Our guide is designed to give you the inside scoop on in-ground trampolines and we’ll explain why this style of trampoline is an excellent choice, especially if you worry about safety and you have kids with lots of energy and few places to direct it. We’ve evaluated three popular models for you; each the product of a solid manufacturer dedicated to providing families with safe, affordable equipment that guarantees fun!
In-Ground Trampoline Buying Guide
How to prepare your yard (and your life) for an in-ground trampoline
One of the first things to do before you grab your plastic and (hopefully) audition your favorites is to walk your yard. Like in-ground swimming pools, an in-ground trampoline will require you to dig some of it up. Stroll around. See where the sun hits the lawn and at what times of day to make sure it’s properly located.
Next, make sure the spot you pick isn’t already home to a well, septic tank or the sprawling roots of a tree that’s been around longer than you have. As a rule of thumb, allocate at least 6-feet of space. Having chosen your location, here are the shopping decisions you’ll make:
1. What shape suits your fancy when it comes to shape? You’ve lots of choices: round, rectangular, square—even octagonal. Just remember that the larger and the fancier the shape, the more likely you’ll spend more for this gear and remember that size matters when it comes to writing a check, too.
2. Want it in-ground or not exactly? That’s not a riddle: in-ground trampolines can be completely submerged so all you see is the bouncy area, while some are “sunken” but won’t lie flat against the terrain. Whichever you choose, you’ll need extra room so there’s space between the trampoline and retaining wall that holds it in place beneath ground.
3. Will you prepare the area for the install? Sounds like fun, but make sure you have experience with both digging and equipment. Cable, power and sewer lines may traverse your yard and you don’t want to mess with those essentials. Hiring a professional could be the best move you made since you decided on this purchase.
4. Are you going to be happy with the way your yard looks after the fact? This question may seem irrelevant at first when you think of all the fun you’ll have, but if you’ve been used to overlooking bucolic landscaping complete with lush flowers, shrubs and bushes, that big black expanse of textile could take some adjustment.
5. What will it take to maintain your in-ground trampoline? Very little—especially when compared to above-ground equipment that has the potential to rust as a result of being exposed to the elements. And don’t discount “sleep better at night” assurances that gale force winds can’t relocate your trampoline to a neighbor’s yard; this is a permanent fixture once installed.
6. How much will you spend? According to experts in the field, the price of an in-ground trampoline kit can run anywhere from $300 to $2000. You’ll pay your pit digger between $400 and $1500 (if soil is compacted, hard or perhaps clay-like) and the retaining wall required for a 14-foot square model can run another $2000, using wood at $15 per sq. foot plus about $20 worth of concrete.
How safe are in-ground trampolines?
There’s no getting around the fact that kids will be kids and gear like trampolines tend to rev up their engines. But as a parent, you know that responsibility for your child’s health and safety comes down to you and while statistics haven’t been updated lately, in 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recorded at least 286,000 people treated at hospitals annually for trampoline-related injuries. Around 1/3rd of these required emergency room treatment for broken bones and injuries.
As trampolines have grown more popular, the combination of in-ground trampoline installs and the growing movement by parents of creating and insisting on rules and regulations governing their equipment has made inroads when it comes to preventable injuries. If this describes you and you understand that it’s important for kids to have rules, join parents who are downright obsessive about putting them into place to keep children safe. Looking for guidance? These could get you started on your own list:
1. No circus acts, please, unless child(ren) are skilled gymnasts who know their way around bouncy surfaces.
2. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only one child at a time on a trampoline.
3. Some parents have made signs and posted them to reinforce the rules they’ve set.
4. If you believe in contracts, have your child sign one promising not to perform moves you don’t approve of.
5. Don’t permit young ones on the trampoline when you’re not around to monitor their behavior.
6. If you worry about injuries to the head or teeth, you could require a helmet.
7. Check the equipment on a regular basis to assure its integrity for an extra measure of peace of mind.
8. Ask the agent issuing your homeowners policy whether you need a rider for your trampoline just in case.
Pros and Cons of in-ground trampolines
-Because the framework is below the ground, corrosion and rust is minimal.
-No ladders or other parts required with in-ground equipment.
-It’s easier to get in and out when the trampoline is at ground level.
-If you’re a construction whiz, you can buy a kit and avoid hiring a professional.
