Boats are expensive and taking care of them should be your priority. Just as garaged cars keep their shine longer, covered pontoon boats get less damaged when protected with the best pontoon boat cover. Whether you use the original or custom boat canvas this should be a standard piece of equipment for every sailor.
Leaving your boat uncovered means the furniture, the leathers, the floors and other important parts of the boat will wear out ten times faster.
Winter is coming (Yes, I am a huge fan of The Game of Thrones). Therefore, you need to have a reliable pontoon cover for your boat. At least in the areas such as the one I live in, the New England.
As a pontoon enthusiast, I have spent considerable time researching the best pontoon cover on the market and below are my thoughts on it. I will not tell you which cover to buy for your boat, I think doing the due diligence on your own is the best way.
Why am I not going to tell you which cover to choose? You know what is best for you, you know what you want to do with your boat so you should be the one making the decision. It’s that simple.
However, I will try to give you an idea of what you can expect to get from pontoon covers that made my list. I hope it will be good enough for you to make the right choice.
So, before I list my top pontoon covers I would like to give you a few quick tips you should follow when buying a pontoon canvas. You don’t have to follow them of course but I feel best when I know that no stone is left unturned before making the tough decision.
- 0.1 Bigger Is Better
- 0.2 Not All Covers Are Made Equal, Buy More
- 0.3 Avoid Bright Colors
- 0.4 Water-Resistant Does Not Equal Waterproof
- 0.5 Which Material To Buy
- 0.6 Buy The Cover That Is Easy To Use
- 0.7 Buy Aftermarket Pontoon Cover
- 0.8 Take The Cover Off When Trailing
- 1 Best Pontoon Boat Covers For Your Boat
- 2 How To Clean Your Pontoon Boat Cover
- 3 Which Is The Best Pontoon Boat Cover?
Bigger Is Better
Do not be afraid to buy a cover that might cover an area larger than you need. All the covers I linked to will fit every standard boat in the given size. Do not worry if the cover says it can fit up to a 24’ boat if all you have is one ranging from 19’ to 21’.
The greatest benefit of a longer boat canvas is that it will cover the top of the outboard, in addition to the front of the deck. And you must remember that you paid a lot of money for your boat, so cover as much as you can to protect your boat from damage.
So, whoever said size does not matter, clearly did not experience the benefits of a well-endowed cover first-hand.
Not All Covers Are Made Equal, Buy More
Some covers are made for boasts that sit in the water for an extended period, while others are for boats that are being trailed. Covers for trailing usually have extra security ties and can withstand higher speed winds.
Also, can you wait a few days in case the canvas you have breaks? I like to have a spare for situations like that, it is just less of a headache.
Avoid Bright Colors
The reason I am saying this is because you don’t want any of that bright orange to blend into your pontoon boat’s upholstery. Go with a nice simple color that can “be hidden” if it blends into the upholstery.
The gray color is my favorite for lighter interior and blue for darker, any color that blends will be well hidden.
Water-Resistant Does Not Equal Waterproof
I did not know the difference until I heard of kids throwing their brand new water-resistant phones in the water. They thought it was safe to do so but have sadly learned the hard lesson in life.
Just because something is resistant does not mean that it does not fail. If you are going to leave your boat outside for an extended period you must have a waterproof cover.
In all honesty, I don’t even know why anyone would buy a water-resistant canvas if they have a waterproof canvas option. Pick a safer choice in this case.
Which Material To Buy
Generally, pontoon covers are made from either synthetic blend like polyester or cotton canvas. I would personally go with denier polyester for the reason I stated above. Synthetic covers have added a layer of acrylic which help them keep the water out.
Also, consider the durability of the material. The durability is measured in denier, which represents the thickness of the boat canvas. I believe that thicker is better so I would not go with anything less than 600D (denier).
Buy The Cover That Is Easy To Use
The most common reason people do not cover their boats is that it can be a pain in a neck to do so. If you do not have the right cover it can take a very long time to put on the boat.
Make the right decision, buy the cover that is easiest to use.
Typically, higher end covers are easier to use because the companies selling them must justify the price. But if you think about it, buying more expensive cover will reduce potential expenses down the line. So, invest a little more in the front to avoid paying big money later. And on top of that save some time when installing your pontoon cover.
Buy Aftermarket Pontoon Cover
I prefer the aftermarket cover in favor of the fitted cover that originally came with my boat because they are easier to work with. The original cover usually has all these straps and bells and whistles so by the time I am done covering my boat I feel like I’ve spent the whole day just doing that.
And if the original cover breaks and you want to replace it with the same one be ready to pay the price. This can set you back a grand or more. I’m not paying that kind of money for a pontoon canvas, it’s absurd.
Also, if it’s cold out it seems like all the snaps on the cover shrink. I could not even connect them properly most of the time.
Take The Cover Off When Trailing
A lot of people make this mistake thinking it is safe to trail the boat with the cover on. I do not recommend that even if it is trailerable pontoon boat cover. There are a couple of reasons for that.
First of all, the cover you have might not be trailerable pontoon cover. There is a very good chance that a cover like that will get ripped and you will have to buy a new one.
The other reason is that if the cover gets ripped while driving and you don’t notice it, it might actually damage the paint on your boat. That, of course, is going to empty your valet as well.
So here are some covers reviewed and compared by yours truly.
Best Pontoon Boat Covers For Your Boat
Yescom Pontoon Cover
There are many different reasons I added this cover to the list.
For one, the material is truly high quality, sitting at 600d. Sporting such a textile is like sporting armor. The yescom cover comes coated in polyurethane classified as being highly resistant to water and splash damage, which protects the material itself for longer periods.
