affordable pontoon boats

5 Most Affordable Pontoon Boats

Written by Boatsetter Team
November 29, 2022

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

Everyone wants to find affordable pontoon boats, but there’s a big difference between a quality-built boat that’s affordable and one that’s just cheap. Fortunately, plenty of pontoons are on the market of solid quality but don’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

Check out these five top-notch, affordable pontoon boats:

  1. Bennington 20SXL
  2. Lowe Ultra 180 Cruise
  3. Sea Doo Switch
  4. Starcraft LX 16R
  5. Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX


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Bennington 20SXL

Bennington 20SXL

While the Bennington 20SXL  does cost more than the other affordable pontoons in this roundup, it gets you close to a luxury pontoon boat without breaking the bank. The exact cost will vary depending on how you have the boat outfitted, but base MSRP starts under $40,000 with a Yamaha High Thrust 50-hp outboard.

The layout includes a huge L-seat aft and along the port side, a small couch in the port bow, and a center-facing couch forward of the helm in the starboard bow. The back of the L-seat extends into a big sunpad with stowage or a pop-up changing room underneath. 

Step aboard one, and the first thing you’ll notice is how comfortable and cushy the seating is, with high-density foam padding, integrated self-draining channels, and premium vinyl. 

Benningtons are also known for top-quality construction, with touches like extruded M-deck brackets, thick cross-channels, and the use of through-bolted fasteners rather than screws in high-stress connections.

  • Estimated MSRP range: $49,995

Learn more at Bennington.


Lowe Ultra 180 Cruise

ult180 lowe

You could save a couple of thousand dollars by opting for the smaller Lowe 160 Cruise, but considering that the advertised MSRP is (just) under the very affordable $20,000 mark, why not bump it up to the Ultra 180? 

A 9.9 hp outboard powers the base package so if you want to go fast, you’ll need to upgrade (getting a 60-hp engine brings pricing up by around $4,500), but otherwise, this boat is ready for fun at the lake right out of the box. 

Along with the L-seat aft/two-couch forward arrangement, the Lowe Ultra 180 Cruise has some perks not found on cheap pontoon boats, like a slick, smooth, gel-coated console. A heavy-duty nine-foot Bimini top with boot, tinted windshield, and a full complement of speed, tach, and trim gauges also all come standard.

  • Estimated MSRP range: $19,445

Learn more at Lowe Boats.


Sea Doo Switch

sea doo switch

The Sea Doo Switch is a unique pontoon made from Sea Doo’s Polytec rather than aluminum. It has a deck made up of modular tiles, which allows you to add, remove, and move things like furniture or stowage compartments; you can semi-customize the layout and even add to it down the road if you’d like. 

And it’s eminently affordable, with base pricing in the low- to mid-$20,000 range with an included trailer — that shakes out to a monthly payment of under $200.

The Switch is also unique in its power system, which is a Rotax 1630 ACE engine with a waterjet drive, and it has Sea Doo’s iBR intelligent brake and reverses system. AnotThe helm has motorcycle-like handlebars rather than a wheel, and its handling is downright spectacular.

  • Estimated MSRP range: $21,799

Learn more at Sea Doo.


Starcraft LX 16R

Starcraft LX 16R

The LX 16R is Starcraft’s smallest pontoon, but it’s built like others in this reputable line, so you’ll be getting high quality at good pricing. It can carry up to 40 horses on the motor pod, has a six-person maximum capacity, and has 0.08” gauge aluminum tubes.

Despite its diminutive size, the LX 16R has big couches on either side of the bow, one stretching across from the helm, and plenty of stowage in the rotomolded furniture bases.

 The biggest surprise, however, is probably the helm station. Unlike the chintzy consoles found on many small, inexpensive pontoons, this one is full-sized with a switch panel, gauges, and even an electronics flat for flush-mounting a chartplotter or fishfinder.

  • Estimated MSRP range: $17,172

Learn more at Starcraft Marine.


Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX

With an MSRP that beats out the sticker price on most inexpensive compact cars, the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX is a great example of just how inexpensive fishing pontoon boats can be. 

It comes with all the goodies GREAT a fishing trip: an eight-gallon livewell with a molded-in ruler and drink holders, fore and aft casting decks with fishing chairs, and vertical rod holders. You can also add an optional fishing package with a Lowrance Hook2 fishfinder and a bow-mount trolling motor!

The package includes a 60-hp Mercury outboard stock (there are options for 9.9 to 75-hp outboards), and a trailer (optional). 

You may also rig it out; the Bass Buggy 18 DLX comes with all the comfort-enhancing features of Sun Tracker’s Party Barge line, like a Bluetooth stereo system, a Bimini top, and a four-step telescopic rear boarding ladder.

  • Estimated MSRP range: $24,995

Learn more at Sun Tracker.


How can you be sure your choice pontoon is a keeper? 

Pontoon boat rentals are a great place to start since they let you wet your feet before buying. There are all subtypes for rent, ranging from inexpensive to luxury pontoons. Rent today, and tomorrow, you find yourself to be a happy boat owner.

Check out the hottest boats in the market at Boat Types, and make sure to scroll through Boat Guises to find your next boating destination

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