Are you thinking about buying a jet ski? Whether you’re fishing in the flats or over the reef or towing someone into a 60-foot wave at Peahi, a Personal Water Craft (PWC) offers versatile use and plenty of fun out on the water.
So, how much does a jet ski cost?
Let’s face it, the cost of the machine is the defining factor involving your purchase. With so many models from leading manufacturing brands, how do you choose the right jet ski for your budget, and what can you expect to fork out for a PWC that meets your needs?
Jet skis range in pricing. You have entry models for as little as $5,000 and luxury models that retail with price tags up to $20,000. When assessing the leading jet skis, we looked at Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Sea-Doo models.
Our research shows the Sea-Doo Spark as the most affordable entry-level PWC, and the Kawasaki Ultra 310LX is the most expensive model on the market. The jet ski price depends on several factors, including its performance, build quality, and extra features and accessories.
You have models available in all categories and at all price ranges, and you’re sure to find a jet ski that meets your needs and your budget. This guide unpacks the best entry-level and premium jet skis from our three leading brands, and we’ll look at what you need to know before finalizing your purchase. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
- Understanding Jet Ski Models
- How much Does a Jet Ski Cost? – We review the Top Brands
- What Are the Hidden Costs with Jet Skis
- Wrapping Up
Understanding Jet Ski Models
If you’re diving into the world of jet skis, you’ll need to understand what you’re looking at on the dealership floor. Jet skis are available in three models.
- Rec-lite / Recreation
The luxury skis are the most expensive models, and the Rec-lite versions are the most affordable entry-level jet skis. Sea-Doo also makes dedicated towing jet skis for water sports like wakeboarding and towing surfers into waves.
Luxury Jet Ski Models
The luxury models feature all the same power and maneuverability as performance models. However, you get deeper hulls designed for cruising for a smooth ride, even in rougher water conditions. Typically, the luxury models offer more seating, and some can accommodate up to 4-people on the ski.
The primary difference between luxury and performance models is the accessories and features of these skis. Some riders may find the extras on luxury skis beneficial, justifying the price tag, while others might not use the additional options on these models.
Luxury models typically start at around the $12,000 mark and can go up to $20,000 for the top-of-the-line model from a leading brand.
It’s a personal choice whether you feel the extras are worth the money and if they suit what you want to do with the ski on the water. Typically, the luxury models are ideal for spending more time out on the water fishing or having fun. You get more storage and better seating.
Performance Jet Ski Models
If you’re looking to have some fun racing across the flats, ramping off waves, and doing sharp acrobatic turns, the performance jet is what you’re looking for in a prospective model. The motor capacity and design are the most significant difference between skis when it comes to performance models. You have skis available in various engine capacities, suited for one to three riders.
Like performance sports cars, these skis come in a range of pricing options, depending on the features and the brand name offering the ski. Performance skis offer you fast acceleration, razor-sharp maneuverability, and fast top speeds.
However, they also feature steep price tags compared to the entry-level models, and you can expect to pay between $6,000 to $15,000 for a model depending on your setup and choice of manufacturing brand.
However, some performance models feature a stand-up operation rather than a seated bench. These performance skis are more affordable than their “wave runner” counterparts, and you can pick them up starting at $3,000, up to around $10,000, depending on the configuration and brand.
Maintenance on performance skis is usually much more expensive than on entry-level models. They require performance parts and run on higher-octane fuels, increasing the machine’s running costs.
Recreation or Rec-Lite Jet Ski Models
A rec-lite or recreational jet ski offers you the best option for an entry-level model. The rec-lite models typically have smaller engine capacities and less performance than the recreational models. The rec-lite will also have fewer features, but the price tag is more affordable.
The recreational and rec-lite models are the most common jet skis on the water due to the more affordable price tags. They might not offer you’re the agility, power, and speed of performance models, but you might not require those features to have a good time out on the water.
Recreation and rec-lite skis are an excellent choice for families and beginner riders, and you can use them for anything from cruising to watersports. The affordability of these PWCs makes them an attractive alternative to skiffs and smaller fishing boats, and they handle shallow fishing flats thanks to the minimal draft and the jet-powered motors.
If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s worth considering a rec-lite or recreational model, and many owners find they don’t feel the need to upgrade to performance equipment.
How much Does a Jet Ski Cost? – We review the Top Brands
So, what can you expect to pay for a jet ski? We looked at the entry-level and luxury models from three of the leading jet ski brand, Sea-Doo, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. This review unpacks what you can expect from each manufacturing brand and our recommendations for the top models from each manufacturer.
Typically, prices range from $5,000 for entry-level PWCs to $20,000 for the top-end luxury models. The average jet ski pricing costs $12,000 for a performance model. During our research, we discovered that the most affordable jet ski is the Sea-Doo Spark 2 UP, retailing at $5,399. The most expensive luxury model is the Kawasaki Ultra 310LX, retailing at $17,999.
Let’s take a deep dive into each brand and make recommendations on the best choices for your new jet ski.
