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2018 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki

Below you can download a PDF copy of my 2018 Sea-Doo vs Yamaha vs Kawasaki post.

It’s been converted as a PDF to make it easier to read instead of a long article like it used to be.

Click here to download.

Author

Steven

I started working at a power sports dealership in 2007, I worked in parts, service counter, and as a technician before moving to sales in 2013. I created StevenInSales.com in 2014 to answer common watercraft questions I would get from people. Now managing the site full-time, I continue to provide advice and web tools for my readers about watercraft. I've owned several watercraft, with a Sea-Doo Spark as my current main PWC.

103 thoughts on “2018 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki”

  1. Hi Steven I know it’s 2020 but if your reading this I like the 2018 gauges better so how come the 2018 gtx 155 has the single gauge and the 230 and limited models have the analog and digital gauges? Is it the horsepower or the limited package.

    Reply
    • The higher-end models got a better gauge. You’re not missing much as the simple gauge on the GTX 155 tells you the same stuff.

      Reply
  2. Hi Steven, I own a 2015 RXT X 260 with only 20 hrs on it, but would like to upgrade to a 300 HP model. A BRP dealer offered me a 2018 RXT X 300 in ice metal/lava red for a really good price. When do you think will the 2020 line up be presented by BRP? Or is there any innovative R&D on its way you might already know about? Thanks in advance! Emil

    Reply
    • The new models will come after summer, but if you can get a leftover model for sure go with that one! I seriously doubt they’ll add anymore HP and the body is not going to change for a few more years since it’s so new. The only thing that might change will be the color and maybe the gauge. The 2018 will have more rebates and will ride the same as the 2019.

      Reply
  3. Need an opinion. My older GP1300 is a blast on calm days which might occur once or twice a year on Lake Michigan. My new VX Deluxe is much more comfortable in the usual messy 2-3 foot chop, but a bit slow. Any thoughts on a faster but still more comfortable ride? FX too long for fun? VXR or GP1800?

    Reply
    • The VXR will be the same hull as your VX but with a lot more powerful engine. As for the GP1800 it takes that to a new level, not for the faint of heart. If it was me I would for sure get the VXR!

      Reply
  4. I’m in the market for a Kawasaki STX 15F and would use it for waterskiing. 190 lb. male as driver/spotter and skiier. Is that realistic… that a STX 15F could handle that? Water would be Severn, South and Magothy Rivers near Annapolis, MD.

    Reply
  5. Great article! I’m having a hard time deciding on two different PWCs. I’m looking for something fun that I can toss around, and has the speed for when I want it. I’ve rode mostly old skis and nothing really new. Looking between GTR 230 and GP1800R difference in price is around $2000. Can you still toss the GP around. I tend to lean towards Yamaha but I do like the looks of the GTR more. Like the engine of the GP more. Help! Mostly be riding in small lakes.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Hi Steven,
    Now that the 2019 models have been announced, I have a dilemma. In looking to purchase my first PWC, I thought I found the right specs in the GTX 230 LTD. The major issue I have is that I cannot stand the Equestrian Brown colour. If I go with the blue model (not LTD) I would end up spending more to get all the accessories that the LTD models come with. I can’t believe they kept the same colour scheme from 2018. The only change I could see is the new display.
    As for the 2019 Yamaha FX Cruiser, well they seem to have done some great things for this year. I am impressed with the look (predominantly white), the new touch screen, new hull and expandable options.

    I do enjoy music and would have bought the built in stereo on the GTX (which I am sure is better sounding than any detachable speaker that Yamaha has).

    What is your opinion of these 2019 models side by side?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • If I was in your shoes I would go with the NON-LTD GTX 230, either 2018 or 2019. I would prefer the 2018 model as the rebates and promotions will be the best for it and I would add the stereo option too. A lot of the extra accessories you get with the LTD are not that amazing. Like the depth finder only works well when at idle. You still get the same ride and comfort as the LTD but for a cheaper price. The only other thing I would add is the cover.

      Reply
  7. Thanks for all he info. The 2015 was best to heck so passing on that ski. My kids will be primary users and we will be on a lake with very little big waves/chip. I’m picky and want a used ski “like new” so may go with the VX Cruiser HO. I really like the storage on the FX but can’t justify the price difference and having a hard time finding a “like new” used one. Should I wait it out for an FX? I’ve read a lot of good comments on the VX HO so hoping that will satisfy………thanks for all the input.

    Reply
  8. I’ve narrowed it down. 2018 VX Cruiser HO with 5 hours on it new condition and 4 year extended warranty or 2015 FZS SVHO with 5 hours on it – no warranty or 2015 FX HO with 14 hours on it. I get them impression the FXS is more of a race ski? I’m leaning towards 2018 unit but could get the 2015 for about $3k less. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • The 2015 FX HO would be what I would go with. Better ride and plenty of power and storage. Since its August I would also shop around the 3 nearest dealers to see if they have any 2017 models since 2018’s were just released. This is when you’re going to find the very best deals on 2017 models.

      Reply
  9. Been shopping for a ski and I’ve narrowed it down to 3 and need your advice. I’ve found a 2016 GTR 215 with 24 hours for $8k with trailer, a 2016 Wake Pro 215 with 23 hours (listed for $11k with trailer – haven’t negotiated yet) and a 2017 Wake 155 with 29 hours for $9300 with trailer. I’ve been bouncing back and forth on supercharged vs non. Don’t need the speed but think I’ll regret it if I don’t get one with it. Also a little concerned with maintenance on the supercharged engines? Advice would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Those two supercharged Sea-Doo have very low hours, so need now to worry about supercharger maintenance anytime soon. You should only worry about getting the supercharger worked on at the 200-hour mark. For me personally, I would go with the Wake 155 because it’s at a better price and its a good all around jet ski. The Wake Pro is next in line only because of the bigger and more stable body. If you care more about a more plushy ride go with the Wake Pro. If you want the most bang for your buck go with the Wake 155. If you want a small ski with a big engine go with the GTR. Above all else, have a shop look at the one you want to buy before buying it just to make sure its good.

