Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best handheld marine gps 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2019
Best handheld marine gps of 2018
I review the three best handheld marine gps on the market at the moment. I am going to specify each good-to-buy feature as much as possible for your references.
I must say I am quite a fan of handheld marine gps, so when the question “What are the best handheld marine gps available on the market?” came to my mind, I excitedly started gathering information together with personal experience to write this article in the hope that it may help you find the suitable handheld marine gps. The best handheld marine gps will make your fairytale dreams come true!
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this handheld marine gps win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
Why did this handheld marine gps come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this handheld marine gps take third place?
I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
handheld marine gps Buyer’s Guide
Many people own a handheld GPS unit which they bring with them hiking, bicycling, or driving. A marine GPS unit looks very much like these, except that it includes marine charts. Handheld models are as portable as they come, and they tend to be less expensive than the other types as well. They have fewer features however and the small size of the screen may sometimes be inconvenient.
These are the largest marine GPS units and come with a mount. They do tend to be the most expensive, especially if you purchase the touch screen variety. If you are willing to pay even more, you can get a unit which you can network with your radar and sonar.
Remember, always keep some paper charts handy in case of a power failure.
If you are a fisherman, you definitely will want to look for a marine GPS unit which includes a fish-finder. A fish-finder uses sonar technology to measure the depth of the water and also to track the positions and movements of fish. This allows you to lower nets and lures to just the right depth to catch unwary underwater denizens.
Adequate screen size and resolution
It is important to try and purchase a GPS with a reasonably large screen and high resolution. Screens which measure at least 5” diagonally are best; others squeeze the view too much when using zoom or split screen. The higher the resolution the better—you will be able to see more detail.
Less expensive marine GPS devices feature an output of around 100-300 watts. This is sufficient if you are fishing at a depth of 200’ or less, but for deep sea fishing, you need more power.
The transducer in your fish-finder focuses the beam. The more focused that beam is, the deeper it can penetrate—even at the same power level. If you double the diameter of the transducer crystal, it will have the same effect as quadrupling the power.
While your basic marine GPS can track your position, it cannot tell which direction you are facing. That means it can only tell you if you are going the right way when you are moving—but it cannot point you in the right direction when you are still. For that, you need an electronic compass.
Additional charts and maps
Garmin’s 78sc marine chartplotter. Its display is easy to read at any time of the day, plus the depth alarm feature will keep you from running aground.
Awesome display. Some displays are hard to read in direct sunlight, but the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc’s screen is easy to read no matter what time of day (or night) it is.
Extended battery life. You can get 30 hours of continuous use or more out of this device, which is more than enough for a full day of sailing.
Fast performance. The processor is powerful enough to allow you to switch screens with ease.
Garmin technology. Like most Garmin products, the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc features excellent support and an easy-to-use navigational interface.
Floats on water. If you drop this device into the ocean, no problem. Just scoop it up and keep on sailing.
Man overboard button. If someone falls off the boat, hit the man overboard button to mark their position on the map.
VHF handheld radio
The last time PBO tested handheld VHF radios was back in January 201Since then there have been changes to product ranges, updates to existing models, and some are no longer around.
There’s no doubt in my mind, reinforced by lots of practical experience, that a handheld VHF radio is an essential communication and safety item on any craft heading out on the water.
Fixed radios have their role, and when installed by the navigation table offer a convenient communication location. However, there are many occasions when the opportunity to communicate on deck offers great advantages, not least the ability to both monitor the boat’s position and in safety situations monitor the scene while communicating.
Handhelds can be used by a tender shore party to communicate with the mother ship, and of course they’re vital in any abandon-ship situation.
All those tested come with detachable belt clips, which not everyone will want. The swivel type can be detached by rotating through 180° – which could lead to accidental loss. Hand lanyards (or straps) are also provided, and these are best attached to the radio body, not the belt clip, so they can be used when the clip is detached.
All radios can select high- or low-transmission power, and some have three levels. All have a lock function to prevent accidental change to settings, but will still allow the transmit function.
All have a battery level indicator: those with push-button volume and squelch will have a linear level indicator for these on the display screen.
How we tested them
We took the radios out on the Solent aboard my Beneteau First 305, and I picked up a mooring off Calshot in Southampton Water. Alan Watson then motored his Nelson powerboat Trinity Star eastwards into the Solent, acting as the communication boat.
We tried each radio at different distances on low power (1W) until reception began to break down. We then turned the radios to their full transmitting power. At their limit we used the radios while standing up in the cockpit.
The test team reviewed the sets for ease of use, focusing on channel change, squelch and volume control.
Other Features to Look For
There are so many models these days that offer additional feature for your convenience. The best way to go about the specific feature is to identify what you need when you are out in the water. Surely, there will be a device or two that offers solutions to your requirements.
This may seem like a backward thing, but I personally find this feature refreshing and super easy to use. This 2.inch-screen navigator has a built-in worldwide base map, and is supported by GLONASS and HotFix, which make it accurate and reliable.
I highly recommend it for its sunlight-readable display and expanded memory of up to 8GB. It also comes with other handy features that I normally do not require, but are pretty useful now that I consider it such as its capacity to wirelessly receive alerts, texts, and emails.
Its quad helix antenna makes connectivity faster and more accurate. Plus, I think it looks really cool with it. More importantly, its software allows you to view and organize maps so you can organize your trips ahead.
Again, it all boils down to what your fishing plans are. To be honest, most of these devices offer more than you need so that the manufacturers can justify the price. Therefore, if you are looking to save some money, be specific with your requirements and consider the features as described in this review.
