Small Fish Finder Plotter Combos: 6 Great Value Picks (2023)

Weekend warrior or tournament anglers rely on the best small fish finder plotter combos. Buying the right one for your needs ensures you will find your targets easier and hook more as well.

photo of a black small fish finder plotter combo on a red boat with a fish being lifted out of the water

Adding a GPS and/or a chart plotter provides more research for fishing success. Due to the ability to track locations, chart waypoints, and create maps of all the waters you travel in.

While selecting the best model for you can be daunting, this article will simplify the process. You will first find a comparison table, followed by depth reviews of the 6 best small fish finder plotters.

If you want to skip to a specific section, click on the navigable table of contents. Let’s get started.

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Table of Contents

Comparison Chart: Small Fish Finder Plotter Combos

Garmin STRIKER Vivid 5cv: Most Reliable 5-Inch Fish Finder GPS Combo

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Garmin STRIKER Vivid 5cv
  • Diagonal Display Size: 5 Inches
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7
  • Display Type: WVGA Color
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 Pixels
  • Max Depth: Sonar 1,900 ft / Down Imaging ClearVü: 750 ft
  • Transducer Model: GT20-TM
  • Frequencies: Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high) ClearVü 260/455/800 kHz
  • Max Waypoints / Trackpoints: 5000 / 50,000
  • Install Options: Flush, Tilt/Swivel
  • Weight: 1.0 lb (450 g)
  • Warranty (Years): 2 Limited
Pro's & Con's

Garmin Striker Vivid 5cv Review:

Want for an affordable, accurate fish finder with GPS for angling your local lakes? Choose the Garmin Striker Vivid 5cv with new brighter color options. It’s my pick for the best small fish finder plotter combos based on price to performance ratio. Novices will find the keypad inputs super easy to use.

One thing to note though, the Garmin Striker series aren’t chart plotter/mapping devices. It doesn’t come with detailed maps nor does it have an SD slot, this means you can’t add mapping to it. The lack of chart plotting won’t deter most recreational anglers. Yet if you’re the kind of angler who travels to fish a lot, this might not be the unit for you.

For ease of install, you can flush attach it using the tilt/swivel bracket.

Upgraded Display

The main upgrade for this particular version of the Garmin striker is its display. It’s a super bright, colorful WGVA 5″ display that provides 800 × 480 high definition imaging. As a result, you get crisp images even in bright sunlight. Now you will see what objects actually appear as, instead of ambiguous blobs. Likewise, for durability it’s encased in a rugged, IPX7 waterproof case. Input is from a simple keypad.

Reliable Transducer

Like the older Striker Plus model you get the fantastic GT20-TM transducer. This is an 8-pin transom or trolling motor mounted unit. Containing both CHIRP traditional and Clearvu sonar, a bonus for shallow water anglers. Due to the photo-quality views of objects, structure and fish that pass below the boat. As well, the 20 ft. transducer cable has a temperature sensor rated at 500 watts. Depth wise its good for up to 1,900 ft (traditional) and 750 ft (ClearVü). The operating frequencies are 77/200 kHz (trad) and 455 kHz (ClearVü); with a 0 to 70 degree transom angle sweep.

Quick Draw Contours

Moving on, instead of mapping Garmin provides the newer QuickDraw technology. Meaning you map bottom contours to 1-foot intervals then store up to 2 million acres of these maps. Which is great to review where you’ve already been and start planning your next trip.

Waypoint Marking & Built-In GPS

Moreover, it has waypoint marking which allows you to mark hot spots. This helps you catch more fish as you will have a history of where they are biting. Not only can you create route but also view your boat’s speed via the high-sensitivity GPS.

Verdict:

In the 5-inch screen category the Striker Vivid 5cv, is the best priced model of the bunch. It isn’t as innovative as other offerings from Garmin, but it’s cost to performance ratio is unbeatable. Not only do you get a high quality fish finder, but you also get GPS and a great transducer too. For fishermen who want great down imaging, sonar, and a clear display, this is the unit for you.

