Fishing & Hunting Tips

Top 5 best Garmin fish finder [Review & Guide]

There is a handful of reputable fish finder manufacturer in the market. Garmin is one of them. Since the introduction of CHIRP sonar tech, Garmin has blessed the fish finder market with top-notch units that compliment a competitive price tag. Today, we’re gonna find which are the best Garmin fish finder till date.

Best Pick: Best Garmin fish finder

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Last updated on August 17, 2019 12:34 am
We picked these particular fish finding units based on the following attributes.

  • Price to performance
  • Practical features
  • Display size & resolution
  • Friendly UI
  • Overall design

Garmin fish finders are well-known for their easy operation and attractive pricing. Their features are also up to date. You can take a look at these best fish finder under 500 to explore some other options as well as a thorough comparison. For budget seekers, these best fish finder under 300 will satisfy your needs.

Before we choose the best Garmin fish finder, check out these necessary accessories for fish finder unit.

1. Garmin Striker Plus 7sv

Garmin Striker 7sv with Transducer, 7" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional, ClearVu and SideVu Scanning Sonar Transducer and Built in Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software

 

Spec

  • Screen: 7″ diagonal 800H×480V WVGA color backlit
  • Sonar: Wide-angle standard CHIRP, CHIRP Sidevü & Clearvü
  • Frequency & coverage: 2D= 150-200 kHz at 24-16°
  • Sidevü= 425-485 kHz at 2.0/50° and 790-850 kHz at 1.0°/30°
  • Clearvü= Same as sidevü
  • Depth: 2D= 800 ft (244m)
  • Sidevü= 500 ft (152m)
  • Clearvü= 250 ft (76m)
  • 500 watts (RMS)
  • High-precision internal GPS

Description: The Garmin Striker Plus 7sv is the latest edition of the striker series. But it’s quite similar to the Striker 7sv. Apart from identical sonar performance, the Striker Plus 7sv packs some extra features. Those of you are already using the Striker 7sv, do keep an eye of this product review. You’ll have access to ActiveCaptain app for the built-in GPS and quickdraw contours. Let’s see if new anglers can find what they want.

Sonar & Transducer: As you may have already anticipated, the Striker Plus 7sv comes with 3 sonars. Standard 2D, Clearvü and Sidevü. And the fun part is, all three of them are CHIRP enabled. So the feedback data will show greater results, sharper views and good target separation between fish and other structures or vegetations. I found that the Clearvü Sonar has a wider imaging and more defined view of the bottom.

CHIRP tech lets the Striker Plus 7sv modulate it’s sonar frequencies. The 2D can operate at 50/77/200 kHz whereas both the Clearvü and Sidevü generates 260/455/800 kHz. Although the included transducer offers limited frequency modulation. You can check the numbers at the spec section above.

The traditional 2D sonar has 24°-16° conic beam angle. However, both sidevü and Clearvü send out fan-shaped bean at 1°-2° fore to aft. But the good news is, the beams are wider side to side. And all the three sonars offer good depth capability. Remember to keep the boat at 10MPH for better data extraction from the Sonars. But you can troll the boat up to 30 MPH. You’ll still get decent feedback from the Sonars.

Other noteworthy features-

  • Several different alarms
  • Bottom Lock
  • A-Scope
  • Flasher
  • Fish symbols
  • Split-zoom page

Navigation: The GPS module on the Striker Plus 7sv is not that impressive. The module is sensitive and highly accurate. But lacking any chart capability. You won’t be able to upgrade due to the absence of MicroSD card reader slot. You can mark waypoints and other spots of your interest. These marked points can show coordinations. You can also calculate the speed of the boat bases on the coordination.

Other noteworthy features-

  • Track recording
  • Route creating
  • 5,000 waypoints storage
  • Quickdraw contours
  • Depth range shading

The unit: You’re gonna love the 7′ LCD display panel. WVGA color with led backlit integration allows you to see even the smallest details. Also, the viewing and is impressive. You won’t see the loss of quality even with three split-screen. Thanks to the 800×480 pixel matrix resolution.

