Never take your boat out on a serious expedition without a reliable GPS qualified for the job.
Many new designs nowadays, though small, can keep you safe to cross an ocean or find fish in a huge unknown lake like a pro.
If you’re looking for the best boat GPS for the money, don’t overlook the following list:
Here are the best boat gps for the money (May 2021 Update):
- Best For Lake Adventures: HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder Splitshot
- Best For Anglers: Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4.3 DI Fish Finder
- Best For Ice Fishing: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- Best For Shore Fishing: LUCKY Wireless Portable Fish Finder
- Easy-To-Set-Up: HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder
- Versatile: Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
|Top 6 Best Boat GPS For The Money|
Best For Lake Adventures
|HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder Splitshot||Read Our Review|
Best For Anglers
|Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4.3 DI Fish Finder||Read Our Review|
Best For Ice Fishing
|Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar||Read Our Review|
Best For Shore Fishing
|LUCKY Wireless Portable Fish Finder||Read Our Review|
|HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder||Read Our Review|
|Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder||Read Our Review|
Best For Lake Adventures: HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder Splitshot
- Provide wider-angle CHIRP than most fish finders, help you cover more water and see more fish in the water column in less time
- Intuitive to use even though it’s pretty petite – suitable for limited-space boats or kayaks
- With the preloaded C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps, no more problems finding areas to fish
- Autotuning sonar for the best imaging
- Hardly work in direct sunlight
The HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder Splitshot is a great GPS device designed by anglers for anglers. It’s a powerful unit tied in an easy-to-understand menu to give you more time fishing and less time spent on settings.
As the heart of HOOK2 is its Autotuning sonar technology which will automatically adjust sonar settings to fit specific water conditions, it helps deliver only the best imaging.
With the 3-in-1 construction, including DownScan Imaging, plus SideScan, and high CHIRP wide-angle sonar, the Splitshot can cover large lakes easily - like Ohio, Erie, or Florida lakes. So anglers can rest the heart to use this to spot out some new fishing holes in an unknown lake.
Tracking baits, or identifying structure under your boat/kayak is also not a thing as well.
|HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder Splitshot Specifications|
18 x 10 x 6 in
Number of maps
preloaded C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps
Have preloaded C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps with 1-foot contours for over 3,000 lakes
Standard coverage of an additional 9,000 lakes
Equipped with a wide-angle CHIRP, preloaded C-MAP® US Coastal mapping, and C-MAP® US Inland mapping, all packed in a bullet 4” display, the HOOK2 Splitshot is ideal for big lake adventures.
Best For Anglers: Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4.3 DI Fish Finder
- Built with an audible alarm to alert you of any targets or depth to ensure you know what’s going on under your boat
- Specifically designed to give you an exact position of fish despite objects or plants
- The suction cup doesn’t stay attached to the boat well
- Poorly-made carry case
As there’re numerous things to focus on when sailing through the water, we really appreciate the audible alarm of this Humminbird GPS device. This goes off when it detects any fish or when you’re sailing towards a shallow water spot, hence, you’ll know what’s going on under your boat.
The perfect combo of Fish-ID function, Down-Imaging sonar technology, and Dual-Beam PLUS is another shining point.
They give you the precise position of your target fish, no matter if they’re swimming close to an object or hiding under plants.
While loaded with many advanced features that are commonly founded in high-end fish finders, its affordable price might give you a pleasant surprise.
|Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4.3 DI Fish Finder Specifications|
3.91" W x 7.34" H x 3.62" D
Number of maps
2400 watts PTP/300 Watts RMS
Display Size Diagonal -4.3”
Down Imaging Sonar
2400 watts PTP/300 Watts RMS
Depth Capability -320’ (DI) & 600’
If you’re a budget-minded angler looking for a fantastic fish finder to maximize your fishing experience, the Humminbird 4.3 DI Fish Finder is a flawless contender.
