The Best Jet Skis to Buy

Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Indulging the thrill-seeker or casual cruiser with an adrenaline-fueled ride, personal watercrafts come in a variety of models designed for any water enthusiast looking for speed, comfort, agility or manageability. Commonly known by their brand names, Jet Ski, Sea-Doo and WaveRunner, personal watercrafts can be a costly investment and are best selected with features that suit the user’s needs.

Types of Personal Watercraft

Personal watercrafts are available for single riders or can carry up to four passengers. Agile and challenging to handle, single-rider crafts require a significant amount of physical conditioning. Also, solo stand-ups cannot be used in public waterways. The multiple-rider models are geared toward people looking for recreational models. These carry up to four, are easier to control and can be used to tow additional guests on a wakeboard or an inflatable tube.

Try Before You Buy

When buying new, test-drive the watercraft first. Familiarize yourself with the controls, adjust the handlebars and start slowly before hitting full throttle. Carve out a few turns before ending the ride. If buying used, check the maintenance records, usage hours and wear and tear. If possible, have a mechanic look at it. Be thorough, used watercraft don’t usually come with a warranty.


Buying a personal watercraft can cost anywhere between $4,999 and $17,999 (MSRP) so determine a budget before shopping. Top-rated Jet Ski manufacturers include Sea-Doo, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda. Accessories include a cover, a trailer and possibly a towing package for the transporting vehicle. It’s also important to remember the ongoing costs like maintenance and fuel.


Personal watercraft can be dangerous and must be insured. They are also subject to the same boating laws as small vessels, which means operators need to use the right safety equipment and must be licensed. If your state, or country, does not require a boating license, your insurance company might.