Best Pontoon Boat for the Money – 2021 Reviews Ratings
Pontoon boats are becoming increasingly popular for a spectrum of people, starting from fishing enthusiasts to party animals. There’s a style to suit any need.
So, if you are looking to treat yourself to the top pontoon boat in 2021 according to your preference and needs, we’ve got you covered.
The Top Pontoon Boat
If you're looking for a pontoon boat but don't have the time to do your own research and to compare prices, then go for this one.
At this price range, its overall quality and performance is better than most other pontoon boats out there.
Are you on the lookout for the best pontoon boat for the money? Or, are you looking to spend a pretty penny?
Whatever the case may be, we have compiled for you not only some of the best models on the market but also a buying guide section to make the process easier for beginners and experienced buyers alike.
10 Pontoon Boat Brand Reviews
With more and more companies entering the game, it was not easy to put together a list of the top pontoon boat reviews.
However, we’ve taken it on ourselves to come up with a compilation that gives every niche of users a solid recommendation. Read on to find out which models made our list – and why!
With a net weight of 71lbs, our first recommendation has a max capacity of 400lbs. The 9-foot boat features 840-denier nylon tops and 1,100-denier nylon bottoms, making it abrasion-free.
You no longer have to worry about puncturing a hole in your pontoon when you bump into a sharp object.
Owing to the 12 zippered pockets, ten mesh pockets, and two insulated drink holders, this model offers high storage capacity.
A retention cord and two adjustable, non-slip footrests are featured on the front of the pontoon.
The durable brass oars and the rod holder can be mounted in three different positions. It comes with bronze oarlocks, too.
Furthermore, the bladders are both heat and cold resistant, preventing them from shrinking or expanding due to the weather. It only takes about 2 minutes to fill the pontoons with air using an electrical pump.
A padded fold-down seat makes it easier to stow the boat away when idle.
Being one of the more popular fishing boats, it features two detachable fly foam patches and removable side pockets that double as a portable gear bag – making it super easy to carry your gear.
The bottom of the boat also houses a removable transport wheel, allowing you to get to your favorite fishing spot or dry land.
Additionally, the boat comes with weather-proof motor mount, rear wire storage, and battery platform. With a Class-1 river rating, the power of this personal pontoon makes it a top choice among customers.
Also Read: Fish Finder For Pontoon Boat: Review & Guide
Are you a fan of minimalism? If yes, this model might strike your fancy!
If you want cheaper one than the first one, but still don't want to compromise on quality that much then this is the one for you.
This basic pontoon boat is free of additional features and is known popularly as ‘the minimalist’s fishing boat. With a net weight of only 43lbs approximately, this is one of the most pocket-friendly boats you will come across.
At 8 feet long, this personal pontoon boat has a carrying capacity of 350lbs and is perfect for fishing enthusiasts.
Adjustable, slip-resistant footrests and a comfortable single-seating arrangement make this one of the best pontoon boats for the money.
Coming from one of the best pontoon boat brands, the model has a strong stainless steel structure and is made abrasion-proof with the help of high-quality, tough PVC and nylon. It is extremely heavy-duty with six rugged aluminum oars and steady oar-locks.
Heat and cold resistant bladders make the boat weather-resistant. The pontoon is less likely to shrink in cold water or weather or expand in heat, than other competing products.
Two large zippered pockets are hidden in the armrests. Rear-facing fabric platform allows additional storage.
While this basic model may contrast heavily in terms of features (such as storage, oar position, etc.) from its more high-end counterparts but the service and longevity of the product, do not pale in comparison to luxurious pontoon boats.
We’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s not a fan of swivel chairs, so we think our next recommendation will earn quite the popularity.
With a maximum weight capacity of 400lbs, the 9-foot long boat weighs 80lbs approximately. Several other features make this one of the best pontoon boats for fishing.
The frame is constructed with a high-quality powder-coated steel tube frame and abrasion-proof high-quality nylon and PVC, making the model extremely long-lasting.
