The 7 Best Boat Covers of 2021

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The Rundown

Best Overall: MSC Heavy Duty 600D Waterproof Boat Cover at Amazon

"Features allow for a close-to-custom fit."

Best Budget: Goodsmann 150-Denier Boat Cover at Amazon

"The most affordable option with a positive review rating."

Most Trailerable: iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover at Amazon

"Specifically designed to withstand high winds on the freeway."

Best UV-Resistant: Seamander's Heavy Duty Boat Cover at Amazon

"Silver coating offers added protection from harmful UV rays."

Best for Center Consoles: Classic Accessories StormPro at Amazon

"Cover support pole...helps to prevent the cover from becoming stretched or damaged by water pooling."

Best for Hard Top and T-Top: Classic Accessories StormPro Heavy Duty T-Top Boat Cover at Amazon

"Marine-grade polyester cover won’t shrink or stretch, with coatings to provide max water repellency."

Best for Tenders & Dinghies: Benflyworld Inflatable Dinghy Cover at Amazon

"Ideal for tenders, dinghies, and inflatables measuring up to 10 feet long and five feet wide."

Best for Pontoons: Budge P-1600-1 Ripstop Pontoon Cover at Amazon

"Robust enough to stand up against the harshest of winter weather, it’ll protect your vessel from dirt, dust, bird droppings. "

Best Customizable: Taylor Made Custom T-Top at taylormadeproducts.com

"They work with you to take your whole boating set-up into account so that you’re guaranteed custom coverage."

The best products to protect your craft—whether it’s a t-top, pontoon, or dingy—from the elements.

As any boat owner will tell you, there’s always something in need of repair. And that’s why it’s smart and sensible to outfit your craft with a boat cover, which will protect your boat when not in use from the damaging impacts of rain, snow, and the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It also blocks out salt air, as well as bird droppings, lengthening the longevity—and cleanliness—of your prized possession. The best ones have an almost-custom fit, with extra straps to lock things down, and can be tossed on or off in as little as five minutes. These are the best boat covers.

Best Overall: MSC Heavy Duty 600D Waterproof Boat Cover

What We Like
  • Lots of sizes available

What We Don't Like
  • Straps have loose ends

Boat covers are essential for protecting your boat and ensuring it stays in great condition. The MSC Heavy Duty Waterproof Boat Cover is the ultimate all-rounder. Made from 600-denier marine-grade polyester canvas, it receives rave reviews for its ability to withstand all types of weather. A double polyurethane coating increases the cover’s water-resistance. It’s also mildew and UV-resistant, and won’t shrink or stretch even after prolonged exposure to the elements. It can be used for mooring, storage, and trailering, thanks to the included adjustable straps and the elastic cord sewn into the bottom of the hem.

Together, these features allow for a close-to-custom fit. The straps also boast handy quick-release buckles. Choose from six different models, designed to fit a range of boat lengths and beam widths, including V-hull, runabout, tri-hull, and pro-style bass boat shapes. Similarly, the neutral gray color is intended to complement any paintwork or decals. When you’re not using the cover, store it in the included drawstring canvas bag to keep your boathouse looking shipshape. The cover comes with a limited three-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Straps: 11 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 8.8 Pounds

Best Budget: Goodsmann 150-Denier Boat Cover

What We Like
  • Wobbling rope, two pieces of elastic ropes and plastic hooks are included

What We Don't Like
  • The polyester fabric may suffer sun damage

The Goodsmann Boat Cover is the most affordable option with a positive review rating. It’s made from 150-denier marine-grade polyester, making it a lightweight cover best suited to mild weather conditions. A heavy-duty cord sewn into the hemline helps to provide a secure fit, while the included rope and stretch cords can be attached to the hem’s integrated D-rings to keep the cover in place. The cover also features double-stitched seams and fabric reinforcements at the bow and stern. Choose from four different models to suit a range of boat sizes and styles.

Straps: 1 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 4.8 Pounds

Most Trailerable: iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover

What We Like
  • Lots of color options

  • Has an elastic cord for a snug fit

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as other models

Available in gray, blue, or tan, the iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover is specifically designed to withstand high winds on the freeway. A heavy-duty elastic cord sewn into the hem combines with integrated buckled straps to allow for a tight fit. The bow, windshield, stern, and other stress points feature reinforced panels; while the seams are double-stitched for extra strength. Rear air vents on both sides of the cover also help to reduce wind pressure while trailering.

