How Much Horsepower Does a Jet Ski Have? [Jet Ski HP Chart]

Jet skis have 60-310 HP depending on the make and model. You can find the smallest crafts in the Rec-Lite category with 60-110 HP engines. In contrast, high-end performance jet skis produce 250-310 HP and can reach amazing top speeds.

If you want to compare the horsepower ratings of each jet ski brand, this post is for you.

For your convenience, we at PowerSportsGuide have compiled information on the best jet skis under one roof!

How Much Horsepower Does a Jet Ski Have?

Rec-Lite Jet Skis

Rec-Lite jet skis are considered to be the entry-level models on the market. They are typically powered by 899-1049cc engines, which generally puts out 60-110 HP. The most well-known models in this family are the Yamaha EX and Sea-Doo Sparks.

They are easy to handle and tow with cars thanks to their low weight and small dimensions. Moreover, their prices and maintenance costs are quite reasonable!


They can be a little tipsy especially for beginners. Another problem is that most of the Rec-Lite jet skis come with 3-passenger seats, which are only comfortable for two adult riders. Also, they lack storage space since they usually have very small storage bins.

Horsepower ratings of Recreation Jet Skis

The best-selling jet skis each year are in the Recreation category, and for the right reasons.

These models offer better stability and capacity than the Rec-Lites. Because of this, they can carry 3 adults and pull a tuber/wakeboarder with ease. That’s why they are such popular choices for beginners and families!

Recreation jet skis are powered with 899-1812cc engines and typically produce 90-180 HP.

You can find the Sea-Doo GTI, Yamaha VX, and Kawasaki STX-160 models in this category.

Horsepower of Performance and Luxury Jet Skis

Performance and Luxury jet skis typically have the same type of engine; thus, their performance is quite similar. Thanks to their (often supercharged) power sources, these jet skis typically offer 180-310 HP.

The Luxury models are primarily designed for touring, feature convenient seats and many bells and whistles. All of these come in handy on long tours!

The best Luxury jet skis on the market are the Yamaha FX series, the Sea-Doo GTX family, as well as some Kawasaki Ultra 310 models.

Performance jet skis, as their name implies, are built for racers and performance-minded owners. The best jet skis in this class are the Yamaha GP1800R, Sea-Doo RXP-X 300/RXT-X 300, GTR, and the Kawasaki Ultra 310R.

Horsepower of Stand Up Jet Skis

Stand up jet skis have 100-160 HP depending on the model. The engine of the 4-stroke Yamaha Superjet puts out 100 HP, while its competitor, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 offers an amazing 160 HP!

However, it’s good to know that stand up jet skis are a distinct class. They are built for doing tricks, so they are very nimble and not easy to ride! So, if you are considering buying a stand up jet ski, keep in mind that it requires some athletic skills. Also, be prepared to practice a lot!

Additionally, as they don’t feature a seat, you can only ride them in kneeling or standing position. For the same reason, you can’t take passengers with you.

Jet Ski Horsepower Chart

For your convenience, we’ve gathered all of these numbers by brand into this jet ski horsepower chart:

Yamaha WaveRunner100-250

Let’s now compare jet ski horsepower ratings by their categories:

Jet Ski CategoryHorsepower
Stand Up100-160

What is the Average Horsepower for a Jet Ski?

Based on the charts, the average horsepower of a jet ski is about 180 HP. Entry-level models offer 60-110 HP, while you can expect 180-310 HP on the most powerful performance jet skis.

As a final word, if you are a beginner it’s recommended that you steer away from performance models.

Many of these machines are boosted with a supercharger, which means they accelerate extremely fast, and can reach a top speed of 67+ mph.

Since a lot of beginners find 40-45 mph “too fast” on the water, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a supercharged muscle craft as your first jet ski.

Instead, you should take a look at the Recreation category, as this is where you’ll find the best beginner jet skis.

These models offer a reasonable performance, but they are still safe and comfortable for first-time riders. Additionally, they come with affordable prices and maintenance costs.

That’s why you will find Recreation jet skis in many rental shops. It’s safe to say that the Yamaha VX is not only the best-selling WaveRunner on the market but the most popular rental jet ski as well!


Recent Content