Buying an Inflatable Slide

It's easy to get caught up in the fun and aesthetics when shopping for an enormous, multicolored, marshmallow-y inflatable slide for your party rental business. However, it's important to look beyond the day-glow colors and into the slide's construction before finalizing a purchase. Buying a poorly constructed slide can be a devastating and costly business mistake.Today, there are industry standards that must be adhered to by manufacturers of inflatable slides and other inflatable play equipment. However, these standards are base requirements that companies must conform with to legally sell their products.

Identifying a manufacturer that consistently works to exceed standards in a number of different safety categories is an indicator of their commitment to producing high quality products.Below you'll find a list of guidelines to print out and use when comparing inflatable slides for your business investment.Material The slide's material should be fire resistant and have a weight of 18 oz when finished. While the 18 oz weight is fairly standard as it is ideal for functionality, the quality and treatment of the material are most important when making quality comparisons.Seam Stitching Because the seams are the weakest point of any fabric, the quality of stitching is often the critical factor in the lifetime of the slide. Industry standards require that seams be double stitched at the very least.

By doing some research online you can find manufacturers who adhere to their own quality standards of triple or quadruple stitching stress point seams.Tongue Tear Tongue tear is a numerical value based on the amount of force applied before a fabric tears.  The industry standard for tongue tear on inflatable slides and equipment is 300/350 lbs. Some manufactures set their standards for tongue tear as high as 624/623 lbs which drastically lowers the chances of the material ripping.Child Safety and Inflatable Slides When it comes to climbing an inflatable slide, there should be some sort of reinforced base, such as foam coated PVC steps, to ensure a child's safety. Additionally, rope arm rails or other material added specifically to help the child climb the slide stairs is essential for safety.

Warranty When making an investment in an inflatable slide, it's important to review every part of the warranty. Contact manufacturers before making a decision and ask for a copy of their warranties to review and compare. Industry standards only require that companies provide a one year warranty.  By looking carefully you can find manufactures with warranties double the standard in length and coverage.

Maintenance While a company must provide a maintenance kit with their products, some companies go above and beyond by including preventative maintenance products. Items such as tarps and securing stakes prevent the inflatable slide from becoming damaged by weather or toppling over from wind or use, thus reducing the need for repair and maintenance.Customer Service and Care If you're purchasing an inflatable slide as a business investment, you'll need all the expert help you can get when it comes to promoting and protecting your investment. Look for a company that cares about your success with little extras such as a business card holder sewn on to the unit or pre-made rental contracts that include important verbiage about liabilities.

Before selecting a company, make sure they have a phone number that is easily visible on their website. Try calling the customer service line to get a feel for their customer service department.Making a purchase that promotes fun and silliness should be a positive experience. By keeping these few quality guidelines in mind, you'll ensure a long and profitable life for your inflatable slide and other inflatable equipment.


The author is a small business internet marketing consultant and the cofounder of nGenuity Solutions.If you are looking for quality inflatables that last, check out http://www.inflationcreations.net, where you can purchase inflatable slides, moonwalks, combos, and more. These are great for parties.

By: Christine Harrell


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