Whether you’re planning a party by the lake or you live right next to one, the water always adds an additional element of fun. But with a lake all by itself, kids and adults lose interest fast. That’s when a water trampoline or water bouncer saves the day. Dull placid water turns into a playground and water trampolines are good to use for years to come. Water trampolines provide great times, but get the wrong one and they can turn into a nightmare. Take full advantage of the info in this buyer’s guide to secure a top rated product. Don’t allow the purchase of a sub par water trampoline to ruin the party.
Buyer’s Guide To The Best Water Trampolines
What Exactly Is A Water Trampoline Or Water Bouncer?
Every story has a short and long version. A water trampoline is exactly what its name suggests, a trampoline that goes on the water. That’s the short story. Water trampolines also go by water bouncers, and they take on different designs. Some are larger in diameter. Other water trampolines have slides and inflatable extensions you can jump from. They go from small round units, to larger water park style trampolines.
Difference Between A Water Trampoline & Water Bouncer
The main difference between a water trampoline and a water bouncer shows in the frame and mat attachments. A water trampoline uses a steel frame and metal springs that both hold and add bounce to the mat. Water bouncers use elastic straps or webbing. The are part of the flotation tube and attach to the jumping mat.
Water trampolines are generally sturdier than water bouncers. They have a higher weight capacity and provide stronger recoil. Why go with a water bouncer if the trampoline is a better product? Price is one reason. Water bouncers typically cost less and they’re also easier to set up. Water bouncers usually just need inflation, and you’re ready to jump. Water trampolines require that you build the metal frame, which also makes them heavier and harder to transport. They take about an hour longer to set up, maybe less once you learn how to do it.
How Do Water Trampolines Function?
Water bouncers are commonly mistaken for inflatable play centers, which they are not. A water bouncer floats on the water via an inflatable ring, which is perhaps where the confusion comes in. The ring is strong and looks like an inflatable jumper, but it holds in the middle an actual trampoline.
Once you inflate the tubes that make the diameter of the water trampoline, it sits high enough above the water to do front flips, back flips, or any other acrobatics that come to mind. Keep it on the trampoline if you like, or change your jumping angle and land in the water.
It’s true that water trampolines come in different sizes, but most units have common features. Most sit too high up to climb onto from the water, so they include stairs. Another common feature is side handles, perfect for holding onto and resting while in the water.
Of course, every trampoline needs springs or straps which attach to the outside frame. With water trampolines they attach to the inflatable ring. Parts uncommon in regular trampolines but mandatory in water bouncers are tubes and valves. Suddenly seams become even more important due to fact that they can’t be leaking air.
Inflatable Water Trampoline/Water Bouncer – Location Requirements
Water trampolines aren’t right for every body of water, something you’ll definitely want to consider before any purchase. Shallow water lakes just won’t cut it. The surrounding water must be deep enough to jump into, less injury occur. Open water around the trampoline is also important, and some models will come with an anchor bag.
How about saltwater? There’s no rule against it, but do think about what rust might do to springs. A freshwater wash down before dis-assembly is a very strong suggestion after saltwater use. Hose it down with freshwater at the end of each day if you leave it assembled.
Choppy wind blown water is another condition that may make a location unsuitable for use. It’ll depend on just how much chop there is, but jumping on an already unstable platform can be perilous. Some measure of common sense goes a long way when using water trampolines. Don’t miss the discussion about safety that concludes the buyer’s guide.
Water Trampoline Assembly & Inflation – Getting Ready To Bounce!
Familiarity With The Parts Of An Inflatable Water Trampoline
Why dive into the parts that make a water trampoline before you even have it? It’s not like you’re ready to set it up, right? Here’s the thing. Both the quality of the water trampoline and ease of setup will depend on the sum of the parts that make it up.
One such example is the choice between springs or elastic straps. They hold the trampoline to the frame and flex for extra bounce, but which one is better? Springs typically last longer than straps, but saltwater use might sway your decision to avoid rusting. Check each part of a water trampoline along with their exact use below:
All inflatable water trampolines and water bouncers start with a circular tube. Differences in models will determine how the frame attaches to the tube, but the tube itself must be leak proof and sturdy. Denier PVC is the leading material that manufacturers use for water trampoline tubes today.
Obviously, the tube is an integral part of the water trampoline. Any compromise in stitching or valve will turn into an issue. You can overlook a small tear in the connection between tube an frame, but a leak anywhere in the tube will put the unit out of commission.
Water bouncers really don’t have a frame to speak of. The jumping mat connects directly to the inflatable tube using elastic straps or laced n webbing. High quality water bouncers beef up the connection points, making them extra durable. You should see reinforcement for connections on both the tube and jumping mat.
