Best Garmin Fish Finder 2018 Reviews & Buying Guide

Garmin Fish Finders

If your in the market for a new fish finder narrowing in on a high quality brand with a proven track record is important. Garmin is a major player in the fish finder and GPS market and has been providers fisherman with quality built products that have been tested and tried for decades. We decided to include a Garmin Fish Finder buying guide to in addition to our general buying guide for those who are set on purchasing from this brand.

You can spend thousands of dollars on a boat, a fishing rod, and tackle but imagine fishing for hours and coming out empty. It happens to all of us from time to time, we head out on the waters and completely miss the fishing holes or hot spots. With a handy Garmin fish finder, fishing becomes more enjoyable and efficient as you can locate where the fish is in the water. You can spend all the money in the world on equipment but if your not fishing the right spots you’ll be heading home empty handed.

While fishing using a hook and bait may be fun as you idly pass time on the lake, when you need a bigger catch, you will need the help of a fish finder to spot the catch especially in deep waters and larger lakes and streams. These devices are great for locating the prime fishing locations. A Garmin fish finder will literally save you hours of time from fishing in dud spots with no fish.

We consider Garmin, Hummingbird, and Lowrance to be the major players in the fish finder market. They are all fairly competitively priced and very depending on the model and function.
Fish finders use sonar to render an image of the waters around your boat to help you fish better. They scan the seas and lakes and pinpoint where each fish is in proportion to your location. They will show the temperature of the water and how deep the water is at that location. It can even help you find structures that certain kinds of fish might like to hang out around like reefs. This can help you understand the water that you’re in, and it can help you fish with a little more efficiency.

In this article, we’ll go over the different kinds of Garmin fish finders and what they’re useful for. This brand is well known for their technologically advanced units that are easy to use. Different fish finders will cater to different needs, so, when you are reeling the biggest fish in the lake or sea, you will be thrilled you had a fish finder to help you out.

Model Overview (see video):

Garmin Fish Finder Technologies:

  • CHIRP Sonar technologies – traditional sonar fish finders operate on a single frequency. This obviously limits the clarity and ultimately the quality of the images produced. CHIRP sonar shoots waves in a sweeping fashion with a continuous range of frequencies (low to high). The result is better separation and a better image.
  •  ClearVu Scanning technology – Produces a nearly photographic image of what ‘s going on below the boat. Why it’s important? A clear image will allow you to better determine the bottom of the lake. You will distinctly be able to make out weed beds from rocks and other sunken debris. This is a game changer when fishing at a high level and trying to target fishing hot spots.
  • SideVU Technology- While I don’t consider this a must have (sidevu models are usually around $100 more than the model without) it is a great feature for anglers that can afford it. This feature allows you to see whats going on at either side of the boat. It’s basically adds another feature to your toolbox to help you locate fish more precisely.

Garmin Striker 7SV & 7CV

There are two things that your fish finder should do for you: find the fish and make a record of where they like to hide. Garmin Striker 7SV comes through and then some in these two areas. With advanced scanning mechanism, you will get clear images of the waters around you, gauge how deep the area is and find out where the fish are hiding in real time.

This locator comes with a 7-inch screen allowing users to view data without strain and is also backlit for easy reading in glaring sunlight. With an easy to use interface with dedicated navigation and function buttons, it provides a more intuitive operation.

The 7SV comes with an inbuilt GPS system that allows the user to make their waypoint maps to easily navigate brush piles, stumps, and docks by a push of a button. Additionally, the locator comes with a reachable battery pack so you can stay out in the water without running out of juice to power the unit.

The most impressive feature in the unit is the CHIRP sonar that sends a continuous sweep of sonar frequencies to cover deep viewing and capture minute details. The device comes with a GT52 transducer where it generates an assortment of sonar pulses. The sensor sends and receives 455 kHz signals used to create images of conditions below the waterline. The 7SV includes DownVu and SideVu capabilities that use divided sonar beams to capture the scene below and to the sides of your boat. All in all, you can view 1,100 feet depth in saltwater and 2,300 feet in freshwater.

This rugged looking locator is built to endure the harsh outdoor conditions. It’s extremely waterproof and comes with a portable conversion case that lets you use it in a kayak. The unit has a flasher which is ideal for ice fishing and comes with a convenient mounting adapter that is easy to install and doesn’t require drilling.

This Fish finder is also available in a Garmin 7CV model which is essentially the same minus the side view technology. While the sideview technology is a great asset the 7CV is still worth it and is great if your on a bit of a budget. There is about a $100 difference between the two models.

You honestly can’t go wrong with any of these models which is why I’m picking them as the best bang for your buck models. Any of these units are appropriate for mid to high level anglers on a budget looking to get a lot of value for the price.

If you want a little more you could always with the model up (with the 9 inch display-see below). And if you want to go a little leaner in price go with the 4 or 5 inch models; the Striker Plus 4CV and the Striker Plus 5CV.

Reasons to go with this model:

  • Built in GPS Fish Finder Combo – highly recommended
  • Good bang for your buck especially the 7CV
  • The SV models (side view) are a real game changer and a really incredible feature that must be seen to appreciate
  • Well built/rugged and come in a screen size for every need

Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 94sv

If you are looking for a finder to give you near-photographic images with detailed representation of objects and fish, then Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 94sv is a handy pick. It comes with four options for display sizes: 4-inch, 5-inch square and 7- and 9-inch screens. Garmin has perfected the user experience in this locator; it’s easy to set up and has a straightforward interface that even rookies can understand. Data is displayed in HD and transitions smoothly. The finder has six buttons that are used to power the device.

The built-in maps and charts are simply a game changer. It comes with U.S. BlueChart g2 charts, U.S. LakeVu HD or Canada LakeVu HD maps which are detailed and easy to read and are customizable. And it doesn’t stop there, a 5 Hz GPS updates position and heading five times per second making marking and returning to waypoints easier.

The Chirp sonar in the SV will impress you with crystal clear images while running incredibly fast. This intuitive system detects objects very fast and with precision. Best of all the transducer in the 94SV offers side view sonar for a clear picture of the waters around the boat.

The locator comes with a metal quick release mount bracket, and the set up is smooth and fast. This locator will serve you for a long time. The zooming feature on both sonar and mapping mode makes it easy to read. The GPS is accurate and fast making your fishing experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Garmin Striker 4

The Striker 4 comes with a relatively small screen of 3.5 inches which is sufficient to get the job done. This is a base model in the Garmin’s Striker series but still has everything you need in a locator. The display is in full color and high contrast so you can see everything with great clarity. Because of the limited display, you have switched the menus which can be a problem when you are trying to mark your location and at the same time trying to find your catch.

The Garmin Striker 4 comes with CHIRP sonar, the best in the market. This high-frequency sonar gives clear images of the water around your boat. You will be able to target one fish in a group with this sonar with a signal that reaches 1600 feet in fresh water and 750 feet in salt water.

Additionally, the inbuilt GPS will enable you to track your path and include a waypoint map of where you want to go with ETA. This small plotter has just enough features you need to spot your catch with a great range. It has an easy to understand interface and the screen has a backlight so you can read data in direct sunlight. We like this portable unit that can be used for ice fishing as well because it has an inbuilt flasher. It’s easy to set up the plotter thanks to the quick release mounting system.

Good luck trying to beat this price. The Striker 4 is the best seller for a reason, its cheap and effective. While it may not have all the high end luxurious features such as sidevu technology- it has all the basics for under $100. Yes that’s right you get a GPS / Fish finder for less than $100; making this the cheapest option on the market and a great pick for entry to mid level anglers.