Best Fishfinder GPS Combos under $1000

Combine a Powerful Sonar with Accurate Navigation

For less than $1000, you can put advanced navigation capabilities and powerful sonar imaging technologies on your boat. A GPS that is accurate down to a few feet adds to boating safety and lets you precisely track and mark the best fishing spots, while CHIRP sonar systems put more power on the target to produce near-photographic images that are amazing in their detail.

Systems like this were formerly only seen onboard military craft and professional fishing boats—but now, most of the top manufacturers are putting complete GPS/fishfinder systems within reach of the average angler.

Don’t Forget the Transducer

One thing to remember when considering these GPS/fishfinder combos is transducer selection. Some units include a basic transducer, but will require an upgrade to have maximum range and functionality. Other units are sold without a transducer to accommodate fishermen who already have hull-mount or through-hull transducer setups.

Since the capability of the fishfinder depends completely on the transducer, it pays to do your homework and arrange some budgeting to get a transducer that will let you maximize the potential of your high-end fishfinder.

Best Fishfinder GPS Combos under $1000 - Reviews

We review some of the best GPS/fishfinder combos under $1000 to help you get the pro-level data you need for fishing success without breaking the bank. There is a lot of good technology out there today, and this article will help you get started sorting through it. Read on to home in on the GPS/fishfinder combo that will fit your budget and work best for the type of fishing you do.

Best Fishfinder GPS Combos under $1000 - Comparisons

1. Simrad NSS7 evo2 Combo Multifunction Display Insight

Simrad is a Norway-based company that has been making professional fishfinding gear and marine scientific equipment for over 60 years.

Simrad Yachting brings this hardcore heritage to the recreational boater and fisherman—when combined with a Structure scan/Total scan transducer, the Simrad evo2 puts professional-level capabilities at your fingertips. Made to use as a stand-alone multi-function display or an integrated component of a glass cockpit system, the evo2 is a 7-inch multi-touch display with built-in CHIRP broadband sonar and a high-gain 10Hz GPS/GLONASS receiver.

This unit is built with hardy offshore use in mind, and it is capable of networking with a full range of navigation, piloting, radar, and engine control systems. The optional GoFree WiFi module lets you download charts, network with smartphones and tablets, and access the internet anywhere there is a wireless internet connection.

The evo2 supports Jeppesen C-MAP MAX-N+ charts and all associated features. Keypad control and a unique push-to-enter rotary dial system lets you access the evo2 even during rough weather. The rotary knob is the feature that really stood out to us because no other GPS/fishfinder has it—far easier to use than a touchscreen when moving over rough water, you can touch the knob to select a point then turn to zoom in and out.

The Simrad is a beautiful-looking unit that is ideally made for flush-mount applications. It comes with black and silver bezel edges that make it look like it was designed into your helm station. The NSS7 is our choice for saltwater use in upscale sport fishing vessels.

What we liked

  • Powerful capabilities
  • The zoom knob is a brilliant innovation
  • Beautiful design aesthetics

What we didn't like

  • Looks somewhat vulnerable if it is not flush-mounted
  • High price point

2. Garmin GPSMAP 1040xs 010-01184-01

The Garmin GPSMap is a powerful navigation device made for serious offshore cruising, sailing, or fishing.

The 20Hz internal GPS/GLONASS unit updates position and heading every 10 seconds to provide fluid on-screen location data and extremely accurate waypoint marking and navigation functions. The GPSMAP is compatible with a range of transducers including through-hull offshore setups, CHIRP, and all-in-one HD-ID/ClearVü scanning sonar. An added module can provide SideVü scanning capabilities. The GPSMap can also coordinate sonar returns with GPS position information and save the data for playback on your home computer.

This professional-grade unit comes with U.S. LakeVü HD and BlueChart g2 coastal maps preloaded. It will support all Garmin marine radar systems, as well as NMEA 2000 engine data input, and it features a wireless connectivity function so you can view and control the unit from your smartphone or tablet.

