Best Aluminum Boats – Unbiased Review of Mod Vs

Best Aluminum Boats

With dozens of makes available, finding the best aluminum boats for your needs and budget can be a challenge.  To help you with your search, BoaterInput.com surveyed  151 aluminum fishing boat owners from across the country.

However, before we get to the results, it is important to point out that responses differ by the type of boat owned/desired.  Within the Aluminum Fishing segment, there are two major types.  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. 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.

Below are the most desired Mod Vs among current aluminum boat owners.

BEST ALUMINUM BOATS

MOD Vs

In our study, boaters were asked to select the three brands they would consider if shopping for a new boat.

Among Mod V owners, Tracker was clearly the most popular brand.  Three out of four selected this as one of their top 3 favorite.  A couple of popular fiberglass bass boat manufacturers – Ranger and Triton – also ranked high in the list of best aluminum boats.

Aluminum Mod Vs % Selecting in Top 3
TRACKER 75%
RANGER 38%
G3 26%
TRITON 23%
LOWE 20%
ALUMACRAFT 20%

So what makes some of these top brands so popular?  Here’s what boaters had to say:

  1. Tracker

Tracker boats are part of Tracker Marine Group – a leading boat manufacturer headquartered in Springfield, MO (www.trackerboats.com) .  Known for offering quality boats at affordable prices, Tracker boats are sold through Bass Pro Shops stores and independent marine dealers alike.  One thing unusual about the Tracker Marine Group brands is that they are offered at a set/no-haggle price.  A plus to many boaters and a negative to others who enjoy or feel confident in their negotiating abilities.

When asked the reason for selecting Tracker, the “price” or “value” was mentioned most often followed by quality of construction.  Several also mentioned that they’ve owned one before and had a good experience with it.  Specific comments…

  • “I believe you get a good quality boat for the current price point. I have owned other Bass Trackers and have had good experiences with them.” Gerald H., Salt Spring, FL
  • “It has been dependable and is 10 yrs. old now and I have had minimum trouble with the boat.” David B., McDonough, GA
  • “Good quality and good value.” Rick W., Flagstaff, AZ
  • “Quality construction, good design, good warranty.” Rick C., Canyon, TX
  • “Cost Effectiveness, construction, warranty.” Rodney P., Shelby, AL
  • “Welded hull design, complete package pricing, location of dealership, rewards for boat purchase at Bass Pro, features of boat models.” Raymond Y., Leon, IA
  • “Best boat for the price and options that come with it.” John R., Auburndale, FL
  1. Ranger

Ranger boats, known for their “top of the line” fiberglass bass boats of impeccable quality, comfort and luxury are a relative newcomer to the aluminum fishing boat segment.  The company first started producing aluminum boats with the 2013 model year.  However, their reputation with bass boats has clearly rubbed off on their aluminum line as the brand is already one of the most desired.

Not surprisingly, quality is the main reason why many desire a Ranger aluminum fishing boat.

  • “Because of the quality compared to other aluminum boats – it’s especially very nice and it does everything it says it will do and priced very reasonable.”  John N., Pataskala, OH
  • “I like the durability of the Ranger aluminum bass boat.”, Gaston F., Waynesboro, MS
  1. G3

Part of the Yamaha family of boats, G3 boasts on its website that it has received the industry Customer Satisfaction award for more consecutive years (13 as of this writing) than any other manufacturer.  And, among those who selected G3 as one of their top 3 most desired brands in our survey, the product’s reputation for durability was a key reason why.

  • “My G3 takes all the abuse I can give it!” Brad C., Billings, MT
  • “I need a boat that will hold up in the harsh Florida sun that will be kept uncovered and continually in the water.”,  Tony M., Inverness, FL
  • “The thickness of the hull and the quality of the wells.” Anonymous
  • “Durability, familiarity and available locally.”, Joseph C., High Springs, FL
  • “Satisfaction and experience with this brand.” James H., Jackson, AL
  1. Triton

Like Ranger, Triton’s heritage is with fiberglass bass boats and is a relative newcomer to the aluminum fishing market.  They, along with Ranger, are now part of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine Group family.   Given the company’s long association with competitive bass fishing and the founder’s (Earl Bentz) roots in boat racing, it is not surprising that the Triton brand has a reputation for “fishability” and performance.

  • “It is totally set up for fishing and fishing tackle.”, anonymous
  • “Interior setup, large front fishing deck.”, anonymous
  • “Based on test rides I would choose the Triton as is had the best rough water ride of the boats that I test drove.”, Chris H., Lindstrom, MN
  • “All aluminum construction, zero wood components.”, Kyle C., Humble, TX
  • “Best compromise between quality, value, and cost.”, anonymous
  • “It’s the brand I have been around for most of my life and it is a great boat.”, Anthony C., Royse City, TX
  1. Lowe

Lowe has been building boats since 1971 but became part of the Brunswick family in 2004 which also includes Lund and Crestliner.  However, unlike its “sister” makes that specialize in Deep Vs, Lowe’s strength is in Mod V s and, as such, it is a more popular/familiar brand in southern regions.   One of the key strengths of the Lowe brand is its relatively low price making it a more affordable offering than many other aluminum fishing brands.

  • “Everything I need for a great price.”, anonymous
  • “Quality.”, Dean C., Muscatine, IA
  1. Alumacraft

Alumacraft is an independent boat manufacturer and is better known for their Deep V aluminum fishing boats.  However, the company does offer a number of Mod V models.  Generally speaking, Alumacraft has a reputation for offering a quality boat at a reasonable price.

  • “Quality and workmanship.”, Bob P., Beach City, TX
  • “Price.”, anonymous
  • “It has dual livewells”. anonymous

In addition to the brands listed above, there are other popular makes that didn’t make our list of the “Best Aluminum Boats”.  This includes regional or lessor known brands such as Xpress or niche players such as War Eagle (Duck Hunting) and Alweld (Jon Boats).  These may be very good boats for a specific application or region but currently lack broad appeal in our national survey of boaters.  To see a comprehensive list of Aluminum Fishing boat makes, be sure to check out our manufacturer directory.

Buying a boat is very much like buying a car or shopping for a new suit.  There is no one “best” option for everyone and the choice that is right for you will largely depend on how you plan on using it and your budget .  (See our article “Boat Buyer’s Guide: Aluminum Fishing Boats”).  Nonetheless, the above list of Mod V  makes are ones that appeal to a broad array of boaters and therefore should be part of your consideration set.

If you are looking for an aluminum fishing boat for cooler or rougher waters, be sure to check out our article on the Best Aluminum Deep Vs.

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