The Best Inflatable Boats: A Buyer’s Guide

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Inflatable boats have been growing in popularity because of their ease of carrying, transporting, and storing. With this growth more comes more marketing, more boats, more brands, and increased variety as well as designs. With so much choice, it can be difficult to decide on the best inflatable boat for you.

In this article we will show you:

  • The best inflatable boats: In depth
  • How to choose the best inflatable boats
  • The benefits of owning an Inflatable Boat

The Best Inflatable Boats: In depth


Weight: 16.1 lbs
Length: 93″
Width: 45″
Weight capacity: 375 lbs

Starting us off is the Challenger 2 from Intex, one of the leading high-quality inflatable boat manufacturers. If you are on a tight budget, looking for a boat that is easy to pack, carry, and use this should be your choice. It comes with a pump, pair of fresh oars, and hose. It costs below $40 and can handle two people. It will prove a perfect choice if you are new to boating or for your children. Its stability is ensured by its 3 air chamber design and a body made from durable 20 gauge PVC vinyl. In addition, it has welded on oar locks & oar holders. The only problem? It won’t be suitable for extreme voyages.

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Weight: 47.1 Lbs
Length: 140″
Width: 66.5″
Weight capacity: 900 lbs

Though this inflatable boat is designed for fishing, it’s able to handle six passengers and is very versatile. Use it for touring or puttering around. Its body is made durable by heavy gauge K80 PVC. To top it off, its seams are electronically welded. This inflatable boat comes with rotating oar locks, drink holders, four dry plugs, an adjustable seat and speed safety valves for an easy deflating and inflating experience. It has transom mount fixtures for mounting a trolling motor kit if you need to use one. Its limitations are a high cost and the little space it has–though it can carry six people, it’ll feel pretty packed with six people plus gear.

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Weight: 77 lbs
Length: 129 ”
Width: 57 ”
Weight capacity: 880 lbs

This is a great inflatable four-person boat with a body made of three layers: two PVC layers and one polyester layer. You can expect it to be durable, sturdy in water, and puncture proof. Moreover, it has built-in fishing rod holders, four valves for inflation and deflation as well as rotating oar handles. The existence of an inflatable keel to increase its maneuverability is one of its most unique features. You will find it quite comfortable inside because it has a hard-plastic flooring and five separate air chambers to increase stability. Despite this, Intex hasn’t made it an expensive product. Its accessories include a pump, three adjustable and inflatable seats and oars. Its downside is that it is not trolling motor compatible.

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Weight: 80 lbs
Length: 128 ”
Width: 68 ”
Weight capacity: 1,268 lbs

If you are looking for a no-compromise inflatable boat that boasts great features and will guarantee you an amazing boating experience, this boat was made just for you. It is quite rigid with an ability to handle all types of water and carry five people. Its body is made of high-quality PVC material with its seams welded. It has aluminum made seats and floor that makes them sturdy as well as comfortable. It has extended rear pontoons and transom area to increase rear buoyancy making you plane faster. Also, the design will enable you to mount a large motor. The put offs include its heavy weight and a high price.

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Weight: 3.15 lbs
Length: 62″
Width: 40″
Weight capacity: 185 lbs

A good way to introduce your child to boating is buying him or her the Aquavue Voyager. This is a fun cute-sized vessel made for children for use in a pool or seashore exploration. Its primary feature is the fully transparent flooring for viewing underwater. The safety of your young sailor is boosted by safety handles which can also be used with oars. It is quite easy to inflate and deflate plus it also contains two air valves which have integrated backflow prevention. Want to know the best part? You can use it to search for items lost in water as Sieco Design has proved it can handle 300 lbs without failure. Its limitations are low capacity and lack of accessories.

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Weight:29 lbs
Weight capacity: ​594lbs

The Hydroforce Marine pro is a boat with a round tail design that can handle up to three adults. This budget-priced vessel will come in handy if you want a boat for recreational activities or family fishing. It is made to last with three-ply reinforced vinyl material construction. Its inflatable non-slip surface floor can be sturdy when filled offering great stability. It beats other boats in accessories. They include oars, a pump, storage bag, safety-grab rope, and oarlocks. It is designed with 3 chambers, meaning it can hold up even if one ruptures. For your storage, you will be excited to know it comes with a storage pouch on the side.

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Weight: 45 lbs
Length: 138″
Width: 57″
Weight capacity: 880 lbs

This four-person boat is one of the best high-quality durable boats that offers versatility. It features a multi-chamber design and an all-around grab rope as great safety options. With resistant 30-gauge thick PVC material construction it goes without saying it will be durable and puncture resistant. What’s more, it has yellow rash guards near the oarlocks to protect against paddling friction. It’s equipped with two aluminum oars, a pump unattached inflatable. It features four welded oar locks and two fishing rod holders. The only con is the oars are quite short.

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Weight: 33.1 lbs
Length: 115″
Width: 59″
Weight capacity: 594lbs

HydroForce is a brand that has been making waves in the boating industry, and this is one of their best boats. This boat will offer you great value for the purchase price. Its built quality is impressive and durable. It’s made from three-ply reinforced vinyl material. Accessories you should expect with purchase include two oars, a pump, and a storage bag. It comes fitted with fishing rod holders, grab lines, and inflatable cushions for your comfort. This makes it a great fishing and exploration boat choice. Interestingly it has an inflatable keel making it easy to row. It can support a 1.4 HP onboard motor.