This unit has some amazing sonar capabilities. With the optional 1000-Watt transducer, it can separate targets and produce detailed images down to 2700 feet in saltwater. The 10-inch color SVGA display is crisp and clear, but we felt the resolution is a bit rough considering the capabilities of the input devices—one of the tradeoffs involved in finding a unit of this capability at the sub-$1000 price point.

The GPSMAP even has networking capabilities so you can share radar, sonar, maps, and user data with other GPSMAP units. One thing we did not like is the extremely complex and tightly-spaced keypad control system—there are a lot of small buttons to handle. That is probably to be expected considering the numerous functions and capabilities of this unit. It is a good choice for serious offshore boaters and fishermen.

What we liked

  • Amazing range of capabilities
  • Powerful and versatile sonar system
  • Complete charts and map package included

What we didn't like

  • No swivel mount
  • No transducer included
  • Crowded keypad controls

3. Humminbird HELIX 10 Sonar GPS Fishfinder 409960-1

The Humminbird Helix 10 puts a lot of data at your fingertips with 4000-watt DualBeam PLUS sonar and GPS Chartplotting capabilities.

This sonar system features Humminbird’s SwitchFire technology so you can switch between highly detailed MAX and uncluttered CLEAR return modes. The GPS system supports tracking and chartplotting, Humminbird ContourXD mapping is built in, and dual card reader slots let you store course and waypoint information.

The entire unit is over 13" wide and 7” high, allowing plenty of room for the LED-backlit 10.1-inch HD display and compact operating control panel. Full color TFT as well as 65,000 color grayscale modes let you tune the images for ideal visibility in any condition.

The Helix 10 features some of the favorite functions like sonar recording, screen snapshots, and split-screen zoom. PC interface allows you to review your recordings and snapshots later (however, you’ll need to buy the PC connection cable separately). We found the screen to be very bright and easily visible from some distance away, particularly in the large digits view mode. The sonar return images are crisp and detailed enough to support a selective fish ID system that lets you know what kind of fish are under the boat.

For deep water use, you can upgrade to the 50 kHz transducer that will boost the power output to 1000 watts. The unit looks good on the boat, and can be mounted in-dash. The gimbal mount system is clean and low-profile, but like all the Humminbird gimbals, it lacks a swivel function.
This is a very nice GPS fishfinder unit for the money—it has more capabilities than most fishermen will ever use, and you cannot go wrong with Humminbird’s reputation for quality.

What we liked

  • Bright display is easy to see in sunlight
  • Clear and detailed imaging
  • Maps included

What we didn't like

  • No swivel function
  • Mount tends to vibrate at speed on rough water
  • No PC connection cable included

4. Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 74sv 010-01803-01

The Garmin echoMAP is one of the simplest fishfinder/GPS combos out there, yet it packs in a host of sophisticated features.

Right away we liked the keypad control panel with its large buttons and clean layout—it is easy to operate with gloves on or in the dark. The echoMAP offers best-in-class GPS capabilities with a 5Hz unit that updates position and heading information 5 times per second to provide accurate marking and detailed tracking information.

Navigation being Garmin’s specialty, we expected a lot of features inthis unit, and were not wrong there. Highlights include Preloaded BlueChart g2 charts that cover the entire coastal U.S. waters and the Canadian side of the Great Lakes—everything you need from depth contours, IALA nav symbols, and tidal and current stations to fishing charts is there.

The Quick draw Contours function is another cool feature—it lets you draw and customize your own 1-foot contour interval fishing maps and store them or share them online in the Garmin Connect Quickdraw community.
All of this navigation power does not mean the echoMAP lets anything go on the fishing side. Dual-beam CHIRP sonar transmits incredibly clear images to the 7-inch color display, and built-in ClearVü and SideVü scanning generates wide images of everything below and around yourboat with near-photographic precision. Optional LiveVü Forward Sonar can be added to let you see whatever your trolling motor is pointed at—making it possible to see your lure and watch the fish react to it.

