Pontoon boats might be a great way to enjoy the water, but all that fun comes with a downside. Regardless of their quality and brand, all pontoons are susceptible to damage. Sometimes, that damage comes from bumping against the dock. Other times, it comes from brushing against another boat. So, how do you protect your pontoon and keep your boating experience as smooth and stress-free as possible? Simple. Buy some bumpers. Before we get down to our top five favorite bumpers, it’s worth outlining the different varieties of bumper available. As Pontoon Authority notes, the most important bumpers include side bumpers, fence saver bumpers, and corner bumpers. All three types have the same aim of protecting your boat, but how (and where) they do it is slightly different for each one.
Side bumpers are your primary defense against dockside damage and a must for any conscientious pontoon owner. Side bumpers come in both padded and inflatable options, both of which are easy to install and incredibly long-lasting (although inflatable options tend to have the edge on padded bumpers when it comes to durability). As a general rule of thumb, you’re going to need 8 bumpers in total: 3 on each side and one at both the front and the back.
Fence Saver Bumpers
No real explanation needed here: fence saver bumpers are exactly what it says on the tin – bumpers that keep your fence safe from damage.
Stick a corner bumper onto each side of the pontoon, and those butterflies you get every time you come within sight of a dock or another boat will soon fly away. Corner bumpers typically come in two varieties (either round or square-shaped) that can be matched to the shape of your pontoon for the perfect fit. But which bumpers, regardless of type, expense, or make, are the best? Without further ado, here’s our selection of five best pontoon boat bumpers on the market today.
1. Hyperlite HL Boat Bumpers
If you’re looking for a bumper that represents excellent value, that can be easily deflated with the pull of a plugger, and that flattens down to the size of a pancake for easy storage, you’ll not be disappointed with Hyperlite HL Boat Bumpers. Ranked as one of pontoonauthority.com’s top picks for 2020, they’re an exceptional product that exceeds expectation on every front. Designed using cutting-edge technology and quality controlled to meet international standards for quality and safety, they’re an ideal accompaniment to your stash of pontoon accessories. As a bonus, they come with a one-year warranty from the date of purchase.
2. Taylor Made Products 959128 Super Gard Inflatable Vinyl Boat Fender
For pontoons and small to large fishing boats, bowriders, ski/wake boats, cabin cruisers, sailboats, and other boats of between 15 – 20 ft, Taylor Made Products 959128 Super Gard Inflatable Vinyl Boat Fender makes a great choice of bumper. Made from the highest quality marine-grade vinyl and with reinforced eyelets for 50% extra durability, it’s one of the hardest wearing and most resilient bumpers on the market. Added value comes from the two-tone design and superb range of colors: Taylor Made has chosen to use True Color technology to add a deeper, richer quality to their existing rainbow of colors, which for 2020 includes white, mid-Atlantic blue, black onyx, burgundy, emerald green, captains navy, and aurora gold. A rubber football needle valve offers easy inflation, while the one-piece design with ribbed sides minimizes any roll. If all that wasn’t enough, Taylor Made are so confident about the quality of the product they guarantee the bumper against splitting or bursting for the entire life of your boat.
3. Extreme Max 3006.7312 BoatTector Hole Through the Middle Inflatable Fender
Extreme Max 3006.7312 BoatTector Hole Through the Middle Inflatable Fender is an extremely durable option that comes with a host of great features. As well as being suited to hanging both horizontally or vertically, they can also be used on the dock as much as the boat, making them the kind of multi-purpose buy that fully justifies the slightly higher than average price tag. Customers can expect excellent abrasion resistance and support via the vertical ribs, superb durability thanks to the reinforced tube ends, and exceptional reliability and resistance from UV rays and chemicals courtesy of the high-performance PVC construction. For added peace of mind (and an extra incentive to invest), each bumper is offered with a 2-year warranty as standard.
4. Dock Edge + Toon Pontoon Boat Fender
Dock Edge + markets its Toon Pontoon Boat Fender under the tagline ‘complete patented pontoon boat protection system’, and that’s exactly what it is. As the first fender to ever be created specifically for pontoon boats, it fits (and works) like a dream. Unlike other fenders, you won't need to worry about buying any additional attachment devices or rope: everything you need is already included. Standout features include a dual hooking system for added stability and security, an adjustable attachment system, dual protection both below the waterline and above the attachment point (a rare quality in a fender), and a tapered design to shed water away from the boat. Overall, a great option with some unique, highly attractive features that add plenty of added value.
5. Attwood White Corner Dock Fender
Corner dock bumpers do a great job of keeping the corners of your pontoon safe from any little collisions with either the dock or other boats. Of all the options available (and one glance at the market will let you know there’s no shortage in that department), the Attwood White Corner Dock Fender is unquestionably one of the best. Thanks to its universal fit, it’s suitable for every type and size of pontoon. Durable and tough yet supremely gentle on the hull, they promise a lifetime of worry-free boating – quite literally in fact: Attwood White offers a lifetime guarantee against splitting, cracking, chalking, or deflating on all their fenders and products.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker