Pontoons vs. Tritoons – Which is Better?

Every pontoon owner out there has probably wondered about the possibility of upgrading to a tritoon sometime in the future. And there’s nothing wrong with that – except the fact that tritoons cost at least twice as much as their two-tube counterparts. Granted, they are worth every penny, as they top pontoons in both horsepower and stability. However, you might want to analyze the options very well before putting your hard-earned money down. So, what are the differences between pontoons and tritoons and why should you (or shouldn’t you) upgrade to the latter?

In case you don’t have the basics down yet, a tritoon is a three-hull boat. In other words, it’s a pontoon with one extra tube going across the center, between the other two. Grace to that third tube, tritoons offer a lot more stability and allow the boat to develop higher speeds.

Generally speaking, a tritoon is a better version of the pontoon from any point of view – it is more stable, it can handle rough waters way better, it is a better fit for saltwater sailing, and it allows for much greater horsepower. The only disadvantage of a tritoon is the price. While a brand-new pontoon costs roughly $20,000 (but you can find better deals if you get yours second-hand), a tritoon starts at $35,000. With all the tweaks and accessories you will need for a new boat, a tritoon can very well surpass 2x the price of a two-hull boat.

All that being said, should YOU think of switching from a two-hull boat to a three-hull one? The answer is it depends on what you plan on doing with that new boat. If you enjoy spending sunny weekends on the deck with your friends while cracking open a few cold ones, a pontoon has everything you need. If you enjoy a good fishing session, or you plan on taking your boat out on the river where there’s a higher risk of encountering rough waters, you might want to look into getting a tritoon. However, a stable pontoon (at least 25″ wide tubes) with high horsepower should do just as well if you don’t want to spend the extra money. If you’re planning on taking your boat out in the bay or even in the open sea, or you’re looking for something that can develop thrilling speeds, it’s probably best to splurge on a tritoon. Tritoons are much better for pulling towables and skiers too, so you might want to consider that your family and guests like getting in the water for more than just a casual swim.

The bottom line here is that, while tritoons are definitely better than pontoons in most aspects, not every pontoon owner needs to upgrade to a tritoon. It all boils down to the way you use your boat, what kind of waters you’re usually sailing in, and your preferences in terms of speed and stability.

Jerry Brookes

Hi I'm Jerry, founder of PontoonHelper.com. I've been pontooning for over 30 years believe it or not and have learned a thing or two about pontoons. As my passion project Pontoon Helper is aimed at educating any reader on all the different things you need to know before pontooning. I consider myself somewhat of an expert in this industry as it has become my life since retirement. Feel free to submit a comment or question on the website and I'll try to get back to you.

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