Most of us have favorable memories from our childhood of attending birthday parties or school events with our friends. Often, one of the main attractions at such parties was an awesome bounce house.
Whether they were big, small, had different compartments or foam balls, bouncy houses always guaranteed hours of energy-sapping fun.
The feeling of losing yourself and bouncing off the walls as many times and however long you wanted, was a memory that you didn’t lose any time soon!
Why not relive those memories with your kids and give them something to remember for a lifetime! (yes, it’s potentially that powerful and epic!).
Times have changed and technology has advanced significantly, but the excited screams from delighted children (and adults) when diving into a bounce house have not.
They used to be quite expensive to buy and most times, they were either rented for an occasion or visited at a fixed location. The great thing is that they have come down in price and now can be very affordable for families to buy their own.
Imagine how popular you’ll be amongst the rest of your child’s friends if you had your own bounce house?
For some of you, it will be a wonderful revelation to know you can afford your own bounce house! For others, this is why you’re here – to help you select the best one!
With all types of designs, materials, features, and prices, this is not an easy venture. To that end we’ve had a look at what most families will be looking for and made sure safety, as well as lots of fun features, were taken care of.
So read on and get ready for the fun times to begin in your own backyard.
Bounce House Buying Guide
Types of Bounce Houses
If you recall when you were younger and playing in a bounce house, do you remember each and every design? Not at all!
That’s because such a great invention like this can come in a huge variety of different types and sizes. The only limitation is the imagination of its creators and the physical properties of pumping air into the structure.
So how would you define the different types and place them into categories? First of all, keep in mind there are commercial bounce houses and residential ones.
The difference between them is that commercial ones are built much stronger as they are exposed to almost continuous use every day for hours and hours.
They usually use heavy-duty polyester to keep them super tough but also light enough to be moved around as required.
As such, the materials used make them more rigid and the features in them are often also built to outlast all the kids bouncing around in them.
As you’d expect, they are much more expensive and given that they will be far more durable and heavy-duty, they’re probably not what the average family will need in the backyard (though we could all use maximum durability right?).
A residential one will be a lot cheaper and built strong enough for the little monsters to go crazy in them once in a while.
Manufacturers often make them either out of heavy-duty nylon or polyester, although not as heavy-duty as a commercial one. They can be rated in different densities to give you an idea of its strength.
Other more technical aspects include the fact that most bounce houses, both commercial and residential, are continuously inflatable. It means that air is blowing in them constantly and escaping through tiny pores in the material.
That means that even when a small hole appears, it is not catastrophic and it can be operated until it gets repaired.
Of course, it’s not just the fact that kids can bounce around their inflatable castle that makes them so much fun.
There are so many additions you can have in them, such as ball pits, slides and a plethora of themes that will keep the kids busy for hours. Jungle themes, race car themes, games, water slides, princess castles, you name it, they’re all available and many more.
So it won’t matter what your kid is into, there will almost certainly be a bounce house made just for them and their imagination.
Then there are bounce houses that are made for adults and for other special purposes such as obstacle courses or large water slides.
These are usually for commercial use though and are often very expensive. If you can imagine adults running on them, or unusual shapes and add in elements such as water, you can see how these will need to be strongly built and are subsequently very expensive.
Although we will not cover such varieties in this guide, it’s handy to know what is out there and to be able to differentiate a well-made bounce house from a cheaply made one.
How to Pick the Right Bounce House
If you’ve decided that it will be a great idea to have a bounce house around the house, there will be a few things to consider before buying one. It’s tempting to go online and pick the most attractive and fun-looking bounce house right now.
But even if you have an idea of the design you want, consider some of the less obvious factors.
One of the main deciding factors will be based on your budget allowances. Not everyone has several hundred or thousands of dollars floating around to buy something without some in-depth research.
Most residential bounce houses are available for a few hundred dollars up to a thousand or more, whereas commercial ones can start at a thousand and head into tens of thousands.
Don’t forget too that commercial ones are made of materials designed to last through many years of rough use, as well as a variety of weather conditions over the long term. They’re not really meant for residential use.
Keep in mind that other factors such as additions and accessories will most likely cost extra, along with electricity to keep the pump going and water if you choose one with such a feature.
