2018 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki

Shopping for a jet ski can be confusing at times. Each manufacturer is saying one thing about the competition, and you don’t know what to believe.

But I think I can help. I have gone through every watercraft in every category and compared them all. Hopefully, this can help you make a better buying decision or find the watercraft that best suits your needs. I think having a third party that is not a manufacture pointing things out can be helpful in this shopping adventure.

I’m not being paid by any dealership or jet ski manufacturer to write this post. I try to write as level as possible on this topic but I know Sea-Doo Products more deeply than all the other manufacturers, and I want to make that clear to those reading this. Please don’t stop here at my post to make your buying decisions but also look more deeply at what the manufacturers say on their sites. Everything posted here is my opinion and my viewpoints.

The 3 Watercraft Manufacturers:

Sea-Doo

Yamaha

Kawasaki

Categories

There more than 40 different models to choose from not including the color options you have on specific models. If we include the color options that number could triple!

It’s safe to say it’s a bit confusing.

But there exist categories that break each model up. Just like how there are Sedans, Coupes, Hatchbacks, and so on for cars, a similar thing is for jet skis.

You have Rec-Lite, Recreation, Tow Sports, Luxury, and Performance. You might have some slight difference in the exact names used to describe these categories, but this sums them up well and is what I’ll use in this post.

To group all the models from all 3 manufacturers, I’m going off the price but if there is a model that I think needs a mention that’s in a different category I’m going to mention it.

# Manufacturer Model Price
1 Sea-Doo 2 UP 60HP Spark $5,399
2 Sea-Doo 2 UP 90HP Spark $5,999
3 Sea-Doo 3 UP 90HP Spark $6,599
4 Yamaha EX $6,699
5 Sea-Doo 2 UP 90HP iBR Spark w/ Conv. $6,999
6 Sea-Doo 3 UP 90HP iBR Spark w/ Conv. $7,599
7 Sea-Doo GTS $7,699
8 Yamaha EX Sport $7,699
9 Yamaha SuperJet $8,499
10 Yamaha EX Deluxe $8,699
11 Sea-Doo GTI $8,899
12 Sea-Doo GTI SE $9,599
13 Yamaha VX $9,599
14 Kawasaki STX-15F $9,699
15 Kawasaki SX-R $9,999
16 Yamaha VX Deluxe $10,399
17 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 $10,499
18 Yamaha VX Cruiser $10,699
19 Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 $11,099
20 Yamaha VX Limited $11,099
21 Kawasaki Ultra LX $11,199
22 Yamaha VX Cruiser HO $11,299
23 Sea-Doo Wake 155 $11,999
24 Yamaha VXR $11,999
25 Sea-Doo GTR 230 $12,099
26 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155 $12,499
27 Sea-Doo GTX 155 $12,799
28 Sea-Doo GTR-X 230 $13,099
29 Yamaha FX HO $13,299
30 Sea-Doo RXT 230 $13,799
31 Yamaha FX Cruiser HO $13,799
32 Sea-Doo GTX 230 $13,899
33 Yamaha GP1800 $13,999
34 Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230 $14,699
35 Yamaha FX SVHO $15,299
36 Kawasaki Ultra 310X $15,299
37 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 $15,399
38 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 $15,699
39 Kawasaki Ultra 310X SE $15,799
40 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 $15,899
41 Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO $15,999
42 Kawasaki Ultra 310R $16,299
43 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 $16,899
44 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO $16,899
45 Kawasaki Ultra 310LX $17,999

 

Rec-Lite

Rec-Lite is the newest segment of the watercraft world. Sea-Doo created the Spark back in 2014, and that is what started the whole category. When the Spark came out they were in high demand because of the price, and since supply was low they were hard to get. 4 years later they’re easier to get ahold of, and now you have many more color options along with many new upgraded features they’ve added to them.

Yamaha entered this category back in 2016 with the EX and put up a good fight against the Spark. Yamaha doesn’t have a model that competes with the base model 2 Seater Spark, but they go hard on the base model 3 Seater.

The range of price goes from $5,399 for the 2up 60HP Sea-Doo Spark and all the way up to $8,699 for the Yamaha EX Deluxe.

Unfortunately, Kawasaki doesn’t have Rec-Lite models. There has been talk about them working on something, but I think Sea-Doo took them both of them by surprise with such a concept. The Sea-Doo Spark did rejuvenate the watercraft world because they were getting too big and too expensive for too long.

Last year I did a great post that compared the Sea-Doo Spark to the Yamaha EX that went into great details on them here. Much of what was said in that post still holds true for 2018 and is a good read if you want to compare the two. To sum up the post, Yamaha doesn’t have a 2 seater model to compete with the base 2up Spark. The base 3 seaters EX is better than the base 3 seaters Spark. Sea-Doo just kills it when it comes to price and features when you compare the most expensive Spark vs. the most costly EX. It’s so bad that the Sea-Doo GTI is a lot better value than the EX Deluxe for a few hundred more.

