You’ve likely seen people out on the water having fun being pulled along on an inflatable tube (or probably heard the screams anyway!).
Tubing is usually not the main reason to purchase a PWC. However, jet skis are perfectly adept at pulling towable tubes too.
There are hundreds of different towable water tubes in every shape and size, but some are much better than others. Even the best towable tubes have their flaws, so it’s good to know exactly what it is you’re buying beforehand.
In this guide, we recommend the very best tubes to pull behind a jet ski. We also recommend the best jet skis for towing tubes.
To make things easier, I broke this guide down into categories based on seating capacity. Each category only has 1-3 models because I didn’t want to water down this review with too many options.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The Benefits of Jet Ski Tubing
You’d think that bigger watercraft would always be better at towing tubes but that’s not always right. There are instances where towing a tube behind a jet ski has its advantages.
1. It can run in shallow water.
Being jet-driven, a jet ski has no exposed propeller underneath. That means they’re great for shallow water. That means much less to worry about! Simply pull up to the beach when the fun is over.
2. They’re more agile.
Jet skis might not have the power of larger boats but they sure beat them for agility. They can turn more quickly and precisely which makes sitting on a tube behind one even more fun.
3. They’re cheaper than a boat.
Now, I’m not saying jet skis are cheap. But, compared to boats they’re certainly more affordable. Jet skis like the Sea Doo Spark can be picked up pre-owned for little more than $5000 these days.
4. They’re easier to launch.
Jet skis are much quicker and easier to launch than a boat. They can be quickly launched on and off the trailer which is much less stressful than launching a boat.
Things to Consider Before Jet Ski Tubing
It’s not quite as simple as rolling up to the water with a jet ski and tube in tow. There are a few important things to consider before you get to that stage. Here’s a quick jet ski tube checklist:
1. This one is the most obvious one but are tubes even allowed where you plan to go? Doublecheck with the local authority just in case. Local wildlife and swimmers are just a couple of reasons why you might be denied.
2. Double-check the local laws. A 3-seater jet ski is required to tow a tube by most states. You’ll need a driver, a spotter, and a spare seat for anyone that falls. You also might need mirrors on your PWC. If you have mirrors then you can have 2 on the jet ski, as one acts as the spotter.
It’s important to note that these regulations vary by state. The only way you can know for sure is to check the US Coast Guards website for your area or speak with them yourself.
In Indiana, for example, the PWC must be at least 9 feet in length. In Minnesota, the rearview mirrors must be factory authorized. Some states require an observer and mirrors just won’t do.
A Few Tips for Jet Ski Tubing
If you’re new to the world of jet ski pulling tubes then we have a few tips to get you started.
1. A booster ball reduces drag by keeping the tow rope out of the water. This reduces the water splash for those sitting on the tube. It also helps the jet ski maintain higher speeds and helps with fuel efficiency. It also acts as a shock absorber for the passengers on the tube. You can see one on Amazon here.
2. Try and keep the speed as steady as possible. Sudden acceleration or deceleration is just going to jolt the passengers and could cause an injury.
3. Take it easy in the beginning or you’re going to be stopping to collect those that have fallen off more frequently than you’d like!
4. The main problem when jet ski tube towing is the tow rope being sucked up by the intake. This will definitely happen at some point so it’s worth investing in an impeller protector to reduce the chances. Also, try and not reverse when pulling a tow rope as this is the main cause of it being swallowed in the intake.
Here’s a short video of how to go jet ski tubing safely:
Best Jet Skis for Towing a Tube
The main thing you’ll hear about when people talk about jet skis for pulling tubes is horsepower. Of course, you need enough power to get the job done, but pretty much any modern jet ski will give you this.
You simply don’t need a 300 HP monster to tow a tube. A 90 HP Sea Doo Spark will get the job done just fine! Just watch the video below.
Here’s some video evidence of jet skis pulling tubes:
Sea Doo Spark 90 HP
Sea Doo Spark 110 HP
Things to consider when buying towable tubes
There are a few different factors that people should consider when buying towable tubes. These are just a few helpful tips to keep in mind before making a purchase.
Always buy high-quality tubes. Cheaper tubes are cheaper for a reason. Some cheaper tubes barely last one day on the water, let alone an entire season. A high-quality tube will last for years.
Investing in a booster ball can allow you to tow people much faster. Basically it just keeps the rope out of the water when a tube is being towed. It’s not essential, but it can be helpful.
