Ever dreamed of having a floating island that you could pack up into your backpack? Get an inflatable dock and your dream will become a reality.
Swim platform, extra play space, floating lounge, fishing platform—an inflatable floating dock fulfills all these functions and more. But which one is right for you?
I’ve assessed the best inflatable docks on the market today to find the platform with the best combination of features, capacity, and portability. My top pick is the iRocker Swim Dock. It’s the perfect size for most families, has enough attachment points to satisfy the most demanding fisherman, and comes with a 2-year warranty.
Read on to find out more!
Inflatable Docks Compared
Feature-Packed Dock for Families
This swim dock is packed with grab handles, action mounts, and D-rings. The durable construction is backed with a 2-year warranty. It’s not the biggest dock, but that means it’s smaller and lighter to carry.
Huge Dock With 1500-Pound Capacity
The Dock 10 is perfect for large gatherings. It’s compatible with BOTE’s inflatable seats and coolers and has a rigid, durable construction that won’t buckle—whatever you throw at it.
Best For Parties
Unique Dock For Sitting and Socializing
This semi-circular dock has built-in backrests, a spot for your cooler, and magnetic pads to keep your drinks safe. It’s pricey but durable enough to last you years.
Convertible Dock With Slide For Hours Of Fun
It’s a dock and a water slide! Switch between two configurations by adding or removing the inflatable step for hours of fun. I love the colorful design and grippy traction pad.
Lightweight Dock With A Simple Design
The MISSION mat is slimmer than most docks, which makes it lighter and more portable, though still sturdy. I’d recommend it if you want a no-frills dock that packs down small.
Modular Platform With Lots of Attachment Points
The Island Hopper Buddy has heat-welded seams for durability and plenty of D-rings, grab handles, and attachment loops. Use the D-rings to connect multiple mats.
Affordable Mat With Plenty of Features
This budget platform is packed with features to help you enjoy your time on the water. It’s let down by poor quality control and customer service, but if you’re lucky, this won’t be an issue!
Quality Dock With A Simple Design
This sturdy dock comes with a 1-year warranty and two dual-action pumps, so you can share the work of inflating it. It has a simple design with strong grab handles and 4 anchor points.
Inflatable Floating Dock Reviews
1) iROCKER Floating Swim Dock—Best Overall Inflatable Dock
The iRocker Floating Swim Dock is constructed from the same military-grade PVC and EVA deck padding that’s used in their stand up paddle boards. It’s tough enough for your whole family to use—including dogs!
Although it’s smaller than many of the docks in this review, I think it’s the perfect size for most families. It’s just over 7 feet square with a weight capacity of 1,100 pounds. That means the dock can carry as many people as can comfortably perch on top. Deflated, it packs down to 35 x 20 inches and weighs 43 pounds.
This dock stands out from the crowd when you look at its features. It comes with 20 grab handles on the side and deck, 8 action mounts which you can use to attach anything from fishing rod holders to a waterproof speaker, and 16 D-rings for anchoring the dock or strapping down a cooler.
The iRocker Swim Dock also comes with a market-leading 2-year warranty and a free electric pump. It’s a fantastic product at a great price – I’d highly recommend it as a fun addition for your paddling excursions.
2) BOTE Inflatable Dock 10 Classic—Best Large Capacity Dock
BOTE has an impressive reputation for quality. The Dock 10 has 100 square feet of deck space and a huge 1500-pound capacity. It’s constructed using AeroBOTE technology which makes it durable and exceptionally rigid. That means you can pile on the weight without worrying about getting your feet wet.
The Dock 10 has plenty of grab handles for you to haul yourself out of the water with, plus a handy array of D-rings. These can be used to strap down accessories such as BOTE’s Aero Chairs and Kula.
The downside of having such a big platform is that it’s heavy. At 72-pounds, you’re going to need a trolley or some spare hands to move it around. It also doesn’t come with an electric pump (you get a hand pump) which is disappointing given the high price tag.
3) BOTE Inflatable Dock Hangout 240 Classic—Best Floating Dock for Parties
BOTE gets top marks for innovation with its Hangout Suite. This is a set of floating platforms that can be used on their own or connected together to form the perfect floating party barge.
