Best Pontoon Boats of 2015 | Boating Magazine

Best Pontoon Boats of 2015

Check out some of the best pontoon boats for 2015.

Today’s pontoons rival fiberglass boats in handling and exceed them in capacity. We’ve even tested a few with twin 300 hp outboards. Innovations such as centerline tubes with lifting strakes and planing pads, as well as sturdier construction and even — gasp — fiberglass components have propelled pontoons to the forefront. So if your goal is to fish, tube, water-ski, wakeboard or just entertain a multitude, check out some of the best pontoon boats available for 2015.

Bennington 2372 RCW Windscreen Sport Arch

Bennington 2372 RCW Windscreen Sport Arch

Bennington’s 2372 RCW stands out for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is its stylish, wraparound windscreen. It adds an added ounce of protection on a windy day, but it also completely changes the boat’s style, making it look like the love child of a pontoon and a sporty runabout.

Bennington 2372 RCW Windscreen Sport Arch Review & Video

Bennington

Bennington 2375 RCW Closed Stern

Bennington 2375 RCW Closed Stern

Bennington’s signature upscale touch is evident aboard the 2375 RCW. Forward, twin parallel lounges showcase comfortable pillow-top upholstery, diamond-pattern lumbar stitching and slanted, forward-facing backrests for those who prefer to stretch their legs. Flip down the armrests, and integrated cup holders are at the ready. At the helm, the luxurious captain’s chair is flanked by a “mini lounge” to port.

Bennington 2375 RCW Closed Stern Review & Video

Bennington

Bennington 2552 QCW I/O

Bennington 2552 QCW I/O

Sitting at the helm of Bennington’s upscale 2552 QCW I/O, it’s easy to forget there are pontoons floating your boat. In front of both passenger and driver sit dual, runabout-style consoles, topped by a full wraparound windshield. Behind, twin captain’s chairs with flip-down armrests cradle both captain and mate. Above, a clad water-sports arch evokes an express cruiser.

Bennington 2552 QCW I/O Review & Video

Bennington

Bennington 2575 QSD

Bennington 2575 QSD

When it comes to interior design, Bennington designers frequently think outside the box. The 2575 QSD mixes up standard pontoon seating by featuring a starboard dinette and portside galley in the boat’s aft third. The dinette features a generously sized granite-style table with perimeter lighting, four cup holders and three cushy reclining seats. Spin around the matching captain’s chair and you’ll add a fourth to the party.

Bennington 2575 QSD Review & Video

Bennington

Cypress Cay Cambio 200

Cypress Cay Cambio 200

New for 2015, the Cypress Cay Cambio series offers simpler layout options and a lighter weight to customers who frequently trailer their boat, cruise smaller bodies of water, and demand an easy-to-use watercraft with great stability. Its straightforward layout is just what the pontoon crowd demands.

Cypress Cay Cambio 200 Review & Video

Cypress Cay

Cypress Cay Cayman LE 250

Cypress Cay Cayman LE 250

Cypress Cay’s flagship Cayman LE 250 comes luxuriously appointed, even in stock trim. Forward, plush lounges span the port and starboard sides. Aft, an expansive L-shaped lounge cradles more passengers with 7 feet of seating comfort. Each features overstuffed, pillow-top upholstery, in addition to bolsters below the thighs for comfort and security.

Cypress Cay Cayman LE 250 Review & Video

Cypress Cay

G3 SunCatcher V322 GT

G3 SunCatcher V322 GT

The G3 SunCatcher V322 GT is built to pamper lovers of luxury, excite the performance crowd and reassure the buttoned-up folks that this boat will outlive a die-hard boater’s lust for the sport and deliver a terrific resale price when upgrade time rolls around.

G3 SunCatcher V322 GT Review

G3

Harris Crowne 250

Harris Crowne 250

Harris blurs conventional pontoon lines with the cutting-edge Crowne 250. Gaze along its length: There’s nary a hint of a pontoon’s traditional perimeter fencing. Instead, sleek fiberglass modules form much of the exterior, as well as house the interior seating. Going with fiberglass allows Harris to give the Crowne a flowing, seamless look, while still maintaining a pontoon’s trademark layout.

Harris Crowne 250 Review & Video

Harris

Harris Grand Mariner SL 230

Harris Grand Mariner SL 230

Most buyers picture themselves as captain, but the Grand Mariner SL 230 makes a strong case for relaxing as part of the crew. The appeal starts with the luxurious, pillow-top facing lounges forward. It continues with the more intimate solo lounge adjacent to the helm. All feature lush vinyl, bolstered support below the knees and flip-down armrests, as well as the requisite roto-molded stowage below.

