Thinking about buying an aluminum fishing boat but am not sure which brands to consider? We can help. BoaterInput.com surveyed 151 owners from across the country to identify the best aluminum boats.
Since results varied by the type of aluminum boat owned, we broke out the results by the two major varieties. Mod V’s have shallower bottoms and raised decks near the gunnel. These are popular in southern areas and are often used for bass or panfishing. Click on the following link to see our report on the Best Aluminum Mod Vs.
Deep Vs, on the other hand, have higher, deeper sides to provide for a drier, more comfortable ride which is important in northern climates and colder waters. This report provides a summary of the Best Aluminum Boats with Deep V hulls.
BEST ALUMINUM BOATS
The set of brands that are most popular among Deep V owners is considerably different than that of Mod Vs. These boats are often used in northern waterways and, as such, it is no coincidence that the three most commonly desired makes are all based out of Minnesota. When you are fishing for Walleye’s with a north wind and an air temperature in the 40s, the last thing you want is a cold spray in the face. Getting a boat that can deliver a smooth, dry ride in these conditions is crucial.
Lund has an excellent reputation in this regard and is part of the reason why it was number one on our list. Two out of three Deep V owners would consider this brand if shopping for a new boat.
Alumacraft is also a very popular choice within this segment as is Crestliner, a brand noted for its all-welded construction. Tracker and Lowe also made the list but these brands are even more popular among Mod V owners.
|Aluminum Deep Vs||% Selecting in Top 3|
Now let’s look at the reasons why Deep V owners favor these brands.
When bass boaters think of “top of the line”, the Ranger name often comes to mind. The same is true with Cobalt for runabouts, and Grady White or Boston Whaler for offshore fishing boats. But when it comes to Deep V aluminum fishing boats, that honor goes to Lund.
Lund has been building boats since 1948 but became part of the Brunswick family in 2004. However, product design and production is still fairly autonomous from their New York Mills, MN headquarters.
As a kid, I remember seeing fishing guides and lodges up north almost exclusively using Lunds. Something that, I believe, cemented their image as one of the best aluminum boats for serious anglers.
Not surprisingly, the most common reason for favoring a Lund in our study was its quality/craftsmanship. Several also mentioned positive prior ownership experiences. However, another reason mentioned was resale value. This is significant because Lund also has a reputation for being somewhat pricey. Specific comments…
- “It’s the best brand, handles waves perfectly and is much wider that the Alumacrafts I’ve seen.” Bryan P., Moorhead, MN
- “I have one now and I believe that they are the best boat out there.”, Richard N., Rock Island, IL
- “Known as the best walleye boats so it has best resale value.” Anonymous
- “Their craftsman ship , quality of product and designs.”, Ray B., Grafton, WI
- “Years of reliability, well designed and manufactured and nice added features to make fishing easier.” Tom R., Bismarck, ND
- “Lund is a work horse and being aluminum works best for the type of fishing I do in Canada.”, Jim P., Wichita, KS
- “Product quality, craftsmanship, layout & features for fishing.” Lisa N., North Branch, MN
- “Owned 4 Lund models. Boat held value and resale was great. No warranty work.”, Anonymous
- “I like the looks and the equipment. Also the resale value.” Joe T., Burnsville, MN
- “Reputation, quality and re-sale value.”, Don B., Andover, MN
Alumacraft is another very popular make among Deep V owners. It is known for its balance of quality at a more affordable price. Plus, as an independent boat company, you can pretty much get an Alumacraft with the engine brand of your choice. (UPDATE: On June 28, 2018 it was announced that Bombardier Recreational Products, parent company of Evinrude and Sea Doo, has acquired Alumacraft. So much for that “Independent” thing 😉 .)
- “Quality materials, large livewell, deep-V’s ability to keep me dry in waves/windy conditions.”, Steve B., Stillwater, MN
- “Has the best floor plan and layout for fishability.”, Kevin W., Cresco, IA
- “I have owned all three and this brand is the one that offers the exact options I prefer.”, Eric S., Millinocket, ME
- “I like the configuration of the items in the boat. It is reasonably priced and rides and fishes well.”, Ivan P., Walker, MN
- “Overall quality.”, Casey J., Bismark, ND
- “Best value.”, Gary M., Waconia, MN
- “Had several and like the product.” Anonymous
- “Available brand of motor, Evinrude ETEC.”, Anonymous
Crestliner, like Lund (and Lowe), is a member of the Brunswick family. However, unlike Lund which has a riveted hull, Crestliners are all welded which is a key reason why some favor this brand.
- “Has a welded hull and lots of room.” William W., Waseca, MN
- “Best buy for the money and with a welded hull.” Terry F., Pick City, ND
- Welded hull and quality built. I have owned my boat for several years and have never had a problem with it. Anonymous
- “Well built and reliable.”, Don R., New Richmond, WI
- “Construction is very solid and the features offered for the price are excellent.”, Anonymous
- “Price, layout, quality.”, Michael S., Wixom, MI
- “Best built boat on market today.”, Anonymous
Though better known for their Mod V boats, Tracker is also a fairly popular choice among Deep V owners. And the reason for their popularity is the same – you get a lot of boat for the money.
- “Good package and good price.” Mark C., Old Orchard Beach, ME
- “Price, value and reputation.”, David H., Leavenworth, KS
- “Tracker boats have come a very long way. The cost and features appealed to me most.”, Dave O., Laramie, WY
- “Layout and price.”, Daniel M., Gadsden, AL
- “More bang for buck.”, Anonymous
- “Quality Reliability!!!”, Jerry S., Florence, AL
- “I’ve owned a Tracker for 4 years and have been very happy with my boat.”, Anonymous
Similar to Tracker, one of the key advantages of Lowe is its attractive price. Plus, you can conveniently see one at a Cabela’s store in addition to traditional marine dealers.
- “Fishing features, price and welded hull.”, Steve C., Oakland, AR
- “We love our Lowe boat. It was the best buy for the equipment, motor, etc. that came with it. Bass Tracker had great boats, but they were much more expensive for the same equipment.”, Lori M., Almont, MI
- “At the time I purchased, I felt the Lowe was a better quality with a layout design that better met my requirements. I’m not sure that is still true.”, Lawrence S., Delavan, WI
- “I have been happy with mine.”, John M., Lansing, MI
A couple of other Deep V brands that received a number of mentions but narrowly missed out on our list of the “best aluminum boats” were Starcraft and SmokerCraft. There were also a couple of niche players – Alumaweld and North River – that are fairly popular in the Pacific Northwest but lack national appeal. To see a comprehensive list of aluminum boat brands, be sure to check out our manufacturer directory.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that there is no one “best” aluminum boat for everyone. The choice that is right for you will largely depend on how you plan on using it and your budget. (See our article “Boat Buyers Guide: Aluminum Fishing Boats”). However, the brands listed above represent a wide range of price points and applications and should be on your “short list” if looking for a new boat.