Best Inflatable Boats

Imagine a warm sunny afternoon cruising down the river and throwing a line from the side of your boat. Maybe you would enjoy watching the eyes of your children widen as the water splashes on their faces and they giggle all the way down the lake. All this sounds like fun to you, but the expense of a boat seems like all this will remain a dream, but what if we told you that you could turn your dream into a reality? During that entire dream you probably never once thought about being out there on an inflatable boat. There are so many advantages to having an inflatable boat; the obvious being the lower cost, but what you probably never thought about is that with most inflatables you have the option of mounting a motor. With all this in mind, you now know that you can have the same freedom you would have from that bigger boat in your dreams.

Inflatable boats offer many different features too, and some are large enough for five people, shockingly enough. You can get some of these boats with paddles, some have standard seats versus inflatable ones, and most even have rod holders to make your fishing experience so much better. When you think inflatable, you might think it will deflate or sink if you add your gear. There are inflatable boats available in various styles, colors, and yes, even sizes. They float on the water just like any other boat and most of them can tolerate the abuse of rocky rivers and ugly tree limbs.

If you’re ready to turn your dreams into a reality, then it’s time for you to start your hunt for the best inflatable boat you can find. You won’t have to do much research because we have already done that for you. All you need to do is soak up all the information in the following guide and you shouldn’t have a problem choosing which boat will best suit your needs.

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By Sami Kritz:

What if I told you that I store my 20-foot boat in the Harry Potter room underneath my stairs? Yep, sounds impossible, but with an inflatable boat, it's not! If you are feeling slightly confused, check out the FAQ section at the end of the article. The Hydro Force Voyager is a boat to keep your eye on. It is affordable, spacious, and great for fishing.

Colorado XT
  • Colorado XT
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wheel for easy transport
  • Easy to get in and out
  • Price: See Here
Killer Whale
  • Killer Whale
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Sturdy floor
  • Lot of accessories
  • Price: See Here
Sea Eagle
  • Sea Eagle
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Raised oar locks
  • Raised swivel seats
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Inflatable Boats

 

 

Classic Accessories Colorado

This is the best one-man fishing boats on our list. There is more storage than all the rest and it’s easy to launch from the beach without having to climb in and out.
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Features

This pontoon style boat comes with adjustable seats and footrests to make an easy fit for anyone. There a plenty of storage bags that can be rearranged or removed. A wheel has been installed to the bottom of the boat to make maneuverability simple when transporting it from your car to the water. The rod holder can be fixed to the boat in various positions and the oars can be locked into place. The boat comes with 7-foot oars that come apart in two-pieces and a convenient anchoring system has been included with this boat. This pontoon is motor compatible and will accommodate a motor mount with a maximum 30-pounds of thrusts.

Durability

The bottom of this boat is constructed of durable PVC that is designed to tolerate rocks and other sharp objects so that the boat doesn’t puncture or tear. The aluminum oars are sturdy, and the locks are built to hold them in place, so they don’t slide out and fall into the water. The strong rod holders will securely hold the rods in place and the storage bags are tough enough to hold all your gear and equipment. The boat will glide smoothly along the water holding a maximum of 400-pounds.

Ease of Set Up

With all the features equipped on this boat, it will take a little longer to set up than the others, but it isn’t difficult, and it shouldn’t take more than an hour. You will need to use an air pump and possibly a few basic tools, but once you have it inflated you will be able to use the wheel to roll it to the water.

Comfort

Although the seat and the footrests will adjust to your height, the seat might not be as comfortable as you would hope, that is a simple problem that can be modified. A lot of bags come with this boat for storage allowing you to place them where you would like, and you will have enough space that the bags won’t hinder your movement. One of the best comfort features of this boat is that you can easily enter and exit the boat without having to climb, making it an excellent choice for someone with a disability.

