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The Main Types of Jet Ski Engines by Brand [Chart]

The Main Types of Jet Ski Engines by Brand [Chart]

What type of engine does a jet ski have?  – this is a typical question of many beginners, and the answer is simple yet complex. As a rule of thumb, jet skis are powered by four main types of engines, which are as follows:

  • 2-stroke (2 and 3 cylinders)
  • 4-stroke naturally-aspirated (3 and 4 cylinders)
  • 4-stroke supercharged (3 and 4 cylinders)
  • Electric
However, the characteristics and performance of engines vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer.

If you want to discover and compare today’s jet ski engines in one chart, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all of them together under one roof!

What Type of Engine Does a Jet Ski Have?

As a rule of thumb, the majority of jet skis are powered by inboard internal combustion engines. Before the Millennium, these tiny vessels exclusively had 2-stroke power sources, but during the 2000s, 4-stroke engines became more prevalent.

Today virtually every recreation jet ski comes with a 4-stroke inboard engine, and the first electric jet skis are already in the marketplace.Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk in detail about the different types of jet ski engines!

2-Stroke Jet Ski Engines

It’s safe to say that each vintage jet ski was powered by a 2-stroke engine. These twin and triple power sources featured a displacement of 400-1,300cc and produced 25-170 HP.

The very first jet skis like the Kawasaki JS440 and the Yamaha WaveRunner 500 only had 25-30 HP.

On the other end of the spectrum, the most powerful 2-stroke jet skis in the mid-2000s like the Yamaha GP1300 and the Sea-Doo XP IV cranked out an impressive 130-170 HP.

Although these were lively and offered an amazing riding experience, there were many drawbacks to these engines, including:

The first models ran on premix, meaning that the rider had to mix the oil and fuel in a separate can before rides.

As you can imagine, this required a lot of time and effort. To solve this issue, later jet skis came manufactured with oil injection.

As the name suggests, the jet ski’s oil injection system was designed to inject oil into the carburetors. This system featured an oil reservoir while gasoline could be poured directly into the fuel tank.

Another huge downside of these engines was their unreliable carburetors, which required endless adjustments, cleanings, and even rebuilds. To make the skis more reliable, manufacturers upgraded them with an innovative fuel injection system.

The first fuel-injected 2-stroke jet skis appeared around the Millennium. The first 2-stroke fuel-injected Sea-Doo engine was the 946 DI (Direct Injection) power mill mounted in “Millennium Edition Sea-Doo” models like the 2000 Sea-Doo GTI DI.Yamaha also manufactured 2-stroke fuel-injected WaveRunners like the legendary 2003 GP1300R.

To the greatest regret of many fans, 2-stroke jet ski engines (almost completely) disappeared from the market in 2007 due to new EPA environmental restrictions.

Since then, sit-down jet skis have been exclusively manufactured with 4-stroke engines. Today only a few freestyle stand-up jet skis like Krash PWCs come with 2-stroke engines.

4-Stroke Naturally-Aspirated Jet Ski Engines

The first 4-stroke jet ski engines hit the market in 2002. These innovative fuel-injected power mills were more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly than their outdated predecessors. The very first 4-stroke jet skis by the manufacturer were as follows:

  • 2002 Yamaha WaveRunner FX140
  • 2002 Sea-Doo GTX 155 4-TEC
  • 2003 Kawasaki STX-12F
These skis were powered by 1,000-1,500cc, 3- or 4-cylinder engines that cranked out 125-155 HP depending on the model.

It’s safe to say that most of today’s jet skis still come with these engine configurations. However, the displacement and performance of the flagship models have significantly increased.As a rule of thumb, most modern jet skis are powered by 900-1812cc, 4-stroke, naturally-aspirated engines that feature 3 or 4 cylinders and deliver 60-180 HP.

These power sources are cooled by industry-standard open-loop water cooling, except Sea-Doos, which come with CLCS (Closed-Loop Cooling Systems).

4-Stroke Supercharged Jet Ski Engines

If you are looking for the most powerful jet ski engines, you should take a look at the supercharged models.

