Best Fish Finder GPS Combo: Chartplotter Sonar Units Reviewed

Choosing a fish finder with GPS and chartplotting capability is vital to your fishing success. See here to get info on the best fish finder GPS combos

Having a fish finder and GPS combo for your next fishing trip can help you pinpoint the location of the biggest fish or groups of bait fish that are prey for larger and faster predatory fish such as pike.

With so many fish finder sonar units on the market, it can be difficult to decide exactly which one is right for you. Between Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin, and other brands, you may be at a loss for which fish finder feature is needed to enjoy your fishing trip, and which fish finder feature is just an added expense you can do without.

In this article, we will review several of the top names in fish finder GPS combos and check out their features, pros, and cons. We’ll also go over some of the most important features to look for in a fish finder sonar unit, as well as cover some burning questions that have been asked.

Fish finder GPS combo
The fish finder uses sonar technology to detect and display images of fish and other underwater structures, while the GPS component provides navigation, mapping, and location information.

Best Fish Finder GPS Combo Quick Picks

Best Overall
Lowrance HDS Pro
9.8

This fish finder is the best combination of function and price. It offers not only CHIRP sonar but StructureScan functions to handle up to 750 feet of water vertically with a full 16:9 backlit 7-inch display.

Best Budget
Garmin Striker Vivid SV
9.7

Offering some high-level fish finder sonar capabilities and a large and clear backlit display in the 7” size for easy viewing, this fish finder sonar includes a 12-pin GT52HW model transducer with two mount options to get you started within minutes!

Best for Kayaks or Small Boats
Lowrance Elite FS
9.6

Intuitive and easy-to-use touchscreen display with integrated Bluetooth connection so you can control it from your smartphone as well. This sonar offers a quick and easy single-transducer setup with both side and down imaging.

Best Fish Finder GPS Combo: Full Reviews

Lowrance Hook Reveal
Lowrance Hook Reveal
Lowrance Hook Reveal
Our Score

One of the biggest draws to the Hook Reveal is the addition of a pulsed CHIRP fish finder sonar that spreads out in a large cone and provides clear and easily readable imaging on the HD display monitor.

Whether you are moving at a comfortable trolling speed, or are zooming from one fishing hotspot to another as quickly as you can, the Lowrance Hook Reveal fish finder can provide great images in both 3D and 2D formats.

When it comes to the integrated GPS, the internal antenna on this fish finder can pinpoint your location across thousands of lake and waterway maps in the database, giving you one-finger access to updated charts, waypoint maps, danger zones, and some of the best fishing spots that body of water can offer.

You will have your choice of transducers that work flawlessly with this fish finder unit. Those transducers include the 50/200 HDI, the TripleShot, and the SlipShot. The SlipShot transducer is the most budget-friendly, but if you are looking for at least side scan and structure map capabilities, the TripleShot is your best option. For the best depth and range readings, anglers can’t go wrong with the HDI.

  • Has an adjustable depth alarm
  • Clear display shows the water temperature
  • Makes use of Genesis Maps feature

 

Humminbird Helix
Humminbird Helix
Humminbird Helix
Our Score

Offering a large screen in a 16:9 ratio, you’ll have plenty of room for viewing all of the vital information you need at a glance on this fish finder. Humminbird Helix is the perfect option for beginners and experienced anglers alike since it adds a number of useful innovations to make your next fishing trip an absolute dream.

The basic features of this model include a crystal clear display monitor in high definition 480p resolution, giving you the same clear visibility as a portable tablet or large-screen smartphone. When you need to determine whether that blip on the display is a fish or a structure, you’ll have no trouble doing that on the Humminbird Helix.

Being around water, you might be surprised to know that a number of fish finder and GPS tech combo units are not waterproof. The Humminbird Helix fish finder is, however. It includes IPX7 waterproof coating to keep it working perfectly through rain, water splash, or accidental submersion. This makes it perfect for smaller vessels, dinghies, and kayaks.

When it comes to the best GPS fish finders, you’ll love the high levels of accuracy from this unit. Not only can you see exactly where you are on the lake, but you can see your precise position with extreme accuracy of around 8 feet.

You’ll also find a robust collection of nearly 3,000 pre-installed easy-to-mark waypoints across 3,500 lakes and reservoirs giving you a leg up on the competition when searching for a new bass fishing location.

  • Can cover up to 1500 feet in depth
  • Offers Ethernet connectivity for real-time updates
  • Includes 2 micro SD slots, and NMEA ports

 

Garmin Striker Vivid CV
Garmin Striker Vivid CV
Garmin Striker Vivid CV
Our Score

For any angler that loves fishing from smaller boats or kayaks, or for those that enjoy ice fishing, the Garmin Striker Vivid CV fish finder is an excellent choice due to the attached flasher function. This flasher makes it easier to determine the depth of water vertically while also pinpointing the precise location of fish so you can deliver your fishing lure or bait right into the strike zone.

