Garmin Echomap Chirp 74cv Review With Details

Garmin Echomap Chirp 74cv Review
Garmin Echomap Chirp 74cv Review

Do you ever get annoyed when you go fishing and catch nothing? This Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv review will bring you a good solution. The fact that you waited for hours for a single bite, but only could come home feeling embarrassed about not catching a single fish is disappointing. Must the most humiliating part is that your friends and family are hoping to have some salmons or trouts.

Luckily, with the Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv, it can provide an accurate sonographic image of when a fish will arrive. This state of the art technology showcase activities that are deep within the ocean and Lake. That way, you get a glimpse of when and where the fish are swimming. If you notice that the lake is empty, then you can pick up your bags and relocate to another area to fish.

Once you see an ample amount of fish, you can stay in that area and rest sure that you will catch something. This amazing technology is easy to install and includes a transducer for high-quality sonar to scan the underwater. It has a quick draw contour software to create an HD map of a fish.

The internal GPS updates your position and heading five times per second. It will engineer data, sensors, links, and an auto system for you. It also has a cord that is plugged directly into the mount, which allows you to quickly install and remove your device from the power and mount.

This amazing device makes an excellent gift for anyone who loves the great outdoors and fishing.

Features Noticed In Garmin Echomap Chirp 74cv Review 

  • Clear scanning sonar to show you what’s going on underwater. The high-frequency sonar can provide a photographic image with a detailed representation of the fish.
  • The chirp sonar can send a sweep of frequency to provide a wide range of information. They can create a crisper fish arch with more efficient target separation.
  • Preload blue charger to charge for coastal US usage.
  • Clear scanning sonar with TV series and built-in 500 W chirp traditional sonar. The SV series can offer similar features plus the chirp sonar.
  • Internal built-in GPS to update the position and heading five times per second.

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Garmin Echomap Chirp 74cv With Transducer


  • The Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv has one of the most sophisticated sonar technology for fishing and boating. This sonar provides a clear target separation by putting more energy into the target fish than any traditional sonar. This will create a clear and crisper image of your prey.
  • A clear skin sonar image will provide you with a photographic image of what is going on below your boat.
  • The pre-load blue charge can cover the coast of the US which encompasses the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, west coast, and the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. It also provides a thorough navigational guide of your surroundings.
  • You can also create your own personalized fishing map with the quick draw contour. You basically tailor them to fit your specific needs. After creating the map, you can keep the data or share it with the quick draw community on Garmin connect.
  • You can get connected with an active captain app to allow you to manage your boating and fishing experience anywhere you go. It creates a simple and powerful connection between your mobile device and your chart plotter, map, charts, and community. Use this build in combination with excellent Wi-Fi to access all your data. It allows you to purchase, or download the charts. You can also get smart notifications, details, data, and much more.
  • The sail assists features provide an enhanced wind rose, lay lines, course over the ground line, and heading. It will show you the wind angle and speed so you get a glance at what’s going on. This will help you gain a competitive edge on the weather and guidance to show you the starting line along the data field.
  • When you are off the water, and onto the land, you can take your Echomap anywhere with you. There are no messy wires or plug-ins that you have to deal with because the cords are plugged directly into the mount. This way, you can quickly install and remove your echo map.


  • The issue that we have found in the Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv review is the charting. There are some inaccuracies in the charts. Customers are complaining that there are situations in cases where the charts have failed them. For example, there was an incident where a consumer was 45 feet deep in water, but the chart has shown that it was 78 feet, however, this has hit bottom with the fishfinder, which showed an island at 38 feet.
  • The second time, the chart showed an elevation of 128 feet deep, but the fishfinder revealed 73 feet, Which is highly inaccurate. If anything, the fishfinder is more accurate than the charts.

For more accuracy have a look at our post about the best GPS fish finder combo review and buying guide. Hope that will meet your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what type of maps to select?

It depends on where you are and what you are going to do. The built-in maps are pretty good for a regular general day of boating in areas that don’t have a lot of hidden fish or objects.

If you are in areas with a lot of objects such as oysters bed, then you might consider a blue water chart. Either way, the satellite graphics are amazing especially if you are not familiar with the area.

Are the charts preloaded?

Yes, they are preloaded with the blue charging to the customized map.

What is the screen size


Can you save points or routes?

Yes, you can save the points/routes. They usually see it on the plotter and can be exported if you want them to.

What is the size of the Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv?

74CV has about a 7-inch diagonal display.

How long is the transducer cable?

About 10”-12”

What is the maximum depth that you can handle?

800 Saltwater

Does it come with mounting brackets?

It only has the bracket to hold the device that can attach to the boat.

What Are Customers Saying About The Product?

Customers are giving this product a five-star review. This is mainly because the manufacturer has continuously delivered the product on time and without any problems. Another thing is that the high tech screen and sonar does a great job of showing a clear picture of the underwater. This can be very useful for the majority of the customers who love to boat and fish.

People are raving about the alarm, charts, and how accurate it is in marking the fish. It covers a wide range of areas so you can use it at any lakes and ocean. Plus, the Garmin brand has always created high-quality products so customers find that it is a reliable technology for their fishing adventures.

Overall, there are plenty of five stars reviews. The only issue is that people have is that the charting might be a little bit off or inaccurate, but it still provides an excellent approximation. Overall, everything else was amazing and well-crafted.

Garmin Community

There’s also an active community in the Garmin area. You can create personalized maps and charts to share and critique with other Garmin communities. You can share and discuss ideas to sharpen your techniques and usage of the equipment. That way, you can be a better fisherman or boater in the future.

The only problem is that people often complain about the charts. Even though it provides an accurate representation, but there are times that the approximation is a little bit off. However, technology is not perfect, and there are times that errors and issues could happen.

Also, because of the many features, it does take a while to load, so there might be some patients involved. Overall, it is a must-have for any fisherman.


The Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv makes an excellent gift for any fisherman or boater. It contains state of the art technology to capture an accurate representation of what goes on under the lake or ocean. The charts and maps provide an excellent reading of the targeted location.

The built-in GPS can locate where you are and show potential targets around you. The sonar is very high tech and advanced to the point where it can provide photographic images of fishes or any underwater dwellers.

That way, you will never have to guess if there are plenty of fish in the sea or none at all. With this technology, you will never have to come home empty-handed again.

If you are not good at installing anything, this might be the tool for you. It’s easy to install with a convenient instruction manual that you can follow. It is also easy to use so you will not have to suffer any headaches of figuring things out.

Plus, you don’t have to deal with messy wires or plugs because the cords are plugged directly onto the mount. That way, it can help you to quickly install your echo map.

With all these benefits and features observed in the Garmin Echomap chirp 74cv review, it’s no wonder why every fisherman loves this super machine.

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Boating Safety Tips You Ought To Know | Top Six

Whether you are a first-time boat owner, operator, or passenger, before setting sail from the dock, you need to have basic boating safety knowledge. Our boating safety tips will provide you with that particular knowledge.

Why it’s so important? For starters, it helps to ensure that you (boat operator or owner) and your passengers remain safe when in open waters. Secondly, having basic boating safety knowledge helps to ensure that you are able to handle any emergency when on the boat. Lastly, as the boat owner or operator, you will be operating within the law.

Boating Safety Tips

Basic boating safety knowledge equips you with the necessary knowledge pertaining to safety equipment, alcohol use, and navigation. By increasing safety boating knowledge among recreational and professional boat users, the waterways will be safer for everyone.

Want to know more? Here are the top six boating safety tips:

Top Boating Safety Tips You Need To Know About

(1) Crew And Passengers Should Always Wear A Life Jacket

Life jackets are designed to prevent you from drowning in case you fell overboard when in a boat yet many people go thinking they are safe. What you need to know is that the first life jackets were made of cork but thanks to improved design and technology, inflatable life jackets were made. They were less bulky and much lighter thus effective in their work.

Today, life jackets are vital safety equipment that should be present in a canoe, kayak, fishing boat, or yacht. There are several reasons why you should wear an appropriate life jacket. They include:

  • Keeping you alive
  • Keeping you warm when in the water
  • Helps to turn your body in the right position

Before putting on a life jacket, there are a few things you need to know:

l Test the life jacket to ensure that it fits snugly to your body. To do so, zip the life jacket fully plus the straps. A loose life jacket defeats the purpose of safety.

l Make sure that it’s visible to others. Available colors include yellow, lime green, and orange. The bright color makes it easy for you to be noticed from the air or water by other boats.

l Avoid taking off the life jacket even when it’s too hot. You never know when an emergency may occur.

l Always inspect the life jacket before putting it on. Inspect it for signs of excessive wear. Start by checking the webbing and stitching. If any part of the stitching is loose, opt for another one. By ensuring that the life jacket is in serviceable condition, your safety will be assured when on the boat.

