How Much Is a Pontoon Boat?
Pontoon boats, like most other kinds of boats, can cover a remarkably wide range of prices from as low as $12,000 to as much as $400,000. With such a huge range to cover, there are a lot of variables that go into determining figuring out pontoon boat price.
What is the Range of Pontoon Prices?
Brand new pontoon boats are going to be more expensive than used ones. This is for obvious reasons but also because modern pontoon boats are just better made than older pontoon boats. You’re getting a better and more reliable product that will likely offer more power and stability. For that reason, they tend to cost more than the older ones. Pontoon boat manufacturers often don’t publish the prices of their most popular pontoon boat brands, either.
For the absolute bargain basement pontoon boat, something like Pinecraft’s Brio E 15 blows the competition out of the water. This model has an MSRP of $11,182 so it’s very low relative to almost every single other model you’ll find.
Now for that price, you’re getting a small pontoon boat at 15 foot, which is exceptionally small by pontoon standards as well, but that should be no surprise. It runs on an electric Torqeedo engine that puts out between 5 hp and 10 hp and is designed to handle up to 6 passengers.
This little guy is definitely no powerhouse, but if you’re looking for a very leisurely fishing vessel at a pretty much unbeatable price for something brand new, it’s hard to argue with the value.
Now let’s look on the far end of the spectrum. Bennington’s 25 QX Sport is a top of the line luxury pontoon that will set you back about $392,271 if you elect to get the 425 hp Yamaha outboard motors to go with it. This thing is 27 feet, has a commercial grade refrigerator in it, a top of the line audio system, luxury upholstery and the whole deal. It’s top of the line from top to bottom. Luxury pontoon boats cost more than a party barge, which should come as no surprise.
Given this big range, there’s something to appeal to most needs and budgets when you’re in the market for pontoons. As with any boat, it depends a lot on what you need the pontoon boat to do for you.
What Does The Average New Pontoon Boat Cost?
Both the Pinecraft and the Bennington listed above are extreme examples and are probably not the exact right boat for most people. The Pinecraft may be too underpowered and small for most boaters while the Bennington is just too much boat at too steep a price for the average person.
In the middle of things you can expect to find a lot of pontoon boats costing between $15,000 and $35,000 or so.
In terms of average we’re talking about a boat that’s at least 17 feet in length and maybe up to 25 feet or so. Engine power will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 horsepower.
Obviously you can find larger boats and more powerful motors are not hard to come by, either. A good 60 hp motor on your pontoon will probably ensure your ability to engage in water sports like skiing and tubing by giving you the speed and power you need. The price tag goes up, of course, and you may be looking at $40,000 to $50,000 for something with more kick. Powerful outboard engines can cost more than an entire boat sometimes.
A 60 hp Mercury outboard 4-stroke motor will cost around $9,000 all on its own. So it’s not inconceivable to expect to add $10,000 to the price of an outboard if you’re buying one new and requesting the upgrade. And that’s just for one. If you have a larger pontoon you may be running two motors and then your price is obviously doubling for those.
What Does a Tritoon Boat Cost?
A tritoon boat will probably cost about half again as much as a similarly sized and equipped pontoon boat. A tritoon boat will probably cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 on average, with some notable exceptions both above and below that price range. One thing you need to take into account when considering the price of pontoon boats is exactly what you mean since people may use pontoon and tritoon interchangeably when they are not exactly the same thing.
Pontoon boats will be cheaper than tritoons for the most part. Tritoons have more that goes into production including both labor and materials so it makes sense that they’re going to cost more.
Tritoons tend to be bigger boats than pontoons, which factors into the price as well. You can get pontoons and tritoons that are the same size as they do overlap. But on the smaller scale, tritoons start at around 20 to 22 feet in length. Pontoons, however, may be as small as 15 feet and in some cases you can get mini pontoons even smaller.
Because of the size differences, the price range makes it look like tritoons can be much more expensive than pontoons. But if you consider that the lowest price pontoon may be 15 feet and the lowest price tritoon may be 20 feet, the price difference makes more sense.
The Bennington 25 QX Sport we listed above as an example of one of if not the most expensive pontoon boats available is actually a tritoon boat.
How Much Does a Pontoon Boat Cost Used?
If you’re a bargain hunter you’ll be more interested in used pontoons than brand new ones. There’s no hard and fast rule for pontoon boat depreciation and it works a bit of the same way it does with a car. If the previous owner took really good care of it and it’s in great condition, then it makes sense that it will cost a bit more than a similar model in rough shape. A year old model will likely have only lost a small amount of value and some can still cost from $70,000 to $120,000. Models that are over 10 years old can be found for under $20,000. Older models may be under $10,000 and even $5,00.0.
If you are new to pontoons and/or boating in general, I would strongly recommend that you consider not buying a used pontoon boat. Not because there aren’t any good deals to be had but because it’s a bit of a gamble to take with your first boat. A brand new pontoon boat is going to be in better condition and have a warranty. You get to set it up the way you want right off the bat and there should be no surprises.
