Jon boat vs. Kayak

Last Updated on October 1, 2022

When we talk about boats, both the kayak and Jon boat remain the best for various reasons. These boats are used by anglers, hunters, surfers, and water sports lovers. Choosing between them is easy when you know their features and what tells them apart. The Boating Buddy team has you covered.  And in case you need a waterproof cover for your kayak or jon boat, we’ve got that covered too.

About the Jon boats

Jon boats are excellent flat-surfaced all-around boats. These boats are used for numerous tasks, which include hunting, fishing, and lumber collection. Due to the flat shape of the hully, Jon’s boat usually sits at the helm of the water instead of cruising.

For the above reasons, they tend to have high sides, which comes with some disadvantages: They don’t fit well for rough waters. They are great in swamps, streams, and shallow waters. When a Jon boat is equipped with a long tail motor, it becomes more mobile than close alternatives. These make them suitable for crawfishing, hunting, and popular water sports

About the kayak

Kayaks are boats with a slim body structure that can carry very few people, mainly a single passenger. People generally refer to the kayak as a sport canoe which is excellent for many water sports.

There are different designs of kayaks available, depending on their usage. Some kinds of kayaks include fishing kayaks, surf play kayaks, and tour kayaks. They are grouped depending on the purpose it is designed for.

Leisure kayaks, for example, are for people new to surfing and canoeing. This particular kayak type is light and can be moved easily. It is vital, though, especially in rough seas. The most robust kayaks are the tour kayaks because they have larger storage capacities and can accept more supplies for a few days. This is durable, especially in violent sea conditions.

What to consider when choosing boats

Here are some important things to consider when comparing boats :


This distinction depends on several factors because these boats come in different models and sizes. Kayaks are usually for single users and are around 11 feet in length. Most kayaks are around for an average of $500 to $800.

However, note there are more expensive models. For a 12-foot Jon boat, it comes around $600 to $850 in most places. Usually, kayaks are more affordable than Jon boats.


When comparing these boats, it is important to know considering the people that will be on the boats. Kayaks can take one to two people at a time, so it’s great for anglers and lone surfers. But people who are interested in making friends, kids, families and others at a time should consider the Jon boat. This remains one of the reasons why the Jon boat is more expensive because to take more people; you will need around 15 to 16-foot boats.

Maneuver capability

When considering which has better maneuverability, the kayaks come tops. This shouldn’t be a surprise because the kayak is more compact and smaller than Jon’s boat. This ensures smooth movement and gliding in the water. Kayaks are more narrow and offer flexible features even in deep waters. Kayaks are better boats in tight places where a quick turn is required.


There isn’t much to separate between kayaks and Jon boats when it comes to this feature. Whichever model is purchased, they are both going to have a long life span. Kayaks are designed with fiberglass, plastics, and composite materials, ensuring that they don’t deteriorate easily. Jon boats are made from aluminum which is also a good material and doesn’t rust easily.

Although, you should know that we are talking about general boat parts, not engines or electronic components, which could rust anytime. However, for people thinking of buying a boat which they rarely use and can be left with for a long while, kayaks come tops.

Easy to repair

Like all vehicles, how easily boats should be repaired remains an important feature. It seems the kayak is better here because kayaks can quickly be patched using plastic in a few minutes. This is because its body parts are made from materials that allow simple patch up.

For Jon boats, you can wield and patch them; however, it requires some level of expertise and takes a longer time to repair. This can be done easily at any boat shop, or you could call the repairman to your dock.

Easy customization feature

Jon boats come top because you could add many types of modifications to make them better. Jon boats because they are finer, flexible, and faster when you customize them. But for kayaks, there is little space for customization, especially when you want to expand their storage capacity.

Weight capacity

Though it’s hard to measure this feature, it seems the kayak is better here. Let’s consider what each could handle. For a Ten foot kayak, it will hold around 360 pounds, while a Jon boat of the same length will hold about 300 to 350.

Also, for a 14-foot kayak, it should hold about 650, while the Jon boat with a similar length should hold around 635 to 660 pounds.

When taking note that weight capacity also includes everything on the boat, including baggage, engines and the likes, there seem to be more rooms in the Jon boats.

Leisure and comfort

When we look at how comfortable these boats are for passengers, the Kayak is better. Their seats are better than you can sit comfortably without aches. Most seats on kayak boats are light and created for comfort. Many Jon boats have bench seating which is tush on metal which makes it tough for passengers.


This function is at the bottom of the list because you will need more than paddling when considering speed. Because of this, the Jon boat remains a better option because it has better engines that can be fixed on it.

However, if both should be paddled, the kayak will go around 2 to three minutes per hour, while Jon boats will move around 4 to 5 mph.

It seems either with engines or paddle, and the Jon boats are better.


Kayaks don’t require much room for storage because they are small and light. For Jon boats, it can accept more pieces of stuff, especially when you use the larger models. A kayak can take about 35 to 50 pounds of loads, while Jon boats can accommodate an average of 90 pounds.

Which is right for you?

Deciding between these excellent boats boils down to what appeals to you, what you need them for, and your budget!

For anglers and other sea voyagers who use Jon boats, they do so because of their versatile features and flexibility, especially in rough waters.

However, for those who want some simple, Budget-friendly and more aesthetic boats, kayaks might be the way to go.