If damage occurs that makes it unusable, more than likely it will be cheaper to simply buy a new one than to repair it. As a result, many residential bounce houses come with a minimum warranty.
We will talk more about sizing later, but one thing to consider is the weight and capacity.
Make sure you get one that is well balanced in this regard.
Too small and light and it might not be sturdy enough to withstand the number of kids or it could blow about in the wind. But too heavy and it might be cumbersome to move around and set up, resulting in it being used less and gathering dust.
The floor of the bounce house is the star of the show and one of the most important things to look at. After all, it wouldn’t be a bounce house without a bouncy floor!
It should then be big enough to accommodate all your kids and guests as well as durable enough to withstand the brunt of the action.
Don’t forget to check out the size of your chosen bounce house to make sure it fits in your yard too! Here you also want to make sure everyone can get in and out safely and easily.
It would be no good to have a slide going into the wall or the entrance protruding into another outdoor area where people might be sitting.
You will also need room for the blower (and a plug to put it in) and an area where water will drain if required.
Depending on local laws, you may also need permission from your local county and maybe the neighbors too.
Accessories and Additional Features
The money factor aside, the next thing you might consider is what accessories you will want.
Many come with add-ons such as ball pits, where a section can be filled up with PVC or foam balls. Another extra could be a mini-game within the structure.
An example of this could be an inflatable basketball game with a hoop and blow-up ball. Then there are the houses that come with slides so the kids will have additional fun and motivation to exit.
Tunnels are another nice feature that will add an air of mystery and intrigue into the general layout. They’re great for smaller children too who may be frightened to get in with the big kids in the main ring.
All of these extras are usually part of the general design and will be expensive to have added on, or customized into it. Therefore, if you want one of these features, it’s better to buy one with them already in.
When it comes to water slides, think about selecting one that is made from polyester, rather than nylon.
The reason for this is because although nylon is water-resistant, the nature of the material is such that it holds more water and becomes difficult to notice whether it is still wet or not.
So potentially, you could pack it away while still damp and it may encourage mold or mildew growth. The other benefit of polyester in this instance is the simple fact that it’s smoother so there is less chance of hold-ups than a nylon one.
The downside of polyester is that if it gets damaged, it difficult to repair and often needs to be replaced.
Whatever additional accessories you choose, make sure you have the correct blower to accommodate them as well as the correct attachments, if necessary.
Always make sure any other items such as balls and other removable objects adhere to the correct standards to make sure the fun time doesn’t turn into the hurt time.
Clearly, there are a number of things to think about before ordering a new bounce house.
But they are not overwhelming and with a bit of thought, you will select a really good one.
Most importantly, get the kids involved and let them have an input into the design and express what they want to see in their bounce house.
With all this in mind, let’s have a look at the best bounce houses around the market today and have fun in picking out the one for your family.
Best Bounce House Reviews
This fantastic bounce house represents the excellent value that can be found now when it comes to this form of entertainment.
For less than $300, you have a durable bounce house with a slide and blower thrown in as well. It’s made of polyester that is easy to carry around and takes just minutes to inflate with the continuously operating blower.
The stated capacity is 250 lbs total weight. So while it’s not huge, it offers hours of family fun and is designed to last years. The overall size is 12 feet long, 9 feet wide, and a tad over 7 feet tall. To be exact – 144″L x 108″W x 86.4″H.
An anchoring system increases safety and usability. The recommended ages are 3-8. Overall, it is of excellent value, well-made, and is a fantastic addition to your next family get-together.
- Easily inflatable
- Slide attachment
- Great value all-round
- No mini-games or other extras
The big attraction to this Blast Zone Magic Castle is … well, there are actually TWO things. The first is its incredible size, and the other one is its affordable price tag.
Regarding size, it’s bigger than many others on the market, but it’s Blast Zone’s SMALLEST version of a castle in the Magic Castle line of bounce houses.
The overall dimensions are 8.5′ Wide x 11′ Long x 8′ High. The castle is fully enclosed by a safety net so no worries about airborne children!
The construction is substantial with high-strength X-weave and commercial vinyl and it can hold 3 children! It’s targeted toward ages 3+.
