Looking for the best lake boats on the market in 2023? Look no further! Here we round up 5 of the best boats for boating on lakes this season. Whether you’re wake surfing or pontooning, or maybe both, we’ve got the inside scoop on the best models and sweetest deals on the water today. With over 100,000 active boat listings, Boat Trader has any type of boat your heart could design. Of course, as with any body of water, the activities and style of boating you prefer will dictate which brand and model will suit you the best. Here we look at five models representing five different boat classes that are well-suited to lake life: pontoon boats, wake boats, bowriders, deck boats and ski-and-fish boats.
- Bennington 30QX – Pontoon Boat
- MasterCraft XStar – Wake Boat
- Four Winns H2e – Bowrider/Runabout
- Bayliner DX2250 – Deck Boat
- Ranger 2050MS – Ski And Fish
1 – 2023 Bennington 30QX: Ultimate Pontoon Boat
First off, the most obvious is probably a pontoon boat. With a wide and spacious deck that can be outfitted with luxurious furniture and at-home style creature comforts and amenities, as well as fishing features, these types of boats are versatile stable platforms ideal for accommodating larger groups on calm bodies of water. In fact, despite being a relatively basic design, modern pontoon boats can even be outfitted with big high performance outboard engines, making them fast enough for towing tubes and water skiers and speedy enough for enjoying some high octane cruising to waterfront restaurants, fishing holes and raft ups.
Above: A Bennington 30QX Pontoon Boat. Photo by Bennington Marine.
Year after year Bennington tops our list of the best pontoon boat manufacturers with their sleek, sporty and accommodating models. With the capacity to reach speeds of over 60 mph and boasting over 30 feet in length, the 2023 Bennington 30QX offers the choice of single or twin engine options, and up to 20,000 different color combinations. It comes equipped with a range of standard features, and several upgrades are also available. Although the QX models of Bennington have impressed us before, starting from last year, twin engine models with standard-beams have been introduced. Furthermore, the boat now features SX Pillowtop furniture with thicker foam, as well as console pockets for cups and phones. The fastback pods have also been updated to incorporate black mesh and a stainless-steel bevel. As a completely customizable boat, pricing will vary significantly depending on the chosen configuration, but regardless of how it’s outfitted, the 30QX is an exciting pontoon boat.
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2 – 2023 MasterCraft XStar: A Near Perfect Wake Boat
Next on our list we take a look at a top wake boat from MasterCraft, one of the leading wake boat builders in the industry. While all wake boats are built around the idea of generating certain types of waves behind the boat, different wake boat designs can be geared towards certain types of water sports more than others. For example, some wake boats employ wake-shaping technology specifically for wake surfing and wakeboarding, while other wake boats are more ideal for water skiing , a sport that requires a flatter, smaller wake. Wake boarding requires higher, steeper waves that can be surfed like traditional waves.
Above: A 2023 MasterCraft XStar Wake Boat. Photo by MasterCraft.
Despite being part of MasterCraft’s lineup for a considerable period, the XStar has undergone significant developments and upgrades for the 2022 model year that have carried over to the 2023 version. One such improvement is the updated SurfStar software, which enables adjustments to be made to the wake from the helm and features a graphic wave display that illustrates how modifications to the settings will impact the wake. This is facilitated by new actuators that incorporate position sensors. Additionally, the tower has been redesigned for the new model year, and there are now more options available for the boat’s gel coat and upholstery. Nevertheless, the fundamental characteristics of the boat remain unchanged, including its length of 23 feet, beam of 8 feet 6 inches, seating for 16 individuals, and Switchback ballast system with a capacity of 4,100 pounds.
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3 – 2023 Four Winns H2e: Electric Bowrider Runabout
Bowrider boats are known for their forward seating areas and nimble handling, making them the quintessential family boat and ideal vessels for calm lakes and inland waterways. They can be luxurious or relatively bare bones, and can come equipped with basic water skiing and/or fishing features. Four Winns has been manufacturing sophisticated and elegant bowriders, deck boats and runabouts since 1962, and remains at the forefront of the industry in 2023, with some exciting new models.
Above: A 2023 Four Winns H2e electric boat. Photo by Four Winns.
Perhaps most notably, the company’s latest electric bowrider boat, the H2e, is a new 100% electric, 22’ bowrider. This is the marine industry’s first-ever, all-electric, series production bowrider. She is powered by the world’s most powerful outboard electric powertrain, the 180E electric outboard engine by Vision Marine that delivers peak power of 230HP with rapid acceleration and a top speed of approximately 35 knots (40mph), while maintaining precise handling. The H2e also boasts a smart digital display, which includes a dual touchscreen that allows boaters direct access to entertainment controls, phone connection and an advanced navigation system. In addition, the H2e provides boaters with an automatic logbook that records trip history, battery status, security and weather forecasts.
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4 – 2023 Bayliner DX2250: Family-Friendly Deck Boat
Another an ideal type of boat for a lake is a deck boat. As the name implies, a deck boat’s defining feature is an abundance of deck space. This spaciousness is achieved through hull designs that flare at the top, maximizing the deck area. With a deck boat, you’ll have plenty of room to accommodate your family and friends, with ample seating, amenities and storage options, since the layout prioritizes deck space and comfort.
Above: A family enjoying a 2023 Bayliner DX2250 on a lake. Photo by Bayliner.
Bayliner builds a line of quality family deck boats, and their 2023 DX2250 is a great choice. A sterndrive boat she is designed to be family-friendly and incorporates the most sought-after features of the DX Series. The exterior boasts a modern and streamlined appearance with sculpted hulls and elegant shear lines, while the interior is equipped with all the amenities of a home. The cozy upholstery is adorned with quilting and black welt, and the versatile cockpit and transom seating provide maximum comfort whether facing forward or aft. The wide V-shaped hull ensures stability while in motion, and the high freeboard keeps passengers secure and dry. With a length of 21’7″ and a beam of 8’6″ she is easily trailerable and can accommodate up to 11 passengers. She is rated for up to 250 HP. Pricing starts around $48,000.
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5 – 2023 Ranger 2050MS: A Multipurpose Ski And Fish Platform
In the past, boaters had limited options and had to choose between a fishing boat that could also be used for skiing or a water sports boat that could be used for fishing. While it was possible to do both activities in either type of boat, it was not ideal. However, the emergence of the fish-and-ski boat changed the game completely by combining the best features of both types of boats. Fish and ski boats are a “crossover style” of boat that has grown in popularity over the years mainly because they provide a multitude of activities in one family-friendly package.
Above: A family onboard a 2023 Ranger 2050MS. Photo by Ranger Boats.
The Ranger® 2050MS is a “fish and ski” crossover boat that is highly regarded for its smooth-riding hull, spacious interior, and impressive fishing heritage. Fey features of the Ranger® 2050MS are its foam-filled hull, upright level flotation and a wide, stable beam that ensures the safety and comfort of passengers. The boat’s cockpit is also well-appointed, with six custom-stitched seats, ski storage, a Bluetooth® stereo, USB charging ports, removable carpet, and an insulated cooler.
For those who love fishing, the Ranger® 2050MS does not disappoint. The boat comes equipped with a patented folding front deck extension, providing ample casting space. Additionally, a baitwell, Minn Kota® trolling motor, Lowrance® electronics, and optional kicker all contribute to the exceptional fishability of the boat. Other notable features of the 2050MS include stainless steel hardware, a full set of gauges, in-gunnel storage, and interior LED lighting. Overall, the Ranger® 2050MS is a versatile and high-performing boat that can be enjoyed by both fishing enthusiasts and families who enjoy a day on the water.
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