Cruising around in the comfort of a pedal boat is a fantastic way to explore ponds and lakes. Enjoyable and relaxing for adults and a lot of fun for kids, it is a great family pastime that creates memories that will last a lifetime. A paddle boat is also a great fishing watercraft that is maneuverable to hard to reach places that are teeming with shoals of fish and leaves the hands free to cast and retrieve.

To help you get the best paddle boat that will perform well on the water and give you years of enjoyment, we have reviewed the best pedal boats on the market below. Be sure to check the buying guide for advice on what to look for to make a smart investment and the FAQ section to learn more about how pedal boats work and how to take care of yours.

How To Choose A Pedal Boat – Buying Guide

A pedal boat is a major purchase and it is important to pay attention to some things in order to make sure the model you order has all the features you need and want, performs well on the water and is built to offer years of enjoyment. Below are the most important things to consider as you shop for one so you can invest your money right and get the best paddle boat for your needs:


The very first thing to determine is what seating capacity you need. You want to make sure everyone you plan to take along on rides will fit in the boat. There are 2 person pedal boats, 3 and 4 person paddleboats. Most of them have pedaling positions for one, two and three paddlers, so they also work well as single person pedal boats.

If you’re purchasing a pedal boat for family excursions with kids, find out how many adults and kids the boat can accommodate. If you plan to ride with friends, find out how many adults can fit in comfortably.

It is also important to determine the total weight of the riders and gear and order a pedal boat with a higher weight limit so it can hold all the pedalers, passengers and gear and handle well on the water when fully loaded.

Cooler/Storage area

On a long, hot day on the water, riders will need to refuel and hydrate so a place to store snacks and beverages is essential. Ensure the pedal boat you get has a built-in cooler where you can toss in water bottles and beverage cans together with ice packs to keep the drinks cold and refreshing and the food fresh.

You can also use the cooler space as a dry storage area for items you don’t want to get wet. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you will want plenty of space to hold your tackle and keep the fish you catch and keep fresh.

Cup Holders

As you enjoy a perfectly chilled drink from the cooler, you want to have a place where you can set down the beverage cup, bottle or can without their content spilling or splashing around. Don’t forget to ensure the boat you order has built-in beverage holders and that they are deep enough to hold cups and cans securely, even as the paddle boat is moving across the water. You can find this out by checking the paddle boat reviews by users.

Umbrella Mount or Canopy

The perfect time to take out a pedal boat is when the sun is shining bright such as in the summer. This means that sun protection is essential, as the hot sun beating down directly on you as you pedal around can ruin the fun and skin.

A pedal boat that comes with a sun protection canopy that you can set up when you want protection from the sun’s hot and harmful rays and take down when it is cloudy or when you want to sunbath is a great option.

The canopy should be strong so as to not be blown off by the wind and water resistant so it can protect you in the event of a downpour. Alternatively, you can choose one with an umbrella mount where you can attach your own umbrella easily.

Rod Holders

Compact, operated hands-free, stealth and nimble with the ability to access tight areas where big boats can’t reach, a pedal boat is a perfect fishing vessel. The best pedal boat for fishing has built-in rod holders for ease of casting while moving around.

If you will be using the pedal boat for fishing, choose one with integrated fishing rod holders so you don’t have to purchase them separately and go through the hassles of installing them.

Drain Plug

It is inevitable that some water from rain and waves will find its way inside a pedal boat. Make sure the paddle boat you choose has a drain hole and drain plug. They are usually located under the bow. On the water, the drain plug seals the drain hole to prevent water from getting in and causing the boat to sink. On land, you remove the plug to drain out the water that found its way inside your boat.

Seat Cushions

You might find yourself cruising around a pond, lake or river for hours and you will be seated and pedaling all along. Seating on a hard molded plastic pedal boat seat can get uncomfortable after a while.

Some pedal boats come with seat cushions you can attach for comfort. You can also purchase seat cushions separately so you can explore the water for as long as you want without discomfort causing you to call it a day sooner than intended.

Mooring Cover

If you don’t have space inside and will be storing the pedal boat outside, it is important to cover it to prevent water and debris from getting inside and also prevent damage by elements such as snow and sun.

