Striker is Garmin’s mid-tier line designed to offer as many premium features as possible while maintaining a reasonable price tag. The series includes seven different models: 4, 4cv, 4dv, 5cv, 5dv, 7sv, and 7dv, with a price range between $199.99 and $499.99.
The Striker series was launched in late 2015 as one of the first budget-friendly lines of fish finders that allow fishers to not only observe underwater structures and fish arches but also mark their favorite fishing spots.
It incorporates numerous features and capabilities to fit the needs of casual anglers as well as hardcore aficionados and tournament participants. The displays range from 3.5” to 7”, which provides potential users with suitable options for both kayaks/canoes and medium-to-large fishing vessels.
The Striker series definitely raised the bar for fish finding performance and proved to be an invaluable tool for inland and near-shore fishing expeditions.
Garmin Striker Series Pros & Cons
Garmin Striker Series Features
Apart from the traditional CHIRP sonar, the Striker series features CHIRP DownVü and SideVü technologies as well as integrated high-sensitivity GPS receivers. The range of frequencies used by CHIRP sonars allows for much better coverage with optimal target separation and removal of tedious underwater clutter. With added GPS capabilities, users can also monitor their SOG information, even at low speeds. In other words, the Striker series made the CHIRP and GPS technologies available in low-cost devices.
The units come with sunlight readable and bright 3.5”, 5”, and 7” color displays, a keyed interface, and an extremely rugged exterior designed to withstand harsh fishing conditions and environments. All models feature integrated GPS antennas as well as waypoint maps, which enables users to quickly mark and return to their favorite fishing spot and other areas of interest like docks, stumps, brush piles, and more. The GPS module provides one update per second, offering the necessary precision required to optimize lure presentation. Finally, you can also share your waypoint data across different Striker units and all echoMAP devices.
The implemented DownVü scanning sonar allows users to observe structures and objects underneath their vessels and provides them with almost photographic representations of fish, objects, and structures in both saltwater and freshwater. Striker 7sv also comes with SideVü scanning in case you want to observe targets up to 750ft on each side of your boat without hovering directly above them. All units come with the split screen feature that allows you to observe different scanning results at the same time alongside your waypoint map.
All units come with mounting hardware, so you can swivel and tilt your chosen fish finder for the best viewing angle. Additionally, you can also purchase optional flush-mount kits for in-dash installation. Striker units usually come with default transducers, but they are also compatible with a wide variety of premium Garmin transducers for added installation options and sonar performance.
Garmin Striker Series Buyer’s Guide
When looking for the best Garmin Striker series fish finder, it is important to take into account your personal fishing style and other relevant factors. Only then can we determine the perfect device for you without any shred of a doubt. Here are some of the most significant factors you need to be aware of:
Angling with a rod – We can recommend Striker 4 for casual fishers who want a more budget-friendly option and Striker 7sv or dv for more demanding anglers.
Line fishing (droplining, jigging, handlining, slabbing, longlining, trotlining) – Our recommendations for angling with a rod apply here as well.
Trolling – Since Striker units come with UltraScroll, they are ideal for trollers. UltraScroll will provide you with observable reading up to 50 MPH, but you should go a lot slower than that for optimal results (somewhere between 5 and 7 MPH). Having said that, our recommended models are Striker 4 for casual trollers and Striker 7sv for more passionate fishers.
Ice fishing – For ice fishing, we recommend Striker 5dv as an excellent balance of premium features and budget-friendliness. The display is also large enough to provide you with clear readings without the accompanying bulkiness of its larger counterparts.
Casual/professional fishing – As we already mentioned, the Striker series is more geared toward casual users, but it can also be used successfully in a tournament setting. The smaller units are usually recommended for more casual fishers while the 7” models can serve as decent professional fish finders.
The Size Of Your Vessel
First of all, we need to make a clear distinction between boat owners and fishers who rely on rentals. If you rent your fishing vessel, you should definitely go for one of the smaller Striker units that is easy to carry, install, and take out. Owning a fishing boat, on the other hand, gives you a lot more room to choose your perfect fish finder. At that point, you are basically limited solely by the size of your boat. With that in mind, here are our recommendations based on the size of your vessel:
Kayaks, canoes, small boats – We recommend going with any of the Striker 4 or 5 models.
Medium-to-large boats – You can still use the smaller units even if you own a medium or large boat, but you can also opt for one of the bulkier units like Striker 7sv or 7dv.
The overall depth of your favorite fishing spot plays a major role in choosing the best Striker unit. Here are our recommendations based on this factor:
Inland fishing – The best units for inland fishing are Striker 4 (1,600ft saltwater/750ft saltwater), 4cv (1,750ft freshwater/830ft saltwater), and 5dv (1,900ft freshwater/750ft saltwater).
Off-shore fishing – The best options for off-shore fishing are definitely Striker 7sv and 7dv (2,300 freshwater/1,100ft saltwater).
