5 Best Jon Boats – Buyer’s Guide

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Jon boats are an easy way to get into boating. In addition to being simple, inexpensive, efficient, and easy to own, they are also easy to maintain. Jon boats feature square bows and sterns and flat bottoms, which provide tons of room and stability.

The most common materials used to make Jon boats are aluminum and wood, both of which are more durable than fiberglass. Furthermore, Jon boats are easy to transport and store, making them great for fishing and hunting. The maintenance requirements for Jon boats aren’t as high as they would be for other boats.

A Jon boat can be towed by a small car, powered by a smaller engine, and customized to suit your needs. It can be used in backwaters, bays, rivers, and other sheltered waters. If you want to learn the ropes of boat ownership, you should buy one of the best Jon boats on the market.

5 Best Jon Boats


Products


Images

Features


Price 

Best Overall

1. Sea Ark RX180 CC

  • It’s spacious

  • Good storage 

  • Easy to use

2. Crestliner 1860 Retriever

  • Excellent Performance

  • Alarger livewell

  • Also be used as a ski boat

3. Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman

  • Color is forest green

  • Strength and durable

  • Easy to use

4. Sun Dolphin American 12

  • Easy to customize

  • Easily Transportable

  • Good maximum capacity

5. Tracker Grizzly 1754 SC

  • It is fast 

  • Stable and consistance

  • Easy to use

1. Sea Ark RX180 CC

Specification

  • Length: 18′
  • Beam: 82″
  • Bottom Width: 60″
  • Side Depth: 24″
  • Gauge:100
  • Weight Cap: 1328

With this performance Jon boat from Sea Ark, you’re going to have a hard time beating the others. In addition to being wide and maneuverable, it is also fast and spacious.

90 horses power the RX180, which flies above the water. Immediately, it’s obvious that this boat is designed for speed. Furthermore, it has an impressive turning radius for getting into and out of tight spaces.

Due to its extra width, it has the stability to fly despite its 1328 pounds of combined weight. It’s not going to cause too many problems for standup hunters to blowfish from the front deck since bows are able to rock any boat.

In addition to the fishing seats, there is an extra wide bench seat aft of the console, which is foldable and swiveling.

Among the other items included in this package are a bilge pump, wiring for a trolling motor, a 12 volt and USB plug, a transducer bracket, and LED lights. As this one has so many features, there is no need to customize it.

Features

  • Livewell with an aerated capacity of 9.5 gallons in a fiberglass 60″ side console
  • This fiberglass center console has an aerated live well that holds 12 gallons
  • A pair of pedestal-mounted fishing seats that fold down
  • The seats on the rear bench are extra wide.
Pros
  • It’s spacious
  • The flooring is made of diamond plate from edge to edge
  • Right in front of the console is an aerated livewell that holds 12 gallons
  • Storage that is good
  • The ideal profile for someone who does everything
Cons
  • Nothing

2. Crestliner 1860 Retriever

Specification

  • Length: 18’
  • Beam: 85”
  • Weight: 970lbs
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 1578lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: 90 hp

Featuring a variety of features and customizable options, the Crestliner 1860 Retriever is an excellent hunting and fishing Jon boat. With its performance, storage capacity, and customization options, it makes a lasting impression.

This all-welded boat comes with either a tall center console (CC) or a side console (SC), including the new 45-degree Suremount Gunnel System, which allows accessories to slide along it for perfect placement.

There has been an improvement in ergonomics in the upgraded models for standing at the helm and sitting at the wheel. With plenty of space for mounting electronics, a cup holder, and mobility, there’s plenty to do.

Added to that, the trailer includes an aerated live well containing 16 gallons, multiple storage compartments, and comfortable seating for seven people.

Its console and port side racks offer ample storage space for your rods, while its camouflage paint keeps you hidden from your prey. It’s also relatively easy to keep the no-slip paint clean on the inside.

