best boat fish finder

5 Best Fish Finder GPS Combos 2018

Fishing is more fun when you can pinpoint the position of the fish. Using a top rated fish finder you are able to navigate and find the type of fish you wish to catch.

The best fish finder for boats is the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen-3 with built-in Bluetooth, WiFi, CHIRP sonar and impressive 7 inch display. If your budget cannot stretch that far, the best fish finder for the money is the Garmin Striker 7SV.

A Fish Finder detects reflecting impulses of sound energy from fish and then displays the information in a range of graphics on the display. Such information is the location of fish, depth of the water, debris and the bottom structure.

Best Fish Finder GPS Combos

Fish FinderScreen SizeOur Rating
Lowrance HDS-7 Gen-37 Inches4.9
Garmin Striker 7SV7 Inches4.9
Garmin Echo 551DV5 Inches4.8
Deeper PortableN/A4.8
Raymarine Dragonfly4.3 Inches4.7

The market for a high quality fish finder is fairly saturated with many brands and models claiming to be the best. Choosing between sonars, transducers and other features can become fairly troublesome.

The ultimate package comes equipped with GPS that allow you to mark certain coordinates for the future in case you have found a golden spot. In addition to this, it allows you to navigate your boat through the waters with simple instructions.

Using a fish finder will transform the way you fish and certainly increase the number of fish you capture. Below is a list of the best fish finders that provide intuitive user interfaces, GPS combos and many other features.

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen-3

The Lowrance HDS-7 is the latest generation that has seen many improvements over the previous second generation model, which was very popular and more expensive. Improved multi-touch display, processing power and additional features are just some of the new updates found in this third generation model.

It is a high end fish finder but for those enthusiasts that can afford this model, it certainly justifies its price tag. The HD resolution on the 7 inch display is the main feature as it can be operated by touch or the buttons for when wearing gloves.

It terms of the functionality, the HDS-7 is able to connect to the internet to broadcast data, update to new software, upload information such as marked coordinates and more. This Lowrance model uses the latest of advanced technologies such as CHIRP sonar, Broadband sounder, StructureScan HD, DownScan imaging and Trackback view for the ultimate fish finding experience.

For mounting, it is very easy and it is compatible with a range of transducers for both downward and forward facing as well as displaying information from both at the same time. Overall, it is the best fish finder you can buy for fishermen wanting to go all out to improve their fishing experience.

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Garmin Striker 7SV

Garmin are a huge and reputable brand with any technology that makes use of the GPS functionality. The Striker 7SV offers great value for money considering the amount of features, brand backing and the price of the competition.

It has a smallish display compared to the competitors but with 800 x 400 resolution, all graphics are crisp clear. It uses a Chirp sonar that sends continuous frequencies for a wider range of information. Once you have found the fish, you can use the GPS to store your location and navigate back to it using the way point map.

Garmin have designed the Striker model to be very user friendly and easy to use. All the button are intuitive and you are able to capture the sonar images in three different viewing angles at once on the screen.

Overall, the Garmin Striker 7SV is the best fish finder for the money with a reasonable price and a large amount of features from a reputable brand.

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Garmin Echo 551DV with Transducer

The more expensive Echo 551DV model by Garmin uses a transducer and has an excellent 5 inch display that zooms as well as displays in a clever split screen mode for both sonar and down image viewings.

Garmin are known for using the sonar technology in the majority of their fish finders and the Echo 551DV is one of the best. The transducer has 500 watts of power, which allows it go up to 2,300 feet underwater.

The DownVu technology provides crisp clear images to view the structure, debris and of course fish underneath the boat. In terms of the design, the button layout is similar to the Striker model and is known to help users navigate through the interface easier.

Overall, it is the best Garmin fish finder with additional power and features compared to many of the Garmin alternatives. Compared against all of the other brands, it is a great all rounder and is priced as a mid-range fish finder.

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Deeper Portable Wireless Fish Finder

The Deeper model is a smartphone fish finder that makes use of an Android/iOS application to find fish and display it on the smartphone. It uses WiFi to create the connection but does not use any cellular or require internet whatsoever.

