One tech piece no sailor can go without is the chart plotter. It works by amalgamating GPS with ENC, while in some cases displaying ancillary details from radar or other sensors, granting a safe means to navigate the seas. If you are the explorer type or you simply want to ensure you will always arrive back on shore safely when you go on a boat trip, a marine chartplotter is essential. As you peruse our product recommendation matrix, find out what are the top selections and what makes them indispensable to your boat gear collection.
|1. Simrad GO7 XSE||2. Garmin CHIRP 52cv||3. Garmin CHIRP 53cv||4. Lowrance ELite-5||5. Garmin GPSMAP 78sc|
|BEST MODEL||OUR CHOICE||BEST PRICE|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||5.63″ x 7.87″ x 2.76″||5.4″ x 6.8″ x 1.7″||5.4″ x 6.8″ x 1.7″||5.4″ x 6.9″ x 2.5″||6″ x 2.6″ x 1.2″|
|Weight||2 Lbs||1.6 Lbs||1.6 Lbs||3.5 Lbs||0.5 Lbs|
|Networking Connectors||1 x NMEA 2000||1 x NMEA 0183||1 x NMEA 0183||1 x NMEA 0183||NMEA 0183 Compatible|
|Operating Frequency||N/A||50/77/200 kHz, 260/455/800 kHz, Low/Mid/High||50/77/200 kHz, 260/455/800 kHz, Low/Mid/High||455/800 kHz, 50/83/200 kHz, Low/Mid/High||N/A|
|Media Ports||1 x microSD Slot||1 x microSD Slot||1 x microSD Slot||1 x microSD Slot||1 x microSD Slot|
|Power Consumption||950 mA @ 13.5V||7.1W||7.1W||0.9A @ 13V||N/A|
|Type||WVGA Colour TFT LCD||WQVGA||WQVGA||256-Color SolarMAX Plus TFT||Transflective, 65-K Color TFT|
|Resolution||800×480 px||480×480 px||480×480 px||480×480 px||160×240 px|
|Backlight Levels||LED/1200 nits||N/A||N/A||Adjustable Screen and Keypad||N/A|
|Antenna Type||10 Hz Built-In GPS||Internal or External Over NMEA 2000||Internal or External Over NMEA 2000||Internal High-Sensitivity WAAS+EGNOS+MSAS||N/A|
|Customisable Interface||Sonar Recording||Built-In CHIRP Sonar Technology||DownScan Overlay Technology||Wireless Sharing|
|TripIntel Technology||Sonar History Rewind||Sonar Recording||DownScan Imaging||HotFix Satellite Prediction|
|Cruise Charting View||Water Temperature Log and Graph||Sonar History Rewind||Advanced Signal Processing||BlueChart g2 Coastal Charts|
|Built-In Sonar||CHIRP Sonar||Water Temperature Log and Graph||TrackBack||Worldwide Basemap with Imagery|
|StructureScan Imaging||ClearVü Scanning Sonar||Preloaded LakeVü HD Inland Maps||Multi-Window Display||Sun and Moon Information|
|CHIRP-Enabled Broadband Sonar||GPS Waypoints Transfer||AIS Support||Page Selector Menu||Area Calculation|
|Bluetooth Audio Integration||DSC Support||Hunt/Fish Calendar|
|Product Warranty||2 Years||2 Years||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|Online Chat Support|
Sailing won’t get easier or safer than with the GO7, a marine device you need if you want to get more from your days spend on the water. Ideal for all types of boats, it features a bright touchscreen that enhances ease of use and features a built-in GPS receiver that keeps track of your location while helping you find convenient routes easier. Furthermore, as it allows Wi-Fi access, you will be able to download all the maps you need and stay updated with the most recent software additions the manufacturing company has provided for it.
As it provides support for a wide range of cartography options, you can confidently navigate to destinations near and far without ever losing yourself. You have the flexibility to choose the charts that suit your needs best, which is another undeniable plus. It provides you with the shortest route to take if you want to be sure you will get there as fast as possible. You can even mark waypoints with a simple touch, assigning them meaningful names to remember your path.
