The Essential Guide For Selecting A Good Pedal Boat

​​Pedal Boats - Getting Started

​So youre thinking about getting a pedal boat? You will be surprised to know how many different functions and parts there are to a pedal boat. Dont worry! Were here to help!

There are large pedal boats out there that can hold as many as six passengers, and there are also the smaller ones capable of holding only a couple of people. The pedal boat is usually propelled by a set of pedals which are positioned on either side with two people pedaling. The boat’s direction can be controlled by the presence of a stick placed at the center of the boat.

One significant bonus to a pedal boat is a canopy which protects the user from the sun while you’re on the water. It is not at all difficult to store a pedal boat to safeguard the vessel from the weather, debris, and other elements while it is not being used. Moreover, the pedaling system is not hard to operate, and even a child of three can do it. With fantastic stability, this type of boat can also be used by the elderly.

In a nutshell, a pedal boat has all the ingredients to turn your holidays into something which you will remember for a long time to come!

How do they work?

The conventional models use human-powered pedals, which will turn a wheel under the watercraft and make it go forward. Pedal boats are simple to use and easy to steer. They have both the levers and the pedals at the front.

However, several models have not only one but two sets of pedals which give them more power. And some modern ones also have a trolling motor. It means you can use the motors when tired of using the pedals.

Keep in mind that pedal boats are not made for the sea. The salt water will damage the parts and materials of a pedal boat. So, it is better to stick to lakes or ponds.

​What to look for in a good pedal boat?

When it comes to purchasing a good pedal boat, we will first discuss the materials. You can always go for HDPE/plastic which is quite durable and resilient; however, it will not be much more useful when the hull is beached on either dirt or sand. Fiberglass can be your next option and, in fact, it is used a lot these days. The majority of the pedal boaters tend to buy fiberglass pedal boats when purchasing for the first time and this trend has also been seen with second-hand buyers particularly after burning through the hull of the plastic boats within a few years. It might likewise be a wise idea to opt for ABS which happens to be a decent plastic material for your boat given that it is even harder as well as lighter compared to HDPE/RAMX. However, ABS might prove to be a bit more expensive in the long run. Aluminum is also a great choice. The only drawback with aluminum is that it conducts electricity and also there is a lack of foam.

The ideal place to purchase your pedal boat is online because of its size and convenience of delivery to your cottage or home, but you need to be aware of the prices as well as the sites themselves. Never accept any product which comes with a hidden freight charge which you need to pay for after getting your boat. Moreover, the place from where you purchase must have adequate customer service.

Current Top 4 Pedal Boats

There are many pedal boat model out there, and we compiled the top four according to price, features, and durability.

The Sun Dolphin Sun Slider 5 Seat Pedal Boat is our top pick for this year. While the runner-up is Sun Dolphin’s Water Wheeler Electric. And our budget pick is the Sun Dolphin’s Sun Slider 3 Seat.







Sun Dolphin 5 Seat Sun Slider

5 seater pedal boat


​Good quality, large capacity

​Not Electric



Sun Dolphin 3 seat pedal boat

a pedal boat


​Good Quality, Great Price

​Only 3 Seats



The Water Wheeler Electric from Sun Dolphin

a beautiful electric pedal boat


​Great Quality, Electric

​High Price


​Top Pedal Boats This Year - List and Reviews

1. Sun Dolphin 5 Seat Sun Slider Review

The Sun Slider 5 is made of UV-stabilized Fortiflex polyethylene for its deck and hull. This is a high-quality material which will make your pedal boat durable and lightweight. Two people can easily transport the Sun Slider 5.

This particular boat fits as many as five individuals on board which makes it a great choice when it comes to enjoying a great time on the lake with friends. Moreover, it includes a resilient and waterpBCL_paddle_boats_BCL_paddle_boats_roof canopy which will safeguard you from the sun, and you can also fold it in case you do not need the canopy.

It comes with inbuilt coolers for snack and drinks. On top of this, there is also an inbuilt motor mount provided by the manufacturer in case you want to convert to an electric pedal boat.

The pedals for this model are made of polystyrene foam floatation, which is also a top-notch material. The Sun Dolphin Team listened to peoples concerns and made pedaling light and easy; you won’t feel like your working out when you use their pedals.

The pedal boat also comes with a couple of sets of pedal cranks, however even one person can operate the Sun Slider 5 easily. The steering level and paddle wheel make it easy to steer above water.

With the presence of a robust 30 lb thrust motor, your journey is going to be smooth and comfortable. Five people can be easily fit in this boat. In a nutshell, the Sun dolphin five is a fantastic choice if your budget is limited.

The maximum capacity for the Sun Slider 5 is 825 lbs. This means the pedal boat can support up to 5 adults. The seats on the Sun Slider 5 are adjustable to make the boat comfortable for 2 or five people without issue.

The downside is this pedal boat is that it’s not self-bailing. This means it cannot prevent any water getting on board. And if by chance you splash some water inside the pedal boat, then you need to manually remove it. Flip it over after use and let it dry under the sun.

The Sun Slider 5 has it all, from high-quality material, weight capacity, and tons of additional features. Added with easy pedaling and smooth performance make the Sun Slider 5 comes on top of our list.

​2. Sun Dolphin 3 Seat Pedal Boat Review ​

The Sun Slider 3 is a small pedal boat, made for two people. The Sun Slider 3 is also made of UV stabilized Fortiflex’ polyethylene for its deck and hull and a closed cell of polystyrene foam. These two are top quality materials from Sun Dolphin.

The Sun Slider 3 maximum capacity is 450 lbs. Or it can support three adults. Although advertised as a three seat pedal boat, the Sun Slider 3 is more convenient with two people, since all three seats are located side by side. On the back of the Sun Slider 3, you will find two cooling storages, which you can use to bring the necessary items for your outing. Also, the seat is all formed and non-adjustable, which can be awkward for the third person in the middle. There is also no space for a trolling motor, so you cannot upgrade the model to an electric model.

