Best inflatable paddle board 2022: The best inflatable SUPs from £250

Emma Sims Nicole Kobie
31 May 2022

Go for a paddle without breaking the budget: the best inflatable paddle boards you can buy

Stand-up paddle boarding has taken off in the UK, and that’s helped by inflatable designs that make it easier to hit the water for a serene paddle without having to find a way to transport, store and carry a massive 10ft board.

Inflatable paddle boards are not only easy to carry (many come with backpacks for even easier carrying), they’re also cheaper than solid models and ideal for beginners, as they’re softer to stand on and highly stable. While they’ve traditionally been seen as limited for recreational use, the increasingly fast designs of inflatable SUPs mean they’re even being used in races, highlighting how high performance they’ve become.

For a few hundred pounds, you can take a relaxing tour around a calm lake, carve through waves at the beach, or even add a challenge to your yoga practice. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the perfect inflatable SUP for you, regardless of budget.

Best inflatable stand-up paddleboards: At a glance

How to choose the best inflatable paddle board for you

Why choose an inflatable stand-up paddle board?

Stand-up paddle boards have traditionally been made with a hard body, like a surfboard, and the sport has its origins with Hawaiian surfers pairing their boards with a paddle. The arrival of dropstitch material – fabric that’s tied together by thousands of short threads that hold it in place for more rigidity when inflated – coated with PVC allowed for the creation of inflatable products with a high enough air pressure to support a paddler.

Inflatable boards, also called iSUPs, have a few benefits over hard paddle boards. To start with, they’re usually significantly lighter and can be carried in a bag or backpack, making storage and transport much easier than a 10ft or longer hard paddle board. They’re also softer on the feet – or hands, if you’re into SUP yoga – and more stable, making inflatable boards ideal for beginners or those looking for an easy, reliable paddle rather than speed. Generally, inflatable paddle boards can carry more weight. Traditionally, inflatable models have been slower and harder to paddle than hard-body rivals, but improvements in designs mean they’re even used in racing now.

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What to look for in an inflatable paddle board

There are a few key characteristics that differentiate a budget, beginners’ iSUP from a model designed for better performance. Lower-end inflatable paddle boards are made using single-layer dropstitch, which require a thicker board and more inflation to have sufficiently good performance. One solution is double layers of dropstitch, which will have better performance but will be heavier and harder to pack away into your bag.

To address those challenges, inflatable paddle board makers add extra materials and support rods to strengthen single-layer dropstitch, giving a tougher, more stable board without adding the extra weight of a second level of dropstitch.

What else should you consider?

Size and air pressure (referred to as PSI) will contribute to how much weight the paddle board can easily support. Make sure you consider potential passengers, not just yourself.

Also consider how quickly the SUP inflates and deflates (check video reviews online to get an honest take), as well as the type of deflation valve it uses. Other key features include bungee cords to hold supplies in place and handles for carrying and getting back on the board in case of an unexpected dismount.

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What other equipment do you need?

Many beginner paddle board sets come with everything you need to get started: a pump, a paddle, a bag, a fin and a leash for safety. Paddles can be adjustable, but should be about 15cm to 30cm taller than you. Some iSUPs also come with drybags and a seat to convert into a kayak-style contraption, and others feature a built-in action camera holder. An ankle leash and personal flotation device are key safety equipment for any paddle boarder, while waterproof lights are necessary if you’ll be hitting the water at night.

The best inflatable paddle boards to buy

1. Goosehill Sailor Inflatable Stand-up Paddle Board: the best all-round inflatable SUP

Price: £250 | Buy now from Amazon

The Goosehill Sailor features an extra layer of lamination that the company calls Super Construction Enhancement Technology, which gives additional strength to the single dropstitch layer without much extra weight. That means this all-rounder works for everyone: it’s light enough for a child to carry, stable and easy to manoeuvre, and solidly supports up to 200kg in weight.

The company says it works well on lakes, calm rivers and even in waves at the beach, but for more advanced conditions, it may not be suitable. Handily, the paddle board comes with all the key accessories you need to hit the water, including an adjustable paddle. It's now on sale over at Amazon, where it's down from £330 to just £250.

Key specs – Total weight: 9kg; Length: 323cm; Width: 81cm; Height: 15cm; Air pressure: 12-15PSI; Volume: 300L; How much can it carry? 200kg; Accessories? Includes adjustable paddle, pump, leash, fin and carrying bag

2. Portofino 10ft SUP Inflatable: the best inflatable SUP for families

Price: £204 | Buy now from Amazon

The Portofino is super lightweight, but adds stability with a bit of extra width. It’s a bit thinner than budget rivals, which not only slashes the weight but should make it faster to inflate, with the company claiming you’ll be ready to hit the water in less than five minutes. Made of a single dropstitch layer, the Portofino is strengthened by a toughened external shell and internal rails.

All that makes it particularly good for children to use, as it’s easy to manoeuvre and paddle, while still remaining suitable for adults weighing less than 120kg. The adjustable paddle, kayak conversion seat and suitability for a range of people of all shapes and sizes mean this kayak is a good flexible option for families: let the kids play on it at the beach, and take it out yourself for a sunset paddle when they’ve gone to bed. 

