At Manitou Pontoon Boats, we specialize in making great aluminum pontoons, but we realize that there are many other types of pontoons on the market, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. We’d like to summarize those out for you so you can arm yourself with information before shopping for your next pontoon boat.
Fiberglass is used as a construction material for the hulls of many boats as it is a lightweight and fairly durable material. It is not subject to rust, many people prefer its visual appeal, and it performs well on the water. If the pontoons are punctured or damaged, and require repairs, the cost of repairing them can be quite expensive. When steel and and it will likely require the work of a trained professional. While fiberglass is fairly durable, it isn’t the most durable material on the list, and
The big advantage with foam filled pontoon boats is that they are not hollow, so they cannot leak. They are also typically cheaper to manufacture, as they usually have a plastic exterior and don’t require a thick and protective shell to shield a hollow interior. Foam filled pontoons typically have to be fairly narrow, as the wider they get, the lower the pontoon sits in the water, which leads to more drag, slower speeds and poor fuel economy. A foam filled pontoon also runs the risk of becoming water logged, which is a serious risk if out on the water and it becomes a problem. It shouldn’t be taken out if the pontoon is noticeably leaning to one side. Repairing the hull can be a bit tricky as well, as most pontoons use some sort of welding to repair a crack or hole, however the heat from welding does not work well with a foam interior.
Many older pontoon boats were made using steel, as it is a cheaper material, and it wasn’t economical at the time to use other materials on this list. The big advantage to steel pontoons is that they are far less expensive because…
- They are almost always used.
- Other higher quality pontoon boats drives their price down.
- They were made with a cheaper material.
The big disadvantage of steel for pontoon boats is that steel is a corrosive material, and will rust over time when exposed to moisture and air. This leads to leaks and cracks, which requires frequent maintenance and may require extensive repairs. Every year, steel pontoons require sanding and painting to protect them from rusting. You can get quite a good bargain on steel pontoons, but realize that there is risk involved in the purchase and it will require extensive maintenance.
Last but certainly not least, aluminum pontoon boats are the most common type of pontoon boat on the market. The majority of major pontoon boat manufacturers make their pontoons using aluminum as well. Unlike steel, aluminum is non-corrosive, meaning that the pontoons won’t rust over time just from being exposed to moisture. Aluminum great for lasting use, as it is very durable, and in the event of a puncture or leak, repair is usually easy and relatively inexpensive. Aluminum pontoons are often painted, that typically does not serve a purpose other than visual appeal. It is important to note that while aluminum is corrosive resistant, rusting can occur if the pontoons are submerged in mud or sand. Aluminum pontoons are typically more expensive than other types of pontoons, but the minimum maintenance and repairs, as well as the guarantee of having a pontoon boat that will last for many years is what makes aluminum pontoon boats so popular.
This post was put together by Mike Hall, a boating enthusiast.