If you’re new to the world of pontoon boating, then you probably have no idea which brands make the best boat. Sure, you have buddies who have shared their own opinions, but you want info that’s a little more concrete.
The brands that make the best pontoon boats include:
- Sun Tracker
Who are these pontoon boat brands? What makes them some great? Which boats can you buy from them? We’ll give you all that info in this article, so you don’t want to miss it!
Who Makes the Best Pontoon Boat?
While the “best” pontoon boat is a subjective term, the following seven brands all have proven reputations as great manufacturers of pontoons. We will now delve deeply into each of these companies so you can choose one that suits you exceptionally well.
Company History: Avalon calls itself a “luxury” brand that’s still meant to be affordable for the average consumer. The company has existed for more than 45 years, first coming onto the scene in 1972. Avalon stood out from day one for its stunning pontoon boats, which boast superior craftsmanship and quality. The company produces all pontoons in the United States.
What Makes Them So Great: One perk of buying a pontoon boat from Avalon is their Lifetime Structural Warranty protection. This is accompanied by their standard five-year warranty, which the company says is comprehensive.
Also, you might consider this brand because they make pontoons fun! You can have a water slide, wakeboard rack, gas grill, or lounge on your pontoon boat with the range of customizable options offered by Avalon.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: If you want to buy an Avalon, we like the Catalina Platinum Quad Lounger 2585QL. Its mighty engine can get up to 130 horsepower (HP), making this boat speedy. You can also add fun extras like a ski tow bar, collapsible sport tower, and arch speakers.
Company History: Bennington is another brand that’s considered the cream of the crop. The company got its start in 1997 when Patrick Call, Steve Vogel, and Richard Strefling began it in Indiana. Although this brand is newer, they’ve carved out their own unique niche in the world of pontoon boats.
What Makes Them So Great: Bennington designs all its pontoon boats with luxury performance features. These include an underdeck wave shield, power-assist hydraulic steering, lifting strakes, performance foils, and keels.
If the looks and functionality of Bennington boats don’t convince you, then their bow-to-stern warranty ought to. The coverage plan includes a transferrable warranty for another owner, a lifetime deck warranty, and a lifetime structural warranty. This warranty is good for 10 years.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: For a mid-range boat with room for plenty of passengers, you might consider the G25 Fastback 25GSRCFB. This 2019 pontoon has countless floorplans to select from. If you get an Express Performance Package, you can fit 13 people and achieve an incredible 150 HP. You may also add on extra railings, a toilet, and a privacy chaise.
Company History: An older pontoon boat company, Sylvan has been around for five generations. The company began in 1948. It rose to popularity for its use of colored side panels on pontoons, as this had never been done before at the time. They also introduced Revolutionary Planing Technology in 2006.
What Makes Them So Great: Besides their great innovation in pontoons, Sylvan boats are beautiful and very high-quality. Their vessels are made with hat-channel construction instead of C-channel cross-members. That means a greater boat lifespan, better weight distribution, and more strength.
With a warranty good for six years or more, you’re covered for labor, parts, a transfer to another owner, electronics, upholstery, carpets, boat structure, the hull, and other components.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: If you enjoy fishing, the huge Mirage Fish LE will become your new best friend. The pontoon can fit 12 passengers and reach well over 125 HP. With tables, a mounted ski tow, a power canopy, and deck trim that’s anodized, this boat looks as good as it runs.
Company History: Another pontoon boat that’s often called the best is Harris. That’s partly because they’re one of the longest-lasting pontoon brands on the market. Producing boats for 60+ years and counting, Harris favors sophistication, quality, comfort, and lavishness.
What Makes Them So Great: Every pontoon boat that bears the Harris name has aluminum cross-members. The boats must go through a four-step water intrusion prevention process that keeps them from sinking. If the event ever occurred, there are sealed chambers (three total) per pontoon tube.
Like some other pontoon brands, Harris also has a bow-to-stern warranty that covers the first five years of ownership. If you need more coverage, there’s also a Limited Lifetime Warranty available.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: Any boat in the Crowne Series is sure to impress. These pontoons earned the 2013 NMMA Innovation Award, proving their quality. With gorgeous exterior lighting, posh interior design, and plenty of floorplans to choose from, you’ll certainly fall in love with one (or several!).
