The 9 Best Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboards of 2021

Take your paddleboarding anywhere with these top SUP models

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TRIPSAVVY-best-inflatable-paddleboards

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 at Amazon

"The Adventurer 2 strikes a nice balance of stability and performance."

Best Budget: Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP at Walmart

"An affordable paddleboard that's great for people who are new to the sport or those who are on a budget."

Best Splurge: Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable SUP at Austin Kayak

"It's stable enough for total beginners, but you won't be needing to upgrade as soon as you get better."

Best Lightweight: Beyond Marina Inflatable Paddle Board at Amazon

"The Beyond Marina board is at least 5 pounds lighter than most at just over 16 pounds."

Best for Big and Tall: Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board at Atoll

"Atoll's beefy board is great for larger riders that find themselves sinking other boards."

Best for Families: Bluefin Cruise Carbon 15-Foot SUP at Amazon

"It's rated to carry 529 pounds, so you can realistically float with an adult and two kids."

Best for Fishing: Sea Eagle FishSUP at Amazon

"Features a mounting area for a trolling motor, four rod holders, and lots of attachment points for locking down gear."

Best for Yoga: Bote Breeze Aero at Dick's Sporting Goods

"Hold steady on a wide, stable base designed for those that prefer their yoga mat to float."

Best for Touring: NRS Escape Inflatable SUP at REI

"The board's long 14-foot length makes it suitable for long-distance and overnight tours on the water."

Stand-up paddleboarding is a growing sport and that growth is thanks in part to inflatables making the sport more affordable and practical for a wider group of people. Not only are inflatables generally cheaper than rigid boards, but they are easier to transport. Most paddleboards are at least 10 feet long and up to 3 feet wide or more, making them impractical for most vehicles besides large trucks. The wide array of inflatable SUPs makes it possible to take your paddleboard on vacation, down the street, or even deep in the backcountry to an alpine lake. We researched top paddleboards across several categories, taking into account their size, shape, and accessories so you can find the one that lets you paddle the way you prefer.

Read on to learn more about the best paddleboards available.

Best Overall: Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2

4
What We Like
  • Easy to manuever

  • Good for beginners

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Slower through the water due to its size

  • Doesn't include leash

First popularized on Shark Tank and invested in by Mark Cuban, Tower makes affordable boards that are great for beginner and intermediate paddlers. The Adventurer 2 strikes a nice balance of stability and performance, and at 10 feet and 4 inches, it’s a great size for women and smaller riders who can be bogged down by bigger boards.

The Adventurer 2 is built for flat water which is where most of today’s SUPers paddle and the built-in fins are rubberized for resistance to bumps and dings both on the water and in transit. It's very durable—our product tester noted how "stiff and rugged it felt compared to other inflatables," so it will work well for beginners too. The board is also sold with essential equipment including the paddle, pump, and center fin, though you can buy just the board if you already have those items.

Size: 124 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 2-year manufacturer's |
Weight: 26 lbs.

“Unlike some cheaper inflatables, the Adventurer 2 is remarkably stiff, and while it can’t match that of a rigid epoxy or fiberglass SUP, the difference is minor for all but the most demanding riders.”Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Budget: Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP

Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP

Courtesy of Walmart

4.4
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Good for beginners

  • Includes kayaking attachments

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for larger riders

  • Turning is difficult

If the price tags on paddleboards give you sticker shock, you’re probably a first-time paddleboarder. Truth is, though many boards cost over $1,000, you can get into the sport with a first board for far less. The Bestway HydroForce doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, but it features mostly the same construction, boasts similar dimensions, and offers a great beginner experience.

We found the included sit-down kayaking option a little goofy and a great way to get wet, but it’s optional and the rest of the board is fairly standard. The rounded nose means slower planing than more performance-oriented boards, but if you’re new to the sport, you won’t notice. The listed capacity is 209 pounds and at 10 feet long this board is definitely better suited for average-sized riders or smaller.

Size: 120 x 32 x 4 in. | Material: TriTech | Warranty: 6-month limited |
Weight: 34 lbs.

“The White Cap is stable, which is partly because of its fairly wide (32 inches) deck area, and as such, it’s a great option for most beginners.”Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Splurge: Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable SUP

Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard

Courtesy of Red Paddle Co

What We Like
  • Removable tail fin

  • Good maneuverability

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Moves faster through the water

The 11-foot, 3-inch Sport board from Red Paddle Co. is a board you can grow into with a slightly pointed nose and squared end that makes it more maneuverable and faster than the fully rounded, cheaper boards on the market. While it’s big and stable enough to be comfortable for total beginners with an embossed deck for added comfort, you won’t be needing to upgrade as soon as you get better.

It also features a single removable tail fin as on a classic surf longboard which allows for easier turning and movement, though you’ll sacrifice just a bit in straight-on planing. At 22 pounds, it’s actually a pretty light board despite being over 11 feet and comes with a carrying case backpack in case you can’t drive right up to your launching area.

