Established in 1989, Garmin has since become a household name in fishing gadget technology. This Best Garmin fish finder GPS combo review will show you why the brand is in a class of its own and how it has managed to stay at the forefront of technological innovations, producing sophisticated yet easy-to-use GPS combo devices that have made fishing easier and more fun, like never before.
If you’re on the market to find a device from the reputable brand, we have prepared this Garmin fish finder GPS combo review to help you cut through the marketing buzzwords, which can bring a darn lot of confusion.
Allow us to walk you through the top Garmin fish finder GPS combo models we have listed below, the various reasons why they’re widely preferred over those from other brands, and which one/s we believe would best suit your fishing style and budget.
Garmin Fish Finder GPS Combos vs Other GPS Combo Brands ?
Garmin has already come a long way since its arrival nearly three decades ago. They first started manufacturing GPS devices and have since evolved into producing a broad spectrum of handy outdoor products for anglers and hunters alike. Today, Garmin has maintained its popularity even among the most discerning anglers. Before we proceed with our Garmin fish finder GPS combo review, let’s first check out the different aspects that the brand has continually stood out in over the years.
Over the years, Garmin has gracefully proven that cheap is never synonymous with subpar quality. Case in point: the Garmin Striker 4. The device is one of the most affordable fishfinder GPS combo units you can ever find. Straightforward and compact, it is packed with prime features that you could’ve never expected with its price point.
Year after year, the company continues to produce several other models that flaunt a good combination of conservative price point and unparalleled quality.
FLW Tour Angler of the Years 2013, 2014, and 2016, Andy Morgan, had spoken about his confidence in Garmin products and in their extremely accurate GPS, which constantly assures him that he’s never going to get lost when he’s out on the water. He added that it’s very useful like in instances when you’re stuck in flooded woods and there’s flooded timber everywhere, which can otherwise be fatal, if you’ve got an unreliable GPS. According to Morgan, having a great piece of technology in his hands gives him sheer confidence, which he said he never had until he switched to Garmin.
Another thing very remarkable about Garmin fish finder GPS combos is their durability. All of their devices are, as their byword in one of their international website states, “built to last.” A good fish finder GPS combo needs to withstand extreme wear and tear and harsh weather conditions—apparently, Garmin units do live up to that promise.
Morgan gladly attested to this and mentioned how he runs four Garmin units and regularly puts them through some of the harshest fishing conditions possible: in downpours and even immersed from spearing waves in his open-water fishing trips. He said that in situations as this, he would just hit the power button, and amazingly, the devices would come and stay on until he’s done for the day. He added that when you get something of exceptional quality as these Garmin fish finder GPS combos, it gives you a huge advantage.
If like Andy Morgan, you consider yourself as a simple angler, you’d want a fish finder GPS combo device that is easy to use and doesn’t come with a lot of frills. Garmin electronics boast bare-bones, user-friendly interface, needing no steep learning curve to use. Their menus are easy to scroll through and settings are simple to learn and change.
Reviews of Garmin Fish Finder GPS Combos 2018
Needless to say, if you’re a fishing enthusiast, you will need both a GPS and a fish finder to aid you in reeling in fish. Getting a fish finder GPS combo device lets you hit two birds with one stone, saving you money and space in your boat and making it very convenient having all the data you need right at hand. Enough words! Here are the top Garmin fish finder GPS combo products, complete with details on their features, GPS and sonar technologies, and advantages and drawbacks.
1. Garmin Striker Plus 7SV with CV52HW-TM transducer, 010-01874-00
It’s hard not to impressed by the features and technology the Garmin folks have bundled up into the Garmin Striker Plus 7sv. Taking advantage of what seems to be the most sophisticated CHIRP sonar systems to have ever existed as of late, the Striker Plus 7sv provides 2D sonar information at within the 150 to 240 kHz range, while utilizing a CV52HW/TM transducer. What this means is that you have a lot of active sonar information in your hands while you’re out on the water enjoying your fishing trip.
The device is able to take readings at amazing depths, delivering sheer accuracy that many fish finder GPS combo options at the same price point couldn’t achieve.
When you first lay eyes on the Striker 7sv, you’ll be drawn towards the large, full-color display, which is encapsulated within Garmin’s most rugged housing yet, about 9 x 5 x 2 inches and weighing 24 ounces. This thing is solid, and you don’t have to worry about causing too much damage from a rogue fishing rod bumping the screen or the body.
