Which Towable Tube Should I Buy?

If you are looking to purchase a towable tube, there are a number of factors to consider to help you make the right choice. Click on each section to learn more.

  1. How to Choose the Right Type of Tube for Your Situation
  2. How to Attach Your Tube Properly
  3. How to Inflate a Towable Tube
  4. Towable Tube Warranties

If you are looking for the perfect tube for your needs, contact us. We can answer any questions you have and provide you with the right tube for you.


Towable Tubes

1. How to Choose the Right Type of Tube for Your Situation

boat tube

Make sure you purchase the right type of towable tube for your needs

There is a wide selection of towable tubes available, so it can be confusing to know which type you should get. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.

What position do you want to use to ride on your tube?

There are towable tubes that are designed for you to lay on and others designed for you to sit in. Here are some examples of each kind.

Tube You Lay On

boat tubes

White Knuckle Skimmer 70: Deck tube styles are designed for you to lay on your stomach as you ride. This particular model is tapered at the back to only six inches making it very easy for you to get on board when you are in the water. It's designed for up to 2 riders.


Tube You Sit On


WOW Super Bubba 3: The WOW Super Bubba 3 is a proper couch-style tube with a super high back rest with sidewalls. Its flat base will give you a smooth ride over the water adn minimal drag on your boat.

Its secure deck seating makes it a great starter tube for a family just getting into towables. Like most couch-style tubes, you can pull it in both directions making it a very popular choice.

Tube You Can Sit or Lay On


O'Brien LE Tube: The O'Brien LE Tube has a classic donut shape that comes to most people's minds when they think of a towable tube. This is a very popular model that it has been around for more than 25 years, and it is still a top seller. The great thing about this design is that you can choose either to sit in it or lay on it.

How many people will you be pulling?

You will want to choose a towable tube that can hold the amount of people that you want to pull at one time. There are tubes designed for one, two, three, or more riders.



O'Brien Challenger 2 Rider: The O'Brien Challenger features a relaxed, cockpit style tube with a high back support and well-placed handles to give you a sense of more control as you ride. It holds up to two riders or 340 lbs.



O'Brien Sombrero: This uniquely shaped towable tube can seat up to 4 riders or 680 lbs. You can either face inwards, face outwards, kneel or sit on this fun tube. It features 16 soft handles and is equipped with pull up straps for easier boarding from the water.

Will children be using the tube?

O'Brien Barca 3 Tube: If children will be riding on the tube, then you probably want to choose a model that they can sit inside for extra safety. The O'Brien Barca 3 Tube would be a good choice.


It is designed with a high backrest and divided seating which gives each rider a secure pocket and a good division inbetween. This will help prevent your children from falling out or from hitting their heads together. 

It can be pulled from either end so you can also ride it chariot style.

What size of boat and motor do you have?

If you have a small boat, you shouldn't buy a large towable tube. Make sure that you purchase one that your boat can easily tow.

Smaller boats:

O'Brien Screamer Single Rider Tube: The O'Brien Screamer Single Rider Tube will hold one person up to 170 lbs. It may be small, but it is versatile. It has 4 handles with ethylene-vinyl Acetate (EVA) knuckle guards that let you change your position. You can either ride it laying down or you can kneel on it.

Larger boats: 

O'Brien Swift 3 Rider: The O'Brien Swift 3 Tube is designed for three riders and can hold a maximum combined weight of up to 510 pounds. It has a semi cradled passenger deck that helps keep three passengers on and more importantly the turned-up sides corners well. It has 8 handless with EVA knuckle guards to give your riders multiple position options.

What is the speed you want to ride at?

Towable tubes are not meant to be towed extremely fast. You shouldn't go faster than 20 miles per hour (32 km per hour) while towing a tube.

Children: If you are towing a tube carrying young children, you should keep your speed between 8 to 12 miles per hour. 

Teens and Adults: If you are towing teens or adults then you can go between 12 and 20 miles per hour.

O'Brien Swift 2 Rider: The O'Brien Swift 2 Tube will give you a fast, fun ride as it skims across the water. It has a unique shape that helps you keep up your speed even when turning. It also has a SofTec Ultra top that will give you one of the most comfortable rides. It can carry up to two riders or 340 lbs.