Heat and cold resistant bladders allow for the pontoon to hold its shape in different weather conditions.
With an adjustable footrest and three oarlock positions, the model offers easy maneuvering and comfortable seating. The rod-holders can be mounted in 6 different positions.
Cup holders, storage pockets, or platforms and wire rear storages add to the storage capacity of the boat.
This model also comes with a two-position integrated anchor system and a transport wheel. The transport wheel housed in the base of the boat allows you to transport the boat to your fishing area of choice and dock it on dry land.
Also, the removable side pockets can be transformed into a portable gear bag. The model comes complete with two 7foot 2-piece aluminum oars.
Moreover, the oars and boat itself can be disassembled, which improves its portability – both in its movement and storage.
4. Sea Eagle 285 Inflatable Frameless Fishing Pontoon Boat – Pro Package
Looking to purchase a pontoon boat solely for fishing? Look no further. With a packing bag the size of a larger backpack, our next pick is super portable and can be carried easily to any fishing destination.
It provides maximum stability in any situation through three separate air chambers and a U-shaped hull.
With a weight of 59lbs (with floorboard, swivel seat, trolling motor, and motor mount) and a carrying capacity of 450lbs, the boat comes complete with extra storage space, 360 oarlocks, multiple mounting positions, rod holders, and a swivel seat among other nifty features.
The 1,000 denier hull is puncture-resistant and weighs only 30lbs, meaning the boat (very spacious when inflated!) is extremely easy to pack-up and transport.
When not in use, it can be stored easily in a closet. Additionally, it only takes a total of 5 minutes to inflate and assemble the boat.
A unique feature of this boat is that it allows you to stand up while fishing with extreme stability, thanks to the 7lbs detachable floorboard.
With a class-1 river rating, you’ll be cruising along rivers, lakes, or creeks worry-free. However, you may want to keep out of saltwater with this one.
If you’re looking to purchase a package, you’ve found one of the best pontoon boat brands to purchase from.
Whether you are a beginner with this being your first pontoon or are looking to venture out to the seas, the manufacturer has four packages available to suit your specific need.
5. BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat Inflatable Rafting Fishing Dinghy Tender Pontoon Boat
Ready to get the party started? The 1213lbs carrying capacity and spacious seating area of this top-selling pontoon allows for up to three friends to join you on your adventure!
At 10.8 ft and 121lbs, the heavy-duty 1,100 denier PVC construction is completely resistant to breaking, tearing, and tension.
The heat welded, quadruple overlap seams guarantee that your boat survives extreme humidity, salt water as well as freshwater.
Moreover, the corrosion-resistant aluminum floorboard provides sturdiness and improves the longevity of your boat regardless of the type of activity or sport you’re using it for.
However, that’s not all! Three separate chambers ensure further durability of the boat. This model is not only great for entertainment purposes, but it also serves as a lifesaving raft when needed.
With a marine plywood transom, the boat possesses enough strength to carry up to 5 people if needed.
The entire model can be disassembled and carried in a carrying bag that comes with your purchase. Stowing it away during the off-season is not a problem as it takes up as much space as a large backpack. What's better is that it can be inflated and reassembled in a matter of minutes.
Your purchase will include the floorboard, two aluminum bench seats, two aluminum oars, a repair kit, a carrying bag, and a foot pump beside the hull itself.
The quality competes with luxury pontoon boats. If you're still on edge, we've put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide!
6. DAMA Fishing Inflatable Rafts Pontoon Tube Boat
With a carrying capacity of 380lbs, this uniquely designed one-man pontoon is made heavy-duty with tough nylon tops and abrasion-proof PVC bottoms.
At only roughly 6 ft, the boat comes complete with an inflatable and detachable seat and an awning canopy to provide protection from sun and rain.
Despite being compact, the boat features a detachable waterproof bag for added storage.
The armrests also act as spacious waterproof storage compartments, so don't be fooled by this nimble looking boat – it is far more durable and strong than it gives away!
