Best Marine GPS Reviews 2017

Looking for the best Marine GPS? Whether you're sailing out to the open sea or you're going for a little bit of R'n'R and angling, you’ll certainly benefit from a marine GPS. These often small and extremely portable devices are packed with the latest technology that’ll help you navigate the waters you're in and see what's happening below you. However, to somebody who doesn't know too much about these devices, picking one might be a very daunting task. Luckily, you have us. The purpose of this article is to teach you a thing or two about what you need to know about marine GPSs and their main features. On top of that, we'll throw in a few models as well, for good measure, so that you’ll be familiar with some of the best marine GPSs available today.
Watch Our Marine GPS Review
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
Display
Memory
Support
Our Top Choice
Simrad GO7 XSE Marine GPS
Simrad is one of the major marine navigation and radio equipment vendors with many years of experience.
Can adapt to any kind of vessel; packed with features such as a simple to use multi-touch display; massive number of cartography options and easy waypoint management.
It needs a couple minutes to reconfigure itself after the boat speeding up and slowing down again.
Mountable
10 x 9 x 8”; 7.7 Pounds
7-Inch Display, LED Backlight
Supports Micro SD Cards
Lifetime Tech Support
Best Value
Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Navioncis+ GPS
One of the best marine sonar manufacturers has got to be Raymarine. With 80 years of experience, you can expect nothing but the best from this UK-based company.
Features a dual CHIRP sonar and an accompanying sonar app; internal storage holds up to 3,000 waypoints and 15 tracks; its touchscreen display is anti-fogging.
It occasionally loses connection with the satellite.
Mountable
13.8 x 13.8 x 13.8”; 3.3 Pounds
5-Inch Display, LED Backlight
Supports Micro SD Cards
1 Year Warranty
Lowrance HDS-7 GEN3 GPS
One of the most influential brands today, Lowrance is a very experienced and widely respected manufacturer of fishing sonars.
Features include the powerful and accurate CHIRP sonar and access to Insight charts; you can make your own using an intuitive interface; can view several maps at once.
Pricier than some other models.
Handheld or Mounted
8.5 x 3.3 x 5.8”; 2.5 Pounds
7-Inch Display, LED Backlight
Dual Micro SD Card Slots
2 Year Warranty
Humminbird Helix 5 Si Fish Finder
One of the youngest but most respected brands is definitely Humminbird, which specializes in compact but highly accurate consumer items.
Compact, powerful, and accurate; dual beam sonar technology provides a precise representation of what's beneath you; GPS with uploaded maps from Coast and Inland.
Its screen gets foggy, especially in the morning.
Handheld or Mounted
8.5 x 6 x 4”; 4.1 Pounds
5-Inch Display, LED Backlight
Supports Micro SD Cards
1 Year Warranty
Garmin Striker 4 GPS Fish Finder
Garmin is the leading manufacturer of sports equipment and tracking devices, including fish finders.
Features CHIRP sonar and optimal-sensitivity GPS; operates via a simple and easy-to-use keyboard; can go as deep as 1,600 feet in fresh water and 750 feet in salt water.
No touchscreen and has only basic features.
Mountable
3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9”; 8 Ounces
3.5-Inch Display; HVGA Color
Information Unavailable
1 Year Warranty

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Marine GPS?

As we said in the introduction, choosing a marine GPS isn’t an easy task if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Well, let’s see what you need to know about these devices. One of the first things is how many satellites the GPS uses. Usually, the number is 12, and this is the smallest number of satellites a marine GPS will use. Naturally, the more satellites a device uses, the more accurate it’ll become. High-end devices use all 24, and they provide exceptionally precise charts. With that, you’ll probably also want a unit that has an antenna port. Some devices feature built-in antennae, but these antennae usually aren’t that good.

