Inflatable VS PVC Boat: The 4 Important Things To Consider

Inflatable VS PVC Boat: The 4 Important Things To Consider

When it comes to anything, there is objectively no “best’ anything. While there are higher quality versions of similar products that make them preferred, nothing is without a flaw. In the case of outdoors equipment, this is no different.

Whether you are looking at an inflatable paddle boat or an inflatable boat with motor, nothing is perfect.

Inflatable boat in a warehouse

Inflatable vs. PVC boats have long been the subject of debates at outdoor centers, trade shows, and on the water itself. The differences cited lean to one side or another as having longer lasting material, more durability, or more usefulness in a variety of situations. The issue is not as clear cut as it may appear.

Materials & Form Lasts As Well As They Are Maintained

Most of the issues that users experience from using an inflatable Hypalon boat versus PVC boat come down to maintenance. Most don’t accurately maintain their boat overtime. This leads to greater amounts of air pressure or capacity being lost due to cracking or general infrastructure problems.

For the amount of money they cost, it’s no surprise that most expect them to last on their own. Using sealants and other ways to plug up small issues prevents long term defects. When coupled with the grating of using a PVC pontoon boat or PVC fishing boat on saltwater, the problem is compounded.

The easiest way to ensure it lasts and ensure there are no problems using either comes down to understanding the materials your boat is made of. If you don’t, no matter what type of material or boat you choose, it won’t last long against avid use.

Fishing Boat made from Different Materials

Even when storing them, the temperature control of the environment you choose matters. Paying attention to other key storage factors such as mold and moisture play a key role in how well they will last overtime. Making sure that they aren’t kept on the ground or in a space that leads to corrosion will keep them lasting multiple seasons without the need for repair or replacement.

The Amount Of Air That Stays Is Based On A Variety of Factors

Air pressure is what keeps the boat afloat. Overfilling your boat can lead to overexpansion and the material stretching and requiring more air to work the same. Even then, the capacity issues will lead to the structure of the boat itself being more flexible in a bad way. Early in the day, it will be perfect, but later in the afternoon, refills will be necessary.

Many PVC owners don’t experience any difference in quality from when they use regular inflatable pontoon boats. When it comes to inflatable vs. pvc boat choices, the only thing that matters is how you take care of it.

Understand that when you go out on the water, the time of day and temperature projections for the day factor into how inflated your boat stays. The general structure of your boat is based on the PVC itself, but how well it stays afloat is based on the right balance.

Your Manufacturer Choice Matters

One of the other forgotten about factors that matters in the inflatable vs PVC boat debate is the quality of the manufacturer. Many look to import a boat that is cheaper thinking they are getting a deal. Because they decided to skip out on spending a bit extra to go with a name brand company, they will deal with it later.

Intex Mariner 4, 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set

In boating, it’s called the devil’s deal. You get the benefit initially, but pay later on. This can be in the form of paying for repairs, dealing with the inconvenience, or needing to replace your boat as a whole. Pick a manufacturer known for constantly updating the quality of their materials and their boats as a whole. This means that their boats are likely to cost a bit more, but it will save you time, energy, sweat and tears later on.

The worst part of picking a subpar manufacturer is that you don’t know what you are getting. Whereas you may be expecting a decent quality boat that will work as it was advertised, you may find yourself in a world of trouble.

The worst situation is when the boat is not only ineffective and inconvenient, but when it is also dangerous. Because PVC boats previously were easier to quickly and cheaply produce, they were the boat that had the most corners cut in their PVC boat plans.

PVC May Have Had It’s Issues, But It Has Improved

Simply put, the technology for producing PVC boats has substantially improved. In the past few decades, the materials used have usually had one third of the air loss issues that other inflatable boats have. If you compare a PVC vs. aluminum boat, you will see the difference in reliability.

The main factor that makes PVC boats popular is that they are easier to transport, dock, load, and unload. Their flexibility options make them far cheaper and easier to use.

Example of a PVC Fishing Boat


Your boat will last as long as you are willing to make sure it is kept in top shape. Beyond that, it is up to choosing a manufacturer that is known for quality. It’s no longer easy to just blame PVC boats for being an inferior boat after it’s developments in production techniques in the past twenty years.

In conclusion, it’s easy to see our verdict. If we had to pick, a PVC boat is our preference for center console fishing boats that are cost effective and reliable. Inflatable pontoon boat accessories can add on costs, but it is nowhere near as expensive as having to replace a boat due to maintenance issues. In any case, it’s up to the user to find out which boat works best for their style of fishing or outdoor exploration.