We take a look at 7 of the best boat fenders on the market right now, which are available in various shapes and sizes
If ever there was an unsung hero in the world of boating, it surely has to be the humble fender. Ubiquitous and largely maintenance-free, fenders dangle fearlessly in the face of adversity, protecting the valuable and vulnerable hulls of their owners from miscalculations at the helm and the wayward actions of other boaters alike.
It follows, therefore, that fenders should not be regarded simply as ‘fit and forget’ items, but as integral safety components with the potential to protect against substantial damage-repair costs.
Consequently, it’s well worth reviewing the complement of fenders attached to your boat and asking questions such as: are they the right type and size? Do I have enough of them? Are they in a serviceable condition?
What to look for in a good set of boat fenders
In terms of type, side-hull fenders are most commonly cylindrical, ball or flat/cushion, while bows and transoms can be protected with shaped fenders made specifically for purpose. A commonly used sizing guide for cylindrical fenders advises between 25-50 millimetres diameter for every 1-1.5 metres of boat length.
The length of the fender itself will depend on the freeboard of the boat to which it is attached. A minimum of three fenders per side is recommended, with at least one placed every 3 metres along the length of the boat. A ball fender at the bow not only guards the sharp end from collisions but also comes in handy as a rover or when springing off pontoons.
Always ensure your fenders are pumped up to the correct pressure – generally between 0.15 and 0.2 bar – and show them some love by cleaning them regularly. That way, they will give you many years of service in return.
And lastly, if you’re too posh to pull, why not try an automatic fender system?
Here’s our pick of the best boat fenders on the market today.
Best boat fenders available right now
Polyform G series boat fenders
Available in six sizes to accommodate boats from sub-10 feet to up to 40 feet in length, the Polyform G Series is a high quality, good looking product boasting an even wall thickness for strength and durability.
Moulded-in ribs add to the strength while also providing protection against abrasion. Manufactured from vinyl and available in no less than 16 colours, Polyform fenders have a unique valve designed to give many years of trouble-free service.
All G Series fenders have an eye at either end so they can be vertically or horizontally mounted.
Price: £14-99 – £157.43
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Majoni white/blue boat fenders, set of four
Our pick here is a bundle of four size 2 (15 x 56 cm) Majoni fenders. Described as being ideal for boats from 19-22 feet in length and supplied ready inflated, the deal listed below includes a complimentary set of fender ropes.
That means each fender and its rope comes in at less than £15 each, which we reckon represents good value by any measure.
The styling – a white body tipped with blue at either end – is a long-time boater’s favourite which adds a splash of colour to a fender set which might otherwise look a touch drab, especially after a season or two’s use.
Ocean Series R round fender
Ocean’s Series R round fenders are heavy duty units, and as such are much favoured by commercial fishermen as well as recreational boaters. Available in a selection of eight sizes from R0 (22 x 30 cm) to R7 (100 x 138 cm), Ocean’s Series R caters for boats from 3 to 24 metres.
All Series R fenders have a rib-reinforced eye to ensure ropes are held securely and safely over the long term. The buoy’s one-piece construction, consistent wall thickness and UV resistance all add strength and durability to this well designed product.
And if white with a blue tip doesn’t take your fancy, R Series buoys are also available in red tipped with dark blue.
Anchor Marine standard fenders
Anchor Marine has been manufacturing fenders in the UK for more than half a century. Moulded in UV-resistant PVC and available in 12 colours in addition to base white, the company’s standard boat fenders are popular among commercial and leisure users.
Ruggedly constructed with a high resistance to bursting – due to what Anchor Marine describes as its ‘class leading wall thickness’ – each fender has an eye at either end to allow horizontal or vertical attachment to the boat.
Fitted with valves for easy inflation and deflation, all Anchor Marine standard fenders have hard thimble eyes to reinforce rope securing points.
Price: £7.95 – £49.95
Anchor Marine transom fender
Our second featured product from Anchor Marine are these transom fenders, which have been designed to give protection to any boat with a vulnerable transom or bathing platform. And if you’d rather not fit them to your boat, they can just as easily be mounted to the exposed corners of a marina berth or finger pontoon instead.
Supplied with two mounting strips and offered in four colours – white, royal blue, black and navy – these fenders measure 13 x 10 x 10 cm and weigh in at just under a kilogramme. Built to the same high standards as all other Anchor Marine products, these transom fenders could well pay for themselves in single bump!
The obvious advantage of flat or cushion fenders is that they will not puncture or deflate, meaning 24/7 protection is provided regardless of whether the owner is on hand to keep a watch on them.
Our pick here is Force 4 Chandlery ‘s own-brand flat/cushion fender. Available in two sizes – 41 x 21 x 5 cm and 55 x 29 x 7 cm – these blue and white semi-rigid fenders are manufactured from tough PU closed-cell foam which will not absorb water.
Being flat, they are also easy to stow and, as Force 4 helpfully points out, double up as cockpit cushions or kneeling pads when not in use protecting the boat.
Price: From £27.95
Talamex bow fender
Talamex Marine Products is the house brand of the Yachting Division of Netherlands-based distributor, Lankhorst Taselaar/Hohorst. As such, a wide range of quality marine equipment and fittings are marketed under the Talamex name, including the bow fender we have selected here.
The attraction of this three-eye horseshoe-shaped unit is that it is billed as a one-size product and thus should be suitable for a variety of boats and hull types. Anyone who has ever bashed their bow into a pontoon will certainly appreciate the benefits a bow fender can offer!