Moving on to the next thing you need to consider, you’ll probably want to check the device’s ease of use and readability. In that case, the bigger the screen, the better. Many high-end devices have nice and big screens, while smaller, commercial units need to find a balance between compactness and screen size. When it comes to ease of use, many marine GPSs have touchscreen displays, which is much more convenient than having to navigate through all of those menus using navigational keys. Some of the devices are also voice activated, which is a great convenience when you’re manning the wheel. Having a few friend as a navigator might help too if you can't man the unit. Reward him by offering him a cold one. And where do you keep the cold one? In the cooler, of course!

A marine GPS doesn’t need to have a sonar built in. However, many do, especially the commercial grade devices. This is, in part, because of the fact that people usually use these GPSs as a way of detecting fish and catching them more easily. Many devices also give you chart plotting abilities, and you can make your own maps of the place, with personalized points of interest. While some units allow for basic map making, others allow you to chart underwater terrain, mark possible fish locations, introduce weather patterns, view the map in 3D and many other things. And lastly, you need to check if the unit is waterproof. High-end units also have special anti-fogging screens. In the end, if the unit keeps fogging up and you’re fed up with it, why not wreck it with that survival knife of yours?

Buying a GPS is not the end of your troubles when you’re setting out to sea; you may also need a barometer to gauge the depth of the water you’re sailing over. In the meantime, however, let’s see what we can learn about the marine GPS.
Price
In terms of price, marine GPSs are really diverse. Prices can be as low as 100-120 dollars and move upward to over $1000. Naturally, the more features a device has, the more it’ll cost you. If you want a nice, entry-level device, you can get one for about 100 bucks with some pretty decent basic features. Mid-range devices cost about 300 to 400 dollars, and they're a good balance between price and features included.

Such devices are suited for a wide range of customers, and they can often be updated to follow closely some higher end devices. When it comes to those, you have units like Simrad GO7 XSE or Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 (which is even more expensive that the former) which provide the user with a huge range of possibilities and opportunities. They have amazing features that’ll certainly not leave you wanting.
Features
So far, we've spoken about what you need to know about marine GPSs in general. Now, we'll take an even closer look at what features you can expect from such units. Firstly, starting with the obvious, you’ll usually have a touchscreen interface, often supported by some navigational keys. These navigational keys are highly useful when you need quick access to some important functions.

A CHIRP sonar is often featured, sometimes with two beams that let you scan deep and wide. Many units, like the HDS-7, features a database with Insight maps, with the ability to create your own maps using those Insight maps as a base. A great number of devices also have Wi-Fi and an Ethernet socket, as well as microSD card slots.

Here’s a short list of the most prominent features you can find on these devices:
  • CHIRP Dual-Beam Sonar
  • Micro SD Card Slots
  • Ethernet Cable Socket
  • USB Sockets
  • Chat Databases
  • Chartplotting Programs
  • Touchscreen Interfaces
  • Navigational Buttons
With that said, you may want to find the combination of features that’ll apply perfectly to your situation. Having too many features means having too many screens you need to go through, and that can be very frustrating. Again, pick the feature you need, not the features you like, and you’ll have a great time with your unit.
Construction and Design
When it comes to construction, you’ll surely want a sturdy device. A device that’s flimsy will most certainly fail you and you’ll quickly need to replace it. Now, that might not be much of a problem if the unit is a lower-end one, but if you dished out a lot of cash for it, then that’s going to be disappointing. When looking at the construction, you need to focus mostly on the mount, since if your mount fails, the GPS might just end up in the deep blue. When design is concerned, you again may need to take into consideration what you need the GPS for. Some of the GPSs are really big, and they might prove cumbersome if you’re planning to stuff them in a small fishing kayak.
Performance and Ease of Use
Naturally, the last thing you need to consider is the performance of the device. Ease of use is also a part of the performance of the device. Of course, you’ll want to aim for a unit that’s quick and easy to read, as sometimes you won't have too much time to scroll through a thousand menus. That you go with a device that’s efficient hardly needs to be mentioned, especially if you're looking for a fish finding GPS, as you probably don't need the hassle of shifting through all its features when you're already handling your fishing rod.

What is the Best Marine GPS?

