A boat without a bimini top is like a man without his hair. It makes a boat look good and keeps it safe from the elements. Bimini tops are a must have accessory, and not just because of their aesthetic value. Bimini tops provide a cover on a certain part of your boat. This keeps the boat’s driver and passengers safe from the elements. We are going to talk about the best bimini tops today and discuss how to pick the perfect one for your boat.
When you’re out in the water, losing track of time is pretty easy. Boating is a relaxing and very pleasurable hobby. However, it also exposes you to direct sunlight which can be bad for your skin. On your boat, you won’t find any coverage to reduce the intensity of the sun or lessen the intensity of a cold downpour. The elements can quickly take the fun out of a boat ride. This is why biminis are a must have. These seemingly simple looking combinations of metal poles and canvases can greatly improve the quality of time that you spend on your boat.
It goes without saying that every boat owner needs a bimini top. Now, there are a lot of things to consider when you head out to buy them for your boat. Before we start going through all the awesome bimini tops that are available in the market, let’s take a look at how should you go about picking one.
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Bimini Top
There’s a lot more to a bimini top than just being a piece of canvas strapped to a metal frame. When buying one, you need to take multiple factors into account. Factors such as its durability, its aero-dynamics, size, weight etc.
Type of Top
There are three major types of bimini tops; OEM tops, off-the-shelf tops, and custom-made tops.
OEM tops are all about precise design. They’re made from pre-made digital templates, meaning that they’re standardized and can be produced quickly.
Off-the-Shelf come in set sizes of four, six, or eight feet long. Their metal frame mostly comes with three different height adjustments and the rest of their design is pretty simple. Since these tops are mass-produced to fit a variety of boats, picking the right one for your boat can be tricky. Fortunately, there are websites that let you find suitable off-the-shelf tops for specific boat models.
Off-the-shelf tops are the most commonly used out of the three. This is because they offer a great balance of cost and value. We are going to be focusing on off-the-shelf boat covers in our review section.
Custom bimini tops are the place to be if you want a top that you can rely on. You get to choose from a variety of fabrics for the canvas portion. This lets you decide how much durability you want, the level of waterproofing, and much more. You can also choose between stainless steel and aluminum frames. Aluminum frames are lighter, however, they corrode easily when exposed to saltwater. This makes stainless steel frames a better option for people who take their boats out on the sea.
Size And Measurements
The best bimini top is one that is able cover your boat comfortably. It should be able to provide protection without obstructing movement or sight. A bimini that is too long can make your boat feel claustrophobic, and a smaller top won’t be able to provide ample coverage. The golden ratio for bimini top length to boat length is 1.5 to 5. Meaning that for a 20 ft. long boat, your top should be 6 ft. long.
As for the width of your top, this varies from boat to boat. Along with width, you also need to keep mounting points in mind. Measure your boat’s mounting points before you buy a bimini top. Most tops come with adjustable height settings. Make sure to pick one that gives you plenty of standing space on its highest setting.
Fabric And Frame Material
The type of fabric that is used in your bimini top determines its lifespan and usability. Usually, quality polyester is used to make biminis. This keeps them strong enough to endure the elements and wind resistance as your boat moves around. A polyester top with 600D of thickness is an ideal choice. Some tops come with treatments that make their fabric resistant to moisture and bacteria. This can significantly increase their lifespan and make them easier to clean as well.
The color of your bimini top is very important since it has an impact on your boat’s looks. Keep in mind that biminis lose their color overtime. The sun gradually bleaches them, and this can make your boat look old. However, as long as you go for a bimini top that has color UV resistance, you shouldn’t have to worry about fading colors.
The best bimini top frame needs to be sturdy, lightweight, and corrosion resistant. Stainless steel frames offer excellent durability and they are also more corrosion resistant. However, they are heavier than their aluminum counterparts. Every bimini top has a speed limit rating that you should be aware of. This rating tells you that the bimini top can withstand air resistance up to a certain speed.
Speaking of wind resistance, you should also keep aerodynamics in mind. If you drive your boat on high speeds more often then you should go for a bimini top with more bows. Bows are the number of poles that make up the frame of a bimini top. More bows equal to a more angular top, making your top better at handling wind. It also makes your top sturdier.
Now that everyone is on the same boat about bimini tops, let’s start going through some handpicked tops. Every top listed below comes in multiple sizes and multiple colors. Some of these biminis even offer multiple options for the number of bows and cover fabric.
Bimini Top Reviews
- MSC 3 Bow Bimini
- Leader Accessories 4 Bow Bimini
- MSC 4 Bow Bimini Top
- Leader Accessories 13 Colors 3 Bow Bimini
- Kingbird 4 Bow Bimini
- Naviskin 10 Bow Bimini Top
- Seamander 3-4 Bow Bimini
- Oceansouth Premium 3 Bow Bimini
- Brightent Bimini Top
MSC 3 Bow Bimini
- Made with marine grade 600D polyester fabric. Its canvas has a double PU coating and comes in multiple colors.
