Marine GPS – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best marine GPS. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc is the best because it’s waterproof, durable, and comes with all the features you might want from such a device. It has been equipped with a highly sensitive GPS receiver that enables it to raise up to par in all marine fishing circumstances. Built-in coastal charts and wireless sharing are two other advantages offered by this unit. If the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc is unavailable, you should consider the Lowrance Mark-4 Marine GPS Navigator as it is a reliable alternative in terms of performance and quality.
Our top choices
After having gone through the best reviews and through thousands of products, we’ve concluded that this device is one of the top-of-the-line ones. It’s waterproof, marine-friendly and comes with a 2.6-inch color display, which is why it is the perfect choice for boating and watersports altogether.
As it was to be expected, it features its own BlueChart mapping system, which includes coastal charts of the United States and Bahamas. Details such as harbors, marinas, shorelines and depth contours are innate features of this unit.
When it comes to connectivity, the Garmin is a net winner. It comes with its own built-in wireless system, which allows users to connect to other wirelessly compatible devices. This makes it possible for buyers to share info such as routes and waypoints.
The manufacturers are offering a 1-year warranty on this product.
Designed to withstand weather conditions for marine activities, this model has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which makes it ideal for water sports.
The coastal charts for the US and Bahamas maritime borders come in handy as they will help you to navigate with ease and always know where you’re going.
Buyers appreciate the built-in wireless connectivity that allows you to share your routes and other information from your marine GPS with other wireless devices, such as your smartphone.
You will love the barometric altimeter included in the construction of the GPS unit that will offer you reliable information on your position, as well as weather conditions.
Batteries are included, which is a great plus, seeing that other manufacturers do not offer their clients the same courtesy.
Entering the information needed for routes and tracking seems to be a tedious process, as some buyers mention in their reviews.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($253.28)
We’ve looked over top marine GPS compared to their less acclaimed counterparts. This Lowrance device was among the most popular ones we’ve come across, although it looks like a pretty basic unit. So, why is it so highly spoken of?
It’s affordable and does the job properly, without complicating things too much because of too many features. The interface is easy to use and provides all the necessary info. Downloading extra maps is possible thanks to the micro SD slot.
The unit comes with its own basemap, it has a built-in GPS antenna and can be used in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to various buyers, the display is easy to see even in direct sunlight. It’s said that this device works best for people who are interested in inshore fishing. Even though the screen displays images in grayscale tones, it’s highly recommended by some customers, as it comes with a size of 3.5-inches and provides accurate readings.
The Lowrance Mark-4 comes equipped with a large 4.3-inch display on which you will be able to read with ease all the information you need.
A transom mount transducer is included with your purchase, so we can safely say that this is a pretty good deal for the price.
You will have access to a base map and will be able to download more maps, using the micro SD card slot available for such a purpose.
One excellent feature offered by this unit is the Advanced Signal Processing that eliminates the need to adjust the screen to see the bottom of the water body and other details.
A simple selector menu allows easy navigation through the options offered, making this GPS unit a must-have for people who are not looking for any bells and whistles.
Users should bear in mind that the screen is easier to read in bright sunlight only if you adjust the screen brightness.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($121.98)
Garmin GPSMAP 64
The GPSMAP 64 is a waterproof and highly sensitive receiver that will assist you in finding your way whether you’re out in the ocean or just having a casual stroll through the woods nearby. Since it comes with a built-in worldwide basemap, you can use this model both safely and efficiently regardless of whether your adventures might take you.
While, in some respects, the features of this alternative might be less impressive when compared to others, the fact of the matter is that it often takes a smaller and more convenient device to get your way back home in one piece.
Besides, it should be noted that the unit comes with an internal memory of 4GB, which means that you have more than enough freedom in regards to the extra maps and info you can load onto the device.
As is the case with other Garmin devices available for sale these days, be they traditional navigational systems or fish finders, this particular one can be used with the complimentary BaseCamp app. The app is free to download from Google Play or the App Store, depending on the operating system of your mobile device. You’ll be able to keep track of your routes and waypoints with this piece of software.
From the start, this model from Garmin impresses with its color screen that offers all the visual information in bright, crisp colors.
A dual rechargeable system makes this item versatile and ideal for people who travel a lot; the replaceable batteries are backed by a rechargeable battery that can be connected to other devices.
Wireless capabilities are superior in this model and allow you to transfer your data to Garmin Connect and other wireless devices, including your smartphone.
You can rely on the extended memory storage of 8GB for the maps you need to use during your travels.
The color screen can be read with ease, even in bright light conditions, such as when you are on a boat, and the sun is up in the sky.
Be aware of the fact that learning how to use all the features present in this model will take some time, as instructions are not always clear.Buy from Amazon.com for ($204.98)
Choosing the right marine GPS
Buying the best marine GPS can look like a daunting task, particularly with the large variety of products that are now available on the market. All things considered, a crucial step towards getting a unit that best speaks to your needs is doing your research. We recommend you go over some marine GPS reviews right after you’ve made up your mind about what you’re looking for in a model.
We’ve put together a short list of things you need to consider before choosing a unit another one. Just remember, reading precious info can help you to make the right call, because purchasing the wrong product might turn you into an unhappy customer.
The number of satellites, the antenna port along with some safety characteristics are among the first details to look for. In order to function properly, a marine GPS requires at least 12 satellites. Some modern models nowadays come with a whopping 24 satellites, and the more they are, the more accurate readings the unit will provide.
Believe it or not, external antennas are still better than their built-in counterparts. Models that feature internal antennas usually have poorer reception.
There’s a plethora of safety details to keep an eye out for, such as an arrival alarm, a collision alarm and a low battery alarm.
Screen size and display
Since most marine GPSs can also be used as fish finders, we’ll tell you that buying a unit that comes with a large-sized screen is the best tip we could give you. If you want to get clear readings and if you want to actually be able to understand them, you definitely need a larger display. Look for information related to the size and the resolution of the display.
Some people like getting a layout of the ocean or lake bed, because it makes them feel safer. If the screen is too small, you won’t have the chance of understanding all these structures.
Portability and connectivity
These devices can be split into two categories: large units and handheld units. Although the handheld ones are undoubtedly smaller and easier to carry around, they might come with a notable disadvantage, as the screen is likely to be smaller. Even larger devices can still be removed, making them also somewhat portable.
Connectivity is a major endeavor. If you want to download or buy extra maps, you’ll need to be able to connect your marine GPS to a computer. The unit can do so via an SD card or a cord, so be on the lookout for these details as well.
This one is the best handheld marine GPS if you’re not looking for a bargain. The price of the item can look a little off-putting compared to the previously described two devices, but it’s definitely hard to say no to, as its features are highly acclaimed.
The Garmin echoMAP GPS 50s can be used as a chartplotter and sounder, and it comes with its own transom mount transducer. In fact, users can choose any mounting option they feel like, as the device features bail mount and flush mount designs. Customers can even opt for the flat mount option.
The unit is compatible with a variety of navigation system aside from the BlueChart g2 vision. Loading maps from a computer is possible considering that the device has a built-in microSD slot.
The screen is a whopping 5-inch color VGA display, and the frequency of the transducer can be customized between 77 kHz and 200 kHz.