The air-fed blower is included and it produces a constant flow of air (as expected) and the Magic Castle includes lots of accessories. Carrying straps and anchor stakes are included.
We like that it features quadruple-stitching for extra durability and it only weighs 48 lbs. Oh, and did I mention it takes only 2 minutes to set up? Okay, it takes only 2 minutes to set up!!!
- Easily inflatable
- Holds three kids
- Possible for use indoors
- Super quick setup
- QUADRUPLE – stitching (in an industry that typically boasts when it offers double-stitching)
- Mostly just to jump – no extra activities included like a dartboard, basketball net, etc.
- A bit pricier than some other options on our list
Do you want to take your bounce house to the next level? Then this dual water slide from Little Tikes is one to aim for.
Especially if you live in a warm climate, the kids will have ample fun climbing up the center wall and then sliding down either side back into the bottom pool.
To add to the chaos, there is even a bucket at the top that empties out from time to time – onto whoever is on the climbing wall! It takes about 15 minutes to set up, including placing the blower and required sprinkler on top, then you’re away.
Some customers have mentioned that it takes several days to dry out properly, something you need to do to ensure mold does not grow. If you can manage that, however, this is an excellent and fun bounce house with some unique features.
- Exciting water slide design
- Heavy-duty blower included
- Contains 2 slides
- Easy to set up
- Takes a long time to dry
4. Island Hopper Curved Double Slide Recreational Kids Bounce House with Safe Return Curved Slide and Climbing Wall
With this particular bounce house, you’re definitely moving up a level when it comes to features and size. This bounce house is pretty big at 11-feet long and 11-feet wide with an 8-foot height.
It features an 11-foot long slide INSIDE the house (as well as another slide that exits the house onto the yard) and it’s really an inflatable gym and amusement park all in one.
Two entrances are built-in to this model and so is a climbing wall with a maximum load of 4 children or 400 lbs. It can handle the weight because it’s made of heavy nylon and it’s double-stitched for better reinforcement.
Some of the technical jargon is that it’s ASTM compliant (safety standards) and it includes a UL certified air blower with a GFCI circuit breaker. Anchor stakes are included as is a large storage bag and patch kit.
The only downside is that there are not a lot of different “official” activities or sports built-in to it (like basketball, soccer, darts, baseball, etc.) like other models.
However, the real novelty to a bounce house is the fun to be had by actually jumping and bouncing, so this big and tough house gets our thumbs up!
- Big and Tough!
- Inside and outside slide
- Larger than most
- Plastic Stakes
If you need a simple, easy to set up and well-priced bounce house, the Little Castle from My Bouncer will certainly fill the gap. It’s made of durable and lightweight polyester with a rubber coating to give it extra toughness.
On the side is a ball pit that is attached that will provide hours of entertainment and it also sports a slide for that fun and speedy exit.
One of the main attractions is the fact that it sets up and is inflated in 60 seconds. Then, when it is time to put it away, it can be deflated and folded in under two minutes.
It’s also lightweight and small enough to be used indoors. It is on the small side and states that it can only support two children up to 150 lbs in total, which may be a disappointment if there are numerous children waiting for their turn.
But for the price and the construction, this is a highly recommended bounce house for a smaller home or a couple of kids.
- Includes ball pit
- Can be used indoors
- Sets up and deflates in minutes
- On the small side
This 70-lb monster is one huge attraction for your neighborhood kids and it will likely make your kids the most popular kids on the block! It’s designed for ages 3 – 10 and it has a good selection of activities built right in.
It includes a climbing wall, slide, basketball hoop, jumping area, and an ocean ball pool. We like that the Oxford vinyl is non-toxic, and apparently, the life-expectancy is hardly affected by vigorous jumping and lots of use!
With a 5-person capacity (let’s make sure those people are fairly small okay?!), it can handle up to 180 kg. The dimension are 570 cm x 270 cm x 230 cm and all the seams are double-stitched. It takes a mere 1-2 minutes to set up or take down.
We like that!
- Large size to get noticed by neighborhood kids!
- Good variety of activities inside
- Can be used indoors (if you have a space big enough!)
- Pretty pricey $$$
Who doesn’t want their own princess castle? KidWise Outdoors have cottoned on to it and created this wonderful bounce house so now every kid can have their dreams come true!
