Top 5 Pontoon Boats (Best Brands & Options)

Top 5 Pontoon Boats (Best Brands & Options) | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

December 23, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • The top 5 pontoon boats include the Bennington S21 L Bench, Manitou Cruise, Barletta Lusso, Premier 270 Intrigue, and the Tahoe 25 Grand Tahoe.
  • The best pontoon boat brands are Barletta, Manitou, Bennington, Premier, Avalon & Tahoe, and Godfrey.
  • The average lifespan of a pontoon boat is between 10-20 years, depending on how it’s used and whether it gets properly maintained.
  • The recommended pontoon boat size for most people is between 20-24 feet because this holds enough people without breaking the bank.

One way to enjoy the weekend is out on the water with a pontoon boat. This is why we have reviewed the top 5 options and the top-rated brands.

The best pontoon boats are the Bennington S21 L Bench, Manitou Cruise, Barletta Lusso, Premier 270 Intrigue, and the Tahoe 25 Grand Tahoe. The best pontoon boat brands are Barletta, Manitou, Bennington, Premier, Avalon & Tahoe, and Godfrey.

Pontoon boats are a popular option for water sports enthusiasts. They are also great for fishing, family trips, and boating expeditions, so we have tested and reviewed the top five pontoon boats and the best brands so interested buyers can find the best boat for their needs.


Table of contents

Top 5 Pontoon Boats (Best Brands & Options)

Pontoon boats are known for their large, open decks, which provide plenty of space for passengers and equipment. This makes them ideal for families, groups of friends, or anyone who wants a comfortable and relaxing day on the water.

There are many different brands and models to choose from when shopping for pontoon boats. The ease of handling and the total weight capacity usually determine the best brands.

Buyers should also consider how much storage space they will need on the pontoon boat and whether they want an open or closed deck. It’s easier to filter the top boats based on budget and brand.

We have done both of these things, and below are the top five pontoon boats worth considering. We also explain more about the best brands and other critical factors to keep in mind.

1. Bennington S21 L Bench

The Bennington S21 L Bench pontoon boat is designed with comfort, style, and performance in mind. It comes equipped with a depth finder, live well, and a bimini top that provides shade for us to enjoy our ride even more.

We can also enjoy fishing on this boat because it has rod holders to store the catch while we are out on the water. It has many features that stand out from the other boats in this category.

This is an outboard engine boat with one 21-gallon capacity fuel tank. It measures 20 feet 4 inches long, has an overall length of 20 feet 11 inches, and a dry weight of 2,031 pounds.

There are dozens of floor plans under the S Series line of pontoon boats, but we prefer this layout because it has more open space, comfortable seating, and solid capacity for passengers on board.

It also has ample storage space for all our gear, which makes it great for fishing or leisure activities. This includes a sun pad with a storage area too.

2. Manitou Cruise

The Manitou Cruise pontoon boat line is an excellent option for fishing, water skiing, and cruising. It has various floor plans with different sizes and capacities, with the largest model holding up to 13 people.

This makes it lightweight enough to be transported on a trailer or truck bed. It also has a maximum weight capacity of 1,000 pounds, so we can bring up to 13 people on board without worrying about the boat tipping over.

This boat has two motors with three speeds each and can be operated by remote control. The deck is made from aluminum, so it is lightweight and resistant to corrosion from saltwater.

The seats are all adjustable, so we can find the perfect position for our favorite activities or passengers. Every Manitou Cruise model has a 150 maximum horsepower rating with a V-toon hull, extended bench, and port area.

This is a premium pontoon with LinQ accessories and a twin tube option available. Between this and the MAX Deck and Rotax outboard engine, it’s hard to find a much more efficient pontoon boat.

3. Barletta Lusso

The Barletta Lusso has several features worth considering as one of the best pontoon boats available today, such as its quality construction, durability, and affordability.

It has everything we need to have an enjoyable time out on the water, including an audio system, comfortable seating, and plenty of storage space. It also has a sleek design that will make it look great as it sits in our driveway or at the dock by our home.

