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Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

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  • Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

    Okay, my wife and I were going to buy a used pontoon to use this season as I discussed in a thread started earlier but upon further consideration I think we are going to wait until the end of the season and buy a new boat. I know the argument you lose value, etc but I plan on being like my grandfather who still is driving the heck out of his pontoon 20+ years after he bought it new.

    My wife and I have been looking at boats and I was wondering what the real advantages of the tritoon vs the triple toon would be in certain applications. The two main boats we have been looking at are 22 and 25 foot long boats. Here are the ratings for it from what I have seen.

    22 foot boat in two toon configuration 115hp max and with three toons 175 hp max
    25 foot boat in two toon configuration 175hp max and with three toons 225 hp max (dealer say 250 though)

    Any of the above four boats have the same perks, amenities, etc as well as underskinning and lifting strakes.

    My wife is more comofortable with around a 150hp motor for the time being for multiple reasons so that is most likely what we are going to go with if the boat will allow. The triple toon boats are a considerable bit more expensive and I was wondering what type of speed I would realistically pickup with these setups.

    22 foot dual log with 115 vs 223 triple with 150
    25 foot dual log with 150 vs 223 triple with 150

    I have found some specs saying that you are only going to get around mid thirties out of either triple toon boat, but have heard of 25 foot boats with two toons running in the low thirties. Basically the triple tube 22 and dual toon 25 are similar in price. What do you guys that have similar setups to any of the above run. Also I can't get a straight answer from my dealer over the phone on what the price jump from a 150 to a 175 is (and is the next jump to a 200 similar to the small jump between the 115 and 150). All of the above are also Mercury setups and for speed I have been told to go Optimax, but if the gain over the 4 stroke isn't great we might go with that for the noise level. Just looking for some advice from people who have done this before so I don't have to deal with my better half being unhappy with the boat for the next decade.

  • #2
    Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

    Pontoons aren't speed demons pontoons are for cruising. That's really the only thing I can say maybe a little more stability with a Tritoon but Our 28' does just fine for cruising. I want speed I get in the ski boat what is the intended purpose for the boat?
    Currently in the hangar

    My restoration thread 1985 Starcraft Supersport " The Siver Lining"


    1974 Starcraft Supersport 16 Flipper (Splashed 05/11/14)


    1993 Lowe Pontoon


    • #3
      Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

      I have a 28' tri toon as well and have been on several dual toons, there is a tremendous difference in the structural stability. On a Dual toon when going over oncoming wakes the whole deck torques. I have been in 3 foot seas and felt no torque in the floor at all on my tri toon which is a 1989 suntracker party hut. It also depends on the manufacture with stability.


      • #4
        Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

        I have a 25' triple tube with a Honda 135 on it. Probably gets up to upper 20's in perfect conditions.

        Pontoons while capable of high speeds (depends on your wallet), are really meant for slower cruising in my opinion.
        A triple tube pontoon will provide a much more comfortable ride in rougher water.
        1974 Century Resorter
        2008 JC Suntoon Triple Tube
        2007 Sea Doo Speedster SCIC


        • #5
          Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

          In my opinion you will find that a tritoon will have a better more stable ride and be a little faster than a pontoon. If you can manage to throttle back it will probably get a little better gas milage at the same speed as a pontoon. If you can swing the extra money I believe you will like the tri toon better. I have never heard anyone say I wish I only had a pontoon, but I have heard several people say they wish that they would have paid more for a tritoon instead of their pontoon.

          I personally have a pontoon and am not really looking for a tritoon, but I live on the water and can take my boat out on nicer days. My friends tritoon definately handles rough water better. My pontoon is a 24 foot model with a 115 that I have had up to 24 mph on a smooth day. That is with very dirty pontoons. When the water warms up I plan to clean to pontoons and see if I can pick up a little speed, but for my normal cruising the boat meets my needs. I don't use it to ski and can pull kids on tubes easily if I want.


          • #6
            Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

            If speed is a consideration, with the size of boat and motor you are contemplating, a model with lifting strakes would be beneficial to you.

            Never take instruction from a guy with missing fingers.


            • #7
              Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

              I'm thinking for the money you are about to spend you ought to get a test ride to check it out yourself. A new tritoon with a bigger OB is going to cost more than a few bucks at any trim level.


              • #8
                Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

                If speed is what your after and money is no problem,check out the September 2010 issue of Boating magazine.They have toons that will break 70 MPH!!Most all of them are triple toons w big or dual V8s.I would love to see the look on a tournament Bass fishermans face when you pull alongside or pass him in a pontoon at 60/70+Manufacturers include Bennigton,Premier,Playcraft-twin Merc. 496 ho, 32', 10' beam,top speed 67.1! and several others.I can"t wait to see a Pontoon boat race on TV


                • #9
                  Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

                  I went through this process two years ago before settling on a 25ft premier tritoon with 250hp outboard. In my opinion the "pontoons are for slow cruising" days are over. I test drove two tube toons, tritoons, and deck boats. ThE three toon set up offered the best stability, towing ability, speed, and space my money could buy! Huge difference between two toon and tritoon when it comes to top speed, and most important getting up on plane to ride over the big waves!My family of six have had a blast boating anything from NC lakes to the inter coastal waterway from Tampa bay up to tarpon springs! You will be amazed at how well they handle rough water!( old deck boat beat the heck out us). Pulling two tubes.. Skiing, we can do it all! I am a very happy tri-toon owner!