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Weight: 50 pounds
Length: 132″
Width: 56″
Weight capacity: 1200 pounds

This stable, durable, rugged inflatable boat will impress you with the functionality and versatility it can offer. Made by an experienced company, it is used for fire and rescue, exploration and touring because it can handle rough conditions. Featuring a wide design, you can be sure about its stability in water. Your stability inside and the boat’s buoyancy is aided by a higher pressure inflatable floor (removable) that has a protective nylon sheath. Beyond that, it boasts of 4 chambers for improved safety. It comes with oar set, foot pump, carrying bag and an inflatable boat repair kit. Good news for non-paddlers, it can support a thrust electric motor. Its major limitation is it’s slow.

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Weight: 53 lbs
Length: 144.09″
Width: 66.14″
Weight capacity: 1000 lbs

Lastly, if you are looking durability and high carrying capacity in a boat, go for the five people rugged Intex Excursion 5 boat. It’s a good family or friend’s recreational boat. It has an all-around grab line for safety as well a four welded oar locks. Its buoyancy is ensured by its three air chambers. Intex took no chances in ensuring you are getting a high-quality boat and great value by constructing it with a 30-gauge of extremely durable PVC. But that’s not all, your comfort is provided by removable inflatable seats with a backrest. Included accessories are an air pump and paddles. Any downsides? Even with motor fittings, it won’t be very sturdy using a motor. Moreover, it’s not as affordable as other boats.

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How to Choose an Inflatable Boat?

What should you look for in an inflatable boat? Below are the things to consider:


Durability should be the most important factor when buying an inflatable boat. A boat’s durability is influenced by its construction material (PVC, Hypalon), the construction method (welding, gluing), the thickness of material, and number of layers. A durable boat will have parts and seams that are electrically welded, thick layer of materials, and have excellent resistance to abrasion and harsh UV light.

Weight of the Inflatable Boat

The weight of the boat will determine how easy it is to carry, pack, and drag in, out to and from water. For children or if you will be paddling alone, consider a lighter boat. Sturdier, higher carrying capacity, and more durable boats are heavier. Boats made from PVC are lighter than those made from Hypalon.

Length of the Inflatable Boat

You will realize that longer boats are faster when paddling. In addition, a longer boat will be easier to use when you are many  people inside of it. Even better, if you are alone you can stretch inside comfortably and also carry more equipment and gear. However, if it’s too long, you might have trouble turning it as longer boats tend to be less agile.

Weight Capacity of the Inflatable Boat

This is the maximum weight the boat can handle. It is influenced by the body material, the size, and shape of the boat. If you plan to go boating with your family, your friends, you plan to carry gear or snacks, or use it for fishing, get a boat with high carrying capacity.

Materials That the Inflatable Boat Is Made From

Typically, most boats are made from PVC or Hypalon material. PVC is reliable, lighter, easier to repair and cheaper. However, Hypalon made boats are more durable but expensive. Next, consider the material accessories are made from. They can be made of plastic or aluminum. Aluminum is more durable, lighter, can float and better for the water environment.

The Benefits of Owning Your Own Inflatable Boat

Ability to Travel to Any Body Of Water

The convenience of packing and transporting an inflatable boat ensures you can visit different bodies of water. You can go to the ocean, rivers, streams, and lakes easily without extra cost.

Trips On Rivers And Oceans

Nothing screams freedom louder than having your own water equipment. With your own boat, you will feel free to go on for camping trips, touring, and water adventures. Trust me, you wouldn’t get the courage and motivation to get on a rocky river with a rented boat.

Saves You Time

That’s right, you don’t have to waste time going to get a boat from a rental shop. Best part? You don’t need to go back to return the boat after a tiresome day. Finally, it reduces the time between you wanting to go out in the water and getting in, something that can put you off.

Social Activity With Others

When you have your own boat, you can go paddling, touring or fishing with friend and family. You also stand to benefit from getting a paddling partner or making friends. Furthermore, you can join competitions that will surely boost your social life.

Cheaper Than Renting Boats In The Long Run

With inflatable boats costing as low as $40, you should consider owning one rather than renting. For the high-end models, the sticker price might make your stomach churn initially but with renting, you might exceed the amount you pay when buying in time.

You Can Lend It To Friend And Family

Most times we share equipment such as boats with family members or friends who enjoy the same hobby as us. With a rented boat, this is something you can’t do as it increases the cost and risk.

Increased Familiarity With Your Boat

A rented inflatable boat doesn’t really give you the freedom to get familiar with it, or its accessories like the one you own. Owning a boat allows you to even modify and improve it, or customize it to your liking.

Having reviewed over 10 inflatable boats for you, I am sure you now have a bit more insight and you can make an informed purchase. When buying a boat, it is important to get one that meets most of your topmost priorities.Given the above information, making a choice should be quite easy. Now go out there and enjoy your boating!

Disclosure: The Salt Sirens is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We are also an affiliate of LeisurePro.