Considering buying a jet ski? If so, you might be wondering how much it will cost to make that dream come true.
The answer is, it depends.
Personal watercraft, or PWC (the generic term for jet ski) run the gamut in terms of utility and capability.
What you want to do with your jet ski – how you’ll use it, how many passengers you’ll have aboard, etc. – is the first factor in determining how much you can expect your jet ski to cost.
When it comes to pricing, the simplest way of breaking PWC down is category by category to determine what’s right for you and how much you can expect to pay for it.
Cheapest Jet Skis – Rec-Lite
Rec-Lite PWC are the most basic, least expensive jet skis you can buy.
That doesn’t mean these are bad machines.
They are simply designed for leisure riding and smaller loads.
They also have the smallest engines and lowest top speeds.
Major brands Sea-Doo and Yamaha both make Rec-Lite models of PWC.
Rec-Lite Jet Ski Prices
The Sea-Doo SPARK 2 Up can be upgraded to a 90-hp engine for an additional cost.
The Yamaha EXR is Yamaha’s Rec-Lite racing model. It uses the same engine as the Rec-Lite model, but a high-output (HO) version and the build is slightly tweaked for racing.
Cheap Jet Skis – Recreation and Stand-Up
The most popular models of sit-down PWC are Recreation models, which makes a lot of sense.
These jet skis are built with leisurely days out on the water in mind, which is what most would-be PWC owners are trying to accomplish.
Recreation PWC are a little faster, a little roomier, and a little more expensive than Rec-Lite models.
Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki all make Recreation models of PWC (though, Kawasaki’s Jet Ski STX 160 and Yamaha’s VX Cruiser HO walk thin lines between Recreation and Performance.)
Along with stand-up jet skis, these models represent the next price point in personal watercraft.
Recreation Jet Ski Cost
The Sea-Doo GTI and Sea-Doo GTI SE can be upgraded to a 170-hp engine, which increases their top speeds to approximately 55 mph.
Stand-Up Jet Ski Cost
Stand-up jet skis are single-person crafts with simpler builds than sit-down jet skis.
But they still offer a lot of power, which is why they come closer in price to Recreation than to Rec-Lite models of PWC.
Of the big three manufacturers, both Yamaha and Kawasaki make stand-up models, while Krash Industries is the only current PWC company entirely devoted to stand-ups.
Running a little more expensive than the competition, Krash Industries stand-up models are designed specifically with freestyle and trick riding in mind and for all levels of riders.
Their technologically-advanced engine systems offer three different levels of output – 70 horsepower, 100 horsepower, and 130 horsepower – making them highly adjustable and adaptable to rider and conditions.
None of these companies state weight limits for their stand-up PWCs (only rider limits), but we estimate stand-ups support between 175 and 200 pounds.
Expensive Jet Skis – Performance
Performance models of PWC are not only the fastest, most powerful jet skis on the market, they are built to make the most out of all the power they possess.
These models are best for seasoned riders who are well-versed in how PWC handle.
They are not meant for casual or new riders.
When it comes to speed and maneuverability, they are the top of the line.
Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki all make Performance crafts, and Krash has one top-of-the-line model that also fits this bill.
Performance Jet Ski Prices
Sit-down performance models of PWC all have top-out speeds between 65 and 70 mph in normal conditions. (On closed courses or in strong currents, higher speeds are possible.)
65+ mph can also be considered the top consumer speed. Many of these models can be professionally modded to increase speeds by 10 to 15 mph.
Most Expensive Jet Skis – Luxury
When it comes to PWC, there are two main types of buyers – those who want to use their personal watercrafts for leisure and those who want to go really fast.
At the top of every company’s line is a PWC that captures the essence of both those desires.
The top-of-the-line Luxury models of PWC by Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki all combine recreation with speed.
These Lux models come standard with more powerful engines than Recreation models while being outfitted for the most comfort on the water.
Luxury Jet Ski Prices
Other Sea-Doo Prices
Sea-Doo gets credit for offering the most extensive Recreation/Performance PWC line.
Along with their standard Recreation and Performance models, they have several trims expressly designed for specific activities, such as tow sports and fishing.
The WAKE and WAKE PRO are Sea-Doo’s tow-specific crafts, while their fishing vessel is called the FISH PRO.
New Jet Ski Prices
As you can tell from the above charts, new PWC prices cover a wide range.
But, at least for 2021, new jet ski prices start at around $5,500 and can top $20,000, depending on trim and build.
