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2020 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki

To make the jet ski buying process easy I’ve gone through and compared every 2020 Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki.

I’ll try to be unbiased as possible, but my background is more Sea-Doo. If anyone or any manufacturer finds any errors, please leave a comment at the bottom, and I’ll correct it.

Here is the 2021 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs Kawasaki post!

Please don’t forget to check out the manufacturer’s website for even more details.

Sea-Doo

Yamaha

Kawasaki

Older VS Posts

If your dealership has older models left in stock, I have previous posts similar to this one for those years below.

Jet Ski vs. PWC vs. Waverunner

Before I go too deep, I need to clear up the wording that is used to describe these things.

The most common way to describe them is by calling them Jet Skis. This is what I use most often and what most everyone uses.

But Jet Skis can also be called PWC or Waverunner.

This is just marketing names for each manufacturer.

  • Jet Ski = Kawasaki
  • Waverunner = Yamaha
  • PWC or Personal Watercraft = Sea-Doo

Throughout this post, I’ll try to use all variations where they best fit. But I’ll mostly stick to using “Jet Ski”.

Categories of Jet Skis

Just like how we have cars, trucks, and SUVs for categories, we also have categories for jet skis.

Here Is the Jet Ski Categories.

  • Rec-Lite
  • Recreation
  • Tow Sports
  • Touring
  • Performance
  • Sport Fishing

2020 Jet Ski Prices

MakeModelMSRP
Sea-DooSPARK 2up 60HP$5,499
Sea-DooSPARK 2up 90HP$6,099
Sea-DooSPARK 3up 90HP$6,699
YamahaEX$6,899
Sea-DooSPARK 2up 90HP iBR$7,099
Sea-DooSPARK TRIXX 2up$7,599
Sea-DooSPARK 3up 90HP iBR$7,699
YamahaEX Sport$7,899
Sea-DooSPARK TRIXX 3up$8,199
YamahaSUPERJET$8,699
YamahaEX Deluxe$8,899
Sea-DooGTI 90$8,999
YamahaVX-C$8,999
YamahaEXR$9,399
KawasakiSTX 160$9,599
YamahaVX$9,899
Sea-DooGTI 130$9,999
KawasakiSX-R$9,999
KawasakiSTX 160X$9,999
YamahaVX Deluxe$10,699
Sea-DooGTI SE 130$10,799
YamahaVX Cruiser$10,999
KawasakiULTRA LX$11,199
Sea-DooGTI SE 170$11,399
YamahaVX Limited$11,399
KawasakiSTX 160LX$11,699
YamahaVX Cruiser HO$11,799
Sea-DooWAKE 170$12,199
YamahaGP1800R HO$12,299
Sea-DooGTR 230$12,399
Sea-DooGTX 170$12,999
YamahaFX HO$13,699
Sea-DooGTX 230$13,999
YamahaFX Cruiser HO$14,199
YamahaGP1800R SVHO$14,399
Sea-DooWAKE PRO 230$14,899
Sea-DooFISH PRO 170$14,999
KawasakiULTRA 310X$15,299
Sea-DooRXP-X 300$15,399
YamahaFX SVHO$15,699
Sea-DooGTX Limited 230$16,199
Sea-DooRXT-X 300$16,199
KawasakiULTRA 310R$16,299
YamahaFX Cruiser SVHO$16,399
Sea-DooGTX Limited 300$17,199
YamahaFX Limited SVHO$17,599
KawasakiULTRA 310LX$17,999

Jet Ski Terms

When you research all 3 manufacturers, you’ll learn that they all have there own ways of describing the same thing. This section will be me making since and combining these terms to keep confusion down.

iBR or RIDE: This is the transmission of your watercraft. This is how you go forward, reverse, neutral, and brake. iBR is for Sea-Doo, and RIDE is for Yamaha. While both do necessarily the same thing, each one works slightly different than the other.

Trim: Often called VTS or Electronic Trimming System. This is the same thing you see on boats where it allows you to adjust the angle of the nose of the watercraft. It’s a nice feature for rough water and racing.

Learning Mode: Often called a Learning Key or Slo-Mode. The goal of this setting is to give new riders a setting that slows down the jet ski top speed and often the take-off power. Sea-Doo does take this one step further and allows the ski to be programmed to different speed settings so you can work your way up.

Note: 2020 Sea-Doo does not come with a learning key. Most people did not use them and the few who did would reprogram as fast keys anyway. You can order one if you want one though.

Touring Mode: This is the normal mode your PWCs start in. You still go to top speed, but it’s a sluggish take-off. Mostly Sea-Doo does this mode.

ECO Mode: Also called Low-RPM Mode. This is a slow take-off, and a top speed around 45MPH, plus you also get the best gas mileage in this mode. Yamaha kind of treats this as there Learning Mode for new riders.

Sport Mode: Full power and fast take-off. Nothing is holding you back.

Slow Mode: Also called No-Wake Mode and used for around docks and no-wake areas. It keeps you under 5mph and from making a too big of a wake.

Drive Mode: It’s Yamaha’s version of combining ECO and Slow mode along with an Extra-Low Speed Mode for more effortless docking. Not to be confused with “Driving Modes” which I describe as the many modes that each jet ski has. Driving Mode can include Sport, ECO, Slow and the many other modes depending on the PWC.

Cruise Control button, Driving Mode Button, and Palm Grip

Cruise Control: Also called Cruise Assist, Speed Regulator, and Speed Control Mode. This allows you to set a speed and stay at that speed. Works great for long rides, but what sets a jet ski cruise control apart from a car’s is that you have to hold the trigger all the way in just in case you fall off the jet ski doesn’t run away.

Footwell: This is where your feet sit when you ride on a jet ski. What is excellent is that Yamaha is the only one with a drain on their FX models to keep sitting water from building up.

Polytec: Most jet skis and boats are made out of fiberglass and have been for a long time. Sea-Doo has created a plastic material that they use on some of there watercraft. The great thing about Polytec is that it’s light and holds up very well. Sea-Doo is now going on Generation 2 of Polytec and is the future of hulls. Think of it as the transition from glass soda bottles to now plastic soda bottles.

Closed-Loop Cooling VS Open Loop Cooling: Both Yamaha and Kawasaki use Open Loop Cooling, and Sea-Doo uses Closed-Loop Cooling. You can read more about this here.

DESS: This is the security that Sea-Doo uses. They use a key with a chip in it that is only programmed to your PWC. Kawasaki uses something similar, but it’s not a key but something you insert to unlock it and control Fast and Slo-Mode. For specific model Yamaha, you get a Fob that can lock or unlock your Waverunner, and some models have an option to enter a PIN.

Palm Grips: These are oversized grips that have a greater comfort than the regular grips you see on motorcycles or other jet skis. These grips cradle your palm and help remove the stress of riding. Only Sea-Doo has these, and they’re on every model they sell in 2020.

Rec-Lite

The Rec-Lite category of watercraft is the cheapest option you have for buying a new jet ski.

As of right now, there is only Sea-Doo and Yamaha in this category. Kawasaki did release a new model in 2020 that does put up a good fight with some of the more expensive Rec-Lite models. The Kawasaki STX 160 models don’t feel fully Rec-Lite but do have the price points that put it in that category. If anything it’s creating a new category if you ask me, something like a “Rec-Lite+” category.

Sea-Doo Spark Vs. Yamaha EX

When the Yamaha EX came out, I thought it would put the Sea-Doo Spark in its place, but after digging more into it, I found it’s not perfect. You can read my deep dive into the EX and how it compares the Spark here.

