Pontoon Boat vs. Tritoon – Price & Performance

May 10, 2022

The Pontoon boat world has never been the same since the advent of the Tritoon. The third center pontoon increases handling performance, carrying capacity, and horsepower rating. It transforms the tritoon into a sea-worthy vessel. However, the standard double pontoon will always be a popular craft, and it satisfies a price point. This article discusses the advantages and drawbacks of each style of Pontoon boat vs. Tritoon.

pontoon cost

A tritoon comes in at a higher price point, but offers many advantages in handing, performance and comfort.

Cost of a Pontoon Boat

With increased performance comes increased cost. A Tritoon is a higher-performance pontoon boat. It is capable of a greater carrying capacity, and the door has been opened for a level of outfitting and luxury never imagined a decade ago.

New pontoon boats purchased generally range from $20,000 to $80,000. However, it is possible to push the price tag over $100,000 for a super-luxury model. 

A huge portion of the cost of a pontoon boat is attributed to the cost of the motor. A small to mid-sized pontoon will require a small to medium-sized motor. That’s a huge up-front cost saving as well as more economical for ongoing fuel economy.

Tritoons are larger overall and with more weight and capacity, they require a large outboard motor. The more horsepower the motor, the more expensive it is. For the largest models of Tritoons, there may even be two motors, so the motor cost can double.

close boat for cold weather barletta

This tritoon model frim Barletta has a full enclosure option which is great for cool weather boating.

One way to save money and get a higher-end model for your budget is to purchase a used model that is only one or two years old. Like buying a used car, the value of a pontoon boat depreciates about 30% in the first year. 

By purchasing a used boat, you are purchasing it at a true market value versus an inflated new boat value. Considering a pontoon may last 18 years, a well-maintained two-year-old pontoon boat is going to last many years.

Performance of Pontoon vs. Tritoon 

A traditional two-pontoon boat is still a great and popular model of boat. If you expect to enjoy casual cruising with your family and friends on a relatively calm lake, the standard pontoon is a great choice. 

The performance of a two-pontoon boat can be enhanced by upsizing the pontoons themselves. Upsized pontoon tubes increase the boat’s capacity and overall stability. It will better handle rough seas, and it will also be rated for a higher horsepower motor.

Upsized pontoons add security when a storm blows in unexpectedly. If you have a lot of passengers on board to get home safely, upsized tubes can add peace of mind as you cut through larger waves and chop.

Princecraft sports boat

A two-pontoon boat is perfect for casual cruising on a calm lake. This boat from Princecraft sports an electric motor for quiet cruising.

Perhaps you don’t believe you’ll be on rough seas. However, if you’ve ever been on a pontoon boat that nose-dived into a large wave and the resulting wall of water filled the boat, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

One performance issue with a two-pontoon model is that it leans to the outside on a turn. It is not a comfortable feeling for the passengers, and it limits the safe speed and horsepower of the boat. 

A two-pontoon boat doesn’t carve a turn and is prone to sliding through a turn. The result is that a pontoon requires a large turning radius.

By comparison, the Tritoon helps to solve some of these performance issues. With greater buoyancy, a Tritoon can safely carry a larger number of passengers and handles rough seas far better than its two-pontoon cousin. 

When it comes to handling, a tritoon is far superior. By design, the center pontoon is either larger than the outer pontoons, or it is mounted lower. It changes the balance point and instead of the boat leaning toward the outside of a turn. It leans into the turn and carves far better than a two-pontoon boat.

black tritoon boat

A tritoon is rated for more horsepower and is more high-performance than its two-pontoon cousin

Furthermore, the overall structure of a tritoon is stronger and more stable and therefore tritoons are rated for more horsepower. This means better acceleration and higher top-end speed. It opens up the possibility to use the boat for watersports like tubing and waterskiing.

Luxury Trim Options

There are endless luxury options to add to a large tritoon or pontoon boat. Couch-like seating, a flat-cushioned sunbed, a bar, a dining table, a grill, a fireplace, a sink, a head (marine toilet), a double-deck, slides, and a full enclosure, just to name a few.

As more luxury options are added, there’s more weight to get up on a plane. Tritoons generally require a minimum of 150 horsepower and up to 300 + hp. Some tritoons are equipped with two large outboard motors. With enough horsepower, a pontoon boat can go 40-50 mph at top speed, and even higher.

Trailering

If you plan to trailer your pontoon boat, you’ll need to consider the boat’s size and weight. The longer the pontoon, the heavier it is. Larger boats also have heavier motors and more furnishings. Tritoons are heavier than standard pontoons. 

With a heavier boat, you’ll need a heavier and more costly trailer. You’ll also need a more heavy-duty tow vehicle. These are important considerations when you are choosing which boat is right for you.

Perhaps you’ll skip the trailer purchase altogether, and just pay to have your pontoon transported whenever needed.

Lakeside Marine is the biggest boat trailer dealer in north Georgia and we have a huge inventory of trailers. We also rent boat trailers and are a professional boat transport company. Make Lakeside Marine a trusted partner as a one-stop shop for all of your boating needs.

white and black barletta tritoon close boat

By purchasing a well cared for used boat, your budget can buy more features.

Purchase a Used Pontoon Boat at Lakeside Marine

We hope this Pontoon Boat vs. Tritoon comparison article help you in your buying decision. If you are planning to sell your old boat and upgrade, consider buying/ selling through Lakeside Marine. We are located on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA, and are voted the Best Used Boat Dealership to buy/sell a used boat.

We have a huge inventory of used boats to choose from and we have financing available. Our sales team specializes in making your purchase or sale of your boat smooth and easy. Call Lakeside Marine today at (678) 322-7877, Email us at customerservice@lakesidemarine.com or visit our website at lakesidemarine.com  

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