Pontoon with 90 vs 200 hp. What's the difference?
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Pontoon with 90 vs 200 hp. What’s the difference?

Pontoon boats are a popular option because they give you a smooth ride in the water, provide plenty of room to enjoy, and can achieve great speeds. But should you choose a 90 or 200 horsepower pontoon boat?

Pontoon with 90 vs 200 hp. What’s the difference? A 90 horsepower pontoon boat will typically go about half the speed of a 200 horsepower pontoon boat, all other things being equal. You can expect speeds between 18 and 28 miles per hour for a 90 HP pontoon boat and speeds of between 37 and 45 miles per hour for a 200 horsepower pontoon boat. Differences also include the resale value, cost, weight, speed, handling, and more.

Here’s what you need to know to help you make the right decision between 90 horsepower and 200 horsepower for your pontoon boat. 

Pontoon With 90 Vs 200 Hp. What’s The Difference?

Resale Value

A pontoon boat that has less than 115 horsepower may not be as desirable in the resale market as a boat with more than 115 horsepower.

This means that while a pontoon boat with 90 horsepower may serve your needs, you may struggle to sell it if you decide to do so. 

While you certainly don’t need to go all the way up to 200 hp, it may be worth upping the horsepower a bit to at least 115 if you plan to sell the boat at any point.

Cost

Expect to pay considerably less for a pontoon boat with a 90 horsepower engine compared to one with a 200 horsepower engine. In general, the greater the horsepower, the more you can expect to pay. 

On average, you can expect to pay between $8000 and $9,000 for a 90 horsepower engine. On the other hand, for a 200 horsepower engine, you can expect to pay between $14,000 and $17,500.

Needless to say, this is a big difference, so you really want to be confident that you need the larger engine before shoeveling out an additional $5000 to $10,000.

Weight

In general, a 90 horsepower engine will weigh around 400 lb. A 200 hp engine may weigh as much as 520 lb.

Additional weight means that you’ll need more horsepower to achieve the same speed, so if you don’t expect to be running your 200 horsepower engine at its highest speeds most of the time, it may be worth going for the less powerful and less weighty option.

Speed

The most important distinction between a 90 and 200 horsepower engine for your pontoon boat is the speed. Keep in mind that more than horsepower goes into the speed that your pontoon boat will go. 

However, horsepower is definitely a key characteristic to keep in mind. In general, a 200 horsepower pontoon boat will go about twice as fast as a 90 horsepower pontoon boat, all else being equal.

If you want to achieve the greatest possible speeds for your boat, more horsepower is worth the extra investment.

Pontoon with 90 vs 200 hp. What's the difference?

Handling

Many people enthusiastically sign on for more horsepower without thinking much about the effect that horsepower can have on the handling of the boat. Pontoon boats aren’t known for being some of the more difficult to pilot vessels, but still, things can go wrong. 

The greater the horsepower, the more challenges you may have when handling the boat. If children or inexperienced people will be piloting the boat, especially single-handedly, you must think hard about the amount of horsepower you want to equip the boat with.

An underweight boat with 200 horsepower can flip over surprisingly easily, particularly when accelerating or when the boat gets on a plane.

How Fast Will A 200 Hp Pontoon Boat Go?

Type of Pontoon BoatLengthSpeed
2019 Barletta L23QCSS25′45mph
2020 Barletta C24UC24’37mph

How Fast Will A 90 HP Pontoon Boat Go?”

Type of Pontoon BoatLengthSpeed
G3 Suncatcher 22′22mph
Crest III26′ 28mph
2006 Sweetwater24′ 18mph
Tritoon21’27mph
Tritoon26’28mph

What Affects How Fast A Pontoon Boat Will Go Besides The Horsepower? 

Horsepower is the first thing that most people think about when determining how fast a pontoon boat can go, and it’s definitely one of the most important factors to consider. However, a lot goes into how quickly your pontoon boat can move besides horsepower. 

It is worth considering these other factors to help you determine how much horsepower you really need to achieve the speed that you want.

Pontoon with 90 vs 200 hp. What's the difference?

Weight

The heavier your boat, the slower it will tend to go. A rough estimate is that you will lose about 15% of speed for every thousand pounds added to the boat. 

While many people calculate a boat’s weight depending on the manufacturer’s details, in reality, your particular boat will weigh a lot more once you are ready to hit the water. Your passengers, equipment, engine, and more all affect the total weight of the boat.

Keep in mind how much you expect your boat to weigh once fully equipped in order to determine how much horsepower you need.

Bimini

The bimini on your pontoon boat adds wind resistance, which can slow it down. Most of the time, this will only account for a couple of miles per hour of difference, but on very windy days when you are facing into the wind, the difference can be considerably more substantial, as much as five miles per hour or more. 

Most pontoon boat captains prefer having a bimini to provide shelter from the sun, but keep in mind how your bimini can affect your overall speed.

Prop

The type of prop you have and the condition that it is in will affect how fast your boat goes.

Smaller props in optimal condition can enable considerably faster speeds than a large, heavy prop that has been bent out of shape. The material also matters. Stainless steel props can often help to achieve greater speed than other types of materials. 

Pontoon Condition

You want to keep your pontoons clean and shiny, not just as a point of pride, but also because it can dramatically affect your speed.

Pontoons that are heavily laden with barnacles, algae, etc can lose speed significantly, as much as from three to six miles per hour. 

Even a small amount of debris on your pontoons can cause you to lose a mile or so per hour. If you haul your pontoon boat out every time you use it, this is unlikely to be a consideration for you.

However, if you keep your pontoon boat in the water, make sure that you clean and paint the bottom regularly to keep pontoons in optimal condition to maintain good speeds. 

How To Increase Pontoon Boat Speeds

If you would like your pontoon boat to go faster, you have a number of options at your disposal aside from increasing your horsepower. Here are a few possibilities to consider:

Add A Second Engine

This is a way to increase your horsepower that may be more affordable than buying a new engine with higher horsepower.

Two 90 horsepower engines will bring you up to a similar speed to a 200 horsepower pontoon boat, but you may find that the cost of purchasing two 90 horsepower engines is less than the cost of purchasing a 200 horsepower engine. 

Also, if you already have a 90 horsepower engine, you won’t have to get rid of it in order to increase your overall horsepower.

As an added benefit, having two engines protects you from the potential consequences of having something go wrong with the engine since you won’t be left dead in the water.

Convert To A Tritoon

You can add a third pontoon to your boat, increasing the speed and maneuverability overall.

This isn’t a cheap option, often costing as much as $5,000 for the overhaul, but if you’ve already made a lot of investments into your current pontoon boat but want to add greater speed, converting to a tritoon may be a very good option for you.

Change Your Engine Angle

Tilting your engine up to a higher angle can improve its performance. When the nose of the engine is lifted out of the water, you often will find that speed is increased.

You may know that you need to trim your engine if you see water splashing between the pontoon boat tubes, especially when you throttle up. 

Reduce The Weight

The lower the weight your pontoon boat needs to carry, the faster it will go. You may not want to have to tell your friends and family that they’re not welcome, but you can reduce weight in other ways. 

Aftermarket add-ons like biminis often add to the weight of the boat significantly. By choosing a lighter-weight bimini, you can make a big difference in the overall weight that your boat needs to carry. Leaving extra gear at home can also reduce weight.

Make A Good Choice Between 90 And 200 Horsepower For Your Pontoon Boat

Depending on what you will be using your pontoon boat for, how much weight it will carry, and other factors, you may be happy with either a 90 or 200 horsepower pontoon boat.

Think carefully about the speeds you want to achieve to decide on the right option for you.

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