Are you looking for a party boat? There’s no other vessel quite like a pontoon boat when it comes to packing passengers for a good time out on the water.
Pontoons offer you unparalleled stability in rough waters, and they come with huge decks and plenty of space for your family and friends to join you on an aquatic adventure.
Sure, they aren’t the best choice if you love wakeboarding and other sports. However, you get plenty of room onboard and many accessories and features designed to optimize comfortable sailing. From two-story floating hotels to 5-seater open-plan boats, the pontoon category has something to suit anyone’s needs out on the water.
Pontoon boats prioritize comfort and luxury, and they are the ideal choice for spending lazy days floating or cruising around the lake. Dozens of manufacturing brands offer pontoon models, and we curated this list of our favorite models just for you.
Read through the reviews and choose a pontoon boat for your next adventure.
- The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch – The Best Overall Pontoon Boat
- Harris Crowne SL 270 – Best Luxury Model
- M3 CRS Sylvan – Best Mid-Range Pontoon Boat
- Crestliner 240 Rally DX – Most Affordable Pontoon Boat
- Playcraft Infinity 2700
- Avalon 2585 Catalina Elite
- Harris Solstice 250 SLEC
- Princecraft Brio E17
- Starcraft SLS 5 DC
- Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16 DLX
- Regency 250 LE3
- Bennington S21 L Bench
- Lowe SS 210 CL
- Pontoon Boat Buyer’s Guide
- Buying a Pontoon New or Pre-Owned?
The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch – The Best Overall Pontoon Boat
Let’s start with our favorite of the bunch. The Sea-Doo Switch offers you a pontoon boat like no other in this review. Sea-Doo is one of the most well-known names in the jet ski market, and they expand their range with the Switch, offering you an affordable pontoon with plenty of performance.
The Switch is available in three models, Compact, Sport, and Cruise. All three models come with Rotax motors, offering between 100-HP to 230-HP and user-friendly operation. You get a tri-hull design featuring construction with Polytec materials for excellent scrape and ding resistance.
The motor and steering system comes from the same design as the jet ski engines, with no outboard hanging off the back and jet-ski-style handlebar controls for user-friendly operation and exceptional maneuverability.
The boats’ lengths range from 13-feet to 21-feet, allowing for passenger capacities of five to nine guests. The compact base model is a great choice for an entry-level vessel, and the Sport is ideal for wake sports and high-performance boating. The flagship Cruise model comes with all the bells and whistles, focusing on comfort and luxury.
All models feature reverse gears and braking, and you get plenty of options for sound systems, plush seating, coolers, and more.
If you’re looking for an affordable pontoon boat packed with features, then the Sea-Doo Switch is the best choice for 2022.
- Very affordable.
- Durable Polytec tri-hull.
- Range of motor capacities.
- Decent passenger capacity.
- Three models are available.
- Your choice of length.
- Plenty of customizable options.
- Jet ski controls and user-friendly operation.
- The base compact model doesn’t come standard with a Bimini top.
- The base model is only available in one color.
Harris Crowne SL 270 – Best Luxury Model
If you’re looking to live in the lap of luxury out on the lake, then the Harris Crowne SL 270 offers you the closest thing to a floating hotel experience. The design and look of the boat are eye-catching, and you’ll turn heads around the marina with this pontoon boat.
You get powerful twin outboard motors, a large captain’s deck with power seats, A huge entertainment area on the deck, and luxury seating and finishes throughout the vessel. There’s a tri-hull design for superior stability in rougher waters and an NMMA Innovation Award-winning design.
The Bimini top and canopy are easy to deploy, and you get enough seating to accommodate up to nine to ten guests comfortably. The boat measures 27-feet in length and has a classic cockpit design with a traditional steering wheel and a console with all the features you need to control the vessel.
The Harris Crowne SL 270 is the pinnacle of boating perfection and one of the sleekest, sexiest pontoon designs we’ve ever seen. The only drawback? The hefty price tag costs four times the price of the Sea-Doo Switch Cruise.
- Luxurious, award-winning design.
- Tri-hull for stability.
- Plush seating and luxury finishes.
- Plenty of deck space.
- Outboard motors are loud.
