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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 2022 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. I’m a little surprised that that you rate the 300 slightly more reliable than than the 230 . I thought that that 230 NA would be more reliable?

    Reply
    • The Sea-Doo 230HP engine is supercharged and not naturally aspirated. The 170HP is NA and I would say it’s more reliable than the 230 or 300.

      Reply
  2. Steven — 2 questions:

    1) from a RELIABILITY standpoint, do you favor the 230 or the 300 in the GTX Limited?

    2) worth buying a 2019 if it’s discounted significantly over 2020? Value of 3-yr warranty worthwhile?

    thanks!!!!!!

    Reply
    • 1) I would go with the 300 as it’s been around a little longer but both are similar in reliability.
      2) For sure go with the leftover 2019 model if you can still find one.

      Reply
    • Kawasaki makes some of the best ocean-going jet skis on the market. They’re heavy and the hulls take the chop very well. The biggest problem with Kawasaki is the lack of them innovating and adding new tech. Some may see this as a bonus as fewer things to go wrong but it’s a hard sell for many.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for the in depth content, I’ve spent more time than I thought possible on your site! We’re a family of 5, kids are ages 5-9. We’d like 2 skis: 1 for tow in surfing for husband, but also to tube with the kids and a 2nd less powerful for me to enjoy plus tow the kids behind tubing, skiing, etc. can you recommend a Yamaha for tow in surfing in + family time? Seadoo Wake 170/230, which other skis to consider? I’d like to narrow it down and then shop used, but still fairly new. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

    Reply
    • If you plan on doing a lot of pull sports then the WAKE models will be the best option. The WAKE 170 is a good all-around watercraft made just for this. Before 2020 the WAKE 170 was called the WAKE 170, different engine and hull. For the second ski, you might want to stick to the Sea-Doo GTI’s or Yamaha VX models. You could go with the Sea-Doo Spark or Yamaha EX but they won’t be as comfortable as the GTI or VX models.

      Reply
      • I think I’ve narrowed it down to Sea Doo Wake 170 and Yamaha VX Cruiser HO for our two skis. What are your thoughts on one of each vs 2 sea doo wake 170 vs Yamaha VX Cruiser HOs? And 2019 vs 2020 models? Shopping for 2019s now hoping to get a deal since 2021s come out so soon.

        Reply
        • I would stick to getting the same model from the same manufacturer, it makes warranty and repair work easier. Due to current situations with the world both Sea-Doo and Yamaha dealers are selling out of 2020 units, this usually doesn’t happen until after July or August. I guess everyone was tired of being home and decided to get jet skis. If you can find a 2019 go for it but it’s getting hard to find 2020 and the 2021 won’t ship until December at the earliest.

          Reply
  4. What a great website this is…thank you!

    As of today, where do you see the best ‘value’ in 2019 or 2020 on the highest end Sea Doos and Waverunner models? High power (occasional tube pulling) and stability are my priorities, riding on Lake Michigan. I was looking at:
    – Yamaha FX Limited SVHO
    – FX CRUISER SVHO
    – Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300
    – Sea-Doo GTX 230

    Then generally, how game-changing is Sea Doo’s palm grip (maybe only when doing extended/aggressive riding)? Many thanks!

    Reply
    • The best value will be in the Limited models for sure. Feature-wise the FX limited wins but power wise and comfort the GTX Limited wins. As for the palm grips they’re worth it especially if you do long rides in rough water like Lake Michigan.

      Reply
  5. Hey Steven, my dad wants to buy a supercharged sea doo. I am leaning towards Yamaha because I read that Yamaha’s last longer and the engines are better. I also read that Yamaha’s are better on gas and require less maintenance. In Canada, sea doos are cheaper and they have 50 more hp than the top yamahas but I heard that they could sink because of the carbon seal. Would you recommend the sea doo or the Yamaha ?

    Reply
    • Every manufacturer has it’s fanbase and they like to rag on each other. The manufacturers do a great job but you will have a small percentage of people who will have trouble. You only hear from the people having trouble because the people not having trouble are too busy enjoying their watercraft. I hear people complain about the carbon seal but in my experience, I’ve only seen a handful of people have issues with them. The supercharger issue the 2006 to 2009 Sea-Doo had was a far bigger issue if you asked me along with the timing chain issue that Yamaha had back then too. I personally like the ride and tech of the Sea-Doo over Yamaha. But Yamaha has some great models like the VXR and now called the GP1800R HO – Sea-Doo can’t touch these things. If I had to boil it down if you want comfort and tech go with Sea-Doo, and if you want power go with Yamaha. The racing models from Yamaha in 2020 are far better than what Sea-Doo is doing but the comfort models from Sea-Doo are far better than what Yamaha is doing.