As usual, the Garmin Striker Plus 7sv comes with IPx7 waterproofing. It will keep your investment ensured in the rain and even complete submersion in freshwater.

Mount & connectivity: You’ll find a standard tilt-swivel bracket mount. Unfortunately, you won’t find any flush mount or unit cover included.

As I’ve already said about the missing MicroSD port, but it also lacks NMEA connectivity. The included plastic Transducer has 12- pin connector which hooks up with the 4-pin connector on the unit via an included adapter. The cable is 20 ft in length.

Our thoughts: Look, you’re getting three CHIRP enabled sonars and highly accurate internal GPS with plotter and quickdraw contour feature. And don’t forget the ActiveCaptain app access. Yes, it may have a few shortcomings but it’s one solid fish finder nonetheless.

Pros
  • Three CHIRP enabled transducers
  • GPS with quickdraw contours
  • Built-in wifi for ActiveCaptain app access for sharing maps, instant software updates & more
Cons
  • No unit covers
  • No NMEA connectivity and MicroSD card reader slot
  • No Chartplotter

2. Garmin echoMAP ultra 106sv with GT54UHD-™ transducer

Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv with GT54UHD-TM Transducer

 

Spec

  • Screen: 10″ diagonal 1280H×800V WXGA color backlit
  • Touchscreen & keypad
  • Sonar= 2D CHIRP
  • Clearvü & sidevü
  • Panoptix Livescope
  • Ultra high-definition scanning
  • Coverage & frequency= 2D: 24°-16° at 150-240 kHz
  • sidevü: 1.62°×50°/ 125′ on both side at 425-485 kHz
  • UHD Sidevü: 1,080-1,230 kHz at 0.441°×52° / 500′ on both sides
  • UHD Clearvü: 760- 880 kHz at 0.9°×60°
  • Depth= 2D CHIRP: 800 ft (244m)
  • Sidevü: 125 ft (38m)
  • Sidevü: 30 ft (9m)
  • UHD Clearvü: 200 ft (61m)
  • 600 watts power (RMS)
  • 10 Hz internal GPS

Description: You may have already anticipated, and yes, it is the latest edition of the ECHOMAP series from Garmin. The Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv brings UHD sonar tech with a maximum frequency of 1.2 MHz. You’ll also have excellent GPS and related services. Now the question is, is this 2k once in a lifetime purchase actually worth your hard-earned dollars? Let’s find out below.

Sonar & Transducer: First of all, you’ll have three different sonar available with the Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv. 2D CHIRP, Clearvü, and Sidevü. Both the SV and CV is capable of Ultra-high-definition mode. Apart from compatible with dual-frequency rated at 50/200 kHz and 77/200kHz, you’ll also have bass frequencies like 50/77/200/455/800/1200 kHz.

The included transducer uses a conical beam for 2D High-wide CHIRP. The angle can be adjusted between 24°-16° at 150-240 kHz. You can also scan as deep as 800 ft. Unlike the 2D CHIRP beam, UHD Clearvü uses an oval beam. It can’t scan as deep as the 2D though. The given transducer operates at 760-800 kHz but can work I! 455 kHz as well.

The UHD Sidevü, however, is quite powerful. It can operate at 1.2 MHz frequency with a CHIRP which is also capable of 1,080-1230 kHz. And just like the Clearvü, the sidevü of this Sonar is also oval-shaped.

Depth scan varies between standard and UHD Sidevü. The UHD can push under at 30 ft and the standard sidevü can go as deep as 500 ft. Both beams dimension is around 0.441×52° and they can expand around 125ft on both sides of the boat.

