Best Boat Manufacturers and Brands in 2022

Do you have a tried-and-true boat manufacturer that you always tend to gravitate towards when you’re searching for your next boat? Want to know what other consumers are looking for? We’ve found the most popular boat manufacturers that our boat buyers are searching for on Boat Trader are often some of the best boats on the market that appeal to a wide audience of boaters and boat shoppers.

sea ray slx 400 ob
Sea Ray is the most searched boat brand, no doubt thanks to popular models like this SLX 400 OB. Photo via Sea Ray Boats.

Top 10 Boat Brands – By Search Volume

When you’re looking at the list below of some of the best boat brands in the marine industry, keep in mind that this is a general roundup based on the volume of searches the brands receive every month on Boat Trader.

  1. Sea Ray – Sports boats, deck boats, bowriders, and yachts; Sea Ray has built many different powerboat classes through the years.
  2. Wellcraft – Today’s line is fishing boats, but Wellcraft has built cruisers, bowriders, and high performance boats in the past.
  3. Grady-White – Dual console, center console, and express saltwater fishing boats are all in the offing.
  4. Bayliner – While Bayliner currently builds small runabouts and fishing boats, previously they have build many different classes of boats.
  5. Yamaha – Watersports and center console jet powered boats are Yamaha’s forte.
  6. Ranger – Best known for their bass fishing boats, Ranger also makes aluminum utility boats, saltwater skiffs, and pontoon boats.
  7. Bertram – Historically this company had motor yachts in the mix but modern Bertram yachts include convertible, express, and center console saltwater fishing boats.
  8. Chaparral – Runabouts, cruisers, and watersports boats make up Chaparral’s lineup.
  9. Lowe – Aluminum boatbuilder Lowe has a wide range of fishing boats, pontoons, and hunting boats.
  10. Boston Whaler – Fishing boats, center consoles, cruisers, and tenders are all in the Boston Whaler lineup.

Source: Boat Trader – Searches by Make in 2021/2022

While the list above is a good indication for the popularity – and therefore merit of the builder – there are of course many smaller, more specialized and custom boat builders that may build boats that could meet your particular boating requirements more closely. As always, when buying a boat, you should know exactly what boat class and type would suit you best and then search for the brand and model that fit your needs best.

Best Boat Brands – By Shopping Interest

The most searched boat brands on Boat Trader include those listed above from major manufacturers such as Sea Ray Boats and Yamaha, but in comparison, when looking at the brands with the most listings (a closely related metric), brands like Bennington, Tracker, and Malibu regularly feature in the top 10 replacing brands like Bertram, Lowe, and Chaparral.

tracker boat and yamaha boat
Some brands like the Tracker (left) may appear on one of these top 10 lists but not another, while some like Yamaha (right) make both. Every year, however, search and listing volumes for the different brands does shift a bit. Pictures via Premier Boating Center and MarineMax.

While the popular brands mentioned here can definitely help you find a boat, there is quite specific advice for buying a boat that helps narrow down the options as you consider who will be using the boat, what the boat will be used for, the size of the hull, deck and cabins. If you know the type of boat you are looking for, but not the manufacturers that build those class of boats, the boat types section on Boat Trader shows popular manufacturers by class and provides a helpful link to the listings available for sale.

Perhaps one of these manufacturers will give you the inspiration you need for your next purchase whether you’re looking for a Pontoon Boat, Fishing Boat or Ski & Wakeboarding Boat.

This article was last updated in May of 2022.

Written by: Ryan McVinney

C. Ryan McVinney is a film director, producer, writer, actor, boat captain, outdoor enthusiast and conservationist. He's currently the host and director of Boat Trader's Stomping Grounds TV show that explores boating culture across America. McVinney produces the Cult Classics video series for YachtWorld and the Factory Fridays show for boats.com and is a regular contributor to leading marine industry publications.

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