Best For Ice Fishing: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- It has an ice fishing mode to capably be used as an ice flasher for winter fishing
- Require no cables or batteries, easy to install, and smooth trolling -> very versatile
- Compatible with both iOS and Android devices for extra convenience
- Lack of accessories, such as the rubber rod mount, orange cap, or a boat mount
Unlike the Humminbird 4.3 DI, you can install this fish finder in seconds.
Out of that small yet practical bonus, the Deeper PRO+ is a versatile device to be used as an ice flasher for winter fishing, for casting from the shore or trolling from a boat/kayak.
It’s wireless, requires no batteries or cables and can be synced with Android/iOS devices.
You can easily track target location and size or know the vegetation, underwater construction, suspended depth, and water temperature from your smartphone screen. In comparison to other fish finders, it scans deeper and casts further to help make superior bathymetric maps.
Therefore, your game will be lifted up to a whole new level.
|Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Specifications|
3 x 5.3 x 5.9 inches
4 – 6 hours
Number of maps
Scans down 260ft, 0.5" target separation
15 scans per sec.
Winter fishing is no difficult anymore when you have the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar at hand, mostly thanks to its functional ice fishing mode.
Best For Shore Fishing: LUCKY Wireless Portable Fish Finder
- Multi-functional to match with a gamut of fishing styles, including shore fishing
- You can customize its fish alarms and detect sensitivity, making it an optimal assistant during your fishing trip.
- Designed as both wired and wireless device – extra convenience
- The fish finder isn’t waterproof
- Too complex for amateurs to use
Out of the box, LUCKY Wireless Portable Fish Finder is the most multi-functional device that can give a good match to any fishing styles, including sea fishing, river fishing, and especially, shore fishing.
You can choose between attaching the adaptor to your boat hull when river fishing or tying the fishing line around its sonar sensor and cast it for shore fishing. Either of them is all effective.
It also allows you to customize the detection sensitivity and fish alarm.
According to that, there are settings from 1 to 10 to choose how sensitively you’d like the device to perform as well as various alarm settings to help you know the presence of the fish you want to catch.
So it’s not overstated that this fish finder can remove all challenges in angling.
|LUCKY Wireless Portable Fish Finder Specifications|
5.1 x 2.8 x 1.4 inches
Number of maps
Depth Capability:147 feet(45m);
Sonar Coverage: 90 degrees beam angle in 125Khz
Display: 2.4 inch TFT color LCD
Shore fishing is a more effortless fishing style and yet, commonly giving less results than others because it’s harder to track the fish location and other elements. But with this Lucky GPS, it’s not a matter at all.
Easy-To-Set-Up: HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder
- Simpler construction and more affordable than other Lowrance Hook2 models – easier to use and more economical
- Can handle well in deeper lakes with full needed features for precise navigating and wide scanning
- Lack of mounting options
HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder is the most basic model of Lowrance’s revitalized Hook2 series.
It doesn’t feature loads of bells and whistles like the Hook2 X12, but just a trustworthy experience in low-lying freshwater and the capability to handle deeper lakes with ease.
Despite a simple design, we appreciate how well it detects fish.
By sending a wide range of frequencies in ascending order instead of using one single frequency, it helps deliver more precise results. We also find its ease to setup quite a big bonus, which is fine for most beginners.
|HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder Specifications|
3.3 x 6.5 x 3.8 in
Number of maps
Can be mounted on the transom
Inside the hull,
On the trolling motor or through a scupper hole
At under $150, the HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder, packing with lots of functional features and easy installation, is more of a high-end device in the first place for starter fishers.
Versatile: Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
- Provide data in real-time with a wider beam and deeper detection capability for more accurate scanning results in a shorter time
- Can work effectively when your boat is moving on the water or on wavy water
- Easy to be mounted on the boat and great screen definition – extra convenience
- Time-consuming to learn the technical aspects of this device
- Too long cables, which is a little bit bulky
This Humminbird fish finder is considered a top-notch option on the market.