Other noteworthy features-

  • Sonar rewind
  • A-Scope
  • Depth Alarm
  • Fish symbols
  • Bottom lock
  • Fish alarm
  • Circular Flasher
  • Sonar recording

Navigation: Unlike the previous models, the Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv has an internal 10 Hz GPS module. That means it’ll refresh your current location up to 10 times per second. Apart from location augmentation via WAAS/EGNOS, it also features a GPS speed function.

Other noteworthy features-

  • Storing up to 5,000 waypoints via memory
  • 50 tracks with 50k/track
  • Can save up to 100 routes
  • Latest Lakevü g3 and Bluechart g3 platform
  • Over 17k rivers, reservoirs and lakes with 1 ft depth contour for Lakevü g3
  • Quickdraw contours
  • Sail assist

The unit: once out of the box, you’ll see an amazing 10″ 1280×800 pixel matrix display. Even the slightest of detail won’t be missed. The led backlit panel with WXGA color makes the display sharp and crisp. And it’s a joy to use the keypad assisted touchscreen. You can even make your smartphone into a temporary fish finder with just a connection of a cable.

Mount & connectivity: The unit comes with a standard tilt-swivel with a quick-release cradle mount option. You’ll also get a unit cover for extra convenience.

For connectivity, the unit offers both NMEA connectivity and MicroSD card reader option. Now you can share data with different types of Garmin units or activate the unit to link up with other devices like AIS units, Fusion-link suitable radios, VHF radios, external GPS sensors, etc. Despite having not one but 2 MicroSD card reader slot, you won’t be able to use Radar assist like the GPSMAP fish finders.

You will also be able to use the ActiveCaptain app via wireless connectivity to sync the unit with your smart devices. Not only will receive smart notifications, but it will also help you update your fish finder with the latest software.

Our thoughts: The ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv is a high-end fish finder. If you’re not a recreational angler and take your next trophy catch pretty seriously, then this one will fit your needs. Powerful Sonars with highly accurate GPS, this one will change the way you anticipate the underworld.

Pros
  • Powerful sonar performance
  • Upgradable and multiple software functions
  • Touchscreen operation takes the experience to a whole another level
Cons
  • Not compatible with Navionics charts and Radar assistance

3. Garmin echoMAP 54cv with CHIRP & transducer

Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54cv with transducer, 010-01799-01

 

Spec

  • Display: 5″ diagonal 480H×480V WQVGA
  • 2D sonar Frequency angle with coverage: 80kHz at 24°, 160 kHz at 13° ( with inbox Transducer )
  • Downvü: 245-275 kHz at 2° fore to aft/ 51° side to side, 445-465kHz at 1.4°/29° side to side
  • Depth: 2D= 1,800 ft (548m)
  • Downvü= 1,000 ft (305m)
  • 5Hz internal GPS
  • GT23M- TM (4 Pin) Transducer
  • 500 Watts (RMS) power output

Description: Although the Garmin echoMAP 54cv may have been 2 years old, it still brings some relevance to fish finding market. The unit’s rebranded term Downvü turned into Clearvü from the previous 54DV model.

Sonar & Transducer: Chirp technology has allowed the 54cv Transducer to utilize 2D sonar at multiple frequencies. The Chirp can modulate the sonar pulse within different ranges of frequency like 50/77/200 kHz for 2D and 260/445/800 kHz for downvü. Or should I say, Clearvü for this particular model? You’ll be having clutter-free images with excellent target separation capability in between fishes.

Those sonar frequencies are the capability of the unit. However, the onboard Transducer is a mid-range one. Its CHIRP can modulate somewhere between 80-160 kHz for 2D and 245-260/455-465 kHz respectively. The advantage you’ll have with the wider Clearvü beam. Good enough in this price range. You can shoot beam as deep as 1,800 ft for 2D and 1,000 ft for Clearvü. The recommended boat speed is 6 MPH but anything higher than 25-30 MPH may ruin your Transducer feedback on the display.

You can also have some additional features like-

  • Split-frequency
  • Sonar recording & rewinding
  • Data graphs
  • Bottom Lock
  • Circular Flasher
  • Split-zoom etc.