Humminbird Helix 5: Good Entry-Level Fish Finder Plotter Combos

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Humminbird HELIX 5
  • Diagonal Display Size: 5 Inches
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7
  • Display Type: Backlit Color LCD
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 Pixels
  • Depth Sonar/ Down Imaging: 1,200 ft (standard transducer), 3,000 ft (optional 50 kHz) / 350 ft.
  • Transducer Model: XNT 9 HW DI T
  • Frequencies: Traditional 50/83/200/455 kHz, CHIRP 83/200 (75-155/130-250 kHz), Full Mode (150-220 kHz), Narrow Mode (180-240 kHz), Wide Mode (140-200 kHz)
  • Max Waypoints / Trackpoints: 2750 / 20,000
  • Install Options: Gimbal
  • Weight: 1.0 lb (450 g)
  • Warranty (Years): 1 Limited
Pro's & Con's

Humminbird Helix 5 DI GPS G3 Review:

For newbies of small fish finder plotter combos the Helix 5 is a terrific model to start with. These days, the Helix is no longer the top dog in the lineup due newer series with more features. So don’t expect HDMI, MEGA down live, NMEA 2000, or wireless. Even without these features it’s still a great option for new and seasoned anglers alike.

The main advantages, you get both a fish finder and an upgradable chart plotter via the single micro SD slot. In fact, you can add optional charts from Humminbird’s LakeMaster® and CoastMaster™ products. As well as, your choice of compatible Navionics® charts.

Mounting the screen is simple with the gimbal-style mount provided. The included “XNT 9 HW DI T” transducer only mounts on the transom. For connecting cable you get 20-feet of lee way.

Bright Display

The 5-inch diagonal backlit color LCD screen provides ample resolution and imaging quality. Control the Helix at the touch of soft key controls, as a basic unit it won’t have a touchscreen. Providing actual buttons are great though as you can operate it in any condition. Its pixel resolution is 800 × 480 which is more than enough to get good resolution for fish finding.

Transducer

The transducer supports only the High CHIRP range for the standard sonar. But the unit includes both Down Imaging (DI) and Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar. Viewable via side-by-side panels on the wide angle screen. This helps to take guesswork out of sonar-fish finding. As well as differentiate cover and structure to locate and target fish.

Using DI mode, the transducer will cast an oval beam @ 455 kHz with an angle of 75°. Up to a max depth of 400 ft. (106 m). Frequency with down imaging is 455 kHz and 50/83/200 kHz for the dual spectrum sonar. The unit lets you select between a narrow mode (180-240 kHz) with a 25° beam. A wide mode (140-200 kHz) with a 42° beam. Or a full mode which covers the full CHIRP range. The largest depth capability of the traditional CHIRP sonar is 1,200 ft. (365 m).

Actual Chart Plotting

This particular model comes preloaded with the Humminbird base map. These charts offer both coastal support and lake support. They’re pretty close to the Navionics charts. As I mentioned before, it supports Navionics, SmartStrike, LakeMaster, and CoastMaster charts. Plus, it has the AutoChart Live to map your own lake with the most up-to-date contours.

I appreciate that it contains chartplotting of more than 10,000 lakes, as well as coastal coverage for the U.S.

Verdict

For new and serious anglers, the Helix 5 is hard to beat. One feature it does lack, is if you need networking to control your trolling motor. Another current trend it lacks, is a touch-capable screen. But for those of us who fish in adverse conditions buttons are a plus.

Lowrance Hook Reveal 5: Top Mapping Tech In A Small Package

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Lowrance Hook Reveal 5
  • Diagonal Display Size: 5 Inches
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7
  • Display Type: SolarMAX™ Pure White LED
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 Pixels
  • Max Depth: Traditional Sonar 500; Down Scan: 150 (800 kHz) 300 (455 kHz)
  • Transducer Model: Reveal SplitShot Skimmer Transducer
  • Frequencies: Wide Angle Sonar 200kHz; CHIRP (high); Down Scan 455/800kHz
  • Max Waypoints / Trackpoints: 3,000
  • Install Options: Gimbal (Included) Or Flush Mount (Sold Separately)
  • Weight: 0.9 lb (408 g)
  • Warranty (Years): 1 + 4 Upgraded
Pro's & Con's

Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Review:

If map plotting is your top priority then the Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 is for you. Not only is it excellent for chart plotting but also has the new fish reveal feature. The latter combining the strengths of CHIRP and Down Scan sonar.