-Very low maintenance, especially when compared to above-ground units.
-Will it hype your home’s value? You could use it as a selling feature down the road.
-If not properly installed, you could run into drainage and/or airflow issues.
-Thinking of moving? You can’t take this product with you for obvious reasons.
-Due to engineering dynamics, in-ground trampolines may not be as bouncy as above-ground models.
-You’ll spend two- or three-times as much money digging, installing a retaining wall and buying the product than you would if you opt for an above ground trampoline.
Our best recommendations for in-ground trampolines
1. Happy Trampoline Galactic Xtreme Round Circle Outdoor Trampoline
No need to worry about whether your yard is capable of hosting this round in-ground trampoline because it comes in 5 sizes that range from 10- to 16-feet in circumference. You won’t get a net enclosure, but you may not care since this Happy Trampoline framework is fabricated of commercial-grade, galvanized (inside and out) 2.0mm steel, comes with a non-adhesive Permaton mat and a PVC spring pad. Even if your weight hits 400 pounds, this in-ground trampoline stands ready to show you the time of your life.
-5 sizes allow you to customize the product to both your budget and your yard size.
-This family-owned company has been manufacturing trampolines since 1996.
-All products exceed ASTM and TUV safety regulations.
-There’s a lifetime warranty on the frame and springs.
-Does not come with an in-ground installation kit.
-The manufacturer doesn’t publish an install guide so you’re on your own.
-The company urges buyers to use a qualified contractor, so doing the install yourself could present problems.
2. In-Ground Trampolines Stainless Steel Upgrade
New to the market, this in-ground trampoline comes with a price tag that’s double that of the Galactic Xtreme, but once you check out specs on this gear, you may not mind. This is a pre-engineered, in-ground system featuring springs crafted of stainless steel for longer life. Both the jump mat and D-rings are high quality. Made in the U.S., this product comes in 12- and 15-foot sizes, and the company prides itself on the fact that this trampoline was literally designed from the ground up, rather than just modifying an existing above-ground style.
-Super heavy-duty frame is made of 14-gauge steel tubing and “supported by 18-gague steel wall panels.”
-Expect a lifetime of strength and use courtesy of corrosion-resistant galvanized materials.
-Warranty covers frame (10 years), springs (3 years), mat and pad (2 years each).
-Has the highest spring count in the industry and 20-percent better airflow than competitor products.
-Due it its size, weight and materials, in-ground installation could run more money.
-Only comes in two sizes yet the purchase price is hefty.
-Manufacturer charges extra if you want to upgrade springs, jump mat and V-rings.
3. Avyna Pro-Line In-Ground Trampoline
This 14-foot in-ground trampoline is also very new to the market, yet the brand has already earned a decent reputation for quality, styling and performance. If you’re worried about soil displacement that can permanently alter the slope of your yard, this one is designed to remove only 3 cubic yards of earth, so even the install time could be reduced substantively. A product produced by a company that’s been around for 25 years, this Avyna in-ground gear is a great example of a trampoline in the “sunken” class, because it’s not completely submerged.
-Designed in concert with parents worried about above-ground trampoline injuries.
-Won’t require a safety net because this trampoline is so close to the ground.
-The manufacturer has produced an install video to help homeowners excavate and assemble properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiV1-DN2lWk.
-The frame warranty extends throughout the lifetime of the product.
-Only supports people weighing up to 352 pounds while others will hold jumpers up to 400 pounds.
-No shape or size choices; this only comes in a 14-food round model.
-Sells quickly, so if you see it, order it or you could wind up having your trampoline on back order.
Ready to jump in?
All three of the trampolines reviewed here come highly recommended; each has features that can sway your decision, be it price or the ability to remove less soil during the excavation process. Then, there’s that weight limit–a concern if you anticipate adults piling onto your trampoline and their combined weight tops that 352 pound limit.
Every in-ground trampoline cited above has been thoroughly tested by manufacturers, so you get a safe product, no matter which one offers you the most benefits and features. They all bounce. They all deliver on the fun factor. Start with your budget and work backwards until one of them stands out. And make sure the warranty protects your investment for a substantive amount of time.
On the other hand, have you found an in-ground trampoline we missed when searching for products to review–a product that impresses you so much, you’re considering buying it? Don’t keep it a secret. We would love to hear from you so we can share your discovery!