Features

  • Four composite black cleats
  • The bow and stern eyes are made of stainless steel
  • A gunnel with a lock track system that is extruded
  • Aluminum hull that is all welded
  • The keel is extruded full length and welded in the center
  • Pump for bilge water (manual)
  • Seals for compartments
  • Switch for stopping the ignition, lanyard
  • Flotation at level
  • Navigation and light
Pros
  • Performance is excellent (it can go really fast!)
  • Paint that prevents slipping
  • It’s spacious
  • A large livewell
  • It can also be used as a ski boat
Cons
  • There are almost too many features for it to be considered a simple jon boat

3. Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman

Specification

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Bottom Width: 6’
  • Max. Capacity: 1800lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: 150hp

The Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman features a shooting deck with railing that’s ideal for bowfishing. The Jon boat comes with a Mercury motor and trailer that can produce 115 or 150 horsepower.

Nevertheless, the platform can be easily converted into a comfortable front deck for other kinds of boats, including fishing, hunting, and logistics.

A variety of storage compartments is also included along with three pedestal seat bases and two movable bike seats. Additionally, there is a utility tray with drink and rod holders, a 15-gallon aerated livewell, plus eight bright LED lights that illuminate your prey at night.

This vehicle features welded-in, foam-filled interior side walls and a thick aluminum floor, which provides structural strength and quieter operation. In addition to the hull, stringers, transom, and decks, they are all welded to ensure long-term durability.

Compared to other Jon boats, this one is going to cost a little more because of all the extra features.

Features

  • The color is forest green
  • A choice of Grassland or Woodland camo patterns is available (at an additional cost).
  • The industry-exclusive powdercoat finish with Sure TreadTM provides long-lasting durability, color, and good looks
  • Constructed entirely of aluminum, without the use of wood
  • A .190 aluminum floor provides extra rigidity & quieter operation
  • The 7° deadrise makes the ride smoother and drier
  • The side walls of the interior are welded-in, foam-filled for a quieter ride and a stronger structure
  • The stern has integrated sponsons for better shallow-water performance and quicker planing
  • A rubberized grip is applied to the steps on sponsons for dogs getting on or off the water
  • Structural and rigid aluminum gunnels made from an extruded one-piece design
  • Added strength to the hull with extruded bow chines
  • Aluminum hull made of 5052 marine grade aluminum
  • Welded in corner braces to unitize and strengthen the hull is an all-aluminum box-beam transom with a built-in corner brace
  • Strength and durability increased with transom motor mounting plate
  • The running surface is supported by welded-in longitudinal stringers
  • The strakes are pressed into the chassis for structural strength and tracking stability
Pros
  • It’s spacious
  • It is possible to remove the elevated deck of the fishingbow
  • (Can handle 150 hp!)
  • A better visibility is provided by LED lights throughout
  • This is a package deal
Cons
  • The humble jon boat could almost be considered too feature-rich

4. Sun Dolphin American 12

Specification

  • Length: 12’
  • Width: 52”
  • Weight: 110lbs
  • Max. Capacity: 532lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: 6 hp

American 12 Jon Fishing Boats provide a simple chassis for building the angling vessel of your dreams. For fisherman with some DIY skills or willing to add features over time, this affordable boat is the perfect choice.

A simple but compatible Jon boat for those into fishing and duck hunting, the American 12 features a heavy-duty deck and hull, built-in motor mounts, battery storage, and four rod holders.

The boat can be equipped with a trolling motor, swivel chairs, livewells, and a cooler. Bench surfaces (polyethylene) have plywood under them, allowing you to attach removable chairs or other modifications easily.

Features

  • Deck and hull made of UV-stabilized Fortiflex polyethylene.
  • Floating polystyrene foam with closed cell structure
  • Motor mounts and battery storage are built into the bow and stern.
  • Seats in the form of two large benches
  • An integrated oarlock socket, a rod holder, and a storage tray are provided
  • A lightweight rowing boat that is easy to handle
  • It meets the safety standards of CE and the US Coast Guard
  • This is perfect for duck hunting or fishing trips
  • There is a maximum thrust of 40 pounds for trolling motors. Length of shaft: 36″
Pros
  • A lightweight product
  • It is easy to row
  • It is easy to customize
  • Easily transportable
  • A good maximum capacity
Cons
  • The dry storage compartment does not exist

5. Tracker Grizzly 1754 SC

Specification

  • Length: 17’1”
  • Beam: 6’6”
  • Bottom Width: 4’6”
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 1250lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: 75 hp

It offers a 9-gallon aerated livewell, rotomolded side consoles, and seating for up to three people in an ergonomic, durable, and highly functional fishing jon boat.

