house has the advantage for safety.

Advantage: Bounce house

Setup

The trampoline is going to be a little bit of work to set up.

First, you have to set up the trampoline frame, which includes the legs of the trampoline.

Start with the frame upside down on the ground, then connect the legs to the trampoline.

Once the legs are in the trampoline, then flip the trampoline back over and start connecting the springs and mat to the trampoline frame.

Connecting the springs and the mat will take some work to accomplish, and you might even need two people to help you.

But, once you have the trampoline set up, you won’t have to take it down all through the year.

One set up and you are done.

The bounce house is a different story.

The bounce house needs to be taken out and laid out where all the fun is going to happen.

Once it is laid out, the machine you use to keep it inflated needs to be turned on and then you wait until the bounce house is all the way filled up.

Plus it might just take one person to set it up.

So the setup time is a little bit less than what it is for the trampoline.

But for the bounce house, you can’t keep it up all the time.

The fabric for the bounce house is going to be sensitive to the cold weather, so you won’t want to have it out during the winter.

It also becomes dangerous to be on the bounce house while it is raining, so again, not a good time to have it out.

So because you have to set up the bounce house each time you want to use it and bring it in each time you are done, the trampoline wins on setup.

Advantage: Trampoline

Maintenance

Trampolines are going to need specific kinds of maintenance throughout the year.

First, you should perform maintenance.

Most people I know don’t perform maintenance on their trampolines.

You’ll need to regularly check the screws on the frame and legs of the trampoline.

Tighten any screws that are loose and replace any screws that are lost.

You will also want to check the springs on a regular basis.

Replace any springs that are old or rusted before they become a problem.

If there is snow on the trampoline, make sure to brush it off with a broom before anyone jumps on it.

If the mat or safety net gets a hole in it, make sure to patch it before it gets too big.

For bounce houses, you are going to treat them a bit differently because they won’t be up all year round like the trampolines will.

You’ll need to check it regularly to see if any of the seams have burst open.

If you find an open seam, you’ll need to pull out a needle and some thread and close the seam yourself.

You could also use a sewing machine, but imagine getting the bounce house in an area where you can actually use a sewing machine on it.

The kicker, though, is the air machine that pumps up the bounce house.

You can’t just use any machine to get and keep the air in the bounce house.

The bounce house is going to come with an air machine and it is possible that the air machine will break down.

At that point, you’ll either need to open up the air machine and fix it on your own, find someone that can fix it for you, or purchase a new air machine.

None of these is going to be a simple or cheap option.

Advantage: Trampoline

Cost

Depending on the size of the trampoline, it could cost you between $300 to a few thousand dollars.

For example, you can purchase a 12-foot trampoline from Skywalker Trampoline for $319 here (price at the time of posting).

You could also purchase a 17-foot trampoline for $1,295 here (price at the time of posting).

The price of the trampoline not only depends on the size of the trampoline but also what you want to come with you.

You can a safety net or a spring cover if it doesn’t already come with the trampoline, for additional pricing.

A basketball hoop or triple toss game could be purchased as well for additional fun with the trampoline.

A bounce house also has a different range of pricing depending on what type of bounce house you want to get.

A small AirMyFun bounce house can be purchased on Amazon for just under $200 here.

Also, a 23-foot by 16-foot bounce house can be purchase for just under $7,000 here.

So because you have such a wide range of pricing and sizes for bounce houses, the advantage goes to bounce house.

Advantage: Bounce house

Use

One determining factor on whether to get a trampoline or a bounce house might depend on how often you or your family is going to use it.

As discussed previously, a trampoline can be set up one time, and then it just needs to be maintained afterward.

A trampoline can be taken down in certain circumstances, but there really isn’t any need because the trampoline is pretty durable.

Because of this, the trampoline can be left up year-round, and that means that it can be used year-round.

It is recommended that kids shouldn’t jump on the trampoline while it has snow on it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sweep off the snow in the winter and let the kids go jumping.

It isn’t recommended for kids to go jumping while it’s raining, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cover the trampoline with a tarp and then take it off when the rain goes away.

So for use’s sake, the trampoline is going to get regular use out of it, even daily.

I know when we had a trampoline, our kids were using it on a daily basis.

The bounce house is a little bit of a different story.

While the trampoline is sturdy, you aren’t going to want to have it up all the time.

This would mean you have the air pump on all the time and electronics that are on all the time are eventually going to wear out.

So while you might have the bounce house outside all the time, you aren’t going to have it ready to use.

And depending on the size of the bounce house, it could take some time to fill it up.

Our family once went to someone’s house who had a bounce house up and you had to fill it up when you showed up.

We started filling it up when we showed up and then an hour later, it still wasn’t ready to use.

So with a bounce house, you have to plan ahead of time if you know you are going to use it.

And your kids can’t go outside at a moment’s notice.

Advantage: Trampoline

Capacity

When we say capacity, we mean how many people can be in an item at one time.

For a trampoline, it is typically considered that you will only have one person on a trampoline at a time.

But how much do we actually follow this?

But also, the more people you have a trampoline, the harder it is to actually use the trampoline.

For a bounce house, it is typically safe to have more than one person on it at a time.

The bounce house will typically come with a recommended number of people at one time.

You can get to a point where the bounce house is hard to use with too many people, but that capacity is much higher than that of the trampoline.

Advantage: Bounce house

Durability

Durability is an important subject when it comes to either a trampoline or a bounce house.

If your kids or your kid’s friends are going to be jumping on it, you want your trampoline or bounce house to last a while.

Especially with the amount of money you are looking to spend on your trampoline or bounce house.

As discussed previously, a trampoline can be set up and maintained year-round without too much interaction from yourself to keep it going.

In a bounce house, you need to maintain the bounce house and fix any seams that might be broken or any holes that might occur for any number of reasons.

And while a trampoline might get rips, tears, or broken springs, those won’t keep you from using the trampoline.

If there is a broken seam in the bounce house, it will be unusable until it is fixed.

And if you have to drag the bounce house outside every time your kids want to use it, you might end up with holes more often than you think.

Trampoline replacement parts can be purchased easily and you can pretty quickly replace anything that ends up broken.

Advantage: Trampoline

Summary

Trampolines and bounce houses are great ideas for your kids if you want to have something in your backyard that will be fun for your kids.

Each, of course, has its own pros and cons.

But overall, it looks like the trampoline beats out the bounce house in this friendly competition, but only just barely.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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