This high-quality imaging fish finder and GPS combo can easily relay accurate information in a saltwater depth of over 800 feet, or a freshwater depth of more than 1,700 feet thanks to the ClearVu scanning and dual beam sonar with 300 watts of RMS power.

This fish finder unit offers a high level of water resistance, thanks to the IPX7 coating, as well as the watertight casing protecting internal components and wiring. You’ll be able to use this sonar unit in fresh or saltwater and can attach it to a kayak or canoe and not worry about it being ruined in case of accidental short-term submersion

  • Extremely detailed images thanks to the ClearVu scanning
  • Detailed and intuitive interface makes it easy to get the info you need
  • Quick installation with included trolling motor mount
Lowrance Elite FS
Lowrance Elite FS
Lowrance Elite FS
Our Score

Lowrance is at it again with their Elite FS model of fish finding sonar which is perfect for both large fishing vessels and smaller boats. You’ll find this fish finder and GPS combo offers a whole range of features that won’t require a huge learning curve.

The highly responsive touchscreen display on this fish finder makes navigating through the user interface quick and easy, with no guesswork involved. You’ll get a full range of water and sonar details delivered to you in real time without inconsistencies or slow response time.

If you are a new or experienced angler looking for a full range of scanning options on a fish finder, the Lowrance Elite FS fish finder GPS plotting can be exactly what you need. It not only offers traditional sonar but also down scan and side scan capabilities, with a highly responsive and detailed CHIRP sonar for the clearest details on nearby fish and structures.

  • Easily controlled by your phone via integrated Bluetooth
  • Quick and easy single-transducer installation setup
  • Full range of scans including down and side imaging sonar

 

Humminbird Solix
Humminbird Solix
Humminbird Solix
Our Score

For any serious anglers or weekend fishermen that love a large and easy-to-view display, the Humminbird Solix fish finder GPS combo can deliver with the option of a 10-inch or 12-inch screen to suit your needs. Both displays offer high-definition clarity to give you a variety of sonar details on a single screen which are easily read at a glance.

Included CHIRP sonar is dual spectrum giving you well-defined identification of single fish, bait balls, schools, underwater structures, bottom contours, and more. Couple this detailed fish finder sonar result with the large color display and you’ll have no problems locating your next trophy fish.

Connecting to the Humminbird Solix is easy with the included and enhanced Bluetooth connection. You’ll also be able to not only connect to your Humminbird marine electronics but check and adjust settings on the fly from your smartphone while at the other end of the boat monitoring your fishing rods.

  • Crystal clear display for down and side high-quality images
  • Massive displays can be found in 10 or 12-inch sizes
  • Includes two micro SD cards and Bluetooth connectivity

 

Garmin Striker Vivid SV
Garmin Striker Vivid SV
Garmin Striker Vivid SV
Our Score

Including both down-view and side-view sonar technology options that can easily cover up to 750 feet in detail, the Garmin Striker Vivid SV offers both traditional and CHIRP options in an affordable package making it great for casual anglers or beginners.

All of your fish finder imaging sonar details from the single transducer will be cleanly displayed on the 7-inch screen giving you full control over which details you want to view at a moment’s notice. Gone are the days of struggling to adjust a user interface that is not intuitive or easy to view on sunny days since the Garmin Striker Vivid SV offers a well-backlit monitor and an easy-to-navigate interface.

While this fish finder unit does not come preinstalled with thousands of maps, you can create your own with the use of the Quickdraw Contours app. Additionally, you’ll be connecting to the Garmin Striker Vivid SV via your smartphone and Bluetooth most often, though it lacks Ethernet and NMEA compatibility.

  • Includes 12-pin GT52HW model transducer
  • Large and clear 7-inch backlit screen for easy viewing
  • Has mounts for both trolling motor and transom
Lowrance HDS Pro
Lowrance HDS Pro
Lowrance HDS Pro
Our Score

Lowrance has put a lot of time into improving their HDS line of fish finders, and the Lowrance HDS Pro fish finder is no exception. This fish finder GPS combo sonar has been updated and improved over the last several years making it one of the top offerings Lowrance has on the market today.

 Set up with high-quality internal components and a powerful software application, the HDS Pro fish finder GPS combo can be a useful addition to the boat for both professional anglers and casual fishermen. Whether you want a full slew of details shown at once or just a few key features, the 7-inch widescreen display can get you the information you need when you need it.