The supercharger is designed to boost performance by forcing extra air into the engine. With more air, the engine can burn more fuel, which translates into more horsepower.

It does the same job as a turbo on cars, but unlike turbos driven by exhaust gases, jet ski superchargers are connected to the crankshaft by a set of gears.

The first supercharged jet ski was the Sea-Doo GTX 4-TEC SC introduced in 2003. This amazing craft produced no less than 185 HP! However, the most famous supercharged Sea-Doo is probably the 2004 Sea-Doo RXP 215, as this model offered an amazing 215 HP.

Today, every major manufacturer offers jet skis with supercharged engines that pump out 230-310 HP.

To be more precise, the supercharged jet ski engines available right now are as follows:

  • Yamaha Marine SVHO (1812cc, 4-cylinder, 250 HP)
  • Sea-Doo – Rotax 1630 ACE (1630cc, 3-cylinder, 230/300 HP)
  • Kawasaki 1498cc Supercharged (1498cc, 4-cylinder, 310 HP)
These engines are also equipped with intercoolers to cool down the pressured air before it enters the engine.

Besides supercharged models, a few turbocharged jet ski have aslo appeared on the market like the iconic 165 HP Honda Aquatrax series.

Electric Jet Ski engines

Last but not least, we have to mention innovative electric jet skis like the Taiga series. These machines utilize electric PWC engines rated at 120 and 180 HP.

With these power sources, the top speed of these skis is about 56-64 mph and they require 3.3 hours of recharge time.

Today’s Jet Ski Engines

Jet Ski Engine Comparison Chart

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the engines of the latest jet ski models into one chart:

BrandEngine TypeccHPCylindersSuper- charged
KrashKV 997 (2 stroke)9971302No
YamahaTR-11049100/ 110/ 1253No
YamahaYamaha Marine HO18121804No
YamahaYamaha Marine SVHO18122504Yes
Sea-DooRotax 900 ACE899603No
Sea-DooRotax 900 ACE HO899903No
Sea-Doo Rotax 1630 ACE1630130/ 1703No
Sea-Doo Rotax 1630 ACE1630230/ 3003Yes
KawasakiKawasaki 149814981604No
KawasakiKawasaki 149814983104Yes
This chart is for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.

Yamaha WaveRunner Engine Specs

As you can see, Yamaha currently offers three different engine options for their WaveRunners.

Entry-level models share the TR-1 Yamaha Marine Engine, which is a 1049cc, 4-stroke triple.

In contrast, the bigger skis have the same 1812cc, 4-cylinder power mill, which is available in naturally-aspirated (HO) and supercharged (SVHO) configurations.

This means that the available Yamaha WaveRunner engine sizes are as follows:

  • Yamaha Marine TR 1 (na): 1049cc, 3-cylinder (100/110/125 HP)
  • Yamaha Marine HO (na): 1812cc, 4-cylinder (180 HP)
  • Yamaha Marine SVHO (sc): 1812cc, 4-cylinder (250 HP)
The Yamaha Marine HO and SVHO engines are basically identical, except the latter is equipped with a supercharger and intercooler. The HO Yamaha Marine Engine is rated at 180 HP while the SVHO produces 250 HP.

Regarding dimensions, the Yamaha TR-1 engine is 30 inches long, 21 inches wide, and 19 inches high. As reported by Personalwatercraft.com, this Yamaha WaveRunner engine weighs 160 pounds.

In contrast, the weight of the naturally-aspirated Yamaha Marine HO 1.8L is about 250 pounds, while the supercharged 1.8L SVHO weighs 260 pounds.

Sea-Doo Engine Specs

Sea-Doo also offers three different engines for their skis, which provide 60-300 HP depending on the model. These great power mills are manufactured by the European Rotax, a subsidiary of Sea-Doo’s parent company (BRP).

