Yeah, sorry, but a $27,000 boat isn’t on my shopping list anytime soon. Unless I get 20 stimulus checks accidentally deposited into my checking account, I’ll have to stay in the market for an inflatable boat. They’re budget-friendly, portable, and most will last you plenty of summers ahead.
We rounded up 10 of the best inflatable boats for springtime and summertime festivities. Pick by budget, weight capacity, and more. We’ll even throw in our overall favorite! Get your life vests (and beer) ready for a lake day.
Best Inflatable Boats
Best overall option under $1,700
It looks like you’ll have to cough up another $300 if you’re using your stimulus check for this inflatable boat. (Kidding.) This boat isn’t exactly budget-friendly, but it’s a top-notch choice for boating.
It is safe, but we still recommend life vests. However, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that the PVC material is puncture-resistant.
The $1,700 boat has aluminum floorboards, making it durable. The heavy-duty boat comes with two aluminum bench seats, a removable seat cushion, a carry bag, two aluminum oars (with built-in holders), one foot pump, a repair kit, two front towing D-rings, and more.
This boat was created by nautical engineers for rear buoyancy and faster planing at takeoff. You can’t beat that. A customer gave it five stars and wrote, “Solid boat. Took it through low country SC and hit countless trees. Took like a champ.took maybe 10 minutes to set up WITH foot pump. Very impressed.”
Best 4-person boat under $520
Keep your budget under $550 with Intex’s Mariner 4 inflatable boat. The boat might look small, but the dimensions are 129″ x 57″ x 19″ inches, and it has a weight capacity of 1,110 pounds. The high-quality boat is resistant to abrasion, impact, and sunlight.
The inflatable keel makes it easier to control. Boaters say inflating it is easy and are also raving about how easy it is to deflate. Check out this perfect review.
$279 for an inflatable boat isn’t bad at all. I’m actually tempted to buy this boat myself and have someone attach a trolling motor to it! (Check out this tutorial on Wide Open Spaces.) This inflatable raft is made from PVC fabric has an inflatable floor for comfort and rigidity.
The high-output/capacity hand pump inflates quickly, and there’s a fast deflation thanks to the Boston valve on the main hull chamber. There is a storage bag included (great for storage space in small areas), which means this boat’s portability is fantastic.
It looks like someone else attached a Mini Kota trolling motor as well. Check out this five-star review from Carlos.
Best fishing boat
Assembly takes about five minutes, so you’ll be fishing in no time. Sitting in this boat is going to feel amazing. It has a 360-degree swivel seat and a comfy backrest. You’ll be able to turn to reach your gear and have a fantastic view of the water.
And of course, there are raised oarlocks and fishing rod holders to make fishing easier on you. For inflatable kayaks and fishing kayaks, check out our friends over at Wide Open Spaces. However, one customer seems to prefer this boat over kayaks. Check out this review.
Best heavy-duty boat under $1,000
Bestway’s 5-person boat comes with two collapsible oars, one hand bumper, repair kit, 33-foot tow rope, pressure gauge, and one carry bag. The durability of the inflatable boat is top-tier. It’s made of PVC material and has marine-grade stitch material.
The boat has three air chambers with a high-pressure inflatable keel and has a maximum power of 15HP. The motor mount is clouded, but you will need to buy a motor separately.
For warranty information, check out this page.
Best boat under $1,000 for freshwater and saltwater
This heavy-duty boat is made from PVC material (1100 denier), making it resistant to tearing, tensions and breaking. All seams are heat-welded, making this boat guaranteed to last in freshwater, saltwater, and extreme humidity.
You’ll receive one PVC hull, a repair Kit, two aluminum oars, one carrying bag, and one foot pump.
The maneuverability of the boat is fantastic. The inflatable deck is stable! You can stand, walk, or even jump on it. The durable marine plywood transom can house one outboard motor. There’s also a one-way drain valve with a plug and a built-in oarlock for easy rowing.
A customer said the inflatable dinghy is easy to set up.
Best 6-person boat under $260
It’s equipped with two rod holders and multiple drink holders. Since the boat has welded seams, the boat is resistant to tears. There are also grab lines wrapped around the boat.
8. Inflatable Sport Boats Killer Whale 10.8′ – Model SB-330-2021 Model – Aluminum Floor Premium Heat Welded Dinghy with Seat Bag
Inflatable Sports Boats’ Killer Whale is a great splurge. The boat has heat welded seams for all water conditions and is puncture-resistant. The boat comes with everything you need for a fun day on the lake. Just be sure to buy a motor. Luckily, this boat allows for larger motors. Check out this review from Harry.
Best four-person boat under $500
Intex is a top-rated brand for all things inflatable watercraft. Their Seahawk 4-person boat is perfect for boating, fishing, or just relaxing on the water. It’s made from puncture-resistant PVC for durability.
Best boat for speed and style
Newport Vessels’ 8-foot 10-inch boat is priced around $2,000, but the specs are fantastic. You can assemble and disassemble the boat in 15 minutes. Plus, those large tail tubes will come in handy for stability and quick take-offs. Check out this review.
You’ll receive one PVC boat hull, an aluminum-framed marine wood floor, one aluminum bench seat, two aluminum oars, one storage bag, foot pump, repair patches, and more.
Visit Amazon for whitewater rafts, motors, and life vests.
This post was originally published on March 17, 2021.