Have you been trying to think of fun ways to make the most of the summer this year? Us, too!
When the sun is shining, we all want to get out there and enjoy the weather as much as we can. However, jetting off to tropical retreats or grabbing tickets to an amusement park isn’t always a viable option. This reality can feel somewhat deflating at times: it’s well known that the dreaded FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can hit especially hard at this time of year.
But we’re here to tell you that you don’t need a luxury vacation to have the best summer ever this year! What you really need is a towable tube.
That’s right, you heard (read) us correctly – this simple, inflatable purchase will guarantee you hours of fun in the sun, plus an exhilarating experience, without breaking the bank!
Best Towable Tube
Best Overall: Airhead Mach Towable Tube
In pole position at the top of our list, we have the Airhead Mach Towable Tube.
You can purchase the Airhead Mach Towable Tube in a range of sizes, catering to anywhere between 1 and 3 users. Whether you want your tow-boating experience to be a personal or shared one, Airhead has a tube for you!
This inflatable tow tube features an 840 D partial nylon cover. This cover is extremely tough and wear-resistant, as well as very water-resistant, so you shouldn’t incur any damage while having fun on the water.
Moreover, since the handles are well padded, you can hold on as tight as you like without experiencing hand fatigue or any uncomfortable blistering.
Thanks to the speed safety valve, inflating and deflating the Airhead Mach Towable Tube is a quick, easy, and safe experience. Plus, the Kwik Connect rope attaches effortlessly to the towing vehicle for minimal stress during set-up.
Our only small gripe about this towable tube is that the cushions on the seats are relatively thin, which can get a little uncomfortable after a long while.
- 1, 2, and 3-rider models available – Caters to up to 3 riders
- Kwik Connect rope – Easy, secure attachment
- 840 D partial nylon cover – Heavy-duty protection
- Handle padding – Comfortable to use
- Speed safety valve – Inflates and deflates quickly and easily
- Thin seating cushions – Could use more seat padding
Runner-Up: Airhead G-Force Towable Tube
Our next strong competitor for the title of the best towable tube is another towable tube from Airhead: the Airhead G-Force Towable Tube!
Like the Airhead Mach, the Airhead G-Force comes in multiple sizes in order to cater to different party sizes. You can purchase the Airhead G-Force in a size suitable for just 1-2 riders or in a size designed for up to 4 people.
The G-Force Towable Tube features many of the same accessories and components as the Mach. The Kwik Connect rope, for example, is also featured on this model, which we love because it’s so easy to attach and stays securely connected.
This towable tube also boasts padded handles, so you’ll be able to maintain a comfortable, ergonomic grip throughout your tow-boating session.
However, while the Mach is partially covered, the G-Force has a full cover made of 840 D nylon, so it’s extra durable.
Additionally, Airhead’s G-Force Towable Tube comes with bolster fins that sit beneath the water and provide more stability, minimizing the risk of capsizing.
In theory, this product is equally if not more impressive than Airhead’s Mach model. However, the reason we haven’t recommended it as our top pick is that there seems to be an issue with quality control in some instances.
There have been a few reports of the tube leaking air either straight out of the box or very prematurely. While this by no means describes the experience of the majority of customers who have bought this product, it’s something we would definitely like to see rectified in the future.
- 1 – 4 rider models – Suitable for up to 4 people
- Kwik Connect attachment – Simple, strong connection
- Padded handles – Ergonomic grip
- Bolster fins – Enhanced stability
- Full 840 D nylon cover – Highly durable
- Some quality control issues – Infrequent reports of leaking
Best Budget: Sportsstuff Stars & Stripes Towable Tube
As we mentioned in our introduction, there’s no need to spend a ridiculous amount of money to guarantee yourself a fun-filled summer! This budget-friendly towable tube from SportsStuff is a testament to that.
Compared to the majority of towable tubes on the market, this one retails for a relatively low price that should be easier to tie in with different budgets.
With the available models catering to up to 2 or 3 individuals, you can use this towable tube alone or with up to 2 friends or family members.
