Paddleboarding is fast-becoming one of the most popular water-based sports in the world, with plenty of paddleboarders and surfers hitting the ocean with an inflatable board, using only the strength in their body to avoid wiping out and trying to get on top of the gnarliest waves.
However, for the beginner, sometimes the top-of-the-range boards might seem slightly out of their price range. A pro board can also seem daunting if you haven’t even managed to master standing on it yet.
Luckily, for those newbies, there are plenty of reasonably priced boards that you can pick up for less than $500, that you won’t mind beating up on the surf or against the rocks.
When it comes to having a board to learn on, you’ll want something that has all the essential features and build quality of a full-priced board, but also that you won’t mind scuffing or scratching.
Ideally, you’ll want a board where the lower price does not compromise the quality of its design or construction.
You’ll want something made from sturdy, lightweight materials like PVC, with good stitching that won’t perish after multiple uses and keep you firmly fixed to your board so you can master those drop-nose and turning moves.
But where can you find the best cheap inflatable paddle boards? What features and materials should a paddleboard have to give you that assurance on the waves and longevity of use? How much can you be expected to spend on a decent paddleboard?
Well, newbie and experienced paddleboarders won’t need to fret over such questions for much longer, because we’ve compiled a list of the best budget inflatable paddle boards currently available on the market.
We’ve also got a buyer’s guide that will help you determine the good boards from the outright bad, with some frequently asked questions from paddleboarders the world over.
OUR TOP PICK
- 0.1 Pathfinder Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard
- 0.2 Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard
- 0.3 SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- 0.4 Bestway Hydro-Force Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- 0.5 Vilano Journey Inflatable Stand up Paddle Board
- 1 Best Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards Buying Guide
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
Our first paddleboard is one that measures at a decent length and will give you more than enough support when out on the waves.
This is manufactured by the very respectable Pathfinder company, with hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon which is a real testament to the quality and craftsmanship that Pathfinder put into all their products - introducing Pathfinder Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard.
This board has a 9 feet length that will be able to support even the heaviest of paddleboarders.
If you are learning to wrangle your board, having plenty of space to maneuver will be very important to prevent you from coming off the board and into the water. This board is 5 inches thick, which will prevent it from breaking after months and months of use.
This board is constructed from durable PVC, similar to those used in zodiac boats, with a thick drop-stitch construction that will be able to easily withstand multiple throws in the ocean.
It also has a cargo net that will enable you to carry your important items when out on the water.
- The portability - you should be able to move your paddleboard from the back of your truck to the shorefront without straining your back. The last thing you’ll want before you hit the waves is to be in chronic pain.
- This board has a patented drop stitch construction which means that it won’t perish when you’re out on the water. One of the most common problems experienced by surfers is their boards coming apart due to the repeated intense pressures of rolling or hitting rocks.
- The design - this board has a detachable central fin, with an aluminum paddleboard that you can use to give yourself greater control. This is very important when learning to negotiate those tough waves.
- Longevity - having a durable board is very important for longevity. Ideally, you’ll want your first board to last you over a year.
- Some users have complained that this board is a little too bulky and large to handle. Beginners stepping onto a board for the first time might want to opt for something smaller and easier to wield.
Next up we have a board that is slightly larger than our previous model, enabling the users to better articulate those initial smaller waves.
It has an enhanced gripping pad that will allow you to develop your balance and stay on the board for a few more seconds each time - introducing the Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard.
This board is cheap, but that doesn’t mean that it will fail you in terms of build quality and material construction.
It has a 30-Inch width and is 10 feet in length, so if you are a larger surfer, you won’t have to worry about your board not being able to hold you.
The hull of this paddleboard is military-grade PVC, so for the price, you might not find a more durable board.
There are D-rings on the back, so you can hook in a cargo net with enough space for you to install a kayak seat too.
So if you fancy switching up the kind of surfing you do from time to time, this is a great unit.
- This board comes with numerous accessories including a carry handle, a high-pressure hand pump with a pressure gouge, and a leash. These are all things that will make carrying, paddling, and surfing that extra bit easier.
- The price - obviously the reason that this board is even on this list is because of the excellent low price. This paddleboard will handle like a small tank in the water, giving you that extra control and assurance you need when first tackling choppy waters.
- The hull of this boat is easy to grip and has a patented mesh pattern to improve grip on the feet. The hulk underneath is slick and will glide through the water easily, with a lifting nose and smooth edges, as well as a detachable fin.
- This board is more designed for recreation, being a bit too oversized for racing competitions. The drop stitching on the side of the board makes it practically invincible.
- This might not be the right board for more experienced paddle boarders who are looking for something a little more challenging.
If it’s a sturdy board you’re looking for, then you can’t go far wrong with this next paddleboard.
At 30-inches of width and 10 feet in length, you can attach plenty of accessories to this board, it is perfect for keeping you on the surface of the water, made as it is from military-grade PVC material on the hull - introducing SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board.
This company has been known to manufacture its cheaper boards with the same material as the more expensive ones, which is remarkable for those that want a top-quality board for a fraction of the price.
The military-grade of the paddleboard with the toughness of the drop stitch pattern makes it practically indestructible.
This board is great for the entry-level paddler, with a smooth design and a lifting front and triple-fin navigation system.
It also comes with an ankle cuff, an oar, a high-pressure hand pump and a storage bag that will allow you to conveniently store all your surfing accessories.
