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Reviewed by our gears Geeks:

THE BEST PONTOON BOATS FOR EVERY BUDGET IN 2020

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 25 different Pontoon Boats and write reviews of the best.

The result is 15 of the best Pontoon Boats on the market today.

joao paulo carvalho

Joao Paulo Carvalho

Journalist
A journalist with a passion for gear, photography, traveling and writing.

bradley axmith author

Bradley Axmith

Boating Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

Gone were the days when pontoon boats were seen as the ugly duckling of the boat family. 

Versatile, easy to drive, and spacious are just a few reasons why the pontoon segment has experienced a tremendous increase in sales and popularity over the last few years. 

Whether you plan to use it for fishing, water sports, social gatherings or just chilling on the water, you’ll certainly find a model that suits your taste and needs.

In case you don’t find the one that matches your dreams, you can always customize it for your unique use, or if you’re feeling crafty why not build your own pontoon boat as a DIY project? Otherwise check out these best of models.

In this post, we’ve rounded up the 15 best pontoon boats for every budget in 2020. 

But before you decide on a pontoon boat model, here are a few things to consider:

And speaking of price, check out our list with the 15 best pontoon boats for every budget.

From 20k – 50k US$

If you’re looking for a pontoon that is simple, practical, and affordable, we present you the Princecraft Vectra 21 RL.

Built by popular demand and available in three colors, this 21-foot vessel comes with plenty of features and enough space for the whole family to enjoy a day out cruising on the water.

We should start by mentioning what gives this boat the RL initials, which stands for rear lounger. A 2-position adjustable backrest that allows you to face aft and watch the kids swim or face forward and hang out with your friends and family.

The sundeck is quite spacious and it comes with a stainless-steel boarding ladder and a ski tow bar.

Its interior space is optimized with plenty of storage room under all lounges including an ice chest. Plus, a standard Bimini top for all-day comfort, a large table, rotocast furniture bases as well as durable and easy-to-clean plush upholstery.

Another great thing about this boat are the walk-thru gates which are spring-loaded so it shuts automatically.

The helm station offers a rotomolded console with an acrylic top, a 12V outlet, an AM/FM/Bluetooth Jensen Stereo along with 4 waterproof speakers.

With the Mercury 115 Pro XS outboard, the Princecraft Vectra 21 RL has a top speed of 36 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Princecraft Vectra 21 RL:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’5”
  • Dry weight: 1747 lbs
  • Max persons: 10
  • Max capacity: 1969 lbs
  • Overall length: 21’6”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Large and versatile rear lounger with cup holders
  • Built-in ice chest
What we don’t like:
  • Safety railing around rear seat is not included
  • Ski tow bar is also not included

With over 70 years of boatbuilding expertise, you know to expect nothing less than a reliable, durable, and quality built watercraft.

The Crestliner 240 Rally DX comes with 5 different configurations. So whether you want to entertain your friends, have some quality time with your family, do some water sports or go fishing with your mates, you’ll most likely find a layout that suits your boating needs.

The seating configuration will, as mentioned, depend on which floor plan you end up choosing, but here are some of the standard features: bow and stern pillow top chaise lounge furniture with storage underneath as well as drainage channels*, a woodgrain table with cup holders, a stainless-steel boarding ladder, flip-up cleats, and a 10’ Bimini top.

Additionally, a sturdy fiberglass molded helm console with an MB Quart GMR-3 Stereo with AM/FM and Bluetooth connectivity, USB and Auxiliary inputs, 4 speakers, polished aluminum steering wheel with tilt steering, a 12V outlet, a lockable glove box, and plenty of space to mount your electronics.

An optional ski tow bar can be added as well as a plethora of other features.

If you eventually go for one of the Fish models (FC & FS), these are some of their exclusive features: a 15-gallon aerated livewell with light and pump, washdown system, lockable rod storage, and tool holders.

Powered by a Single 150HP FourStroke Mercury outboard, the Crestliner 240 Rally DX gives a solid performance with a top speed of 37 mph.

*Not available on the FC and FS floor plans.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Crestliner 240 Rally DX:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3400 lbs
  • Max persons: 15
  • Max capacity: 2679 lbs
  • Overall length: 25’9”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • High quality for the price
  • Comfortable high-back recliner at the helm
What we don’t like:
  • Ski tow bar is not included
  • Short aft deck

Small in size but big in comfort and versatility, this is the Lowe SS 210 CL.