The Sun Slider 3 is not self-bailing, so you need to manually empty the water when it gets into the pedal boat. The water also tends to get in between the deck and the hull. It is better to rinse and store them vertically with the drain plug removed after every use and make sure it is thoroughly dry.

The Sun Slider 3 is excellent for those of you who are on a budget, and still, want to have fun with the family.

Although compact in size, the Sun Dolphin 3 has received numerous positive testimonials. At present, you will get it in two different shades, namely blue as well as a greenish teal. However, blue is undoubtedly the preferred choice amongst buyers.

Since three individuals will not be needed to operate the pedals, one can also venture out with only two pedalers or even alone.

However, some people have complained that this boat is a bit heavy despite the fact that it weighs only 96 lbs. It depends entirely on the people on board, and the pedal boat is not overly heavy by any means. The Sun Dolphin 3 will never disappoint you when it comes to having fun and comes highly recommended.

​3. ​Sun Dolphin Water Wheeler Electric

As the name suggests, the Water Wheeler is an electric pedal boat. This model comes equipped with a powerful yet small Minn-Kota trolling motor, which lets you choose to pedal manually or use the motor to glide across the water. The option to use the motor allows you just to relax and enjoy the view around you.

The Water Wheeler is made from UV stabilized Fortiflex’ polyethylene, a closed cell polystyrene foam floatation, and oil infused bushings added with rubber seals. These high-quality materials make the Water Wheeler go beyond the Sun Slider 5. However, the Water Wheeler is a tad bit heavier than its cousin, due to the trolling motor.

The trolling motor from Minn-Kota is surprisingly quiet and powerful. The noise that comes from this small motor is just as if you were using the pedal yourself.

The Water Wheeler also has tons of features, just like the Sun Slider 5. It comes with an adjustable canopy, drink holders, adjustable seats and cooling storage. However, the Water Wheeler only supports a maximum of 4 adults or three adults and two children. The maximum capacity for the Water Wheeler is 800 lbs., smaller than the Sun Slider 5.

The price is the most significant downside for the Water Wheeler. Compared to other models, the Water Wheeler price is in the luxurious price range, again due to the motor. And people are considering whether it is genuinely worth the features, however, it is cheaper to purchase the Water Wheeler rather than the Sun Slider with the additional purchase of a trolling motor if the motor is what you’re looking for. If you would like to experience gliding over water effortlessly with your family than the Water Wheeler is your best option.

paddel boats arranged near the lake

How to choose a pedal boat?

The functions of all pedal boat model are similar. However, some manufacturers may use a lower grade quality product than the other. Check for the material that they used for the deck (top) and hull (bottom). Most are made of plastic, but we want some materials with fiberglass or at least reinforced plastic. The thick material will prevent deterioration and leakage. There are some pedal boats made from HDPE/plastic, which is tough in some area but prone to leakage when the hull is beached. Better-quality material means a pedal boat is more durable and long-lasting.

You should also check the maximum weight that your pedal boat can hold. Because sometimes the manufacturers can advertise a pedal boat can support five people, while they mean two adults and three children. If you are going to use it with many friends or teenagers, then this model may not be up your alley.

Another thing is to check the additional features that a pedal boat has to offer. Some models may be equipped with canopies for the hot summer day. While another may be equipped with a cooler.

Lastly, you can check whether the pedal boat has self-bailing features. Self-bailing means if water gets into your pedal boat deck than you don’t have to scoop the water out manually. A full self-bailing model has a system to let the water out so it won’t get trapped in the deck. This feature comes in handy when you leave your boat out in the rain. Some models claim to be beach bailing, meaning you can put them on the beach and they will dump the water from the back. While some models are both self-bailing and foam filled. Foam filled means the boats are filled with foam entirely to keep the water out. The foam filled boats are the best way to keep water out, but it also makes the pedal boat heavier.

How Do I Transport a Pedal Boat?

You will need at least a pickup truck, as pedal boats mostly fit in them, but make sure that you can lift them in and out your truck. Or the easiest way is to take bring it over a flatbed trailer which you can attach to your car. There is also a pedal boat trailer which is designed to back out into the water. Also, we recommend that you buy an optional pedal boat dolly to help you move the boat to your garage or boathouse.

How Do I Store ​a Pedal Boat?

Pedal boat materials are sensitive to weather, which means you need to protect them from low temperatures, rain, and snow. If you leave them to the elements, it can lead to deterioration and leakages. Storing them in a garage is the best option, but if you don’t have any extra space in your garage, then just cover them with a thick cover. Avoid using a plastic cover since it may cause mildew, and your pedal boat will trap moisture. Also, remember to rinse them with fresh water and cleanse the debris after use

Keep in mind that water tends to get in between the hull and the deck. If you leave water inside the pedal boat for too long, it will create mold and rust. However, it is also hard to dry the area between the hull and the deck since there is no airflow. You need to tilt your pedal boat and open the drain plug to pour the water out. This is the reason you need to store some models vertically.

Wrapping Up

Activities involving pedal boats are guaranteed fun for all ages. You can also use them to observe wildlife or have a relaxing time in the midst of the lake. Our top pick for you is the Sun Dolphin’s Sun Slider 5 Seat Pedal Boat, as it is durable, lightweight, easy to paddle, and has tons of additional features. Our runner-up goes to the Sun Dolphin’s Water Wheeler Electric due to a bit higher price. While our best value on a budget pick is the Sun Dolphin’s 3 Seat Pedal Boat, for beginners, who are on a limited budget. We hope this guide helped you and happy pedaling!