Its most important technology is TripIntel that tracks and displays important info that you need in order to plan ahead a safe journey on the water. A fuel range will be overlaid on the charts so that you know to be well prepared before heading on your trip, and you will even be provided with tide levels, whether they are current or future.
For beginners, these devices can seem quite complicated to use. However, this isn’t the case in this specific situation as the fully customizable home screen enables you to create the shortcuts you need depending on the activities you plan on taking up. It even allows split-screen viewing so that you may keep an eye on everything you need at once. A feature that greatly enhances ease of use is the automatic routing it provides. All you have to do is select the destination you want to reach, and the shortest and safest route suggestion will appear on the screen in a matter of seconds. If you agree to the suggestion, you can obviously go with it instead of wasting time creating your own path.
|Versatile installation as it allows flush, flat, or bracket mounting||None|
|User-friendly operation saves you time on learning how to use it|
|Wonderful built-in features: DownScan, TotalScan, ForwardScan, StructureScan|
|Allows smart planning of your navigation route|
Feature-filled and easy to use, the GO7 XSE is undoubtedly the best choice you can make. A perfect fit abroad sport boats and rigid inflatable boats, it provides a wide range of functions like control of the onboard sound system, navigation aid, engine monitoring, and so on. With it by your side, you will confidently roam the seas with your boat, all without worrying you might get lost.
Easy to use and filled with features that aid sailors more easily navigate, the 52cv helps you avoid getting lost, create new and exciting routes to take with your boat and share your experiences when you are at sea with others. Capable of saving up to 100 routes and 5000 waypoints, it puts everything you could ask for at your disposal.
The trail recording function it features is another highlight worth mentioning as it allows you to save as many as 50000 track points, thus retaining important info you will need during other expeditions on it. Another highlight worth mentioning is the Quickdraw Contours feature you can use to effortlessly create custom HD maps.
Highly effective in its tracking capabilities, it features an internal GPS that updates your position 5 times per second, so there is no need to worry you might lose track of your exact location or get lost during the expedition. If it were to pinpoint a flaw, the only downside we could find is the rather expensive price tag. Other than that, we can only praise it for its accuracy and performance, strongly recommending it to those who can afford it.
|Quickdraw Contours feature allows you to create personalized HD fishing maps with ease||Price tag might be out of some people’s reach|
|Comes with a preloaded worldwide basemap that you can use as a general reference when sailing|
|The cords plug directly into the mount, allowing a convenient and neat installation of the device|
|Waterproof design ensures the device will not be harmed when it enters in contact with water|
Garmin is one of the most renowned brands at the moment, and with its arrival on the market, it did not disappoint as it delivered one of the best performing devices at the moment, the 52cv. Reliable in its performance, this marine electronic ensures you will never get lost when you are on water with your boat.
Perfect for navigating the water as well as fishing, this Garmin product features everything you could ask for as a recreational boater. With its simplistic interface, it manages to deliver important data regarding your location and the route you are supposed to follow, as well as other important info, all without requiring you to be a tech genius to control it. A successful product you will become addicted to using, what makes it even more appealing is the reasonable price it comes at.
Processing your location information once every 5 seconds, it always tracks your positioning to ensure you will have reliable data at your disposal and make no mistakes when navigating. A highlight we cannot overlook due to its importance when looking at the bigger picture performance-wise is the temperature sensor it integrates as this sensor allows it to boast a graph function and temperature log.
It features a microSD slot you can use for additional mapping as well as other numerous features that add to its appeal in use and performance quality. Overall, what you should take away from this review is that it is hard to find a better performing device out there, only the two aforementioned models slightly surpassing its performance.
|Quickdraw Contours feature allows you to customize your maps||Single SD card slot does not allow sonar recording while inserting a different microSD card|
|Tide tables information to keep you updated with weather conditions|
|Perfect choice for medium to large vessels like bass boats and even professional fishing boats|
|Comes at an affordable price|
When it comes down to price-value ratio, it is one of the best choice to go for as it provides everything you need and expect, all while remaining at a reasonable asking price. Easy to use and perfect for medium and large vessels, it is a recommendation we strongly make as it has impressed us during testing sessions.
