Best Inflatable Boat: 2018 Comprehensive Reviews and Buying Guide

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.


Top Inflatable Boats

Intex Mariner 4 Inflatable Boat

Summer fun would not be anywhere near as much fun if it were not for Intex. It is a name that most people recognize for their swimming pools, but the truth is, they make all types of water fun products including inflatable boats. Therefore, when you decide it is time to find out what inflatable boats are all about, you should check out our Intex Mariner 4 review to find out if it lives up to the Intex name brand.


  • The Intex Mariner 4 is made of three layers of separate material. This means that it has extra strength and durability. The middle layer is designed to prevent small punctures from becoming larger holes so that when you climb on board, you feel safe all the way around.
  • The keel is also fully inflatable. This is a feature that provides more control when you are handling the boat and maneuvering it around. It also means that no fishing hole is impossible to get to.
  • The floor is rigid, which sets it apart from most other inflatable boats. It is made of a heavy-duty extruded plastic and remains comfortable, even though it is firm.
  • On board this boat you will find two fishing rod holders, grab handles on both ends, and welded on rotational oar locks. This ensures that everything you put on board can be secured in some way so that you do not have to worry about losing the important things.
  • When you purchase this boat, you receive a set of French Oars and a high output pump. This is also unique among other inflatable boats and it ensures that you have everything you need when you purchase the kit.
  • The Mariner 4 is a 4-person boat that has three rows of seating for everyone to rest on. There are also storage bags on board for you to keep personal belongings in while you are on your adventures.
  • It has a maximum weight capacity of 880 pounds and it measures 57 x 19 x 129 inches. When deflated it weighs 84 pounds, which does mean it is a little heavy for some.
  • This boat does come with a hull identification number on its bow. This is great news for anyone who needs to register it. You simply have to visit the Intex website to get a certificate of origin if your state requires you to register the inflatable boat.

Customer Reviews

  • When it comes to durability the Intex Mariner 4 gets high ratings from those who own it. They say that the sides and bottom are tough enough to rarely be damaged, whether they are sliding over rocks or bumping into concrete. People also trust it enough to put dogs on board without worrying about the dog’s paws causing damage.
  • They love it because it is stable, even when they take it out into the waves. They enjoy combining it with a sailing kit to use the wind rather than paddles or a motor.
  • Most people state that it has plenty of room for three people on board with all fishing gear, life vests, and more. With four people on board, things are a little tighter, but according to most, it is still doable.


  • This boat does not come with a motor, but you can put one on it if you want to. However, to do so, you will need to purchase the Intex motor mount kit. It is a relatively cheap investment, but worth it if you want to ditch the paddles.
  • There are complaints about leaks that happen within the boat, some are defects from the manufacturer. There are some who attempted to take it white watering and that is not what this boat is designed to do.

Wrap Up

As with all things, no one product will ever satisfy all people. However, when you look at the Intex Mariner 4 reviews, you will quickly discover that most customers rate it pretty well.

It has everything a person could want in a boat and it is strong enough to handle most things that may come up while you are out on the water. It is slightly more expensive than other inflatable boats, but when you consider all the positives, it is well worth paying extra for the Intex Mariner 4 inflatable boat. READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Bestway Hydro-Force Marine Inflatable

When strength and durability in an inflatable craft is what you are seeking, Bestway has always been a solid choice. The Bestway Hydro-Force Marine Pro is another example of what an inflatable watercraft is all about. Perhaps it will soon become your ideal dreamboat as well.