The CL in the name stands for Conversion Lounge, which allows for a variety of seating configurations in the aft section of the boat. It’s a great area to relax, sunbathe, and watch the kids swim. Plus, its stainless-steel rails make it a safe place to be even when you’re cruising.

The bow of the boat offers comfortable seating and a cocktail table with four cup holders, making this space perfect for dining and entertaining.

The helm station is acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement and it houses all your standard features including a Jensen audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, a waterproof LCD screen, hydraulic steering with a padded tilt steering wheel, a 12V outlet and a USB port.

Also, plenty of storage underneath the seats, a boarding ladder at the stern and a large Bimini top providing shade to all the members of your crew. The ski tow bar in this model is an optional feature.

Rigged with a Mercury Fourstroke 150 outboard, the Lowe SS 210 CL rewards you with a smooth ride and a top speed of 37 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Lowe SS 210 CL:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2230 lbs
  • Max persons: 11
  • Max capacity: 1318 lbs
  • Overall length: 21’4"
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Versatile rear lounger
What we don’t like:
  • Not very spacious
  • Ski tow bar is not included

The SunChaser Geneva 22 LR PSB is a great choice for family fun under the sun. Plus, its price, security, and comfort make this ‘toon even more attractive.

It features two facing lounges at the bow and then you have what gives this boat the PSB initials: a port swing back, which is an adjustable backrest that allows for versatility in cruising or lounging.

Abaft, a spacious lounge area with a foldout table and plenty of room for everyone to stretch out and soak up the sun.

But if you want to hang out in the shade, there’s always the 8’6” Bimini top to protect you.

And the family fun is not complete without hitting the water. The large deck is fitted with an aluminum boarding ladder and an optional under deck ski tow bar.

At the helm station, a fiberglass console completed with a tilt Verona steering wheel, a 12V outlet, a Jensen MS3A Stereo with Bluetooth compatibility, Auxiliary port, and speakers.

The SunChaser Geneva 22 LR PSB also comes with a pop-up changing room, four bolted deck cleats, and all the seats have rotocast plastic bases with drainage channels.

The Yamaha 115 outboard gives this boat a good performance with a top speed of just over 28 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the SunChaser Geneva 22 LR PSB:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2061 lbs
  • Max persons: 11
  • Max capacity: 2175 lbs
  • Overall length: 22’10”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Plenty of seating area
  • Spacious aft deck
What we don’t like:
  • Ski tow bar is not included

From 50k – 80k US$

From cruising to water sports and everything in between, the Starcraft SLS 5 DC is another great family option for that perfect day trip out on the lake.

It features two facing lounges both at the bow and at the aft sections, rotocast seat bases with integrated drains, lots of storage underneath the seats, a changing room, 4 deck cleats, and your standard Bimini top.

If water sports are your thing, then you’re gonna love the expansive stern deck, which comes equipped with a ski pylon as well as a boarding ladder.

An optional rear stereo remote along with a pair of speakers can be added for more fun and convenience.

Amidships, you’ll find a dual-console layout with a high-back helm chair, hydraulic steering, a tilt steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth connectivity, Auxiliary MP3 ports, speakers, and an amp/subwoofer.

It comes standard with the HMX PR25 performance package and the SLS means the outboard tubes have inboard lifting strakes while the center tube has strakes on the outboard side. These lifting strakes give this pontoon boat an excellent performance reaching over 46 mph when rigged with a Yamaha 250 HP VMAX outboard.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Starcraft SLS 5 DC:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3250 lbs
  • Max persons: 14
  • Max capacity: 2590 lbs
  • Overall length: 25’10”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Great performance
  • It’s a good-looking boat
  • Ski pylon is included
What we don’t like:
  • Can’t find anything we don’t like

Combining comfort, style, performance, and functionality, the Bennington SX 22 Swingback is an excellent multipurpose pontoon boat for a great time out on the water.

It features expansive facing lounges at the bow with an optional removable bow seat, another lounge amidships and abaft, a versatile lounge that can be turned into a large sun pad for beautiful waterfront views.

All the seats were designed with luxury yacht-grade Simtex premium vinyl and abundant stowage can be found below them.

Also, a Bimini top when you feel like hanging out in the shade, a curved boarding ladder for easy access as well as a small zebra wood cocktail table for dining and entertaining.

