Enter the world of watercraft where the process of finding a boat isn’t so different from automobile shopping. Like vehicles, your needs lead to a certain type of boat. Calm water, relaxation, and leisure are inherent properties of pontoon boats. Or are they? Pontoon boats don’t all consist of two floating barrels, a deck, and a motor anymore. It begs the question, “How much does a pontoon boat cost considering improvements of the past decade?”
The Full Range Of Pontoon Prices – Seeing The Grand Scale
New Pontoon Boat Prices
Specialty Market – Top Of The Line Pontoon Boats
Taking a look at new pontoon boat prices going into 2018, a few points stand out. First, you can go all out and spend a bundle on a new pontoon. Would you be surprised to learn that top models can approach $200,000? It’s rare for a pontoon boat to cross the $100,000 threshold, and listing prices likely plan for some negotiation. If you plan on spending years on the water or making a livelihood on it, these prices might not seem so ridiculous.
Top End Pontoon Brand Names – High end pontoon boats offer custom rails, covers, slides, consoles, and any number of other plush amenities. Brands such as Premier, Avalon, Bennington, and Princecraft name just a few quality pontoon boat makers. You’ll find these same brands sell pontoon boats at a more reasonable price, without the exquisite attention to detail.
High End Pontoon Prices
There’s a much larger number of quality pontoon boats in the $50,000 – $100,000 price range. Stainless steel rails, Bimini style covers, and many other amenities still appear in high-end pontoon boats. You might not find the custom trim or woodwork, but those features become negligible with $50 – $75 thousand on the line.
High End Pontoon Brand Names – The brands don’t change much from top of the line to high end pontoon boats. Differences show in attention to detail and extra pleasures. Besides the brands above, high end pontoon manufacturers include names like Berkshire, Regency, Veranda, and Aqua Patio.
Mid Range Pontoon Prices
Here lies the range that’s more reasonable to the majority of new pontoon owners. You should still expect a fully accessorized pontoon boat in the $25,000 – $50,000 price range, and performance engine(s) as well.
Mid Range Pontoon Brand Names – Among makers of high end pontoon boats like Regency, Veranda, and Aqua Patio, some new brands join the list. Names like Starcraft, Starcraft Marine, Sylvan, Silver Wave, and Qwest enter the mix.
Budget To Mid Range Pontoon Prices
Surprisingly, the amount of new pontoon boats on the market drops in the $10,000 – $25.000 price range. Drop down under $10,000 and most models are short pond style pontoons. Not to say that small 4 seat pontoons don’t have their purpose, but they give up space and stability.
Used Pontoon Boat Prices
Again there’s a comparison with used pontoons to used car ownership. Once you take a pontoon out for the first time, it loses value. This is a benefit to buyers who aren’t interested in paying for a brand new pontoon, but it does come with risks. One chance you don’t have to take is paying too much for a used pontoon boat. Nadaguides.com offers a valuable resource for pricing used boats, including pontoons.
Pontoon Boat Engines
Changes in hydrodynamic design make it possible for pontoon boats to reach speeds over 40 mph. They’re able to reach such rates of travel due to advances in both pontoon and engine design. Triple outboard engines will get up and go better than single engine pontoons, but engine design itself makes a difference. For this reason, even the most expensive pontoon boats may come with only one engine.
Why is engine design so important on a pontoon boat? The answer lies in the pontoons themselves. As pontoons travel through the water, they leave a disturbance in their wake that affects the performance of standard engines. Evinrude offers pontoon series engines with special propellers that reach deeper in the water. Engine position becomes crucial and vibration reduction is another concern during the mounting process.
Pontoon Engine Prices
Knowing pontoon engine prices helps breakdown the cost of new models. It also comes in handy when it’s time for replacement or upgrade. Looking through private listing shows a wide range of pontoon boat engines and prices. A 150 horsepower E-TEC Evinrude pontoon engine can list as high as $16,500. By contrast, Yamaha and Mercury 4 stroke outboard engines are a popular pontoon choice. They may not have the HP but prices fall as low as $2,000.