- The price tag is expensive.
M3 CRS Sylvan – Best Mid-Range Pontoon Boat
This pontoon boat offers you an excellent balance between price and luxury. The M3 CRS Sylvan comes with enough space to accommodate up to ten passengers, With a right-sided console featuring a captain’s chair and driver console with all the bells and whistles.
You get plenty of features on this boat as standard, including premium upholstery, luxurious amenities, plush lounge seating, a High-quality stereo speaker system with Bluetooth, and USB charging docks all over the place.
There’s a swivel captain’s chair, an L-shaped lounge suite in the aft, and a double couch lounge in the front accommodating two people stretched out or six people sitting. The large Bimini top covers the entire deck, and you get plenty of power from the single outboard motor.
The tri-hull design offers exceptional stability on the water, and you get side-panel doors for easy access to the water from behind and in front of the bow lounge.
This boat is a great choice, and its mid-range pricing makes it a great choice for someone looking for more luxury than the Sea-Doo Switch but a more affordable price tag than the Harris Crowne.
- Luxurious and comfortable.
- Easy access to the water through the doors in the bow.
- More affordable than the Harris Crowne.
- Tri-hull design for stability.
- Noisy outboard.
- Not ideal for rough waters.
Crestliner 240 Rally DX – Most Affordable Pontoon Boat
If you’re looking for a value-for-money deal on your pontoon boat, look no further than the Crestliner 240 Rally DX. This vessel offers you a similar design to the M3 CRS Sylvan, with an affordable price tag. This model measures 24-feet in length, with enough seating for ten guests.
You get a plush, wraparound lounge design in the bow and stern of the boat, with the captain’s console positioned on the right side of the boat. There’s an aluminum tri-hull design for outstanding stability and durability and plenty of power from the outboard motor.
There is a spacious front deck in front of the lounge for casting and a Bimini top extending the length of the seating area for shade on hot days. There are wooden table tops, mounted cup holders, Bluetooth capability, and a GMR-3 stereo system for entertainment.
This pontoon brings you unmatched versatility, and it’s a great choice for boating enthusiasts on a budget.
- Plenty of customizable options.
- A great choice for fishing.
- Aerated livewells for fish.
- Plush lounge seating.
- The base model is bare-bones.
- Minimal storage capacity.
- No carpeting.
- Not ideal for high-performance watersports.
This 27-foot monster from Playcraft gives you enough space for a dozen guests out on the water. You get a tri-hull design and an amazing balance of luxury and performance with this vessel.
The 400-HP outboard motor powers the vessel to planing speed in seconds, and you get powerful performance suitable for watersports like wakeboarding.
You get a forward-facing lounge suite in the stern and rear of the vessel, with four bucket seats and the captain’s chair offering a unique seating configuration designed for packing in passengers while maintaining comfort.
The captain’s console features a Simrad depth finder, Infinity stereo system, and paddle controls for the tri-hull pontoons. Other notable features include LED lighting for the speaker system and full RGB control. You get a color-matched Bimini top and windshields covering the captain’s cockpit.
There are doors at the bow, stern, sides for easy access to the water and a small front deck for diving and casting.
- Top-drawer performance.
- Unique seating configuration.
- Dual boarding ladders.
- The Bimini top only covers the captain’s area.
- Somewhat expensive compared to other models.
- Noisy Mercury outboard motor.
- Unattractive design.
The Avalon 2585 Catalina Elite is another affordable mid-range pontoon boat with a retro-design theme extending throughout the exterior and interior of the boat. You get enough seating for up to ten guests, with a companion side bench covered in plush, soft-touch upholstery.
There’s a grey wood thermofoam table, Bimini top, changing room, and plenty of storage space. The welded aluminum frame of the lounge and seating areas throughout the boat add more under-seat storage to the vessel, making it a great choice for fishing and watersports – just stash your gear under the seats.
The sculpted fiberglass captain’s cockpit features an Infinity stereo system with Bluetooth, a Garmin GPS unit, 12V outlet, mechanical tilt steering with a soft-grip steering wheel, and USB and auxiliary ports for charging your devices.