Harris Grand Mariner SL 230 Review & Video

Harris

Larson Escape 25 TTT DC

Larson Escape 25 TTT DC

The new Larson Escape 25 TTT Dual Console with Tapered Tube Technology features three 27-inch-wide tubes with reverse chines for greater lift and outside hull chamfer to enhance cornering. Combined with a center tube that sits 4 inches deeper than the outer two, the design lends itself to a V-hull-like performance.

Larson Escape 25 TTT DC Review

Larson

Lowe Infinity 270 CL

Lowe Infinity 270 CL

The Infinity 270 CL is well named for a pontoon bursting with uncounted luxuries. It’s one of the sleekest in this popular category of day-cruising vessels, and it’s bristling with features to make your day on the water complete.

Lowe Infinity 270 CL Review & Video

Lowe

Lowe Xtreme 230

Lowe Xtreme 230

It takes more than flashy colors and cushy upholstery to make a luxury performance pontoon that can keep a boating family happy. But Lowe knows how to combine those two attributes, plus reliable durability, and has been doing this for 40 years. Its new Xtreme 230, the last in the series, builds beautifully on the company’s expertise.

Lowe Xtreme 230 Review & Video

Lowe

Manitou 25 Legacy SRS SHP

Manitou 25 Legacy SRS SHP

The 25 Legacy SRS SHP boasts a combination of handling and power that’s hard to match, and much of the reason is hidden out of sight below deck. It’s here the company’s celebrated Sport Handling Package (SHP) mixes outer 23-inch pontoons with an oversize 27-inch center tube dropped a full 5¼ inches deeper into the water. It’s a design choice that gives this pontoon that most V-hull-like of attributes — an actual deadrise — and results in the type of aggressive handling that will rival many of today’s fiberglass hulls.

Manitou 25 Legacy SRS SHP Review

Manitou

Marker One Platform Series M27

Marker One Platform Series M27

The new Marker One Platform Series M27 is a boat that defies traditional categorization. Is it a pontoon? It runs on three elongated aluminum hulls that resemble the tubes of a pontoon boat. But its deck is all fiberglass, putting it more in line with a deck boat yet with the wide-open seating of a pontoon. So where does it fit? Marker One, a division of Cobalt Boats, didn’t even try to make it fit. Instead it created its own category of boats — the Platform Series.

Marker One Platform Series M27 Review & Video

Marker One

PlayCraft Daytona 2300 Saltwater Series

PlayCraft Daytona 2300 Saltwater Series

PlayCraft's Daytona 2300 Saltwater Series is the ultimate crowd pleaser. Why? It boasts speed, racy looks to go with it, and on-the-water party capabilities that will be appreciated by all when rafting up on the sandbar or in the party cove.

PlayCraft Daytona 2300 Saltwater Series Review & Video

PlayCraft

PlayCraft Powertoon X-Treme 2700

PlayCraft Powertoon X-Treme 2700

Because PlayCraft boats are born near the epicenter of “gold chain” boating on Lake of the Ozarks, the Powertoon X-Treme 2700 boasts blazing swooshes of graphics with racing checkerboards and bright hot-boat colors. Our test boat was absolutely beaming in orange, silver and black. Interior upholstery is vinyls in matching colors sewn in a coordinated quilt of fast-looking beauty.

PlayCraft Powertoon X-Treme 2700 Review & Video

PlayCraft

Premier 241 Cast A Way

Premier 241 Cast A Way

The earliest pontoon owners figured out along the way that, with their space and stability, pontoons make excellent fishing platforms. So it’s no surprise that some pontoon builders started building fishing-specific boats. Perhaps no pontoon is fishier than the new Premier 241 Cast A Way.

Premier 241 Cast A Way Review & Video

Premier

Premier 270 Intrigue

Premier 270 Intrigue

Premier builds all its pontoons well, but one thing that sets the company apart is how well it builds its luxury pontoons, like the new 270 Intrigue we had the opportunity to test. One of the many features that stand out aboard the 270 Intrigue is the forward-raked sport arch. It adds an element of style to the boat’s profile, but also raises the tow point for boarders looking to catch air. Add in the integrated stereo speakers, recessed Bimini shade and skylight over the helm, and you can see why the arch is a valuable addition.