Value

This pontoon has so much to offer right out of the box that you can see how the price and the value of this one add up.
Pros
  • It comes with a bundle of accessories
  • It’s easy to get in and out of without climbing
  • It provides a wheel for easy transport
Cons
  • It only seats one person
  • The seat might not be as comfortable as you would hope

Sport Boats Killer Whale

With all its bells and whistles, this boat holds a close tie with the number one choice on our list, the difference is that you have to climb in and out of this one.
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Features

This one provides a floor and seats constructed of aluminum making it easy for you to stand freely for fishing. It also comes with a seat bag that can be easily removed along with the additional cushion. It’s complete with two oars and a manual air pump. The handles are conveniently placed to grab quickly, and the oarlocks are in place to keep the oars secure. It is possible to add a 10hp motor to this boat for easy gliding. This boat is one of the best on this list when it comes to conquering the ocean waters.

Durability

This one is constructed better than most of the others with the aluminum floors and seats making it stable while standing and the welded seams assure this boat can take a beating without coming apart. With or without the motor, the boat will stay above the water just the same. All the handles are secure and won’t rip or tear away from the heavy-duty PVC material. You will be assured this boat is built with high-quality materials and it’s made to last.

Ease of Set Up

It’s easy to store this boat in its bag and you can easily transport it in the trunk of your mid-sized car. Once you get to your location, it should not take more than 20-minutes to set it up. It is recommended that you purchase an additional electric air pump if you need to inflate it faster because the manual pump is a little slower. At the end of the day it will deflate and fold up quickly, so you can be on your way in no time.

Comfort

This boat is comfortable despite the chance of the aluminum getting a bit hot. It is designed for five people or 1268-pounds, but three people fit best for a comfortable ride, especially when you haul a cooler and other supplies.

Value

Before you weigh the value of this inflatable boat, consider all the accessories that are included. When you think about that, and the added cost it would be if you purchased them all separate, then you should see that this is a great boat for the money.
Pros
  • It comes with a lot of accessories
  • It provides a sturdy floor and seats
  • The seams are welded to the boat
Cons
  • The floor might be a little difficult to install

Sea Eagle Stealth Stalker

This portable boat is designed to carry two people comfortably down the lake and with the position of the paddle locks, this one is easier to maneuver than most.
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Features

One of the best features to this boat is the raised swivel seats to make fishing much more exciting. The hard floor can be used for standing, the paddle locks will keep the oars secure, and the rod holders are conveniently placed so you won’t have to worry about losing them in the water. This boat is designed for use in rivers and lakes, and it will glide smoothly even if the rain begins to fall. Install a 74-pound electric thrust motor on this sweet machine and watch how fast it will take you down the river. Overall, this boat is equipped with everything you will need right out of the box to get your fishing experience underway.

Durability

This is a very well-made, sturdy boat. The swivel seats are durable and sit stably on the hard bottom floor of the boat without leaning or sinking. When you look at this boat you will probably not expect it to be as stable and sturdy as it really is.

Ease of Set Up

The carrying bag makes it easy to stow this boat away in the back of your SUV or mid-sized car. It’s easy to inflate within approximately 15-minutes using the manual pump that’s included. The only negative to the set up of this one is that it will probably take two strong people to tote it from place to place.

Comfort

There is ample space on this boat for seating two people and hauling your gear with a maximum total of 1200-pounds. The design of the seats gives you more leg room and maneuverability on the seat. The placement of the oars makes it comfortable to row, and the rod holders are within comfortable reach.

Value

In a nutshell, this inflatable boat is well-made, durable, portable, easy to set up, and affordable, what more can we say?
Pros
  • It is equipped with raised swivel seats
  • The oar locks are raised
  • It provides a sturdy floor for standing
Cons
  • It is heavier than some

Intex Seahawk 4

Intex Seahawk 4
This is the perfect little fishing boat for your family to enjoy while trolling down the river. It is roomier than it looks and bigger than you would expect from this type of boat.
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Features

This boat offers the most for the money of all the rest on the list. You will have a ton of room in this boat if you carry two adults and two children. It’s easy to climb in and out of but you can’t stand up on this one because the floor is soft, and you will tumble. It has fishing rod holders, paddles, and a storage pouch for your valuables. Although the paddles are smaller than most, the boat is easy for anyone to maneuver and it will hold a 1.5hp motor or a 30-pound thrust trolling motor. There is much more room on this boat than most.

