Inflatable paddle boards have made it so much easier to enjoy stand up paddle boarding. They are affordable, portable, and durable.
But the minute you decide to buy one, you will realize just how many options are out there. Each one of them is advertised as perfect. If you are not careful, you can easily waste money on a SUP that you won’t like.
As a paddle boarder myself, I know how important it is to have a SUP that is right for you. So we’ve done a lot of research and testing to bring you an updated list of the top inflatable paddle boards.
Of all the paddle boards we tested, the Atoll 11 is my number one choice. The paddle board perfectly balances speed and stability, making it a great option for paddlers of all skill levels.
It is made using dual-layer PVC and Korean dropstitch technology. When inflated, the stand up paddle board is so rigid it can hold riders up to 400 pounds. It has been successfully water-tested at 700 pounds with multiple riders.
The paddle board is durable, versatile, and comes with features that allow you to customize it.
Anyone can use the Atoll 11 inflatable – from beginners to pros, smaller paddlers to those on the heavier side. I would recommend it to almost every paddleboarder.
But since people have varying preferences, read on for more SUP board reviews for specific use cases.
Most Stable Paddle Board – Blackfin X Stand Up Paddle Board
Some paddle boarding activities like SUP yoga, fishing, and paddling with kids require extra stability.
The Blackfin X is the most stable board I can recommend.
This SUP is 35 inches wide, which is quite wide for a single rider board. It offers a large stable platform for anything you want to do.
Whether you are a beginner trying SUP for the first time or a SUP fitness enthusiast, you’ll be comfortable on the Blackfin X. It is not tippy at all.
It is also a great option for those who want to paddle with dogs or kids. You won’t all end up in the water when they get excited and restless–this inflatable board is that stable. And it has enough handles for the kids to hold on to.
The Blackfin Model X is extremely rigid, thanks to its triple-layer construction and carbon rails. It feels sturdy when fully inflated and doesn’t flex or wobble.
Most Popular Inflatable SUP – iRocker Cruiser
The iRocker inflatable stand up paddle board is quite popular in the SUP world. To be honest, it’s hard not to love it because it’s packed with awesome features. It has pretty much everything you’d want in a SUP board.
The Cruiser is easy to paddle and stable enough for beginners. The board comes with 20 D-rings, four action mounts, and bungee storage. You can attach gear and convert it into a fishing SUP or camping paddle board.
The inflatable SUP board is 10’6 long and 33 inches wide. It is not the fastest paddle board, but for an all-around board, the speed is good.
Best Inflatable Touring SUP – Bluefin Sprint Carbon
Exploring different waterways on your paddleboard is an exciting experience. If that is something you love, consider a longer board, like the Bluefin Sprint Carbon.
This inflatable paddle board is designed for performance. It is 14 feet long, 30 inches wide, and has a pointed nose. Its performance is exceptional.
SUP touring involves spending hours on the water, especially during longer trips. The Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ has two bungee storage areas and a total of 18 D-rings. You can bring a SUP cooler, dry bags, and even attach a kayak seat if the trip is really long.
Best Budget Inflatable SUP – iRocker Nautical 10’6
The good thing about inflatable boards is that you can get a good one even with a tight budget.
The iRocker Nautical is an affordable entry-level stand up paddle board.
Unlike many budget paddle boards, it is built using dual-layer PVC. Most cheaper boards feature single-layer PVC construction.
The Nautical 10’6 is tough and rigid. You will find that it performs well in most water conditions. It may be an entry-level board but it would make a good all-around SUP for any paddler. (If you’re a larger or taller person, consider the Nautical 11’6, for extra stability and performance.)
iRocker has done an amazing job with the Nautical and especially the all-inclusive package. The quality of the accessories is not what you typically see in budget inflatable SUP boards.
Inflatable Paddle Boards Compared
Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards of 2021
Let’s take a closer look at these inflatable SUP boards:
1. Atoll 11’ – Best All Around Inflatable Paddle Board
The Atoll 11 is our top pick for the best overall inflatable paddle board. This is because it delivers on all its promises. Other paddlers love it too.
One of the things that make the Atoll inflatable SUP board popular is its rugged construction. The machine-laminated dual-layer PVC and Korean dropstitch construction results in a SUP that can take anything.
