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Nothing shouts 'summer' more than a trampoline in the garden, so here's Kate Hilpern's rundown on the best equipment out there, catering for all budgets and jumping abilities

On the bounce: trampolines are becoming very popular with kids of all ages
On the bounce: trampolines are becoming very popular with kids of all ages

Looking to buy a new trampoline? Brace yourself - there's a lot to consider. But the good news is we've bounced our way through trampoline after trampoline (or got our younger testers to do it for us) to find the best of them, based on the quality of the jump, the safety aspects, the ease of assembly and longevity of the product.

Before you part with your cash, make sure you've allowed a generous area of grass around the sides, so it's a softer landing if your child does fall out.

Consider additional safety features, such as spring-free, a net and/or crawl tunnel instead of zipped entry. Think about whether you want an in-ground trampoline (less of an eyesore), or overground (cheaper).

As for shape, round is the most common, oval is great for narrower gardens and you get more jumping area, while rectangular is the top gymnast choice.

Finally, does it have a good warranty? And are spare parts, such as springs or pad, available to buy separately if you need them in years to come?

Spring Free oval: From £1,095, Spring Free

The clue is in the name for the USP on this one. Following growing research revealing that springs are one of the main causes of trampoline-based accidents, Spring Free introduced its first spring-free offering back in 2003 and its trampolines are still the only ones to be endorsed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

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Instead, there's a rod-based system which, by the way, doesn't rust, corrode, or make that irritating squeaking nose. There are plenty of shapes and sizes available, but we like the oval ones best as you get more bounce for your buck.

For instance, with the 8ft x 11ft, it provides a jumping surface equivalent to a 12ft spring-based trampoline. It's also available in 8ft x 13ft and there's even a "smart" version which you connect to your tablet via Bluetooth.

Plum oval trampoline and enclosure: From £599.99, Plum

Oval trampolines are all the rage, both because they don't propel kids back to the middle as with round ones and because they slot nicely into narrow, or awkwardly shaped, gardens.

If you don't have deep enough pockets for the Spring Free oval, this is well worth considering. There are two sizes available - 14ft x 10ft and 16ft x 11ft - and the materials have been chosen with longevity in mind, including top-quality foam and PVC pad.

The bounce is first-rate, according to our testers, and it's got particularly clear instructions for putting it together.

Chad Valley 6ft trampoline: £84.95, Argos

Great for little ones aged around three and above, this has a lower height frame than most, as well as an extra-durable bounce-mat to withstand some serious bouncing.

The galvanised steel frame and safety enclosure are sturdier than others in this price range and it's simple to put together, thanks to the unusual "quad lock" frame with easy-to-link joints.

The green-and-black colouring will appeal to kids and will blend into your garden more easily than some of its brighter counterparts.

Plum springsafe WEB trampoline: £449.99, Plum

If you like the idea of no springs, but the Spring Free brand is too pricey, then feast your eyes on this. It's Plum's first foray into the spring free market and we are impressed with the patented design whose bungee alternative doesn't feel like you're compromising on the quality of the bounce or materials.

It only comes in one size - we guess they're seeing how this one goes down with safety-conscious parents before committing to others - but 10ft is a good size for medium and large gardens, anyway.

We tested ours on kids aged six and above and they told us it gives a nice gentle push upwards, has room for more than one person and feels safe and well-made.

Vuly thunder: From £999.99, TP Toys

These Australian designed trampolines are made to withstand seriously hot weather and all-year-round bouncing. The safety net attaches directly to the mat so you can bounce right to the edge and the mesh is finer than most trampolines to avoid fingers and toes getting caught.

The door opens to allow the jumper in, then seals shut when bouncing (no more falling out) and the compact leaf springs give a higher bounce.

We also like the lack of coils and rods, which helps stop strained knees, and it's easy to put together as there aren't many nuts and bolts. Plus, it can take 150kg of weight so the adults can have a go, too.

Upper Bounce 40 mini foldable rebounder fitness trampoline: £60.99, Wayfair

Who says trampolines are only for kids? Adults have long used small trampolines for low-impact aerobic workouts, which are proven to help reduce stress and tone muscles.

This one, from Upper Bounce, has an adjustable height removable handrail for added stability and has a good quality bounce thanks to how the 40 springs connect.

It's easy to assemble and folds away, making it simple to store, and we found it easy to transport, too.

Berg grand champion oval: From £1,064, Best Gym Equipment

If you've got a teenager who wouldn't be seen dead on a traditional garden trampoline - or you don't have a garden or the room for one anyway - then cast your eyes on this bungee-sprung fitness trampoline.

A great way for them (and you) to get fit either indoors or outdoors, it comes with fitness aids, including stability bar, resistance bands and weights, as well as a useful DVD to show you how to make the most of them.

It can take up to 15 stone in weight and comes with a carry bag that means you can fold it away or cart round to a friend's house.

TP genius round trampoline: From £379.99, TP Toys

This is TP's most premium branded trampoline but it comes with a bargain price-tag - good news for those on a budget. The blue and black combo won us over aesthetically and there are plenty of great features to shout about including a neat taut net, the patented Igloo, crawl-through door (safer than zips that inevitably get left open) and a rust-free frame with padding to stop users banging against them.

Available in sizes of 10ft, 12ft and 14ft, there's an option for every sized garden and you get all the usual gubbins included, such as ladder, cover and even a shoe tidy.

Plum junior bouncer: £39.99, Amazon

Tiny tots can get a slice of the action with this cheery looking purple and green mini-trampoline that you can use either inside or out for kids aged 18-months and over. The handle has a soft grip and is at just the right height for toddlers to hold on to stop themselves going flying when they jump up.

The jumping area is just big enough for smaller kids and is weatherproof, while the steel frame is robust. There's a bungee cord hidden by the padded cover - no springs necessary.

Jumpking rectangular trampoline: From £269, Jumpking

Ask any competing gymnast what shaped trampoline they favour and without question they'll tell you it's rectangular, helping to explain why this is a long-term bestseller for more serious trampolinists. It comes in a whopping five sizes - something for everyone and every garden - and the bounce is of a professional standard thanks the spring configuration.

As with oval trampolines, the jumper isn't pulled back into the middle every time they leap into the air - unlike with round ones, not all the springs are used when you jump.

This, said our testers, makes it a joy for more daring jumps and tricks and when you've got more than one person on at once.

The verdict

The Spring Free oval ticks the most boxes of all the trampolines we reviewed - oval is a great shape both when it comes to fitting in narrower gardens and for a better bounce, while the lack of springs means it's extra safe.

For a traditional round trampoline at a wallet-friendly price, we recommend the TP genius round trampoline.

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