Looking For The Best 5″ Fishfinder Available in 2014?
Let’s be honest, screen size is one of the most important aspects when selecting a fishfinder. The most versatile size screen on the market is 5″. Anything smaller and you sacrifice major viewing areas. Anything larger and you are paying nearly double the price. For this reason, all of the major manufacturers including Humminbird, Lowrance, and Garmin make their most popular models in the 5 inch size. The newer class of fishfinders utilize this space better than ever before. Both Humminbird and Lowrance model offer pretty much the same features as their larger screen cousins including their respective version of side imaging and down imaging. Most models now also include the capability to add a GPS receiver or has one built internally into the unit. Choosing the right fishfinder can be tough, but here is our guide to the best fishfinder models available in that 5″inch screen class.
#1 Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder Sonar GPS With Navionics Gold
Out of all the entrants to the 5 inch market the Raymarine Dragonfly really is in a class of it’s own. I’ve always preferred Raymarine electronics based on their durability and performance, but it usually comes with a hefty price tag. The 5.7″ screen delivers the power of a much larger unit into a smaller screen and really makes this an affordable unit. The Clear Pulse CHIRP sonar uses both a traditional sonar along with Raymarine’s version of “down imaging”. The resolution is very good at 640 X 480 and it honestly looks better than most HD models from Lowrance or Humminbird. As with all top quality units, installation is key and if you do it right the first time, it will give you a much higher performance. This paticular model includes the Navionics Gold chip which is the Gold Standard when it comes to fishing and giving you detailed contour depths. If you’re looking for a sonar gps combo that delivers outstanding overall performance without the price of larger screened models….give the new Raymarine Dragonfly models a try.
#2 Lowrance HDS-5
The top of the line entry from Lowrance is HDS-5 in the 5 inch fishfinder market. The reason that Humminbird got the top spot is due to the high resolution screen that the 798ci has. That being said, the HDS-5 boasts all the bells and whistles Lowrance has to offer. The display has a 480 x 480 pixel screen, which is plenty for a 5 inch fishfinder screen. The screen is plenty clear and has a high enough resolution for great sonar and GPS mapping images. A nice feature is the built in GPS that saves from mounting an external unit. The HDS-5 is NMEA 2000 compatible, which allows the fishfinder to act as an auto pilot. Personally I have one that controls my boat and all I can say is I wish I would have bought an auto pilot right away. The sonar is solid and offers structure scan which is a great side and down imaging product which produces top of the line sonar images. Overall the HDS 5 is a great fishfinder GPS combo, but with addition of all the Lowrance options and accessories the HDS 5 is a close second in the 5 inch fishfinder market.
#3 Humminbird 598ci HD SI Combo Fishfinder
Another great fishfinder in the 5 inch size class is the 598ci HD SI, which boasts side imaging. There are many of the options available on the 700, 800, 900, and 1,100 series fishfinder by Hummminbird. The screen resolution is upgraded to the 640 by 640 display which does a great job showing high resolution sonar pictures. The GPS is built in and also has some pre loaded mapping software. The 598ci SI is compatible with about any type of mapping software out there and really shows off the unit by using 3D mapping views in HD of what is above and below the water as you drive through you favorite home port. The side view on the 598 is the 455kHz signal, which isn’t the 800 the higher end models use. However the 455 kHz does a nice job showing great sonar images of what is underneath your boat. Overall the top of the line 500 series model gives fisherman the chance to have all the great features that the top of the line models have for a faction of the cost.
#4 Humminbird 597ci HD DI Fishfinder
The screen on the 597 uses 640 x 640 pixels which give great sonar and GPS images in crystal clear HD. The addition of down imaging gives great views of what is directly underneath the boat. When fishing brush piles the down imaging really excels since you have a clear sonar image of the brush you are fishing. For bass or gamefish fishermen a trolling motor mount for the transducer can help you find and stay on top of fish in the open water. One of my favorite tactics involves deepwater drop offs with schools of bait fish. In order to target these spots is where down imaging comes in, by reading sonar images you can pickout individual fish and schools. Running a deep diving crankbait in that situation almost always gets me a bite!
#5 Humminbird 571 Portable Fishfinder
The 571 is an extremely versatile fishfinder and works for ice fishing or fishing from a boat. The screen is 640 x 320 pixels which is enough to give nice pictures of the down imaging. A great feature is that with the carrying case testing and checking holes while ice fishing is fast and easy . By eliminating water that isn’t holding fish allows you to cover more ground, which is sometimes what it takes to get on the fish. Overall the combination of a great screen and sonar with having a portable fishfinder is why the 571 made the top 5.