Best Deck Boats – Top Picks for 2024
2020 SVX 231 OB
Hurricane SunDeck OB
Lowe Sport SD224
If you’re looking for the perfect family boat or a watercraft you can take out on the water and enjoy a fun day out in the sun with friends; a deck boat might be just the thing you need to do it. They look a lot like bowriders except for their characteristic V-hull and the fact that they have a bigger deck that can easily fit more people.
They offer the comfort of pontoon boats and the speed of runabouts. Some even come with steel rails on the side that you can use to attach your fishing poles if you’re up for a bit of angling. It also helps that they look pretty darn good.
They are one of the most versatile multi-purpose boats you’ll come across. We’ve reviewed the top 7 options for the best deck boats if you happen to be in the market for one.
2020 SVX 231 OB
Starcraft understands a thing or two about fun on the water, and it shows with the new 2020 SVX 231 OB deck boat. And, man oh man, is she a beauty.
This family-friendly deck boat is as functional as it is high-performance, thanks in large part to its remarkable 250hp horsepower Yamaha engine. The boat has a deep and spacious cockpit, which is great if you have small kids on board; and is made from high-quality components built to stand the test of time.
One thing we love about it is just how versatile it is. Whatever kind of activities you may be into, the SVX 231 OB can do it all.
Whether you enjoy a leisurely cruise on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon; or prefer the thrilling adrenaline-inducing action of watersports, or maybe you just want to hang out at the sand bar. This deck boat allows you to do all that and more.
Standard features include a rub rail, hydraulic tilt steering, bow and stern traction mats, bimini top, and an AM/FM stereo with wireless capability.
● Sleek and stylish design
● Lots of comfort and convenience features
● It’s a bit of a fuel guzzler
Hurricane SunDeck OB
As far as high-end deck boats go, it doesn’t get any better than the Hurricane SunDeck OB. This 26-ft. 4-in.-long yacht-certified deck boat offers an unmatched level of convenience and versatility. It has a center-deck bi-fold door that you can use to provide added protection against the elements or keep your kids and pets safe.
It comes with several convenience features, including cup and cell phone holders, charging ports, and keeper netting. It also has a walkthrough windshield that can be closed, opened, and adjusted to shield you whichever way the wind blows.
The SunDeck OB is fully customizable with a wide range of features that are guaranteed to make it feel like a home away from home – for the afternoon at least.
● Comes with lots of highly-intuitive features
● Fully customizable
● Suitable for a host of water sports and fun activities
● It’s not super-fast
Lowe Sport SD224
Boats don’t come cheap. So, while we may use the term “budget,” it doesn’t necessarily translate to “low cost.” We mean a boat that delivers an unprecedented amount of value for its price compared to other boats in its class.
The Lowe Sport SD224 is the perfect embodiment of this. It is built for high performance whether you’re out on a fishing expedition or looking to spend the day with friends enjoying your favorite water-sporting action. It combines the spacious comfort you get from a pontoon boat with the speed and agility of a powerful sport boat to give you the best of both worlds.
Standard features include a maximum 200hp engine, 12-person passenger capacity, two bow chaise lounges, and 4-to-1 anti-feedback steering. It also comes with two pedestal fishing seats, an aerated live well with timer, full vinyl flooring, and a drop-down enclosure when you need some added privacy.
The SD224 is fully customizable and retails at a base price of around $43,000, which can be prorated into monthly repayments of a little over $400.
● Delivers excellent value for money
● Fully customizable
● Highly versatile
● Poor fuel economy
Concept 392 Family Edition
The Concept 392 Family Edition deck boat is a beast on the water. For one thing, it’s massive. It has a center console layout and ample sitting at the deck and bow. But what we like most about it is that it is built for comfort and utility.
The 392 FE is fully customizable and comes with a wide range of fishing-features that make it ideal for a day spent out on the open water reeling-in some huge catches. Standard features include four powerful Mercury throttles, a powerful marine audio system, aft bench, bow, deck, and forward-console seating.
