If you are a boat owner, you know how costly damage and subsequent repairs can be. When mooring, it can get a bit hard to control your vessel fully. The dock, pilings, and even other boats are all things that your boat can come in contact with, and damage can be sustained. You could also induce damage to other vessels, which is not a pleasant situation as well.
Finding the best boat fenders and best boat fender covers for your boat is an excellent solution to this problem. These units can prevent potential damage and keep your boat safe. Fenders are available in different sizes and types, and there are many things you should know about them, so keep on reading if you want to find a reliable unit. Our reviews on the best boat fenders and fender covers will also help you a lot. Let’s get started.
Best Boat Fenders And Fender Covers Comparison Chart
Shoreline Marine Ribbed Inflatable Fender
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Taylor Made Products Big B Inflatable Vinyl Boat Fender
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MSC Vinyl Ribbed Fenders
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Taylor Made Products Super Gard Inflatable Vinyl Boat Fender
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BEST BOAT FENDERS & FENDER COVERS REVIEWS (UPDATE LIST)
Here below are the most reliable units you can find on the market nowadays. They are not arranged in any specific order, so make sure you read them all and pick the one that is most fits your needs.
1. Shoreline Marine Ribbed Inflatable Fender
This item comes in different sizes and colors. It can be from 4”x16” to 8.5”x27”. It is made of high-class vinyl and provides excellent protection on the docks. It also has sturdy eyelets, which will hold the rope secure. You can choose the right one, which will fit your style and your needs. The maximum weight of it can be around 4 pounds – it depends again on what size you will choose. It comes to you inflated, but no rope. The fender has the same holes at the bottom and the top.
Like every other item, this type of fender has some advantages and some disadvantages. Let’s take a quick look at them.
- UV protection – The fender is UV protected, and it will last longer, and the sun cannot damage it.
- Inflatable – You can use it inflatable or not.
- Quality – The quality of materials is good, if used right – they will last for a long time.
- Size – Be careful when choosing the size. Read carefully what the manufacturers say – sometimes there is only one inch and the fender will not fit the hole.
- Color – The colors are not as described. Be aware of this, if the color matters for you.
2. Taylor Made Products Big B Inflatable Vinyl Boat Fender
This fender comes in different sizes and colors, so you have the opportunity to choose the perfect one for you. It has Lifetime Guarantee against bursting. Made of vinyl, this is one-piece construction and will be protected from fading. This item is shipped inflated. The maximum of the shipping weight is almost 12 pounds.
Here we are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the product.
- Cold weather – they do not get hard in colder weather.
- Return policy – if the fender does not fit, the return policy is excellent and comfortable. So you will not worry about the size.
- Quality – This fender is quality made and can last for a long time if used right.
- Guarantee – If you have any problems, check the warranty and contact the manufactures.
- Colors – not every color is available as described.
- Quality – dark colors leave marks on the gel coat. Be careful when choosing one.
- Rope and tube are not included.
- UV protection – some of the colors will fade, and the direct sunlight can damage the fender.
3. MSC Vinyl Ribbed Fenders
The marine grade vinyl coating of this fender is what truly makes it a quality product. Thanks to this high gloss cover, there will be virtually no scratches on your boat during docking.
The MSC Vinyl Ribbed Fender will also protect your vessel from structural damage. Since you never want your fender to roll during a collision, the surface of the unit is also ribbed. But perhaps the freshest news is that you get 2 fenders in the package.
When it comes to size, you also have a few options. The smallest ones start from 4×5 x 16 inches all the way to 8.5 x 27 inches. If you find yourself docking at the same place over, and over again, then you can also attach them to the dock itself. The package doesn’t come with an inflator needle so you would have to get one separately.
- The package has 2 bumpers
- A variety of colors
- High-level coating
- Different Sizes
- No inflator needle included
- The colors might not match the picture
- Air leakage possible
4. Taylor Made Products Super Gard Inflatable Vinyl Boat Fender
This fender is made of high-class marine-grade vinyl. It can be used for small boats. Gloss finish, double molded ends for strength, it is one-piece construction so you can use it for a long time. The length is measured for the hole in the top to the one at the bottom. The item weighs 2 pounds. The recommended inflation is two psi. The fender is shipped inflated. It is essential to check the dock and the weight of the boat to find if the size is suitable for your needs.
