Sonar systems – 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 sonar system. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Marcum LX-7 is the best because it features an 8-inch LCD screen and up to four user-selectable color palettes. The neat thing about this model is that it takes the idea of user-friendly to a whole new level. If you choose this device, you’ll be able to set the right settings with ease and see all the info regarding the depth, range, interference rejection, targets and much more. If the Marcum LX-7 is unavailable, you should consider the Deeper Smart as it is a reliable alternative in terms of performance and quality.
Our top choices
It’s not easy to find a premium sonar system, as the best ones don’t come with a tag that says they are of top quality and should be purchased by consumers. Fundamentally, the burden of proof is with the buyer, who has to do a decent amount of research and reading to ensure making an intelligent purchase. These three products have always been considered top rated by satisfied users.
This model is among the most versatile alternatives we have stumbled upon and that’s because it’s both a fish finder and an ice fishing sonar system into one. It’s convenient and easy to utilize, despite the fact that most ice fishers tend to think that the display of sonars is often anything but user-friendly.
On the one hand, it’s very likely that you will enjoy the large 8-inch screen that this unit has been outfitted with. Besides, it should be noted that the Marcum option comes with four user-selectable color palettes. So, if you’re upgrading your ancient sonar and wouldn’t want to learn the color coding system used by this new one, you needn’t worry about anything.
What’s more, the interface helps you make the most out of the many functions this device is capable of offering. In actuality, you have a high chance of enjoying the multifaceted sonar display LCD windows that this unit boasts.
The neat thing about the transducer that this option comes with is that it has two cone angles, thus allowing you to make the most of the product. In other words, you’ll be able to read the info of at any depth. Based on the owner feedback, both the response and the detail provided by this unit are excellent.
Make the most of this real-time panoramic sonar equipped with a powerful sonar engine. This allows the device to generate detailed underwater images on the real-time display.
Enjoy nothing less than user-preferred, easily viewable images of fish, underwater structures, and lures so you can plan your fishing strategy properly. This provides a good advantage when ice fishing.
With the immersive 8-inch screen, you make the most of the multiple underwater windows to see various aspects underwater. You also have the vertical zoom function, circular flasher, widescreen graph, and a variety of combinations of parameters.
Thanks to the Sonar Footprint, you get to check the extent of the coverage of the onboard transducer. This is critical for pinpointing the fish targets in relation to the position of your lure.
There’s optimal spacing between adjacent sonar signals, so interference is effectively avoided. Target signals are transmitted in less than 0.2 seconds from the water to your screen, for real-time depiction.
A buyer was disappointed to find the unit is not a starter model as it takes a steep learning curve to be able to master its features for optimal operation.Buy from Amazon.com for ($729.99)
The app includes weather, fish activity calendar, maps and sharing functions. The device can be used together with handheld devices such as tablets and Smartphones and is compatible with both Androids and the Apple iOS. Using Bluetooth technology, the sonar system transfers sonar readings to portable devices from up to 150 feet. It doesn’t even require cellular data to run, so it can be used anywhere.
This device is a dual-frequency system that offers ample search for wide areas and high accuracy returns for narrow areas. It works in depths ranging from 1.5 feet to 40 feet, whether in salt or fresh water. Lightweight at just 0.22 pound, the device is much lighter and smaller than any of its competitors.
Installation is a breeze, as this portable device is as small as a tennis ball and needs no wires or external batteries to put in. It goes where other fish finders can’t. The unit is usable on the shore, the dock, on bridges, in boats and kayaks.
There’s a reason why this model carries such a name, and it gives a clue as to why that is so. This sonar system wirelessly connects via Bluetooth to Android and iOS devices such as tablets or smartphones. It also shows deeper images, so to speak.
The screen of your handheld device displays the collected sonar images from the castable system in the water. It enables you to view detailed water column and bottom information directly on the screen of the tablet or smartphone.
Suitable for all fishing styles, this sonar system is versatile enough for ice fishing, shore fishing, boat fishing, shore fishing, riverbank fishing, kayak fishing, and even float tube fishing.
Offering a connection range up to 130 feet in ideal conditions, this device is usable for both fresh and saltwater fishing. It has a working temperature range from -4°F to 104°F to make it suitable for a variety of settings.
The supplied app does not have the ability to refresh the Bluetooth connection from within it, according to a customer who is still satisfied with the unit’s performance despite that deficiency.Buy from Amazon.com for ($183.99)
The HawkEye DF2250FX is a handheld sonar system that enables you to find and detect what is underneath your boat. The convenient handheld design facilitates the easy carrying of the implement so you can hold it easily like a flashlight for an optimal functionality. What’s more, the device does come with a high-output LED flashlight with four colored lenses that allow you to have a good visual capacity of objects under the water.
