Pontoon boating has always been a popular activity wherever there are calm lakes, rivers, sounds, and bays. ‘Toons are typically a bit more affordable than your average sport/fishing boat, but they’re just as fun as the more expensive jet and speed boats.
And they’ve got character!
Just because they’re more affordable, though, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be taken care of. Since they are bigger and less angular, moisture can accumulate very quickly inside of a pontoon boat which can cause mold and mildew to start growing. Once this happens, it can start breaking down some of the seals in your boat which can be a pain to clean out and replace.
Apart from helping to prevent the obvious mold and mildew build-up, a pontoon boat cover will also protect marine equipment. This is especially important if you have nice speakers, audio, lights, marine wifi extender, etc.
In today’s article, we’re going to review 5 of the Best Pontoon Boat Covers on the market. We’ll start with the Best Pontoon Boat Cover, the Budge Toon Boat Cover.
Best Pontoon Boat Cover
Our Top Pick: Budge P-600-2 600 Denier Pontoon Cover Blue 20′ – 24′
Key Points at a Glance
- Features 600 Denier polyester for maximum durability.
- The design is 100% waterproof but still breathable.
- Budge makes custom-sized pontoon boat covers depending on your boat.
- Features sewn-in straps for increased hold and ease of use.
- Pack includes extra straps and buckles.
Although Budge’s pontoon boat cover is definitely one of the more expensive covers that we’ve come across, it’s by far one of the best that we’ve ever seen! Unlike many of the other flimsy covers on the market, this particular one is made out of ultra-thick 600 Denier marine-grade polyester. It can easily stand up to heavy rain, the weight of snowfall, and the hot summers and UV rays.
They offer multiple sizes so that you can find the perfect one for your pontoon. It also comes stock with a beautiful electric blue color that really makes it pop and accentuates the high-quality stitching.
These are the Best Pontoon Boat Covers available.
- MARINE GRADE PROTECTION: Waterproof to repel snow,...
- WATERPROOF AND BREATHABLE: Material designed to...
- BUILT TO STAY SECURE: Heavy shock cord hem gives...
- SIZED TO FIT: Our custom-like design Budge 600...
- This cover comes with straps and buckles to help...
Our Runner Up: VORTEX Ultra 3 Pontoon/Deck Boat Cover 26’
Key Points at a Glance
- 3 Uses: Trailering, mooring, and storage.
- Includes 6 high-quality straps as well as an elastic band to keep cover secure.
- Made with high-quality 600 Denier polyester.
- Includes an industry-leading 5-year warranty.
If you’re a sucker for a good warranty, then the Vortex Ultra 3 pontoon boat cover will give you the peace of mind that you’re looking for. With a 5-year warranty, this cover has a better warranty than pretty much every other cover that we found. This means that if anything goes wrong in the first few years of owning it, then you’ll be able to get a new one!
As for the product itself- it’s comparable quality to the Budge pontoon cover that we reviewed as our top choice. It features thick, 600 Denier polyester that can stand up to the elements with no issues. It also has more securing straps than the Budge cover which means that it’s a little bit better for active towing with the cover on.
The only thing we didn’t like so much is the dingy grey color. If aesthetics aren’t important to you, though, then the Vortex Ultra 3 is a little bit cheaper than the Budge and offers almost identical quality.
- HEAVY DUTY 600D WATERPROOF FABRIC
- TRI-PURPOSE COVER/STORAGE/MOORING/TRAILERING
- HAS ELASTIC BAND AS WELL AS STRAPS
- HEAVY DUTY WOVEN MATERIAL
- 5 YEAR WARRANTY
Key Points at a Glance
- Super Affordable!
- Quick-release straps.
- Includes storage bag for easy carrying.
- Cover features elastic hem for better fit.
- 600 Denier polyester fabric.
If you’re on a tight budget and need a quick fix to cover your pontoon boat, then North East Harbor’s heavy-duty cover is a decent choice. At less than half the cost of other similarly-advertised boat covers, it certainly makes our best budget pick.
The specs are very similar to the Vortex and the Budge cover. It offers the same 600 Denier fabric, includes plenty of straps, and an elastic hem to help the cover fit better.
While this cover looks really nice upfront as far as the pictures and specs go, it does seem like there have been some quality control issues with this particular brand in the past. Reading through some of the reviews, you’ll find a number of dissatisfied customers reporting that the cover lasted less than a year and wasn’t entirely waterproof (as advertised).
That being said, if you just need something cheap and fast to last you until you can afford a better cover, then this will definitely do the trick! Just don’t expect it to last more than a year.