It is one of the toughest inflatables you can find. No wonder it can easily hold 700 pounds. (and it only weighs 21 pounds). It is a great option if you will be traveling or hiking a lot with your SUP board.
The performance of the Atoll 11 is another amazing factor worth mentioning. It is stable, maneuverable, and glides with decent speed.
When I bring a child with me on my Atoll inflatable, the stability and performance are outstanding. It is not wobbly and doesn’t sag (our total combined weight is about 300 pounds). So for anyone planning on paddling with a child or for the heavier paddlers and beginners, this would be an excellent SUP for you.
The Atoll comes as a complete package. You get an adjustable paddle, carrying bag, manual pump, and a leash. Its paddle has a carbon fiberglass shaft and a nylon blade.
The backpack is newly designed (paddlers used to complain about it being poorly made). The new design is durable and comfortable to carry around.
Other features that you will love include a bungee system for gear, 15 D-rings, two grab handles, and a universal fin box.
The side fins on the Atoll 11 are not removable. You can only detach the center fin. But it is also a good thing because fins get lost easily.
2. iRocker Cruiser – Most Popular Inflatable SUP
What makes the Cruiser so popular and why do we love it too?
The iRocker Cruiser is a high-quality board built with triple-layer military-grade PVC. It is durable and reliable. When inflated, the SUP can hold up to 400 pounds and only weighs 25 pounds.
Anyone can use this versatile board for pretty much anything
Newbies typically want a board that is stable and makes learning easy. The Cruiser is 33 inches wide and offers a great learning platform.
The Cruiser is easy to paddle and stable enough for beginners.The board features 20 D-rings, four action mounts as well as a front and rear bungee system. These are for attaching speakers, rod holders, cup holders, a kayak conversion kit, and other personal belongings.
A feature of the Cruiser I really like are the 7 handles on the board. It’s a small feature for sure, but they make handling the board so much easier.
The iRocker Cruiser inflatable paddleboard comes with everything you need to start paddling. The accessories include a carbon matte paddle, premium roller bag, dual-chamber triple-action hand pump, leash, and a repair kit.
The Cruiser previously came with a fiberglass paddle but now you get a carbon fiber paddle which is awesome.
Lastly, this iRocker paddle board is available in seven colors: blue, pink, teal, aqua, white, orange, and gray.
3. Blackfin X – Best Yoga Paddle Board
If you have been looking to try out SUP fitness, this might just be the board for you.
The Blackfin X is wide and rigid. Featuring triple-layer PVC construction, carbon rails, and a width of 35 inches, the paddle board’s stability is unmatched. You can comfortably practice SUP yoga without falling in every time you transition to another pose.
Since it is one of the most stable paddle boards, the Blackfin Model X is also a great family board. Let everyone join in the fun and see how well it holds.
The large soft deck pad prevents you from slipping. It is comfortable enough for kids and your furry friend and also doubles as a yoga mat.
The carbon reinforced rails (the sides of the board) make folding the board a little harder, but the extra rigidity they give the SUP board is well worth it.
SUP yoga is not the only activity you can do with the Blackfin X. It comes with 20 D-rings, eight action mounts, and bungee storage. These attachment points allow you to bring gear for fishing, camping, and all sorts of paddle boarding activities.
It even comes with three detachable fins so you can change the setup if you like.
The 2021 new design and colors are gorgeous. You have six color options.
In addition to all these fantastic features, the Blackfin Model X all-inclusive package includes a carbon paddle, premium roller bag, dual-chamber pump, ankle leash, and a repair kit.
4. Bluefin Sprint Carbon – Best Inflatable Touring SUP
If you are an advanced paddler looking for a high-performance paddle board, consider the Sprint Carbon.
At 14 feet long, 30 inches wide, and with a pointed nose, the Bluefin Sprint is built for speed. It cuts through the water with minimal resistance making for an exciting ride.
The Sprint Carbon is built using reinforced composite dropstitch and military-strength PVC. It also features carbon rails, resulting in one of the most rigid inflatable boards you can find.
The Sprint Carbon can hold up to 418 pounds and comes with a five-year warranty.
There is a universal action camera mount at the nose so you can capture every epic moment.
The board also has two bungee storage areas and extra D-rings for you to securely attach your items.
