When shopping around for jet skis, one major factor you’ll probably consider besides price is dependability or reliability. This is a harder metric to measure than speed or horsepower, so how can you know which jet ski is the most reliable? I did extensive research to provide you the answer.
What is the most reliable jet ski? The most reliable jet ski is widely considered to be the Yamaha WaveRunner. This manufacturer’s personal watercrafts last a long time, they require little maintenance, and what work they do need, you can typically do yourself.
Intrigued? In this article, I’ll expand on why the Yamaha WaveRunner makes for such a reliable personal watercraft (PWC). I’ll even talk about the history of the manufacturer and share some WaveRunner models you might be interested in if you’re considering this jet ski for yourself.
Why is the Yamaha WaveRunner the Most Reliable Jet Ski
I established in the intro that the Yamaha WaveRunner PWC has an amazing reputation for its reliability. As you know, if something is reliable, that means you can trust it to work well again and again. How does the WaveRunner meet these criteria? Here’s an overview.
It’s no secret that a jet ski is an investment. If you’re going to spend a few thousand dollars for a PWC, then you want to ensure it will work well for years. This is one area where the Yamaha WaveRunner shines.
The engine that comes outfitted with your jet ski plays a major role in how long your watercraft will last. Generally, supercharged engines tend to have higher maintenance needs. Also, two-stroke jet skis will require a lot of work while often having a shorter lifespan. With more jet ski manufacturers making the move towards using four-stroke engines, this is promising for the life of your watercraft.
According to Yamaha, they frequently outfit their jet skis with an engine called the TR-1 marine engine. This exceeds the former Yamaha standard, the MR-1 engine, in many ways. It weighs less (by 20 percent), it’s smaller (by 40 percent), and it’s got more power (by 13 percent).
No vessel, jet ski or otherwise, can go without any maintenance whatsoever. However, some jet skis will dominate your time and others will let you go longer without doing any work. The Yamaha WaveRunner sits firmly in the latter camp. You will have to maintain the supercharged engine, but since it’s a four-stroke, you won’t work on your WaveRunner every single week, at least not in most cases.
When you look at your Yamaha jet ski more closely, the engine you’ll see is one that’s often easy for even moderately seasoned jet skiers to figure out. Should you ever need to do some tinkering or a minor repair, then, you might feel confident enough to tackle this yourself. Even if you can’t, most jet ski mechanics can easily navigate around your jet ski engine, getting it up and running again faster.
What is the History of the WaveRunner PWC
I also wanted to talk a bit about the WaveRunner’s storied history so you can appreciate this aspect of the jet ski as well. The debut version of this PWC appeared on the market in 1986. Called the WaveRunner 500, aka the Marine Jet 500T, it had an open stern and a sit-down design, the first jet ski to achieve such a look.
Yamaha followed up the wild success of the WaveRunner 500 with the WaveJammer 500 or Marine Jet 500S. This was sold the next year, in 1987. This solo sit-down jet ski was also the first of its kind. It featured a tinier hull than most other watercraft at the time as well as a fixed steering column for greater ease of use.
By 1990, there came the WaveRunner III 650 or Marine Jet 650TL. This had room for three passengers, which was unheard of at the time. It also included a more sizable engine as well as a hull that was almost as large. This same year, the first SuperJet 650 showed up for sale.
Yamaha continued breaking new ground, such as in 1999, when they supersized their jet ski in the form of the WaveRunner SUV 1200. This watercraft could hold four people, a feat no other jet ski brand had yet achieved.
New WaveRunners also debuted in:
- 1997 (the WaveRunner GP 1200)
- 1998 (the WaveRunner XL 1200)
- 2002 (the WaveRunner FX140)
- 2003 (the WaveRunner GP 1300R)
- 2005 (the WaveRunner VX Deluxe)
- 2006 (the WaveRunner FX Cruiser High Output or HO)
- 2008 (the WaveRunner FX Cruiser SHO)
- 2009 (the WaveRunner FZR)
- 2011 (the WaveRunner VXR)
- 2012 (the WaveRunner FX Cruiser SHO)
- 2014 (the WaveRunner FX Cruiser SVHO)
- 2016 (the WaveRunner VX)
Each new jet ski that comes down the pike continues to refine the design and legacy that Yamaha has become known for, especially with their WaveRunners.