The echoMAP unit can be flush or gimbal mounted. The gimbal does not swivel, but on the upside, the unit is very easy to install and remove. The quick-release mount has integrated cable connections, and the unit comes with a protective cover. Transducer mounting hardware for transom or trolling motor mounts is also included.

The Garmin echoMAP is one of the most powerful, capable compact GPS/fishfinder units on the market and is a great value for the money.

What we liked

  • Powerful sonar
  • Complete charts and map package included
  • Clean and simple keypad controls

What we didn't like

  • No swivel mount
  • Power cable is only 6 feet long

5. Lowrance ELITE-7 TI Fishfinder

Fishermen who prefer a touchscreen display will want to consider the Lowrance Elite TI. This fishfinder packs the features of a far more expensive system into a bargain-priced package.

The Total Scan transducer can switch outputs between CHIRP sonar,and Broadband, DownScan, and Structure Scan imaging to give great target separation and generate life-like images of the structure and fish under and beside your boat. The 7-inch high-resolution color display is LED-backlit to deliver best-in-class screen brightness.

An internal 16-channel GPS/GLONASS operates at 10Hz and brings up the first fix in only 30 seconds. You can mark and save 3000 waypoints on the micro SD card and run many of the most popular chart programs including Lake Insight, Jeppesen C-MAP, and Navionics Gold.

The Elite-7 also comes preloaded with 3,000 detailed lake maps. The onboard map package is one of the best we have seen with detail down to the level of small local ponds—when it comes to repositioning and zooming in and out, the map function runs very smoothly as well.

Everything about this fishfinder works fairly well, and it is easy to learn the basic functions. It is nice to see built-in wireless and Bluetooth at this price point. The display is easy to install and remove, but the mounting bracket tends to vibrate depending on boat speed and water conditions.

Overall, this one is a very nice GPS/fishfinder with a lot of features in a package compact enough to use for small boat or kayak fishing.

What we liked

  • Great sonar imaging
  • Best pre-loaded map software
  • Easy to learn and use

What we didn't like

  • Post mount is prone to vibration
  • Sun cover is not included

6. Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder

With its uncluttered bezel area and widescreen layout, the Simrad GO7 XSE looks bigger than a 7-inch display at first.

It is very easy to get used to the multi-touch functions as the controls are almost exactly like a smartphone or tablet. The home screen and menu layouts are simple and clear, and you tap, pinch, or tap-and-drag to do everything. We like the large icons and large-print captions—this is one of the most intuitive systems we tried, and the basic functions are usable without even reading the support materials.

The TotalScan transducer gives you CHIRP sonar as well as down and sidescan functions. One minor detail here is that CHIRP cannot be used at the same time as the sidescan. It can be used during downscan, however. The display is very bright and clear, and the home page can be personalized with shortcuts to features and wallpaper just like any tablet.

The built-in GPS and chartplotter systems run all of the popular cartography programs. Setting and recording waypoints and destinations is easy. A simple tap marks a waypoint and you get to assign names that make it easy to search through them on the machine. The route tracking function is excellent for trolling and can help get you home in low-visibility conditions.

The split-screen panels are adjustable and you can customize and save your favorite screen layouts. Built-in WiFi makes communication with the cloud and other devices a snap.

For overall functions and looks, the Simrad is one of the nicest GPS/fishfinders in this price range. It looks like it should be much more expensive. If you like touchscreens, you will want to look at the GO7 XSE.

What we liked

  • Intuitive and easy-to-learn interface
  • Great sonar imaging
  • Good pre-loaded map software

What we didn't like

  • Intuitive and easy-to-learn interface
  • Great sonar imaging
  • Good pre-loaded map software

7. Lowrance 000-11785-001 HDS-7 GEN3

The Lowrance HDS Gen3 series is the most popular fishfinder/chartplotter on the BASS and FLW professional fishing tours.

The Gen3 features a combination of multi-touch screen and full keypad control, making it easy to use in any weather condition. We found the 7-inch display to be very crisp and clear—its inset bezel design seems to provide a bit of contrast that makes the images pop off the screen.