Durability

Extremely durable with good quality construction, this lightweight boat is very stable on the water. It’s rugged enough to withstand a beating from the rocks without tipping and it won’t puncture holes through the bottom or sides. The paddles are sturdy and built with quality and the rod holders have been securely molded into place. You can be sure your family will be safe in this spacious vessel.

Ease of Set Up

It stores nicely in the pouch and stows away conveniently in your car. It will inflate in a matter of minutes using the manual pump, and when you’re finished, just deflate it and put it back in the pouch for the next time.

Comfort

The inflatable seats are soft, but they offer no back support. It has an average amount of leg room, but the comfort will depend on your height and the number of people and supplies you carry with you. The paddles are not fancy, but they seem comfortable to hold.

Value

This is one of the best inflatable boats you could want for fishing on the lake. Not only is the price right just as it is, but you will still save money even after adding a motor.
Pros
  • It offers more room than most
  • It is a family-friendly boat
  • It’s easy to climb in and out of
Cons
  • There is no back support on the seats
  • The paddles are shorter than most

Hydro Force Mirovia Pro

Hydro Force Mirovia Pro
If you like to make casual trips down the river with the family, this inflatable boat has everything you need to make that happen. It’s extremely compact and one of the easiest on our list when it comes to set up.
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Features

This boat provides two seats, each stretching across the sides of the boat, so you could easily fit four people on this one. It provides an aluminum floor for the stability of those who enjoy standing while cruising down the lake. This boat comes with two aluminum paddles, but if that isn’t enough for your adventurous self, you can install a short shaft motor up to 15hp. The attached straps make it easy to tow or steer to the dock.

Durability

This boat is solid and very well made of high-quality materials. The floor is the best option in an inflatable boat allowing for more stability as you hit the uneven waters and it will pass the test of rocks leaving minimal scarring and no punctures or tears. It is best for short distances on lakes and slower bodies of water, you shouldn’t expect the same results from the ocean.

Ease of Set Up

This is probably one of the easiest yet when it comes to setting it up. It comes with a carrying case to stow it away when not in use, but when you’re ready, it will only take about 3-minutes to inflate and a total of 15-minutes for a complete setup. At the end of the day, this boat will deflate just as easily and will go back into the bag waiting for the next time.

Comfort

For the most satisfying trip, you would probably enjoy it best with three adults or two adults and two children. The seats are comfortable, but if you want to stretch, the stable floor will allow for that. The paddles are lightweight and comfortable to hold while it seems there is plenty of comfortable space for holding on while the boat is in motion.

Value

The quality and construction of this inflatable boat, along with the perfect price point, prove this is a great boat for the money.
Pros
  • It offers the easiest setup
  • It’s extremely compact when deflated
Cons
  • It might not steer as well as some against the wind

Hydro Force Voyager 1000

Hydro Force Voyager 1000
This is another great fishing boat for one or two adults. The versatility will allow you to install only one seat if that’s your preference.
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Features

This awesome little boat comes with everything you need to enjoy your day on the lake. You can choose to install both inflatable seats or just one to allow for more fishing gear. For a closer view of the water, leave the seats out completely. The paddles are a little longer than the average, so they work great for easy gliding. If you want to be more adventurous, you can install a 1.4hp motor. This boat offers a weight limit of 594-pounds, which seems to be somewhat less than others.

Durability

It has a thick, durable PVC construction that will hold up against the rocks. The aluminum paddles are average but sturdy, and the storage bag is better quality than some others. The floor is sturdy enough to hold your supplies, but you can’t stand because it is soft and not sturdy enough for you to keep your balance. You won’t notice any difference in the durability if you add a motor to this boat.

Ease of Set Up

This boat can be stowed away in the storage bag and you can easily inflate it in approximately ten minutes. There are grab handles attached to this boat for easy carrying and they are convenient for putting the boat in the water.