      Reply
  10. Hi and thanks for this awesome article and replying to everyone. I have seen the Spark Trixx last week at the cottage and lover the look. The guy was also pulling kids in tubes. I want something for the whole family and want to have all around fun around the cottage. I’m not looking for crazy speed also as my kids will ride as well. Do you recommend the Trixx 3-seater? or just a regular Spark? It will be in salt water as well. Not sure if I should opt for the bigger GTI but I think the Trixx would do the trick for us! lol

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t get the Spark Trixx unless you really love the look of it or need the special VTS it has for doing tricks. The regular Spark 3up will be fine for most people and a great jet ski to get you started in the jet ski world. If you ride where it gets really choppy a GTI model will be a better ride, something like the 130HP will be a perfect blend of price, comfort and pull sports.

      Reply
  11. I got the GTX 155. Took it out today! Love it sooo much! Now after riding in salt water I actually have another question. I read your “how to clean” but I have one friend saying to hose the entire engine compartment with fresh water. I have another friend saying not to do that unless salt water actually gets inside the engine compartment. What do you suggest? I’m terrified of salt haha. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • I only rinse off when I’m leaving the beach or salt water, will also use salt-away to flush. I wouldn’t rinse after every ride that would be too much. Your second friend is right, rinse it off every so often.

      Reply
  12. Hello Steven,
    This will be our 1st PWC. We only have a couple priorities, the 1st is me being able to slalom ski and the 2nd is pulling one of our teenage sons on a tube. It will mostly be used by myself and my husband, both in our mid-fifties, every other weekend or so. We won’t be getting crazy out there. BUT our sons will take them out every now and then too. We also don’t want to invest a lot of money because we would really like to get two. We’ll need a trailer, new jackets, etc. too. It will always be rode in brackish water in N. FL. Any advice you get can give is greatly appreciated, thanks!

    Reply
    • Sounds like the Wake series will be your best bet, to save money you can get the Wake 155. You can also add the ski pylon to any of the bigger model’s like the GTX or RXT if you like the bigger body but don’t want to spend the extra for the Wake PRO – something like a GTX 155 would be a good in the middle ski between the Wake 155 and Wake Pro.

      Reply
  13. I am torn between the Sea Doo Wake 155 and the Yamaha VX Limited. I live in Tampa so it will be primarily salt water and towing is key. The wife’s family is very persistent on Yamaha being a better more reliable machine. God help me if the sea doo has issues down the line.

    Reply
    • Looks like you’re in a pickle. If towing is key the Wake is the winner, but having people always looking for the slightest flaw in the Sea-Doo will get annoying after awhile. It’s like Ford vs Chevy or Mac vs PC – people will always find something. The good news is that the Wake has the 155HP engine which if you ask me is the most bulletproof engine they ever made. The other good news is if you go with the VX is that you can be the one to point at all the little issues it has. The real take away from is that both options you can not go wrong on, in fact, get the family to go to a dealership and sit on each one to make sure it fits all your needs for comfort and storage.

      Reply
  14. Thanks Steven, I appreciate your input. Being s previous seadoo owner with only good experiences it’s a though decision. The Yamaha is looking like a good choice though, is the ride system close to as good as IBR?

    Reply
    • RIDE is close but not fully iBR. RIDE feels more like having two throttles, one for reverse and the other for the forward. But with practice, it’s not that bad but I find new riders take to iBR a lot quicker.

      Reply
  15. Hi Steven,

    I see above a few discussions on the GTR 230 VS VXR. I am also looking at both of these and see you have given the VXR the win here, my question is around the hull. The reviews I have read have the GTR hull being more playful, being able to slide and spin while the VXR being a carving machine. I am after something a bit more playful would I still be able to do this with the VXR?

    Reply
    • Yes, the VXR will be playful when you want it to be. Its design more for the racing feel while the GTR has the easier going body from the GTI. Both will be fun to play around on.

      Reply
  16. Hi Steven
    Looking at buying a PWC for skiing, wakeboarding and general recreational use. This is our first jetski and want a good all rounder.
    Currently looking at the Seadoo WakePro 230. Wondering what your thoughts are on this PWC and if you would recommend any other brands over the WakePro?

    Reply
    • I think the Wake Pro 230 is a great option, no other manufacturer besides Sea-Doo have a Wake-Type model. They’re really good sellers because of all the features you get. It also has a big enough engine that you won’t feel like your missing anything. It’s a good ski, can’t recommend it enough.

      Reply
  17. Well after doing quite a bit of research and what not I have decided to go with the Sea Doo Rxt X 300! I will be waiting to see what colors come out in the 2019 models though. Not too fond of the 2018 colors but if I had to choose one of the 2018 ones it would be the yellow one. Crossing my fingers for a green or blue one this upcoming year. Thank you for all your tips and advice ?