The new SX dash panel comes with all your standard features and it’s fully customizable, as most pontoon boats are, with your choice of colors and optional steering wheels and depth/fish finders.

Some of the options for this model include a ski tow bar, pop-up cleats, rear safety rail, a changing room, and docking lights.

Rigged with a Yamaha F150 outboard it propels you pretty fast across the water with the top speed approaching 40 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Bennington SX 22 Swingback:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2491 lbs
  • Max persons: 12
  • Max capacity: 1163 lbs
  • Overall length: 21’6”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Large stern lounger with cup holders
  • Extended aft deck
  • Elegant Simtex vinyl upholstery
  • Curved boarding ladder that makes boarding much easier
What we don’t like:
  • Ski tow bar is not included
  • Rear safety rail is also not included

Zip through the water in style and enjoy the many perks of the pontoon lifestyle with the Avalon 2585 Catalina Elite.

A retro-inspired exterior and a sumptuous interior design are what makes this boat unique and classy.

It features plenty of seating area throughout the boat including a companion side bench, all covered with soft-to-the-touch vinyl upholstery. Plus, a Grey wood large thermoform table, a Bimini top, a changing room, and loads of storage space.

But unlike most pontoon boats, its seat bases aren’t rotomolded plastic, but welded aluminum frames, which increase storage space and offer superior drainage and ventilation.

The fiberglass sculpted helm station is equipped with an Infinity Bluetooth stereo system, a Garmin GPS unit, a 12V outlet, USB and Auxiliary inputs, mechanical tilt steering, and a black soft-grip steering wheel with chrome spokes.

It also comes with an extended rear deck area, a stainless-steel boarding ladder, four stainless U bolt cleat clamps, inside fencing, and six speakers as well as a subwoofer. The ski tow bar in this model is optional.

It packs plenty of performance when powered by a Suzuki 200 SS outboard with a top speed reaching just over 38 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Avalon 2585 Catalina Elite:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’5”
  • Dry weight: 2450 lbs
  • Max persons: 13
  • Max capacity: 2430 lbs
  • Overall length: 25’5”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Beautiful and luxurious design
  • Great ventilation under the seats
  • Plenty of seating area
What we don’t like:
  • Ski tow bar is not included

The Sylvan L-3 DLZ pontoon boat is versatility and comfort at its best. It offers everything your family and friends desire and a little bit more.

Its one-of-a-kind floorplan features two forward-facing lounges in the bow, two chairs by the helm but it’s in the rear where the magic truly happens.

There, you’ll find a multi-position couch lounger, which can be converted into a rear-facing or a forward-facing seat that can fit up to 6 people. Just add a table in the middle and the fun is complete.

However, if you’re in the mood to kick back and enjoy the sun, you can also flip the backrest down for some extra lounge space.

Speaking of the seats, it’s upholstered with a comfortable ultra-soft vinyl and its bases come with built-in drainage channels and are molded with rotocast plastic.

It also offers a stainless-steel perimeter fence, ski tow bar, a stainless-steel boarding ladder, a 10’ Bimini top, 4 pop-up cleats, and a changing room.

At the helm station, you’ll find a simple dashboard layout, where you can fit a Humminbird Helix 5 depth finder. Plus, a high-back helm chair, a Verona steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth compatibility, a USB port, 4 to 6 speakers, and a storage pocket for your phone.

Powered by the Evinrude BRP 250 G2 outboard, the Sylvan L-3 DLZ gets up and goes with a top speed of 43.2 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Sylvan L-3 DLZ:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2100 lbs
  • Max persons: 12
  • Max capacity: 2320 lbs
  • Overall length: 23’10”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Great performance
  • Extended rear deck
  • Flexible seating layout
  • Blue interior mood lighting
  • The stainless-steel perimeter fence is included as well as the ski tow bar
What we don’t like:
  • The captain’s console is low and the windscreen doesn’t do a good job in shielding the gauges from the sun, which makes them hard to read.

Over 80k US$

The Hampton 2680 DC is the very definition of high performance and luxury in a pontoon boat.

Built with a fiberglass hull, this vessel works its wonder both in freshwater as well as in a saltwater environment.

It features a spacious upscale interior with plush luxury seating to match. Plenty of storage under the seats and enough room to carry up to 12 passengers.

Also, three convenient boarding doors, a stainless-steel boarding ladder, and a top-notch stainless-steel Bimini top to provide your guests with even more comfort.

