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Though a Jet Ski is generally less expensive than a boat, personal watercraft (PWC) still aren’t cheap. In fact, some of the more expensive models cost around $20,000. However, you don’t have to spend 20 grand to get a great PWC. In fact, several new models cost less than $10,000. Here is the cheapest new Jet Ski, WaveRunner, and Sea-Doo model from each brand.

Personal watercraft basics

Vacationers on PWCs
Vacationers on Jet Skis and WaveRunners | Waltraud Grubitzsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Though many people refer to all PWCs as Jet Skis, “Jet Ski” is a brand name from Kawasaki. Additionally, WaveRunner and Sea-Doo are brand names from Yamaha and Sea-Doo, respectively. They’re all personal watercraft models, but each is a little different. And though not as popular as the above brands, Polaris, known for making ATVs, makes Sea Lion personal watercraft.

They all share the same features that define a PWC. An inboard jet drive provides propulsion, and they are designed for riders to sit, stand, or kneel on instead of ride in like a boat. Many models accommodate more than one person, with several models rated safe for three people. 

Sea-Doo’s cheapest PWC

According to Sea-Doo, the Spark starts at $5,699. That makes it the most affordable new PWC on the market. It has two available engines, and both are Rotax 900 ACE motors.

One puts out 60 hp and uses 1.94 gallons of fuel per hour, and the other puts out 90 hp and uses 2.4 gallons per hour. They are not only among the most fuel-efficient engines on the market, but they also deliver immediate acceleration.

The Sea-Doo Spark is also compact, light, easy to tow, and seats two or three people depending upon the configuration. 

Yamaha’s least expensive WaveRunner model

The WaveRunner EX starts at $7,199, the Yamaha website shows. It seats one to three people, depending upon the configuration.

The WaveRunner EX base motor is a three-cylinder, four-stroke TR-1 Yamaha Marine Engine, with a top speed of around 50 mph. It also has a tow hook if you want to use your WaveRunner for towable sports such as tubing or wakeboarding.

In addition, it has an easily accessible extra-large glove box for everything you don’t want to get wet or lost, including your phone, sunglasses, and keys.

Kawasaki’s cheapest Jet Ski


5 Best Jet Skis for Tubing, Wakeboarding, and Waterskiing

According to Kawasaki, the least expensive PWC the company makes is the Jet Ski STX 160, starting at $9,899. It provides seating for two to three people, with a load capacity of 496 pounds.

The engine is a four-stroke, naturally aspirated inline-four with 957 pounds of thrust. It also has electronic cruise control and a 20.6-gallon fuel capacity — much higher than the average fuel capacity for most PWCs. So it gives you a larger range to play with.

If you’re looking for a fun recreational vehicle for the water that’s smaller and cheaper than a boat, a Jet Ski, WaveRunner, or Sea-Doo model could be a viable option. PWCs also take up less room than a boat and are easier to transport.

But whichever PWC you choose, always remember to operate it safely. Personal watercraft can be as dangerous as any vehicle on land or water. Don’t let your fun and exciting water activities end in tragedy.