  • The Marine Pro is made using 3-ply reinforced vinyl. It is designed to handle even the most extreme conditions regarding UV exposure and exposure to petroleum products that may damage other inflatables. This means it has extra strength and provides more protection against all potential hazards that may happen with an inflatable boat. Punctures are virtually non-existent, especially when you also consider that its floor is also a high-pressure inflatable floor.
  • It has a weight capacity of 594 pounds. This makes it great for a couple adults or even a group of three that includes a child. Beyond that, the amount of people inside the boat depends on how many you can fit inside the 115”x 50”x 18” size of it and feel comfortable.
  • With this boat, you get everything you need to get started on your next outdoor boating adventure. It comes with a pair of 60” aluminum oars, a convenient carrying bag, and an air pump. This means the day you get it, you can take it to your nearest lake or river and try it out. Even if the nearest stream means a hike through the woods, you can get there with this inflatable boat since it only weighs 33.1 pounds.
  • If you want to consider putting a trolling motor on your inflatable boat, this boat has a motor mount grommets included. There is also a safety grab rope that runs around the boat, oarlocks, and the seat cushions are inflatable. Other possible additions that you may want to consider include a sail kit.

Customer Reviews

  • According to the reviews, if you stick with the hand pump that comes with the Marine Pro, it will take about 10 minutes to fully inflate. This means if you choose to go with a better air pump, you can inflate it in only a couple minutes. Deflation is also easy according to most people.
  • Current owners also say that it is more than spacious enough for two larger sized adults. Those adults are able to put coolers, fishing tackle, rods, and more on the boat with them. If you want an inflatable boat, that is really all that you can hope for out of it.
  • Many boat owners feel that it can hold up even in coastal waters. They feel confident that waves will not be an issue for it. The only potential negative in this area is that the wind does make it a little harder to paddle the boat.
  • Sail kits do mount easily to this raft and they work great on it. There are several current owners that have done it and say that it works with a lot of different sail kits.


  • The floor of this boat is a little soft. This means that walking around on the boat may be a bit tricky unless you air it up enough to make it tight. This could pose a problem for very young or unstable riders.
  • The seats do not have a backrest that attaches to them. This may be hard to deal with for some people.

Wrap Up

This marine grade boat is ideal for a variety of activities on the water. It is solidly built, stable to ride in, and gives boaters confidence when they first step on the raft. It is spacious enough to hold two or three people and all that they could possibly need for a trip out to spend the day on the lake fishing and enjoying the summertime.

In our personal opinion, there really are no downsides to the Bestway Hydro-Force. READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable Boat

If you’re looking for a large inflatable fishing boat the Airhead Angler bay may be for you. Many customers purchase this boat for fishing but it can also be used for recreational use. One other thing that makes this such an attractive item is the affordable price. If you want to hear more please read our full review below.


  • The AIRHEAD angler bay is a six-person inflatable fishing boat. It has a movable seat to ensure the comfort of all people on board. The boat is made even more comfortable by the fact that the floor is inflatable so that anyone sitting on the floor will not have to sit on something hard.
  • It is constructed of heavy-duty vinyl that is electronically welded together at the seams. This ensures that it can handle anything that you want to do, even if you are venturing into shallow waters.
  • This inflatable boat is equipped with a grab line that wraps around the entire boat. This gives everyone on board something to hold on to, attach gear to, and get the boat in and out of the water with ease.
  • This watercraft is also equipped with two rod holders and several molded-in drink holders. This ensures that everyone on board can have a drink that will not accidentally spill inside the boat and it gives you a way to relax when hauling or using your rods.
  • The AIRHEAD boat also inflates and deflates quickly using a patented speed safety valve. This means that when you reach the water, you and your friends can enjoy it quickly. At the end of the day, deflating so that you can go home is also easy and fast.
  • When all three chambers are inflated, this six-person boat measures 140 x 66.5 inches. It weighs in at 44 pounds when deflated and can hold up to 900 pounds of people and gear. It comes with a one-year warranty to ensure your total satisfaction.

Customer Reviews

  • Many of the users say that this boat is very stable thanks to the three separate air chambers. This is a bonus for those who venture out into the middle of lakes and it is also appreciated by those that venture into waters that may have rocks hiding under the surface.
  • Many feel that it does have adequate room on board, but there are some who say it is more suited for 4 or 5 people instead of the six people that it is rated for. This is especially true if you have a lot of gear or a cooler on board that may take up space.
  • A lot of people say that for the money, it is a great investment. They even say that after purchasing the pump and oars, they still feel that they found a good deal on an inflatable boat of this size.


