Best Jet Skis for 2019
If you’re a water sports enthusiast or looking for a speedy, maneuverable ride at the lake or shore, you might consider buying a personal watercraft (PWC) or water scooter but most commonly referred to as a Jet Ski. These scooters are akin to the motorcycles of the water. They offer power but more agility than a boat. The operator may stand or sit on models ranging from one-seaters to PWC with room for four. While some scooters are used for sports racing, with top speeds of over 70 mph, many use Jet skis for recreational family fun, fishing or even leisurely cruising.
If you’re thinking of buying a PWC, Maggie Maskery, senior public relations manager of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, recommends factoring in the cost of the scooter, plus operational and maintenance expenses. Consider the activities you are looking for such as cruising, long-distance touring, water sports or fishing, as well as the passenger capacity of the Jet Ski.
- How we chose the best Jet Skis
- Best recreational Jet Skis
- Best performance and sport Jet Skis
- Best luxury Jet Skis
- How to finance the best Jet Ski for you
How we chose the best Jet Skis
Whether you’re looking to add more action to your beach day, have some fun on the lake or take an adventure down the river, a PWC might be right for you. We sorted the best water scooters based on type, budget and features. These models were chosen based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), consumer reviews and available safety information.
Best recreational Jet Skis
If you’re buying your first PWC or are simply looking for a standard model without all the bells and whistles, the recreational category is the place to look. Recreational and recreational lite Jet Skis don’t go as fast as performance or luxury models and may not be best suited for rough waters. However, they still allow for plenty of solo and family riding fun, with top speeds at an average of 65 mph.
Sea-Doo Spark Trixx
The Sea-Doo Spark Trixx falls into the recreational-lite category of Jet Skis, and is the souped up version of the Sea-Doo Spark. This PWC gets its name for its ability to perform tricks few other scooters allow. This is due to the model’s extended range variable trim system on the back, which allows drivers increased ability to point the nose up or down to perform tricks. It comes with a 900 HO ACE engine, and can pull speeds up to 50 mph. The Spark Trixx comes with the Intelligent Brake and Reverse system that allows drivers faster braking, and easy switches between forward, neutral and reverse. It boasts a seating capacity of up to three passengers; however it’s been reported that the Spark Trixx can get cramped on long rides at full capacity. In our research we found one safety complaint raised to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2014, which claimed the adjustable handlebars snapped off without warning while on the water. Sea-Doo addressed this with a recall and it has not been reported since.
Sea-Doo GTI 90
The GTI 90 is Sea-Doo’s standard recreational PWC model and great for new drivers. While it maxes out at a top speed of 50 mph, enthusiasts say this model provides a comfortable, stable and luxurious ride for up to three. It comes with a number of handy features, including Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC), which allows drivers two modes for use: an ECO mode that allows up to 46% improved fuel economy, and a sport mode. Like the Spark Trixx, the water scooter’s Intelligent Brake and Reverse system allows drivers to stop faster, as well as maneuver forward and in reverse easier. The GTI 90 also boasts a lightweight hull that is scratch and impact resistant, as well as a built-in anti-theft system.
2019 Kawasaki STX-15F
It was Kawasaki who had originally coined the term, Jet Ski. In fact, “Jet Ski” is a registered trademark with the company. Speaking of legacies, Kawasaki has not changed this model much over the years, but continues to deliver a functional and fast ride for its recreational Jet Ski. It boasts a top speed of up to 62 mph and can go from zero to 30 mph in two seconds. Packing a four-cylinder, 1,498 cc engine and 160 horsepower, with a hull that was designed for racing, this model may be harder to control in choppy waters. For beginner drivers who may be initially intimidated by fast speeds, this model comes with a Smart Learning Operation (SLO) that controls the top speed of the vehicle as well as Kawasaki Smart Steering to assist in handling. The STX-15F features a large back deck with tow hook, and seating for up to three passengers.
This is Yamaha’s base model for its VX series, but it seats up to three and comes standard with a tow hook, reboarding step, watertight storage and dual cup holders. The Yamaha VX packs a three-cylinder 1,049 cc engine, and comes with Yamaha’s RIDE technology. RIDE provides traction control, allowing drivers to brake and decelerate faster. Drivers switch from forward to neutral to reverse without having to take their hands off the handlebars, making emergency stops, low wake zones and docking much more manageable.
Best performance and sport Jet Skis
Performance and sport Jet Skis are built to go faster, with improved maneuverability in all types of conditions. They are more expensive than recreational PWC, come with added sports features, and are meant for experienced drivers looking to capitalize on the thrills a personal watercraft can provide.
Sea-Doo Wake 155
If you’re a water sports enthusiast, the Sea-Doo Wake 155 PWC comes standard with a removable wakeboard rack, a three-position retractable ski pylon, boarding ladder and cruise control. The Intelligent Throttle Control with Ski Mode allow drivers to select from programmed acceleration and speeds, to allow for repeated controlled ski and wakeboard launches. Easily switch from Sport mode to Eco mode to reduce speed and increase fuel efficiency. The wide angle mirrors and Intelligent Brake and Reverse control system allows drivers to spot and safely retrieve a skier, for example, being towed.
