Now that we’re in the midst of summer, camping and boating trips are becoming more and more and common. Spending time recreationally on the water can be a great way to enjoy the summer weather with friends and family, and an inflatable boat is the perfect watercraft to do that.
But with the many types and models available, it can be confusing to know which is the best inflatable boat to invest in.
1. What Is an Inflatable Boat?
An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat that has its bow and sides made of flexible tubes filled with pressurized gas.
2. What Are Inflatable Boats Used for?
Inflatable boats can be used for everything that regular boats are used for, though they can often get to places that regular boats can’t get to. They can be used on any body of water recreationally, from rivers and lakes to even the ocean. They can also be used for fishing, camping, or outdoor trips. Some are even sturdy enough to take whitewater rafting.
3. What Are the Types of Inflatable Boats?
There are four major types of inflatable boats: yacht tenders, V-hull, high-performance hulls, and rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RIBS). Yacht tenders have a floor made of a layer of fabric and wooden slats and are generally found in shorter boats. V-hull boats, also known as wood or inflatable keel boats, have a separate wood keel or longitudinal inflation tube beneath the floorboards that provides a V-keel at the bow once inflated, improving performance and adding extra flotation and buoyancy.
High-performance hulls offer high speed and excellent handling by means of speed tubes attached to the regular collar and are recommended for more experienced boaters. Rigid-hulled inflatable boats have a fiberglass rigid hull mated to the inflatable collar which allows a conventional deep V-hull shape at the bow and improves handling, performance, stability, and passenger comfort.
4. What Should I Look for in a Good Inflatable Boat?
When it comes to inflatable boats, you want them to be made out of high-quality materials so that they are durable and able to handle impact shocks or punctures safely. They should be easy to set up, comfortable enough for the length of use on the water, and safe and stable. You also want to be sure that whatever boat you choose will fit into your personal budget.
5. How Do I Know Which Inflatable Boat Is Right for Me?
When it comes to choosing an inflatable boat, the first consideration is what type of activity you will be doing, such as if you will be in calm or rapidly moving waters. You also want to consider weather conditions, as some types of boats, like top-sitting boats, may not be best for cold weather. Having space for the amount of gear you will bring is also another important consideration as you don’t want to overload the boat or not have enough room for everything you need.
How We Reviewed
We reviewed the following boats based on their features, pros and cons, price, and where they could be bought. We made this list after conducting extensive research on the types of inflatable boats, which are best for certain situations. We also read through countless user reviews to narrow down our list. By performing such research, we are able to provide you the most accurate and comprehensive list of best inflatable boats possible.
Overall Price Range
The cost of Inflatable boats varies widely. Some features that higher-priced models may have that others do not include inflatable keels, higher-quality materials, extra accessories, and more. We made sure that we included a range of price points so that everyone can find the best inflatable boat for their budget.
What We Reviewed
- Inflatable Sport Boats Killer Whale
- Intex Mariner 4
- BRIS Rescue & Dive Power Boat
- Intex Excursion 5
- Mercury 430
- Intex Seahawk 4
- Newport Vessels Dana Sport Tender
- Classic Accessories Colorado XT
- HydroForce Caspian Pro
- AIRHEAD Angler Bay
Inflatable Sport Boats Killer Whale
- The sleek white contoured design was created by nautical engineers for rear buoyancy and faster planing at takeoff....
- All seams are HEAT WELDED and guaranteed to last in fresh water, salt water and extreme humidity. Eliminating the use of...
- Product ships COMPLETE. Includes: 1* aluminum bench seats / removable seat cushion and bag ($50 value) / 2 aluminum oars...
First on the list of the best inflatable boats is the Inflatable Killer Whale Model 330 Inflatable Boat. It features a sleek, white, contoured design created by nautical engineers to provide rear buoyancy and faster planing by means of its “Easy Planing” system. It features a 24mm easy slide aluminum floor and can be assembled or dissembled in 10 minutes.
All the seams are heat welded, making them extremely durable, and it is made of reinforced PVC material that is oil stain, puncture, and UV resistant. It comes with two aluminum oars, a carry and storage bag, two repair patches, a foot pump, and two front-towing D-rings.
- Easy Planing
- Contoured, sleek design
- Aluminum floor
- Easy assembly and disassembly
- Heat-welded seams
- Comes with good accessories
- Need an electric pump for faster inflation
- Only comes with one seat
- Assembly instructions can be difficult
Intex Mariner 4
- The strong molecular structure of this plastic makes it highly resistant to damage from abrasion, impact and sunlight.