The fourth entry in our top is this amazing Lowrance device you will adore using as it boasts a powerful fish-finder functionality and precise GPS chartplotting features, thus proving to be an indispensable tool for recreational boaters. With its user-friendly interface, it ensures you will never lose sight of the route you must follow when you are with your vessel on water.
The reason why we praise this product so much is that it comes with a highly accurate GPS antenna that will never fail you as it ensures quality aid while navigating the water. Another important highlight we must mention is the TrackBack feature you can use to review the history of the sonar whenever you need to do so.
Backed by a 1-year warranty and manufactured by one of the most respectable manufacturers, it is an investment worth making. Additionally, it is well-priced, being one of the most affordable high-end devices you will encounter when searching the market for this type of marine tech pieces. Unfortunately, it is poor in the features department when compared to the models we previously reviewed, so we had to rank it a bit lower.
|Internal GPS antenna is highly accurate||Not as feature-rich as other products|
|TrackBack feature makes it possible to review the history of the sonar|
|One of the best price-value ratios|
|Features a quick-release tilt and swivel bracket|
Reasonably priced and great performing, this Lowrance entry is the best companion for boating hobbyists and those who enjoy fishing in their free time. An accurate GPS antenna, quality fish-finder technology, a plethora of performance-boosting features, and a reasonable price are only some of the highlights boasted by this device we so strongly recommend.
The most affordable option on our roster, the 78sc from Garmin, is a handheld device you will enjoy using as it boasts an intuitive operation and a plethora of features. One of its most important functions is the barometric altimeter that enables it to pinpoint your altitude and that you can use to keep an eye on weather condition changes over time.
One of the many aspects that make it highly desirable is the allowance of wireless sharing of waypoints, routes, and tracks with other compatible device users. Thus, you can help out those who share the same interests with you by sharing the locations of your favorite fishing spots or boat ride routes.
It comes preloaded with the BlueChart g2 for the entire U.S. and it allows you to add additional maps as well as it features the convenient microSD slot located in the battery compartment. Locating your position quickly as it features an accurate GPS and HotFix satellite prediction, you never have to worry about precision in tracking even if you are in the deep canyons.
|Handheld design makes it highly convenient to use||Battery must be recharged once every 20 hours|
|Barometric altimeter tracks pressure changes to observe shifting weather conditions|
|Comes at a highly affordable price|
|microSD card slot allows you to load additional maps on it|
The handheld design is definitely one of its strong points as it allows a convenient operation, but there are a lot of other highlights and features to enjoy with it as well. Coming at an exceptionally reasonable price, it is a purchase you surely will not regret making. There are a few downsides to this product, obviously, but none of these flaws affects its performance too much.
With the Humminbird, you can now easily create your own richly detailed maps with routes to take in order to reach your favorite fishing spots faster. As opposed to other devices in the niche, it provides all the info you could ask for – depth contours, bottom hardness, and vegetation. The base map of the Helix 5 provides interesting info regarding over 10 thousand lakes so that you may have an easy time catching fish.
Its depth capability is of 600 feet, but you need not fret if you prefer more as with the measly purchase of a transducer, you will enjoy depth readings of up to 2500 feet. It features the effective CHIRP dual beam plus sonar tech. The micro SD card slot allows you to either save waypoints which interest you or to add more maps to this system.
