Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part Sportsman Boat Showcase. Click here to read Part I on 2017’s Top Fiberglass Boats.

Aluminum boats are often described with these terms: utilitarian, practical, serviceable, functional and no-frills. In actuality, aluminum boat are all that and more; so much more.

Aluminum boats are built for every purpose, from work boats, to dressed-out fishing boats and even luxury yachts. The john boats that come to mind when many folks think about aluminum are an important segment of the market, but they’re not the only aluminum boat design. Nope, not by a long shot.  

This showcase will cover a variety of aluminum boats. Several are utility boats that do a variety of things well but aren’t necessarily geared for a particular purpose. Others are bass boats and bay boats that vary from simple, fisherman-friendly layouts to detailed layouts that compare well to their fiberglass cousins.

As with fiberglass boats, strength, design and construction are focal points for aluminum boats. Lighter weight and extreme durability are key features, and manufacturers constant strive to make their boats lighter and stronger. Everyone wants stronger boats to deal with all the unforeseen incidents that can occur on the water and if they can be made lighter, too, that translates into fuel savings both in the water and on the trailer behind the truck. 

Many potential boat buyers are surprised to learn what can be done with aluminum boats. They aren’t bare-bones craft by any means, now being designed with all the fishing features and creature comforts of fiberglass. They can be purchased as bare-bones boats, but models can come with livewells, baitwells, rod storage and lots of storage for lures and personal items. The boats in this review were designed with lots of input from fishermen, hunters and other regular users.            

This showcase is divided into three basic sections: bass boats, bay boats and utility boats. It would be wise to check them all out as they offer diverse features and fill multiple niches. 


Bass Boats

Alumacraft Prowler 165

G3 Sportsman 19

Gator Trax Strike Series 

Ranger  RT198p

Tracker Pro Team 195TXW


Bay Boats

Xpress XBay 21 and 23


Utility Boats

Excel F4 Center Console

Pro-Drive X Series with stick-steering