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      • Hey Steven , thanks for the help. Another question I have is are supercharged jet skis harder to maintain than non supercharged jet skis ?

        Reply
        • Supercharged jet skis require maintenance every 200 hours depending on the model. The supercharger is under a lot more stress and needs more attention to it. But if you want to go fast the only option is to get a jet ski with a supercharger, no matter the brand they all need to be serviced.

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  6. Great article.

    How critical do you think the iBR/Ride system is?

    I’m looking for a larger touring/luxury PWC. Usage will be in mostly protected waters, but would like to be able to head offshore as well.

    I like Kawasakis since they seem to consistently have the larger storage and fuel tanks, but is lack of iBR/ride a deal breaker?

    Reply
    • iBR and RIDE is very nice especially if you’re new to watercraft or when friends ride your machine. It gives you better control of the watercraft but I would not say it’s a deal-breaker. It’s like an automatic car vs a manual transmission car, both are fine it’s just that one requires more work and getting used to than the other.

      Reply
  7. I am a male almost 69 years but in good shape. I have been thinking of buying one of these to use when I’m down at Gulf Shores, AL. My question is am I considered too old and if not any machines you would recommend? I would be a beginner.

    Reply
    • I’ve seen an 80-year-old couple outride 20 somethings on the intercoastal waterway before. With the bigger models like the GTX, FX, or ULTRA they’re easy to drive and take the waves well. I would avoid anything else if you care about comfort.

      Reply
        • If you can find a 2019 go for that one for sure! Better deals on leftover models and nothing changed much between the two year models.

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  8. Interesting read but not hard to see the author is biased towards SeaDoo (to be fair they did mention this). The fact is Sea Doo and Yamaha are the best there are. Kawi is coming along but they need to step it up. All things being equal go with Yamaha. But if the price is the same go with the one that fits you and your needs best. You really can’t go wrong with either. Leave the Kawi at the dealership where it belongs.

    Reply
  9. Thanks Steve. I’m new to the whole PWC segment and your articles have been a great assistance sorting through the marketing pitches and getting down to the facts. I also like that you admit you are a “seadoo” guy up front and still fairly represent all the products fairly by letting the numbers speak for themselves. Well done Sir. A coffee has been sent your way!

    Reply
  10. Thank you – so much good info here. I can read up on all the details from this site and not bug a salesman with a bunch of questions. The only reasonable expectation I have is that the dealer have one in stock so I can get it and go.

    Reply
  11. Well the wife just chopped the ole budget! Looking at $11/$12k all-in. So no 2020. Perhaps no 2019?
    Best towable 260-300hp 3up @ those $$$?

    Reply
    • You can find some nice used PWCs if you spend that much but I would try shopping around your closest dealers to see if they have any leftover models in that price range. Try the dealers that don’t focus on selling jet skis as much, the ATV and motorcycle dealers may have a lot of leftover models they can’t get rid of because it’s not their main focus. Many dealers will also get in a bunch of trade-ins they sit on all winter long and looking to move those. A lot of people trade in this time of year to get a head start on the riding season that is to come.

      As for the best jet ski for towing it would be any WAKE Model. If you want raw power the RXT or RXT-X would be great but if you also want something a little more comfortable then the GTX 230 would be a great option too. Just avoid suspension (iS) models when it comes to pull sports as the tow point is the hinge of the suspension.

      Reply
  12. How awesome or necessary is the 2020 Sea-Doo “Lounge Seating – You can move the seats around and have a picknick or relax on the back”?

    I have to get a 3 seat and want the 300 (I’m a big man @ 220#).
    Plan to pull 2 kids on a tube quite a bit, then possibly train them to ski/wakeboard as they age (currently 5/7).

    Right now, per your website, leaning towards:
    2020 Sea-Doo GTX LIMITED 300 -OR- 2019 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300

    Thoughts? Other suggestions? Know of any offers if buying this month (overstock, promotions? (other than end of mo))?

    Appreciate all, sir! Your website is great!

    Reply
    • Lounge seating is cool but not super important. What it does is to allow more accessories to be added to the PWC like coolers or ski pylon – that is worth it.

