Would you love to be on the water, but don’t have the room to store a boat? Don’t have a vehicle that could tow a boat? Don’t have the funds? An inflatable boat may be exactly what you need.

Inflatable boats are cost effective and, when deflated, can fit in the trunk of a car. Plus, given that they are properly taken care of, inflatable boats are just as safe as their non-inflatable counterparts. You can even add a motor to some models!

Just like regular boats, different inflatable boats have different features and are sold at various price points. Read on to find the best inflatable boat for you.

 

Product FAQ


1. What Is an Inflatable Boat?

Inflatable boats are lightweight watercraft that are made of flexible tubes. The tubes, when filled with air, allow the boat to remain rigid and afloat.


2. What Does an Inflatable Boat Do?

Inflatable boats allow people to experience the water in a lightweight and easily compatible boat. Inflatable boats are also often kept on larger boats to be used in case of an emergency.

 

3. How Do Inflatable Boats Work?

Inflatable boats can be deflated and stored when not in use. To use, simply fill the boat with air using an air compressor or other inflation device. They can be propelled by paddling or by an outboard motor.

 

4. Where Can You Buy Them?

Inflatable boats can be purchased at many outdoor outfitters, and most can easily be purchased on Amazon.

 

How We Reviewed

The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. Being avid water enthusiasts ourselves, we put a ton of time and effort into researching the very best inflatable boat models. We compiled information from customer reviews, anecdotal testimonies, and information from manufacturers to bring you this unbiased “best of” list.

 

Overall Price Range of Inflatable Boats

The range of prices for inflatable boats is quite large, though most all are considerably more affordable than hard-sided boats. Inflatable boats range from around $100 to $1000. More expensive models are often more durable and have more features, such as the ability to mount higher-powered motors or having drain plugs.

 

What We Reviewed

Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat


Features

Key features of the Intex Excursion 5 include three inflatable seats, room for up to 5 passengers, and four fishing rod holders. Two of the seats are complete with backrests for maximum comfort, and the design of this boat offers a lot of leg room and space for storing gear. This boat has three separate inflatable chambers for added safety – if one chamber pops, you don’t have to worry about the whole boat sinking. The Excursion 5 comes with a manually operated pump. It can be inflated using an electric pump which must be purchased separately.


Warranty

Intex inflatable boats come with a Limited Warranty that is valid for 90 days from the date of purchase. Proof of purchase must be presented for the warranty to remain valid. If a manufacturing defect is found within this 90 day window, contact Intex’s service department for a free repair or replacement.

Pros

  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Four built-in fishing rod holders
  • Added safety features

Cons

  • Possibly not durable enough to support a motor
  • Included pump is manual
  • Middle seat for 5th person does not include backrest

Intex Mariner 4 Person Inflatable Boat


Features

Key features of the Index Mariner 4 Person Inflatable Boat include two built in fishing rod holders, space for up to four people, three inflatable seating benches, and valves designed for quick inflation and deflation. This boat also has 3-ply construction and a rock and abrasion guard, which makes it durable and able to handle scrapes without easily tearing.  It has pre-installed holes should you decide to mount a small motor. Additionally, the keel of this boat is inflatable, increasing its maneuverability. This model comes with two 54-inch oars and a hand pump for inflating.


Warranty

Intex inflatable boats come with a Limited Warranty that is valid for 90 days from the date of purchase. Proof of purchase must be presented for the warranty to remain valid. If a manufacturing defect is found within this 90 day window, contact Intex’s service department for a free repair or replacement.

Pros

  • Movable seat
  • Rugged, durable design
  • Convenient drain plugs

Cons

  • Somewhat small (The boat is rated for 6 people, but many reviews said this was unrealistic)
  • Bottom is not inflatable, which can compromise stability
  • Pump and oars not included

AIRHEAD Angler Bay 6 Person Inflatable Boat


Features

Key features of the AIRHEAD Angler Bay 6 Person boat include built-in mounts for a trolling motor, drain plugs for drying out the boat, two built in fishing rod holders, and several drink holders. This boat is ruggedly designed and can handle up to six passengers. It has a seat that can be moved around the boat and rotating oar locks so that the boat can be paddled from the back or the middle.


Warranty

AIRHEAD offers a 1 year Limited Warranty on all of its products. Proof of purchase is required. If you experience a manufacturing defect in your product within 1 year, you can contact AIRHEAD through this email address: warranty@airhead.com.

