Which bounce houses are best?
A bounce house set up at your party will definitely make a statement and amaze both parents and children. Most people rent a bounce house for a special occasion, as they want to save up or avoid cluttering their storage room or garage. While buying a bounce house can be a significant investment, the margin between buying and renting is smaller than you’d think. There are several high-quality models out on the market that can be enjoyed 365 days a year.
The perfect bounce house is fun and engaging for kids and easy to use for adults. Particularly, the Bounceland Royal Palace has a compact footprint but can still accommodate five children. Here’s what to consider when shopping for a bounce house.
What to know before you buy a bounce house
Residential vs. commercial
When most people think of bounce houses, they think of giant unwieldy commercial models. The type that you might find at a county fair or a neighborhood block party. These commercial bounce houses are meant for heavy use by dozens of children over a long period of time.
This guide focuses on residential bounce houses. They’re just as fun, but they’re considerably smaller and intended for private use by a few children at a time. The other big difference is price. Commercial bounce houses cost several thousands of dollars, while residential bounce houses cost several hundreds.
Residential bounce houses can be used both indoors and outdoors. If using outdoors, be sure to secure your bounce house to the ground with stakes to prevent it from blowing away in the wind. In addition, measure the space where your bounce house will go before you buy. Make sure you have a few extra feet beyond that for the air blower.
If buying in-store, note the size of the box as well. This will give you a ballpark idea of how much storage room you’ll need. If buying online, you should be able to find the dimensions of the box somewhere in the item description.
Basic bounce houses use an air pump to inflate just like an air mattress. Like larger commercial models, mid-range and high-end bounce houses use an air blower that constantly runs to ensure proper inflation. While air blowers can be noisy, they’re the better option because they ensure your bounce house won’t deflate during play.
You may notice very small holes around the seams of your bounce house. This is normal and not a sign of a manufacturing defect. These holes let out a tiny amount of air so your bounce house doesn’t explode while attached to the air blower.
What to look for in a quality bounce house
Bounce floor size
Bounce floor size is the amount of space your children will have to play within the bounce house itself. This is different from the overall dimensions of the bounce house. A bigger bounce house does not necessarily mean a bigger bounce floor size.
Most bounce houses are suitable for kids up to 12 years old. If you buy a bounce house when your children are young enough, they can enjoy it for years. However, if you have older children, it may make more sense to rent for a single occasion than to buy if you have older children, knowing they’ll soon grow out of it.
Weight limit and capacity
Bounce houses have an overall weight limit that varies by manufacturer and design. Residential models can generally support 250-500 pounds. Also, keep an eye on overall capacity. Residential bounce houses can be used by anywhere from 2-5 children at one time.
It may be tempting to try out your child’s bounce house for yourself. Yet, don’t. The material used to make residential bounce houses is not as thick as the material used to make commercial bounce houses. They are not meant to support individual jumpers with adult weights.
Design and extras
Bounce houses are colorful and fun, but some models go beyond that with actual designs like a castle, a pirate ship or a tropical jungle. Some may contain one or more slides, and some of these slides can be used with water. Other bounce houses will have games or other interactive features built into the walls.
For adults, some models will come with a carrying or storage case for added convenience. What’s more, keep an eye out for bounce houses that come with their own air pumps.
How much you can expect to spend on a bounce house
Small bounce houses for toddlers that inflate like an air mattress can be found for $50-$150. Most residential models for children up to 12 years old fall between $200-$500. High-end residential bounce houses that approach the size of commercial models can easily fetch $1,000-$2,500.
Bounce house FAQ
How long does it take to inflate and deflate a bounce house?
A. Inflation time will depend on the size of your model. Most take 2-5 minutes to fully inflate. Be sure to tether your bounce house to the ground if using outside. Deflation should take 4-10 minutes. Some models have zipper compartments you can open so the air escapes faster. Make certain there are no children or pets in your bounce house before deflating.
How should I store my bounce house?
A. You should store your bounce house in a cool, dark place after each use. A hard plastic storage box in the garage is perfect. Leaving your bounce house deflated in the backyard leaves it open to sun and water damage that will decrease its service life. It could also become a tripping hazard.
What’s the best bounce house to buy?
Top bounce house
What you need to know: This bounce house includes a slide and can accommodate up to five children.
What you’ll love: Adorable castle design. Features a safety net and removable sunshade. Long slide for the overall size of the unit.
What you should consider: Fabric weakens easily in the sun. Needs to be tied down with stakes so it doesn’t fly away.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bounce house for the money
ACTION AIR Inflatable Bounce House Jumping Castle with Slide
What you need to know: A basic bounce house at a fair price.
What you’ll love: Wide slide that spans the length of the entire house. Accommodates up to three kids and 250 pounds total.
What you should consider: Fabric feels thin compared to more expensive models. On the smaller side.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair
Worth checking out
Costway Inflatable Jungle Bounce House Kids Dual Slide Jumping Castle
What you need to know: A unique jungle-themed bounce house with two separate slides.
What you’ll love: Five children up to 300 pounds can play at the same time. Design features palm trees and cute kangaroos.
What you should consider: Doesn’t come with its own air blower, a drawback considering the price.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
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Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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