March 23, 2022 13 min read

Best Inflatable Docks for Water Lovers

Man and a woman on an inflatable docks

On the whole, the inflatable industry has taken the world by storm; inflatable SUPs, inflatable kayaks, and now, inflatable docks. The reason for this is pretty simple: durability, versatility, and of course, ultimate fun!

So what is an inflatable dock exactly? Why do you need to add one to your gear? And what are the best inflatable docks available on the market now?

Lucky for you, we are here with all the facts and advice. Keep reading to get answers to your inflatable dock questions and find out which is our top pick. 

What Is An Inflatable Dock?

Inflatable docks bring a whole new element of fun to the party. Also known as a swim platform or inflatable raft, inflatable docks are just as the name suggests – a platform you can set in the ocean or on a lake to relax on the water mid-paddle. 

You can use an inflatable dock with boats, in a pool, or at the beach; generally anywhere with water! The possibilities are endless!

GILI’s Top Picks: 3 Best Inflatable Docks

Best Overall
BOTE Inflatable dock, raft for pool
BOTE Inflatable Lake Float

The ultimate party platform! Share the BOTE Inflatable Lake Float with friends and family, you can even bring the pooch along for the fun. The excellent build quality and amount of grab handles across the dock make this our best overall pick.

Best Budget
Wow World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Docks
WOW World of Watersports Water Walkway

Looking for the best budget option? You cannot go wrong with this Water Walkway from WOW. Get the whole gang to add one to their gear and you can easily join them up to make a bigger platform for more people to join.

Best Style
Paddle North Inflatable Utility Dock
Paddle North Utility Dock XL

If you are keen to impress everyone out on the lake, get your hands on the Paddle North Utility Dock XL. It is sleek with a good-looking design that is bound to impress even yacht owners! And what more? It is extra-large, meaning you can invite more people to the party.

10 Best Inflatable Docks

Let’s take a closer look at the best inflatable docks on the market today. 

BOTE Inflatable Lake Float

BOTE’s Inflatable Lake Float is the ultimate platform for social gatherings, parties with buddies, or family days out on the water. The 7 x 7 foot deck is plenty big enough for you to set up a couple of deck chairs, carry a cool box, and still have space for the dog! 

There are so many d-rings and grab handles all across the deck so you can secure your SUP to the dock, jump in the water for a swim, and easily be able to get back up. The anti-slip BVA deck pad is perfect for keeping stable and steady whether you’re trying out a new yoga pose or posing for a photo with friends. 

BOTE Inflatable dock, raft for pool

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 7’ x 7’ x 8”
  • Materials - Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Weight capacity - 1050 lbs

What we love:

  • Uses a universal Halkey Roberts Valve for inflation
  • Brilliant build quality with high-grade materials
  • Fully loaded with accessory attachment points
  • Includes carry bag, hand pump, and repair kit

What we don't love:

  • Very expensive!

This inflatable floating dock from BOTE is totally worth the high price tag! You’re getting military-grade standard materials in a well-designed and manufactured product. Without a doubt, this inflatable dock is the best overall you can buy.

Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock

The Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock is big and bold, perfect for family fun out on the water! There are several shapes and sizes to choose from, but we think the 10’x8’ with convertible slide is the most fun! The 10’x10’ standard inflatable floating platform is by far the most versatile, and the 10’ Circular Mesh Dock is also unique.

Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock Rafting Platform for Beach

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 10’ x 8’ x 6”
  • Materials - UV resistant PVC
  • Weight capacity - 6-8 people

What we love:

  • Convertible slide for extra fun
  • Huge versatile floating space
  • Modular design so you can join more platforms together, or easily tie on your SUP
  • Comes with a carrying bag, pump with gauge, and a repair kit

What we don't love:

  • Some customers have complained about the deck pad coming unstuck after use

If you’re looking for something truly unique then this inflatable floating dock from Solstice is the one for you! You’re guaranteed to turn heads and make everyone else jealous of your setup. Slide and jump off into the water for a refreshing dip with this inflatable dock.

Island Hopper Island Buddy

The Island Hopper Island Buddy float deck is rigid, sturdy, and offers a great platform for days out on the water. This dock is really easy to get onto from the water, because it’s only 4 inches thick. 

