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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Jet Ski

Ask any jet ski owner why jet skis are a blast to own and drive and they’ll tell you it’s because of their agility, power and thrill of speed all in one compact package. Another reason is because jet skis are much more affordable than a boat and a great way to satisfy the water sports enthusiast’s need to be on the water. If you’re considering buying a jet ski, make sure you understand the differences in jet skis so you buy the one that best meets your needs.

jet-ski-866408-mFirst you should understand the three basic configurations of jet skis. Each offers different benefits to their riders. The solo “stand-up”, less common than most other models, requires the rider to stand during the whole ride. Stand-up jet skis offer exceptional power and maneuverability. But with great power comes great responsibility. Because of this power, stand-up jet skis are best driven by experienced jet skiers and those who are physically fit.

The most common type of jet skis are two-seaters. Two-seater jet skis offer outstanding stability, comfort and capacity. While two-seater jet skis aren’t as agile as stand up jet skis, some can reach speeds of 70 mph.
A step up from two-seater jet skis are three- and four-seater models. These models are capable of moving quickly but because of their high capacity (3-4 riders) you’ll sacrifice speed and agility. Three- and four-seater jet skis are ideal for towing tubers or skiers with relative ease.

Now that you know the different jet ski models, you should also know what kind of money it will take to buy the jet ski you want. Depending on your needs and wants, a jet ski can range anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. In the $5,000 to $9,000 range you can pick up a typical two- or three-seater jet ski with 110 to 150 horsepower which will propel you to speeds around 50 mph. At this price there won’t be many bells and whistles on these models. But if your budget permits you to spend more ($9,000 to $12,000), the overall build quality of the jet ski improves. Jet skis in this price range provide a smoother ride, offer an average of 200 horsepower and cruising speeds at 60 mph. At the $12,000 to $15,000 price point are jet skis that offer the fastest and most brutal ride out there. Jet skis in this price range offer more than 250 horsepower as well as more sophisticated electronics and controls which produce the best ride and handling.

It’s also important to understand the differences between jet ski manufacturers. Brands like Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Sea-Doo and Yamaha provide jet skiers with many options. Be aware that both Honda and Polaris have exited the business and no longer build jet skis. While different riders will swear by certain brands, it’s up to you to research current models so you can form a valid opinion before you buy your jet ski. You’ll be much happier on the water when you know you’ve made a good buy and purchased the jet ski that meets your needs.