Sea-Doo is one of the best-known brands in PWCs. Sea-Doo brings you a comprehensive lineup of jet skis with entry-level, performance, and luxury models. Chances are, if you see a jet ski floating on the lake or pulling into the marina, it’s going to be a Sea-Doo.
The Sea-Doo brand prides itself on delivering high-quality machines at an affordable price tag, and if budget is a top priority for you, then you’ll find what you need in the Sea-Doo range.
Here are our choices for the best models available from this manufacturing brand.
- Entry Level: Spark 2 UP 60 HP ($5,399).
- Performance: GTR-X 230 ($13,099).
- Luxury: GTX Limited ($16,899).
Kawasaki is one of the best-known names in jet skis, and they also have a solid reputation for producing some of the best motorcycle engines in the world, translating that tech to its jet ski range.
Kawasaki is a great brand, but it’s the most expensive in the industry. However, if you’re looking for a reliable PWC offering outstanding performance, we highly recommend buying a Kawasaki. You might have to pay a little more for your ski, but the extra investment is worth the money.
Our top choices for the best jet skis from Kawasaki include the following.
- Entry Level: STX-15F ($9,699).
- Performance: Ultra 310 X ($15,299).
- Luxury: Ultra 310LX ($17,999)
Like Kawasaki, Yamaha is another leading Japanese manufacturing brand in PWCs. The brand also produces outstanding motorcycles, transferring the engine technology into its jet ski range.
Yamaha offers you a great combination of reliability and performance, and its recreational models are some of the best choices for affordable, high-performance skis. The brand has a reputation for low-maintenance motors, and they have a lineup with a vast array of machines at various price points to suit your budget.
Our top choices for the best jet skis from Yamaha include the following.
- Yamaha EX ($6,699).
- Yamaha VXR ($11,999).
- Yamaha FX Limited SVHO ($16,899).
What Are the Hidden Costs with Jet Skis
Purchasing your jet ski is only half the battle. Other than settling with the dealer, there are several costs relating to your purchase. Here are the hidden costs of jet ski ownership. Take them into account when planning your budget.
Every state has a sales tax on jet ski purchases. The tax can significantly affect your purchase, depending on where you live. For instance, the sales tax in Florida is 6%, whereas it’s only 4.5% in North Carolina.
While it might seem that 1.5% isn’t a lot of money, that equates to an extra $253,49 if you’re buying a Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 with a price tag of $16,899.
The dealer will charge you a freight fee on your order if you want a model other than what they have on the dealership floor.
PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection)
The jet ski arrives at the dealer in a crate. The dealership will unbox and complete the final assembly and inspection of the PWC before delivering it to you.
Documentation fees vary between states, so check with your dealer on the costs involved with this process.
If you have to register your jet ski in your state, you’ll pay a registration fee to the local municipality where you live. These fees differ by state.
Check the MSRP
The MRSP is the suggested retail price set by the manufacturing brand. Dealers won’t advertise a current model below this figure. However, they can go under the MRSP on models from previous years.
With inflation getting out of control, manufacturers and dealers reserve the right to add a surcharge fee to the price tag if costs increase suddenly.
You’ll need to insure your jet ski against theft, fire, and damage. The policy price varies depending on the insurer and your driving record. Most PWC owners can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per year to insure their jet ski.
Since PWC theft is somewhat common, especially in states like Florida, we recommend you don’t take delivery of the jet ski before your insurance confirms your policy. Some of the contributing factors to the cost of your insurance policy include the following.
- Model, make, and year.
- The jet ski value.
- Engine type and horsepower.
- Any engine modifications.
Taking a boat safety course is a good idea, and your insurer will discount your premium if you have the qualification under your belt. It’s also important to call your insurer every year and ask them to adjust your policy premium concerning the drop in depreciation of your PWC.
Fuel Consumption and Type
Fuel is another consideration for your jet ski. You’ll have to use ethanol-free fuel for your watercraft. The entry-level craft will run fine on mid-grade 83-octane, but performance models require 97-octane for optimal operation.
Your jet ski requires seasonal maintenance and servicing. If you’re buying a new ski, the dealer may offer you a service plan included in the price of the ski. You can expect to pay around $100 to $200 per year in maintenance and servicing costs, depending on the make and model of the jet ski.
Trailer and Accessories
When ordering your boat, pay attention to the cost of the extras and accessories you add to your ski. Accessories can end up adding thousands of dollars to the price tag.
Some dealers may offer you a trailer included with your purchase. Look for dealers offering seasonal sales, and you’re likely to find a dealer offering you a trailer as an incentive for making a purchase.
If you have to purchase your trailer separately, you can expect to pay between $250 and $1,500.
There are plenty of pre-owned jet skis available on the secondary market. If you spend time researching listings, you could find a great deal.
However, if you’re buying a pre-owned model, take a mechanic along with you to inspect the engine. The last thing you need is a lemon that gives your endless problems.