The same vents come in handy when storing your boat, by preventing the cover from tearing during high winds and minimizing condensation build-up. Whether you opt for 300-denier or 600-denier marine-grade polyester canvas, the polyurethane-coated cover is UV and mildew-resistant. It’s also impressively easy to clean and comes with its own storage bag and instructions. Select the correct length and beam width to fit your V-hull, tri-hull, runabout, or bass boat requirements.

Straps: 5 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 4.9 Pounds

Best UV-Resistant: Seamander's Heavy Duty Boat Cover

What We Like
  • Very durable

  • 100 percent waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • The support pole is sold separately

Those living in particularly sunny climates may prefer Seamander's Heavy Duty Boat Cover. The cover’s silver coating offers added protection from harmful UV rays—which can fade your boat’s gelcoat finish and fabrics, crack your timber and plastic fittings, and make the rubber on your fuel hoses brittle. Essentially, the more UV rays you block, the longer your boat can go without requiring expensive repairs.

The fabric is a marine-grade polyester canvas, which is also waterproof and mildew-resistant. The cover is intended for storage, mooring, or trailing, with reinforcement panels and double-stitched seams to help reduce wind pressure on the road. Choose from a range of different lengths and beam widths, then use the adjustable straps to secure the elasticated hemline snugly around your boat. This cover also comes with a storage bag.

Straps: 11 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 8.7 Pounds

Best for Center Consoles: Classic Accessories StormPro Center Console Boat Cover

What We Like
  • Support pole comes included

  • Has a five-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • No ultraviolet light protection

The Classic Accessories StormPro Center Console Boat Cover provides the additional space needed to protect your center console from the elements as well. It’s made from 600-denier marine-grade polyester canvas and earns praise from reviewers for its heavy-duty feel and five-year limited warranty. You can use it for long-term storage, or for travel on the highway.

Your purchase includes a storage bag, trailering straps, and a cover support pole. The latter helps to prevent the cover from becoming stretched or damaged by water pooling on top of it. The hem is elasticated for a snug fit, while the adjustable straps connect to integrated quick-release buckles. There are four different lengths and beam widths to choose from, all of which come in a smart charcoal color that adds to your boat’s overall aesthetic.

Straps: 4 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 10 Pounds

Best for Hard Top and T-Top: Classic Accessories StormPro Heavy Duty T-Top Boat Cover

What We Like
  • Includes a support pole to avoid pooling

  • Comes with a storage case

What We Don't Like
  • Only suitable for certain boat sizes

Suitable for t-top boats between 17 and 24 feet, with a beam width of up to 116 inches, the StormPro Heavy Duty T-Top Boat Cover from Classic Accessories comes with a full cut to allow for extra room to cover your boat and boat accessories like bow rails and running lights. The marine-grade polyester cover won’t shrink or stretch, with coatings to provide max water repellency, UV protection, and mildew resistance. An elastic cord provides an almost-custom fit, with an integrated strap and buckle system to make it easy to get the cover on and off your craft. Dual vents at the back help air circulate to fend off condensation, and zippered access at the top (with a buckle attachment) makes it easy to get into the cockpit without taking off the entire cover.

Straps: 6 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 22 Pounds

Best for Tenders & Dinghies: Benflyworld Inflatable Dinghy Cover

What We Like
  • Inexpensive.

What We Don't Like
  • No straps or elastic included

The Benflyworld Inflatable Dinghy Cover is ideal for tenders, dinghies, and inflatables measuring up to 10 feet long and five feet wide. It also fits tenders with low consoles (but not windscreens). The marine-grade polyester is slightly lighter than most of the others on this list, but that also helps keep the price down—handy if you have to purchase a cover for your primary vessel as well. Nevertheless, the polyurethane coating offers an impressive level of water-resistance.

Straps: 0 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 4.41 Pounds

Best for Pontoons: Budge P-1600-1 Ripstop Pontoon Cover

What We Like
  • Seven-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn’t come with a support pole or structure

The multi-layered P-1600-1 Ripstop Pontoon Cover from Budge uses a durable, ripstop polyester fabric along with a durable outer layer to provide 100 percent waterproof protection, while still allowing air circulation via the breathable middle layer to prevent mold or mildew build-up. Robust enough to stand up against the harshest of winter weather, it’ll protect your vessel from dirt, dust, bird droppings, tree sap, rain, snow, and practically anything else that could damage your pontoon. Available in two lengths—17 to 20 feet, and 24 to 28 feet, each with a beamwidth of up to 110 inches—it uses an elasticized hem along with sewn-in straps and buckles to secure the cover to the boat, and the microfiber fleece lining the inner layer will help protect your boat from damage and wear.

