Inflatable Vs. Aluminium Boats - What's The Verdict?

Akash Shakya
18 Feb , 2020

It’s been an age old question ever since inflatable boats evolved to become recreational boats: which is better to own, aluminium or inflatable boats?

As with so many age old questions, the answer to this question is not simple nor straightforward. There’s a boatload of things you need to consider when choosing the better of these two, and here we’re going to try and break them down for you.

Trusty Aluminium

First, let us take a look at aluminium boats. Though there are numerous other types of boats nowadays made of different kinds of materials, you can still find plenty of aluminum boats in Australia for good reason: aluminium boats are tough. It’s hard to beat aluminium when it comes to durability and longevity. These boats can take a beating, with a high resistance to corrosion. If ever they do get damaged, repairing them is quite easy, and maintaining them is even easier. It’s no wonder that many aluminium boats today are and can be several decades old.

Because they are so strong and yet light, aluminium boats are ideal for heavy use and in places with rocky terrain and shorelines. You don’t have to worry about puncturing a hole in the hull or side if you’ve dragged it along the shore because it’s just that strong. If you’re in it for the long haul and want a dependable boat you can own for a long time, an aluminium boat would probably be your best bet. It may not be the most stable, spacious or versatile of boats, but it’s sure to stand up to whatever rigorous conditions you may subject it to. 

Compact Inflatable Boats

The popularity of inflatable boats in Australia has been steadily on the rise, but not for the same reasons that have made aluminium boats a popular choice. A lot of people are opting for inflatables because they’re so compact, convenient and also quite stable. They’re also very lightweight that they’re easy to transport and store, can carry more weight, and can go faster in the water without needing much power.

Another great thing about inflatable boats is that they virtually cannot be capsized-- the inflated tubes surrounding the craft make sure of that. They’re also incredibly stable. You can basically stand in them while fishing, and get in and out of them from either side without worrying about tipping the boat over.

But keeping these boats inflatable requires some diligence: you need to take care not to subject your boat to rough terrain or rocky shorelines otherwise you might puncture the tube. You should also take care not to over-inflate the tube, lest the material become overstretched and won’t stay as inflated as long.

Though relatively low-maintenance, there are still certain things you need to do to ensure that your inflatable boat lasts longer. You’ll need to clean it now and again to keep its surface in the best condition and prevent it from cracking. When storing it you also have to take note of moisture and temperature levels, as these can influence the development of mould or mildew, and damage to the boat surface.


In terms of price, both types of boats cost more or less the same depending on the size and features of the boat you choose. The capacity of each boat also depends on the size as well as model of the boat, but because they are lighter inflatable boats tend to have a bigger capacity and also tend to be easier to handle.

When it comes to stability, portability and storage convenience, inflatable boats are the clear winner. They are more stable on the water, and transport and storage is a breeze. You can put them on top of your car or in the trunk, and are an ideal choice for those travelling in a caravan.

When it comes to care and maintenance however, there’s a lot more your have to put in to keep an inflatable in the best condition than you do with an aluminium boat. You’d be hard-pressed to find an inflatable boat that can last as long as an aluminium one.

Aluminium boats are longer lasting, sturdier and more resilient, which means you have less to worry about when using them. However, transporting and storing them can be a bit of a hassle if you don’t have the means or space available.


Both kinds of boats have their strengths and weaknesses. When it comes down to it, there is objectively no ‘best’ or ‘ultimate’ choice of boat, it all depends on you and what you’re looking for specifically. If you’re planning on buying a boat for long-term, heavy use and one that’s sure to last long (not to mention more earth-friendly since the material is completely recyclable), then you should go with an aluminium boat. If you’re looking for something more compact, stable and don’t mind being more careful with handling and maintenance to get these features, then you should opt for an inflatable boat.

What really matters, whether you buy inflatable or aluminium, is to choose the clearly better ones, which are undoubtedly the ones made of higher quality materials and have better construction. Usually these boats come from well-known brands such as Zodiac, Mercury and Nordik. While these may cost higher than relatively unknown Asian imports, you definitely get your money’s worth and are assured of a longer lasting and exceptionally performing boat.

If you’re currently looking to buy an aluminium or inflatable boat in Sydney, drop by Waves Overseas today. We offer a wide selection of both types of boats from some of the world’s most trusted brands. We would also be more than happy to offer expert advice to make sure you get the exact boat you’re looking for. Give us a call on 02 9745 5555 now!