The 6 Best Pontoon Boat Bumpers & Fenders in 2022

By July 14, 2022
In this guide, you’ll learn about pontoon boat bumpers and fenders, and what a fantastic job they can do protecting your valuable asset, in spite of being pretty affordable and easy to set up.

How can you protect your pontoon boat? With the best possible fenders and bumpers. It’s just not up for discussion, these are essential items.

If you spend all that money on a boat, you will want to keep it protected, and in the scheme of things, bumpers and fenders are a relatively small investment. It’s like getting a protector for your phone.

A fraction of the cost of the item, but provides an incredible amount of defense against bumps and scrapes. In busy waterways and when docking your boat, there is always a chance of damage.

Boat Bumpers & Fenders

The Best Pontoon Fenders and Bumpers

Let’s dive into the reviews of the best bumpers and fenders for your boat, in a few different designs to allow you the most choice possible. 

Best Durable Pontoon Boat Bumper

VIVOHOME Vinyl Ribbed Marine Boat Fender

VIVOHOME Vinyl Ribbed Marine Boat Fender

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What we like

  • Simple to install.
  • Great value.

What we don’t like

  • Not suitable for boats over 29-½ ft.
  • Only includes a hand pump.

Sold in packs of four, the VIVOHOME ribbed boat fenders are made out of high-quality materials and can last a very long time, as well as providing protection in high-stress scenarios, even when they have the odd bump. Hey, that’s what they are there for.

The fenders are made out of premium, marine-grade PVC and have ribbed rope holds, to keep them strong and sturdy even if there’s a lot of tidal pressure. They’re cleverly made with an oval design that helps it to stay in position.

The bumpers offer good protection, but they’re still compact enough to be stored on relatively small craft, and they each inflate in just one minute. With simple inflation valves, you can change the level of pressure, too. 

In the package, you receive 4-pack 6.5” x 23” fenders, 4-pack 5.2′ x 3/8” ropes, and 4 inflating needles, so it is simple to install. There’s even a choice of four colors.

What we like

  • Super simple to install and to alter the pressures whenever you need to.
  • Versatile, for installing on the pontoon bumper rail or different parts of your pontoon boat. 
  • Great value.

What could be better

  • There is the possibility of these springing a leak and becoming useless, though rare.
  • Not suitable for boats over 29-½ ft.
  • Only includes a hand pump. Electric is much easier.

Best Pontoon Fenders for Full Protection

Taylor Made Products Pontoon Boat Fender

Taylor Made Products Pontoon Boat Fender

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What we like

  • U.V.-resistant.
  • Don’t need a rope.
  • Made in the USA.

What we don’t like

  • The design is prone to sliding.

The Taylor Made brand has over 100 years of experience making marine products including exceptional pontoon boat bumpers.

The brand has a clever molded-in design that has a ridge and hooks perfectly under the deck. This helps to provide more protection and helps both as a docking fender or if you should come into contact with anything while on the go.

The contoured design is great for sitting safely and securely on the underside of the dock, and it is more secure as a result, it’s also pretty subtle, so if you don’t want your boat to look like it’s got a load of huge corks hanging around the edges, this could be the choice for you.

Taylor Made products are made in the USA. The fact that they don’t need a rope is very appealing to many, and they’re made of U.V.-resistant marine vinyl that won’t degrade after being in the sun or splashed with water.

What we liked

  • Clever design sits under the deck with no need for a rope.
  • Very durable, and great protection should you come into contact with the dock.
  • U.V. and water resistant so it can last a long time if looked after.

What could be better

  • The design is prone to sliding up and down the deck somewhat with some pontoon boat designs.

Best Ball-Style Boat Fender Bumper

BABZ The Original Inflatable Boat Fender Bumper Buoy

BABZ The Original Inflatable Boat Fender Bumper Buoy

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What we like

  • Very bouncy and protective.
  • Clever pear-shaped design.

What we don’t like

  • Needs to be properly inflated to prevent bursting.

Looking for a simple bumper ball for your boat? These act as boat dock bumpers primarily, stopping your boat from scraping along the dock or coming into contact with other boats in the area, and they are simple to use as well as very bouncy and protective.