- Fits: 20', 21', 22', 23', 24' Feet Length
- Trailerable: Trailering straps for quick and easy...
- Color: Gray
- Brand: North East Harbor | 600 Denier Polyester...
- Free Storage Bag - extra room for easy storage.
Best Heavy Duty Pontoon Cover: Pyle Universal Boat Adjustable Storage Cover
Key Points at a Glance
- Comes with an easy-to-use storage bag.
- Integrated straps for more secure trailering and towing.
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty, high-quality pontoon cover that won’t break the bank, then Pyle’s universal boat cover is a great option! Although it’s “universal” it’s definitely designed to be used with pontoons and even features a pontoon in the advertised image.
It’s made with “hurricane-proof” 600 Denier polyester thats designed to be weather-resistant, mildew-resistant, and UV-resistant making it perfect for toon owners who plan on storing their boats outdoors.
It also comes at a great price point! It’s about 20% cheaper than the Budge and Vortex covers that made our top picks, so definitely add this to your list to check out.
- 17'-20'L to 96” BEAM WIDTH: This waterproof...
- INCLUDES STORAGE BAG: Made of high strength...
- WEATHER-RESISTANT: Features marine-grade fabric...
- SUN DAMAGE RESISTANT: Water is not the only enemy...
- INTEGRATED STRAP SYSTEM: Equipped w/ integrated...
Another We Loved: iCOVER Trailerable Pontoon Boat Cover
Key Points at a Glance
- 2 color options: blue or grey.
- Features 300 Denier marine-grade polyester.
- Integrated buckles and straps.
- Extra headroom for tall boat accessories.
- Lots of straps for easy trailering.
If you’re looking for a great portable boat cover, then iCover’s trailerable pontoon cover is an excellent option! Unlike the other covers that we’ve reviewed in this article, this only features a 300 Denier fabric which is the only reason that it didn’t make our top choice.
This means that it probably won’t stand up to extreme weather conditions as well as the heavier 600 Denier fabrics.
That being said, it’s a lot easier for trailering. Not only is it lighter-weight (which decreases overall drag), but it also comes with more integrated straps and buckles than some of the other covers we reviewed.
To top it off, the straps are designed to be secured directly to the trailer so you’ll never have to worry about this cover blowing off in the wind!
- Fits pontoon boat 17ft to 20ft long and beam width...
- 300D PU coated marine grade polyester pontoon boat...
- Crafted with a heavy-duty elastic cord sewn into...
- The extra roomy cut allows more room for...
- Integrated buckle and adjustable strap tightening...
Pontoon Boat Covers Buyer’s Guide
If you own a pontoon boat, you want to take care of it. You should pick up some high-quality pontoon trailer guides to ensure it doesn’t get damaged going on and off the trailer. And you should get a good boat cover! It’s that important.
Would you buy a $1,000 iPhone and not buy a protective case for it?
Why, then, would you purchase a ‘toon boat for far more money and not take the most basic, affordable step to increase its lifespan? You want to keep it in good condition year-round and decrease the amount of maintenance that you have to do at the beginning of each warm season!
Even if you go with the budget choice pontoon boat cover, it’s still better than just exposing your boat to the open elements like rain, wind, sleet, snow, and hail.
The one exception that we would say regarding pontoon boat covers is people who have an interior garage storage unit that they keep their boat in.
If your pontoon is indoors whenever it’s not being used, then you might not need a cover. Although, even then a cover can help unwanted dust and dirt accumulate.
Another thing worth mentioning here is the concept of shrink-wrapping your pontoon boat for the cold season. Shrink-wrapping is one of those more permanent solutions that completely seals off your boat and is actually a better (albeit more expensive) method of keeping your pontoon covered during long periods when you won’t be using it.
That being said, even most boaters who shrink-wrap their pontoon every winter still utilize a normal pontoon boat cover the rest of the year to prevent unwanted debris, water, and other damage to happen to the boat.
The covers will also help keep birds and animals from nesting in your boat as well as kids from putting themself in danger trying to use your parked boat as a type of playground!
Important Features to Consider
Now that you’ve seen what some of your options are, we think that it’s a good idea to better acquaint you with some of the more technical definitions and the key features that you should put extra research into before making a final buying choice.
Let’s take a look!
Denier and Textile Quality
If you’ve been paying attention to the item descriptions and specifications from above, then you’ll probably have noticed how they often mention terms like “600-D” or “300 Denier” fabric. Denier is a French-derived term that comes from a word they used for small-value, penny-like coins. In textile manufacturing, 1 Denier means that 9,000 meters of one strand of the fabric weighs 1 gram.
