Types of Personal Watercrafts Every Beginner Should Know About

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Are you planning to try jet ski riding on your summer vacation? You may not know this, but you have a lot of options to choose from depending on your skill level. Aside from stand-up and sit-down jet ski categorizations, other models exist which are based on the jet ski’s purpose. These include rec-light, recreational, luxury, performance, and tow sport models. Let us take a look at each of these along with their pros and cons below:

#1 Rec-Light Models

Rec-Light PWCs were introduced by Sea-Doo with its Spark model. These light machines can be easily launched and thrown around. They are the most budget-friendly types of PWCs with prices between $5,399 and $8,699. Their speed can range from 40 MPH to 50 MPH and offer 60-110 HP.


  • Affordable
  • Agile and lightweight
  • Convenient to launch and store
  • Easy to handle
  • Ideal for children and beginners


  • Not that stable
  • Since they are small, they can’t accommodate many passengers
  • Seats are uncomfortable because of lack of cushioning
  • Lack of storage
  • Moderate performance

Rec-Light PWC Models

  • Yamaha’s EX Series
  • Sea-Doo SPARK

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#2 Recreation Models

This is the most common type of jet ski in the market. They offer more stability compared to Rec-Lites while offering the same nimbleness. Their average size and larger storage spaces make them ideal for families. Their speed can range between 65 km/h and 99 km/h. Although they do not offer that much speed and good handling, they offer enough features for beginners. The majority of rental PWCs are recreational.

Recreation jet skis are also the most recommended types of PWCs. So if you own a waterside property (like a pond), buying a recreation jet ski would be beneficial for you. You can even make your rides easier by installing pond docks.


  • Better seating
  • Greater stability
  • Nimbleness
  • More storage space
  • Most models have Intelligent brake and reverse (iBR) and RIDE systems which make them safer for beginners compared to Rec-Lites


  • Not ideal for use on choppy waters, especially the larger models
  • They are not that fast as you would expect them to be
  • Heavier compared to Rec-Lite models

Recreation PWC Models

  • Kawasaki Ultra LX and STX-15F
  • Yamaha’s VX Series (Limited, Standard, Deluxe, Cruiser HO, and Cruiser)
  • Sea-Doo’s GTI Limited 155, GTI SE (130/155), GTI (90/130), and GTS

#3 Luxury Models

Do you want a PWC with more speed and power but is still comfortable to ride? Then luxury models are your best options. They offer the largest engines with at least 300 HP and speeds up to 65 mph. They have large hulls that can reach up to 11 feet which are designed to make your rides more stable and comfortable.

Luxury models are specifically designed for fishing and touring. They are also the most expensive types of PWCs because they come with a lot of features, including depth finders and retractable dock lines. Their price ranges from $12,799 to $17,899.


  • Very comfortable
  • Extremely stable
  • Can handle choppy waters
  • They have the most powerful engines
  • They come with a lot of features
  • More fuel and storage capacity compared to Recreation models
  • They often come with adjustable handlebar angles, security systems, touch screen displays, adjustable performance and speed options, and reverse controls


  • Most expensive types of PWCs
  • They depreciate faster compared to other jet ski models

Luxury PWC Models

  • Kawasaki Ultra 310LX
  • Yamaha Waverunners FX HO and FX SVHO
  • SeaDoo GTX 155 and GTX LImited 300

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#4 Performance Models

These are only designed for experienced PWC riders. Beginners do not need to consider buying these models. They are the fastest among all PWC categories with speeds that can reach up to 70 mph in under 3 seconds.


  • Ideal for racing
  • Very powerful engines
  • Fast acceleration


  • Not ideal for beginners
  • They do not have that many features
  • Less reliable because of performance parts and superchargers

Performance PWC Models

  • Yamaha Waverunner GP 1800 and VXR
  • Kawasaki Ultra 310LX
  • Sea-Doo GTR 230

#5 Tow Sport Models

These are suitable for those who are looking into taking up other activities aside from riding. Tow Sport PWCs are designed for towing and are ideal for water sports like wakeboarding, tubing, and water skiing. Their speed can reach a maximum of 60 mph..

Bonus Tip: Extreme sports can be really dangerous to beginners. If you are looking to engage in water sports such as mentioned above, we highly recommend you visit a local waterski shop and seek advice. There will surely be professionals in these shops ready to guide you all the way.


  • Best resale value
  • Wakeboard holder
  • Ideal for towed water sports


  • Only Sea-Doo offers these types of PWC

Tow Sports Models

  • Sea-Doo’s Wake models (Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230 and Sea-Doo Wake 155)
  • Personal Watercraft Guide: Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, WaveRunners

Wrapping It Up

Now that you have learned about the different personal watercraft models, for sure you know that not all are meant for beginners. Although this is the case, it helps to know about the basics of these types of watercraft, especially if you are planning to buy your own in the future. You can read this personal watercraft guide and factors to consider when buying a PWC in case you are planning to buy one. Have fun with your jet ski riding experience!