See how the leading underwater propulsion devices compare in our latest guide. We take a look at 5 of the best from Sea Doo & Yamaha, the leading manufacturers of these awesome devices.
There are a lot of great options out there, but currently, Yamaha and SeaDoo underwater scooters are undeniably the best sea scooters on the market.
The problem is that unless you're a full-time diving instructor, all their different models can be a bit confusing.
Fortunately for you, we took the time to review each of the top models to help you make a better decision on what the perfect model is for your needs.
We recommend the perfect diver propulsion device for beginners, children, the casual user, and experts alike.
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.
What's a Water Propulsion Device?
It's a motorized device used to aid those diving, snorkeling, or recreational swimming. You can finally glide through the water like the fish swimming around you! Check out the video down below to get a good idea of just what they can do.
Typically sea or scuba scooters have a battery life of 1-4 hours, and their max speed is usually around 2 mph. They weigh between 5 and 20 pounds, but they don't sink underwater like you'd expect something that weighs this much to do.
The top models even have automatic buoyancy controls that make them have neutral buoyancy underwater but then become buoyant when you reach the surface!
Their maximum depths range from 10 feet all the way to 200 feet depending on the model too.
Water scooters are incredibly useful and provide an entirely different swimming/diving experience. That being said, most of them don't have an extremely long battery life, so it may be worth it to purchase an extra battery.
Charge times are somewhat long, so it definitely comes in handy to have a backup. Many divers also choose to buy a leash to attach their scuba scooter to their wrist, that way they can be hands-free if needed. It also avoids the embarrassing and costly situation of losing it out in the ocean.
Sea Doo and Yamaha sea scooters are the top models on the market, and we'll be focusing on these two brands in our epic guide.
The Top 5 Compared
Start by checking out the leading models in the comparison table below. We'll cover each scooter in more detail in the reviews that follow.
Sea Doo Dolphin
Max Depth: 15.5 ft
Max Speed: 2 mph
Weight: 12 lbs
Run Time: 1.5 hrs
OUR TOP PICK
Yamaha RDS 280
Max Depth: 100 ft
Max Speed: 3 mph
Weight: 18 lbs
Run Time: 1.5 hrs
Sea Doo GTI
Max Depth: 100 ft
Max Speed: 2.5 mph
Weight: 18 lbs
Run Time: 2 hrs
Best for Beginners
Max Depth: 15 ft
Max Speed: 2 mph
Weight: 12 lbs
Run Time: 1.5 hrs
Best for Experts
Max Depth: 130 ft
Max Speed: 4.35 mph
Weight: 21 lbs
Run Time: 1.5 hrs
Sea Scooter Reviews
Now, cover each model in a bit more detail. See what we think of each and why.
Sea Doo Dolphin
The Sea Doo Dolphin seascooter is first on this review because it's one of the most popular entry-level models. Its plain and simple design makes this the perfect scuba scooter for beginners and children.
This Sea Doo sea scooter is recommended for children ages 8 and up. It weighs just 12 pounds, so most children have no problem lifting and carrying it. Most people use the Sea Doo Dolphin primarily in swimming pools because it's so naturally buoyant, and its depth rating is only 15.5 feet.
One of the stand out features on the Dolphin is a convenient locking mechanism under one of the triggers. The locking mechanism is a great way to ensure that it never accidentally starts running. To activate it, users simply press both triggers at the same time. A safety auto shut-off also comes built in on the Sea Doo Dolphin as well.
The one drawback of this model is the long charge time, but the battery lasts for a while so most people find it's worth it.
Bottom Line: This Sea Doo underwater scooter is perfect for beginners that aren't quite ready
for the grunt of something like the Yamaha 500 Li. It's great for kids playing around in the pool or in the shallows.
Yamaha RDS280 *** Our Top Pick ***
The Yamaha RDS280 is a standout dive scooter for many reasons. It perfectly blends performance with ease of use, and bridges the gap between the wild and fast professional models and the entry level underwater scooters.
Checking out the stats in the comparison table at the start of our guide you can see that this is one of the better performing models out there. The 100 feet depth rating is second only to the Yamaha 500Li and makes it a great choice for the more experienced divers out there. It's top speed of 3 mph is impressive too and comes in second place on our list. Again, only missing out to the professional level 500Li.
The performance jump to that next level represents a significant amount of money, and in my opinion the RDS280 is excellent value for money at around 1/3 of the price of the 500Li.
The Yamaha RDS280 also comes with a heavy duty rubber hull that is designed to absorb accidental collisions and protect the motor. It's actually waterproof too to prevent flooding of the engine.
Further safety features include a water leak sensor, automatic shut-off for when the triggers are released, and also a thermal switch.
Bottom Line: We love this offering from Yamaha! It's the perfect model for those wanting more performance but aren't willing to pay the premium price of something like the Yamaha 500Li.
Recommended Reading: Check out our review of the RDS250 here.
Sea Doo GTI Sea Scooter
Sea Doo named their GTI model after one of their recreational jet skis and gave it a paint job to match it. This 18-pound underwater scooter is great for scuba divers and snorkelers. It's rated for depths of 100 ft and can go up to 2.5 mph.
Inside of this SeaDoo water scooter is waterproof circuitry to protect internal electronics in case of accidental flooding. It also comes with adjustable buoyancy control to accommodate divers as well as surface swimmers.