The Striker 7sv is extremely waterproof, holding an IPX7 rating. Hopefully, you will have the finder mounted somewhere on your boat and it will never be submerged, but you can rest easy knowing that no sort of splash or rain is going to damage the finder. If you are going to be moving it around, there is a portable kit you can get for it to keep it safe while carrying it around, say if you want to use it in a cane, kayak or while ice-fishing. The sealed, rechargeable battery will make sure you have lots of power even if it’s not connected to your boat’s battery.
CHIRP Sonar and Transducer
The transducer included with the Garmin Striker Plus 7sv is pretty much the same as the older GT52HW-TM, only it is the ClearVü model. It’s a plastic transducer, has 20 feet of cable, a 12-pin connector, and integrates a temperature sensor.
The device uses three types of sonar. These are traditional 2D sonar, ClearVü, and SideVü. It uses CHIRP technology for all three sonar types, which comes with several advantages. To begin with, it provides a better separation between targets, so it’s easier to distinguish between fish targets and vegetation or structure. Also, sonar images, whether they’re 2D or CV/SV, have less clutter. As opposed to the older DownVü technology, ClearVü provides slightly wider imaging and an overall better view of the bottom and underwater environment.
In case you’re wondering, this Striker unit is not compatible with Panoptix transducers, nor it has the Panoptix sonar technology.
The device itself is capable of several sonar frequencies. It can use 50/77/200 kHz base frequencies for its traditional 2D sonar, and 260/455/800 kHz for its ClearVü & SideVü. However, with the included CV52HW-TM transducer, it can only use a High Wide CHIRP frequency with a modulation between 150 and 240 kHz, and 455/800 kHz for CV/SV, the CHIRP modulation intervals being 425-485 kHz and 790-850 kHz.
This Garmin fish finder offers a depth capability of 800 feet, when using its traditional sonar. However, if paired with a 50 kHz transducer, it should be able to reach depths over 2,000 feet. For its ClearVü, the depth specified for the transducer is 250 feet, while for SideVü, it is 500 feet. The system should be able to maintain a decent bottom reading at boat speeds up to 30mph. However, the recommended speed for crystal clear imaging and a maximum of targets is up to 10mph.
GPS and Navigation
The Garmin Striker Plus 7sv has pretty much the same navigational features as the Striker Plus 5cv, which is one of the other Garmin products featured in this list. While the device is equipped with a highly-efficient internal GPS, it does not have any charts, nor can be installed with any charts, as it doesn’t have a microSD card slot.
The device’s GPS system allows you to mark waypoints for the best fishing spots or any other points of interest, saving up to 5,000 waypoints in its memory. It can calculate the speed of your boat and show coordinates for your current location and any point marked.
The Striker Plus 7sv also offers a track recording function and a route creation function. For instance, you can create a route from your location to a certain waypoint, adding turns along the way to avoid obstacles. For the tracks, each recorded track plot can be retraced and used as a route. While the device doesn’t have any charts, it does have the QuickDraw Contours feature, which lets you save up to 1,500 hours of drawn contours, or up to 2 million acres.
A Depth Range Shading function is also available, which lets you set color ranges on your recorded maps to determine the depth of a certain area at a glance.
2. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Garmin has kicked the whole fishing game up a notch with its Striker 4 model. The device introduces a high image resolution to provide you with a clear view of what is directly under your vessel. It also offers a lot of premium features that you can rarely find in other entry-level fish finders. The Garmin Striker 4 offers smooth scaling uninterrupted imagery when moving between deep and shallow waters.
We have regarded the Striker 4 as an excellent choice for budget fish finder GPS combo units, giving you the best bang for your buck around.
The Garmin Striker 4 features a compact, portable design which comes in handy, especially when you own a kayak or a smaller boat. The clearly-marked buttons make toggling between functions easy and very intuitive. The keypads are big enough for you to control and use, even if you’re wearing gloves.
What ultimately tipped us over this device is the screen that lets you see if you’re trolling at the right speed. Even if you’re a newbie, you can comfortably find your way around within minutes.
The Striker 4 uses both touchscreen and a few dedicated buttons for easy navigation. Its small screen size of 3.5 inches delivers a 200 kHz reading for a sharper image. The Striker also comes with a 77 kHz reading for a dull image, which means that if you decide to use the 77 kHz image quality, you’re going to get a duller image, but a larger scanning area.
