Searching “inflatable boat” on Amazon will yield well over 2,000 unique results. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re in trouble…
So you’re about to buy an inflatable boat. Congrats! With one of these, you’ll have the best and most convenient way to enjoy water activities – whether that be fishing, diving, or exploring.
But there’s a problem.
Inflatable boats come in a bazillion sizes, types, and brands. It’s impossible to select the right one without knowing what you’re looking for.
That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, I’m not only giving you my top 10 inflatable boats (and why I chose them), but I’ll also give you pointers on what to look for when buying one.
Plus, I’ll throw in a comparison chart as a bonus. With this, you can easily see which of the 10 suits you best.
Table of Contents
- Top 3 Inflatable Boats
- The 10 Best Inflatable Boats
- 1. Best Overall – Newport Vessels Dana
- 2. Best Family Boat – Intex Excursion 5
- 3. Best Budget Boat – Intex Explorer 200
- 4. Best in Stability – ALEKO Aluminum Floor Inflatable Boat
- 5. Best Inflatable Kayak – INTEX Excursion Pro
- 6. Best in Durability – Inflatable Sport Boats Shark
- 7. Best Affordable Fishing Boat – AirHead Angler Bay
- 8. Best Pro Fishing Boat – Bris BSA470
- 9. Best Fishing Inflatable Tube – Classic Accessories Cumberland
- 10. Best Inflatable Pontoon – Classic Accessories Colorado
- How to Choose an Inflatable Boat
- The Best Inflatable Boats Comparison Chart
Top 3 Inflatable Boats
The 10 Best Inflatable Boats
Here are my top picks for every category:
1. Best Overall – Newport Vessels Dana
|Size:||8’10” x 5’|
|Capacity||3 people (1,067lbs)|
If I had to pick one boat for myself, it would be Newport Vessels’ Dana.
Because this is the most complete inflatable boat you can get at a reasonable price. Made from UV-coated 1100D PVC, it is extremely high-quality and durable. Its heat-welded seams won’t budge even when the water gets rough.
It’s super stable thanks to the marine wood floorboards this boat comes with. These allow you to stand up straight and load a lot of cargo. Plus, the v-shaped air keel below makes planing easy and steady.
You can see how to install the marine floorboards in this video:
Aside from those, the Dana is jam-packed with other features such as:
- Self-bailing drain plug for an automatic water removal
- Easy-to-reach grab ropes for pulling and holding on to
- Stainless steel D-rings for grabbing and tying
- Aluminum oars for paddling
- Aluminum seats for extra comfort
- Carry bag for more convenience
- Foot pump for inflating your boat
All these little features will have a big impact on your overall experience. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a boat like this at its price point.
Newport Vessels is so sure of their quality, they give you up to 30-days to test the boat. If you don’t like it, you can return it no questions asked. And if you find problems after 30 days, you can avail of their 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
You might find that this boat is a little on the expensive side for you. Honestly though? For what you’ll get, this boat is a bang for the buck.
|High-quality and durable||May be too expensive|
|Super stable marine wood flooring|
|Comes with a bunch of features|
|30-day trial and 2-year warranty|
2. Best Family Boat – Intex Excursion 5
|Size:||12’ x 5’6”|
|Capacity||5 people (1,320 lbs)|
The Dana may be better in terms of quality, but the Excursion 5 is the epitome of inflatable boats.
What I mean is everything that you want from an inflatable boat, the Excursion 5 has it.
Perfect for a day out on the lake with the family? Triple check!
I’d even say this is the best boat for family trips. It’s big enough to carry 5 people, plus it’s a boat that everybody can afford.
Weighing only 50.8 lbs, you can throw this boat around. Once deflated, you can store and carry it in the surprisingly small carry bag it comes with. These all make it extremely portable and convenient.
When you get to the lake, you’ll waste no time at all in inflation. The Excursion 5 is equipped with Boston valves which can load air into your boat fast. Plus, this boat also comes with its very own hand pump.