Rec-Lite Overall Details

  • You can expect speeds from 40mph to 50mph.
  • 2 seater or 3 seater options.
  • Very nimble and quick.
  • Great first-time buyer’s jet skis.
  • Great prices.

Pros of Spark

  • Polytec hull makes it extremely light compared to the competitor.
  • Modular design makes it easier to replace top deck pieces.
  • More color options.
  • Some models have iBR (intelligent Brakes and Reverse).
  • Some models have DESS Key with learning key. The learning key keeps the ski from going past 35mph. DESS is a digitally encrypted security system.
  • Better thought out storage. The EX has more storage capacity, but the front storage is almost useless. The Glovebox on the EX is a great size but not big enough for storing life jackets or anchors. And the rest of the storage on the EX is under the seat which is stupid as you have to get everyone off the seat to use it which is impossible when on the water. The Spark hands down has a lot better thought out storage.
  • The base model 2up Spark and the Fully loaded 3up Spark are far better values than the EX’s.

Cons of Spark

Pros of EX

  • Can get mirrors which are excellent for tow sports!
  • Some models have RIDE (Dual throttle and reverse which can also act as a brake).
  • Some models EX have nicer padded footwells.
  • Bigger gas tank.
  • More storage.
  • More HP, but the Waverunner is heavier
  • The Base EX is just a plain good value compared to the base 3up Spark.

Cons of EX

  • The EX Deluxe cost far too much compared to its competitor 3up 90HP Spark iBR with Conv.
  • Has more storage but just not thought out, check out the Pros of the Spark above to understand better.
  • Bigger gas tank. A bigger gas tank means fewer fill-ups, but I feel this negates it as the EX is bigger and has a hungrier engine. I could be wrong but Yamaha doesn’t publicly state the gallons per hours for the EX, and I feel it will be more to fill up a 13.2 Gallon gas tank on the EX compared to the 7.9 Gallon gas tank on the Spark.

Con’s of **ALL** Rec-Lites

All their seats suck. There I said it. If you want to ride for more then an hour, then you’re going to need some cushion. This might not be a problem for younger people who want a ski that can be whipped around but if you want something stable and a soft ride – move away from this segment.

Since we’re talking about stability let me just say this, these are small watercraft. They’re fast, lightweight, and super nimble. If you don’t want to get wet, then don’t get these.

But the biggest take away from the Rec-Lite category is that for average size people a 2-Seater is a 1-Seater, and a 3-Seater is a 2-Seater. Let’s be honest with ourselves. I’m over 240 pounds, and you get 2 of me on a 3-Seater spark or EX it’s going to be a crazy ride.

Since there are 2-Seater options, you have to be aware of your local laws about pulling tubes and wakeboarding. Many states and countries require either a 3 seater with one person driving, one person spotting, and one person on the tube or wakeboard. If it’s a 2-Seater, then you need to have mirrors but can only have one person driving and one person on the tube. If you have a 3-Seater with mirrors, then you can have 1 person driving and 2 people on the tube. They do this because you need enough room on the watercraft in case someone gets hurt you can get them to safety.

Important: If you do any pull sports like tubing and wakeboarding then look into getting an Impeller Protector like this here. This will help keep you from sucking up tow ropes!

Spark Trixx Vs. Nothing

The Spark Trixx is something of its own. No other manufacturer makes something like the Trixx and deserves its own category, to be honest.

A Trixx is for someone who wants a super playful watercraft that you can do, well… tricks on.

The Trixx is based on the regular spark but has a special VTS(trim) that allows you to stick the craft in the air like you’re doing a wheelie. It also has adjustable handlebars that make this movement a lot easier along with the foot pads.

What changed in 2018 is the color options and now you have a 3up version too.


Recreation

The Recreation category is the next step above the Rec-Lite category. This category is where you start to see a lot more stable watercraft, but you also trade off the nimbleness (not by much – all watercraft are playful if you have it in the right settings).

Many of the rental watercraft you ride are simply Recreation models, so if you rode a rental jet ski, there’s a good chance it was a Recreation model.


Recreation Overall Details

  • More stable than the Rec-Lite.
  • Speeds are ranging from 42mph to 62mphs* (we talk more about this below).
  • More storage and many of the recreation models have the most storage out of the other more expensive models.
  • Not the fastest but makes a great family skis.
  • Don’t take the chop as well as the other bigger models do.

The Recreation Lineup

Sea-Doo – GTS, GTI, GTI SE 130, GTI SE 155, GTI Limited 155

Yamaha – VX, VX Deluxe, VX Cruiser, VX Cruiser HO, VX Limited

Kawasaki – STX-15F, Ultra LX

To help better understand which one competes with the other I’m going to compare them on which ones are priced similarly.


