Average New Pontoon Boat Costs
Brand new pontoon boats cost between $18,000 and $60,000 depending on size, engine, features and build quality. The most popular pontoon boats on the water cost about $35,000 new for a 22' boat with a 90 or 115hp engine.
Buying a pontoon boat is tough because most of the manufacturers do not allow the retailers to advertise prices. Doing so would allow other potential buyers to see how much the boat costs from dealers in other areas and expect the same price from their dealer, which would drive the price down.
Some pontoon boat manufacturers, such as Avalon, show suggested retail prices, but often the MSRP is significantly higher than what you can expect to pay in a negotiated deal.
Final Prices Seen from Dealers for 2015 Pontoon Boats
In this article, I want to show you the actual prices I was quoted from various sellers to give you an idea of what you might pay. Obviously these prices vary hugely on location and features.
This is information I really wish I had while I was shopping for my first pontoon boat. It's not perfect, but at least it'll give you a starting point. Prices are approximate.
These prices include standard features and a painted trailer with spare and brakes.
- 18' Fishing Pontoon from G3 (Suncatcher) with a 60hp engine: $20,000
- 22' X22RF Fishing Pontoon from G3 (Suncatcher) with a 115hp engine: $28,500 (the exact same boat with a 90hp is $27,200)
- 22' Bentley Pontoon Boat with 90hp: $30,000
- 22' Sweetwater Pontoon Boat with 90hp: $32,000
- 22' Lowe SF232 Pontoon Boat with 115hp: $29,000 (the same boat with 150hp: $31,400)
- 5 Year Old 22' Suntracker Tritoon with 150hp engine: $28,000
- 1 Year Old 22' Sweetwater with 115hp motor: $27,000
If you'd like to see more examples, you can check out Pricecraft's boat customization and price tool.
How Much Do Accessories Cost?
- A double Bimini top (they sometimes come with one standard): $700
- If you have a 90hp motor standard and you want to go up to a 115, it'll probably cost you an extra $900 to $2,000.
- To go from a 115hp to a 150hp, it will probably cost an additional $2,400 to $3,500.
- An enclosure or full camping cover to cover the entire boat costs about $2,000.
- Adding a sweet wireless motorguide trolling motor with two batteries, wiring, battery boxes and onboard charger costs about $2,000.
- A fishing livewell can vary in cost dramatically. Sometimes it's a cheap $200 add-on, but sometimes it can cost $1,000 on a model that normally doesn't have one.
- Ski tow bars are included on some models, but if they aren't, it will likely cost between $200 and $700. You can install a monster swing yourself for $600 or a cheap Atwood for $200.
- Almost all boats these days have speakers and a stereo. If you want to change your stereo to include Bluetooth, you can expect to pay as little as $150. If it's more than that, skip the upgrade and buy one on Amazon. You can install it yourself in 10 minutes for $100.
- Ski ladders can cost between $200 and $500 if they aren't built in. Ladders are one of those boat accessories you're going to want. It'll be nearly impossible to get from the water back in the boat without a ladder.
- Upgrading from carpet to vinyl is a GOOD IDEA! You can expect to pay between $300 and $1,200 extra, but you won't regret it. If you decide you want the cool comfort of carpet later, just get a cheap snap-on carpet for the main area and you're set (and without the mold).
- An extra mooring cleat will likely cost about $30.
How much does the engine factor into the price?
The boat engine makes up a huge portion of the price of any boat. In the case of a standard new pontoon boat, you'll see a new 150hp engine selling for about $12,000. The rest of the price is the actual boat.
It's important to realize this because the boat itself will likely be on the water even 15 or 20 years from now if it's well built and taken care of.
The engine will likely be unreliable at that age. When you're buying a used boat, keep in mind that the motor is the first and foremost concern.
How do I find a good price on a pontoon boat?
This depends on if you're only shopping for a new pontoon boat or if you'd consider looking for something used but still in good shape. For new pontoon boats, I think you're likely to see better prices from smaller shops that mostly do repair work but also deal in new pontoons.
These guys often have less overhead than the shiny boat lot downtown that makes all its money from selling boats. The repair guys who also sell boats are often willing to sell for less because they realize that they also now have you as a customer for life if they treat you right on the sale.
As I was shopping around and pricing out different options, I found about a $5,000 price difference between most of the dedicated boat lots and those who only sold new boats on the side.
Keep in mind that the brand of the boat will make a huge difference in the price. Each seller will tell you that their boats are better because of X, Y or Z. Some of them will even convince you of it.
The truth is that pontoon boats are fairly generic. That isn't to say that craftsmanship doesn't matter. There really aren't any horrible brands out there - at least among the bigger manufacturers.
Be careful not to get too suckered into the salesman's pitch and focus more on the differences that matter to you. The best prices on pontoon boats are those that have been used lightly for one to two years.
The trouble is that pontoon boat owners don't upgrade to the newer year models nearly as often as the V-hull ski boat owners do. So, it can be extremely challenging to find the gently used one or two-year-old boats. If you can find them, you'll likely find yourself saving about $5,000 on a boat that's only one year old.
From my research, I'm seeing most pontoon boats in most markets depreciating in resale value very quickly in the first few years, and less as time goes on (very much like a car).
As an example, for a pretty average pontoon boat that costs $30,000 new, you can expect to lose $4,000 or 5,000 in resale value the minute you trailer it off the lot.
Over the next three years, you'll probably lose about $1,500 in value each year. At that point, it seems to be a pretty slow decline at only around $400 or $500 per year until the boat is 12 years old.
After 12 years, they hold pretty steady in value until it naturally ages off (even an old clunker is worth $1,500 as long as it's got good enough bones to be restored).
How much can I expect to pay in tax, title, registration and fees?
Every state's sales tax, title, and registration fees differ. My state has a 6% sales tax, which is pretty standard. My final purchase price was $29,300. The out-the-door price was $31,000 after all the government crap.
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