Garmin EchoMAP 94SV Review

Like it’s smaller version the EchoMap 74SV, the Garmin EchoMap 94SV is a fully-stocked fish finder and navigational unit boasting robust SONAR capabilities – regular SONAR as well as SideVu and DownVu SONAR – and highly accurate GPS with BlueChart g2 maps.

It is a little pricey at above $1000, but for the giant display and the awesome features, it would be worth it for a larger boat.

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Monster 9 Inch Display

The first thing to jump out at you is the huge 9 inch display. To put things into perspective, 9 inches is almost the size of an iPad – so having such a huge screen makes it very easy to read the display. You can even split the display up into 4 sections to get 4 different SONAR readings at once, putting a lot more data in front of your eyes to help you make the best possible cast.

At one point, you are actually paying for the display, similar to the Lowrance HDS units. That is ultimately justified, though, because no matter if the SONAR is of the same quality, you’ll just be able to physically see a lot more on a larger display and you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience using the fish finder.

GPS Navigation

Garmin is a name synonymous with navigation. They are one of the oldest companies in the industry, and can even be considered the leaders of navigation.

As a result, their navigation software is nothing short of stellar. Since the BlueChart g2 maps are already loaded on the device, you can simply enter a location and the unit will help you navigate there.

Keep in mind that this GPS is not the simpler GPS that just shows your location – as found on smaller fish finders – this is a fully featured navigational unit.

The BlueChart G2 charts cover the coastal US, Bahamas, and the US side of the great lakes. BlueChart maps include basic charts, tidal stations, currents, depth contours, IALA symbols and fishing charts.

Clear SONAR

The EchoMap 94SV has a CHIRP SONAR which provides stunning definition and clarity – much more than the older traditional SONAR. For example, in older SONAR, you would see a school of fish as a large blog – but with CHIRP, you’ll be able to see individual fish too.

The SONAR works on two frequencies – 77 kHz and 200 kHz. Garmin advertises the depth of the 77 kHz SONAR to be 2,300 feet in saltwater and the 200 kHz SONAR to be 1,100 feet in saltwater. Actual depth will be a little less, but you’ll still get more than enough penetration in freshwater and saltwater to suit your fishing needs.

Along with the CHIRP SONAR, this fish finder powerhouse also has DownVu and SideVu – which is a high frequency 3D imaging SONAR that will show you a life-like image of the underwater world. DownVu scans what is directly beneath the transducer, and SideVu shows you up to 700 feet on each side of your boat.

Garmin’s SideVu SONAR shows you readings much further than other manufacturer’s units.

Since you have such a huge screen, you will be able to use all three SONARs in conjunction and see all the data on one screen in a split view – putting more data at your fingertips than ever before.

Easy Mounting

You would think that a huge fishfinder with a 9 inch screen would be a little cludgy, but you’d be surprised. Garmin did a really good job of putting a very ergonomic fish finder together. all of the wires come through the mount, so you can simply snap the unit on and off.

Storing your boat for a while and don’t want to leave your expensive display on the boat? Just snap it off and take it with you – no need to mess with wires or anything. Next time you use your boar, simply snap it back in.

One thing you must consider for mounting the unit is whether or not you have enough space! You will need a bass boat or a boat of similar size, as this unit is not suitable for small boats or kayaks.

You can also mount the transducer directly to the trolling motor on compatible MotorGuide and Minn Kota trolling motors.

Create Your Own Maps With QuickDraw Contours

You can use the SONAR returns from the Garmin EchoMap 94SV to create your own maps on the fly using the free QuickDraw Contours software. These maps are yours to keep – if you wish, you can send them to your friends or even to Garmin. But otherwise they are your personal maps for your personal fishing spots.

This feature is similar to Lowrance’s Insight Genesis mapping system.

Other Thoughts

The only cons I can think of for the EchoMap 94SV is that there are no networking capabilities – so the display can’t really turn into the centerpiece for your boat like the Lowrance HDS units do.

Other than that, the price is quite high, so it may be discouraging to newer entrants into fishing and boating. However, models from other manufacturers with comparable screen sizes will also run in the same price range.

The EchoMAP 94SV comes in two versions – with transducer and without transducer. The without transducer unit is a good choice if you already have an outfitted boat and just wish to upgrade your display. If that’s not the case, then the with-transducer unit is what you need, as the one transducer works for all of the frequencies as well as DownVu and SideVu.

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In The Box

Transducer Version

  • echoMAP 94sv with U.S. BlueChart® g2
  • Power/data cable
  • Quick-release mount
  • Flush mount
  • Protective cover
  • GT41-TM transducer (12-pin)
  • Transom mount
  • 12-pin transducer to dual 4-pin sounder adapter y-cable
  • Hardware
  • Documentation

Without Transducer Version

  • echoMAP 94sv with U.S. BlueChart® g2
  • Power/data cable
  • Quick-release mount
  • Flush mount
  • Protective cover
  • 12-pin transducer to dual 4-pin sounder adapter y-cable
  • 8-pin transducer to 4-pin sounder adapter cable
  • Hardware
  • Documentation