    Reply
  18. 2018 STX 15F! Is an amazing PWC, do not over look this machine.
    My family has years of riding our 1997-2002 SeaDoo’s (GTX, XP, GTI) two strokes around.
    I love my SeaDoo’s, they are fun, small and often reliable. Top speed at elevation of 4,100 above sea level has always been around 42-45MPH. 42-45 MPH is perfect for new riders, experienced riders, cruising, having fun in big waves or calm waters. Our heavier larger GTX dominates the huge waves while the ride on the XP and GTI is more challenging.
    We have learned over the years the very best PWC at the lake is the one that is running when you want to go out…. I have recently become tired of being a mechanic on vacation, so I started researching the best 2018 PWC for my family. Criteria used;
    1. Reliability/warranty
    2. Fuel economy
    3. Safety
    4. Fun
    5. Speed
    In my opinion the STX 15F won and here is why.
    1. Can anyone beat the 60 month extended warranty? The 1500cc fuel injected 4 stroke engine, normally aspirated should last a very long time as it is the base engine for Kawasaki’s supercharged 310HP monster. The STX does not have bells ands whistles, less stuff to break.
    2. 1500cc fuel injected can provide for a long ride on less gas than many. Last weekend we took a four hour ride and the fuel consumption from our STX and 720cc GTI was very close to the same. If you are looking at a ski that has a button for fuel economy watch out.
    3. This PWC will shock you on how fast it is. There is a slow and fast key provided. The mirrors and reverse are helpful.
    4. If you want a thirteen foot boat this PWC is not for you. Being a shorter PWC means all the time you are just playing is more fun then a PWC that is HUGE. The STX has amazing 0-30 time under two seconds! The STX works well for cruising, playing in the big waves and racing. I do not know of another PWC hull design that has won more races.
    5. Speed GPS measured at 62MPH! Dang this speed is now a bit scary. I raced an Ultra 310 last weekend and yes he pulled away from me in a straight line, probably 70MPH. Back in the cove and playing in the huge waves I had way more fun than him. With the STX you will not need to upgrade to a more performance or fun PWC in two years.

    Reply
  19. I have a question. As far as the speakers go have you heard the ones Sea Doo has? That was another sell point for me on the Kawasaki 310lx until I found out Sea Doo also has a sound system. I think it’s even more Watts than the Kawasaki. I am thinking of getting the 2018 gtx 230 after doing more research. But I’m still up in the air. I want a fast powerful machine that I can jump small waves (on the river) and be able to pull a tube and one that isn’t going to have a ton of issues.

    Reply
    • The GTX 230 is a great option and you can get the speaker system with it. It’s quite loud and works just fine. I haven’t had the speaker system of both together to compare but both systems are very good by themselves. A 230 HP engine is more than enough for pulling tubes, so much so that Sea-Doo sells the Wake Pro with a 230hp engine and it’s made for all kinds of pull sports. Even the 155hp will pull a tube just fine. The best bet will be going to a dealership and see how you fit on each model, maybe even ask if they do test rides. You’ll be surprised by how much power these things have even for a base model if you’ve never ridden one much before.

      Reply
    • I would say reliability on the two is about the same. The VXR would take the lead because it has less moving parts because it’s missing a supercharger. But the new ACE engines that Sea-Doo is using are very good and well thought out engines, I was there when they released the new ACE300 to the world and the tech and thought processes that went into that engine were next level.

      Reply
  20. Hi steven

    I am trying to decided between a 2018 grt 230 and vxr yami, lam hearing that the gtr hull is not as stable as the vxr and that the power of both are the same, but gtr requires more maintenace dur to the sc.
    Is correct and which would you choose.

    Tnanks
    Gus

    Reply
    • Both will do the same speed and I find the GTR hull to be more stable but the VXR hull to be more sporty. The 2018 GTR has the “maintenance free” supercharger but they still recommend letting a pro look at it after 200 hours which is a lifetime of riding for most people. Even though I’m a big Sea-Doo guy the Yamaha VXR is the winner in this segment. Less moving parts and able to get enough power out of the engine without using a supercharger is amazing. If you want power in a small body the VXR is the winner but I find the ride, seat, and storage better on the GTR.

      Reply
  21. Well done on an amazing review. May i please ask you a couple of questions. I am looking for a wave runner for the Bahamas and would like to use it for Wake Boarding. Unfortunately the dealer there does not have the Sea Doo Wake Pro 230. The 3 Sea Doo options he offered that he said he could provide the accessories to wake board on are 1) GTX Limited 230; 2) RXT X 300; 3) GTR 230.
    Can you tell me which of the three you recommend i buy (or another brand)? Thanks so much!!

    Reply
    • I personally would go with the GTX Limited 230 as that would be the closest to the feel of the Wake Pro. Plus, you get the limited accessories with it which are great! The RXT-X would be too much power for pull sports and the GTR is in the smaller body.

      Reply
      • Steven, Thanks for a great write up and all the responses. Its 4th of July man! get away from the PC and go ride. 🙂

        Reply
  22. Great article, thank you.
    I can get the GTI SE 130 and the VX Deluxe for basically the same $ from the dealership.
    PWC will be used in FL, so salt water is a concern. I understand maintenance, flushing, winterizing is key. That being said, which one would you choose and why?
    thanks!

    Reply
    • This one is going to come down to how you fit on the machine. I’m a big Sea-Doo fan, but if you sit on it and it doesn’t fit your body and the Yamaha does then go with the Yamaha. Both are a great machine and you can’t go wrong with either one especially if they’re priced the same.

      Reply
  23. Hey Steven: I have a 13 and 17 year old (both boys) and am wanting to get them their first jet ski. Which do you recommend for the first time? (I like the learning key option and the braking) Also, since I am a woman going into a dealership on my own, any suggestions so that I am not taken advantage of? I want a fair price for TWO skis, double trailer and warranty.