Now you need to know more about the benefits and the drawbacks of this fender, and here you can take a look at them.
- Materials – The soft vinyl does not damage the boat surface and the dock.
- Lifetime guarantee – If you have any problems, check the warranty. It is the main benefit of the product; you all know, that the warranty is essential.
- Color – the color resists salt and direct sunlight.
- Return policy – Return policy isn’t well explained and not so good organized.
- Always check the fender if it holds air. It must come inflated, and if it seems soft, maybe it is broken.
Polyform EFC-A Boat Fender Covers and Buoy Covers
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Taylor Made Products Premium Fender Cover
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Bumper Buddies Boat Fender Cover
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Norestar Two Boat Fender Covers/Bumper Socks
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Boat Fender Covers
1. Polyform EFC-A Boat Fender Covers and Buoy Covers
This cover can be washed, and it can be placed in direct sunlight because it is sun/water/abrasion-resistant. This one can be installed quickly and easily, and it has a Limited three years warranty.
Made of high-class polyester, it does not absorb water, and it stays light even when it is wet. The dimensions depend on what kind of fender you have. Check the size chart before buying it.
The covers can be handy, the advantages here are much more than the disadvantages.
- Quality – this item as well and quality made. This coverage handles the docks without getting damaged.
- The cover does not damage the boat surface too.
- High protection of the fender.
- The sun does not damage the colors.
- You must know the full-size range of your fender to understand if this cover can fit or not.
2. Taylor Made Products Premium Fender Cover
These covers come in different sizes and colors so they can fit almost every fender. They are made of high-quality polyester for a longer duration. You can choose a cover, which will suit your needs and style. Check the size chart for the right dimensions. The measurements are the diameter of the fender x length of the fender.
The cover is UV resistant. It can be washed in cold water. It is also mildew resistant so it can hold up in a marine environment — the cover ties in both ends.
Here we are going to face you with some advantages and disadvantages of this product so you can make the right decision about it.
- UV protection – the cover does not get damaged by the direct sunlight.
- Easy to clean
- The material cuts down the sound and protects the boat.
- Color does not fade in time.
- It has a stylish look – a great combination of color and quality.
- Not elastic – you need to choose the right size; otherwise, it would not fit.
- It got easily damaged by hard docks.
3. Bumper Buddies Boat Fender Cover
This Fender cover is medium size. The dimensions are girth 18-1/2’’, length 16-1/2’’. The material is washable, but it isn’t resistant to bad weather and sunny days. It won’t serve you a long time if you keep your fender outside during the non-sailing season.
The manufacturer offers this product in several coloring options making it easy for you to have your fender in unison with the color of your boat. Another advantage is that the material is stretchable and will fit even larger fenders. The material is also water repellent.
However, when exposed to sunlight continuously, some fading may start appearing rapidly.
- High-quality material for longer life of the cover.
- Water-resistance – The water will not cause mold, and the fender is protected.
- Easy to remove and clean
- The sun will damage them fast because these covers are not UV resistant.
- The color fades fast.
- Size not always as described.
4. Norestar Two Boat Fender Covers/Bumper Socks
This cover is made of thick fleece, which provides excellent protection for the boat and the fender. Long strings at the top and the bottom assign easy removal. This cover reduces the noise, made of the fender and the dock. The color is navy blue, and the cover comes in different dimensions, depending on what kind of fender you have. It comes in 8.5”x20”, 10.5”x27” and 13.5”x34.8”. You need to choose the right size, so it can fully suit your needs and style. The item weighs around 2 pounds.
Sounds great, but still you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of the product.
- Drawstrings so you cannot lose your cover easily.
- High-class fleece, really soft, for longer life and proper protection
- Great style and nice-looking, so it does not make your boat unpleasant.
- Color fades fast.
- Not UV resistant, so the direct sunlight damages it fast.
- Not stretchable. You need to buy the right size; otherwise, it will not fit your fenders.
What is Boat Fender?
Boat fenders serve as a barrier between your boat and the surrounding. Basically, they are like a cushion between your vessel and the pier, dock, or other sailboats. In one way or another, fenders are something that all boats use. Their purpose is to absorb the shock of the impact and, of course, prevent it from transferring to the hull of your vessel, or any other part of it.
