Qualifying something as “best” needs an explanation. Is it considered to be the best because it’s the largest or most popular, has the highest quality, is the best value, or is perfect for a specific use?
That’s why it’s hard to decide which are the best yachts on the market today. Beneteau may be the largest volume boat builder in the world, and Viking may be best known for sportfishing designs but how do we qualify what’s “best” in each category?
For our purposes here, let’s delve into the best yacht brands by type and then mention some brand names in each group that you’re most likely to see on the water.
- Runabouts & bowriders
- Cruising motor yachts
- Distance cruisers & trawlers
- Center consoles
- Sportfishing yachts
Sailboats, also known as a sailing yacht or a sailcraft, is a water vessel designed to harness the power of the wind to propel itself across the water. These vessels come in various sizes and configurations.
- Nautor’s Swan
- Grand Soleil
Pro Tip: You can search for boats by brand on Boatsetter. Once you select the location you’d like to browse for boat rentals, you’ll see a filter bar at the top of the results. Click ‘Filters’ and scroll down until you see ‘Boat manufacturers.’ Click on all you’d like to see.
Multihulls come with two (catamarans) and three (trimarans) hulls and can be either sail or powerboats (some brands build both):
- HH Catamarans
- Fountaine Pajot (both power and sail versions)
- Leopard (both power and sail versions)
- NEIL (sail trimaran)
- LEEN (power trimaran)
- World Cat (smaller power fishing)
- Aspen (smaller power cruising and fishing)
Runabouts & bowriders
Small open boats come in many flavors with open or closed bows and on-Learn more about bowriders
Cruising motor yachts
Distance cruisers & trawlers
Distance cruisers, trawlers, and expedition yachts are usually slower but have an exceptional range as they travel the coastlines or the oceans of the world:
- Grand Banks
- Outer Reef
- Ocean Alexander
- Beneteau Swift
- Ranger Tugs
- Nordic Tugs
- American Tug
Pro Tip: Yachts are one of the most popular boats, and boat-sharing makes it possible for anyone to get on one for a fraction of the cost. If you own a yacht, this is good business for you! List your yacht and start making an extra income by renting it out.
These offshore boats tend to travel great distances to their fishing grounds and hunt for bigger species:
Boatsetter is a unique boat-sharing platform that gives everyone— whether you own a boat or you’re just renting — the chance to experience life on the water. You can list a boat, book a boat, or make money as a captain.
Zuzana Prochazka is an award-winning freelance journalist and photographer with regular contributions to more than a dozen sailing and powerboating magazines and online publications including Southern Boating, SEA, Latitudes & Attitudes and SAIL. She is SAIL magazines Charter Editor and the Executive Director of Boating Writers International. Zuzana serves as judge for SAIL’s Best Boats awards and for Europe’s Best of Boats in Berlin.
A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana founded and manages a flotilla charter organization called Zescapes that takes guests adventure sailing at destinations worldwide.
Zuzana has lived in Europe, Africa and the United States and has traveled extensively in South America, the islands of the South Pacific and Mexico.