It’s not bad when it comes to durability either. Made from rugged vinyl, this boat can handle quite a bit. Of course, it’s not as strong as the Shark (review down below), but you can hit the water without any worries at all.
Before I get ahead of myself, I must say that this boat is not perfect. This boat only cost so much, so expect some small issues.
The Excursion 5 lacks stability. You’ll feel a bit uneasy standing up on its inflatable floor tubes. Also, the features it comes with (grab handles, oarlocks, motor mount fittings, and rod holders) are made of cheap plastic.
But those are only minor problems. Apart from those, the Excursion 5 gives you so much more than what you’re paying for.
|Super affordable||Cheap plastic features|
|Perfect for family trips|
|Lightweight and convenient|
|Uses Boston valves for fast inflation|
3. Best Budget Boat – Intex Explorer 200
|Size:||6’1” x 3’1”|
|Capacity:||2 people (210 lbs)|
Let’s say you want something even cheaper.
You want to get a relaxing cruise without paying a dime!
Well, you can’t.
What you can do though is get the Intex Explorer 200. It’s not quite free, but this boat will cost you far less than any other. Even the Excursion 5 looks pricey when compared to this.
At this price point, most of the inflatable boats you’ll find will be garbage. That’s why the Explorer 200 is quite special. The features you get for its price are astounding.
Weighing only 7.7 lbs, you can bring this boat anywhere. It features a grab rope on the bow and oarlocks on the sides. It also comes with a set of french oars, a double-action pump, and a repair patch.
There’s enough room for two people, but you’ll have to be careful. This boat has a maximum carry capacity of 210 lbs. It’s safe to say two adults can’t ride this together (unless you’re both petite).
All that said, don’t expect too much from your Explorer 200. It’s made for calm waters and pools, not for heavy waves or flowing rivers. It’s so lightweight, it can easily get carried away.
But if you’re looking for the cheapest way to enjoy a relaxing day out on the water, you won’t find a better boat than the Intex Explorer 200.
|Most affordable inflatable boat||Not the best quality|
|Built-in grab handle and oarlocks||Only for calm waters|
|Comes with oars, pump, and repair patch||Can only carry 210 lbs|
Want something cheaper? The 1-person Intex Explorer 100 costs even less!
4. Best in Stability – ALEKO Aluminum Floor Inflatable Boat
|Size:||8’6” x 4’6”|
|Capacity:||3 people (770 lbs)|
Serious fishers, divers, and explorers can never settle for an unstable boat. Standing up is very difficult in these, and so is loading cargo.
Even expensive boats lack this sometimes. While their air floors are sturdier than most, it’s still not solid enough.
For maximum stability, you need an aluminum floor.
When it comes to these, few brands are as good as ALEKO. Their high-quality aluminum floor inflatable boats are what they’re known for.
Why choose an aluminum floor boat?
- Increased Stability – You can stand up straight without feeling uneasy at all. The aluminum floor won’t sink and bend under your weight as air floors do. It’ll be as if you’re standing on land!
- More Cargo – The increased stability makes it easier for you to bring more cargo. You can even stack on on-top of the other without worrying it’ll fall over.
- Puncture Prevention – There’s nothing worse than losing air in the middle of the water. With an aluminum floor, you can put sharp objects in your boat without worry. The solid floor will never get punctured.
- Pet-Friendly – Have a dog or cat? You can now bring them along thanks to the puncture-resistant flooring. No need to worry about their nails destroying your hull.
- Strongest Material – Other materials, such as marine wood, may increase stability, but nothing is as strong as aluminum flooring.
And that’s just the flooring. ALEKO’s inflatable boats also come with:
- Aluminum oars
- Battery tie-down straps
- Carry bags
- Foot pumps
- Repair kits
Unfortunately, this boat is quite heavy. Aluminum may be the strongest material, but it’s definitely not the lightest. You might also find that this boat is a bit on the expensive side.