In short, choose and wear adequate boat shoes, life jackets, good clothing, helmets, etc. to remain safe.

(2) Don’t Mix Boating With Alcohol

Alcohol remains one of the largest contributors to fatal boat accidents. According to the US Coast Guard, 15% of deaths that happen as a result of boating accidents are brought about by alcohol use. It was also found out that 77% of deaths occurred as a result of lack of boating safety instruction among the boat operators.

That is not all. 13% of deaths occurred where the boat operator did not have a nationally approved boating safety education certificate.

Think about it. If the boat operators had received their boating safety instruction and education training, they would have been aware of the fact that boating and alcohol don’t mix. Want to know how alcohol affects boat operators?

For starters, balance on a boat is very crucial. If the boat is not steady, chances are passengers and the crew may fall overboard. This may result in drowning if no one has a life jacket on.

Secondly, alcohol impairs one’s judgment. It achieves this by reducing the operator’s inhibitions resulting in one performing stunts instead of operating the boat safely.

Lastly, it slows the reaction time of the boat operator. Alcohol has been found to diminish one’s ability to react effectively when faced with danger. For instance, it may be difficult for you to make the right call when it comes to distance.

For objects that are far away from a normal person, they may appear very close to a drunken boat operator. By the time the boat operator realizes, it will too late. In addition, it lowers one’s night vision making it difficult for boat operators to differentiate between red and green.

To prevent all the above issues, avoid alcohol before and when on the boat.

(3) Test The Radio Communication Equipment

Boating Safety Equipment

Before setting sail, it is important to take time and ensure that your radio equipment works. Whether it’s a VHF marine radio, an MF/HF radiotelephone, or mobile satellite telephone, you need to ensure its working before setting sail. Why?

  • Allows you to monitor distress frequencies
  • Enables you to contact other ships
  • Allows you to contact shore-based stations in order to coordinate a rescue
  • Keeps you up-to-date with navigational safety warnings and weather-related information

The first thing you need to do is perform the standard voltage test. Start by checking for any voltage drop. This has the potential of robbing your VHF radio equipment of performance. Use a voltmeter for this test. The modern high-quality marine stereos also could be useful for communication.

Next, test the performance of the antenna. Starts by checking for any cracks which have been found to promote water intrusion. Check for crushed sections or sharp bends since they can lower transmission power.

Perform a radio check with the closest base station or boat. For this to be effective, position your boat a reasonable distance from the other boat or base station. During this test, check for the radio’s three operating functions namely:

  • Reception
  • Transmission
  • Modulation

Avoid requesting radio checks on Channel 16.

To select the best marine VHF radio suitable for your particular vessel, have a look at our post.

(4) Take Your Passengers Through All Safety Procedures

If your passengers were asked to point out where the fire extinguishers are located or how they can evacuate the boat safely in case of an emergency, they would probably give you a clueless look. Why? A vast majority of boat passengers’ especially first-timers don’t know anything about boat safety. All they are looking forward to is a great experience since the weather is clear and bright.

The first thing your boat passengers should be educated on is how to use a life jacket. They should know how to zip the jacket and cinch the straps. Don’t forget to teach them how to inspect a life jacket properly.

Next, you should inform them where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them. This will come in handy in case of a fire. If the boat is large as a cruise ship, have the fire extinguishers positioned along the passageways. You should also have a floor map detailing how the passageways are interconnected.

Teach your boat passengers the proper procedure of evacuating the boat in case there is an emergency. Even though the odds of being trapped on a boat are minimal thanks to improved technology and safety measures, the knowledge will come in handy later.

If you have a dog onboard, use life jackets for dogs. Also, try to keep a dog water ramp keeping in mind the ease of evacuation.

(5) Monitor The Weather Forecast

Keeping an eye on the weather forecast before setting sail from the dock is very important. Weather changes rapidly when on water. Unlike on land where you might find shelter in a building, on water, you are exposed to the giant rolling waves crashing on the side of the boat.

To be in the know, check your local weather reports. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration experts work round the clock to collect data and relay it to boat operators and others. As a boat operator, tune in to your VHF FM radio or your TV. You also have the option of checking on weather reports online.

Doing so will ensure that you know what lies ahead for the next few hours. If the weather appears to be severe or the experts have predicted changes within the next few hours, as the boat operator, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of the boat, crew, and passengers.

Here are the four signs that NOAA uses to advise boat operators on the weather.

  • Small craft advisory – meant to warn small boat users of winds of at least 18 knots plus rough wavy sea conditions
  • Gale warning – warns you of strong winds ranging between 34 to 47 knots (39 -54 mph)
  • Storm warning – warns you of winds ranging between 48 to 63 knots
  • Hurricane warning – warns you of hurricane winds above 64 knots

Also, check for the following signs before sailing:

  • Dark clouds, lightning, and fog
  • Falling barometer
  • Changes in wind direction and temperature
  • A noticeable halo around the moon or sun
  • Puffy rising clouds

(6) Get A Vessel Safety Check

The US Coast Guard provides a Vessel Safety Check at no cost. They ( US Coast Guard Auxiliary staffers) usually perform this check to determine how safe the boat is.

The check starts with the boat registration number which should be permanently attached to each side of the forward half. The characters must be in plain, vertical, and block style letters. Also, the letters should be 3 inches high and in a color, that contrasts with the color of the boat. A hyphen should separate the letters from numbers.

The next check is performed on the registration documents of the boat followed by the personal floatation devices such as life jackets. Each life jacket is checked for impact rating. The boat should have both adult and child-size life jackets.

Fire extinguishers are next. Where should we store the fire extinguishers on a boat? They should be available to resolve any condition in the following areas – inboard engines, closed living space, permanently installed fuel tanks, closed stowage compartments, and double bottom hulls.

Other sections of the boat that fall under the vessel safety check include ventilation, backfire flame arrester, navigation lights, marine sanitation device, navigation rules, state and local requirements among others.

Having a free vessel safety check carried out on your boat helps to ensure peace of mind that your boat meets all federal safety standards.

In addition, it helps to ensure that your boat is equipped with safety equipment that comes in hand during an emergency. Once your boat has passed the safety check, you will be awarded a decal. What you ought to know is that the safety check expires every year on December 31st.

You can get a free Vessel Safety Check for your personal boat by the US coast guard auxiliary.


Remember boating safety is your safety. Sometimes we don’t care about a small thing but it can appear as a bigger problem in a different situation. So, check everything before going out and have fun with the family, friends, and mates.

For example, if you are in a sailboat you must remember to keep a proper sailing knife for your safety and for any emergency. We must be well-educated boaters and keep an eye on the navigation buoys and markers and signals.  You can make a small checklist for your particular cases. Hope our boating safety tips will help you to check the most important points.

Best Marine VHF Radio Reviews In 2021

Have you ever been out on the water but were unable to communicate with other people for whatever reason? Having the best marine VHF radio on hand for your use can make a world of difference. You might have been concerned because you were unable to reach people all the way out in the middle of the water.

A marine VHF radio works with Very High Frequencies. These radio waves are from the 30 to 300 MHz range and are typically used for television and broadcast radio purposes. The sounds produced are a little clearer, what with the VHF signals offering more support for added information.

You can get this to work well for when you are trying to communicate with people in the event of an emergency. You can also use this to get in touch with authorities for any other kind of help or even to communicate with people on land. The radio community is so large that it will be very easy for you to get more out of any chats you want to get into. This is an attractive point that you are bound to love taking advantage of.

What is the right marine VHF radio for your use?

You have to be fully aware of what you can do when getting your radio up and running. After all, you will need to use this if you want to communicate with someone in the event of an emergency or other significant threat.

As this guide shows, you can find the best marine VHF radio for your use by looking at a few points that are not too hard to follow. Using the correct considerations can make a world of difference as you look for something that helps you to get in touch with someone. It is always good to see how well such a setup is organized and that there are no problems with what might come about.

Best Marine VHF Radio Review

This guide focuses on both of the main types of marine VHF radios you can use. You can work with a traditional handheld option that works with a battery that you can recharge on your own. You can also work with a set-top box that has a longer range and is fixed within a certain spot in your boat. No matter what you choose, you should look at how you are going to use it and that you have a good plan on hand for making your marine VHF radio work for your demands.

Comparison Table For The Best Marine VHF Radio


Output (in watts)

VHF Frequency Range (in MHz)

Typical Battery Life (in hours)

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BaoFeng BF-F8HP

1, 4 or 8


18 to 24

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Cobra MRHH125 1 or 3 Not available At least 24 Check On Amazon


1, 4, or 5


18 to 24

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BaoFeng UV-5R5

1 or 4



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Uniden Atlantis 270

1, 2.5, or 6



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Standard Horizon GX1700W



Works off of the boat’s power

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Uniden MHS75

1, 2.5 or 5



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Uniden UM380



Works off of the boat’s power

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Cobra Electronics MR F45-D

1 or 25


Works off of the boat’s power

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Standard Horizon HX890 Handheld VHF

1, 2, or 6



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Icom M330G 31 Compact Basic VHF with GPS



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Answer: Which is The Best Marine VHF Radio?

