Best Pontoon Boat Brands

Best Pontoon Boat Brands | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

May 5, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Pontoon boats can last up to two decades depending on proper care and build
  • The best boat size is between 20 and 24 feet to handle multiple guests and safe cruising
  • Barletta and Premier Marine Pontoons are a few popular brands to consider
  • Pontoons can have various intended usage such as cruising or sporting activities
  • Pontoons are commonly for fishing and might come with fishing chairs or rod holders

There are plenty of quality pontoon boats are on the water for boaters to enjoy. But what are the best pontoon boat brands?

The best pontoon boat brands are Barletta, Harris Boats, Lowe Boats, and Premier Marine Pontoons. Each pontoon boat brand will have differences in performance, price, and intended usage. Your adventures on the water will likely change your opinion to which pontoon boat is the best.

Judging from my experience, you want a pontoon boat that is reliable on the water for fishing trips and other activities. You also do not want to pay an arm and leg to have quality time enjoying those activities.


Table of contents

The 10 Best Pontoon Boat Brands to Consider

Multiple pontoon boat brands are available nowadays that indicate the significant progress that this type of boat has made in recent decades. They were once underestimated and not as versatile as they are now but technological advancements have resulted in the availability of high-quality pontoon boats.

The best pontoon boats will vary based on cost and performance. The intended use of the boat also plays a role. The following list highlights some of the best and most notable pontoon brands available.


Barletta is an Indiana-based manufacturer that is renowned for crafting premium sport and luxury pontoons. Their high-end Corso and Cabrio lineup are celebrated for their deluxe features and performance. They are a highly respected within the luxury pontoon market.


  • A popular among pontoon boat brands
  • Great layout options
  • Easy to find one based on budget


  • Many options can be overwhelming to choose from


Harris stands out as one of the most prestigious pontoon boat manufacturers from Indiana that proudly claims its position as one of America's longest-standing companies since 1956. They started with basic pontoon boats and then swiftly emerged as an industry frontrunner by introducing groundbreaking innovations.

Harris seamlessly blends luxury with functional excellence while guaranteeing an unparalleled pontoon experience. They also boast an impressive lineup featuring luxurious models such as Crowne and Cruiser.


  • These pontoon boats are appealing to the eye
  • Great for any outing on the water
  • Plenty of room to move around


  • Engine can be loud at times

Lowe Boats

Lowe was founded in Missouri in 1971 and has become a prominent boat manufacturer known for their influential pontoon innovations. The Lowe SF 212 stands out as one of the limited choices for mid-sized pontoons today and has an abundance of comfort and convenience features that rival luxury cruisers.

Lowe cleverly delivers all the desired features of a larger boat within a more affordable space and price range. This allows them to surpass competitors in the mid-size pontoon category and securing the top spot in many rankings.


  • They make a perfect mid-sized pontoon boat
  • They offer a limited lifetime warranty
  • Comfy seating arrangements


  • Hard to find a good way to avoid engine noise

Premier Marine

Premier has over three decades of experience in the pontoon boating industry. They have dominated the pontoon boat market with their exclusive ownership of the highly coveted domain and simply easy to remember diverse lineup is composed of quality models such as Sunsation and Intrigue. These cater to a wide range of boating needs from leisurely pursuits to opulent luxury.


  • Make a wide range of pontoon boats to compliment any water activity
  • Comfortable ride and enough space to entertain guests
  • One of the best luxury pontoon boats you can find


  • Might be more expensive than other pontoon boat manufacturers

Princecraft Pontoon Boats

Princecraft pontoon boats were founded in 1954 and was initially focused on manufacturing aluminum boats. This Canadian company began expanding into pontoons in 1985. They now offer a wide selection of pontoons and even an electric model.

Princecraft's electric pontoons provide a solution. The Brio Electric line has been revamped recently. Instead of noisy and polluting gas-powered engines the Brio incorporates a Torqueedo electric engine.


