If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best pontoon boat cover is, then we recommend the EmpireCovers Aqua Armor Pontoon Boat Cover 260 as the best all around.
What steps would you take right now to protect your new pontoon boat from damage?
Each day, pontoon boats are exposed to the outdoor elements and vulnerable to environmental stress from humidity and temperature changes. You can buy a brand new shiny pontoon boat one day, and less than week later that boat can become dirty, stained, chipped, contracted, and looking as if it were several years old rather than a brand new vessel.
Fortunately, there is a way to help protect your pontoon boats as much as possible while they are not in use, and that is to place a pontoon boat cover around them to shield it against extreme weather conditions. A boat cover will be incredibly useful for when your letting your boat float over the water or rest on your trailer while you’re not using it, and it becomes even more important when storing your boat into the shed for winter.
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Buying Guide: Pontoon Boat Covers
In this guide, we will cover the top five very best pontoon boat covers on the market today and the pros and cons of each to give you the fairest assessment possible. But first, we’re going to cover exactly what your pontoon boat cover will need to accomplish (as no two boat covers are truly created equally) and then we’ll discuss the top features that your cover will need to have.
What Does Your Pontoon Boat Cover Need To Do
There are several things that your pontoon boat cover will need to accomplish. Easily the first and most important is to protect your boat from the elements. Sure, you may have spent the extra money to purchase a pontoon boat that is supposedly rust, corrosion, and water/moisture resistant.
Nonetheless, you can never be too careful, especially when your boat is always being exposed to water, changing temperatures, debris, and so on. Changing temperatures in particular can actually cause your boat to contract and expand, causing cracks and compromising the structural integrity of the vessel.
Granted, there are other ways you can help to mitigate the risk of this such as by using a gel coating, but this can only work so far. A cover will give your boat another layer of protection in addition to the coating.
Furthermore, if your boat is continuously exposed to the UV rays of the sun, the color of the boat is going to slowly fade away over time. This is yet another reason why a cover is so important: to keep your boat looking shiny, nice, and sharp.
In essence, the first thing that your cover must accomplish is to protect your boat from every kind of outdoor element you can imagine, whether it be moisture, temperature changes, the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and so on.
The next reason to have a boat cover is to keep unwanted guests at bay. By ‘unwanted guests,’ this doesn’t just refer to thieves or people who commit vandalism.
It also refers to animals such as cats, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, and so on. Especially during the winter, these kinds of creatures may be drawn to the boat while it’s stored away and call it their home, but they can do things to it that can really damage the appearance and integrity of the boat (ripping apart the seats, leaving excrement behind, etc.)
Theft and vandalism will not be outright prevented by a pontoon cover, but it is a deterrent. Let’s put it this way: imagine a scenario where a thief finds two pontoon boats, one with a cover and one without. Which one will be easier to take? The answer should be obvious.
Now that we have covered the top reasons you need to have a pontoon boat cover in the first place, we will next outline and discuss the top features that the best pontoon boat cover for you needs to have:
Buy A Cover For Your Boat’s Design
This may sound obvious enough, but too many novice pontoon boat owners believe that virtually any kind of cover will fit over their boat so long as the dimensions of the cover are large enough.
Instead, you need to buy a cover that is designed specifically for your boat’s shape and design, or otherwise that the manufacturer expressly claims will fit over your make and model of boat. You also need to confirm that your pontoon boat itself has attachment points on all sides for adding the cover.
Choose Durable Materials
You can easily find boat covers offered across a wide variety of different price points, and one of the biggest reasons for those price differences is because of the quality and durability of materials.
The materials of your boat cover is what will determine how long it lasts for and how well it resists the elements. That being said, you also need to be strategic in choose your boat cover materials depending upon the environment in which you live. For example, if you live in a climate that is unusually damp or humid, then you’re going to want your cover to be very breathable, or else it’s going to accumulate moisture.
Furthermore, if you’re going to be storing your boat outdoors primarily rather than indoors (such as in a shed or garage), then you’re going to want your cover to be thicker in order to better resist the elements as well.
As far as determining the specific durability of your boat cover, you are going to need to pay attention to the denier level. The denier level refers to how thick the fibers are in the cover. The higher the denier level, the stronger the fibers are. A lower denier level means that the cover will be more flexible but also not a durable. As a golden rule of thumb, your pontoon cover should have a denier level of 500D to 600D at the minimum.
For specific material covers, the most popular options are synthetic polyester or cotton canvas (or otherwise a mix of the two). Between the two, synthetic polyester covers will usually have an additional layer of acrylic to them, which can make them more water resistant than cotton canvas usually is. However, a cotton and polyester blend will also be much more affordable.
Move Up In Size
Once you find a cover that is just large enough to fit over your boat, do yourself a favor and get a cover that’s one size or so larger.
Why? Simple: you want to get maximum coverage over your pontoon boat, right? Buying a cover that is slightly too big will ensure that the entire boat is completely covered. A cover that is slightly too large will be vastly preferable to one that is slightly too small. You’ll want to play things on the safe side.
