While some boats come with a shaded console, many of us are out in the sun while navigating on the water. Wearing a hat and sunscreen may be a simple solution to sun exposure, but that will only get you so far.
This is where a Bimini top comes into play. Biminis are typically supported by a rigid aluminum frame with enough of a range of motion so that they can be collapsed when you don’t need them to provide shelter from the sun or rain and opened when it’s time to soak in the rays.
Today, we’re going to take a look at five of the most popular Bimini tops available. We also include a buying guide that will cover who can make the most of a Bimini top and what to look for when you’re shopping for one. Note that all of these come in multiple sizes, so you’ll have to work out which one is right for your boat. Let’s get started by reviewing the Best Bimini Top, the MSC 4 Bow Bimini Top.
Best Bimini Top
Key Points at a Glance
- Available in five colors: beige, burgundy, grey, navy, and pacific blue
- Constructed from 600D polyester canvas
- Features a double PU coating
- Frame made of anti-rust aluminum
- Equipped with a mesh storage pouch
- Comes included with two rear support poles and a storage boot
The top pick on our list is the MSC 4 Bow Bimini Top, and while this model is a little more expensive than most of its competitors, it offers a few crucial advantages over them. Most noticeably, this Bimini top is well-made and much more resilient than comparable models, ensuring that it’ll last you much longer.
This is mainly due to the use of high-grade 600 Denier polyester canvas in the Bimini top itself. Coupled with the durable and lightweight aluminum frame, this Bimini top should be able to put up with years of use without any noticeable damage, especially if you make sure to take proper care of it (dry it before storage).
This Bimini top also has a few extra features that you won’t find on more affordable models. These include a couple of storage pockets near the back, on the underside, where they’re easily accessible. There are also three towel clips on each side of the Bimini top, giving every passenger a convenient spot to leave their towel.
The MSC Bimini top is also relatively easy to assemble, and most manage to do so in under 20 minutes. While the instructions are basic and far from comprehensive, this Bimini top is simply made enough that you can determine how to install it properly with just a bit of deduction.
The only downside that we noted was the use of nylon deck hinges, which aren’t quite as durable as stainless steel ones would be. This means that if you are really moving quickly, say over 20mph, you may want to pull down the top so as not to damage the hinges. Aside from that slight problem, this is the best Bimini top for most boaters.
- Made of 600D polyester canvas with double PU...
- 1” anti-rust and strong Aluminum Frame
- Contains Two rear support pole and one storage...
- Sizes available:8'L x 54"H x 73"-78"W & 8'L x 54"H...
- New mesh storage compartment design for...
Our Runner Up: King Bird 4 Bow Waterproof Aluminum Frame Bimini Top
Key Points at a Glance
- Comes in three colors: beige, grey, and royal blue
- Covering made of 600D polyester marine-grade canvas
- PU and anti-UV coated
- Double-stitched seams
- Frame made of rust-resistant aluminum with stainless steel hardware
- Features a built-in storage boot and comes with two rear support poles
Our runner up product is the King Bird 4 Bow Bimini Top. It’s a little more affordable than our top pick, though it still has many of the same features and advantages over much of the competition. The main difference between this Bimini top and the MSC model is that it’s a little less well-made, undoubtedly why it’s also more affordable.
In spite of that, this model is still made of 600D polyester and it features a durable and light aluminum frame that is also resistant to corrosion. We appreciated the height of this Bimini top, as taller boaters can comfortably stand beneath it without feeling like they’re forced to stoop to remain comfortable.
We also appreciated the versatile range of sizes that this Bimini top is available in, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Bimini top priced similarly to this one with as many available sizes. W
e were also big fans of the storage boot that’s sewn directly into this Bimini top, ensuring that you won’t always have to keep track of a separate boot.
On the other hand, we weren’t impressed with the plastic hardware that comes included with this Bimini top. It is far too frail and it results in the Bimini top wobbling while the boat is underway.
However, since the hardware is easily replaced with stainless steel mounting points and brackets, this isn’t as much of a problem as it may seem.
- ✅【Extra-thick Fabric】Made of 600D/230GSM...
- ✅【Upgraded Aluminum Tube】 Heavy duty rust...