They are something essential if you own a boat. Boat fenders are available in different types and sizes, and there are also some features and factors you will have to consider, before deciding on a product like this one. That’s why don’t stop reading!
Types of Boat Fenders
There are two main groups of fenders: ball-shaped and elongated fenders. Keep in mind that you must buy units of the right design and size because the pressure should be distributed equally between them.
The size of your fenders must be based on the weight and the length of your vessel. Another thing that matters is how high the hull is above the water. If your boat is large, the waves and wind will have more effect against its bill. That means that you will need more protection for your hull.
Long fenders, also called “walking” fenders, are what you’ve probably seen everywhere. You can install it horizontally or vertically. It can hang from railings, cleats, or lifelines (it depends on the watercraft’s size). On the market these days, you will find both center-cored long fender and two-eyed long types. It comes down to your individual preferences.
People go for long fenders because they are useful during docking. If you put your fender horizontally, it will have two points in which you can attach it to the dock.
The Ball Fender
Ball fenders, as their name suggests, are spherically shaped and contain air. They are made out of sturdy plastic material the eyelet on them is robust.
The ball fender is easy to unroll and throw overboard to mitigate an impact. This model has an excellent point of impact protection and is often utilized when maneuvering in tight spaces and going out and in of locks.
Another name they have is “Standby Fenders.” Their most significant advantage is the fact that they are versatile and you can even use them to mark your boat anchor location.
Factors to Consider When Looking for a Boat Fender
As with all marine supplies, before deciding on a particular boat fender, you will need to do your research and consider different factors. Here below you can read all the useful information you will need, before choosing a unit.
When choosing boat supplies, such as boat anchors ropes and chains, boat seats, and boat fenders, there are three things you need to be careful with: the length of your boat, its weight, and finally the mooring conditions.
If you often moor your boat in choppy water, then you should buy larger fenders than the boat weight, and length indicates. Most people follow the standard rule that for every ft of boat length you must have at least 2″ in fender diameter for round fenders, or 1″ for cylindrical ones. However, this is merely a guideline, and it is never a bad idea to go a bit larger.
If you get yourself a boat fender which is too small for your vessel, it will quickly get flattened by the weight of your boat and therefore won’t be very useful. On the other hand, a unit that is way too big for your vessel may be annoying to mount and to stow.
Number and Position of Fenders
Fenders will not work correctly if you do not deploy them the right way. You should be really careful with the number and position of the units on your boat.
In general, you can never have enough boat fenders on your vessel. However, as your space is limited, the situation gets a bit harder. For vessels up to 10 meters in length, you must have two fenders for each side, with a couple of replacement fenders at your disposal (at least two).
On boats that are over 10 meters, you should have 3-4 fenders per side with replacement fenders at your disposal as well. The side fenders must be in place for docking, but you may need your additional units to help offset a rolling swell or strong wind pinning you to the sea wall or the dock. Having more than one type will also be very useful.
If you want to position your fenders properly, make sure their bottoms just touch the water’s surface and then lift them up about one or two inches. Thank that, upon making contact with the dock, the fenders will not be pushed out of the way. Tie the fenders as low as possible on your vessel. Also, tie them to a fixed anchor point. Find a metal handle or something solid on the deck. Keep reading if you want to find out more about how to hang your fenders properly.
Cleaning your boat devices can be really annoying as we all know how dirty they can get. Examples are boat carpets, boat seats, boat covers, and so on and so forth. Fenders can also get pretty messy since they stay outdoors and are in contact with various surfaces.
When you decide it’s time for cleaning, use water and soap. Remember to avoid aggressive cleaning substances as they can damage the material your fender is made of. We know that it could get intimidating to use them, especially when there are stubborn stains, but you must not!
Every boat fender owner should also have a fender cover. They are a great solution when it comes to keeping your fender safe. They are easy to be taken off and washed, and at the same time, they will make sure your unit is kept in a perfect condition.
Carrying extra fenders is always a good idea, but you will need to think about where you will store them. One option could be a locker. You can also stow them under your boat seat. However, accessing your fenders will be tougher and slower.
