If we had to choose one word to describe power boats, it would be – sexy. Everything about them is irresistible, from their sleek look to how they effortlessly cruise through the water leaving powerful waves in their wake. They’re addictive, intoxicating, loud, and guaranteed to take your breath away every time you’re inside one.
Then, there’s the fact that they are capable of reaching hair-raising, eye-watering, neck-snapping speeds. Their performance on the water is unmatched.
Let’s put it this way – once you turn on that ignition, step on the accelerator, and feel its raw power vibrating underneath you itching to take-off, no other boat in the word will be worth your affection. We love power boats, can you tell?
Without further ado, here are the 10 best power boats for 2020.
1. Baja 36 Outlaw
“Speed Changes You.” That’s Baja’s slogan. So, you know any boat they build focuses on speed and performance, which is at the heart of every power boat.
The Baja 36 Outlaw is the perfect embodiment of the company’s mission – to make boats that go fast. Everything about it is built for high performance. The fact that it is also easy on the eye makes it a definite winner in our books.
It has a true carbon-reinforced V-hull that’s built to endure the toughest conditions to deliver rugged performance at every turn. We particularly like the deck’s sculpted design and built-in windscreen that allows the Outlaw to slice through the air with minimal drag when chasing adrenaline-pumping speeds.
Its raw power comes from a 380hp Twin Mercruiser 8.2L engine, although you can upgrade it to a 520hpTwin engine if you want even more power. Standard features include composite non-wood deck core, fiberglass grid stringer system, dual ram hydraulic steering, and a power actuator motor hatch.
It also has LED navigation lights and an air conditioning system with Reverse Cycle Heat technology. It comes with several comfort and convenience features, including a white aluminum swim platform with a 4-step ladder, stainless steel grab rails and pull-up cleats, a custom Venturi windscreen, and a powder-coated bow rail.
The 36 Outlaw is not only built for speed; it is also crafted to deliver superior comfort.
● It’s a beauty
● Comes with plenty of comfort and convenience features
● Spacious interior
● Loud motor sound
2. Chaparral 300 OSX
As far as premium power boats go, it doesn’t get any better than the Chaparral 300 OSX. Now, that’s a boat that was designed with the luxury and high-performance boater in mind.
It is powered by a 25L 700hp engine and has a ton of advanced tech features that make this particular watercraft one of the most powerful premium power boats we’ve come across. We especially love the dynamic helm system that offers an unprecedented comfort level during long-range cruises, even at high speeds.
You can even rotate the helm seat from its navigational position and move it to the starboard deck to create an open cockpit atmosphere perfect for entertaining. Standard features of the 300 OSX include bow lounge seating with two foldable armrests, fiberglass cabin, LED lighting, aluminum dash panels, digital gauge, tilt hydraulic steering, and lots more.
● 700hp capability
● Combines high-performance and luxury
● 100% fuel-reliant with no alternative backup power source if fuel runs out
3. Boston Whaler 110 Sport
There are some pretty swanky boats out there that come with some pretty swanky price tags attached to them. This fact becomes even more apparent when shopping for a shiny new power boat. Speed and high-performance often come at a cost. The good news is – you don’t have to break the bank to own one.
The Boston Whaler 110 Sport is the perfect example of a budget power boat that delivers a ton of value for its low price. While it may not get you the mind-numbing speeds that higher-end vessels are capable of delivering, its 25hp Mercury engine will give you a modest adrenaline rush.
The 110 Sport comes with a removable fuel tank, bow locker with overboard drain for ample storage, and stainless steel side rails for maximum safety and security when cruising at high speeds. If you’re looking for a durable, functional, and fun power boat, the Boston Whaler 110 Sport will not disappoint.
● Super affordable
● Compact and lightweight
● Functional and durable
● Unstable windy conditions
4. Bayliner VR6 Bowrider
With a maximum horsepower of 250hp, the Bayliner VR6 Bowrider was designed for lake cruising at exceptional speeds. It has a roomy cockpit thanks largely to Bayliner’s AftAdvantage™ design and a V-shaped hull that allows it to cut through the water with minimal resistance.
One of the great things about the VR6 is how multipurpose it is. It supports a wide range of lake activities, including watersports and fishing. It also comes with an integrated swim platform to add to its versatility, which is a feature you won’t often find in many power boats.
If you’re the sort of person who also likes to entertain, you’ll be happy to know that the VR6 can comfortably accommodate a maximum of 10 people. All in all, if you’re looking for a high-performance lake boat, this might be just the vessel for you.
● Large seating capacity
● Maximum 250hp horsepower
● Supports a wide range of lake-specific boating activities
● Unstable in choppy waters
5. Skater 438
Skater’s range of high-performance power boats has been affectionately christened the Bugattis of the water. They are sleek, powerful, and fast, which is why these boats have become one of the most sought-after brands in the industry today.
Skater’s passion for power and speed shines through the Skater 438. It is powered by a 1350hp Mercruiser engine and can achieve top speeds of 175+ mph, even when it is fully loaded with 600 gallons of fuel and a full 9-passenger capacity.