If water sports are your thing, an optional ski pylon can be added.

But the highlight of this boat has got to be the lounge area in the aft section. It comes with a large table, ample storage below it, and a stainless-steel sink. How cool is that?

At the helm station, the Yamaha gauges are standard as is the Simrad display. Plus, a 12V outlet, room for your stereo, and a sporty padded tilt steering wheel with NMEA BUS connection to the outboard.

Pushed by a Yamaha V8 350 HP, the Hampton 2680 DC can reach speeds just over 50 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Hampton 2680 DC:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’
  • Dry weight: 2800 lbs
  • Max persons: 12
  • Max capacity: 2300 lbs
  • Overall length: 26’
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Excellent performance
  • Luxurious design
  • Seaworthy
  • It comes with a stainless-steel sink as well as a large cooking area
What we don’t like:
  • Short rear deck
  • Ski tow pylon is not included

Ideal for cruising and entertaining, the Manitou 25 Legacy SL combines solid performance with high-quality features to provide you and your crew with the perfect day out on the water.

Designed with luxury and comfort in mind, the SL which stands for stern lounger gives you a variety of seating positions. You can use it as a forward-facing or rear-facing lounge or fully reclined thus creating a comfortable sunbed for the ultimate comfort.

And to add that extra pampering for you and your guests, the stern lounge also comes with a remote stereo control and eight stainless-steel cup holders. It doesn’t get more relaxing than this.

Also, vinyl plush cushions with a fine quilted stitching pattern, hands-free seat hinges with storage underneath, rotomolded seat bases, a Bimini top, a dinette table, four stainless-steel cleats, and a portside changing room.

When in the mood to hit the water either for swimming or practicing some sports, you’ll find a ladder for easy access in and out as well as a ski tow bar.

The fiberglass helm station comes with a digital vessel control, a Garmin GPS map 742 XS, Teleflex SeaStar Power Assist steering, a tilt steering wheel, a 12V outlet, USB and Auxiliary inputs, a JL MM50 Bluetooth Stereo, and plenty of room on the side and below the helm to store your valuables.

The positive angle lifting strokes of its three tubes gives the Manitou 25 Legacy SL a performance similar to a traditional V-hull. Powered by a 300 HP Evinrude G3, it can reach over 48 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Manitou 25 Legacy SL:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3885 lbs
  • Max persons: 14
  • Max capacity: 1935 lbs
  • Overall length: 26’4”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Amazing performance
  • Large and flexible rear lounger with cup holders as well as a remote stereo control
  • Easy to access vessel control
  • Convenient oversize glove box
What we don’t like:
  • Too many cup holders throughout the boat. 18 in total for such a sophisticated vessel made for 14 people

High-quality amenities and great performance go hand in hand on the Barletta L23QCSS

Whether you want to cruise, waterski, entertain or a combination of them all, this versatile and sophisticated pontoon boat got you covered.

Designed to give you and your friends loads of comfort and space, it features a quad layout with two sets of facing lounges both at the bow and the aft sections, a dual captain’s chair, a power Bimini top that goes up and down with a push of a button, a dinette table, a changing room, and lots of storage space both underneath the seats and in some backrests. 

The elevated helm station comes with all your standard navigation features as well as plenty of legroom for the captain. But the highlight of this section is definitely the retractable dog dish so your pet doesn’t get left out of the fun.

Additionally, a curved stern with a lot of deck space, a convenient stereo remote, two speakers, a stainless-steel boarding ladder as well as a ski-tow/bumper-holder combo. 

Equipped with a Mercury 250 FourStroke outboard this pontoon boat can run at speeds up to 45 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Barletta L23QCSS:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3593 lbs
  • Max persons: 12
  • Max capacity: 1764 lbs
  • Overall length: 25’6”
  • Tube diameter: 26”
What we like:
  • Expansive curved stern deck
  • Slide-out dog dish
  • Power Bimini top
  • USB port in every bench
What we don’t like:
  • The driver’s console is low and there’s no windscreen

If you’re into speed but also appreciate the finer things in life, the Playcraft Infinity 2900 was made for you.

Designed as a sports car and well suited for a vast array of uses on the water, this boat offers a great value for those in search of high-quality features and excellent performance. 

