Shop now for Pre Memorial Day Deals! Ends 05/23

Pedal Boat Buyers Guide

<----Click to the Left to view our most comprehensive pedal boat comparison spreadsheet ever created. Quickly compare to see which boat is best for you.

Are Pedal Boat Ratings or Pedal boat Reviews worth reading?

We don't allow customers to review or rate pedal boats on our web site because it is usually full of "purchased reviews", so probably not. We get offered by many different companies to "purchase" positive reviews for both our company and or products. We absolutely decline this concept and trust that consumers are not so gullible as to put their faith in a five or four star made up rating system, or distrust someone or something because of some complaints. We have also found that most customers that have bad reviews of a pedal boats usually put it in the wrong situation and or did not fully understand what they were purchasing. No one boat does everything in every situation. The good news is we at want you to make an informed decision so you will fully enjoy the pedal boat you are planning to purchase, please read the rest of the buyers guide below.

What is an editors review?.

If we feel that there is widespread misconception made about a boat we will create on the item an editors review. The editors review is usually an effort by to keep a product from being sold to a group of people that the item was not designed for, or to make sure the customers understand what they are purchasing. For example a factory claims on their web site and the corresponding competitors sites that their pedal boat is great for rivers, well that is vague loaded assumption and exact details of that claim would need to be substantiated. If simply removing the assumption from doesn't stop the public from falling prey to it, we would post a review in order to keep customers from calling us and being mad, even though we didn't post the claim. Another reason for to post an editorial review of a pedal boat would be a sudden bad batch of parts that are not covered under warranty. If the boat manufacturer develops major problems we will post an editorial review to warn as many people as possible. Keep in mind if the directboats pedal boat section doesn't sell the pedal boat there is probably a good reason for you to stay away from it. You can read our why buy here for more info on that subject.

What does Foam Filled mean?

This means the pontoons of a pedal boat are filled completely, without air voids with foam to keep water out. This type of construction is the safest. We have tried closed cell foam but it is far to heavy for a pedal boat, so currently only one boat that uses completely foam filled pontoons. So here at direct boats we want to make sure you purchase the right boat for the right situation.

What is the cheapest pedal boat I can get?

Well of course a used boat is the cheapest but hard to find and usually wrought with hidden problems. The next choice is to buy a new one on-line, but beware the cheapest advertised boat prices, make sure to shop the best up front bottom line price, don't accept hidden or estimated freight, taxes or fees like fuel surcharges, that will be charged after you get your boat. Also make sure the web company you choose has sufficient customer service, since small boats ship common carrier not UPS there will simply be more problems when it comes to delivery. As far as the cheapest adult pedal boat a two or three seater plastic with no options is the way. We have several to choose from and even sell them wholesale. However, if you are wanting to buy pedal boats to rent, please save your money and don't buy the cheapest. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.

How do I store my pedal boat?

Well if you have a garage or boat house that is a good option. To move the boat to your garage you may want to look at purchasing an optional pedal boat dolly. If you are going to leave your boat on the shore, and the boat is not self bailing buy a mooring cover for it to keep water out. Keep in mind on stamped plastic pedal boats, water commonly gets in between the hull(bottom) and deck(top) of the boats. If you do not get the water out before it creates mold the stink may be upsetting to you when you use the boat. It is also hard to dry it out because there is no airflow. If you use a cheap aftermarket plastic cover it may cause mildew on the outside of your boat trapping moisture. The factory covers are usually best, but cost more. If you think you can simply turn your boat upside down, you are mistaken on several model pedal boats. For instance the HDPE and RAM-X boats are stapled together and sealed with a sort of silly putty. As you get water in the inner hull you tilt your boat on it's bow to remove the water and pour it out the drain plug. When you do this the putty gets blown out of the seams and makes the problem larger. The putty moves away over time causing the boat to take on water between the hull and deck even when turned upside down. So initially it will work, but not after usage on those particular boats.

Which boat material is best?

HDPE/plastic is tough when it comes to stumps... but it is lacking when it's hull is beached on sand or dirt. Fiberglass holds the top spot by a long shot on that most common occurrence. We have never seen a fiberglass pedal boat get at a high enough speed to crack after hitting a stump. That explains why most commercial customers purchase a fiberglass pedal boat, not to mention a lot of second time pedal boat buyers do as well, after they burn through the hull of their plastic boat in a few years. Of course if you purchase a plastic boat there are ways to protect the boat, you can get roll-n-go shore docking station that will put the boat on carpeted bunks, this extends the life of the boat greatly. ABS is a good middle ground plastic for pedal boats, it is harder and lighter than HDPE/RAMX and can be sealed well between the hull and the deck. ABS is a little more expensive but you are getting a more. You may think aluminum is a good choice and we tend to agree with that, aluminum pontoons are a good choice especially when they are pressure checked and sealed. Only problems are lack of foam and it conducts electricity. If a storm blows up, you will be glad your in either a plastic or fiberglass boat. Another consideration in commercial usage is kids with pocket knives carving their names in boats, plastic, HDPE/RAM-X/ABS, not so good, aluminum boats better, fiberglass best.

How do I transport my paddle boat I don't live next to the water?

Many people use a truck or flat bed trailer to move small boats around. We offer a pedal boat trailer specifically designed to hold the pontoons of a small paddle boat. This boat trailer is designed to back into the water so you don't have to lift it. If you want to use the bed of a truck to move your boat around just make sure you can lift it and it is not to heavy for you. If you decide you want to use a truck or flat bed trailer offers an exclusive portable strap on wheel set that will make moving the pedal boat from a truck or flat bed trailer a snap. If you don't see the strap on dolly you want call to verify it won't work for that particular boat. You can put most pedal boats into the back of most trucks at an angle with the tailgate down.

