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 huge, small, having different compartment or foam balls, seeing one guaranteed hours of energy-sapping fun. The feeling of losing yourself and bouncing off the walls as many times in whatever manner you wished was the greatest pleasure.
Top Inflatable Bounce Houses Comparison Chart
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 this 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 manner of designs, materials, features and prices, this is not an easy venture. Therefore 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 wonderful creation as this can come in endless 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 type 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 more sturdily built, probably not what the average family will need in the backyard.
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. Manufactures 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. Therefore 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 decision factors will be based on your budget. Not everyone has several hundred or a thousand dollars floating around to buy something without some 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 from materials designed to last many years from rough usage, as well as all weather, so they won’t really be necessary for casual use at home.
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 repair it. As a result, many residential bounce houses come with minimal 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 amount 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 in to 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 300 lbs with a 100 lbs per child certified limit. So while it’s not huge, it offers hours of family fun and is designed to last years. The bouncing floor area is 12’x 9’ and is surrounded by safety netting on all sides. Kids can exit the house by means of a fun slide. The manufacturers recommend it for children 3 years and up but due to the small size, if your child is 10 or more, you might want to consider a larger bounce house. Overall, it is 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
Unravel this bounce house at your next party and it’s guaranteed to be a hit, especially with the boys. Featuring a unique and clever truck design, it incorporates a slide, ball pit and tunnel entries and exits through the ‘wheels’. It comes with a bag the size of a rolled up sleeping bag and a blower that inflates it in two minutes, making this a breeze to set up and get into action. The maximum stated capacity is 600lbs so about 5 or 6 kids can comfortably be in there at the same time. One of its excellent features is the compartmentalized areas. The ball pit, for example, is in the “engine” compartment and the kids can play out their mechanical imaginations in a unique place. Then there is the “cab” where the fun, bouncy part is and where a slide is attached for getting out with ease. Its height will allow it to be used indoors if you want. It is on the heavy side though, so moving it around will be less manageable than others. However, the design itself and build quality will ensure hours of fun for the little truck drivers in your house.
- Easily inflatable
- Cool truck design
- Slide and ball pit
- Possible for use indoors
- Heavier than average
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
With this particular bounce house, you’re definitely moving up a level when it comes to features and size. The design features a raised “fort” for the kids to climb in and observe all the goings on around, while the main floor features a multi sports activity zone. There is basketball, soccer and other sports they can enjoy and everything you need is included. The slide is not used as an exit out of the bounce house, but rather directs kids from the fort to the main floor. This will appeal to parents who get tired of sweeping dirt and grass out of the play area every time! It is marketed for larger children but some have mentioned that it might be a bit cramped for young teenagers. It’s also higher up the price bracket which brings it out of reach for some families who will be looking for better value in other designs.
- True adventurous spirit
- 7 sport activities
- Can be used indoors
- Appeals to a broad range of kids
- 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 disappointing 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
The first thing you notice on this bounce house is the incredibly colorful design. It will be a magnet to the kids when they see this in your yard or in a large room. It’s not just the colorful design that is so appealing, but also the clever and durable construction that has gone into it. From the lovely rainbow entrance tunnel to the curving slide and ball pit, it’s a simple but very classic bounce house. Being quite light, it’s maneuverable and small enough to set up indoors. It has a safety netting all around and includes a blower as part of the package. There really is not much more to say about it other than customers have given very positive feedback on the construction and design so we are sure you and your family will thoroughly enjoy this colorful creation.
- Colorful design
- Includes ball pit
- Can be used indoors
- Not much
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.
- Cute design
- Strong fabric and floor construction
- Easy to set up
- No extras like ball pit or slide
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 the 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 dual slide, plus they are side by side 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
- Dual slides
- Heavy duty blower included
- Bit small for older children
Number 9 on our list is the Cloud 9 Tunnel Course bounce house. The first thing you will notice is that it is quite big and it’s more than a simple bounce house. Constructed of heavy duty nylon, this is more of a fun, inflatable obstacle course than a regular bounce house. It has multiple tunnels and it opens out to a play area that supports basketball and other sports. It also has a climbing wall for that extra obstacle amusement. The design is attractive and reminiscent of a sky city and kids will surely pick up on it as they create their own excitement within its safety net walls. Although it is made from heavy duty nylon, be aware that some customers have questioned the stated weight limit (300 lbs), when their bounce house began to deflate. However, many other customers have enjoyed it without problems and its design is first class.
- Multiple compartments/activities
- Heavy duty blower
- Large floor area
- Nylon construction
- Questionable durability/weight capacity
If you have some energetic monkeys at home or at your next party, let them loose in this jungle themed bounce house by JumpOrange. The kids will go bananas when they enter this large and spacious beauty that has such a fun design, parents may also want to join in the madness. Aside from the creative design, JumpOrange have ensured that it is made from top quality materials that will last a long time. It is heavy though, so you may want to consider a permanent place for it so you don’t have to struggle dragging it around or getting a friend to help every time. It also has a handy sun shade and a nice entrance ramp. However, it doesn’t have any other extras and that might put some off the hefty purchase price. Still, it supports older kids and a few other extra little ones than others in our list, making it good value for a larger get-together.
- Fun ‘safari’ design
- Extra large jumping area
- Sun shade
- Entrance ramp
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. The Island Hopper Fort and Cloud 9 Tunnel bounce houses offer excellent value for money with numerous extras like climbing walls and mini-games. They often also have a slide in there at least, as well as a ball pit so the kids can spread around a bit too.
Don’t forget the radical designs like the Blast Zone Rock Crawler, My Little Princess and the Jungle Safari creations that offer something unique and fun. With another clever design, we also liked the Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race, with the dual water slides and the bucket that unleashes its load on unsuspecting victims climbing the wall.
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!