Our quick answer is BaoFeng BF-F8HP VHF marine radio. You have to look at a few great options for when you want to find a good marine VHF radio. There are many popular choices that can be worthwhile and should be explored in a sensible way.

Be advised though that each of the options you can work with is all varied items based on many factors and should be explored in careful detail.

Here is our list:

  1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP
  2. Cobra MRHH125
  3. BTECH UV-5X3
  4. BaoFeng UV-5R5
  5. Uniden Atlantis 270
  6. Standard Horizon GX1700W
  7. Uniden MHS75
  8. Uniden UM380
  9. Cobra Electronics MR F45-D
  10. Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF

BaoFeng BF-F8HP

BaoFeng BF-F8HP

The first option to see for the best marine VHF radio is the BaoFeng BF-F8HP. This is a VHF and UHF-enabled model, thus making it a dual-band choice. It uses three separate power levels and a battery that can last for at least 18 hours depending on how you use this.

This uses a high gain 7-inch antenna that provides you with twice the performance of a typical model. You can also choose a narrow band if you need to reach smaller areas.

The button layout lets you adjust the frequency on the radio. This also gives you a digital readout to help you see what frequency you are using. You can quickly shift from one frequency to the next when you get this organized well enough.

The unit also gives you a powerful microphone with noise-canceling features. This works well for keeping your voice in control without causing it to break apart when you are communicating with someone. But you should still watch for how well you speak into the microphone and that you are courteous without being too aggressive while speaking.


  • Offers a clear sound
  • The antenna offers a sizeable range
  • The battery does not need to be charged often
  • Works well on low and high power settings alike; choose your setting based on how far out you might be from others


  • The display is tough to figure out at times
  • Buttons are rather small in size
  • The antenna could stand to be a little longer; BaoFeng does offer extensions

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Cobra MRHH125 3-Watt Waterproof

Cobra MRHH125

Another good choice among the marine VHF radio options, this model from Cobra has a versatile layout. It uses one and three-watt setups with ease. It can also reach NOAA and weather stations while linking up to various channels. It uses individual settings for American and Canadian VHF channels as well as some international channels.

The LCD screen offers a clear display. It shows the channel you are on. It also offers a backlit feature.

Cobra recommends this VHF radio as a choice for small vessels. It is also suitable for larger boats as a backup material for when the power in space runs out.

You can even select a beep tone on the unit if desired. This can be turned on or off. You can use this to let you know when any messages you are trying to transmit have been received.

A weather alert system is also included as it reads NOAA signals. It can create a tone when a weather emergency or threat is coming into a spot.


  • Lets you scan channels to find conversations as they are going along
  • Easy to switch from one wattage level to another
  • Comes with a useful microphone jack for helping you get transmissions handled
  • Noise-canceling microphone keeps background noise from being a threat


  • Works with a shorter transmission range
  • Intended as a backup if you have a larger boat
  • Can handle water splashes but does not do well when submerged

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This is a tri-band radio that works with not only VHF and UHF signals but also with Ham radio signals for getting in touch with amateur radio users. The Ham radio support makes it so you can reach people even when signals from other traditional radio towers are not working.

You can save multiple channels on your radio as pre-sets. These can be programmed through a button on the side of the radio unit.

This uses support for up to five watts of power at a time. It can also work with an extended variety of VHF frequencies with the ability to divide up those frequencies by 0.01 MHz at a time. You can use this to figure out the power you are using at a given time, thus giving you more control over how well you are interacting with someone.

This also uses a noise-canceling feature on the microphone. This helps you with getting in touch with people in a crystal clear fashion and is very easy to work in any situation.


  • Works with many frequency steps
  • Can handle a variety of power setups
  • The simple display tells you what frequency you are working with at a time
  • Weighs about eight ounces


  • The attachable antenna might be too flexible
  • Takes a bit for the rechargeable battery to power up all the way
  • Takes a while for you to scan the entire network

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BaoFeng UV-5R5

BaoFeng UV-5R5

It is often frustrating to try and go through the entire range of frequencies that you want to look through when finding signals. The BaoFeng UV-5R5 works in that you can set a series of parameters for the radio signals you want to search through at a time. You can do this to zero in on a specific series of frequencies you want to reach. As you use this, you can get up to 128 channels programmed.

You can also search for frequencies within 0.025 MHz at a time. This is good for finding precise and very specific signals depending on where you are going.

This all works with a 12-hour battery that can be recharged with a simple desktop charger. It can get everything charged up in just a few moments.


  • Works with extremely precise readouts
  • The LED flashlight makes it easier for you to find things outside
  • Fits well into a shirt pocket
  • Displays two separate frequencies based on the settings being used


  • Buttons are rather small in size
  • The antenna can wear out quickly in rough weather conditions

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Uniden Atlantis 270

Uniden Atlantis 270

Uniden Atlantis 270 VHF marine radio is pre-programmed with all NOAA weather channels. It works easily with all USA/Canada or international marine channels. This two way, small, handheld, floating marine VHF radio is made to maintain submergible waterproof standards. The display is clear and easy to handle at night or daytime. The display size is 18mm by 37 mm.

This Super marine radio resists 30 minutes without a problem up to 1 meter of water. If it is in the water, just clean and shake the radio to reuse. If the radio is submerged in the salt-water, clean it with fresh water and dry it before using it again.


  • NOAA weather channels
  • Meets IPX7 & JIS7 submersible waterproof standards
  • Easy to use backlit LCD display
  • Power boost key
  • AC/DC adapters are included
  • The radio comes with a charging cradle.
  • Different 1 / 2.5 / 6 watts emit power can be selected.


  • The charger is not waterproof

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Standard Horizon GX1700W

Standard Horizon GX1700W

Standard Horizon made this model as a choice that makes it easy for you to communicate with others. This offers a set-top design that lets you communicate with other people from a box that links off of your boat’s engine power.

The three-inch LCD screen offers a nice layout that makes it easier for you to find a frequency and to keep things tuned well enough. The knobs on this model let you switch from one setting to the next. You can save individual frequencies by pressing the appropriate knobs.

The handheld unit that you would talk into features, a series of buttons that makes it easier for you to communicate with people. You can press the button on it to talk to others.

A few control buttons are also used to help you tune from one channel to the next. The bright red button also lets you get to the 9 or 16 channel for you to get in touch with an emergency channel immediately if necessary.

One point about this model that makes it a little different from other radios is that it comes with GPS support. You can press the GPS button on the top left part of the unit to activate the GPS readout.

This then lists information on the surroundings in your area. The simple design also lets you save different waypoints as necessary, thus letting you keep tabs on where you are going while on the water.

This even provides approximate totals for how far you are from some of the waypoints as you move along the water.


  • Works with more power than other models
  • The convenient case does not let in water
  • Supports up to a hundred GPS waypoints


  • Does not have a backup battery
  • Requires an extensive amount of effort for getting it installed properly

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Uniden MHS75

Another great choice for your use is the Uniden MHS75. This offers a fully submersible body that can float on water. It also works with a battery that runs for about twelve hours at a time on a full charge.

Uniden MHS75

The VHF band supports up to a hundred locations in its internal memory. The arrow buttons let you switch from one location to the next.

You can monitor two Coast Guard channels at a time. These include channels for hailing for assistance and another one for distress signals. You can also get access to weather channels in your local area. The radio can be programmed to give you alerts for cases where there is a weather emergency about to come about in an area.

The 1, 2.5, and 5-watt systems on this let you adjust the power on the unit to let you get in touch with people within certain ranges. The setup also makes it easier for you to adjust the wattage being used. Of course, this feature works primarily for helping you to adjust the amount of battery power being used at a given time.


  • Battery recharges fast
  • Backlit display makes reading what is on the radio very easy to do
  • Channel scanning feature can save individual channels so you don’t have to scan many times over
  • Works with all American, Canadian, and international marine channels


  • Not many controls on the unit itself
  • The battery does not last as long as what you might find on some other models

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Uniden UM380

Uniden UM380

This is also a model from Uniden that can work well for your communication requirements. This is a set-top unit that you can add to the power supply on your boat.

A GPS feature is also included in this unit. This lets you know what the specific GPS coordinates of your boat are. This is useful if you have to send out a distress signal and you need to get people to know where your boat is located.

