When it comes to fish finders, there are hundreds on the market. With the task of locating fish and helping anglers fish better, the hunt for the best can be a long and tedious one.
Even when you manage to narrow it down, there are still plenty of choices that leave us unsure which is the best move to make.
Two brands that often go head to head are Humminbird and Lowrance. They have been big players in the industry for generations, so which one do you choose between?
The decision leaves many of us with a headache and no fish finder.
Well, no more! Today we are here with a detailed comparison of the two brands and some of their most popular fish finders to help you find the right one for you. Keep reading to find out more!
Let’s start by taking a look at both company’s history and reputation. After all, you want to know who you are buying your fishing gear from!
A lot of anglers will stick to one or two brands, buying exclusively from them.
But that doesn’t always mean you are getting the best product. So let’s explore Humminbird and Lowrance in detail to see if they are worthy of your money!
Humminbird has been around since 1971 and actually started in a garage down in Alabama! They have been a popular choice since then, thanks to their representation of grassroots and hometown society.
There’s a local and comforting feel to the brand that we don’t often see with big companies these days.
Humminbird also led the way with technological advances. They were the first manufacturer to develop 360-degree sonar technology and a waterproof depth sounder.
Since then, their range of products has grown and continues to wow its customers with its technology!
You can now enjoy down, and side imaging fish finders, HD displays, and they are still working on launches that make fishing easier and more enjoyable!
While dominating the tech side of the industry, Humminbird still keeps its reputation of homegrown roots and family values.
You can expect excellent service from their customer support team and for refunds or replacements to be issued easily.
They stand by their products and will honor the warranties should anything go wrong, offering you plenty of peace of mind before making a purchase!
So what about Lowrance? They started trading in 1957 and have maintained a place as one of the leaders in marine electronics.
You can choose from a wide range of fish finders and sonar products packed full of new features. You can enjoy structure scanning, down scanning, and side-scanning with a range of their products!
In 2008, Lowrance became the first company to introduce split-screen HD multifunction settings on their fish finders, allowing you to see more of the water simultaneously!
It was a first for the world and has set the standard of what to expect from fishing equipment now!
Lowrance was also one of the first to introduce CHIRP sonar to the market. They have been leading the way with their technology, forcing competitors to strive to keep up with them! However, it isn’t all good news, sadly.
There are several reviews online claiming that Lowrance has not honored their warranties or stood by their products.
We are also seeing reports that their support line isn’t very kind to customers, not what you want when you have parted with your hard-earned cash and are having issues!
It’s worth noting that not all customers report these issues, but it’s good to be aware of these before you decide where to spend your money!
Up next, we have features! Your fish finder’s features will allow you to determine if you are getting value for your money.
You don’t want to part with your money to find out you are only getting basic features, do you?
While you can fish without these added features and usually find cheaper options, if you are parting with a large chunk of money, you want to be sure you are getting value for it, don’t you?
So let’s look at what features Humminbird and Lowrance offer!
Humminbird has a reputation for packing lots of features into their products, and their fish finders are no different! The more basic models will come with a basic CHIRP sonar, while the more you spend will give you access to a down scan, side imagining, GPS units, dual display combos, and more!
Some of the high-end models will come with a range of ways for you to connect to! You can enjoy wired or wireless connections via Bluetooth, offering plenty of versatility for anglers. If you aren’t sure which connection is best, we find a wired connection more reliable. However, if you are after a portable fish finder, then a wireless connection will be best for you!
For those on a tight budget, Lowrance might be your better option. They have a range of affordable fish finders, offering you plenty of choices from smaller and more budget-friendly fish finders.
It’s ideal for those that want to catch fish but perhaps don’t want to spend a fortune on added features!
Sometimes, we can get sidetracked by the features offered and forget that we need a fish finder to do one thing: tell us where the fish are.
The purpose of a fish finder is to locate the fish, saving you time and increasing your chances of catching a fish!
Fish finders that offer more features often mean you have new features and parts of your finder that could break down and cause issues down the line.
There are plenty of fish finders with added features that Lowrance sells, such as down scanning and ‘structure scan,’ which is essentially a side scan. If you are after a more budget-friendly option and you aren’t too bothered about the features on offer, then Lowrance is the better brand for you!
Now that we have covered the range of features you can choose from, let’s look at the number of products each company sells. Why is this of importance? Well, it tells you that there is plenty of variety, increasing the chances of the company catering to your needs.
