The cost of a paddleboard can be a bit of a shock at the outset of a search, especially for those new to the sport. How can something filled with air be so expensive? Before you dismiss them as overpriced, consider that inflatable paddleboards have revolutionized the SUP world. Blow-up paddleboards can be stored in a condo closet or stowed in a trunk, with performance rivalling their rigid counterparts.
The boards are surprisingly durable, bouncing off obstacles rather than being dented and dinged. A quick Google search will turn up plenty of blow-up paddleboards at cheap(ish) prices. But are those prices too good to be true? Considering the potential fragility of a low-quality design, how can you find the best cheap inflatable paddleboard that will last for more than just a few sessions? Read on to find buying tips and lists of some of the best affordable inflatable paddleboards.
Our picks: Best cheap inflatable SUPs for 2022
What is the best affordable inflatable paddleboard? It’s a broad question. The notion of affordability is dependent on the buyer, and the type of paddling they want to do will dictate the best board shape. This is a list of cheap paddleboards that received high praise. Each one will excel in specific areas or be suited to certain paddlers, so check out the reviews and specs to see if the board is a good match for you.
Best Cheap Inflatable Paddleboards
11'0" BEACH WING SUP AIR
Shop cheap inflatable paddleboards
We’ve compiled some of the best affordable inflatable paddleboards by price thresholds. Follow these links to our Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you can find all sorts of cheap inflatable SUPs that are available on the market. Each board’s page shows important details like specs, prices, reviews and links to buy locally or direct.
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Shopping for a cheap used inflatable SUP?
Going the used route helps to get the best value from an inflatable paddleboard. Paddleboards lose their value as soon as they leave the shop, so with less money you can get a higher-end inflatable.
It’s especially important to see and try used inflatable paddleboards before buying. Inflate the board and thoroughly examine it for any leaks or weaknesses along the stitching. Also be sure to check the inflating pump and make sure all the attachments are included. Ideally, look for an inflatable board that uses the generic H-valve (also known as the Halkey Roberts). This will make it easier to find replacement pumps.
Used paddleboards at affordable prices can be purchased at demo days held either by retailers, or as part of a race or event. Brands will often have a rep there with a trailer-full of boards for folks to try. All these boards are for sale for the right price, which can be flexible. This is a great way to try the board out, chat with an expert, and snag a bargain.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used paddleboard, read our article How To Buy A Used Paddleboard.
Value inflatable paddleboard buying guide
Finding the best value to spend on a paddleboard is tough. It’s easy to want to spend as little as possible, opting for the cheapest inflatable available. Remember though; you get what you pay for.
Where you buy the board affects the price, but sometimes paying a bit extra is worthwhile. Local retailers need to charge a bit more — they cannot compete with big box stores or Amazon. With the additional cost comes expert knowledge, and an opportunity for you to physically see the paddleboard before you buy it. As inflatable paddleboards are mass-produced, there is always a risk that the board may have defects. The ability to simply bring the board back to the shop for an exchange makes life much easier.
If you do choose to buy a board online, comb through the online reviews. A good strategy is to filter the reviews by ratings, paying most attention to the comments of the 2- and 4-star reviews. Reviews in this range are not skewed and less likely to be affected by personal bias, whether it is positive or negative.
Many cheap inflatable paddleboards come as a kit, including a storage duffel, pump and paddle. These products may be where manufacturers have cut their costs.
Regardless of how much you decide to pay for an inflatable paddleboard, leave room in your budget for a comfortable personal flotation device (PFD), and good leash. These are essential safety items and will also make your time on the water much more enjoyable.
Why are inflatable paddleboards so expensive?
The high cost of some inflatable paddleboards is justified by reputable brands producing high-quality products and having a solid warranty to back them. Lots of research, design development and quality control measures go into creating an inflatable, and those costs need to be recouped. What’s more, the demand for inflatable paddleboards has risen gradually over the past several years.
COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 forced people to look for ways to get outside while staying close to home, and paddleboarding presented a perfect opportunity. The portability and small footprint of inflatable paddleboards made them the ideal choice for anyone tight on space. This caused the demand to skyrocket, and prices to rise accordingly.
How much should I spend on an inflatable paddleboard?
Be wary of boards priced less than $500. When buying your board online, consider how you will get new parts should any break or how you might replace a defective board. Spending $700 once on a reliable inflatable paddleboard is cheaper than having to replace a $400 board the next season.
Cheap inflatable paddleboard reviews
Check out some reviews of cheap SUP inflatables. Use these to aid your search and understand what others loved, or didn’t love about their boards. If you are looking for a paddleboard for a particular use, like paddling with your dog or kids, look for comments that relate to your own ambitions.