10 Best Towable Tubes | April 2017

10 Best Towable Tubes | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If the idea of whitewater rafting appeals to you, but you're not sure that you're up for all the paddling to avoid rocks and potentially going over waterfalls, a good towable tube might just be a better alternative for those lucky enough to own a power boat. They can provide you with hours of high-speed, water-borne entertainment that is significantly safer than getting out on the roaring rivers. Skip to the best towable tube on Amazon.
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The Airforce G-Force is made for three people, but the ride is a lot more fun with just two. It has six nylon-covered handles and neoprene knuckle guards, so you should have no trouble getting a secure hold, and it features a Boston valve for quick inflating.
  • topside stabilizer fins
  • extremely well-made
  • submarines as it starts to move
Brand Airhead
Model AHGF-3
Weight 22.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
9
The Wow Bingo 1-2 is designed to carry up to 340 lbs., so it can accommodate two full-sized adults. It also features cockpit style seating, which makes it safer and easier for young kids who want to ride but who may have trouble holding on to hand grips.
  • front and rear tow points
  • very stable even at high speeds
  • stitching isn't strong enough
Brand World of Watersports
Model pending
Weight 18 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
8
The heavy-gauge PVC bladder in the SportsStuff 53-1651 Stunt Flyer rebounds off the water with a great deal of force, which is fine if you're looking to catch a bit of air, but can be terrifying if your idea of fun is a little more relaxed.
  • comfortable foam body pads
  • double-stitched nylon cover
  • sinks a bit at low speeds
Brand SportsStuff
Model 53-1651
Weight 17.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
7
For solo riders who want to experience exciting wake jumps at high speeds, few options compare to the O'Brien Screamer. Despite the fact that it's only built to carry one person, it has four handles with knuckle guards for custom positioning.
  • comes with a one year warranty
  • easy to get it airborne
  • might be too tiny for tall adults
Brand O'Brien
Model 2141501
Weight 16.7 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
6
The SportsStuff 53-1780 Chariot Warbird has front and rear tow points, so its riser can act as a guard against splashing waves or as a comfortable recumbent back rest for seated riders. Its nylon cover closes with a metal zipper, however, which may rust over time.
  • aluminum quick-connect system
  • wide wing span for tight turns
  • not enough padding for the knees
Brand SportsStuff
Model 53-1780
Weight 45.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
With two separated cockpits, the Airhead Mach 2 is perfect for children because it offers secure seating and less chance of them knocking together. It gets your young ones out on the water with a greater degree of safety than more open designs.
  • inflatable floors for added comfort
  • speed valve for quick deflating
  • too small for adults
Brand Airhead
Model AHM2-2
Weight 18.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
4
The SportsStuff 53-2223 Super Mable is designed for up to three people, and it has two tow points, so you can ride it in several positions. It features multi-grab handles with knuckle guards, which do a good job of preventing chafing.
  • unique front riser construction
  • heavy-duty nylon cover
  • big and heavy when deflated
Brand SportsStuff
Model 53-2223
Weight 46.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
3
If the more traditional circular design appeals to you, the O'Brien Round Up 70 takes that shape to the next level. With its 70-inch diameter, it can carry up to four riders and handle a total of 680 lbs., making it ideal for groups relaxing at the end of the line.
  • highly visible bright green colors
  • eight strong handles
  • 28-gauge pvc build
Brand O'Brien
Model 2151526
Weight 27.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The Airhead HD-3 Hot Dog takes its shape and intention from the classic banana boat flotation device, with the notable variation of a bun and a wiener. It carries up to three individuals, each of whom has access to a sturdy handle positioned above a knuckle guard.
  • neoprene seat pads
  • 30-gauge vinyl air chambers
  • one-year warranty
Brand Airhead
Model HD-3
Weight 21.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The six handles on the O'Brien Trickster 3 are equipped with EVA knuckle guards, so even if you find yourself bouncing along amidst high wakes in choppy waters, you won't hurt your hands. It also features a 30/24 gauge PVC bladder that ensures both buoyancy and durability.
  • full nylon covering
  • quick connect tow hook
  • fast-inflating boston valve
Brand O'Brien
Model 2131526
Weight 30.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Waking Life

It's a peaceful feeling on the water. The currents ripple gently against the hull of your boat, eliciting that intermittent slap of water on wood; the sun pours down its warmth uninterrupted and the soft wind sends cool blankets of refreshment over your skin. This is, perhaps, the closest that the living ever get to heaven. But, like David Byrne says in The Talking Heads song 'Heaven,' "Heaven, Heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens."