With a 5-inch SolarMAX™ display screen, mapping out your fishing trip is a breeze. You get excellent clarity in most conditions, even in direct sunlight. But if you are older or have sight issues I recommend to size up to the 7 or 9-inch screen size.

Install is straight forward via the square bracket and salt resistant power cable. Designed with ease of use in mind with simple operation via auto-tuning sonar. Plus a convenient keypad with 1 click access to the most of the common settings.

Included Transducer

For transducer, it has the Splitshot unit. The t-shape lets you mount it to a trolling motor without an added bracket. Likewise, it’s a 2-in-1 model, so it delivers traditional sonar to track bait and mark fish. As well as, provide DownScan imaging to identify structure under your boat.

Genesis Live & C-Contours

Now with Genesis Live, Lowrance matches other brands the live mapping capabilities. Such as Humminbird’s AutoChart Live and Garmin’s QuickDraw.

What’s Genesis Live? In real-time, it creates an overlay of depth contour mapping based on live Sonar. Which is practical for rivers and lakes where there might not be an existing map. Next, C-Contours is a high resolution, bathymetric 1-foot contour map technology. It includes base maps for 15,000+ U.S. Lakes and 9,400+ lakes in Canada.

FishReveal

I find fish can be hard to pick out when using only DownScan sonar, as everything appears like small dots. To remedy this, FishReveal combines DownScan with 2d CHIRP Sonar. In turn, it transforms those dots into easy to distinguish arches. Now you have all the easy to see structure images, plus fish arches too. So you can distinguish fish from cover like tree limbs, rocks, and vegetation.

Downsides

Is it compatible with Active Target? No, as a downside it’s not. Instead, you’ll need an Elite FS or HDS Live model to add Active Target forward sonar. Another complaint is the lack of a touch screen and only a single MicroSD card slot.

Verdict

The Hook Reveal 5 is a great value for budget-conscious anglers who want the best mapping. It strikes a sweet spot for fishing and mapping, the caveat is the unit is a bit basic and more expensive than others.

Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv: Best Affordable Inshore Plotter Combo

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Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv
  • Diagonal Display Size: 7 Inches
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7
  • Display Type: WVGA, NP
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 Pixels
  • Max Depth: Sonar 800 ft, Down Scan ClearVü 200 ft
  • Transducer Model: GT24UHD-TM
  • Frequencies: Traditional 70/83/200 kHz, Chirp (low, mid, high), ClearVü 260/455/800/1000/1200 kHz
  • Max Waypoints / Trackpoints: 5,000 / 50,000
  • Install Options: Flush, Tilt/Swivel
  • Weight: 1.70 lb (771 g)
  • Warranty (Years): 2
Pro's & Con's

Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74CV Review:

To put it plainly, the Echomap UHD 74CV is the best budget friendly pick for small fish finder plotter combos. For the price you get a clear 7-inch display with key-assist touchscreen, that’s easy to set up and use.

Speaking of the screen it uses 400 x 800-pixel WVGA color, that delivers wide angle views. For bright days fishing the coast, expect good screen visibility even direct sunlight.

Operation is very straightforward, and I appreciate the 4 quick access shortcut buttons. Moreover, you get 7 different screen combinations and can customize each individual pane.

Impressive Sonar Features

While some bundles are great for plotting, but only okay at fish finding, this is one is the exception. Don’t worry, it gives you good mapping, but it excels for its fishing features.

In this combo you get the GT24UHD-TM transducer that mounts to the transom or trolling motor. Delivering clear CHIRP traditional sonar plus ClearVü scanning sonar.

Rather than having only one 500W frequency cone-shaped beam of traditional CHIRP sonar. You also have a sweeping side-to-side narrow beam of a very high-frequency (455 or 800kHz). This producing “slices” that combine with the cone beam to create very detailed images.