We like the higher kilohertz because it gives users a sharper image even though we don’t get larger scanning areas like that of the 77kHz. With all the included hardware and cables, Garmin gives you much clearer and sharper view of fish targets.
CHIRP Sonar and Transducer
The Garmin Striker 4 unit comes with the 010-10249-20 transducer, with a 4-pin connector. This transducer is 77/200 kHz capable and uses two conical beams of 15° for 200 kHz and 45° for 77 kHz, respectively.
The maximum depth that you’ll be able to scan with this device is 1,600 feet for freshwater and 750 feet saltwater; however, this is actually only possible using a 50 kHz capable transducer. With the supplied transducer, the maximum overall depth should be somewhere around 800 feet. The transducer comes with both transom and trolling motor mounts, has 20 feet of cable, and integrates a temperature sensor.
The Striker 4’s 2D sonar brings several useful functions, among which are Fish Symbol ID, A-Scope, Ultrascroll, Auto Gain, Flasher, Split-Zoom, and several alarms.
GPS and Navigation
Just like the other models within the Striker series, the Garmin Striker 4 doesn’t feature a chartplotter. Thus, the GPS system will basically use a blank sheet as support and doesn’t provide coordinates information. However, the Striker 4 does integrate a high-precision internal GPS module, which allows you to mark waypoints to return to. The device also lets you mark waypoints for your favorite fishing spots, or just about any desired spot that you would want to revisit, storing up to 5,000 waypoints and providing several suggestive icons that you can use.
3. Garmin Striker Plus 5Cv with Cv20-TM transducer, 010-01872-00
Garmin released the Striker Plus series with a goal of innovating the older Striker series. The Striker Plus 5cv has virtually the same functionalities and features, but boasts an uncomplicated user interface, making catching fish fuss-free.
This model has features equipped to make the most out of its built-in GPS, such as the QuickDraw Contour and Wi-Fi, which make the device rather appealing to users who’ve never used GPS fish finders before. Boasting improved sonar and the capability to customize contour maps, the Striker Plus 5cv is ideal for both entry-level and veteran anglers alike, who are looking for a simple device yet does what it’s intended for exceptionally.
The Garmin Striker Plus 5cv features a 5-inch, a WVGA-color, 800x480-pixel display. It also has an adjustable LED backlight, which delivers excellent readability in bright daylight. Since this is not a tactile device, navigation through the menus and usage of functions is done exclusively via the keypad on the right portion of the device.
The Striker Plus 5cv is IPX7 waterproof. As you might already know, this means it can withstand rain or splashes, its connectors creating a tight seal.
The device doesn’t have a microSD card slot, so it’s not compatible with any charts. Also, it doesn’t have NMEA ports or ethernet ports, only the transducer/power connectors. The only mount available with the device is the classic tilt-and-swivel bracket. A flush mount is not included, nor is a unit cover.
CHIRP Sonar and Transducer
The Garmin Striker Plus 5cv comes with the last year’s ClearVü transducer, the CV20-TM. This is a dual frequency transducer, and with it, the system can use two base frequencies for its 2D broadband sonar and two for ClearVü. The base frequencies used for the 2D CHIRP sonar are 200/77 kHz. The frequency modulation interval is not specified, but as a general idea, Mid-Band CHIRP and High-Band CHIRP modes are available. The device can also use 50 kHz, but you’ll need a 50 kHz capable transducer.
For ClearVü the system can use 455/800 kHz, the CHIRP frequency intervals being 435-475 kHz and 800-840 kHz. The CV20-TM transducer also integrates a temperature sensor. It comes with 20 feet of cable, and for this device, you’ll get the one with the 4-pin connector.
When it comes to depth capability, the Striker Plus 5cv can reach up to 2,300 feet when using the 2D CHIRP sonar. ClearVü is capable of depths up to 250 feet. These being said, ClearVü is a type of sonar best used for fishing in freshwater, but it can still provide decent results when fishing off-shore, if you remain in shallow areas.
GPS and Navigation
Both the old and new 5cv models let you mark waypoints, create routes, and get a steady readout on your vessel’s speed. The speed indicator is a useful tool for tracking your trolling speeds or monitoring limits in wake-controlled lakes. The device’s built-in, high-precision GPS searches and sustains your position anywhere as you traverse from one area to another.
