Best Boat GPS for the Money – Our Top 3 Picks

In the market for a boat GPS? Since accurate navigation is a must when at sea, a boat GPS is truly a worthy investment – and here’s what you need to know about the best ones.

The best boat GPS for the money – our top 3 picks – is as follows:

  1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Click here to see it on Amazon – Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Garmin EchoMAP CHIRP 54cv with Transducer Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer

We are not sponsored by Garmin, they just make great boat GPS units at a great price point. I’ve used a Garmin GPS unit, the Striker 4, for years, and recommend it to many.

Experienced boaters know that safety on board is a top priority. One of the things that can assure you of this is a boat GPS. This navigational device provides you an exact description of your location and the surrounding area.

This knowledge of your location is important if you are tracking a specific location or you need some help in ensuring you make it back to your harbor.

These and other reasons make having a boat GPS worth your while and make it an investment worth making.

Also, for an excellent boat GPS, take a look at our top pick, the Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

5 Features to Look for When Buying a Boat GPS

The 5 most important features to look for when buying a boat GPS include:

  1. Flawless Location Tracking
  2. Ability to Find Fishing Spots
  3. Shows the Underwater Terrain
  4. Easy to Use
  5. Durable and Long-Lasting

1. Flawless Location Tracking

This number one feature of boat GPS units assures boaters of safety when it comes to navigating large bodies of water. One can get easily lost if no navigational supports are available. In addition, it is a very useful feature for boat and tour guides who would like to chart a course that takes people along scenic areas, dive spots, or fishing grounds.

Some models come with features that allow you to input your own waypoints and generate your own HD maps for your own use. Marine GPS devices differ in the scope of width and depth they can provide, but all of them are at the very least able to deliver information about an area big enough for you to navigate in carefully.

2. Ability to Find Fishing Spots

This is a newer feature in GPS units that is becoming more commonplace. This allows boaters and fishermen to save time and effort in locating fishing grounds for their catch of the day. Moreover, you do not need to be operating a medium to large fishing vessel in order to make use of marine GPS devices with this kind of technology. There are more compact handheld GPS or small GPS models these days that perfectly fit into small vessels and kayaks which are also sometimes used for fishing pursuits. 

3. Shows the Underwater Terrain

The third feature of a good GPS for a boat is that it provides an accurate picture of what the underground terrain looks like. This important feature helps boaters avoid the possibility of crashing into rocks, as well as help scuba divers reach choice exploration areas that will provide them with lots of marine life to look at.

Details provided by marine GPS devices include not just the depth of the area but also the features that one might find in any and all locations. Thus, you can identify whether a particular spot is filled with rocky stones or perhaps discover the location of an important coral reef that you’d like to steer clear of.

4. Easy to Use

Having a push-button feature for almost-instantaneous results for exact positioning is another highly useful feature. GPS positioning is important information to have on hand, especially in an emergency situation. The best boat GPS for the money in today’s times provide this data in mere seconds.

When you are on a moving boat speeding on the water, there might be times when you will need to be consulting your marine GPS device as you navigate your vessel in real-time.

A good marine GPS device should have a screen that’s comfortable to look at (even in low light situations or even in night mode, if you want to be out in the water at dark) while updating you of your course every time you take a quick glance at it.

5. Durable and Long-Lasting

If you plan to be out in the water for quite a while, you will want your marine GPS to last you for the duration of your activity. In addition, you will definitely want one that is built to withstand the wet conditions that you would expect when onboard a fishing vessel.

While many marine GPS devices are not intended to be submerged underwater for long periods of time, they nonetheless have the capability to be exposed to water without it affecting the device operation. There’s nothing more hassling than being in the water and discovering that your marine GPS has conked out and you have no idea of how you can go back to shore!

Want to know what your options are for the best boat GPS for the money? Make your pick from this list of the best three models made by Garmin, the most renowned brands of marine GPS devices.

Best Boat GPS for the Money – Our Top 3 Picks

1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer

The Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Marine GPS is a top choice for most boating professionals and fishing aficionados.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It’s a crisp and clear scanning sonar that provides images in the water that look almost photographic. This allows you to clearly make out the objects and structures you would find in the waters so you can avoid them if necessary or go near them if that is what you were looking for.

In particular, fishers are very impressed with this feature because it allows them to find nearby fishing grounds with more ease. It saves you time by knowing exactly where you need to go and what you will find there.

The Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer is high tech equipment but has a simple, easy-to-use interface. Dedicated buttons are present for quick commands, and installation takes just mere minutes. It is easy to set up and require little tech know-how to operate.

The device comes in a variety of display sizes to suit several preferences. What’s more, boaters laud its waypoint map feature that provides an option to mark locations that you need to take note of.

With a maximum depth scan of 1,600 feet worth of freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater, you will come to be reliant on this device for both your safety and convenience.

This detailed, on-the-water video review of the Garmin Striker 4 takes you on a tour of someone’s actual experience of using it while fishing in the water:

2. Garmin EchoMAP CHIRP 54cv with Transducer

One of the more common comments that customers of the Garmin EchoMAP CHIRP 54cv with Transducer have is that this device’s technology would have cost a thousand dollars just a few years ago.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

You’ll be impressed with the kind of tech it offers for its price point. It offers a spacious 5-inch screen for quick and clear chart plotting accompanied by super detailed sonar image scanning.

For these two features alone, the Garmin EchoMAP CHIRP 54cv with Transducer has already practically paid for itself.

The included software allows you to make custom HD maps for your reference, which is avid fishing enthusiasts find helpful. Users love how the GPS only takes mere seconds to update its location and position to point that changes are practically instantaneous.

If you’re on a moving boat, this is important information that allows you to stay on course. The crisp display is comfortable to look at and, more importantly, is viewable even under broad daylight.

You’ll have none of the struggles and all of the convenience with this particular marine GPS on board with you, as a lot of satisfied customers will attest to. 

If you want a better idea of how the Garmin EchoMAP CHIRP 54cv with Transducer performs, this video review provides all the details of it in action:

3. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer

The Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer is yet another stellar offering from marine GPS giant Garmin. The device design is largely rugged, making it the ideal companion in more action-packed escapades in the water.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Users appreciate how this marine GPS and fish finder has no issues when it comes to viewing the display in direct sunlight. It also has the extra bonus of a night mode for using at night or during low light conditions.

Customers report that it accurately determines water depth while still being able to clearly see the entire structure of the body of water. It also allows you to make your own depth chart as well as mark the waypoints that you need.

The interface is simple to use. In fact, some customers mentioned that their children can easily navigate with it on their own, making it a user-friendly option for both older children and adults.

Despite its many high tech features, it allows for easy operation for people who are not techies. Clarity and real-time updates on the generously sized screen make for easy steering while checking one’s location.

Some also note that the battery life of the Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer lasted as long as 35 hours, with screen brightness at 80% – which is impressive, indeed!

Here’s a quick comparison video of the Striker Plus 4 with the Striker 4 so you have an idea of what makes the two devices different from each other:

Conclusion – The Best Boat GPS for the Money

In summary, the best boat GPS for the money – our top 3 picks – is as follows:

  1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Click here to see it on Amazon – Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Garmin EchoMAP CHIRP 54cv with Transducer Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer

My personal favorite is the Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Marine GPS as I’ve used it for many years and recommend it to many. It is durable, easy to use, and has reliable location tracking.

Click here to see it on Amazon.