Navigation: You may have guessed it, it’s a good fish finder for maps with Chartplotter. The internal 5hz GPS/GLONASS module delivers accurate positioning data with a total refresh rate of 5 times per second. The preloaded Bluechart g2 HD maps cover the US coastal area along with the West and the East coast. You’ll also have access to the great lakes (US part) and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Garmin echoMAP 54cv also packs features like-

  • Today stations
  • IALA symbols
  • Excellent Zoom & chart boundaries continuity
  • Currents
  • Depth colors
  • Bathymetric contour
  • Can save up to 5,000 waypoints and 100 routes
  • The trail recording function allows 50,000 track points and nearly 50 tracks.
  • Quickdraw contours and a few more

The unit control features: The first thing you’ll notice is the 5″ WQVGA display. It has a resolution of 480H×480V. You will either choose to view your 2D sonar and Clearvü or to your charts and Clearvü in the split-screen system. The display is sharp and crisp with a great viewing angle. It also maintains visibility even under direct sunlight.

The IPx7 waterproofing will ensure the safety of your investment in the rain and even up to 1-meter submersion of the water.

Mount: The Transducer offers transom mount right out of the box.

Other notable features are:

  • Built-in temperature sensor
  • 30 ft Cable
  • MicroSD card reader slot
  • NMEA 0183 & NMEA 2000 adapter cable. NMEA 2000 cable is capable to integrate with the boat’s grid system
  • 4-pin Transducer
  • Included adapter for 8-pin Transducer
  • Garmin Connect

Our thoughts: Garmin is a game-changer in the Fishfinder industry with the introduction of CHIRP technology. It’s still producing amazing Fishfinder with numerous features with a competitive price tag. To me, the Garmin echoMAP is an excellent choice for those who want a compact unit with good Sonar capability. And with excellent Chartplotters and precision GPS, it’d be hard to pass this one by. Arguably the best Garmin fish finder for the money.

Pros
  • Dual-frequency Sonar with superior 2D and Clearvü image
  • Reliable and accurate GPS Function
  • Friendly user interface with plenty of preloaded maps
Cons
  • The User manual isn’t specified for this particular unit

4. Garmin Striker 7SV with transducer

Garmin Striker 7SV with transducer, 010-01809-00

 

Spec

  • Screen: 7″ diagonal WVGA 800×480
  • SONAR: Standard high-wide chirp, Sidevü & Down Imaging
  • Down Imaging: 455/800kHz
  • Sidevü: 455/800kHz
  • IPX7 water rating
  • WiFi & integrated GPS

Description: The Garmin Striker 7SV features unmatched Sonar tech but lacks a little in navigation functions. But makes up with its Chirp sidevü capability. Not only you don’t need to pay anything for extra plotter function, but the unit also comes with a transducer.

Sonar & Transducer: The Garmin 7SV offers more than their specified number. The unit’s traditional sonar is capable of 50/77/200 kHz of pulse rating. Whereas both the down and sidevü offers identical rating at 260/455/800 kHz. That’s where the Chirp technology pushes the unit’s capability with the aid of Chirp GT52HW-™ Transducer.

Basically, you’ll get a very crisp, detailed and clean image from the Sonar feedback. Both the down and sidevü will help you detect your possible fishing spot efficiently. Chirp downvü makes it easier to separate fish from brush piles and other submerged vegetation. And Chirp sidevü scans larger areas to locate underwater structures like natural timbers, bush beds, the edge of a channel Creek. The combination of these techs ensures successful fishing session, Every time.

GPS: The GPS system is pretty basic in comparison to that awesome Sonar system. The unit rocks a basic system with the absence of chart plotter. It’s not a deal-breaker though. The system can still generate accurate coordination and the speed of your boat. You’ll also have 5,000 waypoints storage facility. Not bad for a basic navigation system.