The Hangout 240 is the largest of the floats. It’s big enough for four people to sit comfortably, supported by the inflatable pontoon backrests. There’s a dedicated spot to tie down your cooler and magnetic cup holders for you to attach MAGNEPOD drinkware. You’ll never have to worry about losing your drink overboard again!
The Hangout 240 has the same durable construction as the Dock 10 and also comes with a 2-year warranty. You can remove the backrests to give a larger area for kids to play, but really, this dock is designed for hanging out on.
4) Solstice Inflatable Floating Dock
If you’re buying a swim platform for your kids, the Solstice Floating Dock with its convertible slide should be top of your list.
You have two configuration options. Pop the slide up and let the kids take over or remove the step to create a large 10 x 8-foot rigid deck for adults to lounge on.
The best thing about the Solstice dock (other than the slide) is the traction pad. This is soft and really grippy, which is important if you have kids running around on it. The grab handles are on the edges of the dock rather than the deck, so they won’t be a trip hazard. On the flip side, this means you can’t use them to pull yourself out of the water.
You get four D-rings to anchor the dock or tie-down accessories, and the dock comes with a hand pump, carry bag, and repair kit.
5) MISSION Boat Gear Inflatable Floating Mat
MISSION’s mats are some of the most lightweight, compact docks on the market. The 8 x 6-foot version packs down to 29 x 16 inches and weighs just 32 pounds. It’s ideal if you’re short on storage or trunk space, or you want to take your mat on a plane.
The reason it’s lighter and packs down smaller than other docks is that it’s only 4 inches thick (most docks are 6 inches thick). This means it may not be quite as rigid as the iRocker and BOTE docks. It feels more of a hybrid between a dock and a floating water mat.
The floating platform has a simple design with a single D-ring underneath the mat for anchoring and 2 grab handles at each end to move it around. This makes it a great mat for yoga as there are no trip hazards, but you can’t secure coolers, chairs, or other accessories.
If you want more room, you can also buy 13-foot and 19-foot MISSION mats.
6) Island Hopper Buddy
The Island Buddy Water Platform is a 12 x 6-foot dock with a 1,200-pound capacity. The edges and corners are heat-welded for strength and durability. The seams are covered by a 5-year limited warranty, so if they split, you can send the dock back.
11 D-rings on the sides of the mat let you anchor it to a permanent dock or boat. You can also connect multiple docks to create a larger platform or walkway.
On top of the dock, there are 6 carry handles, which you can also use to pull yourself out of the water. You also get 8 webbed loops to use as tie-down points. These are useful for small accessories, but their positioning isn’t ideal for securing a cooler.
The deck can be pretty slippery when wet, which is something to be aware of if you have kids racing around. If you’re more interested in lounging than splashing around in the water, you can purchase Island Hopper’s giant inflatable pillow for back and neck support.
7) Happybuy Inflatable Dock Platform—Best Budget Inflatable Dock
The Happybuy Inflatable Dock is an affordable, lightweight dock with lots of features. I’d recommend it as a cheaper alternative to the iRocker, though it is a bit of a gamble. Get lucky and you’ll be floating happily. Unfortunately, Happybuy’s quality control doesn’t seem to be consistent and reports of its customer service are poor.
With those caveats out the way, there’s a lot to like about the Happybuy dock. The smallest model is 7 x 7 feet (larger versions available) and can comfortably hold 4–6 people. It has loads of grab handles and tie-down points on the top and sides of the dock. The deck area has a non-slip coating.
The inflatable floating dock comes with a carry bag, hand pump, and electric pump. Unfortunately, the hand pump’s pretty useless and the electric pump is designed to plug into a wall socket. You also don’t get an instruction manual, so it’s hard to know what the correct inflation pressure is. If you’re not sure, I’d recommend inflating it to 8-10 psi.