Water trampolines use a metal pipe frame that straps to the inflatable tube. Metal springs run from the frame to the jumping mat. They serve as both connection points for mat to frame and give the trampoline mat its bounce. Just like a normal back yard trampoline. Galvanized metal makes the frame stronger and is a recommendation. Reinforcement on the tube is still important on a water trampoline.
The jumping mat forms the center of the water trampoline or bouncer. Jumping mats usually consist of polypropylene, which form a strong and flexible fabric. They’ll come in different diameters according to the size of the water trampoline.
There’s very little difference between the mat of a water trampoline and that of a water bouncer. The change comes in the manner they connect to the inflatable tube.
Like a ship can drop anchor to stay in place, so too does a quality water trampoline. The system uses a weighted bag that ties off to the unit once it hits the bottom. It’s very important for safety reasons to anchor your trampoline. A change in water location could mean a change to shallower depth, making injury more of a possibility.
Something to hold onto in the water or use to assist in accessing the ladder is a vital feature of any water trampoline. Look for built in handles on any water trampoline or bouncer you consider,
These are small metal attachment clips that come in very handy for tie downs during transportation. They also double for anchor or accessory attachment points. Tie just about anything you like off to D rings on your water trampoline.
They need no explanation as to their purpose, but water trampoline ladders do differ in form. You’ll find water trampolines use either sturdy metal or soft fabric for their ladders. Metal ladders are much easier to climb, but can hurt if you bump them. You may save a bit and lighten the weight by choosing a fabric ladder.
Accessories for water trampolines and bouncers come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. Some larger units will include slides, inflatable appendages, or outcroppings to sit on. Others are basic in design, but offer the option to add these features. There’s tons of choices in accessories to add even more fun to your water trampoline.
Ease Of Assembly & Inflation
Heaven forbid you ever have to blow up a water trampoline by force of lungs. You wouldn’t want to have to do it with a hand pump either. One will have you passing out from hyperventilation, and the other will take hours. Make sure the water trampoline you decide on comes with an electric blower. If not, you’ll have to pay separately to obtain one. Remember if you use your car or truck for power, to keep the engine running.
Water bouncers are always easier to set up than water trampolines. The reason? You don’t have to build the metal frame. Bouncers often come in their own carry bag, and once you inflate them they’re ready for the water.
Safety On The Trampoline And In The Water
Before moving on to water trampoline and bouncer reviews, just a few quick words about safety. No lectures here, just some points of concern. Rough housing adds more danger than usual due to the fact that water is in the equation. Unconsciousness and water go very poorly together. Always inspect your water trampoline/bouncer before each use. The most frequent type of trampoline injury (after improper use) is due to equipment failure. Inspection of seams and connection points will prevent this.
Replacing earth with water below your trampoline removes the danger of impact from falling off. It adds the danger of drowning. Children who use a water trampoline should know how to swim, or wear a certified PFD. That’s a Personal Flotation Device. A strong swimming adult, preferably one with knowledge of lifesaving, should always be present when children are playing. Because water trampolines function in 8 feet of water or deeper, remember to use the buddy system. Playing water sports alone is never a safe idea.
Best Water Trampoline Reviews
Island Hopper 13′ Bounce N Splash – Best Value In A Water Bouncer
Though simple in design, the 13 foot diameter Bounce N Splash by Island Hopper is the best value water bouncer on today’s market. The second smallest model out of 5 water trampoline reviews, this water bouncer transports easily and its setup takes about 10 minutes. Durability in design gives the Bounce N Splash a boost. It shows in the material which is 1000 Denier PVC, and a 5 year warranty on seams proves Island Hopper believes in their own product.
Bounce on the 10′ diameter jumping mat is better than most water bouncers. Higher lift is a direct result of the tube flex feature that Island Hopper includes in the design. 3 D rings on the tube inside and 3 underneath provide tie down spots for anchoring. Getting tired treading water? No worries as the Bounce N Splash offers 10 handles around the outside perimeter. Climb aboard using the 4 step metal ladder that comes with the bouncer. Popular add on accessories include the Gator Monster Head Slide, Gator Monster Tail Platform, and Bounce N Slide attachment.
Padded foam covers the connections between tube and mat, showing the safety precautions that Island Hopper includes in their products. Get a good jump and launch into the water to cool off. The Bounce N Splash sits 26” above the water, so you have over a two foot start. Items that Island Hopper includes with the Bounce N Splash are its instruction manual, foot pump, 4 step ladder, and repair kit. The bouncer itself deflates and fits inside a handy storage and carry bag.
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RAVE Sports 15′ Aqua Jump Eclipse – Best Water Park Trampoline
Get your jump on with a true spring based water trampoline. Extra lift is only the starting feature of the 15 foot diameter Aqua Jump Eclipse. RAVE Sports owns a reputation for creating top of the line water jumpers, both trampoline and bouncer style. For some, a water trampoline just doesn’t offer enough gusto. That’s when the Aqua Jump Eclipse Water Park fits the bill perfectly. Sitting on the water, the 15′ Aqua Jump Eclipse raises up to a jumping mat 3 feet in height. The mat provides 65 square feet of jump surface, enough for two adults or 4 kids.
