Best Fish Finder GPS Combo Reviews 2018 & Complete Buyer’s Guide
If you’re a fisherman, then you know how great it can be to head out on your boat and find a spot with lots of fish to make your day’s haul worthwhile. While some people don’t necessarily care how much they catch, in your mind a good day is when you can come home with some whoppers in your net.
Back in the old days, trying to find the best fishing spots relied on ingenuity and instinct. These days, however, you can utilize high technology to find your next catch, meaning that the whole process has gotten down to a science.
Fish finders are highly popular among casual and serious fishermen because they make the process of locating new fishing grounds so much easier. Standard models only show you what’s going on around you, but if you want to take things up a notch, you should get a best fish finder GPS combo as well. These devices allow you to navigate as well as track your prey.
So, if you want to upgrade your fishing experience, let’s take a look at what these fish finders with GPS have to offer.
Garmin GPSMAP 741xs Combo
Humminbird HELIX 9 Sonar GPS Combo
Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 93sv
4" - 9"
Lowrance Navico Hook 7 GPS Combo
Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2
Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Combo
Top Best Fish Finder GPS Combo Reviews
As far as GPS machines go, Garmin is one of the top brands. Thus, it makes perfect sense as to why the company is making fish finders, considering that they are synonymous with high-quality navigation and positioning. If you are the type of fisherman who likes to chart a course and save new maps, then this is the product for you.
While this particular model has all of the bells and whistles you could want, it does not include a transducer, meaning that you have to buy one separately and sync it do this device. That does create some extra work for you, but it is well worth it for the ease of use with this product.
A large seven-inch display is more than enough to show you what you need to see, regardless of where you are. As long as you get a transducer powerful sufficient to show you the depth range you need, this is one of the better devices on which to see the results.
What I like about this particular model is that it is perfect for navionics and charting, even when you’re using a sailboat. You also get extra readings and features for sailing, including charting lay lines and getting true wind readings. Overall, you can see everything you need to not only find the best fish but to chart the best fishing routes.
- Large seven-inch HD display screen
- Powerful 10 Hz frequency for faster response time
- Advanced sonar support built in
- Down and side viewing available
- Built-in GPS for navionics and chart mapping
- Added features for sailing
- Lay lines, wind rose, and true wind data fields included
- Syncs to your Apple device
- Wireless connectivity option
The Hummingbird is a great unit that has a massive, backlit, and bright nine inch color display. It uses Switch Fire Sonar and Dual Beam PLUS. The software is totally upgradeable, and you can position your fish finder GPS on either a gimbal or an optional dash mount. It has three completely customizable buttons, which you can use for programming in any way that you like.
The GPS and sonar put out 4,000 watts of power for chart plotting, which means that you are going to be getting super clear signals when it comes to finding fish and seeing the lay of the floor beneath.
- Dual Beam PLUS and Switch Fire Sonar, which is incredibly accurate and powerful
- It has a huge nine inch display that is totally backlit and super bright, so it is really easy to read and use
- Has three totally customizable buttons so that you can program them in any way that you please
- Powerful 4,000 watt GPS and sonar that is excellent for chart plotting, mapping, and finding fish
- Can be used with either a dash mount or an adjustable gimbals
- Only downside to this unit seems to be that if you need a smaller screen to make it more portable, you will have to find a smaller unit
Here we have another model from Garmin: the echoMAP. When comparing this to the previous Garmin model, you will notice that this version is a bit more involved, making this one of the higher end products on this list. Overall, if you want to take full advantage of the GPS options that are possible with a fish finder, the echoMAP is the way to go.
First of all, you can get this particular model in one of four sizes. If you’re trying to be a bit more cost-effective, then you can opt for the four or five-inch screens, but if you want to get the most out of your finder, then I would suggest going for the seven or nine-inch versions. Each of them comes with high-definition graphics and a layout that can’t be beaten, so keep that in mind when you make your decision.
What I like about this model is that it has a powerful transducer already included, meaning that you can get started fresh out of the box. This model also has thousands of maps installed, as well as the ability to chart your course and save it for later use. In fact, you can create your maps complete with contour lines, meaning that you will be able to chart proprietary fishing excursions that are guaranteed to yield results.
- Multiple screens sizes available
- Four-inch to nine-inch screen size options
- Backlit keypad and LCD screen
- Full-color display
- 5 Hz GPS built in
- Includes US maps for charting and speed
- 500-watt DownVu scanner included
- 350-watt transducer included
- Display shows GPS location and depth reading simultaneously
- Create your maps with contour lines
- Refreshes five times per second
This model includes a high resolution seven inch screen that is beautifully colorful, and very easy to read and navigate. To see what is going on in the water beneath your boat, this model uses down scans imaging and Chirp Sonar to give you the best view possible. The advanced signal processing (ASP) that is installed with this model dramatically reduces your need to keep adjusting your settings so that you are able to see fish.
The structure and bottom of the body of water that you are in will always appear clearly on your screen. What we really enjoy about this model, is that it has a three panel display
that lets you choose from three pre-installed page layouts, and also allows you to view all three panels at one time. A mid/high down imaging transducer is included with this unit.