- The metal frame is made of anti-rust aluminum of 1 inch thickness. Two rear poles provide extra stability and you also get a storage boot.
- Its installation is easy, folding and unfolding the top is simple as well.
- The frame has a 5 year warranty and the top has a 2 year warranty.
- Installation hardware is provided with the bimini top.
- Its fabric’s color fades quickly.
- The mounting hardware is made of plastic rather than metal.
Leader Accessories 4 Bow Bimini
- Its UV resistant fabric has 600D thickness and is made of marine grade materials. Its stitching is double overlapped to prevent fraying and ensure maximum durability. There’s a storage pouch built into it as well.
- Has a sturdy aluminum frame, the main bow legs are double walled for added strength. The rest of its legs are all 1 inch thick in diameter.
- The double-overlapped canvas and double-walled bow legs make this top quite sturdy.
- Comes with stainless steel mounting hardware.
- Nylon straps on the back and front make adjustments easy. Its installation is relatively simple as well.
- The top doesn’t have any rear support poles, only nylon straps that don’t add to its stability.
MSC 4 Bow Bimini Top
- 600D polyester fabric that is double PU coated. The top comes with a storage boot built into it.
- Its aluminum frame is lightweight yet sturdy. The bow legs are 1 inch thick and the entire frame is supported with two rear poles.
- The installation process is quick and simple. The top has nylon straps on the front that make adjusting it easy.
- The top’s makers are responsive and offer replacements in case of any defects.
- The top fits onto your boat quite snugly, its fitting is great.
- The hardware that comes with the top lacks in quality. Its plastic mounts require you to drill holes into your boat’s sides.
- The nylon straps have weak steel buckles to hold them in place. There have been complaints of the top coming apart on speeds over 25 MPH.
Leader Accessories 13 Colors 3 Bow Bimini
- Comes in two kinds of fabrics. You can choose between 600D marine grade polyester and 600D solution dyed fabric. Both options feature double overlapping stitching.
- Its main bow legs are made of double-walled aluminum and are mounted with stainless steel hardware. The top also has a storage boot.
- The fabric is high quality and will not lose color under the sun. The top’s assembly is easy.
- The frame’s build quality is impressive. It is quite stable despite the fact that there aren’t any rear support poles.
- While its mounting hardware is stainless steel, the mounting screws are made of plastic.
- The installation instructions do not specify the size of its mounting screws, making the drilling process confusing.
Kingbird 4 Bow Bimini
- Its canvas is UV resistant and waterproof. It’s marine grade and has a thickness rating of 600D.
- The aluminum frame is sturdy, easily adjustable and has rear support poles. The top’s storage boot is stitched onto it to keep it from blowing off on high speeds.
- Has a 55 inch height which makes it great for fishing.
- Its fabric is anti-fade and made of breathable material.
- Its plastic mounting and brackets don’t anchor the frame to the boat safely. When folded, the entire frame becomes wobbly.
Naviskin 10 Bow Bimini Top
- A 600D polyester top that comes with marine PU coating. The top has a decent height that leaves plenty of place for standing around.
- The aluminum frame is made of 1 inch thick bows and it also includes a quick release function.
- This bimini top offers superb quality at a great price. It is made with strong materials and is very easy to install as well.
- The product has a 1 year warranty and its mounting hardware comes with stainless steel screws.
- The top doesn’t have back support poles, making it unstable at higher speeds.
Seamander 3-4 Bow Bimini
- Its fabric is extra heavy-duty. It has a 600D thickness rating and is double PU coated for extra longevity. The fabric is mildew and stretch resistant.
- Its SuperTrude aluminum frame offers extra strength, combined with two rear support pillars for enhanced stability. The top comes with a zippered storage booth as well.
- There is a two-year warranty that covers craftsmanship and material defects.
- The frame is exceptionally sturdy.
- The top’s fabric doesn’t do well when it comes to retaining color.
Oceansouth Premium 3 Bow Bimini
- Its 600D polyester canvas is water-resistant, doesn’t lose color, and stays safe from mildew as well.
- The top’s aluminum frame has a very nice finish to it and it has a max speed taking of 45 Knots.
- The “premium” in this top’s name isn’t just for show. It has great build quality and has a refined and finished look.
- The aluminum frame’s design is ergonomic and its brackets are made of high-grade nylon.
- The provided hardware isn’t complete, you get lesser screws than how much is needed.
Brightent Bimini Top
- The top cover offers great water proofing and its 600D thickness ensures protection from the sun.
- The aluminum frame comes with support poles, and four towel clips as well.
- It is easy to install and the frame is stable. The top is capable of surviving wind resistance of up to 40 MPH.
- The towel hooks that are provided are made with high-grade nylon.
- The shape of the cover isn’t aero-dynamic, it catches wind as the boat is driven.