Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat: Which One Is Better For Your Joyride?

There are many options for renting or buying a boat for an enjoyable excursion on the water. 

Catamarans and pontoon boats are two of the most common forms of watercraft. While they both serve the same basic function, they differ in significant ways.

Windrider of the Rockies will give you a side-by-side comparison between a catamaran vs pontoon boat. Let’s check every note carefully before making the final decision!

What Is A Catamaran?

The word “catamaran” originates from a Tamil word, meaning “logs bounding together.” Catamarans are basically a form of a boat with two logs that link with a deck or a cabin. 

At the early stage, catamarans only serve fishing purposes. Nowadays, they can work for different activities, such as racing and cruising. 

The main materials to make catamarans are carbon fiber or fiberglass. Some of the models may come with motors, sails, or both.

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat

Catamarans can work for different activities

What Is A Pontoon Boat?

A pontoon, like a catamaran, has two hulls. These floating hulls are the pontoons. They lend themselves to the title of the entire boat. 

Pontoons are practically unsinkable since they are hollow and airtight. Although most pontoon boats have two pontoons, some have more than the standard duo hulls.

Because of their leisure adaptability, pontoon boats are extremely popular in the rental sector. Pontoons are ideal for angling, partying, and cruising.

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat

Pontoons are ideal for angling, partying, and cruising

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat Comparison

Despite having certain similarities, such as twin hulls, catamarans, and pontoon boats, they have significant differences. Let’s check them in more detail below.


Because of their modest size, pontoon boats are more suitable for pleasure usage.

Pontoons come in different sizes. The smallest one is about 15 feet long, and the biggest has a length of 50 feet.

Catamarans are big. This kind of boat is also one of the largest watercraft in the world, with a maximum length of 145 feet. 


As aforementioned, both catamaran and pontoon boats feature two hulls. However, the design of these components is different in each model.

A pontoon boat features two or three unreachable hulls with a deck. These hulls act as the boat’s flotation tools.

The hulls are an integral element of the vessel in a catamaran, with inboard motors and a storage compartment built into each tube.

Catamarans also include a net joining or a mast between the two hulls. On the other hand, a pontoon boat is just a flat deck. 

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat features two or three unreachable hulls with a deck


People often use catamarans for racing. There are also some cases that these boats work as bigger commercial vessels. 

Because of their greater size, they are capable of traveling by sea.

The design also makes catamarans superior in dealing with harsh conditions. 

On the other hand, you may only see pontoon boats on freshwater. Just a few of them can handle saltwater conditions. Fishing and leisure are their most popular uses.


A pontoon boat features one motor or engine that allows it to travel over open water. This boat can hit a top speed of about 30 miles per hour with just its single-engine.

A catamaran includes two motors, one in each of its dual hulls. The overall horsepower of the two engines has doubled. The catamaran can travel at speeds up to 50 mph.


Pontoon boats are more cost-effective. A pontoon boat may cost $10,000 for recreational purposes. The price of a pontoon boat usually varies from $10,000 to $70,000.

Catamarans are more costly than their competitors. Depending on its dimensions, features, and brand, a boat may cost somewhere between $50,000 and $2 million.

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat

A catamaran is more expensive


A catamaran requires more maintenance than a pontoon boat. The catamaran includes two motors, but the pontoon only has one.

A catamaran can work well in the sea. However, pontoon boats mostly travel across freshwater. The boats which are more exposed to saltwater require more upkeep. 

Catamarans also need more care because their primary material is fiberglass, whereas pontoon boats are often made of aluminum. Aluminum watercraft may get dented, but it’s pretty sturdy compared to fiberglass. 

A catamaran can work as a sailboat while a pontoon cannot. Sailboats always need more maintenance. The owners have to check and clean their sail after every use. 

As you can see, due to the materials and functions, maintaining a catamaran needs more time and effort.

