“What is the most reliable jet ski?” is one of the most popular questions from new buyers. Ironically, the most reliable jet ski is actually a waverunner. The term “jet ski” refers to Kawasaki’s PWC (personal watercraft), but a “waverunner” is the name of Yamaha’s PWC. So in reality, the most reliable jet ski isn’t a jet ski at all.
While ultimately it depends on make, model, and opinion, most experienced riders would agree that Yamaha makes the most reliable “jet ski” on the market.
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Why Yamaha is the most reliable jet ski
Yamaha’s waverunners are not only dependable, but easy to work on. Many people are okay with occasional maintenance, (and they should be) but some engines can be very difficult to work on even for experienced mechanics. It doesn’t take very much skill to do the simple repairs that may be required down the line on a Yamaha engine.
That being said, other jet ski models shouldn’t be ruled out as a first time purchase. Yamaha may make some of the longest lasting “jet skis”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they make the best jet ski. Several other questions should be asked before deciding which brand to go with. Are you looking for a family jet ski? Do you want the fastest jet ski you can find? What is your budget? These are all points that should be addressed before making a decision.
Yamaha makes some of the most reliable watercraft, but you may find another brand fits your needs better. The Sea Doo Vs Yamaha Vs Kawasaki argument is a prime example of this. Each of them have at least a few models that outshine their competition. Although it’s easy to start picking sides, remember that no manufacturer is perfect. Just because one company had the best option one year, doesn’t mean they’ll still have it the next.
Other factors to consider
Many people find that jet skis designed for cruising last longer and require fewer repairs than performance jet skis. If dependability is what you’re looking for, you may want to bypass the sporty models.
Another big factor that effects a jet ski’s longevity is the type of engine. A 4 stroke is much easier to maintain than a 2 stroke, and they tend to last longer as well. That being said, it’s probably better to skip out on the Yamaha Superjet considering it’s one of the last remaining 2 stroke engines. This is a bit of an anomaly though, which is almost certainly due to that fact that it’s a stand up model. You’ll find new jet skis almost always have 4 stroke engines. The industry has been slowly pushing out most 2 stroke models. Within the next few years, they’ll most likely be completely removed from the industry.
If you’re planing on buying a used jet ski, try avoiding any supercharged engines. A supercharged engine will without a doubt have more required maintenance. Skipping out on speed may be necessary if you’re looking for longevity.
Yamaha’s Waverunners take home the trophy for the most reliable jet ski, but there are some good runner ups. Kawasaki and the now extinct Honda jet skis are both renowned for their dependability.
The problem with Kawasaki is they aren’t quite as dependable as a Yamaha, and their engines can be tricky to work on. Many people stand by Kawasaki and argue it as the most reliable jet ski, but in the end Yamaha usually beats them out. The majority of Kawasaki jet ski engines are designed for racing, and they simply don’t have the same longevity as a more moderate and fuel efficient alternative.
Honda is known in more than one industry for making long lasting engines. Their jet ski engines aren’t flawless, but they’ve been known to log hundreds of riding hours without a problem.
Unfortunately, Honda has stopped making jet skis. Now that Honda has stepped out of the jet ski market, parts can be hard to find, and the existing models aren’t exactly getting newer. This doesn’t stop people from keeping their old models, and putting in the required work to bring them back to life. A lot of Honda fans are perfectly okay with their reliability, and have fewer problems then people would expect out of a 10 year old watercraft.
The honest truth
In the end, the most reliable jet ski largely depends on opinion. Dependability can be subjective. What qualifies as “dependable” varies from person to person. Many companies offer great jet skis with amazing engines. This is why it’s always good practice to consider multiple brands, and multiple models. Other companies offer models close to Yamaha’s dependability but generally they don’t quite match it.
If you do choose to look around, you’ll find that most agree with giving Yamaha the title of most reliable jet ski.