Trampolines are all about the thrill of the bounce. The best bounce is something that families, kids, adults, trampoline enthusiasts and trampoline manufacturers alike are after.
While the best bounce feels effortless, it takes a lot of effort from the manufacturers to make it happen. In this article, we’ll look at bouncy trampolines from three different angles:
- The Feeling: What is a great bounce? Why does it feel as good as it does?
- The Physics: What is the physics of a bouncy trampoline? How can you design a trampoline for the best bounce?
- The Future: How can you find the bounciest trampoline? What are trampoline manufacturers coming up with next?
And for anyone looking for the best bouncy trampoline online, we have a helpful guide at the end of the article. It shows how you can estimate the bounce of a trampoline without jumping on it yourself.
Now, let’s jump to our topic: uncovering the secrets of a great bounce.
The Feeling: The Most Important Part of the Bounce
What is love? What is happiness? What is bounce? Some things are better experienced than explained. Here’s a collage of what it feels like to jump on an ACON trampoline.
The best trampolines make you feel like you’re weightless. That you’re defying gravity. That you’re safe and in control. That you’re a better jumper than you thought.
This feeling is what we at ACON aim for. Let’s dig deeper into the secrets behind bouncy trampolines.
What Does a Great Bounce Feel Like?
Everyone has their preference for the exact type of bounce they want out of a trampoline, but during ACON’s 26 years of development, we’ve noticed that some aspects of the preferred trampoline bounce are universal:
Effortless: The difference between a good trampoline and a great trampoline is the effort needed to sustain a steady bounce. Great trampolines feel like they’re doing most of the work.
Airy: The magical feeling of weightlessness is what gets you hooked on trampolining. The best bouncy trampolines offer plenty of air time without sacrificing safety.
Responsive: The landing back on the mat should not be hard, nor should it be too soft. A responsive trampoline bounce offers the optimal amount of elasticity and support.
Consistent: The best trampolines offer a consistent bounce over the years. ACON trampolines come with a 5-year warranty for the springs and the mat – as well as a 10-year warranty for the frame.
How ACON Designs for the Best Bounce in the Business
No one knows the perfect bounce better than those who seek it. That’s why ACON has teamed up with families and experts from all over the world. At our research facility, we’ve hosted hundreds of trials in search of the perfect bounce.
In 2022, we invited over 500 people over to the research facility for a blind test. First, we had asked the community what they thought were the best trampoline manufacturers in the US and Europe. We then ordered and set up the trampolines so that the test subjects could do something that few online customers could do: test out the trampolines one after the other to feel the difference in bounce.
The results were clear: the ACON Sports HD with performance springs got the best grades for overall bounce. Another takeaway was that incremental improvements in the design can make a big impact on the overall feeling. The new Piano Wire performance springs got better grades than the X Springs, which again got better grades than the best US trampoline.
The Physics: The Science Behind Bouncy Trampolines
The trampoline is a simple and elegant device: as you push down on the mat, the springs are stretched and when they bounce back into shape, they push you upwards. When you come down, the same process happens again.
In terms of physics, your kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy in the springs, then back to your kinetic energy, then to potential energy in the springs again… and so on.
While the principle is fairly simple, anyone who has jumped on a really good trampoline knows the great trampolines outshine their counterparts.
What Makes a Trampoline Bouncy?
A good rule of thumb related to the bounce is: anything extra is away from the bounce. This includes flaps, squeeks, movement of the frame, movement of the enclosure…
The most important parts of a bouncy trampoline are:
- The frame
- The mat
- The springs
The frame grounds everything in place. A sturdy frame is the foundation of a great trampoline. ACON trampolines come with a Heavy Duty Frame made with galvanized steel that comes with a 10-year warranty.
The mat is the connection point between the jumper and the trampoline. It should feel comfortable and supportive, while also being safe to use. ACON trampolines use cross-sewn polypropylene mats.
The springs are where the thrill of the bounce is born. Expertly designed springs offer a mix of durability, safety and something we call a bounce profile – the way they interact with the jumper throughout the jump cycle.
ACON’s new Piano Wire Springs offer better performance with less material – good for both the bounce and the environment.
Comparing the Bounce of Two Trampolines
To compare the bounce profiles of two trampolines, let’s build a bounce profile from the ground up. We’ll look at a series of three jumps over time, ending with the jumper coming to a stop. The line represents the acceleration of gravity (g) of the jumper.
- 1 g is what you experience when you’re standing on Earth
- At the top of the jump, you experience 0 g (zero gravity just like the astronauts)
- At the bottom of the jump, the springs are loaded with the most energy and they’re pushing you upwards at the force of multiple g’s.
Now let’s bring back the elements of a great bounce. They were 1) effortless, 2) airy, 3) responsive and 4) consistent. By comparing a bouncy trampoline with a poor trampoline, we can see that the differences can be seen in the bounce profile.
If a trampoline has a great bounce, it’s effortless to keep the bounce going (that is, you get similar air time with minimal effort). Also the more time you spend at zero gravity, the more airy the jump feels.
The responsiveness of the trampoline is evident when comparing the bottom of the jump. With a great bounce, the transition from going down to going up is snappy but not jarring. With a poor bounce, it’s either hard or flabby and lethargic. Consistency means each bounce is similar to each other – whether there’s 5 seconds or 5 years between them.