Size: 135 x 32 x 4.7 in. | Material: MSL | Warranty: 5-year manufacturer's | Weight: 22 lbs.

Best Lightweight: Beyond Marina Inflatable Paddle Board

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Inflates quickly

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Entry-level accessory kit

Many inflatable paddleboards come with backpacks to store everything in an organized way and carry the compressed board in, but carrying the board, pump, and paddle anywhere further than a few hundred yards becomes impractical with the weight of many boards. The Beyond Marina board is at least 5 pounds lighter than most at just over 16 pounds.

This is a fairly standard inflatable board suitable for beginner and intermediate paddlers with standard features like a removable center fin and ankle leash, but it sets itself apart with its light weight. The shape is rounded and has a substantial width of 32 inches which prioritizes stability. It measures 10 feet, 6 inches in length and comes with a limited one-year warranty.

Size: 126 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 1-year manufacturer's |
Weight: 16.3 lbs.

Best for Big and Tall: Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board

2021 ATOLL Army Green iSUP package

Courtesy of GreenBelt Outdoors

4.8
What We Like
  • Larger weight limit

  • Good for beginners

  • Stylish

What We Don't Like
  • Harder to maneuver

From the buffalo icon logo to the extra thick and burly build to the military green colorway, the Atoll iSUP is a heavy-duty paddleboard. Men, and really any larger paddlers, can struggle with boards with thinner profiles and lower maximum capacities around 200 pounds. Not so with the Atoll which is a full 6 inches thick, 32 inches wide, and rated up to 400 pounds for a single rider and 750 pounds with two.

The board is also performance-oriented for its size, with a squared tail and pointed nose for better planing and steering. The thruster fin setup means you can get moving and keep moving straight ahead when you need to cover ground. There are also lots of D-ring attachment points and built-in elastic straps for tying down your gear. We found that the included fiberglass paddle is high quality and the leash feels like one that you'd find on a surfboard.

Size: 132 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 2-year manufacturer's |
Weight: 21 lbs.

“This PVC is made with drop-stitch technology, which essentially means that the two layers are sewn together with thousands of fine polyester filaments, ensuring that the end product is exceedingly durable when inflated.” Justin Park, Product Tester

Best for Families: Bluefin Cruise Carbon 15-Foot SUP

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Comes with a robust kit

  • Can hold multiple people

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Pricey

Paddleboarding is normally a solo adventure, but you can realistically fit multiple people on a board as long as you’re under the recommended weight limit. The high-pressure boards from Bluefin offer big-time rigidity and float by inflating up to 28 psi, which is well above the average 15 psi for entry-level boards. It’s also 32 inches wide by 15 feet long, so there’s plenty of real estate to fit a paddler and a passenger.

There are also fore and aft bungee tie down zones as well as a generous traction pad covering most of the board. It even comes with two sets of paddles and kayak seats. This board weighs in at 44 pounds, but if you’re buying a paddleboard in this class, weight isn’t likely a top concern. Speaking of weight, the Cruise Carbon is rated to carry 529 pounds, so you can realistically float with an adult and two kids if you’re up for the paddle.

Size: 179.5 x 36 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 5-year manufacturer's | Weight: 44 lbs.

Best for Fishing: Sea Eagle FishSUP

What We Like
  • Storage and tie-down space

  • Sturdy

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

Folks have been fishing from kayaks for years but those same types of off-the-beaten-path anglers are seeing the benefits of fishing from a stand-up paddleboard. The problem with fishing from a basic paddleboard is the lack of storage and proper tie-downs. But the Sea Eagle FishSUP changes the game with its unique design. Measuring 40 inches wide with a unique arrowhead shape, this paddleboard veers into small boat territory, but that’s in part why it’s great for fishing.

The details really make it, though. The FishSUP features a mounting area for a trolling motor, four rod holders, a swivel seat, storage compartment, fish ruler, and lots of attachment points for locking down gear. Think of this as a fishing platform disguised as a paddleboard and you’ll understand the convenience over a trailed bulky boat that requires marinas, permits, and upkeep.

Size: 150 x 40 x 6 in. | Material: Denier | Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's | Weight: 45 lbs. (48 lbs. with motor mount)

Best for Yoga: Bote Breeze Aero

Bote Breeze Aero

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Lightweight

  • Good for touring

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't handle chop as well

Yoga on paddleboards is now popular enough that some companies are designing boards with yogis in mind. Yoga demands strength and balance on land, but on water, it takes it to another level. This 10-foot long, 33-inch wide platform prioritizes stability over maneuverability, not surprisingly, given that its intended use is to be still on flat water. It also has minimal rocker in its shape in order to maximize contact with the water and minimize swaying.

Still, the rounded nose has a bit of a point and the tail is squared making this board paddle perfectly well for most beginner to intermediate flatwater explorers. Included is an oversized backpack complete with waist and chest straps plus two carrying handles that make it a legitimate option for hauling the 20-pound board to more remote bodies of water.

Size: 128 x 33 x 6 in. | Material: AeroULTRA | Warranty: 5-year limited |
Weight: 20 lbs.