    Reply
    • The first thing you want to do is check out the local laws for age and if they need to take a boater safety course. Boater safety is very important especially for new young riders. For there first watercraft I would recommend a Sea-Doo Spark with iBR. The Spark is going to be great on gas and it’s super playful without being too powerful. I like them so much that I own a 3up Spark myself. The iBR is a must have for better control around the docks and to give them brakes when on the water – it can get crazy out there.

      To get the best price possible it would be best to do everything over email. Try to get a price from the 3 closest dealerships and just have a price war, don’t forget price should not be the only factor but what that dealership can do for you. I rather get a free cover or service than a few dollars off, and not only that buy from a dealership I trust and have good vibes from. Price can be a double edge sword for the Spark especially during the heat of the season. Sparks don’t have much markup, so it’s going to be hard to find some dealerships droppings prices if at all. You do get more wiggle room in the higher cost machines though. Email levels the playing field and really the only time to go into the dealership is either to check the machines out in person and to take delivery/pay for them.

      The topic of how not to get taken advantage of got me wanting to write a post on it, there is a lot to cover.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your advice. One more question….Even if I ride occasionally and need a smoother ride (cause I am old) and don’t want to get bounced around a lot, would you still recommend the Spark?
        I will be interested to see your post on getting an honest and fair deal. It will be especially helpful for ladies who are buying on their own. Again, thanks for your help.

        Reply
        • The Spark is going to be more of a wetter ride then other jet skis but it’s not that bad if you take it easy and avoid the wakes of bigger boats. The only real problem you’re going to run into is the seat, it’s not very comfortable after riding for an hour. But if you ride occasionally it shouldn’t be much of a problem at all. One tip I would give to new riders is to get some riding gloves. I know it sounds crazy and may seem odd but when you’re new you’re going to have a death grip on those handlebars and blisters will form. Plus, gloves give you better grip since everything is wet. I have a good post explaining this more here https://www.steveninsales.com/blisters-grip-best-jet-ski-riding-gloves/

          Reply
  24. Nice write up. After going on a friends 04 GTX Supercharged I am interested in a my own PWC. I’ve looked at the spark and the trixx… but I’ve also found a low hour (74) 06 RXT. The small nimbleness of the spark is definitely interesting but not sure how it feels compared to that 04 GTX. I never went above 50.. lakes don’t seem calm enough around this area.

    Reply
    • The GTX would feel like a truck compared to the Spark. The RXT would ride the same but have a ton more get-up-and-go-power and be more playful too. I personally would consider the RXT, only after it’s been proven that it has the new supercharger shims and has been serviced, only because it would be more comfortable and faster than a Spark. If you like the ride of the 04 GTX but don’t want all that power and want to keep cost down then look at any model GTI from 2012 to now as it has a very similar hull and size.

      Reply
  25. Steven this was really useful. I’m completely new to this, but have a new property with a boat berth out the back. I want a JetSki – I will be able to jump on and take off. Saltwater. We have 3 kids and I want to tow them. I want it all (luxury, space, audio, features and fun) – whatever the cost (I’m lucky it is not an issue for me). I would also just like to cruise around on my own. I just saw the 2018 sea-doo Limited GTX 300 and fell in love. It’s a gorgeous machine. I want to buy it. Then I read your review and it got me worried. Is it too powerful for a beginner? I’m very sensible, but I’m not gunna kill myself with it am I ?

    Reply
    • Great question. No, you’re not going to hurt yourself on the GTX LTD 300 because it has the biggest engine you can get. It’s like a luxury car with a big engine, sure it’s powerful but it’s also tame. You have 3 different modes, you default to “Touring Mode” every time you start the engine. In Touring Mode the machine is laid back and super easy to manage. You also have ECO Mode which is like touring mode but has a limited top speed and gives you great gas mileage. And of course you have Sport Mode which is full power, to get in this mode you must hold the Sport button down and confirm it again. Not only that you get two keys, a Normal Key and A Learning Key. Learning Keys limits the top speed and is in Touring Mode all the time, its the perfect key to learn the ropes on. You’ll be fine on the GTX LTD 300, it’s an amazing machine. When I tell beginners to stay away from 300 I’m talking more along the lines of the RXP-X 300 – With its engine and Hull it’s on a different level than anything else. Just like with any watercraft or boat don’t be silly and be smart out in the water. Keep mind the 300’s have forced break-in mode so you won’t be at full power for a few hours anyway so that is plenty of time to get used to it. Also, watch out when you start getting comfortable with the power you’ll want more and more 🙂

      Reply
  26. 2018 GTI SE 155 vs Yamaha VX Cruiser HO? Local dealer has them for the same price and I’m torn between the SeaDoo’s tech, trim, and ability to keep me dryer vs Yamaha Waverunner in general. However I like the engine of the VXHO. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • This is a tough one for sure. The only thing I know to do is go and sit on each one for at least 15 minutes to see which fits your body the best. You can’t go wrong with either one.

      Reply
      • Going to go with the VX Cruiser HO!

        Last question. I purchase a November 2013 SeaDoo Move I trailer from someone, but after getting home and measuring my 2018 Yamaha 3 seater will be approved 18” longer. I google images of trailers with PWCs and am seeing that most have the longer trailer that runs the entire length of the 3 person PWC while some use an older 2 person sled with the same 1.5 feet hanging over. Is it ok to use a shorter trailer? The one I purchase is rated at 1,250 pounds so max weight should be fine.

        Thoughts?