  • The soft bottom of this boat does not allow for people onboard to move around freely. It is hard to stand up on air, even when fully inflated so that it is kind of firm. This could be a drawback for some people, especially those with kids.
  • Oars and air pumps are not included. This means that you will have to purchase these items separately and most people do recommend that you use an electric pump if possible because of the boat’s size.
  • There is only one PSI gauge on the boat. It is located in the front. This gives you the right PSI for fullness in one chamber. The other two you have to kind of guess at.

Wrap Up

No one wants to venture out in a boat and be crowded with others that are there. This six-person fishing boat is able to hold several people and their gear. However, if you want ample space for food and coolers, you may need to leave one or two people at home.

With that, if you are simply looking for a great inflatable boat option that will not break your bank, this boat will not let you down. Therefore, for most people, it is definitely worth purchasing. READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat

The Intex Excursion 5 inflatable boat comes with everything you need such as aluminum oars and a high output air pump. It is cost-effective, durable, stable, and fun to use, according to many. To find out if it measures up and if you can really enjoy time on the water with four of your friends, you need to read our Intex Excursion 5 review.


  • To provide you with comfort and to give the boat more stability on the water, the Intex Excursion 5 has three separate air chambers including the auxiliary chamber which is in the hull. This gives you extra buoyancy.
  • It inflates and deflates quickly thanks to a Boston valve on two of the main hull chambers. This makes it easy to use by allowing you to inflate within minutes and deflate for easy transportation when you are finished for the day.
  • In the rare event that your boat may flip over, there is a grab line that runs all around the boat. It also ensures that if you or a friend decides to go swimming off the boat, you have a way to get back on board and it also makes it easy to put the boat in and out of the water.
  • The bottom of this inflatable boat is made with an inflatable I-Beam. By having this feature, you gain comfort from the fact that it is air filled and rigidity. This also makes the boat feel solid and stable.
  • The Intex Excursion 5 inflatable boat is made of super tough vinyl. This means that you will not have to worry about punctures because you edged up a little too close to the shore. It is built solidly enough that it is US Coast Guard approved in every way.
  • This inflatable boat comes with its own air pump and oars. There are two welded oar locks on board to keep the paddles in place. When not holding your oars, you can also use them as fishing rod holders. The air pump is small enough to fit inside the boat when you venture out. You simply have to pack it with your other gear.
  • As for portability, this inflatable boat folds up small enough to be carried when it is deflated. It weighs only 58 pounds, which is easy enough for most people to carry. When inflated, the total dimensions of it are 144″ x 66″ x 17″.

Customer Reviews

  • According to current owners, this boat is very durable. Most admit to taking it over a few rocks and having it come out with no punctures. Many have taken pets on board and never had any issues with even their large breed dogs causing a hole.
  • Some owners say that it is best to keep the people on board down to only two or three people even though it is rated for five. The reason for this is because if the people on board are large or if you are also taking a lot of gear, you may be cramped with five people.
  • Many current owners do recommend if you are considering this inflatable boat you consider adding a couple things to it. One recommendation is adding a trolling motor because of the boats larger size. They also recommend that you upgrade the hand pump to a pump that is a little easier to use because with the hand pump inflation does take a little time.


  • Even though the seats are removable, the front seat, closest to the bow of the boat is turned backward, which some people do not enjoy. Most people would prefer that the seats be adjustable so that you could turn it so that it was facing forward.
  • There is no exact weight limit set for this boat, but in general, most people agree that 850 to a 1000 pounds should be able to ride at one time. However, the more weight you add, the more likely it will be to become lower in the water and harder to paddle.
  • The floor has ridges so it is difficult to walk around on when you are in the water. It is best if all passengers stay seated. This is sometimes hard to do if you have children on board.
  • Registration can be a little tricky. It is large enough to require you to register it in some areas, but you have to contact Intex, as well as your state, for instructions on how to register it.

