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Best Paddle Boat – 2020 Reviews and Buying Guide

 by Updated on October 15, 2020. In Boats

Imagine for a minute that you could have fun with family and friends on the water while getting quality exercise at the same time. That’ll be killing two birds with one stone, right? That’s precisely what you get when you cruise a paddle boat along lakes, ponds, and rivers as you pilot the boat just about the same way you would a bicycle.

So, if you are ready to get the benefits of a workout while having a great time on the water, we invite you to go through this detailed review to help you choose the best paddle boat available on the market. Don’t forget to check out the buying guide for tips on what to look for before investing your hard-earned cash in a paddle boat.

1. Sun Dolphin Sun Slider 5 Seat Pedal Boat

Sun Dolphin Sun Slider 5 Seat Pedal Boat

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There is definitely something to be said about a paddle boat so popular it tops almost every paddle boat review! The Sun Slider 5-Seat Pedal Boat from Sun Dolphin is constructed from high-quality Fortiflex polyethylene material that ensures the boat’s durability.

The construction material for the hull and deck makes it sturdy and gives it stability during rides. It floats excellently well due to its closed-cell polystyrene foam. It comes complete with a high-quality canopy for protection from sun and UV rays.

With a maximum load capacity of 530 pounds and seats for three grownups and two children, this model is an easy choice for people who enjoy an outing with family and friends. But whether you are cruising singly or with family and friends, steering and pedaling the boat is effortless, and its performance is quite impressive.

Tall riders will have no problem with the seats as it can be adjusted to suit people with different heights. With the seats fully reclined, you can transform the boat into a sun-lounger. The boat comes with fishing rod holders, making it perfect for anglers.

There’s ample room for storing items so they don’t get wet and also keeping drinks and snacks cool and fresh. Plus, it comes with plenty of holders for beverage cans, bottles, and cups.

Bottom line: This is the best paddle boat when it comes to options and versatility. It is a great boat for fishing, cruising with family and friends, and if you want a boat that doubles as a sun-lounger for sunbathing. This is definitely our top pick.

Features

  • Weight: 117 lbs
  • Load Capacity: 530 lbs
  • Seating Capacity: Up to 5
  • Material: Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene

Pros

  • Folding canopy to protect from sunlight and UV rays
  • Comes with fishing rod holders
  • Maintenance-free bronze bushings
  • Extremely tough paddle wheel
  • Adjustable seating
  • Fully reclining seats
  • Closed-cell polystyrene foam floatation
  • Ample beverage holders that work well

2. Sun Dolphin 5 Seat Pedal Boat

Sun Dolphin 5 Seat Pedal Boat

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From Sun Dolphin comes another excellent boat that can easily pass as the best paddle boat for families who enjoy an outing on the water. The Sun Dolphin 5 offers ample room to hold plenty of picnic items as well as fishing equipment.

The boat is constructed with rugged materials that make it durable and sturdy. It is easy to maneuver due to its lightweight. And just in case you don’t feel like pedaling with your feet, there is enough room to mount an electric motor and enjoy an easy-breezy ride.

It is designed to convey two grownups and three kids and works well with one, two, or three persons paddling the boat. Its stability, even at full seating capacity, makes it an excellent choice for water adventures involving a group. The Sun Dolphin 5 also comes with a high-quality canopy to protect its occupants from the scorching sun.

Bottom line: With a canopy and five seats, this beautiful boat is designed with family-fun in mind.

Features

  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Load Capacity: 532 lbs
  • Seating Capacity: Up to 5
  • Material: Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene

Pros

  • Canopy for protection from UV rays and sunlight
  • High back support for comfortable seating
  • Dual rear compartments or coolers
  • Easy to maneuver due to lightweight
  • UV-stabilized hull and deck

3. Sun Dolphin Sun Slider Adjustable Pedal Boat

Sun Dolphin Sun Slider Adjustable Pedal Boat

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If you are in the market for a paddle boat that offers the best sun-longing experience, look no further than the Sun Slider Adjustable Pedal Boat. Its apparent lack of canopy is not an oversight, but a deliberate exclusion to allow users to enjoy enough sunbathing. It is roomy and can accommodate up to five passengers comfortably.