The Digital Selective Calling feature lets you press a single button to send out for help during an emergency. You can use this to send out information on your boat’s position based on what the GPS readout shows.

The SAME Weather Alert system is another popular part of this model. When a weather emergency comes about, you will get a code based on your location to let you know what emergency issues are coming and how far it is from you. This should give you enough time for planning when you are going to get out of a spot.


  • Compact body fits in well on most parts of your deck
  • You can assign names to individual marine channels
  • 3.5mm audio jack lets you plug an outside speaker into the unit’s body


  • The handheld part of the unit does not have as many buttons to work with
  • GPS data does not offer a graphic layout

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Cobra Electronics MR F45-D


This next option is another fixed-mount model. It works with 25 watts of power and uses all major international channels. It also comes with a DSC audio log that captures information on all the signals you get in touch with plus whoever might attempt to get in touch with you. You can set presets for those channels for when you are trying to reach other people in a spot.

The GPS support helps you to quickly find your coordinates. You can also work with one of ten different NOAA weather channels while collecting weather alerts automatically. The unit responds to such emergencies quickly.

The receiver unit that you talk into comes with buttons that work for reaching emergency channels plus buttons to let you go from one channel or preset to the next. The clear body also comes with a sound canceling setup to ensure you can quickly let people know about things that are happening where you are.

In addition to the 25-watt power setup, you can also work with a 1-watt layout if you are trying to talk to someone a little closer. The layout zeroes in on the setup to ensure it is not hard for you to communicate with someone.


  • Comes with the external speaker jack
  • Noise cancellation helps you transmit your messages with ease
  • The simple layout can be tilted up or down


  • Needs extensive installation in your boat for it to work
  • Takes a bit to switch from the 1-watt to 25-watt layouts

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Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF Radio Review

The last option to take a look at is another handheld model that you would love to use in your boat. This Standard Horizon model has a W 2.6 x H 5.43 x D 1.5 inches dimension. It comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, battery tray, charger, adapter, battery cradle, cable for pc programming, etc.

This waterproof model comes with submersible and floating capacity. It has a loud audio system and it can cancel unwanted noise. It transmits output in 6, 2, or 1 watt.

Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF

A built-in GPS receiver, NOAA weather channels with alerts, man overboard attribute, etc make this unit a military standard device.


  • The model is waterproof and comes with a three years waterproof warranty
  • We can easily use it during the day time or at night changing the day or night mode
  • FM broadcast band receiver makes the device more complete
  • The unit delivers loud and clear sound
  • It can be used for 11 hours without charging the lithium-ion battery


  • We can charge this VHF radio only on the charging cradle.

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Buying Guide

There are many points relating to the best marine VHF radio for your use that you have to look at. These are vital points that show how well a radio can work and what makes it different for your needs. These are all good points to see regardless of whether your unit comes with a fixed setup layout or a handheld layout.


The total wattage on your VHF radio refers to how far you can get your signals out. About one watt should equal a little less than one nautical mile of range. A single nautical mile is equal to about 1.15 miles.

When you have more wattage, it becomes easier for you to reach people. Many radio models let you adjust the wattage based on the need you have for it. You can use a lower wattage when you are close to other people, for instance. This is vital considering how the radio will use more battery power if the wattage is turned up by a bit.


A basic display will be found on your radio. This should give you a digital readout of your frequencies, channels, and other features. It should also come with a battery gauge to let you know how much power is left.

It can also give you details on your GPS location if necessary. Some VHF radios come with more detailed layouts that offer graphic reviews of what is in a spot, but it is not all that easy for you to find a graphic display in some cases. Be aware of this when getting a good radio layout to work for you.


You might notice that there are two knobs on many of the marine VHF radio models. The first is a volume knob while the second is a squelch knob.

The squelch works to stop the receiver from taking in output if the signal strength is too weak. That is, you will keep from hearing things off of radio signals that are not producing enough information.

You can use this to ensure you only get communications from those who are near you and are easy to get a good hold of.

The intensity of the squelch knob can determine the threshold that you are working with when adjusting how well the sounds are being managed. You can use this to quickly tune out the weakest channels that might make it harder for you to hear what you are really trying to get access to.

The risk of signals bleeding over one another will be reduced. You also have the option to keep the squelch level down so you can try and find a far off frequency that you might want to get a little closer to.

Be advised that the squelch knob is more likely to be found on set-top boxes than on some of the more traditional options you can come across including the handheld options available.

Ease of Handling

It should be very easy for you to hold onto your VHF radio. A good radio can come with an ergonomic body that fits in your left or right hand alike. Some models even come with belt clips to help you hold onto something. Don’t forget to look at the nice buttons on the radio to see how well it works.

You should also look at how well you can program many channels onto your radio. Some of the buttons on the radio will let you move from one channel to the next after you have gotten it all prepared right. Make sure you look carefully at how well this works so you will get more out of your work.


The range on your antenna is important, but it is even more important to look at the intervals that you can work with. A quality radio can handle a range that works with multiple signals at a time.

It can also work with very small intervals of 0.025 MHz in some cases, thus giving you a more precise measurement for getting the most accurate layout possible.


You would have to look carefully at how well a marine VHF radio can handle water. The marine VHF radio you can use should be fully waterproof in that it can continue working even if you drop it in the water off of your boat. A unit should also float well on the water.

Fortunately, most marine VHF radios are light in weight to where they will carefully float on the water if you drop it. This makes it easier for you to retrieve it in the event you accidentally drop it.

You will typically come across one of three measurements when finding a waterproof VHF radio:

  1. Submersible – This can be submerged in water and will handle most conditions. However, it might not work well when you get it in touch with water jets.
  2. IPX7 – The device will keep working even if you drop it in water. However, it might stop working if the unit goes deeper than three feet into the water.
  3. IPX8 – This is the best measurement in that it can handle water deeper than three feet.

GPS Receiver Functionality

Some of the more useful marine VHF radio models out there come with GPS functionality. This works in emergencies when you need help with finding your location.

A screen would list information on your coordinates at this point. It is useful, but it should be something that you can turn on and off on your own. This feature can use more power than what you might be comfortable with. People who love marine activities may find interesting our post about the best fish finder GPS combo.


The antenna should be tall enough to give you enough coverage while making it easier for your transmissions to be sent out.

The antenna can stick out by a few inches at a time and should be rigid so it will not be harder for you to utilize. It must also be fully covered so it will not wear out or have any of its parts exposed.

Handheld or Fixed Mount?

You typically have one of two options to work with when finding the correct marine VHF radio. You can get a handheld design that can be carried around and will not need any external power for it to work. This could work even when the rest of the power on your boat goes out, thus making it vital in the event of such an emergency.

You can also work with a fixed mount model. This would work with more power at a time, thus making it easier for you to reach further distances. But this would also work alongside any power source that your boat might run off of.

Having a backup battery on a fixed mount radio is best so you at least have a bit of power to work in the event that the power on your boat runs out. Be advised though that the battery backup feature on one of these models might be rather minimal based on how much time it can work for.

Battery Life

The battery life of a marine VHF radio can vary based on what you use. You will not be able to get any traditional batteries added or replaced inside your VHF radio.

Rather, the VHF radio will work with a battery that is built-in and has to be charged up. Some models can last for fifteen hours at a time or more. Check on how well your battery can work before using the radio.

Make sure you conserve your energy when using the battery as well; you do not want to use more unnecessary features to the point where the unit will stop working prematurely.

Speaking of charging units, you might come across one of many options for charging your battery. You might have the ability to link a radio up to a 12V DC outlet like what you might find in your automobile.

You can also find some desktop charging units where you would place the radio into the outlet to let it charge up for a bit of time.


Most marine VHF radios are made with lighter weights that are around eight to twelve ounces in size. Some larger units might come with more features and more powerful antennas.

Heavier choices might use more energy and will have shorter battery lifespans as well.


The odds are you will come across a few channels that you will want to get back to when you are communicating with people through your VHF radio.

A model needs to work with plenty of presets where you can get in touch with people at certain frequencies. Some models let you associate certain presets with particular channel numbers, but the functionality will vary. Also, you should be able to handle dozens of locations at a time.

Weather Alerts

It always helps to get the proper weather alerts from a marine VHF radio in the event there are issues outdoors. A weather alert feature should work by letting you know when the NOAA sends out a warning signal.

The NOAA will send a trigger out within its messages to let such radios know that a particular emergency is about to come along. You can use this to learn about tornados, thunderstorms, or other significant emergencies that might come about.

You should watch for how well the SAME or Specific Area Message Encoding features on your radio work though. The SAME system analyzes the location of the emergency or other messages.

This ensures that you only receive messages that are relevant to your local area. You will not get any messages that are only good for people within certain regions that might a little further off from where you are located.

