Six Great Boats Under $20,000

Six fun, great boats that cost less than $20,000.

Think you’re priced out of buying a new boat? Think again. Whether you’re looking for a small family boat to get everyone out on the water, or a small fishing boat that gets the job done at an affordable price, there are plenty of great boats available in a variety of styles that cost less than $20,000.

Our curated list of affordable boats includes runabouts, fishing boats, pontoon boats, and PWC. You will find both fiberglass and aluminum boat options, all of which we consider to be some of the best boats under $20k. Check out the list below to see what tickles your fancy. And when you’re ready to buy, don’t forget about our tips for how to sea trial a boat.

Bayliner Element E16 running shot
Bayliner Element E16 Courtesy Bayliner

Family Boat: Bayliner Element E16



Rated for up to six people and 80-hp, Bayliner’s Element E16 provides a great way for the family to get out on the water and discover the experiences exclusive to those who own a boat. Deep freeboard and high gunwales provide security and the secure feeling many boaters seek. The seating rotates to facilitate conversation at the sandbar or cove.The unique M-Hull hull design offers quick planing and stability. It comes with a single axle trailer, and, weighing tk, can be easily towed by many vehicles. Also comes with cupholders, accessory power outlet, swim platform with ladder and more.

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Bass Tracker Classic XL running shot
Bass Tracker Classic XL Courtesy Tracker

Freshwater Fishing Boat: Bass Tracker Classic XL



Try to get fishing cheaper than this. And, try to get a better list of standard equipment, better warranty, (limited lifetime, transferable, 5-year on electrical components and 3 years on Diamond Coat, black or royal red powder coating) and a trailer to boot. Tracker’s exclusive Diamond Coat finish is baked on. Powered by a Mercury 40 horsepower outboard, it includes an aerated livewell, plenty of rod storage, two pedestal fishing seats, a Lowrance Hook 3 fish finder, Minn Kota Edge 12 Volt trolling motor and trailer.

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Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 idling
Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 Courtesy Sea-Doo

Sea-Doo GTI SE 170



Capable of carrying three riders, Sea-Doo’s GTI SE 170 still delivers sporty feel and handling, thanks to its hard chine hull, low center of gravity and a new 170 hp version of the Rotax 1630 ACE engine. Sea-Doo’s 100-watt Audio-Premium system streams music directly from a smartphone to the pair of waterproof, MTX Audio-developed speakers neatly integrated into the forward wall of the footwells. A touchpad control mounted adjacent to the left speaker turns the system on, adjusts volume, and skips forward and back in the user’s selected playlist. Because the speakers essentially point directly at the driver and passengers, volume is ample. And accessories make it versatile:Twin recessed, 16-inch-on-center composite cleats raise into position to secure a variety of optional accessories, including a gas caddy, premium coolers, storage caddy or roll-top dry bag via a cam-type latch system.

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Dragonfly Marsh Hen Micro Skiff Running Shot
Dragonfly Marsh Hen Micro Skiff Courtesy Dragonfly

Saltwater Fishing: Dragonfly Marsh Hen Micro Skiff



Want to get up close and personal with shallow water fish? A micro-skiff is a great way to pursue a lifetime catch–and memories–for an economical price. This 15-foot flats boat features rounded chines for a quiet entry, spray rails and a 9.9-horsepower outboard engine. There is stowage fore and aft, built-in nonskid surface and you can have them build it in a choice of colors. Boat, motor and trailer packages can be had for $13,000. Go get ‘em!

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Yamaha WaveRunner EXR pulling through the turns
Yamaha WaveRunner EXR Courtesy Yamaha Motor Corp. USA

Yamaha WaveRunner EXR


Under $10,000, but delivering speeds exceeding 50-mph and capable of handling a crew of three, this Yamaha WaveRunner could be the path to the water for a boating family. Yamaha’s high-tech Nano 2 system reduces the EXR’s weight to 540 pounds, a 60-pound drop from the otherwise comparable EX Deluxe. Added power comes from modifying the engine control unit (ECU), which ups the 1,049 cc three-cylinder TR-1 engine’s horsepower by roughly 10 percent. The now-110 hp engine also features an increased 8,000 rpm rev limit, a 700 rpm boost over the existing 7,300 rpm threshold. RiDE, Yamaha’s dual control system, gives forward and reverse thrust separate throttles on opposite sides of the handlebar. There’s also two-tone Hydro-Turf EVA traction mats, a spring-loaded boarding step, and dual mirrors are all standard.

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Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX Running Shot
Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX Courtesy Sun Tracker

Entertaining: Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX


The cost of boats can be intimidating to many potential buyers, first timers or not. If you’re in the market for a pontoon boat to play host to you and eight of your friends, and you’re looking to spend less than $20,000, look no further than the Party Barge 18 DLX from Sun Tracker. Built on 24-inch, multi-chambered pontoons with internal bracing for added strength – and with “10+LIFE” limited lifetime warranty – this party barge is built to last. Standard options at the listed price include a Mercury 40hp ELPT CommandThrust motor, bimini top, Bluetooth equipped stereo, illuminated dash gauges and rocker switches, ample storage and much more. Tack on optional extras like a rail-mounted BBQ, soft cooler, and bimini top drop-down curtain and you’re still comfortably under $20k – making this one of the most affordable pontoon boats on the market. Just note, these prices do not include a trailer.

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