It is built with rugged high-density polyethylene material to ensure durability. On the whole, this boat is super stable, and anyone can enter and exit easily, including kids. It comes equipped with three-pedal positions to allow up to three paddlers at the same time.

The Sun Slider Adjustable Pedal Boat is lightweight, meaning steering and maneuvering is not an issue at all. And there’s enough room for drinks and snacks, as well.

Bottom line: Choose this model if you want the best paddle boat for sun-lounging with your partner. This boat takes the lead for the best value.

Features

  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Load Capacity: 825 lbs
  • Seating Capacity: Up to 5
  • Material: Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene

Pros

  • Fully reclining seats
  • Pedal positions for up to three persons
  • Lightweight
  • Room for 3 adults and 2 kids

4. Sun Dolphin 5 Seat Pedal Boat

Sun Dolphin 5 Seat Pedal Boat

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Boaters who will prefer a simple paddle boat without unnecessary extras will enjoy the basic design of the 5 Seat Pedal Boat.

It is simply a smooth cruiser for those who want to bask in the sun while enjoying the stable leisurely ride from this lightweight paddle boat. It is incredibly easy to pedal and steer; even children can control it without difficulty. To make things even easier, the boat comes with enough space to mount a motor and instantly transform it into an electric pedal boat.

The boat is designed to comfortably accommodate two grownups and three children. The seats have high backrests to make seating comfortable. There’s also enough room to store lots of refreshments in the built-in dual rear storage compartments.

The 5 Seat Pedal Boat is constructed from rugged UV-stabilized polyethylene material, making it a durable boat that will last for several seasons. The paddle wheel is designed to be tough, and the bronze bushings are easy to maintain.

Bottom line: This is your best bet if you want a no-frills paddle boat with a basic design that offers long hours of fun on the water.

Features

  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Load Capacity: 532 lbs
  • Seating Capacity: Up to 5
  • Material: Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene

Pros

  • Dual rear storage compartments
  • Pedal position for up to three paddlers
  • Comes with electric motor mount
  • High back support with comfortable seats
  • UV-stabilized hull and deck
  • Secure beverage holders

5. Sun Dolphin 3 Seat Pedal Boat

Sun Dolphin 3 Seat Pedal Boat

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For those who prefer a small boat for solo riding or one with just enough room three persons at the most, the Sun Dolphin 3 Seat Pedal Boat might just be the best paddle boat model to choose.

As expected, this small boat is incredibly lightweight, yet it is surprisingly stable. It is built with high-density polyethylene material with an adhesive sealant that holds the hull and deck in place. The paddle wheel is extremely tough, and the boat comes with a color-coordinated pedal.

Bottom line: This boat offers incredible stability in the water. You won’t have any problems entering and exiting this cute model from Sun Dolphin.

Features

  • Weight: 94 lbs
  • Load Capacity: 545 lbs
  • Seating Capacity: Up to 3
  • Material: High-Density Polyethylene

Pros

  • Incredibly tough paddle wheel
  • Highly stable
  • Adhesive sealant between D-hull and deck
  • UV-stabilized hull and deck
  • Optional saltwater drive system

Buying Guide for the Best Paddle Boat

Most paddle boats don’t come cheap, so you want to be deliberate about choosing one. Before you place a purchase order, make sure that the boat has all the features that are useful to you. Most importantly, you want to be sure that the boat is constructed with materials that will last for several years.

Here are the important things to keep in mind when shopping for the best paddle boat.

Material

As it is with every other boat, a paddle boat is only as good as the material with which it is constructed. For this reason, the first thing to find out when choosing one of these boats is the quality of the material.

Regardless of how fanciful a paddle boat is and all the extras that come with it, it is a bad investment if it is constructed with poor materials.

So, what exactly is the best material for paddle boats?

Look out for boats with hull and deck constructed from high-density polyethylene plastics. This material is rugged and serves a dual purpose. First, it ensures that the boat is lightweight, which in turn improves control or maneuverability. Secondly, high-density polyethylene material makes the boat durable and sturdy so that it can resist UV rays and take impacts without coming apart or puncturing.

Apart from the materials in the hull and deck, make sure that the paddle and wheel are made from tough materials, too. Without these, your paddle boat will hardly move on the water.

Seating Capacity

Next, consider the seating capacity that suits you. The options available include up to 5-person paddle boats, with many of them having pedal positions for up to three paddlers. In other words, even if you’ll be using the boat alone, you can still paddle it conveniently as a single-person paddle boat.

