$500 might not get you much when it comes to longboards and shortboards, but it goes a long way when it comes to inflatable paddle boards.
The best boards tend to creep over $1,000, but you can still find some premium options without breaking the $500 mark.
Aqua Plus 11 Foot Inflatable SUP
The Aqua Plus is the triple-threat of stand up paddle boards.
It’s the number 1 best-seller on Amazon, the cheapest board on this list, and it comes in a complete package.
The Aqua Plus costs just $169.99 at the time of writing.
It’s an 11-foot stand up paddle board made from high-grade ultra-light PVC and is incredibly strong and durable.
It features diamond groove traction for optimum grip and each kit includes an iSUP travel backpack, leash, shoulder strap, detachable fin, waterproof bag, and double-action pump.
You could be forgiven for expecting a cheap and nasty board.
After all, at $170 for a full kit, there isn’t much value left for the actual board.
But it’s really well made and is a bargain for any first-time paddle boarders who want to get started without spending a fortune.
SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
The SereneLife is a six-inch thick iSUP that’s currently listed for around $430 but has been available for much less at other times.
It is a solid 10-foot board, but it’s much more than that, as it includes everything you need for your paddle boarding adventure, including a travel bag, manual SUP pump, aluminum paddle, and safety leash.
There are over 13,000 reviews at the time of writing and 95% of these are either 4-star or 5-star.
Most of the 2% 1-star reviews seem to be related to defective products and not the quality of the board itself.
But we’re talking about Amazon here, so if you do end up with a defective product, you can get a refund or a replacement.
Before you buy, be sure to check the different color options. We’re not big fans of the default Aqua or the Olive Green.
The Black is interesting but might be a little too “much” for some users, as it has an old-school graffiti vibe.
The least polarizing option is probably the Black and Grey.
Highpi Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (Classic Wood)
Highpi stand up paddle boards have a “wood effect” that actually looks like the real deal.
It’s basically an inflatable stand up paddle board that looks like a wooden hard board.
The pictures on the Amazon page are graphical representations followed by terrible Photoshops and they’re a little off-putting, but the board looks amazing in person and it also works really well.
At $320, it’s a cheap paddle board that will suit youth and adult riders and it has a weight capacity of 350 lbs.
As with the other inflatable paddle boards on this list, it also comes with additional accessories, including a backpack, leash, and manual SUP pump.
FEATH-R-LITE Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
The FEATH-R-LITE inflatable stand up paddle board is available in a cool red “koi” design and features military grade PVC that provides a strong and durable structure.
It weighs just 20 pounds and has a weight capacity of 350 pounds.
At a little over $200, it’s a cheap paddle board that includes everything you need for a trip to the beach, including the paddle, pump, fins, and carrying bag.
Who Makes the Best Inflatable SUP?
If you browse Amazon for inflatable stand up paddle boards, you’ll notice that many of them look the same and include the same features but have different brand names.
That’s not a coincidence.
It’s because most are produced by the same manufacturers and are then just dumped on Amazon.
The same is true for pretty much all product categories, and it’s why these categories are dominated by brands you’ve never heard of.
Is that a bad thing?
It can be, as the quality isn’t always great and some of these brands don’t care about customer service.
However, there are a few that go out of their way to provide an affordable product and a premium service, and they are the ones you need to focus on.
Reviews are a good indicator.
Look for the best-selling products, see what customers are saying, and make sure those reviews are genuine.
Real reviews usually have some negative things to say, may include pictures, and have a history of both positive, negative, and neutral reviews.
What is the Best Affordable Inflatable Paddle Board?
It’s hard to look past the Aqua Plus mentioned above.
It is a high-quality inflatable stand up paddle board that’s available for around $170. It has a good weight limit, a decent paddle, and it includes a number of accessories.
You can’t go wrong for that price.
Are Cheap Paddle Boards Worth It?
A cheap inflatable paddle board is ideal if you’re new to the sport and just want something to help you acclimatize.
If you’re going to be using it frequently and for heavy-duty paddling, you can afford to spend a little more cash.
But if money is tight and it’s just a fleeting hobby, cheap paddle boards are definitely worth it.
You have to remember that most of the cheap boards you find on Amazon are either sold by the manufacturer or drop shipped by them. They are not marketed in the same way as big-brand boards.
They don’t have surfing/paddle boarding teams behind them and as they are made in China, there are no high labor costs.
They are still made with good materials and to a relatively high standard, but when you remove those costs, it’s possible to list the board at a much lower price point.
It might not last as long and the quality control won’t be as precise, but the actual quality is usually on point.