So, for all its peacefulness, the water can get a little boring after a time. To spice things up, we add a little speed and a little danger. We add a towable tube to the picture. What makes a towable tube so enjoyable is its unique ability to maximize the potential for fun created by the movement of the boat in front of it. These tubes attach to their leading boats by a line, usually nylon rope.

The tubes themselves are made of reinforced nylon and polyester materials that can withstand unexpected impacts against debris in the water, as well as the clambering and scratching of joyfully terrified passengers. Most towable tubes also include an electric pump, so you won't spend half the day on the shores, turning blue in the face as you try to inflate it manually.

When the driver of your leading boat takes you on a fast and tortuous journey across the water, your tube will repeatedly cross the wake like a ramp, and its light frame and soft materials will send you aloft in thrilling jumps. The best among our tubes will have a tapered design in the front, as well, which helps prevent a phenomenon called submarining, where the front of your tube dips under the water and creates a heavy drag on the leading boat, while possibly throwing you from your seat.

If you're not into the thrilling jumps and flights you can easily achieve when crossing the wake of your leading boat, you can always tow behind a boat moving much more slowly, or just set the kids out on the tube so you'll have the nicer boat to yourself.

Fit For A King, And His Queen, And Their Kids

If you were paying attention to the above explanation, you'll know now that a towable tubes flight potential–the degree to which you're liable to find exhilaration on it–depends a lot on its weight. Lighter tubes will get more out of the wakes they cross.

Like a good snow shoe, however, if your tube is wide enough, it can distribute more weight across its surface and provide you with just as much fun, even if it's carrying an extra passenger or two. Conversely, if you overload a towable tube, cramming six passengers where there's really only space for four, the extra weight will slow down and render your tube ineffective as well as dangerous.

The first thing to look at, then, when evaluating these towable tubes against one another, is their capacity. If you're a bachelor, or a married couple who is so dead-set against having children that you've both been spayed and neutered respectively, you can get away with a smaller tube.

The procreators among us, on the other hand, should err on the side of a larger tube. You can always recruit a nearby swimmer or a passenger on a passing boat to join you and even out the load, should you need. It's a great way to make friends on the water.

Some of these tube are better deigned for outrageous performance than others. If you know you want to cut wakes and fly through the air, you ought to look for the most dynamic design out there. If you're more interested in towing along like you've been born aloft on a lazy river, the more traditional tube shapes and loungers are your best bet.

Then, there's the look of the tube to consider. It's a minor consideration for most, but if your image is one of elegance, the towable tubes designed to suit the tastes of a 12-year-old boy fighting his way through puberty probably won't appeal to you.

An Innovative Lazy River

While it may not have caught on in any truly significant way until the 1940s, tubing existed at least as early as the invention of the automobile inner tube. Those inner tubes were the first devices employed by overheated swimmers to wistfully drift along the water.

Rafts of various kinds existed before the inner tube came along, some of which floated on their own, while others hooked up to a leading boat and were towed. But it's the inner tube that water-goers began to associate with a certain level of luxury and relaxation.

That's because of a sort of floating party that took place in July of 1941, when the owner of a nightclub in Wisconsin made a meal of the river that abutted the property of his club. He ingeniously gave inner tubes to about 200 people at his club and set them adrift, drinks in hand, about 45 minutes downriver, where he set up a shuttle to curry them back to the club.

The loop was a massive success, and entrepreneurs mimicked it wherever possible. The popularity of this kind of tubing led boaters to experiment with tubes attached to their vessels with lines of rope, marrying the luxury of tubing with the thrill of water skiing.



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Last updated on April 24 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.