Take a moment with us to explore the best gps chartplotter systems for your boat. What features you'll need. And some standout units.
First, what is your budget? As GPS Systems get more features, faster processors, and larger screens the price goes up dramatically. Interestingly enough, a unit that is $1000 with a 6" screen may have the exact same features as a $3000 system with a 12" screen. Likewise, you can find a unit for $300 with a 6" screen with basic features. So, how much do you want to spend?
Next, what features do you need? Some of the most common features that set units apart are:
- Screen size
- Color vs Monochrome
- Internal or external GPS antenna
- Preloaded charts vs no preloaded maps
- Radar compatible or not
- Networkable or not
- Wireless features like Wifi or Bluetooth
- Processor Speed
- Internal sonar/fishfinder or not
- Touchscreen or buttons
A GPS system is a term used very loosely in our industry. It may simple be a handheld device that gives you gps position and some other numeric data like speed. Or it may refer to a 16" full featured unit for thousands of dollars. Other terms used to describe it are Chartplotter, MFD, Multifunction Display, Combo Unit, or Plotter.
How do you want to mount it? Different mounting styles include:
- Bracket Mount - whne you install the included trunnion bracket or U-shaped bracket to mount your unit to a flat surface
- Flush Mount - when you cut a hole into your dash and recess the unit
- Handheld - no mount needed, simply hold it in your hand
Most units nowadays are color, most have internal gps antennas, and most are offered with a version that includes maps. With these basic features you'll be able to navigate your waterways safely. If you are fishing consider getting a sonar system built in. If you ever want to go out at night and might consider a radar in the future then get a unit that is radar capable. If you might mount multiple units then consder getting them with networking features. If your boat is under 25' then consider a unit with buttons as they are easier to control while underway. If over 25' then touchscreen units are generally fine. On large boats over 35' you'll likley want touchscreen. If you plan to operate the unit in conjunction with an Ipad then get wireless functionality.
Here are a few of our most popular brands.