        Reply
        • When it comes to trailers you want about 10 pounds on the tongue (front) of the trailer. This is to keep it from bouncing lose, it’s rare but I’ve seen some bounce off the ball of a truck because the trailer was too tongue light. This is also why the safety chains are important too. You also want the 10 pounds on the front to keep the trailer from smacking you in the face when getting it off the ball (happened to me way too many times). Since its a Sea-Doo Move Trailer you can side the front crank back and forth to adjust the weight, it should be a 9/16th deep socket. It becomes a balancing act, so to be on the safe side put blocks under the rear of the trailer and the front to keep it from slamming in either direction. Back when I used to put these trailers together I made a template, wish I still had those template measurements. The safest bet will be to let the dealership your getting your new machine at balance the trailer for you, if they’re anything like me they’ll have it down to a science. If that trailer doesn’t work out for you look at Triton Aluminum Trailers, they’re the best in the industry and last for a long time.

          Reply
  27. Hi, I’ve been researching the Sea Doo GTX 300 Limited. I am really leaning toward getting this machine over the Yamaha FX Limited. I have heard some things on different forums about cracks in the hulls or cracks in the gel coat after a hard day of riding. Have you heard or seen anything like this for yourself? I’ve also heard people say that Sea Doos sink. How is this even possible if the 2018s don’t even roll over. I’ll be riding which ever machine I chose in salt water and may get it into the ocean for some wave jumping. I don’t want to have any problems with cracks. I’ll also be using it to pull the kids around the bay on a tub. I’m really looking for an all purpose machine that I can count on with whatever I chose to do. I want the machine that will provide the most fun for me and my family without costly problems arising every year. Reliability is a huge factor in my choice also. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
    • I haven’t heard of cracks or problems with the gel coat. Usually, when there is a crack or fiberglass damage its user error and many people don’t want to admit it or the kids do something and they don’t want to get in trouble. The truth is that you’re going to hear from people having issues no matter the brand. These people make the most noise as they have nothing better to do as there machine is broken, but the people having no issues are busy enjoying their machines. It doesn’t matter if its a jet ski, a car, an Xbox or whatever there will always be someone with some issue. What matters when buying a jet ski is the dealership and the warranty they give – if you don’t get the warm fuzzies from them or don’t trust their service department then I would not buy no matter if it’s Sea-Doo, Yamaha, or Kawasaki. I personally would go with the Sea-Doo because I have a local dealership I trust and I know will be there to help me if anything goes wrong. I’ve also ridden more Sea-Doo then I care to admit and can count on one hand how many times I’ve had issues ( most of them were my own fault ). I say go with the Sea-Doo but if your local dealer doesn’t treat you right then I would go with a manufacturer’s dealer that does. Also, I got to say the new Hull on the GTX is quite sturdy, I’ve never felt anything like it. And the closed loop cooling is a must for the salt water riding and the radio with the dry box have come in handy.

      Reply
      • So I ordered the Seadoo GYX 300 limited. It should be here in a week or so. Now I’m looking for some solid maintenance tips. After riding I know you have to do the flush with fresh water and spray down the engine to get the salt off but do you recommend fogging the engine after each use? Also I’m not sure what all purpose lube spray to use. Some people swear by Fluid Film others say use the seadoo xps spray and that it’s the best. I’ve heard others say they use wd40. Not sure what to use or what to spray as to not harm wires and hoses. Also what’s your take on the salt away spray/solution? Thanks for your help.

        Reply
        • You only fog the engine for long-term storage. Constant fogging can lead to foul spark plugs so only do it for long-term storage, like over the winter. Fogging creates a protective layer in the cylinders and engine to keep rust from forming. I use the XPS spray from Sea-Doo. You can use WD-40 but it’s not as thick and doesn’t last as long as the protective sprays from the manufacturers.

          Reply
  28. Hi – Following up on my note from January 18th. Sea-doo GTI SE vs Yamaha VX Cruiser. What about the VX Cruiser do you not like? Also, my local dealer sells both Sea-doo and Yamaha, and feels the Yamaha Ride is a better system. At this point, leaning towards Yamaha…

    Reply
    • The only problem I have with the VX Cruiser is that its the same as the VX Deluxe but it’s $300 more and the only difference is the seat. Sure, a nice seat can be worth the cost but they should have combined the two units instead of making it confusing with 2. Other than that it will be a fine machine and if you like RIDE tech better then for sure go with the Yamaha.

      Reply
  29. I have a 2003 sea doo that I love. Yes it’s a 2 stroke, ugh- no one will touch it. Supposedly it’s been repaired and is running good I won’t see you until the end of the month people tell me to run not walk but run and get rid of it if it’s running good I have the opportunity to buy the 2018 Kawasaki never been in the water 310 with a brand new trailer and the five year warranty for 14 five should I do it

    Reply
    • I personally would get rid of the 2-stroke and get a 2018 Kawasaki. A 5-year warranty is amazing too, you don’t see that often in the watercraft world. Just be careful, the 310’s are a super powerful machine.

      Reply
      • I’ve ridden jet skis before but this will be my first one. I was looking at getting the Kawasaki 310lx. But you say be careful, does this mean I should get something smaller?

        Reply
        • If you rode another 300HP jet ski before then go for it, but if you have not I would maybe get something less powerful. 300HP jet skis are no joke and if you’re not used to the power you can get hurt especially if you have it in the fast key or performance modes. I only say this because of doing many test drives over the years and when someone gets there first jet ski that is not a rental unit they’re always surprised by the power it has, some never go over 30mph on their first time out. I can remember my first time out on a 215HP jet ski and thought it was crazy fast but over many, many rides I got used to it. Don’t let me stop you if you really love this ski, you can always go slow and get the feel of it and then rest assured you won’t need to upgrade anytime soon as that model is top of the line.