The slim profile of the digital display gives it a smooth, cool look. Furthermore, it minimizes the usage of space without making it hard for you to read off of it, the 5-inch size ensuring you won’t’ squint your eyes to see where fish are located. Furthermore, its display is designed to ensure clarity even when direct sunlight hits it.
|Easy to see all the details on its 1500-nit bright 5-inch screen||Not the cheapest purchase you could make|
|600-foot maximum depth reading can be expanded to 2500 feet with the separate purchase of a transducer|
|Features built-in Uni Map cartography|
|Features Selective Fish ID+ which allows you to see what aquatic life is underneath your boat|
Although it is not the cheapest model on the market, considering its stats, it would be a shame to pass on the Humminbird. The color 5-inch display provides you with all the info that could interest you when you are on the water, fishing. Some of its most important features include the Selective Fish ID+, a real time sonar, and a handy temperature alarm.
We did our best to deliver the best possible ranking of the highest quality GPS chartplotters on the market in 2018. For us to offer you this accurate portrayal of your best options, we had to do a lot of testing and digging around for interesting info. Fortunately, all of our research paid off as we have indeed found the top products out there. If you are curious to learn what are the main elements to influence the way our top looks, better understanding why we made these choices to begin with, check out the table below where we have listed the rating criteria, the explanation for their importance to the overall quality of the products, and what are the marine devices that received the most points for each rating category.
|Rating Criteria||Impact on Device Quality||What Chartplotter Received Most Points|
|Screen Size||Screen size is important as it shows how easily you will be able to read the maps and coordinates that appear on the display. The bigger the screen size is the better, so we awarded the model that boasted the widest screen when it came down to this rating aspect.||Simrad GO7 XSE|
|Portability||A portable marine GPS allows you to carry it around more easily, so we gave extra points to the model featured in our top that boasts a handheld design.||Garmin GPSMAP 78sc|
|Waterproof Rating||We made sure you would spend your cash on a long-lasting product by rating these devices according to their waterproof rating as well. As these systems will most likely get wet on a regular basis, it is important for them to not get affected by the unfavorable conditions.||Simrad GO7 XSE, Garmin CHIRP 52cv, Garmin CHIRP 53cv, Lowrance ELite-5, Garmin GPSMAP 78sc|
|Sonar Capability||The sonar feature allows you to detect if there are fish-holding structures in the area and it helps you locate these structures as well. We gave extra points to the models that feature sonar as they come in handy for fishermen as well as recreational boaters.||Simrad GO7 XSE, Garmin CHIRP 52cv, Garmin CHIRP 53cv, Lowrance ELite-5|
|Bluetooth Audio Integration||A little entertainment does not hurt at all as it tends to get quite tiring when you are at large. Thus, we rated the model that comes with this feature higher as it helps you have more fun when you are on the water with your vessel.||Simrad GO7 XSE|
|Wi-Fi Interface||Wi-Fi integration is of a maximum importance as it not only allows wireless data sharing, but because it enables you to perform crucial updates on the software and even download maps. We had to make this feature one of our rating aspects as it considerably boosts the usability of these devices.||Simrad GO7 XSE, Garmin GPSMAP 78sc|
|Warranty Length||A lengthy warranty is crucial as it ensures you will not be put in the situation of having to spend money on the repair or replacement of the device in case it malfunctions or gets damaged. Keeping your best interest in mind, we rated the models that are accompanied by long warranties better.||Simrad GO7 XSE, Garmin CHIRP 52cv|
The complete lack of signals and light when night comes makes it impossible to safely sail the seas without getting lost, especially in the case of beginner boaters or those who do this activity in their free time with a recreational purpose. To get from one point to another safely and as fast as possible when you are on the water, you must use a marine GPS chartplotter. Fortunately, the device is not hard to use or understand, so you will not encounter difficulties when it comes to operating it. To find out more about the process of installing and using the device, read the following lines.
Regardless of your experience on the water, you have to consider investing in a marine chartplotter as it can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Sure, the device might cost a pretty penny, but it is worth every cent as it positively influences your entire experience when you are out with your vessel on water, no matter the objective of your small trip – taking a little time to relax in your favorite environment or fishing. Learn everything there is to know about the advantages provided by the GPS for sailors from the following lines: