If you are gaining interest in boating, you have come across the deck boat vs. pontoon boat comparison. But do you know the difference between the two?
What if I told you that these two were once very different boats. Yet recently have started looking like cousins.
Why do I say that?
Well, a decade ago, pontoons were a slower and cheaper version of deck boats. They were not attractive looking, and most people saw them only as party boats. They were useless for anything else.
Decks were fancy, fast, and somewhat expensive. They offered less space than pontoon boats. However, you could use them for many different activities. And on top of that, deck boats are attractive looking to most people.
Recently deck boat vs. pontoon dilemma has been gaining steam thought because three logged pontoons with performance-enhancing features can rival the deck boat’s speed.
On the other hand, deck boat manufacturers have moved in the other direction. They are building bigger, more comfortable deck boats to rival pontoons’ luxury.
How Does Deck Boat Compare to Pontoon
So, what should you buy, a pontoon boat made out of aluminum or a deck boat made out of fiberglass?
To help you decide, let’s look at what separates these two boats. These differences include the look, comfort, performance, and bank for your buck, as well as some extra characteristics detailed below.
Design and Shape of Pontoon vs. Deck Boat
Even though these boats are becoming similar in their styling, there are still significant differences.
Deck boats have more moderate and slick styling. They resemble regular v-shaped hull boats in many aspects. The downside of the v-hull is that it is not as stable as a pontoon and can be rocked by water, wind, or passenger movements.
Seating on deck boats is front-facing, which is nice when cruising at higher speeds.
V-shaped styling and performance ability of deck boats can create a surfable wake. Pontoons, of course, cannot match that. That same styling allows the deck boat to be equally usable in shallow water and the ocean.
So, if you are looking to have some fun on the water, you should probably go with the deck boat.
On the other hand, a pontoon boat lays flat across two or three pontoons. That shape keeps the boat very stable in the water, equally good if the boat moves or stands still. However, that stability can only be achieved in shallow water such as lakes and rivers. Take the pontoon out on the open water, and you might be in trouble.
Although people think that you can’t use pontoon boats to do sporting activity in the water, that is not true. You can. Deck boats take the cake due to their shape and performance abilities.
The advantage of a pontoon boat over deck boat is its ability to carry more people and offer amazing comfort. Pontoons can have seats pointing in any direction, can have a table or a pontoon boat grill. People can move around freely to socialize or do whatever they need to do. You can even have a changing room or a portable boat toilet.
Boat Size and Space
Larger deck boats offer a decent amount of space and comfort for up to 12 passengers. That is an impressive number when you consider the size and the agility of this type of boat.
Ponton boat, on the other hand, wins this in a landslide. Not only that, the comfort of the pontoon cannot be matched by any other boat. The amount of people you can fit on one is impressive. With all the pontoon boat accessories, grills, changing rooms, and portable bathrooms, a pontoon can carry 20 people.
You can move around the pontoon with a breeze. You can sit in different seats facing every possible direction. Or you can have lunch by a fire pit or take a nap on the couch. The comfort is incredible.
No wonder people often call pontoon boats their floating living room.
Power and Performance
When it comes to performance, a deck boat has an advantage. The maneuverability of the deck boat is very similar to any other v-hull boat. They are very agile and can change direction at a snap of a finger. Generally, they are quicker to take off than pontoon and reach a higher speed in a shorter amount of time.
You will be able to buy desk boats with 300 horsepower inboard engines with the ability to reach 70 mph with ease.
Pontoons are not far behind, though. Gone are the days when pontoon could only reach 20 mph on a good day. Engines that use to range from 40 to 90 horsepower have been replaced with powerful engines. These new engines start at 115 HP and can surpass the 200 HP range. This new power allows pontoon to reach speeds of 60 mph.
I remember seeing a pontoon reach over 100mph on the water once to set the world record for such boats. Obviously, that was not your regular pontoon boat, but it shows that it can be done.
The maneuverability of the pontoon is increased with the addition of the third tube and lifting strakes. The agility is not far off deck boats, but it will never be as good because of physics.
Cost of the Luxury
Just like cars, the cost of boats increases with the power of their engine. In the case of deck boat vs. pontoon comparison, decks will have a higher starting price. I believe the starting price of the deck is around $30k. It can cost much higher as you increase comfort.
Alternatively, you can find a decent pontoon boat for $5k – $10k less.
As with any other boat, the price of fuel should also be taken into account.
You would think fuel consumption is lower for deck boats because of the ability to cut through the water. But because of their engine’s power, deck boats consume more fuel—a significant advantage of the pontoon in cutting costs.
If you are looking for speed, water sports such as water skiing or tubing, you will choose deck boat. Well, not necessarily.
Yes, a deck boat is better for such activities. But long gone are the days when pontoon was unable to do any of those things. With new technology developing, pontoons can reach speeds required for waterskiing or tubing.
If you prefer more relaxed activities, like fishing, a pontoon is a way to go. Deck boats are not bad for fishing either, but pontoon boats give you far more space to move around. You can do whatever you need to do to catch that fish.
Which Boat is Easier to Maintain
Because pontoons sit on top of the water and are generally aluminum made, they are effortless to maintain. After you use the pontoon boat, you can dock it and go on your way. You cannot do that with a deck boat.
To keep the deck boat free of stain on the fiberglass, you have to wipe the hull down after every use. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a hustle.
Deck Boat or Pontoon Boat?
For what you get for your money, you can’t beat the pontoon boat. In terms of usability and comfort, the pontoon will beat any other boat.
But, you know what you are looking for. A deck boat might be what you are looking for, and that is fine. Whichever boat you chose, it will be the best boat for you.