Woman riding Jet Ski on the water.

Major Jet Ski Brands Compared

If you are new to the world of jet skis, you might find it difficult discerning which one to purchase. Choosing between the three major jet ski brands alone can be a hard decision to make!

The Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki have their own advantages that can benefit any type jet ski riders. Not to worry, though. This guide on the major jet ski brands should help you decide on your first personal watercraft (PWD).

See our article on 5 great jet ski’s currently on the market.

Types of jet skis

When choosing a jet ski, you need to know which model best suits your purpose. Each brand sorts its jet ski products into five categories: recreation, performance, tow sports, luxury, fishing, and rec-lite.


Recreation is the most popular jet ski category. Recreational PWDs are agile and stable on water and generally have good storage space.

Jet ski models in this category are average in size. They have top speeds that range from 65 km/h to 99 km/h, not the fastest PWDs nor the best handling, but good enough for beginners and families. Most rental jet skis are recreational.

Sea-Doo’s recreational jet skis include GTI (90/130), GTI SE (130/155), GTI Limited 155, and GTS. While Yamaha, which calls its PWCs Waverunners, has the VX series (Standard, Deluxe, Cruiser, Cruiser HO, and Limited) for this category. Kawasaki Jet Ski STX-15F and Ultra LX also belong to the recreational category.

Tow Sports

As the name suggests, jet skis in this category are ideal for towed sports like water skiing and wakeboarding. The good thing about tow sports PWDs is their good resale value. Currently, only Sea-Doo has entries for this category: the Sea-Doo Wake 155 and Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230.

Wake 155 is more suited for beginners who are on a budget and plan to do tow sports only on the weekends.

On the other hand, the Wake Pro is ideal for tow sports enthusiasts and need a more powerful jet ski.

Both models have different driving modes and have a Ski Pylon feature, which raises the tow rope higher and farther from the pump.


Luxury jet skis are best for jet skiers who have outgrown their first watercraft and are looking for more comfort and power. They have the largest engines and have a top speed of  about 105 km/h. However, just like all luxury vehicles, jet skis in this category are more expensive.

Sea-Doo’s luxury jet skis are GTX Limited 300 ($16,899) and GTX 155 ($12,799). Waverunner FX SVHO ($17,899) and FX HO ($13,299) are Yamaha’s entry in this category; while Kawasaki boasts the Ultra 310LX ($17,999), which has a 310 horsepower engine.


Beginner jet skiers don’t need to look in this category for the time being. They are more appropriate for seasoned jet ski riders who are into racing.

Nevertheless, PWCs in this category have very powerful engines that can reach 130 km/h in just 3 seconds. Sea-Doo has GTR 230 in this category which is a 230hp engine which produces a top speed of 105 km/h.

Waverunner VXR ($12,299) and GP 1800 ($14,199) are best bet for racing. The VXR has a top speed of 105 km/h. and has 0-30kph in 1.8 seconds, while the GP 1800 has a 115 km/h top speed and has a 0-30kph in 2 seconds.

The Kawasaki Ultra 310LX is the fastest of all and has an unofficial top speed of 130 km/h.


This is a new jet ski category that is only offered by Sea-Doo and Yamaha. Rec-lites are the most budget-friendly PWDs, with prices ranging on from $5,399 to $8,699.

They can have a top speed of up to 80 km/h and are probably the best jet skis for beginners. Sea-Doo’s rec-lite jet ski is the Spark, while Yamaha has the EX series.

Comparison of range

Among the three brands, Sea-Doo has the widest range of jet skis that people can choose from. This is an advantage because it ensures that the brand has a product for all types of jet skiers. However, you must know what you want when shopping for a Sea-Doo watercraft or the array of products may confuse you.

Yamaha comes second in the number of products available. It only has a few jet skis in each category, which makes it considerably easier to make a selection.

On the other hand, you’ll have the easiest time choosing a jet ski if Kawasaki is your choice. The brand has only a limited range of PWDs and it has been the case for some time now.

Comparison of price

Price is most of the time, a big consideration when choosing a jet ski. As indicated earlier, Sea-Doo has the cheapest range of products, the cheapest price at $5,299 and the most expensive one at $15,499. Yamaha EX has a starting price of just $6,599, while Limited SVHO is the highest priced Yamaha Waverunner at $16,899.

Kawasaki Jet Ski meanwhile has the top-priced range of watercraft. The cheapest jet ski, STX-15F, has a price tag of $9,699. Meanwhile, the most expensive is the Ultra 310LX. which comes in at $17,999.

Summary of Sea-Doo

Sea-Doo has the cheapest range of jet skis and is the most popular brand for first-time buyers. However, their lowest priced models need a number of add-ons so expect to get a higher final price. The best thing about the brand is its constant innovation, which leads to the creation of Sea-Doo Spark and the rec-lite category.

In terms of reliability, Sea-Doo sometimes break-down faster than Yamaha or Kawasaki jet skis. Although, some malfunctions are caused by the Sea-Doo owners themselves and not from faulty parts.

Summary of Yamaha

Yamaha Waverunners have built a good reputation over time for being reliable on the water.

Their engines are not only durable but also manageable in terms of maintenance. Fuel-efficiency is also one of Yamaha’s strengths, the Waverunners will help you save money on fuel which means you can get some more bang for your buck.

Yamaha Waverunners have great safety features, too. The RIDE technology in particular is very useful because it lets owners turn their jet skis without accelerating. Waverunners also have an excellent braking system.

As mentioned earlier, Yamaha has a fewer range of models which means consumers have limited choice when shopping for a PWC.

Summary of Kawasaki

Thrill seekers are the best market for Kawasaki Jet Skis because of their powerful engines. They have the majority of the fastest PWCs available at the moment and have some great features that other brands lack, including the built-in speakers and heat-resistant seats.

However, most Kawasaki Jet Skis are also pricey, especially for first-time buyers and budget-conscious consumers.

How to Choose the Right Jet Ski?

When shopping around for your first jet ski, ensure that you don’t get caught up with all -the comparisons between the major jet ski brands. Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki have their own pro’s and con’s so you shouldn’t make your decision based purely on the brand.

You must make your choice depending on your riding experience, how you plan to use the jet ski, how often you want to get on the waters.

Other things that you should also consider include your storage needs and seating capacity. Ask yourself:

  • Will you be using the jet ski just for traveling or you will be fishing with it?
  • Are you going more on solo trips or you plan to tag along with someone?
  • Will I need a jet ski loan?

Aussie Boat Loans Jet Ski Finance

This article is not intended to compare one brand vs. another. It aims to be a guide for those who aren’t sure which brand is best for their needs.

Get a pre-approved boat loan now and you can shop with confidence when looking for your new jet ski.

For all types of watercraft financing, you can call Aussie Boat Loans on 1300 769 999 to assist you.


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