Pontoon Boats are renowned for being the ultimate party machine on water, but they are so much more. Pontoon boats can be used as fishing boats, day cruisers, watersports platforms and even for luxury. There’s also the issue of affordability to take into consideration.
What makes a pontoon affordable? It depends on your personal financial situation. Let’s take a look at the average American household. It has an annual salary of just over $60,000, and an entertainment budget of around $3,200 (2017 figures according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
It will get you a $30,000 boat loan with a seven-percent interest rate (that you can likely beat if your credit is good), at a 15-year term, and no money down. You can get a $30,000 loan at a seven percent interest rate, with no down payment.
All 12 of these pontoons are affordable if you use that amount as a monthly ceiling.
Browse All Pontoon Boat Brands & Models
- Bennington S 188 SL
The Bennington S188 SL comes with a 60 horsepower outboard, but still leaves $4,500 to spend on other upgrades and accessories. The boat comes with plenty of comfortable seating, including an L-shaped lounger at the stern, a sofa on the starboard side, a double-wide seat to the port bow and a helm chair, all wrapped in Simtex vinyl in two tones. It also has woven vinyl flooring, a 10′ Bimini, and a kicker KMC45 audio system.
The S 188 SL is easy to trailer, thanks to its 8’0″ beam, and its 1,663 pound hull. Construction features include spray deflectors under the deck, splash guards extruded, and solid, rounded keels.
To learn more, visit Bennington.
- Berkshire 20CL LE
If you don’t care about speed, you can choose a larger, better boat and rig it with a small engine, such as a Berkshire LE fitted with a Suzuki 25 HP outboard. This package includes a Bimini boot and top, as well as a Kicker stereo system and a mooring canopy. It also comes with the premium vinyl package. With the Berkshire you can customize both the interior and exterior colors to make it look exactly the way you want it.
The construction of this boat is what sets it apart from the rest. The 20 CL LE has the same honeycomb deck as Berkshire’s more expensive models. They also fitted out the 20CLLE with stainless steel pieces and parts, including cleats and rail bracings. This is something that you normally only see on more expensive pontoons, or models that are upgraded for saltwater.
To learn more, visit Berkshire Pontoons.
- SunChaser Geneva Cruise CRS
The deck space is often sacrificed in order to accommodate the large amount of seating. The Geneva Cruise CRS (29,883 plus a Yamaha 60-horsepower motor on the mount) may be of interest to you if you want some deck space in addition to the loungers and couches.
The starboard side of this model is left wide open aft the helm seat. This model has facing couches in front and a large L-lounge aft with a dinette. This means that you will have ample elbow room to get your toys ready or to climb back on after a swim in the lake. Add the third tube to this boat and it can handle 200 horsepower, boosting performance and speed.
To learn more, visit Sunchaser boats.
- Cypress Cay C171 Cruise
Would you prefer a smaller boat with all the options and accessories, or a bigger boat with less glitz? Check out the Cypress Cay 171 which is priced under $18,000 and has a Mercury FourStroke 50 horsepower on the transom. This leaves you with plenty of budget to tick off each option.
The C 171 Cruise offers an alternative seating arrangement, including a couch facing forward aft, pedestal seats for the helm and passengers, and two loungers in front. This boat is relatively small, but it still has enough room for all eight passengers to find a comfortable place to sit.
To learn more, visit Cypress Cay Pontoons.
- Suncatcher Select 18F
Anglers may be interested in the Suncatcher 18F by G3 boats. This pontoon is priced under our budgetary bar and comes with a 70 horsepower Yamaha F70, but has a variety of features that are great for fishing as well as fun.
There are six rods and reels on the bow vertical racks. The fishing seats on the pedestals are swivel.
To learn more, visit SunCatcher Pontoons.
- Lowe Ultra 200 Cruise
Watersports enthusiasts will find the Ultra 200 Cruise of great interest. This 21’4″ boat is a great way to race across the reservoir. It has 115 horsepower on the transom. The price stays in the $24,000 range. This leaves enough money to buy the optional ski arch, plus wakeboards and water skis.
You’ll also get a Bimini Top, a swim platform with four-step reboarding, and seating for 10 passengers. Tell your kids to hold on tight, this is going to fun.
To learn more, visit Lowe Boats.
- Manitou 20 Aurora LE
The Manitou 20 Arctic LE comes with a 40 horsepower outboard, which will bring the price of the boat right up to our affordability level. It will also give you some high-end features normally found on boats that are much more expensive. You’ll find a digital display at the helm instead of those old analog dials.
You’ll find a high-back, super-comfy chair when you sit in the seat. You’ll find that the bases of the couches are made of a single piece with drainage channels along the sides of the storage compartments. The Aurora LE Angler is a version that’s perfect for fishing. It has a similar price.
To learn more, visit Manitou pontoon boats.
- Misty Harbor Viaggio Del Mar U
Misty Harbor’s Viaggio Line, without power (that is left to the dealer), comes in at just a little over $21,000 for a 18-footer. That leaves plenty of money for an outboard motor up to 50 or 60 hp.
This pontoon has an impressive feature missing in many floats at a reasonable price: four lounger seats. Most models in this size have an L-shaped lounge at the back with a walkthrough on one side. The Del Mar U has two J-shaped loungers facing each other with a walkthrough at the center, both in front and behind, as well as helm and passengers chairs.