Multiple passenger tubes are more fun, but they’re also more dangerous. It’s easy for people to get tossed into each other when the tube is being slung around. Keep this in mind when towing people.
Most new tubes come with knuckle guards, but it’s always good to double-check. Towable tubes without knuckle guards make it hard to hold on for more than a couple minutes.
Towable tubes with padding are going to be much more comfortable than those without. Although this isn’t a make or break feature, it should definitely be considered.
Jet Ski Tube Accessories
Before buying a tube and rushing off to the water, there are a couple of accessories you’ll need.
1. Air Pump
Seriously, buy an air pump. Trying to blow up even the smallest tow tubes by yourself will probably make you pass out. If you try using a hand pump, you’ll probably wish you were passed out. Save yourself the trouble and get a reliable electric air pump.
2. Tow Rope
A good tow rope is pretty easy to find, so there’s no excuse for not having some. Always keep some backup tow rope in case the one you’re using breaks. Airhead makes some of the best tow rope out there, so I recommend going with them.
3. Booster Ball
Getting a booster ball isn’t always necessary, but it can come in handy. It will keep the tow rope out of the water so accelerating is easier. Unless you own a speedboat, it’s worth considering.
Best Towable Tubes for Kids, Teens, & Adults
Although these aren’t the only tubes out there, they are are without a doubt some of the best. Regardless of age, size, or experience, there is an option on this list for everyone.
Best 1 Person Towable Water Tubes
Airhead Blast Tow Tube
Airhead tubes are known for being some of the best towable tubes out there. The Airhead Blast is a classic doughnut-shaped tube designed for one person. Its bright red and yellow design makes it very noticeable in the water, and it sits higher than a lot of other doughnut tow tubes.
Holding on is very east on the Airhead blast. Four nylon-wrapped handles with neoprene knuckle guards are spread out along the front. The doughnut shape allows riders to either sit inside, or lay on top of the tube. This style makes for one of the best towable tubes for kids who don’t have a lot of experience.
– Easy to spot in the water
-Sits higher than other tow tubes
-4 handles with knuckle guards
-Basic design can be boring for some people
Airhead Rebel Tow Tube
For anyone looking for hassle-free towable water tubes, the Airhead Rebel is a great choice. It’s very similar to the model mentioned above, but it comes with an air pump and tow rope as well. This is basically their all in one package model for beginners.
This simple doughnut tube comes with 4 handles to help steer when being pulled. A triple-reinforced tow harness, drain vents, and boarding straps all come on the tube. The boarding steps make this one of the best towable water tubes for kids because it’s so easy to get on and off.
– Comes with air pump and 16 strand tow rope
-Easy to get on and off
-More expensive than some other Airhead tubes in its class
SPORTSSTUFF Outlaw Towable
Some towable tubes are good for learning on, and others are better for getting a thrill. Well, the Outlaw towable is a pretty good blend of the two. It has a cockpit design so kids feel safe when they’re getting pulled. As they get more comfortable, it’s easy to use the handles to help steer the tube.
This is a perfect compromise for families with younger and older kids because they’ll both have a good time. As an added bonus it comes with a cool cowboy graphic on it.
-Easy to learn on
-Older kids and teens will enjoy it
-It can only be ridden in one or two positions
Best 2 Person Towable Tubes
O’Brien Super Screamer Towable Tube
Up to 2 riders can fit on the Super Screamer, but it works just as well with only 1 person. What makes this one of the best towable water tubes are the patches of neoprene on the top. Riders can take turns all day without their arms getting rubbed raw thanks to the soft padding.
The Super Screamer has a Boston valve that makes it very easy to inflate. It has a quick connect tow hook to get it set up on the water within minutes. Six handles are spread out across the front so riders have multiple places to hold on to.
-Slightly bulkier than some other options
Airhead Slice 2 Person Towable Tube
This low profile 2 person towable tube one of the fastest Airhead tubes out there. It features a raised front that is tapered down to just 6 inches in the back. The inclined design allows users to be in a much more natural position when riding. This model is 58 inches in diameter, so there is plenty of room for both child and adult riders.
Although this is by far one of the funnest 2 person towable tubes, it may be challenging for younger kids to ride. The slanted design requires a little more upper body strength in order to hold on. Experienced riders would definitely appreciate this model more than a beginner would.