Sea-Doo Spark 2up 60HP vs. Sea-Doo Spark 3up 90HP

Sea-Doo has everyone beat when it comes to the lowest price, and the next one in line after that one is still a Sea-Doo Spark.

SPARK 2up 60HPSPARK 2up 90HP
Price$5,499$6,099
Top Speed (MPH)4248
Horsepower6090
Weight (lbs)410410
Storage Capacity (US Gal)0.420.42
Seating Capacity22
Reverse
Brakes or RIDE
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)7.97.9
Length (Inches)110110
Width (Inches)4646
Height (Inches)4141
Reboarding Step
Mirrors
Trim
Palm Gripxx
Driving ModesTouring and Sport
Cruise Control

As you can see, the cheapest jet skis of 2020 don’t have a lot of features, but they sure are a blast to ride.

The 60HP Sea-Doo Spark tops out at 42mph, but for many new riders, that “feels like” doing 80 in your car.

Spending a little more not only gets you a more powerful engine but 2 different driving modes too.

With the lack of a reboarding step and mirrors for both, this is not the best option for pulling tubes or skiers. In fact, it’s illegal to do so on the 2up in many states.

Sea-Doo Spark 3up 90HP Vs. Yamaha EX

SPARK 3up 90HPEX
Price$6,699$6,899
Top Speed (MPH)4850
Horsepower90100
Weight (lbs)425578
Storage Capacity (US Gal)0.427.7
Seating Capacity33
Reverse
Brakes or RIDE
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)7.913.2
Length (Inches)120123.2
Width (Inches)4644.5
Height (Inches)4145.3
Reboarding Step
Mirrors
Trim
Palm Gripx
Driving ModesTouring and Sport

Sea-Doo Spark 3up 90HP Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • Weighs Less.
  • Driving modes.
  • Noticeably wider. This is huge for getting on and off the craft and overall stability.
  • Polytec hull.

Sea-Doo Spark 3up 90HP Cons:

  • Not enough storage, just enough room to put your phone and keys.
  • Smaller gas tank compared to the EX but a less hungry engine.
  • Slower than the EX.

Yamaha EX Pros:

  • Longer, which is nice for rougher water.
  • More horsepower.
  • Faster.
  • Larger fuel tank.
  • More storage capacity.

Yamaha EX Cons:

  • Narrower than the Spark.
  • Lacking driving modes.
  • Cost more.
Sea-Doo Spark Trixx doing “wheelie”

Sea-Doo Spark 2up 90HP iBR VS. Sea-Doo Spark Trixx 2up VS. Sea-Doo Spark Trixx 3up

There is not a model from Yamaha or Kawasaki that best compete with these three, so I’ll have a Sea-Doo vs. Sea-Doo.

SPARK 2up 90HP w/ iBRSPARK TRIXX 2upSPARK TRIXX 3up
Price$7,099$7,599$8,199
Top Speed (MPH)484848
Horsepower909090
Weight (lbs)426428439
Storage Capacity (US Gal)7.420.420.42
Seating Capacity223
Reversexxx
Brakes or RIDExxx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)7.97.97.9
Length (Inches)110110120
Width (Inches)464646
Height (Inches)414141
Reboarding Stepx
Mirrors
Trimxx
Palm Gripxxx
Driving ModesTouring and SportTouring and SportTouring and Sport

The most significant difference between these is that the Sea-Doo Trixx will have an elongated VTS. This allows you to do wheelies on your jet ski.

Along with a better color scheme and adjustable handlebars, the Trixx is for someone who wants to have the most fun possible on a jet ski while the regular Spark is for someone who wants to get on the water.

Sea-Doo Spark 3up iBR VS. Yamaha EX Sport

SPARK 3up 90HP iBREX Sport
Price$7,699$7,899
Top Speed (MPH)4850
Horsepower90100
Weight (lbs)442584
Storage Capacity (US Gal)7.427.7
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDEx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)7.913.2
Length (Inches)120123.2
Width (Inches)4644.5
Height (Inches)4145.3
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrors
Trim
Palm Gripx
Driving ModesTouring and Sport
Cruise Control

Sea-Doo Spark 3up iBR Pros:

  • Has iBR, this is forward, neutral, reverse, and brakes. It makes docking and controlling the jet ski so much easier.
  • More useful storage.
  • Different driving modes.
  • Wider.
  • Cheaper.
  • Polytec hull.
  • DESS, Digital keys programmed to your jet ski.
  • More color options.
  • Better add-on options.

Sea-Doo Spark 3up iBR Cons:

  • Less power.
  • Smaller gas tank.

Yamaha EX Pros:

  • More HP.
  • Larger gas tank.
  • Longer, this is a big deal for Rec-Lite skis, especially in rough water.

Yamaha EX Cons:

  • No RIDE, it’s a manual reverse and NO brakes.
  • Heavier.
  • The storage is more but less useful.
  • No driving modes.

Ever since the Yamaha EX Sport came out, I’ve always considered it not worth it in comparison to the Sea-Doo 3up 90HP iBR.

The Sea-Doo comes with iBR, which is Brakes, Neutral, Reverse, and Forward. The EX Sport doesn’t have brakes and relies on a manual reverse lever.

The storage on the EX is not that great, it’s divided into 3 smaller sections, which makes it hard to store large items like covers or life jackets. The Spark has one large storage bucket and can store large items more easily.

Then the icing on the cake is the EX Sport cost more!

In my opinion, it’s not worth buying an EX Sport over a Spark 3up iBR unless you’re getting an excellent deal. The Spark is an overall better buy.

Yamaha EX Deluxe VS. Sea-Doo GTI 90 VS. Yamaha VX-C

EX DeluxeGTI 90VX-C
Price$8,899$8,999$8,999
Top Speed (MPH)504253
Horsepower10090125
Weight (lbs)600668692
Storage Capacity (US Gal)7.742.524.6
Seating Capacity333
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)13.215.918.5
Length (Inches)123.2130.6131.9
Width (Inches)44.549.248
Height (Inches)45.344.846.9
Reboarding Stepx
Mirrorsxxx
Trim
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesx
Cruise Control

To be fair, the Sea-Doo GTI 90 and Yamaha VX-C are not in the Rec-Lite category, but both are priced very similarly to the Yamaha EX Deluxe.

Both the Sea-Doo GTI 90 and the Yamaha EX Deluxe will have forward, neutral, reverse, and brakes. The Yamaha VX-C will not and is meant more for the rental market.

For $100 more, the Sea-Doo GTI 90 is a better deal, but it is slower than the Yamaha EX Deluxe. If you want something more playful, go with the EX, but if you want more of a family jet ski go with the GTI 90.

EX Deluxe Pros:

  • Faster than the GTI 90.
  • More HP than the GTI 90.
  • More playful body than both the GTI 90 and VX-C.
  • Has a reboarding step.
  • Better color options.

EX Deluxe Cons:

  • Much less comfortable seat than the GTI 90 or the VX-C.
  • Less storage capacity and a lot more awkward too as it’s split over 3 different locations.
  • Smaller gas tank.
  • No driving modes.
  • No dedicated watertight phone box.
  • Less stable than the GTI 90 or VX-C, especially around the docks.