Wrap Up

Our Intex Excursion 5 review points to this being a boat that is well worth considering if you want an affordable boat for yourself and a few friends. It is durable enough to do pretty much anything you could ever want to do out on the water, regardless of what body of water you hope to venture into. With it, you may not find your dream boat, but it should be close enough to it that you will not regret spending less money. READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Bestway Drift Commander Inflatable Boat

When it comes to a durable, inflatable watercraft, many people are choosing to go with the Bestway Drift Commander. It is comfortable, affordable, and allows you to enjoy any activity that you want to, without causing you a lot of headaches.


  • The Commander is a three-person inflatable boat that has two seats. Every part of this boat is inflatable including the floor and the seat cushions to increase the comfort of those on board.
  • It is made using heavy duty pre-tested vinyl to ensure durability. There are realistic graphics imprinted onto the vinyl that gives it the look of leaves and grass.
  • This boat gives you a lot of comfort features including a mounted fishing rod holder to and sturdy oarlocks. There is a grab rope that wraps around the boat and heavy duty handles. All of these features are designed to help you enjoy using the boat just a little bit more.
  • Inflated this boat is a full 124 x 49 inches. It can hold up to 661 pounds of gear or people on board. For most people, this is more than adequate. It weighs only 26 pounds when deflated making portability easy.
  • This Bestway inflatable boat makes it possible for you to be on the lake in no time at all. It does not take it long to inflate to full capacity. Deflation is also easy to handle when the day of fishing on the lake is done.

Customer Reviews

  • Many customers state the Bestway inflatable boat is very safe and sturdy. They do not feel that they have to worry about possible punctures from sticks that may be along the bank.
  • They do say that it is very comfortable to sit in. However, they do say that if you carry along gear and cooler and other necessities, it may not be able to hold three people.
  • It is a boat that is easy to deal with. The oar locks are secure enough to do what they are supposed to do, as are all other features that are designed to help you enjoy your time on the water. This is another reason why most reviewers say that it does everything they want for it to do, whether fishing, hunting, or simply relaxing on the river.


  • It does not have a pump or oars so you must purchase those items separately. Many people feel that this makes the purchase price a little misleading because you do have to invest more money into it before you can take it out on the lake. The upside is, most inflatable boats give you a hand or foot pump and most people choose to upgrade their pump when they purchase a boat anyway.

Wrap Up

One of the biggest things people want from an inflatable boat is the ability to feel secure and know that they can relax while doing the things that they love doing on the water. The Bestway inflatable boat meets or exceeds all expectations, according to most users. They say that it is very comfortable, spacious enough for a couple people and fishing gear or coolers.

The color of it is not something that works for everyone, but if that is the biggest overall complaint about any inflatable boat, then the Bestway Drift Commander certainly is a boat that should be enjoyed by anyone who wants an affordable, inflatable boat. Therefore, it should definitely be one that you keep on the list of possible boats for you. READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Intex Seahawk 4 Inflatable Boat

If you are searching for a new way to have summer fun this year, you have more options than ever. A top name in summer fun, one that you most likely associate with swimming pools, has developed multiple inflatable boats. It is stable, fun, and it is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. Are you ready to see what the Intex Seahawk 4 inflatable boat is all about?


  • The Seahawk 4 boat comes with everything you need to get out on the water. This includes a high output air pump to make inflating the boat easy and aluminum oars so that you do not have to purchase them separately.
  • With this boat, you and your family can enjoy fishing or play on any lake that you know of. Even if the lake is a little shallow in some areas, the boat will be able to handle it and with all the space on board, fishing is a guaranteed good time for all.
  • Anyone who may be concerned about being out in the middle of the lake on an inflatable boat, you have nothing to fear. It is a boat that is made of tough 30 gauge PVC vinyl. This means that it will be able to resist both abrasions and impacts. The fact that it is built using PVC means that it will resist damage from saltwater, gasoline, and other elements that may normally cause damage to an inflatable boat.
  • If for some reason the boat does develop a leak, there are two separate air chambers. This means that it may lose some air, but it will not lose all air, even if it is a puncture. There are also rear and front inflatable cushions for you to sit on.
  • It is spacious on the inside. When it is inflated, this boat measures 133 x 19.5 x 50 inches. When deflated it folds up small for easy portability and as an added bonus, it weighs only 46 pounds. This means it is easily carried by one person in most cases.
  • On board, there are features that are good to have. It has two fishing rod holders on the rear of the boat, welded oarlocks and oar holders. Beyond those features, you also have a grab handle on the bow of the boat, a gear pouch, and a convenient U.S. Coast Guard ID number that is easy to find. The ID number means that you can register your boat if necessary in your area.