GTS vs. Nothing

It looks like the Sea-Doo GTS is all by itself if we compare it to the other Recreation category watercraft. The closest thing that comes into price would be the EX Sport but that is in the Rec-Lite and, to be honest, the EX Sport would be the better buy in my opinion.

A GTS is a GTI but without the brakes and reverse. The GTS is often popular for the rental market as its a stable hull with plenty of storage. But if it were me I would go with the smaller EX Sport unless you do a lot of pull sports then the GTS would be the better option.


GTI vs. Nothing

Basing everything on the price the GTI is by itself. Unless we look at it vs. the EX Deluxe. Sure the EX Deluxe is $200 less than the GTI, but the GTI is a way better value. The GTI is going to be more stable and has more storage too. I went into more significant details about how much greater the value of the GTI is here.

I was going to compare the GTI to the VX, but the VX is $700 more and the same price as a GTI SE.


GTI SE vs. VX vs. STX-15F

Sea-Doo GTI SE $9,599

Yamaha VX $9,599

Kawasaki STX-15F $9,699

The most prominent outlier in this group is going to be the STX-15F for two reasons. The first reason is that Kawasaki has not come up with there own electrical brake or reverse system. The second reasons are that the STX-15F kills it in top speed. This watercraft use to be Kawasaki’s top of the line in speed back in 2005 with reaching speeds of 62mph! But it has not changed much since then. While Sea-Doo and Yamaha have been making great strides in tech, Kawasaki is slow to adapt.

Beyond speed, the Kawasaki STX-15F can’t compete too much with the Sea-Doo GTI SE and Yamaha VX. But if you want something fast and affordable then check out the STX-15F in greater detail here.

Please keep in mind: Only the Sea-Doo’s with the 90HP ACE engine will have the Ploytec hull!

Sea-Doo GTI SE Pros

  • Greater Storage Capacity.
  • iBR (Brakes, Neutral, Reverse, Forward).
  • Learning Key that can be programmed from 32mph to 50mph.
  • Sport, ECO, and Touring Mode.
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • Electronic Trim.
  • Touring Seat.
  • Palm Grips.
  • Polytec hull for the 90HP GTI SE. Ploytec makes the craft lighter than the competition.
  • Better Gas Mileage due to the lighter hull and more efficient smaller engine.
  • 600-pound capacity.
  • 3 Seater.
  • DESS Key, the digitally encrypted key which is also your safety lanyard.
  • Closed Loop Cooling. It uses a ride plate to keep the engine cooled instead of taking in lake or ocean water.

Sea-Doo GTI SE Cons

  • 90HP engine means you’ll be doing around 42mph. Enough to pull tubes and such but you’re not going to be winning races.
  • The Smaller gas tank then the others but it’s also a lot more fuel efficient.

Yamaha VX Pros

  • Bigger Gas Tank.
  • Faster than the 90HP GTI SE.
  • RIDE, Dual throttles for forward and reverse that also can act as a brake.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Lighter than the STX-15F.
  • 3 Seater.

Yamaha VX Cons

  • Open Loop Cooling. It takes in lake or ocean water to cool the engine.
  • Less storage capacity. VX has 24.6 Gal while the GTI has 30.8 Gal. But has more storage than the STX-15F with it’s 23.5 Gal.
  • Heavier than the GTI.
  • Uses Yamaha’s old Hull tec, the NanoXcel hull doesn’t come in til the VX Deluxe and saves a bit more weight too.

Kawasaki STX-15F Pros

  • Fastest of the bunch.
  • Tried and proven.

Kawasaki STX-15F Cons

  • Hasn’t changed in years.
  • Small storage.
  • Manual Forward and Reverse.
  • Open Loop Cooling.
  • Less weight capacity.
  • Cost slightly more than the GTI SE or the VX.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Vs. Yamaha VX Deluxe

I know this one can be kind of confusing. There is a difference between the GTI SE vs. the GTI SE 130. The biggest differences will be that the “GTI SE” will be a 90HP engine with a Ploytec Hull and the 130 will have a 130HP engine. The VX Deluxe will also have a different hull too.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 $10,499

Yamaha VX Deluxe $10,399

Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Pros

  • Greater Storage Capacity.
  • iBR (Brakes, Neutral, Reverse, Forward).
  • Learning Key that can be programmed from 32mph to 50mph
  • Sport, ECO, and Touring Mode. ECO really helps with gas consumption and is a feature that many others models lack.
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • Electronic Trim.
  • Touring Seat.
  • Palm Grips.
  • 600-pound capacity.
  • 3 Seater.
  • DESS Key, the digitally encrypted key which is also your safety lanyard.
  • Closed Loop Cooling. It uses a ride plate to keep the engine cooled instead of taking in lake or ocean water.
  • About the same speed as the Yamaha VX Deluxe at around 53mph.
  • Touring Seat.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Cons

  • Heavier then the VX Deluxe.
  • Smaller Gas tank the VX Deluxe.

