Search For More Excitement

Our daughter’s birthday was fast approaching a few months ago and with the ability to only hold a small gathering in our backyard due to COVID-19 pandemic, social restrictions, we looked for something fun for the children to play with.

“What’s synonymous with some birthday parties,” my wife asked? A bounce house! But at a rental cost of $75 – $99 a day, we decided to invest in a small one instead for repeated use at home. That search led us to the $200 Action Air Inflatable Castle Bounce House.

The kids were having fun jumping up and down, but they repeatedly went in and out of the bouncer after just a few minutes of play. Why was that? We then realized the missing component: excitement. The 9′ L x 7 ‘ W x 5’ H Action Air suddenly felt limiting because all there was to do was bounce. We resold it to my brother who wanted to use it indoor in their pretty spacious family room, and off we went looking for another: the $330 Bountech Sweet House (Model: 8266).

Credit: Bountech

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

Play areas /Bountech

  • Kids had TONS of fun playing and were much more engaged due to a variety of interconnected play spaces
    • Larger jumping area
    • Large, curved slide (accessed via a short, climbing wall)
    • Play pit that can be filled with plastic balls
  • Can accommodate 3-5 children (manual recommends ages 3-10)
    • Maximum weight capacity: 300 lbs
    • Manual advises kids to be no more than 100 lbs, though I was able to lay in the jump area just fine at 200 lbs
  • Feels and looks sturdy and well made
  • Mesh netting on all sides of the jumping area keeps children safely inside
    • Play pit, however, is not padded at the bottom and could result in potential injury if the ground is hard
  • Very easy to set up
    • Inflates quickly (in exactly 29 seconds!)
    • Deflates quickly (within 5 minutes) and folds fairly compact
  • More economical than rentals because you would own it after 3-4 uses
  • Powerful Air Blower included: Superelec S-7 ($150 value)
    • Rated at 115V (6.5A) = 750W (1 HP)
    • Blower can be operated off a battery power station
    • Using about 700W – 748W, bouncer could last for approximately:

Dimensions /Bountech

  • Dimensions: 9.5′ L x 11.9′ W x 8.3′ H
    • Weight: about 48 lbs (bounce house 33 lbs, air blower 15 lbs)
  • Can be used indoor and outdoor, though our house is not nearly big enough for it inside
    • Grassy/soft area is recommended, but if used on concrete, be sure to remove any sharp objects that could potentially puncture the bouncer. Also be mindful of the unpadded play pit
    • Caution: Be aware that the bounce house should be staked down to prevent tipping!
  • Storage bag for the bounce house is included, though not for the air blower
    • Bag is flimsily made and may not last long

Accessories included and not included

  • Included accessories
    • 7 mid-sized stakes to hold down the bouncy house (only 5 are needed)
      • None are included for the air blower, and the existing ones will not fit through the blower’s hole
    • Repair kit
  • Manual was easy to understand

Safety Warnings

Cons

  • Electric plug does NOT have an ALCI circuit breaker to shut off power in a ground-fault event
    • You should keep the blower away from anything that could catch on fire or get it wet anyway
  • Initial investment is pricey, but becomes worthwhile in the long run without having to rent one
  • Product is very heavy at 48 lbs
  • Can be very frustrating to roll up and fit back into the carry bag
    • You have to really squeeze every bit of air out of the bounce house so it would become compact enough
  • Play pit area below the slide is not padded and could be a source of injury if the ground below is hard
  • Requires constant, adult supervision so children play responsibly and bouncer would not fail in a serious way
  • Air blower uses a lot of power at 700W – 748W (but keeps the bounce house firmly and safely inflated)
    • Did not come with stakes to hold it down. I used 4 tent stakes instead
  • Carry bag is flimsy and not big enough to hold the flattened bounce house (unless it was completely deflated and rolled up tightly)
  • May be too large for some areas with its nearly 12′ x 10′ x 8′ size

Tips

  • Always stake down these parts:
    • Bounce house so it would not tip over or get easily blown away by strong gusts of wind
      • Children pinned under a bounce house could suffocate and be seriously injured (or worse!)
    • Air blower so it would not overturn and overheat
      • Blower must continuously be running. Bouncer’s seams will let small amounts of air out to ensure it would not overinflate

WARNING: Always, always stake down the bounce house and air blower to minimize risk of serious injury!

  • Supervise children at ALL times
    • A bounce house could cause serious injury!
    • Caution: Do NOT let children play in the bouncer when it is not fully inflated
  • Have children take their shoes off when playing in the bounce house
Bountech (8266) inflation & deflation

Setup

  • Sweep the area for any sharp objects
  • Unfold the bounce house over a flat (preferably soft, yet sturdy) ground
  • Attach the blue hose to the air blower and ensure it is velcroed tight
    • Check that blower has sufficient clearance all around it
      • Keep it away from anything that could catch on fire or get it wet
    • Secure the blower with 4 stakes

Caution: Make sure the air blower is secured to the ground with stakes to minimize the risk of tipping over!

Air blower and hose

  • Plug in the blower and turn it on
    • Ensure the blue hose has no kinks (having it be straight will ensure maximum air flow)
  • Once the bouncer has fully inflated (takes about 30 seconds), secure it with the 5 included stakes
  • Move the air blower as needed to ensure the blue hose has no kinks
  • Let the blower run continuously
  • Bouncer will let small amounts of air out to ensure it would not overinflate

Caution: Air hose should have NO kink so that maximum air flow keeps bounce house firm

Packing bounce house away

Teardown

Bouncer tightly packed away

  • Caution: Ensure NO CHILDREN are still in the bounce house
    • Double check this! Kids pinned inside/under a bouncer could suffocate to death!
  • Turn off the air blower and unplug it from the AC outlet
  • Bouncer will deflate on its own within minutes
    • Untie the blue hose from the blower to let air out faster
  • Fold the bouncer length-wise in half, squeezing any remaining air out
    • Fold in half again and again (length-wise) until the width is the same as the carry bag
    • Roll it while squeezing every bit of air out
    • Tie the rolled bounce house to keep it from re-inflating or unfolding
  • Clean the stakes

Tip: Bounce house must be fully deflated, rolled up tightly, and tied in order for it to fit in the included carry bag

Final Thoughts

The Bountech bounce house has been a great investment from both a financial and joy perspective! It lends a bit more excitement with its interconnected variety of play areas, engaging the children for much longer than the Action Air one we previously had. Add about 200 plastic balls into the Play pit for some extra fun when the kids go down the curved slide.

Its dimensions fit our backyard perfectly, and seeing the children enjoy themselves during this pandemic has helped bring some normalcy into their lives when playgrounds all have been shut down for some time. Equally important is that the bouncer folds quite compact — although it could take considerable effort and some frustration for it to fit into the carry bag — and does not use up much space in our garage.

Ultimately, what made my day was when our son previously came up to me and said, “I love you, papa” after having some fun in the bounce house. My wife and I were both pleased with the purchase and look forward to having the birthday girl play in it too when she is old enough.

Other Bounce Houses

We had previously purchased the 2-3 person, manageably small Action Air Castle Bounce House (Model: 9451) for just our children to play with in the backyard. Other bouncers we had considered were:

Bountech Inflatable Bounce House (Sweet House 8266)

$329.99
4.55

Features

4.8/5

Design

4.5/5

Performance

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.5/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • Variety of interconnected play areas
  • Fast setup and inflation
  • Great value over rentals
  • Quality material
  • Powerful air blower

Cons

  • High, initial investment cost
  • Non-ALCI protected electric plug
  • Air blower uses a lot of power
  • Heavy
  • Flimsy, too tight carry bag