          Reply
  30. The best way to find out which one’s hold up the best is to ask mechanics and that just happens to be Yamaha and that’s why I own two and I’ve had zero problems

    Reply
  31. Hi steven, lots of good comments, and learned alot by reading thru tbem.. I have a quick question.. I am looking to but a 2018 Seadoo GTX 155.. I have read issues on other sites about a plastic exhaust componet melting if the intake for the exhaust cooling becomes reatricted and the ski sinks due to the plastic melting and then filling the hull wirh water very quickly.. Have you heard of this?and has seadoo corrected this problem? Thanks

    Mike

    Reply
    • That is a very old problem that only affected a few. The biggest issue the average person needs to worry about instead is user inflicted issues like sucking up ropes, rocks, and sticks. I personally consider the GTX 155 to be the “Goldilocks” of watercraft, simply the best all-around one they make.

      Reply
  32. Hi please help 1st time buyer here we looking for something that’s good for our family but that will also make our sons happy that are in there early 20’s. We were told by one dealer to go with the Kawasaki 301R they were trying to sell us 2017. Another dealer recommended a Yamaha Cruiser FX Cruiser needless to say we are confused. We looking for something that will last mid priced that will be easy to maintain and we use for tubing also. we can use your advise. Thanks

    Reply
    • For your first jet ski, I would stay away from anything that is more than 250HP. To help you narrow it down look at the chart at the start of this post and stick to the models between 11 through 23 since you’re new. The models between 17 through 23 are going to be the best for pulling people on tubes and having the least amount of “issues” since they have fewer parts to deal with compared to the models 24 through 45.

      Reply
  33. Thanks much for the quick response and great info! My wife will be happy as she loves the green and black and wasn’t to happy when I came home yesterday looking at the colors seadoo is offering. Seadoo had a leftover 2017 RTX-X 300 I was looking at too but I’m thinking she wouldn’t even enjoy that with to much power response.
    Thanks Again and for the Awesome help!
    Brad

    Reply
  34. Hi there!
    Great article above thanks for taking the time to compare the models! I’m looking at two models the VXR 2017 waverunner “2017 because my wife loves the color scheme and dealer has a leftover” or a 2018 GTX 230. I’m a ski-doo guy that runs a 800 so I like the fast response when I hit the throttle, she has not had much experience on watercraft but would like something to jump on when getting bored with the pontoon. I’m nervous that the VXR I may not be happy with as it is not supercharged and I have ridden supercharged watercraft in the past. How would you rate the two in power and Hole shot, do you think I would be happy with the VXR in the area? I’m not looking to hit top speed all the time but just want a quick hole shot out of them?
    Thanks
    Brad

    Reply
    • The VXR for sure is going to feel more nimble and have a quicker take-off. Yamaha did a good job on making this craft. Even though it lacks a supercharger it doesn’t need one, its just as fast is the GTR from Sea-Doo who has a supercharger. And you have a shot to buy a leftover 2017, sounds like a win to me. The only reason I would consider the GTX 230 is if you want a super stable and comfortable ride, but if you want fast and nimble go with the VXR.

      Reply
  35. Hey there,

    Best rough water ride? Also, best dry ride? for example… if I wanted to go out in October when it’s 50* and sunny and not get wet…

    Reply
    • I would say the GTX, RXT or Ultra’s are going to be the ones that are best for rough water. The GTX or RXT bodies (ST3 hulls) are going be dry and you’ll have to actually try to get wet. Even the GTI bodies or VX bodies are pretty dry, but not as dry as the bigger models.

      Reply
  36. I like the gti se 155 and seems like good power. I rented a 130 and thought it was a little slow. While I was at the dealer I saw the rxt 230 which looks to be a faster version with nicer trim and only $1k more. What do you think? Also saw the Yamaha VX cruiser ho which looked like a good option as well. I like the comfort and speed without something that will be too much for my high school kids.

    Reply
    • If you want comfort and stability I say go with the RXT. It’s going to be a lot faster than the GTI SE 155 but you can program the slow key to go 32mph up to 50MPH with 3 speed setting between for the kids. The GTI 130 you rented might have had the restrictor on it or the rental key that slowed it down. The 130 is still plenty fast but rental skis get slowed down for insurance purposes. You’ll also like the seat more on the RXT then the GTI or VX, this is even truer if you’re tall. Plus, the 2018 RXT gets the feature of easily adding the ski pylon which is perfect if you plan on pulling skiers. The big downside of the RXT over the GTI SE 155 is that the RXT lacks the reboarding step, that is a must have and I highly recommend getting it added on.

      Reply
  37. Hi Steven , i want to buy a jetski i was seen seadoo and yamaha, wake pro 230 2018 vs yamaha fx ho, normaly i ride in the atlantic ocean with very hight waves, always the sea is moving and i would like to know with hull you considerated better for this sea. Thanks for all

    Reply
    • I would go with the 2018 Wake Pro 230 because it has the new wider and better riding hull. The ST3 Hull the Wake Pro has will do very well in the rougher water and give you more confidence.

