Top 5 Best Bimini Tops for Boats [REVIEWS & BUYER’S GUIDE]
The warm weather will be here before you know it and I don’t know about you but the family and I are getting out in our boat every weekend that we can. It’s as close to bliss as I ever feel.
However, it can get crazy hot here this time of year; taking the young ones out without suitable shade is something only a mad man would consider.
So this year, I went out and bought a new bimini top before the crippling weather actually arrived. When Martin approached me to write about the experience and to offer my thoughts on some of the options available, I was more than happy to be involved.
So here’s my top 5 list of bimini tops you can order on Amazon.com in 2021.
- Bimini Top Reviews
- Bimini Top Buyer’s Guide
- Bimini Top FAQs
Best Bimini Top Overall: MSC 3 Bow
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The MSC 3 Bimini top with storage boot is the OC top pick for good reason. Balancing price point, ease of installation, and a range of sizes to suit almost any small recreational boat on the market this one really is for the everyday boat owner.
I am definitely happy I paid attention to the positive customer feedback and opted for this bimini.
If you looking for a simple, yet versatile solution to your bimini top needs, this is the answer.
Best Budget Bimini Top: XGEAR 3-4 Bow
- Made of marine-grade 600D polyester canvas. The superior choice for applications to offer shade.
- Double overlapped stitching. Includes all stainless steel mounting hardwares, color coordinated zippered storage boot and assemble instructions. Easy to install in just a few minutes!
- 1'' diameter aluminum frame and free quick release mounts. 4 adjustable nylon straps for the front and back.
- 10 colors available: Light Grey, Pacific Blue, Navy Blue, Black, Beige, Burgundy, Dark Grey, White, Teal, Green
- 13 sizes available: 3 BOW - [6'L x 46"H x 54"-60"W] & [6'L x 46"H x 61"-66"W] & [6'L x 46"H x 67"-72"W] & [6'L x 46"H x 73"-78"W] & [6'L x 46"H x 79"-84"W] & [6'L x 46"H x 85"-90"W] . 4 BOW - [8'L x 54"H x 54"-60"W] & [8'L x 54"H x 61"-66"W] & [8'L x 54"H x 67"-72"W] & [8'L x 54"H x 73"-78"W] & [8'L x 54"H x 79"-84"W] & [8'L x 54"H x 85"-90"W] & [8'L x 54"H x 91"-96"W]
The XGEAR bow bimini top is another great option and is our best budget pick for 2021.
A relative newcomer on the market this bimini has proved popular with customers. With its affordable price point, a wide range of colors and sizes, as well as a quick-release features it is easy to see why.
Bimini Top Reviews
I selected the bimini tops for this review round-up based on build quality, stability, range of sizes available, and affordability. I also paid close attention to how easy each unit is to install and collapse after use, (I’m pretty useless with a tool kit).
The following selection brings together what I believe are the best bimini tops for boats available in 2021.
1. BEST OVERALL: MSC 3 Bow Bimini Top Boat Cover
Our top pick bimini top for 2021 is the MSC 3 Bow cover. Available in a range of colors this ticks all the boxes when it comes to answering the average boat owner’s bimini top needs.
Not only is this thing sturdy, (the 1” anti-rust aluminum frame is built to last), to ensure that everything stays rigid in even the most demanding situations the unit comes complete with two rear supporting poles.
The bimini top is easy to install on most boats and the wide range of sizes available means whatever the dimensions of your vessel, you will find an MSC 3 to fit. (Check the Size Tab below to see the different options).
The cover itself is made of marine-grade made of 600D polyester canvas. For extra durability, it also features a double PU coating.
Another added benefit of the MSC 3 bimini top is the storage boot that is included.
As we say, at this price point it is hard to fault this particular model.
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2. Leader Accessories 13 Colors 3 Bow Bimini Top Boat
A close second in our top 5 review round up is this popular bimini top from Leader Accessories.
In many ways, there is very little difference between this and our top pick MSC 3.