That said, used pontoon boats in reasonable condition can cost as little as half of what a similar brand new model would cost and potentially even less depending on the boat’s age. Newer used pontoon boats may sell for prices remarkably close to the MSRP if they are only a year or two old or haven’t seen much action on the water. If you’re shopping for a used pontoon boat, take these things into account when figuring out if the price is right.
Things That Affect Pontoon Prices
There’s no hard and fast rule about what makes one kind of boat cost a certain amount of money, but these are some of the variables that can affect pontoon prices.
What is the Boat For?
A leisure boat doesn’t need as powerful a motor as a boat used for watersports. A party boat is going to need more deck space than fishing pontoons. But if you need a more powerful motor or more deck space, it will cost you.
How Many People Will be Using the Boat?
It’s not always easy to determine how much boat you need, but with a pontoon boat there’s a fairly simple way to determine ideal length, If you’re only going to have a few people on board, maybe about eight people, then a 15 to 19 foot boat will do.
If you think you’ll be taking up to a dozen people out, then a boat between 20 and 22 feet will serve you better.
If you plan on taking even more people then you’ll need a boat of 23 feet or more.
Obviously a bigger boat will cost more and raise the price of a used boat.
You’ll want to see the boat out of the water to check the pontoon tubes. Look for any signs that they have been damaged including dents, welts or patches. All of these should lower the price of a used pontoon boat. Dents are not uncommon in a pontoon boat, but find out what caused the dent and how bad it was.
Check out the hull of the boat underneath and look for bubbles or cracks in the laminate. Those are all signs of a boat in poor condition.
Check the mechanical systems including the gauges, oil pressure, springs, linkages and so on. Make sure parts are greased up and free of corrosion and that everything moves smoothly. Anything that doesn’t work as new shouldn’t bring a price tag that’s close to as new.
Check the deck and the seating and all of that as well. Obviously some wear and tear is to be expected, but you can use your best judgment to decide if the boat has normal wear and tear or if it’s been through the ringer. A big thing to look for is whether or not the wood is showing any signs of mold or rot because that could be a big and costly issue.
The most expensive single part on the pontoon boat is the motor so if you’re buying used you need to make sure it’s in great condition. First and foremost, I’d look up the exact kind of motor that the boat is equipped with and see what it costs brand new.
Once you know what you’re dealing with, the first thing you need to learn about a used motor is how used it is. How many hours on the water does it have? This is the single most important question you can ask about a motor. You ask how many miles a used car has on it and this is the same thing. They even make it illegal to roll back odometers on cars because this information is so important, so knowing how many hours a boat motor has under its belt is key to determining if the boat is worth your time and money or not.
Anyone selling a used pontoon should be able to tell you how many hours the motor has. If they can’t, the boat’s electronics will have still recorded it but you may need a mechanic to get the information during a diagnostic and that’s only something you’re likely to do if you’re really, really committed to wanting a specific boat. And this only works with modern pontoons that have the onboard computer to monitor such things.
A seller should be willing to pay to have a diagnostic run and provide this info for you if they don’t know it already. If they’re not, then that’s something you may want to be concerned about. It’s not like you’re asking for any secret information, after all. But this can greatly affect the price, so it’s important.
If you’re looking at an older boat, and by that we mean over 20 years, then a mechanic will need to take a look at it in much the same way you’d get a mechanic to inspect a used car before buying. They can run an engine compression test. That can give you a good idea whether the engine is still in good condition or not.
If the motor on the pontoon boat you’re interested in has been getting 50 to 60 hours per season, that’s pretty average. If someone’s been running 100 or more hours, the engine’s definitely been getting a workout so keep that in mind when haggling over price.
Take the cowling off the motor and give it a visual inspection. Look for signs of corrosion or damage. If you see white marks like spills on the metal inside, that’s a potential sign of fuel leaks inside, which could be a serious issue. Obviously check to make sure if it’s clean, as well. If there’s a lot of build up like dirt and grime caked up in old grease, it’s a sign of a poorly maintained engine.
Ask about any repairs that the engine has had as well. A reliable seller will be able to let you know what happened, when and why.
If a compression test shows the engine is in great condition still and everything looks clean and well maintained, then use and age may not be that big of a deal. But it’s a package thing and you need to consider everything when determining what a used pontoon is worth.
Once you know everything you need to know about a used pontoon and its overall condition, make use of the internet. Check some of the sites that sell boats all across the country and compare the one you’re interested in to identical or similar boats to see how it stands up. If your used boat is way more expensive than similar models, consider that you may not be getting a deal.
The market tends to dictate the value of a used boat. If a brand new model costs $30,000 and everyone is selling their four-year-old ones for $20,000 then you’ll probably not find a hidden gem for $10,000 out there, but you never know.
The Bottom Line
Pontoon boats can range from $12,000 to as much as $400,000 for brand new models, including both pontoons and tritoons. On average, you can expect a pontoon to set you back between $15,000 and $35,000 depending on the features, size and motor power you’re interested in. Used pontoons can offer a great bargain alternative but you need to know what you’re looking for to ensure you’re getting a deal and not a lemon. Used prices can vary greatly but are often consistent in terms of how they are across the market as a whole.
Categories: Pontoon Boats