What Is The Cost Difference Between Foam Filled And Traditional Fenders?

Fenders are vital in maritime operations. They give the protection that ships and docks need. They act as a buffer, absorbing kinetic energy during berthing and preventing damage from collisions. Foam filled and traditional pneumatic fenders are two popular choices. Each has its advantages and costs.

Foam filled fenders are known for their strong construction and ability to absorb high energy. They are widely used in tough maritime environments. In contrast, traditional pneumatic fenders are flexible and easy to deploy. They are suitable for many uses. Understanding the cost differences between these two types of fenders is crucial for making informed purchasing decisions.

At Jerryborg Marine, we make high-quality foam filled fenders. They are built to last in tough marine conditions and give long-lasting protection. Our expertise ensures our clients receive reliable and efficient fender solutions tailored to their needs.

In the next sections, we will compare the costs of foam filled fenders and traditional pneumatic fenders. We will examine factors like purchase price, maintenance costs, and durability. This analysis will help you find the cheapest option for your maritime operations.

The Cost Difference Between Foam Filled And Traditional Fenders

Table of Contents

Understanding Foam Filled Fenders

Foam filled fenders are designed to offer strong protection. They protect vessels and docking structures. They use high-quality materials and advanced engineering. This makes them durable and high-performing. These fenders have a core of closed-cell foam, usually ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyethylene (PE). The core is surrounded by layers of reinforced cord and outer elastomeric skin, often polyurethane. The skin resists abrasion, UV radiation, and chemicals. This construction process includes heat lamination. It makes a solid, unsinkable fender that keeps its shape and buoyancy under heavy impact. Foam filled fenders have key benefits. They have great energy absorption. The closed-cell foam core dissipates kinetic energy well. This reduces impact forces on vessels and docks. They are exceptionally durable, enduring harsh marine conditions with a service life of 10 to 25 years when properly maintained. Foam filled fenders need little maintenance. This is unlike pneumatic fenders. They do not deflate and only need regular inspections and cleaning. This low maintenance need reduces costs. It also cuts downtime for repairs.

Grey foam filled fenders installed along a dockside for vessel protection

Understanding Traditional Pneumatic Fenders

Traditional pneumatic fenders are also called inflatable rubber fenders. They are widely used in maritime applications. They are valued for their adaptability and ease of use. They are made from high-quality rubber, like natural rubber, or synthetic compounds such as SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). These fenders have a hollow inflatable design. It lets them absorb impact energy well during berthing operations. The outer rubber casing protects against abrasion, UV radiation, and the environment. The inner air bladder is inflated to the desired pressure. This achieves the required buoyancy and energy absorption capacity. Pneumatic fenders have a key benefit. They adapt to different berthing conditions and vessel sizes. Their inflatable design lets them t fit the shape of vessels. This design enables them to give good protection during docking and mooring. Additionally, pneumatic fenders can be easily adjusted by regulating the air pressure to accommodate different load conditions and water levels. Pneumatic fenders cost less to buy at first than foam filled fenders. This makes them a cost-effective option for ports, terminals, and ships on a tight budget. Maintenance is relatively simple, consisting primarily of periodic inspections and air pressure checks. Small damages, like punctures or abrasions, can be fixed with patch kits and sealants. This ensures the item will keep working and last a long time. Traditional pneumatic fenders are versatile and cheap. But, they may have limits on durability and energy absorption compared to foam filled fenders.

Large pneumatic fender with protective tires ready for deployment in maritime applications

Cost Comparison

Initial Purchase Price

Foam filled fenders are pricier to buy at first. They cost 2-3 times as much as pneumatic fenders of the same size. The price difference is due to the expensive materials in foam-filled fenders. They need closed-cell foam cores and polyurethane skins. In contrast, pneumatic fenders have a simpler air-filled structure.

Maintenance Costs

Foam filled fenders generally have lower maintenance costs. This is because of their tough and non-deflatable design. They require minimal upkeep beyond regular inspections and cleaning. In contrast, pneumatic fenders need periodic inflation checks. They are also more susceptible to punctures, which creates more maintenance needs. Despite the higher upfront investment, foam filled fenders offer long-term maintenance savings.

Lifespan and Durability

Foam filled fenders last 10-25 years if well maintained. They last long due to their tough build and resistance to wear and tear. Pneumatic fenders have a shorter lifespan: 8-10 years. They may fail early if often punctured or damaged. Foam filled fenders last longer. This makes them cost less in the end.

Energy Absorption

Foam filled fenders excel in energy absorption, offering superior performance compared to pneumatic fenders. Studies have shown that foam filled fenders can absorb 40% more energy in a crash. This makes them very good at reducing collision forces.

Adaptability and Usage Scenarios

Foam filled fenders work well for permanent installations. They also work well in high-pressure environments with frequent collisions. Their robust construction and superior energy absorption capabilities make them ideal for areas with heavy vessel traffic, such as docks, ports, and berths.

Pneumatic fenders are versatile and easy to deploy. They work for temporary installations and situations where portability is essential. They are often used in applications where vessels need to dock temporarily. Or, where space limits the use of larger, fixed fender systems.


In conclusion, foam filled fenders and traditional pneumatic fenders are very different in cost and performance. Foam-filled fenders cost more at first. But, they absorb more energy and last longer. So, they save costs and improve safety in the long term. Pneumatic fenders are different. They are versatile and easy to deploy. This makes them good for temporary installations and situations where portability is crucial.

When choosing between these two fenders, consider your maritime needs, budget, and performance. It’s about permanent installations in high-pressure environments or temporary docking solutions. Picking the right fender type can greatly affect efficiency and safety.

For expert advice and custom fender solutions, tailored to your needs and budget, consult with Jerryborg Marine. Jerryborg Marine has years of experience in making high-quality foam filled fenders. We are committed to providing innovative solutions. These solutions meet the diverse needs of the maritime industry.


Foam filled fenders use pricier materials like closed-cell foam and durable skins.

Foam filled fenders require less maintenance due to their robust design.

Foam filled fenders excel in harsh conditions, offering durability and reliability.

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