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Which pedal boat is best?


A pedal boat is a human-powered watercraft, designed for one, two or more people. Paddlewheels mounted under the boat propel the craft through the water and are powered by pedaling, much like a bicycle. They are great fun for the whole family and are ideal for use on calm waterways such as ponds, lakes and rivers.

There are several important factors to consider if you are interested in purchasing a pedal boat. Safety for the users and those nearby is essential. Additionally, the boat should be durable, have the right weight capacity and include the necessary accessories to ensure your time on the water is as risk-free and enjoyable as possible.

A top choice is the Pelican Sport – Monaco. It can seat up to five and has a 695-pound weight capacity, built-in cup holders and coolers and convenient carrying handles.

What to know before you buy a pedal boat


Pedal boats come in various sizes to accommodate different numbers of people. It is important not to exceed the boat’s maximum weight capacity, as doing so may cause it to flip over. Typically, pedal boats are designed to comfortably hold two to five people.


Coast Guard-approved life jacket

Coast Guard-approved life jacket

As with any water-related activity, utmost care should be taken at all times. Keep within a safe distance of the shoreline and always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. A whistle or a flag can be kept on board to signal for help during emergencies. Additionally, a canopy will protect users from harmful UV rays — or if not, remember to bring sunscreen.

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Optional extras

The extra features found on a boat can drastically affect the price, so it’s worth deciding what you really need. Things like a cool box, cup holders, a drain plug, fishing rod holders, adjustable seats and a storage cover all come at a premium and may not be necessary for everyone. Some electric pedal boats are available with a small motor for when your legs get tired.

What to look for in a quality pedal boat


Several materials may be used in the construction of a pedal boat. The most common are plastic and fiberglass, which are both relatively lightweight and durable. Aluminum boats are less common and are usually more expensive. It is important to consider the pedal mechanism, as plastic gearing and drivetrains will wear out much quicker than all-metal ones.


anchor bag

Anchor bag

If you want to use your boat for fishing, then you will need an anchor. However, anchors can be cumbersome and heavy. A good alternative is an anchor bag, which is easy to store and can be filled with sand or rocks when needed.

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mooring cover

Mooring cover

Before deciding to purchase one of these pedal boats, you need to think about storage space. Most are around 2 meters in length and over a meter wide. Ideally, it is best to store boats under shelter from the elements. If you don’t have space to keep it indoors, then a high-quality mooring cover will prevent water and debris from accumulating inside.

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How much you can expect to spend on a pedal boat

Small pedal boats with a low weight capacity start at around $500. Vessels for four or five people with additional extras can cost up to $2,500.

Pedal boat FAQ

Can I use a pedal boat on the ocean?

A. Pedal boats are not designed for use on rough or choppy waters and will most likely capsize under such conditions. Further, most pedal boats are made for freshwater use only, and using them in the ocean may result in corrosion of or degradation to the mechanical components.

Do pedal boats need regular maintenance?

A. Proper maintenance will prolong the life of the boat and minimize the need for costly repairs. Before storage, it should be thoroughly cleaned using fresh water. It may also be necessary to apply grease to the pedal mechanism periodically. A full inspection of the vessel should be carried out before each use.

How do I transport a pedal boat?

A. To transport a pedal boat, you will need a large enough vehicle, such as a truck. Alternatively, a small trailer or a set of sturdy roof bars can be used. Ensure it is tied securely to avoid damage to the boat or any other vehicles during transit. 

What’s the best pedal boat to buy?

Top pedal boat

Pelican Sport - Monaco

Pelican Sport – Monaco 

What you need to know: An excellent choice for up to five people, this boat comes with adjustable seats and wide pedals.

What you’ll love: It features built-in cup  holders and a storage compartment.

What you should consider: The two back seats are only big enough for children.

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Top pedal boat for the money

DIVTEK Inflatable Kayak & Pedal Boat

DIVTEK Inflatable Kayak & Pedal Boat

What you need to know: This budget-friendly option is a fun bikeboat with pedals.

What you’ll love: It includes the water bike, pump, float and repair tools.

What you should consider: Its compact size can make pedaling difficult for some users.

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Worth checking out

BKC PK13 Pedal-Driven Fishing Kayak

BKC PK13 Pedal-Driven Fishing Kayak

What you need to know: This one-person fishing kayak has a capacity of up to 550-pounds and comes with an ergonomic seat, a paddle and pedal-driven system.

What you’ll love: The kayak is made from polyethylene and is perfect for ocean, river or lake.

What you should consider: Some users reported that the delivery and customer service is slow.

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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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