The unit features a revolutionary Adaptive Software Programming that reduces the incidences of false readings so you can really plan your next step. Delivering depth readings from as shallow as 2.5 feet to as deep as 200 feet, this handheld sonar allows you to navigate on the water in your boat with ease, thus helping you avoid getting snagged in the structure below.
The device also provides temperature readings to the nearest 1/10th Degree so you have a good idea whether you can make a good day of fishing, just choose another spot, or simply pack up and go home. An awareness of the water temperature enables you to know whether the water is conducive to a fish strike or not.
This is a versatile marine tool that provides a Side Scan Fish Detecting Sonar functionality for the scanning of ledges, drop-offs or hiding places of the fish.
This handheld sonar system enables you to search for and identify objects in the water, which enables you to know what lies beneath your boat or on the water so you know exactly what the next plan of action should be.
This exceptional implement comes with an adaptive software programming to ensure that false readings are avoided so what you see is what you get.
The high-output LED flashlight with 4 colored lenses enables you to get a good visibility of the underwater objects to lessen the guesswork and also provide safety in your outdoor activity.
The unit delivers depth readings from a shallow 2.5 feet to a deep 200 feet, enabling you to navigate on the water with ease and without worrying that you could get stuck easily on underwater objects that have protuberances on them.
The device also delivers temperature readings to the nearest 1/10th Degree so you have a general idea how fishing is on a specific spot in the lake or river.
It takes a learning curve to know where the SOS function button is as there is no indicator or label.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($93.12)
One can’t find the best sonar system without investing some time in reading and research. This helps the potential buyer get familiar with the specific elements that determine the ability of the device to assist anglers. To find the fish and hopefully make the season’s best catch, these aspects are what you want to check out in a sonar.
Generally quantified in watts, the power of the best sonar system is an expression of the measurement parameters of the AC voltage total swing from the peak negative to the peak positive value. To describe the output power of the device’s transmitter, experts use the term peak-to-peak (PTP).
Sonars are also evaluated using RMS or root mean square, which denotes the DC voltage that can create an identical heating effect matching the AC voltage. Fishing in considerably shallow water will demand high frequency and less power. Conversely, greater power is required when fishing in greater depths with murky water.
Just like the best fish finders, the sonar system has to be equipped with a powerful transducer that provides the cone angle and operating frequency needed for successful use in the water. Serving as an antenna, the transducer sends out sound waves that get returned to it as echoes. The transducer unit can be mounted inside the hull or on the transom of the boat, or to the trolling motor via a special mounting kit. For large fiberglass boats, a true thru-hull option is ideal.
Consider the type of fishing usually done to help decide on a suitable cone angle.
The display is an essential aspect of any marine GPS unit. Detail is a primary factor, followed closely by pixel. Crude and blocky images result from fewer pixels, while smooth curves, lines, subtle nuances in structure plus thermocline comes from more pixels. In addition, check out devices with high contrast and high resolution.
Some models have straightforward basic displays, while others can be used with a smart handheld device such as a smartphone for viewing of images.
Products that are no longer available
Marcum VX-1P Pro
Designed to deliver total system performance, the Marcum VX-1P Pro Ice Fishing Sonar System / Flasher is equipped with 1,000 watts of peak-to-peak power for superb usability in the water. The unit ships with everything needed for out-of-the-box functionality.
It comes with the VX-1 Sonar powerhead, a rechargeable battery, a charger, an electronics shuttle with an adjustable transducer arm, a gimbal bracket, and a self-aligning transducer. The patented ten-level Interference Rejection system ensures clarity by reducing noise from other devices nearby.
The receiver has an expertly engineered design. Enjoy precise 2-inch target separation on the clear color display. The Bottom Lock Zoom optimizes fish and jig detection by magnifying the bottom of the water column.
The device automatically locks on the bottom by scale, thus delivering 5 inches in 20 and 40 inches scale, 10 inches in 80 inches scale and 20 inches in 160 inches scale, helping the user make sensible choices while fishing. This top-grade flasher unit utilizes TrueColor™technology, which ensures exceptional resolution and sharp and vivid detail. The screen-protecting snow shield ensures lasting use.
Norcross Hawkeye H22PX
Engineered to be a highly versatile handheld depth sounder, the Norcross Hawkeye H22PX Sonar System gives instant depth readings from 2.5 to 199 feet in 1/10th precision. The display will give real-time air and water temperature at the press of a button, along with fish readings. It can be used to shoot through ice in the winter before a hole is cut.
The device is also usable in the summer as a temperature meter and range finder while diving. The onboard Shoot-Thru technology enables the user to obtain readings through boat hulls and the ice. The sonar system is designed for anglers, as it allows users to find where the fish are hiding.
The Norcross Hawkeye H22PX is able to scan an area quickly and efficiently for ledges, drop-offs and of course, hiding fish within 199 feet. It even scans under lily pads, weeds and docks where trophy fish are, so you can make your cast confidently.
The advanced technology on the device scans right through obstructions, including ice or boat hulls in the way.