The Carbon Sprint complete package includes a carbon paddle, coiled leash, backpack, and a triple-action pump.
5. iRocker All-Around 11 – Best for Heavier Paddlers
iRocker SUP makes some of the best inflatable SUP boards around for all kinds of paddlers. The All Around is a great option for big guys and girls.
Made using triple-layer composite PVC, the iRocker All Around is a super rigid board once inflated and can hold 435 pounds. It doesn’t flex or sink when heavier paddle boarders are riding.
If you have been looking for a SUP that can hold you plus all your gear and maybe a dog, I’d recommend the All Around.
This inflatable paddle board performs well and anyone can handle it, regardless of skill level. Compared to the Blackfin X, the All Around 11’ is slightly less stable, but its speed is good (for an all-around board), and it is easy to maneuver.
With your iRocker All Around inflatable SUP, you will get a paddle, pump, rolling bag, leash, and repair kit.
The adjustable paddle now has a full carbon matte shaft and a nylon blade.
You’ll also be happy to know that the iRocker All Around 11’ has 20 D-rings and four action mounts. So you can try SUP fishing and SUP camping as well.
The All Around 11’ is available in six beautiful colors and it comes with three removable fins–a large center fin and two side fins.
6. Glide Retro 10’6″ Inflatable SUP Board
The Glide Retro is 33.5 inches wide and 10’6 long with a rounded nose. The traditional paddle board shape makes the board a little less stable than for instance the iRocker Cruiser, but it is still a good choice for paddle board beginners.
The full-length deck pad offers plenty of room for your SUP yoga poses or pilates. It is a die cut EVA pad and the non-fading, retro colors make the board stand out from the rest.
The Glide Retro is built using ultra reinforced dropstitch construction. It is so dense it can be inflated up to 25 psi (but the manufacturer recommends 12 to 15 psi).
Despite the heavy duty construction, the Retro only weighs 23 pounds. It has three comfortable neoprene carry handles; so you won’t have a problem carrying the SUP when it’s fully inflated.
You will love the Glide Retro package, especially given how affordable it is. It includes a high-capacity pump, adjustable paddle, roller backpack, leash, repair kit, kayak seat, and a carry strap.
This paddle board features a single-fin system with a USA style fin box.
There is a bungee cargo area at the front and extra D-rings for when you want to bring gear.
7. Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12
Bluefin SUP Boards is another company that has been making awesome SUPs for years. They make some of the most rigid inflatable paddleboards.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is built using their 1000D exo-surface laminate and pro-weave dropstitch technology. It also has carbon fiber rails to reduce flex as much as possible.
One thing that makes the Bluefin Cruise Carbon stand out is its package. Like many inflatable SUP boards, it comes with a carbon fiber paddle, pump, backpack, leash, and repair kit. On top of that, you will get a kayak conversion kit (a kayak seat and kayak paddle blade).
The Cruise Carbon 12 has a pointy nose and a kick pad, features that help with performance. It would make a great all-around/touring SUP.
There are D-rings for attaching the kayak seat and other items.
Like all the other boards by Bluefin, the Cruise Carbon has a five-year warranty.
8. Gili Adventure 11’ Inflatable SUP Package
As you can guess from the name, the Gili Adventure is designed for the adventurous paddler.
If you love spending time out in the water trying different SUP activities, this may be the right board for you.
The Gili Adventure can be a fishing, touring, yoga, or relaxed cruising paddle board.
It comes with a bungee system at the front and another removable rear bungee for all your paddling essentials. The board also comes with Scotty mounts and extra D-rings for gear and accessories.
The Adventure inflatable SUP board is built using dual-layer PVC. It is a sturdy yet lightweight board. The 11-foot long Adventure weighs 22 pounds while the 12-foot one weighs 23 pounds. They can hold up to 290 pounds and 330 pounds respectively.
For fitness enthusiasts, the Gili has a large deck pad. It offers a comfortable platform for yoga or pilates as well as traction to keep you from slipping.
The Gili Adventure inflatable package includes a travel paddle, backpack, 2-stage hand pump, and a coiled ankle leash.
You can either choose to get a fiberglass paddle or a carbon fiber paddle. The fiberglass paddle option is cheaper.
9. Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3″ – Best Premium Inflatable Touring SUP
Red Paddle Co inflatable standup paddleboards are some of the most expensive SUP boards on the market. They are also super durable and have outstanding performance.