-Plenty of room
-Isn’t one of the best towable water tubes to learn on
Airhead Mach 2 Towable
The Mach 2 is definitely one of the best towable tubes for kids on this list. Its cockpit-style seating makes it a fun time for any aged rider. Riders are able to sit comfortably rather than lay on their stomachs like many other tubes. Both seats have a small headrest and handles with knuckle guards.
For someone who’s unsure about which tow tube to go with, this is a safe choice. It’s easily one of the best towable tubes for kids to learn on, but teens and adults can enjoy it as well. The only drawback of this model is it can only be ridden while sitting down.
-Cockpit style seating
-Headrests and handles
-Great for learning on
-Can only ride while sitting down
Best 3 Person Towable Tubes
Airhead Hot Dog Towable
It’s safe to say this tow tube wins the “wow factor” award. To be honest I think this tow tube is worth it for the novelty alone. Kids will love it, adults with think its funny, and you’ll for sure have a lot of people staring at you on the lake.
The Hot Dog towable comes in a 3 seater version and a 5 seater version. It has a sturdy design and works just as well with 1 person as it does with 3. Unfortunately, the shipping time on this model is 2 weeks, but other than that it’s a great choice.
-It’s a hotdog
-It’s actually really durable even though it’s a hotdog
-Adults, Kids, and bystanders will love it
-Comes in 3 seater or 5 seater version
-The shipping time is somewhat long
SPORTSSTUFF Poparazzi Towable
In second place for the “wow factor” award is the Poparazzi towable. It’s designed to have two riders lay down while the third rider stands in the back. This is one of the best towable tubes for all ages. Kids feel comfortable with it because of its size, and adults will definitely enjoy being able to stand up while being towed.
Handles are placed all over so riders can sit or stand in just about every position imaginable. There’s plenty of foam padding on the float so riding all day isn’t a problem. This is the toy that kids (and even some adults) will want to play on until the sun goes down.
-Multiple riding positions
-Great for all ages
-Good for learning on
-Only 2 riders can lay down, so 1 person always has to stand
SPORTSSTUFF Super Mable Towable
I think the Super Mable might be one of the best tow tubes on this list. To me it kind of resembles an amusement park ride, and most people would agree that it feels like one. This bright orange couch is a great way to cram 3 of your best friends together on a single inflatable. It can be pulled facing forwards or backwards, depending on how brave its passengers are.
This is one of the best towable tubes for kids to learn on. They’re able to sit comfortable and adjust to the feeling of being pulled behind a watercraft. In addition to the 3 seat model, there is also a 2 seat model available.
-Can be pulled forwards or backwards
-Great for kids to learn on
-Can only be ridden 2 ways
Best 4 Person Towable Tubes
Airhead Mega Rock Star Towable
It seems like the larger tow tubes are, the crazier their design is. The Mega Rock Star has a U shaped bottom that allows riders to lean side to side when cornering. Because the sides are lifted, the tube can still glide over wakes despite having multiple passengers.
Personally I think the butterfly design is a really cool way to fit more passengers. It’s rated for 1-6 people, but I think 4 people is the sweet spot. Overcrowding a tube makes everyone cramped and it can take away from the fun.
-Riders can lean with the tube
-Rated for 1-6 people
-Riding with 6 people may be crowded
Airhead Tremor 4 Person Towable Tube
Airhead tubes are known for having unique layouts, but the Tremor takes things a step further. This is one of the few towable tubes featuring a horseshoe design. 1-4 riders can sit inside facing each other while being towed.
The circular design makes for a fun experience because riders can see and talk to each other. Smaller kids will appreciate being able to see everyone else, so it can be a great tube to start out on. When going at higher speeds, the horseshoe design can be great for watching your friends yell as they’re sliding around.
-Unlike other towable tubes
-Horseshoe design is great for conversation
-Kids feel safer being surrounded by the wall
-Limited riding positions
Finding the best towable tubes
It’s good to have a couple of different towable tubes because no model is perfect for everyone. Some towable tubes are great for kids to get comfortable on, but can become boring after a while. Other towable tubes may be really fun for adults, but kids are too scared to ride them. It’s all about finding a medium.
Most decent tow tubes will last years and provide hours of fun for families. Buying a high-quality tube is a great investment for just about anyone with a watercraft. These are the best towable tubes I could find, but there are plenty of other great choices out there. In the end, it’s all about choosing whatever you think will provide the most fun!
Having you ever been tubing before? What style tube do you prefer?