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
These handheld GPS also ensure water safety and ease of navigation for anglers, both beginners and professionals.
Some better and expensive models also come with camera and other additional features of f ish finders which make it an essential gear for an amazing experience.
Things to consider
You need to keep track of the important features you require and pick the best-priced GPS that can be inexpensive, yet fulfilling for your needs.
The Handheld Global Positioning System units you pick when going kayak fishing should be able to withstand all weather conditions.
Here are a few features you need to consider before you choose a handheld GPS.
As you are going to fish outside, you should always be concerned about if the display adjusts even in the sun. LCD and TFT displays are the most common ones chosen by professional anglers.
In order to fish effectively, you need a GPS system that can save information like waypoints, maps and checkpoints.
Pick up a unit that can be connected to a computer or comes with an SD card so that you can save as much information you want to.
A good unit generally comes with non-mapping, base mapping and advanced mapping system that allows you to record different data and information.
For example, the non-mapping system will show longitudes, latitudes, distance and elevation.
Garmin GPSMAP 6WorldWide GPS
If you are looking for a handheld GPS with a bigger screen, the Garmin GPSMAP 6is what you need to have.
It features a 2.6-in screen that adjusts itself with the sunlight and had readable color perfect and easy to navigate and scroll.
With BirdsEye Satellite imagery, the GPSMAP 6comes with a quad helix antenna which as a great reception than most other models out there making it precise and accurate for geo-positioning.
On top of that, it also supports paperless geocaching and has 250,000 preloaded caches making it work efficiently. The battery life of this device is 16-hours when used regularly and it’s extremely durable as well.
Features I like
The features don’t stop there. The quality of photos from its camera are high quality with autofocus making it worth sharing with your friends, family and community. The 4GB SD card is where all the information can be stored.
Taking about its battery, it features a dual battery system and can operate with either traditional AA batteries or rechargeable NiMB pack, which is included in the GPS unit.
Garmin GPSMAP 64ST Handheld GPS
It is powered by 2AA batteries and lasts longer than its previous version when fully charged.
DeLorme also produces printed atlas and topographic software products. They are known to combine digital technologies with human editors to verify travel information and details to ensure accuracy.
One of Delorme’s best hiking GPS devices is the DeLorme InReach Explorer. Whether you want to navigate, create waypoints, log your trip and find your way back, send and receive text messages, trigger an interactive SOS, plan, track and share your journey, you can do all of these with one rugged hand-held device with 100% global coverage from Iridium.
You can also trigger an SOS, receive a delivery confirmation, and communicate back and forth with DeLorme’s 24/search and rescue monitoring center.
Bushnell has produced WeatherFX, a personal weather station for hikers, campers and others, which allows users to be informed of potentially hazardous weather conditions. They have created the first aerial and satellite imagery into their device’s display. They have also integrated XM radio in their devices to provide real-time weather data and can overlay weather maps and radar info.
Bushnell’s Onix400 Waterproof Hiking GPS device has the attractive feature of XM Weather receiver which enables one to see when the storm is coming, its severity and to estimate roughly when it will be in your location and how long it will take until it passes. It also has XM radio that can select from over 170 channels for music, news sports or entertainment.
A manufacturer of consumer sonar and GPS receivers as well as digital mapping systems, Lowrance Electronic is best known for its High Definition Systems (HDS) and add-on performance modules which include Broadband 4G Radar, StructureScan with SideScan and DownScan Imaging.
It has been a leader in marine electronics since it invented the first consumer sonar device in 195Extremely easy to use yet packed with the features anglers the world over know and love, Lowrance continues to set the bar for the best recreational fishing technology.
Accessories & Gear
So you love to go fishing on your kayak? A lot of people does. Some even use trolling motor to go to remote lakes for fishing on their beloved kayak. Everything sounds ok, till you get lost in the remote area.
This could be a nightmare if you don’t know the way back home or if you don’t have an active GPS system with you. If you are kayaking on a remote area or you are just new to the place, a kayak GPS would be very helpful on such occasions.
Even though I am well aware of the places I visit, I always bring a kayak GPS to face such accidents. So if anyhow I forget the way back to home, I will just open the GPS system and get back easily. Sometimes I mark my favorite fishing spots on the GPS, so I can always come back later to the same place to stow the biggest fish on my kayak catch cooler.
Garmin Oregon 600
Best GPS For kayaking: Garmin Oregon 600 is a worldwide handheld GPS with 3-inch sunlight readable display. This little GPS device has touchscreen functionality with multi-touch capability. You can take this device to kayak through the mountains or heavily treed areas, and it will still provide great support.
By the utilization of both GPS and GLONASS, this device has very good reception ability. It is also WAAS compatible. One of the coolest things about this device is very easy to maintain and understand.
You can share routes, tracks, waypoints or geocaches with the ANT or Bluetooth technology. You can switch between portrait or landscape views for easy reading. Three sensors are used on this device: 3-axis compass, accelerometer, barometric altimeter. For battery purpose, you can use either the rechargeable NiMH pack (which you need to purchase separately) or with the traditional AA batteries.
You will find different GPS devices with different display sizes. The resolution will very upon devices. A good resolution will allow you to see data more clearly. A kayak GPS might be between 2.inches to 5.inches. A small screen would be hard to read, while a big screen GPS device would be hard to carry. My suggestion is to choose a GPS device with 3.inches to inches. Thus, you get to see the data more easily and quickly.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your handheld marine gps wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of handheld marine gps
- №1 — Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter
- №2 — Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
- №3 — Garmin GPSMAP 78 2.6-Inch Marine GPS Navigator and Worldwide Chartplotter