The best fishfinder GPS combo under $1000 needs to be jam-packed with features. We have reviewed the top brands in fish finding combos that come with GPS.
Fishing can be one of the most rewarding experiences that people of all ages can enjoy. The more finely tuned fishing gear that you have, the more fish you can catch. One piece of gear that can take your fishing to the next level is a fish finder GPS combo.
Most anglers are familiar with a fish finder in that it helps you locate the hot spots. If you’ve ever gotten lost in the canals of a new body of water, then you know that an added GPS within the fish finder is a good idea. Check out this buyer’s guide for the best fish finder GPS under $1000.
How a Fishfinder GPS Combo Works and Why Use One?
Fishing can be a sport of waiting and watching intently, but what if there was a way to minimize the amount of searching that you had to do? Well, there happens to be a device that does just that. A fishfinder GPS combo works by using a transducer to find where the fish are and navigate you on any body of water with ease.
The conical transducer identifies where fish are located by sending out pulses that use echolocation to target movement. Fishfinders and GPS are superb visibility tools that allow you to see what’s above and below the water. If you’re in the market for one of these devices under $1000, then check out this buyer’s guide.
Choosing a Quality GPS Fishfinder Under $1000
You should keep in mind where you want to mount or use your fish finder. Some of the fish finder GPS combos on the market are available as handheld units. These models are nice for finding a fishing hot spot and then setting aside and casting.
Casting fish finders feature small transducers and are meant to be tied to your fishing line for casting. They usually lack their own display screen but instead send an image to your mobile phone. These models are waterproof and submersible.
The last mounting option is boat-mounted. These fish finder GPS combos can be mounted on your boat. They feature different transducer types, such as through-hull, transom mounts, and shoot-throughs.
This device allows a fishfinder to find where the fish are located. The cone angle and number of beams determines how well a fishfinder will see fish and the contours of the floor. A single cone-beam with 50 degrees or more will show you a large area of fish but not the bottom of the seafloor.
A single cone-beam with 10 to 15 degrees will show you a small section right below the boat that will pick up fish and the seafloor. We recommend a dual-beam fishfinder, which combines a high-frequency beam to show great detail and a low-frequency beam to show wide features.
There are a few things to consider for your next fish finder GPS combo display. Resolution is determined by the number of pixels that are illuminated on your screen. The more pixels per square inch, the better you’ll be able to see details of things below. You’ll find many different resolutions in the products below, but they range from 480 to 1080 pixels.
Another important factor is the screen size, which ranges from 3.5 to 12 inches. Usually, higher-resolution devices are more expensive, but we think it's worth it. You should consider if you want a colored or backlit screen to assist with viewing. Backlit displays will help with the glare of the sun.
There are two main types of fishfinder GPS combo sonar frequencies; CHIRP and traditional sonar. The traditional sonar has served anglers well over the years. It emits a static frequency pulse that listens for echos to return. The newest technology is called CHIRP sonar. It emits a wide range of frequencies to pick up images better.
In general terms, a fish finder that operates at higher frequencies will perform better than lower frequency devices. High-frequency pulses will have shorter wavelengths with more pulses. Low-frequency pulses have long wavelengths with fewer pulses per second. Multiple frequency bands will also increase the performance and give you a better image.
Almost all fish finders have some water-resistant properties. The IP rating is the measurement that we use to determine a device’s waterproof level. Most fishfinders have an IP rating of IP-X7, which means they have been tested against accidental spills and heavy rain. This rating also indicates that a device can be submerged, but only up to 3 feet for 30 minutes.
Depth Range and Target Separation
Simply put, the depth range is the level at which your fish finder will find targets in the water. Most of the devices on our list have a depth range of up to 5000 feet. Target separation is the ability of your fish finder to separate different objects underwater, such as fish and landmasses.
Certain features will enhance the performance of your fishfinder, such as display and scanning speed. Your fishfinder display should have anti-glare features so that you can see in direct sunlight. It should also be viewable from multiple angles. You should see how many times your fishfinder sends out a signal. This will affect the amount of fish that you can see.
6 Best Fishfinder GPS Combos Under $1000 Reviewed
1. Hummingbird Helix 7 G3N
Our Top Pick
Side-mount boat; through-hull; trolly motor
Chirp or Sonar
If you’re looking for the best product, then this is the best choice for you. It is backed by Humminbird’s one year warranty. It has a reputation amongst anglers for being a highly rated device, which is why we chose it as our top pick.
It comes with a 7-inch HD screen that is quite impressive. You can use the split-screen mode, which allows you to see both side and down images. Humminbird's SwitchFire technology will enable you to remove or add detail at the push of a button.
It has AutoChart Live, which allows you to chart out your fishing spots. The Navionics system allows you to follow GPS while you're on the lake. It includes a dual spectrum CHIRP system with multiple frequencies for superb images. It does not include a touchscreen.
We thought that Humminbird pulled out all the stops with this device. There aren’t many bad things to say about it. We liked that it included the LakeMaster compatibility option so that you can pick out your lake and use the GPS.