- Gorgeous, vibrant, and large display that is easy to read
- Downscan imaging plus Chirp Sonar to give you the clearest view possible under the water
- Uses ASP so that your unit continues to update and adjust without you having to constantly and manually adjust the settings
- Three panel display that provides for three different view, and even includes a split-screen view of all of them
- Mid/high down imaging transducer included
- Slightly smaller screen than some of the other models in this same price range
- Not as well known as other name brand models
Next, we have the Raymarine Dragonfly. This is another brand that I like, although it is not as well known or popular as something like Humminbird or Garmin. Nonetheless, Raymarine makes a decent fish finder, and the Dragonfly is a superb example of the commitment to quality shown by this company.
The first thing that I like about this model is the screen. Measuring seven inches diagonally, you can see everything you need with crystal clarity. A high-definition LCD screen provides everything you need, and the full-color imaging means that you can spot your next target instantly, rather than trying to make heads or tails from the readout.
Because GPS is built into this device, navionics and charting are easier than ever. You already get thousands of maps included with your unit, but you can also set your custom course plan so that you can find the best areas for fish. Best of all, you can save your settings, so you will always know where to come back to when the time comes. The range of this particular device is 600 ft, which is more than enough for lakes and rivers, but not quite sufficient for open ocean or larger lakes.
Finally, I like that this particular model syncs with your Smartphone and a proprietary Raymarine app, meaning that you can get all the features you need without having to buy separate equipment to get the job done.
- Large seven-inch LCD screen
- Full-color display
- HD quality graphics
- Proprietary CHIRP technology for sonar
- Ideal for down mapping
- Range of 600 ft
- GPS included for chart mapping
- Navionics options included
- Water temperature indicator
- Built-in wifi for syncing with Smartphone app
- Weather resistant housing
- Swivel and tilt mounting bracket
When it comes to fish finders and fishing GPS technology, the HELIX 5 delivers some of the best in functionality and creating a seamless user experience for fishing pros and hobbyists. This unit uses precise broadband CHIRP, a Reflex interface, imaging sonar and the power to chart and create maps using Auto Chart Live. The HELIX 5 has taken what is already a premier fish finder tool, and taken it to new heights in terms of features and creating an even better user interface. The display looks rich and clear, and is powered with 4,000 watts of PTP power output.
The screen can produce 256 colors and has a fully backlit display so that it is easy to read out in the sun and even at night.
The CHIRP sonar that is built into this model is second to none in terms of performance, and always gives you a clear picture and measurement of the floor and surface beneath your boat, as well as the location of the fish around it. Another feature that we really enjoy about this Humingbird fish finder is that it comes with a built in SD card slot so that you can save your favorite waypoints to it. You can even upload additional maps to your software using the SD card feature.
All around, this is a quality fish finder that provides a simple interface, reliable software and quality hardware at a pretty reasonable price. This fish finder would be best for intermediate fisherman. It may lack some of the advanced features that more experienced fishers may want, while this may be a little too advanced for a fishing novice.
- This fish finder has full color five inch color WVGA display so that you can see in sharp detail
- This model uses a CHIRP dual beam system plus sonar so that you always have a clear view of the floor beneath the water and the fish underneath your boat
- This unit uses a internal GPS and chart plotting system
- It even has an optional SD card slot that you can use to upload additional maps and saving waypoints
- Includes a reflex interface to make this fish finder as easy to use as possible
- The display on this unit is actually pretty plain
- The display is pretty easy to read but the GPS is pretty general with no special features
Finally, we come to the HDS-7 from Lowrance. I have had limited experience with this company, but from what I know it is a fantastic maker of fish finders, and the HDS-7 is no exception. This particular model has a seven-inch touchscreen, which makes it one of the most high-tech options you can find anywhere. If you like a more ergonomic design and want something that is more user-friendly, the HDS-7 could be for you.
While this unit makes for a fantastic depth gauge, what makes it shine is the GPS options that come with it. You get
a fifty-channel GPS, which means that you get some of the best navionics possible, as well as a huge supply of pre-loaded maps to help you get started. These maps are only for North America, however, so if you go traveling outside of that region, you will have to create your charts.
The other thing that I like about this particular model is the mounting bracket. You can swivel the device on a horizontal axis, making it easier than ever to adjust the screen to your liking. Also, the housing is weather resistant, which is a nice touch.
- High-tech seven-inch screen
- Structure Scan 3D Transducer
- HD display and full-color imaging
- Cartography and navionics charts pre-installed
- Swivel option mounting bracket
- Downscan Overlay
- Trackback feature included
- Weather resistant housing
How to Choose a Right Fish Finder GPS Combo
Although the concept of this handy device might seem rather straightforward, there are some critical components that you have to watch out for before making your final decision. First of all, you have to pick a unit that has GPS built in, and then you will need to look at these different factors.
