Gone are the days when almost all people who love to fish do so in canoes and paddleboats. Nowadays, the use of engine-powered boats has spread extensively. So, if you are a fisherman or you just love the view of the water at a nice cruising speed, then having an engine-powered boat can be a dream. However, in shopping for these boats, one needs to be careful about the features and manufacturer. Here, we’ve taken an extensive look at one of the most fascinating boat brands out there today: Nitro Boats.

Nitro Boats has been a top producer in this manufacturing niche for some time. Since their first product launch, this company has gone on to produce various popular, well-reviewed models like the Nitro Z-8, Nitro Z-10, and lots more. The Internet is always flooded with questions about the best fishing boats. We suggest you take a thorough look through this review if you’re considering buying an engine-powered boat for any reason.

What Are Nitro Boats?

nitro boat

Image CCO via Flickr

Nitro Boats is a top producer of power fishing boats, and they offer a broad selection of different models. Nitro is a Texas-based company that started building and marketing boats in the 1960s. Ever since then, they have sold their products under various different brands, but today the favored Nitro Boats brand stands tall.

Product Specs

Simply stated, Nitro boats are designed to be durable and fast. If you need a gas-powered craft that will boost your fishing capabilities and give you the desired results, then you should take a look at these boats. This doesn’t mean that these boats are perfect. Getting a Nitro boat sometimes does require a large sum in your bank account that you may be willing to let go for repairs.

Nitro boats’ hulls are designed beautifully for cutting through the water (a great example of this is the ZV 18 model), and this gives them an edge over many competitors’ boats when moving across a choppy lake or another water body. Getting a Nitro boat can be an expensive proposition, but for many water enthusiasts, the features they come with make them well worth the price.

Nitro Boats are designed with fiberglass fenders, and they have LED panels that make operation at night easy and comfortable. When a fisherman sets sail, finding fish is the goal, and he or she would be thrilled to make that big catch. Nitro Boats are lightweight and easy to maneuver through your fishing territory. You also get an opportunity to customize your boat to taste if you order directly from the manufacturer.

Powerful Mercury Engines & Strong Feature Sets

These boats have Mercury Marine engines, thus making them durable and resistant to overheating. However, some Nitro boat owners have complained about engine problems and leaking batteries. Nitro must know how it feels to be stranded at sea due to lack of fuel, so they have large gas tanks. They also offer the invaluable option of a large live-well across all their boat models. Also, there is a bow-side bait well that makes fishing easier than before.

Widely Reported Reliability Issues

Nitro Boats are not without faults. We advise you take good care of your Nitro boat’s engine and keep an eye on your battery. Nitro boats are great for fishing, but they are not the most reliable brand of craft available for frequent, primary use. These are fantastic boats for amazing, fun, occasional fishing excursions.

How Nitro Boat Models Compare

We have taken a look at several different models of Nitro boats. We have evaluated selections from this manufacturer’s Z series, Sports series, and ZV series.

  • Nitro Z18
  • Nitro ZV18
  • Nitro Z8
  • Nitro Z-9 CDC

1. Nitro Z18

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The Nitro Z18 is a powerful gas-engine fishing boat, and it is the best-selling fiberglass boat in the United States. This puts it on most lists of the best boats one can get for any water event. It is also the Major Fishing League’s official boat, thus making it a highly sought-after product.

With an overall length of 18.5 feet, this model is a bit smaller than its ZV18 counterpart. It has a beam of 7’10” and can carry up to four persons. However, the maximum load shouldn’t exceed 550 lbs., with the boat’s 1,350 lbs. of machinery. For performance, you get maximum HP as high as 175 (less power than some other Nitro boats), and a fuel capacity of just over 40 gallons. This is undoubtedly the go-to product for many fishing enthusiasts.

Design Quality

The Z18 is a beautifully crafted masterpiece, and it deserves to be the official boat of the Major Fishing League. However, if you wish to fish in bigger lakes and more dangerous waters, we advise you get something larger and longer like the Z-9 CDC.


Running a craft at 170HP is no big deal for Nitro Boats, and this vehicle has its maximum capped at this figure. Apart from this, we believe the other features that affect the performance of this boat are acceptable.


This product is covered by a one-year transferable warranty.


