If you’ve been looking into relatively inexpensive boats under 20’ you may have noticed that the boats we identify in our Top 10 New Fishing Boats for Under $20,000 are split between aluminum and fiberglass. So, how are you supposed to know which to choose? In this short video we’ll lay out the number-one consideration you need to think about before making any decisions.

Yes, there are other features to take into consideration. Some were mentioned, but some more minor ones were not; read Aluminum Fishing Boats: Light, Economical, and Seaworthy to see the trade-offs and advantages in a bit more detail. But when you cut right down to the bottom line, this one aspect of construction—weight—has a greater effect than any of the other differences between aluminum and fiberglass.

Wait a second—what about polyethylene? Hasn’t that material gained acceptance among some boat builders? Absolutely, and we examine why in the article Plastic Boats: Advantages and Disadvantages of Polyethylene Boat Construction.

Truth be told, even with poly boats from manufacturers like Triumph, Walker Bay, and Hobie on the rise, the percentage of polyethylene hulls on the market is tiny when compared to either aluminum or fiberglass. In fact, there are only nine poly builders currently listing boats on boats.com today. So unless you fall into a very select niche of boaters, in all likelihood you’ll have to make the aluminum-versus-fiberglass decision. After researching the ups and downs of each, however, we’re sure you’ll make the right choice.