5 Best Dinghy’s (For Learning To Sail or Safety)

Do you know what happens if you buy a low quality dinghy?

It’s hard to keep a low quality dinghy sailing smoothly over the water, and you could risk toppling over.

Or, worst case scenario, it could puncture easily as it hits rocks, and it could start to deflate around you.

The solution of course is to equip yourself with a good quality dinghy instead.

And lucky for you, we’ve got quite the line-up here for you to check out.

Rest assured, stick with us, and you’ll find the best dinghy for you.

We’re going to show you our top 5 favorite dinghies and what we think about each of them, and we’re also giving you a handy buying guide that will walk you through some key things to think about before you buy.

Let’s get straight to it.

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OUR TOP PICK

Inflatable Sport Boats Dolphin 8.8' - Model SB-270A - 2021 Model - Air Deck Floor Premium Heat Welded Dinghy with Seat Bag

This dingy comes from Inflatable Sport Boats, which is THE brand dominating the best seller charts with the online retailer giants.

It can hold up to 4 people at a time, and is compatible with both 2 and 4 stroke motors.

It features an aluminum bench style seat, and 2 aluminum oars with lock-in holders.

And there are carry handles for easy carrying.

It has a sleek contoured appearance designed for better buoyancy and smoother take off. 

The 0.9mm thick PVC it’s made with is 1100 denier and is resistant not just to fading by UV rays, but also puncture resistant too, which is very reassuring.

It’s strength is comparable to that used for white water inflatable rafts.

And the seams are all heat welded, which means it’s perfectly safe and secure to use in either fresh or saltwater.

And the dinghy is of course USCG approved, so you know you’re in safe hands.

We love how each dingy comes with a removable seat bag which you can use to stash the boat in when deflated for easy storage.

And it comes with a few other handy accessories like a foot pump, a drain plug and emergency repair patches (that you won’t need).

And if all that’s not enough, it also comes fully backed by a lengthy 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.

And we love how the after-sales support is USA-based over in sunny California.

If you click on “Check price” you will be taken to the product page for this dinghy, and if you scroll down, you will find a really handy chart which compares a selection of different dinghies from this particular manufacturer.

Pros

  • Top, well established brand

  • Made with thick 1100D PVC

  • UV and puncture resistant

  • Has everything you need

  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price

EDITORS CHOICE

Inflatable Sport Boats Killer Whale 10.8' - Model SB-330-2021 Model - Aluminum Floor Premium Heat Welded Dinghy with Seat Bag

Again, this dingy comes from Inflatable Sport Boats, which is THE brand dominating the best seller charts with the online retailer giants.

And it’s of excellent quality.

It has a very accommodating size at 10.8 feet long, and can hold up to 5 people at a time.

In many ways it’s very similar to the Inflatable Sport Boats Dolphin we showed you earlier. 

For example, the 0.9mm thick PVC it’s made with is 1100 denier and is resistant not just to fading by UV rays, but also puncture resistant too, which is very reassuring.

It’s strength is comparable to that used for white water inflatable rafts.

And the seams are all heat welded, which means it’s perfectly safe and secure to use in either fresh or saltwater.

It also comes with the same accessories as the Dolphin model.

Such as the 2 aluminum oars with lock-in holders, a removable seat bag which you can use to stash the boat in when deflated for easy storage, a foot pump, a drain plug and so on.

But where the Killer Whale stands out against models like the Dolphin is not just in size and how many people it can hold.

There’s aluminum flooring and aluminum seats, which are not only stronger and lighter than their counterparts.

But they’re also more environmentally friendly than marine plywood.

And they’re also easier to clean to boot.

It is of course USCG approved, so you know you’re in safe hands.

And if all that’s not enough, it also comes fully backed by a lengthy 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.

And in the unlikely event you do run into any problems, you can just get in touch with the USA based after-sales support team.

Amazon occasionally has great deals available on this dinghy, simply click “Check price” to see if there’s a deal on now.

