Approximately 71 percent of the Earth is covered by water. So, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of building a houseboat. At this point, you might be wondering what the difference between that and a liveaboard boat is.
A liveaboard boat is essentially any kind of watercraft that you can live in full time. A houseboat, on the other hand, is a very specific type of liveaboard boat that’s used as an individual’s primary residence. Its construction and overall look mirror that of a conventional land-based house. The only difference being – it is designed to float on water.
Houseboats are not what they were a few decades ago. They are now luxurious contemporary structures whose elaborate designs rival some of the best land-based homes in the world today.
If this is the lifestyle you envision for yourself and your family, we’ve rounded up the 10 best houseboats in the market today. We’ve also put together some useful tips you can use to help you pick the best one.
The American Houseboat
The Zion is the ultimate all-American houseboat. This 14’ x 14’ floating home comes with two bedrooms and a loft area, all of which can comfortably accommodate up to eight guests at any given time. It has high ceilings and lots of windows that bathe the space in natural light.
You’ll particularly enjoy the view from the private rear deck in the master bedroom, where you can sit and enjoy your morning cup of coffee as you watch the sunrise. Alternatively, you could delight in a glass of bubbly as you watch the sun go down in the evening. It is a sight to behold.
Other standard features of the Zion include a massive front deck that fits a hot tub, a full bar, and a barbecue grill. It also has a fully-equipped state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen that comes outfitted with stainless steel appliances to help you whip up delicious meals in a jiffy. As far as functionality goes, the Zion delivers on all fronts.
● Comes with lots of built-in amenities
● It has lots of natural light
● Comes with spacious interior and exterior spaces
● The overall look of the boat could be better
Stardust Cruisers Houseboat
If space and luxury are what you seek, then you’ll love what the Stardust Cruisers Houseboat has to offer. It fuses a conventional houseboat’s unique and cozy features with the style and finesse of a luxury yacht.
The boat is made of aluminum and fiberglass panels that are 100% wood-free. If you value improved economy and handling, the vessel is available in V-drive power and direct drive configurations for you to choose from.
● Increased economy
● It is a hybrid of a luxury yacht and houseboat
● May not be suited to offshore cruising
If you’re looking for an affordable houseboat, the Catamaran Cruiser is a great option to consider. This 10’ x 35’ floating home was built with the first-time houseboat owner in mind.
Don’t let its small size fool you. It comes with a spacious galley that features a full-sized fridge and a roomy bathroom with enough space to maneuver. For those days you want to enjoy the outdoor views of the water surrounding your home, the boat has a spacious 300 sq. ft. deck that’s perfect for relaxing or entertaining.
● Perfect beginner houseboat
● Ample deck space outside
● The design of the boat looks a little dated
Savanti 31 Docksider
If you’re in the market for a houseboat that’s built to withstand the corrosive properties of saltwater, then you might want to check out the Eco-Sea Cottages range of Savanti 31 Docksider boats. This fully-equipped elegant liveaboard watercraft is turn-key-ready for you to move in.
It is outfitted with all the major appliances you need for comfortable living, a walk-around king-size bed, a huge fireplace, A/C and heating, a fully-equipped state-of-the-art kitchen, and a big-screen TV.
● Unique contemporary design
● It’s not as big as other houseboats in its class
Gibson Cabin Yacht 5000
Gibson Boats is a household name in the house-boating world. The Gibson Cabin Yacht 5000, in particular, is the perfect embodiment of style and luxury and truly lives up to the company’s mission – To bring fun back to the water.
It comes with brand new appliances, two full-sized beds, all-carpeted interiors, built-in stereo systems, and lots more amazing features. It is ideal for freshwater lakes and rivers.
● Offers great value for the money
● Spacious exterior spaces
● Well-furnished interior
● The exterior design looks a little utilitarian
Harbor Cottage 2-Story Houseboat
Harbor Cottage Houseboats
The Harbor Cottage 2-Story Houseboat is the ultimate floating home for you and your family. This fabulous watercraft has an expansive 575 sq. ft. lower story level that’s perfect for entertaining.
