Newport Vessels Inflatables vs. Zodiac vs. West Marine

Share this article:

Inflatable Boat Comparison: Newport Vessels vs Zodiac Boats vs West Marine Dinghy

comparison: west marine dinghies, zodiac boats and newport vessels inflatable boats

With a market full of different inflatable boats, why should you choose Newport Vessels? What separates us from the competition? In this article we will be comparing inflatable boat models from Zodiac, West Marine and Newport Vessels to show you why. We will be considering the differences for the Newport Vessels Dana against the Zodiac Cadet 270 and West Marine PSB-275. If you are not familiar yet, check out the full specifications on our Dana dinghy boat.

inflatable boat tube size: does it matter?

The Dana is one of the best selling inflatable boats on the market. Standing at 8ft 10in long, the Dana has 18” diameter tubes, which is something rarely seen in with other inflatable boats. Why is this important? The larger the tubes, the more stable the boat. The more stable your inflatable boat, the less likely you are to capsize your vessel. Apart from stability, the size of these tubes also helps block splash and spray from the water below. You won’t look like you swam to where you were going. Both the Zodiac and West Marine inflatables will only have 17” diameter tubes, which means less stability and more water on you! Best to watch your step and wear a rain jacket!

inflatable boat carrying capacity

The room inside and the amount of weight an inflatable boat can hold is very important. We have designed the Dana to have a maximum load capacity of 1,067lbs and hold up to 3 passengers for just this reason. This allows you plenty of gear capacity in addition to your passengers while still traveling safely. The Zodiac boat, the Cadet, only has a load capacity of 992lbs with a max passenger capacity of 3. Not a significant difference, but that’s the weight of a good sized battery you might have to leave behind. On the other hand, the West Marine PSB-275 can carry 1,103 and fit 4 people. At 9ft, this extra length gives a small advantage of weight capacity to the West Marine inflatable.

inflatable boat floors: zodiac boats alloy vs. wood floors

There are a variety of floor choices when looking for inflatable boats. Depending on your application, one might be better suited for your needs. We utilize marine wood for the Dana’s floorboards. These wooden boards are an extremely durable and solid surface to stand or place equipment on. It takes immense stress to damage this type of floor and they do not break easily. The PSB-275 uses similar plywood materials for their floor, making it comparable to the Dana. The Cadet, on the other hand, uses aluminum boards for their flooring, which is fairly light but still durable. This can make transportation and installation a little easier. However, the aluminum flooring tends to be thinner and can be susceptible to bending and denting under larger loads. This means you will have to be more careful about how you load your heavier items from the dock.

price: zodiac and west marine retail vs. direct to consumer

The biggest difference between these inflatable boats will not be the quality of the boats, but rather price. We currently offer the Dana inflatable boat for $799. As you have seen throughout this article, the Dana is comparable to both the West Marine and Zodiac inflatable. They must be similar in price, right? Actually, the PSB-275 is currently discounted to $959.99. That’s an extra $160 for a boat equivalent to the Dana. The Cadet retails at over $1,200! This is classic Zodiac inflatable boat over pricing.

Where does that extra money go? Many people think that the price of some items are too good to be true and it must be low quality. Have you ever considered the other side of the coin? Larger companies and stores often take advantage of their well-known name to charge higher prices just to increase their profits. So don’t be fooled by the guy working at the boat shop, he’s likely thinking of his commission check.

You have any questions about how our products compare or why you should choose Newport Vessels, please contact us at or give us a call at (866) 721-0002! Our hours are M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm Pacific Time.