Pedal boats can be a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy being out on the water and getting some exercise at the same time. Pedal boats are a type of watercraft that you power by pedaling, much like riding a bicycle. They typically have two pedals that you push with your feet to move a paddle wheel or propeller through the water.
Pedal boats are often found on calm bodies of water like lakes and ponds. They can be a fun way to explore these bodies of water and enjoy the scenery from a unique perspective. They’re also a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the outdoors.
Overall, the fun level of pedal boats will depend on your personal interests and preferences. If you enjoy being on the water and getting some exercise, then you’ll likely find pedal boats to be a lot of fun. However, if you prefer more adrenaline-pumping activities, like water skiing or wakeboarding, then pedal boats may not be as thrilling for you.
Another key aspect when deciding on purchasing a pedal boat is to consider if you have a dock or shed close to the water. Pedal boats can be stored on shore with covers. The reason is that Pedal boats are not that easy to transport. If you live on a lake, by all means it is an investment I would highly recommend, if you don’t, personally I would pass.
What Are The Best Pedal Boats in 2023?
In this Pedal Boat Buyers Guide we are going to share with you our Top 3 Picks for the best Pedal boats, including the most important factors you should consider before investing in a Pedal boat
In this pedal boat buyers guide we have also included a thorough FAQ section so you can learn more about how pedal boats function on the lake and how to take care of yours so it will provide your family years of enjoyment.
Here is our summary. However we suggest that you read our detail review of each and also the criteria for rating these pedal boats which you will find below.
#1 – Pelican – Monaco DLX Angler
#2 – Pelican – Monaco Pedal Boat
#1 – Sun Dolphin – Sun Slider Pedal Boat
Our Top Pedal Boat Pick
The MONACO DLX ANGLER pedal boat is great for cruising or fishing adventures out on the lake. With its adjustable backrests, flush mount rod holders, built-in cooler, two-branch canopy, drink holders and storage platform, this pedal boat can seat up to five people. Made of our RAM-X™ impact-resistant material, this boat will last you through years of amazing fishing trips with family and friends.
The Monaca DLX Angler has all the advantages of a pedal boat with two flush mount rod holders.
- FEATURES AND BENEFITS
- Durable and impact resistant
- Comfortable with molded seats and adjustable backreact
- High capacity with a carrying capacity of 775lbs
- Storage includes four drink holders and built in storage/cooler compartment
- Two Flush Mount Fishing Rod Holders
- Easy Transportation with
MODEL & ACCESSORY SPECS
Seating Capacity: Up to 5
Weight Capacity: 775lbs (351kg)
Dimensions: 96 x 63 x 19 inches
Weight: 112lbs. (51kg)
Material: Made from RAM-XTM is a multi-layer material exclusive to Pelican.
Our Second Best Pedal Boat Recommendation
The Pelican Sport Monaco is a cool, sleek, modern looking peddle boat that can seat up to five people with a maximum weight capacity of 695 pounds.
This peddle boat features adjustable backrests, drink holders, and storage area. Easy to pedal and comfortable for many hours on the lake.
This product has several more unique features and a four year warranty, all which we will cover in the video below.
FEATURES AND BENEFITS
- Durable, made with patented RAM-X™ material is known for its high-impact resistance and will make your pedal boat last through time.
- Comfortable with molded seats and adjustable backrests.
- This pedal boat can seat up to 5 individuals with a total maximum weight capacity of 695 lb.
- This pedal boat includes four drink holders and a storage platform to bring your personal items along on your adventure.
- Easy Transportation with the bow and stern carrying handles make carrying this pedal boat to the water simple.
- Made in Canada
Made from high grade. Polyethylene
MODEL & ACCESSORY SPECS
Seating Capacity: Up to 5
Weight Capacity: 695 Pounds (315.kg)
Dimensions: 90 x 62.5 x 19 inches
Weight: 101lbs. (46kg)
Material: Made from RAM-XTM is a multi-layer material exclusive to Pelican.
Our Third Pedal Boat Recommendation
The Sun Dolphin Sun Slider is a very popular pedal boat and for good reason. The Sun Slider is known for its impressive performance and ease of use on the water. Made of super high quality materials that guarantees durability.