Find out how many adults and kids can ride in the boat if you intend to use it for family excursions. And if you want to use it primarily for friends, ensure that you know the number of adults that the boat can accommodate comfortably.

One more thing: be sure you know the maximum load capacity a boat can take before buying it, especially if you plan on bringing gear and passengers at the same time.

Storage Compartment / Cooler

Paddle boats are more fun on hot sunny days, such as in the summer. For this reason, it is common to bring along beverages and snacks for refreshment and hydration.

The best paddle boat comes with a cooler for keeping drinks cold and food fresh. The cooler space also doubles as a storage compartment for keeping items dry.

Choose a paddle boat with enough room in the storage compartment or cooler to hold the items you will need while on the water. Make sure the lid is solid and not just a flimsy plastic that can come apart at the slightest impact.

Cup Holders

Paddle boats are generally meant for recreation, enjoyment, and relaxation. It is almost unthinkable to thoroughly enjoy any of these activities without having some drinks or beverages. Setting down beverage cans, cups, and bottles in a rocking boat will most certainly spill the content, but not when it is held securely in cup holders.

Note that some paddle boats have shallow cup holders that will not keep your beverages safe as the boat moves on the water.

Rod Holders

It might not seem obvious, but paddle boats are perfect for fishing. They are mostly compact and can stealthily access tight areas on the water where larger boats can’t get to. Most importantly, they operated hands-free. All these features are huge pluses for fishing.

So, if you plan on using these boats to improve your angling experience, it will be helpful to choose one with rod holders to avoid spending extra money on buying them separately and going through the trouble of installing them.

Drain Plug

A paddle boat without a drain plug is probably a disaster waiting to happen. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere with water getting into your boat and sinking it. A drain plug will prevent water from entering and drowning your boat.

Riding in a paddle boat means water will unavoidably get into your boat. But you don’t have to tip your boat to get water out of it when you are on land. Removing the drain plug will do the trick. A drain plug is essential, so make sure you choose a boat that comes with one.

Canopy or Umbrella Mount

A canopy can make a huge difference in your boating experience. Paddling in a boat under the scorching sun is not as fun as having shade over your head. Besides ruining your fun, it can also have adverse effects on your skin.

Although not required, a canopy is an added advantage when you want to choose the best paddle boat. Select a canopy that won’t easily cave in or get blown off by the wind. It should also be waterproof to offer protection during a downpour. Of course, choosing a paddle boat with a canopy will increase the cost of the boat, but it is a worthwhile investment if you have deep pockets.

Alternatively, you can choose a paddle boat with an umbrella mount. That way, you can attach an umbrella even if you can’t afford a canopy.

Seat Cushions

Paddling a boat for hours across a river can be fun until the hard plastic seat starts to feel uncomfortable. Seat cushions can be the difference between cruising in your paddle boat for several hours and cutting your trip short because you are feeling uncomfortable.

It will be helpful if you can find a paddle boat that comes with seat cushions for increased comfort. However, since these items can easily be bought separately, you do not need to pass over a good-quality paddle boat just because it doesn’t have seat cushions.

Mooring Cover

A few models come with a mooring cover to keep the boat from harsh weather conditions and ultraviolet rays. But whether you find a paddle boat that comes with a mooring cover or not, ensure that you buy a good-quality water-resistant type meant for your boat model.

Mooring covers are particularly necessary if you don’t have enough space to store your boat indoors. Apart from UV rays and, you don’t want debris, water, dust, and other elements to damage your investment.

Accessories

Getting dressed in an appropriate outfit for a day out on the water, putting on the proper footwear, and even bringing along a beach tent (in case you want to take a quick nap on the beach) are all good and fine. But it is equally important to buy accessories that might not come with a paddle boat. Some of these include a personal floating device (PDF) which everyone onboard should wear, including Fido.

Some of the other accessories you should consider buying include a hand bilge pump (for evacuating water from your boat) and an air horn or whistle( for signaling other watercraft). You should also consider purchasing an anchor bag with a buoy for anchoring your boat, as it may not be included in many paddle boats.

If you’re ready to have some fun cruising on the water while creating lasting memories with your family and friends, go ahead and choose from the options listed in this review.

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