 2. How to Attach Your Tube Properly

Use a bungee rope to attach your towable tube - Image source: O'Brien from Youtube 


To attach your tube properly to your boat, you need to use a ski-pylon or transom harness. Do not confuse a ski-pylon with a tripod.

Is a Tripod Safe for Tubing?

The quick answer is no! There have been several severe injuries related to tripods collapsing in boats while tubing.  It can injure your passengers and damage your boat. Don’t risk it! Skiing or wakeboarding with a tripod is fine, but never tubing!

Use a bungee tube rope to attach your tube. There are many advantages to using a bungee tube rope. These include:

  • It will decrease the jerk
  • It will help you save gas
  • It will give your riders a better ride

In addition to the above benefits, using a bungee tube rope will also prolong the life of your towable tube which will save you money too.

 Note: If you are hooking your tube up to a boat with an outboard engine, you might need to use a transom harness.

In addition you can also use a booster ball if the connection point is low to the water. This will raise your rope up and stop it from getting caught as easily in the wake.

Inspect Your Rope Regularly:

Make sure that you inspect your rope on a regular basis. Don't use an old, fraying or damaged rope. Under the straing of the tube, a damaged rope could break and recoil towards the boat or the tube which could cause injury. It is best to use a new rope with a new tube.

3. How to Inflate a TowableTube

The following are the steps that you would take to inflate an O'Brien brand towable tube. You can watch the following video or read the steps that follow. If you purchase a tube from a different manufacturer, the process may vary slightly, but it should be similar. Always follow your manufacturer's instructions when inflating your tube. 


How to inflate your towable tube: 

1. Place your tube on a flat surface and carefully unfold it.

2. Lift up the flap covering the valve. This is where you will inflate the tube.

3. O'Brien tubes come with a Boston valve. This type of valve is a one-way device that only lets air get pumped into the tube. It will not let air escape from the tube once you take the pump out. Unscrew the top of the Boston valve so you are ready to use it.

4. At this point the video suggests adding air into the tube before screwing in the Boston valve. We would recommend, however screwing in the Boston valve  at this point. If you don't, then you will find that the air that you pump into your tube will escape as fast as you blow it in. Screw the Boston valve into the tube. Attach your pump into the Boston valve.


5. Add some air into the towable tube to give the tube some shape and to make sure that it is situated properly inside its cover. To do this, insert the hose of your pump into the valve and turn it on for a few seconds until your tube has taken its shape.

6. Continue to inflate your tube. You can check your tube for firmness by pushing on it. Continue to add air until you get the desired firmness. Blow up the tube until the cover is tight and there are no wrinkles. It should feel very firm.

7. Once your tube is blown up, remove the hose from your pump and screw on the cap for the Boston valve. Close the flat to cover up the valve.

4. Towable Tube Warranties

Standard towable tubes will come with a one-year warranty. However, some commercial-grade tubes are now coming out with a four-year warranty (from the date of purchase).

Why Choose Cottage Toys for Your Towable Tube

Cottage Toys has been serious about fun since 1989. This year we celebrate 34 years in business. Cottage Toys has everything you need to have fun in the summer, including an incredible selection of tubes in various sizes, shapes, and price points. We have 3 convenient locations, or if you prefer, you can shop online on our website.
For more than 24 years, Cottage Toys has been serving Canadians with high-quality products at incredible prices. Our business has grown to become one of Canada's largest and most reputable retailers of watersports and surf lifestyle.
We have an incredibly knowledgeable staff that is ready to answer any questions you might have, and we offer you great prices on all of our products.
We are a Canadian retailer who supports grassroots events for water sports in Canada as well as many charities in our local communities.
Contact us today to get started enjoying the amazing water sports Canada has to offer.

shop now


What Our Customers Are Saying...

"Best selection, best prices, best quality. This store has great customer service. I always leave very thrilled with my purchase. The Lakefield store in the summer is like a candy store for fun on the water."
- John, Peterborough Landscape Supply

Read More Reviews



Back to blog