How Much Does an Inflatable Paddle Board Cost

Whenever you are looking on the web for a clearly truthful answer on this paddle board cost query. You can’t help but see a lot of answers that have different variations and stories (marketing). Even from top SUP manufacturers. 

So what is the Cost of a Good Inflatable Paddle Board? Well It Depends..

Now before I lose you I want to explain why this is. The answer ultimately depends on YOU and Your Needs

There’s a lot of advice out there saying “You get What You Pay for”. And I agree, to an extent. 

However I also have a hard time recommending a first time inflatable SUP buyer a board that costs $1000 +. 

Imagine personally recommending your friend a $1000 board and they only end up using it once a season at a local beach for an hour. Seems like a bit of a waste to me. 

The opposite can be true as well though. Imagine having a keen friend who has tried paddle boarding multiple times and loving it. You recommend him a $250 board, and it just handles like a dog. It’s wavey out and he’s just struggling to keep up with you. 

I’ve seen both scenarios play out in my experience. I have also been on your side of the question and have purchased boards that are $450 all the way up to $900

So instead of me telling you that You HAVE to pay for a paddle board that is $800 plus. I’ll be recommending manufacturers from each price range that I have either tried or have heard good second hand advice about

Below is a list of my Favorite Inflatable Paddle Boards from from each price range. 

(List)

Why are Inflatable Paddle Boards so Expensive?

When newbies think of buying an inflatable paddle board their jaw usually slams to the floor when they find out how much they cost. 

“Why is it so much? It’s just an inflatable board!”

The truth of the matter is that quite a bit goes into that inflatable board in terms of materials, manufacturing, design and handcrafted parts. Inflatable paddle boards cannot be made of the same materials as floaties because a) they would be unstable as the dickens b) Even if you were able to paddle on them you wouldn’t be going anywhere fast c) you snag it on a branch or rock, you’re done! 

Almost all inflatable paddle boards use drop stitching technology which is a very material and labor intensive process. Materials cost money and so does manufacturing! To answer the complete question scroll below as you find out more about what to look for in Inflatable Paddle Board Manufacturing

What’s the Cost of a Good Inflatable Paddle Board?

Remember how I put that lovely “It Depends” answer right in my introduction. Convincing isn’t it? Well not really, but let me get into this more and talk about criteria I use on how to judge what a good paddle board is

Criteria I use to judge If a Paddle Board is Worth it’s Price:

  1. Where Are You Looking?
  2. The Explanation of the Materials by the Manufacturer
  3. How are the Boards Manufactured?
  4. Is the Brand Constantly Evolving?
  5. The Type of Board You are Looking at
  6. The Manufacturer’s Warranty and Return Policy
  7. Paddle Board Price Ranges and What to Look For
    1. Under $700
    2. Under $1000
    3. Over $1000

Alright Lets get into it!

Where Are You Looking? 

This is a valid question and one I find that does not have equal weight put on it. If you’ve been looking at a few different websites many will pick a side and say “Don’t Shop for a board here” or “X Outlette has a lot of Chinese Knockoffs therefore it is terrible”. 

I don’t paint these as such broad strokes because I have friends who have bought from places like Amazon, Costco and they adore their boards. I’m going to go over the most common places below and talk about which brands both me and my friends recommend.

Amazon

The birthplace of many paddle board brands that have come and gone over the years. Yes it’s true Amazon is being saturated with more and more paddle board brands but there are a few that stand out from the rest. The top budget brands found on Amazon are SereneLife, Roc, Bestway and Aqua Marina

Note:
I have actually Paddled the 2021 Serenelife Free Flow paddle board and was pleasantly surprised with it’s primary stability. I would actually rate it as a top practical yoga board, especially for a smaller person

The other brands I mentioned have been on Amazon for a long time and have stood the test of time. You can tell this by how many reviews they have accumulated over the years.

On Top of that, you have the more established and more expensive direct to consumer brands such as Bluefin, Nixy, Gili and Isle that sell their boards on Amazon as well. 

Costco

Costco has had its fair share of paddle boards come through its doors. Perhaps the most famous is the Body Glove Performer 11

My friend recently bought the Body Glove Performer 11 for him and his girlfriend and they seem to love it. They paddle throughout many of the lakes of Southern Ontario and appreciated the board’s versatility. Customer Reviews also talk about it glowingly as well. 

The other boards that go through Costco are decent enough, but you get the most value out of the Body Glove Performer. On Body Glove’s original website they are marked up by over $500. Plus they have incurred over 15,000 5 star reviews on Costco

Big Box Retailers

This answer really depends from retailer to retailer but on a whole they will be selling the cheaper brands. If you are just using them to chill on the lake and go for a calm paddle for an hour or two they are not half bad. 