It has a seating capacity of three adults and two kids. The reason this boat is our Top Rated pick and so popular is for how effortless it is to pedal and steer, this boat really is in a class by itself when it comes to design and functionality.
The seats adjust to accommodate tall riders and recline fully transforming the boat into a sunbathing lounge for two.
If you have fishers in your family, this boat is perfect for fishing with one person or two people in it and is even equipped with fishing rod holders.
This boat has everything you need to create wonderful water memories. A built-in cooler for keeping drinks cold and snacks fresh. You can also use this space as dry storage for towels or other items you want to bring along. Plenty of beverage holders that hold coffee cups and beverage glasses and cans without spilling. And a sun protection canopy that makes it possible to cruise around unbothered by the sun if you choose and it folds up easily when you don’t need it.
The Sun Slider is a tough pedal boat built for long lasting service. The deck and hull are made of a UV-stabilized high-density polyethylene, which gives it a good weight so it is sturdy to ride in and easy to handle both in and out of the water.
Closed cell polystyrene foam enables it to float superbly. The rudder and paddle are tough plastic, the crank is steel, and the canopy is strong. It also features maintenance-free bronze bushing. You simply cannot go wrong with this peddle boat, as we said earlier the Sun Dolphin Sun Slider peddle boat is the most popular in the world, for a reason.
FEATURES AND BENEFITS
- Seating for 3 adults and 2 kids
- Great for family outings or individual rides to unwind
- Adjustable and reclining seats for comfort and sunbathing
- Sun protection canopy with a simple to use folding system
- Equipped with fishing rod holders
- Built-in cooler that can be used as a dry storage compartment
- Rugged and UV-stabilized deck and hull
- Enough drink holders for everyone
- Closed cell polystyrene foam floatation
- Maintenance free bronze bushings
MODEL & ACCESSORY SPECS
Seating Capacity: Up to 5
Weight Capacity: 530lbs (247kg)
Dimensions: 96 x 65 x 24.5 inches
Weight: 117lbs. (53kg)
Material: Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene
How To Choose A Pedal Boat Buying Guide
Are Pedal Boat Ratings or Pedal boat Reviews worth reading?
We had a 4theLake.com reader ask me this question when we had the opportunity to talk over the phone last week. So I thought I would start this Buyers Guide to address that question.
No one boat does everything in every situation. The good news is we at 4theLake.com we want you to make an informed decision so you will fully enjoy your pedal boat you are planning to purchase.
That is why we are writing this buyers guide. I know first hand the joy and memories owning a pedal boat has provided our family. So please read the rest of the Buyers guide below and then make your decision and invest in the boat that is best for you. I feel confident you will be glad you did.
A pedal boat is standard lake living for some and a major investment for others. Regardless, it is important to pay attention to some things in order to make sure the model you order has all the features you need and want.
You want a pedal boat that performs well on the water and is built to offer years of enjoyment. Below are the most important things to consider as you shop for your boat so you can invest your money right and get the best paddle boat for your personal needs
Pedal Boat Seating
The very first thing to determine is what seating capacity you need. You want to make sure everyone you plan to take along on rides will fit in the boat. There are 2 person pedal boats, 3,,4 and 5 persons pedal boats. Some boats are designed to fit 3 adults and two children. Most of them have pedaling positions for one or two pedallers, so they also work well as single person pedal boats.
If you’re purchasing a pedal boat for family excursions with kids, find out how many adults and kids the boat can accommodate. If you plan to ride with friends, find out how many adults can fit in comfortably.
It is also important to determine the total weight of the riders and gear and order a pedal boat with a higher weight limit so it can hold all passengers and gear and handle well on the water when fully loaded.
My wife and our 3 daughters enjoyed our pedal boat as a family when we first moved to the lake. Eventually we purchased a pontoon boat and from that point on we used the pontoon for family outings. However, we used the paddle boat for years after buying the pontoon, my daughters together, a daughter and a friend, or my wife and I de-stressing at night on the paddle boat with a bottle of wine.
As you enjoy a perfectly chilled drink from the cooler, you want to have a place where you can set down the beverage cup, bottle or can without their content spilling or splashing around. Don’t forget to ensure the boat you order has built-in beverage holders and that they are deep enough to hold cups and cans securely, even as the pedal boat is moving across the water. You can find this out by checking the paddle boat reviews by users. The top 3 boats we suggest all have adequate cup holders.