  • Various range of pontoon boats including an electric model
  • Arguably one of the more popular pontoon boat brands
  • PLenty of deck space for a luxury pontoon boat


  • Electric pontoon boats might not be desirable for some boaters


Godfrey pontoon boats is headquartered in Indiana and they boast a six-decade-long legacy of boat manufacturing. Their focus lies in crafting practical and straightforward vessels that distinguish themselves from luxury competitors.

Godfrey offers premium models but they also have purposefully diversified their lineup. These feature boater’s favorites such as the esteemed Sanpan and Sweetwater boats.


  • High quality pontoon boat brand
  • Offers great products that are built to last
  • Has affordable options


  • Might take a while to receive ordered parts from them if needing to service boat


Manitou pontoon boats are a Michigan-based company that has been dedicated to crafting versatile pontoons that are suitable for various activities such as water sports and leisure cruising. They offer a wide price range that allows them to cater to both luxury seekers and those looking for straightforward boats to go fishing.

Their pontoon boats are perfect for beginners and families. Other models available that are for more experienced boaters are XT and Cruise.


  • Offers luxury pontoon boats at a great value
  • Some models come with technological interfaces to monitor engine data and performance
  • Appealing boat designs


  • Older models might be ideal if you are wanting a simple pontoon boat


Sea-Doo is popular pontoon boat offering that showcases a unique model known as the Sea-Doo Switch. This is a groundbreaking pontoon boat that showcases their expertise in jet propulsion technology.

Their prices surpass traditional models and their features and modular floor plan allow for customizable additions. Their boats offer ample power for water sports and has proven to be ideal for fishing while having a quiet operation.


  • Offers jet propulsion pontboats
  • Great price depending on your needs
  • Has pontoon boats that offer a spacious deck


  • Some models do not have a side gate and it makes boarding difficult

Sun Tracker

Sun Tracker has developed unique pontoon boats that are geared towards fishing and water sports. With their Sun Tracker Bass Buggy they able to meet this growing demand of boaters.

Boaters that prioritize fishing will fall in love with Sun Tracker pontoon boats due to their performance and ease of fishing off of. They also happen to be reasonably priced and are more affordable than other luxury boat manufacturers.


  • Excellent for fishing and water sports
  • Plenty of storage and room for guests
  • Affordable prices on various models


  • Not designed to handle rough waters or weather environments

Bennington Marine

Bennington surpasses expectations with exceptional pontoons and offers a premium feel while outperforming higher-priced models. It secures the top position for affordable pontoons with its undeniable superiority.

With impeccable craftsmanship and design their SV line for example excels in pricing and has gained widespread popularity among boaters. Bennington provides unparalleled versatility to meet all your needs and claims a dominant popularity for the best pontoon boat.


  • Great value compared to the price
  • Comfortable ride with plenty of options to choose
  • Some are equipped with a stainless steel boarding ladder


  • Engine can be loud and is not meant for speed

How to Find the Best Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boat manufacturers are all competing to earn your business. As a first-time pontoon buyer you may feel overwhelmed by the numerous options available to try and find the best pontoon.

This should not be a stressful situation so keep in mind that any choice you make will likely fulfill your specific requirements. Here are some key factors to consider prior to purchasing your pontoon.

Size of Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats come in different sizes for various reasons. Depending on the craft size will likely relate to your needs. You can get a good idea for the amount of space you need here:

  • 20 feet - up to six people and meant for calm waters
  • 24 feet - up to 10 people and moderate amount of waves
  • Over 24 feet - definitely more than 10 people (likely party boats) and best for rougher waters

Styles of Pontoon Boats

Not every pontoon boat is created with the same intended use. Some are geared for fishing while others are meant for a calm cruise.