Both feature marine-grade 600D polyester canvas covers. (Although here a 600D solution-dyed fabric option is also available.) Each opts for a 1” aluminum framework.
The benefit here, however, is the stainless steel mounting and zippered storage boot. Features that do make this option from Leader Accessories shine.
The fabric cover features overlapped stitching for increased durability. It is also UV resistant in order to ensure color and fabric integrity will remain as it should for the long haul.
The frame includes double-walled bow legs (similar to the MSC 3) with quick-release mounts for easy storage.
There are 13 color options no less (giving you more choice than what’s available with our top pick). There are also 6 different sizes on offer. (See tabs below for more on this).
Overall the Leader Accessories bimini top is an excellent option that will appeal to most small boat owners.
With the range of colors and sizes available you will be hard pushed not to find the correct top for your needs.
Very nearly our top pick for 2021.
3. BEST BUDGET: XGEAR 3-4 Bow Bimini Top Boat Cover
This offering from XGEAR is another bimini top with a range of colors and sizes to suit most recreational boats.
Here the specifications are similar to the two bimini tops reviewed above.
XGEAR has opted for marine-grade 600D polyester canvas for the bimini top. A 1” diameter anti-rust aluminum framework is what holds everything in place.
For ease of storage, the frame features quick-release mounts. For extra stability, 4 adjustable nylon straps are included. These are designed to help mount both the front and back of the bimini top in place.
The canvas features double overlapped stitching is also treated to be UV resistant.
The longevity of the unit is aided by the all stainless steel mounting hardware.
A total of 10 colors and 13 sizes are available on the XGEAR bimini top meaning most small boat owners will be catered for. Check the below tabs for full details.
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4. Four Seasons Bimini Top Boat Cover 4 Bow
The 4 Seasons Bimini top is another option for those looking for a fabric cover for their boat.
Made from 600 denier fabric, the rig is stabilized by the use of 2 heavy-duty nylon straps with upgraded clips.
A matching storage boot is also provided. The fabric used for the cover is waterproof of course.
The 1” doubled wall anodized aluminum frame also has the 2 rear support pole configuration that most of the bimini tops in our top 5 opt for.
This of course helps to keep everything taught and in place even in choppy, windy weather.
All stainless steel mounting screws are provided, and the eye hooks are also made from stainless steel ensuring that the integrity of the straps lasts for as long as you need.
This superior build quality goes a long way to explain how and why 4 Seasons opt to offer such a generous warranty of 7 years. They have faith in their product.
A range of sizes and colors are available, however, due to regularly updating stock you should consult the Amazon sales page for a list of what’s currently available.
(We wouldn’t to peak your interest with a color that is now sold our for example.)
The 4 Seasons Bimini Top Boat Cover is a good solution and will do the job well. Add that to the fact they provide such a generous 7-year warranty and you have yourself quite the deal.
If there is a color and size available that suits your needs, you won’t be disappointed.
5. Oceansouth 3 Bow Bimini TOP Boat Cover
The Oceansouth bimini top is deserving of our top 5 for more than just the fact it is designed and assembled in the USA (although this is definitely a nice benefit, who doesn’t want to support homegrown businesses and the related workforce hey).
A Heavy Duty 9.45oz/yd. 600 denier polyester canvas is also the material of choice for this offering from Oceansouth.
This fabric is made to be water-resistant and lasts well against the elements including UV rays.
The framework is 1” thick and made from bright dipped aluminum.
The integrated storage sock is a really cool feature that allows the bimini to be easily folded and stored away when not in use.
Various sizes are available, however, the main dimension of the bimini is 6 feet in length and 46 inches in height. The width can be selected by the buyer in line with the beam of the boat.
Overall the Oceansouth 3 Bow Bimini TOP Boat Cover is a great option. Added features such as the integrated storage sock and the hard-wearing canvas top make for a well-designed bimini that will last you for years.
Another benefit is the all American design and manufacturer. Highly recommended.
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Bimini Top Buyer’s Guide
As Steve found, when researching what bimini top he wanted to buy for his boat, there were a number of things he had to consider.