GTI 90 Pros:

Watertight phone storage in the glovebox that is on all Sea-Doo GTI Models
  • A lot more comfortable than the EX Deluxe, the seat is night and day better in comfort.
  • More storage, can fit a cover and many life jackets and still have room left over.
  • More stable, especially when boarding the watercraft in the water.
  • Watertight phone box built into the glove box. Example picture above.
  • LinQ attachments. It allows you to add a cooler, gas can, and many other accessories easily to the GTI. And it’s easy to install and not an afterthought.
  • Far better jet ski for beginners as it’s more stable, easy-going engine, and more comfortable than any Rec-Lite watercraft.
  • It can fit 3 people a lot better.
  • Palm grips. Great for longer rides.

GTI 90 Cons:

  • Slower, big ski with a small engine. Makes for great gas mileage but won’t win any races.
  • Not as playful of a hull as the EX Deluxe.
  • No reboarding step.
  • Only one color option.

VX-C Pros:

  • More comfortable than the EX Deluxe.
  • More storage than the EX Deluxe.

VX-C Cons:

  • Meant for the rental and commercial market, regular people may have a harder time finding one.
  • Forward only, the GTI 90 and EX Deluxe at least have forward, neutral, and reverse with braking.
  • Compared to the EX Deluxe or GTI 90, you’re better off going with those instead unless you want to start a rental jet ski company.

Yamaha EXR VS. Kawasaki STX 160

EXRSTX 160
Price$9,399$9,599
Top Speed (MPH)5062
Horsepower110160
Weight (lbs)540864
Storage Capacity (US Gal)7.735
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDEx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)13.220.6
Length (Inches)123.2124.1
Width (Inches)44.546.5
Height (Inches)45.345.4
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trim
Palm Grip
Driving Modesx
Cruise Controlx

It’s a shame to me that Sea-Doo doesn’t have anything that can compete with the EXR. Luckily Kawasaki has something, and it shines!

Yamaha EXR Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • Weighs less than the STX 160.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse and “Braking”)
  • More playful hull compared to the STX 160.
  • Better color scheme.

Yamaha EXR Cons:

  • Less HP.
  • Slower than the Kawasaki STX 160.
  • Less storage capacity.
  • Not as wide.
  • Smaller fuel tank.

Kawasaki STX 160 Pros:

  • FAST! What an excellent bargain for the amount of top speed you get!
  • More HP!
  • More storage capacity.
  • Larger fuel tank.
  • Driving modes.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Better seat comfort compared to the EXR.

Kawasaki STX 160 Cons:

  • Lacks RIDE but does have manual reverse.
  • Cost more than the EXR.

To be honest, the Kawasaki STX 160 is a great deal! The lack of electronic brakes is a turn off since both Sea-Doo and Yamaha have it, but the STX 160 makes up for it. This is going to be a massive hit for Kawasaki!

Recreation

Yamaha VX VS. Sea-Doo GTI 130 VS. Kawasaki STX 160X

VXGTI 130STX 160X
Price$9,899$9,999$9,999
Top Speed (MPH)535262
Horsepower125130160
Weight (lbs)708739864
Storage Capacity (US Gal)24.642.535
Seating Capacity333
Reversexxx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.515.920.6
Length (Inches)131.9130.6124.1
Width (Inches)4849.246.5
Height (Inches)46.944.845.4
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxxx
Trim
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlx

Yamaha VX Pros:

  • Cheapest of the 3.
  • Weighs the lightest of the 3.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse and “Braking”)
  • Large fuel tank.
  • Longest of the bunch, helps with rough water.
  • Reboarding step – Makes it easier to get back on if you fall off.

Yamaha VX Cons:

  • The smallest storage capacity of the bunch.
  • Worst seating height. The lower, the more stable the craft will be, especially with multiple riders.
  • No driving modes.
  • No cruise control.
  • Slower than the Kawasaki STX 160X.

Sea-Doo GTI 130 Pros:

  • The most storage capacity of the 3.
  • iBR (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking)
  • Palm Grip.
  • Lowest height, great stability.
  • LinQ connections, makes it easy to add accessories.
  • Watertight phone box in the glovebox.
  • Widest of the bunch, great for boarding the PWC.

Sea-Doo GTI 130 Cons:

  • Slowest of the bunch.
  • The smallest gas tank but does have ECO mode to save on gas.
  • No cruise control.
  • No reboarding step.
  • The color scheme is more boring compared to the VX and STX 160X.

Kawasaki STX 160X Pros:

  • Stupid fast for its price.
  • The most HP of the bunch.
  • More storage than the Yamaha VX but less than the Sea-Doo GTI 130.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Reboarding step.
  • Largest fuel tank of the group.
  • Smaller width, it’s a pro if you like a playful jet ski.

Kawasaki STX 160X Cons:

  • Manual reverse, and lacks braking.
  • The smallest width of the group.

Kawasaki STX 160 models are flexing their horsepower in these last two segments. But horsepower can’t make up for the lack of tech and addons that Sea-Doo and Yamaha are doing these days.

Yamaha VX Deluxe VS. Sea-Doo GTI SE 130

VX DeluxeGTI SE 130
Price$10,699$10,799
Top Speed (MPH)5352
Horsepower125130
Weight (lbs)664739
Storage Capacity (US Gal)24.642.5
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.515.9
Length (Inches)131.9130.6
Width (Inches)4849.2
Height (Inches)46.944.8
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trimx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlx

Yamaha VX Deluxe Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • Weighs less.
  • Bigger fuel tank.
  • Cup holder in the glovebox.

Yamaha VX Deluxe Cons:

  • Less storage capacity.
  • Not as wide.
  • No trim.
  • No comfort seat.
  • No built-in dry box for your phone.
  • Height is notably higher; this is more of an issue when you have multiple people riding.
  • Fiberglass, the Sea-Doo GTI SE 130, uses Polytec 2, which is more scratch-resistant.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Pros:

  • More storage capacity.
  • Driving modes.
  • Wider, noticeably more stable when riding multiple riders.
  • LinQ attachments. Super easy to add accessories.
  • Watertight phone box storage in the glove box.
  • Trim. You can adjust the angle of the nose of the PWC for different water conditions or tow sports.
  • Larger swim platform. Ideal for tow sports and relaxing.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Cons:

  • Cost more.
  • Smaller gas tank.
  • Heavier.
  • No cup holders.

With Sea-Doo releasing the new GTI body in 2020, it’s giving the Recreational category for Sea-Doo a nice bump in value. It’s even bumping against the Luxury category. A 2020 GTI SE 130 is a great value all around, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Yamaha VX Cruiser VS. Kawasaki Ultra LX VS. Sea-Doo GTI SE 170

VX CruiserULTRA LXGTI SE 170
Price$10,999$11,199$11,399
Top Speed (MPH)535555
Horsepower125160170
Weight (lbs)668932739
Storage Capacity (US Gal)24.66042.5
Seating Capacity333
Reversexxx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.520.615.9
Length (Inches)131.9132.7130.6
Width (Inches)484749.2
Height (Inches)46.945.344.8
Reboarding Stepxxx
Mirrorsxxx
Trimx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxxx
Cruise Controlx

Yamaha VX Cruiser Pros:

  • Cheapest
  • Weighs the least.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse and “Braking”)
  • Reboarding step.
  • Comfort seat.
  • Learning Mode.

Yamaha VX Cruiser Cons:

  • Slowest of the 3.
  • The least amount of storage of the 3.
  • Kind of an awkward model, it’s just the VX Deluxe with a nicer seat.

Kawasaki Ultra LX Pros:

  • The size of a Luxury watercraft but at a Recreational price.
  • The most storage out of any watercraft in the market.
  • Large fuel tank.
  • Cruise control.
  • Learning mode.