Our team recommends that you get yourself fender racks. They are super convenient and are divided into 2 groups: permanent and folding racks. If you don’t have enough space on your boat, folding racks would be a great option, as they fold down once the fender is taken out, giving you some additional space. Non-folding or permanent racks take up more deck space as they do not fold down and are also more expensive; however, they are more sturdy and durable than the folding ones.
The good thing about boat fenders is that there are different accessories you could get to do the work with them even more comfortable and more convenient. We already told you about the storage racks, and we mentioned the fender covers. Later on, in our buying guide, we will give you even more information on fender covers, but now let’s say a few things about the other accessories you could get.
Most of the boat fenders on the market are inflatable (whether they come pre-inflated or deflated). That means that many fenders often require a pump. Now the positive side is that a regular hand pump will usually do the job, as fenders often have simple valves. Also, some manufacturers provide a pump with the product itself, which is very convenient. However, some brands use different valves, and you may need to get yourself a particular type of pump adapter.
The height of your unit is also essential, and sometimes you will need to tie several knots if you want to position your fender correctly. Height adjusters are just the thing that you will need in such situations. They will allow you to adjust your device easily.
How to Hang Your Fenders?
Knowing how to hang your fenders is vital, as in different situations you will need to do it differently.
When different boats are tied together, it is only logical that they will rock differently and have varying freeboard and hull flare. Therefore, when rafting with other boats, it will be an excellent decision to use the largest-diameter fenders you have.
Large-diameter ball fenders are an appropriate choice as they can hang from the rail or the cleats. At the same time, they are wide enough to keep rub rails away from each other.
When tied up to a bulkhead, floating dock, or smooth-surface pier, vertical placement is the most practical and most comfortable method. To keep the fender from getting gunked up, place it a few inches above the surface of the water. You should use at least two fenders. Place one near the stern and one at the widest point of the hull. However, we would recommend that you use more units as that means less chance of hull damage.
Cleats and deck-mounted specialty fittings are the most suitable when it comes to hanging fenders. They have a low profile and can’t exert much leverage on the fasteners that secure them or on the deck. You could also use the rail stanchions.
Because of the extra leverage that is created by the extra height, if you hang your fenders to the rail that may subject it to undue stress. This may happen if during the rolling the fender gets pinched. Keep I mind that all tie-off points must be through-bolted.
When tying up to a pier or a dock with exposed pilings, the horizontal placement is what you should do. Some fenders feature molded eyes at both ends, and others let you pass a line through from top to bottom. In both cases, you must center the fender on the pilling and then tie it horizontally. If the location you are in is rough or even roiled by a current, or if you are going to leave your vessel unattended for an extended period, you may want to use fender board as an alternative.
A pair of cylindrical fenders positioned vertically behind a two-by-four is the most common solution. The fenders will protect the hull, and the two-by-four will take the beating from the pilings.
To fix a fender to a rail or a stanchion, you can use three basic knots you could use: the running hitch, the clove hitch, and the round half/turn hitch.
When securing your fender to a deck-mounted cleat, you use a cleat hitch, which is basically a series of figure eights made around the horn of the cleat, finished with a half hitch.
How to Choose the Most Suitable Cover for Your Fender?
Choosing the right cover for your fender is essential because if you want your device to keep your boat safe, first you need to do the same with the unit itself. There are two simple things you need to do when deciding on a boat fender cover.
- Measure the perimeter of your inflated fender.
- Measure the distance between the eyes of the fender.
If you have these two numbers, you are ready to go shopping for fender covers.
General Rules to Remember
There are many tips for using boat fenders These are the advice our team finds most valuable:
- Make sure that your fenders are the right size and always buy some extras.
- In different mooring situations, you will need different fender types so make sure you have prepared all the models you may need.
- Have a storage strategy that allows for easy accessibility.
- Keep your fenders clean and tidy! That way your units will not only look better but will also last longer.
- To make your boating life more comfortable, do not forget to check out accessories such as fender height adjusters and hand pumps.
Great job, friends, you have successfully read our buying guide devoted to finding the best boat fenders and best boat fender covers. As you have arrived at the end of our article, we are sure that you now know everything you need to find the most reliable product. If you haven’t read our reviews about the most excellent boat fenders and fender covers, do not waste any more time and do it, as you will definitely find a product that is suitable for you.
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