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Lowrance HDS 12 Live Active Target
Lowrance HDS 12 Live Active Target offers traditional, CHIRP, DownScan, SideScan, and ActiveTarget Live sonar in one package.
Best Fish Finder and GPS
Lowrance Elite 9 FS
DownScan, SideScan, and Live View sonar with a high-power GPS and detailed navigation charts. The Elite 9 FS has all the top-of-the-line features except a high price.
Lowrance Hook2 4X
With a color screen and high-powered transducer, the Lowrance Hook2 4X offers great sonar in a small package.
For over 60 years, the best Lowrance fish finders have led the way in fishing electronics. From the first transistor sonar capable of displaying individual fish to the first DownScan sonar to produce high-resolution images, Lowrance has grown into the largest manufacturer of marine electronics. Today, Lowrance offers fish finders at every level for every type of fishing and every budget. We’ve rounded up some of the best Lowrance fish finder models for offshore, inshore, freshwater, and kayak fishing.
How We Made Our Picks
My first fish finder was a Lowrance Fish-Lo-K-Tor, known as the little green box. The small metal box was amazing. Open the fish finder case, and set up the display. Stick the transducer to the transom of my little skiff, and like magic, the flasher would light up, showing the bottom and fish swimming below the boat.
Today, Lowrance fish finders use high-powered sonar and GPS with universal networking to control a complete electronic system. To stay ahead of the game, Lowrance has added top-of-the-line features to more models at a lower price. Whether you choose the top-of-the-line Lowrance fish finder or go with the budget-conscious models, you get the innovation and technology of one of the biggest marine electronics companies.
When determining our picks for the best Lowrance fish finders, we considered factors like vessel type, style of fishing, features, budget, and more. Each selection was based on hands-on testing, research, and recommendations from us and fellow industry professionals who use and trust Lowrance fishing electronics. Each selection was made to excel in a particular category, whether for kayaks or a unit best suited for navigation. Here are our top picks for the best Lowrance fish finders.
The Best Lowrance Fish Finders: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Lowrance HDS 12 Live Active Target
The Lowrance HDS 12 live active target offers traditional, Chirp, DownScan, SideScan, and ActiveTarget live sonar in one package. It also includes detailed charts with one-foot contours. It is powered by a Quad-Core processor for seamless transitions between features or running several functions on one screen. The HDS 12 is housed in an easy-to-view, flush mount touch screen with high-definition color combinations. It comes with all the features dedicated anglers need and want to have successful days on the water.
Best Fish Finder and GPS: Lowrance Elite 9 FS
Lowrance took the functions and capabilities of its best fish finder and GPS and put them in a less expensive housing to create the best bargain fish finder. Starting with their sonar and navigation, the Lowrance Elite 9 FS can do anything that the more expensive models can do. The display can be networked to other electronics and controlled with a smartphone for ultimate accessibility. It has Active Imaging and ActivetTarget, so you can see high-res images of fish, structure, and the contour of the bottom. It comes in two screen sizes—9-inch and 7-inch—that both include touchscreen capabilities.
Best for Kayaks: Lowrance Hook Reveal 9
The Hook Reveal 9 houses Lowrance’s best fish finder and GPS technology in a less expensive model that is still easy to use. It includes a bright display with advanced target separation, and the incredible detail qualifies the Hook Reveal 9 for use on open boats like kayaks. The 9-inch screen helps kayak anglers have good visibility, even in sunlight, of what is going on underneath the boat. The buttons and touchscreen capability make it easy to navigate and control the interface. With limited mobility on a kayak, anglers want their fish finder to be visible no matter the conditions and simple to use. The Hook Reveal 9 is both of those things.
Best Budget: Lowrance Hook2 4X
Lowrance’s Hook2 4X is small enough to fit in a kayak, canoe, or skiff with big features for a sub $100 fish finder. A high-powered transducer produces a wider cone for more coverage and greater detail. The color screen makes it easier to see fish and structure from a distance in direct sunlight. It is easy to mount on any boat and the perfect option for someone looking to for their first fish finder.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Lowrance Fish Finders
The great thing about the best fish finder and GPS is that the most advanced technology is now available at a lower price. In many cases, the features and functions of a higher-price fish finder are present in a less expensive model that’s only missing a few bells and whistles. When looking for the best fish finder and GPS, consider a model with features you will use often. In many cases, advanced tools and controls can be sacrificed for a great fish finder that will do everything you need and more.