Comfort

Although this one will hold two adults, you might find this boat to be more comfortable with just one person or one adult and one child. The seats are comfortable but if you are sitting for a long time your back might get tired because there is no support. Overall, the comfort level is what you would expect, and you won’t be disappointed.

Value

With its durability, quality, and all it offers, this boat seems like a steal for the money. It’s worth every penny.
Pros
  • The paddles are longer than average
  • The seats are removable
Cons
  • The floor is not sturdy enough for standing

Intex Excursion 5

Intex Excursion 5
This boat offers one of the best designs of any on this list. It’s another great family fishing boat that performs like a standard boat.
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Features

This design of this boat was very well thought out and designed to carry five people. The inflatable seats are strategically placed and provide a bask rest. It comes with paddles, but you can install a motor up to 1.5hp or 30 thrusts if that’s your pleasure. The locks will keep your paddles in place and there are three rod holders, so you can enjoy a fresh catch while soaking up the sun. The floor is soft, so standing is not an option in this boat, but with all the room inside the vessel, you probably won’t have the need.

Durability

It’s well constructed with tough vinyl material that is thicker than an air mattress. The paddles appear to be of better quality than most and the seats appear to be strong enough not to deflate while sitting on them. It’s made to glide smoothly, and it bounces off the trees and rocks with ease.

Ease of Set Up

It is a very portable boat but can be a bit heavier than others when it comes to carrying it. It’s easy to inflate within minutes and it’s a breeze to launch. You can deflate it and store it in the same amount of time spent setting it up.

Comfort

The seats in this one are more comfortable than most leaving you with a relaxed back on the rests. Rubber handles were placed on the paddles for added comfort to your hands and the rod holders are in a comfortable position that won’t cause your body to cramp while operating them.

Value

This inflatable is much cheaper than a weekend rental fee giving this one plenty of value. It’s definitely worth every dime spent.
Pros
  • The best design of all
  • The seats provide back support
  • There are nice handles on the paddles
Cons
  • It’s a heavy boat to carry

Airhead AHIBF-06 Angler Bay

Airhead AHIBF-06 Angler Bay
The taller sidewalls on this inflatable boat make it the perfect one for your smaller children as you float casually along the lake.
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Features

This boat features a movable seat to make it easy for you to situate everything just the way you like it. Unlike the others, this boat doesn’t come with paddles, but it is equipped with a mount for a trolling motor. It does include nice rod holders, drink holders, grab lines, and taller sidewalls. You can’t stand up on this one and although it is designed for six people, you will probably get the best results with a maximum of two adults and two children.

Durability

This is a very sturdy PVC inflatable boat. Although the entire boat is inflatable, it is stable in the water. It will hold up against the rocks, but you will have the best results if you stay in a lake or slower stream. The tow rope is strong, the rod holders are securely installed along the back of the boat, and the paddle locks are firmly in place on the sides.

Ease of Set Up

You can conveniently store this boat in a medium-sized car trunk or SUV, and it will inflate and set up in no time, while the deflation time is equally the same.

Comfort

This boat is rated at a 900-pound capacity, but it isn’t as comfortable as some of the other options once you add in your gear and supplies. If you choose to fit six people in this boat, you might feel cramped and you won’t be able to carry anything else with you. For the best comfort, you will want to limit the space to a small family.

Value

This boat offers quality and a good price for what it offers, so overall, it holds a fair amount of value.
Pros
  • It provides tall sidewalls
  • The seat is mobile
  • Drink holders are provided
Cons
  • It will be crowded with too many people

Sea Eagle 285

Sea Eagle 285
This one man fishing boat will help you find the perfect catch throughout the rivers and lakes and will make an amazing splash through the ponds. It’s compact and convenient for one person to handle.
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Features

This inflatable fishing boat provides a raised seat for easier fishing, a storage bag, a mesh footrest, and paddles the secure safely on the sides of the boat. You can easily install a 3hp engine or 55-pound thrust. It’s easy to access from the shore, the bottom is stable enough for standing, and the storage bag is easy enough to carry and stow.

