10 Best Inflatable Boats – Reviews and Buying Guide
The inflatable boat is one of the most cost-effective boats that you can buy. It is straightforward to use by absolute beginners, and you can quickly and easily inflate it either manually or using an electric pump.
But above all, what makes the inflatable boat unique is that it offers you the full experience of boating at a fraction of the price especially considering that a real boat will cost you several thousand dollars.
Best, most top-rated inflatable boats are able to accommodate more than 2 people so your family or friends will be able to join you on your boat. Without any further ado, let’s check which inflatable boat you need to purchase right now!
- 10 Best Inflatable Boats – Reviews
- 1. Classic Accessories Colorado – Fast and Highly Maneuverable
- 2. Intex Seahawk 2 68347EP – Excellent Entry-level Inflatable Boat
- 3. Intex Excursion 5-Person – High Capacity and Safe
- 4. Intex Explorer 200 – Highly Affordable and Beginner-friendly
- 5. Intex Seahauk 4 4-Person – Versatile Inflatable Boat for 4 People
- 6. Intex Excursion 4 4-Person – High-weight Capacity and Comfortable
- 7. Intex Mariner 4 4-Person – Superior and Stable Fishing Inflatable Boat
- 8. Newport Vessels Dana – Can Achieve 20 mph Top Speed
- 9. Airhead Angler Bay AHIBF-06 – Very Lightweight and Maneuverable
- 10. Bris 1.2mm PVC 12.5ft – High Weight Capacity and Premium Build Construction
- How to Buy the Best Inflatable Boats
10 Best Inflatable Boats – Reviews
1. Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat
Steel, PVC, Nylon
2. Intex Seahawk 2 2-Person Inflatable Boat
3. Intex Excursion 5 5-Person Inflatable Boat
Super Tough Vinyl
4. Intex Explorer 200 2-Person Inflatable Boat
5. Intex Seahauk 4 4-Person Inflatable Boat
6. Intex Excursion 4 4-Person Inflatable Boat
7. Intex Mariner 4 4-Person Inflatable Boat
Super Tough PVC
8. Newport Vessels Dana Inflatable Boat
PVC, Wood, Aluminum
9. Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable Boat
10. Bris 1.2mm PVC 12.5ft Inflatable Boat
PVC, Aluminum, Marine Plywood
1. Classic Accessories Colorado – Fast and Highly Maneuverable
- Person Capacity: 1
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs
- Material: Steel, PVC, Nylon
- Dimensions: 108 inches x 26 inches x 56 inches
- Weight: 71.5 lbs
Colorado is a solo inflatable boat that has been designed for speed and maneuverability. Indeed, since this is a Cataraft, the seat is located right at the center so as to offer you clear visibility over your path. Additionally, the 2 air tubes located at the sides are made from a high-grade PVC that will not puncture easily when navigating shallow waters.
This Pontoon boat is extremely maneuverable, and you get 2-rod holders on the sides that can be mounted differently so as to offer you 3 positions for the oars. This makes this boat extremely versatile and provides you with a wide choice of rowing maneuvers. This can help combat muscle fatigue especially if you are rowing for an extended period of time. Of course, you can lock the oars in position with this boat.
When it comes to the seats, it is padded both at the back and at the bottom so as to offer you maximum comfort during your trip. All in all, when it comes to speed, maneuverability, and comfort, this model is definitely one of the best inflatables for a raft that you can currently buy.
2. Intex Seahawk 2 68347EP – Excellent Entry-level Inflatable Boat
- Person Capacity: 2
- Weight capacity: 520 lbs
- Material: PVC
- Dimensions: 93 inches x 45 inches x 16 inches
- Weight: 19.60 lbs
The Intex Seahawk is a popular inflatable boat that has been designed for couples. Indeed, this model can comfortably accommodate 2 people, and it has an impressive weight capacity of 520 lbs. With such a high weight capacity, it can even fit 2 overweight people with great ease even if this boat is not the biggest that we have seen as its length is only 93 inches.
Moreover, you get 2 French oars with this purchase, and the boat itself has oar holders so that you can easily row forward or backward. But best, since this is an inflatable boat, a big bonus with this purchase is that you get a heavy-duty pump that will allow you to quickly and easily inflate it.
Last but not least, the build construction is excellent especially considering that this is an entry-level inflatable boat. It is made from a 3-level air chamber system that will prevent it from getting puncture easily. This is a great safety feature that you normally find in more premium grade models.
