how much do pontoon boats cost

How Much Do Pontoon Boats Cost? (With Examples)

How much do pontoon boats cost? This question has been asked countless times, and this is precisely why we have created a comprehensive guide to help you find the exact pontoon of your dreams!

Let us jump right into it!

How Much Does a Pontoon Boat Cost?

The cost or prices of this type of boat could vary by extremely large margins. Take a look at the top vessels below and see if any are in accordance with your cost or value specifications.

Below list includes popular brands such as Sun Tracker, Avalon, Bennington and Harris.

Low to Mid Range ($2,000 - $50,000)

  1. Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16 XL Select ($18,595)
  2. Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX ($24,795)

Mid to High Range ($50,000 - $80,000)

  1. Avalon 2585 Catalina Elite ($52,380)
  2. Bennington SX 22 Swingback ($53,033)
  3. The Bennington SX 25 Swingback ($59,039)
  4. Bennington SX 24 Stern Lounge ($56,563)

Luxury Range ($80,000 - $200,000)

  1. Avalon Catalina Platinum Funship ($91,120)
  2. Harris Crowne DL 250 ($154,231)

What Does the Average Cost Work Out to Be?

The average cost of this type of boat is hard to determine as there are several options in the market today. We would suggest choosing from our list above first, in accordance with your budget, then work your way into determining annual upkeep requirements and their corresponding costs.

One thing we can tell you for sure is that you will have to set aside thousands of dollars to ensure that your boat is in top condition regularly.

What are the Factors that Influence the Price of a Pontoon?

Type

There are several unique classifications of pontoon boats. Let us take a look at each briefly:

  • Bar Pontoon - a boat that is built for social events and dining experiences.
  • Fishing Pontoon - a boat that is designed for fishing trips and expeditions.
  • Twin-Engine - a boat that utilizes two engines or motors instead of one.
  • Rear Lounge Pontoon - offers premium lounge seating with high-quality upholstery.
  • Quad-Seater - a boat that allows comfortable seating for 4 passengers (including the boat operator).
  • Arch Pontoon - a boat that comes with an arch design which is generally for aesthetics.
  • Triple-Tube - a vessel that has three toons (tubes) instead of one. Also called tritoons.
  • Fibreglass Pontoon - a vessel fortified with a fiberglass exterior for a unique look and extra durability and reinforcement.
  • Double-Decker - a vessel with two floors (or decks).

Size

There are three general categories of pontoons according to size: small, medium, and large. Small pontoons can accommodate one to two individuals. Medium pontoons could host up to half a dozen individuals. Large pontoons can carry around ten to fifteen individuals.

Engine or Motor

Most standard pontoons come with a single 90hp to 115hp motor or engine and are typically upgradeable (prices may vary depending on the type of upgrade). The value of having a powerful engine or motor is the ability to accelerate and travel at faster speeds. The costs, however, might set you back. Expect to pay thousands of dollars for an engine or motor upgrade.

Deck Material

There are several unique deck material builds in the market these days, and with options to customize boats becoming more and more common, the possibilities and combinations are limitless. In general, the two most common deck materials used are vinyl and carpet.

Accessories

The sky (and the cost) is the limit when it comes to customizing or accessorizing your pontoon boat. You can fit most standard pontoons with an additional motor, mounted fishing gear and equipment, water sports gear, and arguably most importantly, a high-quality sound system.

Technology

A sound system is not the only aspect of pontoons that is considered technology. Everything from boat steering to navigation is highly dependent on the current state of technology. The more up-to-date boats are with technology, the higher the cost will be.

Should I Buy a New Pontoon Boat or Used Pontoon Boat?

buy new or used pontoon boats

Just like with how people wonder about getting a used car instead of a brand new car, the discussions regarding acquiring a used pontoon boat instead of a new pontoon boat have led to several advantages and disadvantages. Allow us to walk you through the pros and cons.

Average Cost and Running Cost of a Pontoon

The question, "How much does a pontoon cost?" does not end with the sale price or purchase price. You would also have to consider the running or annual expenses associated with a new or used pontoon boat. As seen in one of the earlier sections, pontoon boat pricing may vary, but you can confidently expect to save as much as 50% on your purchase when buying a used pontoon boat compared to new pontoon boats of the same build or model.

However, when it comes to maintenance and repairs, buying a used pontoon boat, especially a pontoon boat that has been used regularly for several years, may lead to some hefty charges, drastically increasing the annual financial burn rate just to keep the pontoon boat and its engine up and running.

Essentially, when it comes to new or used pontoon boat cost, if you have a sizable budget upfront and would like to keep annual maintenance and repair costs relatively low for the first couple of years, then getting a new boat from the selection of new pontoon boats in the market may be better for you. On the other hand, if you would like to save up on the initial costs and deal with potential repair and maintenance requirements later on, then used pontoons are acceptable.

Engine or Motor Health and Durability

Whether you plan to use your pontoon as a fishing pontoon boat, water sports pontoon boat, or a barge boat for events and special occasions, it is important to always assess the health and durability of your engine or motor. This is particularly true for used pontoon boats. It does not matter if the quality or rated horsepower of the engine or motor is 115hp or 50hp, what matters is that it can function optimally without risk of damage, leakage, or overheating.