It has unsurpassed accuracy with each use and provides data in real-time. Everything will be displayed on a 5” landscape viewing screen, which is new and ultra-wide to find fish more easily.
The HELIX 5 is also one of the rare GPS devices offering up to 60-degree coverage in addition to a dual-beam technology. It enhances the detecting range not only from the width but also the depth to help you find more fish in a shorter time, even when you’re boating on wavy water.
While being so functional, it’s very easy to be mounted on a fishing boat while displays brighter whether in low or bright lighting conditions. In other words, this is a versatile device that you can use in any kind of weather and type of fishing.
|Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder Specifications|
1.13 x 7.55 x 4.28 in
Number of maps
500 watts (RMS), 4000 watts (PTP)
5-Inch Color WVGA Display
CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar.
Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints
If you are in need of a reliable and versatile fish finder for the next fishing trip, check out the Hummingbird Helix 5.
How To Choose The Best Boat GPS For The Money?
- There are two basic components when it comes to boat GPS devices and one of them is transducer. It is usually mounted on the transom, taking the role of sonar signal transmission to detect fish.
- If your boat allows it, you can mount this transducer in the trolling motor or hull.
- Another type of transducer is the portable design which requires no installation, you can directly cast it into the water.
- Both of them work as efficiently as each other, it’s just dependent on your preference.
Transducer Signal Cone Angle
- To interpret what’s underneath your boat, the transducer will transmit the sound waves and then listen to the echoes. That’s why the transducer signal cone angle is worth considering.
- The larger the angle, the more area to cover underwater.
- It helps cover a huger water spot to tell how many fish below the surface of the water, their size and even the depth.
- As a consequence, a larger angle will be not as sensitive as a narrower beam angle.
- The range usually falls between 15 to 20 degrees but sometimes, it can go from 9 to 60 degrees.
- A boat GPS might be waterproof or not but at least, it should be weather-resistant. As this device will be with you in a salty environment, keep in mind choosing an ultra-durable unit – something that can hold up well against saltwater.
- If that’s a handheld GPS device, make sure it can float and be waterproof (IPX5 or higher) in case that you accidentally drop it into the water.
Which Brands Make The Best Boat GPS For The Money?
- Founded in 1957, Lowrance has now been one of the most reliable American manufacturers specializing in GPS and sonar devices with over 1500 employees and worldwide distribution in more than 100 countries.
- Humminbird is one of the most successful branches of the Johnson Outdoor Family. It has been over 30 years in the fishfinder industry, highlighting its innovative 360 Imaging and Side Imaging technologies to help countless anglers find fish with the best results.
- Deeper was founded in 2012 as a manufacturer of smart sonar models and fishing accessories. Their products have been available in over 50 countries thanks to a huge, enthusiastic team of 60 specialists working behind.
How does marine GPS work?
There will be a control center on the Earth’s ground where signals from satellites will be received. Here, it will be calculated and then transmit to your marine GPS device, telling you the exact position of your boat as well as other related information.
What is Marine GPS?
This is a specifically-designed tool used at sea or in watercraft to give the user their position information and some other additional services, such as water temperature, depth, and weather forecast.
Do boats have GPS?
The type of GPSs that’s built in a boat commonly comes in a bigger size than the handheld or automotive devices as it features more complex construction to ensure accurate navigation.
Does Google Maps work on a boat?
While Google Maps is a favorite device to navigating by foot, train, and car, it isn’t available for the boat. But the good news is you can use tools built around it to help you estimate distances and plot a boating journey.
Can a car GPS be used on a boat?
As a car GPS isn’t programmed with aquatic maps, we would say it’s still workable on a boat but not effective.
Hopefully, this buying guide has provided you a multitude of options to find the best boat GPS for the money. They had carefully picked by our specialist testers to ensure what presented here are just the finest in its field. Good luck and have fun!