Pros

  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Four built-in fishing rod holders
  • Added safety features

Cons

  • Possibly not durable enough to support a motor
  • Included pump is manual
  • Middle seat for 5th person does not include backrest

Classic Accessories Inflatable Pontoon Boat


Features

Key Features of this product include plenty of storage space with 10 mesh pockets, 12 zippered pockets, and 2 cup holders. This boat has a two position motor mount and is designed to handle very heavy loads of up to 440 lbs. The boat is 9 feet long and comes with two 7-foot oars and an anchor system.


Warranty

Classic Accessories offers a 1 year warranty on manufacturer defects. Proof of purchase is required for warranty to be valid, or you can register your purchase right away on Classic Accessories’ website.

Pros

  • Excellent load bearing capacity
  • Extremely durable
  • Anchor system

Cons

  • Only one seat
  • Not easily transported, as some features are not inflatable
  • Does not come with a pump

Newport Vessels Inflatable Sport Dinghy


Features

Key Features of the Newport Vessels Inflatable Sport Dinghy include a sturdy aluminum bench seat, aluminum floor and decking, and 2 aluminum oars. This boat can handle up to a 10 horsepower motor and is designed to be durable, as it is made with US Coast Guard rated 3x layer .9mm/1100D UV Coated PVC. It also has a self-bailing drain plug for keeping water out of the boat and the large inflatable tubes add extra buoyancy and safety.


Warranty

This boat comes with a 30-day “Float Your Boat” guarantee, and a two year manufacturer warranty. Proof of purchase is necessary to make warranty claims.

Pros

  • Extremely safe
  • Self-bailing drain plug
  • Aluminum features provide rigidity

Cons

  • Aluminum features do not allow for complete pack down
  • No drink or fishing rod holders
  • Included pump is manual

Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat


Features

Key Features of the Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat include the ability to carry up to 400 pounds, plenty of storage including removable storage pockets, and a transport wheel for rolling your boat to and from storage or your vehicle. This boat also has a rod holder and an anchor system.


Warranty

Classic Accessories offers a 1 year warranty on manufacturer defects. Proof of purchase is required for warranty to be valid, or you can register your purchase right away on Classic Accessories’ website.

Pros

  • Anchor system
  • Transport wheel
  • Removable storage pockets that can be used as gear bags

Cons

  • Only one seat
  • Some features are not inflatable
  • Rated for carrying less weight that its comparable counterpart, the Classic Accessories Inflatable Pontoon Boat

HydroForce Marine Pro Inflatable Raft


Features

Key Features of the HydroForce Marine Pro Inflatable Raft include the ability to comfortably hold two passengers, oars that are able to be locked into place, the ability to attach a motor, and an included pump that can have the boat ready to go in as little as 10 minutes. This raft is made from a premium marine grade material that resists damage from UV rays, oil, saltwater, and rocks. This model comes with two oars and a manual air pump.


Warranty

Bestway offers a 1-year limited warranty for this product. The warranty covers manufacturer defects, and proof of purchase is necessary. To make a claim, call 1-855-838-3888.

Pros

  • Extremely safe
  • Oarlocks
  • Inflatable floor for added maneuverability

Cons

  • Can only hold up to two adults
  • Lacks drink and fishing rod holders
  • Included pump is manual

The Verdict


Choosing the best inflatable boat is largely dependent on what the owner intends to do with the boat. The most versatile boat on this list seems to be the AIRHEAD Angler Bay 6 Person boat. This boat has the largest capacity for passengers, offers the owner the option to install a motor, features drink and fishing rod holders, and has a movable seat. These features allow to to be used for several activities, including fishing or simply spending a relaxing day on the water. This boat is also competitively priced and easily stored and transported.

If you’re more into fishing, the best boat may be the Classic Accessories Inflatable Pontoon Boat. This boat has everything the owner needs for a successful fishing trip without the cost and hassle of storing a more traditional hard sided fishing boat. It is also strong and durable enough to withstand heavy loads and less-than-ideal weather.

On the other hand, the best and most affordable boat for casually lounging on the water is probably the Intex Excursion 5, which with its inflatable backrests and spacious deck is built for comfort. Finally, boaters looking for a safe, well-designed boat built for efficiency should look to the HydroForce Marine Pro Inflatable Raft. This inflatable boat is designed to resist the elements, provide its passengers with peace of mind, and get from point A to point B quickly.

All the boats on this list are highly rated and have a range of desirable features. No matter what you'd like to get out of your inflatable boat, we're confident you can find the right combination of features and price for you from this list of the top 7 inflatable boats.

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