Lowrance Elite 5 Fish Finder Review

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Written By Donny Karr

Donny Karr is a Tournament Angler with more than 20 years of fishing experience and a writer whose work has been featured in magazines for over a decade. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the south-eastern United States. He also fishes for trout in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, Paddling Space, Man Can Outdoors, Alabama Outdoor News, and Bassmaster.

REVIEWED BY FINN MATTHEWS

The Lowrance Elite 5 is one of the most popular models produced in recent years by one of the most reputable brands in the fishing industry. Based in Missouri, Lowrance has been in business since 1957 and is a company that anglers have known and trusted for a long time when making exceptional fish finders and location devices. 

This particular fish finder is unique as it can be purchased as a dual fish finder and chart plotter device, as well as a single fish finder or chart plotter unit. Most anglers prefer to get the total package as the Lowrance Elite-5 fish finder’s accuracy and ease of use is among the best in today’s markets for several reasons. 

In this article, we will discuss the different capabilities and features of the Elite-5 and take a closer look at some of the popular functions that makes this fish finder one of the top choices for serious anglers today. 

Lowrance Elite 5 Fish Finder
8.8/10Our Score

  • Ability to store 1000 waypoints with built in GPS
  • Extremely high end sonar with CHIRP, downscan, and structurescan
  • Higher resolution display than older models

Lowrance Elite 5 Overview

The Lowrance Elite 5 has a 3.6 x 3.6-inch display screen that offers 480 x 480 pixels of resolution, which is more than enough to provide anglers with a crisp, clear view of what they’re looking at on the screen. Users report that the data on-screen is very easy to read, but it can be a bit crowded since some of the screens display a large amount of information that is sometimes hard for novice anglers to distinguish some of the information. 

One of the major concerns that experienced anglers have with fish finders is the ability to read the on-screen information. It can be tough to see what’s actually on the screen if you’re using some earlier models unless you’re seated directly in front of the screen. There is also a valid concern that anglers wearing polarized sunglasses sometimes have difficulty reading a fish finder with their shades on. 

These concerns are all dispelled by Lowrance’s excellent screen quality as you’ll be able to read the information on the screen with or without polarized sunglasses on—even if you’re viewing it at an angle. 

Users will find that the Lowrance Elite-5 offers a daytime and nighttime color option, enhancing your ability to see the screen’s contents at any time. The brightness can be adjusted to 11 different variables in daytime mode and you’ll have no problem seeing the screen at night. 

Operation and User Interface 

Some fish finder brands and models are more complicated than others. Lowrance has worked for years to take in feedback from dealers, reps, and their customers to develop an easy-to-use product that helps to enhance your overall fishing experience instead of complicating things. Most users report that the Lowrance Elite 5’s operation and user interface is fairly straightforward. There’s no reason why most anglers with experience operating fish finders would have trouble using it. 

There are six front-panel buttons and a keypad control dial that you can use to browse between four main page or view options. These include Steer (Navigation), Sonar, Chart, and Chart/Sonar combo. It’s extremely easy to use the Elite-5 and you’ll have no problem switching between the different view modes that it offers. 

Each specific page has its own corresponding menu that will come into play when the device is in use. A quick double-press of the menu button brings you back to the main screen. One of the most frustrating things about the Lowrance Elite-5 is the unit’s lack of an exit or back button. This might take a little while to get used to, but it’s not a major downside to the overall use and functionality of the Elite-5. 

Lowrance elite 5 unboxing with components

Fishfinder Capability 

The Lowrance Elite-5 can deliver plenty of sounding potential to create a detailed profile of just what’s below the water’s surface under your boat. The device can operate with 500 watts when coupled with a standard 83/200 kHz transducer. 

Users can manipulate the screen’s display to show depths on an auto or manual depth range and you’ll also be able to use a zoom and bottom lock feature to give you more clarity on specific details. You’ll be able to manipulate the color palette and select the right screen option, or split-screen display that’s just right for your needs. 

There are also advanced settings that experienced anglers can use to adjust things like ping rate, colorline, and surface clarity, which makes the Elite-5 live up to its namesake as one of the most ‘elite’ fish finders on the market today that’s priced at a reasonable level for most anglers. 

Setting Routes and Waypoints 

Another high-quality feature of the Lowrance Elite-5 is the ability for the angler to set their own course based on specific waypoints and other items. You’ll be able to set waypoints at any location on the particular body of water you’re on and customize the waypoints to include important information. 

The Elite-5 can store up to 1,000 waypoints at one time, allowing you to pinpoint some of your best fishing spots at certain lakes in your area or ones that are commonly on a tournament circuit that you frequently fish. 

It’s also quite easy to use the Elite-5 to create different routes on a specific body of water. Anglers can use the cursor to highlight a specific waypoint on their device map that they want to chart a course to. Still, you’ll also be able to set a course that allows you to hit multiple waypoints along the way, which is extremely useful in tournament situations. 

Pros

  • Ability to store 1000 waypoints with built in GPS
  • Extremely high end sonar with CHIRP, downscan, and structurescan
  • Higher resolution display than older models

Cons

  • Although the features are significantly improved from the Hook model, I do have trouble justifying the extra price tag.
  • Can be difficult to read when wearing polarized sunglasses

Lowrance Hook 5 vs Elite 5

I always like to compare products to alternate options, in this case with the Hook 5 comparison, also made by Lowrance.

The Elite 5 is a much improved version of the Hook 5. It comes with improved sonar capability such as the structure scan and a higher resolution graphic that can make the information and graphics easier to read. Although the price range is significantly more for the Elite 5.

My personal view is that if you can afford it then go with the Elite 5, however, the Hook 5 is probably better value for money – especially for the budget-conscious angler.

SpecificationsHook 5Elite 5
Weight1.6 lb1.2 lb
GPS3000 Waypoints3000 Waypoints
Display Resolution480 x 480800 x 480
Warranty5 Years5 Years
WaterproofIPX7 IPX7
SonarIntegrated CHIRP
Down Scan
Integrated CHIRP
Down Scan
StructureScan
CartographyWorld reference basemap, 3000 Lake Maps plus Coastal Depth ContoursEnhanced Elite Basemap, 3000 Lake Maps plus Coastal Depth Contours
Price$$$$
Lowrance Elite 5 Fish Finder
8.8/10Our Score

  • Ability to store 1000 waypoints with built in GPS
  • Extremely high end sonar with CHIRP, downscan, and structurescan
  • Higher resolution display than older models

Conclusion 

The Lowrance Elite 5 has all the makings of a high-quality fish finder that anglers can get for a reasonable price. One of the most obvious reasons why it’s one of the most popular fish finders on the market today is the ease with which users can operate the unit. 

The Elite-5 has all of the major features that anglers look for in a chartplotter and fishfinder device along with a sizable amount of bonus features that make this an ideal choice for any angler who want to have an edge on the water. 

You might also want to compare to the updated model in the Elite 7.

This unit might be small, but it’s packed with features that anglers of any experience level can appreciate. 

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