Aside from that, it’s hard to find anything wrong with this boat. It’s super strong, super stable, and super packed with features.
|Super stable aluminum floor||Quite heavy|
|Can load more cargo||Not the most affordable|
|Made from strong and durable PVC material|
|Comes with a boat-load of features|
5. Best Inflatable Kayak – INTEX Excursion Pro
|Size:||12’7″ x 3’1″|
|Capacity:||2 people (400 lbs)|
Fishing on a kayak has its advantages. They’re more maneuverable, accessible, and economical than ordinary boats.
Make that an inflatable kayak, you get something even better.
But, as with everything, not all inflatable kayaks are created equal. Some are poor, some are okay, and some are excellent. The INTEX Excursion Pro falls into that last category.
It’s so good, you can use it as your primary fishing boat. It may be thin, but it has everything you need for a great fishing trip.
For one, it is super strong. This kayak uses a 3-ply high impact and abrasion-resistant PVC. With it, you can venture into deeper waters without any fear.
This is a stable kayak. Kayaks are always in danger of capsizing because of how narrow they are. With the Excursion Pro’s rigid I-beam flooring though, this isn’t something you have to worry about.
Where do you store your bags? The Excursion Pro has storage space in both the bow and stern. You could choose to tie them to the mounting bracket as well.
And that’s not all. No, that’s far from everything this kayak has to offer. It’s loaded with features from bow to stern.
You can get a taste of these features in this video:
If that video doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will.
It also comes with a hand pump and a bag for carrying – and it’s not that expensive either. Which makes me wonder…
What more could you ask for?
The only thing “wrong” with this boat is that it’s a kayak. Meaning it’s only good for 2 people, and you’ll have a hard time installing a motor. Also, some people just don’t like kayaks.
Other than that? It’s almost perfect.
|High-impact abrasion-resistant PVC||Difficult to install a motor|
|Super stable rigid I-beam floor||Only for 2 people|
|Storage space in bow and stern|
|Loaded with features and extras|
For a cheaper, non-pro kayak, check out the INTEX Explorer K2.
6. Best in Durability – Inflatable Sport Boats Shark
|Size:||9’8” x 5’|
|Capacity:||5 people (1,158 lbs)|
Your boat may be strong, but is it as strong as a Shark?
If you’re looking for a boat that’s strong, durable, and resistant to just about everything – you’re looking for the Shark.
The Shark by Inflatable Sport Boats is overkill when it comes to these. It was built to completely eliminate the problems that too many inflatable boats have. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “durable.”
What makes this boat so durable?
For one, it has heat-welded seams. Most boats use glue to hold their seams together, which can be very problematic. Not the Shark. With its heat-welded seams, you’ll never have to worry about air getting out.
Have you ever had your nose cone leak? A lot of us have. With the Shark, this will be a thing of the past. Its heat-welded seams completely remove the need for a nose cone.
And it’s not only the seams but the material itself as well. The Shark uses 1100 denier reinforced PVC. This is resistant to:
- UV rays
- Oil spills
You can take your boat anywhere, even rough waters, without the slightest worry.
Another word you can use to describe the Shark is “stable”. This boat has a highly-buoyant rear, which makes planing fast, easy, and super stable. It also allows you to load powerful motors since it can support a lot more weight.
And, it has aluminum floors. By now, you should know why aluminum flooring is such a wonderful feature. You won’t find any flooring as strong, stable, puncture-resistant, and cargo-ready as this.
These features allow you to stand up even when your boat is moving. You can even switch seats mid-ride without feeling like you’ll fall over.
Durable, stable… what more could you ask for?
Oh right, features.
The Shark also has oarlocks, a one-way drain plug, carrying handles, and d-rings. If that’s not enough, it also comes with 2 aluminum benches with cushions, 2 aluminum oars, a storage bag, a foot pump, and 2 repair patches.
It’s so strong, Inflatable Sport Boats gives you not 1, not 2, but a 3-year warranty. They’re that confident about their product.
The problem? It’s expensive.
