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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 manufacturer pointing things out can be helpful in this shopping adventure. Who knows you might find the best jet ski brand that suits your needs in this guide.

I’m not being paid by any dealership or jet ski manufacturer to write this review 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 have a jet ski rating system I grouped 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.

#ManufacturerModelPrice
1Sea-Doo2 UP 60HP Spark$5,399
2Sea-Doo2 UP 90HP Spark$5,999
3Sea-Doo3 UP 90HP Spark$6,599
4YamahaEX$6,699
5Sea-Doo2 UP 90HP iBR Spark w/ Conv.$6,999
6Sea-Doo3 UP 90HP iBR Spark w/ Conv.$7,599
7Sea-DooGTS$7,699
8YamahaEX Sport$7,699
9YamahaSuperJet$8,499
10YamahaEX Deluxe$8,699
11Sea-DooGTI$8,899
12Sea-DooGTI SE$9,599
13YamahaVX$9,599
14KawasakiSTX-15F$9,699
15KawasakiSX-R$9,999
16YamahaVX Deluxe$10,399
17Sea-DooGTI SE 130$10,499
18YamahaVX Cruiser$10,699
19Sea-DooGTI SE 155$11,099
20YamahaVX Limited$11,099
21KawasakiUltra LX$11,199
22YamahaVX Cruiser HO$11,299
23Sea-DooWake 155$11,999
24YamahaVXR$11,999
25Sea-DooGTR 230$12,099
26Sea-DooGTI Limited 155$12,499
27Sea-DooGTX 155$12,799
28Sea-DooGTR-X 230$13,099
29YamahaFX HO$13,299
30Sea-DooRXT 230$13,799
31YamahaFX Cruiser HO$13,799
32Sea-DooGTX 230$13,899
33YamahaGP1800$13,999
34Sea-DooWake Pro 230$14,699
35YamahaFX SVHO$15,299
36KawasakiUltra 310X$15,299
37Sea-DooRXP-X 300$15,399
38Sea-DooRXT-X 300$15,699
39KawasakiUltra 310X SE$15,799
40Sea-DooGTX Limited 230$15,899
41YamahaFX Cruiser SVHO$15,999
42KawasakiUltra 310R$16,299
43Sea-DooGTX Limited 300$16,899
44YamahaFX Limited SVHO$16,899
45KawasakiUltra 310LX$17,999

Rec-Lite2018 jet ski features

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 SparkSea-Doo spark hull and trailer

  • 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

  • No Mirrors.
  • Smaller Gas tank than the EX, but the Spark is lighter and has a less hungry engine.
  • Lower HP engine, but the Spark is lighter.
  • Smaller storage, but better located and can fit more important things better like anchors and life jackets.

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-Litesrec lite spark seat sucks

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 (Amazon Link Ad). 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 electrical 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 with a fiberglass hull. 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 than 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.

Sea-Doo start stop button VTS sport eco touring mode buttons handlebarsTow 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 (Amazon Link Ad). 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. (Amazon Link Ad)

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 palm grips cruise controlSea-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 front storage compartmentSea-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. (Pictured Above)
  • 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 rear lounge ski pylon hole rear seatSea-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.

Sea-Doo Bluetooth sound system controlsKawasaki 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. 

Jet Ski Accessories List

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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

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