Which Yamaha WaveRunner Might You Choose
This article has certainly got you intrigued about the Yamaha WaveRunner. Maybe you’re even considering this jet ski for yourself. Which one should you choose?
There are four families of WaveRunners as of this year. These include the Performance Race Series, the EX Series, the VX Series, and FX Series. If you’re into recreational riding, then choose the EX or VX Series of WaveRunners. For those who seek a luxurious experience, the FX Series jet skis should fulfill you. You can only find the peak of WaveRunners in the Performance Race Series.
To help you choose a WaveRunner, I’ll outline one jet ski from each of the four families.
EX Series: EXR
The first Yamaha WaveRunner of note comes from the EX Series. The EXR boasts a TR-1 three-cylinder engine that cuts down on your fuel economy. Yamaha has received massive praise for such an engine design, even taking home an award.
You can fit up to three riders on the EXR, which measures 44.5 inches wide, 45.3 inches tall, and 123.6 inches long. Weighing 540 pounds dry, you get a fuel capacity of 13.2 gallons. The EXR also has Yamaha’s NanoXcel 2 ultra-lightweight hull and deck. This too promises better fuel efficiency as well as greater riding agility and a good power-to-weight ratio.
VX Series: VX Cruiser
Next, we’ve got the VX Cruiser, part of the VX Series. Named for its Cruiser Seating that’s capable of holding up to three people, you’ll also find the NanoXcel hull and deck here. Yamaha’s TR-1 three-cylinder engine makes another reappearance as well.
The VX Cruiser boasts a height of 46.9 inches, a width of 48 inches, and a length of 131.9 inches. It weighs 668 pounds dry and features a fuel capacity of 18.5 gallons. The Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode is another standout. You can get through those no-wake zones far easier than ever before thanks to the assisted towing speed recommendations.
FX Series: FX Limited SVHO
In the FX Series, the FX Limited SVHO makes a big splash. It too can fit up to three passengers. With a height of 48.4 inches, a width of 50 inches, and a length of 140.9 inches, the FX Limited SVHO weighs 822 pounds dry. It has a fuel capacity of 18.5 gallons.
The Accessory Tech Package, a must for this FX Series pick, comes with a beverage mount, a GPS Fish Finder (and an included transducer), and Bluetooth speakers that are both wireless and waterproof. Control almost everything you do via a touchscreen, a first for personal watercrafts. This has a security mode as well as drive control so you can ride your way.
Performance Race Series: SuperJet
Last but certainly not least, there’s the SuperJet in the Performance Race Series. Although this jet ski can only hold one passenger, it has a super-impressive two-cylinder Yamaha Marine Engine. This engine also includes a 144-millimeter pump and 701CC displacement. The SuperJet is 26 inches tall, 26.8 inches wide and 88.2 inches long. It’s lightweight too, weighing 306 pounds dry. It can hold only 4.8 gallons of fuel.
Conclusion: The Most Reliable PWC
The quest for the most reliable jet ski may seem like a difficult one, at least at first glance. You want a watercraft that’s sturdy, capable, trustworthy, and requires little maintenance or other work.
What you’re looking for should be the Yamaha WaveRunner. Many jet ski enthusiasts agree this personal watercraft has a long life and won’t suck up a lot of your time and money on maintenance. With so many jet skis in the WaveRunner family, surely you can find one for you.
If you want to rush by on the water, try the SuperJet in the Performance Race Series. For luxury features like waterproof speakers, look for the FX Limited SVHO in the FX Series. Those who prefer basic rides with a friend or two should look into the EXR in the EX Series or the VX Cruiser in the VX Series.
Good luck with your decision and enjoy your Yamaha WaveRunner.