11 Best Jon Boats in 2022

Jon Boats

From the dazzling Ozarks to the mystical swamps of Louisiana all the way down to the magnificent backwaters of the Everglades, Jon Boats are the preferred watercraft among fishermen and hunters across the Southern wetlands of the U.S.

Thanks to its basic layout combined with a flat-bottomed hull and a durable aluminum construction, they are the ideal vessel for navigating in shallow and muddy waters. Jon Boats are cheap and easily found used on places like Craigslist too.

In this guide, we’ve reviewed and rounded up the best Jon Boats for fishing and hunting on the market right now.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll also find information about the most important things to consider before buying your Jon boat.

With that said, let’s jump right into our top picks:

The Top 5 Jon Boats in 2022

All the Jon Boats We've tested

Simple Performance

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This jon boat from Sea Ark gives the other performance boats a run for their money. It’s wider and yet so maneuverable, fast and spacious too.

With 90 horses pushing the RX180, it flies over the water. It’s immediately clear that this boat is meant to run. It also has an impressive turning radius for getting in and out of tight spots.

With 1328 pounds of combined weight it can still fly, but because of its extra width there’s a stability that matches. So bowfishing from the front deck, which can rock any boat, aint gonna cause too many problems for standup hunters.

There are two fold down, swivel fishing seats with pedestal mounts and an extra wide bench seat aft of the console.

The package includes bilge pump, wiring for trolling motor, 12 volt and USB plug, transducer bracket and LED lights.

Because there are so many features, this one doesn’t need to be customized.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 18’
  • Beam: 82”
  • Bottom Width: 60”
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 1328 lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: 90 hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Reasons to buy:

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    Spacious
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    Diamond plate flooring from edge to edge
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    12 gallon aerated livewell right in front of console
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    Good storage
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    Fast and maneuverable for do-everything profile

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNothing
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Sea Ark RX180 CC

Utility & Value

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This Jon Boat is a multi-use craft disguised as a fishing boat. The L1648 M is designed as a solid fishing stage but with a modified V-hull, high HP capacity and available modifications this boat can serve many purposes.

The updated hull design makes this Jon able to cope with some rougher water than most flat-hulled boats in its class. In proper water conditions and with the right motor the L1648 M could quickly go from fisher to sports boat.

Beyond versatility, there is very little limit to the upgrades that can be modded to this craft. Go bare bones or upgrade endlessly.

For its intended purpose, Lowe has built a stout vessel. The L1648 M is long-lasting and tough with its riveted aluminum and reinforced construction. Of noticeable mention are the formed transom corners, designed to ensure a more secure motor mount.

Specs & Features

  • Hull: Mod-V composed of riveted .072 gauge aluminum
  • Length: 15 feet, 8 inches
  • Beam: 5 feet, 10 inches
  • Transom Height: 15 inches
  • Max. Weight: 1014 lb., 460 kg

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Reasons to buy:

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    Mod-V hull adds stability in rough waters
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    Wide beam equals balance and more storage
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    Reinforced transom handles more HP
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    Useful modifications available
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    Trailer is included with purchase

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markTransporting by trailer is only real option
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Lowe 1648M

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The Crestliner 1860 series of Jon boats are manufactured to engage enthusiasts on multiple fronts, with each iteration building on the previous in both specs and features. Versatile is an excellent one-word description for these vessels.

The basic Crestliner 1860 Retriever is a bare-bones Jon boat labeled a fish and duck-hunting vessel. The Retriever Deluxe adds some features but from there, the Retriever Center Console (CC) and Side Console (SC) up the ante with improved accessories to include driver control stations.

In addition to each boat’s included perks, there are even more accessories available from which customers can choose. Whatever set-up an angler or hunter is looking for it seems the Crestliner 1860 has some decent options.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 18’
  • Beam: 7’ 1”
  • Side depth: 24”
  • Transom height: 20”
  • Seating: Basic, 6,

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

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    Each model is decently outfitted
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    Numerous optional accessories
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    Gunnel lock track system
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    All models sold with a new trailer

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSeating is not entirely optimal
Read full review

Where to buy:

Crestliner 1860 Retriever Product Image

Crestliner 1860 Retriever

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Made of rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene, the Sun Dolphin Pro 120 is sturdy, lightweight, and comes stocked with plenty of features for that perfect weekend fishing trip.

Its tri-hull design delivers superior stability and control while the carpeted casting decks offer better grip and less slip, not to mention sparing your butt a scolding on hot days.

It features two padded swivel seats so your friend can tag along, dual storage compartments to keep things organized and at hand, as well as a built-in cooler.