2 additional attachments turn this water trampoline to water park status. One is the Aqua Launch, an inflatable outcropping perfect for a quick bounce-off into the water. Second is the Aqua Log which stretches out much further and narrower in the water. Try to walk out and keep your balance on this sucker!
Setup for the RAVE Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse requires more time and attention than a water bouncer. Don’t miss the installation offer when you check the price. It may be a better course depending on your circumstances. The entire set includes the trampoline and all assembly parts, as well as an electric inflation/deflation pump. It also includes a 5 step metal ladder, both appendage accessories, and an effective anchor system.
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Rave Bongo 15′ Water Bouncer Package – Quality Water Bouncer w/Slide
The king of the water bouncer, RAVE Sports 15 foot diameter Bongo brings a splash of fun to any family. That splash comes easier due to the package deal which includes the 11 foot Aqua Slide. It’s a buy and save together or spend more later situation. If a slide is already in your plans, the Bongo may be the water bouncer for you.
Featuring non-spring connections that use D rings and straps, the Bongo offers 81 square feet of jumping room. Three adults or six young ones fit on the mat according to its design. The Bongo rates for a max weight capacity of 1050 pounds and sits 3 feet above the water. Then there’s the Aqua Slide. Over 11 feet in length, the Aqua Slide holds 1 person at a time. It attaches anywhere on the Bongo using two straps that wrap around the tube.
Versatility in transportation makes one of the brightest features of the Bongo. It deflates into a relatively small package and fits in campers, trucks, or on your vessel. Along with the water bouncer and slide, the package includes a 5 step fabric ladder. You also receive a repair kit, anchor harness, and instruction manual. If the water bouncer and slide package appeal to you, jump right on it. There’s no telling how long the deal will last.
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Island Hopper 25′ “Giant Jump” – Best Commercial Water Trampoline
A beast of a water trampoline, the Island Hopper’s Giant Jump provides a huge surface area that fits several people. The Giant Jump design is that of a true trampoline. It uses a galvanized steel frame, cross tapered springs, and 20 frame tie straps. Padded foam surrounds and covers the springs for safety. The extra bounce off a real water trampoline lifts you way up above the 3.5 feet it sits at. In total, the Giant Jump offers a 17.5 foot diameter mat.
Water trampolines don’t come more durable than the Giant Jump with its 1100 Denier PVC material. Island Hopper throws in their 5 year warranty which covers the seams from tear or leak. Drawbacks of the Giant Jump all have to do with its size. It’s heavier and takes longer to build than any of the other 4 water trampoline reviews here.
25′ is a lot of diameter on the lake, so Island Hopper includes 2 aluminum ladders. Accessories on a water trampoline this big are almost mandatory, though one may purchase them separately over time. The most popular additions are the Bounce N Slide, Island Runner, and Double Blaster attachments. Think carefully before deciding upon the Giant Jump, but do know that it’s the ultimate in water trampoline units.
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RAVE Sports 7′ Ozone XL – Lowest Price High Quality Water Bouncer
The 7 foot diameter Ozone XL may be the smallest unit in the 5 water trampoline reviews, but it’s also the easiest to move and set up. Furthermore, the Ozone has the smallest price tag of them all. RAVE Sports design and manufacturing ensures a quality product despite the lower cost. With construction specific to fit small children, the Ozone will comfortably hold up to 3 kids. It offers 3 grab lines around the perimeter so tykes always have a hold in the water.
At a total weight of 67 pounds, the Ozone XL is easy to transport and assembly takes about 30 – 45 minutes. An anchor system comes along with this water bouncer, but it doesn’t use a ladder. Instead a low extension juts out to provide an entry platform.
Shipment of the package includes user instructions, all parts for assembly of the Ozone water bouncer, and the entry attachment that replaces a ladder. Unfortunately, the unit does require a separate air pump, though it’s tough to complain when comparing the price. RAVE Sports Ozone XL water bouncer offers the lowest price while maintaining safety and durability. Small add on favorites include the Oasis Lounge and the Ozone Slide. If you’re looking for the kids, this water bouncer is too good to pass on.
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Water Trampoline Buyer’s Guide & Reviews Conclusion
In your search for a high value water trampoline, there’s several factors to consider. Use this guide to navigate your choices. Gain a full understanding of water trampolines, their different designs, parts, and uses. Be sure to consider the main points. Price is important, but so is durability. Think about where you’ll place it and make sure it fits. Water trampolines also make a better purchase if you understand the difficulty in assembly, transportation, and storage. Finally, take full advantage of the water trampoline reviews above. The research is complete, and the best water trampolines for the value all appear above.