Premier 270 Intrigue Review & Video

Premier

Premier 290 Grand View

Premier 290 Grand View

You will be hard-pressed to find a pontoon boat with a better view from the helm than the Premier 290 Grand View. With the Liberty helm console elevated 2 feet off the main deck, this boat lives up to its designated model name. From there the driver has a sweeping 360-degree view of the water and of the entire boat. Don’t underestimate the importance of that for pulling up to a dock or into a slip.

Premier 290 Grand View Review & Video

Premier

Premier 250 Sunsation RF

Premier 250 Sunsation RF

The Sunsation lineup is one of Premier’s most popular pontoon offerings, and our test drive of the 250 Sunsation RF made it easy to see why. The RF in the model name stands for rear facing, which refers directly to the seats in the aft section of the boat with rear-facing recliner backs. These allow for two passengers to kick back and face the action behind the boat during a tow-sports session or just relax and soak in the rays at rest. Otherwise, the Signature Series seats serve as couches where friends and family can sit and socialize.

Premier 250 Sunsation RF Review & Video

Premier

Princecraft Vogue 27 SE

Princecraft Vogue 27 SE

These days, prospective pontoon boat buyers aren’t just looking for a boat with a lot of creature comforts on deck; they’re looking for one with some performance oomph. Princecraft, long known for its aluminum-hull fishing boats, delivers on 21st-century ’toon expectations with the new Vogue 27 SE, a boat that mates three marine-grade aluminum logs with a well-thought-out floor plan. With the triple-tube package you get a boat that can support a 300 hp Mercury Verado and — with the 52-gallon fuel tank built into the center tube — the juice to support it.

Princecraft Vogue 27 SE Review & Video

Princecraft

Regency 254 DL3

Regency 254 DL3

Both the DL3 we tested and the LE3 have a length overall of 27 feet 5 inches. Lifting strakes and wave deflectors provide a dry ride along with extra lift, buoyancy, speed and handling. The deck is built to resist the elements as well as moisture seepage with a seven-ply pressure-treated deck. All furniture backs and bases are roto-molded, and all the upholstery is foam-wrapped with a moisture barrier for long life.

Regency 254 DL3 Review

Regency

Starcraft MX 25 L

Starcraft MX 25 L

Judging by the looks of Starcraft’s eye-catching MX 25 L, black is the new, well, black. A glossy version of the color dominated the boat’s fence panels, extended onto the sculpted anodized rails, and was even picked up in the perimeter rub rail. Coupled with the rich, leathery feel of the two-tone taupe interior upholstery, the gloss gives the MX 25 L a classy appearance that’s bound to turn heads out on the water, as well as from within the boat’s confines.

Starcraft MX 25 L Review & Video

Starcraft

SunChaser 8522 LR

SunChaser 8522 LR

The LR in SunChaser’s 8522 LR stands for lounger, and it’s an apt description. Nearly every inch of the craft’s inside perimeter is filled with seating. Forward, a 4-foot lounge to port is complemented by a 5-foot lounge to starboard. Add the optional gate-filler jump seat, and you’ve got nearly 12 feet of wraparound seating. It’s a similar theme aft.

SunChaser 8522 LR Review & Video

SunChaser

Sylvan Mirage 8522 Party Fish

Sylvan Mirage 8522 Party Fish

Partying isn’t the only thing that happens on a pontoon. A lot of fishing takes place too, and Sylvan caters to anglers with the Mirage 8522 Party Fish. Check out the built-in aft fishing station. With a cutting-board top, built-in rod holders and 24-gallon livewell, it’s ready for everything from prepping to trolling to measuring your catch on the ruler etched into the livewell lid.

Sylvan Mirage 8522 Party Fish Review & Video

Sylvan

Sylvan S5 Extreme

Sylvan S5 Extreme

Sylvan’s S5 Extreme may scream party above, but it’s all performance below. That’s where you’ll find the company’s unique Revolutionary Planing Technology (RPT). It includes large, 27-inch tubes that eschew conventional roundness but rather resemble mini V-hulls, with welded keel and chines.

Sylvan S5 Extreme Review & Video

Sylvan

Tahoe Cascade 2585 QL

Tahoe Cascade 2585 QL

Cascades are the midrange model offering Tahoe’s Quad Lounge floor plan. As that latter name implies, the 2585 is all about cruising in comfort. Inside the Cascade’s attractive deco walls, four roomy couches are spread throughout the interior, with twin 4-foot-4-inch offerings forward and matching 4-foot-4-inch lounges aft. Each features a sloping backrest for when you want to kick up your feet.

Tahoe Cascade 2585 QL Review

Tahoe

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