Pedal Boat Canopy Mount
The perfect time to take out a pedal boat is when the sun is shining bright such as in the summer. This means that sun protection is essential, as the hot sun beating down directly on you. Some of us love this but you may have relatives (grand parents as example) that would enjoy the boat much better if your pedal boat has a sun protection canopy.
A pedal boat that comes with a sun protection canopy that you can set up when you want protection from the sun’s hot and harmful rays and take down when it is cloudy or when you want to sunbath is a great option. A yes I have been ½ mile down the lake from our dock and a thunderstorm blew up, during those times you will be glad you have the canopy option.
The canopy should be strong so as to not be blown off by the wind and water resistant so it can protect you in the event of a downpour. Alternatively, you can choose one with an umbrella mount where you can attach your own umbrella easily. We looked at several boats with this option, but none of them made our Top 3 this year.
On a long, hot day on the water, riders will need to refuel and rehydrate so a place to store snacks and beverages is essential. Ensure the pedal boat you get has a built-in cooler where you can toss in water bottles and beverage cans together with ice packs to keep the drinks cold and refreshing and the food fresh. I can tell you from experience, if you don’t invest in a boat with this feature you will wish you had.
You can also use the cooler space as a dry storage area for items you don’t want to get wet. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you will want plenty of space to hold your tackle. Speaking of fishing ……………..
Compact, operated hands-free, stealth and nimble with the ability to access tight areas where big boats can’t reach, a pedal boat is a perfect fishing vessel. The best pedal boat for fishing has built-in rod holders for ease of casting while moving around.
If you will be using the pedal boat for fishing, choose one with integrated fishing rod holders so you don’t have to purchase them separately and go through the hassles of installing them, that is no fun.
It is inevitable that some water from rain and waves will find its way inside a pedal boat. Make sure the paddle boat you choose has a drain hole and drain plug. They are usually located under the bow. On the water, the drain plug seals the drain hole to prevent water from getting in and causing the boat to sink. On land, you remove the plug to drain out the water that found its way inside your boat. It is a very simple process if your peddle boat has a drain plug.
You might find yourself cruising around a lake or river for hours and you will be seated and pedaling all along. Seating on a hard molded plastic pedal boat seat can get uncomfortable after a while. It reminds me of sitting on metal bleachers at a football game. There is a reason seat cushions have become “a thing”. We literally equipped our first pedal boat with football seat cushions we bought at a local high school football game.
Some pedal boats come with seat cushions you can attach for comfort. You can also purchase seat cushions separately so you can explore the water for as long as you want without discomfort causing you to call it a day sooner than intended. It is something to think about, so I wanted to make sure I covered that in this guide.
Pedal Boat Mooring Cover
If you don’t have space inside and will be storing the pedal boat outside, it is important to cover it to prevent water and debris from getting inside and also prevent damage by elements such as snow and sun.
A water and UV resistant mooring cover is the best protective boat cover for a pedal boat. You can purchase a factory model custom-made just for your boat’s model, as it will fit over the boat perfectly, stay on even when strong winds blow and offer optimal protection. I wish someone had told me this when I bought my first pedal boat! Leaves can blow in and create a nasty mess without the proper pedal boat cover.
Pedal Boat Accessories
In addition to a mooring cover and seat cushions, there are other essential pedal boat accessories that you might have to purchase separately. A hand bilge pump is one such handy accessory to have on board. You use it to pump out water that may get inside your pedal boat.
All the riders from kids to four-legged companions should wear personal floatation devices (PFD) for safety on the water. Another essential safety accessory is a signaling device such as a whistle, air horn or flag that you can use to communicate with other watercrafts. Because our daughters spent an enormous amount of time in the lake out on the boat by themselves or with a friend, life jackets and a whistle were part of the required routine if they took the boat out.
Pedal Boat Material
A pedal boat doesn’t come cheap and it is important to ensure that you’re buying a well constructed and durable model. Find out what kind of materials the pedal boat and its components are made out of to ensure you end up with a pedal boat that is lightweight and easy to maneuver in and out of the water and also sturdy and durable. This is the mistake that many first time buyers make. They buy a cheaply made boat that simply doesn’t hold up with a normal amount of weight in the water.