  • Fishing - For optimal fishing usage you should choose a specialized boat model equipped with ample storage and convenient consoles featuring mounted rod and drink holders.
  • Cruising - These pontoon models have an array of comfort-enhancing features like sinks and grills with more that ensure an unmatched on-water experience.
  • Lounging - Theses are meant for boaters that enjoy visiting beautiful locations and swimming in the water. They typically have slides and places to lounge. They also typically have ladders for easy access in and out of the water.
  • Water sports - These boats are great for various water activities such as tubing and wakeboarding. You should aim for a boat equipped with a minimum 90 horsepower motor that enables sufficient speed for effective water propulsion.
  • Inflatable - Theses are perfect for avid anglers and waterway explorers that consider themselves outdoor enthusiasts. Inflatable models combine durability and portability while also boasting affordability. This makes them an excellent choice for leisurely rides accommodating up to two occupants.

Reputable Brands

Choosing the right pontoon brand is crucial. You should research manufacturers that prioritize performance and quality.

Even if you believe you have found the best pontoon boat you should still conduct a fair amount of research to make sure they are reputable. Stick to those in the pontoon industry since 2000 to ensure adherence to high standards and US Coast Guard safety requirements.


In addition to brand preference it is crucial to assess the pontoon craftsmanship. Inspect the welding and brackets as well as the engine for any patching or harm. It might be ideal to have a second opinion from an authorized individual.

You also need to evaluate if the decks and rails were bolted or screwed in. Bolting is preferable due to its low maintenance requirements.


If you are searching for a pontoon boat then you have likely narrowed down a handful of options based on budget. You will need to figure out what dollar amount you are comfortable paying.


You want a pontoon boat that is easy to handle and is safe on the water. Most pontoon boats come with a safety switch too.

The pontoon boat emergency stop switch is located by the steering wheel and is a crucial safety feature that allows the boat to swiftly shut down the engine during emergencies to prevent accidents and injuries on the water. Multiple life jackets and being able to properly store them also contribute significantly to passenger safety and accident prevention which make them essential when choosing the right boat.

Lifespan and Maintenance

Pontoon boats are famous for their popularity among water enthusiasts who enjoy spending time with loved ones. Their remarkable durability and longevity make them highly favored with some owners cherishing their boats for two decades.

The lifespan of a pontoon boat varies based on construction materials that have high-quality substances leading to longer-lasting boats compared to inferior ones. Maintenance also plays a role in pontoon boat longevity. If you can provide regular care that includes cleanliness and necessary repairs then this will help extend its life.

Usage conditions are another important factor. Pontoon boats exposed to harsh environments like saltwater or strong currents tend to have shorter lifespans than those in protected waters.

While some pontoon boat owners have seen their boats last over two decades with proper maintenance and care it is important to recognize that multiple factors can influence a pontoon boat lifespan. So not all boats will endure as long as others.

Why You Need a Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are a useful boating design that allows you to enjoy activities on the water. There are various types that affect your situation and some will enhance your experience.

There are plenty of pros that outweigh the cons. You will need to narrow down what your goals are for pontoon boating and see how it can apply to your situation.

Meant for Family

Pontoon boats offer ample space and comfort for families that help ensure the safety for children with built-in doors or gates at all access points to prevent accidents.

Plenty of Storage

A pontoon offers the freedom to bring more belongings on the water without any concerns of clutter ample room for passengers and abundant storage space. You can also safely store all the safety equipment you need with ease.

Various Uses

Pontoons can handle a variety of activities on the water. There is a pontoon designed for any specific use you have in mind. The only drawback for this would likely be speed if you are wanting to go fast on the water.


Pontoon boats boast exceptional durability and typically demand manageable self-maintenance. This renders them cost-effective in the long term and particularly with proper care.


These boats are easy to use and operate. This is much easier than other complicated boats that require skill to operate. Maintenance is often easier too and you can likely handle it yourself.


Pontoon boats are known for their exceptional stability and are among the safest vessels available. They are often likened to sailing catamarans due to their comparable designs and pontoons greatly reduce the risk of tipping or capsizing.

They handle great in most waters but are not meant for rough waters. They also do not turn as easily or sharp as other V-shaped hulls.

Best Pontoon Boat Brands
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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