Kawasaki Ultra LX Cons:

  • Heaviest jet ski of the 3.
  • Lacks iBR or RIDE.
  • It’s large but doesn’t have the same width, still stable though due to its large size.
  • Needs more HP, that engine has a lot of weight to carry.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 Pros:

  • iBR (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking).
  • Palm Grips.
  • Driving modes.
  • Watertight phone storage.
  • LinQ.
  • Lowest center of gravity for better stability in the water.
  • Widest of the 3, helps with stability at the docks, boarding, and riding multiple people.
  • Polytec hull.
  • More storage than the VX Cruiser.
  • The most horsepower of the 3.
  • The most ergonomic seat of the 3.

Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 Cons:

  • The smallest gas tank of the 3.
  • Less storage than the Kawasaki ULTRA LX.
  • Cost the most of the 3

If you ask me the VX Cruiser should not exist, it’s just the VX Deluxe with a nicer seat.

The Ultra LX is an excellent option if you want a jet ski for the ocean and other rough water conditions. That extra weight is needed, and the hull of the Ultra keeps it planted.

The GTI SE 170 is the goldilocks of the jet ski world for 2020. It has the right amount of power, features, and comfort. If you’re in doubt about what to buy, you need to give the GTI SE 170 a solid look.

The only thing that can give the Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 a run for its money is the Yamaha VX Limited below.

Yamaha VX Limited VS. Nothing

VX Limited
Price$11,399
Top Speed (MPH)53
Horsepower125
Weight (lbs)668
Storage Capacity (US Gal)24.6
Seating Capacity3
Reversex
Brakes or RIDEx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.5
Length (Inches)131.9
Width (Inches)48
Height (Inches)46.9
Reboarding Stepx
Mirrorsx
Trim
Palm Grip
Driving Modesx
Cruise Controlx

Yamaha VX Limited:

  • Single rider towable tube.
  • Pull up cleats.
  • Storage bag.
  • Tow rope.
  • 2 fenders.
  • Two rop bag.
  • Tube inflator.
  • 12-volt plug.
  • Tube Holder.
  • Cover.
  • Cruiser Seat.

For the price, the Yamaha VX Limited is a great value with all its extra accessories.

VX Limited VS Wake 170 or GTI SE 170?

I’ve decided to have the Yamaha VX Limited stand by itself.

I know what Yamaha is doing, they want to compete with the Sea-Doo WAKE 170 and the GTI SE 170.

While the VX Limited has them beat on accessories, it lacks one super important thing – horsepower.

Don’t get me wrong, the VX Limited is an excellent Waverunner and probably has one of the best value out of all the jet skis here. This is why I’m having it stand by itself this year – it’s a stupid good value.

But that little 125HP engine is holding it back.

The Sea-Doo WAKE 170 and GTI SE 170 both have a 170HP engine. That is 45 more HP over the VX Limited. The GTI 90 and Sparks have a 90 HP engine; that is a whole half of a Spark engine more in power than the VX Limited.

This matters because the extra accessories the VX Limited gives you are things like a towable tube.

While yes, the VX Limited can pull that tube, it will never have the gusto like a bigger engine can deliver.

If only Yamaha gave the VX Limited the engine that the VX Cruiser HO has. If they had done that, it would be a more even comparison to the Sea-Doo WAKE 170.

Kawasaki STX 160LX VS. Yamaha VX Cruiser HO

STX 160LXVX Cruiser HO
Price$11,699$11,799
Top Speed (MPH)6263
Horsepower160180
Weight (lbs)864767
Storage Capacity (US Gal)3524.6
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDEx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)20.618.5
Length (Inches)124.1131.9
Width (Inches)46.548
Height (Inches)45.446.9
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trim
Palm Grip
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlxx

Kawasaki STX 160LX Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • Greater storage capacity.
  • Larger fuel tank.
  • Lower center of gravity.
  • Cruise control (Adjustable)
  • Driving modes.
  • Reboarding step.
  • Audio System.
  • Luxury seat.

Kawasaki STX 160LX Cons:

  • Heavier than the VX Cruiser HO.
  • Slower.
  • Less HP.
  • No RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and “Braking”). It does have a manual reverse.
  • Not as wide.

Yamaha VX Cruiser HO Pros:

  • Faster than the Kawasaki STX 160LX.
  • More HP.
  • Wider.
  • Cruiser Seat.
  • Cup Holders.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse and “Braking”)

Yamaha VX Cruiser HO Cons:

  • More expensive.
  • No Audio system, it’s extra.

Tow Sports

Sea-Doo WAKE 170 VS. Sea-Doo WAKE PRO 230

WAKE 170WAKE PRO 230
Price$12,199$14,899
Top Speed (MPH)5765
Horsepower170230
Weight (lbs)747809
Storage Capacity (US Gal)42.526.1
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)15.918.5
Length (Inches)130.6135.9
Width (Inches)49.249.4
Height (Inches)44.844.8
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trimxx
Palm Gripxx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlxx

Sea-Doo is the only manufacturer to produce the Tow Sports Category of watercraft.

While these two are meant for pulling tubes, wakeboarders, and skiers, it’s still an excellent option for others.

The WAKE 170 and the WAKE PRO 230 share a lot of features. What sets them apart is that the WAKE 170 is based on the smaller GTI hull with the less horsepower engine. The WAKE PRO 230 is based on the larger GTX hull and the more horsepower engine.

Don’t worry as the 170HP engine of the WAKE 170 will pull anyone just fine. It’s the stronger take-off power that the WAKE PRO 230 has that more advanced skiers look for.

To be clear, don’t expect jet skis to create any wakes as a Wake Boat would. The great thing about a jet ski over a Wake boat is it’s easier to get it going and far cheaper on gas.

Wake Model Features

Wake Board Rack
  • Ski Pylon – This gets the tow rope higher for the person being pulled for better leverage. It also gives grab handles to the spotter.
  • Ski Mode – You program how hard you want to take off and how fast you want to go, and the computer does the rest. Once Ski Mode is set, all the driver does is hold the trigger in and steer the watercraft. The machine will ramp up to the desired takeoff speed and cruise at the speed set. The driver can also bump up or down the speed with the up and down buttons on the handlebar.
  • Wake Board Rack – You get a place to store your wakeboard so that it’s not in the footwells of the watercraft bouncing around.
  • Trim – You can raise and lower the nose of the watercraft. Both are not heavy enough for any huge wake, but it’s better than having to drag out the big Wake Boat.
  • iBR – (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking)
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • Driving modes
  • Palm Grips.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Watertight phone box in glovebox.
Example of Ski Pylon. Pictured on the GTI SE but the Wake is the same setup.

Wake 170 Only Features

  • A lot more storage than the WAKE PRO 230.
  • Less HP.
  • Cheaper.
  • Smaller body.

Wake Pro 230 Only Features

  • Tilt Steering.
  • Bigger, more stable hull.
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • Larger Swim Platform.
  • Supercharged.

Sea-Doo FISH PRO 170 VS. Nothing

2020 Fish Pro
FISH PRO 170
Price$14,999
Top Speed (MPH)57
Horsepower170
Weight (lbs)858
Storage Capacity (US Gal)39.6
Seating Capacity3
Reversex
Brakes or RIDEx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.5
Length (Inches)146.8
Width (Inches)49.4
Height (Inches)45.3
Reboarding Stepx
Mirrorsx
Trimx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesx
Cruise Controlx

Sea-Doo is also the only one to have a Sport Fishing category too.

