Pontoon boats are one of the most popular designs on the water and are used for family outings, water skiing, and fishing. Unfortunately, their large size and weight makes them impractical for a single user and extremely difficult to transport without a larger vehicle.
However, there is an alternative—the inflatable pontoon boat. Let us show you why this may just be the perfect fishing boat for you, what to look for when shopping, and even our recommendations.
The 7 Best Inflatable Pontoon Boats of 2020: Outdoor Empire Reviews
- Sea Eagle 375FC Inflatable Fold Cat Fishing Boat
- Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat with Motor Mount
- Skagit Inflatable Pontoon
- Orvis Fish Cat 10-IR Stand Up
- Outcast Fish Cat 13 Pontoon Boat
- Aquos Heavy Duty Inflatable Pontoon Boat
- Wistar Inflatable Fishing Pontoon Boat 011
|Product|| || ||
|Length||12 ft. 2 in.||9 ft.||8 ft.|
|Width||4 ft. 6 in.||4 ft. 8 in.||4 ft. 7 in.|
|Capacity||650 lbs. / 2 people||400 lbs. / 1 person||350 lbs. / 1 person|
|Motor||3 hp (gas) / 70 lb. thrust (electric)||Unknown||None|
|Outstanding Feature||Allows front angler to stand||Has zipped in air bladders and heavy-duty exterior covers to protect against punctures||High mount seat for improved visibility|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Sea Eagle 375FC Inflatable Fold Cat Fishing Boat
The 375FC provides all the major features of an inflatable fishing pontoon. It’s lightweight, easily portable, and capable of carrying two anglers. It even packs small enough to fit in the trunk of a car and includes the versatile Scotty Mount System to attach rod holders or a host of other matching accessories.
The overall design includes a patented folding system for quick take down and set up, and it comes with aluminum cross boards and underbars for superior stability.
The full-fabric floor provides additional protection and storage space while also preventing loss of dropped gear. Multiple propulsion options allow you to maneuver via rows, an electric trolling motor, or small outboard.
Length: 12 ft. 2 in.
Width: 4 ft. 6 in.
Capacity: 650 lbs. / 2 people
Motor: 3 hp (gas) / 70 lb. thrust (electric)
- Large, 2-person design
- Quick set up
- Easy storage and transportation
- Allows front angler to stand
- At 75 lbs., it can be a bit heavy for one person to get in or out of it
- Larger size makes it harder for single angler to maneuver
2. Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat with Motor Mount
This is an excellent choice for the serious angler because it includes many of the features that other manufacturers offer as add-ons.
This includes a stripping basket for fly fishermen to keep lines tidy, a fly patch to keep flies close at hand, and well-placed rod holder. Plus, there is plenty of storage for the extra gear you might need but always want at the ready.
This little pontoon is also very durable. The pontoons are a combination of 840-denier uppers and 1100-denier PVC bottoms for increased resistance against punctures.
The steel frame and cushioned seat provide additional stability and comfort on the water, and the bronze oar locks allow for strong, steady mounting of seven aluminum oars.
Length: 9 ft.
Width: 4 ft. 8 in.
Capacity: 400 lbs. / 1 person
- Extremely durable, with zipped in air bladders and heavy-duty exterior covers to protect against punctures
- Fast inflate time of less than 10 minutes
- Specifically designed for the angler, featuring fishing-related features and lots of storage
- Steel frames adds weight and make it difficult to transport in smaller vehicles
- Trolling motor mount is standard, but the company does not offer suggestions regarding the size or type of motor that should be used.
3. Skagit Inflatable Pontoon
If you are looking for a budget-friendly inflatable pontoon boat, you certainly need to consider the Skagit.
Although it has a basic, few-frills design, it still offers the features an angler needs to get on the water quickly, and it can be customized as your needs expand. An easy-to-use hand pump, stripping basket, and bronze oar locks are all included.
The attractive red/grey pontoons include a durable, abrasion-resistant PVC bottom and nylon tops, with air bladders designed to be cold and heat resistant. The heavy-duty, rear-mounted cargo basket offers plenty of storage, perfect for a tackle bag or cooler.
A high-mount, collapsible seat provides the perfect viewpoint from which to sight fish, and the dual side-mounted storage bags / arm rests allow you to keep all you gear close at hand and relax between landing monsters.
Length: 8 ft.
Width: 4 ft. 7 in.