There are also 11 stainless steel d-rings, 6 carry handles, and 8 top welded web-loops for secure anchoring and holding accessories – it’s fully kitted out!

Island Hopper Island Buddy Inflatable platform

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 12’ x 6’ x 4”
  • Materials - Heavy Duty 1100 denier .9mm PVC
  • Weight capacity - 1300 lbs

What we love:

  • Super high weight capacity, perfect for 6-8 people plus coolboxes
  • Heat-welded seams and top quality materials used
  • Lightweight and compact when deflated
  • Comes with a double action hand pump, stow straps, instruction manual, and repair patches. Additional accessories available: inflatable pillow, soft entry ladder, and 15 PSI auto-set inflator

What we don't love:

  • Slightly less stable than others due to thickness

While this inflatable floating dock from Island Hopper is on the expensive side, it’s built to last and even comes with a 5-year “No Seam Blowout” limited warranty. The smaller thickness is both a blessing and a curse, depending on how comfortable you are on inflatables and getting out of the water onto the deck.

Paddle North Utility Dock XL

Paddle North’s Utility Dock XL is one of the most stylish and durable floating docks available, and of course, it’s extra-large! This platform is made from some of the best materials along with careful construction techniques. Paddle North have used a universal HK high pressure valve that self seals, for inflation and deflation, and have also fitted a “bleeder” valve to ensure you don’t exceed the 18 psi level.

Paddle North Inflatable Utility Dock

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 12’ x 6’ x 6”
  • Materials - High grade, 1.2mm drop-stitch PVC
  • Weight capacity - 2000 lbs

What we love:

  • Huge weight capacity and insane durability (check out the video of Paddle North’s durability test!)
  • Super stylish with an attractive wooden coloring
  • High pressure strength with a bleeder valve to avoid over inflation
  • 8 anchoring points with included bungee in a package deal

What we don't love:

If you go for this floating dock from Paddle North, be sure to get an electric air pump to save your arms! This XL Utility Dock is sure to turn heads and be the envy of everyone at the lake or beach.

WOW World of Watersports Water Walkway

WOW’s World of Watersports Water Walkway is a fantastic budget option for families and friend groups to get out on the water to have fun. You can easily join multiple platforms together to create a mega-long floating dock. 

Inflation speed is minimal as it uses air-chamber technology, which unfortunately affects the overall stability. 

Wow World of Watersports Inflatable Floating Docks

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 10’ x 6’ x 5”
  • Materials - Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Weight capacity - 6 people

What we love:

  • Easy to use zipper connection to join multiple platforms together
  • Compact and lightweight when deflated
  • Tough material that can withstand dog nails
  • Quick to inflate and deflate

What we don't love:

  • Uses air-chamber technology, so not the most stable of platforms

Overall, this is the best cheap inflatable floating dock out there. And even though the price tag is under $200 USD, the quality and materials are still good, and it certainly gets the job done! 

Happybuy Inflatable Dock Platform

This Inflatable Dock Platform from Happybuy is a fantastic swim platform with drop-stitch construction. It’s stable and versatile, perfect to use as a floating island for lounging with stand up paddle boards or kayaks. The top is a bright yellow color and has a textured non-slip pad covering the surface. 

Happybuy Inflatable Dock Platform

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 7’ x 7’ x 6”
  • Materials - Rigid PVC
  • Weight capacity - 4-6 people

What we love:

  • Made from heavy-duty materials with drop-stitch technology
  • Multiple stainless steel d-rings and grab handles
  • Extremely stable, perfect for yoga, lounging, or party games
  • Comes with an electric pump, manual hand pump, repair kit, and carry bag

What we don't love:

  • Relatively low weight capacity for the size

While there are options of similar dimensions with a larger weight capacity, Happybuy’s floating swim platform is in a great bundled package that includes both a manual and an electric air pump – this adds great value!

Jack Pine Cottage Floating Dock

Jack Pine’s Cottage Floating Dock gets the job done well and looks great while doing it! This floating platform can withstand the harshest of weather conditions, providing you with a safe extension for launching your kayak or SUP into the water. It’s ideal for setting up some chairs and soaking up the sun on a warm day.