The most significant change from the 2019 FISH PRO is that the 2020 FISH PRO now has the 170HP engine instead of the 155HP.

FISH PRO 170 Features:

  • GARMIN ECHOMAP PLUS 62CV FISH FINDER
  • 13.5 Gal. Cooler with recessed work area and tackle and bait storage.
  • Fishing Rod Holders.
  • Gunwale Footrest.
  • Trolling Mode.
  • Fishing Bench Seat.
  • Extended Rear Platform.
  • Watertight phone box in the glovebox.

This is only scratching the surface, Sea-Doo has a ton more accessories to pick from. The FISH PRO 170 is a prime example of the future of jet skis and what they can do.

Performance

Yamaha SUPERJET VS. Kawasaki SX-R

SUPERJETSX-R
Price$8,699$9,999
Top Speed (MPH)4545
Horsepower73150
Weight (lbs)306551
Storage Capacity (US Gal)00
Seating Capacity11
Reverse
Brakes or RIDE
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)4.86.1
Length (Inches)88.2104.5
Width (Inches)26.830.1
Height (Inches)2633.1

These models are mostly bought by the people who race them.

I feel there is no need to go over these models because the people buying them already know what they need to know.

Yamaha GP1800R HO VS. Sea-Doo GTR 230

GP1800R HOGTR 230
Price$12,299$12,399
Top Speed (MPH)6565
Horsepower180230
Weight (lbs)739774
Storage Capacity (US Gal)24.642.5
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.515.9
Length (Inches)131.9130.6
Width (Inches)4849.2
Height (Inches)46.944.8
Reboarding Stepx
Mirrorsxx
Trimxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlx

Yamaha GP1800R HO Pros:

  • Less weight than the GTR 230.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse and “Braking”)
  • Cheaper.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Larger gas tank.
  • More narrow than the GTR, more playful.
  • Non-supercharged engine. Fewer things to go wrong.
  • Cup Holders in the glove box.
  • Driving Modes.
  • Trim.
  • Runs on regular.
  • Longer than the GTR.

Yamaha GP1800R HO Cons:

  • The name. It used to be called the VXR, now it’s something longer and harder to say.
  • No cruise control.
  • Less width than the GTR.

Sea-Doo GTR 230 Pros:

  • More horsepower.
  • Larger storage capacity.
  • iBR (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking)
  • Wider, more stable when standing still.
  • Cruise control.
  • Ergonomic seat.
  • Trim.
  • Driving modes.
  • Supercharged.
  • Palm grips.
  • Based on the GTI Hull.

Sea-Doo GTR 230 Cons:

  • Supercharged. I know it’s a positive, but the negative is that you now have more moving parts while Yamaha was able to do it with fewer.
  • Heavier.
  • Shorter, the longer the hull, the better it takes the chop.
  • Smaller gas tank.
  • No reboarding step for when you fall off and have to get back on.

Yamaha GP1800R SVHO VS. Kawasaki ULTRA 310X VS. Sea-Doo RXP-X 300

GP1800R SVHOULTRA 310XRXP-X 300
Price$14,399$15,299$15,399
Top Speed (MPH)707070
Horsepower250310300
Weight (lbs)7691051847
Storage Capacity (US Gal)24.65630.7
Seating Capacity332
Reversexxx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.520.615.9
Length (Inches)131.9132.7130.6
Width (Inches)484748.3
Height (Inches)46.945.345.3
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxxx
Trimxxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxxx
Cruise Controlx

Yamaha GP1800R SVHO Pros:

  • Cheaper, by a lot.
  • Lightest.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and “Braking”).
  • Reboarding step.
  • Driving modes.
  • Large gas tank.
  • Trim.
  • 3 Seater.

Yamaha GP1800R SVHO Cons:

  • Less horsepower by a lot.
  • No cruise control.

Kawasaki ULTRA 310X Pros:

  • Most horsepower of the 3.
  • Most storage of the 3.
  • Most fuel capacity of the 3.
  • Longest of the 3.
  • Cruise control.
  • Trim.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • 3 Seater.

Kawasaki ULTRA 310X Cons:

  • The heaviest of the 3.
  • Doesn’t have brakes, only manual reverse.

Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 Pros:

  • 300HP.
  • Trim.
  • An ergonomic seat that allows you to lock your legs in for sharp turns.
  • X-Package – Racing sponsons (the fins on the side of the craft, they help with better cornering), and specially angled footwells.
  • Launch Control.

Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 Cons:

  • 2 Seater.
  • No reboarding step.
  • The smallest gas tank of the bunch.

The Yamaha GP1800R SVHO is the winner here. You can’t beat the price, and it’s the latest of the bunch too. It does have less HP, but it still keeps up.

The Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 is due for a change either 2021 or the 2022. It’s been the same body since 2012, and with the GTI’s getting a new body, the RXP-X update is around the corner.

Yamaha FX SVHO VS. Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 VS. Kawasaki ULTRA 310R

FX SVHORXT-X 300ULTRA 310R
Price$15,699$16,199$16,299
Top Speed (MPH)707070
Horsepower250300310
Weight (lbs)8188291047
Storage Capacity (US Gal)4426.156
Seating Capacity333
Reversexxx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.518.520.6
Length (Inches)140.9135.9132.7
Width (Inches)5049.447
Height (Inches)48.445.245.3
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxxx
Trimxxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxxx
Cruise Controlxx

Yamaha FX SVHO Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • Weighs less.
  • More storage capacity.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and “Braking”).
  • Colored Touch Screen.
  • Longer.
  • Wider.
  • Reboarding Step.
  • Trim.
  • Driving modes.
  • Cruise control.
  • Best looking of all 2020 models!
  • Footwell drain.
  • Tilt steering.
  • Cup holders.

Yamaha FX SVHO Cons:

  • Touch screen, it’s cool but hard to use with wet fingers and can’t use it when bouncing around while you ride. Still cool, and the other manufacturers need to catch up.
  • Less horsepower.
  • No ergonomic seat.

Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 Pros:

  • 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds.
  • Easier access to the front storage.
  • LinQ system.
  • Angled, extended Footwell Wedges.
  • Launch Control with Auto-Trim.
  • Race-inspired Sponsons for better cornering.
  • 18.5 Gal gas tank, it’s bigger than the 2019 models.
  • Modular seats and lounge area.
  • Palm grips.
  • Watertight phone box in the glove box.
  • Narrow racing seat.
  • Trim.
  • Extended VTS.
  • Speed Limiter Mode.

Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 Cons:

  • No colored touch screen.
  • Less overall storage.
  • The color scheme is not as nice as what Yamaha has done this year.
  • Less horsepower than the Kawasaki ULTRA 310R.

Kawasaki ULTRA 310R Pros:

  • Most horsepower of the 3 (310HP).
  • Most storage of the 3.
  • The largest gas tank of the 3.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Driving Modes.
  • Racing style handlebars.

Kawasaki ULTRA 310R Cons:

  • Cost the Most of the 3.
  • The heaviest of the 3.
  • No brakes, only manual reverse.
  • The most narrow, could be a good thing if you’re more into racing.