- The thickness - this is one of the most durable boards currently on the market, with an anti-slip deck pad that will keep you and your bare feet firmly fixed to the board for hours and hours.
- There is plenty of room on this board for accessories, you can attach various things to this board to ensure that you won’t be stranded out on the surf.
- The resilience of this paddleboard’s body and the smoothness of its construction will ensure you a controlled and wobble-free ride through the water. When it comes to learning to cut through the surf, control and balance are the two most important things a board should give you.
- The price - the sheer level of quality you get on this board for the price that they’re selling it for is frankly out-of-this-world, if you are an entry-level surfer and you want something that can keep you above the water rather than below it, we would certainly recommend this one.
- This board is very bulky and, as a result, you might not be able to pick up a lot of speed on it. If you want something a little faster, we’d recommend that you look at some of the competitive racing boards.
Our next board is one for people who prefer speed to durability, with a lightweight 4-inch thickness, it only weighs 209-pounds.
However, it is still a very resilient model, with a military-grade PVC hull that is often used in boats and a double-stitched pattern on the rim that certainly won’t perish even after months of use - introducing the Bestway Hydro-Force Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board.
This board has a gripping pad on the topside that will certainly allow you to balance a lot easier than your average run-of-the-mill entry-level surfboard.
When it comes to surfing for the first time, you’ll need the utmost command over your water scudding friend to avoid pitching yourself in the drink.
This board is one of the more portable units, you can transfer your board from your truck to the shorefront in next to no time.
This board also comes with an optional kayak seat and an aluminum oar if you want a more leisurely tour of your local lake, seafront or river.
This versatility will come in handy if you want to take a break from trying to stand on your surfboard.
- This paddleboard comes with all the accessories that you will need to get you started, you can bring an additional wetsuit or a first aid kit to make sure that you aren’t stranded when you’re out a mile or so away from land.
- The kayak option makes it the perfect model for fishing. Simply bring your fishing gear with you, pitch your chair and enjoy a leisurely few hours catching fish in your favorite fishing spot.
- The aluminum oar gives you solid control over your board, allowing you to get yourself to safety when things start going wrong. Having the added control is ideal for staying safe on the waves.
- This board is probably one of the more practical on this list. The lightweight body of this board makes it great to carry to and from the sea, which will be important for the journey back as you might be too exhausted to carry a heavy board.
- This board might be a little too lightweight for someone who wants something that will be resilient when out on intermediate level waves.
Our final paddleboard is one that is manufactured by the very popular Vilano company, who actually established themselves by making bikes and have successfully transitioned to building paddleboards.
This board is a decent 9 feet in length, with a 30-inch width that will be able to support even the heaviest surfer - introducing the Vilano Journey Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board.
The stability and handling on this paddleboard are excellent, with a gripping pad stretch out across the topmost part, as well as an ankle coil that will keep you grounded during the more choppy waters.
Like the other paddleboards on this list, this one has a drop stitch pattern that is extremely durable and can survive repeated sailing in the water.
This paddleboard is made from industrial strength PVC, with a 5-inch thickness that will be able to withstand impacts over weeks and months.
You also have the option of installing a kayak seat, which is perfect for anyone who wants to mingle fishing with surfing.
- The construction - this is made from industrial strength PVC and woven in waterproof, double-stitched cotton material.
- This board is very well designed for recreational use, with a smooth curvature on the outside and a detachable central fin on the underside.
- The ankle attachment on the topside will give you the maximum amount of security, perfect if you’re a new surfer and you want as much confidence as possible on your first board.
- You can easily pack this one away and it won’t take up too much space in your garage or on your truck.
- Some users have complained that the construction of this paddleboard is a little too narrow, giving them less command over their board.
Best Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards Buying Guide
There are a few basic things that you’ll need from your first paddleboard, but the most important one is probably going to be the ability to stand on the board for longer than a few seconds at a time.
You’ll have to be using all your focus to stay on your 2 feet and you don’t want a board that works against you.
Here are a few things that you’ll need from a cheap inflatable board:
What Is The Size Of Your Paddleboard?
The dimensions of your paddleboard will be a good indicator of how much weight they can bear. The shape of the board will also be very important.
Longer boards are less maneuverable but have more buoyancy, whereas wider boards give you a lot more stability when on the water.
For a beginner, you might want to think about getting a wider board to help you stay afloat and practice your balancing.
What Construction Is Your Paddleboard?
You can get various shapes of paddleboard that range from bulbous to slim and shark-shaped.
If you have a slim and sharkier paddleboard, you’ll have a much greater advantage if you’re competing in paddleboard races.
A lot of these inflatable models are made from PVC, which can be easily blown up and thrown out on the water very quickly.
Is Your Paddleboard Easy To Store?
One of the main reasons you might be buying an inflatable paddleboard is to save on space, both when storing, but also when you’re traveling to your surfing destination.
A lot of new surfers will love the option of being able to store their surfboards in their backpacks.
If you are an urban surfer, then this will be even more appealing, as you might only have a smaller living space where is surfboard is not that amenable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Can You Be Looking To Pay For A Paddleboard?
One of the main draws of an inflatable paddle board is the price. You can pick up most of the models above for a few hundred dollars.
That’s why most students will want to get themselves these inflatable models so that they can become acclimatized to standing on the paddleboard before attempting more complex moves.
Another reason to get an inflatable paddleboard is to beat it up as much as possible - you won’t want to spend too much money on your first board as it is the one that will suffer the most from wear and tear.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.