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Thread: lowrance VS garmin looking for first hand experance

  1. #1
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    Smile lowrance VS garmin looking for first hand experance

    I am really needing to up grade my GPS chart potter fish finder combo.
    i am looking and ether the garmin 740
    or
    the lowrance HDS-7

    looking for the radar chart fish find combo. like that the lowrance has a 5yr warrenty vers the garmin with just a yr.

    looking comments from people who have use them and what you like and dislike about them.

    thanks for the info

  2. #2
    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    I bought a Garmin 740 two years ago. I love the map charting, it keeps good contact with the bottom, it has never lost my position even in miles of heavy fog, but it doesn't show schools of salmon when it is on sonar..

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    I haven't used the Garmin much at all other than playing around on boats I was looking at buying. I think their both good units. However, I've had several Lowrances over the last 10 or so years and have had zero problems with them. Right now I have the LCX-113HD, a little older unit but I'm very happy with it. It doesn't have radar but can be added. It will keep bottom running 30mph in 700-800ft of water. The mapping is great. Overall I have zero complaints about it. The one thing I'd say the Garmin has the edge on is the mapping. Cooler smoother maps for sure. Given the flawless operation I've had with my Lowrances though I'd be hard pressed to leave them for garmin.

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    I just put the HDS-7X w/Insight in with the structure scan unit, It has Alaska built in for the plotter with the insight. But I bought it mostly for the structure scan. Check Ebay got my unit new for $1200 also check out

    http://hightechfishing.com/

    Going to pick up the Mapping software this winter
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by idakfisher View Post
    I bought a Garmin 740 two years ago. I love the map charting, it keeps good contact with the bottom, it has never lost my position even in miles of heavy fog, but it doesn't show schools of salmon when it is on sonar..
    Something is wrong if its not showing salmon, even the cheapest POS should show them. Are you fine tuning it or just leaving it on auto settings? most people that I've helped out with electronics have them on auto which isn't giving you the full potential of your machine. Using auto settings on electronics is like buying a pickup with a v-8 and disconnecting 2 sparkplugs.

    Personally I'm a Furuno fan but Garmin would definitely be my second choice. I sold marine electronics for a few years and you couldn't give me a Lowrance, just my $.02 worth.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipper View Post
    I am really needing to up grade my GPS chart potter fish finder combo.
    i am looking and ether the garmin 740
    or
    the lowrance HDS-7

    looking for the radar chart fish find combo. like that the lowrance has a 5yr warrenty vers the garmin with just a yr.

    looking comments from people who have use them and what you like and dislike about them.

    thanks for the info
    I believe the "5 yr. guarantee" that Lowrance has really isn't a strict "guarantee" like you'll get a new one if yours breaks. The actual guarantee (if it breaks we'll fix it or give you a new one) is just 2 years, but for 5 years if yours breaks then they will give you the option of "upgrading" to the latest one or another unit. Here's what it says on their website: "If a Lowrance product fails within 5 years of purchase the consumer will have the opportunity to upgrade to current model technology." It sounds to me as though you will have to pay them to make that upgrade if that's what you choose to do. Not that that isn't a possibly good option for someone. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    ya Thats kind of what I under stood but it seams better than what garmin does for you i think. I am leaning toward the garmin but have a friend that really likes his lowrance and thinks the lowrance radar is better and lower power so you are not getting the effect from it in the cabin.

  8. #8

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    If you buy the Lowrance there's a good chance you'll need the warranty, unfortunately it will probably crap out on you right after the warranty expires, seems to be their MO anyways from what I saw. Garmin on the otherhand, very likely not to need the warranty. Again, just my $.02 worth.

    I wouldn't worry much about power output of a radar if your in the cabin unless of course you mount the dome in the cabin. You'll appreciate the higher power when the fog socks in and you can barely see the bow of your boat, I've never wished I had less.