Pros

  • Accommodates up to 5 people

  • Top, well established brand

  • Made with thick 1100D PVC

  • UV and puncture resistant

  • Has everything you need

  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price

BEST VALUE

Newport Vessels 20M1000017 8-Feet 10-Inch Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat - USCG Rated (White/Gray)

This bestselling dingy has proved rather popular with customers over the years. 

This is a very smart looking, and more importantly, reliable dinghy that can comfortably take up to 3 passengers at a time.

It may be very expensive for a dinghy, but it’s one of the most stable dinghies out on the market today.

This is thanks to the wide footprint and flat marine wood floor, which also helps with getting on board.

And even at high speed it still feels incredibly stable.

It features a 9.9 horsepower motor, capable of speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

So you can take it easy and drink in the atmosphere or have fun by going fast and zooming around.

The quality of the dinghy is superb, constructed with high quality Korean 1100 Denier PVC fabric and with seams that have been hot air welded, so the joins are almost seamless, and are built to last.

And when you’re not using it, the dinghy deflates really flat for easy storage.

We love the addition of D-rings as it helps to attach important accessories such as paddles.

It’s available in 5 different sizes starting at 8 feet 10 inches, and going up to a very big 12 feet 6 inches.

It is of course USCG approved, and Newport Vessels is so confident in their dinghy they back the product up with a 2-year manufacturer limited warranty.

Pros

  • Very popular with customers

  • One of most stable on the market

  • 9.9hp motor & speeds up to 20mph

  • High quality Korean 1100D PVC

  • Backed by a 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price

RUNNER UP

BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat Inflatable Rafting Fishing Dinghy Tender Pontoon Boat

Here's another excellent quality dinghy that’s gone down really well with customers.

And this is the manufacturer’s best selling model.

At 10.8 feet it’s a nice, large size and it can take a maximum weight of 4 adults and a child.

And it can take motors of up to 15 horsepower. 

It’s made with 0.9mm thick 1100 denier PVC and has impressive resistance to tearing, tension and breaking.

Moreover, the seams are all heat welded, so the joins are as good as seamless, and are built to last.

And as for the flooring, you get a sturdy corrosion proof aluminum platform, which is handy for any water activity where you have to stand up or come into the water.

There are marine plywood transoms for the motor, which are covered with triangular splash guards to minimize back splash, which is a nice feature 

It comes with everything you need, such as bench seats, a foot pump, 2 aluminum oars, a carry bag for storage, and an emergency repair kit (that you won’t need).

Despite what I consider to be a high cost, it is far more affordable than many of the other good quality dinghies on the market today.

It offers excellent value for money.

It comes backed by both a 30-day money back guarantee, and a 3-year manufacturer warranty, which is reassuring.

Pros

  • Manufacturer’s bestseller

  • Can fit 4 adults & a child

  • Has everything you need

  • Relatively affordable option

  • Excellent quality & features

  • 3-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Some customers found the instructions hard to get to grips with when assembling the dinghy

RUNNER UP

HydroForce Caspian Pro 9'3' Inflatable Boat

I would argue that this isn't just a fair and reasonable price, but a bargain.

Significantly more affordable than all of the other dinghies that made our shortlist.

With a length of 110 inches, it can accommodate 3 adults and a child, and a motor of up to 10 horsepower.

It has good solid and rigid floorboards, which is great for ensuring the dinghy’s stability in the water, and rows extremely well.

The inflatable keel actually makes it more directionally stable under power than a flat floor model.

It’s built with high density PVC and is built to withstand any abrasion, UV degradation, and pollutants.

And the strake is extra tough and will protect against both impacts and friction.

It comes with everything you need to use it, including a pair of aluminum oars, a hand pump, a tow rope, and a durable carry bag for storage.

We also love the inclusion of the grab ropes - very reassuring to have in emergencies.

It’s also easy to assemble and you won’t need any special tools.

Pros

  • Available at a bargain price!

