The most significant issue in the realm of fish finders is “Which brand is superior: Lowrance or Humminbird?”
Unfortunately, the Lowrance-Humminbird argument is similar to the Chevy-Ford rivalry. There isn’t a right answer, and it’s mostly a matter of personal taste.
You’ll also find numerous Humminbird and Lowrance enthusiasts on the forums.
You’ll also come across a few individuals who own both units, and are really satisfied with them!
Customer service is really a matter of chance. Lowrance and Humminbird both have awful and competent customer service personnel, with the likelihood of receiving a faulty unit being equivalent for both companies.
However, each brand has certain benefits that I’ll go through in this section. I won’t be able to tell you which is better, but hopefully I’ll help you figure out which brand is best for your needs.
Advantages of Lowrance:
Very good small units:
Lowe’s offers a wide range of products, from professional to weekend-angler models. The Lowrance Hook series, which is still in development, goes from 3.5 inch screen units all the way up to 9 inch screen ones.
The 3.5-inch versions are fantastic for the price. For less than $200, you can get a very useful fish finder. The Lowrance Hook-3X DSI has DownScan imaging for under $150 – something that was unimaginable a few years ago.
There’s also the Lowrance Hook 4, which is a fish finder/chartplotter with a price tag of less than $300. The Lowrance Hook 4x is similar to the 3x but has a larger screen; it costs around $450.
Finally, the Hook 5 is available in a number of models, ranging from a basic fish finder/chartplotter to one with DownScan imaging or an advanced Navionics+ mapping system. The Hook 5 is still available for under $500, which is excellent value given the amount of power it gives.
Disadvantages of Lowrance:
Technology comes at a cost:
The 5-9 inch units aren’t quite as good as the little 3 and 4 inch ones, but they do have a lot more technology than other manufacturers’ 5 to 9-inch models.
In bigger models, you’re essentially paying for the screen size alone since the other advantages like 3D SONAR and a good mapping package/GPS are already available in smaller ones.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your games, it’s worth considering whether a bigger screen is really worth it. After that, you’ll have to consider if you can justify spending a few hundred dollars extra for just a larger display size.
Don’t misunderstand me – a larger screen size may be very advantageous, allowing you to see much more on a bigger screen, especially if you’re looking at SONAR readings hundreds of feet down. The degree of detail you can perceive on a higher resolution display will almost certainly be improved.
However, for some people, the extra money may not be justified for a few inches in screen size.
Advantages of Humminbird
Humminbird is clearly superior in terms of innovation. Humminbird was also the first to release 360-degree SONAR and Side Imaging.
Humminbird has taken significant risks to develop the next best product, even if it hasn’t worked out for them in the past. While not all of their inventions were a success (such as the 360 SONAR), they illustrate that Humminbird is prepared to take greater chances in order to bring the greatest product possible to market.
I feel they’ve hit the mark with their Side Imaging technology, which is why I chose them. It was originally only available on high-end $1000 models a few years ago when they first released it. Even so, Backscatter was only accessible on Lowrance HDS multi-function displays through the StructureScan module, so if you wanted Side Scan SONAR with Lowrance, you’d have to spend over $1500.
Side Imaging by Humminbird is more cost-effective now than ever before. The Helix-5 SI, for example, is available for less than $500 and provides clear, clean side imaging SONAR readings.
Disadvantages of Humminbird
Budget starts higher:
Humminbird’s smaller models are rather limited and don’t have the punch of Lowrance’s.
The Humminbird low-cost units are called the PiranhaMax series, whereas the higher-priced ones are known as the Logitech mapping system.
There were a lot of PiranhaMax versions previously, but Humminbird appears to be eliminating some series, therefore they weren’t doing so well.
Alternatives to both
Humminbird and Lowrance may be the Chevy and Ford of the fishing industry, but there are other brands that have excellent fishfinders – except we don’t hear much about them because most of the sponsorships are with those two!
The Raymarine Dragonfly series is a fantastic but lesser-known fish finder. It packs a lot of technology into a small body, and it’s really simple to use: there are only three buttons you need to press. There is just one button!
The Dragonfly employs CHIRP technology for high-resolution 2D and 3D sonar, as well as an accurate GPS chip that can be used with optional mapping programs for a truly all-in-one device.
Available in 4 inch, 5 inch, and 7 inch models, there seems to be a Dragonfly for every budget.
Link below is for 4 inch.
Garmin, which is not as well-known but is of exceptional quality, is an excellent example. When we hear the term “Garmin,” we don’t think of a fish finder.
It’s possible that Raymarine is simply unknown because they specialize in radars, radios, and other maritime electronics before fish finders.
Returning to Garmin, their fish finders, such as the Striker line, are well-made and have excellent picture quality. In fact, many people who use Garmin never go back!
As you can see, there isn’t a clear winner in the fish finder competition, but if you’re torn between Lowrance and Humminbird, why not experiment with a Garmin or Raymarine?