- Four Boston valves on main hull chamber for quick-fills and fast-deflations.
- The keel is inflatable; this results in improved control and handling.
The Intex Mariner 4 is one of the best inflatable boats for fishing, with a four-person capacity and enough storage room for holding geat. It comes with two fishing rod holders and two aluminum oars. It is made of a tough vinyl material that is resistant to impacts, abrasions, and UV rays.
The seat cushions and the keel are inflatable, and it has four Boston valves on the main hull chamber to make inflation and deflation fast and easy. It also includes a durable rock guard for safety from impacts and has a weight capacity of 880 pounds.
- Made for fishing
- Comes with aluminum oars
- Made of tough material
- Inflatable cushions and keel
- Easy to inflate and deflate
- Users complain that the air chambers are leaky
- The swivel oar lock breaks easily
BRIS Rescue & Dive Power Boat
- 30 Days money back guarantee. All of our boats come with 3 year manufacturer warranty. Guarantee begins when...
- Premium Quality Materials : BRIS this model is made by 2,000 Dtex 1.2mm PVC fabric with polyester support,...
- Seams:All seams are HEAT WELDED for perfect seaming and guaranteed to last in fresh water, salt water and extreme...
The BRIS Fish Hunter Inflatable Boat is another high-quality inflatable boat made out of 2,000 Dtex, 1.22mm PVC fabric with polyester support and heat-welded seams for ultimate durability and resistance to tension, tearing, and breaking. It has a durable marine plywood transom for the outboard motor and double layers of fabric at the bottom of the tubes. The deep V-keel hull provides easy planing, the floor is made of aluminum, and it comes with five individual air chambers.
It also features a built-in oarlock, a one-way drain valve with a plug, stainless D-lifting rings, eleven interior stainless steel D-rings on the tubes that can be tied down, and two large stainless steel D-rings on the rear tubes and bow. It can seat three people and also comes with oars, a repair kit, a foot pump, and a carrying bag.
- Made of high-quality PVC
- V-keel hull
- Aluminum floor
- Five air chambers
- Great accessories
- Self-bailing plugs are flimsy
- Difficult to handle the tiller due to the back seat.
Intex Excursion 5
- INFLATABLE BOAT: The Intex Excursion 5 inflatable boat is suitable for up to 5 adults and has a 1300 pound capacity...
- FEATURES: 2 inflatable seats with backrests are included for comfort and seating stability provides superior back...
- MOUNTING: Fittings for a motor mount are included for the flexibility of adding a trolling motor (motor and motor...
Intex has another of the best inflatable boats on the list, this time the Intex Excursion 5. This boat has a five-person capacity and comes with great features such as three air chambers for extra buoyancy and an inflatable I-Beam floor. There are Boston valves on the two main hull chambers for fast inflation and deflation and it has an all-around grab line. It comes with 54-inch aluminum oars and has two welded oar locks on each side of the boat and can hold a maximum of 1,300 pounds.
- Quick inflation and deflation
- Five-person capacity
- Inflatable floor
- Comes with aluminum oars
- Tough to row due to size
- Air pump needs upgrading
- 13'7" Overall Length / 6'2" Beam / 19"Tube Diameter
- 279lbs / 8 Passengers Max (2094lbs Max load)
- 30HP Max (187 Max Engine Weight)
The Mercury 430 is one of the best inflatable boats for large groups and rough waters. It is made of a heavy-duty hypalon that is heat, flame, abrasion, and hydrocarbon-resistant. It fits 8 people and has room for equipment, as well. It comes with three internal chambers and an inflatable keel for safety and tracing. It also includes grab ropes, non-slip patches, six carry handles, gear points, and a freeboard with soft tubes.
- 8-person capacity
- Durable and able to handle rough waters
- Three internal chambers
- Good safety and storage features
- No oars or seat included
- No extra accessories
Intex Seahawk 4
- Perfect for 4 adults to enjoy a fun summer of boating
- Designed with heavy duty, puncture resistant PVC for comfort and durability
- Contains three air chambers including an inner auxiliary chamber inside the main hull for extra safety
Like the other Intex boats on the list, the Intex Seahawk 4 brings affordability and quality together for a great inflatable boat. It has a four-person capacity and is made of puncture-resistant, heavy-duty PVC. It has three air chambers, an inflatable floor, and inflatable cushions. It comes with two built-in fishing rod holders and a gear pouch, and it also has an all-around grab line and a grab handle on the bow.
