You don’t necessarily need to take out a loan on a boat to gather your friends and head out on the water this summer. The best 4 person inflatable rafts can give adventure-seeking outdoor enthusiasts an exciting time on the lake or ocean, even if they aren’t able to purchase a regular boat.
Our 4-person inflatable boat reviews highlight three of the best options for people looking for a more compact and affordable alternative to traditional rafts. We suggest rafts that cover a range of budgets and needs, from those with motor mounts to those with heavy-duty construction for worry-free riding.
Our buying guide also offers information you should know before buying an inflatable boat. You’ll learn the difference between common types of inflatable rafts, how to properly maintain your boat, and crucial safety tips to keep you and your crew free from danger while riding.
(You can also check the other 6 persons option at the Best 6 Persons Inflatable rafts)
We encourage you to check out other areas of our website to learn more about safe boating and water activities. Our website features an interactive resource for US Drowning Statistics, Worldwide Drowning Statistics, and Drowning Prevention.
Everything you will learn here
- The 3 Best 4-Person Inflatable Rafts of 2023 (Buyers Guide!)
- 4 Person Inflatable Rafts Buyers Guide – (Your Guide to Selecting the Best Product)
- Best 4 Person Inflatable rafts Comparison Chart
- Wrap Up
The 3 Best 4-Person Inflatable Rafts of 2023 (Buyers Guide!)
The following product reviews detail our top three options for the best 4 person inflatable rafts, in no particular order. These inflatable rafts feature different perks for water enthusiasts, but each one can be an excellent choice for your next adventure.
1. Intex Excursion 4 – Best Inflatable Raft pick
- Rugged vinyl construction with inflatable I-Beam floor for comfort and durability
- All around grab line and handle on bow
- 2 fishing rod holders, gear pouch, inflatable seat cushions with backrest and oar holders included
The budget-friendly Intex Excursion 4 is a fraction of the cost of other inflatable rafts without sacrificing many of the features you want for a fun time on the water. This boat comes with aluminum oars for self-powered operation, and two oar holders keep the oars in place when in or not in use.
The Intex Excursion 4 has plenty of space to host four adults comfortably with its two sofa-like seats and middle area that’s perfect for storing fishing equipment or drinks. The seats and floor are both inflatable, allowing the boat to deflate entirely for storage.
You can attach a motor mount to the back of the boat if you want a little more speed. The Intex Excursion 4 allows for maximum motor power of 1.5-hp.
- Includes a carry bag, air pump, and repair kit
- I-beam inflatable floor offers extra rigidity and stability
- Three air chambers
- Somewhat low weight capacity at 725 pounds
- Vinyl construction isn’t as durable as other rafts
2. Sea Eagle 9 Inflatable rafts
- Exterior: 11' x 4' 8" / Interior: 7'6" x 2'4" / Deflated: 26" x 26" x10" /Hull T 35 lbs
- Capacity: 4 Adults or 1200 lbs / Weight: 35 lbs. (hull only)
- Material: K80 PVC / Seam: High Frequency Weld / Air Valves:4 Deluxe One Way
Sea Eagle designed the Sea Eagle 9 Inflatable Boat as a yacht tender or fishing boat, so it’s not one you’ll want to rely on for speed on the water. With a maximum speed of 6 mph using a gas motor (5 mph with an electric motor), this 4 person boat is best for those who stay in one spot or prefer a relaxing, low-key ride.
The Sea Eagle 9 has a simple setup and deflating process. It takes only about 15 minutes to inflate fully and only a few minutes to deflate completely and store in its included carrying bag.
The fully inflatable floor has a higher pressure than the rest of the boat that, when combined with the boat’s width, gives it incredible water stability. The deck includes two drains to keep water from weighing the inside of the boat down. It can therefore even be used to float down rivers until class III.
- Extremely easy to set up
- Three-year warranty
- High-pressure inflatable floor with I-beam reinforcement
- Oar clasps
- NMMA and CE-Certified
- Might feel small for four adults
- Maximum speed of 6 mph with a gas motor
(If you love to enjoy water party with maximum number of people, you should try reading the Best Inflatable Islands)
3. Inflatable Sport rafts Manta Ray 270
The Manta Ray 270 by Inflatable Sports rafts hits the higher price range for inflatable rafts, but it also stands out as a durable, functional, and speed-focused boat. With its aluminum flooring that comes in separate pieces, the boat stays stable on the water but disassembles easily to keep it compact for storage.