It features forward-facing lounges both at the bow and at the rear, and a unique seating arrangement amidships: four bucket seats including the captain’s chair together with a custom-cushioned cooler cocktail table. 

The helm station comes with a Simrad depth finder, an Infinity stereo system as well as paddle controls. The audio system includes LED-lighted speakers and RGB controller.

Only offered by fine brands is the powder-coated finish both on the rails and tubes, which gives this model not only a refined look but durability.  

Also, a boarding ladder on both sides of the stern as well as a ski tow bar for the thrill-seekers. The wakeboard tower is optional as are the two speakers attached to it.

And when pushed by a Mercury Verado Racing 400 HP outboard, the Playcraft Infinity 2900 propels you across the water at speeds in excess of 50 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Playcraft Infinity 2900:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2950 lbs
  • Max persons: 12
  • Max capacity: 3000 lbs
  • Overall length: 29’6”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Excellent performance
  • Sleek design
  • Premium powder-coated finish
  • Unique seating arrangement
  • Dual boarding ladders
What we don’t like:
  • Pricey

Simple yet elegant, the Harris Solstice 250 SLEC is another great option for those who like comfort, high performance, and a bit of technology. 

The Harris Solstice 250 has distinctive floor plans, the SLEC stands for single lounge entertainment center. 

At the aft section, you’ll find the single lounge, which offers you a variety of seating arrangements. You can recline forward or backwards or convert into a big sun lounger pad. It also comes with cup holders on both sides, a stereo control, a USB port, a 12V outlet as well as a built-in cooler, creating a nice space to hang out with your friends while the kids go for a swim. 

The extended aft deck boasts an in-water seat, a stainless-steel boarding ladder, and a ski pylon.

The elevated helm station features among others, a Simrad display, a wireless phone charger, AM/FM audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, and the CZONE digital switching, which provides you with control over all the boat’s systems.

Another cool feature is the flip-top helm console that gives you access to all the wiring, electronics, and steering components.

And next to the captain’s chair is the entertainment center, which comes with a sink, a flip-up table, and the space for a small refrigerator.

Other features worth mentioning are the long twin lounges at the bow with loads of storage space underneath, a changing room, and a Bimini top providing shade for those in the cockpit.

Powered by a Mercury Verado 350 outboard, the Harris Solstice 250 SLEC presents an excellent performance with a top speed over 51 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Harris Solstice 250 SLEC:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3770 lbs
  • Max persons: 15
  • Max capacity: 2969 lbs
  • Overall length: 27’11”
  • Tube diameter: 25”
What we like:
  • Excellent performance
  • Extended aft deck
  • Large and flexible rear lounger that comes with cup holders, a stereo control and a built-in cooler
  • CZONE digital switching
  • It also comes with a sink
What we don’t like:
  • Extensive and expensive list of optionals

When it comes to embodying sophistication, versatility, and everything we love about the pontoon lifestyle, the Premier 310 Escalante is in a class of its own. 

Laid out to maximize the comfort of you and your 23 guests over two decks, this luxurious model is laden with high-quality features. Tons of seating area with soft-to-the-touch upholstery, teak tables, USB ports between the seats, refrigerated cup-holders, a Yeti cooler that pops up at the push of a button, trash cans, loads of storage space, JL audio with amps and subwoofer, and a hard side changing room/porta potti. 

The elevated helm station comes with a wireless phone charger, a Simrad 12” display, a 12V outlet, tilt steering, a refrigerated cup holder among other features. 

The stern of the boat is where the party happens. There you’ll find a refrigerator as well as a wine cooler, a sink, a paper towel holder, crystal caddies, and a stereo control for that extra pampering. 

Plus, a ski tow bar and a ricochet boarding ladder at the expansive rear deck.

The upper deck comes with its own Bimini top, two couches, speakers, and last but certainly not least a water slide. 

The Suzuki 350 Duo Prop outboard gives this boat plenty of power with speeds over 50 mph.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Premier 310 Escalante:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 10’17”
  • Dry weight: 3900 lbs
  • Max persons: 24
  • Max capacity: 4050 lbs
  • Overall length: 31’4”
  • Tube diameter: 36”
What we like:
  • Excellent performance
  • Very spacious
  • Comfortable and elegant
  • Extended rear deck
  • A wine cooler, a refrigerator, and a water slide are just a few of the many features we love about this pontoon boat
What we don’t like:
  • Very pricey
  • High maintenance costs

If you’re into neck-snapping speeds and water sports, then the Aqua Patio 250 XP is the one you wanna hop aboard.