The Sport 11’3 board features a clean minimalist design. There is a unique Red Paddle Co bungee system on the deck as well as three grab handles, a textured deck pad, and a leash D-ring.
The Sport inflatable paddle board is built using MSL fusion technology, exclusively owned by Red Paddle Co. This, and their RSS stiffening system, results in an extremely rigid stand up paddle board.
So although the Sport 11’3 is only 4.7 inches thick, its sturdiness is unrivaled and it doesn’t sag. It comes with a five-year warranty.
This paddle board remarkably balances stability and speed. At 32 inches wide, it is stable enough for paddlers of all skill levels. It has a nice streamlined shape and a speed tail. These features greatly improve speed and maneuverability.
The Red Paddle Co Sport inflatable package includes a backpack, repair kit, pump, and a waterproof phone case.
The Titan II dual-chamber pump cuts inflation time down by half. Unfortunately, the Sport doesn’t come with a paddle.
For experienced paddle boarders who already own a paddle, this is good because the price is reduced. But for beginners, you will have to buy your own paddle separately, which means spending more money.
You should consider the Sport 11’3 if you want an upgrade from the average all-around paddle board.
10. Nixy Newport All-Around SUP 10’6 Review
Nixy Sports is not a new name in the stand up paddle boarding industry. Their inflatable SUP boards are popular and some of the best.
The Newport is a versatile all-around board that is suitable for beginners as well as advanced paddlers.
Its dual-layer PVC construction and carbon rails make it remarkably stiff. It can hold up to 300 pounds. The paddleboard performs well on rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is easy to control and you’ll have fun doing all kinds of tricks.
The Nixy Newport is wide and moderately long. You can use it for SUP yoga and fitness or for paddling with your kids.
All the fins on this paddle board–a large central fin and two side fins– are removable. Some paddlers love detachable fins because they can change the setup for different paddling conditions.
The SUP has front and rear bungee storage as well as extra D-rings for attaching a kayak seat. There are also five action mounts for more accessories. You can bring enough gear for long paddle boarding trips.
One other thing that makes the Nixy Newport inflatable paddleboard awesome is its package. It includes a lightweight paddle, backpack, pump, and a coiled ankle leash.
The carbon fiber hybrid paddle breaks into three pieces for transport and storage. It only weighs 25 ounces.
The backpack has cargo hooks, side pockets, extra padded straps, and wheels. Traveling with your Newport will be easy and even fun.
To top all this off, the Nixy Newport comes with a 2-year warranty.
11. Thurso Surf Waterwalker Inflatable Paddleboard
The Thurso Waterwalker is one of those inflatable SUPs that makes people stop and stare.
It is gorgeous and you can get it in three colors. But that is not the only thing that makes it an excellent SUP.
The Waterwalker features a woven dropstitch core and dual-layer PVC. It has carbon rails and reinforced seams. It is a pretty solid paddle board that can handle heavy use and abuse.
Compared to other all-around inflatable paddleboards, the Thurso Surf Waterwalker is fast. I’d say it is one of the best all-around inflatable paddle boards as far as performance goes.
This paddle board has three size options, 10’, 10’6, and 11’. You can choose the one that will best suit you depending on your body size and the activities you like.
The Waterwalker package includes a backpack, paddle, leash, and a pump. The carbon hybrid paddle is lightweight and efficient. It is much better than a fiberglass or aluminum paddle.
The dual-chamber triple-action pump works twice as fast as a single-chamber. The backpack now comes with wheels to make transport easier.
There are two bungee storage areas and extra D-rings for a kayak seat.
We love the paddle holder on the Waterwalker too. Some SUP activities like yoga and angling can be challenging when you have nowhere to put your paddle. Having the paddle holder keeps your paddle out of the way, leaving your hands free.
Anyone looking to buy an all-around inflatable SUP would love the Thurso Waterwalker. You even have the option to choose the size that is right for you.
12. Bluefin 10’8 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board With Seat
The Bluefin 10’8 is an all-around paddle board that can go fast when you want it to.
We love the Bluefin Cruise inflatable package which includes a kayak conversion kit. Sometimes you get tired of standing and being able to sit so you can rest your legs is nice.