Frequently Asked Questions

How well should an antenna on a marine VHF radio be positioned?

You must keep the antenna on your radio as high up as possible. The VHF waves produced work on a line-of-sight pattern. This means that the signals are not going to flow alongside the earth’s natural curves. When the antenna is a little higher up, it becomes easier for you to get your signals out a little further.

How would the GPS feature on your radio work?

The GPS feature would focus on identifying your physical location based on the specific geometric coordinates that are read by the satellites that make up the GPS layout.

You can use this to let people know where you are in the event of an emergency. When you send out a distress signal, a person will identify your location and get help out to the appropriate space. This ensures you are properly served as soon as possible.

How can you use DSC?

Digital Selective Calling, or DSC, is a feature that works on many of the marine VHF radio models around. This lets you list information on who you are and your location.

This works if you have registered for the DSC system and if your radio can actually handle the process. A nine-digit MMSI number must be used so you can get information on your vessel out to a larger database.

You can go online to get your number ready and to have it linked up to the proper boat that you are using. It is best to get this working quickly so it is not too hard to make it all work outright.

How is the battery power measured on your radio?

The battery power that is listed on your radio relates to a certain number of hours that the radio can work for.

However, this is based on a 90/5/5 ratio. 90 percent of the radio’s usage will be on standby where it is on but not receiving anything. 5 percent is for messages that you are receiving while the other 5 percent is for messages you are sending out.

What channels can you use in your local area?

One reason why many people use marine VHF radios comes from how they can handle many channels. You can use one channel to ask for someone to open a bridge for you if there is one in the way of your boat.

Meanwhile, other channels might be used in an area for different communication needs. You would have to go online to find information on the specific channels that are used in your local area. This gives you an idea of how well communication standards are utilized in a certain space.

You can use channels 67, 68, 69, and 72 when you are trying to chat with others who are using their vessels for recreational use. These channels are recommended as they will not get in the way of any informational, commercial, or emergency channels. The adequate marine VHF radio will make it easier for you to tune in to one of these channels quickly.

How can you use one of these radios in the event of an emergency?

You can get a radio set up to channel 9 or 16 in the event of an emergency. Some radio models let you immediately switch to one of these two channels for emergency purposes. This assists you by producing a clear and easy to follow layout for handling a call.

Channel 16 may also be used if you are trying to get in contact with someone. However, you would have to move to another working frequency after you get in touch with someone from that setup.

Why do you need access to channels from different countries?

All countries have their own channels for use. That is marine channels in the United States work with frequencies that are different from what is used in Canada and so forth.

A radio that can handle as many of these frequencies and signals as possible is important to have. You can check online to see what channels are available for your use in any situation.

Are there any bits of etiquette that you would have to use when using a marine VHF radio?

You will have to ensure you use the radio when you need to without trying to add more words than needed. For instance, when you use the radio, you would have to call someone by addressing a boat or location and then listing your name and call signal to get in touch with someone.

You should avoid trying to call someone for more than 30 seconds at a time. You would also have to wait two minutes in between the first three tries to contact someone if necessary. Meanwhile, you would have to wait for about 30 minutes after that failed third try to get in touch with that person once again.

How would you go about installing a marine VHF radio if you have a set-top box?

Although you can always use a handheld marine VHF radio, adding a larger set-top model might be best if you are trying to get in touch with people from far off distances. But in this case, you must be careful when trying to get it installed.

You would have to link this up to any power outlet that your boat comes with. Also, the power outlet might be linked to a larger battery on the inside of your boat. The installation standards should vary based on your boat, so check your boat’s manual for details on how to get such a material installed properly.

When should you get a handheld model versus a set-top choice?

The main point to use when deciding what the best marine VHF radio for your use would be is to think about how far off you are going to communicate with someone.

A handheld option is best for when you are going out on a smaller body of water and you know that there are things in your local area. This comes as a handheld model that will work with up to ten miles of coverage at a time. Meanwhile, a set-top option could work with a range of around 30 miles in some cases.

You should also stick with a set-top model if you have a larger boat to work with. This includes a boat with a big enough battery to let you get the unit working well enough.

You can still get a handheld model to work for your needs as a smaller portable option and as a backup in the event that the original set-top model you are working with is not operational or has stopped for whatever reason.

What is the optimal operating temperature for a radio?

A good radio should work in a majority of conditions. It can work in freezing conditions as well as in humid situations. But it is typically best to use the radio at conditions from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit so it is easier for the radio to stay working and for signals to move along in the air well enough.


Having a quality marine VHF radio is vital for when you get out there on the open water. You are going to need to find a way to communicate with people while on the water, but you need to look at what you can use at any given time. Be advised over what you can find when getting a good radio up and running for any intention.

The best marine VHF radio for your use should be something that is easy to work with and is not going to be too hard to utilize. Make sure you find something that is not hard to set up and that it only takes a few moments for you to get it ready.

Look at your plans for a fishing trip too so you can find a model that will not run out of power before your trip comes to an end. Be aware of how well your model can work as well so it is not hard for you to get the most out of your communications with other people in any situation.

Best Fish Finder GPS Combo Reviews & Choosing Guide

Best Fish Finder GPS Combo Reviews & Guides Today

As you get out in the water, you might think you would have to spend hours on end looking around for fish. Fortunately, the best fish finder GPS combo will give you a better readout for any intention and assist you with getting out on the water. So you will no longer have to go around blindly hoping to find fish as you get out on the water. You can instead use a GPS fish finder unit. This lets you get an idea of where fish are located.

This helps you to do two things in particular:

  1. It uses a sonar sensor or other form of technology to see what is under the water. This includes looking at how the floor is formed, any plants in the region, and where fish might be moving around at.
  2. A GPS signal is also produced. This lets you know where you are located while in the water. It may even be linked up to a program that has information on a specific body of water you are in.

Comparison For Finding The Best Fish Finder GPS Combo

ModelScreen Size (Inches)Depth (Feet)Sensor Or ConnectionView On Amazon
Garmin Striker 4 Built-In GPS Fishfinder3.51,600 feet in freshwater, 750 feet in saltwater50/77/200 kHz
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Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+Varies based on your mobile device1,000 feetWi-Fi connectionCheck Price On Amazon
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder4, 5 or 7 inches600 feet50/200 kHzCheck Price On Amazon
Garmin 010-01798-01 echoMAP Chirp 53cv6 inches600 feet50/200 kHz
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Lowrance Elite-4 HDI Combo Plotter/Fishfinder4.3 inches1,000 feet50/83/200 kHz broadband, 455/800 kHz down scan
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Raymarine E70294 US Dragonfly-44.3 inches500 feet50/200 KhzCheck Price On Amazon
Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G25 inches1,500 feet without transducer, 2,500 feet with optional transducer83 kHz; expands to 28 to 250 kHz when a transducer is added
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Humminbird 409610-1 Helix 54 inches1,000 feet200/83 kHz
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Lowrance Hook-5 Sonar/GPS Mid/High/Downscan Fishfinder5 inches1,000 feet200/83 kHzCheck Price On Amazon
Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter and Fishfinder with TotalScan Transom Mount Transducer7 inches1,500 feetWi-Fi and Bluetooth supported alongside standard 50/200 kHz readouts
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Features Of The Best Fish Finder GPS Combo With Pros & Cons

Let’s have a look at the top ten GPS fish finder combo. Our reviews and thorough discussion on the features will definitely help you find the best unit.

Here is the list:

  1. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder
  2. Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+
  3. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder
  4. Garmin echoMAP Chirp 53cv With Transducer
  5. Lowrance Elite-4 HDI Combo Plotter/Fishfinder
  6. Raymarine E70294 US Dragonfly-4
  7. Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2
  8. Humminbird 409610-1 Helix 5
  9. Lowrance Hook-5 Sonar/GPS Mid/High/Downscan Fish Finder
  10. Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter and Fishfinder with TotalScan Transom Mount Transducer

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

Garmin Striker 4 Built-In GPS Fish Finder

The first option to see when finding the best fish finder GPS combo for your needs comes from Garmin. Garmin has long been known for its GPS products. The GPS technology that Garmin regularly uses in its navigation systems can be found in its Striker 4 fish finder. But there are many other things about this model that make it a strikingly popular choice.

This fish finder model is one distinct choice that fits in thanks to its powerful layout. The 3.5-inch screen has a full-color display. It lets you save hot spots so you can return to them as needed later on. You can use the waypoint map to mark things like docks, stumps, and other obstructions. The screen even displays your speed based on GPS readouts and how they change.

The Garmin CHIRP transducer is a vital part of what makes this model effective. The transducer creates a crisp layout for finding fish as it uses many frequencies at once. These include low and high frequencies that are reviewed individually as they go through the area. The readout creates a clearer readout that helps you identify where fish are located while keeping the targets a little further apart from one another.

