Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best

Last Updated on

When you’re thinking about your next trip to the lake, you’ve probably got your eyes on doing some boating.

Pontoon boats are a great asset to own for any family serious about the outdoors or who might have some lake-front property.

Pontoon boats are spacious and are one of the safest boats available on the water – perfect for some family getaway time. On top of that, they’re rather easy-to-use and there are no major problems to owning and maintaining one of these beauties.

They’re quite comfortable to be on and they last a long time. When you make a major purchase, nothing is more important than the durability of that product, and generally speaking, with pontoon boats you have something that will last a long time.

They’re not the fastest boats on the water, and handling performance can suffer along with that speed, but if you need a good, safe, reliable boat for your family, there’s nowhere else to look but for a pontoon boat.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite models, keep in mind that each boat has some positives and negatives and that finding the perfect boat for your family will always depend on your individual needs. Let’s take a look at these beauties!

Harris V270 Pontoon Boat

Pontoon Boat

 

The Harris V270 is a premium model pontoon boat that redefines what innovation means when it comes to boating on the lake.

Coming in with 5 sleek color options, the V270 generally comes in either a blue or gray finish. This allows it to look good whether you’re up close and personal, or off in the distance across the lake.

While pontoon boats aren’t known for their speed or handling, this Harris model isn’t exactly a traditional model. It steers very well and the top speed gets going, it’s crazy impressive for a pontoon boat model.

The center console has two helm seats and the moon-roofs and lighting could set the mood for any time of day.

The ladders on the Harris model are unbelievable, you have three points of entry and anywhere you need to get on the boat. No matter if you need a retractable version or the permanent side, you have an easy way to get out of the water and up on the boat no matter where you’re at.

One of the craziest features that this pontoon boat offers is a full toilet model. The toilet is a pump-out version, but not only do you have a toilet for comfort on the water, you have a shower and a sink as well.

This is their own proprietary technology, and it’s quite amazing to see it in action. On top of that, the galley has some amazing appliances like a fridge and a freezer, but also comes with a faucet and a sink.

Not only that, but everything on this boat is quite durable and sturdy. This boat is a premium product that is built to last and I could see it lasting throughout the whole years of a child’s young years.

While all of this premium technology is quite amazing, and there might not be a better boat to get you on the water, the price matches appropriately. This is going to cost you a pretty penny, but if you need luxury on the water, you can find it here with the V270.

Pros:

The V270 is literally a model of luxury. Some of their most impressive features include a functioning toilet, amazing appliances like a fridge and freezer, and a sleek design both on board and from the outside that make this boat from Harris, king of the pontoons.

Cons:

This boat has so much going on for it, it’s hard to find a downside… however, one big problem is the price tag. If you’re not prepared to spend a lot, you might not find that this product is for you.

Crestliner 240 Rally DX

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 1

One of the biggest benefits of pontoon boats is how you can put a ton of people on-board.

This specific model from Crestliner actually fits over 15 people on deck, which is amazing for a great time with family, friends, or with all that space, whoever else you want to bring on board.

This pontoon redefines what you need to expect from a boat on the water. Top speed reaches well over 35 mph, which is one of the most impressive things I’ve heard as far as statistics go. That’s a boat that can really clear some distance and get you exactly where you want to be – all in comfort and style.

While it’s in the water, it has a smooth feel to it. Obviously, if you’re speeding up into the 30’s, there’s going to be a rush happening – but overall the performance and handling never really suffer for how fast you’re going. The boat controls well and that’s a big compliment to those who designed it, that’s no small feat. Consumers should feel impressed when they put themselves in the Captain’s chair.

The boat has a laid-back feel that allows everyone on board to sit in comfort. The seating is all extremely comfortable and should make experienced veterans and first-time riders nice and cozy in their seat.

The Crestliner design kind of depends on you. Their website has a ton of options available where you can design your own boat. That means you can put your own colors on the boat, pick from different layouts, and just generally get everything set up the way you want.

That’s good, because for the price you’re paying, you should have everything exactly the way you want it. For fishermen, you actually have model options that you can choose specifically designed to those who want to get out on the lake and get “gone fishin’”.

The outside still has a very traditional pontoon feel to it, so honestly this is just kind of a beefed-up version of the old traditional boats you see on the water. However, I will say the design still feels trendy even with the old standard shining through.