Jack pine cottage floating dock

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 10’ x 8’ x 6”
  • Materials - Military-grade, 3 ply PVC, drop-stitch material
  • Weight capacity - 1300 lbs

What we love:

  • Extremely stable and easy to get back on from the water
  • Comes with an electric air pump
  • Super large dimensions
  • Sleek and simple design

What we don't love:

  • Only four grab handles on two of the sides

This inflatable dock from Jack Pine is a stylish option that is certain to turn heads while out on the lake. The dock is made using some of the strongest materials available so you’re guaranteed excellent durability. 

Mission Reef Inflatable Mat

The Mission Reef Inflatable Mat comes in three sizes: 8’ x 6’, 13’ x 6.5’, and 26’ x 5’. These inflatable docks are some of the best water toys you can add to your outdoor gear, especially if you want something big!

Mission boat inflatable floating dock

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 13’ x 6.5’ x 4”
  • Materials - 1000D nylon, drop-stitch material
  • Weight capacity - 1300 lbs

What we love:

  • Extra durable with double-reinforced seams
  • Super rigid with a non-slip decking
  • Deflates and compacts down to a large carry bag size
  • Available in three different sizes, all super larger than average

What we don't love:

  • Only fitted with one anchoring tie-point

If you’re  looking for an oversized floating inflatable dock, then the Mission Reef collection is for you. These make for a fantastic swim platform that can handle a lot of people. Just make sure you’ve got the gang ready to help carry it to the water!

Driftsun Mesa Floating Dock Platform

This floating dock platform from Driftsun has been carefully designed and manufactured with fun in mind! There are reinforced anchor D-ring points in each corner along with neoprene handles along each side. It’s comfortable for lounging on, enjoying some time for yoga, or flipping over for a slip’n slide!

Driftsun Inflatable Floating Dock Platform

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 10’ x 6.5’ x 6”
  • Materials - high-quality PVC
  • Weight capacity - 800 lbs

What we love:

  • Two high-pressure valves for fast inflation
  • Soft neoprene handles on all four sides
  • Large deck space perfect for a variety of activities
  • Textured EVA pad for ultimate grip

What we don't love:

  • Doesn’t come with a carry bag

The Mesa Dock from Driftsun is a good, solid product, perfect for long summer days at the pool or on a lake. The build quality and attachment points are decent, making it a good all-around choice. 

Freein 8'2” Air Floor

Last but not least, the Freein 8’2” Air Floor is a solo inflatable dock platform perfect for yoga practices, sun lounging on the water, or enjoying an afternoon fishing. This platform is similar to a stand up paddle board, but it is square in shape and is designed to be anchored in place. 

Freein Air Inflatable Floating Yoga Mat

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Size - 8’2” x 34” x 6”
  • Materials - high-quality dual layered PVC
  • Weight capacity - 220 lbs

What we love:

  • Compact size for solo use
  • Great floating platform for yoga practice or fishing excursions
  • A 4-point bungee storage system
  • 3 comfort handles

What we don't love:

  • Only big enough for one or two people

If you’re after a compact floating inflatable dock then this is the perfect choice for you. It can fit in small swimming pools without taking up all the space. The Freein 8’2” Air Floor is perfect for a solo trip.

Why You Should Buy An Inflatable Dock: A Buyer’s Guide

If you need convincing, here are some of the reasons why you should get an inflatable platform:

  • Enjoy a relaxing lounge on the water
  • Extend your SUP fishing platform (although, take extra caution with hooks!)
  • Use it as a swim deck
  • Inflatable boat platform and dock
  • Inflatable island perfect for a party
  • A water-level platform for paddle boarders, kayakers, and other water sport lovers

What To Look Out For When Buying An Inflatable Dock

Dog on an inflatable docks

When buying an inflatable dock, there are some key features you should consider. Be sure to do your research and decide exactly what you want from a floating platform. 

Size and Weight Capacity

Inflatable docks range in size, typically between 5x5 and 10x10 feet. Choosing what size you need depends on how many people are going to be using the dock. Generally, a 6x6 or 7x7 platform is a good all round size. 

The size of the inflatable dock has a direct impact on the weight capacity. The average weight capacity is between 400 and 800 pounds, depending on the size. It’s important to not overload the platform to ensure the safety of everyone; this includes cool boxes and other gear along with people. Manufacturers will state the total weight capacity of each dock in the specifications.

Material and Durability

Durability is a main priority of any inflatable. Quality materials and careful manufacturing make for excellent durability. You need to be looking for a heavy-duty 1000D PVC material, double reinforced seams, and a drop stitch construction for the best quality inflatable dock that will last. 