In a nutshell, the available Sea-Doo engine sizes are as follows:

  • Rotax 900 ACE: 899cc, 3-cylinder (60/80 HP)
  • Rotax 1630 ACE na: 1630cc, 3-cylinder (130/170 HP)
  • Rotax 1630 ACE Supercharged: 1630cc, 3-cylinder (230/300 HP)
If you are curious about Sea-Doo engine weights, the good news is that the manufacturer reveals this information.

Based on the specs charts, the weight of Sea-Doo engines are as follows:

  • ROTAX 900 ACE weight: 123.5 pounds
  • ROTAX 1630 ACE weight: 194 pounds

Kawasaki Jet Ski Engine Specs

Surprisingly, Kawasaki jet skis all come with the same 1498cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder power source with most featuring the naturally-aspirated 160 HP version of this engine.

To the delight of performance-minded Kawasaki fans, this power mill is also available in a supercharged version in flagship models like the Ultra 310R and Ultra 310 LX. As the name of these skis suggests, this supercharged Kawasaki jet ski engine produces 310 HP.

Key specifications of this Kawasaki jet ski engine are as follows:

  • Displacement: 1498cc
  • 4-stroke
  • Inline 4-cylinder
  • 16 valves – four valves per cylinder
  • Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 69.2mm
  • DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshafts)
  • HP (Naturally-Aspirated): 160 HP
  • HP (Supercharged): 310 HP
  • Weight (approximately): 236 pounds

Kavinci KV997 Engine Specs

KRASH freestyle and freeride jet skis are exclusively powered by the Kavinci KV997 twin engine. Surprisingly, this is the only 2-stroke jet ski engine available right now!

In a nutshell, the main specifications of the Kavinci KV994 engine are as follows:

  • 2-stroke
  • Displacement: 997cc
  • Cylinders: 2
  • Fuel delivery: 2 X 48mm Black Ops carburetors with Mikuni internals
  • Performance: 130 HP
  • Cooling system: open-loop
  • Lubrication: Premix
  • Bore x Stroke:0 x 82.0 mm
  • Fuel capacity:75 gallons
  • CDI ignition
  • Aluminum waterbox
The computer of these skis comes with three preset maps, allowing you to set the performance of this engine at 70/100/130 HP based on your needs and skills.

Takeaways – FAQs About PWC Engines

What Type of Engine Does a Jet Ski Have? 

The majority of today’s jet skis are powered by naturally-aspirated or supercharged 4-stroke engines. You can only find 2-stroke power sources in a few stand-up jet skis and vintage (pre-2007) models. Aside from proven internal combustion technology, electric jet skis engines have also appeared in the marketplace!

How Many CC is a Jet Ski?

The displacement of modern 4-stroke jet ski engines ranges from 899cc to 1812cc, while vintage 2-stroke jet skis were typically powered by 400cc-1300cc engines.

How Many Cylinders Does a Jet Ski Have?

2-stroke jet ski engines have 2 or 3 cylinders, while their modern 4-stroke counterparts have 3 or 4 cylinders.

Are Jet Skis Fuel-Injected?

Yes, it’s safe to say that each modern 4-stroke jet ski comes with a fuel-injected engine.

When did Jet Skis Become Fuel Injected?

The first fuel-injected jet ski was the 2000 Sea-Doo GTI DI (Direct Injection) powered by a 947cc, 135 HP, 2-stroke engine. Fuel-injected 2-stroke jet skis instantly became popular among riders thanks to their reliability and great fuel economy.

What Year Did 4-Stroke Jet Skis Come Out?

The first 4-stroke jet skis made their debut in 2002.

Which Was the First 4-Stroke Jet Ski?

The first 4-stroke jet skis by brand were as follows:

  • 2002 Sea-Doo GTX 155 4-TEC (155 HP)
  • 2002 Yamaha WaveRunner FX140 (140 HP)
  • 2003 Kawasaki STX-12F (125 HP)

Which Jet Ski Engine Is The Most Powerful?

The most powerful jet ski engine right now is the Kawasaki 1492cc, DOHC, 4-stroke, inline 4-cylinder power mill that delivers an impressive 310 HP.

How Much Does a Jet Ski Engine Weigh?