As for the GPS support, this Garmin unit lets you mark where you are going in real-time. You can use this unit to quickly list details on where the fish you are looking for might be located. The unit gives you a simple layout for saving waypoints and other vital spots. The unit will read the specific GPS coordinates and will save them to a microSD card that you add to the reader.


  • Audible alarms let you know when fish are in the area
  • The suction feature makes it easy to secure the unit onto a boat
  • Waterproof battery
  • Can review water temperature when connected to appropriate sensors


  • Does not include any maps
  • The screen might be too small for some people
  • Cables can wear out quickly

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Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

Next, you can opt for the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ for when you need help with finding fish anywhere. This is intriguing for how it offers a design that links up to a smartphone or tablet that you bring out onto the water yourself. The Deeper sonar fish finder is in a ball-like body that you troll from your boat or kayak. You can cast the PRO+ unit out onto the water to find fish with ease.

The key part of this model is that it works with your own mobile device instead of a traditional setup. The design also works to analyze what is in your area in real-time, thus giving you all the information you need for fishing.

While on the shore, you can cast the unit out and then reel it in after a period of time. The PRO+ will gather full information on the map layout of a local area that you want to go fishing in, thus helping you to plan your fishing trip accordingly. This is designed to work in fresh and saltwater conditions.

A Wi-Fi signal is also used on this instead of a traditional Bluetooth link, thus ensuring a stronger connection between the fish finder and your mobile device. It can work in ice fishing conditions as well.

You can also use the appropriate mobile app that comes with the fish finder to help you figure out what fish are in a local area. The mobile app helps you gather details on fish based on what is in a region and how the fish are moving about. It even offers a 6-inch target separation feature to help you identify everything in the local area. You can also zoom in on the screen to find details on all of the targets that the fish finder is identifying.

The fact that you can use this on any smartphone or tablet you have particularly makes this a versatile tool for your fish finding needs. But you should make sure that the Wi-Fi receiver on your unit is powered up enough to collect a good signal. Also, the screen should have enough of a resolution to let you see things so you can quickly set parameters or waypoints as you see fit.


  • Works well for shore, kayak, boat, and ice fishing alike
  • Allows you to use your own mobile device
  • Strong Wi-Fi connection
  • Works well in most water conditions


  • The display might look rough on larger devices
  • The battery can drain quickly depending on the connection
  • Can shift around on the water rather quickly

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Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder

Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder

Raymarine makes the Dragonfly Pro fish finder in three sizes. You can choose from a 4, 5, or 7-inch model. The features on the Raymarine fish fisher are the same regardless of the size you choose, so make sure when choosing this option that you have something that comes with a layout you will want to use.

The Navionics+ charts within the fish finder provide you with information on coastal waters and on various lakes around the United States and Canada. With more than 20,000 lakes listed in its database, you can search for the particular lake you want to get out to so you can program the fish finder to find the proper fish you want to get out to.

The sonar images produced by the fish finder are detailed. You can get accurate images from up to 600 feet in the water. You can also get a review of the bottom of the water to see how it is shifting. Dual-channel sonar works for ensuring the unit produces an accurate readout every time.

The Chirp transducer does well for finding fish in deep and shallow conditions. It works at 50 kHz in deep water and 200 kHz in shallow water to find movements and changes in the surface in a local area.

The GPS functionality helps you see where you are going as well. A CPT-DVS transom mount transducer is also included to help you find fish with a wide beam that looks through more spots at a time.


  • Convenient onboard control features
  • The layout provides heat signatures of fish as well as ground images
  • The wi-fish mobile app links to your fish finder to help share information with others
  • Easy to mount onto many surfaces


  • Details on the screen can be hard to read at times
  • The display is tough to read in bright and sunny conditions

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Garmin echoMAP Chirp 53cv With Transducer

Garmin echoMAP Chirp 53cv With Transducer

This next choice is another option available from Garmin. It uses the Clearvu scanning sonar feature with a high-frequency readout to find items around the boat. The detailed display on the sonar screen gives you a full readout of what is in a local area, thus making it easier for you to find fish in any case. The intense frequency produces support for finding fish in shallow and deep bodies of water alike. It even cuts through the murkiest and cloudiest water conditions to help you get the results you desire.

The Clearvu system works with a traditional Chirp sonar plus an added 5 Hz GPS to update your location and where other items are in the water multiple times every second. This gives you a full layout of what is in an area so you can find out what is in a region without obstructions. It only takes a few moments for this to update itself.

You can also link the unit to a computer to download the proper maps and charts you need for finding fish. This works with American and Canadian maps to help you find fish in some of your favorite lakes and coastal regions in both countries.


  • Works with continuous readouts for regular information
  • GPS is consistently updated
  • Can handle up to five thousand waypoints


  • The screen can look cramped at times
  • Tough to secure onto your mounting bracket on occasion

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Lowrance Elite-4 HDI Combo Plotter/Fish Finder

Lowrance Elite-4 HDI Combo

This Lowrance fish finder uses a 4.3-inch LCD screen with several layouts to help you identify fish where you are. It uses multiple broadband frequencies to find fish where you are. It has a GPS chart plotter to help you save information on where you are going, thus helping you to find all the best spots that you know you can find fish at.

This is one of the top options to find for how versatile it is. You can choose to get one of the frequencies set up based on the depth of the water and any other conditions in a local area.

The GPS antenna offers a full map of more than 3,000 United States lakes and offers a deep layout to where the most minute turns and curves are noticeable from 1,000 feet deep.

The screen lists information on how fast your boat is moving and also on any changes in the water depth in your area. It can use a series of antennae that you can insert around the bottom part of your boat as well, thus making it easier for you to keep the reader working effectively and quickly.

The LCD screen also features a detailed layout with a good resolution to help you see everything well enough. You can even use this to identify what is in a place while fishing. The simplicity of this is important, but the ability of this unit to load up data quickly and effortlessly is a huge part of what makes this an ideal material to have in your boat.


  • Multiple frequencies ensure a better overall readout
  • Varied control buttons make adjusting the unit easy
  • Takes only a few moments to install
  • Works in deep conditions


  • Does not come with a transducer; Lowrance sells it separately
  • Displays on the screen can become bunched up quickly
  • Does not have information on as many lakes as what other models offer

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Raymarine E70294 US Dragonfly-4

Raymarine E70294 US Dragonfly-4

Raymarine has another valuable fish finder GPS to look into as this model offers a 4.3-inch backlit LED screen. It uses a map database that offers information on thousands of lakes around the United States.

A dual-channel sonar feature works with Chirp DownVision sonar to help you find detailed images of what is under the water. A Chirp conventional sonar channel is also included to help you with finding fish. This creates two separate visual layouts on the screen with each display being distinct in various forms.

The 50-channel GPS feature is popular for being exceptionally accurate. You can quickly find fish of all kinds as the GPS and sonar combine to create detailed readouts of items within a foot from their actual spaces. The accuracy rating is among the best on the market in terms of what devices are available for use.

The Wi-Fish mobile app from Raymarine lets you link your smartphone up to the fish finder. This lets you share information on boating areas and where fish are located. You can also save information on your fishing trip so you can plan ahead for whatever is next.

The mounting ball on this model also helps you with handling the unit and positioning it in the right spot. You can use this mounting ball to adjust how the unit is displayed.

This is ideal for when you need to get a good read but you are unable to move out of your boating seat well enough. Of course, this point is best for those who have canoes or kayaks and might not have much room to move around in when trying to get something to work well enough.

All the maps on this unit are pre-installed so you know where you are going when getting this to work for you. You also have the option to get your maps added onto a microSD card that you can quickly add to the unit.


  • The screen is easy to view in most outdoor conditions
  • Does not experience internal fogging
  • Dual-channel sonar works in shallow and deep conditions alike


  • Takes a while for it to start up
  • Cables are short
  • Tough to mount onto a kayak or other small boat

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Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2

Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2

The 5-inch color WVGA screen on this Humminbird sonar unit provides you with a crisp and easy to review layout. The Chirp dual beam sonar sensor included here offers more power for finding fish in even the toughest conditions. The internal GPS chart plotting feature also helps you to save multiple waypoints.

The SmartStrike feature is a popular part of the Helix fish finder to see. With this, you will set a series of parameters on the unit relating to wind conditions, the water temperature, how fast the water is moving, and so forth.

The fish finder can analyze conditions in your area and help you find the optimal spots for fishing based on the parameters you have entered in. With this, you can find the fish that you want to go after in just a matter of moments.

The map data offered by Humminbird includes information on thousands of lakes around the United States plus its coastlines. You can even get readouts on bottom hardiness, underwater plants, and other items that might make an impact on your fishing trip depending on where you are going.