Some manufacturers create a lower-price model with advanced features in less expensive housing. Instead of a flush-mount and touchscreen display, a less expensive model may have a larger housing with fewer colors or controls. For the average angler, these features will not be missed. Consider the following before buying your next fish finder.
Features and Controls: What do I absolutely need to have my version of success on the water? Tournament anglers might opt for models with more capabilities and features than someone just fishing for fun who wants simple navigation and contour display on their unit. Screen Size: How big of a display do you need? There’s no reason to get a bigger screen size if it won’t provide useful features for your fishing style. Setup: Is the unit fit for your boat, and how difficult is it to set up? Kayak Fishing: Kayak anglers work hard for their fish, so they want every advantage available. The best fish finder for a kayak offers a high-quality fish finder and powerful GPS in a tough package that will go anywhere.
Considerations for Kayak Fish Finders
Modern fishing kayaks are designed to accommodate larger transducers used with side-view and down-view sonar. So, paddle anglers can choose a fish finder with the most advanced features that will fit seamlessly into their small boat. To use live view sonar on a kayak, anglers mount the transducer on a pole to turn the sonar signal 360 degrees.
Most important is a tough display with excellent imagery. A fish finder takes a lot of abuse in a kayak. The display is constantly exposed to direct sunlight and covered in salt and slime, so it must be easy to read in the worst conditions. Just because a kayak is small and slow doesn’t mean the angler has to give up the most advanced fish finder and navigation tools. When it comes to electronics, kayak anglers can have their cake and eat it too.
Q: Which Lowrance fish finder is best?
With so many great options, choosing what Lowrance fish finder is best isn’t easy. Lowrance family comes in four lines: HDS Live, Elite FS, Hook Reveal, and Hook2. HDS Live is a top-of-the-line model with every feature and function available. The Elite FS is less expensive, but hardly a step down with most of the features available in the HDS without a flat screen. The Hook Reveal and Hook2 are great choices for small boats and kayaks. The Hook Reveal is one of the highest-resolution fish finders with detailed navigation charts. Finally, the Hook2 houses a color fish finder available with a GPS plotter. Lowrance offers industry-leading features to fit any angler’s needs, from the most expensive model to the least expensive.
Q: What should I look for when buying a fish finder?
When buying a fishing finder, look for the features you need for the fishing you do. Tournament anglers and guides look for every bell and whistle to give them an edge on the fish. If you plan on including radar and communications in the electronics package, choose a fish finder that allows networking. Most fish finders come with a GPS.
For advanced navigation and fish hunting, choose a navigation system with detailed charts, current, and tide information. For inshore and small-boat anglers, a great fish finder and powerful GPS without the advanced control features will save a few bucks without sacrificing important capabilities. One of our favorite fish finders uses a smartphone app and portable transducer to give shore anglers and small boaters the power of color display and basic GPS with instant access to a community of other anglers.
Q: How do you use Lowrance fish finders?
Lowrance fish finders are easy to use. From the most advanced model to the simplest, the controls are intuitive and make sense. The best Lowrance fish finders use a touch screen and buttons to control features. For small boaters and kayakers, a touch screen is not as tough and more expensive. While the fish finder and GPS settings are infinitely adjustable, auto-tuning sonar finds the ideal settings without the angler touching a button.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Lowrance Fish Finders
Since the first fish finders hit the water, Lowrance has been leading the way in helping anglers find more fish. Today, Lowrance fish finders use the most advanced technology in the toughest, easiest-to-use package. Lowrance offers the latest fish finder technology at any price, from down-view to side-view and even live-view sonar. Their fish finders have become a valuable tool for any type of fishing with a powerful and accurate GPS with detailed navigation charts. Even the least expensive and simplest Lowrance models are reliable and powerful enough to provide great sonar and GPS. Whatever your fish finder and navigation needs are, Lowrance has you covered at any price.
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