3. Intex Excursion 5-Person – High Capacity and Safe
- Person Capacity: 5
- Weight capacity: 1,100 lbs
- Material: Super Tough Vinyl
- Dimensions: 124 inches x 65 inches x 17 inches
- Weight: 57.40 lbs
Intex is definitely one of the most popular and arguably one of the best inflatable boat brands on the market. The Exclusion by Intex is a 5-person inflatable boat that has a very high weight capacity of 1,100 lbs. Clearly, this boat can hold a lot of people who are a little bit on the heavy side.
The build construction also matches the high weight capacity of this boat. It is made from a super tough vinyl that will not puncture easily. Moreover, it uses a Boston valve system on the main hull that makes it very easy to inflate and deflate. So, if you want a boat that you can quickly and easily inflate or deflate then the Excursion is an excellent model to consider.
In addition, it uses a 3-air chamber design for better safety and extra buoyancy. This design provides this model with superior maneuverability, especially when used by experienced rowers. But best, the Exclusion is very competitively priced especially considering that you get a heavy-duty pump and 2 high-quality oars with this purchase.
4. Intex Explorer 200 – Highly Affordable and Beginner-friendly
- Person Capacity: 2
- Weight capacity: 210 lbs
- Material: PVC
- Dimensions: 73 inches x 16 inches x 37 inches
- Weight: 7 lbs
The Explorer by Intex is an ultra-affordable inflatable boat made for absolute beginners. If you have never rowed in an inflatable boat before and this is your first time, then the Explorer is an excellent choice.
In addition, what makes this boat an outstanding model in this inflatable boat review is definitely its price. You will not find a cheaper priced model here.
However, despite being very affordable, it can still accommodate 2 people, and you get 2 oars, a repair patch, and a mini air pump with this purchase. This makes it even more value for money.
Furthermore, there are welded oar holders on the boat, and it comes with a 2-air chamber system that will prevent it from sinking easily. This is highly beneficial to beginners who lack the experience navigating and may get punctures from time to time.
You will have time to regain the sure with this model before it fully deflates. Best, its weight of only 7 lbs makes it very lightweight and portable.
5. Intex Seahauk 4 4-Person – Versatile Inflatable Boat for 4 People
- Person Capacity: 4
- Weight capacity: 814 lbs
- Material: PVC Vinyl
- Dimensions: 133 inches x 19.5 inches x 50 inches
- Weight: 37.5 lbs
We have already covered models like the Intex Seahawk above. However, this current one is able to accommodate up to 4 people with ease and is a little bit larger, so you have more room inside. It also has a bigger weight capacity of 814 lbs which is more than enough to fit 4 grown adults.
Further, there are inflatable seats that are ergonomic and provides you with a decent level of comfort. Of course, they are not as comfortable as a dedicated seat, but they do get the job done.
Also, this model uses the traditional 3-air chamber system by Intex which makes it safer to the user especially during cases of a puncture. Your boat will not deflate and sink easily with this system.
There is also a grab holder at the front so that you can easily guide the boat on the water and you do get many accessories including a repair patch kit, a pump, and oars with this purchase.
Again, when it comes to versatility, the Seahawk by Intex is a true winner. It is also one of the best inflatable boats that you can buy because it comes with 2-rod holders so you can use this boat both as a recreational or as a fishing boat.
6. Intex Excursion 4 4-Person – High-weight Capacity and Comfortable
- Person Capacity: 4
- Weight capacity: 1,100 lbs
- Material: Vinyl
- Dimensions: 125 inches x 66 inches x 17.5 inches
- Weight: 49 lbs
As its name suggests, the Excursion is designed more for recreation. It has large and comfortable seats and can accommodate 4-persons easily because of its generous width of 66 inches.
Moreover, it has a high weight capacity of 1,100 lbs which means that it can fit up to 4 grown adults without the risk of it sinking.
You will also find the presence of fishing rod holders so that you can use it for fishing as well. The build construction is made from a thick vinyl material that is quite durable and long-lasting.
The bottom of this boat is also reinforced with white Intex calls an I-Beam floor which is basically a thick layer of rubber present at the bottom. You also get 2 oars with this purchase along with a heavy-duty pump that will allow you to quickly and easily inflate this boat.
All in all, if you’re looking for a recreational boat for up to 4 people that can also be used for casual fishing, then this Exclusion 4 model is a top-rated inflatable boat for the money.