It has motor mount fittings and also includes oar locks, oar holders, and a pump. It comes with two 43″ aluminum oars and has a weight capacity of 1,050 pounds.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Great safety features
- Inflatable cushions
- Built-in fishing rods and gear pouch
- Oars included
- Motor mount fittings
- No back support on seats
- The soft floor makes it difficult to stand
Newport Vessels Dana Sport Tender
- WHY NEWPORT VESSELS: The crisp white PVC fabric of a Newport Vessels dinghy will earn you regular compliments at the...
- FEATURES: Electric trolling motor compatible. 3-20hp Outboard Compatible (depending on model). Air Keel creates a shaped...
- PREMIUM QUALITY: Hull made from high quality crisp white PVC fabric w/ UV treatment, .9mm/1100D. Floor made from...
The Newport Vessels Dana features advanced engineering, with US Coast Guard rated, 3x layer .9mm/1,100D PVC that is coated and glued with German engineered adhesives. It features marine wood floors with aluminum framing and an aluminum bench seat. The keel is V-shaped and inflatable and the boat has 18″ tubes for turning stability.
It can mount a 10hp engine and also includes three stainless steel bow D-rings, additional D-rings on the topside, a Marine plywood transom mount, a self-bailing drain plug, and a grab rope. It comes with two aluminum oars, a patch and repair kit, a foot pump, and a carrying bag.
- 18″ tubes
- Easy to setup and load
- Many D-rings and compartments for gear
- Motor mount available
- Comes with many accessories
- Not the most durable material
- Seams are not as robust as other boats
Classic Accessories Colorado XT
- Colorado XT assembled size 108"L x 56"W x 28"H (to top of seat), Weight: 77 lbs.
- Two-year limited warranty
- Heavy-duty pontoon boat with abrasion-resistant PVC bottom, tough nylon top, powder-coated steel tube frame, bronze oar...
The Classic Accessories Colorado XT is one of the best inflatable boats if you’re seeking a pontoon-shaped inflatable boat, and it has a powder-coated steel tube frame. It features an anchor system with a fillable mesh bag and a rod holder that can be mounted in six different positions. The boat comes with removable gear bags for customizable storage, which includes two insulated drink holders and 20 pockets. The footrests and seat mount can be adjusted to a wide range of leg lengths and it comes with two 7″ aluminum oars.
- Customizable storage
- Rod holder
- Adjustable footrest and seat mount
- Comes with oars and removable gear bags
- The stripping basket is too tall to sit on the lap
- No swivel on the seat
- 4 chamber construction with high-pressure inflatable keel for better buoyancy
- Marine-grade plywood transom
- Easy to assemble floorboards and bench seats - no tools needed
The HydroForce Caspian Pro is one of the best inflatable boats if you’re seeking a trip for four people. It is made from premium-grade marine material that will protect against petroleum, saltwater, UV rays, punctures, and abrasions. It has a four-chamber construction and an inflatable keel, as well as a marine-grade plywood transom. It includes a motor mount and can be inflated in ten minutes with the included pump. It also comes with two aluminum oars that can be locked onto the raft.
- Made of premium-grade marine material
- Four air chambers
- Plywood transom
- Motor mount included
- Pump and oars included
- Oar-locking mechanism included
- Too bulky to carry alone
- The seat comes off easily
AIRHEAD Angler Bay
- Includes an inflatable floor and a movable seat
- Constructed of heavy duty vinyl with electronically welded seams
- Equipped with wrap around grab lines
The AIRHEAD Angler Bay inflatable boat is last but not least on the list. It is constructed of heavy-duty vinyl and has electronically welded seams. It is equipped with all-around grab lines, an inflatable floor, and a movable inflatable seat. It comes with two rod holders and several molded drink holders. It also features a battery storage bag, patented speed safety valves for quick inflation, and a location to mount a motor. It only weighs 47 pounds and can hold up to six people.
- 6-person capacity
- Inflatable movable seat
- Great features
- No air pump or oars included
- Many users say it does not hold six adults
The Verdict: Our Pick of the Best Inflatable Boat
After comparing the features of all the boats, we choose the Intex Seahawk 4 as the best on the list. Not only is it affordable, but it also has a heavy-duty construction along with great safety features. It provides comfort with the inflatable cushions and can be customized into a fishing boat with the built-in rod holder and gear pouch. It can be fitted to a motor and comes with a good amount of accessories with a high weight capacity. This boat is definitely the best inflatable boat due to its versatility and high-quality construction.
Last update on 2021-06-17 at 20:57 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API