Pontoon vs. Bowrider

Pontoon vs. Bowrider

Pontoon and bowrider are the two most popular boat styles. 

Of course, they’re incredibly different, but both of these boat styles offer comfort and versatility and accommodate numerous water activities.

However, some of their fundamental differences can affect your purchase of a boat. This article will help you learn more about these two boat styles to understand whether you should invest in a fancy pontoon or a basic bowrider according to your requirements.

What Is a Bowrider?

The primary difference between a bowrider and a pontoon is that the bowrider has angular bows. 

In addition, Bowriders feature seating at the front of the boat near the bow and the back. This boat style can accommodate about seven to eight passengers. 

Bowriders are suitable for water activities such as tubing, water-skiing, and wakeboarding, but they are primarily designed for fishing. 

These are also more common than other types of boats, so you will notice them on various water bodies. 

Pros of Bowrider

Bowrider is a versatile boat that fulfills most of your boating needs. Here are the pros of a bowrider. 


Bowrider is fuel-efficient as it covers three miles per gallon of fuel. Since a bowrider features a sterndrive motor, it easily cuts through heavy waves without burning more fuel. If you’re looking for a better fuel average, bowrider is a suitable boat style. 

Spacious Storage Compartments

While a pontoon boat is spacious for hosting parties, a bowrider also offers a large storage capacity to boaters. Bowriders seem to have less space, but they can easily carry your trip essentials because of the large storage compartments beneath the floor. 

There are small doors on the boat’s floor that reveal the spacious compartments. 

Adrenaline Rush

If you’re looking to buy a boat solely for aquatic adventures, a bowrider is what you need. Bowrider has a speed of about 30 to 49 miles per hour, giving you the perfect adrenaline rush. 

You can make sharp turns while keeping the boat in control by pulling the skiers and tubers. A bowrider is also more fun to ride. 

Cons of Bowrider

Bowriders are suitable for thrilling adventures and water sports activities, but they have a few disadvantages.


Bowrider comes with a steep price tag, costing around $30,000 to $50,000. If you don’t have a considerable budget, it’s best to buy any other type of boat. 

Less Room for Passengers 

A bowrider only accommodates a maximum of eight passengers, which is a setback for people looking to have more people aboard.

Also, although it features storage compartments, you won’t have much space to move around with about eight people on your boat.

What Is a Pontoon?

A pontoon is a rectangular boat featuring a flat deck and fence with high rails. Two long cylindrical tubes made from aluminum keep the boat afloat. These cylindrical hollow tubes are called pontoons. 

Measuring about 8 feet wide and 22 feet long, a pontoon boat is often referred to as a party boat due to its passenger capacity and size. Large pontoon boats can accommodate about 16 passengers. 

Most boats have a pointed front, while pontoons have a buoyant metal structure and are rectangular. The entire boat’s perimeter has seating for passengers, unlike most boats. 

Pontoon boats are also customizable, making them suitable for boaters who wish to make changes to their boat.

While pontoon boats support many excellent water activities, they are ideal for hosting events and parties because they are spacious enough to keep refrigerators, grills, sinks, etc. 

Pros of Pontoon Boats 

Do you find the pontoon boat style appealing? Here are some reasons you won’t regret investing in a pontoon boat. 


Pontoon makes it possible for you to plan a family barbecue or host a party with your friends due to its ability to accommodate a large group of people.

Pontoon boats also have plenty of space for walking. So you can keep your party essentials on the boat and celebrate an event in the middle of the lake. 


Pontoon boats have comfortable seats. In addition, they are highly customizable boats, allowing you to keep tables, boat grills, LED lights, stereo systems, and more. This type of boat makes it possible for you to host stylish floating parties. 

Highly Versatile

The spacious flat decks of pontoon boats work well as a fishing platform. Since pontoons are spacious, you can spend your day fishing with your friends.

In addition, you can accessorize the pontoon boat with fishing roads, on-boat grills, and livewells. Besides this, a pontoon boat is also suitable for water activities like wakeboarding, kneeboarding, water skiing, etc.

Overall, pontoon boats are customizable and offer excellent versatility. 

Highly Safe Boat Style

Pontoon boats feature high rails, which makes them extremely safe. You can host family events with children and pets as you won’t worry about their safety. 

Moreover, this boat style has a wide turn axis, keeping them stable when you make harsh turns. They’re also less likely to flip in the water. 


Pontoon boats cost as low as $15,000. Of course, customization can cost more, but if you’re buying a standard pontoon boat, it’s affordable compared to other boats.

They’re also very durable as they have a ten-year lifespan. If you consider its versatility, the price seems reasonable.

Cons of Pontoon Boats 

Pontoon boat style offers many advantages to boaters, but it does come with a few drawbacks.

Less Fuel-Efficient

One of the most significant drawbacks of pontoon boats is that they consume more fuel. For example, a one-hour trip on a pontoon boat can consume about five gallons of fuel.

If you’re looking for a more fuel-efficient boat, several other boat styles consume less fuel, such as the bowrider. 

Low Cruising Speed

While pontoon boats fulfill numerous requirements, they fail to fulfill your need for speed. You can ride a pontoon boat at a maximum of 25 miles per hour, making it suitable for recreational activities, but you can’t use it for thrilling boat races.

Only Suitable for Rivers and Lakes

Pontoon boats aren’t suitable for rough waters, so you can’t take them out on the sea. Instead, they’re designed for calmer waters like rivers and lakes. 

Pontoon Boat vs. Bowrider: Final Thoughts

Before you make a purchasing decision, you must look into your requirements and budget.

Pontoon boats are spacious, multi-hulled, budget-friendly, stable boats that work as a floating room for recreational purposes. At the same time, a bowrider is a small, speedy, extravagant boat designed for thrilling high-speed cruising.

Both of these boats are durable and sturdy and require equal maintenance, so your purchasing decision solely depends on how you will use the boat. 

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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