Five Best Jet Boats
You’re looking for the best jet boats on the water today? Look no further.
If you’re searching for the best jet boats around, we’re not surprised — jet boats are a ton of fun, featuring neck-snapping acceleration and thrilling handling. Plus, on top of it all there’s no propeller spinning around under the boat to worry about. But, which are the best jet boats around? That’s not an easy call and you’ll probably want to try some boat rentals before making any final decisions of your own. Still, we can help you shorten the list of jet boats to check out by homing in on these five top picks.
- Scarab 165 ID
- Scarab 285 ID
- Sea Doo Switch Cruise 21
- Yamaha 255 XD
- Yamaha 222 FSH Sport E
Scarab 165 ID
It would be easy to argue that the Scarab 165 ID deserves a place on the best jet boats list because it’s one of the smallest, least expensive, easiest-to-own jet boats around. But truth be told, it’s this boat’s fun-factor that just can’t be beaten. It’s so nimble in the water that steering one almost feels like steering a PWC, and the 165 ID is available with an uber-potent 300-hp ACE 1.6L engine (a 170 ECT is standard).
Though it’s small, the Scarab 165 ID has the oomph to pull water skiers and wakeboarders and comes with an included tow-eye; upgrades, including a hinged tow tower with gas-assist struts, a Bimini top, and board racks, are available. Other highlights include a two-speaker Bluetooth stereo system, courtesy lighting, a depth sounder, cruise control, and USB charge ports. The package comes with a custom-matched trailer, which includes submersible LED lights and aluminum wheels.
- Estimated MSRP range: $45,000
Visit Scarab Boats to learn more.
Scarab 285 ID
At the far opposite end of Scarab’s model lineup lies the 285 ID, this builder’s largest and most lavish jet boat. At 28’ long and with a 9’2” beam, this is about as roomy as jet boats get, and the yacht certification means you can take out just as many people aboard as you desire. Standard power is a pair of Rotax 230 ECT engines and twin 300s are optional.
As one might guess, this boat is outfitted for maximum luxury. It has perks like an enclosed head compartment, a ski locker in the deck, a four-speaker Bluetooth stereo system, a sundeck with a convertible backrest, and a touchscreen user interface with chartplotter. Heck, it even has an integrated cell phone holder/wireless charger. Seating includes a large L-seat in the cockpit, a double-wide passenger’s seat, helm chair, and wrap-around seating in the bow cockpit. If you’re looking for large and luxurious, this one’s the pick.
- Estimated MSRP range: $130,420
Sea Doo Switch Cruise 21
In the most unusual jet boat department, we have the Sea Doo Switch Cruise 21. This jet boat is actually a pontoon boat built out of Sea Doo’s Polytec material. Power comes via a 170- or 230-hp 1630 Rotax ACE engine, and like Sea Doo’s PWCs the Switch is steered with motorcycle-like handlebars rather than a wheel.
The Switch also offers an unusual deck layout in that you can change it from one trip to the next or add to it as time goes on. Furniture and accessories lock into place on the modular deck, so you can move seats and couches from one side to the other or add then remove a table wherever you’d like. Extra perks include a 100-watt Bluetooth stereo, a stock 7” Garmin touchscreen ECHOMAP GPS chartplotter, an aluminum-framed Bimini top, and a custom-fitted trailer.
- Estimated MSRP range: $36,499
Visit Sea Doo to learn more.
Yamaha 255 XD
Watersports fans searching for a jet boat will head right for the Yamaha 255 XD. Designed specifically for watersports, it has Yamaha Wakebooster (a trim tab-like appendage that deploys to either side to make larger wakes for wake surfing), and a 1,600-pound ballast system to boost those wakes up even more. Even the hull is designed to be ideal for watersports, with a stern that sits low in the water. And the tower is sport-specific, too, with a sound bar adding some elevated tunes to the onboard amplifiers and subwoofer.
The 255 XD is fairly hefty for a jet boat, with 24’6” in length and an 8’6” beam. That means it has room for plenty of people, and you can take up to a dozen out at once. Power comes courtesy of a pair of 1,812cc Yamaha supercharged SVHO four-stroke jet engines, which put out a total power of around 500 horses, which will blast you over the water at speeds in excess of 50 mph. We should also note that the 255 XD gets a healthy dose of the latest in tech, with a 12.3” Connext touchscreen control display at the helm, throttle by wire, USB charging ports, cruise assist, no wake mode, electronic power steering, and a “boat wellness” function display.
- Estimated MSRP range: $108,799
Visit Yamaha Boats to learn more.
Yamaha 222 FSH Sport E
Anglers, rejoice: one of the best jet boats is built just for you. Yamaha’s FSH line is the ticket, and their 222 FSH Sport E is among the most attractive offerings in the mix. This 22-footer has a center console design capped off with a T-top with four rocket launchers on the back. The console sides sport vertical rodracks; there’s an 18-gallon livewell in the transom, an insulated fishbox in the bow, and the leaning post houses a removable cooler underneath.
Power comes from a pair of 1.8L HO Yamaha engines pushing H2O through 1.5mm high-pressure pumps. There’s a stock 222 FSH Sport but getting one with the “E” tag means you also get premium appointments like a 9” Simrad touchscreen MFD, Yamaha Drive Control, throttle by wire, push-button start/stop, and underwater lighting.
Are there other options out there that some people might argue belong on any list of best jet boats? Sure. Might a different make or model turn out to be a better choice for you, your family, and your own personal needs? Of course. But when you put all the jet boats on the market head-to-head, there’s no doubt that these five stand out as top contenders. Take any one of them for a test drive, and the smile on your face will prove it.
- Estimated MSRP range: $71,999
With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.