There's nothing like spending a day on the water. Feeling the sun on your face and the wind in your hair as you cruise on your boat.
Some people are happy just to have this experience in a price-conscious pontoon boat model. Others are ready to elevate their experience and enjoy true luxury while boating.
If that sounds like you, you've come to the right place.
In this guide to luxury pontoon boats, we'll talk about the different types of boats and how to select the right one for you. In the end, you'll be able to shop for one of these vessels with full confidence in your purchasing decisions.
Let's talk about what qualifies as a luxury pontoon boat.
By definition, pontoons are flat, rectangular boats that maximize passenger space. They are built with two or three canoe-shaped flotation devices on the bottom called pontoons. These make the boat extremely buoyant and allow it to carry a significant amount of weight.
Because of their superior buoyancy, pontoon boats can be much larger than other types of boats and have more surface area for entertaining passengers. They can be outfitted with luxury accessories and amenities like lounge chairs, bars, sun pads, and high-tech sound systems.
Pontoon boats also offer a high level of customization. There are dozens of add-on accessories that you can select to make your boat truly unique. Built-in coolers, LED lights, and custom tables are a few.
One reason that pontoon boats are so popular is their versatility. They're excellent vessels for cruising, fishing, and water sports like skiing, tubing, or kneeboarding. Pontoons can be used for just about every kind of water activity.
There are a few different types and styles of luxury pontoon boats. The differentiation between these vessels is based on what kind of use the boat is designed for.
Luxury pontoons can be designed for cruising, water sports, fishing, and other activities.
One of the biggest reasons that people have for buying a pontoon boat is to use it for entertaining. Models that are built specifically for cruising and entertaining are colloquially called "party barges."
These pontoon models feature massive open decks, lots of seating, and accessories for entertaining and throwing parties. Popular accessory options include booming stereo systems, integrated wet bars, built-in refrigerators, ice makers, and electric grills. Some models will also include tables for eating, drinking, or playing games.
Some boaters opt for models that dedicate space to luxury loungers or sun pads, which are cushioned floor areas that many people can lounge on at once.
Customization options for cruising and entertaining are endless. Think about what kind of accessories will work best for your needs and lifestyle when designing a luxury pontoon.
Pontoon boats that are designed for entertaining only need a moderately-sized engine. But if you want to use your pontoon boat for water sports, you're going to need a bit more power.
Luxury sport pontoon boats are designed with larger powerplants to provide high-speed rides. Some models are outfitted with two or even three engines to really amp up the speed. Most luxury sports models can exceed 60 miles per hour with ease.
If you're looking for a pontoon boat to use during water sports, there are a few safety features that you need in order to comply with federal, state, and local laws.
Sport pontoon boats need to have a rear-facing observation seat so that someone can observe the person skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing behind the boat. That way, if they fall off or lose their grip, the captain can be alerted immediately. Sport models should also have clear rear-view mirrors and ski tow-bars.
In addition to these safety features, it's a good idea to have large storage compartments for wakeboards, water skis, and other sporting equipment.
Since fishing is one of the most popular water activities, some luxury pontoon models are designed specifically for fishing.
Instead of couches and lounge chairs, fishing pontoons are equipped with comfortable swivel chairs. Accessories like rod holders, livewells, and tackle storage boxes are all popular options. Various storage compartments can be outfitted with fishing rod racks so that you can haul more gear.
There are plenty of high-tech accessories for the luxury fisher. Depth finders and specialty quiet engines are particularly useful.
Fishing pontoon boats are perfect for fishing on lakes and reservoirs, but they are also great boats for some saltwater fishing situations. They're not designed to handle the open ocean or big, unprotected waterways, but they are great for fishing in shallow coastal bays and other calmer waters.
It's important to consider beforehand whether you will be using your boat primarily in freshwater or saltwater. If you're going to be fishing in briny conditions, make sure you opt for a pontoon designed for saltwater fishing. Look for models with 316-grade stainless steel fittings and ruggedized parts.
With such a wide variety of options available, the total luxury pontoon boat cost can vary greatly. The two biggest things that impact this final cost are the boat's size and what add-ons or upgrades you choose. Luxury brands often start with a higher NAP (Nationally Advertised Price), so keep that in mind as you're shopping.
When shopping for a luxury pontoon boat, it's important to pick the right brand. Below, we'll put our top picks for the best luxury pontoon boat brands head to head.
We'll compare Barletta vs. Bennington by price, size, features, and more. These are of course not the only luxury pontoon boat brands. So if you don't see one that resonates with you, feel free to do your own research into other brands like Veranda that might suit your needs better.
Barletta is a luxury pontoon boat brand known for comfort, safety, and high-end touches. Their boats are constructed with heavy-duty frames and custom pontoons that ensure a smooth, quiet ride.
Barletta features three pontoon models: the Cabrio, the Corsa, and the Lusso.
The Cabrio is Barletta's price-conscious model. It has the same high-quality performance, superior construction, innovation, fit, and finish that Barletta is known for, at a lower price point than their other models.
