Getting into the world of PWC (personal watercraft) can be difficult because there are so many options to choose from. Ultimately the best jet ski for beginners is going to vary from person to person, but this review can help narrow the search for your first jet ski.
There are 3 major companies in the jet ski world: Sea Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki. A ton of different info on each of them can be found in this post here.
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What Makes a Good Beginner Jet Ski?
Every good jet ski for beginners should be affordable, and easy to learn on. There’s no point in investing a ton of money into a watercraft that is difficult to operate. More advanced jet ski’s will have tons of expensive add-ons that beginners don’t even understand. When starting out, look for models with minimum features.
Functionality and price should be the main concerns for a first time buyer.
Sea Doo Spark
When asking almost any personal watercraft enthusiast what the best jet ski for beginners is, the Sea Doo Spark is guaranteed to be mentioned. Sea Doo has been making affordable jet ski’s for years and the Sea Doo Spark is their best seller.
The Sea Doo Spark is definitely the most popular jet ski for beginners. With purchase options as low as $5,299, it’s a hard to beat price.
The Spark hands down offers the most features out of any entry-level jet ski. There are tons of different color options and graphics packages. Off-throttle assisted steering makes this a great choice for novice riders because of its easy maneuverability. The 90hp engine is powerful enough to get a thrill while still being a safe option for families. A fuel capacity of 7.9 gallons is smaller than other models but normal for an entry level jet ski. A standard storage capacity of just .42 gallons can be a drawback for some but it can be upgraded to 7.8 gallons.
The safe features offered and the low starting price attracts families with kids and beginner riders to this model.
-Length: 110” Width: 46”
-Weight: 405lbs – 418lbs
-Wet Grips Footboard, Knee Pads, Tow Hook, Single Drain Plug
-Top Speed of 50mph
Yamaha has built a reputation for making the most reliable personal watercraft on the market. Yamaha’s EX series provides their renowned reliability, but with an affordable price tag.
Since the EX series has 3 models, it can be hard to focus on just one. The standard EX has a starting price of only $6,599.
All of the EX models are easy to learn on. They share the same performance-style hull that can handle a large variety of water conditions. Depending on the model, the EX’s have a reverse and braking system which is a great safety feature. Yamaha’s braking system is designed to decelerated smoothly to prevent riders from getting tossed off. Every EX model has a storage capacity of 7.7 gallons and a fuel capacity of 13.2 gallons. Yamaha’s are generally very fuel efficient so even their moderate sized fuel tanks can lasts for days. The EX line up has Yamaha’s new 100hp TR-1 engine which provides plenty of power on the water.
EX models are some of the best jet ski’s for beginners because they have a fair price while still offering the dependability of Yamaha.
– 1-3 persons
-Length: 10′ 3″ Width: 3′ 7″ Height: 3′ 9″
-Weight: 577lbs – 599lbs
-Deck Mats, Reboarding Step, Tow Hook
-Top Speed of 55 mph
3) KAWASAKI STX-15F
Kawasaki’s jet ski line up has changed very little over the years. They found what worked for them, and kept it.
The STX-15f has class leading horsepower, making it a great jet ski for beginners looking for something with speed. It has a retail price of $9,699 so it’s just affordable enough for first time buyers to consider.
Kawasaki took the engine used in their Ninja ZX-14R street bike and threw it into a PWC to make the best jet ski for beginners wanting to go fast on the water.
Extended usage was in mind when building this model. Comfortable seating, a fuel capacity of 16.4 gallons, and a storage capacity of 23.4 gallons solidifies its ability to last out on the water. Its 160hp engine provides plenty of power for most peoples needs with surprising low- and mid-range torque capabilities. A smart learning operation mode helps beginners learn to maneuver as they become familiar with operating a watercraft.
This is an excellent jet ski for beginners without a lot of hours logged. It’s speed capabilities allow riders room to grow into it rather than needing to upgrade after only a few months.
-Length: 122.8″ Width: 26.5″ Height: 41.3″
-Large rear deck, Kawasaki Smart Steering (KSS) assisted watercraft handling
-Top speed of 62mph
Although the models mentioned are some of the best jet ski’s for beginners available, there are tons of other great options out there. Take these into consideration and see if any of them fit the criteria you’re looking for. If none of these have what you’re looking for, search for other models that may fit you better.
If you are a beginner, you should read my guide on how to unclog a jet ski before you go out on the water.
When it comes down to it a jet ski is a jet ski. Some models are going to cost more and have a lot more features, but that doesn’t necessarily make them better. Figure out what works for your budget, and get the model that suits you best.