Everything seems to be well-built with aluminum and stainless steel construction. This is a durable boat that should last you for years as long as you take good care of it in the water.

The fuel tanks hold up to around 35 gallons depending on your specific layout, which shouldn’t cause problems as far as where you need to go.

Pros:

The Crestliner really puts a nice image on what a premium pontoon boat should be. It handles and drives quite well. No matter what size group you put on board, they should all find comfortable space and seating, a nice plus for multiple-family groups. On top of that, you have a sturdy boat that should last a long time.

Cons:

The price tag can be a bit much for some, and if you’re going all the way for a luxury boat, you may want to see a bit more differentiation from other models

2019 Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16 DLX

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 2

Sun Tracker has a great reputation as a brand and is known for selling great products at this point. Does the Bass Buggy measure up?

The mixture of value and price is really in a sweet spot with this boat. It doesn’t cost as much as the extremely expensive premium models, but it offers a lot of high-quality options for you to enjoy.

This is a smaller pontoon boat that is really designed towards fishing activities. You don’t have to be a fisherman to enjoy this boat, but I think those families that want this model are going to trend towards fishing more than anything else out there.

The trade-offs that you make when stepping down a bit from premium models are all sacrifices that I think are quite possible to make. For example, this boat drives about half of the speed of those high-end boats. However, when you start to think about it, what’s the rush of getting somewhere in a pontoon boat anyway?

The Bass Buggy gets around at anywhere from 12 – 20 mph, which is plenty of speed to get you moving at a decent pace and get you around the lake to your favorite spot.

Another big feature here for those who might be concerned about price or the spending is the fact that Sun Tracker offers warranties on parts of this boat for the lifetime of the product. Certainly can’t complain about that if you’re looking for durability.

The ladders pull out to allow for easy access and everything from the flooring, to the chairs, to the actual structure of the pontoon boat have strong construction and will give you a lot of confidence taking this out into the water.

Pros:

The Bass Buggy is a great model for families looking for a mix of quality and price for a nice fishing pontoon boat. The quality construction makes for a really solid and stable boat, and the design is pretty nice for a family just looking to relax and catch those fish out on the lake.

Cons:

This starts to sound like nit-picking, but the Bass Buggy doesn’t have the speed that the top-end models does. It also doesn’t have the carrying capacity. You’re going to have to set your expectations accordingly, however, the Bass Buggy doesn’t have any major red flags.

Lowe SF212 W

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 3

This offering from Lowe Boats has a quality feel as soon as you start to simply look at this boat.

As you look at the SF212 W, you’ll realize that you have options everywhere. Even for something as simple as the exterior, seating, and interior color options – you have tons of options to get a boat that looks exactly like you want it to. On top of that, you have a lot of different engine options to adjust your price higher or lower as you see fit.

This is a kind of middle-sized offering that Lowe has on the market, and it would be quite good for families, especially those who do have an interest in fishing.

The design looks like a premium boat, with comfortable seating found all over the deck.

The boat fits a capacity of up to 13 people so those with larger families or those who like to go out with an extended family don’t have much concern if they’re buying this boat model.

The two pedestal seats on the boat really highlight the fishing aspect of things, and I could see a variety of people being happy being out on the lake with this one.

Lowe guarantees their products with long-lasting warranties so you know you have a pontoon boat that is built quite well.

Also on board, you’ve got some great features that add a bit of fun like a Bluetooth-supported stereo system.

The fuel tanks can hold up to 30 gallons, so there shouldn’t be any concern over fueling up and getting wherever you need to go out on the water.

There are also phone charging stations, plenty of drink holder areas for everyone who might be having a nice cold drink, and a dinette table as well.

No matter what kind of options you’re looking for in your mid-sized pontoon boat, I don’t think it’s lacking here in the Lowe SF212 W.

Pros:

This is a high-quality offering from Lowe Boats. The color schemes look really sharp when you compare and contrast each of them, so you’ll get something you want.  The boat feels quite spacious so you have plenty of room for family members or fishing activities. Nice features like cupholders and stereo speakers just add to the fun atmosphere.

Cons:

May be a bit much for those who are price-conscious, and you may have to add in some premium features that you want.

