Yamaha and Kawasaki Jet Ski Comparison- Which One Is Better?

Every jet ski enthusiast is aware that the jet ski market is dominated by three major brands: Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Sea-Doo. All of these brands are trustworthy and produce quality jet skis. But people tend to favour Yamaha and Kawasaki over Sea-Doo. 

Yamaha and Kawasaki- Which one is better?

Even though the options of reliable jet ski brands have now been narrowed down to two, it is truly a difficult task to choose between the two. So I decided to compare these two brands so we can know which one is better. But before we do that, let me explain the difference between some terms. 

Jet Ski and WaveRunner

 Did you know that jet ski is not the name of the vehicle? Confused? Well, let me explain. Jet Ski and WaveRunner are models of a water vehicle known as Personal Watercraft or PWC. But Jet Ski is now being used as a term that encompasses all the models and brands of a PWC. In other words, the jet ski has sort of become a synonym for personal watercraft.  So moving forward, I’ll use the term jet ski to refer to Kawasaki’s watercraft. 

Kawasaki’s Jet Ski

Founded in 1896 by Shozo Kawasaki, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. is a Japanese company whose headquarters are based in Tokyo. Watercraft are not the only thing that the company produces. It has manufactured railway cars, industrial equipment, defence equipment, etc among others. Kawasaki was part of some major projects, such as the development of Boeing 767, Boeing 777, and Boeing 787. And watercraft is just one of the major things produced by the company. Its expertise and experience in the production of a variety of vehicles, equipment, etc., have helped the company produce reliable jet skis. 

The first commercially successful watercraft were produced by Kawasaki in 1972. Their first jet skis were stand-up models which could carry only one person. The company came out with its first sit-down model in 1986. Kawasaki was the only manufacturer of watercraft for over 15 years. 

Jet Skiing


Jet skis are mainly known for their speed. For example, their Jet Ski STX-15F has a top speed of around 70 miles per hour. Jet skis are also known for their seats that keep the riders comfortable during long rides and at high speed, apart from their speed and powerful engine. They also have enough room for three people, and they are also lower when compared to other brands, which makes it easy for you to maneuver the jet ski. But this can be a little uncomfortable for riders who have long legs. The latest models of Kawasaki jet skis have smart steering technology, which keeps the rider in control while riding at high speeds and keeps the jet ski stable.

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Kawasaki is a company that was a major name even before the personal watercraft was invented. And they produce quality watercraft, so they are reliable.


As mentioned before, Kawasaki’s Jet Skis are expensive and hence are less affordable when compared to watercraft produced by other brands. Their base models are also very expensive. 

Extra Features

Smart Learning Operations (SLO)

It is very helpful for beginners. The jet ski’s top speed is reduced by 30 percent when you engage this mode, and this helps beginners to become familiar with how the jet ski is handled.

Fuel Capacity

They usually have a gas tank of 20.6 gallons. This means that you will get to spend a lot more time on the water.

Storage Capacity

The largest storage capacity that a Jet Ski has is 56 gallons of space. That surely is a lot of space, and you will be able to carry all of your necessary gears and accessories.

Seats with Heat Resistant Cover

Some of the Jet Ski’s seats are covered with a heat-resistant material which ensures that the rider is comfortable and the seat doesn’t get very warm, especially on hot days.


The major thing that holds anyone back from buying a jet ski is its price. Even its base models are very expensive. Though watercraft, in general, are expensive, the Kawasaki jet ski’s starting price is higher than that of the other brands. Kawasaki provides limited accessories, which is kind of major weakness. 

Yamaha’s WaveRunner

A Yamaha WaveRunner

Yamaha Motor Company is also a Japanese company, and its headquarters are based in Itawa, Japan. Founded on July 1, 1995, it used to be a branch of the Yamaha Corporation. It later separated from its parent company and became one of the largest sellers of motorcycles. It also produces boats, ATVs, scooters, etc. WaveRunners are generally considered to be the most reliable watercraft. Most of the personal watercraft rental companies’ fleets are mostly made up of WaveRunners. They are also the most trusted watercraft when it comes to being used in competitions. 

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Though WaveRunners’ engines are powerful, they are also easy to take care of compared to Kawasaki’s jet skis. 

Yamaha also has a lot of options when it comes to its WaveRunners. They currently have a series of WaveRunner: the FX series, the VX series, the Ex series, and the performance race series. All of these series, in turn, is made up of several models. It is also easy to customize the WaveRunner according to your needs and requirements.


Yamaha’s WaveRunner Fx series is considered to be the most reliable personal watercraft on the market. It is a luxury series and is quite expensive but reliable too. Moreover, there Yamaha’s WaveRunner is generally considered to be more reliable than Kawasaki’s jet ski.


WaveRunner is less expensive than Jet Ski, so it is more affordable. FX Limited SVHO, the most expensive WaveRunner’s starting MSRP is $17,399, which is less expensive than the most expensive Jet Ski, Ultra 310LX, whose starting MSRP is $17,999.

Extra Features

Automatic Bilge

This pumps out any water that enters the engine compartment. This ensures that the WaveRunner won’t sink.

Tow Hook

The sit-down models of Yamaha are usually equipped with a tow hook. 


The sit-down models of Yamaha have watertight storage. The maximum storage space is 44 gallons, which is pretty great. 


After comparing the prices, storage, strengths, weaknesses, and affordability, I think we have come to a position where we can proclaim which one is better- Yamaha or Kawasaki. Both are reliable and trustworthy brand names, but on comparing every feature, it is safe to say that Yamaha’s WaveRunner is better than Kawasaki’s Jet Ski.


Are both Japanese companies?

Yes, they are both Japanese companies. The headquarters of Yamaha is in Itawa, and that of Kawasaki is in Tokyo.

What should be the main concern while purchasing a watercraft from either of the company?

Your main concern should be if the watercraft is affordable, performs well, and is reliable. When you consider all these things, then WaveRunner is the best choice.

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