This boat is available in various floor plans, including:

  • Quad-Lounge models
  • Ultra-Lounge models
  • Ultra-Entertainer models
  • Meridian-Lounge models

The best option ultimately depends on the boat size and budget of the person looking to make the purchase. Each boat has a durable frame and innovative I-beam cross members, so the heavy build remains stable on the water.

The general size of this boat is an 8-foot 6-inch beam, 25-foot 6-inch deck length, and a weight of 3,133 pounds. This includes an 11-passenger capacity with a maximum horsepower of 150.

4. Premier 270 Intrigue

The Premier 270 Intrigue is one of the best overall pontoon boats available. It has a great design, with a spacious and luxurious cabin. The boat measures 27 feet long too.

This boat has an impressive list of features that make it stand out from the competition. For example, the deep-V hull design provides excellent stability on the water and makes it easy to handle in windy conditions.

The Intrigue also features an aft sun deck with a built-in table, four fishing seats, and two foldable fishing chairs. It also has a full-length Bimini top, full enclosure, and cockpit cover with ample storage compartments on both sides.

This boat is exceptionally high quality and one of the premium pontoon boats available today. It weighs a hefty 3,525 pounds with a 47-gallon fuel tank and includes features like toe kick lights, rail lights, and a slim table.

Lastly, we can’t discuss this boat without mentioning the cognac upholstery and mahogany teak flooring. This boat's interior design is unwatched and provides an aesthetic unlike any other.

5. Tahoe 25 Grand Tahoe

The Tahoe 25 Grand Tahoe is a pontoon boat designed to be the best in its class. It offers the perfect balance of performance and luxury. This boat is made for those who want to have a great time on the water and do so in style.

This is a 25-foot-long pontoon, but it’s also available in a 27-foot floor plan. It has a large cockpit and ample storage space for our gear to ensure we have everything we need to enjoy the day on the water.

This boat is perfect for families, groups, or fishing trips, with up to 14 people sitting comfortably on it. It also comes with many features that make it stand out from its competitors, such as an inflatable swim platform which makes getting on or off the boat easier than ever before.

This is also one of the most powerful pontoons, providing a maximum horsepower of up to 350. This includes a maximum weight capacity of 2,900 pounds and a maximum guest weight capacity of 1,950 pounds.

What To Look For When Finding The Top Pontoon Boats

Some of the most important factors to consider when looking for top pontoon boats include the size and capacity of the boat, the type and quality of the construction materials, the design and layout of the boat, and the available features and amenities.

Additionally, it's essential to consider the reputation and customer service of the manufacturer, as well as the price and value for money. We will explain these factors in detail below.

Boat Size & Passenger Capacity

A pontoon boat's size and passenger capacity are essential factors to consider when choosing a boat. A larger boat may be more stable and provide more space for passengers and gear, but it may also be more challenging to maneuver and require a larger engine to power it.

The passenger capacity will determine how many people the boat can safely carry, and it's important to choose a boat that can accommodate the number of people who will be using it.

It's also important to ensure that the boat is not overcrowded, as this can be dangerous and cause the boat to capsize.


The construction and materials used in pontoon boat design are important factors to consider when purchasing one. The suitable materials and construction techniques can ensure that the boat is strong, durable, and safe to use on the water.

We prefer pontoons made with polyurethane. The deck of a pontoon boat is also a vital element of the boat's construction.

The deck provides a platform for passengers and equipment and must be strong enough to support their weight. All of these factors will determine how well the boat handles and the expected durability too.

Boat Layout

A pontoon boat's layout and floor plan are essential for several reasons. First and foremost, it affects the boat's overall level of comfort and usability.

A well-designed layout and floor plan will provide ample seating and storage space and easy access to the boat's various amenities and features.

A pontoon boat's layout and floor plan can impact the boat's performance and handling. A boat with a well-designed layout and floor plan will be more stable on the water and easier to maneuver, which is vital for safety and enjoyment.

Safety Features

The emergency stop switch is one of a pontoon boat's most critical safety features. This switch, typically located near the steering wheel, allows the operator to quickly and easily shut off the boat's engine in an emergency.