Regency 250 LE3

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 4

There’s no doubt about what Regency has to offer, if you look at their website it says “LUXURY PONTOON BOATS” in all caps right up front and center. You know what? They’re not wrong, this LE3 is quite the luxury model with a lot to offer.

Let’s be clear right away – this is an expensive model for a pontoon boat. You definitely need to have a boat that gives you precisely what you want for this price.

This boat holds up to around 15 people, which is a massive size for a pontoon boat. If you’re throwing a party on the lake, this is a great model for that kind of activity.

On top of that, your party friends are going to be extremely comfortable because they’re going to be sitting on plush couches that would be comfortable if you put them up in your living room, much less a pontoon boat.

The boat also just looks amazing as well, it almost looks like a pontoon boat ate another one and now it’s a super pontoon boat or something. That might not seem like it makes sense, but you have to really see this model to believe it.

The seating also offers a ton of storage for whatever items your party guests want to bring along, so it never really feels too cramped aboard the LE3.

You’ve got all of the hook-ups you’d expect here including USB chargers for phones and a Bluetooth connection to get your party rocking.

If you’re going to get into the water, you also have a fold-down ladder for easy access.

One of my favorite features in this Regency model is the rear-view camera. This technology is starting to be taken for granted on newer cars, so why not add them on to pontoon boats too?  There’s a camera mounted on the console to let you know what’s going on back there, to avoid any kind of collision and it really lets backing into space a nice and easy task.

Regency knows that its reputation is staked on the quality of these pontoon boats, and that’s why they offer warranties that include “bow to stern” protection for the first ten years and lifetime warranties on other parts of the boat.

The Captain & Co-Captain’s chairs are really something to be felt, letting you feel the power of this luxury item that you’ve bought.

Some extra accessories and minor things like a barbeque grill, for example, can be purchased and added on by dealers.

This boat is almost too beautiful to believe, and for the price tag – you better believe it’s a great boat. Whether the cost and value plays out is for you to decide, but I’m here to tell you I don’t have any doubts about the quality of this boat.

Pros:

This is a pontoon that is pretty much full of positives. The party atmosphere and comfortable setting is fantastic for hosting others. With a large capacity (both of people and of storage) you have a boat that can take multiple families out on to the water quite comfortably. All of the LED lighting and outside design leads to a boat that simply feels luxurious. Warranties help you know that your purchase is protected, and you even have a rear-view camera to help out your Captain if he or she needs it!

Cons:

Well, the price tag sticker is probably the first place to start with the negatives.  Some add-ons can actually add to that price, so that’s a bummer as well. For example, I’d like to see premium color upgrades included, but I understand if they have to add a separate charge for that.

Larson Escape 25 TTT

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 5

This model isn’t content to just look and feel the same as the other pontoon boats out there. The Larson Escape wants to go about things differently, and I like some of the bold choices they make.

To start with, that doesn’t allow for the biggest party or family outing on the market, but they make up for it in style.

Yes, this is still a pontoon boat model but it hardly looks like it. It’s got an intriguing design that is all its own.

For most buyers, this probably isn’t the pontoon boat they want to be honest – but I can see a lot of younger customers being interested as it’s not quite the “barge” style of pontoon.

The boat handles quite well in both speed and turning performance tests. There were no problems to speak of with some of the differences in the design there, which is a nice sign for interested buyers.

All of the seating areas on board are designed well to look out over the different areas of the boat, and the back seats would be well-designed for watching a skier in the back.

You also have a nice built-in trash & sink component to clean up any messes that happen on board.

Everything on board from the steering wheel to the seats to the lighting really feels like a nice product and should give you a nice sense of ownership as you take this fine boat out on to the lake.

Pros:

The excellent design is the biggest strength that this Larson Escape offers. Everything is really well put-together and feels like a luxury model for not quite the price tag of some of those higher end boats. I could see a lot of people being drawn to this one because it’s something different

Cons:

This isn’t the pontoon boat for everyone, that’s for sure. Some sacrifices have been made to get to the design choices that they have, and the price tag may push some people away just based on some of the performance numbers you’re getting here.  It’s not a con to say something is “good”, but at this price “good, not great” is definitely a bit of a drag

Princecraft Brio E 17

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 6

Okay, now we’re really getting into the interesting stuff. This model from Canadian manufacturer, Princecraft, is probably one of the most intriguing products I’ve ever seen – let alone when it comes to a narrow category like pontoon boats.