This boat is 8.8-feet long, with room for four adults inside and a maximum weight capacity of 1070 pounds. You’ll also find carrying handles, aluminum oar holders, and an aluminum bench seat for comfort while riding.
Unlike many other inflatable rafts, the Manta Ray 270 is USCG-certified. It includes a Manufacturer Certificate of Origin to help you register your boat with your local boating authority.
- Extended pontoons for extra stability
- Can accept a 10-hp motor
- Three-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Heat-welded seams
- May not feel roomy with four adults
- Weight of the boat can make it challenging to setup
4 Person Inflatable Rafts Buyers Guide – (Your Guide to Selecting the Best Product)
We’ve designed this comprehensive buyer’s guide to inform your decision when purchasing a 4 person inflatable boat.
We also include information that can assist you in cleaning, maintaining, and safely operating your new boat.
If you plan to use your inflatable boat on a river, you can also check out the 10 Best inflatable river rafts, which have a harder shell to withstand the harsh environment with stones and flotsam on the river.
Types of 4 Person Inflatable rafts
First, let’s look at some of the most common types of 4 person inflatable rafts on the market:
An inflatable boat or raft is usually one of the lowest-priced and smallest inflatable rafts, commonly holding up to four people.
Inflatable rafts often come with oars rather than motors to power them, making them a good option for boaters looking for a person-powered excursion. However, some higher-end rafts may even include a motor mount to attach a motor.
(You can read more about the Best Inflatable Rafts here)
These rafts can come in a range of types with bonus features for different activities, including:
- Cup holders
- Fishing pole holders
- Separate seating/loungers
Roll-Up Floor Inflatable Boat
On the lower end of the budget for inflatable rafts is the roll-up floor version. These rafts come with slatted floors that roll up when not in use, making them convenient for storage purposes.
This type of inflatable boat is often smaller than other inflatable rafts, usually between six and eight feet in length. These rafts can typically hold between three and four people comfortably and safely.
Inflatable Floor Sports Boat
Inflatable sports rafts with inflatable floors function similarly to small sports rafts, except that their outer rim and floor are inflatable. Like roll-up floor rafts, these sports rafts can also roll up for easy storage in your trunk to and from the water.
Inflatable floor sports rafts can tread water well, are incredibly durable and rigid, and can be easily set up with a motor mount to increase your speed on the water.
Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)
Rigid inflatable rafts (RIBs) are a blend of regular rafts and inflatable rafts. Wood and aluminum are common flooring types, giving the boat excellent durability and stability on the water.
Because you can’t fully deflate a RIB, it’s a less popular option for those who prefer the convenience of a compact boat for traveling and storage.
(Interested in reading more about the RIBs, please visit: Best Rigid Inflatable rafts)
Benefits of Using a 4 Person Inflatable Boat
Inflatable rafts can be the right alternative to a traditional boat for some water adventurists.
Here are a few reasons why a 4 person inflatable boat might suit you better than a regular boat:
Inflatable rafts are usually lower in price than traditional rafts, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Depending on the inflatable boat you opt for, you can pay only a fraction of that price and still get an excellent boat with enough space for up to four people.
Inflatable rafts tend to range in price between $100 and $1000, with some going over the upper limit if they’re incredibly heavy-duty, have a rigid bottom, and are designed for sport.
Still, even inflatable rafts at the highest price point can save you a lot of money over a traditional boat purchase.
Today’s inflatable rafts have straightforward setups that require as little as ten minutes to make the boat go from deflated to inflated.
Some rafts include an internal air pump while others come with an external one to inflate the air portions of the boat.
Depending on the size of your boat, the pump can take a little longer to work its magic, but the boat will require little work from you to be ready to head to the water.
Portability and Storage
Entirely inflatable rafts (i.e., those with inflatable or roll-up floors) can fold completely compact when you deflate them, making them convenient to store and carry to and from the water.
