Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

For our performance tests we pitted a Bennington 2575 QCW I/O Sport Tower against a QCW powered by a Yamaha F350.

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Yamaha F350
Top Speed: 50.1 mph
0 to 30 mph: 6.2 seconds
Weight: 780 pounds
Horsepower: 350
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.44
Displacement: 5.3L (325.3 cid)
Price: $86,483
Gear Ratio: 1.73:1
Prop Diameter: 15"

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Mercury 8.2L HO
Top Speed: 52 mph
0 to 30 mph: 8.0 seconds
Weight: 1,228 pounds
Horsepower: 430
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.34
Displacement: 8.2L (550.39 cid)
Price: $112,563
Gear Ratio: 2.00:1
Prop Diameter: 24"

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Yamaha F350
Peak Efficiency: 2.99 mpg at 22.4 mph
Max Fuel Burn: 32.8 gph at 6,100 rpm Mercury 8.2L HO
Peak Efficiency: 2.32 mpg at 20 mph
Max Fuel Burn: 38.3 gph at 5,000 rpm

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Adding a center tube has allowed builders to ramp up pontoon handling and performance and raised boaters’ expectations.

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

The Bravo Three hides underwater, creating cleaner lines and the space for a full swim platform.

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Adding a big block engine calls for a center tube and a creative floor plan.

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Big block engines allow for an extensive layout and amenities like a tower.

Pontoon Boat Power: Sterndrive vs Outboard

Pontoons have grown in size, weight and amenities; sterndrives pick up where outboards leave off.

Three Sterndrive Pontoons

PlayCraft Powertoon Xtreme 2700 I/O
PlayCraft prides itself on building fast pontoons; in 2010 a 2700 Xtreme with 1,200 hp broke 100 mph, setting a pontoon record. With the 430 hp MerCruiser 8.2L HO, this 'toon touched 56 mph with our testers at the wheel. It's a triple-tube boat with performance strakes. playcraftboats.com

Three Sterndrive Pontoons

Avalon 25 Paradise Elite
With a 300 hp MerCruiser 350 Mag engine we pushed this boat to 40 mph. The Elite series features three 25-inch pontoons with high-performance lifting strakes and Corsa Captain's Choice exhaust. avalonpontoons.com

Three Sterndrive Pontoons

JC Tritoon Classic 306 I/O
JC Pontoons offers a 30-footer with three performance tubes that can be powered by a MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrive to 320 hp. With the maximum horsepower, the boat is capable of 40 mph and can hold a large crew and support big amenities. jcpontoon.com