Stand Up Jet Ski vs. Sit Down Jet Ski: Which is For You? [Video]

Home/News/Stand Up Jet Ski vs. Sit Down Jet Ski: Which is For You? [Video]

The stand up jet ski vs. sit down jet ski debate is probably one of the most serious arguments in the personal watercraft community.

What’s more, recently many more manufacturers offer stand-up jet skis, which means this category can’t be linked exclusively to Kawasaki anymore!

Are you wondering which style is for you, the sit down or the stand up?

It’s impossible to say which one is better, as we’re talking about two completely different styles and purposes for use.

One thing is clear; there are pros and cons for each! In this guide, we’ll compare these two categories head-to-head as well as models from the main manufacturers: Yamaha, Sea-Doo, Kawasaki, and Krash.

If you’re wondering which one is better for you, don’t hesitate to read more. We at JetDrift have created an unbiased comparison guide to make your buying decision easier!

Stand Up Jet Ski vs. Sit Down Jet Ski Comparison

If you’re new to the world of jet skis, you may be interested in the general features and key points of these watercraft categories. Before we go further, let’s see what these terms mean in a nutshell:

Stand-Up Jet Skis

Stand-up jet skis are mainly for sport and racing purposes. They have smaller hulls and are lightweight, usually 2-stroke engines. You can ride them alone and you’ll need some athletic skills and practice to ride them with confidence.

What’s more, you can expect more falls and deep-water starts during the rides. Finally, this means you’ll be wet most of the time!

Sit-Down Jet Skis

Sit-down jet skis are much more family-friendly and popular among average riders as you can ride them in a sitting position like motorbikes.

They have larger hulls, which offer a 2 or even 3 rider capacity, and a lot of storage. Thanks to the larger sizes, you can remain dry during your rides and you can even use them for fishing or tow sports.

Due to their versatility, these models have become alternatives to small boats!

After this short summary, let’s compare these categories side-by-side by the numbers!

Stand Up Jet Ski vs. Sit Down Jet Ski Comparison Chart

FactorStand UpSit Down
Available models744
Min price$8 699$5 499
Max price$16 799$18 000
Top Speed (mph)45-6240-67
Engine stroke2 or 44
Performance (HP)73 - 16060 - 310
SuperchargerNoYes / No
Rider Capacity12-3
Fuel capacity5-6 Gal8-21 Gal
Storage Capacity00,4-56 Gal
Net weight (lbs)273 - 503405 - 935
Curb weight (lbs)303 - 571458 - 1074
Length (")87-105130-147
BrakeNoYes / No
ReverseNoYes / No
SeatNoYes
HandlebarMoveableFix
SkillsPractice neededEasy start
Riding positionStandingSitting
PopulatityLowerHigher

The Pros and Cons

Based on the chart above, you can see that the two categories are vastly different.

But beyond the hard numbers, we should take a deeper look at some other factors since each category has its own pros and cons! Let’s check these one by one:

Purpose of use

If you’re looking around on the water, it’s rare to see stand-up PWCs. That’s because these models are not so versatile in practice. Let’s face it, most of the owners want to use their PWCs for several purposes.

Beyond the great adrenaline rush, they’d like to take their family or friends for a ride. The typical seating capacity of a sit-down PWC is 3 riders, and you can find some models with 2 rider capacity as well.

What’s more, you can tow a wakeboard or tube with a sit-down model, or you can even give the ever-popular PWC fishing a try.

Skills

Being honest, you won’t need too many skills to operate a sit-down watercraft. The stable hulls and user-friendly handling make them easier to operate even for beginners. This is why can you can rent one after a short education!

On the other hand, stand-up PWCs require some athletic skills to ride. You can expect a longer learning period with many falls and restarts, so you have to be intent on being a pro on these crafts. You can expect tons of fun, but exhausting rides at the same time!

Once you’ve become a pro, you can do many thrilling and spectacular tricks that you won’t be able to do on a sit-down PWC. (However, you can even do some tricks on a sit-down model as well!)

In conclusion, that’s probably the other main reason why many buyers prefer sit-down watercraft; they’re stable, convenient and much easier to ride!

Selection

For now, there are only 7 different stand-up PWC models on the market, so we can’s say that there is a wide variety to choose from.