The Avalon Catalina Elite comes with an extended rear deck for diving and casting and a stainless-steel boarding ladder. You get an aluminum tri-hull design for stability and durability.
The interior fencing comes with doors on the front, rear, and sides of the boat, with a six-speaker sound system featuring a subwoofer. The Avalon gets its power from a Suzuki outboard motor, propelling the vessel to top speeds of 38-mph.
- Stylish design.
- Ventilated seating and storage areas.
- Sound system with subwoofer.
- Loads of seating.
- Noisy outboard motor.
- Not geared towards watersports.
Boasting enthusiasts looking for an excellent blend of performance and style will love the Harris Solstice 250 SLEC. The simple but elegant design of the boat makes it a real eye-catcher, with its aluminum tri-hull contrasting against the onyx-black sidewalls of the lounge and seating area.
The “SLEC” in the name stands for “single lounge entertainment center,” and you get a unique seating arrangement available in any pontoon boat. Recline the seats forward or backward to create a sun lounger, and get coverage from the sun’s harmful rays with the Bimini top.
Other useful accessories and features of the Harris Solstice are its cupholders on either side of the vessel, as well as the stereo system, USB ports for charging devices, 12V outlet, and built-in cooler. You have CZONE digital switching, providing control over the boat’s systems.
The extended deck on the stern offers an in-water seat, ski pylon, and boarding ladder. The captain’s helm offers an elevated seating position for a better view of the water on all sides of the boat, and the tri-hull design provides excellent stability at speed.
The Mercury 350-HP outboard on the Harris Solstice 250 SLEC gives you top-end speeds of 51-mph, with enough speed for watersports like wakeboarding.
- Extended stern deck.
- Adaptive lounger with a built-in cooler.
- Large sun pad.
- CZONE digital switching
- It comes with a galley sink.
- No side access doors.
- Somewhat expensive when kitted out.
With gas prices going through the roof, boating is becoming an expensive pastime. So, why not go electric? The Princecraft Brio E17 is the Tesla of the boating world, bringing you an electric-powered vessel. This pontoon gets its power from an electric motor charged by two large solar panels substituting for a Bimini top.
This eco-friendly boat will save you thousands of gas during the season, and the high-powered solar panels draw power even on cloudy days. Apart from the revolutionary electric motor design, the Princecraft Brio E17 comes with a dual-hull design featuring lightweight aluminum construction.
The Torqeedo electric engine allows you to visit waterways and marine environments where gas motors are forbidden, giving you an eco-friendly operation that’s kind to the environment. The motor produces no gas fumes like other boats, and it runs quiet, allowing you to experience more of nature’s sounds on the water.
The boat comes with a simplistic design, featuring two long lounge seats in the aft behind the captain’s helm. There are two seats up front, a table, and access gates in the sidewalls at the front, sides, and rear. The Princecraft Brio E17 has enough seating for seven passengers.
- Eco-friendly electric motor.
- Solar panels act as a Bimini top.
- Suitable for visiting protected marine environments.
- It lacks the speed and power of gas-powered models.
For watersports and cruising, you can’t beat the versatility of the Starcraft SLS 5 DC. This boat offers you an aluminum tri-hull configuration and enough seating for ten guests when fully loaded. You get front-facing lounges in the stern and bow, with plush seating and plenty of under-seat storage.
The rotocast seats feature integrated drains, and you have a changing room and a standard Bimini top with a high tow-point for skiing. There’s plenty of power from the 250-HP motor, offering cruising speeds up to 46-mph.
The large rear deck is ideal for casting and diving, and you get access doors in the bow and stern with a boarding ladder. The captain’s helm is to the right side of the boat, with a Lexan windscreen and adjustable swivel captain’s chairs for easy referencing of the water on all sides.
Other notable features include the mp3 player with Bluetooth connectivity, waterproof speakers and subwoofer, and hydraulic steering with a tilting steering wheel. This model is a great choice for a cruiser or high-performance watersports, with everything you need for a fun day out on the water.
- Ski pylon included.
- Excellent performance despite 250-HP motor.
- Suitable for cruising and watersports.
- No Bimini top included with the base model.
- Noisy outboard motor.
Are you keen on doing dome fishing? The Sin Tracker Bas Buggy offers you the ultimate affordable fishing pontoon.