Twin Binodal Super-light oars and two fishing rod- holders also come with this model. The hull is hydrodynamic and provides superior steering.
This compact design allows you to reach parts of the lake that would otherwise be out of reach with bigger, heavier boats.
What's truly unique is that two shoulder straps are attached to the bottom of the boat. So, in addition to deflating and bagging the boat, you can also carry it just like a backpack when it is already inflated.
Not having to go into the trouble of deflating each time seems like a huge bonus to us!
The cleat and pulley control fit easily on either side of the boat. This boat also comes with a repair kit, which means you're less likely to be stranded in the middle of a lake in case of an emergency. It is a great pick if you're up for a relaxing day all to yourself. Put your feet up and cruise along!
7. Wilderness SE 9 ft. Inflatable Pontoon Boat
Our next recommendation has a net weight of 80lbs and a maximum capacity of 400lbs. It also comes with a transport wheel that allows a more practical way for you to get to your destination.
The build also has a class-1 river rating, which means you can venture out of ponds easily with this model.
The boat comes with a fold-down, padded swivel seat, and three different oarlock positions that allow more flexibility in each direction while fishing.
Adjustable footrests make this a good option for people of varying heights. After all, nobody fancies a leg cramp on a beautiful day out in the waters.
Storage has never been an issue with this product, thanks to the six mesh pockets and six zippered pockets.
Once assembled, this 9-foot one-person pontoon has space and weight capacity to carry everything from snacks to additional gear. This product also includes motor mounting in 2 positions for trolling.
Built with a powder-coated steel tube frame, heavy-duty nylon tops, and abrasion-resistant PVC bottoms, the durable model comes with two aluminum oars that can be disassembled for portability and one anchor bag.
Moreover, you'll find two detachable microslit fly patches and an underseat stripping apron included.
The bladders are both cold and heat resistant. This means that they will not shrink in cold weather or water and refrain from expanding in the heat too. The product also features valves for quick inflation and deflation.
We know you’re tempted to swipe your card right away – why not consider the pros and cons before making the call?
8. AQUOS Heavy-Duty 2019 New Thermobonding 0.9mm Thickness PVC 12.5ft Inflatable Pontoon Boat
While this model might look daunting and like something out of Westworld, we can assure you this is one of the best options the market has to offer!
This monster of a pontoon boat has a weight of 129lbs and a massive carrying capacity of 970lbs. When we consider its carrying capacity, this boat competes with some of the top models.
Despite having a large carrying capacity and top-class features, the boat needs absolutely no trailer to be transported.
The boat can be separated into components and packed into the trunk of your car, a closet, and so on. In addition to being space-saving, this product is gas-saving too.
The model is extremely stable with four separate chambers – 2 of which are extra reinforced. These chambers provide extra buoyancy.
As a result, your boat is less likely to capsize when catching larger fish if the water is rough or when the winds are borderline hazardous.
The large rust-resistant aluminum platform can serve as the seating-area itself. With all four sides being open, anglers can cast in all directions.
For added comfort, your purchase will come with a 360-degree swivel folding seat that offers generous back support and cushioning.
Built with 0.9mm PVC and thermobonding seams, the exterior can resist abrasion or minor injuries easily.
Besides the swivel chair and pontoon itself, the package also includes a pontoon boat guard bar. At this price level, a pontoon with such durability, capacity, and space is a serious catch!
9. Outcast PAC 1000FS – Pontoon Boat
Being the largest weight capacity pontoon boat coming from this brand, this model is perfect for overnight trips as the boat can easily accommodate 500lbs (in people and equipment) on weight.
This boat itself has a weight of 69lbs. With two separate chambers, the boat offers considerable stability.
A 1,100 denier PVC construction means the boat is relatively resistant to damages like abrasion, puncturing, and tears. The seams are welded, meaning the boat can hold its build-in rough waters and last for several years.
Durable and reliable, the boat can be of great use in deep water.
