Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best inflatable boats 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated May 1, 2019
Best inflatable boats of 2018
Before you spend your money on inflatable boats, start by familiarizing yourself with the various types. Here are the customer reviews of some of the best inflatable boats of 2018. I am going to specify each good-to-buy feature as much as possible for your references. If you’re scouring the market for the best inflatable boats, you’d better have the right info before spending your money.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
№1 – E-MAX Inflatable Boat Valmex PVC Recreational Fishing 8-Feet 10-Inch Dingy Boat with Foldable Aluminum Floor Design
Why did this inflatable boats win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
№2 – E-MAX Inflatable Boat Valmex PVC Recreational Fishing Boat 9-Feet 8-Inch Rowing Boats with Foldable Aluminum Floor
Why did this inflatable boats come in second place?
I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
№3 – Intex Explorer 300
Why did this inflatable boats take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
inflatable boats Buyer’s Guide
PVC versus Hypalon
Hypalon, on the other hand, is a weighty, expensive, and extremely robust fabric. That’s why it’s commonly used in the construction of heavy-duty RIBs. Plainly then, your buying decision should be based partly on budget but also on your intended usage. If you want to keep your tender ready-built and routinely exposed for frequent use, then Hypalon is the answer. However, if you want a more compact and portable boat for less regular use and for stowing away between outings, a modern, lightweight PVC craft is likely to prove the better compromise.
Consider portability, longevity, and cost when comparing PVC and Hypalon.
Even on an entry-level budget, basic accessories (oars, seats, a pump, a repair kit, lifting points, and a carry bag) should be included in the price. But you should also look for multiple air chambers for safety, plus an inflatable thwart for extra strength. Those with a pronounced inflatable keel have improve directional stability, and optional fins and tabs can help tweak the handling. Think also about investing in some wheels for transporting your tender up and down docks and beaches. And if you intend to buy a small outboard, you should consider electric power for cleaner, simpler stowage and transport. Whatever type of outboard you use, an extended tiller can help you shift your weight forward, for easier planing and a flatter ride.
Technically not really a pontoon boat, but we decided to include them in the buyer’s guide because of their similarities. Inflatable float tubes are for the fishermen that want to get up close and stalk their fish. Instead of standing at the bank hoping the fish will come to you, you come to fish instead. It’s basically a inflatable seat with a couple of pockets and to power the boat you paddle with your feet.
Inflatable pontoons without any frame look a lot like dinghies, they behave pretty much the same way. The only real difference is the motor mount and the few added accessories that most frameless pontoons come with, swivel seats and rod holders are one of the most common accessories. These are easier and faster to set up compared to pontoons with frames, they also take up less space. They are versatile as you can both row them or use a motor.
If you want to get the most out of your lake fishing, a frameless inflatable pontoon is highly recommended, you’ll be able to go further, fish in more water conditions, store more gear and if you want to, you can stand up and fish.
Pontoons With Frames
Pontoons with frames are another hit among fishermen. Instead of a hard wood floor, they have pockets and bags to store all your fishing gear. They get you closer to the water than a frameless pontoon, not as much as a float tube but just enough so you can reach down and grab a fish from the water. Just like the floating tubes, framed pontoons give a more ‘personal’ feeling to your fishing. It’s hard to explain but it’s almost as you’re one with the lake, it’s definitely a different side to fishing. If a float tube had an upgrade, it would be this.
The cruising boater or silver-haired grey navy sailor would be well served by what is commonly termed a boat-in-a-bag. This is about as simple as boating gets. Compact, durable and inexpensive, basic roll-ups sport an inflatable collar and flexible synthetic rubber floor, the latter often reinforced with timber or composite slats that facilitate folding and add rigidity. Most are supplied standard with paddles/oars and can be folded down into a carrier the size of a golf bag, while many have rigid transoms capable of supporting an outboard.
Capable of a substantial payload once inflated, a 2.4m Plastimo Raid P240SH inflatable, for example, is rated to 5hp, with a capacity of three adults and a maximum load of 350kg — all this in a boat that can hide in the lazarette and the boot of a car. They’re great as a cheap tender and just right for fishing in shallow and skinny waterways. Add a small 2hp engine, a couple of two-piece rods and a splash of fuel, and you’ve got a stealthy boat that can access backwaters and creeks where you’d never get a conventional 10ft tinnie.
The best part, you get all of that for just a couple of grand — including the rods and fuel.
In recent years you may have caught New Zealand’s unique Sealegs boats performing party tricks around the Aussie boat-show circuit, morphing from rock crawler to tender extraordinaire before your very eyes. Available with either a fibreglass or alloy hull, Sealegs is a category unto itself and this innovative craft did itself proud in the aftermath of last year’s Queensland floods.