With that, we’ll show you some of the best devices on the market so far. Some of these are cheap beginner devices, but some are really high end, and exceptionally powerful. There are a lot of models out there, but we’ve managed to cut this selection down to the best of the best, with five of them making the cut. Armed with the knowledge from our guide, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision, and you’ll be able to choose the product you think fits your situation the best.
Our Top Choice
Simrad’s GO7 XSE is one of the best marine navigation and radio systems on the market. If you’re a boat’s captain, then you should definitely check it out. In case you want a more deluxe model with a bigger multifunction display, you could also consider the Simrad NSS7 evo2 Marine GPS.
Simrad GO7 XSE Marine GPS with Touchscreen Interface, Sonar, and Chartplotter

Simrad GO7 XSE Marine GPS SIMRAD


Features
Having 60 years of experience in making all kind of marine navigational equipment is certainly a good sign that this is one highly trusted company. The Simrad brand takes its name from Simosen Radio which provided radio equipment to small commercial ships right after Second World War. Since its inception Simrad expanded greatly, and the brand is now providing all kinds of navigational, communicational and chart plotting equipment to all manner of vessels — small fishing boats, Sportfishing boats or even rescue boats and huge transoceanic cruise liners.

Now that you know who you're dealing with, it's time you find out what you're dealing with. Simrad's GO7 XSE is a combination of a chart plotter, fish finder, and a GPS, making it one versatile product, and highly useful for any fishing boat to have. This little device is your best bet at not losing yourself in the big blue, or finding what you’re looking for.

Included in this little device is everything you need out there. You've got a chart plotter with support from all the major cartographic databases, like CMAP, Navionics, and Insight. With that, you get a 10Hz GPS receiver, and a broadband sounder, a CHIRP sonar, and ForwardScan sonar support to ensure you zero in on your catch. On top of that, this device has a GoFree Wi-Fi and is NMEA 2000 compatible. To be able to toggle all these different features, the device has a touchscreen interface, allowing you to go quickly through the numerous menus and get to the ones you want.

Now, we know that’s a lot of info to read and digest in a block of text, so let’s make it easy for you – here’s a list of all the device’s features:
  • CHIRP sonar
  • ForwardScan sonar support
  • GoFree Wi-Fi
  • Chartplotter in touch with major cartographic databases.
  • TripIntel technology supports chartplotting
  • Broadband Sounder
  • Bracket and/or flush mount
  • Touchscreen interface
Overall, what you get with Simrad’s GO7 XSE is a multipurpose device that truly shines when taken out on the high seas. The device is super-diverse and has great utility, whether you’re a captain of a fishing boat or a cruiser. Simrad really does an awesome job equipping their devices with the latest technology, so you can be sure this one will last some time.
Best Value
Going on a fishing trip? Then you should definitely look into Raymarine’s Dragonfly 5 Pro Marine GPS. If you wouldn’t mind a smaller, and more affordable, older model, how about checking out the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro Marine GPS?
Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Navioncis+ GPS with CHIRP Sonar and Internal Waypoint Storage.

Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Navioncis+ Marine GPS E70293-NAG


Features
One of the greatest marine navigation and radio equipment manufacturers has to be Raymarine. This company, with its original headquarters in Fareham, UK, is a part of FLIR Systems, a leading thermal imaging company, which is even more experienced than Simrad, with 80 years of experience behind them. However, its specialization is much narrower, and it leans more toward light commercial markets and recreational boating.

Today, we’re presenting one of its best products, the Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Navionics+. This nifty and small navigation system has all the right features to help you find fish quickly, and is compact enough to fit onto your longboat or kayak. Dragonfly is connected to your boat via a suction mount with a mounting ball, so you have the option of adjusting the screen to your liking.

One of the best features of this product is the CHIRP dual-channel sonar. One sonar is a wide spectrum CHIRP, while the other is a DualVision for targeting. Raymarine also comes with a mobile app so you can save your images, review and share them. The device features a touchscreen display for ease of use. The display is also protected from fogging. Dragonfly comes with an internal storage and can store up to 3000 waypoints, plus 15 tracks within its internal memory. If you deem this insufficient, you may also introduce a microSD card too, and greatly expand storage.