With most inflatable boards, you have to buy the conversion kit separately. Bluefin includes it in your package which saves you some money.
Other than the kayak conversion kit, you get a lightweight fiberglass paddle, dual-action single-chamber pump, repair kit, backpack, and a waterproof phone case.
The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 has a pointy nose that helps with speed. Its kick pad feature makes it easier (and fun) to make quick sharp turns.
Bluefin paddle boards are known for their durability, and the Cruise 10’8 is no different. It features 1000D exo-surface laminate PVC and pro-weave dropstitch technology. The result is a paddle board that is so tough, you can inflate it to 28 psi.
The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 has an action camera mount, two cargo areas, and additional D-rings as well as three carry handles.
If you want a paddle board that can take a lot of abuse, this is a good option. And it comes with a five-year warranty.
13. iRocker Nautical 10’6 – Best Budget Inflatable SUP
This is one of the best entry-level inflatable paddle boards around. The 2021 upgrade has added features, making it even better than some more expensive SUPs.
The Nautical is an excellent option if money is tight. It comes with a ready-to-paddle package and the accessories are great.
The premium backpack now has a wheel option. You can buy a wheel tray from iRocker and convert it into a rolling bag. The floating fiberglass paddle only weighs 32 ounces. It is adjustable 72 to 86 inches.
Unlike most boards in this price range, the iRocker Nautical inflatable is built using dual-layer PVC construction, instead of a single layer. It is tough and can hold up to 240 pounds.
The Nautical is a light board, weighing only 20 pounds. It performs well on slow-moving rivers, flat water, and the ocean. The SUP is maneuverable and anyone can handle it, from newbies to experienced paddlers.
Like all the other iRocker paddle boards, the Nautical now comes with 7 handles.
You can attach a cooler, kayak seat, cup holder, action camera, and other accessories, thanks to the bungee storage, D-rings, and action mount.
If your budget is tight but you still want a fantastic inflatable board package, you should check out the iRocker Nautical.
I recommend the Nautical 10’6 for lighter and shorter paddlers. At 195 lbs and at 6’1, I find the Nautical 10’6 to be less stable than some of the other boards on this page. If you are taller or larger, and looking for a budget SUP, consider the Nautical 11’6. The extra foot in length does make a large difference in stability and performance.
14. Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact – Most Compact Inflatable SUP for Traveling
Some paddle boarders love to travel all over, checking out different paddle boarding spots. If that is you, the Nixy Huntington may be the right board for you.
It only weighs 18.75 pounds. Some people may question the quality of the Nixy Huntington because of its weight.
But it is built to last using dual-layer PVC and it has reinforced carbon rails. It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds when fully inflated and comes with a two-year warranty.
The Nixy Huntington is short at 9’6, compared to most of the other inflatable SUPs here. This length has a few advantages.
First, it makes the iSUP easy to control in any paddling condition. Second, the Huntington is unbelievably compact and folds down to a small package that you can carry anywhere.
When it comes to its features, we have no reason to complain. The Huntington has a two-fin system–two large side fins, all removable. It also has bungee storage at the nose and tail, additional D-rings, mounting brackets, and three grab handles.
The Nixy Huntington package is yet another thing we love about the SUP (and we know you’ll appreciate it too). The carbon hybrid paddle breaks into four pieces for easy transport. It is adjustable 70” to 83”. Oh, and it also floats!
The dual-chamber triple-action pump has foldable legs and removable handles.
As you can see, everything about this inflatable stand up paddle board is designed to make it the perfect traveling SUP. It would be a great option if you are an adventurous paddler.
15. Honu Byron 10’6 All-Rounder
Honu is an Australian brand that has been around for about 20 years. They are now bringing their SUPs to USA paddlers.
The Honu Byron inflatable board is designed to be the ultimate all-arounder that can do everything. It is moderately long and wide, with a round nose.
This shape and size make it a stable board that would be suitable for SUP yoga and relaxed cruising with your kid or dog. It has a large plush deck pad to keep you and your passenger comfortable.
If you prefer surfing, the Byron can do that too. It is responsive, maneuverable, and a joy to paddle.
Unlike most inflatable paddle boards, it is only 4.7 inches thick. But its innovative construction ensures that you won’t have to worry about sagging or flexing. It feels super rigid. You can even mistake it for a solid paddle board.