It also has coaming pads, aluminum powder-coated grab rails, a fiberglass helm seat, and lots more. The built-in fishing friendly-features that come with the 392 FE include insulated fish boxes, six fishing rod holders, dual live wells, and a dockside freshwater inlet.
So, whether you want to go on a fishing expedition or spend the day with family or friends relaxing on the water, the 392 FE is guaranteed to get you there in style.
● Delivers exceptional performance
● Comes with several fishing-friendly features
● Lacks oomph
Four Winns HD 270
The Four Winns HD 270 is by far one of the plushest and most spacious deck boats we’ve come across. Judging by the stunning bow lounge, the built-in coolers under the seats, wireless speakers, flip-up bucket bolsters, hinged bow cushions, and the U-shaped seating at the cockpit, you can tell it was built for comfort and entertainment.
So, if you’re up for a quick afternoon getaway on the lake with your family or a few friends, this is the boat you want to do it in. Standard features of the HD 270 include stainless steel cup holders, assist handles, coaming pads, a self-bailing cockpit, an aft sun lounge, a walkthrough transom door, and lots more.
● Built for lake excursions
● Fully customizable
● Spacious 12-passenger seating capacity
● May not be ideal for choppier waters
Searay SDX 290
The Searay SDX 290 has it all. Whether you want to take a leisurely cruise down the lake or make memories with friends while engaging in your favorite watersports, this deck boat is designed to do just that. It is arguably one of the most luxurious vessels in its class.
The sheer attention to detail is simply unmatched. It has a wide “carried-forward” beam that lets you seat several friends and a deep V-hull to provide extra stability for a super smooth ride.
Standard features include port and starboard lounges at the bow, hinged cushions, reclining aft-facing loungers, storage under bow seats, helm and cockpit, table, wet bar, and lots more.
● It has a plush design
● Fully customizable
● Large seating capacity
● Slightly pricey compared to other boats in its class
Bayliner Element E18
The Bayliner Element E18 Deck Boat is specially designed to support a wide range of boating activities. So, aside from the usual cruising and fishing capabilities you’ll find in most deck boats, it also has built-in features for several water sports activities.
These include a folding sport arch that doubles up as a ski tow bar and wakeboard rack to hold up to two wakeboards at a time. It generates powerful wakes similar to those produced by conventional wakeboard boats.
Standard features include two powerful bow speakers, convenience features like a carry-on cooler, cockpit table, and portside lounge seats with built-in cup holders. It also has plenty of fishing accessories like an aerated live well, bow and stern casting platforms, and seats.
● Extremely versatile
● Spacious seating for up to 9 passengers
● Not ideal for choppier waters
How to Choose the Best Deck Boats – Buyer’s Guide
Buying a boat isn’t the sort of thing you do every other day. You don’t buy a boat to sell it after a year. It’s an investment you’re going to have for a long time, maybe even a lifetime.
So, you need to take your time and choose the best one for your budget and needs. Below are some important factors to consider when choosing the best deck boats to buy.
Research Boat Dealers
When buying a deck boat, you want to make sure that you’re getting one from a reputable manufacturer. Any of the brands detailed in this review would be a great place to start.
Take the time to visit the official website of each of the deck boat manufacturers, explore the different models they have on offer, as well as the standard features of each of the boats. Also, check to see if they have any customization options available if you want to add any comfort and convenience features.
When you have a pretty good idea of the boat you want to buy, check if the manufacturer has any dealers in your area. Get in touch with them via a phone call or email and have them answer all the questions you might have about a particular vessel.
You want to discuss things like availability, models, customization, pricing, and even financing if that’s an option. Once you’re satisfied with everything you’ve heard, set up an appointment to go view the boat in person.
Ask All the Right Questions
Once you visit the dealership to view the boat, ensure you ask the following questions before signing the sale contract.
- Can I get my deck boat serviced here?
- Do you offer any winterization services for the cold season?
- How do I get the boat once I’ve bought it? Do I have to pick it up, or will you have it delivered?
- Is it backed by a warranty? If so, what does it cover?
- Can you arrange for a test drive before I buy it?
- What’s the standard procedure if my boat needs repairs or service? Should I drop it off here, or will you have someone come pick it up?