For something as durable, stable, and feature-packed as this, you’ll need to stash out the cash. But is it worth it? Heck yes!
|Extremely durable||Super expensive|
|Packed with features|
7. Best Affordable Fishing Boat – AirHead Angler Bay
|Size:||8’ x 4’6”|
|Capacity:||3 people (600 lbs)|
Want to get fishing but don’t have a lot of cash?
Check out the Angler Bay by AirHead.
This lightweight green/yellow dinghy has everything you need for a sweet fishing day. All this at a very affordable price.
I said that the Intex Excursion 5 was the epitome of inflatable boats, but the Angler Bay isn’t far behind.
It’s lightweight, portable, convenient, and super affordable. It also comes with some nice features to enhance your fishing trips.
Tired of holding your rod? Put it down on the built-in rod holders.
Want to bring a drink? The drink holders on the sides can hold that for you as you fish.
Need to pull your boat or get back in it? The wrap-around grab line will let you do that easily.
Want to sit comfortably? Use the inflatable seat that the Angler Bay comes with.
Water coming into your boat? Drain it out with the 4 drain plugs around the boat.
All this on top of a heavy-duty vinyl build that can withstand scratches and light punctures. It’s electronically welded seams won’t give way to high pressure either.
These will make your fishing trips safe, comfortable, and super enjoyable. And again, remember, it doesn’t cost much at all.
Of course, it isn’t a perfect boat. Since it is super lightweight, it can only handle calm streams. Don’t take it to rapids or high seas, and avoid fast-flowing water as it can get carried away.
Unlike other boats, the Angler Bay doesn’t come with its own oars or pump, you’ll have to buy that on your own.
Other than those small issues, the Angler Bay is all you need for a wonderful fishing trip.
|Super affordable||Only for calm waters|
|Heavy-duty vinyl build||Doesn’t come with oars or pump|
|Electronically welded seams|
|Includes rod holders, drink holders, grab lines, drains plugs, and inflatable seat|
8. Best Pro Fishing Boat – Bris BSA470
|Size:||15’4” x 6’6”|
|Capacity:||9 people (2,094 lbs)|
What boat would a professional use?
Or, let’s say, which inflatable boat would be worthy of the navy SEALs?
We know they use a special military-grade boat. But if they had to choose a boat off Amazon, they would probably pick the Bris BSA470.
Because this is the most complete professional boat there is.
If you’re serious about fishing, diving, or exploring, this is the boat for you. It’s 2000 Dtex PVC is even stronger than the usual 1100d other boats have. It also has polyester support for even more strength.
It’s not your ordinary PVC by far. It is tear, tension, and break-resistant. Plus, the underside of this boat has double fabric layers, so stones underneath will never puncture your boat.
As for the rest of the boat? The seams are not only heat welded, but they also overlap up to 4 times. This quadruple overlap design can hold in even intensely high pressure.
The ride will be super smooth thanks to its design and deep V-keel. You can jump over wave after wave, even in rough waters, without feeling like you’re about to capsize.
Like all heavy-duty boats, the BSA470 comes with aluminum flooring. You don’t need to be told the benefits of this anymore, do you? For good measure, aluminum floors give you the best stability, the best puncture-resistance, and the best strength.
It’s so strong, it can carry your entire squad with space to spare. You can also load powerful motors on these and ride the waves at high speeds.
What else makes this boat the best pro fishing boat? Well, there’s also:
- Aluminum oars for paddling
- Oarlocks for keeping your oars in place
- 3 Aluminum benches for comfort
- A one-way drain valve that let’s water out but doesn’t let any in
- Stainless-steel d-rings all over the place for tying and pulling anything
- A repair kit for emergencies
- A carry bag for convenience
- A foot pump for inflating your boat anytime
Something as complete as the Bris BSA470 is never going to come in cheap. But for professionals looking for a boat that will never let them down, the BSA470 is worth the money.
Unsure if this boat is for you? Bris gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee. This allows you to try out the boat without fully committing to that hefty price tag.
