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Lake Trout

Lowrance vs Garmin GPS

Question

Lake Trout

I know there's a lot of info in the search feature, but Garmin seems to get better reviews online than Lowrance for handheld GPS. I want it for fishing in my boat with a good map. Navionics w/Lowrance and LakeMaster for Garmin, I guess. Any thoughts as to the "best" unit to an insecure GPS buyer? Thanks.

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Ralph Wiggum

From what I have heard, Garmin probably makes a better GPS, but you'll pay a lot more for comparable features with a Garmin as opposed to a Lowrance. The H2Oc give you a big screen (for a handheld), color, and plug-n-play map chipping and a pretty reasonable price, and that is why a ton of people have them.

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BobT

My impression is similar but slightly different. I agree that the Garmin is probably the more durable unit but I don't agree that the price is that significantly higher, although I agree it probably is higher.

From what I've heard on this site however, the mapping software/chips available for the Lowrance products seems to have the edge over the Garmin based on comments made here.

If I were looking I think I would take a look at both closely to see which meets my needs more.

Bob

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wishing for walleyes

I am garmin all the way.But i have never owned a lowrance.I have 2 garmin gps map 188 c sounders,chart/plotters and really like the gps accruacy.Puts me on my spots within 3 foot.

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computerboy

Garmins get better reviews because most of the people reviewing them don't use their GPS for fishing. Garmin makes a very accurate, user friendly GPS that is great for geocaching, hiking, driving, navigating, etc. However, Lowrance is far better in terms of availability of software for fisherman, and that's the most important consideration to make based on your requirements (IMHO).

With most Lowrance units, you can use plug and play chips from LakeMaster, Lowrance ProMaps, and Navionics that are available almost anywhere. With a Garmin, you have to buy proprietary BlueChart chips (or CD's depending on your unit) that are much harder to find and aren't updated nearly as often as their Promap/HotMap counterparts. Whatever you do, just make sure the make/model of your GPS is compatible with the map chips you want to use.

Bottom Line:

If you're looking for a handheld GPS that has good mapping capability to use for fishing, it's really a no brainer - Lowrance iFinder H20/H20C.

Good Luck!

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JDM

I have one of each on my boat and there are likes and dislikes for each one. Overall, they are both good. I do like the Garmin's tracking system better because it is much smaller and you can really see in detail where you have already been when you are working some structure. The Lowrance I have is much larger. Maybe I could fix it with a setting? I don't know.

I have a chip in each. It is interesting to note the differences in each one. Buy whichever one you like the best. Both are easy to use.

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Dahitman44

I have a magellan and I hate it. Don't get that one. That was a bad choice made about 5 years ago.

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Lake Trout

Ok. That's what I needed. Sounds like the Lowrance H2Oc for me. What's the best map chip for the buck considering I'm only fishing MN? Thanks tons, guys. You made me a secure GPS buyer now! LT

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BobT

One thing I will say is that my only experience is with a Garmin handheld Rino120 and GPSMap76. Because I use it for travel, hunting, fishing, and ATVing I have various software packages including USTopo, USRoads&Rec, and Minnesota Lakemaster. In all cases, the software is incredibly accurate especially the lake mapping software. Without having any experience with the Avionics products or Lowrance GPS products my opinion is probably quite biased but I really like my Garmin and especially like how the software interfaces with my PC.

As far as the reviews on this site are concerned I get the impression that Lowrance H2O has top of the line honors, hands down. It seems more of our colleagues speak about those than any other GPS products.

Bob

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computerboy

If you're fishing Minnesota lakes and using the Lowrance iFinder H20, there are only two options I would consider:

- Navionics HotMaps Premium North - appx $149

- Lowrance LakeMaster Minnesota ProMap - appx $99

The Lowrance Promap MN chip is cheaper, has faster read times when "scouting", and allows you to zoom in farther than Navionics. What the Navionics lacks in those areas it makes up for in sheer numbers. The premium north chip covers thousands of lakes throughout the Midwest and parts of Canada. I have both chips and like the Navionics for coverage, but prefer the zoom of the Lowrance Promap. If you're the kind of guy that is going to different lakes every other weekend and might venture outside of Minnesota to fish Oahe, Winnebago, Big Stone, etc, the Navionics would be the way to go. If you only plan to fish Winni, Otter Tail, and Minnetonka then go with the Lowrance ProMap.

