I frequently get asked if it’s possible to upgrade the springs and mat on a cheaper trampoline model to improve performance. Based on my expertise, the short answer is – yes, it is very possible, practical, and can make a dramatic difference!
Upgrading these two components can turn an inexpensive, poor quality trampoline into a bouncy, functional one suitable even for athletes. However, there are some caveats to keep in mind when embarking on these modifications.
Benefits of Upgrading Springs and Mat
The most important parts of any trampoline are the mat and springs. The mat, also called the bed or jumping surface, needs to be durable and bounce back well. The springs connect the mat to the frame and affect how much lift you get with each jump.
On cheaper trampolines, manufacturers cut costs by using low quality materials for these parts. The springs lose their springiness quickly. The mat gets stretched out permanently or starts tearing along the seams.
By replacing them with better quality components, you can vastly improve the bounce and longevity of the trampoline. The new springs will be thicker and made of steel that retains its elasticity. This gives you extra lift on jumps. The upgraded mat will likely use a more reinforced fabric that withstands repeated impact without getting saggy.
Mat Considerations and Sizing
When selecting a replacement mat, the two most important factors are dimensions and number of spring connections.
The new mat must be the exact same size and shape to properly fit within your existing trampoline frame. Rectangular trampoline mats come in standard widths like 4ft, 5ft, 6ft etc. Round mats are sized by their diameter.
Take precise measurements of your current mat when ordering a replacement to ensure accurate sizing. Also count the number of places where the original mat attaches to the springs. The new one must have the same amount of connections.
For springs, longer and thicker steel springs made of galvanized steel will outperform the cheaper, thinner ones originally installed on budget trampolines. But you can’t just install any oversized springs and expect it to work perfectly.
The additional length could make your mat hang too low if the springs over-extend themselves. Go for springs that are 20-30% longer than your current ones for optimal stretch and lift.
Thickness or gauge of steel determines durability and bounce – aim for at least 2.5mm thick springs. And remember that wider trampolines require longer springs than narrower jump beds.
Enlisting Professional Help
While ambitious do-it-yourselfers can handle this upgrade themselves, I highly recommend getting professional assistance your first time around. The process of removing, discarding and re-attaching potentially hundreds of steel springs can be demanding physical work.
Getting measurements wrong or installing overpowered springs incorrectly also raises safety issues which could lead to injury or damage. Employing professional trampoline technicians may cost extra but helps ensure your upgraded trampoline performs safely for years to come.
My Upgraded Cheap Trampoline Experience
As a real-world testament to how big an impact these upgrades can make, let me describe my own experience modifying a low-end 14ft round trampoline:
I started with a generic brand trampoline purchased for just $400 new – so expectations were set very low from the get-go. But after just 1 season of use by my active kids, tears were forming in the mat edges and many springs were bent, overstretched or already broken.
Rather than junk it and buy a costly replacement, I installed a 10ft competition-grade round trampoline mat made of 40oz vinyl fabric, along with 96 new 10 inch galvanized springs.
Total cost was only $350 for parts – still far cheaper than buying a whole professional setup. But now 2 years after upgrading, this “cheap” trampoline performs beautifully and solidly for backyard fun and exercise.
The moral of the story? With the right parts and some DIY spirit, you can absolutely upgrade an inferior trampoline into something far superior!
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Can I just upgrade either the mat or springs alone?
It’s best to replace both components together for optimal safety and performance. A brand new mat paired with old, worn out springs won’t bounce properly. Upgraded springs connecting to a thin mat can tear right through it.
Where can I buy replacement mats and springs?
Many online retailers like Amazon carry generic replacement parts along with options made specifically for major consumer trampoline brands. You can also contact trampoline manufacturers directly about ordering proprietary parts.
Is it easy to install the new mat and springs myself?
The process does require some technical skill and physical strength, but with proper tools, patience and a helping hand, it can certainly be a DIY project. Just be extremely cautious when re-attaching dozens of tensioned springs. Wear protective eyewear to safeguard from slipping hooks and ends.
I hope this comprehensive guide gives you confidence that upgrading components can quickly transform any rundown economy trampoline into a recreational tool the whole family can safely enjoy for years on end! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.
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