Yamaha VX Deluxe Pros

  • NanoXcel Hull makes it lighter while still being a fiberglass hull compared to the basic VX. Not lighter than the Sea-Doo Ploytec hull but still impressive for fiberglass!
  • About the same speed as the Sea-Doo GTI SE 130.
  • Larger gas tank. Has 18.5 Gallon gas tank compared to the GTI SE 130 15.9 Gallon gas tank.
  • Remote control security fob with the low-speed mode. The low-speed mode is like the learning key on Sea-Doo’s where it restricts one speed for new riders.
  • Cruise Assist and No-Wake Mode.

Yamaha VX Deluxe Cons

  • Open Loop Cooling. It takes in lake or ocean water to cool the engine.
  • Less storage capacity. VX Deluxe has 24.6 Gal while the GTI has 30.8 Gal.

Yamaha VX Cruiser Vs. Nothing

The Yamaha VX Cruiser is a Waverunner that I don’t know why it exists. It’s $10,699 which is $300 more than the VX Deluxe. The only thing I can find why it’s $300 more is because of seat and color options. To be honest, Yamaha should have dropped this model and just given the better seat to the Deluxe and be done with it.

I don’t know if Yamaha is trying to compete with the GTI SE 155 because all GTI SE have the nicer seat option, but it’s not on the same level. The GTI SE 155 is a 155HP while the VX Cruiser would be 125HP. When it comes to price, the GTI SE 155 better competes with the VX Limited.


Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Vs. Yamaha VX Limited Vs. Kawasaki Ultra LX

This is kind of a sweet spot for us here. All manufacturers have something really great to offer.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 $11,099

Yamaha VX Limited $11,099

Kawasaki Ultra LX $11,199

Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Pros

  • 155 HP engine. Even though the spec sheets say the GTI SE 155 and the Ultra LX have the same top speed, I think its safe to say the GTI SE 155 is going to be the fastest out of the bunch due to the lighter weight. This 155 HP engine is the perfect pull sports engine, has plenty of low power you need for pull sports and is why it’s used in the Wake Series which are made for pull sports.
  • iBR (Brakes, Neutral, Reverse, Forward).
  • Second highest storage capacity.
  • Learning Key that can be programmed from 32mph to 50mph
  • Sport, ECO, and Touring Mode. ECO helps with gas consumption and is a feature that many others models lack.
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • Electronic Trim.
  • Touring Seat.
  • Palm Grips.
  • 600-pound capacity.
  • 3 Seater.
  • DESS Key, the digitally encrypted key which is also your safety lanyard.
  • Closed Loop Cooling. It uses a ride plate to keep the engine cooled instead of taking in lake or ocean water.
  • Touring Seat.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Cons

  • Smaller Gas Tank then the bunch.
  • Lack of Cruise Control and Slow Speed mode.
  • Lack of tube and accessories that the Yamaha VX Limited has.

Yamaha VX Limited Pros

  • Tube with Accessories.
  • Cover.
  • RIDE, NanoXcel Hull.
  • Security / Low-RPM Mode Remote Transmitter.
  • Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.
  • Cruiser Seat Stepped.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Waterbottle Holders.
  • Single-rider tube.
  • Storage Bag.
  • 12-Volt Tube Inflator.
  • Dual Bumpers.
  • Just a good buy, you get a lot of stuff with it.
  • Large Gas Tank.

Yamaha VX Limited Cons

  • Smaller Engine. This is an excellent value for a ski, but they shouldn’t have put the smaller engine in it. It will pull fine, but a bigger HP engine would have made this a killer buy.
  • The VX Cruiser HO and the Limited should be combined, that Cruiser HO has the right engine, and the Limited has the right accessories, combine these two and you’ll have a beast!

Kawasaki Ultra LX Pros

  • It’s got the Ultra Hull, so it’s going to take the chop a lot better than the others.
  • The most storage of any watercraft in any lineup. Period.
  • Plenty of power for pull sports and actually has more HP than the VX limited and Sea-Doo!

Kawasaki Ultra LX Cons

  • It’s heavy! (they measure curb weight) But its something that helps with rough water.
  • Manual reverse. Some might find this a positive as it has no electronics to break but braking tech has been around since 2009 with the Sea-Doo iBR, and I feel many of the bugs have been worked out.
  • Lack of accessories that the VX Limited gets.

Yamaha VX Cruiser HO Vs. Sea-Doo GTI Limited

In my opinion, the VX Cruiser HO and the VX Limited should have been one jet ski. The VX Cruiser HO has the engine that the VX Limited should have and making them one unit would have made a great machine! Making them one machine would really give Sea-Doo a run for there money on the Wake 155 and would technically put the combo in the Tow Sports Category.

But what it looks like to me is that Yamaha is trying to compete with the Sea-Doo GTI Limited. While the Yamaha beats the GTI Limited in Price, it fails at features that the GTI Limited has.