Yamaha GP1800R HO
For a high-performance Jet Ski, the Yamaha GP1800R HO packs some serious punch when it comes to performance and value. Priced lower than other competitors, this PWC still features a four-cylinder, 1,812 cc engine, with a top speed of 78 mph and can go from zero to 30 in two seconds. The lightweight deck and hull give drivers enhanced stability and control when racing. The GP1800R HO comes with Yamaha’s patented RIDE technology, which gives drivers enhanced deceleration, reverse and docking capabilities. It also features a remote transmitter that can enable the security system, or switch to low RPM mode when new or inexperienced drivers are using the scooter. Additional features include a tow hook, reboarding step and dual cup holders.
Sea-Doo RXT-X 300
The 300-horsepower Rotax 1630 ACE engine and Intelligent Brake and Reverse system make for a fast, yet maneuverable ride, even on rough waters, from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. This model comes standard with a “watertight” phone compartment, and features an optional waterproof bluetooth audio system package. For PWC racing enthusiasts, the narrow racing seat, adjustable handlebars and variable trim system let drivers optimize their PWC, meaning how high the nose, or bow, of the scooter is off the water. A higher trim is better for towing, while a lower trim allows drivers to drive more aggressively.
Kawasaki Ultra 310R
A 310-horsepower, four-cylinder, supercharged 1,498 cc engine and a max speed of up to 67 mph helps to make this Jet Ski live up to the hype as a ride for “hard core recreational riding and racing.” It comes with an adjustable rotating handlebar and narrow racing seat with gripping material so drivers can optimize comfort and performance. Unlike Sea-Doo’s performance model, which features an intelligent brake system, the Ultra 310R does not have a braking system. Drivers must release the throttle to slow down, meaning those top speeds should only be reserved for experienced drivers. It does come with a Smart Learning Operation system that caps top speeds so drivers can become acquainted to the vehicle.
Best luxury Jet Skis
Luxury Jet Skis offer an array of additional features from retractable seats to audio systems to additional space and storage. They are more expensive than recreational models, but offer more comfort and premium features.
Kawasaki Ultra 310LX
For the price, this Jet Ski provides drivers with a considerable amount of comfort, speed and duration when compared to other luxury models. Its 56 gallon front storage bin makes all-day outings on the Jet Ski manageable, giving you extra space for food, water and supplies. As does its 20.6 gallon fuel tank, the largest tank in its class. It comes with a 310-horsepower, four-cylinder marine engine that can hit up to 67 mph. Between the Smart Learning Operating system, which controls top speed and assists handling, and the five-way adjustable handlebars, this Jet Ski makes for a fun ride for the whole family.
Sea-Doo Fish Pro
The Sea-Doo Fish Pro combines all the fun of a Jet Ski with everything you’d need to have a great day fishing. To start, it comes standard with a Garmin Fish Finder navigation system, and an optimized fishing seat that allows drivers to freely move from drive position to passenger position and comfortably fish off the PWC sideways. The 13.5 gallon LINQ fishing cooler on the back features a recessed working surface, four rod holders and bait and tackle storage. Trolling Mode allows drivers to toggle between nine low speed modes while cruising. The hull of the Jet Ski is also designed for increased stability in rough waters and at rest.
Yamaha FX SVHO
While it boasts Yamaha’s supercharged four-cylinder, 1,812 cc marine engine, RIDE technology and Nanoxcel hull and deck, this scooter comes packed with additional features. Owners will enjoy dual mirrors, a dashboard beverage holder, added storage, tow hook and footwell drains. The FX SVHO comes with a touch-screen dashboard where drivers can control drive modes and enable security features. As a safety measure, the touch screen does not work while the vehicle is in motion. The dashboard can also be customized with added accessories like action cameras, GPS or wireless bluetooth speaker systems.
How to finance the best Jet Ski for you
While the models we’ve listed in this article vary in price, you could be looking at anywhere from $6,000 up to $20,000 or more depending on the model. That doesn’t include added costs including the expense of equipment to tow your scooter or insurance or storage in the off season. Financing can be obtained through banks, credit unions, online lenders and PWC dealers. We recommend applying and comparing offers before you go to a dealership. On LendingTree you can fill out a single form and compare up to five loan offers from lenders at once, depending on your creditworthiness.
For this article we looked at over 25 PWC models across different manufacturers and compared them all based on cost, features and type. We looked at reviews from jetskitips.com, and personalwatercraft.com. We factored in safety ratings and complaints filed with the NHTSA for each model as well as research on Jet Ski group discussion boards for frequent safety concerns. The MSRP listed is based on the specific models listed at the time of publication.