The Best Touring Jet Skis vs. Sea-Doos vs. WaveRunners Compared

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Without further ado, the best touring jet skis by brand are as follows:

If you want to find out more about these models, you’ve come to the right place.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this post!

What is a Touring Jet Ski?

There are many types of jet skis in the marketplace and touring jet skis are just one type.

As the name suggests, touring jet skis are specifically designed to cover long distances. They are built with stable predictable hulls and offer plenty of comfort along with great fuel and storage capacities.

To be more precise, the key features of touring jet skis are as follows:

Interestingly, touring jet skis have become more prevalent in the past decade.

The first jet skis were actually “water toys,” which were typically used for playing around for a short periods of time. They featured small hulls, 2-stroke twin engines, and minimal capacities.

Let’s face it, riding these tiny machines with a passenger or heavy cargo was nearly impossible. They couldn’t cover long distances due to their small fuel tank and poor mileage.

This is why these vessels were officially labeled personal watercraft and were only recommended for solo rides.

But over the years jet skis got bigger and bigger until finally, the most recent models look more like a boat than a personal watercraft.

The difference is obvious in the picture below, where we compared a vintage Sea-Doo XP and its modern successor, the RXT-X 300:

XP1991-RXT-x

XP1991-RXT-x

Nowadays, touring jet skis are gaining in popularity, and purpose-built models have become more prevalent in every manufacturer’s fleet.

Although there are many great touring jet skis out there with supercharged engines, a naturally-aspirated engine is always a better choice for touring.

Why?

In a nutshell, naturally-aspirated engines offer higher reliability and much better gas mileage. Besides, they are lighter, quieter, cause less vibration, and take regular gas.

Each of these is a good point on a touring jet ski!

Let’s drill into the details and compare the best touring jet skis by brand.

The Best Touring Jet Skis by Brand

Sea-Doo Explorer Pro 170

When it comes to the best touring Sea-Doos, our pick is the all-new Sea-Doo Explorer Pro 170. As the name suggests, this purpose-built touring Sea-Doo is designed with adventures in mind.

It’s built on the innovative Sea-Doo ST3 platform, which offers industry-leading stability, great predictability, and amazing rough water handling.

Under the hood, you can find a 4-stroke, 1630cc, fuel-injected, Rotax triple that delivers 170 HP at 8000 RPM. Thanks to its naturally-aspirated engine configuration, this ski offers higher reliability and greater fuel mileage than any of the supercharged touring Sea-Doos in the lineup.

This is no coincidence since this ski is tuned for the best gas mileage and comfort rather than performance.

This model also comes standard with a wide range of adventure features, including a touring PWC windshield, heavy-duty front bumpers, and a 7′′ Garmin touchscreen GPS & fish finder.

What’s more, the Explorer Pro enjoys many of the most innovative Sea-Doo-exclusive systems including the easy-access center storage, Intelligent Debris Free System (iDF), Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR), Variable Trim System (VTS), cruise control, various riding modes, and more.

This ski also inherited its rear platform extension of the Fish Pro Trophy, which lengthens its hull by 7.4 inches. (The standard ST3 hull is 135.9 inches long while the Explorer Pro measures 143.3 inches in length.)

If you are looking for the best touring Sea-Doo, the Explorer Pro 170 is for you!

Key features:

  • Engine: 1630cc, 3-cylinder, Rotax
  • Hull: ST3
  • Performance: 170 HP
  • Supercharged: No
  • Length: 143.3 inches
  • Width: 49.2 inches
  • Dry weight: 837 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 600 lbs.
  • Brake and reverse: Standard
  • Fuel capacity: 15.9 gallons
  • Overall storage capacity: 52.3 gallons
  • Rider capacity: 3

Yamaha FX HO

There’s no question that the strongest competitor of the Explorer Pro is the Yamaha FX HO, which is considered the best touring WaveRunner.

Just like the Sea-Doo, this ski is also powered by a reliable fuel-efficient, naturally-aspirated engine. This unit is a 4-stroke, 1812cc, fuel-injected, 4-cylinder Yamaha HO marine engine rated at 180 HP.

The FX HO shares its large stable hull with the more advanced FX models, but its simpler engine and features translate to a lighter weight and a more affordable price tag. It also takes regular fuel, which can be a key point on long tours.

This large comfortable ski handles rough waters very well while its bolstered seat offers outstanding comfort.

It also comes with many touring-intended features like cruise control, various riding modes, adjustable trim, and more.

Key Features:

  • Engine: 1812cc, 4-cylinder, Yamaha
  • Performance: 180 HP
  • Supercharged: No
  • Length: 140.9 inches
  • Width: 50 inches
  • Height: 48.4 inches
  • Dry weight: 840 lbs.
  • Brake and reverse: Standard
  • Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons
  • Overall storage capacity: 44.5 gallons
  • Rider capacity: 3

Kawasaki Ultra LX

Although the proven Kawasaki Ultra LX is soon-to-be discontinued, it’s still available at certain dealerships!

Compared to rival skis, this model is very basic, lacking many key features like a large color display, cruise control, and an adjustable trim system.

Its outdated hull doesn’t handle as well as its competitors, but its deep-V keep can effectively cut through the chop.

The power source of the LX is a 4-stroke, 1492cc, fuel-injected, 4-cylinder Kawasaki marine engine rated at 160 HP.

Despite its old-fashioned design and features, this model is still popular among riders.

This is no surprise since the Kawasaki Ultra LX is by far the cheapest touring jet ski in the marketplace!

Key Features:

  • Engine: 1498cc, 4-cylinder, Kawasaki
  • Performance: 160 HP
  • Supercharged: No
  • Length: 132.7 inches
  • Width: 47 inches
  • Height: 45.3 inches
  • Dry weight: 795 lbs.
  • Brake and reverse: Standard
  • Fuel capacity: 20.6 gallons
  • Weight capacity: 496 pounds
  • Overall storage capacity: 60 gallons
  • Rider capacity: 3

Conclusion

The best touring jet skis are built on a large stable hull, powered by a fuel-efficient, naturally-aspirated engine, and have large fuel and storage capacities. Our picks are the Sea-Doo Explorer Pro 170, the Yamaha FX HO, and the Kawasaki Ultra LX.

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