To be honest, it doesn’t feel like they’re competing with each other as the GTI Limited is trying to be a luxury jet ski and the VX Cruiser is trying to be a faster recreation jet ski.

I wanted to have the GTI Limited in the Luxury category as there is nothing at its price from the other manufacturers to compete with it and is a winner. And then the VX Cruiser HO I didn’t want it to have a direct competitor since I firmly believe that the VX Cruiser HO is a unique combination of power and recreation.

So we got two winners here. But each one in their own right.

With that, I’m going to leave it open to you. If all you care about is wanting a fast recreation Waverunner, then look at the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO. If you want Luxury with a bunch of useful accessories at a great price, then look at the Sea-Doo GTI Limited. Other than that I don’t think these skis are even playing on the same field, but both don’t have anyone to play against so that is why we’re here.

Yamaha VX Cruiser HO Features

  • RIDE.
  • NanoXcel Hull.
  • Security / Low-RPM Mode Remote Transmitter.
  • Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.
  • Cruiser Seat Stepped.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Waterbottle Holders.
  • 65 MPH.

Sea-Doo GTI Limited Features

  • iBR.
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Learning Key.
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • Touring Seat.
  • Cover.
  • Safety Kit.
  • Dry Bag.
  • Time / Distance to empty.
  • Attitude indicator.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Slow mode.
  • High-Performance VTS.
  • Palm Grips.
  • Luxury Color Scheme with matching the seat.
  • RF Key DESS.
  • 55 MPH.

Tow Sports

Tow Sports is an exciting category because only Sea-Doo is in it right now. We talked above about how Yamaha could quickly come in the category with combining the VX Cruiser HO engine with the VX Limited features but have yet to do it.

In this category, we have the Sea-Doo Wake 155 and the Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230. Fundamentally these are the same ski except for 2 big things that separate them – The hull and the engine.

The Wake 155 is excellent for someone who does pull sports like tubing and wakeboarding on the weekends and just needs something affordable to do it on. The Wake Pro is for someone who’s more into the sport and needs a lot more stable watercraft and an engine that is more than powerful enough to lift any person out of the water.

Features like Ski Pylon to get the rope up higher and away from the pump, Ski-Mode, Cruise Control, Slow Speed Mode, Programmable Learning Key, Electronic Trim, and so on are pretty much the same on the two. You also have the Wake Board holder that you can use to keep the wakeboard out of the way.

The Wake 155 is going to cost $11,999 while the Wake Pro is going to cost $14,699.

Is the Wake Pro worth the extra cost? Yes. Without a doubt, it is worth it for the seat, ride, and power that the ski delivers.

Also, the great thing about the wake series I’ve found from the years of selling them is that they have excellent resale value because of all the features you get with it stock. They also sell out quickly and 2018 for sure because the color looks perfect this year.

If you’re not sure what ski to get or if you even like the sport a Wake 155 is a great ski to get into if you have the money as it has a little bit of everything Sea-Doo offers at a great price.

Important: If you do any pull sports like tubing and wakeboarding then look into getting an Impeller Protector like this here. This will help keep you from sucking up tow ropes!

Sea-Doo Wake 155 Features

  • iBR.
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Fiberglass Hull.
  • Learning Key.
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • VTS(trim).
  • Cruise Control.
  • Ski-Mode.
  • Ski Pylon.
  • Wakeboard Holder.
  • Palm Grips.
  • RF DESS Key.

Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230 Features

  • ST3 Super Stable Hull.
  • iBR 3.0.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • Learning Key.
  • Deeper-Wider Reboarding Ladder.
  • VTS(trim).
  • Cruise Control.
  • Ski-Mode.
  • LinQ Ski Pylon.
  • Wakeboard Holder.
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Ergolock Seat.
  • Water-tight Shock-proof phone storage box.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • LinQ Attachments.
  • Palm Grips.
  • RF DESS Key.
  • Largest Swim Platform in the Industry.
  • Super Charged.

Towable Tube: The Wake Series don’t come with a towable tube, but if you want my opinion on a good tube then check out the Big Mable Towable here on Amazon.

 

Luxury

Up next to choose from is the Luxury Category. This line of watercraft are more for people who have owned watercraft before and now want the most comfortable and stable they can get. This line also can contain the biggest engine that each manufacturer sells so pretty much you get the best of everything in this category.

To make things better to understand I’m going to bleed some performance watercraft into this list as some manufacturers consider a very similar jet ski to be a luxury while the same ski, in my opinion, is more race and visa versa. I’m going to reserve the performance category below more for the racing series of watercraft.

Sea-Doo GTX 155 Vs. Yamaha FX HO

These two watercrafts are what I call the Goldie Locks of the watercraft world. They’re in the middle, not too slow, but not too fast. Not overly complicated but not simple. Not a lot of accessories but far from the fewest. They’re just stuck in the middle.