Ideally, a manufacturer should have plenty of options to cater to a range of tastes, preferences, and fishing styles. Let’s see what our two brands have to offer!
Humminbird seems to have surpassed their competition and are leading the way with their expansive range of products!
At one point, Lowrance dominated the industry, but they seem to be slowing down now. Humminbird has taken center stage and has a huge range of products to choose from.
For all their success, Humminbird doesn’t work to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they take the successful products they currently sell and modify them slightly.
They will add a few new features, make some adjustments, and put them back on the market.
What does that strategy tell us? It tells us that customers are already happy with these products, meaning there is little call for them to be changed.
It also tells us that the product is performing well and that there’s no need to discontinue it.
Their most popular models are the PiranhaMAX, C-Map, ICE, Solix, Helix 5, Helix 9, and Helix 10. There’s plenty of choices for anglers to find the right fish finder for them!
In comparison to Humminbird, Lowrance offers three product lines. Their HDS Live, Hook, and Elite. The Hook is the most popular model with recreational anglers, and there are a few variations that you can choose from. While they are popular with anglers, something is missing for a lot of anglers.
The fish finder lacks definition, and the quality feels cheaper than other finders out there. But this lower quality doesn’t always come with the lower price; in fact, it can be quite pricey! This higher cost and lower quality do put some anglers off from purchasing a Lowrance fish finder.
We’ve touched on price a little already throughout this guide, but that won’t stop us from having a whole section dedicated to it!
When purchasing your fish finder, you want to ensure that you find the right model for you and your budget.
It’s best to set a budget before you begin your search and stick to it as best as possible. Some anglers choose to consider the features they want, let that dictate their budget, and do whatever is right.
So let’s find out which brand offers the most value for your money and the best performance. After all, there’s no point buying a fish finder that doesn’t help you catch any fish!
Humminbird works to price its products in line with competitors. They do this so that price won’t be a customer’s deciding factor, forcing them to take their business elsewhere. Instead, they work to be competitively priced and lure new customers in this way!
When you look at a value compared to the price, Humminbird offers excellent value, outranking Lowrance on many occasions!
When looking at Humminbird products, you will see that they have an average review score of 4.5 out of 5, while Lowrance is trailing behind!
You will find that Humminbird’s finders are usually cheaper than Lowrance’s, too, offering you more satisfaction and features for less!
While it might seem that Lowrance isn’t the better choice, it isn’t all bad news! Lowrance does offer a range of products, with many of them being cheaper than Humminbird’s offering!
When finding the best fish finder for the best price, you will find that you will need to shop around and find the best from each brand.
It can take a little while, but spending some time researching ensures that you get the best finder for the money that ticks all of your boxes!
Ease of use
When it comes to a fish finder, you will want one that is easy to use. Not everyone is tech-savvy, and in these cases, we want a fish finder that can be used without needing a degree from MIT! Technology continues to advance and develop, and it can be difficult for everyone to keep up.
Hence, it’s important to select a fish finder that is easy to use and accessible.
If you find yourself struggling with your fish finder, we recommend checking forums for advice about operating it. Often, someone else will have encountered the same issue and will be on hand with a solution!
Alternatively, you can find online tutorials that will show you how to operate the fish finder and all its additional features.
These tutorials are usually super informative and will come packed full of useful tips and tricks! Simply search for your fish finder model, followed by ‘tutorial,’ and watch the results roll in!
So out of Humminbird and Lowrance, which brand is easier to use? Let’s take a look now!
Humminbird offers a wide range of products, so you can expect how easy they are to use to vary too! Some of their products are super easy to operate, while some are a little more tricky. Their basic models come without any added features but tend to be the easiest to operate.
As the number of features increases on the model, you are likely to encounter some technology that you aren’t sure how to use.
While some of it can be self-explanatory, some more advanced features can be a little complex.
Thankfully, Humminbird’s customer service is on hand to assist here. You can speak to the customer service helpline for guided support and answers to any queries, making them the ideal choice for anyone that prefers verbal support.
Don’t forget to make the most of online tutorials and the user manual for more assistance if you need it.
Lowrance also comes with a range of variations that offer you simple devices and more complex features for those who want them. Lowrance offers a portion of their range with push buttons rather than a touchscreen.
As not everyone enjoys a touchscreen, it offers plenty of versatility! Some anglers prefer pushbuttons, too, finding them easier to use if their fingers are grimy or fishy.