Key specs – Total weight: 8kg; Length: 305cm; Width: 84cm; Height: 12cm; Air pressure: 15PSI; Volume: 300L; How much can it carry? 120kg; Accessories? Includes adjustable paddle, pump, leash, fin, and carrying bag; kayak conversion seat available at extra cost

3. Itiwit Beginner’s Inflatable Touring Stand-up Paddle board: the best lightweight inflatable SUP

Price: £250 | Buy now from Decathlon

If you’re going to have to carry your SUP, this is the one to get: it weighs just 6kg and folds up incredibly small into the included backpack, making it easy to take on your travels or to access more remote lakes and rivers. Because it’s so tiny, the Itiwit has a more restrictive weight limit, although larger – and therefore heavier – models are available.

This is unquestionably a beginner’s board for calm water, but if you’re looking for a small, lightweight iSUP to get started with, the Itiwit could be the one for you. Paddling gets harder the closer you are to the weight limit, so beginners may want to upgrade to the 10ft model for an extra £50 to ensure easy manoeuvrability.

Key specs – Total weight: 6kg; Length: 244cm; Width: 76cm; Height: 12cm Air pressure: 15PSI; Volume: 187L; How much can it carry? 60kg; upgrade to the larger models for higher weight limits; Accessories? No paddles or pump, but includes backpack, fins and leash

Buy now from Decathlon

4. Bluefin SUP Voyage: the best inflatable SUP for everything else

Price: £599 | Buy now from Amazon

Bluefin has a wide range of specialist boards: there’s the Aura for yoga, the Tandem for two paddlers, and the Mammoth to carry all your friends and family, alongside SUPs focused on touring and beginners. The Voyage piles together everything into one board, making it a water-based platform for all your lake activities.

The board itself is 20% wider than standard, so it’s more stable for paddling and yoga. But that also means there’s more space for all your kit, including an attachable cooler box that features a seat back, and mounts for kayak seat, fishing rods, and an action camera. Paddle this board out to the lake for fishing, practise a bit of yoga, take the kids or dog out for a spin, use it as a base to keep your drinks cold: the Voyage is the ultimate all-rounder, but all that comes with extra weight and size, so it might be difficult for children to paddle themselves.

Key specs – Total weight: 17kg; Length: 330cm; Width: 99cm; Height: 16cm; Air pressure: Two chambers at 3.5PSI each; Volume: 382L; How much can it carry? 130kg; Accessories? Comes with pump, two paddles, carry bag mount, fin, leash, cool box and more

5. Red Paddle Co 11'0 Compact: The best inflatable SUP if you’re taking the bus

Price: £1,499 | Buy now from John Lewis

Red Paddle Co has a wide range of inflatable boards, but the “Compact” range is particularly intriguing as a portable solution for those without a car to ferry about their kit. The Devon-based company says it’s been working on the “Pact” technology for more than a decade, creating a new weaving process that’s strong but easy to pack away.

The full package is around 13.4kg in weight, but it also folds down to half its total size, making it ideal to take on the bus or your bike. To help lug the board, Red Paddle Co has developed a specialist backpack – All Terrain – that’s adjustable for people of different heights and fortified with concentrated shoulder padding. The backpack's dimensions are reasonably compact too, measuring up at 56cm x  42cm x 32cm, and it's handily included in the price of the bundle. 

This model also sports two integrated ifins, making them faster to paddle than those with three ifins in tow, and serving to enhance agility and movement while on the board. Plus, their durability means they'll survive a few knocks and bumps, and can be rebent into shape if required. Perfect for navigating public transport, then. All-in-all, a great model for mobility, whether you're on the board or carting it about. 

Key specs – Total weight of bundle: 13.4kg; Length: 335.28cm; Width: 81.23cm; Height: 12cm; Air pressure: 16-22psi recommended; How much can it carry? 95-110kg; Accessories? Comes with backpack, pump, leash, paddle and fin

Buy now from John Lewis

6. Bluefin Aura Fit 10'8: The best inflatable paddle board for yoga

Price: £449 | Buy now from Bluefin 

The Bluefin Aura Fit’s extra-wide 91cm width makes it particularly amenable for yogis and pilates-heads alike, providing room for manoeuvre and stability for balance (Bluefin’s boards can hold up to 28 PSI, making them extra rigid). But the Aura Fit is not just for the flexible of mind, body and spirit; the board’s durable materials and sturdy design make it a hardy and versatile all-rounder, even for novices. Meanwhile, earth-conscious yogis will appreciate Bluefin’s added touch of planting a tree for every purchase, the cherry on top of their mission to use recycled materials in manufacturing processes.

Key specs – Length: 325cm; Width: 91cm; Height: 15cm; Air pressure: 28PSI (max), 15-18PSI (recommended); Volume: N/A; How much can it carry? 160kg (max), 90kg (recommended); Accessories? Comes with fibreglass paddle, backpack, pump, waterproof smartphone case and fins

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