You also get a 3-year warranty, so your payment will never be a waste.
|Uses the strongest PVC around||Super expensive|
|Heavy-duty and extremely durable||Heavy|
|Loaded with features|
|30-day money-back guarantee and 3-year warranty|
Watch how to set-up your Bris BSA470 here:
9. Best Fishing Inflatable Tube – Classic Accessories Cumberland
|Size:||4’6” x 3’8”|
|Capacity:||1 person (350 lbs)|
Away from the big boats for now, what if you’re looking to go on a solo fishing trip?
You could get yourself a small inflatable boat, but there will be some problems. Your best option is to get either a pontoon or an inflatable tube.
When it comes to inflatable tubes, you won’t find a better one than Classic Accessories’ Cumberland. You’ll never feel as safe, comfortable, and relaxed in another inflatable tube. And for solo fishing, this is better than a small inflatable boat in several ways.
For one, you can use it on any lake. You know those hard to access lakes where you can never bring your dinghy along? With the Cumberland, you can finally fish on them.
You don’t even need a car to bring along your Cumberland. It’s so small and it comes with backpack straps that let you carry it wherever you go.
When you arrive, you can pump it up fast thanks to the Boston valves installed in this tube. There’s no need to wait before you can get fishing.
Yes, you will have to get your feet wet. But the Cumberland comes with flippers to make steering your boat super easy and fast. Plus, it has a high seat so the water will never reach above your knees.
Speaking of the seat, it is super comfortable. The thick padding allows you to sit for hours without ever feeling sore. Don’t like the back’s height and angle? You can adjust that as well.
You’ll also have rod holders, drink holders, cargo pockets, and even a built-in fish ruler. You can easily measure your catch thanks to this.
Afraid of rocks and snags? The abrasion-resistant PVC won’t let you down. This inflatable tube also comes with a 1-year warranty, so you can replace it if things aren’t right.
Sure, it’s not exactly an inflatable boat. And a lot of people won’t like the idea of getting their feet wet. But for a silent, peaceful, and wonderful solo-fishing experience, the Cumberland is easily one of your best options.
|Super lightweight and portable (backpackable)||Need to get your feet wet|
|Super comfortable||Only for solo trips|
|Abrasion-resistant PVC with a 1-year warranty|
|Uses Boston valves|
See how to use the Cumberland here:
10. Best Inflatable Pontoon – Classic Accessories Colorado
|Material:||PVC & Nylon|
|Size:||9’ x 4’8”|
|Capacity:||1 person (400 lbs)|
Don’t want your feet wet?
You can opt for an inflatable pontoon instead. Pontoons are a great option for solo-fishers who don’t want to paddle with their feet.
A great pontoon, such as Classic Accessories’ Colorado, will give you an amazing solo-fishing experience.
Sure, it’s not as portable as inflatable tubes. But what it lacks in portability, it makes up for in comfort.
The Colorado has adjustable padded seats and footrests. It has 2 rod-holders and 2 drink-holders for convenience. And it has so much storage capacity with 10 mesh and 12 zippered pockets.
This pontoon comes with its own set of aluminum oars, so you can navigate with ease. The 3-position oarlocks keep the oars in place and make things more comfortable for you.
Don’t want to row? The Colorado is perfect for trolling motors. It already has a trolling motor mount and a battery platform. All there’s left to do is buy one and install it.
It may be light, but you can stay in one place thanks to the anchor system. This inflatable pontoon has a mesh bag that you can fill up and use to stay put.
All of these on top of abrasion-resistant PVC tubes, that won’t scratch easily, and a nylon topping.
Sounds great? It is.
The only problem with pontoons like this is that they’re only good for calm waters. When the waves get big, you’re sure to get wet. They also lack the stability of an ordinary inflatable boat.
But for a peaceful fishing trip in calm waters, a pontoon like the Colorado will give you an unforgettable experience.
|Super comfortable||Only for 1 person|
|Lots of storage space||Only for calm waters|
|Easy to install trolling motor|
|Won’t get you wet|
Want a cheaper pontoon? The Roanoke by Classic Accessories is a good choice.