Durability

It’s made from strong materials that will easily remain stable while maneuvering over uneven waters. The paddles are sturdy, and the engine compartment is securely attached to the back of the boat. The seat is also very sturdy and strongly attaches to the bottom of the boat, and it won’t snap or crack.

Ease of Set Up

The boat is light enough when it’s deflated that it can easily be carried by one person and the smooth set up time should be complete within 25-minutes.

Comfort

The seat is comfortable and offers sufficient back support. It is designed to carry a maximum of 450-pounds giving you enough room to be comfortable with all your gear in tow. The paddles offer enough grip to keep your hand from getting blisters, and the height of the paddle locks will keep your hands and arms comfortable.

Value

This phenomenal boat will pay for itself with all the enjoyment it will deliver.
Pros
  • It’s easy to access from shore
  • It offers easy setup and take down
  • It’s easy for one person to carry alone
Cons
  • It might not handle well with the wind

Intex Explorer 200

Intex Explorer 200
If you have kids who enjoy tubing down the river or floating in the pool like a lazy river, this inflatable boat is the perfect one to use in those situations.
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Features

Unlike the others on our list, this one is the cheapest and comes as the boat only. Although it doesn’t come with paddles, it does have the locks in place on the sides just in case you would like to add some. It doesn’t have the option to add a motor because it is just a simple little boat for relaxing down a calm river, pond, or playing in the pool. Kids enjoy tubing with this boat and the handy rope attached to the front should keep them securely attached to the bigger boat while they enjoy getting splashed from the water. It provides taller sides to keep the children inside the boat and it is small enough to carry in your car.

Durability

This boat is very well made with 13-gauge vinyl. It’s durable enough to glide over sticks and rocks with ease and the paddle locks and tow rope are securely attached so you won’t have the fear of anything coming lose. It’s made to hold a total of 210-pounds, so for this small boat, you can see how sturdy it will be.

Ease of Set Up

It’s simple to carry on your shoulder and to haul in your car. The inflation time is approximately 10-minutes with a manual pump. It’s so simple the kids can help!

Comfort

There are no seats in this boat, but the soft floor will keep two people comfortable. Three kids or one adult and one child find there to be enough room in this boat as well. Since your bottom will be sitting on the top of the water, you are bound to feel some bumps, but no more than you would expect from an inflatable such as this.

Value

This is cheaper than the average tube, and even if you add paddles, it will still be worth the money you spend.
Pros
  • This boat is best for the kids to play in
  • It provides tall sides to keep the kids secure
Cons
  • It does not come with paddles
  • Maximum weight of only 210-pounds

The Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Inflatable Boat

Features

Owning an inflatable boat opens the door for all kind of activities. You already know that most of the boats can be modified to your personal needs, but depending on your plans, you will need to know what options come standard with the boat you choose. If you plan to fish from your boat, then you will want seats that make fishing easier and rod holders in some convenient places. You will want locks to keep your paddles in place and a tow rope will be handier than you might realize. Storage bags are a nice add-on for your valuables and built-in cup holders are a plus. If you intend to modify your boat by adding a motor, you should make sure it is compatible and be sure you know what size motor you can use. One very important feature for an inflatable boat is a carrying bag for easy transport.

Durability

Durability is a must when it comes to safety. For obvious reasons you don’t want to be in the middle of the water and the boat springs a leak. The higher the PVC gauge the more durable the boat will be, of course, that might come with a steep price tag too. Before making your choice, know what type of water you want to pair the boat with. If you’re planning a trip down a rocky river, make sure the boat is thick and heavy enough to tolerate the beating. Make sure the tow rope, handles, paddle locks, and rod holders are secure enough to handle abuse without the worry of them tearing off mid-stream. Don’t forget to inspect the durability of the seats and double check the weight limits before you proceed down the river.

Ease of Set Up

Knowing how long the set up will take before making your arrival at your destination is a must. You need to know the kind of air pump you will need and if any additional tools will be required. It’s also helpful knowing ahead of time if it’s a one-person job or if you will need to recruit help from a friend. You will also want to know the ease of deflation and how simple it will be to put back in its storage bag. Check to be sure it will easily fit in your car or SUV before making your final decision.