Customer Reviews

The Intex Seahawk inflatable boat received great reviews from many owners. The following is an overview of what customers like about this inflatable.

  • According to most owners, this boat is extremely stable and durable.
  • It can handle even large breed dog paws and never get torn up. However, there are some that suggest putting carpet in the bottom of the boat if you plan to have your dog along to double the protection on your boat’s soft, inflated floor.
  • The reviews show that it is very spacious and many do take kids along on their fishing trips as well. All in all, most users love the quality of this inflatable boat, even those that have owned many other inflatable boats before it.


  • It is not an inflatable that can handle rapids. The floor is not sturdy enough for it and it is a shallow boat that may tip over easily on the rapids. The soft floor also means that it is impossible to stand and walk around within the boat.
  • There is no backrest on the inflatable seats. Some people feel the seats are not comfortable enough due to a lack of support for their back.
  • It does not come with a trolling motor, but you can attach one if you do not want to paddle. This is a separate investment that some people feel is well worth it.

Wrap Up

Anyone who is looking for a cost-effective way to enjoy family time outdoors this year will benefit from the Intex Seahawk 4 inflatable boat. It is a watercraft that is easy to use and stable enough for anyone to enjoy. There are a few things that could be improved, but overall this is definitely a boat worth considering. If you are ready to venture out please READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Newport Vessels Inflatable Dinghy

When it comes to inflatable dinghies, most people are disappointed by the fact that they are soft-bottomed and therefore impossible to move around in. The Newport Vessels inflatable dinghy promises to change that with its new design. The question is, does it live up to its promises? Read our Newport inflatable boat review below to find out.


  • This boat measures 8ft by 10 inches when fully inflated. This does mean that it is spacious enough for you to ride comfortably and haul around all of your gear. It is a heavier inflatable boat than most weighing in at 101 pounds. If you take out the hard floor the boat is much lighter to carry around and may make it possible for you to carry it without help.
  • It meets the USCG standards thanks to its triple layered 0.9mm/1.100 denier coated PVC. It also uses marine wood precision flooring that is aluminum framed. There is also an aluminum bench seat, two aluminum oars, a carrying and storage bag, a foot pump, a repair kit, drain plug, towing D-rings, two mounted carrying handles, and oar locks as well as oar holders. All of this for one price makes it a great deal that you can trust in.
  • This boat is able to hold up to 3 people comfortably and has a maximum load rating of 1,067 pounds. This is due in part to the three separate air chambers. It has a max power limit of 10hp, which means you can use it with a trolling motor, and a high-pressure inflatable keel and V hull.

Customer Reviews

  • All of the reviews you read about this dinghy proves that it is a quality boat. The people who own it say that they love it. It meets or exceeds all of their expectations, even after years of use, they still have not had any major problems with it.
  • The one person that did have issues with it states that customer service was excellent and his problem was dealt with by Newport Vessels to his total satisfaction.
  • Some say that it is ideal for any type of water and all activities you can do while on the water.


  • One of the biggest issues with this boat is the weight of it. It is substantially heavier than other inflatable boats that are on the market. However, the weight is because of the solid bottom and for many, the fact that it is heavy because of a floor is only a minor setback.
  • This boat is also more expensive than most other inflatable boats. The reason for this is the quality of the boat itself and for most of the people who have purchased it, it is an investment that is well worth it.