Marine vs Freshwater Pontoons
Will it cost more for a saltwater approved pontoon boat? This is a common question and, unfortunately, the answer is almost always yes. You should be wary of any model that puts on a marine stamp without an increase in price. Anti fouling paint, stainless steel, zinc anodes, and marine grade engines are more expensive components and drive up the cost of pontoon boats. Companies like Fiesta Boats out of Tampa, Florida specialize in building saltwater pontoons.
Pontoon Boat Prices By Style
Another method that pontoon builders use to categorize their boats is by style. A search of pontoon boats by style shows, to some degree, another difference in pricing. Just like cars come in luxury, sport, and utility models, so do many pontoon boats. A perfect example of this kind of practice shows on the Bennington website, They offer 6 different series of pontoon boats. Pontoon boat categories usually go something like the following.
Pontoon Boat Categories
Luxury Pontoon Boats – This categorizes top of the line models. These will be fully equipped with all the extras one could desire. Mini bars, top deck water slides, enclosed bathrooms, and tons of storage room only scratch the surface of choices. This category holds some of the priciest pontoon boats.
A Combination Of Luxury & Performance – Here’s another category of pontoon boats that can easily end up in the top price range. The luxury feature stays in place, with comfort an absolute must. On top of that you’ll find high end pontoon engines and versatile 3 pontoon designs. Pontoons in this category are some of the fastest on the water.
Mid Range Luxury Pontoons – You might sacrifice the mini bar and 150 horsepower engines, but you enter the world of affordable pontoon boats. In this mid-range category, you have many more pontoon boats to choose from. This gives a greater ability to refine your search, and find the right pontoon for your needs.
Value Pontoon Boats – This category of pontoon boat comes with standard rails and nothing extra. Many stay with the newer triple pontoon design, which does give them an edge of stability and maneuverability. Besides that, you have a very plain design.
Basic Pontoon Boat Models – A basic pontoon model will still come ready to float, but there’s a sacrifice in material strength and quite often in design. Most basic pontoon boats carry the old form of twin floats. They use two pontoons instead of adopting the new triple pontoon design. Of course, this is also the least expensive category of pontoon boats.
Pontoon Boats For Fishing
Boat builders like to lump fishing pontoons in the value or basic category. There’s not a clear reason why they do this, but here’s a couple ideas. Fishermen like to accessorize their pontoons, and most plan on spending money after the boat purchase. There are fishfinders, rod holders, trolling motors, and more that help make a pontoon fishing boat.
Retailers and dealerships of pontoon boats have a different take on the fishing subject. They outfit all types of pontoons, turning them into fishing vessels. That means you can find a luxury pontoon boat for fishing and not spare for comfort. Likewise, anglers can buy pontoons dirt cheap and add fishing gear over time.
Final Thoughts: Pontoon Boat Prices vs Value & Durability
The final resemblance pontoon boats have with automobiles is their ability to deflate in value. This is especially true of more expensive models. Though pontoon manufacturers often label their own value categories, those aren’t necessarily the highest value models.
Say you buy a pontoon boat in the $20 – $50 thousand dollar range that has everything you want and lasts well over 10 years. That pontoon boat holds higher value than one for $10K that doesn’t meet your needs or last quite as long. Strong craftsmanship goes a very long way for durability, and you won’t truly be happy with a pontoon boat that doesn’t live up to expectations.
The best bit of advice any pontoon owner could give is to do research before making a purchase. Consider if you’ll be paying for a slip to keep your pontoon on the water, or if you’ll be hauling it with a trailer. Both have an extra cost, as does boater’s insurance. There’s homework to do on top of picking the perfect pontoon boat with costs that aren’t always transparent. Take the time to visit, test ride, and learn about pontoon boats before making a decision. It’ll ward off any discontentment, making it possible to enjoy your time on the water.