There are several different Cabrio models to choose from. The Quad-Lounge and Ultra-Lounge models maximize seating and lounging space. The Ultra-Entertainer features a multifunctional bar top.
The Cast-n-Cruise model prioritizes fishing amenities, including comfortable fishing seats, rod holders, a fish center, and an aerated livewell.
The base price for a Cabrio is between $40,000 and $50,000. There are many different packages and accessories you can add for an additional fee. Engine prices can range from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the type and brand.
The Corsa is Barletta's mid-range sport model. It's designed after muscle cars with sleek exterior lines, chrome badging, and three different interior accent colors.
Corsas come in Quad-Lounge, Ultra-Lounge, and Ultra-Entertainer models, just like Cabrios. The Ultra-Lounge model is unique in that it offers flexible seating options.
The base price for a Corsa ranges from $56,000 to $82,000. The price for an engine can be as low as $5,000 or as high as $40,000. Again, this is without the addition of extra accessories, which can include diving boards and extra storage.
The Lusso is Barletta's top-of-the-line luxury pontoon model with a price point to match. Lussos feature classic and stylish rail-sets, ultra-soft and ultra-comfortable furniture, a helm loaded with the latest technology, and even pet-friendly amenities.
The Barletta Lusso comes in Quad-Lounge, Ultra-Lounge, and Ultra-Entertainer models. The furniture and finishings are exceptionally luxurious in every model.
The base price for a Lusso ranges from $85,000 to $108,000. Engine prices range from $5,000 to $42,000. Barletta offers extra storage options, interior RGB lighting, exterior lighting, and high-quality pillows for extra comfort.
Bennington is a luxury pontoon boat brand known for trendsetting design and superior construction that exceeds the industry standard. Their boats offer exceptional speed and smooth handling.
They have Elliptical Sport Packages that enhance stability and water displacement. Its handling characteristics can rival those of fiberglass sport boats.
Bennington has four pontoon boat models: the Q Series, the R series, the L Series, and the S Series.
The Q Series features Bennington's flagship pontoon boats. These are Bennington's most head-turning and luxurious vessels.
There are three different Q Series Models: the QX Sport Line, the QX Line, and the Q Line.
The QX Sport Line is a 25 foot aggressive and sporty model that starts at a price point of $300,000.
The QX Line features 23 to 30 foot long vessels that are refined and elegant. They can support both single- and dual-engine configurations. The QX Line ranges in price from $110,000 to $270,000.
The Q Line features 23 to 30 foot long boats that are highly customizable. There are dozens of interior and exterior color options that include RGB lighting. The base price for a Q Line model ranges from $84,000 to $241,000.
Bennington's R Series features luxury performance boats that blend style and performance. There are three different R Series models: the RX Sport Line, the R Bowrider Line, and the R Line.
The RX Sport Line consists of 25-foot boats with striking, fluid lines. Pricing for these models ranges between $105,000 and $189,000.
The R Bowrider Line features boats between 20 and 24 feet and one of the first step-down bows. They provide a sporty, low-profile exterior with enhanced sightlines. The base price for these models is between $105,000 and $114,000.
The R Line is made up of 21 to 30-foot luxury performance boats that can support single- or dual-engine configurations. The R Line ranges in price from $77,000 to $219,000.
The Bennington L Series features high-end, premium pontoon boats with all of the most popular standards and options. It comes in three lines: the LX Line, the L Bowrider Line, and the L Line.
The LX Line is made up of 19 to 26-foot pontoon boats that prioritize luxury and sophistication. Pricing ranges between $60,000 and $70,000.
The L Bowrider Line is similar to the R Bowrider Line with its step-down bow and enhanced sightlines. The base price for this model ranges between $79,000 and $87,000.
Finally, the L Line is one of Bennington's bestselling models. Boat sizes range from 18 to 25 feet and are highly customizable. Pricing ranges between $40,000 and $55,000.
This line even features a pontoon boat with a top deck for a base price of $98,000.
Bennington's S Series features the brand's ultimate value pontoon boats. There are three S Series models: the SX Line, the S Line, and the SV Line.
The SX Line is made of 16 to 25-foot pontoon boats that highlight comfort, style, and functionality. These boats can be easily customized to fit your lifestyle. Pricing on the SX Line ranges from $28,000 to $57,000.
The S Line features 16 foot to 25-foot boats in a variety of styles, including 8-foot narrow-beam widths with lots of customization options. S Line Prices range from $24,000 to $41,000.
Finally, the SV Line has 16 to 20-foot pontoon boats that are fishing and family-friendly. These boats are Bennington's most price-conscious models. Pricing ranges from $15,000 to $20,000.
Luxury pontoon boats are one of the best ways to elevate your boating experience. They merge style and function in a way that will set you apart from everyone else on the water.
Now that you know about the different types of pontoon boats and their associated costs, you can start your search for one of your very own with full confidence.
If you're not quite ready to buy your own boat yet, check out our membership info to learn about why boat clubs are such a smart investment.