There used to be a time when having a traditional above-ground trampoline in your backyard was enough to make you the “cool kid” on the block. But with the arrival of in-ground trampolines, things have taken quite a turn. These days, in-ground trampolines are all the rage.
But is it really better than an above-ground trampoline? It certainly costs more, but does that mean you are getting more bounce and safety features? Well, not quite.
After having tried a couple of in-ground trampolines myself, I am in a good position to make a solid comparison between the two designs. And though they are as different from each other as they can be, choosing between the two can be quite difficult.
But that is exactly what I am here for. Here, I will give you a thorough comparison between an in-ground and an above-ground trampoline so that you have an easy time deciding between the two.
A Bird’s Eye View of In-ground vs Above Ground Trampoline
Whenever you imagine a trampoline, the image of an above ground trampoline pops up. It happens because above ground trampolines are the most common variant. In-ground trampolines are new. So, if you want to believe Barney Stinson’s philosophy, “New is always better,” you can get an in-ground trampoline. Anyways, here’s a quick breakdown of both trampolines.
While on paper, it might look like in-ground has the upper hand, it’s the complete opposite. Read the details to get the full picture.
|Feature||In Ground||Above Ground|
|Aesthetics and Visual Appeal||Looks Better||Looks Average|
|Bounciness||Less Bounce||More Bounce|
|Weight Capacity||Can Carry Three or More People||Can Carry Two or More People|
|Price||Expensive||Cheap in Comparison|
|Durability||More Durable||Less Durable|
How Do I Pick Between In-ground and Above-Ground?
Whenever I buy a new trampoline, whether it is above ground or below is the least of my worries. Rather, I tend to focus on other factors such as my budget, its weight capacity, and what sort of safety features it comes with.
But if you want a strict comparison between an in-ground and an above-ground trampoline, I will not judge you. I will, however, try to give you a thorough rundown of some of the main differences between them.
After reading up on it a bit, I learned that since the above-ground trampoline has space underneath to allow air to escape, it typically gives you a better bounce. With in-ground models, the air gets trapped under the soil, and as a result, the mat feels a bit stiffer and has less bounce.
1. Installation Difficulty
An above-ground trampoline is much easier to set up compared to an in-ground trampoline. With a regular trampoline, you can just take it out to your backyard, assemble the frame, attach the jumping mat, and start bouncing on it to your heart’s content.
However, if you get a sunken trampoline, you are in for a world of hassle. You need to dig the ground based on the trampoline size, install retaining walls, and also set up a drainage system before you can enjoy jumping on it.
Installing a sunken trampoline might also be too difficult for a casual homeowner. And if you have to hire a professional to set it up for you, you are looking at a couple of hundred dollars worth of expense on top of the price you pay for your trampoline.
2. Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of an above-ground trampoline can vary quite dramatically depending on the size and shape of the one that you buy. For instance, if you buy a rectangular trampoline over a round one, it will typically feature a much higher weight capacity.
Similarly, in-ground trampolines also have a varied weight capacity depending on the size. Larger sunken trampolines can handle the weight of up to three or four children jumping on them at the same time. But if you are going for an affordable round above-ground trampoline, it is going to have trouble handling the weight of more than one child.
An in-ground trampoline costs a lot more than a regular trampoline. If you buy a sunken trampoline, you also need to factor in the cost of installing it. Speaking from personal experience, I would not recommend taking on the installation project on your shoulder as it can be pretty overwhelming for a casual homeowner.
With an above-ground trampoline, you have a bit more flexibility in pricing. For example, you can go with an affordable round trampoline if you are on a budget. And if you want to spend more for a premium bounce, going with a Rectangular trampoline with enclosures is always an option.
Typically, an in-ground trampoline is designed to be a lot more durable than an above-ground trampoline. And naturally, this is one of the main reasons why they are priced so high. Sunken trampolines come with treated frames that can handle greater moisture and heat without complaints.
Sure, your above-ground trampoline can handle heat and rain just fine. But if you put it in the ground, it will not survive long. Since the frame of a regular trampoline is not heat-treated, it is much cheaper but less durable compared to its in-ground counterpart.
This does not mean, in any way, that an above-ground trampoline is a bad choice. On the contrary, it is durable enough when you use it as it is made to be used. Unless you try to put your trampoline on the ground, you should be pretty happy with its durability.
Trampoline accidents are no joke, and if you are buying one for your children, it is natural for you to worry about their safety. Well, this is another sector where an in-ground trampoline might be a better choice than an above-ground model.
Firstly, the distance between the trampoline mat and the ground is greater if you have an above-ground trampoline. So, if someone falls off of it while jumping, there is a good chance of breaking an ankle. Since a sunken trampoline is practically on the ground and has a lower bounce, the risk of injury is lower.
Besides, you need to climb a ladder to get to the jumping mat. For an adult, this is a piece of cake, but for young children, slipping from the ladder can be another cause of injury.
And lastly, the springs in an above-ground trampoline are typically exposed. A careless child can easily get his finger caught between the springs when someone else is jumping on it. Since the springs in an in-ground trampoline are hidden, the chance of this happening is near zero.
However, from the arsenal of the above ground trampolines, round ones are safer. You should look into the round vs. rectangle trampoline head-to-head if you want to get all the details.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of In-Ground Trampolines
As you can see, in-ground trampolines typically cater to enthusiasts who want to jack up the look of their backyard. It might cost a lot, but those who get it try not to worry about the money too much.
Here Are the Main Advantages of Having an In-Ground Trampoline:
- It looks quite stunning in your backyard
- Its low-profile design is safer for children
- It offers easy access to the mat
- It is designed to be extremely durable
- It can typically handle greater weight
On The Other Hand, The Drawbacks to In-Ground Trampolines Are:
- It is a lot more expensive than an above-ground trampoline
- Installing it is a lot trickier
- It is not as portable
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Above-Ground Trampolines
Above-ground trampolines have a traditional design, one that you are most used to seeing in someone’s backyard. It comes in a wide variety of price ranges, so you should be able to find one within your budget.
Here Are the Main Strengths of An Above-Ground Trampoline:
- You have more options in shape, size, and price.
- It offers more bounce per dollar
- It is easy to set up
- You can move it around whenever you want
The Drawbacks of An Above-Ground Trampoline Are:
- You cannot access it easily
- It can look out of place in your backyard.
The Bottom Line
Though an in-ground trampoline is the more expensive one of the two, it has a couple of glaring problems. But so do most above-ground trampolines. The truth is, whichever one you end up going with, you will have to compromise a bit here and there.
So, it is best not to worry about it too much and go with whichever one suits your budget. Take it from a guy who has tried both designs – you are not missing out on much either way as long as you get a good trampoline. Cheers!