It’s a tough choice between this model and the Sea-Doo Switch for the best high-quality, affordable pontoon boat in this review. Obviously, we’re going with the Sea-Doo all day, but the Bass Buggy offers you an interesting alternative geared for the fishing lifestyle.
The Bass Buggy comes with a dual-hull design, featuring lightweight aluminum construction. There’s a small casting deck on the front and a trolling motor for moving through the flats. The shallow draft on this vessel makes it ideal for moving into the shallows for a bit of fishing.
The bow features two plush fishing swivel chairs, and you get an L-shaped lounge in the aft, allowing for three passengers and five total companions on your fishing trip. There’s a Bimini top for some shade and access gates on the bow and starboard side of the boat.
The L-shaped lounge has plenty of handy under-seat storage, and you get cup holders and rod holders for your gear.
- Fishing-focused design.
- Aerated livewells for your catch.
- Plenty of storage.
- Carpeted flooring.
- Not built for rough water conditions.
- No outboard motor.
If you’re looking for a high-performance pontoon boat offering you plenty of speed for watersports and racing, the Regency 250 LE3 is your huckleberry. This boat brings you the power of a speedboat with the stability of a pontoon. The aluminum tri-hull with lifting strakes provides fantastic stability at speed while somehow allowing for exceptional maneuverability.
This model gets its powerful performance from a 350 HP Verado motor, accelerating the boat to a top-end speed of 50-mph. The Regency isn’t just a sports powerhouse; it also suits cruising on the lake, thanks to its amazing luxury aesthetic and fittings.
You get a large front lounge accommodating up to eight passengers and 14 passengers total. The flip-back eating converts the aft into a sun pad for tanning. The “stow more” seating arrangement allows plenty of under-seat storage for your gear and plush seating with luxurious trim that looks like a sports car.
When you step into the captain’s helm, you’ll feel like you’re driving a Ferrari. You get a touchscreen setup with gauges and RGB lighting. There are touchpad controls to the right and a chrome, leatherbound steering wheel with a plush swivel captain’s chair.
Gain access to the water from the sides and front of the vessel, and use the Bimini top to get some shade. The ski rig of the sunshade comes with a rear-facing camera offering recording in 1080p. Enjoy some music on the water with the Viper III stereo and remote, Wet Sounds® amp, and speakers.
This boat is ideal for people that want top-level performance and luxury, blended into a simply exquisite pontoon boat.
- High-speed performance and comfortable ride.
- Plenty of space for 14-passengers.
- Tri-hull design with lifting strakes.
- Plush, luxurious interior.
- Large turning radius.
- At the top-end of the price range.
Bennington brings you the L-Bench S21 for an affordable, entry-level pontoon boat. This model comes with a tri-hull design, and a spacious interior, with enough passenger capacity for up to seven passengers.
The Bennington S21 L Bench comes with an L-bench in the boat’s aft and 13 design configurations to suit your styling needs. There are plush cushions, excellent finishes, and plenty of under-seat storage for your gear. You get an aluminum tri-hull design for stability and control in rough water.
The L-bench converts to a sun pad for tanning, and you have a casting deck at the front or rear of the boat for your fishing trips. There’s a Bimini top included and a boarding ladder for getting in and out of the water with ease.
The captain’s helm comes with a console featuring dials and gauges and a touchscreen interface. The plush swivel captain’s chair gives you an elevated viewing position of the water, and the SL 90 motor provides enough power for cruising and watersports.
- Excellent value for money.
- Luxurious seating and finishes.
- 13 customizable floor plans.
- Noisy engine.
- Somewhat underpowered.
- Not ideal for watersports.
The Lowe SS 210 CL is a small pontoon boat packing a powerful punch. You get a spacious bow and aft seating lounge accommodating up to seven people. There are side and front access gates to the water, and a large rear casting deck, with a drop-down boarding ladder.
The Lowe SS 210 CL “Conversion Lounge” offers you several seating configurations, thanks to the flip-back seating, creating a sun pad for tanning. The plush cushions have an outstanding finish, and there’s loads of under-seat storage.