The boats protect the coat of your pontoon boat, but also stay incredibly strong, once inflated to 28 inches they give great coverage, contouring to the hull but also providing a patterned design that means they can grab onto ropes and stay in place perfectly.

As opposed to some other boat fenders, this gives a large opening for quick deflation and a reinforced valve for really quick inflation.

The brand is continually improving its trademarked products, and though this is a really simple product, it is very durable and great for those scenarios where it is tight, and you’re worried about your pontoon boat entering a bumper car scenario near the dock.

What we like

  • Very bouncy and protective, and can handle tight docking situations.
  • Clever pear-shaped design contours to the hull.

What could be better

  • If you don’t inflate properly there is a stronger chance of these bursting, so be very cautious.

Best Space-Saving Bumpers for Pontoon Boat

kemimoto Boat Fenders

kemimoto Boat Fenders

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What we like

  • Easy to install.
  • Space-saving design.
  • No inflation needed.

What we don’t like

  • Expensive.

This pontoon boat fender is a space-saving design, which looks like it shouldn’t offer as much protection…but it does. In terms of its design, it doesn’t inflate, but compare this to the bumper on your car which also does a great job without needing air inside.

The product is patented, so this design is totally unique, and the ergonomic design sits tight to the side of your boat (or installed on the dock itself). It’s especially good for storms.

The design has a molded, closed-cell foam that cushions any blows and scratches, but is designed so that it doesn’t lose quality over time, even exposed to sun and sea.

The clever strap and loop fixture is easy to loop over even more locations around the boat when compared to other bumpers, and it just needs to be attached and clipped into place.

This boat and docking fender is great for boats between 15 and 25 feet in length, and you should use one for every 10 feet of boat length, at least.

What we like

  • This can be installed on the boat or directly onto a dock if needed.
  • Easy to install on multiple locations on the boat.
  • Space-saving design with no inflation needed.

What could be better

  • Works out as a very expensive method if you have to buy 3-4 bumpers.

Best Boat Bumper No-Knot Design

MISSION Boat Gear SENTRY Dock Fender Bumper

MISSION Boat Gear SENTRY Dock Fender Bumper

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What we like

  • Excellent protection.
  • Easy to install.

What we don’t like

  • Not perfect for every boat design.

This bumper has a design that sits lower than many traditional bumpers. This aligns with the contour of the hull, helping to keep the whole boat protected, even below the rub rail.

The clever closed-cell foam is very durable, and doesn’t absorb water, it also is better for the environment when compared to some options as it doesn’t contain vinyl chloride or other unwanted chemicals.

The strap design attaches to the cleats on the boat or on the docks, and there is no need to worry about ropes or hanging parts. With an extra-long strap, it can loop over really high parts of the boat, helping to retain a really simple design. You can also trim them down if you don’t need the extra length. 

The “Attach, Adjust, Lock” design makes attachment easy. The loop simply goes through the center of the cleat, and around the horns, before you pull the loose ends of the straps to adjust the position. To lock it down, the harder you press on the design, the more it locks into a secure location.

What we like

  • Excellent protection for your hull and boat.
  • Extra-long strap makes it easy to connect on multiple boat designs, and below the rub rail.

What could be better

  • Not perfect for every design of pontoon boat.

Budget-friendly Boat Fender Choice

Seachoice Twin Eye Ribbed Boat Fender Kit

Seachoice Twin Eye Ribbed Boat Fender Kit

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What we like

  • Affordable.
  • Excellent ribbed design.
  • Resistant to UV damage.

What we don’t like

  • Quite small.

Getting a good level of pontoon boat bumper protection doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. These vinyl boat bumpers have a great level of strength and the ribbed fender design.

The roto-molded design has integral lugs and an even thickness all the way around, and the fenders are certainly strong, with plenty of bounce, yet softness from the ribbed material.

The value is even better as they are sold in sets of two. They’re quite compact, and designed for use on boats up to 20 feet long. With a nylon mesh loop and five feet of rope length, they can be installed on a variety of boats, and many parts of the boat.