All that being said, just be careful that you don’t get a cover that is too large, or else it can sag and will not snugly fit over your boat.
Steer Clear of Bright Colors
There’s a very good reason why you will want to avoid brightly colored boat covers such as red, yellow, or orange: they can literally ruin the color of your boat.
The reason why is because the bright colors can bleed into your boats upholstery, which beyond ruining the aesthetic value of your boat will also decrease its value. Stick with colors such as white or black.
Make Sure The Cover Is Waterproof
Do not get a boat cover that is merely water resistant because that will not be good enough. Instead, you need to get a boat cover that is fully waterproof.
A water resistant cover means that it will only resist water for so long, and eventually water and moisture will seep through the cover and damage your boat. If anything, buying a water resistant cover means you would additionally need to place a tarp over the boat, so why even get the water resistant cover in the first place?
Even though true waterproof boat covers will cost more money, they are definitely worth the extra monetary investment.
Make Sure The Cover Is Mold Resistant
Not only do you want your cover to be waterproof, you also want it to be mold resistant. By the very way of how they are stored, pontoon boats are vulnerable to mildew and mold.
That’s why you will want to buy a fabric that has been treated to resist mildew and mold adequately.
Reviews: Best Pontoon Boat Covers
If you’re going to invest the money into getting a pontoon boat, you would be incredibly wise to invest the money into a pontoon boat cover to go with it as well. Doing so will not only make your pontoon boat look prettier, it will help protect its overall structural integrity as well. Here are 5 great options!
EmpireCovers Aqua Armor Pontoon Boat Cover 260
- Made from a 1200 Denier Polyester
- 100% waterproof (not just resistant or repellent!)
- Breathable material to protect against mildew, dampness and musty odors
- Heavy duty shock cord hem gives you the snug fit you desire
- Blocks snow, hot sun and driving rain
The first cover we will take a look at, the EmpireCovers Aqua Armor Pontoon Boat Cover 260, has virtually all of the important qualities that we just went over above.
This cover is built out of a 1200D polyester material; since the minimum denier level you will want is 500D to 600D like we talked about above, this is more than sufficient. Furthermore, this cover is truly 100% waterproof and not just water resistant like cheaper boat covers are.
On top of that, the EmpireCovers is also fully mold and mildew resistant, and can also block out the harmful UV rays of the sun and can also resist snow. A heavy duty shock cord ensure that you will have a nice, snug fit over your boat.
The cover is definitely very heavy, and while this means that it will do a great job of resisting the elements, it also means that transporting it around can be rather difficult. But the biggest negative to the EmpireCovers is undoubtedly the fact that the actual straps used to secure the cover to your boat are not the highest quality on the market.
Still, the EmpireCovers is an excellent heavy duty pontoon boat cover as a whole, and should not be overlooked.
- 1200D level
- 100% waterproof
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Heavy duty shock cord ensures a snug fit over your boat
- Cover is very heavy, so it can be difficult to move around
Classic Accessories StormPro Heavy Duty Pontoon Boat Cover
- MARINE GRADE BOATING ACCESSORIES: Won't shrink or stretch, designed for extra durability,...
- PROTECTIVE COVER FOR PONTOON BOATS: Adjustable transom flap and an elastic cord gives a...
- TRAILERABLE BOAT COVER: Fits Most pontoon boats 21' - 24' L x 102" W
- BOAT ACCESSORIES: Dual air vents reduce inside moisture and ballooning of cover at high...
- STRONG LIGHTWEIGHT COVER: Fabric coating technology and heavy-duty fabric for maximum...
First and foremost, the Classic Accessories StormPro Heavy Duty Pontoon Boat Cover is designed to not shrink or stretch under ay circumstances, including when it has been exposed to moisture or the sun for long periods. Further equipped with all-weather protection against UV rays, mildew, and water, the Classic Accessories will be an excellent
Another neat feature of the Classic Accessories is the dual air vents designed to limit moisture damage when the boat is stored away. It also comes equipped with a storage bag, trailer straps, and a transom flap tie down rope to ensure fit.
The biggest con to the Classic Accessories is the fact that the pull cord used for tightening up the elastic is pretty weak, so you may not be able to get the tightest fit over your boat as you could with other boat covers.
- Five year warranty from the manufacturer
- Designed to not shrink or stretch
- 100% waterproof
- All weather protection
- Mildew resistant
- Fabric coating technology
- Dual air vents
- Pull cord for tightening the elastic is rather weak
iCOVER Pontoon Boat Cover
- Made of 300 Denier PU coated Marine Grade waterproof, tear resistant, U.V resistant...
- Heavy duty elastic cord sewn in around hemline for secure and snug fit. Adjustable flaps...
- Integrated buckle and adjustable strap tightening system provides easy installation and...
- Extra roomy cut allows more room for accessories such as boarding ladder, spotlights,...
- Fits Pontoon Boat 17ft to 20ft Long and Beam Width up to 102in, please refer to iCOVER...