A rugged plastic such as high-density polyethylene is the ideal material for the hull and deck, as it is both lightweight and can withstand impacts without breaking or puncturing.
If you decide to get an inflatable pedal boat for its ease of storage and transportation, make sure it has a really thick skin and is composed of multiple chambers for safety on the water. Ideally it should also be UV resistant so as to not be degraded by the sun’s rays. The rudder and paddle should be a tough plastic and the crank a sturdy metal.
Pedal Boat FAQs
Q: What Are The Benefits of Owning A Pedal Boat?
If you live near a lake, pond or river and love going out on the water, a pedal boat is a great investment. As the proud owner of one, you will be able to take it out on the water anytime you want and enjoy the benefits of paddle boating such as relaxing, working out the leg muscles, bonding and creating lifetime memories with family and friends. You can go on long outings on the water without having to pay for every session or racing to beat time. If you live on a lake there is simply no better investment
Q: What Do I Do If Water Gets Between The Hull and The Deck?
If you have a self-bailing pedal boat that is equipped with a drain hole and drain plug, all you have to do once you’re on land is remove the plug and tip the boat and the water will drain out. If your boat doesn’t have a drain hole, you can flip the boat and the water will flow out. You can then give it some time to dry. You may also have to siphon the water manually.
Q: Can I Use My Pedal Boat In Saltwater?
Pedal boats are designed for gliding on freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds and calm sections of rivers. They don’t handle well in waves, currents or strong winds and the materials and components are not designed to withstand saltwater abuse.
Using a standard pedal boat in saltwater can cause it to deteriorate rapidly as most of the component will rust and wear out fast when exposed to salt water. If you would like a pedal boat you can take out in saltwater, choose one with a stainless steel package that can resist corrosion and damage by saltwater and be diligent about rinsing it out with fresh water after every ride.
Q: What’s The Best Way To Store My Pedal Boat During The Winter?
If you have a boathouse, garage, or shed, that is the ideal place to store your pedal boat away from the harsh elements during the winter. If you don’t have space inside and have to store it outside, cover it with a properly fitting mooring boat cover to keep water and debris out and protect it from damage by elements such as rain, frigid weather, and snow. To avoid having to deal with mold and an unpleasant odor the next time you’re taking it out, ensure the pedal boat is clean and completely dry before you put it in storage.
We stored our pedal boats covered, outside. Every fall when we were ready to put it up for the season we cleaned it with Clorox bleach, covered it up and it was ready to go the first pretty day of each spring.
Q: How Do Pedal Boats Work?
Pedal boats are propelled in the water by pedaling with the feet to turn a paddle wheel.
Pedaling a pedal boat is much like pedaling a bicycle. Pedal boats have pedals similar to those on a bicycle. Most models have pedaling positions for one, two and three paddlers. Stepping on the pedals and pedaling causes a paddle wheel located underneath the hull to rotate just like bicycle tires do.
This rotation pushes the water backward propelling the boat forward. It can also go in reverse. For turning, they have a steering rudder that is moved from side to side by a steering system referred to as a tiller. Pedal boats are super easy to operate. 5 minutes of practice and your are ready to go.
Q: What does Foam Filled Boat Mean?
This means the pontoons of a pedal boat are filled completely, without air voids with foam to keep water out. This type of construction is the best and safest.
Some companies make their boats with closed cell foam but it is far to heavy for a pedal boat.
The only type of boat that uses completely foam filled are pontoons. So here at 4thelake.com we want to make sure you purchase the right boat for the right situation. Some reader should just go ahead and purchase a small pantone boat. Others, if you have a family, a paddle boat is a must.
When we first move to our lake home we bought a pantone on day one. We eventually bought a pantone, and then a 2nd pedal boat, so what we share is from our personal experience.
Q: What is the Cheapest Pedal Boat I can Buy?
Look on Craiglist.com of course a used boat is the cheapest but hard to find and usually wrought with hidden problems. I guess living on a lake you hear all the horror stories. Frankly that was a chance I have never been willing to take. My philosophy is to avoid problems if at all possible.