  9. #9
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    When my GPSMap 441S wouldn't hold the bottom Garmin sent me a software fix in email. No questions asked.
    When the screen on the Oregon 450 I got started shaking they reinstalled the OS, checked it while I was there, still did it, handed me a new one off the shelf, put new batteries in it and I was on my way. Garmin has had the best Customer service for me. I had a older Lowrance when I bought my last boat, it wouldn't hold bottom, All I was told is it was a discontinued model and I should buy newer. Not saying they do not have great Customer service, just not for me.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipper View Post
    I am really needing to up grade my GPS chart potter fish finder combo.
    i am looking and ether the garmin 740
    or
    the lowrance HDS-7

    looking for the radar chart fish find combo. like that the lowrance has a 5yr warrenty vers the garmin with just a yr.

    looking comments from people who have use them and what you like and dislike about them.

    thanks for the info
    Not to make your decision any tougher, but I'm just curious if you have considered Humminbird. I have a Humminbird GPS/fishfinder and have been thinking of upgrading what I've got. I've never had any problems with their products and really like them. There 958c looks to be in about the same price range as the two you mention, and at a cursory glance seems to have more options in the "fishfinder" area. Any thoughts from anyone on that?
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    Not to make your decision any tougher, but I'm just curious if you have considered Humminbird. I have a Humminbird GPS/fishfinder and have been thinking of upgrading what I've got. I've never had any problems with their products and really like them. There 958c looks to be in about the same price range as the two you mention, and at a cursory glance seems to have more options in the "fishfinder" area. Any thoughts from anyone on that?
    How is the quality of the GPS on your hummingbird? I imagine they have good fish finding capability. I have had lowrance and now have garmin and I have been happy with both, and I would think hummingbird should be right up there with those two in the similiar price range. I wouldn't hesitate getting a hummingbird for the right price, but if I were going to upgrade, my ideal setup would be two separate units. Furuno fish finder, Garmin GPS
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    Member Firefisher's Avatar
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    I fish a lot of reef and wreck in SE Florida and Key West. I've got an older Garmin, and I'm on the market for a new unit-I'm getting some dark spots on the screen. Most of my fishing is done within 20 miles of the coast, and our coast is pretty easy to navigate down here, so chartplotting is not of major concern to me. What is a major concern, is bottom structure, and locating schools of fish and baitfish. Garmin lacks in this area. Lowrance and Humminbird are the only companies with sidescan HDS technology right now, and they have set the bar. Garmin is not going to it, they are resting on heir mapping laurels-they're the best in the business at that, imo.(you don't see too many Furuno and Si-tech handheld gps units out there on people's dashboards). Down here, the inshore and bass guys use Humminbirds, you won't see them on an offshore boat. Bottom line, get what you can afford. They're all good, technology is pretty incredible in these little units. If detailed chartplotting is your thing, get a, get a, get a Garmin. If marking structure and fish is your priority, go with Lowrance. I'm going to (just as soon as I pay off this Alaska trip)

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    How is the quality of the GPS on your hummingbird? I imagine they have good fish finding capability. I have had lowrance and now have garmin and I have been happy with both, and I would think hummingbird should be right up there with those two in the similiar price range. I wouldn't hesitate getting a hummingbird for the right price, but if I were going to upgrade, my ideal setup would be two separate units. Furuno fish finder, Garmin GPS
    Anyway, I'm not sure how you measure the "quality" of a GPS, so I can't really answer that question with authority. The GPS function on my 3 year old 787c unit works great if that's what you mean. I can tell exactly where I am to the usual degree of accuracy of any GPS system and when I look at my GPS when I'm in my slip in the harbor it shows where my boat is in the slip that I'm in, so I guess that makes it pretty accurate.

    And Humminbird has some incredible cartography and mapping software that comes standard with most of their higher end units. I'm not sure how good it is for AK, but I have the Navionics "Fish n' Chip" (that apparently is no longer available) that shows the depth contours (I believe every fathom) for all of K-Bay/Cook Inlet/Gulf of AK. So it sure does exactly what I need it to do.

    And most of the higher end Humminbirds come with "Side Scan Imaging" and a few other interesting features like their "Down Imaging" software that actually shows on the screen an "image" of what it is that's showing up on your sonar. It looks pretty cool on their website (http://www.humminbird.com/leading_in...n-imaging.aspx), but who knows how practical it is for the kind of fishing I do out there. But it sure looks cool.

