Jon boats are among the simplest, easiest to own, and easiest to maintain types of small boats on the planet. They generally consist of little more than a hull, seats, and a motor. And while they might not be the most luxurious boats on the water, there’s a lot to be said for their simplicity and affordability. For an even more detailed look at just what makes a boat a Jon boat see out Jon Boats Guide, but remember, all Jon boats are not equal. Some are built better than others, some have specific perks or features that set them apart from the crowd, and some are designed to fill specific niches in the Jon boat world. Whatever type of Jon boat might be best for your needs, there’s a good chance you’ll find just what you’re looking for among our list of the best Jon boats of 2022.
2023 Allweld 1652 Jet
Anglers running rocky rivers or stump-filled swamps may want a Jon boat that runs on a jet drive, and the Alweld 1652 Jet is designed just for this purpose. It can carry a jet drive outboard up to 90 horsepower, and is set up to fish with a livewell in the rear deck, an elevated front deck with a pedestal seat base and stowage compartment, and two fishing seats plus the helm bench seat. The boat’s also ready for a trolling motor and offers the option of interior carpet. This is side console boat, and another thing that sets it far apart from the pack is the console itself – rather than being rotomolded or molded fiberglass, the console is welded aluminum like the rest of the boat.
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2023 Crestliner 1448 CR Jon
The Crestliner 1448 CR Jon is the quintessential Jon boat. It’s small and light enough (at 260 pounds) to be easily handled; it consists of just a hull and three bench seats; it has a flat bottom and a squared-off bow; and it’s easily affordable. That’s not to say the 1448 CR Jon doesn’t come with a few perks, because it does have oar locks, carry handles, and a (gravity fed) livewell compartment. But the beauty in this boat is found in its simplicity — clamp a 9.9 to 25 horsepower outboard on the transom, and go have endless hassle-free fun.
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2023 Excel 1860 Viper F4
Excel makes boats that can stand up to hard duty, and a unique feature available on their 1860 Viper is the “Kik-Up” transom. Hit a log or a stump with your lower unit, and the transom’s dual heavy-duty gas shocks will help absorb the impact. Along with that perk the boat is clearly designed to take on difficult territory, with features like 2” by 4” 6063 alloy ribs and extruded gunwales. Another unique item is the “step deck” transom, which is essentially a step at water level allowing you or your retriever to more easily re-enter the boat from the water.
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2023 G3 16 DK
The G3 16 DK is an all-welded model that’s built for sportsmen who enjoy both fishing and duck hunting. It comes pained in Desert Brown, Mossy Oak, Shadow Grass, or Break-Up camo, and has a Dyna-Grip interior that won’t get slippery whether it’s covered in fish slime or a light snow. Critical for hunters, the 16 DK as a lockable storage compartment so you can secure firearms at all times. And unlike some small model Jon boats, this one has .100” thick aluminum in its hull. The 16 DK can haul up to three people, weighs in at 525 pounds, and can take up to 50 horses on the transom.
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2023 Havoc 1653 DBST
The Havoc 1653 DBST is built to be the most rugged Jon boat around, with 0.1″ thick 5086 aluminum alloy in the hull, an aluminum floor, and I-beam longitudinal ribs. Interior parts are 0.09″ gauge, which is thicker than the hulls on some other 16′ aluminum boats. It has a step transom design which shifts the floatation outside of the boat’s interior, freeing up more space while also providing a step for you or your retriever. All of the rear bench seating has stowage inside, and this boat comes loaded compared to some Jon boats with nav lights, trolling motor pre-wiring, a recessed switch panel, and your choice of Digital Brown, Timber Tan, or D-Septicam Tan paint.
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2023 Lowe Roughneck 2070 Sc
Anglers and hunters looking for a side console model with the size to hold up to seven people and over 1,800 pounds of gear will be checking out the 2023 Lowe Roughneck 2070 Sc. This is a huge model in the world of Jons, and can handle a whopping 150 horsepower on the transom. Unlike most Jon boats it comes with wired navigational lights, a 23-gallon livewell with aerator pump, and integrated storage compartments for gear plus a rod/gun box. Camo options include Dead Grass Green, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass, and Mossy Oak Break-Up.
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2023 Lund 1448
The Lund 1448 is a standard-issue Jon boat with a few nifty perks that set it apart from the fleet. A gravity-fed livewell in the center seat adds the ability to keep baits or the catch alive and kicking, while formed-in keels and spray rails make for comfortable cruising. The Lund 1448 can take up to 25 horses on the transom and is available with tiller-steering, only.
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2023 SeaArk Mud Runner 180
One of the reasons people get a Jon boat is their minimal draft, but if you want to be able to run through wet mud, a model like the SeaArk Mud Runner 180 is what you need. This Jon boat is built with a transom bracket extension designed to take a zero-draft mud motor, and has a .125” thick hull, a 3/16” center keel reinforcement, and extruded transverse and longitudinal ribs to take on rough terrain ranging from open water to stump-filed swamps. If your idea of heading into the back country includes cruising through bogs and bayous where most boats wouldn’t dare venture, this model is just the ticket.
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2023 Tracker Grizzly 2072 CC and Grizzly 2072 Sportsman
Tracker builds a wide variety of Jon boats, but the Grizzly 2072 CC is the queen of the fleet. At 21’5” long and 8’3” wide this is a very large Jon boat, and it can haul a much bigger load than most. Up to nine people can come aboard and the boat has a 1,900-pound weight capacity. As well as being a monster-sized offering for the genre, the Grizzly 2072 CC has a few perks that aren’t commonly found in the Jon boat world. It has a built-in fuel tank rather than a portable fuel cell, there are dual livewells (a 32-gallon well in the bow and a nine-gallon well under the forward console seat), and Versatrack accessory mounting system channels are integrated into the gunwales. On top of that, it’s rated to take a whopping 150 horsepower on the transom. Those who enjoy bow fishing will want to opt for the Sportsman model, one of the few jon boats which adds an elevated foredeck with a rack of lights and pedestal-mounted bike seats ideal for the sport.
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2023 War Eagle 2170 Black Hawk
At 21’6” long and 8’2” wide, the War Eagle 2170 pushes the definition of a Jon boat. It also has a V-shape in the hull which some would argue is a disqualifying factor, but at the same time this is still a fishing and hunting machine available with a camo finish and a spray-in liner. It also boasts a 0.125” thick hull gauge, significantly beefier than the norm. If the idea of a giant among Jon boats with a V-hull to chop the waves seems attractive, this one could be a top choice.
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Will one of these Jon boats be the right pick for you, to make 2023 a very special year on the water? That’s your call. But no matter what you may think of Jon boats, remember that they’re one of the most popular types of watercraft in the nation for a wealth of reasons. Maybe they don’t have luxury amenities, they won’t impress the neighbors, and they never will perform like some fancier, more expensive boats. But when it comes to having hassle-free fun on the water, a Jon boat is mighty tough to beat.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated in March of 2023.
For more information on how to buy a Jon boat – or how to buy any boat, for that matter – see How to Buy a Boat: The Ultimate Buying Guide.