The Byron has a weight limit of 250 pounds and comes with a four-year warranty. So there’s no doubt about its quality.
Other than the Byron inflatable SUP board, the package includes a backpack, pump, leash, and a repair kit. The paddle is not included but you’ll get a good discount if you buy it with the paddle board.
The Byron is an amazing option if you want an incredibly versatile and lightweight SUP.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Inflatable Paddle Board
How do you choose the best inflatable SUP for your needs? Here is everything you need to know.
Why Choose an Inflatable SUP Over a Rigid SUP?
Inflatable stand up paddleboards have become quite popular over the past few years. People love the fact that they don’t need large storage space and they can travel with their boards anywhere.
But some people are yet to be convinced. There are stories about inflatable SUPs bursting when left out in the sun for too long. Others have complained about sagging and poor performance.
I believe that inflatable standup paddleboards are better than solid SUPs in many ways. Here are the top five reasons why you should consider buying an inflatable SUP board.
Pros of Inflatable Paddle Boards
a. Inflatable paddle boards are easy to transport and store
This is probably the main reason why inflatable paddleboards were ever made.
Loading your rigid paddle board on top of your car rack isn’t that easy. Neither is it easy to store it away after a long day of awesome paddling. And bringing it with you on a plane is a hassle, to say the least.
An inflatable board doesn’t have these problems. Deflate it and roll it up into the size of a sleeping bag. It will fit anywhere.
b. Inflatable SUPs are lightweight
Inflatable SUP boards are light compared to their solid cousins. It is not hard to carry them, even over long distances. The Atoll paddle board, for instance, only weighs 21 lbs. Even my two young daughters easily carry it between them.
c. Inflatable paddleboards are rigid with a soft surface
Many people question the rigidity of inflatable SUPs and how much weight they can handle. But they are actually quite impressive.
The iRocker All Around SUP, for instance, can carry up to 435 lbs. That should be enough for you, your friend and your dog, don’t you think?
When you inflate an iSUP to the required psi, its rigidity will surprise you. It won’t bend, wobble, or sink beneath you.
The surface of an inflatable SUP is softer and more forgiving in case of a fall than the surface of a solid SUP. It is quite ironic for something to be both super rigid and soft. But the iSUP board is like that and it’s quite good.
d. Inflatable SUP boards are incredibly durable
This might be hard to believe but it is true. Inflatable paddle boards are perfect for paddleboarding near rocky shores and on rivers.
Boards made of fiberglass tend to get dinged when they hit rocky surfaces. Inflatable boards bounce right off.
Note: this does not mean that iSUP boards are invincible. They can still get punctured if poked by exceptionally sharp objects.
Overall, higher-quality inflatable SUP boards are very durable.
e. Inflatable paddle boards are affordable
Generally, iSUPs are cheaper than epoxy paddle boards. You can get an inflatable for as low as $200.
For $300, you can easily find a quality blow-up board that will last. It will even come as a complete package–with everything you need to start paddling right away.
To get a good solid paddle board, you will need a budget of at least $700. High-end ones will see you part with about $2500, with some costing as much as $3000.
This is not to say that all inflatable stand up paddle boards are cheap. Some are unbelievably expensive. But most inflatable SUPs are affordable, even the premium models.
Cons of InflatablePaddle Boards
Like solid paddleboards, inflatable boards also have their downsides.
a. Inflating takes time (deflating, too)
Every time you go paddling, you’ll have to inflate your SUP first.
The process can be tiring, especially if you’re using the hand pump that came with your iSUP board.
If you’d like to speed things up, you should consider investing in a foot pump or a SUP electric pump.
b. Less speed and agility
You may want to show off your rad SUP skills as you ride the waves and make speedy twists and turns. But for activities like serious SUP surfing, you’re better off with a rigid surf paddle board.
Inflatable SUPs have thick rails (the sides) with a lot of buoyancy. They’re hard to sink into the waves. So while you can use inflatable SUPs for surfing, rigid paddleboards are better.
The same is true in terms of speed. There is a reason why most dedicated SUP racers use solid paddleboards.
Cheaper inflatable SUPs are great if your budget doesn’t allow for a more expensive model. But keep in mind that many cheap inflatable boards have a lower weight capacity. They are likely to sag if you are heavy.