The unit: The first thing you’ll notice is the sharp and crisp 7″ WVGA screen. It can show 3 split screen. So you can have multiple functions active at the same time. Like 2D Sonar, Chirp Downvü and Chirp sidevü combination. Also, the readability of the screen is good. You can see everything clear under direct sunlight. Even if you have sunglasses on. Polarized sunglasses will be much effective.

The unit is also IPx7 waterproof and has mount support on Minn Kota and Motorguide trolling motor. There are also options for a portable kit and integrated transducer. Although the unit comes with tilt standard mount.

Pros
  • Multiple 2D Sonar available
  • Waypoints data is sharable with ECHOMAP (via data cable)
  • Powerful Sonar performance
Cons
  • GPS function could use a little upgrading

5. Garmin Striker 4

Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional Transducer

 

Spec

  • Display: 3.5″ 480×320 HVGA color backlit
  • Dual Frequency CHIRP
  • Transducer frequency: CHIRP 77/200 kHz
  • High precision internal GPS
  • 5000 waypoints

Description: Garmin produced a number of features packed fish finder in their entry model segments. The Garmin Striker 4 can also be called as the fish finder for beginners. Besides, you’re getting a compact design with a CHIRP. I don’t know any other manufacturer ordering CHIRP in this kind of price range.

Transducer: The  010-10249-20 transducer of Garmin Striker 4 is a 4-pin connector. The two conical beams 15°/200 kHz and 45°/77 kHz. But if you want to scan deeper, the transducer will work at 50/200 kHz frequency. Although this kind of frequency is only available for mid and high CHIRP.

Low CHIRP isn’t supported by this unit. You’ll get 1,600 ft in freshwater and 750 ft in Saltwater. This kind of depth is only possible at 50 kHz. The onboard Transducer of Striker 4 can scan somewhere at 800 ft. Not bad for a compact fish finder.

With the aid of CHIRP SONAR, you’ll still get amazing details from Striker 4. So even at this price range, you’ll enjoy better image quality, great target separation, less to no clutter.

Navigation: Despite having a high-precision integrated GPS module, I would like to have chart plotter as well. I know in this price range this sounds criminal. But I think Garmin missed a great opportunity to dominate the budget fish finder criteria.

The GPS although lets you mark your favorite waypoints. So you can later come along and score some big catch. You’ve got more than 5,000 waypoints to make. Which is way more than you think.

The unit: Garmin Striker has a small 3.5″ HVGA display. The screen resolution and performance is acceptable. Especially under this kind of price range. You’ll be able to read information quite easily. Even if it’s a midsummer day.

Garmin Striker 4 may have some shortcomings in the feature and screen size, but boy they built-in like a stone. The unit feels solid in hand and the IPx7 waterproofing is like icing on the cake. It also has the ability to survive within 1 meter of freshwater. ( Not recommend)

Sticker 4 also lacks in the memory department. With the absence of a MicroSD card slot, you can’t store all your preferred data in this unit alone. But Garmin has given us a solution via NMEA connectors. Other units that have ECHOMAP and the identical unit can share data via data cable. The unit has swivel mount and power cable in the box.

Our thoughts: You know what I’m gonna say. Yes, it’s one of the best fish finders for beginners. Just enough features, Excellent build quality, powerful CHIRP SONAR and excellent pricing. The Garmin Striker 4 has the ability to strike hearts across the novice anglers. In addition, veteran anglers can also be benefitted from this unit. Imagine you went on a vacation for a week and found a way to cast some lines from a boat!

Pros
  • The unmatched price tag in contrast with features
  • Compact & durable design
  • Multiple features like A-Scope, Ultrascroll, Flasher, Fish symbol and others
Cons
  • No cover
  • No latitude and longitude data

Why should you choose Garmin?