As a result, moving objects like fish are easily identifiable when using both types of sonar. In fact, if you tend to fish in shallow inshore of less than 60-feet deep its shocking how crisp the images are. Another bonus is using ClearVü sonar on its own to avoid underwater structures.

Chart plotting & Networking

For mapping its preloaded with Garmin BlueChart g3. Which covers the coastal U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, all sides of the Great Lakes. It has built-in Wi-Fi to access the Active Captain marine app for updates. Likewise, it has a MicroSD port for chart upgrades.

Likewise, the internal GPS makes a quick connection to satellites pinpointing your location. Another added feature is the networking /Panoptix port. The Nema 2000 is what allows you to connect and view other devices such as an autopilot, VHF, or AIS from one screen.

To ensure accurate and saved maps, it also has Garmin’s Quick Draw contours. Showing 1-foot contours of bottom structures for improved fishing. As well as giving enhanced details in swamps, canals, and even port layouts.

Verdict:

If you spend most of your time close to shore and want better fish finding capabilities pick this combo. It’s affordable and easy to use but specific to inshore fishing only.

Simrad GO7 XSR: Popular Saltwater Navigator

Simrad GO7 XSR
  • Diagonal Display Size: 7 Inches
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7
  • Display Type: WVGA Color TFT LCD
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 Pixels
  • Max Depth: 3,000 ft at 50 kHz
  • Transducer Model: Hybrid Dual Imaging™ (HDI) transducer
  • Frequencies: Traditional 50/83/200 kHz, CHIRP (mid & high) 455/800kHz
  • Max Waypoints / Trackpoints: 6,000 / 12,000
  • Install Options: Bracket, Flush
  • Weight: 2.91 lb (1320 g)
  • Warranty (Years): 2
Pro's & Con's

Review Of Simrad G07 XSR

Why do so many bay boats, center-consoles, and small cruisers use the Simrad G07 XSR? They do because not only does it have great chartplotting capabilities. But also functions as a fishfinder, a GPS receiver, and an autopilot controller. Its rated IPX7, so it can withstand the harshest environments.

Available combos contain: Active Imaging 3-in-1, Med/High HDI, or TotalScan transducers. This review is for the version with HDI XDCR and a 7-inch touchscreen. With both radar connectivity and NMEA 2000 and Wi-Fi for more integration options.

Simrad provides both a U-shaped bracket mount and the dash mount kit. With the bracket, you can install the device on any flat surface and remove it with ease. Or, use the dash mount kit and bezel to install flush on a panel.

Simrad Chartplotter

Since this is where the G07 XSR really shines, let discuss chart plotting. First, Simrad supports the widest available range of cartography options. Including C-MAP MAX-N, Navionics, Insight, Insight Genesis, and NV Digital Charts.

Second, this unit has the upgraded C-MAP DISCOVER card. I like the full-featured vector charts, custom depth shading and bathymetric contours. Plus tide and current status, detailed marina or port plans, and Genesis data.

Likewise, you can mark waypoints with a touch, and assign personal names for future looking up. Another bonus is the built-in GPS that checks boat position ten times every second.

Display & Control

As mentioned before, the screen is a 7” LCD WVGA type with a matrix of 800 × 480 pixels. It’s super-bright which is crucial because brightness defeats blinding reflections on sunny days. To give you an idea of how bright it is, let’s talk the unit of measurement called nits. A nit is a metric for measuring luminance, which measures how much light an object emits. The G07 XSR emits a whopping 1,200 nits! Consider this, most high-end tablets and laptops range 350 – 500 nits.

Moving on to how you control the Simrad G07 XSR fish finder. Similar to most technology these days, we are losing buttons in favor of touchscreens. This series of fish finder plotter combos are no different, if you use an I-Pad or tablet this is familiar. In use, the display UI is easy to use, customizable, and pretty intuitive too.

Fish Finding

Included with this model is the hybrid dual imaging (HDI) transducer. Which installs on the transom or trolling motor. It supports both Medium and High CHIRP, as well as DownScan Imaging. So you get clear detection of fish and views of structures beneath your boat.