Besides coming with an auxiliary battery compartment, the Pro 120 is also pre-wired for a bow-mounted electric trolling motor. And because this jon boat was made for fishing, it offers conveniently located fishing rod holders, an aerated livewell to keep your catch fresh, and navigation lights so you can extend your fishing trip until late hours.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 11’3”
  • Width: 62”
  • Weight: 238lbs
  • Max. Capacity: 532lbs
  • hp rating: 10 hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

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    Smart design of compartments
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    Aerated livewell
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    Stable
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    Solidly built
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    Carpeted decks

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThough we’ve seen it with 15 hp it’s rated for only 10 hp!
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Sun Dolphin Pro 120

For Hunting Parties

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Created by Tracker as a bowfishing boat the Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman is capable of being so much more. Would the average fisher find this Jon boat appealing? Certainly, as would sight-seers, gig-fishers, other hunters and boat aficionados.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 21.5’
  • Beam: 8’ 6”
  • Width at bottom: 6’
  • Max hp: 150 hp
  • Max. fuel: 30 gallons

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

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    Lots of boat with lots of accessories
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    Huge deck for multiple operations
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    Plenty of space and compartments
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    Bright, LED lighting
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    Fast and mobile

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markWay too much for the average boater
  • check-markStealth sacrificed for amenities
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Where to buy:

Grizzly 2072 Cc Sportsman Product Image

Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman

Bare Bones Customizable

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Suitable for both fresh and saltwater, the Stalker MV 120 is a very compact, stable, and convenient Jon Boat—perfect for that father and son fishing trip. This little utility boat won’t excite, as it’s a leisure craft designed for cruising slowly and a bit of DIY, but it serves its purpose solidly.

This boat is pre-wired for a transom mounted electric trolling motor–maxing out at 5hp–though it could likely take a little more.

It features two non-removable swivel seats, ample storage under the deck, and a slightly modified V-bow design for added stability when navigating through choppy waters.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 12’2”
  • Width: 46”
  • Bottom Width: 35”
  • Weight: 140lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: 5hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Suitable for saltwater conditions
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    Stable in choppy waters
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    Great value for money

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markLow weight capacity
  • check-markNot many features
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Where to buy:

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Stalker MV 120

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An American 12 Jon Fishing Boat is a simple chassis that you can build the angling vessel you’ve always wanted. This affordable boat is for the fisherman with some DIY chops or willing to add features over a few years’ time.

Boasting a heavy-duty deck and hull construction, two large bench-style seats, built-in motor mounts, battery storage, and four rod holder locations, the American 12 is a simple but suitable Jon boat for those into fishing and duck hunting.

Mount a trolling motor in the bow or stern, add swivel chairs and livewells along with a cooler. There is plywood just underneath the surface (polyethylene) of the benches, which make it easy to fasten removable chairs or other mods.

Specs & Features

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

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Lightweight
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    Easy to row
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    Easy to customize
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    Easy to transport
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    Good max capacity

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThere’s no dry storage compartment
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Where to buy:

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Sun Dolphin American 12

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One of the best jon boats for fishing on shallow waters, the Lowe L1852MT Aura boasts a rugged aluminum construction, a wide-open layout, and ample space for up to six people. With a total max capacity of 1443, it can be used in so many ways.

With the amount of weight this one can handle, there’s plenty of customizations that are possible. The bow fishing platform is big enough for two or for a swivel seat, for example.

Some of the optional features include a pedestal seat base, a gravity-fed livewell, and a trolling motor mount. Additionally, the side console helm might appeal to boaters looking for more versatile activities like cruising or water skiing.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 17’9”
  • Beam: 75”
  • Bottom Width: 52”
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 1443lbs
  • Max. hp Capacity: Tiller 45 hp/Remote 65 hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    Great performance on skinny waters
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    Sturdy construction
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    Large carrying capacity
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    Smart gravity-fed waterwell placement
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    Wickedly durable

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markLong list of optionals
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Lowe L1852MT Aura

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Roomy, durable, and highly functional fishing jon boat featuring a rotomolded side console, hence the SC on its name, a 9-gallon aerated livewell, as well as seating for up to three people.

The Grizzly 1754 SC is also pre-wired to accept a trolling motor and as a Tracker jon boat, it comes with welded-in, foam-filled interior side walls along with a thick aluminum floor ensuring structural strength and a quieter ride.

In addition, port side rod holders, a sport steering wheel, and LED navigation lights to help you on your nocturnal adventures. And a bilge pump is also included in the package.

With a 60 hp motor, expect between 30-38 mph. To crack the 40 mph marker, max out to 75 hp. But a 60 will still plane and motor impressively with 3-4 people plus gear.

Specs & Features

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

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Spacious
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    Stable
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    Sturdy let light construction
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    Fast and stable

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markLivewell a little too small
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Where to buy:

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Tracker Grizzly 1754 SC

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Our next jon boat from Lowe features a flat square-shaped bow along with a 15” transom, therefore offering fishermen plenty of room to get out there comfortably and get the job done.