Sometimes, reading a whole review takes too much time. For those in a hurry, here’s a short list of the device’s features:
  • Suction ball mount
  • Dual-channel CHIRP Sonar
  • Internal storage holds up to 3,000 waypoints and 15 tracks
  • Can be fitted with a microSD card
  • Comes with an app for the sonar
  • Anti-fogging touchscreen display
In the end, what you have on your hands here is a superb little fishing sonar. It is intuitive, light, small and highly useful. We particularly like the app that comes with it, as it can be fun sharing your catch with other fishermen, and it can provide a great insight for future reference.
Checking out fishing sonars? Then be sure to check out Lowrance’s HDS-7 Gen3 Marine GPS for a truly elite example. If you were after a more affordable product, the older Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 may be just what you’re looking for, as it offers many of the same qualities but with a smaller price tag.
Lowrance HDs-7 GEN3 GPS with Insight Charts for Islands and Coastal Waters

Lowrance Marine GPS 000-11785-001


Features
Back in 1957, Lowrance invented its first sonar device intended for consumer use. Since then, Lowrance made a commitment to making fishing as easy as possible for the anglers everywhere by targeting this market and producing excellent fishing sonars. Indeed, Lowrance is such an excellent brand that it managed to take the world by storm back in 2008 and snatch many awards for its products. Nine years later and it continues to produce excellent devices, one of which we’ll present to you today.

Today’s item is its HDS-7 sonar, specifically the Gen3 iteration. The Gen2 was already a huge hit with the fishermen everywhere, and the Gen3 only heightened their opinion of the brand and the product. Indeed, the HDS-7 Gen3 sports all the old features but with some improvement made to its integral parts, so that it may bring an even better user experience to the user.

One of its first and best features is the CHIRP sonar. This sonar penetrates deep and detects fish and objects very well, giving you a splendid picture of what’s happening underneath you. On top of that, the HDS-7 features Insight’s charts. With Gen3, you can also connect to the internet, and download and use any map from both Insight and Navionics, both Inland and Coast. The device is compatible with HMEA 0183, 200 and has an Ethernet slot. One of the most impressive of device's features is that it allows you to create your own, highly personalized charts, using Insight charts as the base. You'll also be able to view charts in 2D and 3D and view several charts at any one time.

Here’s a shot list of the device’s defining features.
  • Full access to Insight and Navionics chats for both Inland and Coast waters
  • The device features CHIRP sonar
  • Able to create new maps based on Insight maps.
  • Compatible with HMEA 0183 and 2000
  • Has an Ethernet socket
  • Dual microSD card slots
  • Can view several maps at one time
  • Can view maps in 2D and 3D
All in all, the HDS-7 Gen3 is a superb and powerful device. Thanks to its CHIRP sonar, it can penetrate deeply and detect even the smallest of fish with accuracy. We particularly like how easy it is to download and use Insight maps, and the fact that you can create your own charts.
Next time you’re going fishing, be sure to check out Humminbird’s Helix 5 — a great device at a great price. If you’d like a bigger model that’s even more affordable, have a look at the Hummingbird Helix 7 Marine GPS.
Humminbird Helix 5 Si Fish Finder with GPS and Side Imaging

Humminbird Marine GPS 409640-1


Features
Our second product comes from Humminbird — a relatively young company, as compared to others, with rather humble beginnings. However, through diligence and ingenuity of its inventors and smart moves from the investors, Humminbird quickly rose to fame and made a name for itself. Nowadays, many professional, as well as recreational, anglers swear by Humminbird products. Indeed, its sonars and GPSs are aimed at consumers, and the bulk of its products are very small and compact in size, facilitating small-time fishing.

