When my daughter turned 8 we bought her an inflatable tumbling mat to practice her handsprings and tricks on for her birthday. She has trained in acrobatic dance at her ballet studio and was recently selected for her gym’s WAG (Women’s Artistic Gymnastics) competitive team.
But which air or inflatable tumbling track should you buy? Click here to go straight to our top picks, or read on (3 minutes) for invaluable information about the best length, depth and other tips you need to know!
What Length Air Track should I buy?
The first question I had was basically what length should I buy and most parents agreed that you should buy the longest you can afford and that will fit in your space!
Their reasoning was, that the longer inflatable mats allow the dancer or gymnast to connect their tricks and tumbling passes. There were many parents that bought the 10 or 13-foot mat who regretted it, later buying a totally new 20-foot track or buying another 10 or 13-foot mat with a velcro connector.
Most stated they bought the smaller track originally either because of the cost, or because they didn’t think they had the space for the longer mat, but after purchasing the smaller one, they found space either outside in their yard or in areas like the front entrance to their house for their dancer to use them.
The four most popular lengths of inflatable tumbling mat in feet and inches are:
|3.3 or 6.6 feet
|4 or 8 inches
|3.3 or 6.6 feet
|4 or 8 inches
The four most popular lengths of inflatable tumbling mat in meters and centimeters are:
|1 or 2 meters
|10 or 20 centimeters
|1 or 2 meters
|10 or 20 centimeters
What Depth Air Track should I buy?
The 4-inch inflatable tumbling tracks are fine for most young dancers practicing tricks that they will transfer onto a stage or dance studio floor.
However, the 8-inch air tracks are great for older dancers who land with more force and for gymnasts practicing more complicated tumbling sequences who need more shock absorption, as their tricks are generally performed on a sprung floor at a gym.
There are a few pros and cons to think about when choosing the depth of your mat.
Some parents argued the 8-inch height made their dancer feel uneasy when using it, as it was too high off the ground. Parents of gymnasts, preferred the extra shock absorption provided by the 8-inch mat.
We opted for the 8-inch, as it is what my daughter practices on at her gym. Currently, I am finding that she needs a run-up for certain tricks. As the mat is 8inches off the ground she has to step up onto it from her run-up which is hindering her being able to practice them comfortably at home right now as she loses momentum.
However, recently she has started practicing some of those same tricks with just a one or two-step preparation rather than a runup during training sessions, so I know that as her skills progress the mat will work fine for her.
In hindsight though, I do wish we had purchased a 4inch for her skill level right now, with the aim of buying an 8inch one in the future.
How long does it take to inflate an air track?
As we have purchased our air track I know from experience that inflation and deflation takes less than 5 minutes each!
The electric pump that came with our air track is extremely powerful and gets the job done quickly. The only issue I have is that because the pump is so powerful at pushing the air out, the force can sometimes push the pump hose off of the air inlet. It just means I have to keep an eye on the process in case I need to reattach the hose.
The point of telling you this is to make sure you buy your mat with the suggested air pump! It is much more powerful than the rechargeable one we bought at our local department store for pumping up mattresses for kids sleepovers and camps for example.
Most sellers provide you with the option to buy one with the mat, and if not will usually have the pump available in their store in another listing.
I have even more information about air tracks and inflatable mats in my article including some photos of ours!
The Best 4 Air Track or Inflatable Tumbling Mats You Should Consider Buying Are:
So the part you have all been waiting for….
The best four air tracks – with the one we bought and the ones I know parents of dancers and gymnasts have used and recommended are below:
The AKSPORT Air Track Tumbling Mat was a popular and reliable brand of tumbling mats chosen by parents in the US.
I have placed it as number 1, as I kept hearing the brand mentioned when dance parents were asked which air track they purchased and if they were happy with it.
The air tracks are made from a durable PVC material that is easy to clean and maintain, and a non-slip surface that provides excellent grip and support.
The air track is available in various sizes and thicknesses from 9ft to 40ft long making it suitable for a range of different activities and skill levels.
The EZ GLAM Air Track Tumbling Mat maybe because of its name and rainbow colors is another top pick by dance parents. The ‘Glam’ is said to be a high-quality air track that is ideal for gymnastics, dance, and other physical activities.
It is made from a durable PVC material that is easy to clean and maintain, and has a non-slip surface that provides excellent grip and support.
This air track is available in various sizes and thicknesses, making it suitable for a range of different activities and skill levels.
The FBSPORT Airtrack Tumbling Mat is a lightweight and durable air track that is ideal for gymnastics, dance, and other physical activities. It features a high-quality PVC material that is easy to clean and maintain, and a non-slip surface that provides excellent grip and support. The air track is available in various sizes and thicknesses, making it suitable for a range of different activities and skill levels.
FOR BUYERS IN AUSTRALIA
The previous three air tracks are available on Amazon and if you are an Amazon Prime member like I am, you may be eligible for free shipping in the States.
However, I am in Australia and although I usually get free shipping on many international items to be able to test them out and review them on this site, the cost of shipping was not free for any of these companies which had been highly recommended – (shipping cost almost as much as the tracks themselves).
Instead, I found a company on Amazon in Australia that sells the air tracks, and then realized they have their own website and sell them directly and so that is where I purchased mine from you can go directly to their site here.
I highly recommend Gym Plus for both the excellent delivery, and product and customer service.
I ordered our mat on a Tuesday, then realized the company was located on the other side of the country 3000km away (1864 miles). But I was pleasantly surprised when it was delivered within 5 working days to arrive on my doorstep, shipping included, the following Tuesday, which also happened to be the day of my daughter’s birthday!
Our valve has come loose and air sometimes escapes, but the company provides you with a tool to fix this as well as some punture repair stickers.
I have had no issues with the quality of the mat or pump, and my dad who was here to celebrate my daughters birthday remarked – ‘wow this looks like a professional mat, like the ones gymnasts use!’
Purchaser beware – Air Track Pitfalls…
Unfortunately with each of the brands above, there are always a couple of parents unhappy with their purchase. These were few and far between, however, the following problems were usually the issue:
- Air escaping and track deflating
- Air compressor didn’t work
- Air track arrived dirty
- Box was dented, ripped and broken on delivery (not always the company’s fault!)
- The seller was slow to respond to these issues
Therefore although we have recommended these products, you should always do your own due diligence, read through current reviews and ensure the purchase is right for you and your family.
Also, I just want to say, air tracks provide a shock-absorbing surface for your child to practice acrobatics and tricks on – they in themselves do not prevent injury and in fact can be dangerous, especially if not used safely.
Follow the recommendations of the manufacturer, but in general ensure the space around the air track is clear, that the track is on a flat stable surface, that it is inflated to a suitable resistance and in general use common sense! But unfortunately, even when we do our best accidents can happen!
Time to go shopping…
Overall, these four air tracks are highly recommended for their durability, quality, performance and customer service.
They are all made of high-quality PVC material and have non-slip surfaces that provide excellent grip and support, making them ideal for gymnastics, dance, and other physical activities.
You should choose the air track that best fits your child’s needs and skill level, and that you believe will provide the safest and most supportive surface for your child’s practice and training.
For more information about what exactly air tracks are made from, their durability, and the inflating and deflating process you should read my article