- ✅【Extra 2 Rear Support Pole】 Our frame with...
- ✅【Stitched Storage Boot】The boot stitched on...
- ✅【2 YEAR WARRANTY】 Within the Warranty...
Best Budget: Naviskin Aluminum Frame Bimini Top with Storage Boot
Key Points at a Glance
- Comes in ten colors, including white, black, grey, burgundy, and more
- Top made of 600D polyester marine-grade canvas
- The aluminum frame is equipped with quick-release mounting points
- Comes included with stainless steel hardware
- Features a one-year warranty
The Naviskin is the best budget Bimini top that you can get your hands on. While there may be certain models that are more affordable, none of them combine reliability and affordability quite as well as this model.
As evidence of its excellent build quality, the Naviskin Bimini Top comes with a 600D polyester canvas top with a PU coating to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged through extended use. E
ven more impressively, this model comes with stainless steel mounting screws while most affordable Bimini tops come with cheaper mounting hardware.
This model was able to withstand speeds of up to 40 mph, though you really shouldn’t be moving this quickly with the top up in the long-term. Ideally, you should be keeping your speed below 30 mph when this Bimini top is mounted to your boat.
Of course, at this price point, you also have to anticipate a few weaknesses.
The most notable weakness was the set of instructions that comes included with this boat, as they’re unclear and require a bit of improvisation on your part.
If you can get through the unnecessarily complicated assembly of this Bimini top, then you shouldn’t have any further trouble with it.
- This top is made of 600D polyester canvas with PU...
- 1 diameter aluminum frame and free quick release...
- 13 different sizes and 10 colors are available
- Includes all stainless steel mounting screws, free...
- 1 year Warranty
Key Points at a Glance
- Available in both blue and grey
- Made of 800D marine-grade polyester canvas with anti-rust aluminum supports
- Fabric is both UV and PU coated
- Comes included with two rear support poles and a storage boot
- The frame is equipped with stainless steel quick-release hinges
- Three-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
While some of the Bimini tops that we’ve looked at so far come in both 3- and 4-bow varieties, this one is ideal for those who need a 3-bow variety. The KAKIT Bimini Top is one of the better-made models on this list, with several features that are designed to keep it durable in the long run.
The Bimini top itself is made of 800D polyester that is double coated with both UV and PU coatings. The fabric on the top is double-stitched, making it even more resistant to wear and tear.
The frame is made of aluminum, and it is sprayed with anti-oxidizing paint, making it even more resistant to corrosion than aluminum already is.
We were also impressed with all of the included hardware on this Bimini top model. It attaches to the rails of your boat with quick-release stainless steel deck hinges that are both durable and resistant to corrosion.
The one thing that disappointed us about this Bimini top is that the frame features nylon brackets. These brackets aren’t durable enough to put up with heavy shearing forces, limiting your speed to under 25 mph with the Bimini top is open. If you don’t mind being unable to use your Bimini cover at high speeds and you’re looking for a 3-bow model, this one will work well for you.
- Abundant accessories: Free 2*Rear Support Poles +...
- 3 Layers Fabric: Surface UV Coating + PU Coating +...
- All Aluminum Custom: 1" diameter 1.5mm thickness...
- Extra 2 Rear Support Poles: Our bimini top package...
- Warranty: 30 DAYS MONEY BACK GUARANTY, 3 YEARS...
Best for Wakeboard Towers: Krypt Flat Cargo Wakeboard Tower Boat Bimini Top
Key Points at a Glance
- Can be mounted either above or beneath your tower top
- The adjustable arms have a ten-inch range of movement on each side
- The frame is made of one-inch stainless steel tubing
- Doesn’t require straps
- Made of 1200D polyester canvas
While most of the Bimini tops that we’ve looked at so far have been of the standard variety, the Krypt Flat Cargo Bimini Top is designed to be attached to a wakeboard tower.
This model is designed to be fully compatible with a Krypt wakeboard tower, but it also meant to be as compatible as possible with towers made by other manufacturers. If you love water sports or towable tubes, this is a great choice for you.
This versatile Bimini can be mounted either above or below your wakeboard tower, and the setup process is relatively simple, especially if you already have your wakeboard tower mounted to your vessel.