    And Humminbird makes their own 2kw and 4kw radomes if you want radar imaging. And it will project the radar image onto your chart if you want.

    I don't know---and please don't tell me I'm being argumentative for saying this---but Humminbird looks to me like a great way to get the best of all worlds in one unit. Which is precisely why I asked if anyone else out there has any input on the comparison between them all. I love my present Humminbird, but if I'm going to shell out a thousand bucks or more for a new unit I want to be sure I'm getting the best bang for my buck.
    Last edited by Brian M; 08-30-2012 at 13:05. Reason: unrelated to topic
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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  14. #14

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    I got about 5 years out of my last Lowrance. I loved the way it marked salmon. Died on me suddenly. Have a Raymarine now, not so thrilled with it, but I get by and mark 90% of the salmon I catch with it. Wish I had a Furuno.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I have read enough reviews on Furuno sonar to sway me towards them, it is what I would upgrade to, but I am sure hummingbird has good stuff too. Probably the best way to look at it is, whats better, Chevy, Ford, Dodge, etc, people develop their own favorites and their loyalty will sometimes keep them from buying what fits their needs the best.
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    The brand is not as important in you sounder choice as is the quality of the transducer!!! You will spend almost as much for a high quality transducer as you will for your gps/sounder unit! As for me I like si-tex the best. I used a 20 inch flat screan for my GPS. My si-tex sounder would show a 1lb weight and a bait going up and down in 200ft of water, and held bottom at 20KTS in 300ft. One thing to under stand is you get what you pay for! My GPS and sounder and transducer was just over $5,000 and well worth it!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    The brand is not as important in you sounder choice as is the quality of the transducer!!! You will spend almost as much for a high quality transducer as you will for your gps/sounder unit! As for me I like si-tex the best. I used a 20 inch flat screan for my GPS. My si-tex sounder would show a 1lb weight and a bait going up and down in 200ft of water, and held bottom at 20KTS in 300ft. One thing to under stand is you get what you pay for! My GPS and sounder and transducer was just over $5,000 and well worth it!
    I'm just curious (and NOT being argumentative) what is it exactly that makes the Si-Tex transducer better than a Lowrance, Garmin or Humminbird? I can't find any information on the Si-Tex website that differentiates what their transducers would do vs. any of the others. To the best of my knowledge they all send out a variety of frequencies/beam angles depending on which particular frequencies/beam angles you choose, and the power output only has to do with the power output that your sounder can produce. Their highest end unit, the CVS-1410 claims to put out 1kW of power, but so does the Humminbird 1198c. I can't find ANY information on their website having to do with any of their transducers costing as much as their gps/sounder units. All of the transducers I see on their site come bundled with the particular sounder you purchase and vary in price from about $200 for the basic transducer, up to about $1500 for a stainless "twin beam wide angle" one. Am I missing something? My $700 Humminbird 787c can see a 1lb. weight bouncing up and down 200' down, too, and does pretty well keeping bottom up to about the mid-20's or so. Though at over about 25mph I start to get weird readings occasionally. I really would like to know because if I'm going to purchase a new unit I sure want to get one that will do what I need it to do.
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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Have you looked at any airmar transducers? I think you can do much better with a non factory (lowrance,garmin,hummingbird,etc) transducer and airmar comes to mind, and their are others out there probably. Someone correct me if I am wrong
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    Have you looked at any airmar transducers? I think you can do much better with a non factory (lowrance,garmin,hummingbird,etc) transducer and airmar comes to mind, and their are others out there probably. Someone correct me if I am wrong
    I took a cursory glance at their website and they look interesting, but I'll have to read some of their "Presentations and Bulletins". And idea off the top of your head what makes them better than just purchasing one from the actual manufacturer?
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    I took a cursory glance at their website and they look interesting, but I'll have to read some of their "Presentations and Bulletins". And idea off the top of your head what makes them better than just purchasing one from the actual manufacturer?
    I don't have any specifics on them other than I know they are popular with some people. My big boat that I have was used as a charter boat in Homer for many years and it has a pair of airmar transducers on it, the previous owner had 1 hooked to a raymarine sounder and one to a furuno sounder. I never hooked any electronics to them so I don't know how good they worked.
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