The spacious 364 sq. ft. upper level has comfortable staterooms that can accommodate up to eight people. The vessel is outfitted with a range of appliances, including a microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. It has everything you need for lake living.
● Great for entertaining
● Home appliances included in the purchase
● Spacious interior
● Not ideal for long-range cruising
V-Series by Destination Yachts
If your dream is to cross oceans in your houseboat, the V-Series by Destination Yachts is the perfect vessel to do it in. Unlike many other models on the market, this particular vessel is built with a full twin-compartmented hull, which keeps the boat stable even in rough ocean waters.
Standard features include Jet Ski ramps, floodlights, a swim platform ladder, hardwood-look flooring, a sun lounge, a wet slide, and a host of appliances like a washer/dryer and dishwasher.
● Design-protected hull for maximum stability
● Comes with several customization options
Lux Series Sumerset
The Lux Series Sumerset houseboat is one of the bestselling family homes today, and with good reason. Aside from its competitive introductory price, it comes with a host of features designed to complement any lifestyle.
It is outfitted with appliances like a 27 in. stacked washer/dryer, a stainless steel dishwasher, a built-in microwave, and a stainless steel refrigerator.
Custom features include a water slide with a lake-water pump, a fiberglass party-top extension, and several other family-friendly add-ons. This houseboat caters to the needs of every member of the family.
● Competitively-priced compared to other boats in its class
● The spacious interior and exterior living areas
● Supports a wide range of activities for the whole family
● Only suitable for use on lakes
The Atlas V-Series houseboat is the ultimate vacation liveaboard watercraft. First impressions: She’s quite the looker. This masterpiece is the product of excellent craftsmanship and next-generation innovation.
The V-Series comes with a wide range of comfort amenities and has several customization options available to boat buyers. You’ll particularly like the sun deck that comes with day beds, the rear waterslide, and the cozy fire pit – all designed to give you a memorable time onboard. If you’re in the market for a vacation home, you can’t go wrong with it.
● Futuristic design
● Comes with lots of features and luxury amenities
● Expansive interior and exterior living space
● Comes with a pretty hefty price tag attached to it
From the moment you first lay eyes on the Adonia houseboat, her beauty and distinctive lines are guaranteed to draw you in instantly. The sheer attention to detail and quality craftsmanship that went into making this boat is unlike anything we’ve come across.
It has an innovative layout and huge windows that open up to the deck at the back of the boat. It even has a helipad up top. If elegance and fine living are what you seek, this is the houseboat you need.
● Spacious living areas
● High-quality finishes
● It comes with lots of luxury features and amenities
● It is a bit of a fuel-guzzler
How to Choose the Best Houseboats – Buyer’s Guide
As a rule of thumb, there are three main factors you need to keep in mind when choosing the best houseboats.
First, you need to pick the right-sized boat. Most marinas across the country have a policy that prohibits boat owners from having more than 12 people on board while the watercraft is in motion. You also need to pick a size that addresses the privacy needs of those who will be living aboard.
The second consideration is your budget. The bigger the boat is and the more amenities it comes with, the pricier you can expect it to be. Luxury houseboats also tend to cost tremendously more than their conventional non-luxurious counterparts.
Be sure to factor in the overall costs associated with owning the boat as well. These include repair and maintenance fees, marina fees, and boat insurance.
Finally, pick a houseboat with the amenities that reflect the kind of lifestyle you want to live. Most boats come with the basics you would expect to find in any land-based home.
However, others have luxury add-ons like fire pits, hot tubs, water slides, etc. Consider the needs and desires of the people you intend to have on board before you settle on a specific houseboat.
Embrace the Boating Lifestyle
Other than the fact that you’re exempt from paying property taxes, there are several perks of living on a houseboat. Not only do you get to wake up to an amazing view every day, but the peace of mind you get and the serenity of being surrounded by water is like nothing else.
We hope you found this review helpful. Any of the boat manufacturers detailed in this guide would be an excellent place to kick off your hunt for the best houseboats the industry has to offer.
In the meantime, check out our review of the best powerboats for 2020. What we found might surprise you.