Resale Value

The resale value of pontoon boats drops down soon. During the first two or three years, you may experience a lot of value loss. After that, degradation starts to flatten out.

Catamarans have a greater resale value because they are more costly and require more maintenance. A used pontoon boat is easy to get by, but a competitively priced second-hand catamaran may be more challenging to find. 

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boat

A catamaran has a higher resale value

We have compared catamaran vs. pontoon boats. Now, it’s time to summarize their most outstanding features with a comparison table as follows. 

Catamaran Vs Pontoon Boats Comparison Table
Catamaran Pontoon boats
Size Max length of 145 feet Max length of 50 feet
Design Dual hulls linked by a wing frame Dual hulls linked by a deck
Purpose  Racing, traveling by sea Fishing, leisure, traveling on freshwater
Speed 50mph 30mph
Price $50,000 and $2 million $10,000 to $70,000
Maintenance  Catamarans need more maintenance.
Resale value High resale value  Decreased resale value 

Pros And Cons Of Catamaran Vs. Pontoon Boat

You need to compare and contrast the two boats. It’s essential to consider what each of them offers as well as any aspects where they may lack.

These are the advantages and disadvantages that the ordinary boat owner should consider before reaching a final selection.


Catamarans are famous for their durability and speed. They can even travel across the sea. However, these boats also have some cons that manufacturers need to work on. 

Here are some points for your consideration:


  • Space: A catamaran offers storage within its pontoons, allowing for greater cargo and passenger capacity. This boat also has a large deck and plenty of room in its cabin to lounge and relax.
  • Speed: These boats are fast. Their maximum speed is 50mph. 
  • Stability: Catamarans are pretty stable. They don’t tilt at anchor or heel while running. Hence, it doesn’t make you seasick like the monohull.


  • Cost: A catamaran may be costly. Catamarans are out of reach for many boaters because the simplest versions cost around $50,000.
  • Maintenance: A catamaran necessitates far more upkeep than a pontoon boat. The cost of using a catamaran may rise as a result of maintenance.
  • Docking: The docking space in a catamaran needs to be bigger than a monohull. This requirement may limit your option. 

Pontoon boat

Pontoon boats are also pleasure boats. They offer passengers a high degree of recreation. Nevertheless, you can just use them for small bodies of water due to their lack of power compared to the catamarans. 

If you want to go for a pontoon boat, check these features first:


  • Use and maintenance: Pontoon boats are simple to operate for drivers from all skill levels. The high-quality aluminum chassis is resistant to harm.
  • Safety: Pontoon boats are incredibly stable and secure. Their top speed is 30 mph. Also, their turning radius is not too tight, preventing you from making risky moves and tipping the boat.
  • Cost: A new pontoon boat will set you back $10,000. Meanwhile, a used one will set you back even less.


  • Flexibility: Pontoon boats can’t work in high winds or rough seas. They may quickly absorb water, causing them to capsize.
  • Speed: Pontoon boats can’t go at high speeds. They are not suitable for racing.
  • Radius: The turn radius of pontoon boats is quite large. You may find it difficult to control your boat into a small spot.

What Should You Choose?

Both of the boats are beneficial to some extent. It’s your requirement to decide which one to choose.

A pontoon boat is the best if you want to enjoy your day on the lakes or rivers. They allow you to celebrate any party on board.

The pontoon boats are also affordable. Traveling on small bodies of water doesn’t require you to invest in a bulky machine. 

On the other hand, if you are a big fan of water sports, a catamaran is the way to go. The boat can reach high speed and suffer harsh weather conditions. 

Catamaran owners need to maintain the boat carefully to use it as long as possible.

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The Bottom Line

Both catamarans and pontoon boats have distinct benefits. Your buying decision depends on how you want your boat to function.

Pontoon boats are less expensive, easier to maintain, and more secure. On the other hand, catamarans are the best for ocean traveling. They are also more costly.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

Reference: catamaran vs pontoon boat

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