 Instead of a single transducer, you will find two transducers on this fish finder GPS combo unit with one offering 83/200 kHz and the other offering a more robust 455/800 kHz frequency. Making use of StructureScan gives you near photographic quality on scans showing contours, structures, and fish in the area, while the temperature graph updates every second with real-time water temperature information. 

  • Includes CHIRP sonar with StructureScan
  • Can handle up to 750 feet of water depth
  • Large 7-inch backlit HD 16:9 display monitor
Humminbird Apex
Humminbird Apex
Humminbird Apex
Our Score

As one of the top names in the industry, Humminbird put a whole host of bells and whistles on their Apex series fish finder GPS combo fishing sonar making them a perfect addition to the boat for both professional tournament anglers as well as casual weekend beginners.

Starting off with the high-definition full-color display that offers a massive 1920 x 1080 resolution will give you the clearest view of the surrounding water you have ever seen. The fish finder display and console are sleek and look great when mounted to the helm making it perfect for charter boats.

Humminbird went big and impressive when it came to the sonar offering dual spectrum CHIRP sonar to offer a clear view of fish and structures in the area, along with MEGA side imaging and MEGA down imaging technology that can reach more than 250 feet below and to the sides of the boat when paired with the included Airmar transducer.

If that wasn’t enough, the Humminbird Apex also includes a massive library of included charts on rivers, coastline, lakes, and reservoirs numbering 10-12 thousand. You also have the option of upgrading your charts to the CoastMaster version which adds additional information such as ledges, drops, depth changes, and tides to set you ahead of the competition when it comes to finding big trophy fish.

  • Includes Airmar transducer for CHIRP sonar
  • Stylish and sleek display with 1920x1080 resolution
  • Massive amount of preloaded charts and easy-to-mark waypoints

 

Fish Finder GPS Combos: Buyers’ Guide

Fish finder GPS combo 2
Fish finders allow anglers to easily locate and track fish, navigate to their favorite fishing spots, and store and recall important fishing information.

Choose a Screen Size

While many anglers will focus on the features a fish finder and GPS combo offers, these features are useless without the right size and quality of display. You can find displays in a variety of sizes and qualities from 4 inches to 12 inches, with some even larger.

High resolution is important, so try to go with at least 720 by 480, or 480p resolution. Larger resolutions are always better, with 1920 by 1080, or 1080p resolution, being the top of the line for display units.

While larger can be better, you won’t want to be dealing with a 12-inch display screen if you are a kayak fishing angler. In this case, smaller screens can still offer crystal clear views of your fish finder sonar – they simply lack the screen space to add extra details and may involve a few more button presses to get the information you need when you need it (see here for our favorite fish finders for kayak fishing).

For example, on a full-size 1080p 12-inch display screen, you can have multiple views on screen at once from your various imaging sonars in a split screen or 4-box grid, with a vertical sidebar showing water temperature, depth, and other related information.

On a smaller screen, you won’t be able to do that. Instead, you will normally have to switch between slides to see the fish finder sonar view you want at the time, as well as check another separate slide for water details and information.

Choose Other Features: Downscan, Sideview, Active Imaging

The imaging that you choose to go with can depend on a variety of factors including your set budget, the brand of fish finder sonar unit, and the size of vessel you will be using the fish finder sonar on.

Two well-known scanning features are DownScan and SideView or SideScan. This help to give you the total picture of the water below and around your boat so you can easily pinpoint the precise area to troll in order to locate fish.

For example, when using side-scanning sonar, you can see fish and structures a couple of hundred feet to either side of your boat. This will help you determine which direction you should move in order to get closer to suspended fish or schools (see here for our favorite fish finder models with sidescan).

Down scan will give you the picture of what’s directly below you. If you’ve been trolling towards a school, a down scan can let you know when you are right over those fish so you can simply drop a lure right into the water (see here for our advice on how to read a fish finder). 

Both side and down scanning fish finder sonar offers a range of clarity, with some of the best sonar offering picture quality imaging and others giving you rough blips and letting you do the educated guesswork in determining just what you might be looking at.

DownScan is an extremely popular and almost required scan for chartplotting which reaches an average depth of 400 feet. Since it shows you not only the contours of the bottom, but also natural and manmade structures that may be there, you can set key points for your journey to return to later such as sunken ships, caves, large coral beds, and more.

Consider Mounting Methods for Your Boat

Ensuring your sonar has a good and solid mounting spot is important for getting the best view on your display. Many sonar units will include mounting hardware, but some will not and it will be up to you to decide not only the type of mount you want but the best one for that particular sonar unit.

Mounting your fish finder is easy (see here for tips and instructions), and will simply require a suitable spot on the helm of your vessel or the support bar on your portable vessel for kayak and canoe anglers. However, mounting the transducer is where problems can start to arise. Mounting it too close to certain vibrations, near the propeller, or near the water jets can distort or even completely ruin the imaging.

