Inflatable Boat Buying Guide: Read Our Honest Reviews of the Cheapest and Best Inflatable Boats

In the world of boating, there are lots of choices when it comes to the type of boat you can purchase. Some people swear by the more traditional boats but many are starting to go with inflatable boats. A boat that works for one person may not be what another person wants. There are different sizes, different shapes, different colors, and more. Here we will provide easy to understand reviews for the best inflatable boats of 2016.

With the invention of inflatable boats, there are even more choices. Some people love the inflatables while others stick to the tried and true fiberglass or wooden boats. Which one is right for you? Only you can decide. To help you choose a boat type we created our inflatable boat buying guide. Our goal is to make the decision process easy as possible.

best inflatable boats

Different Inflatable Boat Types

In the past, an inflatable dinhgy or raft boat was used to help you stay above water in the case of an emergency. In recent years, inflatables have taken on a larger variety and there are a lot of different styles available.

There are motor boats that are inflatable, kayaks, sailboats, catamarans, sea kayaks, whitewater rafts, pontoon boats, and canoes. There are inflatable boats that are large enough and strong enough to carry cars across the water. There are kayaks that have a hard air floor and others have a hard floor that is made using aluminum or plywood. You can get inflatable paddle boards for recreational or racing. A kaboat is a crossover between a regular inflatable boat and an inflatable kayak.

In short, if you are searching for a boat that fits your personal style, there is an inflatable option available to you. They are built to be strong enough to last for years and to let you enjoy your water adventures. Each type has their own unique features and uses, so you may want to choose carefully if you have a specific adventure in mind.

Why Inflatable Boats Are Best

Even though inflatable watercraft are still a relatively new concept when used as something other than a life saving device or a toy, there are many people choosing to go with an inflatable. There are many reasons for why people have decided to make the switch.

One of the biggest reasons is that inflatables tend to be more budget friendly. A cheap inflatable dinghy can be purchased for less than a hundred dollars. The better quality ones are normally just a couple hundred dollars, which is a lot cheaper than many hard shelled boats.

Beyond that, inflatable boats can get into areas that normal boats are unable to go. They are lightweight and often can be carried in a backpack, which allows hikers to take them out into the woods where a boat ramp may not be located. They simply have to carry it to the lake, stream, river, or ocean and inflate.

Inflation usually takes only a few minutes and then you are in the water. Deflation is also quick and relatively easy to handle, just remember to dry before packing away to prevent mold.

Inflatable boats are also very versatile. They can be controlled by a motor or by paddles, especially if you have a kayak or a canoe style boat. They allow you to feel waves and tugs from a fish when you have one on the line.

If there is a downside to inflatable boats, it is that most people worry about whether they are safe or not. Inflatable boats have been known to flip over at times. This is less likely with the constantly improving design of them.

There is also a risk of punctures happening. In the past this was a major concern, but now most inflatable boats have multiple air chambers to ensure that you can always get back home. If something major happens, you should have a repair patch on board that can take care of it.

Bestway Drift Commander Inflatable Fishing Boat

Why Some Prefer Hard Shelled Boats

Even with the inflatable market growing, there are still people who stand by their traditional boats. Traditional, hard shell boats are more durable than an inflatable. They have larger motors and look more impressive. People tend to use motors with hard shelled boats so that means no paddling like with many inflatables. Depending on the distance you plan to travel, paddling could really tire some people out.

However, with the hard shelled boats, you also have a drastic increase in cost. Most boats cost thousands of dollars, especially if you want a roomy boat or one with extra features. Motor boats need gas, oil, and other things which can really add up after years of use. Some states also require people to have a boat license which is just another added cost.

They are limited on where they can go because you must have a boat ramp to put them in the water, unless you have a hard framed kayak or canoe that is still easily transported with either a couple people or a vehicle. Hard shelled boats also require a trailer which is just another piece of equipment you have to purchase and maintain.

Conclusion

You can now see some of the pros and cons of owning an inflatable boat versus a hard shelled boat. If money is not a concern hard shelled boats could be the best option for you.

Also if you have plenty of land to store your boat then a hard shelled boat could be a great choice. If you live in an apartment or small home then an inflatable may make more sense. Regardless of which boat you choose, you have options. You just have to decide which pros and cons you can live with.