Pontoon boats are rising in popularity, dotting lakes and rivers across the country. Manufacturers have embraced the inherent stability of two hulls, creating expansive seating options for all your guests to spread out. Matched with the high horsepower engines that are available on the market, pontoons are capable of powerful performance to accommodate almost any on the water activity. But you may notice that some boats have a third hull and are wondering what are the benefits of a tritoon versus a pontoon?
What is a Tritoon Boat?
Pontoon boats have been around for decades. In the early days they were mostly barges with outboard engines on them and were primarily used as party boats. As they evolved, manufacturers started packing them with comforts, turning them into effective and comfortable boats for most calm waters. As engines became more powerful, the biggest drawback to early pontoons were handling – they just didn’t turn like v-hulled boats and there was a limit to the weight capacity.
Starting in the ‘80s, boat manufacturers started experimenting with a third hull in an effort to improve performance and handling. As design and manufacturing technology improved, pontoon manufacturers have perfected both pontoon and tritoon designs. Today, many models are offered with a choice between the traditional two-hull pontoon design or a three-hull tritoon.
Triple Pontoon Boats
Adding a third pontoon allows the boat to take turns with more ease and comfort, banking into it like a racecar on a track. Plus, with the greater weight-carrying ability, tritoons are often capable of carrying more passengers and higher horsepower engines than a comparable two-tube model, which translates to higher speed.
Is a Tritoon Better than a Pontoon?
Just as a v-hulled boat has its own pros and cons, a tritoon and pontoon will each have its own benefits and drawbacks and really, your choice is a personal one. For many boat-owners, the classic pontoon is ideal for a relaxing cruise, while for others, the increased maneuverability and speed of a high-performance tritoon with the capability of pulling skiers or tubes is more appealing.
Difference Between Pontoon and Tritoon:
When deciding between a tritoon or a pontoon, it is worth considering the key distinctions between the two. Because of its third pontoon, the tritoon is crafted to have traits that a traditional pontoon might not. While you consider them, think about why you want a pontoon boat, and if these differences might affect the way you want to use your boat.
Tritoon Speed and Horsepower
Since adding a third pontoon allows a boat to distribute weight more evenly, it will be more capable of turning smoother at higher speeds. This added maneuverability along with the capacity to carry higher horsepower engines makes tritoons the perfect platform for thrilling watersports.
Tritoon Weight and Capacity
The extra hull also means more buoyancy, which translates into a higher passenger capacity, letting you bring more friends out on the water with you. The third hull also adds extra weight, which can be an important consideration, depending on the capacity of your tow vehicle.
Tritoon vs Pontoon on Rough Water
Finally, tritoons are able to handle rougher water much better than classic pontoon designs, as the tri hull cuts through water more easily to create a smoother ride. In this case, the third tube helps keep the boat more stable on choppy water. Similarly, they’ll be able to handle slightly bigger waves better than a pontoon, both at rest and underway.
Which Should You Buy? Tritoon vs Pontoon
So, which should you buy? Here’s a list of considerations before you select your next boat.
Something to keep in mind is the size of the boat you will need. Consider the seating and storage options and how you will plan to use your boat. Whether you have a large family you want to accommodate or a lot of gear that you want to store on board, will the boat you have selected feel cramped or have plenty of room for everything and everyone? As stated earlier, the third hull of a tritoon will have more buoyancy and a higher carrying capacity.
One of the most important components of your decision-making should be thinking about what you’re going to use your boat for. If you plan on going fishing, a seating configuration that allows for easy casting without crossing lines may be of more importance, therefore, a pontoon will give you the stability and space you’ll need. If tow sports are your focus, the added maneuverability and speed of a tritoon should be considered.
Lastly, it’s vital to consider price. While most manufacturers have models to fit any budget, tritoons typically will carry a higher price tag than a comparable pontoon. It’s worth thinking about what kind of price tag is worth it for the components that you want or need on your boat.
To learn more, check out this selection of tritoons and pontoons, as well as this “find and compare” tool.