The Best Outboard Motors For Your Jon Boat in 2020

Jon Boat Outboard

Electric trolling motors are great and we discussed them here, but for a primary motor on a Jon Boat, many go with an outboard motor.

Why Get an Outboard Motor?

Jon Boat Outboard
A 15 hp is suitable for bigger Jon Boats.

If you’re fishing bigger bodies of water, flooded rivers or have additional gear, you’re going to need the extra power outboard motors provide.

What Size Outboard?

There should be an aluminum plate in the transom area that gives the maximum weight and HP rating for your Jon Boat. Now, quite a few people go overweight (seemingly without incident but it’s there for a reason!). One thing you definitely don’t want to do is buy a motor larger than is specified.

Price of Jon Boat Outboards

Jon Boat outboards typically retail from $925.00 to just under $3,500.00. The price varies according to the specific model and features, with the most important factor being horsepower.

Planing Speeds

Something that is essential is that your outboard has enough rpms to get to “planing” speeds. This is where the boat is lifted “on a plane” in the water. It’s desirable because it’s more stable and handles better.

Of course, the heavier the boat, gear and people, the more HP you’re going to need. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overload a Jon Boat so this is one area you really do need need to take care with.

Advantages of an Outboard Motor

Most folk know that an outboard may be louder than an electric motor but it doesn’t rely on batteries. Here are some advantages of an outboard motor you may not have considered:

Outboards are Lighter

Outboards are much lighter than electric motors. This is mainly due to the hefty battery which can weigh up to 40lbs.

Even if you get a lighter trolling motor of say 25 lbs, you’re still looking at 65lbs of motor. Some of the lighter outboards are just 20lbs. So you can really save a lot of weight for something else with an outboard.

Range & Distance

If you’re going to go ten miles there and back – get an outboard motor. You can go all day on a gallon of gas. Although battery powered motors are improving, they usually have a much shorter range and distance.

Easier to Plane

As discussed above, once you get to planing speed, the speed and handling of a Jon Boat is easier to maintain. Electric motors rarely pack enough punch to plane.

Better In Flooded Rivers & Creeks

If you plan in taking your Jon Boat out in a flooded-river or anywhere with a strong current, you’ll really appreciate the extra HP an outboard motor provides.

You’ll need a lot of motor to navigate the junk that washes up like trees, refrigerators and even catttle. That’s why many people like to go with the maximum specified HP. It’s better to pay a bit extra rather than risk you and your passengers safety.

Great in Big Lakes / Rivers

Your intended use will also affect the optimal size of motor your jon boat needs. If you’re out on rivers or lakes 1,000 acres across it’s good to go big.

However, if you’re on smaller bodies of water with a lot of “prop busters” like tree stumps, it’s probably a better idea to get a 9.9 hp and use the savings for more gear.

Recommended Jon Boat Outboards – Honda

Honda makes Jon Boat outboards in the 2 to 20 horsepower range. These outboards are light and portable.

The vast majority of small Jon Boat motors are four-stroke and Honda’s are no exception. Honda’s applicable motors are their 2.3 hp, 5 hp, and 8 hp. The 2.3 hp is cooled by “forced air cooling” while the larger sizes are water cooled.

The 2.3 hp motor has many features that make it ideal for Jon Boats. First of all, no oil mixing is required. It weighs less than 30 lbs so it is easy to move around. It also has a “Precise Throttle Control” to aid in varying speed. The forced air cooling is a good feature as you don’t have to worry about clogging your water pump.

The 2.3 hp motor is recommended for 8 to 10 foot boats that can get by with 40 lbs of thrust or less. This motor can propel a small Jon Boat 5 to 10 mph unless the boat’s cargo is very heavy.

If you desire more power, choose a 5 to 20 hp motor. The recommended size for most Jon Boats is a 4 to 6 hp motor. This amount of horsepower will typically provide 40 to 60 lbs of thrust.

Other Recommended Outboards

There are several more outboard motor manufacturers that you can choose from.

Evinrude has portable engines in the 3.5 hp to 15 hp range, Mercury has engines in the 2.5 to 20 hp range, and Tohatsu also has motors in the 2.5 hp to 20 hp range.

Suzuki also offers Jon Boat outboards and their model DF-6 is a good choice if you are looking for a 6 hp engine.

The Best Electric Trolling Motors for Jon Boats

electric jon boat motors

electric jon boat motorsWhen it comes to choosing a motor for your Jon boat, electric trolling motors have many advantages.

Fishermen and duck hunters love the added stealth an electric motor gives them.

Sure, you won’t get the speed you would with a gasoline outboard, but when you’re out hunting and fishing it’s the aim is to get game and not showboat!