Can I beach a pedal boat without damaging the paddle blades or rudder?

Most pedal boats can be beached with a few exceptions, water bikes along with any others that do not have a pontoon style bottom. Most also have kick up rudders, but not all. Make sure you ask on that if you can't tell from the pictures or descriptions.

What does self-bailing mean?

Means you don't have to scoop(bail) the water out of the top side or deck of your boat. It does not mean that your boat will not hold water inside the hull and out of site. If you store your boat outside on the ground, self bailing is a nice upgrade. Some pedal boats are both self bailing and foam filled. However, if your a commercial business and or simply want to tie one off to the dock, a self bailing and foam filled boat is the way to go. When it rains the water is supposed to travels through the boat to the water. Some boats are beach bailing, meaning when put the boat on the beach the bow rises up and dumps any out the back. A fully self bailing boat doesn't collect any water in any deck compartment. Some pedal boats are rotomolded and sealed when they leave the mold, causing them to become self bailing upon molding, then the factory will drill holes to mount things such as drive shafts, handles cleats, bimini tops ect... If these installation points don't create a leak at first, they will over time typically. So we argue that self bailing is not as important as foam filled pontoons in pedal boat construction. With non-self bailing boats it's easiest to cover them with a factory mooring cover or keep them in a garage when not in use.

What is the difference between a pedal boat and a paddle boat?

A pedal boat uses your feet to power the boat. A paddle boat uses paddle wheels to power the boat... so most pedal boats are paddle boats as well.

I want a trolling motor on my pedal boat which type should I buy?

Many people are looking for pedal boats to do many things such as fish or swim. If you want an electric motor added we recommend the type that has the motor built in verses adding a trolling motor bracket. The ability to reach the controls is the main problem with just hanging a motor on the side. The other issue is where to store the battery. There are a few models on the market with motors built in. We suggest that you look at this one because its the most popular well built electric powered pedal boat. On that model you can add a trolling motor bracket or have one hidden inside the unit.

Can I use a pedal boat in a River?

Well that's a tough question and mainly has to do with current speed and your stamina. Pedal boats are not speed boats that vary in speeds therefore a general guide would be if the current is under about 4 miles per hour you should be fine if you paddle sideways the current. Most rivers have a current in the middle, so just like rip currents at the beach paddle sideways the current until you get out of its location then paddle back upstream. But if you have a place out of the main current, such as a inlet or bay we would advise using it there. Of course you can cheat with a hidden electric motor built into the bottom of your pedal boat, click here to view our selection of electric pedal boats.

I am in salt or brackish water, what do I need?

Most pedal boats are used in fresh water and therefore most are designed for that market. If you buy a cheaper pedal boat the pedal drives and other components will rust in a hurry. You can purchase stainless steel mechanisms for the cheaper pedal boats but it doesn't change the fact that many other critical metal components will rust or corrode quickly.

I want offer pedal boats for public use what do I need?

Commercial pedal boat buyers want the highest return on investment. The most important factors that contribute to this determination is; low maintenance, low liability, durable construction, market appeal. We suggest that a foam filled self bailing boat is a great option when it comes to both low maintenance and low liability. If you are loading from a dock a light weight boat will not hold still if stepping on from the dock. So we recommend the fiberglass heavier boats for this use. Pontoon style aluminum hulls are fine, they just tend to cost more and conduct electricity. If a storm blows up, as scary as that is with a bunch of people on the lake, aluminum boats just make them all better lightning rods, which to us isn't desirable. As far as style we feel you should mix in some eye catching boats that get customers attention. If you want further advice on which boat mix is right for you call the wholesale department at 877-924-8155.

Whats the safest way for my rental customers to board a pedal boat?

Beach launching is the safest and cheapest way, however it is hard to push customers off of the beach and keep them dry. If you want to board people from a dock, light weight boats with heavy customers equals high liability. Therefore the lighter the pedal boat, the easier for the boat to tip or list when stepping into it. The best option is our Air Lift pedal boat boarding system.. It will lift any pedal boat just enough to stabilize the boat for boarding and operates fast for high volume locations. The price may appear high, but it is small compared to a lawsuit.

What is required to maintain commercial pedal boats?

That depends on what type of boats you purchase and where they are used and stored. If you purchase a fiberglass pedal boat a pressure washer works fine on the deck. Plastic boats tend to wear out fast on coarse sand, fiberglass boats do not. Some use ball bearings, other sleeve bearings. Ball bearings require some grease from time to time, but last longer if regularly maintained.

How much per hour should I charge?

We found a range from $8 to $29 dollars per hour is the current going rate for pedal boats. If you calculate 16 weeks of summer and you charge 10 dollars per hour and average %50 usage on ten boats you can really add up some profit, provided you keep labor and maintenance to a minimum. Here is a link to one of our many customers that posts their current prices online. However, a better idea is to look around in your local area to see the going rates.

Are water pedal bikes good to rent?

We would say they are fine if you don't have weeds in the water. Most water bikes have props that spin with no cover to protect it, therefore weeds easily gum up the prop. You would also want to look at construction and maintenance of a non direct drive prop.

Where is the best place to purchase a pedal boat?

Well because it is a seasonal product with low volume, most stores won't carry them for sale and if they do they are probably only the cheapest ones and may be beat up older models and or returned boats. Don't make a 500 dollar mistake, understand what you are buying. Quality pedal boats are usually only available online and we feel at we have the best selection and service and are simply the best place to purchase a pedal / paddle boat. If you want to read up more about read our why by here. If you want to view our selection of pedal boats click here.
Scroll to top