When it comes to making the most of your time at the beach, sandbar, or just while you’re anchored out in a cove, investing in a floating mat is never a bad idea. It instantly attracts people of all ages and turns any gathering into a fun time. Because they don’t need to be inflated and they can’t be popped like a tube, these mats are low maintenance and ready to go the instant you roll them out—which is why they’ve become so popular with all boaters today.
While there are other floating mat manufacturers available, we decided to test three of the best ones to help you narrow your search and give you some feedback on each. In all three cases, the mat featured is just one of the many different sizes each offers.
The first floating mat we ever tested was a WaterMat and after years of proving itself in the industry by manufacturing quality products, it’s easy to see why this company is considered one of the best. So it’s no surprise that an innovator like WaterMat has released the TowBoggan after years in top-secret product development labs. What’s a TowBoggan? I’m glad you asked.
As part of the genuine WaterMat brand, TowBoggan offers a completely new and different ride with its 6- and 3-person towables. For something like this we went all-in for our review and ordered the 6-person version. To be honest, when it first arrived the size of the 20-foot by 5-foot wide, 2-inch thick TowBoggan intimidated us a little. At 90 pounds and rolled up tightly, it’s roughly 32 inches in diameter and not the easiest to maneuver. Based on the storage size and the retail price of $1,599 heading into our test, I was having my doubts about it.
However, any issues I had getting it to the lake quickly vanished once we got the TowBoggan on the water. We were cautious to never tow it over 20 miles per hour and with a load weight capacity of 1000 pounds it was truly the hit of our test. We couldn’t keep kids off it and that includes those who weren’t even with us but were begging to give it a try.
It’s truly unlike any other towable out there and it offers a unique and exhilarating ride that our testers absolutely loved. Designed for towing speeds up to 20 miles per hour, the WaterMat TowBoggan nests securely in your boat's wake and it’s perfect for adults or kids. If a rider does happen to fall off, it’s very easy to get back on. The WaterMat TowBoggan doesn’t have any sharp metal edges or I-bolts and is ready for fun right out of the box, with no assembly required. To be fair, of the three mats we tested this one was the largest and the most expensive but it also attracted the most attention.
Product Score 84
Fun Factor 25/25
With a lineup that stretches all the way to a 100-foot model, iFloat has a wide selection to choose from. We selected the 12-foot Water Pad Party Island model—which retails for $420—but we took it a step further and added the iSki accessory, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Made of high-flotation closed-cell foam, the iFloat is an inch and a half thick and over 6 feet wide. It comes with a D-ring on both sides along with a stretchable tether so it can easily and safely be attached to your boat.
To increase the versatility, for an additional $300 you can opt for the iSki Add-On Towing System. Now your iFloat can allow you to ski behind your boat or even just be towed around between uses so you don’t have to roll it up each time throughout the day. The system includes an aluminum bar with stainless hardware that helps reinforce the iFloat for pulling up to 300 pounds at 15 miles per hour. The metal bar adds a little more weight to it when hauling and it can be a trip hazard for when you’re not towing but just playing, but the trade-off is the extra versatility it offers. The iFloat itself is great for both kids and adults and if 12 feet isn’t quite long enough for your needs, the good news is they just get bigger from here from this manufacturer.
Product Score 82
Fun Factor 20/25
WavePads offers a variety of sizes including their large group rafts that are sure to attract a crowd, plus they even offer custom sizes as well. While their 60-footer would have been a blast to try, we opted for something a little more practical for the average pontoon or deck boat owner. The 12- by 6-foot WavePads raft retails for $432, comes in at a very friendly weight of 15 pounds and has a tested weight capacity of 1500 pounds.
The pros to the WavePads raft are how easy it is to transport, no metal or anything that you have to worry about accidentally hitting while on it, and a reasonable price point. The cons would be its lack of versatility (it’s not meant to be towed behind a boat) and the size of this particular one limits the number of users, but again WavePads offers several different sizes.
It comes in at a great all-around value that is ideal for smaller groups and at the end of the day it’s a lot of fun to play on.
Product Score 86
Fun Factor 18/25