How Much Should You Pay for a Jet Ski?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

If you enjoy being on the water, a personal watercraft (PWC) such as a Jet Ski would be a worthwhile investment. Its small size makes it easier to maneuver than a boat, which is why water lovers find PWCs convenient.

But even though they’re small, they can still be expensive. This is especially true when you factor in storage, insurance, and maintenance. So if you’re considering a used Jet Ski to cut down on the purchase price, you should know how much to pay for one. Here’s a handy guide.

What type of Jet Ski do you need?

Kawasaki Jet Ski personal watercraft | John B. Carnett/Bonnier Corporation via Getty Images


According to NADA Guides, luxury PWCs are at the top of their class in performance, acceleration, and speed. This is why they are the most expensive. Most people prefer them due to their top speeds and the thrill that comes with riding them. 

They are also easy to use and are stable due to the massive hulls offering a smooth ride. However, luxury Jet Skis are bulkier and less maneuverable than smaller models.


These PWCs are similar to luxury watercraft but with some slight differences. They are faster and offer more water maneuverability for tricks and stunts. They can also be more expensive due to the maintenance costs associated with owning one. 


These are the most common type of Jet Ski and are highly affordable. They usually have small engines and are designed for beginners and amateur riders. Instead of concentrating on one attribute, recreational Jet Skis balance all aspects to provide a functional personal watercraft. 

Once you determine which type of Jet Ski you want, then you can focus on the price.

Price ranges for new and used Jet Skis

You can purchase a new or used PWC. Though new models come with everything intact, they can be expensive, costing upward of $20,000. But they can also run as little as $5,000, NADA Guides reports. The Jet Ski price depends on its attributes, model, brand, and equipped features.

On the other hand, although used models generally have a lower purchase price, sometimes they come as incomplete units and have hidden costs. For instance, you might find a used Jet Ski in great condition, but it needs a new motor.

If you intend to purchase a used Jet Ski, be sure to do a water test to ensure it’s in good working order. If not, you should avoid buying it or ask for a discount. You should also look for water damage and corrosion, Steven in Sales suggests.

However, the actual cost of ownership is higher when considering all the hidden costs associated with owning a personal watercraft.

The main hidden costs of a PWC include the following:

Maintenance of your Jeet ski

Maintenance costs are usually ongoing and depend upon the type of PWC you own. For instance, performance Jet Skis have very high maintenance costs. 

Fuel cost to fill up your PWC

Before you purchase a watercraft, make sure you consider the gallons it consumes per hour. On average, fuel consumption is usually 120 to 300 gallons annually. 

Insurance to cover your Jet Ski

This depends on the make and model. According to Investopedia, you could pay up to $100 to $500 annually for personal watercraft insurance.

Another cost you could incur is for accessories, but this is usually based on personal preference. 

What’s the difference between a Jet Ski, WaveRunner, and Sea-Doo?

A personal watercraft is a small vessel used to navigate bodies of water. The person using it sits, stands, or kneels instead of standing or sitting inside it as with a boat. A PWC’s primary source of propulsion is an onboard jet drive.

It’s important to note that despite its small size and unique design, personal watercraft such as Jet Skis are still bound by the laws and requirements that govern water vessels in addition to PWC-specific laws. 

Three popular personal watercraft brands are Jet Ski, WaveRunner, and Sea-Doo. Kawasaki makes Jet Ski models, Yamaha manufacturers WaveRunner units, and Sea-Doo produces Sea-Doo vessels. Polaris, better known for making ATVs, also sells Sea Lion personal watercraft.

Some people refer to all PWCs as Jet Skis or WaveRunners, as some call facial tissues “Kleenex.” But all models are brand names of personal watercraft and have similar price ranges.

RELATED: 4 Best Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos of 2021

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