Considering that it’s one of the least expensive towable tubes on the market, the SportsStuff Stars & Stripes Towable Tube scores very highly in terms of durability. It’s made from heavy-duty PVC material, reinforced with welded seams, so the risk of leaking or wear damage is minimal.
The design features padded handles for maximum comfort, so sore hands won’t get in the way of your activities!
However, please be aware that an extra fee will be required if you want to purchase this towable tube alongside the rope and pump required for use.
- 1 -2 or 1-3 riders – Built for up to 3 users
- Heavy-duty PVC – Durable construction
- Welded seams – Leak-resistant
- Padded handles – No hand fatigue
- Budget-friendly – Affordable option
- Extra cost for pump and rope – Not all-inclusive
Best Premium: SportsStuff Super Mable Towable Tube
The fact that SportsStuff manufactures some of the best budget and premium towable tubes on the market is a great indicator of the brand’s versatility.
The Super Mable Towable Tube from SportsStuff comfortably seats up to 3 riders at a time, so it’s the perfect towable tube for making memories with friends and family.
Boasting a heavy-duty, full-coverage nylon cover, the Super Mabel is highly wear-resistant and should last you for years to come.
Thanks to the Kwik Connect rope, which can be attached to either of the dual attachment points on the tube, you can start boating in no time once you get to the water and enjoy a versatile, tailorable experience.
SportsStuff’s Super Mable model features handles with padded knuckle guards. These guards not only give you somewhere comfortable to grip onto but actively protect your hands in case of impact.
Admittedly, as a premium product with the price tag to match, this isn’t a particularly affordable option, so if you’re on a budget, it may not be the best choice for you. However, it does provide excellent stability, comfort, and versatility.
- Seats 3 – Suitable for multi-person use
- Kwik Connect – Ergonomic attachment system
- Heavy-duty full nylon cover – Ultimate durability
- Padded knuckle guards – Safety and comfort-enhancing
- Dual attachment points – Versatile
- Premium price – Not the most affordable
Highly Commended: Airhead Hot Dog Towable Tube
Finally, we’d also like to introduce you to Airhead’s Hot Dog Towable Tube. This tube features a fun design that will bring a smile to faces everywhere. Moreover, the construction is high-quality delivers an exhilarating, comfortable ride.
The Airhead Hot Dog Towable Tube comes in 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, and 1-5-seater models, so you can purchase it in the perfect size for the use you’ll be making of it. However, we should point out that the number of people applies primarily to ‘smaller’ adults or children – you’re unlikely to be able to fit 5 fully grown adults on the jumbo model, for example.
Like Airhead’s other towable tube designs, this tube connects to the towing boat using a strong and efficient Kwik Connect rope and relies on heavy-duty nylon for protection. The nylon material is full-coverage, leaving no exposed weak spots.
The EVA padding distributed across the tube ensures that you’ll be comfortable at all times, so nothing will get in the way of your fun!
- Hot dog design – Fun and great for kids
- 2, 3, 4, and 5-seater models – Can seat up to 5
- Kwik Connect rope – Secure, ergonomic connection
- Full-coverage heavy-duty nylon – Wear-resistant
- EVA padding – Super comfortable
- Seating capacity may vary according to weights – Will not support 5 tall adults
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Towable Tube
As you can see, there are plenty of towable tubes available on the market in a range of sizes and designs. Now, all you have to do is pick the one that you think will serve you best!
For more advice on the best features to prioritize when buying a towable tube, keep reading!
Because towable tubes are, by nature, inflatable, the durability of your new towable tube is crucially important. After all, you don’t want your tube to explode the second someone sits in it.
A partial, high-denier nylon cover is a good way to make sure that the most exposed areas of your towable tube are reinforced and protected from the elements and other objects. A full cover is even better since it won’t leave anything exposed, although these tubes usually come at a higher price.
For inflatable, non-covered areas, PVC is the material that we would recommend. Not only is it highly durable and puncture-resistant, but it’s also lightweight enough that you won’t have to sacrifice portability and practicality for longevity.
Welded seams will also go a long way towards ensuring structural integrity and longevity because this type of seam construction minimizes the risk of leaking and strengthens the potential weak points of the design.