While this is not a golden rule, a simple way to measure how high-end your fish finder is is to compare the size of the unit itself. Generally speaking, small devices will not have as many features as larger ones, nor with they have as much power. Thus, if you limit yourself to small bodies of water (or fish on occasion rather than frequently), a little fish finder may be all you need. However, if you like to go out on the open ocean, then you’ll need something a bit more robust.
As far as productivity goes, having a high-quality screen is imperative to your fish finder. If you can’t make out what’s going on on display, then what’s the point of having this device on your boat in the first place? Screen size is one of the most crucial aspects of your fish finder, as it will determine how well you can use the device.
The other thing to compare with regards to the screen is if the display is black and whiter or in color. Lower end models won’t have any color options, meaning that they can be harder to use because you have to try to distinguish black and gray shapes from each other. The color is by far the best in this case.
When looking at different fish finder models, you will see that some of them don’t come with a transducer. This is the device that sticks into the water and shows you what’s beneath the surface, so you want a transducer that is powerful enough to get to the bottom of whatever body of water you’re currently in. Another thing that you should be looking out for is whether the transducer will provide the only bottom down readings, or if it will also measure out to the side for a more comprehensive view surrounding the boat. I would highly recommend getting a unit that shows both so you get the best results possible.
To make sure that you’re getting the most out of your finder, you have to be sure that you’re getting a sufficient range of depth. Again, if you’re in shallow waters all of the time, then a low-end model may be sufficient for your needs. However, if you like to go into big lakes or deep-sea fishing, you need something that has a longer range.
Shallow fishermen should be fine with about 500 yards or so, while sports fishermen should get a unit that can go up to 1500 feet or more so that they can see everything that’s beneath them.
Advantage of a Fish Finder GPS Combo
If you’ve used a fish finder before, then you might be wondering why it’s necessary to get one with a GPS. To be perfectly honest, if you are someone who likes to fish in your local area and either casts from the shore or the back of a small boat, then GPS capability may not be something that’s worthwhile. However, for any fisherman who likes to go searching for the best catch, having GPS installed on your finder can make a world of difference. Here are some of the best reasons to get the best fish finder GPS combo.
● Charting and Navionics: if you like to plot a course and navigate your way to prime fishing grounds, then you will need a GPS to do so properly. While most of these units come with pre-loaded maps, I find that you will want to get one that allows you to customize your charts so that you can return to the right spot every time.
● Location Saving: if you do find a perfect fishing hole, then you will want to mark it on the map, so you know where to come to next time. In this case, GPS allows you to do so with pinpoint accuracy.
● Depth Finder: because GPS models have maps and charting capabilities, that means that you get a lay of the land in a way that isn’t possible with a standard finder. This way, you can see the bottom even easier, making your depth readings much easier to decipher.
● Water Temperature: depending on where you fish, you may encounter spots where cold and warm water meet. Also, you can track your next catch based on if it’s a cold or warm water species, meaning this is a handy feature to have.
What’s a Good Price for a Fish Finder with GPS Combo?
If you’re new to the concept of a fish finder, then you are probably wondering how to choose the best model without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, prices for different models can vary wildly, which means that it can be tough to figure out when you’re getting a good deal. While I can’t say what is best for you because I don’t know your budget requirements, here’s a chart to help you get started.
- Lower-end models will start at about $150 or so and go all the way to about $300. If you are casual fishermen or want something quick and dirty, then this will be your price range.
- Standard models can range from about $350 to $700, depending on the brand and the number of features included. Also, you can find a fish finder about $500. Best of all, these finders usually come with color screens so you can see what you’re doing. This price range is best if you want something more reliable that’s easier to use.
- High-end models will be anything over about $750, but they can go all the way to a couple of thousand dollars. These devices are for either professional fishermen or anyone who is dedicated to the sport of fishing. I would highly recommend buying a more expensive model if you go out on the water more than four or five times a month.
Tips and Tricks for Best Results with GPS
Even if you’ve used a fish finder before, having a Chartplotter Fishfinder/GPS installed means that there is a whole new level of your fishing experience. To make the most out of your added features, here are some things that you should always remember.
● Contour Lines: use these things to your advantage, as they will show you the topography of the bottom of your body of water. Many fish like to hang out in similar depths, so knowing where there are hills and valleys beneath your ship can make a huge difference in your haul.
● Buoys: when you go out into the ocean, you will see buoys to mark different depths and shipping lanes. Having a GPS means that you can see where these are without having to plot them yourself.
● Wrecks: not only do fish like to hang around shipwrecks, but you can do a little bit of exploring while you’re out on the water. Some GPS units will highlight wrecks on the map for you so you can be better prepared for them.
● Seabed: as I mentioned, some species like to hang out at certain depths. GPS tracking means that you can get a layout of the seabed when you’re out on the ocean, meaning that you can position yourself just right to get the best catch.
When comparing the different models that we saw on the list, I would have to say that my top pick is the Garmin GPSMAP 741xs as a best fish finder GPS combo. While it doesn’t come with a transducer, that is an easy accessory to buy so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you. This particular finder has everything you need to track where you’re going and see what’s happening beneath the boat. The readout is sublime and easy to follow, and overall this is a fantastic machine for anyone who is serious about fishing.