The iCover Pontoon Boat Cover has it all: it’s 100% waterproof, fully tear resistant, constructed out of a UV resistant polyester material, offers all weather protection, and has strength stress points with adjustable flaps to ensure that it will fit very snugly over your boat. The seams are also all double stitched to ensure good longevity.
The way this cover will fit over your boat is worth of note…and praise. It feature a heavy duty elastic cord that is sewn around the hemline for a truly snug fit. The adjustable flaps at the stern and tie down area will ensure that the entire boat is covered. This cover is also designed to accommodate things such as a ladder, spotlights, pedal seats, and so on, so as a result it’s a bit larger than many other covers on the market.
If there’s one major con to the iCover, it’s that it’s not quite as durable as it could be because it’s rated only at 300D, so it’s not going to offer the same level of strength as the other boat covers on this list. That being said, if you don’t live in that rough of an environment and feel that you don’t need the heaviest duty pontoon boat cover on the market while still getting the UV resistant, weather resistant, and waterproof qualities that your cover absolutely must have.
- Fully waterproof
- Tear resistant
- All weather protection
- Adjustable flaps ensure a fully snug fit
- UV resistant polyester construction
- Heavy duty elastic cord
- Designed to accommodate additional features such as a ladder, spotlights, etc.
- Double stitched steams
- Directions are a bit confusing
Budge 600 Denier Pontoon Cover
- MARINE GRADE PROTECTION: Waterproof to repel snow, hot sun and heavy rain, the 600 denier...
- WATERPROOF AND BREATHABLE: Material designed to prevent condensation build-up and reduce...
- BUILT TO STAY SECURE: Heavy shock cord hem gives cover a semi-custom fit. Sewn-in straps...
- SIZED TO FIT: Our custom-like design Budge 600 Denier Covers Fits Pontoon Boats. This...
- This cover comes with straps and buckles to help keep the cover secure to your pontoon...
The Budge Ponton Cover is a 600D pontoon boat cover that is fully waterproof and capable of resisting everything from heavy rain to heavy snow to a scorching hot sun. That’s because not only is the Budge fully waterproof, it’s also been UV treated for maximum protection from the sun as well.
The Budge will also be a great cover to use if you live in an unusually hot location because it’s also designed to be very breathable, which will help to keep moisture out and also reduce mildew, mold, and rust. A heavy duty shock cord hem ensures that the cover will fit very snugly over your boat as well.
All that being said, the straps to the Budge really could be better. While the shock cord hem is great, the straps are just not as durable as they could be. They’ll work, but they could definitely be better too.
As a whole though, the Budge is breathable while also being fully waterproof and UV ray resistant. What more could you ask for in a pontoon boat cover?
- 600d polyester level
- UV treated for maximum sun protection
- Heavy duty shock cord will ensure a snug fit
- Straps are not the highest quality
Vortex New Grey 22 FT Ultra Pontoon Boat Cover
- HEAVY DUTY 5 YEAR MARINE CANVAS
- TRI-PURPOSE COVER/STORAGE/MOORING/TRAILERING
- HAS ELASTIC BAND AS WELL AS STRAPS
- 1-800-309-5190 (Real People, Real Answers)
- INDUSTRY'S BEST WARRANTY - 5 YEAR WARRANTY
If you’re looking for a heavy duty canvas to use to cover your boat with, you’ll want to consider the Vortex New Grey 22FT Ultra Pontoon Boat Cover. This is a 600D cover that comes with one of the best manufacturer warranties in the industry at five years.
Designed by Vortex to be waterproof and both mildew and UV ray resistant, this boat cover can fit any pontoon boat up to twenty two feet in length. Even though some other covers are designed to fit boats longer, the elastic band on the Vortex can help to stretch it out farther while also snugly fitting over the boat.
The biggest negative to the Vortex would be the fact that it has only single stitching work, whereas most covers will have at least double stitching work done. It’s also a bit shorter than several other boat cover types on the market at twenty two feet, so make sure that the dimensions will definitely fit over your boat.
As a whole though, the Vortex New Grey Pontoon Boat Cover is a thick and heavy duty canvas cover that will get the job done to keep your pontoon boat covered up so long as the boat is short enough.
- Five year warranty from the manufacturer
- Heavy duty quality
- Elastic band ensures snug fi
- 600D level
- Mildew and UV ray resistant
- Single stitching should be double stitching or more
From snow to rain to dirt and debris to moisture to heavy snow to a salty environment to muck to weather fluctuations and so on, your pontoon boat is vulnerable both when it’s floating out in the water and when it’s at home at storage. Retaining the finish and quality of your boat will be important to help preserve its overall value and structural integrity as much as possible.
This is exactly why it’s not just important to get a pontoon boat cover to begin with, but to get the highest quality boat cover you can find, even if it means perhaps spending a little bit of extra money. Your pontoon boat most likely cost you a lot of money, and proper maintenance of that boat will be the best thing you can do to protect your investment.
Consider part of that maintenance to be shielding your boat with a cover when it is not in use. If you want your boat to look nearly as nice a few months or years down the road as it did when you first bought it new, you need to keep your boat clean, and you also need to keep it covered.