A Micro SD card slot is also included in this model. The slot lets you save more waypoints or add new map data onto the fish finder. This, in turn, gives you more information on what might be found in your area.


  • The display offers a clear layout
  • Can work at up to 1,500 feet deep; optional transducer works at 2,500 feet
  • GPS readouts are fully accurate


  • The mounting bracket is hard to use
  • Cables can wear apart quickly
  • Menu screens are rather small when compared with other items

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Humminbird 409610-1 Helix 5 Fish Finder With GPS

Humminbird 409610-1 Helix 5

Another choice from Humminbird, this model features UniMap base maps to help you identify where you are going. The UniMap setup uses several layouts for all the items you want to find. It includes multiple readouts for various types of fish and even gives you a good idea of how large each fish is, thus letting you plan accordingly for when you’re aiming to get the fish you want without struggles. The screen also includes a full layout that lists information on depth, boat speed, and precise GPS coordinates.

The XNT 9 20 T transducer is included in this model. This uses a 200/83 kHz frequency layout to give you more coverage over the water. It works with 20 and 60-degree coverage to help you identify where specific fish might be found at.

The internal GPS receiver lets you find information on what is in your area and lets you program dozens of routes, waypoints, and tracks. You can also link this to your computer and use it alongside other Humminbird programs including the company’s LakeMaster program to produce detailed charts of what is in certain lakes.

Humminbird also lets you create your own maps. This lets you set your own waypoints and parameters for individual spots that you need to keep a clear note of when fishing.

Be advised that this works best when you link the unit up to a computer while using another one of Humminbird’s map generation tools. This should be appropriate for when you have something of value to work with.


  • The screen is easy to view in most conditions
  • Button layout helps you move from one menu to another fast
  • Easy to switch from one route to the next
  • Readouts and produced quickly thanks to the strong GPS sensor


  • Transducer mount is solid and does not flip up in the event you hit something under the water
  • Costs extra to get LakeMaster charts or other items added to the fishfinder

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Lowrance Hook-5 Sonar/GPS Mid/High/Downscan Fish Finder

Lowrance Hook-5 Fish Finder GPS Combo

The 5-inch high-resolution color display on this Lowrance fish finder GPS combo is a popular feature, but there are many other points about this model to watch for. The Lowrance Hook-5 makes the perfect combination among the benefits of CHIRP sonar and down scan imaging technology to show us the clear and perfect underwater view.

ASP (Advanced Signal Processing) helps to see the fish, bottom structures, and environment beneath the boat more clearly. Manual adjustment for the bottom view is not always necessary.

This super-machine with a built-in GPS antenna plus the detailed U.S. is pretty accurate. More than 3000 lakes, rivers, and coastal contours to 1,000 feet in a map featuring are really brilliant and precise. It has options for Americas chart upgrade and global chart upgrade.

The Hook-5 gives us excellent target separation and super noise rejection which make the fishing easier and more entertaining.


  • Easy to install and handle
  • Excellent sonar sensitivity
  • Good noise rejection
  • Advanced signal processing (ASP)
  • It’s a complete machine that comes with all (transducer, MSD/SD card, mounting system, etc.)
  • Can be connected to a smartphone or tablet.


  • The power cable is short.
  • The transducer mount height is short.

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Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter and Fishfinder with TotalScan Transom Mount Transducer

Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter and Fishfinder

The main selling point of this Simrad fish finder is that it features the company’s TotalScan transducer. This model uses medium and high-range Chirp frequencies and high-definition imaging to find more items in the water.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are also supported so you can connect your fish finder to a mobile device. It also uses multiple mapping protocols including the Navionics and Insight options to help you track information on close and far items in a region.

The 7-inch display screen reveals information on everything in the local area that you are fishing in. Use the screen to get information on how the water is moving in an area, your boat speed, and the water temperature in a region.

The mapping setup lists points on water depth and changes in the waves around an area. You can even identify cases where the water is moving a little faster in certain areas, thus giving you more of an idea of what spots might be easier for you to fish around in.


  • Flexible readout options help you find data in real time
  • The 7-inch screen is easy to mount
  • The display is customizable for most boating activities including sport boating
  • Control system similar to what you would use on a tablet or smartphone


  • Weighs quite a bit
  • Takes a bit for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals to be produced

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Buying Guide

The functionality of different fish finders can make a world of difference. You have to see how well such a unit works so it is not all that hard for you to make it work and stay effective for your demands. After all, something that can handle both details on your location and where fish are is always worth having.

You will need to find a quality GPS fish finder if you are planning to head out onto the water. A great finding tool will help you with identifying where fish are in your local area. But even as you look for the best fish finder GPS unit, you will have to look around to see what choices are available and how they are made to be different from one another.

Each model on the market offers different features to help you with finding fish in any local area. You will have to watch for how well these tools operate and how you can get them to work for you in any situation.

The type of fish finder you get is critical to your success on the water. Some finders come with large screens while others are a little more compact. Some might work in very deep conditions.

Others have their own very specific points for how you can get them to start working or analyzing things under the water. You might even find a few models that come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support.

But no matter what you find on the market, you will surely come across a model that fits in with your particular needs. You will have to look at what is available and how well different products can work for what you want to get out of the water.

The variety of products you can find for your demands is worth checking out thanks to how well these fish finders are organized and how effective they can be for your general efforts.

There are a few useful points that can be used when you are trying to get the exact fish finder GPS combo that you can utilize.

You should look carefully at what you can find when getting a good fish finder that you know fits in with your needs for finding where you are and for getting information on the fish that are located in your area.

These points for finding a good GPS fish finder are vital to see when finding something intriguing and ideal.

Some of the best marine VHF radios come with GPS functionality which may be important for our readers and for water activity lovers.

Watch The Transducer

The transducer that will go onto the bottom part of the boat is important to see. The concern though is that not all fish finders come with their own transducers. This does not mean that a fish finder cannot work well without a transducer.

Even the main unit you get can still work by producing its own signals into the water. But you would have to watch carefully for how well a transducer might produce stronger signals.

The transducer should be made with sturdy steel material so it does not break off quickly. Plastic might be cheap and easy to set up, but it could also break apart fast if you are not careful enough with it. Also, a transducer should come with a body that can retract or fold off temporarily in the event it comes across any solid materials in the water.

See How Well You Can Adjust It

The fish finder with GPS models always come with plenty of frequencies. You should look at how well you are capable of adjusting your fish finder based on the frequency you want to use or how far the transducer will move. Anything that makes it easier for you to find what is out there is always worth having.

Physical adjustments are just as important. Look at how well you can tilt or turn the unit after you have mounted it onto your boat’s side. Anything that lets you position the finder without having to remove the base is always worth having in any situation.

Battery Power

Most of the fish finders you will come across require battery power for them to stay functional.

A good battery will provide you with enough energy for keeping the unit running for hours at a time. Sometimes the battery is rechargeable, but in most cases, it will simply use traditional disposable batteries that you will supply on your own.

Check on how such a fish finder might work for a longer trip you wish to take, but be sure to bring a good source of energy with you just to be safe.

Wattage Points

Review the wattage on your fish finder. This refers to the amount of power that the finder will get. This wattage is produced by the battery used on the inside. When there is greater wattage, the finder will respond faster and give you more detailed results in as little time as possible. But at the same time, a unit with a higher wattage total might take up far too much energy and battery power.

A good point to see entails measuring things based on every 100 watts of power based on the frequency you use. If you are using a fish finder at 50 kHz, you would read things about 400 feet deep for every 100 watts you use.

For a 200 kHz setting, you will read the water from 100 feet deep for every 100 watts. Be aware of this when figuring out how well the readout is laid out and that you have a good plan on hand for handling the unit.


Although the screen on your fish finder could be large, it needs to come with a good resolution rating so it is not hard to see what is on the finder at a given time.

You must have a fish finder that is at least 240 x 160 pixels in resolution. This should give you enough pixels to help you distinguish between different items that your fish finder will identify.

But even with that, you should still at least look for something that produces readouts you can actually identify. You might need to get something with a better resolution level attached to it if you are unable to actually read what is being produced on the screen.

What Do You Want to Find?

Some fish finders are made exclusively to help you find fish and nothing else all that elaborate. Some other models come with features that let you find where the floor of a body of water is or any underwater plants. The type of underwater floor is simply helpful especially when we are thinking about how to anchor a boat properly.

You might want to stick with a fish finder that focuses on fish above all else if you just want to find them. Meanwhile, a more detailed fish finder that lists information on other items is best if you plan on going out to more advanced sites.

Review the Price Versus the Boat

It might be better for you to buy a cheaper fish finder if you have a smaller boat or a kayak to work with. The more high-end options, particularly the larger choices, are best if you have big vessels that cost a little more.