It also has double stitching. What this means is that it is far less likely to ever see seams slowly making their way up along the edges. Double-stitched, durable, with a water-resistant PU coat. You won’t find many canvases out there with better reliability.
This reliability stems from its durability, and, as far as its durability goes, it is the strongest, most resilient and well-crafted one I have stumbled across yet.
My absolute favorite feature about Yescom cover is that it comes with an elastic band that runs all the way along its perimeter, with buckle straps to go over the top. These features make it a walk in the park to connect the cover around the boat.
The original canvas that came with the boat takes twice as long to put on as this cover.
Yescom Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
New Vortex Pontoon Cover
The New Vortex pontoon cover is another solid choice. This canvas is also 600D. The fabric is water-resistant as well, and is quite similar by look and feel to that of the Yescom. I can’t vouch as equally for the stitching, as it does not seem to be as sturdy.
The New Vortex cover comes with elastic bands and straps like the Yescom canvas, making it quite appealing. Likewise, these elastic straps make it more expensive for the average boater.
Furthermore, one complaint I did have with the New Vortex cover, which was not as big of an issue for me as some others, is that it does not come down anywhere near as far on the boat. I have found this does offer a bit less protection than I would prefer.
New Vortex Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
North East Harbor Pontoon Cover
This next one quite resembles of the New Vortex Cover. The fabric on this one is yet another 600-denier waterproof material. Further, it also comes with elastics around the edges, with straps to buckle it down.
One noticeable and quite a valuable feature of the North-East Harbor cover is that has several more straps to secure the boat. This offers more flexibility in attaching the cover, as the straps can go either under the boat entirely or just under the pontoons.
North East Harbor Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
Pyle Armor Shield Pontoon Cover
One of the nicer things about Pyle Armor Shield cover is that it is offered in a variety of sizes to fit your boat, so you have a greater selection for the most perfect fit. Please do keep in mind what we briefly mentioned earlier—about the size being a little larger than you think you need. Opt for the size that is a little longer than your boat is. The extra length will give you security and ease of mind.
Fortunately, Pyle’s quality holds up at any size.
The one potential drawback of this variant is that putting on the cover does seem to take a bit longer than with the other covers mentioned here. However, I would say that this canvas offers the most “custom fit” look for the cover when attached—as everything fits a little more smugly.
An additional benefit of the Pyle is how it has an extra flap at the back of the cover for the boat’s engine.
Pyle Armor Shield Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
Budge 1200 Pontoon Cover
Some will say this is the best pontoon boat cover on the market today. The best thing about the Budge 1200 pontoon cover is the extreme durability. It features a 1200D thick fabric that can easily handle any type of weather condition you can throw at it. That is twice as much thickness as most covers available for purchase today.
This exceptionally tough canvas comes with pocket vents which allow moisture to escape and thus prevents the growth of mold and mildew. It is also 100% waterproof, you can be sure that water will not find its way into your boat to cause damage. This is a great feature if you live in the area where there is a lot of moisture.
It is advisable to not trail your boat with the cover on, however, this cover can handle trailing with a breeze. This is due to sewn-in straps as well as the fact that straps can go all the way around the boat.
Budge 1200 Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
MSC Pontoon Cover
There are various reasons why you should go with MSC pontoon cover. It features a double PU coating and superior marine grade denier polyester fabric. Even though it only has 300D, high water resistance coating gives it a great weather protection against outside elements.
I like the fact that the material does not shrink even after extensive use. You can’t say that about many other pontoon canvases out there.
It is one of a few covers that are resistant to ultraviolet lights which can damage the outer layer of your boat. I think this is great for parts of the world where the Sun is always shining.
Double stitched seams are my favorite and elastic cord that runs along the bottom is perfect for quick and easy covering even if you are doing it alone.
In my opinion, the quality of the material is impressive, you won’t go wrong if you get this canvas.
MSC Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
Classic Accessories Stellex Pontoon Boat Cover
The Classic Accessories Stellex pontoon boat cover is made from tough polyester fabric designed for extreme weather protection and durability. It is treated with special ultraviolet inhibitor that provides max protection from UV and Sun damage.
Thanks to the adjustable transom flap and elastic cord which is sewn into the bottom hem, this boat canvas provides tight and custom fit. On top of ropes attach to that rugged non-scratch D-rings and there are no grommets to pull out or scratch.
Classic Accessories Stellex Pontoon Cover Pros & Cons
How To Clean Your Pontoon Boat Cover
The pontoon canvas protects your boat therefore you should take care of it as well so it can last you a long time.
No matter how good the boat canvas is, it eventually gets dirty and might collect moisture resulting in the buildup of mildew and mold.
The easiest way to clean a pontoon boat cover is to create your own cleaning mixture. I would recommend that you use chlorine bleach, industrial grade soap, and water. Mix bleach and soap together with proportions of 2:1 and add some water at the end. Apply the mix to the cover with a soft bristled brush and allow to sit for around 15 minutes. Gently scrub the cover with a brush or a cloth and rinse with warm water. Leave the cover in the open and let the Sun and air take care of the rest.
For additional cleaning tips check out how to clean pontoon boat carpet article I wrote recently.
Which Is The Best Pontoon Boat Cover?
As I said at the beginning, the choice is yours. There is really no right or wrong answer here, it is ultimately up to you and what you this is the best pontoon boat cover. I have presented what I think are the best covers and I hope you have found it helpful.
I will say that I own two covers from the list; Budge 1200 and Yescom. The reason why I went with these two is that Yescom is so simple to put on during the season and Budge 1200 is there to protect my boat over the winter.
I also like the storage bag that comes with both.
So far I am very happy with my choices and I would buy the same covers if I had to do it again.
If you need some help installing your new pontoon boat cover here is a quick video tutorial that shows how to do it the right way.
Please let me know what you think and which cover did you choose.