If you compare this factor to the sit-down category, there you can choose from 44 different models from the main manufacturers: Sea-Doo, Yamaha or Kawasaki.

For sit-down models there are usually many optional features available like extra storage bins, coolers, sound systems, and many more. You can make good use of these features and can customize your PWC based on your needs.

Price and owning costs

If we compare new jet ski prices, we can see that sit-down PWC prices start from as low as $5.500, while the cheapest stand-up PWC, the Yamaha Superjet, costs $8.699.

But in general, the average stand up and sit down prices are really close, around $12.000. When it comes to maintenance costs, the numbers can vary widely depending on the model, riding style, and many other factors. Due to this, it’s impossible to provide hard numbers for the maintenance costs of each model.

The rule of thumb is that non-supercharged PWCs require less maintenance, burn less fuel, and have a lower chance of malfunctioning than supercharged models. It’s good to know that all stand-up models are powered with non-supercharged engines, while in the sit-down category you can find supercharged as well as non-supercharged models.

Stand ups have a more simple build, and they don’t have as many features such as brake or reverse systems, displays, speakers and many other bells and whistles which are prone to failure.

Finally, if you compare the whole initial and long-term ownership costs of a non-supercharged sit-down watercraft to a stand-up model, the differences won’t be so huge. (For instance, the Kawasaki SX-R is powered with the same engine and pump as the STX-160!)

Sizes

The other important specifications you should consider are the weight and dimensions.

Over the years, the sit-down PWCs were produced larger, so these days they’re more like alternatives to smaller boats.

This means it’s much harder to store them in your garage or launch them on the ramp. So weight and dimensions are important as the lighter and smaller PWC is easier to handle.

What’s more, you should pay close attention to the weight while trailering. You can expect a stand-up PWC weight with trailer to weigh around 500-800 pounds depending on the model, while the sit-down models can weigh as high as 600-1.500 lbs with trailer, fuel, and necessary gear.

Before purchase, it’s wise to check your car’s towing capacity!

Performance

When it comes to performance, it’s hard to compare the two categories again due to different rider experiences.

You can find stand ups from 73 HP to 160 HP, and sit downs from 60 HP to 310 HP on the market. If we compare the top performance models, the SX-R stand-up jet ski can reach 60-62 mph while the fastest sit-down PWC models can run as fast as 65-67 mph.

But be aware that the speed of 60 mph on a stand up is a vastly different experience compared to that on a sit down PWC!

Engine stroke

We haven’t yet mentioned the engine strokes. For decades, stand-up watercraft were available exclusively with 2-stroke engines.

These power sources are more lightweight, but pollute more than their 4-stroke counterparts. Laws eventually forced PWC manufacturers to change their engines to 4 strokes due to environmental concerns.

Reflecting this, Kawasaki released the SX-R 1500, the first and only four stroke stand-up jet ski.

Surprisingly, you can still purchase stand ups with 2-stroke engines from other manufacturers like Krash or Yamaha. (Unfortunately, the 4-stroke SuperJet from Yamaha is still not available.)

There are many rumors that these models are only available for racers, but it seems you can still purchase these PWCs for recreational purposes. The only trick here is that you have to get an International Jet Sport Boating Association (IJSBA) competition card at your dealership or through the website.

Stand Up Jet Ski vs. Sit Down Jet Ski from Kawasaki

Beyond the general comparisons above, you can compare stand-up jet ski to sit-down jet ski models from Kawasaki in this chart below.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the SX-R 1500 and the STX-160 come with the same 160 HP engine and pump. Currently, these are the cheapest Jet Ski models on the market.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can find the Ultra 310 LX with supercharged, 310 HP engine, and a $17,999 price tag.

SX-RSTX 160ULTRA 310LX
Price$9 999$9 599$17 999
Top Speed (mph)62na67
Engine stroke444
Displacement (cc)149814981498
Performance (HP)160160310
SuperchargerNoNoYes
Rider Capacity1.33
Fuel capacity (gal)6.120.620.6
Storage Capacity (gal)03556
Net weight (Lbs)503726935
Curb weight (Lbs)5518641074
Length (")104.5124.1132.7
BrakeNoNoNo
ReverseNoYesYes

Stand-Up WaveRunner vs. Sit-Down WaveRunner

If you prefer Yamaha, you can compare the stand-up WaveRunner, namely the Superjet, with two sit-down Waverunner models in the chart below.

