Humminbird is a famous company owned by Johnson Outdoors, which is also known as the owner of brands like Minn Kota, Eureka!, Cannon, Jetboil, and others. Humminbird’s parent company has been around for almost 50 years now and the fact that all of its products are designed, engineered, and manufactured in the US has definitely solidified its position on the market.
The renowned Helix series started out back in 2014 with Helix 5, which introduced an ultra-bright screen and some pro-level features, all at a reasonable price tag. Helix 7 was launched in 2015 and other models quickly followed. The display sizes range from 5” to 12” and the company offers more than 30 variations of its base models.
The prices range from around $250 to around $2,500 for the most advanced models. The series basically covers all fishing styles, types of fishing boats, depths, and levels of expertise, so keep reading this comprehensive Humminbird Helix review to learn more about the products and find the best unit for your preferences.
Humminbird Helix Series Pros & Cons
Humminbird Helix Series Features
Humminbird Helix is somewhere between the company’s Piranha and Solix series; it is a lot more advanced and expensive than the former but more budget-friendly than the latter.
The main benefits of choosing one of the Humminbird models include CHIRP sonars, Down/Side Imaging, a wide variety of networking options, GPS modules with navigation and charts, and much more.
The most prominent features of the units include 360 Imaging, AutoChart Live, DualBeam PLUS tech with Fish ID+, FishSmart, Humminbird Basemaps, Mega Down Imaging, RTS, LakeMaster compatibility, Structure ID, UniMap, WhiteLine, X-Press, and much more.
Humminbird Helix Series Buyer’s Guide
In order to help you select the best model for your personal needs, in this part of our Humminbird Helix series review, we will go over different fishing styles, vessels, competitive levels, and other important factors to keep in mind while choosing a fish finder to fit your preferences.
When it comes to different fishing styles and techniques, our recommendations go as follows:
Angling with a rod – If you are a casual fisher, the best option for you is Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2. On the other hand, we recommend Helix 12 for serious fishing aficionados who do not mind investing a bit more in their fishing equipment.
Line fishing (droplining, jigging, handlining, slabbing, longlining, trotlining) – Line fishing is basically angling without an angle so all of the previous recommendations apply here as well.
Trolling – When it comes to trolling, you should look for a unit capable of providing clear readings while the fishing boat is in motion. Therefore, we recommend going with Helix 12 since this model can capture viable recordings at 35 MPH. For optimal scanning results, however, the speed should be kept between 3 and 7 MPH.
Ice fishing – Depending on your budget and other requirements, you can go with Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 if you want to save some cash or Helix 10 if you are ready to invest more money into your hobby.
Casual/professional fishing – If you want to keep things casual and budget-friendly, there is nothing wrong with opting for the cheapest units in the series, one of which would be the aforementioned Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2. On the other hand, if you are looking for a tournament-viable model, anything from Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS G2N to Helix 12 will get the job done.
The Size Of Your Vessel
Before we get to the actual size of your boat, we have to make a clear distinction between fishers who own their fishing vessels and those who rely on rentals. If you are an owner, you are basically limited just by the size of your boat. However, if you rent your fishing vessel, you probably want to go smaller for additional mobility and ease of use. On top of that, you should also look for a unit that is easy to install and remove.
Kayaks, canoes, small boats – The smallest vessels are not a good platform for medium and large fish finders. Therefore, we recommend going with Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 or Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2 if you own a larger kayak.
Medium-to-large boats – Here, you can go with the larger models since space is no longer a limiting factor. With that in mind, we recommend Helix 9 Si GPS, Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS G2N or Helix 12.
The overall depth of your fishing hotspot is also an important factor when choosing the best Humminbird Helix fish finders since the reach of the main unit/transducer determines whether you will be able to get accurate bottom readings.
Inland fishing – All Helix models have a pretty impressive reach so even the smallest units can penetrate up to 1,500 ft. Therefore, you can opt for Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 or Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2.
Off-shore fishing – If 1,500ft is not enough for your next fishing expedition, we recommend Helix 9 Si GPS (up to 3,000ft), Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS G2N (up to 3,000ft) or Helix 12 (up to 3,500ft). Note that the default transducers can only reach up to 1,500ft for all models, so you have to purchase an upgrade to unlock the full depth capacity of the main units.
In this part of our Humminbird Helix series review, we will focus on some of the best models in order to provide you with more information on each unit that may work for you.
Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 comes with an ultra-bright 5” 256-color LCD display with a resolution of 800 x 460 pixels. The LCD backlight helps you observe readings without any problems even in direct sunlight or during the night.
The unit comes with the XNT 9 20 T transducer that operates at 83 and 200 kHz. For the lowest frequencies, you need to upgrade the transducer. The unit only has a traditional 2D sonar without any Down or Side Imaging capabilities. That being said, it is a DualBeam PLUS sonar.
Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 is excellent for fishers who want GPS without any extra add-ons that increase the price. It comes with UniMap charts but is also compatible with other premium options. The GPS module provides quick fixes with a 2.5m accuracy, can be enhanced with EGNOS, WAAS, and MSAS, measures your speed, and allows you to store up to 2,750 waypoints, 47 routes, and 50 tracks with up to 50,000 points.
Finally, the unit features a microSD card slot and NMEA 0183 port.
Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2 comes with a 7” 16-bit color display with a pixel matrix of 800 x 480. LED backlighting is also present, so observing your readings in limited lighting conditions should never be a problem.
The provided transducer is only capable of covering 83 and 200 kHz, so you have to upgrade it if you want to hit 50 kHz as well. The unit features the traditional 2D sonar as well as CHIRP and provides you with DualBeam Plus technology and Side/Down Imaging.
When it comes to navigation, Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2 has an integrated GPS receiver with EGNOS, WAAS, and MSAS and it provides quick fixes with a 2.5m accuracy. It can also record up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes, and 50 tracks with up to 20,000 points. This model features AutoChart Live, but you have to install a premium map/chart package in order to use this functionality.
Similarly to the previous model, Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2 also has a microSD card slot and NMEA 0183 port.
Helix 9 Si GPS features a 9” display with a 65k color palette and a pixel matrix of 800 x 480. Like all previous models, it too comes with LED backlight, so you have nothing to worry about when it comes to direct sunlight or night fishing.
The unit’s default transducer is XNT 9 Si 180, which equips you with a temperature sensor and is also 2D, Di, and Si capable. The max range for Si is 240ft and 150ft for Di. The DualBeam PLUS sonar operates at 83 and 200 kHz.
Helix 9 Si GPS comes with a built-in high-precision GPS/WAAS receiver with a 2.5m accuracy. It can record up to 2,750 waypoints, 45 routes, and 50 trails with up to 20,000 points. The unit features preloaded Humminbird ContourXD, which is far superior to UniMap. The AutoChart live feature is also available.
Finally, Helix 9 Si GPS provides you with Ethernet connectivity as well as two microSD slots and NMEA 0183/2000 ports.
Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS G2N comes with a 10.1” 16-bit color LCD display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and very bright backlighting.
It features a DualBeam PLUS 2D sonar that utilizes 83 and 200 kHz and you can observe readings at the same time using the split-screen functionality. The CHIRP sonar goes between 75 and 155 kHz for 83 kHz and 130 and 250 kHz for 200 kHz. The provided transducer is XM 9 20 MSI T, so you should have no problems with Mega Si and Mega Di.
When it comes to navigation, Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS G2N features a high-sensitivity GPS module with 10 updates per second. You can also enhance it using WAAS, MSAS or EGNOS. Apart from your current coordinates, the GPS will also measure the speed of your boat. Humminbird Basemap charts come with the unit, but you can upgrade them with some other premium options. You can also record up to 2,500 waypoints with 47 routes and 50 tracks with up to 20,000 points. External modules like HD Radar, AIS, I-Pilot Link, and Autopilot are also supported.
Lastly, Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS G2N has Bluetooth, Ethernet connectivity, an NMEA 0183 port, and a dual SD card reader.
Helix 12 is the most advanced unit in the series and it comes with a 12” 16-bit TFT display with a pixel matrix of 1280 x 800. The screen is glass-bonded and LED backlit, which ensures optimal observation in direct sunlight or at night.
Helix 12 utilizes CHIRP only for 2D scanning and not for Side and Down Imaging. The default transducer is XHS 9 HD 180 T, which comes with a temperature sensor, 20ft of cable, and a transom mount. It is capable of medium and high CHIRPs, so you have to upgrade it if you want to hit lower frequencies. The readings of the DualBeam scans can be observed at the same time using the split-screen mode. The device can reach 150ft for Di and 240ft for Si.
The integrated GPS/GLONASS module can record up to 2,500 waypoints, 47 routes, and 50 trails with up to 20,000 points. The unit comes with preloaded ControurXD maps but is compatible with numerous premium options that also support I-Pilot Link with storage for 8 hours of recordings.
When it comes to networking options, Helix 12 features NMEA 0183/2000 and Ethernet ports as well as a dual microSD card reader. You can also upgrade it to feature wireless control.
Together with other renowned companies like Garmin and Lowrance, Humminbird has dominated the fish finding market thanks to its impressive blend of reliability, modern technology, and realistic prices. The Helix series is a line of products that offers much more than Pirahna units and less than Solix models. In other words, Helix is the sweet spot between affordability and all the fancy tech you can think of.
The series was launched in 2014 and has been going strong ever since with more than 30 models out there. This is the best testament to the overall quality of the models that can meet all the demands of experienced fishers who do not really have any major competitive aspirations.
Bottom line, Humminbird Helix is a series with the largest focus group, which explains its steady popularity throughout the years. If you want advanced fish finding devices that do not come with tournament price tags, Helix units are definitely the right place to look.