The Brio E 17 isn’t advertised to be like all the other pontoon boats, in fact, it wants you to know it’s as different as physically possible.

Let’s start with the most obvious thing first, it’s built around the electric engine used to power the boat. Known as a “Torqeedo”, this is a tiny version of those massive high-end pontoon boats you may have seen, and it’s designed to be either friendly to the environment, useful to those who aren’t allowed to use traditional gas engines, or maybe a bit of both.

Your first thought may be similar to mine, that electric and water don’t mix well. That’s not the case here and obviously, you’re quite safe riding in a Brio E 17.

As I mentioned, it is a smaller model than some of the other pontoon boats checking in with a capacity somewhere in the 6-person range to be comfortable. For smaller families, this could actually be a big plus because you’re not buying a ton of boat that you don’t need.

On the boat itself, you have a few different storage areas where you can keep either general boating or water equipment. One area is designed specifically for fishing rods, so you can see that Princecraft does want to encourage fishing families to use this boat as well.

For being a smaller boat, the people at Princecraft certainly haven’t sacrificed any quality in their unique pontoon model. The boat is made from an aluminum alloy that is going to give you high-quality over the years.

The controls and options for the electric engine all seem fairly intuitive and easy-to-use. I don’t foresee many problems with those who are at least somewhat experienced in taking boats out trying to make a switch to this electric engine. You will want to learn about the model, obviously.

To get to some of the more fun features, this is an electric pontoon model, right? So obviously, we have standard outlet plugs, as well as a Bluetooth hook-up for playing some great music through a stereo (AM & FM also included if preferred). On top of that, you’ve got an electric horn as well for some warning or celebration shouts. As you party on, you’ve got drink holders so you always know where to put those cold drinks, and the interior lighting looks fine.

The furniture on board is all very high quality. The storage underneath the seats feels fine and should give families somewhere to put their water gear.  

Maybe the scariest part of this boat? There isn’t a price listed on the Princecraft website and you have to request a quote from them for your potential pontoon. Usually, if you have to ask…

Pros:

The Brio E 17 re-designs so much about pontoon boats, it’s not even funny. Using an electric motor as they’ve done is kind of insane and I want to compliment them for it. A family can fit on the boat quite comfortably and the boat handles well for not having a gas engine onboard.

Cons:

Well, it’s certainly not like those other pontoon boats, is it?  This model sacrifices a lot of power and size to trim down to be able to be powered by an electric engine. While that’s all part of the design, you need to be aware that this boat is not the best pontoon boat for large groups.  The price may or may not be a concern, because it’s not actually posted on the manufacturer’s website, which is usually a negative sign.

Manitou X-Plode

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 7

Another pontoon boat, another model that is quite different in style. Manitou is taking some bold choices here and I have to believe that the market is going to reward them for it, this pontoon boat has got some serious swag.

Even in all of Manitou’s marketing materials, you can clearly see the advertising being pointed at young and stylish people who are out on the lake to enjoy themselves and have fun. I’d keep that in mind while going over the details of this boat.

The X-Plode is designed to be somewhat of a monster. The boat really has a mix of performance, design, style, and just plain power that you’re not supposed to see in a pontoon boat. It almost isn’t a pontoon boat, honestly. If nothing else, it’s definitely not like anything else on the market.

It’s not often you see a pontoon boat advertised specifically for skiing, but here we are.

There are a lot of different floor plans, options, and specs that change between those models. That’s great news for customers who know exactly what they want and can customize their X-Plode to make it perfect for them.

The boat has all of the standard features you’ve come to expect from a premium pontoon boat package. There’s plenty of drink holders, outlets, USB charging stations to go around. Drinks and phones are quite important!

You also have an interior that is going to feel like a party, I can’t imagine any guests or family members not feeling like they’re having fun while they’re out and riding around on the X-Plode.

The construction matches all of this design work, you’ve got something here that really should last a long time.

The biggest recommendation I can give for this X-Plode model is to check the photo galleries available online, this is a boat of beauty and you should really see it in person (High-Def will do if you’re shopping online) to understand the magnitude of this boat.

When you get into the color packages that are available, you understand that this boat is designed to be one that is shown off – and show off a lot.