- How often does the boat require servicing, and how long does the process take?
- Do I have to take care of storage myself, or is that covered under the sale?
Once they’ve answered the questions above to your satisfaction, you also want to visit a few other dealers to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money. You might find one dealer offering something extra that the others don’t. As a rule of thumb, never settle for the first boat you like without exploring a couple more options.
Pick a Deck Boat With the Right Features
With so many shiny new boats to choose from, narrowing down your choices can be a herculean task in itself. Boats nowadays come with so many bells and whistles attached to them to entice you into purchasing them.
The best way to make a decision is by identifying the features that matter the most to you based on the activities you’ll be using the boat for, 90 percent of the time.
Deck Boats for Fishing
If you enjoy fishing, and that’s predominantly what you envision yourself doing most of the time, then it makes sense to get a deck boat that’s fully-loaded with fishing-friendly features.
It doesn’t matter how great the boat looks. If it doesn’t come with rod-holders, a live well, or ample storage to stow your fishing gear and accessories, then it’s pretty much useless to you.
Deck Boats for Entertaining
If you love hanging out with your buddies on a sunny Saturday afternoon and catching a couple of beers while jamming to your favorite tunes out on the water, then you want a boat with a sizeable deck.
It needs to have a big enough seating capacity to comfortably accommodate your posse. Features like cup holders, foldable table mount, and marine audio system are what you should be looking for in a boat.
Deck Boats for Family
If, on the other hand, you’re more of a family man or woman and are looking to buy a deck boat to spend more quality time with your spouse and kids, then you want a watercraft that can pull skis or an inner tube.
Maybe even have a sun deck with enough room to stretch out and sunbathe, and a swim platform with a step ladder you can use when swimming out in the lake or ocean. You might also want something that comes with a Bimini top to shield you from the sun on those hot days.
You could also get a deck boat that has a bit of everything. That’s okay too. Just be clear on what you intend to use the boat for and pick one with the features that support your specific activities.
Speaking of features, in an ideal world, the price wouldn’t be a factor when choosing a boat with all the bells and whistles you want it to have. The reality is – price will always be a pain-point for most people. Unless, of course, you have a ton of money to spend, in which case you can get any darn boat you like.
The one thing to keep in mind when shopping for a deck boat is – The more features and customization options it has, the higher the price point will be. That’s a fact of life.
So, while it is possible to get a deck boat with custom leather interiors, wooden finishes, state-of-the-art music system, expansive deck, customizable seating layout, fishing-friendly fittings, and anything else your heart desires, all these features come with a hefty price tag attached to them.
You also need to consider the expenses associated with running a deck boat, aside from the cost of buying it. You need to budget for:
- Boat cover
- Maintenance and repairs
Once you put all these costs into consideration, then, and only then, will you have a realistic picture of what the true cost of ownership is.
New vs. Used
Finally, once you have an idea of the kind of deck boat you want to get in terms of its size and features, and know how much its associated running costs will be, you now have to decide between getting a brand new fresh-off-the-factory boat or a used one.
Now, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “used” is likely an old rusty run-down boat. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Used simply means “pre-owned.” There are plenty of people selling deck boats they purchased in 2017 and 2018. Heck, you might even come across people selling 2019 vessels, although you may not get much of a price-cut since they are still pretty new.
If you’re looking to save loads of cash and get a vessel that’s good as new, you just need to go back a few years and find boats whose year of manufacture is in the 2012-2015 range. If you do get a boat that’s older than that, you may save on the initial cost of purchase, only to end up spending more money on maintenance and repairs in the long run.
If you can afford it, it’s always better to get a brand new boat. But, if you find a used one in great shape with all the swanky features you like, it beats getting a new boat at the same price. Just make sure you don’t end up buying a lemon.
Make Your Decision Count
Buying a deck boat is, no doubt, an exciting endeavor and probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your life. So, make it count.
Use the tips discussed in this guide to help you pick the best deck boats for your needs. The seven options reviewed are your best bet.
In the meantime, check out our detailed review for the best bowriders.