If someone came to me and said they just don’t know what to buy I would tell them to start here and either work there way up or down. Both the Sea-Doo and Yamaha have a tried and proven engine in them that if you ask me are bulletproof. Both are big and stable but the GTX is going to be more stable, and a better ride but the FX HO is going to have it in a race.

Sea-Doo GTX 155 $12,799

Yamaha FX HO $13,299

Sea-Doo GTX 155 Pros

  • ST3 Super Stable Hull.
  • iBR 3.0. (brakes, reverse, neutal, forward)
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Learning Key.
  • Deeper-Wider Reboarding Ladder.
  • High-Performance VTS(trim).
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Ergolock Seat Stepped.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • LinQ Attachments.
  • Palm Grips.
  • RF DESS Key.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Largest Swim Platform in the Industry.
  • Lighter weight than the FX HO.
  • More Stable than the FX, can board from the side!
  • Watertight Phone Box Compartment – This is very useful!

Sea-Doo GTX 155 Cons

  • Smaller Gas Tank.
  • Slower than the FX HO, about 5 to 7 MPH slower.
  • Less Overall Storage Capacity.
  • Wish it had the rear trunk storage for tow ropes like the FX HO has.

Yamaha FX HO Pros

  • RIDE. (Dual Throttle, forward – reverse and can act like a brake)
  • NanoXcel Hull.
  • Security / Low-RPM Mode Remote Transmitter.
  • Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.
  • Cruiser Seat Stepped.
  • Dual Mirrors.
  • Electronic Bilge.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Waterbottle Holders.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Faster than the GTX 155.
  • Bigger Gas tank by 2.6 Gallons.
  • That rear trunk storage for ropes is quite clever!

Yamaha FX HO Cons

  • Open Loop Cooling (this may be a positive to some, but to me, it’s not if you live near salt water, my opinion).
  • The way you access the front storage is clunkier than the GTX.
  • Cost more.
  • Doesn’t have the robust new lounge seating that Sea-Doo now has.
  • No easy way to attach an extra fuel tank or storage box. (Not a huge deal unless you make long trips)
  • Heavier by 61 pounds to the Sea-Doo GTX 155.

I think Sea-Doo blindsided the industry with such drastic innovations with the new storage access, more stable hull, the ability to create a lounge, LinQ system, and even the smartphone storage compartment that it’s pulling hard towards Sea-Doo for me. I know I’m a Sea-Doo fan but you must admit Sea-Doo is thinking outside the box when it comes to watercraft. Not saying Sea-Doo is perfect, I even wrote about the ugly things they’ve done this year here. But I’m loving the GTX 155 for 2018!


Sea-Doo GTX 230 Vs. Yamaha FX Cruiser HO

The GTX 230 or the FX Cruiser HO is for someone who likes comfort but also speed. The GTX is slightly faster, but the FX Cruiser HO is not slow. If you can’t pick between these two when looking at them on paper, then I recommend sitting on them to see which one better suits you as both are winners.

Sea-Doo GTX 230 $13,899

Yamaha FX Cruiser HO $13,799

Sea-Doo GTX 230 Pros

  • ST3 Super Stable Hull, you can board from the side!
  • iBR 3.0
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Learning Key.
  • Deeper-Wider Reboarding Ladder.
  • High-Performance VTS(trim).
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Ergolock Seat Stepped.
  • Water-tight Shock-proof phone storage box.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • LinQ Attachments (Can Expand the storage or gas).
  • Palm Grips.
  • RF DESS Key.
  • Largest Swim Platform in the Industry.
  • Super Charged.

Sea-Doo GTX 230 Cons

  • Smaller Gas Tank than the Yamaha.
  • Super Charged, This can be a positive or a negative depending on who you asked, so that is why it’s in both places.
  • No Electronic Bilge but does have bailer tubes.
  • Slightly less storage but it is easier to get to.
  • No beverage holder.

Yamaha FX Cruiser HO Pros

  • RIDE.
  • NanoXcel Hull.
  • Security / Low-RPM Mode Remote Transmitter.
  • Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.
  • Cruiser Seat Stepped.
  • Electronic Bilge.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Waterbottle Holders.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Trim.
  • Pull Up Cleats.
  • Beverage Holder.
  • Bigger Gas Tank.
  • Bigger overall storage.
  • Not Super Charged.

Yamaha FX Cruiser HO Cons

  • Slightly slower than the GTX 230.
  • No lounge seating like the ST3 (RXT and GTX Hull) have.
  • Weighs slightly more.
  • Harder to get to the front storage from a seating position. This is one of those things you don’t realize how much this sucks until you do it enough and try to get to that one thing at the bottom of the storage.
  • Not Super Charged, This can be a positive or a negative depending on who you ask, so that is why it’s in both places.

Kawasaki Ultra 310X SE Vs. Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO Vs. Sea-Doo Limited 230

In this category Yamaha steps it up in power and tech, Sea-Doo gives you a lot of useful accessories and features, and Kawasaki gives you a ton of storage and the most stock HP.