The drop stitch technology also provides a sturdy and solid dock surface with excellent stability. This is exactly what you want, especially if you’re sharing the inflatable dock with friends, family, and dogs! You’ll  also want to consider if there is a padded deck surface on the inflatable dock for extra comfort. 

Attachment Points

D-ring attachment points are a must for an inflatable dock, so make sure there are plenty! With these attachment points, you can do so much:

  • Secure cooler boxes and other gear
  • Set beach chairs in place for an ultimate setup
  • Anchor on your iSUP so it doesn’t drift away
  • Join with another inflatable dock for a larger platform

Inflating and Deflating

One of the main features of an inflatable floating dock is the ability to inflate and deflate it. Certain designs of air chambers can affect the inflation speed, so this is worth looking into before you buy. Some may even come with an air pump as part of a bundle deal as well! 

Check the valve fittings are compatible with your electric pump or hand pump. You may need to get an adapter attachment for the floating dock valve.

Maintenance

Sometimes things go wrong, so it’s good to have a plan just in case. Most inflatables come with a repair kit to carry out quick puncture repairs. You can do your part to ensure your inflatable floating dock doesn’t get unnecessarily damaged by using the grab handles to move it on land, keeping sharp objects away at all times, and avoiding overinflation. 

After use, make sure your floating dock is completely dry before deflating and going into storage. Also, avoid storing in direct sunlight to maintain the condition of your inflatable floating dock.

Safety Aspects

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind, regardless of conditions out on the water and how experienced you are. Using a floating inflatable dock adds safety for swimming and paddling in deeper waters, so be sure you always use it as intended. 

Grab handles are a great feature to help you get on the platform from the water. The deck of the floating dock should also have a full length grip (deck pad) to stop it from getting slippy. 

Conclusion: What Are The Best Inflatable Docks?

So there you have it, the best inflatable docks available on the market today! All you need to do is decide what you need from the platform and how many people are going to be using it. From there, you can narrow down your options by dimensions and soon find the best floating dock to suit you. 

So what are you waiting for? Grab your yoga gear or fishing rod, paddle out, and anchor down for the day!

FAQ’S

🏆 What can you use an inflatable dock for?

Inflatable docks are versatile, suitable for a whole array of water sports activities. They are perfect for flat days out on the ocean or lake, and can even be used in swimming pools as island floats. You can paddle your SUP right up to them, secure them with rope or bungees, and enjoy a peaceful moment in nature.

Depending on the size, you can set up some deck chairs and a coolbox for a relaxing float on the water. You may want to use an inflatable dock to level up your SUP yoga session or give you more space for an afternoon fishing. They are also ideal for parties and social gatherings with friends, giving everyone space to lounge both in and out of the water.


👍 Are inflatable docks stable?

Generally speaking, inflatable docks are super stable. Because of their larger size, they are often more stable than most stand up paddle boards. The larger the inflatable dock, then the greater the stability. Make sure you get a drop-stitch constructed dock for the best stability.

However, the stability will be affected with the more people using the platform. This will test your balance, but equally be super fun!


🏝️ How do you find the best inflatable floating dock?

Finding the best inflatable dock requires you to work out what you want out of the floating platform. You need to know how many people it needs to carry, along with how big you can go. Some have unique features, like pop up slides or mesh middles. 

The best inflatable floating docks are made using drop stitch construction with double or triple layer PVC. This gives superb durability and stability, which ultimately means more fun out on the water!


❓ Can floating platforms sink?

Floating platforms can sink if the weight capacity is exceeded. It’s important to always adhere to the manufacturer recommendations to ensure your safety and to get the best performance out of the inflatable dock. 

You can also sink a floating platform if you accidentally puncture the dock, so be careful and avoid having any sharp objects on board.


📦 How many people can use an inflatable dock at one time?

Each inflatable dock has its own weight capacity which dictates how many people can use it at one time. The average 7’ x 7’ dock can carry between 6-8 adults. Obviously, the bigger the platform, the more people can use it at one time.

Abi Leach
Abi Leach

Surfer, paddle boarder, and ocean lover. She loves traveling and discovering new destinations all across the world. When she's not writing, she's exploring the outdoors and enjoying fresh air.


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