As a rule of thumb, jet ski engines weigh about 80-260 pounds, depending on their design and features. The smallest jet ski engines were the lightweight 2-stroke twins, weighing about 80-150 pounds. In contrast, 900-1000cc 4-stroke jet ski engines weigh 125-160 pounds, while the most powerful 1500-1800cc units weigh about 200-260 pounds.

Some examples of jet ski engine weights by displacements:

  • 300-500cc 2-stroke: 50-80 pounds
  • 700-750cc 2-stroke: 80-100 pounds
  • 800-900cc 2-stroke: 120-130 pound
  • 1000-1300cc 2-stroke: 130-160 pounds
  • 900-1000cc 4-stroke: 125-160 pounds
  • 1500-1812cc 4-stroke: 200-260 pounds
The lightest jet ski engines were arguably the early 2-stroke, 400-500cc twins, which weighed only 50-80 pounds!

How Much is a New Engine for a Jet Ski?

The prices of new jet ski engines range from $1,800 up to $5,000. Are you wondering where you can find a jet ski engine for sale?

One of the best aftermarket jet ski engine manufacturers is SBT, but you can also purchase a new engine for the latest models through an authorized dealer.

When Did Jet Skis Become Supercharged?

The first supercharged jet ski was the 2003 Sea-Doo GTX 4-TEC SC powered by a 185 HP supercharged engine. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, the 2004 Sea-Doo RXP 215 was not the first supercharged model in Sea-Doo’s fleet!

When Did Sea-Doo Start Making 4-Stroke Jet Skis?

The first 4-stroke Sea-Doo hit the market in 2002.

What Year did Yamaha WaveRunners Go to 4-Stroke?

Yamaha also revealed its first 4-stroke WaveRunner in 2002.

When Did Sea-Doo Stop Making 2-Stroke Jet Skis?

2-stroke Sea-Doos disappeared from the market after the 2007 season because of new environmental restrictions. The three last 2-stroke Sea-Doo engines were the Rotax 720, 800, and the 915 power mills.

When Did Yamaha Stop Making 2-Stroke Jet Skis?

Yamaha also stopped manufacturing 2-stroke jet skis after the 2007 model year. The last 2-stroke Yamaha WaveRunner was the 2007 Yamaha GP1300R.

Can You Put a Car Engine in a Jet Ski?

Even if it’s physically possible to put a car engine in a jet ski, it’s definitely not recommended. There are several counter-arguments against a car-jet ski engine swap, including:

  • Car engines don’t work well in an enclosed space, as they are designed to be exposed to incoming air.
  • Jet ski engines require a special water-jacketed cooling and exhaust system with a waterbox.
  • Car engines and their features are typically too big to fit inside a jet ski’s hull.
  • Car engines have different torque curves, which don’t work well with jet pumps.
Therefore, best practice is to repower your jet ski with another jet ski engine!

What Does HO Stand for on Yamahas?

The HO on Yamaha WaveRunners stands for “High Output,” which refers to the naturally-aspirated 1.8L, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, 180 HP Yamaha Marine Engine.

What Does SVHO Stand for on Yamahas?

The SVHO on Yamaha WaveRunners stands for “Super Vortex High Output,” which refers to the supercharged 1.8L, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, 250 HP Yamaha Marine Engine.

Is SVHO Supercharged?

Yes, Yamaha’s SVHO engine is supercharged and puts out 250 HP.

What is the Difference Between SVHO and HO?

The SVHO WaveRunner models feature the supercharged, 250 HP engine option and a 160mm jet pump. Their smaller brothers, the HO WaveRunner comes with the naturally-aspirated 180 HP engine option and a slightly smaller, 155mm jet pump.

Does a Jet Ski Have an Outboard Motor?

For safety reasons, jet skis are exclusively manufactured with inboard engines.

However, some riders bolt a tiny outboard engine on an old jet ski hull and use it for fishing or pleasure riding. Unfortunately, this setup carries many risks, as the exposed prop can be dangerous in many ways. What’s more, capsizing the jet ski also means ending the engine’s life!