The sleek design both inside and out gives this boat a sports car feel that many boat aficionados will certainly appreciate.

It boasts a beautifully designed wake tower that is great for water sports as well as two premium speakers attached to it providing the whole crew with a nice sound system. 

Plus, two expansive forward-facing lounges both at the bow and the rear along with two mounted bucket seats at the aft-facing stern, where you’ll also find a convenient stereo remote so you don’t have to worry about leaving your seat to change songs.

Unlike most pontoon boats, the seat bases of the Aqua Patio 250 XP are molded fiberglass as are the elevated console and helm deck. It comes with a simple layout dashboard, a Seastar hydraulic steering, a 12V outlet, USB ports, a soft tilt steering wheel, and a lockable dry-storage bin.

Some other features worth mentioning are the two ski tow bars, one at the top of the wake tower and another at the stern, two rotating tables, pop-up cleats, and an oversized Bimini top that covers the entire cockpit area. 

One of the good things about this boat is that every square inch is optimized for storage. But what really makes this high-performance pontoon boat a great investment is its seaworthiness factor. 

With its oversized 27” diameter triple pontoons and equipped with a Yamaha V8 350 HP engine, it truly makes you ride high above rough waters while still keeping your crew safe.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Aqua Patio 250 XP:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3350 lbs
  • Max persons: 16
  • Max capacity: 3820 lbs
  • Overall length: 26’10”
  • Tube diameter: 27”
What we like:
  • Excellent performance
  • Sleek design
  • Extended aft deck
  • Seaworthy
  • Curved-shaped boarding ladder
What we don’t like:
  • Pricey

The Pontoon Boat Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve gone through our list of the best pontoon boats money can buy (in 3 price ranges), go deeper into the subject with our guidelines to choosing the right pontoon boat for your needs.

1. Main purpose

How do you plan to use your boat most of the time? 

This will help decide which size as well as which layout you should go for. 

As we’ve mentioned above, the possibilities for customization are countless. 

But if fishing is your main priority, you might want to consider getting a pontoon boat designed specifically for that. As they come with rod holders, livewells, and fishing chairs. 

Inflatable pontoon boats are also a great alternative for fishing if you don’t want to spend much and/or only need a small watercraft. 

Likewise, if entertaining is what you want, think about the seating configuration as well as all the amenities you’ll need such as tables, changing rooms, portable toilets, among others. 

Still not sure which layout suits you best? Then check out this video for more information on the 4 most common layout types as well as their advantages.

2. 2 or 3 Pontoon Tubes? 

Once you’ve decided on the main purpose of your boat, it’s time to determine which one is ideal for your needs, twin pontoons or tritoons? 

The former is great for cruising, entertaining, and swimming. But because of its slow power, it’s not ideal for water sports and for those who enjoy zipping through the water. 

So the latter might be your best option. Although they are more expensive, they not only provide you with great speed and stability but also more storage space.

3. Environment 

Pontoon boats were NOT designed to take on big waves and saltwater. Instead, they were made for calm inland bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. 

However, there are a few models on the market that let you bring them into the sea. 

But if you’re not an experienced sailor and/or your boat is not seaworthy, maybe you should stay away from the ocean or this will cost you big time.

Having said that, if you still want to take your pontoon boat into the ocean, here are a couple of things you should know beforehand.

  • Protection

When in contact with seawater, the aluminum which your tubes are made of will corrode quite fast. 

So before going on offshore adventures, make sure the tubes as well as the lower unit are properly protected with anti-fouling and anti-corrosive paint.

And once you’re done for the day, be sure to give your boat a thorough rinse in freshwater. This will help you get rid of the dried salt deposits. 

  • Power

To handle rough waters, you’ll need a triple-hull with tubes that are at least 25 inches in diameter. In addition to a motor with no less than 150 horsepower.

Anything less will not be enough for proper ocean navigation.

4. Price 

Lastly and most important is the price, which will primarily depend on the size, brand, engine, quality of materials, and the extra amenities you eventually add. 

Also, as many great investments in life, they come with a handful of expenses that you need to include in your budget such as fuel, insurance, docking, and maintenance costs. 

Looking to buy a pontoon boat or are you a pontoon boat owner yourself?

Share with us your experience in the comments below. We’d love to hear your story!

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