But it’s not all about the price. When you’re shopping for a personal watercraft, there are several questions you should consider before making a decision.
Where will you ride it?
Will you be doing most of your riding in the ocean?
If so, you should start your search with the PWC brand named for the sea.
Sea-Doo’s closed-loop cooling system protects their crafts’ engines from saltwater and can reduce damage caused by corrosion.
Ocean riding also means contending with rougher currents.
A heavier craft provides more stability.
Who will ride it?
Is the driver an experienced jet skier or new to the rig?
More horsepower isn’t necessarily a good thing in inexperienced hands.
A well-weighted, low horsepower PWC may be best for beginners.
This makes Recreation models a good starting point for many.
How will you use it?
Is your PWC for recreation? Tow sports? Racing?
What you plan to do on the craft matters significantly.
- Most leisure riders will be quite content at speeds well below the speeds provided by Performance models of PWC, making those performance-level engines an unnecessary expense.
- Tow sports require a little more horsepower than standard riding if you don’t want the engine to struggle.
- Racing demands speed and agility.
- Stand-up jet skis are better for tricks.
- If you plan to take long rides on your craft, luxury models provide the most comfort.
Knowing what you want to do on your PWC can help you narrow down the extensive options and start getting a clearer price point in mind.
Additional Jet Ski Costs
Along with the price of the personal watercraft itself, you can expect several additional expenses when it comes to owning a jet ski.
You’ll need, at the very least, a jet ski stand, some form of transport, the equipment you’re required by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry on your craft, fuel, and to pay for registration and insurance.
Basically, there are a lot of small, hidden costs of owning a jet ski you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind before forking out the dollars for a personal watercraft.
Why are Jet Skis So Expensive?
Jet skis, or personal watercraft, are engine-bearing machines designed for use in non-engine-friendly environments.
To protect your watercraft from damage and corrosion (and to keep it from sinking in case of severe damage), jet ski manufacturers use highly durable materials with complex drive trains that keep the crafts humming along while protecting them from their normal environment.
Higher-end PWC also use incredibly powerful engines (on par with sports car engines) and all of those horses don’t come cheap.
Jet Ski Values
I wish I could tell you the price of a new personal watercraft makes up for itself.
But, unfortunately, it doesn’t.
Instead, personal watercraft are like cars and other motorized vehicles.
They begin to lose value from the moment of purchase.
Within the first year, your jet ski will only be worth 75-80% of its original price, and will lose value at roughly 10% a year every year after.
That said, if you are a frequent renter at $50-$100/hour (jet ski rental prices vary wildly by location), a PWC can certainly pay for itself in the savings on rentals.
It’s a disposable income or leisure purchase, not an investment.
Jet Ski Financing
One important factor to keep in mind when weighing the purchase of a jet ski is that you don’t need to have all the money upfront.
Like a vehicle, a personal watercraft can be financed.
Many financial institutions offer powersports or personal watercraft loans that will cover the purchase of a jet ski. (It helps if you have a little money for a down payment.)
Then, you can pay for the watercraft monthly instead of in one lump sum.
To simplify financing, all the major manufacturers of PWC have financing options available right on their websites.
Sea-Doo works with two partners in financing – Octane and Sheffield Financial – and has financial specialists on their team to help guide buyers through the financing process.
Since Yamaha makes many recreational vehicles, they have their own financing department that works with local banks.
They have special offers available directly on their website, and loans are assigned by dealership.
Like Yamaha, Kawasaki has many recreational vehicles in their line-up and does their own financing with local institutions.
Special offers are listed on their website, but you’ll have to choose a dealership to see what offers you qualify for by location.
Krash Industries works with one specific bank – First Community Bank in Batesville, Arkansas – to get their customers stand-up PWC loans.
With any of these companies, you can pre-qualify for your loan from their websites before shopping for your PWC.
Average Jet Ski Price
When it comes down to it, there is no average jet ski price.
Instead, there are average prices within PWC categories.
Breaking them down, the rough averages look like this:
When shopping for a personal watercraft, it’s not just about your budget.
You need to think about how you plan to use the craft once you have it.
Storage, transport, required equipment, and insurance are all things to add to your mental tally when settling on a price.
A jet ski is a costly purchase, no doubt, but if you will use the craft regularly and don’t mind putting some effort in to keep it in good condition and running smoothly, it can give you years of enjoyment.
No one can put a price tag on that.