No matter if you are in the waters in an inflatable kayak or a large boat, it is perfect for all styles of fishing. With the WiFi connectivity, it has the best connection range with 330 feet where you have the ability to mark anything up to 0.5 inches in size in water up to 260 feet in depth.

The current era that we live in means everything is done via your smartphone and this is now true with fish finders thanks to the Deeper device. It provide instant information of underwater structure, fish, depth, temperature and much more.

It is the best smartphone fish finder available and due to the connectivity, it has become highly popular worldwide.

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Raymarine Dragonfly Sonar GPS


The Raymarine Dragonfly makes use of the CHIRP technology, which provides detailed graphics that can only be compared to a lifelike image. In terms of the design, it is very modern and the screen size is a respectable 4.3 inches with 800 x 480 screen resolution.

It is a transom mounted transducer type that transmits 500 watts RMS and 4,000 peak to peak power. It uses the CHIRP technology that transmits sonar signals through the water but the Dragonfly responds better to the returning signals with better graphics and information shown on the screen.

In terms of the other features of the Raymarine Dragonfly, it has built-in GPS for mapping, WiFi to broadcast data via the smartphone application and the latest LCD technology for all weather performance.

Overall, the Raymarine fish finder is a stylish device that is built using the highest quality materials hence the inflated price, which is touching the high-end alternatives.

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Fish Finder Buying Guide

Choosing the perfect fish finder for your requirement is hard with many features such as imaging, power and more. The main purpose of a fish finder is to catch more fish with the screen displaying the fish and underwater structure and physical objects. Other information such as water temperature and depth are common on the majority of devices with many high end fish finders providing much more.

In terms of how a fish finder works, it uses a transducer, which transmits signals back and forth using sonar technology (CHIRP is commonly used). The sonar detects all these objects such as rocks, sea bed and of course fish, which then gets transmitted back to the fish finder.

The way in which the data is ingested and displayed on the display is varied with many showing multiple views at once. With an understanding of the technology and how a fish finder works, below are some considerations before parting with your money.

Transducers

The transducer of a fish finder is the component that transmits and receives sonar signals underwater. For small boats, you will want a transducer that sends sound waves at a wide angle whereas if you are going out far to sea, you will want a powerful transducer that goes deep into the ocean.

Transducers are often mounted to the transom or the trolling motor but the transom is the most desirable because it will not be under any heavy vibrations or other interference. There are also many portable transducers that can simply be cast onto the water, which are becoming popular over the last few years.

Wide and Narrow Beam Angles

Unless you are an experienced fishermen, you will only use one type of beam in order to find fish. A wide beam transducer covers a large area but provides less bottom detail and often has a less powerful frequency of around 50 kHz. Narrow beam covers less underwater but provide more detail and bottom definition from the additional frequency around 200 kHz.

best gps fish finder

Scanning

The two main scanning methods are side scan and down scan. The latter are more powerful and focused but has the drawback of potentially missing fish that aren’t padding directly underneath the boat.

The side scan will scan much more around the boat but are not as effective, especially in deep water. For this reason alone, you may feel the need to buy two seperate fish finders but some premium models have both side and down scanning capabilities. This means you can usually view both at the same time for a very detailed scan around the boat in all directions.

GPS Functionality

The ability to mark the areas you have been is a huge bonus for future outings. GPS fish finders are an excellent investment as they double up as a navigation tool that will save the requirement of another device.

Screen Sizes and Smartphones

As technology has had many advancements, it has become cheaper to have full color and high resolution displays. You will want to be able to clearly see the information and graphics on the screen with larger screens making this happen.

Many of fish finders now include an Android or Apple smartphone application that allows you to connect via WiFi. Once connected, you can share marked points of “golden” areas where fish are located to your friends as well as store them for personal use.

Power Ratings

The higher the power ratings, the faster the sonar transmitter can operate and provide live results back. As a general guideline for fish finders, per 100 watts of power a fish finder should show readings of up to 400 feet.

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