Company History: You can’t go wrong with Manitou. The company has a history extending more than 25 years, back in the 1980s. In the years since, they’ve gradually rolled out more features for their pontoons. These include boat coolers and sinks, four-point fishing floorplans, chaise privacy stations, tritoons, and Sport Handling Package hulls.
What Makes Them So Great: Two of the best-known features of Manitou boots are their V-Toon tritoons and V-Hulls. Their ponton tubes are 27 inches, with the center one positioned deeper into the water at 1.25 inches. That creates a differential of 5.25 inches for better water displacement. With lifting strakes as well, Manitou boats perform extremely well.
Then there’s the above-mentioned Sport Handling Package or SHP. This is for Manitou pontoons that can reach 175 to 400 HP. You get faster speed, Barracuda nosecones, power-assist steering, and positive angle lifting strakes.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: The 2019 Encore is a great mid-sized luxury pontoon. There’s room for four or more passengers onboard. The various floorplans feature a ski tow bar, extended starboard chaise, dinette table, soft-side cooler, and a powerful 43-gallon V-Toon with a 24-gallon twin tube gas tank.
Company History: One of the only pontoon boat companies that’s family-run and owned is Premier. Since 1992, the Menne family has managed the brand. They created Premier to combine their engineering prowess with beautiful style and a “classic design.”
What Makes Them So Great: The many thoughtful design features of Premier make the boat brand such a standout. Their pontoon furniture is never built with wood so it won’t rot. Premier even has its own rails called Duro Rails that are anodized.
The boats themselves are made of aluminum that’s .090 gauge and less likely to corrode. Pontoons also come outfitted with domed and stamped endcaps, cap-welded and extruded lifting strakes, multi-chambered pontoon tubes, automated pulse seams, and an aluminum keel.
Finally, all Premier boat owners can enjoy a Limited Lifetime Warranty. This protects against deck and frame damage.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: The Dodici in the Prosperity Series took home the MIBS Innovation Award in 2016. It’s a luxury cruising pontoon with a triple engine. It has a lengthy width of 12 feet yet has no problem reaching 60 miles per hour. You can also fit up to 26 passengers!
7. Sun Tracker
Company History: Our final pick for great pontoon boat brands is Sun Tracker. First selling their boats at Bass Pro Shops stores in the early 1970s, Sun Tracker became a major name by 1983. Today, you can still find Sun Tracker pontoons at Cabela’s Boating Center stores and Bass Pro Shops across the country, over 130 of them.
What Makes Them So Great: One great part of Sun Tracker pontoon boats is they tend to be more affordable than some other brands we’ve covered. That’s because the brand is more focused on family fun than luxury. That doesn’t mean you’re skimping on awesome features, though. Whether you need a huge party boat or a fishing pontoon, you can find them at Sun Tracker.
You also two warranties. The first is a Lifetime Limited Structural & Deck Warranty that covers gates, perimeter fence rails, deck supports, pontoon logs, and more. The second is a bow-to-stern warranty good for 10 years. Under this warranty, you wouldn’t have to pay for issues with a Bimini top, furniture, vinyl, plumbing, livewells, electrical components, and more.
A Pontoon Boat to Shop: If you’re a “go big or go home” type, then you might as well go big with the 2019 Sun Tracker Party Barge 24 XP3. This huge pontoon is nearly 27 feet long yet can reach 250 HP. There’s room for 12 passengers. You can accessorize your boat with a Bimini top that’s color-keyed, LED navigation lights on the starboard and port, folding mooring cleats, hydraulic steering, and Stow More storage in the port bow couches.
If you’re looking for the best of the best in terms of pontoon boat brands, we think the ones we covered in this article will suffice. Whether you choose the lasting legacy of brands like Harris or Sylvan or buy from newer companies like Manitou or Bennington, there’s no wrong choice to be made here. Many of these top brands also make some of the best luxury pontoon boats in the market.