Best Inflatable Fishing Boats: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

As a hobby, fishing doesn’t require a lot of gear to get results. As long as you’ve got a body of water, a fishing pole, and a boat, you should be good to go. There are a lot of different types of boats out there, but one underrated type that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves is the inflatable fishing boat.

This affordable watercraft can save you thousands of dollars, and there are plenty of high-quality options out there that could last you years. Unfortunately, picking out the best from the worst isn’t always easy. The good news is that we’ve put together a handy buying guide of the best inflatable fishing boat choices.

Why Buy an Inflatable Fishing Boat?

With so many options out there, some people might question why they should opt for an inflatable fishing boat over other choices.

Portability

Taking a traditional boat, even if it’s a tiny rowboat, out on the water usually requires towing it behind a large vehicle. That can be a lot of trouble to go to, especially if you fish frequently.

One of the major advantages that inflatable boats offer is the ease of transportation. Instead of hitching them up to the back of your truck, you can store the inflatable boat inside of a case or backpack until you’re ready to pull it out and inflate it.

The only potential downside to inflatable boats being so portable is that they can take several minutes to inflate. Many of them already come with hand pumps, but if you want to get in the water even faster, you can purchase an electric pump separately.

Affordability

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that one of the biggest draws to inflatable fishing boats is their affordable price-tags. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on a traditional boat, an inflatable fishing boat might only run you a couple hundred.

This is especially appealing if you don’t fish a lot, and you’re only looking to find something for a specific vacation or trip.

Easier to Store

As portable as they are to transport to the lake, inflatable fishing boats are even easier to store. Some smaller boats and fishing tubes might fit inside a backpack that you can stick inside the house. Not everyone has a garage or the room inside of one to stick a traditional boat.

Factors to Take Into Consideration Before You Buy

Before you buy anything, try considering these key factors and how they could potentially affect your life.

Size and Capacity

The size of an inflatable boat can vary. While some boats are small enough to only hold one or two people, others have the capacity to hold up to six people at once. Depending on how many people you plan to put in your boat, it could affect which options work best for you.

If the inflatable boat is primarily for solo use, there’s almost no reason to purchase a large inflatable pontoon boat. However, if you know you’re going to need to store multiple people, you should pay close attention to the capacity. Most inflatable boats will tell you how many people it can hold as well as if there are any weight restrictions.

Materials

The construction of your boat matters more than you might think. Inflatable boats used to be nothing more than rubber, but newer models now use a soft PVC variant and durable vinyl. These synthetic materials are less likely to tear or gain puncture wounds, but they’re as waterproof as ever.

Most of the inflatable boats currently on the market use some variation of PVC or vinyl, but you might still run into the odd rubber fishing tube.

Best Inflatable Fishing Boats Under $250

These choices are what we recommend under the $250 mark:

Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube 

A lot of inflatable fishing boats hold multiple people, but you might not always need all that space. If you’re looking to head out on a solo trip, a boat that can hold up to five might just get in the way.

Luckily, the Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube only holds one person at a time and doesn’t give you any more space than you need. There are two fishing rod holders, as well as a padded seat with an adjustable backrest.

When you’ve finished using the float tube, all you need to do is deflate it and fold it back up into an easy-to-carry backpack.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-carry
  • Inflates/deflates easily
  • Great for solo fishing trips
  • Includes two rod holders
  • Adjustable backrest

Cons:

  • Won’t work if you plan to take multiple people out
  • Not as durable as some other options

Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable Boat

One major problem that a lot of people run into with inflatable boats is a lack of space. A lot of choices can only carry two or three people, but if you’re trying to take the entire family out on a fishing trip, that can be a problem. Fortunately, the Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable holds up to six people at once, and might just come with all the extra room you need for a successful fishing trip.

You’ll find that there are two fishing rod holders for you to store your gear, but multiple drink holders to take advantage of as you move around the boat. Another added perk is that this boat uses durable vinyl and welded seams that help it resist tearing.

Pros:

  • Holds multiple people at once
  • Includes storage for fishing gear and drinks
  • Durable vinyl
  • Welded seams
  • Extra roomy

Cons:

  • Might be too much room for solo fishing trips
  • Only includes two fishing rod holders
  • Not as lightweight

Best Inflatable Fishing Boats Under $150

Looking for something a little different? Here are the top picks you can snag for less than $150:

Intex Excursion 5

With three different air chambers, you might find that the Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat provides a little more stability than some other options. Unlike some boats, which could take several minutes to completely inflate or deflate, this boat includes a Boston valve on the side for quick and easy inflation or deflation.

Keep in mind that, if there’s an area of the boat that you need to patch or fix, you shouldn’t inflate the boat for at least thirty minutes. As far as construction goes, you’ll find that this boat uses rugged vinyl material to help resist tearing.

Pros:

  • Rugged vinyl construction
  • Includes a Boston valve for easy inflation and deflation
  • Three air chambers for better stability
  • Includes two oars on the side of the boat
  • Can hold up to five people at once

Cons:

  • Less lightweight than other options
  • Only comes with a hand pump
  • Can take up to twenty minutes to inflate with the hand pump

Intex Seahawk 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set

From the same brand as the Intex Excursion, the Intex Seahawk 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set might look similar, but there are quite a few differences. One thing this inflatable boat excels at is durability. Unlike some choices, it uses heavy-duty PVC material that can resist punctures and holes better.

There are also inflatable cushions inside the boat so that your passengers have better seat stability, and feel more comfortable during the ride.

Pros:

  • Includes storage for fishing gear and other essentials
  • Durable PVC material
  • Cushioned seats
  • Holds up to four people at once
  • Uses grab handles

Cons:

  • Might take several minutes to inflate with a hand pump
  • Not as lightweight
  • Oars might feel a little short to some people

Best Inflatable Fishing Boats in Class

Looking for the best in class? Feel free to try out this option:

Classic Accessories Roanoke Inflatable Pontoon Boat

Want all the perks of a pontoon boat in a smaller, lightweight package? If so, the Classic Accessories Roanoke Inflatable Pontoon Boat might be the perfect choice for all your solo fishing trips. Not only is it smaller and easier to maneuver than larger inflatable boats, but there’s plenty of storage for your gear. The footrests are also adjustable so that you can change their length to increase visibility.

Pros:

  • Plenty of extra pockets for storage
  • Easy to inflate or deflate
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a 1-year limited warranty
  • Built to American Boat and Yacht Council standards

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a motor
  • Can only hold up to 350 lbs.
  • Plastic seat might not be super comfortable

Conclusion

Everyone has different preferences, but when it comes to picking out the best inflatable fishing boat in this round-up, we’ve got to go with the Intex Seahawk 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set. Along with using durable PVC vinyl that can resist damage and puncture wounds, you might find that this boat is also more comfortable too. With cushioned seats, all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine.