We asked an experienced boater who owns both a Porta-Pontoon and Porta-Bote, and loves them both, to compare the two boats. His review discussing the pros and cons of each boat appears below:
I am a big fan of both the Porta-Pontoon and the Porta-Bote. I use my 2.5 Suzuki outboard on each because of the motor’s light weight and ease to put on and off. It pushes the Porta-Bote better than the Porta-Pontoon but that’s to be expected since the Porta-Bote is a V-hull boat. But you can’t beat the Porta-Pontoon for comfort since you can sit, lie down and stand on it. No need to stay in one position all day. I especially like to anchor the Porta-Pontoon and do some sunbathing on it with my family. We call it our floating, moving island.
Both boats take a bit of practice to put together quickly. The Porta-Bote is not easy to unfold without snapping shut before you get the extending piece or first bench into it. It takes strength and I recommend two people do it. The Porta-Pontoon does not present that problem but it has more pieces to assemble, so could take a bit longer until you get experience.
My Porta-Bote has started to leak since I have assembled and disassembled it so many times which puts strain on the folding hull. But it’s a small leak and I bring a small cup with me to bail. The Porta-Pontoon does not leak and I don’t expect that it will because there is nothing to fold or put strain on. Even if caught in the rain the Porta-Pontoon will not collect water, so no need for bailing. That’s true of all pontoon boats, which is why pontoon boats are called unsinkable.
The heaviest part of the Porta-Bote is over 70 lbs which can be a strain on one person to carry or assemble. In contrast the heaviest part of the Porta-Pontoon is under 15 lbs.
I travel with the Porta-Bote in my van since the hull is one piece and will not fit in my car. I’m reluctant to put it on the roof of the car for safety and security reasons, being very expensive to replace if stolen or damaged. My Porta-Pontoon fits into the back seat of my car and does not look like something worth stealing when it collapses into each other for transportation and storage purposes.
Both boats hug the water and ride amazingly well. If the weather is rough I prefer the Porta-Bote because of its V-hull. If I had to choose which boat to own, I would have trouble deciding since I like to alternate between the two boats. Essentially the Porta-Bote is built for speed and the Porta-Pontoon is built for comfort. I can more easily transport the Porta-Pontoon but I would say that the Porta-Bote is easier to assemble, particularly if you have someone to help you with the one-piece folding hull.
Fortunately I can afford both boats, since the Porta-Pontoon is less than $1000 and the Porta-Bote, even though somewhat pricier, is still under $2500.
Before I forget, you may be thinking about buying an inflatable boat. My experience with them has not been good. Eventually they will leak plus they do not have the stability of a Porta-Pontoon or Porta-Bote. Read additional accurate criticism of them at Porta Bote | Porta-Bote vs Inflatables (porta-bote.com).
Check out this great video