The key is to avoid getting something that might be too massive or otherwise offers more features than what you might actually be comfortable with.

How Big Should the Fish Finder Screen Be?

Naturally, you would want to find a fish finder with a screen that is easy to read. You should only look for a model that is not overly complicated or hard to follow through.

The screen should have a convenient design with enough overlays or sections that you can quickly distinguish from one another.

Map Functionality

Some fish finders work with outside map programs that let you program different routes, waypoints, and other features. A few come with controls where you can save particular spots on the GPS layout in real time.

But when looking at the map functionality, you should see that you can get all your map data points linked up to a microSD card or something else you can use for getting your data secured properly.

Check on the Installation Point

You should be able to install the fish finder you get just well enough. A quality fish finder has to be easy to affix onto the bottom of your boat for the best results. You can always use a clamp or other series of fasteners depending on the model you use.

But regardless of what you have, watch for how the wires are utilized. The wires that go from the monitor to the transducer should be easy to link up and use. Anything that can link to the body of your boat without hanging off or possibly getting loose or caught in something is always worth using.

Brands to Consider

You can find many good brands when looking for a quality fish finder. These include Garmin, Humminbird, and Lowrance.

Garmin has been a popular name over the years thanks to how it offers quality GPS devices. Garmin combines both the features of a fish finder with a GPS unit to help you find fish in even the toughest spaces.

The setups that Garmin offer even let you save many routes, waypoints, or other spots that might be valuable to you. These include some places that you might want to return back to depending on how your trip is moving along and if you can find fish in certain spaces.

Humminbird is a company that has been producing quality fishing maps for years. These include maps that are produced through GPS signals. These maps can combine well with a fish finder tool from the company to help you with finding fish in the right spots.

Many of the models Humminbird makes include options that let you find fish in larger spaces. The setups that Humminbird uses for getting its devices organized are all worth looking into for when you need help with getting around any large lake in the United States or Canada.

Lowrance offers marine and fishing electronics with a focus on sonar devices. The company has been in operation since the 1950s and continues to be a trusted provider of quality marine and fishing units for all kinds of purposes. The designs that Lowrance offers for various fishing needs are worth looking for.


The overall weight of your fish finder should be checked well. A typical finder should weigh about two or three pounds on average. This is the combined weight for both the receiver and the transducer.

Cable Length

The cables on your fish finder should be a few feet in length if possible. Check on how long the wires are versus the size of your boat so you have an appropriate layout to work with.

Can It Resist Water?

Your fish finder should be able to resist water and wind among other threats. The housing needs to come with a secure and watertight body to keep moisture from moving into its circuits. This is to keep the unit from being too hard to utilize.

It is even more important for the fish finder to protect a microSD card that you might add to its body. A good cover can go over the card slot, thus keeping the card from being exposed and it will save the card from the possible risk of harm from excess water among other threats that might get into your unit.


Color displays are used on a majority of fish finders. A color display is perfect for how it offers a convenient layout that lets you identify many things inside the water. You can use this to find warm and cold temperatures based on the plants, fish, or other items that might be found in a certain space.

Varying shades of blue might also help you identify how deep the water is or how it might be changing in how fast it is moving or what its temperature might be like. Every piece of information is important for the fishing plan. Our winter fishing tips can be a field of interest for many.

This does not mean that a black and white screen is not good enough. You can always use a black and white screen to see what is in an area while reviewing the intensity of each tone to see what is near or what might be moving. This would require a little more concentration for finding something, but it at least works quite well.

Button Controls

The button controls you can use on one of these units should be explored well. A great layout should come with a body where the buttons are easy to distinguish and give you enough of a control setup for making it easier for you to get something to work right.

Loading Times

The loading time on a fish finder should be explored based on how long it would take for the finder to identify where the fish in a spot might be located.

In particular, the loading time can be around a few seconds on average. This should be enough to give you an accurate layout without forcing you to wait for longer than what you can afford to.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes one of these fish finders to produce its readouts?

A combination of a transmitter and transducer is required to get your fish finder to work. A transmitter is the monitor or another head item you will use while the transducer is a material that goes into the water and is mounted onto the bottom part of the boat.

The transducer will produce signals that move into the water and will identify the echoes that come back as data for what is inside the water.

What frequency should be used?

The frequency that a good fish finder GPS machine can handle should be something that fits in depending on the specific space you want to go fishing in. You will need a 50 kHz frequency if you are going out to a deeper body of water. 200 kHz is best when finding something in shallow spots. The 83 kHz frequency option typically works in the middle.

A higher frequency of around 200 kHz works best when you are inland or in freshwater conditions. It is also suitable for lure tracking.

The 83 kHz setup or something around that works when you are in a larger or more wide-open space. It is not as detailed, but it does give you a better range of view for finding fish.

The lowest 50 kHz frequency is for when you are in deeper spots. This is especially when you are in waters more than a thousand feet deep. A low-frequency setup will identify more items deeper in the water and may work for darker conditions or for saltwater among other cloudy spaces.

What is the Chirp Sonar Feature?

Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse or Chirp sonar is a popular modern choice to look into when finding the perfect GPS fishfinder combo. This uses signals with varying levels of frequencies.

The pulses produced by the sonar are also a little longer in length. This is a desired feature to find in fish finders because it produces clearer signals that are a little more distinguishable and easy to figure out.

How deep does the finder have to get into the water for it to work?

You don’t necessarily need to get one of these fish finders to go far too deep into the water for it to work. You just need to get it supported on the bottom of your boat. It can stick out by a few inches or maybe even a foot.

All you need is enough of a protruding spot to allow the finder to see things in a local area while allowing its waves to move around many spots.

Does the software on your fish finder have to be updated?

Some fish finder models come with software programs that can be updated. These are often updated based on map settings and for any new upgrades that may be utilized.

Although you do not have to necessarily link your fish finder up to a computer to update its software, it does help to at least do it a few times here and there. This is to provide you with a better experience through a stable software program that is easy to utilize.

Can you adjust the speed of your transducer?

Many fish finder models let you adjust the speed of the transducer to let it move a little slower or faster. That is, it rotates at a different speed to produce varying sonar signals.

It is best to turn it to a slower speed when you are looking for larger pools of fish. It can be faster when you zero in on an area where the fish might actually be at. Review the settings on your transducer to see how it works.

How cold can the water be when using your fish finder GPS Combo?

Every fish finder is different in terms of how cold the water can be when you are trying to find fish through it. You must look at how well the fish finder can work based on how chilled the water might be. The good news is that many fish finders are made to work even for ice fishing considerations.

Remember that a fish finder should come with a readout that includes details on how cold the water in a spot is. The temperature readout can help you see what the conditions are like so you have an idea of whether the fish might be dormant in a spot or not. Remember that lots of fish will not move around all that much when the temperatures are too cold.

Can you add the transducer into the water when ice fishing without having to use a boat?

You have the option to cut a hole into a sheet of ice and then inserting the transducer into that hole while the main readout sticks out from above the ice.

But you would have to watch carefully as the wires for the transducer might be small. Also, you would have to use a fish finder that can actually handle the cold temperatures in a spot.

Can anything get in the way of a GPS readout?

It is very easy for a GPS unit to read the information on what is in the water at a given time. But you might want to watch for how well that GPS unit can target satellites in space.

Anything that covers over the GPS unit will keep you from getting an accurate readout. The GPS sensor must have a clear view of the sky if it is going to work well enough.

Will a fish finder assist you with finding certain patterns?

A great fish finder will have a readout setup that lets you identify items within a few inches apart from one another. This is vital when you are trying to find schools of fish or other sizeable groupings.

You can even use this to see if there is a certain formation that the fish might be trying to enter into. You might see the fish getting into an attack formation or just in a form where they are going to move at a consistent speed.

Is an after-market transducer best?

Although the transducer that comes with your fish finder might work well for you, it never hurts to see if an after-market model might work a little better for you.

An after-market transducer might offer a faster readout and can work with more area in a spot. It could also work in more water conditions, particularly in colder or warmer spots.

You would have to look at how well an after-market model is capable of getting onto your fish finder though. It should come with enough wires that can link up to your finder and create a consistent connection.

Anything that can connect well without creating any loose wires that could easily come apart is always worth having.


You will need to look around to see what is available when you are trying to get the best fish finder GPS combo for your use. A great model can help you with not only seeing where you are but also with finding fish in any spot.

The things that can be found in one of these fish finders are diverse and can help you with finding fish in deep and shallow conditions alike. Make sure when finding one of these units that you have a choice that fits in well with your efforts or plans for fishing the right way.

Don’t forget to look at how well the fish finder is designed and that you have something that you can control. The versatility of a fish finder is appealing, but it should also be something that you can quickly adjust and control on your own.