The unit comes with preloaded C-Map US Enhanced charts that give you nearly complete coverage of lakes and coastal waters. It also supports a large selection of popular cartography programs. Dual micro SD card slots and 7.8 GB of internal storage let you save track and waypoint data, and built-in wireless connectivity lets you upload to the cloud or other devices.

The Gen3 also supports full offshore capabilities with compatibility to 4G and 3G radar and plug-and-play SiriusXM weather radio operation, as well as Ethernet and NMEA 2000 networking—this means you can set up auto-steer functions for both your trolling and outboard motors and monitor all engine functions remotely.

One feature on theHDS-7 that we did not see on most of the other units is a video input jack. Use an adapter cable to run images from an underwater fish camera to your fishfinder display.Support for StructureScan 3D gives you the option to have 180-degree, 3D high-definition images of bottom features to 600 feet out from the side of the boat.

The Gen3’s display can put up four panels side by side and present images with depth and contrast that allow you to see the smallest details. We found the display to be incredibly bright and easy to look at even from a distance.

If you are looking for a professional-level navigation and fishfinding device at a mid-range price, the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 will do the job.

What we liked

  • Combination of touchscreen and panel operation allows for gloves-on use
  • Bezel design makes the display easier to see
  • Pre-loaded map software

What we didn't like

  • Functions are for USA waters only
  • No sun cover or flush mounting hardware included

8. Raymarine a78 Multi-Function Display

The Raymarine a78 is a network multi-function unit that provides GPS and sonar capabilities while also offering support for a range of add-ons that can give you full control of your boat from one simple touchscreen.

The multi-touch 800x480 pixel display works much like a smartphone or tablet with tap and pinch-to-zoom control. The overall design is sleek and simple with all operations carried out from the home screen. The built-in GPS operates at 5Hz on an internal antenna. Charting support includes Jeppesen C-Map, Navionics, and Raymarine LightHouse. Internal memory can handle 3,000 waypoints and a MicroSD card reader allows for expansion. The unit is Ethernet-capable as well as equipped for WiFi and Bluetooth networking.

With the CPT-100 transom mount transducer, the a78 can run CHIRP DownVision sonar to target fish down to 600 feet, and the clarity and detail are good enough to identify small baitfish. You can record depth data, and the Navionics package supports the creation of custom bottom maps.

The a78 is a powerful unit alone, but its true strength lies in its ability to create a network command center that will allow you tomonitor and control 3 types of sonar signal, radar input, video camera input, navigation instruments, engine displays, fuel management, and more from the touchscreen.

If you are looking for a GPS/fishfinder combo that will let you build out a comprehensive on-board network in the future, you should consider the a78.

What we liked

  • Very clear and readable display
  • Simple touch-screen interface
  • Smartphone app control
  • 2-year warranty

What we didn't like

  • Depth capability with standard transducer is somewhat limited
  • No Side Vision sonar support

The Best GPS/Fishfinder Combo for the Money

When you get up near the $1000 price point, you start to find some really nice marine electronic technology. Sure, fishfinder/chartplotters can easily run to $5000 or more, but for your average recreational fishermen any one of the units reviewed here will provide plenty of capability.

We found that what really pushes prices higher at the top end is display technology rather than features and functions. Of course, a lot depends on transducer selection as well—to get the full functionality of a top-end sonar system, you will need to spend freely on the transducer as well, so plan that into your budget.

On the other hand, we have included several bundled units in this review that come in at very attractive price points. We really liked the Simrad units—even though they are not among the old standby brands in the U.S., they are certainly well-reputed in the world of professional mariners and offshore yachtsmen.

We hope this review serves as a good starting point for your marine electronics shopping adventure—every one of the units we looked at provide good value for the money. With some patient shopping and an eye out for sales and discounts, you can easily shave off some bucks and come in well under $1000 for any of these great GPS/fishfinder combos.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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