A water and UV resistant mooring cover is the best protective boat cover for a pedal boat. You can purchase a factory model custom-made just for your boat’s model, as it will fit over the boat perfectly, stay on even when strong winds blow and offer optimal protection.

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In addition to a mooring cover and seat cushions, there are other essential pedal boat accessories that you might have to purchase separately. A hand bilge pump is one such handy accessory to have on board. You use it to pump out water that may get inside your pedal boat.

All the riders from kids to four-legged companions should wear personal floatation devices (PFD) for safety on the water. Another essential safety accessory is a signaling device such as a whistle, air horn or flag that you can use to communicate with other watercrafts.


A pedal boat doesn’t come cheap and it is important to ensure that you’re buying a well constructed and durable model. Find out what kind of materials the pedal boat and its components are made out of to ensure you end up with a pedal boat that is lightweight and easy to maneuver in and out of the water and also sturdy and durable.

A rugged plastic such as high-density polyethylene is the ideal material for the hull and deck, as it is both lightweight and can withstand impacts without breaking or puncturing.

If you decide to get an inflatable pedal boat for its ease of storage and transportation, make sure it has a really thick skin and is composed of multiple chambers for safety on the water. It should also be UV resistant so as to not be degraded by the sun’s rays. The rudder and paddle should be a tough plastic and the crank a sturdy metal.



Q: What Are The Benefits of Owning A Pedal Boat?


If you live near a lake, pond or river and love going out on the water, a pedal boat is a great investment. As the proud owner of one, you will be able to take it out on the water anytime you want and enjoy the benefits of paddle boating such as relaxing, working out the leg muscles, bonding and creating lifetime memories with family and friends. You can go on long outings on the water without having to pay for every session or racing to beat time.

Q: What Do I Do If Water Gets Between The Hull and The Deck?


If you have a self-bailing pedal boat that is equipped with a drain hole and drain plug, all you have to do once you’re on land is remove the plug and tip the boat and the water will drain out. If your boat doesn’t have a drain hole, you can flip the boat and the water will flow out. You can then  give it some time to dry. You may also have to siphon the water manually.

Q: Can I Use My Pedal Boat In Saltwater?


Pedal boats are designed for gliding on freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds and calm sections of rivers. They don’t handle well in currents or strong winds and the materials and components are not designed to withstand saltwater abuse.

Using a standard pedal boat in saltwater can cause it to deteriorate rapidly as most of the component will rust and wear out fast when exposed to salt water. If you would like a pedal boat you can take out in saltwater, choose one with a stainless steel package that can resist corrosion and damage by saltwater and be diligent about rinsing it out with fresh water after every ride.

Q: What's The Best Way To Store My Pedal Boat During The Winter?


If you have a boathouse, garage, or shed, that is the ideal place to store your pedal boat away from the harsh elements during the winter. If you don’t have space inside and have to store it outside, cover it with a properly fitting mooring boat cover to keep water and debris out and protect it from damage by elements such as rain, frigid weather, and snow. To avoid having to deal with mold and an unpleasant odor the next time you’re taking it out, ensure the pedal boat is clean and completely dry before you put it in storage.

Q: How Do Pedal Boats Work?


Pedal boats are propelled in the water by pedaling with the feet to turn a paddle wheel. This is why they are also referred to as paddleboats.

Pedaling a pedal boat is much like pedaling a bicycle. Pedal boats have pedals similar to those on a bicycle. Most models have pedaling positions for one, two and three paddlers. Stepping on the pedals and pedaling causes a paddle wheel located underneath the hull to rotate just like bicycle tires do.

This rotation pushes the water backward propelling the boat forward. It can also go in reverse. For turning, they have a steering rudder that is moved from side to side by a steering system referred to as a tiller.

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Cruising around the water in a pedal boat is one of the best ways to explore local lakes, ponds and rivers. Whether you want a fun activity the whole family can participate in, an enjoyable and therapeutic romantic picnic on the water, or a boat that can take you to a lucrative but hard to access fishing spot, a pedal boat fits the bill.

When you invest in the best paddle boat that is built tough, has the capacity to accommodate everyone and all the items you want to bring along and is built tough to offer years of enjoyment on the water, that will be money well spent and you will enjoy your purchase for years to come!