The brand features a new mapping software, called QuickDraw Contours, which is built into the Striker Plus and ready to go. It is one of the device’s major advantages over the older 5cv, but it doesn’t include the capability for detailed mapping. As such, this technology more than makes up for its shortcoming.
4. Garmin echoMAP Chirp 53cv with transducer, 010-01798-01
Released at the beginning of 2016, the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 53cv is actually no different from the 53dv. They just had to change the name for some reasons, with the former DownVü now called ClearVü. Equipped with a highly-efficient internal GPS and state-of-the-art CHIRP sonar ClearVü scanning sonar lets you take advantage of the most opulent spots underwater.
Owing to the power of its CHIRP sonar, the device offers incredible versatility, working well for both inland and open-water fishing and for small to mid-sized boats.
While the 5-inch, 480x480-pixel WQVGA-color display offers decent image quality, its moderate size may be the device’s weakest part of 5. However, the user interface of the device is conveniently and proportionately designed, which compensates for the smaller size of the display.
As for the keypad, the echoMAP CHIRP 53cv features a quick selector, letting you toggle between your menus and settings conveniently. A significant drawback of such design is that typing the label of the waypoints is quite difficult. Although such is a common design feature of modern fish finders, bear in mind that you might have some difficulties with the selector; otherwise, the controls offer a pretty standard level of comfort. However, if you want something more convenient, you may find a touchscreen much more convenient.
CHIRP Sonar and Transducer
The echoMAP CHIRP 53cv uses CHIRP sonar technology for both its 2D and ClearVü. It comes with the CV22HW-TM transducer, which comes with a 4-pin connector, both transom and trolling motor mounts, a 20-feet cable, and a temperature sensor.
The device itself is capable of 50/77/200 kHz frequencies for 2D and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü. However, with the supplied transducer, the device will be able to use only High Wide CHIRP for 2D, modulating the sonar pulse between 150 and 240 kHz. For ClearVü the transducer covers the 455/800 kHz frequencies, with the system being capable of the following CHIRP pulse modulation: 425-485 kHz and 790-850 kHz, respectively. Now, since the system modulates the sonar pulse over a range of frequencies, rather than just one, the images formed on screen are more focused, present less clutter, and provide a better target separation. In other words, if one of the transducer beams hits a group of fish targets that are close together, it’s more likely to actually see the targets individually, rather than just one big dot on the screen.
The device uses dual-frequency sonar, which means it can use two 2D frequencies at the same time, and you can view the returns from both via the split-screen mode. However, since this transducer covers only one 2D channel, you’ll need to pair the device with a different transducer to be able to use two. Nevertheless, you can use both 2D and ClearVü modes simultaneously and view them in split-screen mode. This model is not Panoptix-capable.
GPS and Navigation
The CHIRP 53cv is engineered with a fast, accurate 5 Hz GPS/GLONASS internal receiver, which updates your position and movement five times/second, allowing you to closely track and monitor the speed of your vessel.
The device comes with the LakeVü HD charts for the U.S. waters. These cover more than 17,000 U.S. lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, which make them ideal for inland fishing. They also offer the Shallow lake-vu-hd-22Water Shading function, which allows you to designate a minimum depth to be able to determine the safest paths for navigation or track your desired depth for fishing right at a glance.
One of the newest features introduced with the new echoMAP CHIRP series is the QuickDraw Contours. The charts that you create with QuickDraw contours app are yours to keep, but you can choose to share them with the QuickDraw Community or Garmin Connect.
The models in this Garmin best fish finder GPS combo review are all excellent options, that it was quite tough for us to make a choice. With everything put into consideration, we have somehow trimmed down our options and picked the Garmin Striker 4 for the top spot.
If you want a GPS combo that is friendly on your pocket but exceeds your performance expectations, we highly recommend the Garmin Striker 4. While relatively small and seemingly bare-bones compared to many feature-rich options flooding the market, the Striker 4 is an angler’s best friend for a multitude of tangible reasons that you will get to understand as soon as you start using it out on the water for the first time.
There were a lot of doubt and speculations about the viability of the Striker series models when they first made their foray into the market. But the Striker 4 has transcended all those, as it stays as one of the best fish finder GPS combo options that money can buy, one of the most critically-acclaimed units available, and arguably, a savvy investment for the serious fisher who isn’t so much into a lot of the bells and whistles, and instead, just prefers something straightforward but does an exceptional job.