The option to choose is one that Humminbird does not have.
However, Lowrance does not have the best customer service. The more reviews you read, the bleaker it looks.
Most of these reviews are dedicated to customers’ experiences when they call the support line for help. If you make use of these lines, then Lowrance probably isn’t the best company for you! its
These days, GPS and mapping features are an essential part of fish finding technology, and as the technology continues to advance, we can expect them to stick around! So which brand has the best GPS? Let’s find out!
Humminbird offers both GPS and chart plotters on a wide range of their fish finders.
You can also utilize preloaded maps of lakes, allowing you to map where you have been and where you want to return as you move around the lake.
These features are super handy for those heading out to new lakes or who like to track their movements.
To have GPS and mapping on your fish finder, you can expect to pay an affordable or reasonable price, which is to be expected.
For that price, you can enjoy state-of-the-art technology from Humminbird, making it a fine choice for anyone on a budget that wants to enjoy GPS and mapping technology.
The technology allows you to track your location, drop dots on the map of places you’d like to revisit, and monitor your speed, which is super helpful when trolling.
There are tons of other things you can do with GPS mapping too! It’s easy to use and doesn’t tend to break down often either, ensuring a smooth ride when fishing!
Lowrance also offers its GPS and mapping technology at a reasonable price, making it accessible for all.
You can expect to pay roughly the same as you would for GPS and mapping on Humminbird devices, but the mapping isn’t the best.
Lowrance uses a blank white screen, and you have to input your design and shape of the lake. It’s similar to using a paint feature on your phone, and it isn’t the best or overly helpful.
For real mapping, you would need to spend more and upgrade to a more expensive model.
If you are looking to save money and enjoy quality GPS and mapping, you will be better with a model from Humminbird.
Lowrance Side Imaging vs. Humminbird Side Imaging
When searching for a new fish finder, we often compare the side imaging function. It can be quite subjective, so be sure to take what we say as guidance only.
What we don’t enjoy, you might love, and you must pick the best model for you. So let’s get into it! If we had to choose between the two, we would go for a Humminbird.
Why? There are a few reasons that make this decision.
First, Humminbird’s premium units use less power, meaning you don’t need to worry about your battery life or lug loads of batteries around with you!
They also have more features in their side imaging compared to Lowrance’s models. You can enjoy ethernet sharing, variable bandwidth, a dedicated DI, and the fastest refresh rate on the market when opting for Humminbird!
It’s also made in the USA, meaning you support a local company and keep more people at work when purchasing from Humminbird.
When comparing Lowrance’s structure scan and Humminbird’s side imaging, there isn’t much of a debate, in our opinion.
Humminbird offers a better product and is constantly exploring new technology and ways they can improve their products. If Lowrance doesn’t up their game, we might see them disappear from the market.
Advantages of Lowrance
- High-quality imaging
- Long company history
- Large selection of affordable units to cater to a range of budgets
Disadvantages of Lowrance
- Side imaging isn’t the best
- Premium options are quite expensive
- Customer support isn’t the best
Advantages of Humminbird
- Fantastic customer service
- Good range of affordable and mid-range units
- The side-scan feature is excellent
- Made in the USA
Disadvantages of Humminbird
- Low grad options can be expensive.
As you can see, Humminbird is blowing us away! When you compare the two brands, you can see that their products do exceed expectations.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to put Lowrance in the bin, though! They still have a wide range of quality fish finders that are perfect for anglers!
Both brands come with their own set of pros and cons, and we think it’s worth weighing all of these up, along with your preferences, before making your final decision.
Best options from Each Brand
To help you with your purchase today, we have also included what we think are the best options from each brand. We’ve included a little review of each item, too, to help you narrow your search and find the right fish finder for you today! Let’s take a look at these models now.
First, we have the Helix & CHIRP MDI. This finder comes with a seven-inch LCD colored screen and down imagining up to 125 feet!
You can enjoy a Dual Spectrum CHIRP, too, providing you with a consistent flow of images. You won’t need to worry about images that are choppy or feature reduced quality.
The finder comes with two display models to choose from, so you don’t need to have the screen cluttered with things you don’t want or use.
You can check the water temperature, depth, and turbulence on one screen and flip back to a real-time image, allowing you to zero in on your target.
There’s also a micro SD card slot so you can store all your data with ease!