Let’s take a look at some of them now.
The material used for the top cover is also important. Whichever type is used it needs to be water-resistant, UV resistant and strong enough to withstand the elements and wind speed of your boat when in motion.
Anti-Fungal finishes are also worth having so mold doesn’t affect your bimini.
As you will have seen from the reviews above, 6000D polyester is a popular choice of material due to its hardwearing properties.
The 3 most common types of frames are aluminum, plastic, and stainless steel.
We would recommend that you stay away from plastic. It doesn’t provide the strength you need for a long-lasting bimini top.
Stainless steel is robust, however, it is heavy and can be cumbersome.
Aluminum is the best type of material. This should be treated in order to have anti-corrosive properties.
The hardware is the mounts and fixing joints, screws and other components.
If possible, opt for a model of bimini top that provides stainless steel hardware.
However, nylon components are also a popular choice and if the build quality is there, it will prove durable enough to hold everything in place for regular use.
The material used for the eye straps and snap hooks is also important. These areas of the bimini will experience a lot of strain as you move through the water.
Nickel-plated brass and stainless steel are good options for these components. Plastic should be avoided.
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Getting the measurements
Unless you are purchasing a custom bimini and have paid to have the company come out to see your boat and make the necessary measurements, the number one thing you need to do is get hold of the specifications of your boat.
The key thing here is beam width (width of the boat) and how high you want the bimini cover to be.
Depth or length will be the area that the bimini top will cover.
As you will have seen from the reviews above, all brands of bimini cover will offer a wide range of sizes.
If in doubt, you can always email the customer service department of the brand you are interested in and send them your boat specs.
This way they will be able to recommend the best fit for your boat. You will also get an insight into the response time and helpfulness of their representatives.
Some brands will offer long, generous warranties on their products. While this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, it is clearly advantageous to have a warranty to call upon should you experience any problems with the product.
A good warranty also demonstrates the manufacturers’ faith in their product. They feel comfortable offering one because they have built their bimini to last.
Bimini Top FAQs
Q. What are Bimini Top frames made of?
The most common material for bimini top frames is aluminum and stainless steel, complete with nylon fittings for the cover.
The main tubing needs to be strong in order to withstand the tension brought on the cover while your boat is in transit. This often means a double-walled tubing for added resilience.
Stainless steel is stronger than aluminum, however, the anti-corrosive nature of the latter makes it a popular choice.
Q. How tall should my Bimini Top be?
While users of bimini tops prefer to have them at a height that makes them easy to walk beneath, this is not always advisable. A high top does not provide an efficient cover, and the wind resistance is increased.
That being said, if you have a pontoon boat or a vessel that requires the driver to be standing, you will need to allow enough height in the install to accommodate this.
Q. Can I mount a Bimini Top to the boat tower?
Mounting to the tower is completely okay, however, you will need to check that the bimini top you have purchased has the correct type of clamp to allow for it. (Otherwise, you will be forced to drill into your tower which is not recommended).
Optional brace kits for towers are available from some manufacturers.
To determine the correct size top for your tower, measure your mounting width between the tower legs.
Q. Should a bimini top be mounted to the inside or outside of the windshield?
We recommend that you install your bimini top to the outside of the windshield. This will provide better overall coverage and is aesthetically neater.
Q. Is it possible to buy a replacement canvas for a bimini top rather than the entire thing?
Yes. Most manufacturers and suppliers will have replacement canvas available. It is important to know the exact dimensions of your existing bimini in order to purchase the correct size.
Q. How fast can I travel with a bimini top installed?
The majority of frames and tops can comfortably withstand a maximum speed of 35 mph for safety. If you travel faster than that in your boat regularly, you should look into increasing the stability of the bimini top with extra clamps and/or thru-bolt. Even then, you shouldn’t exceed the manufacturers’ safety warnings in terms of the product.
Q. Are automatic bimini tops available?
Definitely. There are a number of automatic bimini tops available today that hook up to your boat battery (or have their own) and will deploy at the touch of a button.