There are several facts which makes Garmin fishfinder a go-to choice. The first thing you’ll see is-

Reasonable pricing. In contrast with other top-end fish finder manufacturer, Garmin has maintained an attractive price tag that is hard to resist. Have a moment to look into the difference between the Garmin Striker, Humminbird Helix, and Lowrance Hook series. The price fares to Garmin with adequate if not more features. Which leads to-

Better features than its competitors. When a product reflects better features with fair pricing, it’s bound to be one of the market leaders. You can find fish finder in the Striker series priced less than 200 bucks which rock both down and side imaging. Also, you’ll find CHIRP 2D sonar with either down or side imaging for a fraction of a price. And their

Build quality is also commendable. Nearly all of their fish finders feel solid in hand. Even in rigorous use, these units are well built to withstand any harsh conditions. And the presence of IPx7 or higher certified waterproofing makes you confident enough to invest your hard-earned money. That brings us to its

User-friendly interface. It’s super clean and easy to understand. Trust me, you won’t get lost in the menus. I also like the vibrant GPS graphs and relevant easy to read icons. Which brings me to their

Customer service. Since your fish finder is electrical equipment, problems are more likely to occur. Whether you need assistance to replace hardware or updating the software, you’ll find the Garmin customer support team always eager to help.

FAQ

1. What is the ideal screen size of a fish finder?

A. The ideal screen size depends on your preference. You will find the screen size from 3.5″ up to 16″. Some budget models like the Humminbird Helix 5 series offer 5″ display. Anything above that may cost you extra cash. My personal choice is 9″. It’s a decent size that supports three split-screen at once.

But before you decide, check the pixel matrix and display panel. If it’s led backlit than go for it. And don’t choose anything below 800×480 if your preferred screen size is 5*.

2. What is the best depth finder Frequency?

A. For depth finder frequency, the latest fish finder will offer dual-beam pulses and chirp sonar. So you can modulate the frequency in between 50/83/200 kHz or vise Versa.

For maximum depth finder performance, 83 kHz is considered the standard frequency. Although 50 kHz can scan deeper the feedback lacks in quality.

3. What are the causes of bottom loss?

A. Bottom loss means when your fish finder isn’t getting the right depth despite being capable. You will experience such incidents in the wake of another boat trails. Or it could be yours as well.

The aerated water creates so many bubbles which disrupt the sonar pulse which leads to fish finder bottom loss. Sometimes plankton or too much debris in the water trigger this problem.

Even at the deep sea when you are sweeping through the bottom, The extra amount of air from rough seawater combined with ideal hull design may create the bottom loss.

4. What are the suitable frequencies for shallow, mid and deepwater?

A. A good fish finder unit uses less power and more frequencies with ample saturation to receive data with minimum noise. Always remember, lower frequency travel deeper than sound waves. So keep your frequency lower for deeper sonar feed.

Deep– Anything over 1,500 ft requires less than 140 kHz frequency.

Mid– Keep the frequency from 83 to 150 kHz if you want to scan anything as deep as 600 to 1,500 ft.

Shallow– Use anything over 150 kHz for depth lower than 600 ft.

These are the typical rules. But the frequency may vary depending on models and technology.

5. How can I reverse transducer growth?

A. There are a few ways to reverse the growth process on a transducer. However, prevention is greater than cure. You can use anti-fouling water-based non-metallic paint to prevent transducer growth from ever taking place.

And now comes the recovery part. Once your transducer is affected, use a soft cotton or fiber cloth and wash the transducer with a mild detergent agent. But in severe cases, the Green Scotch Brite pad is the key. But don’t get carried away though. You might end up scratching the transducer.

You can also wet-sand the paddle wheel on the speed sensor using a premium quality wet/dry sandpaper.

PS: Don’t paint the paddle wheel of our transducer (if it has one). And paint in every six months if transducer growth keeps recurring.

 

Finally,  our list consist of five models is carefully selected. Each product is the best Garmin fish finder in the different price category. Now it’s up to you to get one according to your budget.

What I personally like about Garmin fish finder is their reliability and competitive pricing. Their ‘no compromise on quality’ moto has kept them at the top of the fishing game.

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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