It is built with a deep-V-hull design and an exceptionally-long running surface to deliver maximum stability and a smooth ride in offshore rough water conditions, without any performance loss whatsoever.
Standard features of the 438 include a vacuum-bagged S-glass, Kevlar, and carbon composite construction, custom bucket seats for superior comfort, engine support stringers, and a grade balsa core.
● Stable in rough offshore conditions
● Maximum 1350hp horsepower
● Sleek, sporty design
● Loud motor sound
6. Nor-Tech 452 Superfish
Just because you value performance doesn’t mean you should compromise on functionality, either. The Nor-Tech 452 Superfish makes it possible for you to have your cake and eat it. This versatile power boat is ideal for fishing, entertaining, or taking your family out for a fun day on the water.
When it’s the speed you crave, the 452 Superfish turns into a beast capable of reaching 150+ mile-per-hour speeds in the water, even at full 800-gallon and maximum passenger capacity.
It has tons of comfort and convenience, including air conditioning, headroom, stowage, and fishing necessities like two 60-gallon live wells, fishing rod holders, a foldable fishing tower, and lots more.
The 452 Superfish power boat is as versatile as they come.
● Perfect for family outings
● Highly versatile
● Comes with loads of comfort and convenience features
● Poor fuel economy
7. Grady White Canyon 376
If you’re new to the world of power boating, you need something to ease you in but powerful enough to give you that thrilling feeling of cruising through the water at high speeds.
The Grady White Canyon 376 is a great option for beginners. It has a V-hull that’s designed to cut through the water with ease along, with a wide beam and roomy interior to provide the creature comforts you seek when you’re out on the water.
The best thing about the Canyon 376 is that it is designed as a family-oriented cabin-style power boat, which makes it ideal for an overnight stay for those days you just can’t get enough of the water.
Standard features of this vessel that make it ideal for beginners include a self-bailing cockpit, stainless steel low-profile bow grab rail, cockpit toe rails, fire extinguisher holder, and Captain Grady digital boat systems for mobile devices.
● Ideal for beginner users
● Overnighting capability
● A watertight cockpit and deck may lead to flooding in choppy waters
8. 36-Sport Power Catamaran
There’s nothing more exhilarating than cruising to different destinations while living aboard your boat. It’s the best way to experience different cultures and visit exotic locations while avoiding all the anxiety associated with staying at local hotels.
The 36-Sport Power Catamaran is arguably one of the best liveaboard power boats you’ll ever come across. It is powered by twin 350hp Mercury Verado engines and offers all the conveniences of a large yacht at a power boat price.
It has ample liveaboard space and can comfortably sleep six passengers with two in the salon. It has two cabins, two private en-suite heads, three showers, and a topside kitchen that comes with a built-in smokeless grill.
The 36-Sport Power was truly built for adventure.
● Designed to offer superior comfort
● Can comfortably sleep six passengers
● Comes with plenty of comfort and convenience features
● Pricier than other power boats in its class
9. Fountain 38SC
High-performance boats are designed for speed. The Fountain 38SC was built to do just that. With a whopping 1600hp horsepower churned out by its Mercury Quad engines, the 38SC is a beast on the water.
It has a roomy center console, a wide 10 ft. 6 in. beam, and 418-gallon fuel capacity. Its high-density fiberglass-reinforced core makes it exceptionally durable. Other standard features include LED navigation lights, performance-matched Mercury propellers, a corrosion-resistant aluminum fuel tank, and a carbon-fiber-reinforced dash panel.
One notable feature of the 38SC is just how fuel-efficient it is despite its powerful engine capabilities. It burns fuel at 160 GPH and has a 235-mile range, which is pretty incredible for a power boat of its caliber.
● Excellent fuel economy
● Powerful engine for unmatched high-performance capabilities
● Spacious interior
● It gets pretty loud
10. Baja 24 Outlaw
If you’re on the hunt for a nice, compact, yet powerful power boat, you can’t go wrong with the Baja 24 Outlaw. At 24 ft. 8 in., this power boat packs a punch for its size. It is not only designed to go fast but is also perfect for entertaining on a day or night out on the water with friends.
It is built with integrated steps to provide easy access to the forward deck and an expansive sun pad for relaxing, sunbathing, or gathering when you have company over. It also has a spacious cabin that’s big enough to sleep two if you ever want to stay out overnight.
A 300hp 6.2L Mercruiser engine powers it, although you could opt for a 380hp 8.2L engine if you crave more power. The 24 Outlaw’s standard features include dual batteries, auto/manual bilge pumps, LED navigation lights, aluminum swim platform, and many more. It also comes with a JL Marine audio system that’s guaranteed to keep the party going for as long as you need it to.
● Comes with loads of comfort and convenience features
● 6-passenger capacity
● If the engine breaks down, you may be left stranded in the water
How to Choose the Best Power Boats – Buyer’s Guide
With so many different types of power boats in the market right now, how do you choose the best one? Here are some important factors to consider when picking the best power boat for your lifestyle.