The adjustable arms on this Bimini top have a 10-inch range of motion on both the port and starboard sides.
This Bimini top is also impressively durable, as the fabric is 1200D canvas, designed to resist scratches as well as wear and tear.
The main issue with this Bimini top is that it doesn’t come included with any solid assembly instructions, essentially leaving you to puzzle it out. This means that you’ll have to be relatively handy to assemble this Bimini top.
Once its up, you should be good to go! Hook up some wakeboard tower speakers, and rock out the water sports.
- ONLY ORDER WHEN READY TO REPLY TO OUR...
- Fully Adjustable - and Fits Over or Under Tower...
- Fully Adjustable Arms up to 20" (10" each side)...
- 1 inch Stainless Steel Tubing, and acrylic canopy
- Clamps Sizes: 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 5/8, 1 3/4, 1 7/8,...
Best Bimini Top Buyer’s Guide
Who Should Buy a Bimini Top
So why would you need a Bimini boat top in the first place? Here are some of the most common reasons why you may.
Protection from the Elements
Bimini tops are best purchased by boaters who are looking for a way to protect themselves from the elements in open-topped boats.
A Bimini top can keep the sun from beating down on you for the duration of your boat ride. Aside from the discomfort and potential hazard of having the sun on your head for hours, you can also protect your skin. Too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can result in skin cancer and other ailments to the skin.
Along with protection from the sun, a Bimini boat top can keep you covered while you’re at the conn at low speeds in the rain. As we mentioned earlier, any combination of wind speed and forward momentum can get rain in under the top, though your boat’s windscreen may afford you at least partial frontal protection.
Bimini tops are also a wise investment for boaters who can’t decide whether they’d prefer an open-topped or closed-topped vessel. Enclosed cockpits can often get stifling, especially in the hotter months.
A Bimini allows for enough airflow to keep the cockpit cool and comfortable since it isn’t closed off on the sides.
Keep in mind that a Bimini top can be raised and lowered at will, which means that you can bask in the sunlight as often as you want to. Most Bimini tops can be folded up in about a couple of minutes, especially if you have other people to help you collapse them.
While boats are designed to resist all forms of water damage, including the rain, a Bimini top can help protect any equipment that you have on board, especially near the cockpit. This is especially true for additional electronics that you may have installed in your boat, including radios.
Important Features to Consider
The frame on most Bimini tops is made out of aluminum, which combines its light weight with an innate degree of corrosion resistance (aluminum can oxidize, but not rust). Other options include stainless steel, which is heavier than an aluminum frame but also more resistant to impact and other damage.
Some of the cheapest Bimini tops feature plastic frames, but we wouldn’t recommend a plastic-framed model because of their relative lack of durability.
Connecting Hardware Material
The kind of connecting hardware used to link the parts of your Bimini top’s frame are the parts that often have to deal with additional stress, especially when you start boating at higher speeds. The cheapest material used in these parts is typically plastic or nylon, both of which are more likely to shear when exposed to stronger forces.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more on a Bimini that will last you a long time, you’ll want the hardware on your top to be made out of brass or stainless steel.
Your top’s fabric is the most vulnerable material used in its construction, so you’ll need to find one with durable enough canvas to last more than a few seasons on the waves. If you neglect to get a Bimini top made out of quality canvas, then you can expect to find holes in it sooner than you’d like.
Look for heavy-duty, marine-grade canvas on your Bimini top if you want the best possible quality. Also, consider the coatings that have been applied to the canvas on your Bimini top.
Potential coatings include PU and UV-resistant coatings.
This is a big one.
Since the assembly of a Bimini top is typically a little involved, you’ll need to pick one that you won’t have any trouble getting mounted to your boat. If you’re used to DIY work and you already have a set of tools, then you shouldn’t have any trouble assembling and mounting a Bimini top to your boat, regardless of which model you get.
On the other hand, if you aren’t used to working on things yourself, you’ll want to get your hands on a Bimini top with clear assembly instructions and hardware included in the package.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a standard and custom Bimini top?
