10 Best Marine GPSs – Tested & Reviewed By Boat Experts!
Bluffing about their products is a norm for most manufacturers. You cannot afford to trust them up front, nor can you afford to trust the retailers. They will take you for a fantasy trip with their sweet words. You will end up falling for a crap product.
You need to ascertain that indeed the product delivers. If you are not in a position to ascertain the credibility of each of the units that you would wish to test, before you settle for one, don’t worry. My team and I are here to do the testing for you.
The list below comprises of the marine GPS from the best brands. Then, from these brands, we evaluate to find the best of their products. From the best of the individual brands, we choose the best in reliability, performance, and quality.
How do we tell the best brands? We are also consumers, and we buy from these brands. Sometimes we get some difficulties with the brands, and we call up customer care for some technical support. From our interaction with the customer care guys, we can tell the all-around excellent brands.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Marine GPSs - Comparisons in 2018
- Top 10 Marine GPSs - Review in 2018
- 1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K
- 2. Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Handheld GPS
- 3. Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS
- 4. Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS
- 5. Garmin ETrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Navigation Unit
- 6. Garmin GPSMAP 547 10Hz GPS/GLONASS Receiver
- 7. Simrad Go7 Xse Chartplotter With Med/High/Downscan T/M 000-12672-001
- 8. Raymarine c95 9-Inch Multi-Function Display with Lighthouse US Coastal Charts
- 9. Raymarine Dragonfly-5M Navionics+ GPS
- 10. Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Touchscreen Charplotter with 83/200 KHz Skimmer
- How To Choose The Best Marine GPS
- Final Verdict
10 Best Marine GPSs - Comparisons in 2018
Top 10 Marine GPSs - Review in 2018
See below our list of the top ten best marine GPS. They are excellent from every dimension that you will evaluate them.
You will be getting superior reception using the Garmin GPSMAP 64st; it has a superior quad helix antenna. It has an 8 GB internal memory. The internal memory serves to store the pre-loaded maps.
The maps cover the whole of U.S. A one year bird’s eye imagery subscription provides you with the tools that you need for climbing and hiking.
The unit allows for wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, which enables you to share your maps and waypoints with other compatible units. It is also compatible with an iPhone. You can receive emails, alerts, and notifications wirelessly. Using the basecamp software the Garmin GPSMAP 64st allows you to paperlessly plan your trip.
A tilt compensated electronic compass allows you get your bearings right. The unit is slim and lightweight which makes it your ideal outdoor companion. It has a 2.6 “color display. The display is readable in sunlight. A dual battery system gives you a choice for either the AA batteries or the rechargeable NiMH battery. The NiMH battery lasts for 16 hours.
- Sunlight readable display
- 8 GB internal memory
- Dual battery system
- Preload TOPO U.S. 100K maps
- Wireless connectivity
- Tilt compensated electronic compass
- The manufacturer should make the instructions manual better
A work of art for a marine GPS, Garmin GPSMAP 78sc is waterproof, and in the case of accidental drops in the water, it floats on water. It has a built in blue chart g2 U.S. the chart consists of Bahamas coastal charts.
The coastal charts are in-depth information about the waters: shorelines, depth contours, marinas, and much more.
It seems all of the best marine GPS have the ability to wirelessly share waypoints and maps, Garmin GPSMAP 78sc shares this information with all other compatible units. A barometric altimeter will give you information on the weather. A tilt compensated compass you are on toes with your bearings.
It has a colorful 2.6 inch TFT screen. The high sensitivity receiver offers for a reliable GPS. It is a handheld unit making for ease of use. To navigate through you use easy to access buttons. It has a lanyard where you can attach a chord.
- Lanyard hole
- High-sensitivity receiver
- Compatible to other Garmin GPSs
- Built-in electronic compass
- Built in Blue
- Chart g2
- You cannot install more than two map formats on the same SD card.
Standard Horizon HX870 is an industry leading work of art. It is a VHF radio and on top of it comes with an internal GPS. It qualifies for digital selective calling, and also for receiving DSC calls. It is a 6 watts GPS unit. The output power is selectable.
While the manufacturer designs it as primarily a handheld unit, it also floats on water. It integrates a 66 channel WAAS GPS receiver for a superior signal reception.
To ensure that the signal has no interruption, the manufacturer also incorporates a noise canceling function for both incoming and outgoing signals.
The display is excellent. Standard Horizon uses an oversized full dot matrix display. For purposes of transferring data, it comes with a USB port. The menu system is icon based this make for easy, intuitive use of the Standard Horizon HX870.
- Has a USB data port
- Oversized full dot matrix display
- Icon based menu system
- 66 channel WAAS GPS receiver
- IPX8 waterproof rating
- Digital selectable receiving and calling
- Comparatively large for a handheld
Garmin Oregon 600 comprises three sensors, a three-axis compass, accelerometer, and barometric altimeter. The three sensors help you keep track of your bearings and also the weather.
The Bluetooth technology of the Garmin Oregon 600 enables you to share files with other compatible Garmin units. These files include waypoints, maps, geocaches, and photos.