7. Intex Mariner 4 4-Person – Superior and Stable Fishing Inflatable Boat
- Person Capacity: 4
- Weight capacity: 880 lbs
- Material: Super Tough PVC
- Dimensions: 129 inches x 57 inches x 19 inches
- Weight: 77.6 lbs
The Intex Marina is a versatile inflatable boat that is used by many fishermen and recreational seekers alike. This is mostly because of its versatility. This boat is very stable on water and has a stable floor that allows you to stand on the boat and get a better footing when compared to other inflatable boats.
The weight capacity of 880 lbs is definitely not the best we have seen especially considering that this boat is able to hold up to 4 persons. However, this weight capacity value is still big enough for most people of average weight.
What we like about this model is that the rod holders can be locked in position and you can easily adjust the angle so as to get better maneuverability when rowing.
Of course, since this is a popular fishing boat, it comes with 2-rod holders, one at the front and the other at the back. There are also comfortable as well as a front handle so as to manually guide the boat by hand. All in all, the Intex Mariner is one of the best inflatable boats for fishing as well as for leisure depending on your need.
Read More: 10 Best Fishing Kayaks
8. Newport Vessels Dana – Can Achieve 20 mph Top Speed
- Person Capacity: 3
- Weight capacity: 1,067 lbs
- Material: PVC, Wood, Aluminum
- Dimensions: 106 inches x 60 inches x 18 inches
- Weight: 107 lbs
The Newport is a sturdy inflatable boat that uses a mixture of PVC, wood, and aluminum in its build construction. This guarantees that you can use this boat in both calm as well as rapid borders in all safety. It will certainly not break down on you.
In addition, the boat is quite long with a length of 106 inches which makes it fast when rowing in a straight line and very easy when planing.
But what is most impressive about this inflatable boat is that it has a high weight capacity of 1,067 lbs for a maximum of 3 adults. If you are overweight all you will fit in this boat; the Newport will have no problem with it.
And since the floor is made from aluminum, it is very stable, and you can easily stand up.
Due to the material used in the build construction of this inflatable boat, this model is definitely one of the best inflatable boats for ocean because it will not degrade when it comes in contact with seawater. It will also offer you great maneuverability and speed as well.
9. Airhead Angler Bay AHIBF-06 – Very Lightweight and Maneuverable
- Person Capacity: 6
- Weight capacity: 900 lbs
- Material: PVC
- Dimensions: 140 inches x 66.5 inches
- Weight: 11.31 lbs
The Airhead Angler is reputed for its high capacity of 6 people. If you have a numerous family or you want to spend a day out with some friends, then this is an excellent model. However, the weight capacity is a little bit low at 900 lbs considering that it can fit 6 people. Therefore, you will need to make some preliminary calculations to see if you exceed the weight capacity or not.
What makes this model an excellent choice is its ease-of-use and maneuverability. You can maneuver in any direction quite easily with the Airhead Angler, and you don’t need a lot of experience to do so. This unit also is very lightweight at 11.31 lbs so you will have no difficulty carrying it to the boating area.
You will find 2-rod holders at the back of this boat for fishing, and the oar holders are welded for better security when rowing. The inflatable seats of this boat are movable which will allow you to get a higher level of comfort from them.
In addition, you can easily attach a motor to this inflatable boat by using a Transom motor mount at the back. When attached to a motor, this will make this boat one of the best inflatable boats with a motor that you can buy because due to its lightweight, it will be extremely maneuverable.
10. Bris 1.2mm PVC 12.5ft – High Weight Capacity and Premium Build Construction
- Person Capacity: 6
- Weight capacity: 1,675 lbs
- Material: PVC, Aluminum, Marine Plywood
- Dimensions: 150 inches x 66.96 inches x 18.1 inches
- Weight: 180.8 lbs
If you require speed and superior build construction, then there are few models on the market that can beat the Bris. Indeed, this inflatable boat has been designed from the ground up so as to be a true king when it comes to speed. Moreover, the build construction is very high-end and extremely durable as this inflatable boat uses a mixture of aluminum, PVC and Marine plywood that are all very durable and resistant materials.
But what makes this model really unique is its high weight capacity of 1,675 lbs and high carry capacity of 6 people. You will have no problem accommodating many people on this boat. It is also very long at 150 inches so even if you jampack this boat with 6 people, you will still have room to spare.
This model is by far the best inflatable for a raft that you can buy because it is extremely fast in a straight line, as well as has a very high weight capacity.
