How Much Is A Pontoon Boat?

Determining the fair price for a pontoon boat can be difficult because most manufacturers prohibit their dealers from advertising prices. They do this to avoid competition between dealers in different areas. By keeping competition local, they can keep prices high.

Some manufacturers show suggested retail prices, but these prices can be misleading. For one thing, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) typically represents a ceiling; you really should get a lower price. For another, the MSRP doesn’t take into account local markets, so it can be wildly inaccurate.

That said, the average new pontoon boat costs between $15,000 and $80,000 at retail. Why the wide variation? Like cars, pontoon boats vary in price based on size, power, amenities, and overall quality. Furthermore, used pontoon boats cost less, which further complicates the situation.

Here’s how to find a fair price on a pontoon boat.

Pontoon Boat Costs By Size

In general, size is the primary determinant of prices for pontoon boats. That isn’t to say there is no crossover between sizes. There certainly is! But size determines the amount of material required, as well as the minimum required engine power. Due to this, let’s take an informative look at the different pontoon boat sizes.

  • On the low-end, a single-person, oar-powered pontoon boat can be purchased for less than $1,000. These are technically pontoon boats but aren’t what most people think of when they use the term. They would be classified better as dual-hulled kayaks or rowboats.
  • Small, powered pontoon boats can be purchased for around $15,000, even less for a used model. A two-person boat can even cost less than $10,000, but these are tiny vessels.
  • Medium-sized pontoon boats can accommodate between four to eight people, and prices range from $18,000 to $30,000.
  • Large pontoon boats cost between $40,000 and $80,000, and these boats can accommodate twelve people or more.
  • Ultra-large pontoon boats can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even in the seven figures in some cases. They often have an enclosed hull at this size, and the pontoon hulls themselves can even be fitted with cabins. This type of boat is called a catamaran and is closer to a luxury yacht than a weekend lake cruiser.

Pontoon Boat Prices By Type

Nearly as important as the size of the boat are its power and amenities, which vary depending on the type. So let’s look at each class in more detail:

Fishing Pontoons

Fishing pontoons are generally designed to maximize storage space - meaning less passenger seating and more area allotted for live wells, rods, tackle, and other fishing gear. The seats on the boat may be designed for fishing, with swivel bases and built-in rod holders.

Fishing pontoons are often manufactured with a shallow draft to navigate shallow waters where fish are plentiful. Depending on the size and amenities, you can expect to pay between $15,000 and $25,000.

Water Sports Pontoons

Water sports pontoons are designed for water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, and other towing-related sports. For this reason, they need to have larger motors so that they can move at higher speeds.

Water sports pontoons also need to have plenty of space for passengers and all of their gear. This means they tend to run on the larger side, albeit with a sleek design for better hydrodynamics. As a result, they are often priced between $25,000 and $35,000.

High-Performance Pontoons

High-performance pontoons are essentially speedboats with two hulls. The hulls tend to be flatter and ski-shaped and positioned closer together for a narrower profile. The result is an impressive amount of speed at the expense of a choppier ride.

The cost of a high-performance pontoon depends mainly on the size and the corresponding engine size required to drive it. This results in a price tag ranging from $30,000 to $45,000.

Luxury Pontoons

Luxury pontoons are built for comfort and style, above all else. As a result, these boats tend to come with more customization options than other types to ensure you get the exact design that you want.

Luxury features typically include more comfortable seating, a wider, more stable design, and quieter dual engines, often with joystick controls. Other amenities include entertainment systems, bars, custom lighting, and even water slides.

Needless to say, all of this comfort comes at a price. Luxury pontoons start in the $50,000 range and only increase from there.

Entertainment Pontoons

Entertainment pontoons are built for large groups of friends and family. In general, these boats are designed around a large deck, usually with a lounge area. Partially open sides are also standard features to make it easy to get in and out for swimming.

Entertainment pontoons can range from $40,000 to $80,000 or more, depending on amenities. More affordable models are little more than a large open deck that can be used for hosting. Pricier models include beverage amenities, sound systems, towing equipment, and more.

What About Used Pontoon Boats?

If you want to save a few dollars, a used pontoon boat can be an excellent value. Like cars, pontoon boats depreciate by as much as 25 to 35 percent in the first year of ownership. So if you are willing to buy last year’s model, you can get a $40,000 boat for a reasonable $26,000 to $30,000 price range.

If this sounds too good to be true, it sometimes can be. Pontoon boat owners don’t tend to upgrade as often as single-hull boaters, so barely-used deals can be challenging to find. Even two-year-old or three-year-old models can be tough to find. 

Another issue with used boats is that you need to perform a thorough inspection. Unlike with a dealer purchase, a private seller gives you no guarantees if anything goes wrong. Furthermore, you can’t always get the features you want with a used boat. When buying new, you can order the boat with the features you need.

Finally, consider the overall depreciation. Pontoon boats will continue to depreciate each year until they are about twelve years old. At that point, they may only be worth $1,500 to $3,000. Much like buying an old, decrepit car, be careful with run-down old boats. That $2,000 pontoon boat might require $20,000 in repairs just to be made seaworthy.