It also comes pre-wired for a trolling motor and, as a Tracker jon boat, it features steel welded-in side walls filled with foam along with an aluminum floor ensuring structural strength and quietness.

Added features include rod holders on the port side, a sport steering wheel, and LED navigation lights for nocturnal navigation. There is also a bilge pump included in the package.

Typical speed ranges between 30-38 mph with a 60 hp engine. Max out at 75 horsepower if you want to break 40 mph. It is still possible for a 60 to plane and motor impressively with 3-4 people and a lot of equipment.

Features

  • You can choose from Grassland or Woodland camo patterns (at an additional cost)
  • A baked-on powdercoat finish with Sure TreadTM for long-lasting durability, color and style
  • Constructed with 100% aluminum and no wood
  • For added rigidity & quieter riding, we use thick .190 aluminum floors
  • Ride smoother and drier with a 7° deadrise
  • A weld-in, foam-filled interior side wall provides a quieter ride and greater structural strength
  • Structural strength and rigidity are maintained with 1-piece extruded aluminum gunnels
  • For a stronger hull, the bow chines were extruded.
Pros
  • It’s spacious
  • Consistent
  • Constructed from durable yet lightweight materials
  • It’s fast and stable
Cons
  • There is a bit too little space in the livewell

How to choose the best Jon boats? 

In the past, Jon boats were called jack boats because of their flat bottoms and shallow drafts. The John boat was suddenly referred to as an Ozark John Boat when Jack became John. Later, it became known as just Jon boat. A Jon boat, too, is a simple vessel similar to this story about simplification.

In spite of the fact that Jon boats are one of the cheapest alternatives on the market, they are a good investment. In other words, you do not want to regret your purchase once you’ve made it. Don’t forget to paint your Jon boat with the right kind of paint. You should consider a few things before buying a Jon boat, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced sailor.

1. Size

It is common for Jon boats to be between 8 and 20 feet in length, but sometimes they can be longer. It is important to take a few factors into account when choosing the jon boat size that is best suited for your needs. You will need to know the body of water you plan to navigate most frequently, how you plan to trail your boat, what your vessel is intended for, as well as how many people you plan to bring along.

A jon boat with an 8-10 foot length, such as the L1032 Jon, is a great choice for solo fishing and hunting expeditions on small waterways. Moreover, it can be powered and transported easily.

It would be a good idea to choose the Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman if you like having company while you wait for the fish to bite. If you’re going to take up bowfishing as well, this is a good option. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?

In addition to holding more gear and providing more seating space, large jon boats also perform better in choppy waters. Boats that are longer and wider are usually more stable as well.

2. Weight

A major characteristic of jon boats is that they are ultra-lightweight. Most of these boats weigh between 400 and 500 pounds. The average weight of a jon boat is 35 pounds, but you can also find lighter and heavier ones.

One of the lightest models of the Stalker MV 120 (12’2) weighs only 140 pounds. It is common for the weight of a product to increase as its size and features increase. Compared to the Crestliner 1860 Retriever (18′), which has more features, it weighs 970 pounds.

Jon boats have a maximum weight capacity, so it’s important to keep that in mind. An 18-foot jon boat can carry around 1425 pounds on average, while a 10-foot one can carry 325 pounds. The numbers 6 people refer to the capacity, which means 5 semi-comfortably and probably 4 comfortably.

Sailing responsibly means knowing and respecting the boat’s weight limit. A jon boat that exceeds its weight capacity may experience several problems, including poor handling, lowering the freeboard, which can permit water to enter, reduced stability, and eventually capsizing.

3. Construction

Aluminum is the only material available in the majority of Jon boats from the biggest brands. It may be possible to find some made of wood or fiberglass if you look hard enough. The wood used to build wooden Jon boats is often handcrafted. Almost always, you’ll find them as the result of a home DIY project.

Compared to fiberglass boats, Jon boats are more expensive, which defeats the purpose of getting one in the first place. There are many different types of boats to choose from, but low-cost boats are supposed to be a cheaper alternative. Feel free to splurge if you feel the need.