What we like

  • An affordable option for pontoon boats.
  • Excellent ribbed design which is very durable.
  • Braided rope is resistant to any sort of UV damage.

What could be better

  • Quite small, and only suitable for boats up to 20 ft.

What are Pontoon Fenders and Bumpers and How Do They Work?

Pontoon Boat Bumpers

Before buying your bumpers, it is a good idea to fully understand exactly what they do and the influence they have on your boat.

The idea is that they protect your boat. It is easy, especially when mooring and docking, to come into contact with other boats or the dock itself. This can cause nasty scratches, dents, and other damage. The fenders and bumpers provide a barrier, often bouncy, that means that the boat is protected.

Did you know that collisions are some of the most common boat insurance claims? This may be totally unnecessary if you have protected your boat.

Buyer’s Guide

Our buyer’s guide is designed to help you to make the right choice, understanding things like the type of pontoon boat bumpers and fenders that you are likely to need, and how many. It’s always best to do some research before you 

Types of Pontoon Fenders and Bumpers

There are a number of fenders and bumpers, all slightly varying in their design, and the materials they are made out of. The main types are listed below.

Ball Cylinders

This larger ball-type design is probably something you’ve already seen on a lot of other boats out there. They can be particularly useful in tight situations and provide a lot of bounce and protection to ensure no scrapes on your pontoon boat, but they are quite bulky.

Cylindrical Fenders

As expected, these have a cylindrical design and are often good for smaller boats, and pontoon boats often fit into that category. They’re often “no frills” in their design and you may need to inflate them yourself, but they can be simple and effective.

Corner Fenders

A lot of pontoon boats come with this sort of fender on the corner already, which means that if you should hit your boat on the corner, when turning, for instance, they are likely to be protected. This is one of the most vulnerable areas and you can buy corner fenders and install them yourself.

Side Fenders

Designed to protect the railings, these can often withstand the elements as well as being great for preventing damage. They’re often “Flat Fender” designs which mean they aren’t round and rotated like some of the ball designs.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Pontoon Fenders and Bumpers

Pontoon Fenders and Bumpers

The majority of people choose to use some sort of pontoon fender or pontoon boat bumpers along their boat. It makes perfect sense to protect your expensive investment. Boats are not cheap, and having the right protection keeps your pontoon boat looking great and also removes the need for some repairs.

The benefits

  • They protect your boat from scrapes or bumps that could cause damage.
  • They also protect other items you may hit, by softening blows, such as on the dock.

The drawbacks

  • Some can be unsightly, and ruin some of the beautiful aesthetic of your boat.
  • It’s another cost. Not a huge one, but pontoon boats aren’t cheap to run.
  • They need to be stored somewhere when not in use, and some can be bulky to carry on the boat.

Though there are some scenarios where they may not be as helpful, if you are in any sort of busy area with your boat, you will want this extra protection. It’s an insurance policy!

Care and Maintenance

The care and maintenance of your fenders is pretty minimal. It is a personal choice whether you take them off periodically or whether they stay on all the time. If you’re securely docked you might take them off, but they offer great protection so while the boat is on water, why not keep them on?

In terms of maintenance, if you need to store or move them, many will deflate so that you can store them more easily. 

They should also be washed. This guide to pontoon maintenance explains that “a buildup of saltwater or torn fenders can act like sandpaper and scratch the surface paint of your boat or jet ski.” 

Nobody wants to ruin their paintwork.

Fortunately, cleaning is easy. Regular household soap and bleach can be used to clean the dirt and mildew away. If you have some stubborn dirt, especially on ribbed boat fenders, you may need a stiffer brush to get rid of some of that grime.

Conclusion – Choosing the Best Pontoon Fenders and Bumpers

The wide range of bumpers and fenders may seem intimidating, but having all this choice means more opportunities to pick out something that is perfect for your own vessel. The best pontoon boat fenders vary depending on your needs, but the choices on this list, including the VIVOHOME Vinyl Ribbed Marine Boat Fender and the Taylor Made Boat Fender are extremely versatile.

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