Sitting at a very affordable price point, the simple design shouldn’t put you off from the fact that it is well-made, durable and lightweight. Made from strong materials, it will put up with a lot of wear and tear over time.
Being light, it is also easy to move around and small enough to set up inside for when the weather is unpleasant. If there was anything to complain about, it’s the fact that it is quite small, supporting only 2 children at 100 lbs each.
Also, some will be disappointed by the fact there are no ‘extras’, like a slide or ball pit. But who can say no to this cute and classic design that is sure to delight the little princess(es) in your house?
Dimension are: 570 cm x 270 cm x 230 cm
- Cute design
- Strong fabric and floor construction
- Easy to set up
- No extras like ball pit or slide
- Rated for only 2 kids at around 100 lbs each
This bounce house from Yard is an excellent example of quality construction, clever design and affordability all in one. Firstly, it is made of nylon which is a bit tougher than regular polyester.
Secondly, the manufacturer claims they have made the floor and the tarpaulin out of commercial-grade materials, meaning that this beast should last years.
The kids will also love the oversized wide slide, so they can race out it for added enjoyment (safely of course!). Its overall size is good, except that some have noted that it might be too small for older children.
With a heavy-duty blower included, it offers excellent value for money for those that are looking for durability and years of use. A lovely classic design, durable construction and decent size ought to keep the kids and their friends busy for some time.
- Made from nylon
- Wide slide
- Heavy-duty blower included
- Bit small for older children
Number 9 on our list is Sportspower Fly Slama Jama basketball court. We love this one since the gang here is totally into basketball.
It didn’t make it higher on the list since it really caters to all those who love basketball, but it’s pretty “sport-specific”. It’s also important to realize that the floor is actually not inflatable, so it’s really not a “bounce house”.
We threw it in because it fits the greater category of large, inflatable toys where kids play inside of it!
You’ll need a decent footprint to set this guy up properly since it’s 28 feet long and 12 feet wide. It’s 7.5 feet tall as well! Inflation takes around 2 minutes so you’ll be up and at ’em right away!
PVC coating on top of durable polyester fabric ensures a level of toughness you’ll need, and there is an anchoring system that increases stability. It comes with a 450W blower which is a decent size and makes the job of inflating effortless!
- Heavy duty blower
- Large floor area
- PVC/Polyester construction
- The floor is NOT inflatable
- Some units failed in the area of seam integrity
WaterJoy makes this jumping jungle with kangaroo artwork! The 750-watt blower is quite powerful and only takes a couple of minutes to inflate the whole house.
It includes lots of welcome activities like a trampoline, 2 slides, a darts area, a shooting area and a climbing wall. The whole unit weighs 48 pounds and the dimensions come out at 152.75″ x 135.03″ x 89.96″ (L x W x H)
Of course you can use it indoors, outdoors and nearly any season including Winter! The Oxford vinyl is good quality and is absolutely wear/tear-resistant. It works for as many at 4 children, depending on their weight. It offers a 300-lb weight limit.
A handbag is included along with a repair kit, the blower, 4 stakes, 2 velcro balls and 30 pop balls.
- Fun kangaroo/safari design
- Large jumping area
- Good variety of activities and included accessories
- Entrance Ramp
- Heavy – 48 lbs
Conclusion & Recommendations
Now that you have had a taste of what you can get in the world of bounce houses, it’s time to think about what to buy. Some questions will still roll through your head, including what extras do I want, if any?
How big will it need to be? How suitable will it be for my kids and their friends? Probably the most important consideration will be simply what will they have the most fun in?
There are a number of good options if you’re looking to spend less than $300. For this price, you can expect a great, classic design, usually with an extra such as a slide, and enough room for 3 or 4 little ones.
The fantastic thing is that cheap doesn’t necessarily mean cheap quality. Often, even in this price range, you can find durable bounce houses with excellent quality fittings.
If you’re prepared to spend more and are looking for more features than just a bouncy floor, there are many options available that still won’t break the bank.
So many wonderful designs are now available and at a much smaller cost than they used to be for home use. Always remember to keep in mind the practical points of having one and consider what will be the best option for your family.
When you get one, you will be sure your kids will have a ball and their friends will be envious of their new play center!