How to Buy the Best Inflatable Boats
Identifying your purpose before purchasing the inflatable boat is the first and foremost step. Indeed, if you don’t know why you will be using the inflatable boat, then you will probably be wasting your money.
Consider factors like how many people will be using your boat, the type of water that you will be boating on and the design of your inflatable boat.
For example, an inflatable boat that has a long length is usually designed for speed and suited for sports activities. You may also want to attach a motor to this type of boat because you will gain a lot of speed and maneuverability this way.
On the other hand, a model that has a wider form factor is built for excursion and recreational purposes. This type of boat can usually accommodate more people but will move at a slower pace.
2. Styles: Cataraft or Regular
Cataraft: The cataract is easily identifiable from the regular raft by its 2 side tubes.
This type of raft is usually long and can be used both in calm and rough waters. Furthermore, the Cataraft is meant mostly for speed and maneuverability.
It offers you a superior user experience when it comes to boating, but it is usually restricted to only one person.
In addition, you cannot carry a lot of weight with the Cataraft because there is simply not enough space on it.
Regular Raft: Design for recreational and excursion purposes, this type of raft has a wider form factor. This wide form factor allows it to carry more people with ease.
However, unlike the Cataraft, the regular raft moves slowly on water and is usually only recommended for calm waters and not rapid waters because it simply does not have the maneuverability of a Cataraft.
In short, if you are planning an excursion with multiple people then go with the regular raft.
However, if you are planning more a solo experience in the type of water that you will be navigating on is temperamental than definitely choose the Cataraft.
3. Kind of floor: Air deck vs. Rigid slats
The air deck is simply a layer of PVC with air under it. The main advantage of the air deck inflatable boat is that it is usually cheaper and lighter thus making it more portable.
This type of deck is generally suited for those on a budget and who simply need an excursion boat for multiple people.
On the downside, the air deck is not very tough and can easily puncture especially if it will be accommodating many people who are on the heavy side.
On the contrary, rigid slats offer a superior deck on your boat. Those slats are usually made from a material like marine plywood or aluminum, so they are very durable and long-lasting and will not corrode when it comes in contact with water.
Additionally, you can more easily stand on a rigid slat inflatable boat than one suited with an air deck.
Therefore, if you usually stand on your boat for fishing or sightseeing, then it is generally best to go with an inflatable boat that has a rigid slat deck.
4. Construction Material: PVC vs. Hypalon
Hypalon and PVC are 2 of the most common types of materials used in the construction of inflatable boats.
PVC is a common build construction material, and even some of the best inflatable boats on the market are made from this material because it is durable, resistant to puncture, and long-lasting.
However, an inflatable boat made from PVC is not meant to be used for heavy-duty or commercial purposes because it is simply not that tough when compared to Hypalon.
Hypalon uses a coating of very durable neoprene on its surface which makes it very tough and gives it very good resistance against scratches and punctures.
However, Hypalon is usually very expensive, and an inflatable boat made from this material will be significantly more expensive than a model made from PVC.
You will have to choose the construction material in this case based on your budget and need.
You don’t want an inflatable boat that breaks down after a couple of uses. So, go with a model that is durable and long-lasting.
Most of the time, any inflatable boat that is made from a PVC material should last you a couple years if it is maintained properly.
If you want an even more durable inflatable boat than definitely go with a model that is made from Hypalon.
In any case, note that the durability of your inflatable boat will depend directly on your maintenance.
6. Stability and Safety
Since you will be spending a lot of time on dangerous waters using your inflatable boat, it needs to be stable and safe.
Stability in an inflatable boat is usually linked to the weight capacity and width another boat. A wider boat will provide you with greater stability, but it will be more difficult to maneuver especially when turning sideways.
Similarly, the weight capacity is important to consider. You absolutely must never exceed the rated weight capacity of the inflatable boat for safety reasons.
Read More: 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks
As we have seen, the inflatable boat is a versatile, easy-to-use and affordable way to enjoy a full boating experience on a budget. You can use the inflatable boat to get a great solo experience or row with your friends and family depending on the model of boat you choose.
Best of all, you can easily inflate or deflate the inflatable boat, and all that is required is a few minutes of your time to do so. You also do not need a lot of experience to use the inflatable boat. It is very beginner-friendly.
Our inflatable boat review above go through the list of high-quality boats used by both amateur and professionals every day. If you have not chosen an inflatable boat model yet, then going through the review one more time will help you make a choice.