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9 Best Inflatable Boats of 2021

Inflatable boats are a great way to get on the water without having to buy a full-size boat. Designed for small bodies of water such as lakes and rivers – inflatable boats are perfect for navigating. 

You’ve probably seen people using inflatable boats on vacation and wondered where they found them. They’re expensive if you buy them last minute while on vacation, but you can save a ton of money by purchasing them before you leave. 

There are numerous types of inflatable boats you can buy depending on your needs such as fishing inflatable boats, dinghies, kayaks, pontoon boats and more. We’ve listed the best inflatable boats you can find based on user reviews, affordability, reliability and fun. We’ll walk you through how to choose the right style of inflatable boat so you can make a decision and buy the right one for you and your family. 

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

This inflatable kayak seats 2 people and is super fun. It comes with aluminum oars and can travel fast. The inflatable seat is adjustable and has a comfortable backrest that makes a long day of boating easier. 

This inflatable kayak is 10 feet long and can support up to 400 pounds. It’s designed for small bodies of water such as lakes and slow moving rivers. You don’t want to take this out in rough waters as it could end up in a bad experience. It’s bright yellow so people can see you on the water and it makes you visible in emergency situations. It also has a removable skeg for stability. 

This inflatable kayak is made from tough vinyl that’s puncture-resistant and has 3 separate air chambers. You can inflate or deflate it quickly with a hand pump. You get two paddles, two seats, an air pump and patches. 

Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat

The Intex Excursion inflatable boat series comes in a 4-person or 5-person configuration. These have a high weight capacity and can hold a group of friends on a fishing trip or boating and are perfect for lakes and rivers with a slow current. 

The 2 inflatable seats are made for comfort and have great back support for long days on the water. It even has rod holders and a handy gear pouch for essentials. The Intex Excursion is made from puncture resistant PVC and heavy-duty materials to keep you safe. The 3 air chambers add extra buoyancy and are perfect for a fishing trip. 

You can add a trolling motor to this inflatable boat as it comes with fittings for a motor mount. It also has oar holders and oarlocks to make this the ultimate inflatable boat.

Intex Seahawk 4 Inflatable Boat

The Intex Seahawk inflatable boat series comes in 3 configurations; 2, 3 and 4. The Intex Seahawk 4 can support 4 adults on a fun day on the lake. Made from puncture resistant PVC so you don’t have to worry and it has 3 air chambers for extra safety precautions. It comes equipped with inflatable cushion chairs so you can ride comfortably. 

The Intex Seahawk also has motor mount fittings so you can add a trolling motor. This is a great inflatable boat to hit the lakes or small rivers. This boat can hold up to 1050 pounds including people and equipment. It comes with a high-output hand pump for quick inflation, two 48” aluminum oars, two inflatable seat cushions for added comfort, motor mount fitting, gear pouch and more. 

This is a great all-around inflatable boat for a day of boating with friends. 

Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set with Oars

The Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak comes in a single person or two person kayak. These are compact, lightweight and fast! They’re made from durable welded material that won’t fall apart on the lake and they are super comfortable. The cockpit is made for long days on the lake and designed to maximize space without going too heavy. 

The inflatable seat with backrest is about as comfortable as you can get with an inflatable kayak and it has a removable skeg that provides directional movement. You get the kayak, 84” aluminum oar, hand pump and more with this set. 

You can fully assemble and inflate this kayak in under 10 minutes with a little practice. It’s a great starter inflatable kayak due to its durable construction and ease of use. 

Intex Explorer 300 Inflatable Boat

The Intex Explorer is one of the best selling inflatable rafts currently on the market. There’s a good reason; it’s cheap and gets the job done. In fact, the Explorer is the lowest priced inflatable boat on this list. It’s brightly colored for enhanced visibility and can carry up to 3 adults with a total maximum weight of 410 pounds. 

It has welded on oar locks and a grab rope as well as a high output manual pump to quickly inflate your boat. You also get two 48” aluminum oars for paddling. 

These are great for paddling on the lake, river, pool or even on a 3-day camping trip. It’s extremely lightweight and portable. 

Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Boat

This is a great inflatable boat for the money. You won’t break the bank and you get a quality boat that is perfect for a day on the lake. It has 3 air chambers for added safety and 2 quick fill Boston valves that make setting it up quick and easy. 

It comes with motor mount fittings in case you want to drop a trolling motor and welded on oar locks/oar holders so you can paddle. It holds 3 adults for a day of fishing or boating and is perfect for vacation. 