Straps: 3 | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: 22 Pounds

Best Customizable: Taylor Made Custom T-Top

Taylor Made Custom T-Top

Courtesy of Taylor Made

What We Like
  • Free Fed-Ex shipping

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Taylor Made has been crafting boat covers for more than 110 years and has perfected the ability to build covers that are engineered to go on and off quickly, last for years, and protect your boat. They offer three marine-grade mildew-resistant polyester fabric options (all with UV protection), and serge stitches the seams during the construction process, using five threads that are never exposed to the damaging impacts of the sun. The hem around the bottom of the cover uses a two-needle stitching process, with a 5/16th-inch-diameter rope so you can tighten the boat around the hull, a secure fit that’s further assured thanks to two-inch webbing straps with quick-release buckles and optional tie-down straps. And they don’t just work off your boat’s make and model; they work with you to take your whole boating set-up into account so that you’re guaranteed custom coverage.

Straps: Varies | Waterproof: Yes | Weight: Varies

Final Verdict

Thanks to its bomber 600-denier marine-grade polyester canvas construction, the MSC Heavy Duty Waterproof Boat Cover will work in almost any situation, from mooring, storage, or trailering. It boasts both mildew and UV resistance, and a close-to-custom fit from among six different models. But if you typically store your boat on a trailer, consider the iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover, which features reinforced panels at the bow, windshield, stern, and other stress points, with rear air vents flanking both sides to fend off wind pressure while driving.

What to Look for

Materials

You should consider carefully how your boat cover has been treated—and what it’s been treated with. After all, it’s there to protect your boat from the elements, so making sure it can stand up against them is critical. You want your cover to be mildew-resistant, water-resistant, and offer protection against harmful UV rays. Marine-grade polyester canvas is one of the most durable options for a boat cover, and coatings like polyurethane increase the resistance of the cover further.

Warranty

You should definitely look up your boat cover’s warranty before you make your final decision. These aren’t exactly cheap, and you want to be sure that the one you’re buying is good quality—and that you’re protected if it’s not. Look for warranties that can last a few years, and read the fine print carefully.

Weight

Of course, any material large enough to cover a boat isn’t going to be light. The heavier the boat cover, the more weight it has to stay put in its battened-down position. Weight often correlates with a little more durability as well. However, bulky covers are harder to navigate in terms of taking them on and off.

FAQs

What type of boat cover should I get?

In general, boat covers break out into those suitable for storage and those for trailering. “Storage covers are designed to fit loosely and are best used for protecting boats at anchor, at the dock, or when stored on a trailer,” says Burden with West Marine, a leading marine retailer with both an online and multiple brick-and-mortar retail presence.  “Trailer covers, on the other hand, must have a snug fit and reinforcement in high-water areas to withstand the rigors of traveling at highway speeds.”

How should you clean your boat covers?

“Wash your cover with mild soap or detergent,” advises Tom. “Shake out dust, use a garden hose to rinse off dirt, or use compressed air for stubborn dirt. Do not use a scrub brush, put into the washer or dryer, use bleach or harsh astringents.” For more suborn stains or instances of mold or mildew, consider an after-market cleaner specific for marine canvas. And always be sure to air dry the boat cover completely.

How do you prevent covers from collecting water?

Standing water can dramatically impact the durability of even the burliest of boat covers. A tight fit is essential so that the water runs off the flat surface, rather than pooling on top. Tom recommends considering a semi-custom or custom cover. Semi-custom covers are “designed to fit several makes and models with the same hull type.”  Most boat covers come in sizes by range (typically in feet, usually in two- to three-foot groupings), which means that the “perfect” boat cover to fit your boat may have some excess fabric. To prevent pooling be sure to tie or strap things down so that the covers lie taut. And also consider a support pole or support system, which sits inside the boat, under the cover, to create a tent-like sloped surface to avoid pooling water. “A custom cover made just for the year, make and model of your boat, and designed to cover its individual accessories, will fit like a custom-tailored suit,” says Tom. “It costs the most, but is the easiest to put on and remove, is the best for trailering, and will last the longest.”

Why You Should Trust TripSavvy

The authors of this article have been rating, reviewing, and testing outdoor and travel products for decades. Extensive research into the product landscape of boat covers was undertaken, with input from verified customers, experts in the field, and both pro and amateur boaters. Other considerations like price, durability, and ease of use were also taken into account.

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