How to make a jet ski faster

How to make a jet ski faster

Let’s face it, very few people prefer to go slow out on the water.

The problem is performance jet ski’s can cost much more than average recreational watercraft. Many people don’t take speed into consideration when buying their first watercraft because they’re more concerned with learning to ride.

The good news is you don’t necessarily have to own the fastest jet ski in order to get a thrill on the water. A few simple upgrades can easily bridge speed gaps, and shorten 0-30 times. Figuring out how to make a jet ski faster may take some trial and error, but there’s almost always a few minor improvements that will help your PWC squeeze out a few more mph.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Related: 24 Jet Ski Accessories Every Owner Should Have

Intake Grate

Upgrading the intake grate is one of the easiest ways to make a jet ski faster. There is a lot of debate regarding whether removing an intake grate or upgrading your intake grate really makes a difference.

For every point that can be made on why intake grates aren’t needed, there is a counter argument on why they are so important. Ultimately it is up to the rider to decide what will work best for their jet ski, but usually it’s best to keep one on.

No Intake Grate

People who ride without an intake grate tend to argue that their top speed is slightly faster because there is fewer obstructions in the water and the removal of an intake grate can shed a few pounds. Riders who don’t use intake grates also claim their jet ski hooks up better in rougher waters resulting in a higher top speed.

Regardless if a rider uses an intake grate or not, jams are bound to happen. The problem is trying to remove a jam with the intake grate on can be extremely difficult, and unsafe. While intake grates block larger debris, smaller objects can still cause problems. It isn’t uncommon for tow ropes or small trash to cause a jam.

Related: Jet Ski Helmet Alternatives

Upgraded Intake Grate

Riders who choose to upgrade their intake grate typically feel like the added weight is worth it. Many aftermarket intake grates are actually lighter than their stock counterparts.

Other than blocking debris, an intake grate directs water into the intake to provide maximum power on turns. Even if the goal is to reach a top speed on a straight away, many argue that intake grates actually stabilizes water as it enters the intake making the jet ski faster than it would be without a grate.

If you do choose to upgrade your intake grate, it’s worth stating that sometimes parts can fit on jet skis they weren’t designed for as long as the measurements match. Some surprisingly high quality performance grates can be found on Amazon, but it’s worth it to shop around.

With or without an intake grate, debris poses a threat even in the cleanest of water. It’s up to the rider to use their best judgment when making the choice to remove their grate. Keep in mind that not all debris is visible from above the water.


The type and angle of an impeller can greatly increase top speed and make your jet ski faster. Many factors go into the design of impellers and the importance of each varies between models.

Impeller changes won’t result in a drastic change in performance, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be noticeable. Some aftermarket impellers are designed to increase the top speed of the jet ski, and some are designed to increase acceleration. Usually the rider has a preference and makes their decision based off of that. Finding a nicely balanced in-between is slightly more difficult, but not impossible.

The right upgrades are made to an impeller it can result in making a jet ski faster by 2-3 mph. The challenging part figuring out your jet ski’s specific needs.

Related: Top 5 Jet Ski Stands


For some reason weight seems to be the most overlooked factor when it comes to making a jet ski faster.

Why does weight matter? The answer is simple.

A full fuel tank, along with storage compartments crammed with coolers, ropes, anchors, extra gas, and other gear affects a jet ski’s max speed. All of that extra weight adds up. Most spare items are needed on the water, but the ones that aren’t should be removed. There’s no reason to keep a cooler full of snacks, tow ropes, and tubes in the storage if your goal for the day is to top out you max speed.

If you really want to make a jet ski as fast as possible, ride without unneeded supplies and only keep a few gallons in the tank. Shedding the weight makes a difference. Getting the overall weight down is one of the easiest ways to help gain a couple more mph.

Tune Ups

If you’re serious about making a jet ski or waverunner faster, then you have to put in serious effort. This means putting in the time required to get good results. There are several companies that will tune up your jet ski for you if you can’t wrench too well yourself and want to be sure the job gets done right.

Related: Best Jet Ski Lift

The hard truth about making a jet ski faster..

There is no one quick fix to make a jet ski’s top speed jump dramatically. A good rule of thumb when buying parts is it takes about $1,000 to gain 1 mph.

Making a jet ski faster is a battle won with small steps. Good performance is achieved with several small improvements. Keep these tips in mind and maybe your jet ski will end up being the fastest jet ski.

If you can’t afford performance parts, try customizing your watercraft instead by adding some jet ski accessories.

  1. I took my FX SVHO to a local tuning shop and they squeezed an extra 5-7 out of it easy. Maybe I’ll do a little tuning myself to see if I can do better.

    • What shop was it ?

    • I have a Kawasaki 1100 triple and it is fast as hell. But from a dead stop if I pinn the throttle it stutters in the water like it’s not grabbing. Then wham it shots out of the hole. I noticed if I put my wheight on the front end the problem corrects itself faster. Any clue everyone????

  2. Thanks for the tips. I’m new to the world of jet ski’s and I want to tinker around some.

  3. Great info here. Going to be doing a few tune ups this summer to some old Kawis I have sitting in the shed.

  4. I have my yahama running 83 mph. 2017 fx svho cruiser hooking up good piss off them new fx gp 1800 r boys real quick, they ask my friend’s on the beach who is that guy, lol that’s SWOOP