Wrap Up

If you want a dinghy that is solid in every way, the Newport inflatable boat is the ideal boat for you. The solid floors make it easier to move around in and the maximum weight limit means that you can have anything on board that you want to be there. The idea of an inflatable boat is to buy them because they are cheap. As long as you can get beyond the price, you should be as satisfied with your purchase as every other buyer has been so far. READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


Sea Eagle SE9

When Sea Eagle decided to create a new brand of inflatable boats, they wanted something that would stand out from the rest. That is how the “Fisherman’s Dream Package” came to be. It is supposedly everything that a fisherman could want, but does it live up to expectations? Read the Sea Eagle SE9 review below and decide for yourself.


  • The Sea Eagle has room on board for 5 people. It is 11ft long by 4ft wide and 8inches deep. It is lightweight at only 56 pounds when the floorboard and motor mount are included. Without the floor, it is 38 pounds. This makes it extremely portable no matter how far you need to venture out to get to your favorite lake. Even though it is rated for 5 people and can hold an outstanding 1,200 pounds, it is also great for solo adventures out.
  • It is equipped with a motor mount that can support a 3 horsepower gas motor or a 74-pound electric thrust motor. This means that if you do not feel like paddling, you are still capable to get wherever you need to go.
  • The entire boat is made of 38mm polykrylar. This ensures that it is puncture and tear resistant. You will never have to worry about where you are venturing to get the big fish.
  • Included on the boat with your purchase you will get the motor mount, a bench seat, a floorboard set, two 56in aluminum oars, a foot pump, an all-around grab line, bow towing grommet, a bow carry handle, the pressure gauge, a repair kit, and more. There is also storage within the motor mount’s support bench and the passenger bench. These areas are ideal for coolers, tackle boxes, gas tanks, and more.
  • This boat has five air chambers. They include the main chamber, an upper chamber, a motor mount support chamber and two-floor chambers. These chambers all work together to increase the stability of the boat and it is further enhanced by the floorboard. With everything combined, this is one inflatable boat that you do not have to worry about standing up in.
  • When using the foot pump, inflation time is approximately 14 minutes. This means that you can be on your favorite lake, pond, or river quickly. Deflation is also quick so that you can get home at the end of a long fishing trip without much effort.

Customer Reviews

  • Most owners love the hard floor being inside the boat. It does add extra stability and makes it easier to move around when you are on board.
  • They say that it is very roomy, even if you have a few people on board. They feel that there is adequate room for a couple people and all the gear and coolers that you could possibly need.
  • It also folds down very well when it is deflated. It is light enough for most people to carry without help. However, not all people choose to deflate it. Many simply cover it with a good tarp when they are not actively using it.
  • This boat is made to be durable and last for years. Most owners feel that it will be able to do that and there are a few who have already owned it for several years.


  • There are a lot of people who say that this is a great boat, but that it is a challenge to put together the right way, especially putting on the motor mount. This is mostly because there is a lack of instruction. The good thing is most people eventually do get it figured out with minimal effort.
  • This boat works well in a variety of situations, however, you should not use it in the ocean. It does not handle as well as you may hope, especially if there is a lot of wind or rough waters. This does not mean that it will not work in any salt water. You just may want to avoid the beaches.

Wrap Up

When it comes to a dreamboat for most fishermen, the Sea Eagle SE9 is definitely a strong contender. It is an inflatable boat that does not seem at all like an inflatable boat. The hard floor makes it easy to move around in and it allows you to hold a large amount of gear and a few people as well. What more could you ask for? READ MORE OWNER REVIEWS HERE⇒


If you are looking for the best inflatable boat, look no further than the five on our list. We strongly feel they are among the best of the best, and that includes looking at how long they will last and their price. We encourage you to make a purchase that makes sense for you and your family.

Different Inflatable Boat Types

In the past, an inflatable dinghy 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 is 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.

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.

Motorboats 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.


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

If you have plenty of space 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.

If you’re looking for a fishing vessel please check out this article.