You get GPS and mapping technology and all the hardware you will need to find fish with ease! What’s more, it can be used in freshwater and saltwater, so you aren’t limited, you can fish wherever! It’s worth noting that this premium fish finder does come with a premium price tag too!
- 7-Inch screen with 800H x 480V resolution color TFT display
- MEGA Down Imaging: Get unprecedented underwater clarity with coverage down to 125 feet below your boat. Not a Minn Kota i-Pilot Link Compatible
- Powered by our proprietary, Low Q CHIRP transducer, Dual Spectrum CHIRP offers two ways to search: wide mode for maximum coverage and narrow mode for maximum detail
- With two display modes, you can add or remove detail, account for water depth, temperature and turbulence, even watch lure presentations
- Includes transducer and mounting hardware, power cable and gimbal mounting bracket.Watts RMS: 500
- Model – Humminbird Helix 7
- Type – down imaging
- Display size – 7-inch
Next, we have this fantastic offering from Lowrance. Their HOOK2 comes with a premium price tag, but you get some fantastic features for your money!
You can enjoy some of the best mapping technology on the market. Be sure to make the most of the inland maps installed and the sonar technology covering a huge distance!
The fish finder is incredibly easy to use, you can mount the transcender virtually anywhere, and it will work! What’s more, it’s fairly portable, making it a fine choice for anyone after a kayak fish finder!
We love this fish finder because it features a Tripleshot transducer that gives you the ability to downscan Navionics, side scan, and make the most of CHIRP sonar!
All of these wonderful features in a compact finder, what more could you want?
We will point out that this finder does come with a small five-inch screen that some users might find difficult to use.
At present, they do not offer the option of a larger screen, but who knows what the future will bring!
- HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder with TripleShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed
- EASIEST TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 5 Fish Finder features auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus giving you more time to spend fishing and less time dealing with settings.
- WIDER SONAR COVERAGE: The HOOK2 5 offers a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone giving you double the coverage of traditional fish finders.
- EASY SETUP: A single transducer can be mounted on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor or through a scupper hole. The HOOK2 5 is ideal for small fishing boats or kayaks with limited console space.
- MORE SONAR VIEWS: The Lowrance HOOK2 5 comes complete with a TripleShot transducer which gives you DownScan sonar (straight down), SideScan sonar (up to 300' to each side), and CHIRP sonar (fish arch) views.
- Model – Lowrance HOOK2
- Type – down and side imagine
- Display size – 5-inches
The Helix 5 is Humminbirds older model of the Helix 7. It will cost you roughly half the price, making it a fantastic choice for those on a budget.
However, be careful when purchasing the 5. The product information listed isn’t entirely accurate. You would think from looking at the description and imaging, but all you get is CHIRP sonar.
Be mindful of this before making your purchase!
Thankfully, the fish finder is accurate and easy to use, making it a fantastic choice for many anglers! You will have a small 5-inch screen to use and find it similar to the Lowrance Elite 5 HDI.
Both models contain a lot of features, although the Humminbird model tends to be more widely available.
- 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
- CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar. Power Output RMS : 500 Watts. Power Draw : 615 mA
- Precision Internal GPS Chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography
- Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints
- Target Separation - 2.5 Inches
- Model – Humminbird Helix 5
- Type – CHIRP
- Display size – 5 inches
This fish finder sits at the head of the table for Lowrance and is the best fish finder they offer. The 3rd generation unit offers CHIRP Fish ID technology, down scanning, and side-scanning!
With this unit, you have everything you could ever need, including fast refresh rates, high accuracy, and a single transducer to mount near your trolling motor.
You get sonar technology, inland mapping, GPS technology, and chart plotting! It’s everything anglers dream of in a fish finder, but it does come with a premium price tag, so those looking for a budget option might want to look elsewhere.
- HDS-7 GEN3 INSIGHT W LSS
- HDS-7 Gen3 Insight(TM) Fishfinder/Chartplotter with 83/200kHz Transducer & Lowrance SmartSteer(TM)
- Recreation Equipment - Fishfinders, Transducers & Accessories - Fishfinders
- HDS-7 GEN3 INSIGHT W LSS
- LOWRANCE 000-11788-001
- Model – Lowrance HOOK
- Type – StructureScan
- Display size – 7-inches
And just like that, we have reached the end of our guide today! As you can see, many features set apart Humminbird and Lowrance and many that unite them.
When searching for your new fish finder, you are in safe hands with either company.
Just be sure to keep an eye on your budget and the features included before making your purchase!