According to Randy,
You cannot go wrong with this unit and the price is right for all that it can do.
2. Garmin Echomap Chirp 74Cv
Bail or flush
Chirp or Sonar
Most people are familiar with Garmin as a GPS device company. They also make fishfinders like the Garmin Echomap Chirp 74Cv model, which we chose as our runner up. This model produces almost photographic like images with its high powered sonar.
This Garmin model comes with CHIRP sonar that creates images with clarity from both down and side imaging technology. It comes with preloaded maps for all of the US coastal regions, including the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.
It has a crisp and clear 7-inch screen. It has an IPX7 waterproof rating. The CHIRP sonar sends out a signal every five seconds, so you'll get an updated image of exactly what is around your boat. It has a depth range of up to 2300 feet.
The chart plotting feature was useful when finding and mapping out fishing hot spots. We thought that this model provided everything that you need in a fish finder. It includes nautical charts and BlueChart g2 coastal charts, which gives you everything that you need when chart plotting.
As Robb noted on his purchase,
Great Garmin performance and reliability with nautical charts included. Wanted a GPS plotter that had nautical charts.
3. Hummingbird 410980-1 ICE Helix 7
Best Marine GPS Fishfinder for Ice Fishing
Drop-in for ice fishing; shuttle mount
Chirp or Sonar
Ice fishing requires different gear than regular fishing, which can sometimes be challenging to find. We chose the Humminbird Ice Helix 7 as the best marine GPS fishfinder for ice fishing. It is similar to the previous Humminbird model but designed specifically for ice fishing.
The Humminbird Ice Helix 7 comes with two display modes that enable you to see exactly the details that you want at any time. The CHIRP sonar system provides real-time feedback on fish and lure presentations.
It comes with six settings to reduce interfering sonar signals. It gives you a clear view of either sonar or flasher mode. The internal GPS is perfect for marking waypoints and fishing spots so that you can navigate to them easily. Customers liked the portable carrying case, which made it easy to take out on the ice.
One feature that we enjoyed was the carrying case and cable management system. You could carry the fish finder in a five-gallon bucket and make you way out to the ice. The cable management wrap held the transducer cords nicely. The soft case bag helped protect the unit.
One satisfied customer claimed,
I have zero complaints about this unit and would not ice fish without it.
4. Lowrance Elite-7X
Best Fishfinder Under $1000 with Down Imaging
Through-hull; trolly motor
Chirp or Sonar
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great fishfinder. The Lowrance Elite-7X is the best fishfinder under $1000 with down imaging. It comes with DownScan imaging that produces picture-like quality images of fish beneath the boat.
This Lowrance model comes with the best down imaging among the fish finders in this review. You can track target fish at great depths and turbulence. This model makes it easy to find and locate sonar history with Lowrance's TrackBack feature.
It comes with an updated page selector that allows you to choose from preset layouts, including a three-panel with the chart, CHIRP sonar ranges, and DownScan imaging. You can overlay the DownScan image onto the CHIRP sonar map for even better clarity. For down images, you can't go wrong with this product.
Our team liked that this model was easy to install and operate. One of the best features was the overlay function. By overlaying the DownScan image with the CHIRP sonar, we were able to get a clear picture of activity beneath our boat. The only thing we didn't really care for was that there was no chart plotting function. Other than that, this fish finder performed well out on the lake.
5. Simrad GO7 XSR Combo
Best Chartplotter Fishfinder Under $1000
In boat dash; bracket; panel
Chirp or Sonar
Here we have another product that won’t break the bank like some other fish finders. The Simrad GO7 XSR is the best chartplotter fishfinder under $1000. It comes with a beautiful 7-inch touchscreen display. You can easily navigate the screen with the easy to use icons and functionality.
The Simrad GO7 XSR is a high-quality chartplotting device that uses CHIRP sonar technology to provide you with brilliant down and forward scan imaging. Simrad created an app that allows you to control the fishfinder from your phone, which is helpful when you have your rod in hand.
It is compatible with Halo radar and other maps, including C-MAPS. You can quickly add waypoints on maps with just one touch. Planning your next fishing trip can be done from the comfort of home with the advanced plotting features.
Based on our testing, we thought that this product was a joy to use. The touchscreen was instantly familiar since it is set up like a phone screen. You can even add and remove your favorite icons. It also hooks up to your boat’s sound system.
As James from Simrad’s website stated,
Fantastic product, easy to set up and use. Very well thought through for the non-technical boater.
6. HOOK2 9
Best Value for Money
Transom; through-hull; trolling motor; scupper hole
Chirp or Sonar
When it comes to fish finders, you want to get your money’s worth. We chose the Lowrance Hook2 9 as the best value for money fishfinder on the market. It comes with a triple-shot transducer. It is intuitive and easy to use for any angler.
The Hook2 comes with an auto-tuning CHIRP sonar system that utilizes wide-angle features. You will see more areas underneath your boat than with standard CHIRP sonar. The triple-shot transducer gives you down imaging, side imaging, and wide-angle sonar.