Capacity: 350 lbs. / 1 person
- Economical, entry-level model that still includes many desirable features
- High mount seat for improved visibility
- Inflates in minutes and requires no tools to assemble or disassemble
- Two-piece aluminum oars allow easy transport but are not as durable as desired
- No motor mount available
- Plastic seat not as comfortable as others available
4. Orvis Fish Cat 10-IR Stand Up
Anglers who prefer to sight fish, especially fly anglers who need extra casting room, will enjoy this inflatable pontoon boat. The easily installed leaning post and casting deck allow users to fish from a more natural standing position, and it quickly drops back to the seat for rowing when necessary.
This pontoon is meant for larger water, and at 10 feet in length, it will allow you to go further without doubting its ability to get you home safely. The 500-PVC / 1000-PVC pontoon provides superior protection from punctures, and the 12-piece steel frame provides greater stability.
You can easily handle Class 2 waters or more depending on your own abilities. The 7-foot two-piece aluminum oars are much stronger than other two-piece oars and provide excellent maneuverability, allowing the user to turn quickly when operating in faster water.
Although there is a motor mount included to accept a small trolling motor, the manufacturer does not provide a recommendation when it comes to size or maximum thrust.
Length: 10 ft.
Width: 4 ft. 8 in.
Capacity: 450 lbs. / 1 person
Motor: Unspecified electric trolling
- Well-built, quality design intended for rougher water
- Enables standing for increased fishing opportunities and is especially well suited for sight fishing
- Orvis offers an impressive 5-year warranty
- Despite its increased size, the cockpit is surprising small and cramped for even one angler
- Available only in blue
- On the high end of the price range for an inflatable pontoon
5. Outcast Fish Cat 13 Pontoon Boat
Sometimes you want to fish alone to enjoy the solitude. Sometimes you want to take along a partner. Maybe you have a favorite fishing partner or are a guide with clients who depend on you to get them to the best spots.
Either way, a single-seat pontoon will not work, and there are limited options for multiple-passenger inflatable pontoons. Luckily, the Outcast Fish Cat 13 is not only capable of meeting your needs; it also offers all the quality and features you expect from Outcast.
Like others in the Outcast line, the Fish Cast 13 is intended for big water, including Class 2 rapids or more. At 13 feet in length and 65 inches wide, the Fish Cat 13 is not only capable of handling big water but can also handle big loads.
With a capacity of 750 pounds, it is one of the few two-person inflatable pontoons on the market. The front’s elevated seat and leaning bar provide the perfect vantage for sight fishing or casting from the standing position.
The rear seat, which sits slightly lower, provides the leverage needed to properly control a boat of this size, made even easier thanks to the 8-foot oars.
Length: 13 ft.
Width: 5 ft. 5 in.
Capacity: 750 lbs. / 2 people
Motor: Electric trolling, optional mount available
- Large capacity and twin seats allow for two passenger configurations
- Heavy-duty PVC tubes and 11-piece steel frame provide superior dependability
- Green color allows for stealthy approaches
- At 175 lbs., it is far too heavy for single-user transportation; likewise, it can be difficult to fit in a trunk
- Does not include anchor, motor mount, or pump
- High price, more than double that of smaller Fish Cat models
6. Aquos Heavy Duty Inflatable Pontoon Boat
One of the problems with many inflatable pontoon boats is the fact that they are limited by how their designers envisioned them. Seats are where they want them, storage is where they put it, and you are limited to adding accessories where and how they thought it should be. The Aquos is different in almost every respect.
The Aquos utilizes a large, open, aluminum deck design supported by 12.5-foot, heavy-duty PVC pontoons, resulting in four main chambers and two reinforcement chambers. This allows the end user to configure the boat in almost any fashion they can imagine. You can have single or double seats.
You can have a large, open deck for cargo transportation, or you can install side rails for easy, safe standing casting. Numerous accessories, including rod holders, safety rails, and even coolers, make it one of the most versatile inflatable pontoons available.
Length: 12 ft. 6 in.
Width: 4 ft. 5 in.
Capacity: 970 lbs. / 2 people
Motor: 6 hp maximum
- Large, open deck design allows for personalization by end user
- Can transport two people and more gear than any other model
- Can handle a wide range of trolling motors and a 6-hp gas motor
- 3-year “No repair, only replace” warranty
- Far less portable than other inflatable pontoons, making it difficult for a single user to load or unload from a vehicle
- Set up can take up to 30 minutes if alone
7. Wistar Inflatable Fishing Pontoon Boat 011
This is the odd duck of the inflatable pontoon boat world, but make no mistake: it is a pontoon—just a bit smaller than you may be accustomed to. Of course, an angler looking to take it where others will not go will find this a plus rather than a negative.
At just under 5 feet in length, this is almost half the size of the average inflatable pontoon. However, the small size does not mean it is any less capable of giving you a great fishing adventure. While not suited for heavy water, this is the perfect craft for accessing those hidden spots where big fish lurk.