Before you run out and buy a map chip though, make sure to review the lake lists for each chip to see what matches up with the bodies of water that you fish. What you're looking for is a high definition map in 1' or 3' contours. If neither chip has high-def contours of the lakes you fish (which is possible), I wouldn't bother buying either one.

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BobT

Good advice!

Bob

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pfluemis

Quote:

Garmins get better reviews because most of the people reviewing them don't use their GPS for fishing. Garmin makes a very accurate, user friendly GPS that is great for geocaching, hiking, driving, navigating, etc. However, Lowrance is far better in terms of availability of software for fisherman, and that's the most important consideration to make based on your requirements (IMHO).

With most Lowrance units, you can use plug and play chips from LakeMaster, Lowrance ProMaps, and Navionics that are available almost anywhere. With a Garmin, you have to buy proprietary BlueChart chips (or CD's depending on your unit) that are much harder to find and aren't updated nearly as often as their Promap/HotMap counterparts. Whatever you do, just make sure the make/model of your GPS is compatible with the map chips you want to use.

Bottom Line:

If you're looking for a handheld GPS that has good mapping capability to use for fishing, it's really a no brainer - Lowrance iFinder H20/H20C.

Good Luck!


Not only does LakeMaster sell ProMap for Garmin, they also sell Garmin's!

I just ordered the 76CSx which is basically Garmins version of the Lowrance H2Oc..but much, much better, with way more features, and a far superior, more sensitive receiver. Well worth the extra $$$, IMO. Been looking at, and trying to justify a GPS for quite some time. I'm now looking forward to driving to new places with turn by turn navi, marking spots on lakes, and mapping snowmobile trails this winter...if we get snow.

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PierBridge

Thats a step in the right direction but its tough too justify $600 "with pro map" for a hand held GPS.

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pfluemis

Quote:

Thats a step in the right direction but its tough too justify $600 "with pro map" for a hand held GPS.


???? $238+$99 for the H2O, $330+$84 for the Garmin. That's only a $77 difference. Yeah, the Garmin maps need to be download from the CD to the card, but I don't see the big deal in that. For a $96 savings, I'll spend a few minutes downloading/programing the card. I just can't see paying $180 for a preprogramed card.

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delcecchi

So the fancy Navionics Lake Maps come on a CD so you can download them to the Garmin? I am referring to the ones with the 1 foot contours

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pfluemis

Quote:

So the fancy Navionics Lake Maps come on a CD so you can download them to the Garmin? I am referring to the ones with the 1 foot contours


Are you asking me??? I don't know. I'm new to the maps for gps technology. The maps I'm refering to is the LakeMaster Promaps. 72 surveyed lakes, and 600+ lakes from DNR maps. I don't know if they are the same maps that Navionics offers, but the LakeMaster Promap CD is $84 online, while the preprogramed "chip" is $180 for the Garmin. Yes, the CD downloads the maps to the "chip" in the Garmin. If you go to lake map (Contact Us Please) com, and look up digital gps maps, it will tell you, better than I can, what the maps are.

Here, I just cut and pasted the information on the CD I'm refering to, direct from the LakeMaster website:

Garmin® is proud to release LakeMaster® ProMap data for your Garmin® GPS unit. With amazing bottom detail and one-foot contours for many lakes, LakeMaster® is sure to help you key in on prime fishing locations in Michigan, Minnesota or Wisconsin. LakeMaster® maps contain high definition contours, structures, and bottom information created from on-the-water surveys. Lake detail includes islands, reefs, points, bays, access points and more. Your Garmin® GPS will accurately place your boat on the map as well as show detailed tracklines and waypoints. Incredible zooming capabilities down to 80 feet in scale. Available in MapSource CD-ROM, Data Card, or microSD Card formats.

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delcecchi

yes, I was asking because it used to be that the lakemaster maps that came on a cd couldn't be downloaded, or so I thought. So I have both the computer version and the chip version.

If one will work for both that would be a real plus. I will have to check it out.

I wonder if the Vermilion map is newer and and significantly better than the 3foot one. I did hear that navionics was up with a couple of boats.

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pfluemis

Quote:

yes, I was asking because it used to be that the lakemaster maps that came on a cd couldn't be downloaded, or so I thought. So I have both the computer version and the chip version.

If one will work for both that would be a real plus. I will have to check it out.

I wonder if the Vermilion map is newer and and significantly better than the 3foot one. I did hear that navionics was up with a couple of boats.


From the little bit of reading I have done on the different versions, it is my understanding that the 2007 version has a new Vermilion map. I don't know for sure though. It's not a lake I fish, so I didn't dig too deep into the matter.

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