1. New vs. Used Power Boats
First off, you need to figure out whether you want to buy a new or a used power boat. While each of them has its pros and cons, the choice of one over the other ultimately boils down to the price.
If you intend to buy a brand new boat straight from the manufacturer, keep in mind that it will likely come with a hefty price tag attached to it, compared to buying a used model with similar specs. Of course, if you can afford it, then that’s always a better option.
However, you can find some pretty fantastic used boats that will give you excellent service for several years to come. You just need to know where to look and what to look for when buying a used model.
Buying a Used Power Boat
You should generally stay away from power boats that have:
- Any signs of moisture penetration in the hull or core of the boat
- Indentations in the hull
- Oil leaks
- Signs of corrosion in the metallic hull
- Signs of rudder and propeller damage
Ensure that you also conduct a thorough background check on the used boat to find out things like how long it has been on sale, whether it’s been involved in any accidents, if it has any outstanding mortgages on it, and its general history. Take it out for a sea trial to get a feel for how it runs and handles in the water.
Buying a New Power Boat
Buying a new boat is always a better alternative if you can afford it. You can buy it directly from the manufacturer or through an authorized dealer. Ensure that you receive a builder’s certificate. This is usually the standard procedure when buying a new boat.
Before you sign on the dotted line, check to make sure that a sea trial is included in the terms of the purchase. In the same way, you wouldn’t purchase a car without first taking it for a test run; never purchase a boat before testing it out on the water.
2. Power Boat Types
Power boats come in several different shapes and sizes, each of which is suited to a particular purpose. Here are the main ones to consider when choosing a power boat.
Bowrider Power Boat
Bowriders are made for sunny days. They usually have a lounge space on the compact bow platform up-front that can seat a couple of people.
Although most of them are not typically built for high performance, some market models come with powerful inboard engines that propel the bowrider through the water at relatively fast speeds.
They are also perfect for fishing and entertaining, making them a great choice for anyone looking for a multipurpose power boat.
Center Console Power Boat
Speaking of multipurpose boats, center consoles are no doubt one of the most functional general-purpose crafts around. They leave plenty of room for fishing all around the deck and have the option of adding furniture for those days you want to entertain.
CC power boats are not only built for efficiency and agile handling. They are also designed for high-performance.
Power cruisers generally come in two flavors: Sporty power boats with small cuddy cabins in the bow, whose emphasis is on high-performance, and large cruisers with larger seating capacities and comfortable interiors, whose emphasis is on comfort and convenience.
These naturally tend to cost more than other types of power boats, so keep that in mind when shopping for one.
3. Hull Design
The other thing you need to consider when choosing the best power boat is the hull type. Your choice all comes down to where you’ll be using it. Here’s what you need to know.
Power boats with displacement hulls are ideal for heavier vessels, particularly those with a high weight capacity. They usually have excellent fuel economy and are built to handle the choppy waters of rough seas. Although they are slower than power boats with other designs, they are well suited for long-range cruising.
Power boats with planning hulls are designed to skim over the water once they reach cruising speeds. They are generally built using lightweight materials, which are partly responsible for their high performance. But that also means they have a much lower weight capacity.
Although their maintenance costs and fuel consumption is higher than average, they are superfast on the water, making them perfect for boaters who crave adrenaline-inducing speed. Power boats with planing hulls are ideal for use on inshore lakes where the water isn’t as choppy.
Power boats with these types of hulls fall smack in the middle of the spectrum. They offer the best of both worlds.
Unlike planing hulls, semi-displacement hulls are not only sturdy enough to handle larger weight capacities but can also move at relatively faster speeds compared to their displacement-hull counterparts. These are ideal for use both inshore and offshore.
Aside from the cost of the boat itself, you also need to consider the expenses associated with running a boat. You’re not just buying the boat; you also have to budget for its annual running costs, including – but not limited to – fuel, harbor fees, marina dues, boat insurance, fuel costs, upkeep, and maintenance expenses.
Generally, the bigger and more sophisticated a boat is, the more expensive it will be to run it. Used boats also tend to have lower operational costs compared to brand new, fresh-off-the-boat-factory boats since everything – the upfront price, insurance, and maintenance – is lower. However, this only counts if you didn’t purchase a lemon.
Finally, you need to think about the overall utility of the boat. A power boat is a remarkable instrument of speed – there’s no question about that. But you also need to consider the overall functionality of the boat.
If you want to use it for fishing, you need to find one that comes with lots of fishing-friendly features like rod holders, live wells, and center consoles.
If you also intend to entertain or take your family out on the water from time to time, consider getting a power cruiser. These have a large seating capacity and are perfect for overnight stays.
So, ensure that the power boat you get aligns with your intended purpose for it.
Fast, Fun, and Functional
There you have it – the 10 best power boats for 2020 and a comprehensive guide on choosing the best one. If you’re in the market for a new one, any of the models detailed in this review would be an excellent choice.