      Reply
  38. Hi – I need help, have 35 years of experience on snowmobiles, but know nothing about wave runners. Can’t decide between a Sea-Doo or Yamaha for 1622 acre lake in Northern, WI. Key questions:
    -Do I care about closed loop cooling on this lake?
    -What works better, IBR or RIDE? There has to be a clear winner! Please don’t tell me one is better for breaking, and the other is better for docking. 🙂
    -How do you compare Sea-Doo’s 900 ACE to Yahmama’s TR-1 High Output Yamaha Marine Engine?
    -Between the two engines, which is more powerful? Does the extra power justify the extra weight?
    -Which is quieter? I have a Ski-Doo w/ 900 ACE and it’s smooth as silk. In fact, its one of the few engines approved by National -Parks. I don’t want to wear ear plugs on the lake!
    -Meantime to maintenance / longevity? I want to turn the key and go, not spend time at the dealership fixing a v1 product.
    -Which is a better designed engine for a waverunner? Yamana likes to say their engine is designed for the water, where the 900 ACE is used in wave runners and snowmobiles.
    -Yamaha snowmobiles are ridiculously heavy – what about their wave-runners?. Does the TR-1 weigh significantly more than the 900 ACE?
    -THe depth by my pier is ~24″. Which is better for shallow water?
    -BRP makes jet planes, how can you go wrong?
    -End of day, would you rather have a 2018 Sea-Doo GTI SE w/ 900 ACE for MSRP $9,600, or a 2018 Yamaha VX-Cruiser with the TR-1 for MSRP $10,700? The 2018 GTI Limited 155 is ugly, and I’m not sure I need the bigger engine? The 900 ACE on a snowmobile is very quick…
    -I do not intend to use for tow sports, but does it make sense to get a bigger engine just in case?
    -My local mechanic says get the Sea-Doo. The local rental place standardize on Yamaha. IBR has been around, RIDE is new, one of them has to be better. 900 ACE is proven, what about TR-1?
    -Discount off MSRP for Ski-Doo and Yamaha?

    PS I own a Yamaha 115 HP outboard that I am quite pleased with it. Just don’t care for heavy snowmobiles, but am open to their wave-runners. Oh, I own two Yamaha stereo receivers and support their brand!

    Thanks for your help!

    Mike

    Reply
    • Do I care about closed loop cooling on this lake? Closed loop you don’t have to worry about sucking debris like pollen and other lake sludge. But when it comes to lakes it’s not a big deal to go with open loop, the only thing important is to make sure you winterize any jet ski.
      -What works better, IBR or RIDE? iBR is better. It’s easier to understand. iBR is like having a brake and throttle, while RIDE is like having two throttles. Most people better understand throttle + brake as that is what their car has.
      -How do you compare Sea-Doo’s 900 ACE to Yahmama’s TR-1 High Output Yamaha Marine Engine? The Sea-Doo ACE engine is actually their snowmobile engine and the word from the snowmobile guys is that this engine is bulletproof. Plus, the ACE has been around longer and has proven itself. The TR-1 is a good engine, I think it’s a killer in the VX series. The TR-1 is more powerful but it also has to carry more weight while the 900 ACE has to carry less weight but still is a strong and proven engine. Either engine could get my 240-pound self out of the water on a tube or wakeboarding. I’ve even hit 50mph on my 90HP Spark no problem.
      -Which is quieter? You won’t be able to tell that much when both are in the water. I feel like Sea-Doo pays more attention to the quiet factor though.
      -Meantime to maintenance / longevity? It doesn’t matter what you have, service/oil change once a year and winterize it if it gets below freezing where you live. It’s also important to buy from a dealership you trust in case something does go wrong. Both machines are simple compared to the others in the lineups so there is not a lot to go wrong. To be honest the biggest problems anyone is going to run into is user inflicted problems like sucking up ropes and rocks. I have a Sea-Doo Spark 90HP 2014 model and had no issues with it, I put the key on and go. But I also service it once a year and get it winterized too. I also change the spark plugs once a year and keep the battery charged on a solar panel charger like in this post here https://www.steveninsales.com/need-solar-panel-jet-ski-battery/
      -Which is a better-designed engine for a waverunner? This one is very funny. Before the TR-1 came out I would use the same line that Yamaha just uses a motorcycle engine and Sea-Doo is a real marine engine. The best part is that the TR-1 design comes from one of Yamaha snowmobile engines. Both companies want a multipurpose engine and both features that work well with snowmobiles work well with watercraft so it makes business sense. Sea-Doo’s bigger engines in the 130HP and up are more of real marine purpose-built engine than any other.
      -Yamaha snowmobiles are ridiculously heavy – what about their wave-runners? There EX series watercraft are heavy compared to the Spark but there VX series is super competitive in weight.
      -THe depth by my pier is ~24″. Which is better for shallow water? Both would be very similar.
      -End of day, would you rather have a 2018 Sea-Doo GTI SE w/ 900 ACE for MSRP $9,600, or a 2018 Yamaha VX-Cruiser with the TR-1 for MSRP $10,700? I’m not a fan of the VX Cruiser and would rather go with the VX Deluxe instead. But if I had to pick between the GTI or the VX I would go with the GTI SE, mostly for the greater storage + palm grips + iBR + Learning key.
      -I do not intend to use for tow sports, but does it make sense to get a bigger engine just in case? I say start with a smaller engine, all new watercraft sold today are fast. It’s a different feeling when you’re on the water doing 35mph. That may sound slow but its much faster then you expect when the craft launches out of the water and the water passing you and the wind in your face. There is a reason why they give learning keys and slow modes on watercraft, even the small HP ones! When it comes to tow sports the bigger engine is needed for the bottom power or take off power, my 90HP spark can pull me just fine though.
      -Discount off MSRP for Sea-Doo and Yamaha? Price is different for every country and even state. Keep in mind that the cheaper the watercraft the less money the dealership has to take off. Don’t be surprised with some of the cheapest watercraft are going for MSRP, the margins are just not there. If where you live has a boat show then go to one of those as you can often get the best prices there especially if there are many dealerships there fighting over you. Don’t just think about how much are they going to take off of the machine but instead think of what can they do for you? Many of these crafts don’t have covers and if they can throw one in that’s a big deal. Or if they have service plans that’s even better! It’s easy to say how much are they going to discount but really you get more value by asking what can they do for you in the way of life jackets, covers, oil changes as you’ll need those things anyway and you can sometimes come out better this way. Don’t forget if you’re not getting a trailer or don’t need a trailer to ask if they deliver and HOW MUCH. This can be one of those gotchas. And if you get a deal makes sure they write it up on something official with there letterhead and have them sign it as I’ve seen many dealerships say one thing at boat shows, email, or phone and do something else. Don’t take a scratch paper offer. Not saying all dealerships do this but it’s better be safe than sorry.