We’ve choosen the cheapest WaveRunner from the Rec-Lite category, as well as the most expensive model from Yamaha.

SuperJetEXFX Lim. SVHO
Price$8 699$6 899$17 599
Top Speed (mph)455167
Engine stroke244
Displacement (cc)70110491812
Performance (HP)73100250
SuperchargerNoNoYes
Rider Capacity133
Fuel capacity (gal)4.813,218,5
Storage Capacity (gal)07.744
Net weight (Lbs)306568822
Curb weight (Lbs)336667948
Length (")88123141
BrakeNoNoYes
ReverseNoNoYes

Stand Up Sea-Doo vs. Sit Down Sea-Doo

Unlike other PWC manufacturers, there aren’t any stand-up Sea-Doo models on the market currently, but there’s an exciting sit down model, called the Sea-Doo Spark TRIXX.

This model is by far the smallest and most lightweight sit-down PWC on the market. What’s more, it has many extra features that make it possible to ride even in stand up position!

Because of this, the Spark TRIXX is considered a “half sit down half stand up Sea-Doo” by many customers.

We’ve made a chart comparing the current Sea-Doo models where you can compare the Spark TRIXX 2up to the GTI SE 170 and the GTX Limited 300:

TRIXX 2UPGTI 130GTX Lim. 300
Price$7 599$9 999$17 099
Top Speed (mph)505267
Engine stroke444
Displacement (cc)89916301630
Performance (HP)90130300
SuperchargerNoNoYes
Rider Capacity233
Fuel capacity (gal)7.915.918.5
Storage Capacity (gal)0.442.526.1
Net weight (Lbs)422739849
Curb weight (Lbs)475847974
Length (")110130.6135.9
BrakeYesYesYes
ReverseYesYesYes

It’s an interesting fact that Sea-Doo also offered a stand-up model in the past, the famous Sea-Doo 3D. It’s a unique model as you can ride it standing, as well as in two different sitting positions.

Unfortunately, this model is not manufactured anymore, but if you’re lucky, you can find one in a good shape on the second-hand market.

Krash PWCs

Krash models have been available in Australia for many years, but now their freestyle/freeride PWCs are available in the US as well!

They offer 5 different models with the same 130 HP, 2-stroke KV997 engine. One of their models, called “Reaper” has a small seat, but it’s not accurate to describe this model as a sit-down watercraft. Its riding style and the tricky, deep-water start make this model more like a stand-up watercraft.

If you look at it’s shape carefully, it almost resembles the iconic Yamaha Waveblaster!If you want to learn more, you can discover and compare all Krash PWCs here!

Stand Up Jet Ski vs. Sit Down Jet Ski: Which is For You?

If you’re still thinking about which jet ski is for you, a sit-down or a stand-up, you should start with a sit-down jet ski.

If you have a family or are considering other activities like wakeboarding, or jet ski fishing, the sit down jet ski is for you. They can carry passengers and a lot of gear, which are great advantages in many situations! When to choose a stand up jet ski? If you already have experience with PWCs, you can consider one for sport or racing purposes.

Aslo, don’t forget that you can also can remain dry on a sit-down while riding. In the hot weather, it’s highly to fall into the water occasionally from a stand-up. But what if the weather is chilly? It means with a sit down jet ski you can expect a longer season!

The biggest PWC enthusiasts say it’s best if you have both of them! This is a great point, but let’s face it; most of us can only afford, store or handle one at a time.

Finally, like the Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs Kawasaki debate, the stand up jet ski vs. sit down jet ski question remains one of the most lively in the PWC community. Each category has its own pros and cons, so there isn’t one definitive answer about which one is better.

If you don’t have any riding experience, it’s recommended you get some before you purchase your first PWC. This way you can avoid the most common mistakes for new PWC buyers.

A jet ski rental is always a great way to test the waters. While most of them offer sit-down jet skis for rent, you can sometimes find stand-up jet skis in a few. It’s best if you can try both models at the same place!

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