                  By the way I bought new with the same idea of owning this boat for the next 25years


                  • #10
                    Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

                    I meant to say that all 4 come with lifting strakes. All four of these boats are under 27k with the options with the cheapest coming in right around 20k, so not terrible in todays world of super expensive toons.


                    • #11
                      Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

                      Hey mpilot, my wife and I went through a similar process. First was a 2005 Starcraft 24' twin tube w/ 90 hp. Merc. Optimax. 22-24 mph. Nice boat, but wet in the rough stuff. Next was a 2007 Bentley 243 triple tube, w/ 200 hp, Merc Optimax. 42-44 mph. Night and day difference in rough water handling, and we stayed dry !!! Now we have a 2011 25' South Bay triple tube, w/ 250 hp. Merc. Optimax Pro XS. Beautiful rig, but pricey!!! 47-48 mph. I really think the 22' triple tube w/ 150 hp. is a sweet package. Mid to high 30's for speed and fuel efficient. I think you will find a 25' w/ 150 hp. pushing it a bit, especially w/ 6-10 people, ice chests, ect. I really like the power and efficiency of the big Merc. Optimax motors, and we don't find them to be overly loud. Good luck in your search.
                      The Rooster
                      2011 South Bay 25 TT
                      Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS
                      2013 Yamaha FX-HO 1.8


                      • #12
                        Re: Tritoon vs traditional pontoon questions

                        You've received very good advice above. The best place I've found to get comparisons on pontoons is @ BoatTest.com. If you'll join the forum, you can get into their tests showing mph, mpg and detailed comments of dozens of pontoons in different configurations.

                        Many of the 22' pontoons with 115 hp motors are getting 5+ mpg at mid range speeds. Some of the 25' 250 hp monsters are in the 2-2.5 mpg range at cruising speed. With $5 gas on lakes, efficiency is now especially important.

                        I think a 22' tritoon with lifting strakes and a 115 hp 4 stroke would be very efficient. There again, a 150 hp might give you the extra umph to push a 3rd tube. An 8 1/2' 24' pontoon with lifting strakes with a 115 hp might also be a very good package for normal people.

                        Premium brand high performance tritoons with 250 hp motors are just serious money to purchase--often $50K+. Insurance costs, storage, maintenance and fuel costs make them out of the realm of normal income people.


                        • #13
                          more horsepower has it's issues with older tritoons

                          I can share my experience with a 10 year-old 26' Voyager tritoon and a 175 Yamaha of the same vintage (Pro V). The boat is like a slot car in the water with the extra toon. It absolutely gobbles waves in semi-rough water that has V-bottoms porposing. At the same time 2 pontoons are heading for the nearest cover and under duress.

                          When the 175 died, I got a deal on a new Y225 2stroke (vmax hpdi) which is at the max for this tritoon. Speed increased from 38/39 to 43. Both engines have ample power out of the hole for water sports with a crew of 6/8 and full tanks of gas. The new one is more efficient (not to be confused with "cheap"

                          Now when stepping up to that size of engine, the transom in my boat was wood sandwiched by 1/4 inch aluminum. The wood was rotting so the transom had to be
                          rebuilt for the bigger motor. The custom tow bar had to be rebuilt to allow storage clearance for the motor. The new motor is heavier and requires a little more awareness of weight distribution for passengers. Steering setup had to be slightly modified and jack plate was added to improve the performance. I'm very happy with the result, but I just want to point out that there are expenses and other considerations to stepping up to the boat manufacturers max engine size when the boat is getting older. Performance-wise with a full crew, it's a beast, but it doesn't come cheap.

                          It's not as simple as saying, gee, I think I'll select the max horsepower (specified) for my boat when I replace the engine. One manageable issue after another can surface.

                          Hope this helps someone.


                          • #14
                            Re: more horsepower has it's issues with older tritoons

                            Are we talking just three toons or a performance pontoon?

                            I have a 24' Manitou with the SHP performance package and a 175 Yamaha VMax. I get 38.8MPH (GPS) top end. Hole shot is pretty crisp also.

                            Boat is remarkably stable and the Manitou performance hull (SHP) turns like a v-hull.

                            If you are just going to be cruising around the lake a normal 3 toon boat will do nicely. It will give you greater capacity and stability that a two toon boat. If you are going to be skiing or tubing get a performance hull. (Manitou, Bennigton and Premier all have them and their owners swear by them. Personally I believe that Manitou is best but the others are close enough that other factors would weigh more (arrangement etc))

                            If you have children, or are going to have children, get the performance hull. They will want to tube and ski someday, may as well be prepared if you are going to hold the boat for that long.
                            2007 Manitou Osprey Pro SHP
                            Yamaha 175 HPDI VMAX


                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Re: more horsepower has it's issues with older tritoons

                              take it from someone who bought a pontoon with to small of a motor and would love to have the option of buying again .
                              1. Buy the tri toon and put at least a 150hp on it . When you look at the difference of even 5 to 7k more for the more power , speed and performance , and the fact you will have the boat a long time . I would also put as big of motor as you can on it ( I think you said 175 hp ) It looks like an additional $1000 for a 175 versus a 150hp