It’s worth noting that some fishing lakes and reservoirs are also “Electric Only”.

Easier on the Environment & Wallet!

Another great advantage to electric motors (besides being a more environmentally-friendly source of power) is they are much easier on the wallet than outboards.

If you do your homework, you can pick-up a new one for a couple of hundred dollars. As outboard motors generally cost five to ten times more, this’ll save money you can spend on other accessories.

The Importance of Thrust

Electric trolling motors use batter-power to propel themselves through the water. The amount of power needed is called “Pounds of Thrust”. When choosing an electric motor, the “lbs” number will be specified so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Apart from reaching a desired cruising speed, having enough thrust is important when you meet headwind or high waves. Your boat will be rendered sluggish and you won’t be able to maintain your desired position for casting. Therefore, thrust is the most important consideration when selecting a trolling motor.

What Size Trolling Motor Do You Need?

The amount of thrust you required is dependent upon the weight of your boat. A useful rule to follow is that for every 100lbs of weight you need 2lbs of thrust. So if your boat is 2,500lbs fully-loaded, you’re going to need a motor with a minimum of 50 lbs of thrust.

As you can imagine, it get’s tricky trying to weigh everything up. Another way you can calculate the minimum amount of thrust is by the length of the boat. A 12ft Jon boat will require 30lbs of thrust, a 14ft boat 32lbs and a 17ft needs 50lb of thrust.

Another general rule of thumb when it comes to motors is to get the biggest one you can afford (within reason!).

Electric Trolling Motor Manufacturers

A few of the more popular electric boat motor manufacturers include Minn-Kota,  MotorGuide, and Newport Vessels

Minn-Kota Sizes & Prices

Minn-Kota makes a wide variety of models to choose from with prices all the way up to $1500.00.

Many people choose electric motors due to their low cost and Newport Vessels manufacturers a 55 lb thrust motor for less than $300.00.  MotorGuide also offers different models with their models generally costing $275.00 to $1250.00.

Recommended Minn-Kota Motors

Minn-Kota makes six models that are ideally suited for Jon Boats. Recommended models include their Maxxum 55, PowerDrive V2 55, Edge 55, PowerDrive V2 45, Edge 55 Hand, and Traxxis 55.

The Maxxum 55 does not have a lot of special features but it is a good choice for boats up to 17 feet or boats that weigh up to 2,750 lbs.

The PowerDrive V2 series varies from the Maxxum line in that the PowerDrive has advanced control options, an optional sonar transducer which is used in conjunction with a fish-finder so that the fish-finder will display correctly, and with the PowerDrive comes electronic steering rather than cable control.

Bow Mount Motor

The Minn-Kota Edge series is an excellent choice for a bow mount motor. These motors have enough power to provide enough thrust for Jon Boats all the way up to 21 feet. Edge models feature a mount made with marine grade anodized aluminum, as well as, a fixed speed motor.

Transom Mount Motor

The Traxxis model is the one to choose if you are looking for a transom mount motor. It is also extremely easy to stow.

The Traxxis is for freshwater only and if you plan on trips in saltwater, you should go with Minn-Kota’s Riptide Transom model.

Recommended MotorGuide Motors

MotorGuide also manufactures a variety of electric motors ideally suited for Jon Boats. Their recommended models include the Bulldog 40 FT, the X3 series, and their Xi5 series.

MotorGuide Bulldog

The Bulldog which you can purchase for around $450.00 is MotorGuide’s transom mount electric motor. This motor is controlled by a foot pedal and is for freshwater use only. Minn-Kota does not have a foot pedaled transom mount motor, so if you are looking to control your boat through the use of a foot pedal and desire a transom mount; this is the model you should choose.

Freshwater Motor

MotorGuide’s X3 series is also controlled by foot pedals. These motors are built better than the Bulldog and have stronger shafts and improved steering controls. The X3 series is also for freshwater use.

Saltwater Use

MotorGuide’s Xi5 series is their top of the line electric motors. These motors can be used in both salt and freshwater. They can be controlled wirelessly and are sophisticated enough to allow you to position your boat through the use of GPS.

Recommended Newport Vessels Motors

A relatively new boat motor manufacturer, Newport Vessels have been making some headway lately, particularly for budget electric motors. Their top rated models include the NV Series and the slightly more expensive 86lb thrust saltwater motor.

To compete against the likes of Minn-Kota and MotorGuide, Newport Vessels offer extended warranties and outstanding customer service. Their electric motors are quite a bit cheaper than the competition, too.

As this article show, when it comes to electric trolling motors there’s a lot of choice!.So when choosing one, be sure to write down the features that are important to you and then start shopping!