Another common reason for sagging is not inflating the board to the proper psi (air pressure).
Manufacturers will mention the right psi for their boards. So make sure you inflate your SUP properly.
The best inflatable paddle boards discussed here don’t flex or sag at all.
What to Consider When Buying an Inflatable Paddle Board
1. Build Quality
The construction of your inflatable SUP board will determine its stability, durability, and performance.
Poorly constructed iSUPs don’t last and they are not rigid. They are the reason you will hear people complaining about issues like sagging or bending.
High-quality inflatable boards are made using military-grade PVC material and a drop stitch core. They usually feature two or more PVC layers. For extra rigidity, most boards also have reinforced rails.
Manufacturers include this information along with the other SUP board specs.
The warranty period is another key detail. Stay away from paddle boards that don’t come with a warranty.
2. Intended Use
How do you plan to use your inflatable paddle board? People use paddleboards for racing, touring, SUP yoga, fishing, etc.
For activities that require speed, like touring and racing, you will need a longer and narrower SUP. So you don’t want to get a SUP that is under 11 feet long and over 32 inches wide.
For SUP activities like yoga, fishing, and paddling with kids, stability is more important than speed. So you will want to stick to wider paddle boards, 32 inches and wider.
If you prefer not to limit yourself to one or two SUP activities, consider an all-around SUP board.
Almost all the stand up paddle boards discussed here are all-around SUPs. They perform well in most water conditions and you can use them for pretty much anything.
Inflatable SUP boards come as a complete package–a carrying bag, manual pump, ankle leash, and a paddle.
The quality of accessories, however, differs.
For instance, cheap paddle boards come with a single-action pump while the more expensive ones will have a dual-action or triple-action pump. The dual-action and triple-action pumps inflate faster, with less effort.
Carbon fiber paddles are the best. Not only are they lightweight, but they also paddle more efficiently.
Aluminum paddles are the heaviest and least efficient. They mainly come with cheap inflatables.
Fiberglass paddles are lighter than aluminum paddles but not as light as carbon fiber ones. They are still great though.
Most beginners would be fine with an aluminum or fiberglass paddle. But experienced paddlers SUP a lot so they’ll most probably need a carbon fiber paddle.
The features on an inflatable paddle board add to your comfort and help you customize your SUP.
Bungee storage allows you to bring a cooler deck bag, which is necessary, especially for long paddleboarding trips. Additional D-rings will let you attach a kayak seat so you can alternate between sitting and standing.
Check for accessory mounts too. You will need somewhere to attach your fishing rod holders or an action camera.
If you will be doing yoga, you will want a large, comfortable deck pad to act as a yoga mat.
You should also decide whether you want an inflatable board with all removable fins. Some people may prefer a removable center fin and fixed side fins.
5. SUP Company’s Reputation
Now, this is important.
There are so many paddle board brands around, but not all of them can be trusted.
Check whether the company has contact information and how they respond to customers’ concerns. Brands like Atoll and iRocker are known for their fast and amazing customer service.
You want to know that your concerns will be addressed if there is a problem with your SUP.
Never ignore the feedback of other customers. Their experience can give you an idea of what to expect.
Buying an Inflatable Paddle Board: The Reality
The truth is that there’s so much to be said about choosing a paddle board. All the information can be confusing.
At the end of the day, the goal is to get a paddle board that is perfect for your needs. So here are seven practical steps to help you make an informed decision.
Step 1: Set Your Budget
Inflatable paddle board prices range from about $300 to $1500. So you can get an iSUP regardless of what your budget is.
Cheaper inflatable SUP boards, under $400, are not exactly high-quality boards. Most of them are made using low-cost materials, which is why they are available at a low price.
Mid-range inflatable SUPs cost anywhere from $500 to $800. They are reliable and most of them are nice all-around boards.
High-end paddleboards, from $900 to $1500 are usually designed for performance. This is where you will find dedicated racing inflatable boards.
If the paddle board you want is above your budget, you can always wait for holiday and clearance sales.
Step 2: Consider Your Favorite SUP Activity
Different inflatable SUP boards are made for different paddling activities–SUP racing, touring, surfing, fishing, yoga, and recreational paddling.