      At the end of the day get whatever works for you. Try to ride each one. Go to the dealerships and sit on them each. Bring the stuff you carry on your watercraft to the dealership to see if they all fit. Even ask them to put life jackets in the front storage to see how many will fit for a real-world measurement.

      Reply
  39. Hi I can’t decide between the SeaDoo GTI or the Yamaha EX Deluxe (2018). I was told that Yamaha are better in salt water. Is that true?. I think the SeaDoo has better storage. I’m just a mum with a couple of teenagers up for some fun.
    Katie

    Reply
    • Hands down go with the GTI, it’s not even fair to compare it to the EX models. The GTI is going to be a better ride, have more storage, and will be more stable than the EX. I did a great post on the Spark Vs EX and went into more detail why the GTI 90 was the better machine then the EX Deluxe in 2017 but many of the points still hold true in 2018 https://www.steveninsales.com/lets-talk-2017-yamaha-ex-series/

      As for the question on salt water, all 2018 Sea-Doo models use a Closed Loop Cooling system. What this means is that the engine does not take in any water to cool itself (unless it’s supercharged (which the GTI or Sparks are not)). Both closed loop and open loop cooling each have their own advantages but if you’re more concerned about salt water then I would say go with Sea-Doo because of its closed loop cooling.

      Reply
  40. Steven, Lots of good info here. Owned a 2006 Kawasaki 750 STS since new but it’s getting unreliable and has always been deficient in pulling up new skiers though experts pop up fine. Now, with grandkids all becoming teenagers and most of our riding is on a big NW lake, which can get rough on weekends, we are ready to buy a more powerful towing PWC with less bounce on the waves, and new features like RIDE, braking, etc. Won’t be racing, so SVHO is not needed or desired. I hear that my 85hp 2-stroke is equivalent to 110 hp in 4-stroke..so 160hp might be plenty to tow adults. A reliable PWC DIY mechanic source is convinced that YAMAHA is the most reliable PWC so I’ve been looking at the FX HO and FX Cruiser, but am concerned I’m not giving Seadoo a fair shake. Besides, there are more Seadoo dealers close to us. Thoughts on choice and reliability?

    Reply
    • A lot of people do say Yamaha is reliable but to be honest every manufacturer has there problems. For awhile Sea-Doo had their supercharger issue and Yamaha had there timing chain issue. We must keep in mind that Jet Skis are run rough and put up wet with many going full throttle or idle all there life – that is hard on any engine.

      I’m personally a fan of the Sea-Doo watercraft and I consider there 130hp and 155hp to be bulletproof. The 155hp is perfect for pulling people, they even have the Wake 155 which is made for pull sports with its Ski-Mode, Ski Pylon, Wakeboard Holder, and many other features.

      If you want a super comfortable ride with a great engine then look at the GTX 155. The GTX 155 got the new super stable hull and you can add the Ski-Pylon to it for pull sports, its what I’m calling the Goldilocks of watercrafts (It’s just right!).

      But you can’t go wrong with the FX HO. The best advice I can give is go to each dealership and sit on the machines. Move your legs around on the craft to see where they lay. Try to get things out of the front storage. Sit backwards as if you’re spotting to see how comfortable they will be. Look for all the grab handle. Feel free to bring in your bag of stuff you carry on your craft now to make sure they fit in the new machine. If you can try to ride one. Where I’m at the dealerships have boat shows going on right now and that is a good time to buy. You can see all the machines and sit on them. Plus, when you have many dealerships at one location like a boat show you often get the best price as they fight over you. Don’t forget to check out what jet ski accessories you should get too, I have list of them along with manufacturer specific list of accessories too… https://www.steveninsales.com/pwc-accessories/

      Reply
    • I personally would buy the GTI Limited. The Sea-Doos have closed loop cooling so it’s perfect for the salt water and the Limited comes with all the accessories anyone would need. It’s a win-win. If I had to pick one from Yamaha it would be the VX Limited for sure, it comes with some of great jet ski accessories as well. But I like the ride the GTI body gives compared to the VX body. If you want to learn more about the closed loop cooling Sea-Doo has I have a post on it here https://www.steveninsales.com/jet-ski-closed-loop-cooling-vs-open-loop-cooling-debate/. Don’t forget to check out a list of other jet ski accessories I recommend here https://www.steveninsales.com/jet-ski-accessories/.

      Reply
      • Which one is better in speed ? My only experience with jet skis were Rentel and they all only go up to about 50 mph i need more! I’m 25 and all i want is speed and fun don’t care much about luxury and accessories would u still recommend the gti over the vx cruiser ho ?

        Reply
        • If you want speed then look at the GTR or VXR, those are your small ski with a big engine at an affordable price. The VXR is more powerful and does it with fewer moving parts – that thing is insane!

          Reply

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