The battery lasts approximately 2 hours on a single charge, which can usually suffice most snorkeling and scuba diving sessions.
Some divers have found this model to be less dependable than others, but the majority of reviews are positive. A 180-day warranty comes with it, so it's recommended that it gets tested as soon as possible in case it needs to be returned.
The 2 hour run time is excellent and beats the competition hands down. It's also really well priced and it's one of the cheaper underwater scooters around.
Bottom Line: This SeaDoo sea scooter leads the way for battery life and value for money.
If you're looking for excellent battery life for longer expeditions then this is the one for you.
Yamaha Seal ** Best for Beginners **
The Yamaha Seal is another excellent entry-level dive scooter. It's very similar to the Sea Doo Dolphin in terms of performance but gets the nod due to its attractive price tag. It's a great option for kids to play with in the pool or exploring in the shallows.
It has a generous top speed of 2 mph and can reach depths of up to 15 feet. A run time of 1.5 hours is what you get from most underwater scooters, so it's particularly impressive or something that costs so little (in relative terms).
The compact design comes full of safety features like an auto-shut-off, dual trigger, and also a safety grille.
It's positively buoyant too, which makes it best suited to life in salt water.
Bottom Line: This is our favorite entry level model. It's the perfect model for some fun in the shallows and it's really well priced too.
Yamaha 500Li * Best for Experts *
The Yamaha 500Li is the Ferrari of water scooters. It's unbeatable for performance but it's priced accordingly.
For starters, it uses a Lithium-ion battery as opposes to the standard lead-acid type. This means it's easily removable and replaceable. Should you be running low of battery between dives, just swap it out for a spare. The other benefits of using this type of battery is that it takes significantly less time to charge, and that it's much lighter.
The 500Li also features an automatic buoyancy control. This self-filling ballast can achieve neutral buoyancy straight away. It can fill with water and then drain as needed, so that when submerged it can achieve neutral buoyancy almost instantly, and then when you hit the surface it becomes buoyant again. This is such an awesome feature that only the supreme models have.
This Yamaha sea scooter can reach top speeds of 4.35 mph, which doesn't sound like a lot but really feels fast underwater! It's the fastest sea scooter of our recommendations by a fair bit. It can also reach depths of up to 130 feet, which is some serious diving.
However, all these stand out performance stats and features make it the most expensive recreational dive scooter on the market. It's only worth consideration if you're really serious about your diving. Otherwise, the Yamaha RDS280 is a great pick-up at a fraction of the price.
Bottom Line: This is for the experts only! It smashes the competition in terms of performance, but in dollar signs too!
If you're new to the world of sea scooters there are a few key features you should be concentrating on when deciding which is right for you. Let's take a look at them.
Speed - these devices start out at around 2mph of maximum speed but the fastest sea scooter will reach speeds of at least 4.5 mph. Take this into consideration when choosing the right model for you.
If it's going to be confined to a swimming pool and used by kids then you'll want to be looking at the slower of the models on offer.
However, if you plan on using it in the sea and fighting against currents then the faster of the models would be better suited.
Battery - it takes a lot of energy to propel a human through the water so understandably the battery life on a sea scooter is not exactly amazing.
You typically get 1.5 - 2 hours of run time but this depends on how eagerly you use it.
Spare batteries can be bought which make life a bit more convenient. They typically start at around $70 for the recreational models but can cost hundreds of dollars for the more advanced models.
The batteries take a really long time to charge (like 6 hours minimum) so investing in a spare is worthwhile.
Usable depth - starting at around 15 feet for recreational sea scooters right up to 150 feet plus for the advanced models, this really depends on what your intended use will be.
Weight - these things are not light! Though they zoom through the water with ease, they are a real pain to transport from A to B. Will you have far to walk to get to the water?
Camera mount - the newer models now come with camera mounts that the big brands like Go Pro will fit to.
Safety features - common safety features on both Sea Doo and Yamaha underwater scooters include:
- Auto shut-off when triggers are released
- Thermal switch to prevent overheating
- Water leakage sensor to prevent water damage
Where will you use it? - the more advanced models include something called a buoyancy control chamber that allows you to control the buoyancy depending on the type of water you use it in.
Some are specifically designed for fresh water and some for salt water. Be sure to check this out before buying or you might find that your dive scooter sinks in fresh water.
As you may have gathered by now, the abilities and functions of underwater propulsion devices vary greatly depending on which model you go with.
If you're just looking for something for the kids to play with in the pool, then something simple like the Yamaha Seal is perfect.
However, if you're a serious diver and intend on using your underwater dive scooter in the open ocean, you may want something more powerful like the Yamaha RDS280 or even the Yamaha 500Li if you're a serious diver that spends a lot of time in the ocean.
Our overall favorite is the RDS280 because it's a great all-rounder, however if you're on a budget then the underwater SeaDoo GTI has similar performance at a better price.
At the end of the day, it's tough to say what the best model is. Ultimately it depends on what you're looking for, and what you're planning on using it for. Hopefully, this guide helped provide at least a little insight on which model is best for you.
We'd love to know of any experiences (good or bad!) that you've had with any of these scuba scooters. We'd also love to hear any suggestions that you feel are worthy of a place on this list!
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