Kawasaki Ultra 310X SE $15,799

Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO $15,999

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 $15,899

Kawasaki Ultra 310X SE Pros

  • Cruise control.
  • 5mph mode.
  • fuel economy assistance mode.
  • Adjustable Handlebars.
  • 56-Gal Front Storage.
  • Slo-Mode Key.
  • Cruiser Seat.
  • Trim.
  • The Most Stock HP in the Market.
  • 310HP, the other 2 are under 300HP.
  • Manual reverse (some people find this a plus)
  • The largest gas tank of the bunch.

Kawasaki Ultra 310X SE Cons

  • It’s the heaviest one by a good bit (they measure curb weight)
  • No braking system.
  • Lacks all the extra accessories and features that the Sea-Doo GTX Limited gets. It’s a lot.

Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO Pros

  • RIDE.
  • NanoXcel 2 Hull.
  • Security / Low-RPM Mode.
  • Dual Remote Transmitter.
  • Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.
  • Cruiser Seat Stepped.
  • Dual Mirrors.
  • Electronic Bilge.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Waterbottle Holders.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Trim.
  • Pull Up Cleats.
  • Super Charged.

Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO Cons

  • Lacks all the extra accessories and features that the Sea-Doo GTX Limited gets.
  • The most expensive of the bunch.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 Pros

  • ST3 Super Stable Hull.
  • iBR 3.0.
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Learning Key.
  • Deeper-Wider Reboarding Ladder.
  • High-Performance VTS(trim).
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Ergolock Seat Stepped.
  • Water-tight Shock-proof phone storage box.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • LinQ Attachments (can increase storage and gas capacity with this).
  • Palm Grips.
  • RF DESS Key.
  • Largest Swim Platform in the Industry.
  • 100-Watt Bluetooth Speakers w/ Controls.
  • Cover.
  • Dry bag.
  • Safety Kit.
  • Cruise control.
  • Slow mode.
  • Soft Knee Pad.
  • Depth finder.
  • Altitude indicator.
  • Water temperature.
  • Storage Bin Organizer.
  • Carpet with Wood Pattern.
  • USB Charger.
  • Super Charged.
  • Oddly enough it’s the lightest watercraft of the bunch even though it has all these extra accessories.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 Cons

  • No electronic bilge like the Yamaha has.
  • The smallest gas tank of the bunch.
  • The smallest storage of the bunch.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 Vs. Yamaha FX Limited SVHO Vs. Kawasaki Ultra 310LX

These watercraft are the top dogs out of each manufacturer, they’re the best of the best. If you enjoy the best things in life, then these are the ones to pick from.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 $16,899

Yamaha FX Limited SVHO $16,899

Kawasaki Ultra 310LX $17,999

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 Pros

  • 300 HP.
  • iBR 3.0.
  • Sport Mode.
  • Touring Mode.
  • ECO Mode.
  • Learning Key.
  • Deeper-Wider Reboarding Ladder.
  • High-Performance VTS(trim).
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Ergolock Seat Stepped.
  • Water-tight Shock-proof phone storage box.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • LinQ Attachments (can increase storage and gas capacity with this).
  • Palm Grips.
  • RF DESS Key.
  • Largest Swim Platform in the Industry.
  • 100-Watt Bluetooth Speakers w/ Controls.
  • Cover.
  • Dry bag.
  • Safety Kit.
  • Cruise control.
  • Slow mode.
  • Soft Knee Pad.
  • Depth finder.
  • Altitude indicator.
  • Water temperature.
  • Storage Bin Organizer.
  • Carpet with Wood Pattern.
  • USB Charger.
  • Super Charged.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 Cons

  • Doesn’t have the towable tube like the Yamaha.
  • Doesn’t have the bumpers like the Yamaha.
  • Doesn’t have the rear storage compartment as the Yamaha has.
  • The smallest storage capacity of the bunch.
  • The smallest gas tank of the bunch.

Yamaha FX Limited SVHO Pros

  • RIDE.
  • NanoXcel 2 Hull.
  • Security / Low-RPM Mode.
  • Dual Remote Transmitter.
  • Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.
  • Cruiser Seat Stepped.
  • Dual Mirrors.
  • Electronic Bilge.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Waterbottle Holders.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Trim.
  • Pull Up Cleats.
  • Beverage Holder.
  • Super Charged.
  • Matching Single rider Tube.
  • 12 Volt plug.
  • Dual Bumpers.
  • Dry Bag.
  • Lightest of the bunch.

Yamaha FX Limited SVHO Cons

  • No Sound system like the other two.
  • No Depth Finder like the Sea-Doo.
  • No soft knee pad or Ergo styling like the Sea-Doo.
  • Missing a lot of the little accessories that the Sea-Doo has. But Yamaha did a better job at giving you accessories for tubes that Sea-Doo did not.
  • Lacks the ability to turn into a lounge-like all Sea-Doo’s with the new ST3 hull (All GTX and RXT models).
  • It’s harder to get to things in the front storage compared to the Sea-Doo.

