There are several important things to look for when buying a bouncy castle.
Think about durability, residual value, warranty, material, stitching, safety, certification and intellectual property.
The life span of a bouncy castle determines mostly your ROI (return on investment) The longer the life span, the more often people will be able to rent it, thus more profit. The average life span of bouncy castle made in the UK is 2 to 4 years. There are however many examples known of UK manufacturers who sell bouncy castles which are damaged beyond repair within just 1 or 2 seasons.
Bouncy castle manufacturers like Bounceabouts, JB-inflatables and Profab however, are well-known for their outstanding quality and the long life span of their bouncy castles. Bouncy castles from these companies should hold at least 10 years.
The residual value of a bouncy castle is the amount of money a bouncy castle is worth after a certain amount of time, for example 2 or 5 years. The higher the residual value of a bouncy castle, the lower the yearly depreciation, which make the actual costs of the bouncy castle.
Bouncy castles with the longest life span are usually the ones with the highest residual value. This also differs with quality and guarantee provided with the bouncy castle by the manufacturer. The highest residual values are to be found with bouncy castles manufactured by JB-inflatables, Profab and Bouncabouts.
There are many small manufacturers to be found in the UK. Unfortunately among them there are quite a few that do not produce high quality bouncy castles.
When buying a bouncy castle it is very important to know what kind of guarantee is provided by the manufacturer. This is especially important because many bouncy castles that are being sold in the UK of poor quality. Many customers have regret their purchase after just a few weeks, when it turned out that their bouncy castles broke down or were teared beyond repair. Unfortunately the residual value remained zero. Bouncy castles are no exception and as in any business, you get what you pay for.
Most sellers of bouncy castles try to secretly hide their warranty policy on their website or within their terms and conditions.
Importers of bouncy castles from China, like AAA-inflatables and Air-inflatables tend to give 1 year of warranty on their bouncy castles. But even UK-manufacturers of low-budget bouncy castles, like Andy J, Bee-tee and Airquee will only offer a 1 year of warranty for their products.
There are just a few UK bouncy castle companies that will provide 2 years of warranty for their bouncy castles. Some examples are Inflatable world, Better-Bounce and Bouncabouts. Of all UK and Irish suppliers, JB-inflatables is the only one that is so convinced of its own quality and perfected production methods, that they will offer a 5-year warranty on all their sold bouncy castles.
Not only do there exist great differences in prices, as well as in quality and warranties. This makes it very important to take all these aspect into consideration, before buying a bouncy castle. A bad bargain is dear at a farthing.
Canvas and stitching:
The canvas which is used during the manufacturing of a bouncy castle makes the weight and the size of the final product. The thinner the material, the lighter a bouncy castle will be.
In the UK it is common for bouncy castles to be made out of UK-PVC with a weight of 580-610 grams a square meter.
Bouncy castles rental companies prefer bouncy castles that can be packed and transported with ease. Unfortunately the use of light materials shortens the life span of bouncy castles. This is the reason why sellers normally will not provide their clients with a warranty over 1 year when this thin canvas is being used.
UK manufacturers tend to sow their seems just 2 times. Most high-end bouncy castles however will have quadruple stitching, which improves the quality tremendously. Well-known for this high quality stitching are Profab and JB-inflatables. Quadruple stitching will result in an almost impossible-to-tear bouncy castle.
Most high-end manufacturers make use of thick canvas, mostly 620-650 Gr/m2 which has a higher resistance than the lighter UK PVC-canvas.
It is also of great importance that the canvas is fire resistant and unleaded.
Safety and warranties of bouncy castles:
The EN 14960 regulation was introduced in Europe since 2006. It is aimed at inflatable attractions, such as bouncy castles, inflatable slides and inflatable assault courses for professional use. Within this regulation, drop heights, choking hazards and the dangers of collapsing are of the essence. This regulation also regulates the age, number and size of the end-users as well as the air pressure in the bouncy castle, including wind resistance and anchoring. This regulation is applied to the whole of Europe, making EN stand for European Norm; European Regulation.
Every bouncy castle which is regulated by EN 14960 must be certified, if not it may not be used for commercial purposes.
Unfortunately there are many sales companies to be found in the UK and Ireland who sell bouncy castles that do not conform within the regulation or are not tested by an official inspection officer.
In the Netherlands and Belgium there exists strict regulation on this matter, and also in France, the UK and Germany more and more inspections are being maintained by the governments.
In 2013 the safety regulation for bouncy castles and other inflatable attractions was updated to a new and updated version: EN 14960:2013. It is being advised not to buy a bouncy castle which has not been certified by the EN 14960 regulation, as no certainty can be given on behalf of safety, as for the children using the bouncy castle.
Unfortunately there are some manufacturers and importers in the UK and Ireland who sell bouncy castles with images or themes from various animation or Disney movies. Think about the themes: Frozen, Pokemon, Spiderman, Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse, etc. Please be aware that images of these movies, television series and their stars are the property of Disney and that the selling, buying, renting and use of these bouncy castles is an infringement of copyrights and of Disney and other companies owning the brands and licenses.
Not only the seller violates the copyrights of Disney, but also the end-user as the letter can be held liable for infringement.
The consequences for the seller, as well for the buyer of a Frozen bouncy castle, Dora bouncy castle, Bob the Builder bouncy castle or Pokemon bouncy castle can be enormous. It can have enormous financial as well as legal consequences.
We would discourage people to buy a Disney bouncy castle with the images of Frozen, Spiderman, Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, Pokemon, Mickey Mouse or other Disney images.
No manufacturer of bouncy castles in the UK or Ireland is allowed or licensed to manufacture or sell Disney bouncy castles legally! Be aware and do not take the risk of infringement of copy rights. An enormous fine could be the result.