There’s a saying that Paddle Boarding snobs say, “if you can buy your groceries from the same store as a paddle board, it’s probably not the best quality”. To a degree this is correct if you want to get some serious use out of them. Otherwise these are not the worst places to buy paddle boards from.

AliExpress and Other Discount Sites

I would personally not recommend that you buy paddle boards from these sites. While I would not say AliExpress is a scam, I would still be wary of buying from these as most of the boards on there are Chinese Knock Offs. 

I also see ads from other discount sites all the time on Facebook and Instagram saying that the board is only $70 or something ridiculous like that. Only to read further into the comments and find out that it’s a scam or even worse, the people that did fall for it never received their board

If the price is too good to be true…It probably is. 

Direct to Consumer Sites

These are where you will start finding more legitimate “Good Quality” paddle boards. Some of my favorite brands are:

. If you are serious about paddle boarding just go direct and shop online from one of these stores. The staff will be more than knowledgeable to answer any questions you may have about the boards. The customer support from these boards going this route would be second to none. 

A lot of these brands also use distributors all across the world if you want to support local as well.

Explanation of Materials by the Manufacturer

If you are deciding to go off the board and get something that is not well known you should look at the depth they go into about their materials. Solid brands such as Nixy go into this in detail with a diagram and a brief explanation on how their boards are manufactured.  

If you are buying from places like Amazon look up the brands name in Google and see if they have a website that explains this stuff as well. 

How are the Boards Manufactured?

This is an equally important question to ask yourself. When you get into the territory of inflatable paddle boards that are $700 and under. The vast majority will probably be manufactured in China. This article by Earth River SUP has a great explanation that I’ll briefly summarize between the different layers of construction.

These boards use a single layer construction that involves drop stitch material and the plastic that it holds together. That’s not always necessarily a bad thing if you are looking for something more budget friendly. Boards that support Single layer construction are Serenlife, Roc, Aqua Marina and Bestway. 

Just know that these will not last as long as Fusion Layer and Dual Layer construction. 

But if you get something that is made of Fusion Layer or Dual Layer construction you will be paying more because more craftsmanship and care is being put into the boards. 

Fusion Layer uses a combination of drop stitch, woven fabric and the plastic coating that covers it all. Meaning there are two layers of fabric on the top and bottom layers of the board that increase it’s rigidity making it more stable. Boards such as Nixy, Red Paddle and Solstice and Earth River Sup use this type of construction on some of their boards. These are your under $1000 range paddle boards usually

Dual Layer and Triple Layer constriction are used on high end boards such as iRocker, as well as the Dual Series from Earth River SUP. The construction of these are a bit more complex. There is the first layer (The Bladder) which is surrounded by another layer of PVC fabric. If it’s a triple layer then it is surrounded by 2 layers of PVC like iRocker’s SUPs. These SUP’s are usually more expensive because of the labor intensive process these boards have to go through as well as the extra materials involved in making them. 

Is the Brand Constantly Evolving? 

A key thing to look for is to look through the archives and see how a series of board evolves through the years. If they are just changing up the color scheme year after year that’s not evolving. 

What I mean is what features have been added to the board or what accessories are added to make it better than the previous years models? If you look at the 2018 version of Irocker and you contrast them to this year’s model you will see that they are almost an entirely different board. Back in 2018 the board has no mounting points, the fins are completely different and the bag is pretty basic. Complete contrast to the newest versions. 

Chances are if you get a board that is $700 and under you will not be seeing much of an evolution, just a different color scheme. 

What Type of Board you are Looking at

The more specialist the activity, the more expensive your paddle board will be. 

  • A quality Inflatable Racing Paddle Board will easily cost you over $1000
  • A good Yoga Paddle board will start from $500
  • A quality Surfing Sup will start at $700
  • Fishing SUP’s with Add-ons start at $800

See where I’m going with this? However, if you are a beginner you will most likely buy an All Around or Cruising board. These boards can range anywhere from $180 all the way to over $1000 depending on quality of materials and the brand.

Starting out it’s probably best to get an All Around board. This is because you have not fully developed your skill level just yet (don’t worry you’ll get there!). They offer more stability and give you room to perform other activities as well. If starting out, you are balance challenged (like I was) I’d go for a wider SUP or even a Yoga SUP if that’s the direction you are looking to go. 

