Pontoon vs Tritoon Boats: Which One is Right for You?

The purchase of a new pontoon boat opens up so many new possibilities. You must be so excited, imagining all the adventures you’re going to share with the people closest to you. Now comes the daunting part, which is making your selection: pontoon or tritoon? Similar as they are, there are some subtle differences which could make a huge difference for you depending on your experience level, intended uses, and budget.

No matter which one you ultimately choose, Avalon has a wide selection of both types for you to choose from.

See all our pontoon and tritoon models.

What is a Pontoon Boat?

Before we dive into the differences between pontoon and tritoon boats, let’s look at what a pontoon is. There are a couple of key features. First, the deck of a pontoon boat is flat, unlike a speedboat, which gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to uses and seating arrangements. The deck is surrounded by rails which make it difficult to fall off, making pontoon boats a popular choice for families. But what really makes a pontoon a pontoon are the tube-shaped floats (called tubes or pontoons) which keep the deck above water and absorb the impact of waves.

Avalon Catalina cruising on the riverside.

What is a Tritoon Boat?

Simply put, a tritoon is a variation of a pontoon which has three tubes instead of the standard two. In fact, tritoon boats are sometimes called triple-hull pontoons.

Believe it or not, this extra hull creates a whole different boating experience, and comes with both perks and potential drawbacks.

Advantages of a Tritoon

The tritoon has a lot going for it. Here’s what we love about these boats:

Greater Speeds

The extra hull gives the engine more horsepower. While a pontoon’s speed caps at around 40 miles per hour, a tritoon can reach speeds of up to 50. If you value a faster vehicle, this will be a better choice.

Greater Stability

The extra hull also makes it so that the boat can stay upright under harsher conditions. If you plan on going into the ocean a long distance from the shore, you’ll want a tritoon.


Families with small children often choose the tritoon for this reason. The expansive room this boat provides makes for a much better experience for children because they have more room to move around and play.

Advantages of a Pontoon

The classic pontoon boat has some distinct benefits. Here are the most notable features that make pontoons a long-time favorite.


Because of its less complex design, the pontoon tends to be more affordable than the tritoon. If you want a boat but need to mind a budget, a pontoon is your solution. It can provide you with that magical experience of spending the day out on the water without splashing out.

Easy to Use

Many boaters find the classic pontoon boat to be easier to handle and maneuver, making it a great option for new and experienced boaters alike.

When Might a Pontoon Boat Be Better than a Tritoon?

Again, nuance is important in the tritoon vs. pontoon debate. There are situations where it won’t perform as well. Here, we’re going to discuss the caveats of buying a tritoon.

Can Be Cumbersome

Although its size can make for a more fulfilling cruising experience, it can also be more difficult to manage. The larger a vehicle is, the more difficult it is to steer. It also creates a storage space issue.

If you’re going to buy a tritoon, understand you will need a lot of room for it.

More Advanced Skills Necessary

If this is your first boat, you might want to choose a pontoon. A tritoon’s navigation is more complex; without the proper experience, you’ll have a greater risk of getting into an accident. We cannot stress enough: if you’re a boating beginner, getting a pontoon is the better choice.

Make Your Boat a Perfect Match for You

Now that you know the small but meaningful differences between tritoon vs. pontoon boats, you have all the information you need to make the right decision for your needs and circumstances.

If you ever have any further questions about any kind of pontoon boat, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We love talking boats, and we’re happy to give helpful, friendly advice!

Ready to begin your own personal luxury cruise? Let’s go!

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One of our Pontoon specialist or a local dealer near you will contact you to help configure the boat that matches your exact needs.