Standard Bimini tops are the most common and affordable variety, and they’re made in standard sizes and designs that are easier to mass-produce. While a standard top may not be as unique and perfectly-fit as a custom one, it will tend to get the job done well enough for someone who’s shopping on a budget.
If you’re willing to spend extra on your Bimini top, a custom model can be designed specifically for your boat. This will give you as much clearance as you want over your head, and the shape will be optimized for your boat’s model.
Custom tops can also be personalized to your liking. You can pick specific patterns and colors to make your boat feel and look unique.
How do I measure my boat for a Bimini top?
To figure out the ideal Bimini top size for your boat, you’ll need to note the maximum length, width, and height of a Bimini top that it would support.
- The length of your bimini top will be how it’s measured from the stern to the bow of your vessel. Most bimini tops are six feet long. Smaller boats may used five-foot bimini tops, and pontoon boats may support eight-foot or nine-foot Biminis.
- To measure the width of your bimini top, stand at the center point of where it will be mounted length-wise. For a traditional six-foot bimini top, this means you’ll want to have three feet of the top in front of you and three feet of it behind you. At that point, measure the distance from the port rail to the starboard rail.
- To figure out the height of your Bimini top, you’ll want to measure from the side rails up to where the top of your bimini top’s arch will be. Be sure not to measure the height from the deck of your vessel, as that would be quite a bit taller than most bimini tops.
Do Bimini tops come pre-assembled?
Bimini tops in this price range may be difficult to find pre-assembled, especially if you’re purchasing them from a non-specialty retailer. Certain Bimini top manufacturers are willing to ship pre-assembled Bimini tops to their customers, though they charge an extra fee to ship them because of how bulky the package is.
You can expect to pay around an extra $150 for your Bimini top if you want it to arrive ready to be mounted to your boat out of the box. This will vary by model, though.
What is an automatic Bimini top?
While shopping for a Bimini top, you may have heard of automatic models. Simply put, instead of having to manually collapse your Bimini top by hand, an automatic one can be opened and closed with the help of an electric motor. Think the difference between a manual and an automatic convertible roof on a car.
How fast can I go with my Bimini top openB
If you want to prevent damage to both your boat and the bimini top, you’ll need to be careful how fast you gowhile it’s open.
Most Bimini tops are rated for speeds of between 20 and 35 miles per hour. If you intend to go faster for any significant period of time, make sure to collapse your Bimini top, as the canvas catching wind can damage it in a few different ways.
In case you forget to collapse your Bimini top and you exceed the speed limit, don’t assume that it’s undamaged just because it didn’t fail catastrophically. Be sure to carefully check each of the anchor points that your top is attached to on both ends.
Neglecting to check for cracks or other damage after neglecting your Bimini top’s speed limit may result in it unexpectedly failing at a later date. Along with losing your Bimini top, this may even cause further damage to your vessel.
How should I store my Bimini top after I’m done boating?
There are a few key tips to follow if you’re going to keep your boat’s Bimini top in good condition. First, you’ll want to fold it down when you’re not boating to ensure that your Bimini top’s canvas doesn’t sustain any damage while it’s not in use.
Ensure that you let your Bimini top fully dry off before folding it up so that it doesn’t get creased or moldy while you’re not using it.
Out of all of these Bimini tops, the best model will depend on exactly what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to pay for it. Let’s give a quick recap of our top three Bimini tops on this list.
The MSC 4-Bow Bimini Top is a little more expensive than some of the other choices that we’ve reviewed this far, but it makes up for it with a superior degree of durability. The durable polyester combined with this Bimini top’s large number of extra features help bring it to the top of our list.
The King Bird Bimini Top is an excellent runner up to the MSC model, and it would have secured the top place on our list thanks to its more affordable price point if it wasn’t for its disappointing plastic fittings. If you don’t mind swapping out the hardware on your Bimini top, this model can save you a decent amount of money compared to our top pick.
The Bimini top made by Naviskin is our chosen budget model, and it’s about as affordable as it gets before you start running into Bimini tops that are simply not built to last. In fact, this model’s durability is downright impressive, even when you compare it to more expensive models.
We hope that this guide has helped you find the Best Bimini Top for your money, and we wish you luck on the waves!