Rave Sports Ravenger Plus ($299.99)
Our kid testers were immediately drawn to the Rave Sports Ravenger Plus, thanks to its similarity to another form of watery fun — a personal watercraft. Like a plumped-up PWC, the 90-by-64-by-33-inch Ravenger features a saddle, handlebars and footwells. One rider sits atop the saddle; two more can fit into the footwells, each of which features an inflatable floor.
The Ravenger was the lone inflatable in our test to not feature a full nylon cover. Instead, its 840-denier nylon wrap covers the bottom and sides, leaving the saddle, seat base, footwells, console and handlebars exposed. The exposed material is durable 30-gauge PVC, but it made us nervous bumping around the dock. The Ravenger was also the most taxing to inflate, because the main body, handlebars, footwell floors and backrests are all separate chambers.
As to the ride, it’s exceptionally stable, even with the full complement of passengers. The driver gets the cushiest treatment, thanks to the generous amount of inflated real estate below his or her bottom. Passengers don’t fare as well on the inflated floors, which transfer more of the bumps, don’t allow you to absorb shock with your legs, and are more in the line of spray coming off the hull. Our mom also dubbed the footwells too small for adult passengers. Still, our younger enthusiasts gave it the thumbs up — and loved the Rave Tail, a V-shaped plastic funnel attached to the stern that channels water up into a spray behind the inflatable as it’s pulled through the water.
Best for: Novelty factor; those who want a stable, leisurely ride.
More info: Rave Sports Ravenger Plus