One of the most important factors to consider when you’re buying a towable tube is how many people the tube can seat.
Usually, this will be stated in the product guidelines, although you should always check to see if a maximum weight limit is stated and whether the number of people refers to children or adults.
Often, towable tube manufacturers will offer the same tube design in multiple sizes, indicated by the number of people that they can seat.
If possible, we would recommend choosing a tube with some kind of cushioning or padding on the seats since tow-boating can result in a bumpy ride. Some tubes, like the Airhead Mach Towable Tube, have actual separate pads.
Others, like the Airhead Hot Dog Towable Tube, have EVA padding built into the construction. The downside of the former is that the cushions can slip out from under you, although this also means you can reposition the padding easily.
By far, the best kind of attachment system for a towable tube is Kwik Connect.
Instead of spending a long time threading a tow rope through a strap and connecting it to the attachment points, by using Kwik Connect, you can clip your rope effortlessly to the tube and towing boat in a matter of seconds.
Kwik Connect attachments also have a break strength of up to 6,000 lbs, so you can trust these ropes not to let you down when you need them!
Some towable tubes have multiple attachment points to provide a versatile and tailorable ride. For many people, this will just be a bonus feature to switch things up now and again.
However, if you’re a person who experiences motion sickness when traveling in a certain direction, the positioning of the attachment points will be very important to you. If you know you start to feel sick when moving backward, make sure the attachment point on your selected tube is at the front. If the reverse is true, you will need the attachment to be at the back.
It goes without saying that, in order to be safe, a towable tube should have enough handles for all riders to maintain a secure grip at all times.
However, the importance of towable tube handles doesn’t stop there. The construction of your tube’s handles will have a significant impact on the overall comfort of your experience. If you’re struggling with hand fatigue the whole time, you won’t be enjoying yourself as much as you could be.
Handle padding is the key to a comfortable and ergonomic grip when using a towable tube. If you want to take your hand protection and comfort to the next level, you may wish to opt for a towable tube that features knuckle guards on the handles.
Although we’re sure you’ll have a lot of fun with your new towable tube, capsizing is always a possibility. As long as you have a spotter on deck, this shouldn’t put you in danger, but most people want to avoid falling into the water if they can.
Therefore, one of the best additional features we can recommend on a towable tube is a set of bolster fins.
Bolster fins provide extra stability by protruding down into the water while the tube is being towed. This minimizes wobbling or bouncing and makes for a smoother, safer ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are towable tubes safe?
If used correctly and with proper supervision, towable tubes are safe to use.
When riding a towable tube, you should keep hold of the handles at all times. Children using towable tubes should be supervised by an adult at all times, and the maximum weight stated on the product guidelines should never be exceeded under any circumstances.
Similarly, do not exceed the maximum number of people, and make sure you’re clear on whether this number applies to children or adults since this can make all the difference between a safe and unsafe ride.
Moreover, it’s always wise to have a ‘spotter’ to watch the riders while the towing vehicle is moving. This is so that, if anything goes wrong (‘man overboard!’) or somebody becomes unwell, the driver can be alerted easily and immediately.
Finally, if you notice any significant signs of wear (more than just a minor scuff here and there), you should discontinue the use of your towable tube.
Signs of damage like severe scratches, worn fabric, or fraying seams may indicate that your tube is nearing the end of its lifespan and could conceivably fall apart mid-use. This would be annoying at least and dangerous at worst, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
How should I store my towable tube?
The best way of storing your towable tube to keep it in good condition for as long as possible is to invest in a duffle bag or another type of heavy-duty, lightweight carry bag.
Not only will a bag help to keep your towable tube protected by providing another layer of tough material between the tube and any other objects, but it will also provide a convenient way to transport your tube to and from the water.
Make sure that the place in which you choose to store your towable tube isn’t either too hot or too cold since this could potentially have a negative impact on the structure of the material, leading to premature damage.
Especially avoid moist, damp places and make sure that your tube has dried out before you put it away. This is because the accumulation of mold can eventually create holes in the material.