You get all three of the most effective technologies wrapped into one fish finder. You can quickly locate fish-holding structures such as land contours and coves. The autotuning sonar automatically changes settings based on water, weather, and turbulence conditions.We enjoyed testing this model out on the water. The triple-shot transducer was impressive. It provided us with fantastic down and side imaging. The GPS function worked well when traveling through canals. We thought it was easy to use with its phone-like interface.
I’m amazed at the ease of use and the clarity of the images or shows! Can't wait to get out on the water every chance I get now.
Cheap vs. Expensive Fishfinder Combos
Every angler likes a good bargain deal, but what is considered too cheap that you'll sacrifice quality? Some cheap fish finders will produce lackluster images with poor target separation.
More expensive fishfinders have quick scanning CHIRP sonar that provides images quickly, so you don't lose track of a target. The fish finders under $1000 in this buyer's guide are all high-quality, so you can expect a long-lasting device.
Comparing CHIRP to Traditional Sonar
All of the fishfinders that we have reviewed in this buyer’s guide feature CHIRP sonar. This is the newest in fish finding technology. Most notable companies are switching to using this method in their transducers.
Traditional sonar transmits only about one percent of the time. On the other hand, CHIRP sonar sends out ascending pulses that last ten times longer. They put about 10 to 50 times more energy into the water.
Microprocessors interpret the subtle differences in fish below the boat. You will get much clearer images with CHIRP sonar. It also provides excellent target tracking capabilities. Another notable difference in sonar imaging is ClearVü and SideVü. With ClearVü imaging, you will get a picture of what is directly below your boat.
With SideVü imaging, you will get a clear picture of what is happening on the sides of your boat.
Down Imaging vs. Side Imaging
There are two main types of imaging that modern fish finders produce; down and side imaging. While they may seem self-explanatory, there are some key differences.
Down imaging sonar produces an image that shows you directly beneath your boat. These types of fish finders work well when fishing in deep water environments for tuna, swordfish, or red snapper. Down imaging can produce clear images even at relatively high speeds. The disadvantages of down imaging include lower resolution and less coverage.
Side imaging provides you with clear images of both sides of your boat. They allow you to look more quickly since they provide data on both sides. They generally offer a better view of the water when fishing. Side imaging fish finders are more expensive, but they work better for finding fish in shallow bays and creeks. This includes fishing for trout and bass.
How to Use a Fishfinder GPS Combo
Now that you’ve chosen your new device from the list above, you’re ready to get started with using it. Follow the steps below to start finding fish and catching them.
- 1Always read the manual before operating your new fishfinder.
- 2Mount the fish finder to your boat. Depending on the model that you have selected, you will need a mounting bracket and the appropriate tools. The transducer will need to go on the tolling motor, ide, or through the hull of your boat.
- 3Power on the fishfinder. Most fishfinders will come with some preprogrammed settings that you will need to work your way through. Some of them are simple such as the date and time. Other settings will be about the fishing environment.
- 4Adjust the sensitivity. If you’re fishing in shallow water, then you should adjust the fish finder to a higher frequency. If you’re deep-sea fishing, then you should set it to a lower frequency.
- 5Set the fish ID setting according to the type of fish that you are hunting.
- 6You should leave your auto-depth setting to detect depth automatically.
People also Ask (FAQs)
Do I need GPS on a fishfinder?
You don't technically need a GPS on your fish finder, but we recommend it for anglers that want to be able to navigate on the water and use chart plotting functions. In this buyer's guide, we've covered fish finder GPS combos, so you get the best of both worlds.
What are the best GPS and fishfinder brands?
Some of the best brands include Garmin, Lowrance, and Humminbird. These companies have proven themselves to be high-quality, innovative, and easy to use.
Are these devices waterproof?
All of the models that we reviewed in this buyer’s guide are rated as IPX7. They are water-resistant to heavy rain and splashes as well as submersion up to 3 feet for 30 minutes.
Are there any specific steps to take for fishfinder care and maintenance?
If possible, when not in use, you should cover your fishfinder from the sun. You should also wipe it down after each boat trip to ensure the salt or lake water doesn't affect the electronics.
How do I mount a fishfinder GPS combo on a float tube?
There are a couple of mounting options, and most of them are DIY. You can use zip ties or buy a float tube mount. You can also buy a RAM style mount that will allow you to quickly remove the fish finder when not in use.
What about mounting a boat GPS fishfinder?
There are many different options for mounting your fishfinder on your boat. You can install it through the hull, on the trolling motor, on the side, or front. You can also mount them directly into the dashboard. You should mount the fish finder close to the fuse box so that you can easily run the wires.
What other fishing gear should I have besides a fishfinder?
The best way to enhance your fishing experience is to invest in the best gear to help you catch the most fish. Some essential gear is a tackle box, fishing scissors, and a fishing vest.
In this buyer’s guide, we have reviewed the best fish finder GPS combos on the market. Our team has tested countless products and decided that these products are the best for avid anglers.
Out of all these models, the best one is the Hummingbird Helix 7 G3N. We liked this fish finder GPS combo because it comes with a dual-beam CHIRP system and split-screen capabilities.