And there you have it!
My 10 best inflatable boats.
Get any one of these and you’ll have an awesome time on the water.
Not convinced? You have a thousand other options. And a lot of them are great ones as well.
Let me teach you how to find them.
How to Choose an Inflatable Boat
Let’s say you didn’t find your dream inflatable boat on my list.
Everyone has their own preferences.
What no one wants though, is the wrong boat.
To avoid this, you need to check 4 things…
1 – Material
If it floats, it’s good to go… right?
Material is so much more than anything that’s buoyant. It also needs to resist abrasion, UV rays, oil, chemicals, stains and needs to withstand high-pressure within.
If not, you’ll find your boat leaking before long.
The top two materials for inflatable boats today are PVC and Hypalon, while vinyl makes a great alternative.
You also have to check how the seams were sealed. If the material doesn’t leak, a poorly sealed seam definitely will.
Keep your eyes open for things like heat-welded seams. These are super strong and won’t give easily. Glue is alright, but don’t expect it to be too strong.
2 – Size
Going on a solo trip?
Then you probably don’t need that 9-person Bris professional boat.
Want to bring lots of gear?
Stop looking at that inflatable kayak!
Size is one of the most important things to consider. The good news is that inflatable boats come in all sizes – from those 15-foot boats to the tiny inflatable tubes.
There’s no one-size-fits-all but there’s a size for everyone. So keep in mind what you’re going to do with your boat as you search.
3 – Features
Benches? Trolling motor mounts? Aluminum floors?
Having all these features is a great thing, But are they necessary?
Sometimes, the answer is no. If you don’t need that extra stability, an aluminum floor will only make things more hassle for you to bring along.
Of course, this isn’t too much of a problem. But it’s a good idea to prioritize the features you need and reconsider the ones you don’t.
4 – Price
Last but not least, price.
You have to be realistic when it comes to choosing a boat. Sure, that Bris Pro fishing boat looks awesome, but can you really afford it? Perhaps you’re better settling for the much cheaper Dana?
That said, don’t be stingy as well. Yes, the Intex Explorer 200 is crazy cheap, but it also can’t do much. You can’t take it on adventures since it wasn’t made for these.
Determine how much you can realistically spend first. When you do this, you’ll find that no matter the price point, there’s a great boat for you.
The Best Inflatable Boats Comparison Chart
As promised, here’s my comparison chart for the 10 best inflatable boats. This will help you decide which one works best for you.
|Boat:||Perfect for / Not for|
|NV Dana||Perfect for serious fishermen looking for a relatively affordable boat|
Not for beginners looking for a cheap boat
|Intex Excursion 5||Perfect for family trips to the lake and beginners looking for a cheap boat|
Not for rough waters
|Intex Explorer 200||Perfect for chilling in calm waters and beginners looking for the cheapest boat|
Not for fishing, diving, or exploring or more than one adult
|ALEKO Aluminum||Perfect for serious fishermen who need high stability|
Not for beginners looking for a cheap boat
|Intex Excursion Pro||Perfect for Kayak fishermen|
Not for rough waters
|ISB Shark||Perfect for serious fishermen looking for maximum strength and durability|
Not for beginners looking for a cheap boat
|AH Angler Bay||Perfect for new fishermen looking for an affordable boat|
Not for professional fishermen
|Bris BSA470||Perfect for professionals who need the most strong, durable, and reliable boat for fishing, diving, and rescue|
Not for Anyone who can’t afford the high price tag
|CA Cumberland||Perfect for solo fishers who want to get to hard-to-access lakes|
Not for people who dislike getting wet
|CA Colorado||Perfect for solo fishers who fish on calm waters|
Not for rough waters
That was quite a lot to take in.
We’ve gone from the top 10 inflatable boats, to how to choose an inflatable boat, back to comparing the top 10 once again.
I hope by now you’ve found your perfect inflatable boat.
Or I at least hope you now know exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’re still unsure, need help deciding, or have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment down below!