Intex Mariner 4 Inflatable Boat

The Intex Mariner is the heavy-duty version of inflatable boats. Made from strong plastic and resistant to impact; the Mariner is great for taking a few people on the lake. It has four Boston valves for super fast inflation or deflation. The keel itself is also inflatable and gives you better control of your boat. 

The rock guard is extremely durable and it has a nylon grab line that circles the upper hull of the boat. This heavy-duty inflatable boat has a maximum weight capacity of 1,100 pounds and can carry people and fishing gear or a large ice-chest full of drinks and food. The super tough PVC ensures safety and is made of 3 layers of heavy-gauge PVC for additional benefits. 

You can have this inflatable boat ready for the water in under 10 minutes with practice and a little help from friends. We like it due to the durability, features and the amount of weight it can handle. 

Sea Eagle 285 Inflatable Frameless Fishing Pontoon Boat

This is the inflatable fishing boat you’ve been looking for. You can cover more of the lake in this boat than ever before. It’s comfortable, the seat rotates 360n degrees and you can stand up in the boat. This inflatable fishing boat is super durable and made from thick material that will stay inflated when you need it. The material is 1000 denier reinforced with overlapping seams for extra safety. 

You can inflate this boat in approximately 5 minutes. Designed as a 1 person inflatable fishing boat that can hold up to 450 pounds. It’s made for a 3hp engine and has a removable wood floor for added stability and to be used as a casting platform. The U-shaped hull design allows the most efficient use of fishing space in this boat. You truly get a lot for your money with this inflatable fishing boat. 

Inflatable Sport Boats Shark 9.8’

Inflatable Sport Boats are high-end inflatable boats that can be used in both fresh and saltwater. They’re made super tough that can handle rough water and are great for fishing, paddling, emergency situations and can be used effectively in the ocean. These go a step beyond your average inflatable boat and are worth the extra money. 

You can propel these boats by hand or you can add a motor as they’re compatible with 2 or 4 stroke motors. This model of Inflatable Sports Boats can handle 15 HP and has a maximum load of 1,158 pounds which includes people and gear. It can hold 5 people safely and is 5 feet wide with plenty of room to move around. 

We like these because they can handle much more than regular inflatable boats, the seams are heat welded for maximum protection and you can assemble them in around 10 minutes. 

Inflatable Boat Buyer’s Guide + FAQ

best inflatable boats

What is the Best Inflatable Boat to Buy?

You may be wondering which inflatable boat you should buy. One look and you can see there are literally hundreds of inflatable boats to choose from. However, the same boats show up in multiple articles as the best inflatable boats in their category. This is because there are a few top brands that make some of the best boats. 

There are multiple categories of inflatable boats, so you will have to decide what type of boat you’re looking for. There are basically 5 different types of inflatable boats:

  1. Inflatable Raft
  2. Inflatable Kayak
  3. Rigid Inflatable Boat
  4. Inflatable Dinghy
  5. Inflatable Pontoon Boat

Each category has specific uses, so it’s up to you to decide what you want your boat to be able to do. The most popular types of inflatable boats are inflatable rafts and inflatable kayaks. These are perfect for a day on the beach, lake or river and are simple to use. They also don’t cost as much as their counterparts. 

Are Inflatable Boats Worth Buying?

Inflatable boats are a great way to add more fun to your trip to the lake or vacation at the beach. They’re easy to setup and provide hours of fun on the water. Inflatable boats are more durable than you may think. While they can’t compare to “real” boats, they can handle waves without breaking. They’re not too expensive and can give your family something fun to do in the sun. 

How Long Will an Inflatable Boat Last?

The best inflatable boats can last a long time. If you take good care of your boat, you can expect to get anywhere from 5-10 years of use under normal conditions. The longevity of your inflatable boats depends on numerous factors such as, where you use your boat, the amount of sunlight it’s exposed to over the years and how well you take care of them. Most users get a number of fun years out of their inflatable boats. 

How Stable are Inflatable Boats?

Inflatable boats are wider than hard boats and are incredibly stable. You would be surprised at how well they balance when you put them on the water. Many people think inflatable boats will simply pop when they touch rocks or sharp items, but this isn’t true. Inflatable boats are made with a tough PVC exterior which can take more than a few bumps, scrapes and knocks. You will usually just bounce off of a hard structure with no damage. 

You can even get a puncture on an inflatable boat and it won’t sink in every case. You may lose air pressure, but inflatable boats are designed with multiple air chambers that are separate from each other and will keep you afloat long enough to reach the shore. They also don’t capsize as easily as you may think.

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