Pros:

Manitou has really built something great here. The design of this boat is unlike others out there on the marketplace and the custom finishes really add to that. You can match exterior colors with furniture colors and create something really spectacular. On top of that, this boat performs like a monster. You’ve got a ton of speed and handling that can’t be matched by other pontoon boats in this category. The number of floor plans they offer allow customers to customize this boat exactly the way they want. If you’re young and looking to have fun with a pontoon boat model, this one can’t be topped.

Cons:

This is another model where price tag can start to become an issue. On top of that, I could see some people being a bit paralyzed by all of the options here. If you’re not an experienced boat owner, you may not know what you need and may need a bit more help through the purchasing decision.

Sylvan M-Series

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 8

Sylvan Marine is a company from the state of Indiana that has something interesting to bring to the pontoon boat market.

This boat has a great mixture of luxury and performance that allows it to stand out as one of the best boating models in the industry right now.

The M-Series can almost feel like a bit of a house on top of the water with such an amazing design with their seating, flooring, and even the countertop around the sink – it all feels like a floating home.

Even a group of all adults should feel comfortable and like they have enough space when navigating an M-Series boat. It’s designed with luxury in mind and they want you to feel relaxed no matter what you’re doing on board a Sylvan.

The driving helm is completely awesome, the look of it just inspires a luxurious feel and that the Captain is in full command.

On top of all of these luxury features, these M-Series boats can really crank up some horsepower. They’re fast and if you’re not prepared you’ll be a little overwhelmed by all of the power they’ve managed to put into this boat model.

The standard convenience features here like chargers, speakers, and radio stereo is all included.

The tables feel spacious enough with room for drinks, adding to the feel.

The gas tank weighs in at over 50 gallons, and even though this is a high-powered bad boy, that still should be plenty of fuel for any trips you’re trying to take on this pontoon.

Pros:

The Sylvan M-Series boats are made with quite a bit of attention to detail to give their consumers a luxurious ride. The power and handling are both top-notch and you definitely get what you pay for here as far as a premium pontoon boat goes.

Cons:

The main negative I have with this boat is more of a feeling than anything concrete. I’m not sure this boat model did enough to set itself apart from the other premium pontoon boats out there that all seem to have a specific purpose or goal in mind.  I would recommend taking a look and seeing if you feel the same way that something almost feels missing here, even if I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

Premier Pontoons Encounter

Guide to Pontoon Boats Plus 9 Of The Best 9

From Premier Pontoons, this “Encounter” model lets you get out into nature on the lake and see what fun you can encounter! That’s a simple premise, so let’s take a look across their boat to see how they did.

The first thing you notice about this boat is how comfortable it seems. I don’t think it’s interested in competing based on capacity or having the absolute most features jam-packed on to a pontoon boat, but it does what it wants to do well.

All of the sitting areas feel really well-designed. You have a nice dinette kind of area with drink holders and wrap-around sitting space that families will feel comfortable sitting at.

The area with the fridge and sink is really quite well done. Nothing is better than being able to access a cold drink while you’re out on the lake, and I think Premier Pontoons has hit on something big with their area.

They also have a few areas where you can really spread out and lounge out as opposed to just sitting down all the time. You can get really comfy on these boats and if you need to take a nap out in the sunshine, you should be able to do that on an Encounter.

The driving helm area feels really nice and the displays are both powerful and intuitive at the same time. The GPS rests just to the left of the steering wheel for easy vision so you can see what’s going on without sacrificing any driving performance. They designed mounts that way for cars, so it only makes sense that Premier would set their boat Captains up the same way.

The performance of this boat is almost unbeatable. The boat turns and slices through the water with ease and has a lot of power to make that happen.

The fuel tank capacity is quite large as well, so you know even with the powerful engines that you’re going to be full up for long enough to not be in any kind of danger.

At the end of the day, I like the spacious Encounter model from Premier Pontoons.

Pros:

The quality of this boat is evident as you look on the inside & out. This boat handles quite well through the water so you’re not going to have any problems with performance in that area. The driver’s helm is laid out in a nice and centralized manner. Being able to stretch out and really take up a ton of space on board a boat might be unmatched by any other pontoon boat out there.

Cons:

There are some pontoon boats that do luxury better, there’s no doubt about that. This isn’t a shoddy model, but it’s not the best of the best either.  It’s right in line for value, but I think other people may look to different models for some features that match up with their needs better.

Home