The next choice is to buy a new one on-line, but beware the cheapest advertised boat prices, make sure to shop the best up front bottom line price, don’t accept hidden or estimated freight, taxes or fees like fuel surcharges, that will be charged after you get your boat. Unfortunately added charges and up sales are a big game played by some boat companies.
Also make sure the web company you choose has sufficient customer service, since small boats ship common carrier not UPS there will simply be more problems when it comes to delivery. That is why any boat we recommend we also provide a direct link to Amazon. We don’t want our readers to have unexpected added on charges to their purchase and shipping problems.
As far as the cheapest adult pedal boat a two or three seater plastic with no options is the cheapest, but none of those type boats made our Top 3. Experience has shown me to spend a little bit more money and get what you want, need, and will be a happy with for years. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.
Q: I don’t live on a lake, how do I transport my pedal boat?
Many people use a truck or flat bed trailer to move small boats around. You can find a pedal boat trailer specifically designed to hold the pontoons of a small paddle boat. This boat trailer is designed to back into the water so you don’t have to lift it.
If you want to use the bed of a truck to move your boat around just make sure you can lift it and it is not to heavy for you. Thankfully most pedal boats weigh less than 125 pounds and can be manged to and from the water with a couple of people.
If you decide you want to use a truck or flat bed trailer Amazon offers an exclusive portable strap on wheel set that will make moving the pedal boat from a truck or flat bed trailer a snap. If you don’t see the strap on dolly you want call to verify it won’t work for that particular boat. You can put most pedal boats into the back of most trucks at an angle with the tailgate down.
Q: I live near salt or brackish water what kind of pedal boat do I need?
Most pedal boats are used in fresh water and therefore most are designed for that type of water. You can generally buy upgraded components for salt water.
Q: Can I beach my pedal boat without damaging the paddle blades or rudder?
Most pedal boats can be beached with a few exceptions, water bikes along with any others that do not have a pontoon style bottom. Most also have kick up rudders, but not all. Make sure you ask on that if you can’t tell from the pictures or descriptions.
Q: Can I use a Pedal Boat in a River?
We had a 4theLake.com visitor inform us that they live on a River not on a lake and wanted to know if they could use a pedal boat on the river?
Well that’s a tough question. The first question I would ask you is have you seen other people with Pedal boats on the river?
It really has to do with current speed of the river and your stamina. Pedal boats are not speed boats that vary in speeds therefore a general guide would be if the current is under about 4 miles per hour you should be fine.
Of course you can cheat with a hidden electric motor built into the bottom of your pedal boat, click here to view our selection of electric pedal boats.
Q: I want a trolling motor on my pedal boat which type should I buy?
Many people are looking for pedal boats to do many things such as fish or swim. If you want an electric motor added we recommend the type that has the motor built in verses adding a trolling motor bracket. The ability to reach the controls is the main problem with just hanging a motor on the side. The other issue is where to store the battery. There are a few models on the market with motors built in. We suggest that you look at this one because its the most popular well built electric powered pedal boat. On that model you can add a trolling motor bracket or have one hidden inside the unit. Make sure you do your own research on this.
Q: Where is the best place to purchase a Pedal Boat?
Pedal boats are seasonal products with low volume. If you buy a good one, you aren’t going to need to buy another one for a long long time, if ever. So most stores won’t carry them for sale and if they do they are probably only the cheapest ones and may be beat up older models and or returned boats.
Don’t make a 500 dollar mistake buying a cheap pedal boat that may or may not make it through one summer! Understand what you are buying. Quality pedal boats are usually only available online and we feel we have shared with you the Top 3 in the beginning of this Buyers Guide.
Pedal Boat Review Summary
Cruising around the water in a pedal boat is one of the best ways to explore local lakes, ponds and rivers. Whether you want a fun activity the whole family can participate in, an enjoyable and therapeutic romantic picnic on the water, or a boat that can take you to a lucrative but hard to access fishing spot, a pedal boat fits the bill.
When you invest in the best paddle boat that is built tough, has the capacity to accommodate everyone and all the items you want to bring along and is built tough to offer years of enjoyment on the water, that will be money well invested and you will enjoy your purchase for years to come! Honestly, if you are fortunate enough to live on a lake, I simply believe a pedal boat is as important as a bathing suit. When I really stop and think about it I would say it is more important than a bathing suit.
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