Polaris vs. Ski-Doo: Which is better?

If you've been looking into buying a snowmobile and are stuck between going with a Ski-Doo and a Polaris, then you're not alone. Riders are constantly going back and forth on which one of these vehicles is the best, and the answer often depends on the conditions, the terrain, and the usage.

Both Ski-Doo and Polaris snowmobiles have solid clutches and strong engines, generating excellent horsepower. Plus, they're some of the best-looking snowmobiles on the market.

In this guide, we're going to give you the low-down on a few of the best 850 features that will factor into your purchasing decision, so you can make the right choice.

Let’s ride!

Side-By-Side Comparison


2023 Ski-Doo Summit SP 850

2022 Polaris Sportsman 850

Starting MSRP




772 pounds

1,422 pounds


78 HP

165 HP


ProStar twin-cylinder engine

Rotax 850 E-TEC Turbo

Fuel Capacity

5.25 gallons

9.5 gallons


MATRYX Front Suspension and PRO-CC Rear Suspension

SMART-SHOX semi-active suspension system

Pros and Cons

Ski-Doo GTX In the Mountains

Ski-Doo 850 Pros

The Ski-Doo 850 is one of the best high-performance snowmobile models on the market, offering several advantages over other snowmobile brands.

For starters, you get the 850 engine, which provides plenty of torque and horsepower for aggressive riding on challenging terrain. Pair this with the suspension system, which offers responsive handling, and you have a snowmobile that's easy to turn and navigate on tight trails.

As for comfort, like with most Ski-Doo models, this one comes with several ergonomic features, such as adjustable handlebars, a heated seat, and a lightweight design, making several-hour rides feel like they go by in a heartbeat.

As the cherry on top, you get access to proprietary Ski-Doo technology, such as the high-performance braking system, the fuel savings Eco mode, and the digital display, which provides in-depth analytics regarding the current condition of your vehicle.

Ski-Doo 850 Cons

One of the first things that'll likely catch your eye about Ski-Doo 850 is the price. This high-performance model is slightly more expensive than most snowmobile options on the market, and with its high performance engine, it's not the most fuel-efficient, resulting in higher operating costs over the course of ownership.

While it's an excellent choice for advanced riders, the top-of-the-line technology can make operating the Ski-Doo more complex than other snowmobiles, which could make it difficult for younger riders to learn.

Polaris 850 Pros

The Polaris 850 is another high-performance model, offering plenty of advantages over the competition, such as the powerful 850 engine, an advanced suspension system for smooth rides and rough conditions, several rider comfort features, and unmatched durability.

When compared to Ski-Doo, Polaris models take the cake in terms of versatility. Even with a less complex system, you can enjoy plenty of riding styles with an 850, including everything from trail-riding to cross-country.

Polaris 850 Cons

One of the main downsides for Polaris 850 riders is that the company does not have a four-stroke engine. It's likely that is why Polaris has fallen off its throne as the top dog in the snowmobile industry and why so many fans have drifted to other brands.

If Polaris finds a way to bring a four-stroke engine into production, the company will be ready to go head-to-head with Ski-Doo.

When to Use

Ski-Doo E-TEC 850 


Both of these snowmobiles are excellent choices for aggressive and challenging terrains.

They both excel with mountain riding, thanks to their powerful 850 engines and advanced suspension systems.

In the same way, both excel on backcountry terrain and groomed trails, thanks to their precise handling and smooth rides.

When it comes to long-distance, cross-country rides, we have to give it to the Ski-Doo 850. With a lighter design, it's more comfortable to take on longer trips.


The Ski-Doo 850 has certainly earned a reputation for itself as one of the most reliable snowmobiles on the market today. Much of this is thanks to the world's first factory-built two-stroke turbocharged engine, which not only delivers game-changing power but an incredible amount of reliability.

One of the main complaints that we see is that the belts on the Ski-Doo 850 don't last as long as some other machines.

Polaris also delivers excellent reliability, showing their confidence in their snowmobile by providing a four-year standard warranty.


While many riders say both of these snowmobiles are comfortable in their own right without testing the other, when compared, many of them note that the Polaris is not as comfortable with a noisy drive line and poor wind protection.

Plus, while you can purchase a heated seat add-on for your Polaris 850, it does not come standard like the Ski-Doo 850.

Fuel Economy

Both of these snowmobiles deliver pretty solid fuel economy overall, allowing for rough terrain riding and cross-country riding. Of course, with such high-performance engines, you can expect to pay a bit more for fuel than an intermediate model.

While they both excel in terms of fuel capacity, the Ski-Doo 850 takes the gold when it comes to fuel capacity. The tank can hold up to 9.5 gallons of fuel, making it a much better choice for those who want to take their snowmobile out on longer cross-country rides.


The Polaris 850 snowmobile offers plenty of customization options right off the bat, such as a number of color options, engine specs, and shocks/tracks. Ski-Doo also offers a number of great customization options with its wrap customizer tool, allowing riders to build their own snowmobiles from the ground up.

Of course, when it comes to aftermarket accessories, you can find plenty of unique ways to deck out your snowmobile with our high-end products here at Kemimoto.



Trail Rider on Polaris 850 

How Much Horsepower Does a Ski-Doo Have?

The Ski-Doo 850 delivers 180 horsepower, thanks to one of the most powerful two-stroked turbo engines on the market today. You can keep this snowmobile gliding all the way up to 8,000 feet without feeling it drop in terms of delivery.

How Long is the Break-In Period for the Polaris 850?

The extended break-in period for a new drive belt on the Polaris 850 is around 30 miles. During these first 30 miles, you'll want to limit full-throttle use, varying the throttle position under 50%.

Which is Better, Ski-Doo or Polaris?

The answer to the question really depends on what you're looking for in a snowmobile. Both of these snowmobiles offer high performance, though Ski-Doo sleds are a bit wider than Polaris sleds, meaning they more easily glide through the snow.


Polaris Snowmobile Getting Air

When all is said and done, both the Polaris 850 and the Ski-Doo 850 are high-performance snowmobiles that offer advanced suspension systems, ample horsepower, and versatile designs.

If we had to pick one of the other, we’d go with the Ski-Doo 850 for its sheer power and performance.

Ultimately, however, the choice will depend on your budget, preferences, and needs. If you can, get out there and test drive both models to get a feel for their performance, as it'll help you better determine which one is best for you.

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