The Future: How Bouncy Can Trampolines Get?
After 26 years of research and development, we at ACON are still getting inspired by what families and the trampolining community are achieving with our trampolines. Our goal is to ensure that each ACON trampoline lineup makes it easier for everyone to find the right type of trampoline for them.
But two things never go out of style:
- Better bounce
- Better safety
Our way of achieving both is what we call synergy design.
The Benefits of Synergy Design for Bouncy Trampolines
Synergy design is developing and optimizing the whole trampoline for the best bounce. What makes cheap trampolines cheap is the fact they’re often put together using non-optimal materials and ill-fitting parts.
The best manufacturers custom-build, test and optimize each model for the optimal combination of safety and the right bounce profile.
All trampoline makers have to follow the rules of physics, but the best work with them, instead of against them.
Customizability: The Best Bounce for Everyone
An emerging trend for trampolines is customizability. As the trampolines last longer, it’s only natural that the way they’re used also changes over time.
Currently, ACON offers two versions of the ACON Air 16 Sport HD Trampoline:
With the Performance Kit, the bounce profile has been designed to be smoother and slightly more dynamic. It’s optimal for more challenging tricks and closer control.
Furthermore, with some ACON models such as the ACON Air 2022 13 Sport HD trampoline you can choose to install the springs in two configurations. The over-under configuration is often preferred by jumpers who prefer a mat with slightly more pre-tension.
Towards a System of Classifying Trampoline Bounce
Building the best bouncy trampolines is a mixture of craftsmanship and science. When you factor in our personal preferences and different goals, it’s clear that different bounce profiles fit different people. Furthermore, different bounce profiles could fit the same people at different times.
We see that a standardized system of bounce profiles could make it easier to compare two or more trampolines. Here are some aspects of the bounce that could be incorporated into the classification system:
- Air time: How much air time do you get per bounce
- Cycle time: How long each jump takes from start to finish
- Firmness: How firm the mat is and how much it moves under the jumper
- Efficiency: How much potential energy is transferred to the jumper
- Jerk: How quickly do you accelerate from the bottom of the jump
How to Find the Best Bouncy Trampoline
Now that you know what goes into a great bounce it’s easier to find the trampoline with the best bounce. Comparing trampolines can be difficult because it’s usually not possible to test the market leaders side-by-side.
With this 5-step buyer’s guide, you can estimate the bounce of almost any trampoline and make an informed decision.
5. Decide What You Want
Knowing what you want is the first step of getting what you need. These questions may help you narrow down your options:
- Who will be jumping on it?
- Should it be a round or a rectangular trampoline?
- What is the right size for your yard?
- When do you want it delivered?
4. Find a Reputable Manufacturer
After you’ve decided on the specs, a good way to start is to find a specialized trampoline maker. Look at their history, their warranty and get a feel for their offering. A big plus is if they offer accessories to go with the trampoline.
If something’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. At least if it isn’t backed by a history of innovation, extensive testing and great customer service. A history of innovation often means that the future is also full of new ideas and new ways of making trampolining even more fun.
3. Choose 2–3 Main Trampoline Candidates
Once you have 1–2 manufacturers, choose 2–3 trampolines for the final round of review. Making choices between more than 3 options may get overwhelming, so it makes sense to limit it to just 2 or 3.
From ACON’s lineup it could be a choice between these two trampolines from the new 2022 lineup:
- ACON Air 2022 16 Sport HD rectangular trampoline
- ACON Air 2022 15 ft round trampoline
2. Read the Reviews
With your shortlist of trampoline candidates, read a few of the reviews to get a feel for what people are saying. Are some reviewers highlighting the factors that you decided were the most important for you in step 5?
Here is a collection of reviews from the ACON store:
“Our son says the bounce is huge and the quality is great.”
– Mollie W. // Review of the ACON Air 2022 Sport HD trampoline
“Our family selected Acon because we wanted a trampoline with a strong bounce. So many trampoline manufacturers are making new trampolines that have insufficient bounce. We have had this for several weeks and the bounce is great! Every component seems to be made of high quality materials. We are very satisfied.”
– Shiara P. // Review of the ACON Air 15ft trampoline
“We were looking for a backyard trampoline that was sturdy enough for adults to jump on and small enough That it wouldn’t take up our entire yard! This one is perfect!!! Big enough for an adult or a couple of kids and super bouncy!”
– Christine S. // ACON Air 2022 10ft trampoline
“The bounce on this thing is amazing. Worth the extra cost over any big box store trampoline.”
– Jonathan S. // Review of the ACON Air 13 Sport HD Trampoline
1. Watch the Videos
Lastly, you can use the previously mentioned rule of thumb to find the trampoline with the best bounce: anything extra is away from the bounce. If you can, find a video where someone is using the trampoline you’re eyeing.
Are they having fun? How high is the jump? Is the frame steady? Is the enclosure wobbly? Is there anything extra?
You’re Very Close to Finding the Best Bouncy Trampoline
Now that you know more about trampoline bounce, it’s easier to shop online for the best bouncy trampolines. If you’re following the steps above (and especially if you’re eyeing an ACON trampoline), you can be sure that you’re one step closer to the best bounce in the business.