The Garmin Oregon 600 is quite a smart unit; it has touch capability, so you do not have to struggle with buttons. Also, this GPS unit auto switches between the portrait and landscape orientations. A reflective technology of the Garmin Oregon 600 offers a sunlight readable touch screen. The manufacturer strengthens the screen to make for impact resistance.
Heavy canyons and deep covers have a tendency of reducing the sensitivity of the receiver. Garmin Oregon 600 uses WAAS and GLONAS receiver which help the unit maintain its GPS location. It has a dual battery system. You can either use the battery of the rechargeable NiMH battery.
- USB charging cable
- Paperless geocaching
- Sunlight readable and impact resistance touch screen
- High sensitivity GPS tracking
- Preloaded worldwide base map
- You will need some time to learn to use it
Garmin eTrex features a unique design that doesn’t use an externalperformance of the Garmin eTrex is excellent, with a high level of accuracy.
It comes with the ability to load customs maps that you would wish to add to the unit. The 2.2-inch monochrome display offers for excellent readability under all conditions.
This eTrex series GPS navigator allows for geocaching. It stores and displays key information as you wish. The key information includes locations and terrains. It uses a WAAS-enabled GPS receiver that couples with a hotfix satellite prediction feature to offer quick location acquisition. It also helps in maintaining the GPS location under heavy canyons and covers. It has the capability to track both the GLONASS and GPS satellites simultaneously.
The Garmin eTrex 10 has a USB port and comes with a USB cable, which allows you to connect to the PC for purposes of sharing files between the GPS and the PC. Geocaching allows you to create GPX files that you can use for navigating. The device gives an amazing 24 hours of battery life.
- USB cable and port
- Allow for both GLONASS and GPS satellite receivers to work simultaneously
- Allows for geocaching
- 25 hours of battery life
- Worldwide base map
- Can couple as a speedometer
- Does not allow for additional external storage (SD card)
While hitting top speed, you need a GPS that can cope. The Garmin GPSMAP 547 10 Hz GPS/GLONAS receiver has quick processing speeds. It refreshes position ten times per second.
For the purpose of navigation, you get the freedom to create up to 5000-way points. Wherever that you visit the waypoints the GPS depict high accuracy and reliability for any of the waypoints.
It has wireless connectivity. Wireless connectivity allows you to access the GPS credentials from personal computers: phones and tablets. There are specific apps that allow for the wireless accessibility. The visibility of the 547 is excellent at any time of the day. The display automatically adjusts its lighting depending on the lighting condition.
The unit comes preloaded with U.S coastal and inland mapping; you don’t need to purchase maps. It has dual SD card slots. The SD cards serve as storage for additional maps and waypoints. The unit has compatibility to a fusion media system if you need some entertainment.
- Wireless connectivity
- U.S coastal and inland mapping
- VGA display offers excellent visibility
- High-speed position acquisition
- Allows for creating waypoints
- Has no internal memory
Simrad G07 Xse is a marine GPS that has got a ton of capabilities. It also couples as a fish finder that has a structure scanner and forward scanner, and a CHIRP enabled Broadband sounder. The two scanning features enable for excellent marine navigation.
To enhance navigation further this GPS from Simrad has chart plotting, and waypoint management capabilities.
Unlike most other GPS units it has a full-featured chart plotter. You will get to navigate confidently by choosing the most suitable charts. These charts include charts from Navionics, C-MAP, insight, and insight Genesis among others.
It offers for easy waypoint making using the waypoint management feature. After making you can assign names that will help you with easy navigation. The unit is customizable. You have the freedom to add shortcuts to the home screen, of the features that you use most frequently. The display allows you to personalize the home screen wallpaper.
- Customizable panel layouts
- Allows for waypoint making
- Chart plotter full feature
- CHIRP enabled Broadband sounder
- Intuitive touch screen controls
- Wifi and Bluetooth enabled
- Clear captioned icons
- Takes a little bit of time to familiarize
Built into the Raymarine c95 is a high sensitivity GPS receiver, which makes for a very reliable unit in obtaining GPS locations. It comes with two micro SD card slots.
So, you just need to load your Navionics chart from any source into the SD card and insert the card in any of the slots. The NAvionic charts help you with navigation.
It is a networking powerhouse having both Bluetooth and WIFI capabilities. This networking powerhouse allows you to network up to six units at the same time. Networking entails sea talk-hs, sea talk-ng, and composite video input. Also, it comes preloaded with lighthouse U.S coastal charts.
Raymarine c95 uses a 9” screen to provide an excellent display. To navigate through the settings and controls, you use keypad control. While keypad control is not as good as touch screen, it offers some degree of ruggedness.
- Sounder module
- Built in GPS
- Keyboard control
- 9” wide screen
- Bluetooth media control
- Allows for networking using WIFI and Bluetooth
- Composite video input
- Some would prefer a touch screen display
Raymarine Dragonfly -5M has a fast processor. Quick processing makes zooming, exploring, and panning maps fun. It is super easy getting accustomed to the user interface.