Having one favorite activity narrows down your options. You only have to focus on a specific SUP type.
Other boards, like most of those reviewed above, are versatile all-around SUPs. You can use them for multiple SUP activities. They are great if you are yet to decide what you want to concentrate on.
Step 3: Choose Where to Buy
With a budget and SUP type in mind, the next step is finding a seller who has what you are looking for.
Buying directly from the manufacturer is a great idea. You are more likely to get a good deal. Most of them will also answer your questions and help you pick a paddleboard.
Besides, if there is a problem with the inflatable SUP, it will be easier to get a solution.
Step 4: What Size Paddle Board Do You Need?
When it comes to paddle board size, you should look at the length, width, thickness, and volume.
Wide paddle boards, from 32 inches, are typically more stable. They are good for beginners, yoga enthusiasts, and anglers. But with width comes resistance. So the wider a paddle board is, the slower you should expect it to be.
Narrow iSUPs face less resistance and glide with ease. This is why most racing boards aren’t made wider than 30 inches.
Longer paddle boards have great speed and tracking capabilities. But they can be hard to control, especially for small paddlers or beginners.
The thickness of an inflatable SUP determines its volume. Thicker blow-up boards have more volume and tend to have a higher weight capacity.
Make sure the iSUP you want can hold your weight. Every inflatable paddleboard has a recommended weight capacity.
Step 5: Look at the Inflatable Board Features
Features like action mounts, D-rings, bungee storage, and paddle holders really come in handy. It would be nice to attach a kayak seat and other accessories when you want to try something different.
You should also consider the fin system and whether or not you’d like to have the option of removing all the fins to change the setup.
Step 6: Check Out the Paddle Board Accessories
Lastly, don’t forget to check what the inflatable SUP board comes with. Most of them will include a ready-to-paddle package, which is nice. But you should also make sure that they are high-quality accessories.
Step 7: Make an Informed Decision
You know where to buy your paddle board and you have a clear idea of what you want. It’s time to combine all those factors and choose a paddle board that is right for you.
Best Inflatable Paddle Board FAQs
Q: Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth the Money?
A: Yes, inflatable paddle boards are worth it.
Good iSUPs are virtually indestructible, which means you won’t have to worry about your board getting dinged. They are also easy to store and transport.
Q: How Do I Choose an Inflatable Paddle Board?
A: When choosing a paddle board, you should consider the build quality, size, performance, accessories, and features.
Make sure it is well-made, the right size for you, versatile, and comes with all the features you need.
See the detailed buying guide above.
Q: How Long Will an Inflatable SUP Last?
A: Inflatable paddle boards can last for years. This, however, depends on a few factors such as the quality of the SUP, how you take care of it, and how often it is used.
Q: What Makes a Good Inflatable Paddle Board?
A: This will depend on what you are looking for. But generally, a good inflatable paddle board is durable, sturdy, and stable.
Q: Can I Leave My Inflatable SUP Inflated?
A: Yes, you can. However, I’d recommend releasing a little pressure before storing so the seams are not stressed, especially if it gets warm and the air expands.
Q: How Much Does an Inflatable Paddle Board Cost?
A: Inflatable paddle boards cost anywhere from $300 to about $1500. It depends on the quality of construction as well as the quality of accessories included in the package.
Q: How Do You Store an Inflatable Paddle Board?
A: First, thoroughly rinse your paddle board with fresh water then let it dry completely. Next, deflate it, roll it up, put it in its bag, and store it in a dry place, away from sunlight.
So, which are the best inflatable SUP boards of 2021?
The Atoll 11 is our top choice for this year because it has almost everything any paddler would want in a SUP. Its construction is remarkable and it can take whatever you throw at it. We love the premium accessories too.
Its 700-pound weight capacity is also amazing, making it a good option for paddlers of all sizes.
The Atoll performs well in most water conditions. It balances speed and stability so well. Anyone would enjoy paddling it, regardless of skill level.
If you want a paddleboard with unmatched stability, I would recommend the Blackfin X. It is the best board for activities like SUP yoga, camping, fishing, and multiple riders.
You should check out the iRocker Cruiser if you are looking for an ultra versatile paddle board. The iSUP is suitable for most SUP activities, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular.
Do you have any questions about inflatable paddle boards? Feel free to ask us below. Happy paddling!