Touring

Sea-Doo GTX 170 VS. Yamaha FX HO

GTX 170FX HO
Price$12,999$13,699
Top Speed (MPH)5758
Horsepower170180
Weight (lbs)776836
Storage Capacity (US Gal)26.144
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.518.5
Length (Inches)135.9140.9
Width (Inches)49.450
Height (Inches)44.848.4
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trimxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlxx

Sea-Doo GTX 170 Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • Weighs less.
  • iBR (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking).
  • Lower height means a lower center of gravity, making it more stable, especially with multiple people on it.
  • Easier to access front storage.
  • Watertight phone storage in the glove box.
  • LinQ system.
  • Larger gas tank than last year’s model.
  • More HP than last year’s model.
  • Trim.
  • Cruise control.
  • Driving modes.
  • Tilt steering.
  • Touring seats.
  • Lounge seating.
  • Palm grips.

Sea-Doo GTX 170 Pros:

  • Less overall storage than the FX HO.
  • Slower.
  • No colored touch screen like the FX HO.
  • No cup holders.
  • No footwell drains like the FX HO.

Yamaha FX HO Pros:

  • Faster.
  • More Horsepower.
  • Colored touchscreen.
  • More storage capacity.
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and “Braking”).
  • Wider.
  • Longer.
  • Cruise control.
  • Driving modes.

Yamaha FX HO Cons:

  • Cost More.
  • Heavier.
  • A little harder to access the front storage compared to the Sea-Doo GTX.
  • You can’t use the touchscreen at speed, but I guess that is a Pro, so you keep focus and drive.

Sea-Doo GTX 230 VS. FX Cruiser HO

GTX 230FX Cruiser HO
Price$13,999$14,199
Top Speed (MPH)6558
Horsepower230180
Weight (lbs)805838
Storage Capacity (US Gal)26.144
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.518.5
Length (Inches)135.9140.9
Width (Inches)49.450
Height (Inches)44.848.4
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trimxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlxx

Here’s the thing…

The Sea-Doo GTX 230 is the same as the Sea-Doo GTX 170, except the 230 has a 230HP engine, which makes it faster at the top end and a whole lot faster on take off.

The Yamaha FX Cruiser HO is just like the FX HO but has the comfort seat and pull up cleats. The Cruiser HO keeps the same engine, which makes the Sea-Doo GTX 230 faster.

Other than that, all the pros and cons for the Sea-Doo GTX 170 and the Yamaha FX HO will be the same for these as well.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 VS. Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO

GTX Limited 230FX Cruiser SVHO
Price$16,199$16,399
Top Speed (MPH)6570
Horsepower230250
Weight (lbs)825820
Storage Capacity (US Gal)26.144
Seating Capacity33
Reversexx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.518.5
Length (Inches)135.9140.9
Width (Inches)49.450
Height (Inches)44.848.4
Reboarding Stepxx
Mirrorsxx
Trimxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxx
Cruise Controlxx

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 Pros:

  • Cheaper.
  • iBR (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking).
  • Bluetooth Audio System.
  • USB Charger.
  • Comes with a Cover.
  • Safety Equipment Kit.
  • Dry Bag.
  • Storage Bin organizer.
  • Driving Modes.
  • Water temperature gauge.
  • Reboarding Ladder.
  • Water-tight phone storage in the glove box.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • Palm Grips.
  • Direct Access Front Storage – Super easy to get into the front storage of the watercraft from the driver’s seat.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • LinQ attachments options – Can add gas cans, Ski Pylon, and so many more accessories to the watercraft. Sold separately.
  • Soft Knee Pad for Ergolock Seat area.
  • Supercharged.
  • Cruise Control and slow speed mode.
  • Depth Finder.
  • Wide Angle mirrors.
  • Trim
  • Touring Seat.
  • Lounge Seating – You can move the seats around and have a picknick or relax on the back.
  • Lowest seating height, less weight at the top, the more stable it sits in the water.
  • 18.5 Gallon gas tank, this is bigger than last year’s model and puts it on the same level as the Yamaha.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 Cons:

  • Slightly heavier than the FX Cruiser SVHO.
  • No Color Touchscreen like the FX models have.
  • NO footwell drain like the FX models have. This is small but nice to have.
  • Less overall storage.

Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO Pros:

  • Color Touch Screen
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and “Braking”).
  • Reboarding step.
  • Multi-Mount System.
  • Storage in the rear for tow ropes and such.
    Mirrors.
  • Driving Modes.
  • Cruise control.
  • Footwell drains
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Pull up Cleats.
  • More storage than the Sea-Doo GTX 230 Limited.
  • Trim.

Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO Cons:

  • Lacks all the extra accessories that the GTX Limited 230 gets like a cover, depth finder, dry bag, safety kit, and so on.
  • The front storage is harder to get to from a seated position at the driver’s seat.
  • Cost more.

The Sea-Doo GTX Limited 230 wins this one. With it, at a lower price along with extra accessories standard, you can’t beat it.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 VS. Yamaha FX Limited SVHO VS. Kawasaki ULTRA 310LX

GTX Limited 300FX Limited SVHOULTRA 310LX
Price$17,199$17,599$17,999
Top Speed (MPH)707070
Horsepower300250310
Weight (lbs)8498221073
Storage Capacity (US Gal)26.14456
Seating Capacity333
Reversexxx
Brakes or RIDExx
Fuel Capacity (US Gal)18.518.520.6
Length (Inches)135.9140.9132.7
Width (Inches)49.45047
Height (Inches)44.848.449.4
Reboarding Stepxxx
Mirrorsxxx
Trimxxx
Palm Gripx
Driving Modesxxx
Cruise Controlxxx

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 Pros:

  • 300 HP, it’s the same engine that’s in Sea-Doo racing watercraft.
  • iBR (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and Braking).
  • Driving Modes.
  • Reboarding step.
  • Trim.
  • Direct Access Front Storage.
  • Integrated Cleats.
  • Ergolock Seat, Stepped.
  • Water-tight phone storage in the glove box.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • LinQ Attachments.
  • Palm Grips.
  • Largest Swim Platform in the Industry.
  • Audio System.
  • Jet Ski Cover.
  • Dry bag.
  • Water temperature gauge.
  • Safety Kit.
  • Cruise control with Slow mode.
  • USB Charger.
  • Depth finder.
  • Storage Bin Organizer.
  • Cheapest of the 3.
  • Lowest height – Less weight high up the more stable you’ll be.
  • Lounge Seating – You can move the seats around and have a picknick or relax on the back.

Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 Cons:

  • The least overall storage amount of the 3. The focus is the one big bucket, which is easy to get to. Since it’s one big bucket, you can fit bigger items like fenders and covers better.
  • It doesn’t come with a tube like the Yamaha.
  • Doesn’t come with the bumpers like the Yamaha.
  • No colored touch screen.
  • No pull up cleats.

Yamaha FX Limited SVHO Pros:

  • Industry-first Colored Touchscreen.
  • Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speakers (2).
  • RIDE (Forward, Neutral, Reverse, and “Braking”).
  • Single rider towable tube.
  • Tube inflator.
  • Soft-sided Cooler – This is nice that Yamaha gives you this!
  • Matching Cover.
  • 12-volt outlet to power the inflator.
  • 2 Fenders.
  • Weighs the least among the 3.
  • Supercharged.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Cruise control.
  • Driving Modes.
  • Cruiser Seat.
  • Trim.
  • Pull Up Cleats.
  • Reboarding Step.

Yamaha FX Limited SVHO Cons:

  • The audio system is not as impressive as what Sea-Doo and Kawasaki have done. But to be fair, the Yamaha option is portable.
  • No ergonomic seats.
  • No lounge seating like the Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300.