Don’t worry about the construction being less than desired either; the 600-denier pontoons and steel-tube frame will provide many seasons of dependable service.
Length: 4 ft. 9 in.
Width: 4 ft.
Capacity: 350 lbs. / 1 person
Motor: None, only manual power recommended
- Compact design makes it perfect for accessing those areas other boats simply cannot fit into
- Small size makes it the easiest to transport, even in the trunk of a small car. Easily handled by a single user
- Offers many features found on larger models including storage, heavy-duty pontoons, and a steel-tube frame
- Not suitable for large, fast moving water
- No motor mount available
- Cost is not in line with size; some larger models are actually cheaper
Why You Should Consider an Inflatable Pontoon Boat for Fishing
There is no doubt that paddle crafts have been embraced by both the recreational fishing and boating communities.
There is good reason for this new love for paddle-powered boats—they are (usually) cheaper to purchase and operate than traditional boats, offer the ability to access a wide variety of waters, and generally are easier to transport. But the inflatable pontoon takes these qualities a step further.
By selecting an inflatable pontoon boat as your next fishing vessel, you get all the benefits of the canoe or kayak but amplified. All three are compact and easy to transport, but the inflatable pontoon can often be deflated, rolled or stuffed into transport bag, and placed in the trunk of even a compact vehicle.
Although larger models may be a bit to large for the trunk, none require the use of a trailer.
How to Choose A Inflatable Pontoon Boat
Selecting the right inflatable pontoon means selecting the right one for YOU. You need to consider not only the quality of the pontoon, ease of use, and construction but also how, when, and where you will use it.
Of course, most of us also need to take into account purchase price, but you also need to remember the added cost of any necessary accessories.
Generally, you want to select a design with high-quality pontoon material if it will be used in rough or rocky water where punctures are likely.
You also should select a model with multiple air chambers since this will allow you to reach shore safely should a puncture occur. Wider, longer models will provide greater stability and capacity.
It’s really not different than selecting the right boat of any other design. The key is to familiarize yourself with the different models available and learn which is best for your personal needs.
Set-Up, Transportation, and Storage
Most inflatable pontoons are designed to be set up, torn down, transported, and stored with ease. When needed, you simply remove the deflated boat from the storage bag, insert floor panels (if so equipped), inflate to the recommended PSI, and hit the water. Reverse the process when done, and you’ll be ready to go home.
Depending on the size, and whether or not your boat includes a steel or aluminum frame, you may be able to roll and store it in a closet or corner of the garage. If you have a model with a metal frame, the complexity of transportation and storage will depend on how small the frame can become.
Ease of Use
The inflatable pontoon is one of the most versatile boat designs, especially when it comes to ease of use and configuration options. Most models are single-user designs and are operated via a pair of paddles.
Some can accommodate an electric trolling motor, or in rare cases, a small gasoline outboard. Be sure to check the specifications for your boat before deciding to mount a motor on any pontoon.
Once on the water, the size makes maneuvering quite easy, once you get the hang of paddling, although most models are limited to waters that are usually calm. Some models are rated to Class 2 rapids and have designs that generally include thicker hull material and even added features to increase stability.
Almost every inflatable on the market will be constructed of a combination of PVC or nylon, with thicker material being better for rough use. Frames are constructed of either steel or aluminum tubing, which affects overall weight.
Pontoon end caps, covers, or multiple air bladders are additional features that will increase overall durability.
Weight can be a major consideration when purchasing, especially if you plan on using the pontoon on solo adventures. Larger designs allow users to venture onto open and even rough water with added comfort.
However, this does come at a cost of increased weight. This can make it more difficult for solo users to manhandle a boat even when deflated. It can also make harder to transport in a smaller car. You need to balance overall weight with your ability to transport or store.
Most inflatable pontoon boats, including those reviewed above, measure between 8 and 13 feet in length and 48 and 56 inches in width. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the proper size of an inflatable pontoon boat.
The Wistar is under 5 feet, while the Outcast 13 is almost three times that. There is not a perfect size for every user; you’ll need to find what works best for you.
Accessories and Fishing Capabilities
Often what separates one model from another are the accessories that are available. Fishing rod holders, storage compartments, wire bins for tackle boxes or coolers, and line baskets are all features anglers look for and are likely to make a model stand out.
Even if they are not standard on a particular boat and are something you can do without at the time of purchase, it likely you will want the ability to add at least some accessories later.
It is also important that you select a model that allows you to (re)move or replace accessories, as this will allow you to customize the layout for different seasons, species, or types of fishing.
You might also be interested in other types of inflatable boats: