Sonar Brand Battle: Lowrance vs Humminbird

Lowrance and Humminbird are perhaps the two biggest names when it comes to sonar/GPS fish finder units on the market today.

While both are great brands in their own right, there are differences that separate the two.

In this article we will take a look at those differences and make our pick of what brand we think is ahead of the game.

Reputation – Lowrance vs Humminbird

Lowrance

Lowrance has a high reputation among the recreational and tournament fishing crowd. It’s easy to use, give anglers a plethora of features and options, and come with all an angler could need when out on the water.

Features like Chartplotting and accurate GPS, down scan and side scan, featuring a crystal clear high definition display and incredibly accurate sonar readings at a decent price range for multiple budgets really sway the recreational angling communities to purchase their products. The reviews of anglers who use Lowrance is therefore generally very positive.

Humminbird

Humminbird has been a company at the forefront of sonar/GPS fish finders and is incredibly popular among anglers across the world as well.

Humminbird and Lowrance are really neck and neck in the fishing scene in my local area, and it’s tough to say if one really outclasses the other in anything other than minute details.

Humminbird has great Sonar capabilities with its down imaging, side imagining, GPS features and the newer models have really gone high tech with touch screen and are incredibly user friendly, probably more so than Lowrance. Humminbird is also Compatible with Lakemaster contour map Cards.

The reviews of anglers and guides who use Humminbird in the field are like Lowrance are glowing and positive.

Features – Lowrance vs Humminbird

Lowrance

Seeing how Lowrance is tailored to recreational anglers, it lacks some of the high tech radar and navigation features that are required when fishing far out from land on the open seas.

While the GPS used in Lowrance units are still more than capable of aiding any angler in fishing situations, with the ability to waypoint specific spots, chart and map waters and having the ability to use cards like Navionics to illuminate the contours and depths of a particular body of water, or in some cases all major and popular waterways in a particular state or province.

The Down imaging and Side Imaging quality is very comparable between Lowrance and Humminbird units and gives a sharp and clear picture of what’s below.

Humminbird

Humminbird units like Lowrance have a plethora of features for angling. From down imaging, chartplotting, GPS, side imaging and more.

Humminbird is incredibly user friendly with an interface and settings/menu that is incredibly easy to change on the water depending on your current fishing situation.

One of Humminbird’s new features to have come out rather recently is the SmartStrike feature, this feature takes the body of water and Lakemaster contours and uses a special algorithm to give the user likely fish locations, this algorithm allows you to input data such as fish species, weather conditions, time of day and year, water conditions and wind.

After inputting the data the algorithm will show on the contour map likely fish location. This is just one of many features that humminbird units give anglers.

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Technological Innovations

Lowrance

Lowrance has some of the most detailed and crisp imaging in the sonar industry, allowing you to see structure in incredibly fine detail from individual branches, stumps and trees, to individual fish in a school.

This technology really helps anglers figure out what’s going on below the surface compared to the older units of years past that showed blobs with very little detail other than that there was indeed something under your boat.

Like Humminbird and other brands, Side scan, down scan and GPS are included in most modern units as well.

Some Lowrance units also have their amazing FishReveal technology, this tech minimizes weaker sonar returns and boosts solid returns to give crystal clear separation for fish in schools in high detail.

And last but not least other capabilities that can be included or are sold in certain units is the LiveSight technology.

LiveSight Sonar gives anglers the ability to track their own lures or fish movement in real time with a wider coverage area and at greater distances than previous models.

Allowing you to fine tune any presentation or pinpoint a specific fish or school of fish, this feature works great in jigging applications in particular.

Humminbird

Humminbird like Lowrance has quite a few technological innovations in their own right. We already touched up on the SmartStrike features that help anglers find potential fish hangouts based on conditions and species, but they also have much more to offer.

Including the regular Humminbird down and side imaging they now have MEGA down imaging in their units.

This increases the depth readings to 200 feet while offering 20% more clarity and detail on the display. With MEGA down imaging they also now have the full 360 degree MEGA imaging to give you an all around view of the water around your boat.

One other great feature is the I-Pilot setup which links your GPS/sonar unit to your trolling motor, allowing you to follow set contours by depth using autopilot allowing you to fish while the trolling motor does all navigation work on its own.

Mapping System – Lowrance vs Humminbird

Lowrance

The Mapping on the Lowrance line of units mainly consists of different C-MAP packages depending on state, province or region you live in. along with C-MAP you can also purchase the navionics SD card of maps for your region separately for incredibly detailed bathymetric mapping of your favorite bodies of water.

Navionics is the best choice between the two and we recommend all anglers to purchase navionics for their contour map needs instead of relying on the built in C-MAP package.

Humminbird

Humminbird has Integrated mapping systems in each GPS unit and are based on data from both lakemaster and the NOAA, but some of these maps like C-MAP can be pretty bland without much detail on some bodies of water.

Like Lowrance and navionics we highly recommend buying the Lakemaster SD map cards for your state, region or body of water.

These maps are in my opinion generally more accurate on many bodies of water than Navionics, and in terms of aftermarket mapping solutions for units wins.

User Interface – Lowrance vs Humminbird

Lowrance

Lowrance is pretty user friendly and straightforward with its interface design and layout. Giving you a simple menu and options to choose in terms of switching from GPS to Down imaging for example.

You can also easily switch your sonar and GPS settings quickly and easily in most cases. And you can also have up to 4 split screens to see multiple sonar and GPS readings simultaneously.

Humminbird

Humminbird is on the same standard in terms or user interface with Lowrance and in my personal usage having owned and used both units actually seems to be quite a bit more user friendly and easy to use and change things like settings.

But all things considering any angler can figure out both units easily enough.

Popular Models

Lowrance

Hook Reveal

The Hook Reveal is Lowrance’s entry-level range sonar unit. Even though it is considered an entry level unit, it’s still packed with features.

With the Triple Shot model you get conventional sonar, structure downscan and side imaging. The split shot models have conventional sonar and downscan but lack the side imaging sonar feature.

This model also has Lowrance’s FishReveal technology, which applies the coloured fish arches to the downscan images.

This is a game changer for units in this price range, and arguably is most important in these entry level models.

The FishReveal technology helps entry level angers identify fish signatures on sonar easier when downscan would give a more subtle image that entry level users might miss.

Elite Ti2 Series

The Elite Ti2 series line is for the avid anglers who want the most out of a unit without spending the money of the top priced units such as anglers that fish up to multiple times a week and are focused on success.

It’s a professional grade fish finder for a mid-range price and offers some great features and value.

The Elite Ti2 is a significant step up from the Hook Reveal series as it offers touch-screen technology and wifi connectivity allowing you to connect to your phone, share waypoints with others and link up with multiple units without the need for cables.

The Elite Ti2 uses Lowrance’s Active Imaging transducer to produce high definition and crystal clear sonar images.

HDS Live Series

The HDS is Lowrance’s professional grade line with touchscreen, Active Imaging transducer, the highest level of wireless and wired connectivity and great performance.

It also offers Lowrance’s LiveSight technology – which offers a real-time view of the water and structure below including real time fish movement, and even allowing you to view your presentations, your lure depth, fish reactions to it and more so that you can adjust accordingly.

It’s another valuable tool for your fishing arsenal that helps set Lowrance apart from the competition.

Humminbird

Helix Series

The Helix series is the new bread and butter line from Humminbird. It has some excellent sonar capabilities, including the mega MEGA 360 imaging and down imaging.

The 360 imagining can be used as sonar which views the depths in a full 360 degrees around your boat, or if you wish you can switch it to side imaging only.

Along with the GPS and Lakemaster capabilities they also feature the Coastmaster cards as well for the saltwater angler.

They also have variants in the networking capabilities with the G2 and G3 models not having networking and the G3N and G4N models being networking capable.

The models are also bluetooth compatible with your smartphone humminbird app.

Solix Series

The Solix series is Humminbird’s high end unit. It has a large flat screen display featuring chartplotting, excellent GPS and can even be used to see radar for any incoming weather that may be moving into your area.

Features such as MEGA imaging+, dual spectrum CHIRP, and Autochart live, and I-Pilot are all included.

The sonar readings are sharp and highly detailed and the contour and charting displays are some of the best in the industry.

Piranha Max

The Piranha max is the cheapest units offered by Humminbird and are pretty bare bones, featuring down imaging as the only real feature.

It’s made for two particular groups. Ice fishermen, and kayak anglers.

Humminbird offers ice fishing packages with mobile carry case and battery setup making it incredibly light and mobile.

As well as having swivel mounts to adjust as needed. The sonar transducer is also a double beam setup allowing you to choose between narrow and wide sonar cones.

Check out this demo of Lowrance’s top-end HDS Live range

Picking the Winner

In our book, when using on the weekend or even on a professional or serious level such as guiding or tournament fishing, Lowrance takes the cake. It’s really hard to beat their layout and setups.

The main reason for this decision is the Livesight and FishReveal technologies on the newest generation of sonar units.

These features really shine once you learn to use them, and if you try them, there may be no turning back to any other brand of sonar unit on the market today.

Conclusion

While we picked Lowrance as the winner, it doesn’t mean that Humminbird is not a capable unit by any means, and the two brands are arguably the top two fish finder unit brand on the market today.

So in a way it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges, and you may find that a Humminbird may be better suited for your type of fishing. But Lowrance should be the clear pick for most anglers today.

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