Kawasaki Ultra 310LX Pros

  • Sound System(60-Watt Speakers).
  • Cruise control.
  • 5mph mode.
  • Fuel economy assistance mode.
  • Adjustable Handlebars.
  • 56-Gal Front Storage.
  • Slo-Mode Key.
  • Cruiser Seat.
  • Trim.
  • GPS Holder.
  • The Most Stock HP in the Market.

Kawasaki Ultra 310LX Cons

  • The most expensive watercraft on the market.
  • The heaviest watercraft of the bunch (curb weight).
  • No braking system, still has forward, neutral and reverse.
  • Lacks all the extra’s that Sea-Doo and Yamaha are giving with there watercrafts.
  • It’s harder to get to things in the front storage compared to the Sea-Doo.

Performance

The real point of this guide is to help new people and people looking to buy but don’t know what to buy. You have now gotten to a point where these watercrafts might be a little too much to new people and honestly, should avoid unless your goal is to become a racer.

The GTR and VXR are not that bad but are up there in racing style.

Another thing about this category is that the people most likely to read this already know a good bit about these machines already. So it would be kind of pointless for me to write about them. Instead, I wrote some blurbs about them, but if you have a particular question about them, please feel to comment below. If enough people give enough questions, I might do a whole post on these.

GTR Vs. GTR-X Vs. VXR

If you want something fast and nimble but don’t want to pay a lot, then these 3 are the ones to look for.

The battle is really between the GTR and the VXR. The GTR-X is a more race-ready version but has the same GTI hull as the GTR does. But the GTR-X has an ergo-lock seat like the more powerful RXP-X 300 and the GTR-X has many of the same features of the RXP-X but like I said it has the GTI bottom hull instead of the T3 hull of the RXP-X.

Even though I’m a big Sea-Doo guy, the VXR is the one that stands out to me. It’s a naturally aspirated engine which means it doesn’t have a supercharger like the GTR has and tops out at the same top end too. What also helps is that it’s lighter weight than the GTR.

With the GTR-X it has all the race settings like the seat, handlebars, and Gauges that make it feel more like a racing machine – but it’s also got a bigger price on it too.

RXT 230 Vs.

The RXT 230 has become an oddball for 2018 and maybe should not have been made? It’s very similar to the GTX 230, but the GTX 230 to me is a great value. I don’t say this easily as the RXT is my favorite ski that Sea-Doo makes, but it’s not the same machine anymore. They gave it less power and stripped it of the luxury features that I loved like cruise control and a reboarding ladder. It’s a stripped down, different color and different seat GTX 230. If anything it’s a racing style GTX 230 with a better color scheme if you ask me.

If anything it’s a racing style GTX 230 with a better color scheme if you ask me.

Kawasaki Ultra 310X Vs. Yamaha FX SVHO Vs. RXT-X 300

These 3 Jet Skis are the racing models of the 3 seater realm. These watercraft do well in straight line racing and are very fast.

If you have never ridden a watercraft before then, these might not be the best for you. Sure, they do have features to let you better control the machine and keep it from going too fast but that’s like giving someone cake and telling them only to take small bites – you know how it ends.

GP1800 Vs. RXP-X

I won’t be going into great details about these two machines for the simple fact is if you’re new to the sport or have never ridden such powerful machines you should not get them.

Another reason is there are a lot of die-hard fan bases with these two machines that the racers and their fans already know plenty about them. This guide is more for new people are people looking at the different models. These two are NEXT LEVEL!

Not only the power these machines put out, which is the same engine in many of there other models, but it’s the hull that is vastly different. Like the RXP-X has a T3 hull that doesn’t handle like the RXT-X. The RXT-X can take the chop and straight line a lot better. The RXP-X will turn on a dime and needs to for races. It’s jumpy too,  because of the hull and a new rider might not understand why it won’t find a line at 30 MPH when tubing and that’s because it’s not made to go 30 MPH it’s made to do 60MPH and then turn into a corner.

Learn More About Closed Loop Cooling vs. Open Loop Cooling

You may have noticed I talked a bit about closed loop cooling and open loop cooling. There exist two styles that watercraft use to cool the engine. Yamaha and Kawasaki use open loop cooling, and Sea-Doo uses closed loop cooling. If you want to learn more about it I have a post on it here.

Color Options

This guide is based purely on stats and specs to see which watercraft is better than the other and to see which one suits your needs better.

The bad news is that you only get specific color options, the specs you like might not match the color you want.

Where Do You Go From Here?

Before you buy a jet ski, you need the correct gear, accessories, and tips.

Here is a guide on 107 tips and Accessories.

Here is another guide on the things to wear.

And if you’re really new to the sport then check out my Beginners Section of the Website Here. 

 


4 comments

Leave a Reply