To make sure that your new or used boat engine or motor is in good condition, we would recommend having it checked immediately after acquisition or after every boat trip by professionals.

Insurance Concerns

When it comes to insurance, the common thought process is that a used vehicle or used pontoon boat is cheaper simply because it is older. While this line of thinking is partially true, it does not account for the entire reasoning behind cheaper insurance. According to some sources, providers offer packages for used and older model-year boats at a significantly lower rate because a typical boat owner would opt not to insure old vessels.

Take this factor into consideration if you are on a strict budget when it comes to purchasing your pontoon boat. Expect to pay, at most, 80% of the original or brand new rate of the pontoon boat if it were an older, used model.

See our guide on pontoon boat insurance.

Technology, Features, and Overall System

Technology has accelerated so much in the past couple of years, and there is no doubt that with advancements in science and boat research, the technology, features, and fuel or gas efficiency of a pontoon (along with the costs or prices) will improve sooner rather than later.

If you are the type of individual looking to make the most out of the technological prowess of a boat, then we would advise going for the newer pontoons over the used models (which typically operate with relatively outdated technology).

Dealers and Vendors

The quality does not only have to occur within the vessel. You also have to choose a high-quality dealer or vendor that understands costs, prices, value, and customer experience (or respect).

In this regard, we would advise spending the first few visits to your dealer or vendor as a feeling-out process, just to make sure that you will not be left behind. Also ask about services, examples of which are tow services, aftersales support, and warranty terms and conditions. You could never go wrong with people who have your best interests at heart.

New Boat Feeling vs Worry-Free Used Boat Feeling

Just like the so-called new car smell, there is nothing that beats the vibe of owning a brand new boat. The first few steps you take, visiting the different storage compartments, exploring the space, imagining hosting a party, and everything else that people can think of is so unique and exhilarating when being the first owner of the boat. The downside, however, is your (potential) obsession with ensuring that the boat never gets scratches or dents. This may lead to overly cautious practices and stressful thinking situations that may actually compromise how you view and enjoy the boat.

If you feel that you are someone who is susceptible to that kind of obsessive thinking when it comes to a brand new pontoon boat, then perhaps a used boat would serve you better. With a used pontoon boat, you would not have to worry about dents or scratches as a used pontoon boat would most likely already have a few, and you can enjoy the boat more for its functionality and opportunities rather than style and perfection.

Do Pontoon Boats Hold Their Value?

pontoon boat for family gatherings

Unfortunately, the direct answer to this question is no, pontoon boats do not hold their value any better than cars or SUVs. Even the popular boats or vintage boats have a difficult time maintaining good pricing after a couple of years of use. Unfortunate as this may sound, this provides potential pontoon boat buyers and enthusiasts to acquire used boats for themselves at reasonable prices, from fishing pontoon boats all the way to the high-end luxury pontoon boats.

The length of use and ownership is important in determining how much value a particular pontoon boat can hold. The average cost of a pontoon boat that has seen over a year of use with an average operating duration of a few hours every other month or so can dip to as low as 70% - 80% of the original value. As an example, if a new pontoon boat is purchased for $10,000 and subsequently used (within reason) for one year, deduct $2,000 to $3,000 from the stated price and it can be sold rather easily.

For a more in-depth look at this, check out our guide on pontoon boat depreciation.

Brief Tips on Getting a Good Deal

Negotiating with a person or dealer can be intimidating for the uninitiated, but as long as you are knowledgeable when it comes to the pontoon boat space, particularly when it comes to models, price ranges, vessel types, competitors, and engine system types, you will be more than capable of holding your ground and achieving an agreeable price point sooner or later.

The Annual Running Ownership and Maintenance Costs of Pontoons

There is no hard value or number that we can provide when it comes to the annual running costs of a pontoon boat as there are several factors to consider, including:

To help you with understanding more about this section, we have created a handy guide for you: How much does it cost to own a pontoon boat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are pontoon boats worth the money?

Pontoon boats are absolutely worth the money. You can take it out under the sun to go fishing, enjoy a short cruise with the family, or customize it with accessories to make it have luxury and prestige.

How much do used pontoon boats cost?

Depending on the quality, features, accessories, models, and passenger capacity, a pontoon boat can range anywhere from a couple of thousands of dollars all the way up to tens of thousands. Take a look at an online pontoon catalog hosted by reliable dealers to decide which best suits your money or budget.

How much is a 2020 pontoon boat?

A 2020 pontoon boat will cost a premium as it is one of the more recent models. Expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 for standard-sized 115hp pontoons.

Do pontoon boats hold their value?

Pontoon boats can only hold their value as good as any other boat, car, or SUV. Once you take pontoons out of the dealer lot, the value immediately sinks approximately 20% - 25%.

Should I buy a new or used pontoon boat?

Depending on how much money you can spend, your perceived value of the functionality of pontoons (fishing, boating, etc.), and the overall quality you seek out of a vessel, it would be better to go with a used if all the important criteria are met.

Conclusion

"How much do pontoon boats cost?" is a question that we have hopefully answered throughout the several sections presented. Do not forget to visit the associated guides we have linked as well to be well-informed before making the big purchase!

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