While compiling the list for Reader’s Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Reviews of 2013, we stumbled onto a rather obvious fact: Our two most-read reviews of all time both refer to price in the headline. (And in both cases, it's a cheap price.)

  1. Bayliner Element: Need An Inexpensive Runabout? Deckboat? Bowrider?

  2. Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16: A Pontoon Boat For Under $10,000? Yes!

Bayliner Element Bass Buggy

The Bayliner Element and Sun Tracker Bass Buggy both make it easy to get out and enjoy the water.

I know, I know... I'm not supposed to use the word "cheap" because it sounds, well, cheap. So instead I will copy reviewer Jeff Hemmel and say "inexpensive."

However, I would argue that a low price point is not the only thing these two boats share. They both offer a simple way to get out on the water with your family and friends, without locking you into one specialized form of boating. The Element is appropriate for both watersports and day cruises, which is why it's so hard to decide if it's a runabout, deckboat, or bowrider. And the Sun Tracker gives you a great spot to lounge, fish, or make tracks across the lake. There's a reason pontoon boats are one of the fastest-growing segments of the market these days: their wide, stable acreage makes an ideal water-enjoyment platform for even the most casual boater.

For newcomers and veterans alike, simple boating appeals. Whether you want to tootle around the lake, catch fish in your favorite bay, or tow the kids on their favorite water toy, enjoying the water should not be the booby prize at the end of a Saturday morning obstacle course. It should be easy.

And of course, easy AND cheap? Well that's even better.

View Bayliner Element listings

View Sun Tracker Bass Buggy listings