Best for Touring: NRS Escape Inflatable SUP

NRS Escape Inflatable SUP

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Powerful

  • Good for long distances

  • Lots of tie-downs

What We Don't Like
  • Not as sturdy

  • Not suitable for beginners

More experienced paddleboarders will appreciate the performance of this touring-oriented inflatable SUP from famed river raft brand NRS. The difference in shape from most paddleboards is obvious, with a thin 29-inch waist, sharply pointed nose, and 14-foot length. The board also inflates higher than most, up to 20 psi, for an extra-rigid pressure that allows for greater power transfer from each stroke. While this paddleboard doesn't feature a wide platform, the length alone delivers lots of surface area, making the Escape suitable for long-distance and overnight tours on the water. The NRS pedigree also delivers a high-quality valve for pumping as well as quality pump and fin options.

Size: 138 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 3-year limited | Weight: 34 lbs.

Final Verdict

For a board that strikes the perfect balance between stability and performance, go with the Adventurer 2 from Tower Paddle Boards (view at Amazon). It comes with essential equipment and features durable fins that resist bumps in the water and in transit. If you’re just starting out with paddleboarding, it’s hard to beat the price on the beginner-friendly Bestway HydroForce (view at Walmart) to get you used to paddling.

Paddleboard
TripSavvy/Justin Park.

What to Look for in an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board

Size

The dimensions of a paddleboard can tell you a lot about how it’ll perform and what its strengths and weaknesses are. If you’re a larger than the average person, you want a board that is at least 6 inches thick because you need that volume to stay afloat. Boards that are 4 inches thick such as the can sink too close to the water line under heavier loads, which leads to poor planing on the water. 

Shape

Boards wider in the waist are generally more stable, and when paired with a broad, rounded nose and tail tend to be a friendlier beginner board. Dart-shaped longer boards are better for touring and covering longer distances. Rocker, or a curving upwards of the board away from the water, is better for rougher waters than flats.

Accessories

Not all boards come with the necessary equipment. Despite being inflatable, many don’t even come with a pump. If you don’t already have the essential equipment, read product descriptions carefully to see what’s included. Things to look for that you may want: a leash, paddle, pump, carrying bag, fin, or removable seat.

Fin Setup

Many boards, especially those intended for use on flat water, feature a single, removable and adjustable fin that minimizes drag. Most multi-fin setups such as the three-fin “thruster” setup are used on intermediate and advanced paddleboards and serve to improve tracking or control in surfing or rougher waters. Longer fins are better for tracking (keeping you on course) while shorter fins permit more agile maneuvering. 

Carrying Case

Not all inflatable SUPs come with a case, but it’s a nice-to-have item that keeps your board, paddle, pump, and any extras together in one place. Additionally, if you intend to hike or cover any significant distance, look for a carrying pack in a backpack style, ideally with both chest and waist straps to help keep the load secure on your back. The best carrying packs have cinch straps to compress the bag around its contents to prevent shifting contents that will wear on your back over the long haul.

Paddleboard pump
TripSavvy/Justin Park.

FAQs

How do you store an inflatable paddle board?

When storing a deflated paddleboard, it’s important to rinse and fully dry it before deflating and rolling it up. The important thing is to try to keep it somewhere dry, out of sunlight, and free from extreme temperatures.

It's also possible to leave the board inflated for convenience if it doesn't need to be transported or if it's used frequently. If used seasonally, it’s fine to deflate for those times of year when it's not used often, but it’s technically better to not leave it tightly rolled up as that may cause hard creases that can create weak points over time.

How long does it take to inflate a paddle board?

When pumped steadily, it should only take about five to ten minutes to inflate by hand with the included pumps, though if the board needs to be deflated and inflated the board frequently, it's good to consider buying an electric pump to speed up the process. 

Is a leash necessary?

A leash is important if using in ocean surf to prevent the rider from being separated from their board, but for most flat water situations, a leash isn’t essential. Some boards come with a leash, others do not. Those who may want a leash sure ensure the board they're buying comes with one or purchase one separately.

What is a double-action pump?

A double-action pump pushes air into the board both when pushing down and when pulling the handle up on a hand pump. A single-action pump only pushes air in on the press down. While it increases the effort required to pull up, it means faster pumping on-balance. Most double-action pumps have a switch that allows it to be used as a single-action pump, which is easier for pumping the last few PSI into your board.

Can dogs ride on an inflatable SUPs?

The larger platforms of a SUP have plenty of room to bring a furry friend, but a fair question is if dogs’ claws are a danger to an air-filled SUP. Most inflatables are built with multiple layers of thick and often reinforced PVC to withstand bumps and run-ins with rocks and sticks, so claws shouldn't be a serious threat. 

Why Trust Tripsavvy

Justin Park lives in Summit County, Colorado and spends his short summers paddleboarding the high alpine lakes around his home. He personally owns both the Atoll and the Tower Adventurer 2 boards and has been known to occasionally catch trout from them.

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