Comfort

When you head out to the water you will want to be as comfortable as possible for the best fun and relaxation you can experience. You will want to make sure there is ample leg room and comfortable seats. Check the placement of the paddle locks and rod holders and be sure they are in a comfortable position. If the paddles provide hand grips that’s an added plus and having the ability to stand up in the boat will keep your body relaxed when you’re on the water for a long time.

Value

Features, durability, ease of set up, and comfort all go hand in hand with value. The more positive checks you can add to the boxes, the higher the value of the boat. Another factor to consider when it comes to value is that most inflatable boats cost less than a weekend boat rental at a resort. Even when you modify your inflatable boat, you will still invest less money than a standard boat would cost.

 

FAQs

Q: What are inflatable boats used for?

Inflatable boats are used in many of the same ways a standard boat is used. People like to fish from an inflatable boat and they can even enjoy a warm afternoon floating down the river. Some of the boats are designed for the ocean while others are designed to be used on slower waters such as rivers and lakes.

Q: Can a motor be mounted to an inflatable boat?

Not all, but most modern inflatable boats come with a motor mount, however, they are not all built to accommodate the same size engine. Be sure you know where you want to use the boat and what you plan to use it for before choosing the one you want to add a motor too. ADD SOMETHING ABOUT REGISTERING A BOAT

Q: What’s the difference between an inflatable boat, a dinghy, and a pontoon boat?

In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a great difference between the three. A dinghy is a small recreational boat that can be used for racing or saving lives on a sinking ship (e.g. the Titanic). Most dinghy boats are used as lifeboats and carried aboard another larger boat. Inflatable dinghies are the most popular because of their light weight and storage capabilities. A pontoon boat is similar to a catamaran. The only thing is that when we think of a catamaran, we think back to the cruise we took to Mexico and that optional tour to the beautiful Marietas Islands. Anyways, a catamaran isn’t always a grand escape. Pretty much, a catamaran is a walkable surface on top of an inflatable bottom. So, to make it simple, any boat can be an inflatable boat if it puts it’s mind to it.

Q: How do I repair a leak or hole?

You will be happy to know that the best way to find and identify a hole in your inflatable boat is with dish detergent, soap, or shampoo mixed with water in a spray bottle. Fill the boat up completely with air and then spray the whole thing down. It is ideal if you have an idea where the leak is coming from and can concentrate your attention there. Around the hole, you will see tiny bubbles forming as they mix with the air that is being secreted.

Once you have identified the culprit, fixing the issue is (typically) a breeze. If the hole is small enough, you will be able to plug the hole with a bit of glue. Make sure to let it sit for about twenty-four hours to fully dry. If the hole is bigger, your kit may have included a repair kit, and if not, you can easily order one online and repair the problem.

Q: Where should I store my inflatable boat?

Out of sight, out of mind, right? No! There could not be worse advice in this case. It is best to seasonally retire your boat in a temperature controlled environment, or least one that doesn’t freeze or become an inferno in the summer. Another brilliant piece of advice is to make sure that you fully dry your boat before storing it. You never know what organisms are living out in Lake Erie. If you don’t clean your boat before storing it, these micro-organisms will fester and grow and create sweet little families and be so happy living the suite life aboard your boat.

Q: How do I clean my inflatable boat?

Maintaining and cleaning your boat is one of the most important things you can do. Knowing how to properly do this is even more important. It is best to use all natural products, such as vinegar to clean your boat. Vinegar has antibacterial properties to help kill whatever organisms you may have brought home with you. One of the most important things to avoid is overly aggressive products, like bleach. Using these occasionally are okay but after a few uses, they will begin to eat away at the material and make it less durable over time.

While the most important cleaning ingredient is elbow grease, if you have a super stubborn stain, there are specialty boat cleaners available. It is important to check the material of your boat and choose a cleaner that is made especially for that material.

 

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