Affordable Bouncy Castle Buying Guide

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Affordable Bouncy Castle Buying Guide

This guide will look at the various types of bouncy castles on the market and more specifically how to buy one from eBay, a website guaranteed to have many different models listed at rates potentially much lower than on the high street.

Although identified as bouncy castles in the UK, some types have moved away from the traditional four poster ‘castle’ design which has led them to be known by such terms as a ‘bounce house’ or ‘inflatable house’ in some parts of the world.

What is a Bouncy Castle?

  • A bouncy castle is an enlarged inflatable structure that allows people, predominantly children, to take pleasure in by bouncing up and down on the springy surface. They are used for social functions, such as school fetes, church festivals or children’s birthday parties, but are also commonly found in back gardens across the UK.
  • Over time, innovative new designs such as slides have enhanced the popularity and enjoyment factor of using a bouncy castle. The inflatable nature of them is beneficial as when it is deflated, it can be transported and stored easily.

How it Works

If buying the bouncy castle for personal use in gardens then this section will look at the steps needed to set up your inflatable safely in the desired area. Some indoor models are also available to buy.

  • To make the bouncy castle usable, it needs to be laid as spread out as possible with access allowed for the blower to be attached. Its diameter should be positioned in the safest place possible.
  • The blower, sometimes referred to as a mechanical fan, is a device that is used to fill the inflatable with a constant stream of air and should be connected as securely as possible to the inlet tube, usually found at the back of the bouncy castle.
  • Blowers are mostly powered by electricity. In this respect, a suitable power supply will be needed which will most likely come from the mains. With the vast majority of bouncy castles being situated outside, an appropriate extension cable will be needed to connect the mains to the blower. Ensure that no one uses the bouncy castle whilst it is being inflated.
  • The setting up time will depend on the size of the castle and its design. A standard bouncy castle will take around 15-20 minutes to set up and around 1-5 minutes to fully inflate.
  • Keep the blower running even after the bouncy castle has been inflated fully and people are using it. This will keep a constant flow of air into the system and ensures the optimum ‘bounce’ will be experienced throughout aswell as keeping it safe to use.

Different Types of Bouncy Castle

Bouncy castles come in many styles apart from the traditional square or rectangular design. For example, newer models may come in the form of inflatable slides or obstacle courses that are highly attractive for youngsters to play on. They are usually found in a mixture of bright colours and sometimes with cartoony characters incorporated onto the exterior to make them more appealing aswell.

Size Guide

Various models will come in different sizes so think about how many people will be likely to use the bouncy castle at the same time before making a purchase. The surface area of more common four poster inflatables will range at differing values from a width of around 10 feet to a length of 18 feet. Wall heights will generally be at 5 foot to above 10 foot for extra large models. Think of the height of who will be using the castle in regards to this.  

Bouncy Castle Safety

Perhaps the main concern people have when thinking of buying a bouncy castle is the health and safety aspects, especially for parents with young children. Occasional unfortunate accidents and sometimes even deaths have transpired over the years for a number of reasons. For youngsters, the foremost piece of advice is to maintain strict supervision over them at all times. Other considerations for staying safe when setting up and using a bouncy castle include:

  • When setting up the inflatable, it is vital to think about the position it will be placed in. Any hard ground, obstacles such as trees and garden furniture may cause unnecessary injury for a child if they fall off the apparatus. Easy access to the bouncy castle will also be preferable, with mats placed at the entrance.
  • The flatter the ground the bouncy castle is laid out on the better. Remove any sticks or stones which may prevent this. Groundsheets are available to cover dirty and slippery surfaces and provide more friction. They can also help protect the underside of the inflatable from any unseen sharp objects that could lead to punctures.
  • Attaching the bouncy castle to the ground is a crucial aspect to undertake also. Several unfortunate incidents have occurred where a bouncy castle has actually blown away in strong winds with people on it, resulting in sometimes fatal injuries. Make sure the pegs and straps are sufficiently fixed into the ground and use a hammer if necessary.
  • Supervision perhaps the main key for children. Some bouncy castle designs have high walls that are easily reachable from the main bouncing area; if children climb up to these higher positions and fall off the side, it can cause serious injury. The power source, extension cable and blower should also be monitored to make sure the bouncy castle doesn’t deflate.
  • Think about how many children will be likely to use the apparatus at the same time. A larger bouncing area will be needed for an increased number of users and also for older children to enjoy. Also consider the age and weight of those using it – it is best it people the same size use the bouncy castle together.
  • Below is a rough safety guide for in relation to how many children can use the apparatus at the same time in accordance to their size. Some different designs will differ due to their layout so always check with the seller before a purchase is made about the suitability of a bouncy castle. Read the instruction manual also which should display this information in more detail.

Approximate Size (feet)

Number of Children

10x10

6 max

12x12

8 max

15x15

12 max

18x18

14 max

Using eBay to Buy a Bouncy Castle

If a decision has been made to buy the bouncy castle online, then using eBay is a fantastic way of finding the most suitable model at the best possible price. In regards to inflatables – items which are still perfectly usable second hand – eBay is a fantastic place to shop as plenty of used models are being listed all the time.

Knowing how to search on eBay is useful because the items on eBay are listed by the general public and not professionally monitored by the company. In this sense it is possible for two similar items to be listed in two completely different ways. For example, some people may have worded their item as a “bouncy castle” whilst others may have used “bouncy house” or “inflatable castle.” Here is a quick run through of how to find a bouncy castle on using eBay.

  • Keywords. The most obvious and widely used method is by using the search bar at the top of the eBay home page. This is best if the specific kind of inflatable is known, for example an “adult bouncy castle.” This will bring up all the listings that specifically have this in the title. Remember to try out different wording combinations when typing in keywords.

  • Categories. The option is also there to browse the listings by which category the item falls in. In this case bouncy castles should have been listed in the ‘Outdoor Toys & Activities’ subsection of the ‘Toys & Games’ category.

  • Preferences. Quite often when looking for an item online, shoppers are sure of what they want in relation to some aspects of the product and not sure about others. Type in the general term of “bouncy castle” into the search bar and then use the preference bar on the left hand side to narrow down the results.

  • Sort by. If there is a healthy amount of listings present despite narrowing them down as best as possible then sort them so the most desired results will appear at the top of the page. The ‘Sort By’ option is next to the search bar where the lowest priced or items ending soonest can be selected.  

  • Seller format.  Quickly choose between the bouncy castles listed for Auction and those available as Buy It Now items by selecting the relevant tab above the search results. Some listings will be offered as both.

  • Advanced. All of the above can be selected on the ‘Advanced’ page, with a range of further options to increase the chances of finding perfect bouncy castle. It is also possible to save this search if coming to buy similar items in the future.

Conclusion

  • Using bouncy castles are a great way for children to keep occupied and have fun at social events whilst they can also be used by some adult’s aswell. They are commonly rented (many sellers list their bouncy castle for hire on eBay) for use at parties or gatherings but plenty of models are available to buy permanently, predominantly in the summer months.
  • Prices at the lower end of the market can begin at around £20 for basic bouncy castles but can reach up to around the £100-£200 mark for larger models that can incorporate numerous users at the same time.
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