      Going with the 300 if this is your first jet ski will be overkill. A 90HP spark can pull kids fine and a 130hp can pull a full-size man fine too. Your best bet is to try to buy any leftover models. Right now in the US, many dealerships are having “boat show” specials which means great warranty deals and rebates. You’ll be surprised what kind of deal you can get now in the winter. Jet ski dealers don’t really do the better deal at the end of the month like car dealers do, I talk more about how to get a good deal on this post https://www.steveninsales.com/new-jet-ski-buyers-guide/

      Reply
  13. I am looking to buy a sporty jet-ski. Grew up on stand-ups love them but think not practical. My kids keep telling me to get the Sea-Doo trixx 3up however I hear it is difficult to ride/balance ect. I am wondering if the Yamaha EXR would be good comprise for the fun factor. I found a 2019 model for about same price as 2020 Trixx. Thanks for input.

    Reply
    • The EXR will be as unstable as the Trixx if not worse because it’s less wide than the Trixx. But the EXR will be faster while the Trixx will be more playful. It will come down to if you want something fast or something playful, other than that you can’t go wrong with either. I will say a dealership is more willing to work on selling leftover models so the EXR might be your best bet deal wise.

      Reply
  14. I’m looking into buying a Yamaha GP1800R SVHO, do you think I should wait for model year 2021 for any upgrades? The new models get announced around August of each year.

    Reply
      • Thank you for answering so quick! Are there more sales as we get closer or during summer? Also is the new LCD touchscreen worth it and how do you think it will hold up over time? Do you see the touchscreen coming to this model?

        I’m your opinion which jet ski has the best resale value?

        Reply
        • Many US dealerships will be having boat shows this time of year and doing other things to drum up business as winter is the slowest season for them. When it’s slow the best deals come.

          As for the touch screen, it’s cool but not life-changing. You can’t touch it when the craft is moving and doesn’t work the best with wet fingers. You’ll find yourself using the physical buttons more because they’re more convenient.

          As for the best resale value, it will be the middle of the road watercraft. Nothing too expensive or cheap and nothing with a supercharger.

          Reply
  15. I’ve researched a lot, looking for what my new (first time buyer) ski should be, and I can’t seem to find much on the differences between the new (2020) GTI hull and S3 GTX. Is the new GTI just the material, or is it shaped somewhere similar to the S3? I’ll be using the ski in various conditions–from calm to wavy (outside of getting caught in choppy conditions, I’ll mostly avoid whitecap days)–and want to make the best choice. Use will be playing around a bit but mostly heading to areas to hang out. Thanks!

    Reply
    • The new GTI hull is a little shorter than the GTX hull and made of Polytec with fiberglass fibers in the middle for extra strength. The 2020 GTI’s are a great value this year unless you’ll be riding in very rough water then the little bit longer GTX hull will be a must. If you have any back or leg issues I would go with the GTX instead, it offers a less cramped feeling and a more comfortable ride in comparison.

      Reply
  16. I haven’t had a waverunner since 1992. Obviously, any of the ones today would be much better than what I’m used to. I plan to buy in January and went to a store yesterday to see what was available. After reading your articles (thank you), I had pretty much decided on the EX or Spark due to budget; however, the salesman said they don’t even carry EXs since they can never sell any because no one wants them, but he did carry the EX Deluxe that he “would” sell me–but I’d “be much happier with a ‘VX’ because I’m not 20 yrs old anymore.” Basically, riding all day would probably be hard on my back, etc. (it will be bay to gulf riding–not lakes). And then, when I asked him about the Spark instead, he said “no way” and said it would be like riding a motorcycle.

    Now I’m not naive, I know riding all day will be much different now that I’m a 45 yr old female compared to back then when I was 17, but was he being dramatic? (I do have age related lower back pain like many others)

    I have considered buying used (not older than 5 years) but leary since it will be all salt water used around here and even though it may look like it has been well maintained, there may be some hidden problems.

    As far as usage, majority of the time it will be just me. Sometimes, there may be two people riding, and occasionally maybe towing someone. And I’m sure I’ll jump a few waves while I’m out there too.

    Which ones would you recommend?

    Reply
    • The only problem with the Sparks or EX is the seat, it does get uncomfortable after an hour of riding. But if you’re riding in calm water all the time this is not much of an issue. The EX or Spark seat comfort level is about the same as a bicycle seat. Also, most people stop and take breaks after an hour of riding so it’s not a huge issue. The good news is that Sea-Doo has a Touring Seat for the Sparks which greatly helps this comfort problem.

      Going to a VX or GTI will be a noticeable upgrade in comfort. A Spark or EX will be more thrilling, there is nothing like them on the market. You could split the difference and get a GTI 90, its the comfort of a GTI, the engine of the Spark, but around the price of the Yamaha EX DELUXE.

      Reply
  17. Thank You for great comparision!
    One thing – PWC is a type of vehicle, IMO.
    Should be: Company – Brand:
    Kawasaki – Jet Ski
    Yamaha – Waverunner
    Bombardier – Sea Doo

    Reply

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