You achieve excellent clarity via the high definition color LCD. Optical fogging gets in the way of clear images. The Raymarine Dragonfly -5M has some optical bonding to ensure for no internal fogging.
A 50- internal channel sensor offers for fast location acquisition. It offers for precise guidance. It comes with internal storage preloaded with 3000 waypoints, and 15 tracks. Raymarine Dragonfly has SD card compatibility that you get to use for additional storage.
Using a tilt and swivel mount the Dragonfly offer for easy mounting onto any surface. Being a simple to use unit, using it becomes second nature after a couple of uses. Customer support is excellent. They will help you with any difficulties that you will experience during first use.
- Has a swivel and tilt mount
- Easy to use
- Quick processing of maps
- Fast acquisition internal sensor
- Optical bonding prevents optical fogging
- Uses lithium ion batteries, not rechargeable batteries
Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Touchscreen couples as more than just a GPS but also a fish finder. It features revolutionary innovations; these include the multifunction display, lightning fast chart redraws, and an easier to use an operating system.
The inbuilt fish finder features structure scan HD sonar and an award winning broadband sounder.
These two features guarantee for precision fish finding. When navigating, you can choose to use the inbuilt maps or to use some of your personalized maps. To personalize maps, you use the chart plotter and draw your maps: could be depth maps. The Lowrance HDS 7 inch screen offers for a wide display unit. It is super bright hence offering for excellent readability in all weather conditions.
Ethernet compatibility allows you to network two or more units using an Ethernet cable. Networking enables two units or more to work together by assigning one unit the role of the master unit. It has a durable casing, and also comes with a protective front cover for storage purposes. The unit accepts SD card up to 32 GB offering for sufficient storage capacity.
- Allows for mapping using the chart plotter
- Has a built in fish finder
- Touch screen super bright LCD
- Broadband Sounder
- Built in structure scan and sonar imaging
- Durable casing
- Accepts up to 32 GB SD card
- Does not include the chart plotter chip
How To Choose The Best Marine GPS
We take different types of the available marine GPS devices and evaluate how they suit marine use. You have to ask yourself a series of questions before settling on a marine GPS. Below are the answers to those questions.
It is essential that the GPS unit comes with preloaded worldwide base maps. These maps will enable you to navigate a variety of waterways around the map. It will be a bonus if the GPS unit comes with a worldwide imagery subscription, else you will need to pay for the subscription to get the best out of the GPS.
Here we look at the design of the marine GPS unit. Is it a handheld or a mountable unit? Of course, a handheld unit would give better portability. In case the unit is not handheld then it needs to offer for a mounting bracket. It will be for the best if the manufacturer provides a mounting bracket that is easy to mount.
Networking being the capability to communicate between modules is essential for marine navigation. It allows you to use multiple units at the same time, in different positions of the boat. Also, the WIFI and Bluetooth features enable for sharing of valuable information between units, such as waypoints.
You have no desire for a unit that will let you down. Look out for the power options of your unit and select the one that best suits for reliability. There are two power options, the normal disposable batteries, and the rechargeable batteries.
The choice is yours to make on what type of batteries you prefer. A dual battery system is an incredible choice when it comes for the best marine GPS. You can always carry some AA batteries in case the rechargeable batteries die out.
Seeing that we are looking for the best marine GPS, it is essential that the unit is waterproof in case of an accidental drop in the waters. Also, the unit should be buoyant so that you are in a position to salvage it easily.
Most of the people who engage in marine activities indulge in other sports activities too, hiking, mountain climbing, bike riding. And I guess you are one of these people. So, it is important that your unit is suitable for both fish finding and navigating on land.
Features that enable for versatility are the sonar system that enables for scanning structure in the waters. A chart plotter work excellently with the broadband sounder to help you design a depth map that comes so much in handy while navigating the waters. Also, on land, the chart plotter helps in marking waypoints both on land and in water.
The most reliable GPS units have a high-sensitivity GPS receiver which ensures for a precise acquisition of GPS locations even under a heavy cover of canyons. A quick operating system makes for a system that quickly refreshes your location for a reliable readout.
The best marine offer for excellent display, a display that is readable under all weather conditions. Also, the display should offer for personalization and custom settings. An easy to use display should include easy reading icons, clearly captioned icons. In customizing settings, you get to create shortcuts and set the most frequent settings.
Putting these units on a scale of ten it is easy to give each one of them a generous rating of nine. You can see that they deserve that rating. They have a functionality that is not easy to find in other units. The versatility of these units is out of this world, for the things that you can do with any of the above-listed GPS units, you would have to use a combination of several other competitor units.
I have been a seaway fanatic for years now. Often I find myself on the road, and truth be told. The same units that I use in the waters come in handy on the road. Coupling my experience with an intensive teamwork research, I would tell you to have no worries when purchasing any of the above-listed marine GPS. So, what are you waiting for? Get one and enjoy a whole range of functionalities.
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