If you’re limited in space in your vehicle or simply prefer not to have to trailer a boat with your car, you’ll likely enjoy the portability of inflatable rafts.
You may not think that an inflatable boat would be steady on the water, but they can sometimes outdo traditional rafts in terms of stability.
Many inflatable rafts come with a wide inflatable outer ring that stands up to waves and movement within the boat. A low center of gravity in these rafts also contributes to its stability on the water.
One of the benefits of this feature is that you can often stand on either end of the boat without losing its balance and tipping over.
High Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of today’s inflatable rafts is impressive, usually reaching 1,000 pounds or more for up to four people.
RIBs can just about double that weight capacity.
This is comparable to – and sometimes, even better than – traditional rafts, which usually calculate a weight capacity based on how many 150-pound people it can hold.
Drawbacks of 4 Person Inflatable rafts
Inflatable rafts for 4 people certainly have several benefits, but they may not always be the right choice for everyone.
Here are a few more points to consider before purchasing an inflatable boat:
Although you can damage a traditional boat, it’s much more difficult to puncture one than it is an inflatable boat.
Modern inflatable rafts are often designed with heavy-duty materials that prevent easy punctures, but that doesn’t mean they’re puncture-proof.
It’s possible to damage your boat by going over the weight capacity, storing sharp items in the boat, or treading the boat in shallow water with a rough floor.
Some holes or punctures might be repairable, but not all of them will be.
Manufacturers design inflatable rafts to last as long as possible. Still, the reality is that their inflatable design likely won’t last as long as a traditional boat with a rigid shell.
You can expect a rigid boat to last as long as your road vehicle, or maybe even longer if you care for it properly.
An inflatable boat may not last past the 10-year mark, especially if you don’t stay on top of regular inspections and maintenance or use it outside of its recommended operation.
Inflatable Boat Certifications
Inflatable rafts sometimes come with certifications by a regulatory agency that inspects them for safety purposes.
Some of the more common certifications for inflatable rafts include:
United States Coast Guard (USCG)
The USCG more commonly certifies RIBs and traditional rafts rather than regular inflatable rafts, but some inflatables are heavy-duty enough for recognition by the USCG’s certification standards.
The USCG has standards in place for most rafts 16 feet or over, which don’t apply to many inflatables. The criteria include proper lifesaving and emergency equipment, trailering, overloading, and other critical measures for boat safety.
However, some larger, heavy-duty inflatables do have USCG certification. You can contact the manufacturer if your unsure of your boat’s USCG status.
National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)
The NMMA certifies many inflatable rafts that meet its standards, of which there is a specific category for inflatable rafts. Federal regulations currently do not have standards for inflatable rafts, making NMMA certification a reliable distinction when it comes to deciding on an inflatable boat.
The NMMA can certify a boat manufacturer as well, but the manufacturer must apply for certification for each boat model it wishes to certify.
Conformité Européenne (CE)
CE certification often comes along with NMMA certification for an inflatable boat, but it doesn’t always. CE certification denotes that a boat has met standards for recreational rafts sold in the European Union (EU).
The EU requires this certification on any recreational boat entering its waters, so it’s of note for anyone looking to take their inflatable boat with them to travel within the area.
Using Your 4 Person Inflatable Boat the Right Way
Inflatable boat usage is mostly self-explanatory, but it’s necessary to understand how to inflate it, use it properly, and repair it before stepping inside.
Your first step should always be checking the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and using your boat. They’ll provide details that are specific to your 4 person inflatable boat model.
These general guidelines can also help:
Inflating the Boat with Air
Some inflatable rafts come with built-in pumps, while others have separate pumps to fill them with air. Your boat will probably have more than one air chamber to fill, too, with at least one for the inflatable floor and at least one for the sides.
Before inflating your boat, be sure to lay it down on a tarp rather than a rough surface to avoid punctures. Use only the pump that comes with the boat or a pump type the manufacturer recommends.
If your boat has rigid pieces for its flooring, you might find it easier to install them before you fully inflate the sides.
Using the Boat
When carrying your boat to the water, have enough people carry it by its handles or rope so that it’s not touching the ground. Doing so can help you avoid puncturing the boat.