It is very lightweight and portable due to lightweight aluminum construction and urethane bladders. The boat can also be propelled with fins despite its large size.
It can withstand up to Class-3 Rivers, which is a unique feature within our list of recommendations.
Despite all of this, customers claim the boat is 'noticeably tough.' It performs well in both large and small rivers.
The 10-foot pontoon comes with an aluminum anchor system, a pair of 7 foot long oars, sturdy oarlocks, and a motor mount.
Who doesn't want a boat that's mid-range in terms of price but delivers a performance like the biggest names in the market?
This model can be considered one of the luxury pontoon boats for solo fishing, so why not treat yourself to it?
10. Newport Vessels 20M1000017
Durability is key for our last recommendation. Constructed with USCG rated 3x layer 1,100 denier UV coated 0.9mm Korean PVC, this model is one of the toughest in the game.
Furthermore, the model boasts seams glued with advanced German engineering adhesives that contribute to the longevity of the boat.
Made with the same material as professional rafts, the boats are designed to withstand very intense wear and tear. Aluminum framing and durable marine floor allow the boat to sustain even when regularly exposed to the waters.
An inflatable V-shaped keel ensures easy planing. Biminis and other accessories can also be installed using the D-rings placed on the top, whereas the ones on the bottom make towing easier.
Once inflated, the boat weighs roughly 107lbs, which is on the heavier side. However, it can carry up to 3 passengers or 1,067lbs in equipment or gear. This is a quick-inflating model. It takes less than a minute if you're using an electric pump.
The foot-pump that's included is also designed to not over-inflate the boat.
The over-sized tubes, at 18 inches, make the boat easily maneuverable and provides stability.
Your purchase will include a foot pump, a set of oars, repair kit, a carrying bag, a bench seat and the boat itself. The model has made it to the best pontoon boats in 2020 for a good reason!
Beginners Pontoon Boat Buying Guide
Down below is everything that you need to know before making your purchase. Continue reading to prepare yourself and make the most out of your hard-earned money.
Your choice of pontoon boat will depend heavily on your purpose. As you may have noticed, our recommendations cater to fishing enthusiasts.
If you're looking for a boat to party on or spend a day with your family, we’d recommend you look into party barges Bennington, Crestliner, Aqua Patio, Manitou, or even the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy.
These models allow you to customize it to fit your needs. You may add fishing chairs, a swimming platform, a stereo, a BBQ grill, a water slide, and several other accessories. The structure itself can also be customized by redesigning the seating area, raising the helm, and so on.
Generally, however, the build of the pontoon you choose will also be influenced by the purpose. If you are looking to go cruising in the ocean, you will need more chambers, a stronger frame, tough nylon and PVC, and so on.
In close relation to purpose, you should also find out if the model you are gravitating towards allows for additional accessories to be attached, such as biminis or a swim platform.
Size, Weight, and Portability
If you’re purchasing a pontoon, we’re certain you would want to be able to carry it from place to place, whatever the purpose may be. Inflatable pontoons are exceptional when it comes to portability as they can be deflated and packed into carrying bags and reassembled in a matter of minutes.
Lightweight aluminum frames aid in making pontoon boats more portable and frameless pontoons are just the best option in this case. Party barges or even luxury fishing pontoons are more tedious in terms of portability.
The size will also depend on how many people are to be on board at a time. If your pack is larger, you'd be better off deciding on larger party barges. For medium-sized groups, heavy-weight fishing pontoons or models similar to Aqua Patio would be great. Flying solo? There are several one-person pontoons available too!
Freshwater vs. Saltwater
To make sure your boat does not expire prematurely, you must look into models that are designed to tackle the kind of water you will be venturing into. Not all pontoon boats are designed to withstand saltwater and can quickly deteriorate if exposed to it.
It's fairly annoying when your boat takes too long to inflate. So we would suggest you opt for a quick inflating model. Also, try to purchase products that come with a pump – not having to think about spending on one, or the specs of the pump itself is a great bonus.