This can be crucial in preventing accidents or injuries on the water. Another important safety feature on pontoon boats is the presence of multiple life jackets.

These safety features are critical when finding the right boat. It will keep passengers safe while preventing accidents on the water.

What Are The Best Pontoon Boat Brands?

There are tons of unique boats out there, and typically all the best come from a select few brands. Here are some pontoon boat brands to consider when purchasing one.


The Barletta brand is a top-rated pontoon manufacturer that has been around since the 1960s. It has more than 50 years of experience and is still going strong.

Barletta pontoon boats are made from lightweight aluminum, making them easy to transport and store. They are durable and have a long lifespan, so we can get a lot of use out of them before buying another boat.


Manitou pontoon boats are some of the best and most reliable options available. They have a full range of boats available, including smaller personal watercraft to high-performance sports boats.

The most notable thing about Manitou is the full customization capabilities customers are given when buying a new boat. Every detail can be adjusted and tailored to their unique tastes to build the perfect boat.


Bennington pontoon boats are designed for recreational boaters who want to spend time on the water with family and friends. They are built to provide a stable and comfortable ride, excellent handling, and great fishing features.

This is known in the industry as one of the premium pontoon boat options available. The Bennington brand is most known for its products' high-quality construction, durability, and longevity.


Premier Pontoon Boats is a well-known brand in the industry. They have a wide range of models that are designed to suit every need and budget, all ranking near the top.

The company offers pontoon boats with different capacities, so we can choose one that fits our needs best. Besides, they come with various features, such as stainless steel hardware and marine-grade vinyl flooring.

Avalon & Tahoe

Avalon & Tahoe has a long history of producing quality boats. Avalon boats are known for their reliability, comfort, and durability.

They produce various products such as fishing boats, cruisers, and pontoons. Avalon's pontoons are designed to be used in freshwater lakes and rivers, but they can also be used in saltwater oceans with some limitations.

These boats come with standard features such as fishing rod holders, cup holders, stereo systems, and bimini tops to provide shade from the sun.


Godfrey pontoon boats have some great features. Today, this is one of the most reliable, dependable, and high-performing pontoon brands.

The Streetwater Series consistently ranks as their best-selling pontoon boat, and we love the interior size and various floor plans. They are also extremely affordable compared to some of the other premium options.

What Sized Pontoon Boat Is Best?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what size pontoon boat is best, as the ideal size will depend on various factors. But not all sizes work best. In fact, there are many different sizes and types of pontoon boats available for purchase.

These can include the number of people who will typically be on board, the type of activities the boat will be used for, and the amount of storage space needed for gear and supplies.

In general, however, a pontoon boat with a length of 20-24 feet is a good size for most small families or groups of friends.

This size is typically large enough to accommodate 6-8 people comfortably and offers enough space for gear and supplies without being too unwieldy to handle.

These boats are usually long and narrow, with a flat bottom and an open deck with seats. The friendly layout makes them ideal for hosting larger gatherings on the water.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Pontoon Boat?

Pontoon boats are popular for those looking to enjoy time on the water with friends and family. These boats are known for their durability and longevity, with many pontoon boat owners enjoying their vessels for up to 20 years.

The lifespan of a pontoon boat can vary depending on several factors. The materials used in its construction play a role, with pontoon boats made from high-quality materials generally lasting longer than those made from lower-quality materials.

In addition, the level of maintenance a pontoon boat receives can also affect its lifespan.

Regular maintenance, such as keeping the boat clean and performing necessary repairs, can help extend the life of a pontoon boat.

Another factor that can impact the lifespan of a pontoon boat is the conditions in which it is used. Pontoon boats used in harsh environments, such as salt water or areas with strong currents, may last less time than those used in more protected waters.

Some pontoon boat owners have reported their boats lasting for over 20 years, with proper maintenance and care.

It's important to note, however, that the lifespan of a pontoon boat can be affected by many factors, and some pontoon boats may not last as long as others.

Top 5 Pontoon Boats (Best Brands & Options)
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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