Many of today's standard trampoline models feature a round or rectangular design. The difference between these two styles impacts much more than the trampoline's appearance however. Round and rectangular trampolines offer major differences in safety, price and function that can greatly impact the user experience.
Rectangular trampolines offer a bigger bounce and absorb more landing force than round varieties, according to Trampmasters. Round trampolines tend to direct the jumper back into the center of the mat with each bounce, while rectangular designs give the jumper more space for performing tricks and flips. Professional users typically stick with rectangular designs for their predictable, even bounce.
In general, round trampolines are designed for home and recreational use rather than high-end applications. They accommodate less weight and force than rectangular units, which are better suited to the demands of gymnasts, divers and aerialists.
Round trampolines often feature a lower price than rectangular models, according to Trampmasters. This is due to the inherent natural strength of the circular frame, which requires less added support than a square or rectangular frame design. Manufacturers can build round trampolines relatively easily, and at a low cost, which then gets passed on to the consumer.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia suggests that parents weigh the risks of trampolines carefully before making a purchase. If you decide that a trampoline is the right choice for your family, the hospital recommends sticking with round designs, which offer a less powerful bounce than rectangular models. The reduced spring of these trampolines lowers your child's injury risk, and may also lessen the severity of any accidents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents against purchasing a trampoline for home use, and states that trampolines should only be used in a supervised professional setting. This includes sports training facilities and competitions. According to the Academy, many of the trampolines accidents that occur each year take place on home trampolines, resulting in broken limbs, paralysis and even death.