The Manufacturer’s Warranty and Return Policy

This is a big one, not just for SUPs but any goods that you buy online. The Longer the warranty the more trust you can have with the brand. Brands such as Red Paddle offer 5 year warranties on their boards from 2020 and beyond. This is not all SUP manufacturers though. At minimum you should be looking at:

  • 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty 
  • 30 Day Return Policy

Now the terms of the warranty and the return policy will depend from manufacturer to manufacturer. But typically the manufacturing warranty will mostly cover board defects from the manufacturer. It will not cover damage caused by you (example rock puncturing the board). Usually the Return Policy will state something like the board has to be returned in the exact same condition it was shipped to you. 

Paddle Board Price Ranges and What to Look for

Below we will be going through some price ranges and what to look for in each range.

Inflatable SUP’s $700 and Under

These boards are usually made of a Single Layer Drop Stitch Construction. These are typically the boards you would find on Amazon that are from Chinese manufacturers. Yes sometimes the big guys like iRocker or Nixy drop below these price ranges on sales but they don’t stay in this zone for very long. 

When choosing a board under $700 there’s a few variables to look for. If you are on Amazon you want to see how many reviews the board has and how long it’s been around. As stated above brands such as Bestway, Serenelife. Solstice and Aqua Marina are trusted brands to buy from because they have been in the Amazon ecosystem for a long time

As stated above I’ve heard a ton of good things about the Body Glove Performer 11 from Costco (It’s heavily discounted here when in stock). 

Note:

I was actually going to buy the Performer 11 SUP before Nixy sent me a Newport board for an unbiased review. 

Inflatable SUP’s Under $1000

These are where you find the majority of the respectable brands. These boards are made from materials that are more durable using Fusion Construction or a Dual/ Triple Layer construction process. From this area I’ve tried the Nixy Newport G4 and iRocker All Around 11 boards. 

This is where the step up into water performance happens. 

One of the first things I remember going from a $500 no name paddle board to trying Nixy and iRocker is the stability and tracking performance. They felt way more stable and when you paddled they stayed in a straighter line (tracked better). This is because boards such as the above have in-house designers who are constantly striving on making the best paddle board they possibly can

If you want an ISUP that will last you years and years this is a good price range to be in. 

Inflatable SUP’s Over $1000

Paddle Boards that are in this price range are usually because of a) craftsmanship or b) they are specialist boards. You will find some All Around boards in this range such as Red Paddle. Hala and the iRocker Blackfin XL. A lot of the time you are also getting quality accessories such as interchangeable fin set-ups, carbon paddles and very well made bags that come with the territory. 

The specialist boards in this range can be all over the map but they are usually within this range. Boards that are more pointy in stature such as touring or racing paddle boards will easily be over $1000 because of their size and design.

Giant multi-person paddle boards from these brands can also be found in this price range as well.

Inflatable Paddle Board vs Solid

This will be a post on its own but we will summarize and highlight some of the Differences between an inflatable paddle board vs solid.

Use an Inflatable Board if:

  • You do not have a lot of space
  • You want to throw the paddle board in the trunk
  • You have to walk a little bit to get to a body of water
  • You want something lightweight
  • You want something that can take a beating
  • You want to carry more onboard cargo
  • Your are on a budget (On a whole inflatables cost less usually) 
  • You want to take the board traveling

Use a Hardboard if:

  • You want more on water performance
  • You want to use it for surfing
  • You want to do some touring/ racing
  • You want something more responsive when paddling
  • You are paddling in waves

The Cost of Accessories

Most inflatable paddle boards come with all the accessories you need like a paddle, pump, bag and repair kit. However many times as you advance your skill level,you want to upgrade these accessories. Many SUPs also have cools things you can add onto them such as: 

  • PFD (This is an absolute must to buy separately)
  • SUP to Kayak conversion kits (comes with paddle blade that attaches to your SUP paddle and a kayak seat that can be latched onto your board).
  • Drink Holders
  • Rod Holders
  • Cell Phone Holders
  • Go Pro Holders
  • Deck Bags
  • Speakers
  • Fishing Racks

The only thing on here which you must buy is the PFD. The rest is really up to you!

So? What SHOULD an Inflatable Paddle Board Cost?

An inflatable paddle board’s price should be representative of how often you use it. If you are thinking of going paddling twice a week or more I’d throw a bit more money down and get a board in the Under $1000 range

If you are getting a board that you will only be using once and a while (for example a cabin) and you are not expecting too much. Go ahead and dabble into the under $700 range.

If you are using your board for a very specific reason IE touring, fishing or surfing. Then you will probably need to dip above the $1000 range

Remember to keep a close eye on the following when looking for a SUP

  • The Explanation of the Materials by the Manufacturer
  • How are the Boards Manufactured?
  • Is the Brand Constantly Evolving?
  • The Type of Board You are Looking at
  • The Manufacturer’s Warranty and Return Policy

Hope this helped and enjoy your time on the water! If you guys have any comments, come hit up our Facebook Page!