For the safety of you and your passengers and the longevity of your inflatable boat, you should never overload your boat with too much weight. Overloading can cause the boat to lose air or become less stable, resulting in tipping or sinking.
Patching the Boat
Repairs are sometimes necessary on inflatable rafts. Most inflatables come with patches or repair kids for patching small punctures, but large holes or ripped seams can be beyond repair.
If you need to purchase a patch kit, make sure the materials it contains will work with the material of your inflatable boat.
Maintaining Your 4 Person Inflatable Boat
A 4 person inflatable boat requires some care during and in between use to ensure its longevity and reliability.
Your boat needs protection from the sun, just like your skin. Many manufacturers design inflatable rafts with UV-protected materials, but it’s still not a bad idea to add some UV protection to your boat to prevent sun damage.
Look for a protectant spray that’s formulated to add an extra protective layer to your inflatable boat to keep its material from becoming faded and brittle.
Before storing your boat away in its carrying bag to take back home, dry it off as thoroughly as possible with a clean towel. You can remove it from the bag and dry it further at home, if necessary, to prevent mildew and mold buildup.
When storing it away for the season, make sure it’s dry and stored in an airtight compartment that’s free from dust, bugs, and other contaminants.
Occasional cleaning of your inflatable boat with a cleaner designed for its material is an excellent way to ensure that no buildup stays on long enough to damage the boat. Give it a quick inspection after each use to check for dirt or stains that you can clean off.
Safety Tips for Using a 4 Person Inflatable rafts
Staying safe on the water in your inflatable boat is the responsibility of everyone on board. The following tips can help you stay safe:
Consider the durability and stability of your boat before attempting to head out in high surf. Some inflatable rafts can tread rough waters just fine – usually those with rigid bottoms and heavy-duty material – but lower-quality rafts may not be designed to do so.
Always check the weather before leaving, paying particular attention to the tide and water current predictions in your area. Look ahead to all hours that you plan to be on the water.
Weight and Capacity Recommendations
Never exceed the weight and person capacity recommendations for your boat. The manufacturer puts these restrictions in place to ensure a safe ride and operation. Exceeding these limits can cause the boat to sink or tip.
Also, be sure to keep the walkways of your boat clear, even if that means having fewer than the maximum number of people in your boat. Doing so can prevent tripping and falling hazards while riding.
First Aid and Safety Equipment
Go into your trip prepared with first aid and safety equipment to help you in case of an emergency on the water. In addition to everyone onboard wearing life vests, you should consider keeping the following in your boat:
- Boat repair kit
- Stocked first aid kit with first aid cream, bandages, gloves, tweezers, eye drops, etc.
- Flashlight and emergency flares
- Fire extinguisher or suppressant
- Water bottles
Boat Operation and Riding
All passengers in your boat should be aware of the necessary safety procedures for riding to keep everyone safe, like avoiding horseplay and staying seated while moving.
The boat operator should never be distracted and should always have his or her eyes on the water while driving. It’s a good idea to have a designated helper on board, too, who can be an extra set of eyes or grab gear when necessary.
Best 4 Person Inflatable rafts Comparison Chart
|Product Name||Price||Size in CM (LxW)||Weight capacity (Pounds)||Distinct Features|
|Sea Eagle 9 Inflatable Boat||$$$||335x142||1200||NMMA and CE-Certified,Oar clasps|
|Intex Excursion 4||$$||52x31||725||NMMA-certified,Three air chambers|
|Inflatable Sport Boats Manta Ray 270||$$$||243x182||1070||USCG-certified, Heat-welded seams|
An inflatable boat is an excellent alternative to a traditional boat for some people who like to spend warm summer days on the water. Whether you love to relax while fishing on a lake or power through the surf of the ocean, the right inflatable boat can live up to the task.
When taken care of and used correctly, inflatable rafts can also offer safety and reliability on the water. Many of them even come with warranties to protect your purchase, no matter what price you pay.
We hope that our reviews and buyers guide led you to find the perfect inflatable boat for your next water excursion
If you fancy great whitewater journeys, the Best Inflatable River Rafts are an alternative boat design made out of highly durable material to withstand rocks and streams.
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Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API