Plus, two bench seats, two oar lock mounts for your paddling oars, and thoughtful details like transom corner caps and formed-in keels. The latter paired with the entirely flat hull bottom provide great floatation in very skinny waters.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 10’
  • Beam: 48”
  • Bottom Width: 32”
  • Max Weight Capacity: 275lbs
  • Max hp Capacity: 3.5 hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Lightweight
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    Sturdy construction
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    Durable paint finish
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    Affordable

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markVery basic, not many features—but it gets the job done!
  • check-markThere’s no dry storage compartment
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Lowe L1032

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If you’re serious about duck hunting on shallow waters, you’ll appreciate what the F-4 Pro Hull 1754 brings to the table. It’s a little different than other jon boats here, as it can go even shallower than any other when armed with it’s mud motor.

Designed to give duck hunters exactly what they want—a light, tough, and quick vessel—the original duck boat step deck transom boat comes standard with a low or high front deck, optimal 17-degree transoms for superior mud motor trim control, and a reinforced floor that allows you to navigate through skinny waters effortlessly.

Also, a fold-down stand-up bar with three height adjustments as well as twin LED navigation lights to guide you on your night expeditions.

The high transom and long sponson pods makes it plane above the water quickly. With a mud motor that draws no more than the flat hull, the F-4 can drive through any swamp or marsh without damaging the prop.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 17’
  • Beam: 69”
  • Bottom Width: 54”
  • Max. hp Capacity: 50 hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Excellent performance on shallow waters
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    Sturdy construction
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    Spacious open floor pla
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    Standard package includes everything you’re gonna need
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    Still room for customization

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markCouldn’t find anything
Read full review

Where to buy:

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F-4 Pro Hull 1754

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JON BOATS BUYER’S GUIDE

 

Some say the jon boat used to be called a jack boat, known for it’s flat bottom and shallow draft. Jack became John and the John boat was suddenly called an Ozark John Boat. Then it got shortened to just jon boat. Like this story of simplification, the jon boat is a simple vessel.

Although one of the most low-cost alternatives when compared to other types of boats on the market, acquiring a jon boat is still a great investment. And as such, you don’t want to regret your purchase. Remember to protect it with the right kind of Jon boat paint too.

So whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned sailor, here are a few things you should consider before buying your jon boat.

Size

Jon boats typically range from 8 to 20 feet in length, sometimes larger.

To determine which jon boat size will accommodate your needs best, a few factors should be taken into consideration. They are: the body of water in which you will be navigating most of the time, how you will be trailing your boat, the intended purpose of your vessel, as well as how many people you plan on bringing along with you.

If you enjoy solo fishing or hunting expeditions on small waterways, then an 8-10 feet jon boat like the L1032 Jon should fit your needs quite well. It’s also easy to power and transport.

However, if you like having some company while you wait for the fish to bite, then the Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman is a great option. This is a good option if you’re gonna take up bowfishing too. And how could you not want to.

Large jon boats not only hold more gear and offer more seating space, but they also perform better in choppy waters. Also, the longer and wider the boat, the more stable they usually are.

Weight

If there’s one thing jon boats are known for, is for being incredibly lightweight.

The majority of them will weigh between 400-500 pounds. But, as this is an average weight, you will also find lighter as well as heavier jon boats.

The Stalker MV 120 (12’2”), for example, weighs only 140lbs. And as size and features increase, so does the weight. The Crestliner 1860 Retriever (18’), a much more feature-rich example, weighs 970lbs.

It’s important to remember that every jon boat has a maximum weight capacity. A 10-foot jon boat, for instance, has an average weight capacity of around 325 pounds, while an 18-foot one can carry around 1425 pounds.

When it says capacity 6 persons, it really means it can fit 5 semi-comfortably and probably will be awesome with 4.

As a responsible sailor, you should know and always respect the boat’s weight limit. Exceeding the weight capacity of a jon boat may incur several problems such as poor handling, lowering the freeboard—distance from the waterline to the upper deck level—resulting in water entering the vessel, reduced stability, and finally capsizing.

Propulsion

Due to their lightweight construction with a flat hull, jon boats do not require much power to plane.

A pair of oars or a battery-powered electric trolling motor should be enough to meet your basic boating needs.

However, depending on your priorities and the size of your boat, you can always add a gasoline-powered outboard motor to your vessel. Be sure to check their maximum horsepower capacity.

Now that you’ve got a good selection of the best jon boats for your fishing and hunting trips, share with us in the comment section below your thoughts on them.

We’re always happy to hear your stories and help you with whatever question you might have.

If you already have a jon boat or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What is a jon boat?

A jon boat (also known as a johnboat) is a flat-bottomed vessel made of aluminum, fiberglass, or wood. They are typically between 8 and 20 feet long and 32 to 60 inches wide. Jon boats usually have a transom onto which a trolling motor or an outboard motor can be mounted. Depending on the boat size, there can be between one to three benches.

What is a jon boat good for?

Jon boats are good for a variety of activities from fishing to hunting to carrying timber. Due to the flat shape of the hull, jon boats are ideal for shallow and calm waters.

Can you waterski behind a jon boat?

Some of the more performance jon boats can pull a water skier or wakeboarder or tube if it has enough power. The Sea Ark RX180 has enough power when equipped with it’s 90 horsepower motor.

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