  • Great fishing boat
  • Inexpensive when compared to other boats in the Nitro line


  • Not suitable for the largest water bodies
  • 175 maximum HP

2. Nitro ZV18


The Nitro ZV18 has a length a bit under 19 feet and a beam width of 8.5 feet. This makes it one of the biggest Nitro engine-powered boats aside from those in the Sports series. If you want to go on a fishing tour with a few family members or friends, then this boat might be what you need. It can carry up to 5 people of a total weight not exceeding 1100lbs. Also, this boat has a fuel capacity of 25 gallons, giving you the opportunity to explore remote areas with solid range.

If you plan on exploring large fishing lakes, a larger boat will be a better choice. This is due to its small size and ride that is closer to the water level. If you are primarily interested in fishing calm waters and manageably sized lakes, the ZV18 may be the ticket.

Design Quality

Like all Nitro Boats, the ZV18 is designed and built with high quality standards. It is a lightweight, quick boat with the ability to carry five people. This boat is designed as a multi-species, multi-use boat, so it handles extremely well.


This boat has a 200HP engine and it can cut across any supported water body. You can also customize this boat extensively to meet your needs.


The Nitro ZV18 is covered by a one-year transferable warranty.


  • Lightweight, fast, and durable
  • Can carry up to 5 people


  • Low maximum HP vs. some competitors in this price range
  • Limited fuel capacity

3. Nitro Z-8

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The Nitro Z8 was introduced in 2011, so it understandably has some inferior features when compared to the other boats on our list. Recently, the Nitro Z-8 has been upgraded to meet the evolving needs of fishing enthusiasts and boat owners. With a detachable dual console, you can take this boat on almost any water body because maneuvering it is easy. This boat has a length of just over 20 feet and a beam of 8 feet. This allows you the space you’ll need while on your boat.

Design Quality

The Z-8 has almost the same design as the Z-9 CDC.


The Nitro Z-8 has a fuel capacity of over 65 gallons and an engine that maxes out at 225HP.


This boat is covered by a one-year transferable limited warranty.


  • Wide beam
  • Detachable console


  • Not for the largest water bodies
  • Inferior performance when compared to the Z-9 CDC

4. Nitro Z-9 CDC

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The Nitro Z-9 CDC is a fishing boat measuring 20 feet, 5 inches in length, and the engine boasts a tremendous max HP of up to 300, making it one of the most powerful boats offered by Nitro. This is one of the boats in this maker’s Sports series, indicating that it is built for more than fishing. This water beast is one of the leading tournament vehicles for water boat sports. So, if you are a water racer, you should keep an eye out for this boat.

This Nitro boat also comes with power poles, custom colors, and multiple graphs. Due to the sheer size of this boat, Nitro Boats added a foldable ladder so you can climb in and out conveniently.  There is also the presence of an excellently designed hydraulic steering system that boosts the tilt function of this boat and makes it easy to maneuver on the water. Nitro Boats has added a carpet backing to secure the hull and protect it from both elements and water-life attacks. You also get a lift assist, port lockers, a speedometer, oil level indicator, tachometer, fuel gauge, and lots more. The Nitro Z-9 CDC is a go-to model among sportfishing boats with outstanding power and versatility.

Design Quality

When it comes to design, we all know what Nitro Boats can do, and to top it all, the Z-9 CDC is the easiest to control and most well-designed boat overall in the Nitro Sports series.


For many gas-engine boat enthusiasts, performance comes first. You should check all the capabilities of any boat or other vehicles before purchasing it, and the Z-9 CDC does essentially everything well. This vehicle can carry up to 4 persons, has a fuel capacity of over 68 gallons, 300HP from the engine, and a rigging tube.


Like all other Nitro boats, the Z-9 CDC is covered by a one-year transferable warranty.


  • Rigging tube
  • Heavy-duty boat


  • This boat might need frequent repairs
  • High maintenance costs


When shopping for fishing boats, it is natural to take a good, hard look at the Nitro Boats product line. However, picking a specific model from this brand is up to you, and we advise you to make your choice based on your cruising and fishing needs. If budget is a key criterion and you don’t plan to explore extremely large bodies of water, then we advise you stick to the Z18 model because it is more affordable than the others we evaluated. But, if you need a product that is ultra-quick, has a high board, and is comfortable even in rough waters, then the Z-9 CDC is an outstanding choice.

Last update on 2021-09-22 at 15:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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