The popularity of pontoons is ever-growing due to several factors, such as the stability of such boats. If you want to take your boat to the ocean or rough waters for a spin, make sure your model has extra chambers for added buoyancy and stability.
Extremely lightweight models that you may opt for due to its portability may not fare well in heavy winds. Aluminum floorboards are also great for stability, especially if anglers wish to stand while fishing.
Storage space is extremely important – especially if you are looking to hit the waters for a couple of days at a stretch. It is needed for gear, equipment, food, etc. So, not having a provision would cause quite a hassle.
Look for models that have mesh pockets, zippered pockets, waterproof bags, and so on – bonus points if they're detachable!
This is a must-have feature, especially if it’s a one-person pontoon. It’s better if the holders can be mounted in different positions for your comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to winterize pontoon boats?
Winter is coming – and it concerns the Starks and pontoon owners alike. Not storing your boat properly during winter will damage it while it's sitting idle. To do so, clean the boat thoroughly and apply for rust protection. Before covering it, ensure that it is completely dry.
Remove all accessories and equipment and dry-dock to ensure there is no moisture build-up. Additionally, shrink-wrap it to avoid moisture as well as keep it from damage in case of snow accumulation. Choose a cover that can support the weight of snow or rain that may accumulate.
Make sure to remove the battery, and the charge it fully before stowing it away for the off-peak season. Drain the coolant and replace it with anti-freeze. Replace oil filters and fill up the gas tank three-quarters of the way through.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are several tips and tricks available online to help protect your boat and ensure a problem-free relaunch once the sun comes out again.
2. How much do pontoon boats cost?
One-person fishing pontoons cost between 300 to just under a thousand dollars on average. However, brand new luxury pontoon boats like the popular Sun Tracker Bass Buggy may cost anywhere between US$13,000 and US$60,000.
3. How much are pontoon boat rentals?
Rentals for party barges vary vastly depending on the state of the popularity of the area. Cost starts at roughly US$250 for half a day and US$375 for a full day's worth of fun. Most places require you to pay for life jackets, fishing poles, coolers, etc.
4. How fast can pontoon boats go?
Approximately 18 to 25 miles an hour- that’s fast enough for water sports!
5. How to anchor pontoon boats?
Several pontoon boats come with a built-in anchoring system. Attach the anchor to the cleat and put the engine on idle once you reach the point where you want the boat to be anchored. Slowly release – don't throw – your anchor into the water while the boat is still moving. This way, the anchor can grasp the earth.
6. How much does a pontoon boat weigh?
Party barges weigh 3,500lbs to 4,000lbs on average whereas fishing pontoon boats weigh considerably less, usually within the double digits at 40-90lbs roughly.
7. Are pontoon boats safe in the ocean?
Yes, some models are built to withstand the ocean.
8. How to store a pontoon boat without a trailer?
There are four ways in which you can easily store a pontoon boat without a trailer. Firstly, you can purchase storage blocks online. Once you winterize and cover your boat, you’re good to go to make use of storage blocks.
You may also rent dry storage services, which should be available at your local dock. For that, you can contact your local marina or dock and have them keep your boat secure in their storage facility for as long as you want. Though the service is more on the costly side, it’s better than being handed a hefty repair bill in spring!
Stands and dollies are also available for purchasing, some of which are designed specifically for pontoons. Keeping your boat off the ground also helps prevent significant winter damage.
Your fourth option is to leave your boat at a marina with just a cover on. This should, frankly, be your last option as we don't recommend leaving your boat in the water, especially during the colder season.
The world of pontoon boats is full of possibilities. Fishing, relaxation, a weekend with your family, or the wildest party known to mankind on the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy – there’s a pontoon to fit every need.
You may opt for the most basic, single seating model, or go all-out with customized models with a swim platform, pit fire, and all the jazz.
Asses your demands from your boat, and go pontoon hunting. We assure you, you’ll find the right pontoon boat for you and never look back!
Last Updated on May 17, 2021