In order to familiarize you with some of the individual Striker models, we will go over their most important features and capabilities in these short reviews.
Garmin Striker 4 is the cheapest and smallest unit in the lineup. It is also one of the cheapest models on the market that features the CHIRP sonar and basic GPS module for some extra functionality.
Apart from CHIRP, Striker 4 also features a traditional Dual Frequency scanner. The operating frequencies of the provided transducer (4-pin 010-10249-20) are 77 and 200 kHz, but the main unit can also cover 50 kHz. The traditional sonar features include Fish Symbol ID, Auto Gain, Flasher mode, Ultrascroll, A-scope, and more. The transducer comes with a temperature sensor as well.
The size of the HVGA display is 3.5” with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels. There is also a bright LED backlight. The split-screen feature allows you to observe the GPS and sonar at the same time.
The built-in GPS receiver lets you store up to 5,000 waypoints and mark them with suggestive icons for easier orientation. It will also measure the overall speed of your vessel, but it does not have any maps or chartplotting capabilities.
Striker 4cv is pretty similar to the Striker 4, but it comes with some extra power and few additions. Of course, the biggest difference lies in the ClearVü noise cancellation technology that allows you to obtain better imaging and differentiates between manmade objects, vegetation, underwater structures, and fish. The frequency for ClearVü is 455/800 kHz and the overall reach is a bit larger than with Striker 4. Apart from this, the two devices are completely the same.
Bottom line, Striker 4 is one of the cheapest units to feature the CHIRP sonar and integrated GPS module while the 4cv model features all that plus ClearVü technology with just a slight price increase.
Striker 5dv comes with a lot of advantages over the 4 units, including but not limited to a bigger screen. It features a 5” WVGA display with a pixel matrix of 800 x 480 and a bright LED backlight.
Its main features include dual frequency traditional and CHIRP sonar, Fish Symbol, Flasher Mode, UltraScroll, and DownVü technology. It comes with the 4-pin GT20-TM transducer and the available frequencies for traditional and CHIRP sonars are 77 and 200 kHz and 455/88 for DownVü.
The integrated GPS module is rather basic and will allow you to measure the speed of your boat and record up to 5,000 waypoints. It comes without any maps, but you can connect it with echoMAP units and transfer your own maps or those made by other fishers.
If you are really interested in SideVü or compatibility with your echoMAP units, this is the right model for you. Otherwise, you can go with Striker 5cv since they are practically identical apart from the two mentioned features.
The 7” models are very similar to 5” units. However, they differ in the overall depth capabilities, operating frequencies, and of course, size of the screen. Striker 7sv comes with a 7” WVGA display with a pixel matrix of 800 x 480 and very good LED backlighting. The split-screen feature allows up to 3 different panels.
This model comes with the CV52HW-Tm transducer that covers 77/200/455 kHz for CHIRP and traditional sonar and 260/455/800 kHz for DownVü and SideVü. Apart from the fact that it does not have SideVü scanning, the main unit of Striker 5dv can cover these lower frequencies as well if you upgrade the default transducer. Some of the traditional sonar features include Fish Symbols, Circular Flasher, A-Scope, and Bottom Lock.
Garmin Striker 7sv also includes a rather basic GPS module that enables you to store up to 5,000 waypoints and mark them with suggestive icons. On the other hand, it does not have any charts or maps.
Garmin Striker 7dv is basically the upgraded version of the 5dv model with a much more compact housing. The display is obviously larger by 2”, but it has the same resolution (800 x 480 pixels). It also features the split screen option that lets you observe up to 3 panels at the same time.
As the name says, this model comes with standard 2D and DownVü sonars and utilizes 77/200 kHz and 455/800 kHz, respectively. The main unit can also cover 50 kHz for 2D and 260 kHz for DownVü, but you will have to replace the default GT20-TM transducer with a bit more powerful option.
Similarly to all other Striker models, 7dv comes with a basic GPS receiver without any maps and/or charts. You can still store up to 5,000 waypoints and mark them with suggestive icons.
As we already mentioned, the Striker series was launched to provide casual and semi-professional fishers with modern and feature-packed fish finders that come with reasonable price tags.
Naturally, some corners had to be cut in order to lower the price; in this case, it was GPS functionality and the overall quality of the screen. The integrated GPS is pretty basic without any compatibility with existing maps. The highest screen resolution is 800 x 480, which is, however, not bad for budget-friendly units. Apart from the ability to connect with echoMAP devices, the networking options are practically nonexistent.
On the other hand, Garmin Striker does come with CHIRP technology and the mere fact that it has GPS is nothing short of miraculous for the current price tags. Some of the units also feature DownVü, SideVü, and ClearVü technologies and they all come with transducers, which usually cover everything but the lowest frequencies.
Bottom line, the Striker series is ideal for casual and regular fishers and can even serve as a decent professional unit in a pinch, which is more than anybody could ask from an extremely budget-0friendly series of products.