The bow lounge comes with a cocktail table featuring four cup holders, and there’s a pop-up change room. The captain’s helm comes with a plush swivel captain’s chair, and the console features a Jensen stereo system with Bluetooth, a waterproof LCD screen, a 12V outlet, and a USB port.
You get hydraulic steering and a padded tilting steering wheel. The Lowe SS 210 CL comes with a Mercury 150-HP outboard, reaching a top speed of 37-mph.
- Affordable quality.
- Versatile rear lounge configurations.
- Underpowered motor.
- No ski pylon included.
Pontoon Boat Buyer’s Guide
Buying a pontoon boat is an exciting experience. How do you know which pontoon is the right choice for you with so many models available?
We put together this buyer’s guide to give you a few pointers on what to look for in a prospective pontoon boat.
The first thing you need to do is settle on the length of your boat. Most pontoon models come in sizes ranging from 13-feet to 24-feet. The longer the vessel, the bigger the deck, and the higher the passenger capacity.
Use this as a rule of thumb when selecting the correct length.
- 13 to 20 feet – four to six passengers.
- 22 to 24 feet – six to ten passengers.
- 24-feet+ 12 or more passengers.
Pontoon boats measuring between 13-feet to 18-feet are ideal for smaller waterways. If you’re heading out to the river where the water is rougher, you’ll need an 18-foot to 22-foot boat. For rough waters, you’ll need a length of 24-feet or longer.
Pontoon boats are available in tri-hull and twin-hull designs. The tri-hull models offer you the best stability on the water but less maneuverability than dual-hulls. The tri-hull also adds more volume to the boat, allowing it to sit higher in the water and take more passengers.
What accessories and features come standard with the boat? Some models come with integrated GPS and fishfinders, Mp3 players, speaker systems, USB chargers, and more. Look for cupholders, pop-up changing rooms, and other amenities like tables and sinks.
You also have options for wake towers, seating configurations, and Bimini tops. Remember that adding extras to your boat will increase the price tag. Most pontoon boats will come with a trailer included in the deal.
Pontoon boats come in several designs to suit your activities out on the water.
These vessels are usually shorter, accommodating up to five passengers. They keep the weight down to reduce the draft of the pontoons, allowing the watercraft to reach shallows and flats in rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
Fishing pontoons come with a fishing-specific design, featuring aerated live wells for your catch. A table or bait station, and rod holders. They also have plenty of storage for your tackle and gear. These boats will come with low-horsepower motors or trolling motors for easy moving through the shallows.
Recreational and cruising pontoons
These pontoons have a crossover design suitable for cruising the lakes and rivers and watersports. Most of them come with tow-pylons or ski towers, and they have larger capacity engines built for speed and power.
These designs also feature impressive stereo systems and coolers for your beverages. They also come with large lounges and flip-back seating that creates a sun pad for tanning.
These models come with a sports-specific design for wakeboarding. Some will offer adjustable ballasts to increase or decrease wake height.
They come with ski pylons or wake towers installed as standard. Typically, these pontoons have larger outboard motors capable of towing speeds for watersports.
Top Pontoon Brands
When you’re purchasing your pontoon boat, the manufacturing brand indicates quality and reputation.
All the models listed in this review are top-quality, reputable companies with a long history of producing the best watercraft available.
- Harris Crowne
- Harris Boats
All of these manufacturing brands offer you boats that come with warranties and a legacy of top-rated design quality that lasts for decades.
Buying a Pontoon New or Pre-Owned?
There’s nothing quite as exciting as walking around the dealership and viewing all the different pontoon boats on display. However, you don’t always have to buy a new pontoon. There are plenty of great deals in the pre-owned market.
However, buying pre-owned also presents a risk of purchasing a lemon. The last thing you need is to buy a boat with a cracked hull or blown motor.
If you’re considering buying pre-owned, take a specialist along with you to assess the boat for damage. They review the hulls and the motor to ensure everything is in working order and the owner isn’t trying to hide any damage.
Also, if you’re buying pre-owned, make sure you check the boat’s HIN and other identifying information. Buying a stolen boat could land you in a heap of trouble with the authorities. Check the trailer for damage, inspect the tires for wear, and inspect the registration number to ensure it’s legit.