8) Driftsun Mesa Inflatable Floating Dock
The Driftsun Mesa Dock comes in a range of sizes, including this 10 x 6.5-foot model, which is perfect for a large family or group of kids. Its durability is backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The Mesa has a recommended weight limit of 800 pounds. While this is lower than many platforms, I’d suggest it’s a conservative limit. The 6-inch dropstitch dock is sturdy enough to handle as many kids (and adults) as you can cram onto it.
I like that you get two dual-action pumps. It makes inflation quicker and means you can share the hard work of blowing it up. That said, I’d still recommend investing in an electric pump if you’re going to be using your dock a lot.
The dock has 8 grab handles around the edges and 4 D-rings in the corners of the deck. It’s a no-frills dock that’s good quality but doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
What Is an Inflatable Dock?
An inflatable dock is a floating inflatable platform that you can use on its own or alongside a boat or permanent dock for extra deck or play space. They’re best used on a lake, large pool, or other calm-water environment.
Inflatable docks are more rigid than floating water mats. That means you don’t have to worry about spreading your weight evenly over the surface to prevent the dock from buckling. Docks also sit on top of the water, so you have more chance of staying dry.
Foam water mats are bulky and heavy. Inflatable docks tend to be more portable once deflated and more compact to transport and store. They can be punctured, though if you buy a high-quality dock, this isn’t likely to be a problem.
What To Look for When Buying an Inflatable Dock
If you want to do your own research, here’s what I recommend looking for when shopping for an inflatable dock.
Optimal Size and Design
What’s the best size for an inflatable dock? Only you can answer that question! For general family use, I think a 7 x 7-foot or 8 x 6-foot dock gives plenty of deck space without being too heavy and cumbersome to transport.
That’s big enough for a couple of beach chairs and a cooler. It gives plenty of space for kids to play or for you to practice yoga.
If you have a large family or your kids want to invite all their friends around to play, then you may want to invest in a larger dock. You can either opt for a square one, such as the BOTE Dock 10, or a more traditional rectangular design.
Large Weight Capacity
The total weight capacity you need depends on how many people and how much gear you want to carry. The larger the floating platform, the bigger its capacity. That said, the best inflatable docks, such as the iRocker swim platform and BOTE’s docks, have a high weight capacity relative to their size.
Durable Materials and Construction
Inflatable docks are made from heavy-duty plastic that’s designed to withstand bumps, abrasions, and sharp objects (within reason). The weak point is usually the seams, so look for heat-sealed or double-reinforced seams for extra durability.
Any dock worth your money will have dropstitch construction. This is the same construction that’s used in paddle boards, and it provides the rigidity needed for you to stand and walk on the dock without it buckling.
A good inflatable dock should last you several years. For extra reassurance, look for one with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Deflated Size, Weight, and Portability
If you’re short on trunk space or storage space on your boat, you want to make sure your new water toy will fit! Most manufacturers give you the packed-down measurements of a dock, but it’s worth allowing a bit of extra room as it can take a lot of folding and refolding to get them back to the original packed size!
Weight may also be a consideration if you’re having to carry or fly with your deflated dock. If you want a lightweight option, I’d recommend the MISSION mat. It packs down small and comes in a carry bag for portability.
Attachment Points and Grab Handles
Inflatable docks typically fall into one of two camps: simple, no-frills designs with an unobstructed deck or docks with multiple grab handles and attachment points.
There are pros and cons to both. I prefer to have grab handles on top of the deck, as they can be an important safety feature if you have kids, as well as being useful when pulling yourself out of the water. I also find attachment points useful for securing the million-and-one things I don’t want to lose on the water. Sun hats, water bottles, water toys… Kids come with a lot of stuff.
Attachment and mounting points will also be important if you want to use your dock as a fishing platform. If you’ll be using your dock mostly for lounging or yoga, you may prefer an uncluttered deck with grab handles and anchor points on the side of the dock.
I hope this guide has helped you sort out the floaters from the sinkers in the world of inflatable docks!
I’d recommend the iRocker Floating Swim Dock as the best inflatable floating dock for most people. It’s durable and packed with features. If you want a larger floating platform, then the BOTE Dock 10 is a great alternative, though it is heavy!
Do you have any other questions about inflatable docks? Pop them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.