Today we have one of its best and most popular products. We're talking here, of course, about Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar and GPS. This is one of the most compact devices on the market, with excellent characteristics for someone looking to spend some time in their kayak with a fishing rod attached to it. Helix is small, light and extremely portable, but also highly powerful with a very precise sonar built into it. Considering the cost and the performance, the device has incredible value for the money and doesn't cease to amaze.

So, what are Humminbird Helix 5’s exact features? Firstly, there's the sonar. Helix's sonar features dual beam technology — one beam is used for deep scanning and precision, and the other for wide angle scanning. The wide angle scanner offers a 180-degree vision of what's under the boat, and the down imaging sonar technology allows for accurate pictures to be generated from the fish's perspective. On top of that, the device features a GPS and uploaded detailed maps of US Coastal and Inland waters.

For lazier readers, we’ve prepared a short list of the most important features:
  • Features a touchscreen interface
  • Dual beam sonar for deep and wide scanning
  • Down imaging sonar
  • GPS with uploaded maps from Coast and Inland
  • A microSD card slot
In the end, Helix 5 is an incredible device. Portable, powerful and accurate, it doesn’t cost too much and is thus more affordable for an average customer. Those who decide to buy it will certainly not feel disappointed by its performance.
If you’re after a beginner-friendly product with a highly affordable price tag and the most basic features, then have a look at the Garmin Striker 4. If you’re looking for something more advanced from the same manufacturer, you should take a look at Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Marine GPS, which is waterproof and comes with a built-in compass and BlueChart g2 coast charts.
Garmin Striker 4 GPS with Built-in Fish Finder and CHIRP Sonar Transducer

Garmin Marine GPS 010-01550-00


Features
Our last product comes from Garmin. Garmin is a very prominent company and a well-known manufacturer of sports accessories that measure and catalog data connected to a certain sport. However, this manufacturer also does a great deal to extend itself to the fishing business as well. It produces quite a few fishfinder models, again in conjunction with their minimalistic and compact style and design. It’s also well known for producing a lot of budget devices, of which we’ll present one today.

Indeed, today’s fish finder from Garmin is not only a budget device, but it’s the cheapest device on our list. With the price barely extending beyond a $100 threshold, it’s by far the most affordable device on our list. However, don’t be mistaken — this fish finder brings plenty of quality with it, and performs very well considering its very low price tag. However, don't put too much faith in it, as this is an entry item and only an entry item. Ultimately, this is a simple and effective beginner's tool, and for serious fish detection, you’ll have to go somewhere else.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that this device doesn’t feature a touchscreen. Instead, you’ll have to deal with navigation keys, which aren’t that difficult to handle. They’re pretty intuitive, and you won’t break a sweat trying to get a grip on them. Surprisingly, though, is the fact that Striker 4 features a CHIRP sonar at this price point, which provides accurate data when scanning for fish. However, the screen is elementary, and you won’t be able to generate images you would with other devices. Lastly, the device can put virtual landmarks which will help you find your way back if you decide to go out further than usual.

Here’s a short list of the product’s best features:
  • Features a CHIRP sonar
  • No touchscreen – navigate with buttons
  • Simple and elementary screen
  • Small and portable
  • Can set virtual landmarks
To reiterate, this is a beginner’s tool, a device used as a starting point from which you will upgrade to more expensive models. But, even if you don’t decide to upgrade, this device will serve you pretty well, and, at this price, it’s hard to hold a few minor drawbacks against it.

Get the Best Marine GPS of 2017!

At last, we come to the end of our article. As you’ve seen, marine GPSs and fish finders come in many shapes and sizes, and with diverse price tags. However, their main purpose remains the same — they’re there to help you traverse the waters and catch fish. The choice is now up to you — you’ve got the knowledge to make a good choice, as well as a great list of some of the best marine GPSs to choose from. With that, we leave you, and wish you a good time out on the blue and hope your new toy does it for you.

Our Top Choice
Simrad GO7 XSE Marine GPS
Best Value
Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Navioncis+ GPS
Lowrance HDS-7 GEN3 GPS
Humminbird Helix 5 Si Fish Finder
Garmin Striker 4 GPS Fish Finder