There are a number of factors to consider when determining whether a two-tube or three-tube pontoon boat is right for you. In a nutshell, it simply boils down to whether you are exclusively seeking pleasure cruises on calm waters or instead have plans to pull a few tubers or skiers.
Faster pontoon boats are typically equipped with three tubes underneath the deck, offering better balance and weight distribution. This allows for more powerful engines while maintaining a stable ride. Those who crave tubing and other watersports, or simply want more control in choppy waters, will tend to favor a three-tube option.
If leisurely voyages on calm waters are all you are interested in, a two-tube pontoon boat will absolutely suit your needs and save you money.
Harris Boats offers two-tube and three-tube options on most models in its pontoon series. The Omni series, however, is exclusively a two-tube pontoon. There are also specific models that are only offered as three-tube options: Grand Mariner SEL 230 and 250, Solstice DC 230 and 250, Solstice RD 260, and the V270.
Three-tube pontoons offer optimal balance and weight distribution and typically have high-horsepower engines. The improved buoyancy and weight distribution allow for better handling at higher speeds, and the larger deck size allows more room to be merrier, with space for up to 10 people or more. Also, the added engine power allows three-tube pontoons to be equipped with ski towing bars at the back of the boat for thrills and spills.
Three-tube pontoons also maneuver better through choppy waters, with the stability to prevent passengers from soaking up as many splashes. Because three-tube Harris Boats are designed with the center tube lower in the water they will bank into turns like a deck boat or fiberglass boat.
So, in summary, three-tube pontoons allow for a wider range of activities, a more stable ride and a little more speed than a traditional two-tube pontoon. If that’s important you, the extra money is likely justified. If not, a two-tube pontoon will provide all you need.