Cost of Catamaran vs. Monohull: Which is more expensive?

The market for monohull sailboats is a lot bigger than that of catamarans, which is one of the reasons why they are so much cheaper.

On average, catamarans are $50,000-$70,000 (19-66%) more expensive to buy than monohull sailboats when new. Second-hand, the difference is even larger, ranging from 62-220% more expensive. The annual cost is roughly 60% higher than that of monohulls.

There are multiple reasons for these large price differences, which I'll go over in detail below. But first, let's break down the exact cost of both boats, based on comparing thousands of sailboat listings over multiple years.

In this article:

  1. Catamarans Are a Lot More Expensive
  2. Catamarans Are Also More Expensive to Own and Operate
  3. There Are Many Reasons Why Catamarans Are More Expensive

Catamarans Are a Lot More Expensive

While some catamarans may be cheaper than monohulls, the overall difference in price is very clear: catamarans are more expensive than monohulls, and quite a bit too.

There are three parts to this price difference:

  1. they are more expensive to buy
  2. they are more expensive to maintain
  3. they are more expensive to operate

They cost 20-220% more to purchase

The price difference of buying a brand new catamaran versus buying a monohull isn't even all that great: about 20%. That is until 30 foot, where the purchasing price per foot of boat increases dramatically, and differences in price climb to 34-66%.

Differences in purchasing price are most noticeable on the second-hand market though. A used catamaran will cost you anywhere between 62-220% more to purchase.

Below you'll find an example of the price of two common boat lengths, both as catamaran and monohull, both new and used. It will illustrate the jump in price difference for second-hand models.

Four examples of monohulls vs. catamarans

Type Monohull Catamaran Difference
New 35 foot $255,000 $302,000 +18.4%
Used 35 foot $130,000 $294,000 +216.2%
New 50 foot $680,000 $751,000 +10.4%
Used 50 foot $306,000 $1,584,000 +417.6%

New, small catamarans may be cheaper to buy

New, small catamarans of under 30 foot may be a bit cheaper than monohulls, although I suspect this is more of a quirk in the data than anything else. However, when we go over 30 foot, catamarans become more expensive quickly.

All other catamarans are a lot more expensive

The median price of new monohulls up to 100 feet is $255,000, while the median price of new catamarans up to 100 feet is $713,500, which is 180% more expensive overall.

The median price is the most common price in the price range. I've calculated the median price to prevent very high or low prices from influencing the average price too much.

Average price difference new boats per foot

Length Monohull Catamaran Difference
< 30 foot $2,390 $2,835 +18.6%
30 - 50 foot $7,280 $9,767 +34.2%
50 - 80 foot $12,364 $20,528 +66%
80 - 100 foot $62,500 $46,157 -26.1%

Average price difference second-hand boats per foot

Length Monohull Catamaran Difference
< 30 foot $1,382 $2,236 +61.8%
30 - 50 foot $3,512 $9,021 +156.9%
50 - 80 foot $5,564 $17,776 +219.5%
80 - 100 foot $31,967 $33,599 +5.1%

Average price differences summary:

  • New monohulls under 30 foot are roughly 19% cheaper than catamarans of the same size.
  • Second-hand monohulls under 30 foot are roughly 62% cheaper than catamarans of the same size.
  • New monohulls of 30 - 50 foot are roughly 34% cheaper than catamarans of the same size.
  • Second-hand monohulls of 30-50 foot are roughly 157% cheaper than catamarans of the same size.
  • New monohulls of 50-80 foot are roughly 66% cheaper than catamarans of the same size.
  • Second-hand monohulls of 50-80 foot are roughly 220% cheaper than catamarans of the same size.

Catamarans Are Also More Expensive to Own and Operate

The second part of this comparison is the cost to own the actual boat. This is the part most people seem to forget initially. The upkeep on a boat could bankrupt you if you're not prepared. Here, the actual operating costs of a catamaran are higher than that of a monohull. That's to be expected: it's more boat.

The average annual maintenance cost of monohulls is roughly $2,500, with an additional $2,500 in other expenses, like mooring. The total average annual cost is $5,000.

The average annual maintenance cost of catamarans is roughly $4,000, with an additional $4,000 in other expenses. The total average annual cost is $8,000.

This means the annual cost of owning a catamaran is on average 60% higher than that of a monohull.

These costs consist of different components, like maintenance, insurance, winterizing the boat, fuel, and mooring. Mooring could cost you thousands of dollar a year, depending on the location and type of dock. Catamarans use two slips instead of one, so the average mooring rate is double.

The average cost of monohulls

The annual maintenance cost is roughly $2,000-$3,000 for most boats. However, the actual total annual cost is between $3,000 - $7,000. These additional costs are made up of insurance, mooring, and so on.

The average cost of regular sailboats varies widely, based on boat length, condition, type, and so on. The numbers used in this article come from our own original research, comparing thousands of sailboat listings.

I wrote a very detailed guide with the exact numbers. If you want the detailed overview for monohulls, you can look up all related costs of owning a monohull here.

The average cost of catamarans

The annual maintenance cost is roughly $3,000-$8,000 for most boats. However, the actual total annual cost would be between $3,000-$11,000 - with the most common number being roughly $8,500.

The average cost of catamarans also varies. I've done the same research, compiling the numbers after comparing thousands of listings. All the numbers in this article are from that research.

You can check the exact numbers for catamarans yourself as well. If you want the detailed overview for catamarans, you can look up all related costs of owning a catamaran here.

There Are Many Reasons Why Catamarans Are More Expensive

Catamaran maintenance costs are roughly double

Catamarans are more expensive to maintain than monohulls, since they have two hulls instead of one. This doubles many maintenance costs like antifouling, deck hardware, and also increases the stress on the rigging, increasing costs even more. Typically, catamarans cost roughly double to maintain compared to monohulls.

Many of the additional maintenance costs are due to double the hulls and decks. This means:

  • double the deck hardware
  • double the anti fouling paint
  • double the winter storage cost
  • more stress on rigging due to lack of heel

You'll need a higher output engine to make up for the larger displacement, although catamarans tend to sit a little higher on the waterline, which may actually improve fuel economy. Also, larger engines with more head room will run more efficiently, further improving fuel economy, so I'm unsure whether you'll really notice a difference.

Mooring costs of catamarans are double

You'll actually use two regular boat slips instead of one. You'll pay for two, too. There's no way around it: your docking costs will be really high, ranging from $20 to $100 per foot per year, depending on location and dock type. If you want to take a closer look at the exact numbers, you can read my article on docking costs here, which covers the cost of different docking locations throughout the U.S. and the world.

Insurance costs are higher due to sales prices

Since insurances will typically look at the sales value to determine the insurance rate, new catamarans will be 34 to 66% more expensive to insure, compared to monohulls.

Second-hand catamarans will be 62-220% more expensive to insure, if you can, compared to monohulls.


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