Gimbal mounts are extremely easy to use and are great for small crafts such as kayaks, canoes, rafts, dinghies, RHIBs, and more. You won’t need a permanent mounting spot for a gimbal and can instead move it around as you see fit throughout your trip.

Transom mounts are the most popular options but can be somewhat tricky depending on your engine since there can be some interference if the transducer is installed too close to the propeller, water jets, or vibrations from the motor itself.

Another thing to keep in mind with transom mounts is that you will need to secure the unit below the waterline which may require drilling holes into your boat for the mounting brackets. Instead of doing this and risking damage or future leaks, you can also look into hole-less mounting plates which use waterproof adhesive for safe and secure, long-lasting mounting.

Consider Compatibility With a Trolling Motor

Like outboard motors, trolling motors can sometimes cause interference with your transducer. Not only that but some trolling motors are installed in the exact spots you would normally put a transducer, leaving you to find an alternative spot for your fishing sonar.

Additionally, some sonar can interface with your trolling motor, letting you adjust the speed and plotted chart directions on the fly. The trolling motor will automatically make adjustments on that speed and direction while you are away from the helm tending to your fishing rods in the water.

Fish finder GPS combo 4
The integration of a fish finder and GPS into one device provides a more efficient and informed fishing experience, allowing anglers to focus on what they love most – fishing.

Fish Finder GPS Combo: FAQs

Which Fish Finder Is Easiest to Use?

While this will depend on what you are hoping to achieve and what you expect in a fishing sonar, u003cstrongu003eu003ca href=u0022https://tacklevillage.com/best-lowrance-fish-finder/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u00223957u0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eLowranceu003c/au003e takes the cake with their Hook2 seriesu003c/strongu003e as one of the best fish finder GPS combos on the market today.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThis marine electronics sonar is not only affordable but offers autotuning sonar frequencies and no learning curve. The user interface is easy to navigate and simple, giving you more time to enjoy the views.

Which Fish Finder GPS Combo Has the Best Mapping?

Almost every higher-end fish finder GPS combo sonar model in the Humminbird line has extremely high-end mapping capabilities, chartplotting abilities, and waypoint systems.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eIf you are looking for an included library of maps showing lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and coastal areas, Humminbird can provide that. Their Apex model u003cstrongu003eoffers more than 10,000 preinstalled chartsu003c/strongu003e which can get you started on some epic adventures on the water.u003cbru003eFor more info on mapping packages check our articles on u003ca href=u0022https://tacklevillage.com/lakemaster-vs-navionics-mapping-cards-compared/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u00221010440u0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eLakemaster vs Navionicsu003c/au003e maps and u003ca href=u0022https://tacklevillage.com/navionics-vs-c-map/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u00221010188u0022u003eNavionics vs C-MAP mapsu003c/au003e.

Which Fish Finders Do the Pros Use?

While this will again depend on what the pro in question prefers from their fish finder GPS combo fishing sonar, the u003cstrongu003eLowrance HDS Live 12 has been rated one of the most popularu003c/strongu003e fish-finding imaging sonar for professional tournament anglers to date.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eWhen asked why they love the HDS Live 12 so much, many anglers will say it’s due to the u003cstrongu003eextreme clarity and details of the imaging on the massive 12-inch displayu003c/strongu003e, as well as the enhanced mapping and Navionics with more than 4,000 preloaded enhanced maps.

Is Sideview Important?

For anglers that spend a lot of time in open water or deep areas, such as large lakes, reservoirs, or the ocean, side view is not going to be top of the list when it comes to important features. That would be where you want your down imaging to shine and take the cake in performance.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHowever, if you u003cstrongu003espend a lot of time fishing in shallow water such as rivers, coastal areas, baysu003c/strongu003e, and more, side view can be a vital component of your fishing setup. Side view helps you find fish that may be highly active or flighty, as well as those that stay in the topwater areas of the lake or river.

How About CHIRP Sonar?

While many anglers swear by their 2D traditional sonar technology, Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse or u003ca href=u0022https://tacklevillage.com/what-is-chirp-sonar/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u00221009216u0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eCHIRP technologyu003c/au003e is a vu003cstrongu003eery useful upgrade when you want a clear view of exactly what is around youu003c/strongu003e. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eWith standard 2D traditional imaging sonar technology, you may see a large blip and wonder if it’s a massive fish or a slowly sinking log. With CHIRP, you’ll be able to clearly see what it is and even see the rate it is sinking at.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eMany modern fish finder units u003cstrongu003eoffer both 2D and 3D imagingu003c/strongu003e so you will have the option to choose which you like better. But in most cases, having CHIRP is better since having more detailed information is never a bad thing.

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AUTHOR
Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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