The higher the Denier number, the heavier the fabric and the more “heavy-duty” it’s considered to be. For instance, a “600 Denier Polyester Fabric” means that a single 9,000-meter strand of the material weighs 600 grams. This is incredibly heavy for a fabric.
For contrast here are some popular denier weights:
- Sheer pantyhose- 10 Denier
- Thin yoga pants- 100 Denier
- Jeans or work pants- 500-700 Denier
A 600 Denier pontoon boat cover is essentially similar to putting a heavy-duty, water-proof cover that’s as thick as your jeans over your pontoon. Pretty sturdy, wouldn’t you say?
A pontoon boat cover’s waterproofing abilities are often considered well before its UV-resistance. However, we’re here to remind you that having a UV-resistant fiber is just as important as waterproofing.
Most people who purchase a cover for their pontoon boat are doing so because they don’t have an indoor place to store it. This means that it’s likely going to spend a lot of time outside in the sun.
Extended exposure to the suns UV rays will eventually start to break down and degrade non-UV-resistant materials. This is one of the biggest differences between high and low quality pontoon covers.
The high quality covers will be able to be used for years before they start to show signs of wear and tear. Cheaper pontoon covers, on the other hand, may start flaking, fading, or developing holes after just a year of constant exposure to sunlight.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the top reasons for purchasing a pontoon boat is to prevent water from building up inside of your boat and causing mold and mildew to develop. While the majority of boat covers are 100% waterproof, some of the cheaper ones you’ll find are just “water-resistant.”
While the water-resistant covers will be able to hold up to a light drizzle, once the monsoon rains come in, the water will soak right through. Fully waterproof pontoon covers do cost a tad bit more, but in our opinion, it’s worth the extra money to have a product that can withstand any whether.
Mold and Mildew-Resistant
If you purchase most modern nylon or synthetic-plastic pontoon boat covers, you probably won’t have to worry about this.
However, if you’re using a canvas-type material or a cover that’s blended with more organic threads, they can be more susceptible to mold build-up, especially in a high-moisture environment.
Size and Fit
With pontoon boat covers, it’s always better to get something that’s a little too big than something that’s too small. Covers that are too small may not even be able to fully cover your open boat, but at least the larger cover will keep everything protected from the water. Also, you should take account of pontoon ladders etc., when making your measurements.
That being said, the better-fitting cover that you end up getting the easier it will be to cover your boat for storage.
The fit is also important if you plan on actively towing your trailer with the cover on. If your pontoon cover is too large then more wind will be able to get in and around it, increasing the chances of it blowing away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now, let’s take a second to review some of the most commonly asked questions that we get about pontoon boat covers.
Can I Drive My Trailer With A Pontoon Cover Attached?
We hinted at this just above while talking about your pontoon covers size and fit. The answer is- it depends.
Many pontoon boat owners opt to drive with the cover on- especially if they’re driving long distances and don’t fancy the idea of rocks, sand, and other debris damaging their boat. Usually, as long as you’re driving under 50mph, you shouldn’t have a problem. Once you start exceeding 60mph or more, though, you greatly increase the chances that the wind will catch it the right way and blow it off.
Also, you should only drive with a cover on if you have one of the pontoon covers that features straps that tie directly to your trailer.As long as the straps are durable and firmly connected to the boat and trailer, you should be fine to drive at moderate speeds.
How Long Do Pontoon Covers Last?
This all depends on the quality.
A good pontoon cover can easily last you 5 years or more. A cheaper quality pontoon cover may only give you 1 or 2 years of good use.
Are Pontoon Covers Airtight?
Pontoon covers are not airtight. If you’re looking for an airtight method of sealing your boat off for the winter, then you may be better off getting your pontoon boat professionally shrink-wrapped for the winter season.
There are also a bunch of great DIY kits if you want to save some money!
Purchasing the best pontoon boat cover you can is one of the most important buys you’ll make over the life of your boat ownership. Investing the extra money upfront to get a higher-quality cover is definitely worth it in terms of how much life it can add to your pontoon boat and the equipment housed on it.
Remember to keep the key considerations in mind and think about where and how you’ll be storing your pontoon boat as this will be a major decider of what cover you end up selecting.
We hope our guide has been helpful! If it was, make sure to share this article with your other pontoon-boating friends and even your social media page.
Until next time, happy cruising!