Best Boat Covers: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

There are plenty of optional accessories you can pick out to protect your boat, but a boat cover isn’t one of them. From freezing temperatures to hot and humid days, your boat goes through a lot, but a cover can protect your investment from poor weather conditions. In fact, finding the right cover can mean adding years onto the lifespan of your boat. 

Unfortunately, sifting through the infinite number of options is far from easy. There’s a lot to consider, but we’ve done our best to make the buying process easier by reviewing the best boat covers for you. 

How Important is a Boat Cover? 

It’s a common misconception that you don’t need a boat cover—especially if you’re storing your boat under a carport or in a garage. While storing your boat under a carport or indoors is better than exposing it to the elements, you shouldn’t count out buying a cover quite yet. 

Unless your garage is also climate-controlled and sparkling clean, cold air, dirt, and dust can still come in contact with your boat. Over time, you might still find mold or other signs of age if you leave the boat uncovered. For this reason, most boaters opt to purchase a cover and avoid dealing with costly damage down the line. 

How Tight Should I Cover My Boat? 

There’s a little bit of controversy over how tight you should cover your boat. While some owners preach that you should keep the cover as tight as possible, this is a misconception. One boat owner learned this lesson the hard way and wound up with mold and mushrooms growing inside his pride and joy. 

Most of the time, you’ll want to make sure the cover fits snugly, but you still want to leave enough room for air to enter and circulate. 

Custom Boat Covers vs. Universal Boat Covers

There are generally two types of different boat covers to pick from: custom and universal. While manufacturers make custom covers specifically for your boat model and year, a universal cover fits a wide variety of different boats. 

Keep in mind that not every universal cover will work for your boat. Unless it’s the right size and fits snugly, the cover could end up being worthless. 

Most of the time, a custom or semi-custom cover is the better choice since you can find one specifically for your boat’s model and year. Depending on the type of boat you have, it can be difficult to find a custom cover for some older or vintage models. 

A universal boat cover is generally more affordable and can still work well, but keep in mind that not every universal cover works for mooring, long-term storage, or travel. Some covers might only be “travel covers,” while others probably wouldn’t do well on the road. The best boat covers are usually the ones that can handle multiple functions without tearing or wearing down. 

Best Boat Covers Under $150 

There’s a lot of choices out there, but we’ve highlighted these picks under $150. 

iCOVER Waterproof Trailerable Boat Cover

With marine-grade polyester that’s both waterproof and tear-resistant, it’s safe to say that the iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover can go a long way towards protecting your vessel. Since the build-up of moisture can be a concern, this cover does use rear air vents to prevent too much condensation from collecting. 

Since it’s also tear-resistant, you shouldn’t need to worry as much about the cover tearing when you travel at high speeds or on the highway. 

The cover is available in a couple of different sizes, but this particular version cat fit center console boats that are 17-19 feet long. As the extra roomy cut, it works well with boats that are a little wider than usual.

The manufacturer does include a sizing chart, and it’s always a good idea to double-check that you’ve got the right size before you buy. However, if you do end up with the wrong size, there is a refund policy you can take advantage of. 

Pros: 

  • Allows air to circulate
  • Waterproof
  • Tear-resistant
  • Marine-grade material 
  • Adjustable straps allow you to tighten and loosen as needed 

Cons: 

  • Won’t fit boats with towers
  • The extra roomy cover might be too big for some thinner boats

Anglink Waterproof Boat Cover

The Anglink Waterproof Boat Cover offers a lot of perks, but durability is their primary focus. With marine-grade polyester canvas, this water-resistant material can resist tearing. You might even find that the lifespan of this product outlasts similar choices. 

Along with protecting your boat from common concerns like rain, snow, or hail, the material also works to keep dust, sun, or even potential damage from high winds away. Speaking of wind, the straps on this cover lock in place so that you don’t have to worry about the cover blowing away during a storm. 

Pros: 

  • Waterproof and tear-resistant
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Straps lock in place 
  • The material helps protect from sun and dust
  • Includes a mesh storage bag with purchase

Cons: 

  • Might not be the best choice for traveling with your boat
  • Might not protect from heavy loads of snow 

Best Boat Covers Under $250 

Under $250, this is what you can find: 

Classic Accessories StormPro Heavy-Duty Boat Cover

If you’ve got a center console boat that doesn’t include a tower or roof, the Classic Accessories StormPro Heavy-Duty Boat Cover might be the right choice. Unlike some covers, which can blow away or begin to tear when you haul them on the highway, traveling shouldn’t be a problem with this product. 

You can easily secure it with the integrated buckle and lock system, but when it’s time to take the boat out on the lake, you can store the cover in the included sack bag. If you notice a defect within the product during the first five years that you have it, it’s worth noting that the manufacturer does offer a five-year limited warranty. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to travel with 
  • Includes a support pole and storage bag
  • Comes with a five-year limited warranty
  • Might work better for long-term storage
  • Durable polyester material

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit boats that have roofs
  • The cover might fade after long-term sun exposure
  • Included support pole might not be as durable

Vortex New Grey Pontoon/Deck Boat Cover

Versatile boat covers can be difficult to come by, but the design of the Vortex New Grey Pontoon/Deck Boat Cover means that it should work well for trailering, long-term storage, or even mooring. 

While it probably won’t work great for V-hull or center console boats, this could be the perfect choice for owners of larger pontoon and deck boats. You can use the elastic straps that come with the cover to make sure you get the right fit as well. 

Pros: 

  • Versatile 
  • Includes elastic straps for a better fit
  • Comes with a five-year warranty
  • Durable 
  • Uses marine-grade canvas 

Cons:

  • Not as tear-resistant as some options
  • Not as lightweight
  • Straps might be too short

Best Boat Covers in Class

When it comes to picking out the best in class, we’ve got to go with this one: 

MSC Heavy Duty Marine Grade Boat Cover

Not all covers can handle extreme weather conditions, but the MSC Heavy-Duty Marine Grade Boat Cover comes with a double PU coating for even more protection. Fading and sun exposure is usually a concern for anyone who lives in a warmer climate, but you might find that this cover doesn’t fade as much as a lot of other picks. 

This cover also tends to be versatile. Regardless of whether or not you need to store your boat for months, hitch it up to a trailer for highway travel, or park it in a dock, this cover should work well for every function. 

Keep in mind that the manufacturer does include a 2-year warranty with your purchase. If you notice any defects in the product during that time frame, you might be eligible for a replacement. 

Pros: 

  • Versatile and great for traveling
  • Doesn’t fade as much with sun exposure
  • Uses a double PU coating
  • Includes a storage bag
  • Comes with adjustable straps for a better fit 

Cons:

  • Straps might not hold up as well over time
  • Not as lightweight as some options
  • Might not circulate air as well

Conclusion

We’d stand behind every one of these recommendations, but when it comes down to picking out the best of the best, the clear winner of this round-up is the iCOVER Waterproof Trailerable Cover. This product comes with the best of both worlds—not only does it protect from condensation and moisture collection during storage, but you can also take it on the road with minimal issues. 

Even if you don’t think that it’s the right choice, don’t forget that there are still four other of the best boat covers to pick from.