As a result of their lightweight and durability, aluminum is often used to construct Jon boats. Furthermore, they are very affordable. If you’re going to use a boat in saltwater lakes or on the shore of the ocean, keep in mind that aluminium is not a durable material. A salty environment corrodes aluminum very quickly. Ideally, you should use fiberglass Jon boats under such conditions, or take precautionary measures to prevent corrosion to the aluminum.

The method by which the boat was constructed is also important to consider. If possible, you should choose one with welded joints rather than rivets. Corrosion of the latter occurs more quickly over time, which will inevitably lead to leaks.

4. Seating

A bench seat is the most basic seating configuration you’ll find on most Jon boats. Most manufacturers, however, allow you to design your own boat and customize it based on your preferences and needs. For example, if you prefer padded, low-back, or pedestal seating configurations, they can arrange those for you.

5. Outboard Motor

Outboard motors aren’t included with most Jon boats. The additional costs associated with purchasing and installing this feature on your boat should be considered if you wish to include it.

You need a motor that has the horsepower to propel your boat at fairly high speeds, even when it’s at its maximum weight capacity.

6. Budget

It is fairly self-explanatory. In spite of this, it’s important to point out that staying within your budget might entail making tradeoffs between the boat’s size and the customizations you wish to make.

In addition, make sure you take into account any storage units you will require and the cost of the outboard motor if you plan to install one.

7. Propulsion

Lightweight jon boats with flat hulls require little power to plane because of their lightweight construction. You should be able to meet all your basic boating needs with a pair of oars or a battery-powered electric trolling motor.

You can, however, always upgrade your vessel with a gasoline-powered outboard motor, depending on your priorities. Make sure they can handle the maximum horsepower.

After you’ve gone through the best jon boats for fishing and hunting trips, feel free to share your thoughts below in the comment section.

If you have any questions or stories to share, we are always happy to hear from you. Share your experience with jon boats in the comments section below if you already own one or just bought one.

Conclusion

The long history of Jon boats demonstrates how far they have come from their utilitarian origins. At half the price of a bay boat or bass boat, jon boats offer all the comfort and convenience of today’s boats.

One of the best jon boats overall is the Tracker Grizzly 1754. This mac daddy jon boat measures almost 21 feet long and nearly 8 feet wide. However, the aluminum hull keeps the boat’s weight low and its draft low. Tracker Grizzly 1754 combines all the good features of a bigger boat with an easy-to-use jon boat design.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the best jon boats:

What is a Jon boat?

Jon boats (also known as johnboats) have a flat bottom, and are usually made of aluminum, fiberglass, or wood. They are commonly between 8 feet and 20 feet long and 32 inches and 60 inches wide. An outboard motor or trolling motor can usually be mounted on a Jon boat’s transom. A boat can have one to three benches, depending on its size.

What is a Jon boat good for?

The Jon boat is a versatile boat that can be used for a variety of activities, from fishing to hunting to carrying timber. Because jon boats are flat in shape, they are perfect for shallow, calm waters.

Can you waterski behind a Jon boat?

Depending on their power, some Jon boats can pull water skiers, wakeboarders, and tube riders. When equipped with a 90 horsepower motor, Sea Ark RX180 is able to provide enough power.

How stable are Jon boats?

There are a number of characteristics that define a jon boat, including the flat hull. By having a flat hull, you can reduce draft and increase stability. There are few boats on the water that are as stable as Jon boats. Moving from bow to stern or leaning from side to side does not affect the jon boat’s stability. Shallow drafts have the disadvantage of being less efficient in rough water. Waves slam the flat hull of a jon boat as the wind blows it across the water. But jon boats make a great fishing platform for anglers looking for stability.

Do you have to register a Jon boat?

In most states, wildlife departments and motor vehicle departments are in charge of these departments. In order to complete the process, you must fill out paperwork and pay a fee. An affixed sticker and numbers will be provided. It is probably necessary to register a boat even if it is propelled by an electric trolling motor. There is also a difference in safety equipment between motorboats and human-powered boats. Navigation lights, life vests, throwables, and other gear are required if a motor is added. Make sure your boat has the necessary safety gear by consulting the US Coast Guard.  

How much do Jon boats cost?

Depending on the model, Jon boats can cost between $1,000 and $20,000.

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