Kawasaki ULTRA 310LX Pros:

  • The largest gas tank of the 3.
  • Most stock horsepower of the 3.
  • Largest total storage of the 3.
  • Audio System.
  • Reboarding step.
  • Driving modes.
  • Tilt Steering.
  • Cruise Control.
  • Cruiser Seat.
  • Trim.

Kawasaki ULTRA 310LX Cons:

  • Manual reverse, Kawasaki still doesn’t have brakes like what Sea-Doo and Yamaha are doing.
  • Heaviest of the watercraft.
  • The most expensive jet ski on the market for 2020.
  • Lacks extras like what Yamaha and Sea-Doo give. Things like a safety kit, towable tube, dry bag, etc.

Yamaha is doing a great job with including many accessories, but it has made the price a bit higher.

Not everyone wants or needs a tube, and if you do, you can find affordable options and come out ahead with the Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300.

Plus, the GTX Limited 300 comes with more expansion options like the ability to add a Ski-Pylon, which helps with tow sports.

Before You Buy A New Jet Ski!

Before you buy a new jet ski, I have a few more articles for you to check out.

Here are my 25 tips for buying a new jet ski.

Must have Jet Ski Accessories.

What mistakes to avoid as a beginner.

What to wear on a jet ski.

Best jet ski for beginners.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.

Don’t forget to share this on Facebook and Twitter!

81 thoughts on “2020 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki”

  1. Steven,
    Really appreciate unbiased professional opinion.
    Looking to purchase 2 PWC.
    I found barely used 2020, Kawasaki STX 160 LX for $8500 with 25 hours and currently in between 2020, Kawasaki STX 160 STX 160X for $9K w 8 hours versus used 2 or 3 year seadoo GTIs either 155/130
    for 7–8 K

    Any words of wisdom which direction should I go? I’m trying to maximize value/riding experience since depreciation on these things is insane.
    It is getting chilly in Northeast–so I do not think I am going to be able to test ride either craft to decide…..

    Primarily going to be riding intercostal with occasional ocean runs w my teenage kids, no plans for water sports – getting a boat in addition to all of this (keep in mind that I am brand-new to all of this)

    Reply
    • 2020 was such a strong year for new jet ski sales I’m hoping that 2021 will be flooded with used models and thus it becomes a buyers market. It’s hard to predict but seeing 2020 STX 160 already for sale is got me hopeful. I expect 30 hours a year out of jet skis so seeing 25 hours on them is quite normal. Me personally I would lean more towards the Kawasaki’s as they’re 2020 and would still have more warranty. a 2 or 3-year-old Sea-Doo GTI is nice if you need the brakes, it makes docking easier, but not a huge deal-breaker. You could roll the dice and wait till January or February to see what is in the wild as that is the heart of winter, especially in North-East USA. You might find better deals but it’s hard to predict as 2020 was such a crazy year for jet ski sales.

      Reply
  2. Steven,
    Thanks for your informative website!! I currently have a 1994 Polaris SLT750(still running) and I am looking to replace it. I initially was looking at the Yamaha EX sport and deluxe. I wasn’t considering Sea-doo. I have talked to dealers who sell Yamahas and Sea-doos and they see fewer Yamahas in the shop. I suppose it all depends on how you treat your watercraft. But after reading your posts and reading other reviews I am now considering the Yamaha VX, VX Deluxe, and VX Cruiser. From the Sea-doo lineup I am looking at the GTI 90, GTI 130, and GTI SE 130. Grandkids are getting older so I would need something to tow a tube and possibly a skier. My Polaris can handle both duties with younger kids. Most of the time we just ride around the lake (900 acres). I think most of the watercraft I listed can do what I require (maybe not the GTI 90). Do you have any recommendations for which one would be best for my situation? Brand ?

    Reply
    • Going with any VX or GTI will be a huge upgrade in comfort compared to what you used to have. For pulling people I would stay away from the GTI 90 as it doesn’t have the bottom-end power like the 130 or greater will have. The GTI SE 130 is nice if you want trim and a reboarding step but other than that it’s the same as the non-SE. Trim is nice for pull sports but not needed.

      Reply
  3. Steven,
    I had a 1996 Polaris SLT 700 that has finally “died.” I’m trying to decide between Sea Doo or Yamaha next and which model. I’m not interested in speed. I go fast sometimes, but speeding around the lake is not a priority. Mainly, I like to ride around and look at houses, go to islands, and ride around at the marina.
    I’m wanting a pre-owned jetski because the new ones have ridiculous price tags.
    What year, which type, and which model do you recommend? WHERE should I begin my search
    to find one? I like bright, fun colors, but I’m not crazy about all of the black color on the Spark because
    it’s less visible on the water despite the few colorful areas.
    Thanks a million for your invaluable advice!

    Reply
    • Look for any Sea-Doo GTI made after 2006, getting a 2011 or greater will have iBR brakes. Sea-Doo is more likely to have brighter fun colors than Yamaha. 2015 and 2016 Sea-Doo GTI had the most fun colors. If you go with new look at the GTI 90, affordable, it’s plenty fast, great on gas, plenty of storage, and a lot more stable than the Spark.

      Reply
  4. Hi
    About to buy a supercharged Jetski for playing but also going in minor choppy waters.
    im torn between the FX SVHO and the GTX 230. Both got plenty of grunt for me. Will be cruising alot of the time but like having the supercharged acceleration on tap. I like how you can get all sorts of accessories for the gtx but I like the big storage amount of the FX SVHO.

    which is the better of the two? Which would be the better ski?

    Reply
    • I would go with the GTX if you plan on cruising a lot of the time. The GTX seat is more ergonomic and more comfortable. Then the accessories you can add to the GTX is a real winner, no real tools required for most as they use the LinQ attachments. The storage is smaller on the GTX but it doesn’t feel like it. The way the front hood opens the storage feels huge and I’ve yet to run into an issue. But if you need more you can always get more storage that uses the LinQ attachments.

      Reply
  5. When do you expect 2021 Sea Doos to be available? Do the manufacturers continuing producing the 2020 models all the way up to that point or do they stop in the shoulder season? Thanks!

    Reply
    • There were a few 2021 Sea-Doo models but that was because the demand for 2020 models was so high they made more of them but due to when they made them they have to call them 2021. They were 2020’s with 2021 sticker. Usually, Sea-Doo releases new models in September but the US doesn’t get them until December or January.

      Reply
  6. I’d like to buy a PWC but haven’t ridden one in 10 years so I want to try it first. I think the FX would be best for my purposes. The closest I have come to riding an FX is a place nearby that rents a GTX which I rented for an hour today and took it for a “test drive”. (Comparable model per your comparison lists above.)

    While playing with the cruise control I found a couple of features I really like but I can’t find if the FX cruise control works the same way, so hoping you or another person with experience can let me know.

    While driving the GTX at my desired speed I pressed the button to set the cruise control. Later I released the throttle and came to a stop. Then I pressed the throttle all the way and it accelerated up to my set cruising speed. It remembered the speed I had set, much like the “resume” button on a car. Does it work the same way on the FX, or would I need to set the cruising speed again after each time I release the throttle?

    The second feature I liked is I could use the buttons to set the cruising speed while the GTX was stopped, then press the throttle all the way and it accelerated up to that speed. Does the Yamaha work the same way or can you only set the speed by driving at the desired speed and then pressing the button?

    Thanks for any details you can provide. Your website has given me a wealth of information about the buying process and about specific models.

    Reply
    • The cruise control works the same way. This in case you fall off the jet ski won’t keep going so you must keep the throttle in. You’ll find the cruise control works very similarly for both models.