Predominantly outboard-powered inflatables require no more effort than any other boat to maintain in as-new condition. To maximise your inflatable’s lifespan, follow these simple guidelines: • If you normally have a shower after a dip do the same for your boat, a 10-minute washdown is all it takes. If you have a boat-in-a-bag, air it once it’s rinsed off, much like you’d hang out a wet tent. Hang wet carpet on the lifeline or siderail to dry and pop some moisture-absorbing pouches in any storage locker. • Flush the engine after every use. I repeat, flush the engine after every use. • Tubes can be cleaned of grime and scum with a bit of elbow grease and a mild detergent, while products like Jiff or Scuff Orf will sort out stubborn stains. Wax any fibreglass hull surfaces and dress the interior vinyl with a protectant such as Armor All. • Check the tubes for correct inflation and for leaks. • A pressure gauge is an inexpensive investment as is a bucket of soapy water, which brushed onto the tubes will reveal any leaks through tell-tale bubbles. Punctures are easily fixed with the supplied repair kit.
Generally, the more expensive the inflatable, the better quality the material. At the top of the tree is Hypalon which has the longest warranty period (ten years).
Most dinghies use PVC-coated fabrics. The heavier the material, by and large, the more durable it will be. Fabric life warranty will be around five years.
Dinghies of yacht tender size usually have two or three inflation compartments plus floor and keel.
For safety the more the better but for easy inflation and deflation, two is enough. Tube diameter is also important. Fatter tubes keep backsides further from the water, provide a softer ride and keep water where it belongs.
On the other hand big tubes are heavier, bulkier and more expensive.
Our runner up for the title of best fishing inflatable kayak is from Elkton Outdoors. With an interior measuring ten feet long, its storage space and special features have been designed with fishing in mind. The only one of our inflatable kayaks to come with both vertical and trolling rod holders, this is a fantastic option for people who want something compact or portable to enjoy fishing alone or with a friend.
The AIB has an inflatable keel and a flat inflated floor, although when pumped up, it actually rose in a slight inverted vee.
It has three tube compartments, and two in the floor, which all have to be inflated in the right order and to the correct pressure.
Short grab ropes are fitted on each side, but there are none across the bow. The drain bung can only be reached from outside the boat as the floor gets in the way inside. There are no transom rings or davit lifting points.
This dinghy was simple to row as it sat lower in the water and the flatter floor made it easy to move around.
Under power the AIB planed with the 2.5hp and one light person aboard. With the 5hp the dinghy reached 13mph one up, and even faster at 15mph with two aboard, but the seat was sited too far forward.
Visit a dealer in the fall
There are several reasons why fall is the right time to start shopping at boat dealerships. First of all, fall is when you start seeing big discounts and deep price cuts. Dealers offer substantial reductions on both new and used boats to avoid the financial burden of carrying the stock through the winter. Also, clearing out their stock makes room in the showroom and lets them order new models from the manufacturers they carry.
Dealer discounts aren’t the only reason for buying in the fall. In addition to advantageous prices, a buyer who already owns a boat can trade it in and often avoid storage fees. You can also use the off-season to have the equipment and accessories you want installed and get delivery in time for the start of the boating season.
Also, since most of the major boating industry players and providers of goods and services are at the boat expos, consumers can get all the information they need to plan for the next boating season in one location. You can find out about insurance, financing, watercraft registration, licenses, marinas, home ports, lock schedules, other relevant timetables and other matters of interest.
Before going to the show, take a few minutes for Internet research. Find out about the brands and models that interest you and meet your needs, and take down the names of the local dealerships that represent those brands. Prepare a list of standard questions to ask so that you will be able to compare the different brands of boats and motors.
Have a strategy and a game plan
Choose a good day to visit and speak to a representative. The expo’s first few days are usually the best time to get a rep’s full attention. — First go see the models that you are interested in; — Ask for a brochure or take photos; — Write down the prices and discounts; — Don’t focus exclusively on price! You also need to consider the craft’s quality and other factors such as service and warranty.
Note that specials often remain in effect for a week or two after the boat show.
Meet a dealer and make an appointment
The quality of the dealership is an important part of the quality package. Good dealers know their product, clearly explain the warranty and provide excellent customer service. During your visit to the boat show, talk to a dealer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Dealers and their sales reps are competent professionals who can answer your questions and give you objective advice.
Unless you are absolutely sure of your purchase decision, do not make an impulse buy on your first visit. It is better to make an appointment with the dealer you want to do business with. That will give you time to consider your decision and give you a chance to get to know the dealer.
The 6-person AIRHEAD AHIBF-0Angler Bay is a versatile boat that can handle many different fishing scenarios. It is constructed of heavy-duty vinyl and features electronically welded seams to ensure you do not have leaks in the seams. There are two rod holders on board and multiple drink holders.
The true inflatable boat fan will want to choose the Sea Eagle 28It is a pontoon boat that comes with everything you need to get up and going on your next fishing adventure. It takes only minutes to assemble and the engine capacity is 3hp. It is perfect for a single fisherman with its single pedestal seat.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your inflatable boats wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of inflatable boats
- №1 — E-MAX Inflatable Boat Valmex PVC Recreational Fishing 8-Feet 10-Inch Dingy Boat with Foldable Aluminum Floor Design
- №2 — E-MAX Inflatable Boat Valmex PVC Recreational Fishing Boat 9-Feet 8-Inch Rowing Boats with Foldable Aluminum Floor
- №3 — Intex Explorer 300