Inflatable vs Solid Paddle Board - Which One Is Better?

If you are looking to buy a paddleboard, it's essential to decide whether you want an inflatable or solid board. Then, you can choose one depending on the pros and cons of each type.

Inflatable boards offer more convenience than solid boards. Besides, they can be deflated and stored in a smaller space when not being used.

But, they may not last as long due to the latex material used for their construction.

In addition, solid boards are often heavier than inflatables. But they will last longer because there is no rubber involved in their design at all.

Moreover, solid boards also have less drag through the water. Thus, it makes them faster on the open water than inflatables.


What Is Inflatable Paddle Board?


Inflatable boards are made by layering two pieces of latex together to create a strong board. They can be inflated with one or two breaths and deflated as needed.

As a result, it makes them the perfect option for those who like having their paddleboard in tow at all times. The downside is that you have to worry about damage from over-inflation, which can lead to a cracked board.

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Good?

Inflatable boards can be good if you're looking for something to use on the water while it's calm. They offer more convenience. For instance, they are easy to store and deflate.

Inflatables are easy to store when not in use. In addition, they can be deflated and easily stored away. Thus, it is an excellent option for those who don't have much storage space available.

What you decide comes down to personal preference. But it is essential to consider everything, especially from weight and drag through the water.

Inflatable boards are often lighter than solid boards. It means they're easier to carry and transport.

What Is a Hard/Solid Paddle Board?

Solid boards feature a single piece of material. It is a material that has been stretched tightly over the molding. The maker then bakes it at high temperatures.

They are heavier than inflatable boards. That's because they don't have any rubber used during their construction. It means you'll be able to ride on the open water with less drag.

Their downsides are that they're difficult to store because of how heavy and oversized solid boards are.

Inflatable vs Solid Paddle Board, Which Is Better?

Everything falls to personal choice. But, there are a few apparent aspects. Read them below. These factors will help you make a solid decision when buying the best paddleboard that suits you.

1. Durability 

Before, inflatable boards were considered less durable because of their construction. Still, the number of questionable ones is high. That's because fewer manufacturers have begun designing new versions that are sturdier.

They might not beat that of solid paddleboards. But the few in the market that are high-quality are dependable. Solid paddle boards have been more robust for the longest time.

But, nowadays, different manufacturers are using advanced materials. Even so, beware of crappy products that might not last long.

2. Material

The type of material used in the board can affect the weight, durability, and speed it moves through the water. Thus, you must understand all these aspects. They will help you in making your final decision. It prevents you from regretting your choice later on down the line!

In addition, inflatable paddleboards feature latex material because it's flexible and durable. So if you're looking to buy an inflatable board, make sure to purchase one with a higher-quality rating.

Likewise, solid boards feature polyurethane or similar material. It is heavy but stronger than latex and can be more expensive, too.

If you want a solid board, make sure that it stands for durability before making the buy. That's because some manufacturers sell cheaper knock-offs with lower quality ratings.

3. The Intensity of Injuries in Case You Fall on Any of Them

Inflatable boards are easier to fall on. So, you might find yourself with a bit of pain or discomfort. The most common injuries for this type would be bruising and scrapes from when your body hits the board.

Solid boards carry more intensity than inflatables. Besides, they are heavier and made out of robust materials. So you might encounter a bit more pain if you fall on one of them.

That's because the materials are denser and more robust. It means minor damage when they hit any weight. Even so, the good thing about solid boards is that there's no danger in them collapsing. Like inflatable ones can do from time to time without warning.

4. Fatigue

Buying an inflatable board might be a good option if you want to paddle for more extended periods. It is accessible on the arms and shoulders because it doesn't take as much energy to use.

Which means that they're less fatiguing when used over long distances. But solid boards are heavier than inflatables. So there will be a bit more fatigue when paddling for extended periods.

5. Weight

Solid boards are heavier than inflatables. That's because they consist of a lot of materials. Thus, it's easy for them to maintain their shape even when under pressure.

But if you want something that doesn't weigh as much and will be easier on your arms and shoulders, no worries. An inflatable board might make up the best option.

6. Storage

Solid boards are a pain to store because they're big and bulky. But inflatable boards are easy to store. They can be deflated with ease and folded up so that you can put them away in a small space.

7. Cost

Solid boards are usually more expensive than inflatables. But it will depend on the material used for their construction. Another factor is how much weight is involved with its design, as well as the size.

The cost of solid boards is higher than the price of inflatables. But it might be worth it if you want something that will last longer and not have any problems with it.

An inflatable board will be more affordable. That's because these boards consist of latex or vinyl, which are less expensive materials to use for their design.

8. Availability

It's important to consider availability, too. That's because if you're not lucky enough to live near a store that sells paddleboards, the cost shoots.

Many companies will only ship them for an extra fee in your direction. Thus, it can be costly depending on where it needs to go.

One advantage of buying inflatable paddle boards is their availability in retail stores. In addition, it means you won't have to pay for shipping.

Solid boards are more difficult to find. That's because there aren't as many people making them. So it might be easier if you order one from the online store.

9. Performance

Inflatable boards perform better in the water. Because they're lighter, so it won't take as much energy for you to use them. Solid paddleboards are heavier. It means that your arms will get tired faster when paddling with one.

Solid boards are more suitable if you want to stand up while paddling. That's because their weight distributes evenly, so it won't feel like there's a lot on your shoulders and arms.

Final Thoughts!

Solid boards are better if you want to stand up while paddling. They are great if you are using them in bays, lakes, or local beaches.

Also, if you are catching waves and want to SUP surf, these are the best. Buy them if you are the load-and-go paddler.

An inflatable board is a good option for those who want something that won't weigh their arms and shoulders down, especially from long periods of paddling.

But it can be frustrating when they unexpectedly deflate without warning! But, there are no limitations. Buy what meets your needs.

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