      Reply
  7. I’m on Lake Erie where it can often be a bit choppy. What would you recommend for the most comfortable ride between the GTI SE 170 and VX Cruiser HO?

    Is this is a scenario where the VTS could be a key factor?

    Reply
    • I would go with the GTI SE 170 because it’s heavier and wider which will help with the chop. VTS would help with rough water because you can trim the nose up and down to suit the water conditions.

      Reply
  8. Does the GTI SE 170 compare favorably to the VX Cruiser HO in terms of comfort for driver and passengers? I know the HO has a little more top speed.

    Everyone seems to be out of the Yamahas right now. I assume the same for the SeaDoo. I’m not sure if SeaDoo will be able to get production back up before Yamaha or not.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Yeah, 2020 was an odd year and jet skis sold like crazy due to current events. Sea-Doo did a small run of 2021 which are just 2020 models but many of those are already spoken for. Comfort-wise the GTI SE 170 will be very comfortable especially for the driver due to the ergo-lok seat. The real 2021 models won’t ship until December – January with most of those going to Australia first.

      Reply
      • Would you recommend putting a deposit down on a ski at a dealership? I’ve had one dealership recommend that to me for the 2021s.

        Would that cut me out of any financing or rebates at the boat shows that will be coming along in January and February? Or will this next year have those deals since 2020 has been so odd and inventory depleted?

        I’m wondering if putting a deposit down might be the thing to do given the current situation.

        Reply
        • I’m thinking 2020 was a fluke and things will be normal next year. I personally would wait closer to January to put down a deposit on a 2021 so that I would be ready for the 2021 riding season.

          Reply
  9. Hey Steven,

    A HUGE Thank You for putting in the work! I am in Florida and would be in rough water more than not. 3 Questions:

    1. In your opinion is there a certain Make or Ski that does best in Salt Water?
    2. Your best overall rough water ski?
    3. Best Bang for the buck that fits the above 2 questions but focused on Touring (bar hopping) and pulling a tube/wakeboard once in a while.

    Thank you in advance for your time!

    Reply
    • 1. I like sticking to Sea-Doo for saltwater because they use the closed-loop cooling especially if it’s a non-supercharged model.
      2. Kawasaki Ulta’s are great for rough water due to their weight and hull design. But if you want a Sea-Doo any GTX or RTX body will do fine.
      3. A Sea-Doo GTX 170 is the best value with a big hull. If you want to go fast then the 230HP is a great option. The WAKE 230 is a great option if you do a lot of pull sports, it’s the same body.

      Reply
  10. Steven,

    Been following your website for several years now and wanted to thank you for all of the time and effort spent to help guide buyers. Married into a PWC family that has a couple Yamaha XLT 1200 WaveRunners and am now looking at getting my own. I’ve been leaning towards a VX Cruiser HO or GP1800R HO. I like the idea of using regular gas, having a bigger gas tank that’s fuel efficient, and being a bigger guy, feel like the extra HP would be beneficial. It looks like the only difference between the two is adjustable trim vs. Cruise control, but is there anything else I’m missing? How would you decide between the two? Will be using them primarily in Utah and Idaho Lakes. Also, what Sea-Doo model comes closest that’s not supercharged?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • If you’re coming from the XLT 1200 the VX cruiser HO would be a huge grade, I would go with that for sure as the GP1800R HO is built for racing and not comfort. The closest thing to the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO would be the Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 but for your situation, I would get the Yamaha.

      Reply
      • After asking a few questions to Steven, we bought 2 vx cruiser ho’s for our family and couldn’t be happier! I’m not sure what the process has been for others, but it was really difficult to find 2 available here in CA.

        Reply
      • Thanks Steven! I know nobody has a crystal ball, but Is the VX Cruiser HO due for any major overhauls in 2021? I only ask because cars usually update about every 3 years, and I wasn’t sure if a similar pattern carried over into PWC? I think the last major VX change was 2015? I’ve found a couple 2020’s at a local dealer, but also recognize we are halfway through the season and new models should be announced next month and am trying to decide which way to go.

        Reply
        • Jet skis usually change the body every 10 years or so and change color every year or every other year. It’s rare to find a dealer with any 2020’s in stock, 2020 was a crazy year for jet skis due to current events. Even the used market is going crazy. I’ve never seen jet skis sell so quickly in all my life, all the local dealers near me have sold out back in June. Usually, a dealer will have 10% of what they normally have carried through to the next year but this won’t be a thing for many dealers. I don’t think the hype will continue and I have a good feeling there will be used jet skis flooding the market in 2021.

          Reply
  11. Steven –
    Your posts are an awesome resource for anyone searching to buy a PWC. Thanks for all your time put into this.

    I am looking for a 3 person model to be able to carry 2 adults and one child. I like the looks of the tiered cruiser seat on the WaveRunner FX cruisers and FX Limited SVHO. Does Seadoo have a similar seat? What do you find to be the most comfortable seat on the market for 3 people?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • The GTX Limited has somewhat tiered seating but it’s not the same as Yamaha. While tiered seating sounds cool it does raise the center of gravity of the watercraft up and makes it less stable especially when you get more people on it. Comfort-wise I feel Sea-Doo is more ergonomic for the driver but the passengers there is no difference. The trick is to go sit on each model for at least 15 minutes to get a feel of it as everyone’s body is different. I have people tell me the seat on the FX is a lot better due to their body shape.

      Reply
  12. Hi Steve!
    First of all, thank you for all the work you’ve done compiling all of the data, plus your great opinions, advice, and reviews. I really appreciate it and have turned to your pages hundreds of times already in my research.
    I have a question that I think you would would have great advice on:
    I used to have a Yamaha Waverunner about 20 years ago. It was great. I haven’t been out on the water since. Now, I am finally in a position to relax and enjoy the water, and am ready to buy something.
    I am a fan of Yamaha, but not against going with Sea-Doo. I am going to buy new, I think, for peace of mind and longer-term hold. I have two grown kids and two small grandkids, who will be using it with me on occasion, but wife and I will be using it most; however, kids will have access and we definitely will be doing some tow sports, mostly tubing I’d say. Will be used on Sacandaga Lake and the Hudson River. No oceans.

    I have a budget of about $15-$20,000, but obviously don’t NEED to spend that much.

    Here’s my question:
    I’ve always had it in my mind that I would buy two PWC’s. If it were you, considering the family, would you buy TWO lower-end PWC’s or ONE higher-end PWC? This si the only question I can’t find my answer to, and hoping you could help. I could, for instance, buy a mid-range sled and a rec sled, I guess. I’m not sure what to do. A VX and an EX? A GTI and a Spark? One FX or Wake?

    I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.

    Rob

    Reply
    • If you can get two jet skis, get two jet skis. It’s not fun waiting your turn and driving with another jet ski is a lot more fun than riding behind on one jet ski.

      A great option is to buy a Sea-Doo Spark or Yamaha EX and then a Sea-Doo GTI or Yamaha VX. A Sea-Doo Spark 3up and a Sea-Doo GTI 90 or 130 would have you where you want to be price-wise. You get the best of both worlds. One watercraft that is playful and another one that is better for pull sports.

      Getting two cheaper jet skis is better than getting one expensive jet ski in my opinion.

      Reply
      • That narrows my choices down somewhat as I really don’t think I want a supercharged engine. The 170 is probably where I should be any anyway but you know how it is with guys and horsepower. I’m about 90% committed to a GTX though.

        Reply

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