Verdict

If ocean chart plotting is your priority, but you also want good sonar options this is the combo for you. To get this many features and technology you need to expect to pay a lot more than other options.

Lowrance HDS-7 Live: Absolute Best Model For Live Imaging

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Lowrance HDS-7 Live
  • Diagonal Display Size: 7 Inches
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7 With SD Card Doors Closed
  • Display Type: SolarMAX™ HD LED Backlit
  • Resolution: 1024 x 600 Pixels
  • Max Depth: 1000 (Sonar), 50ft (800kHz) or 300ft (455kHz) 3D Scan
  • Transducer Model: Reveal SplitShot Skimmer Transducer
  • Frequencies: Traditional 50/83/200 kHz, CHIRP (mid & high) 83/200kHz + 455/800kHz, ClearVü 260/455/800 kHz
  • Max Waypoints / Trackpoints: 3,000 / 10,000
  • Install Options: Gimbal, Dash, Flush
  • Weight: 2.91 lb (1320 g)
  • Warranty (Years): 2 + 3 Upgraded
Pro's & Con's

Lowrance HDS-7 Live Review:

Let me be frank, the Lowrance HDS-Live is pricey, but you won’t find anything better for real-time imaging. It accomplishes this by providing the cleanest display with ultra-wide viewing angles. Moreover, it calibrates the brightness of the screen depending on the condition. So, if it’s foggy, sunny or raining the display dims or brightens exactly like a smartphone does.

Compact 7-inch SolarMAX™ HD display

Likewise, it delivers near perfect views in the harshest conditions. I like you can see from polarized lenses are capable due to a high-def backlit screen. Add to this, it’s touch-capable and functions by a side keypad too. As a result, you have accessibility no matter the conditions and won’t have to choose one over the other. I appreciate that the keys are customizable to ensure any view that’s important to you is within reach.

Active Imaging with 3-in-1 Transducer

This electronics power comes from a Lowrance Active Imaging 3-in-1 transom mounted transducer. With CHIRP, SideScan and DownScan Sonar, observable via the split-display. The actual active imaging, is a super detailed look at what is happening beneath the surface. At even greater depths than before, so expect to observe more.

The great bonus of this, is providing more details in deeper water at a lower frequency. Which in-turn, it gives you more flexibility of where you fish.

FishReveal

I love this feature, as it combines DownScan (like RayMarine DownVision) and a fish I.D. technology. Instead of having to search through many weak signals with other models. FishReveal only focuses strong signals to offer a much cleaner image. This way, you can easily determine what are actual fish and not submerged logs or vegetation. Note: this model can upgrade to “StructureScan.” But you need to buy another specific transducer.

Networking, GPS & Navigation

Where these small fish finder plotter combos really shine, are they’re network compatible. This is the whole the reason it’s a “live” electronic device. Using NMEA 2000®, Wireless, Bluetooth® and LiveCast connections. So you get complete integration of radar, chartplotting, contour mapping and autopilot. In fact, you can control both Power-Pole® anchors, Lowrance Ghost® Trolling Motors. Plus Outboard Pilot, a course-plotting system for single and dual outboards.

C-Maps

This feature contains all US Enhanced charts and over 4,000 lakes. As well, it lets you to make real-time markers to waters that aren’t even known on the Navionics app. You’ll also have access to map water depths at 1-foot contours. Further, enhancing the ability to identify ideal fishing opportunities.

Add to this, you get the C-MAP Easy Routing and Navionics Auto-routing capability. So you can navigate faster via auto-plots for the shortest & safest course. Taking into account the boat’s draft, beam & height, creating a route around fixed hazards.

Verdict

Thinking of treating yourself? This is the fish finder to get, while it’s pricey, you won’t find better option for live imagining. Its packed with impressive technology without being too complex to use.

Finishing Up Small Fish Finder Plotter Combos

By now you will have everything you need to select the best fish finder plotter for your needs. Remember to look for a high-quality transducer with a wide-angle cone to provide clear and detailed images. As well as a reliable GPS system with maps to navigate and create waypoints. Don’t worry though, every model in this review article will meet every boaters needs.

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