  • Great customer feedback 

  • Particularly directionally stable

  • Made with tough quality materials

  • Easy to assemble boards & seats

Cons

  • Can only accommodate 3 adults and a child

  • Comes with a hand pump rather than a foot pump

Best Dinghy Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. You can use it as a quick checklist to make sure you’ve thought of everything.

But first, let’s cover some basics.

Best Dinghy

What is the difference between an inflatable raft and a dinghy?

To be honest the two are very similar and there is a lot of crossover between the two.

The term raft is usually used to refer to flatter boats, created for transport or emergencies, while a dinghy is a small boat that can be used as a lifeboat or as a pleasure craft on a larger ship.

How Many People Will It Hold?

This is certainly one of the most important things to consider.

If you’re a family of four say, make sure that the dinghy can take the weight of all four of you. 

In our product reviews we’ve stated how many adults and children each dinghy will hold, but if you want to investigate the maximum weight further, simply click on “Check price” to get to the product page, which will have all the specs you will need.

Stability in Water

You also need your dinghy to be as stable as possible. This is important not just for rowing or power boating, but also for onboarding and getting off the dinghy.

And also any activity that involves you having to stand up on the boat.

For the best possible stability in water, we recommend going for a dinghy with a wide and flat bottom, preferably made of strong but lightweight aluminum.

Materials & Quality

As we made reference to in our introduction, it is super important that your dinghy is made of top quality materials and to a high standard.

If not you could risk damage to the dinghy, and, worst case scenario, put lives at risk if passengers don’t know how to swim.

We recommend that your dinghy is constructed with thick PVC, preferably of a denier of 1100 or more. 

Warranty

But just as important as that is the seams, the last thing you’d want is for the dinghy to fall apart in the water.

To that end, we recommend that you look for a dinghy with seams that are heat welded.

Another way to judge the quality of a dinghy (or any other product for that matter) is to look at the warranty available.

If there’s a warranty in place you can be reassured that the product is in fact of good quality.

Moreover, the length of the warranty is also a reflection of the expected lifespan of the product. The longer it is the better.

Using A Motor Vs Rowing By Hand

It’s totally up to you whether you prefer to dinghy with a powerful speedy motor, or if you want to calmly row your boat yourself.

But you have to ensure that your dinghy is built for the method you want to use.

And this could mean for example, checking whether it comes with oars included in the price.

Accessories

You might also want to consider whether the dinghy comes with all the accessories you could want.

We’ve already mentioned oars, but you will also need  a pump of some sort.

We prefer foot pumps but a hand pump can do the job just as well.

Other accessories you might be interested in are a carry bag to store the dinghy in when deflated and not in use.

Or you might feel reassured by an emergency repair kit.

Brand

There is one brand in particular that’s really dominating the best seller charts with the online retail giants, and that’s Inflatable Sport Boats Stores.

We were so impressed with their quality, reliability and customer feedback that we included two of their dinghies in our shortlist of top picks. 

Cost

Although you can get some inflatable boats for under $100, these are nowhere near as good quality as the more expensive ones.

And you’d be well advised to steer clear of them. 

Unfortunately however the good quality ones are significantly more expensive, often costing upwards of $1500.

So our advice to you when looking at dinghy costs, is to do your homework and always check the price as you go along.

That way you can learn exactly what your money buys you, and you can make a good, well informed decision about how much your budget should be.

Best Dinghy- FAQ's

What is the best dinghy?

We would argue that our number 2 pick, the Inflatable Sport Boats Killer Whale is the best dinghy out there at the moment. 

The only reason we didn’t make it our number one pick, is because it’s significantly more expensive than most of the other models that made our shortlist.

Not only does it have all the great features of our number 1 pick, but it also can accommodate up to 5 people, and it features a very stable and lightweight aluminum floor.

Who makes the best inflatable boat?

We would argue that it’s probably Inflatable Sport Boats that makes the best boats.

They’re certainly the most popular.

Last update on 2021-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API