Humminbird Side Imaging Vs Garmin SideVu (Detailed Comparison)

PUBLISHED 22 FEBRUARY 2022

by Robert Ceran

Are you thinking about buying a side imaging fish finder, and not sure whether to get a Humminbird or Garmin unit?

In that case you’re probably asking yourself what distinguishes Garmin SideVu vs Humminbird side imaging, and which one is better.

In this article we’ll walk you through the key differences between Humminbird side imaging and Garmin SideVu, and will also discuss their strengths and weaknesses, to help you decide which one is right for you.

Which is better – Garmin SideVu or Humminbird side imaging?

While Humminbird MEGA side imaging has been the market leader with the best side imaging sonar for many years, Garmin has recently caught up with Humminbird since its release of UHD SideVu in 2020, and now both brands are head to head in terms of side imaging quality. 

Most anglers I’ve asked tend to agree that Humminbird MEGA side imaging is still slightly better in terms of image quality, resolution, and crispness.

But the differences between Humminbird MEGA side imaging and Garmin UHD SideVu are now so minor that many anglers make their buying decision based on other factors. 

And since the mapping capabilities of Garmin (especially the chartplotter units) is superior to that of Humminbird, some anglers may want to get a Garmin, now that the quality of Garmin SideVu is almost as good as that of Humminbird side imaging. 

See also: What is the cheapest fish finder with side imaging?

Is Garmin SideVu worth it?

Yes, Garmin SideVu is absolutely worth it, as Garmin has caught up with the competition in recent years, and now provides some of the best side imaging sonars on the market. This is due to the fact that they introduced Ultra High Definition (UHD) imaging and transducer technology capable of transmitting in the megahertz range (i.e. over 1000 kHz).

Does Garmin have MEGA imaging?

Yes, Garmin has their own version of MEGA imaging, called Ultra High Definition (UHD) sonar. Garmin UHD sonar (which was released in 2020) uses sonar frequencies in the megahertz range between 1000 and 1200 kHz, depending on which transducer you use. 

Garmin GT56 vs Humminbird MEGA side imaging

While the Garmin GT56UHD transducer comes in two variations (one with either 455 & 1200 kHz SideVu sonar, and the second with 455, 800 & 1000 kHz), Humminbird MEGA transducers all come with 455, 800, and 1200 kHz side imaging. But this is a relatively small difference in their sonar frequencies, and you probably won’t notice much difference in image quality as a result. 

Is Humminbird side imaging worth it?

Yes, Humminbird side imaging is absolutely worth it, and Humminbird MEGA side imaging is currently the best on the market. Humminbird MEGA imaging uses sonar frequencies that fall in the megahertz range.

Humminbird was the first fish finder brand to introduce megahertz imaging to the market back in 2016. Megahertz imaging uses high frequency sonar in the 1000 to 1200 kHz range, which comes with much better target resolution than lower frequency sonars.

The higher level of resolution of MEGA side imaging has given Humminbird the edge over the competition during the past 6 years, and most anglers agree that Humminbird has the best side imaging and down imaging sonars on the market. 

What fish finder has the best side imaging?

The fish finders with best side imaging are Humminbird G4N Helix units with MEGA SI+, G3 Solix units, and any Apex units. All these units come with MEGA SI+ imaging, which is the most advanced side imaging technology currently available from Humminbird. 

Coming a close second behind Humminbird units with MEGA SI+ are Garmin Echomap and GPSmap units that have UHD SideVu imaging, which is Garmin’s version of megahertz sonar. 

See also: How important is side imaging on a fish finder?

What Garmin fish finders have SideVu?

The following Garmin fish finders have SideVu:

  • Striker Vivid 7sv
  • Striker Vivid 9sv
  • Echomap UHD 74sv
  • Echomap UHD 94sv
  • Echomap Ultra 102sv
  • Echomap Ultra 122sv
  • GPSmap 743xsv
  • GPSmap 943xsv
  • GPSmap 1243xsv
  • GPSmap 1022xsv
  • GPSmap 1222xsv
  • GPSmap 8610xsv
  • GPSmap 8612xsv
  • GPSmap 8616xsv

Note that all of the units above have the letters ‘sv’ at the end of their name, which stands for SideVu, and which is a great way to make sure that the unit you are buying actually has SideVu functionality.

Finally, you’ll also need to check which transducers are compatible with your Garmin fish finder unit.

What transducer should you use for Garmin SideVu?

In order to use Garmin SideVu, you’ll need to use it with a transducer that has side imaging technology. 

The following Garmin transducers have SideVu imaging functionality:

  • GT30 (regular CHIRP SideVu)
  • GT40 (All-in-one transducer)
  • GT41 (All-in-one transducer)
  • GT50 (All-in-one transducer)
  • GT51 (All-in-one transducer)
  • GT24UHD (UHD SideVu)
  • GT34UHD (UHD SideVu)
  • GT36UHD (UHD SideVu)
  • GT54UHD (UHD SideVu)
  • GT56UHD (UHD SideVu)

Note that each of the transducers listed above comes in several different mounting variations, including transom, trolling motor, and thru-hull.

Also keep in mind that UHD SideVu transducers will deliver the highest quality SideVu imaging, since they come with megahertz imaging, and also cover a wider range of frequencies. 

What Humminbird fish finder has side imaging?

The following Humminbird fish finders have side imaging:

  • All Helix units with SI, MEGA SI, or MEGA SI+ functionality
  • All Solix units
  • All Apex units

Note that while all Solix and Apex units come with side imaging functionality, there are many Helix units that don’t, so you should double check whether the unit you’re planning to buy does in fact have side imaging.

Also, you’ll get the highest quality side imaging results from the units that have MEGA SI and MEGA SI+ functionality, since this gives you access to Humminbird megahertz imaging, which is currently among the very best sonar technologies on the market.

What transducer should you use for Humminbird side imaging?

The following Humminbird transducers have side imaging functionality:

  • XNT 9 SI (transom)
  • XNT 9 HW MSI (transom)
  • XHS 9 HDSI (transom)
  • XTM 9 SI (trolling motor)
  • XTM 9 HW MSI (trolling motor)
  • XTM 9 HDSI (trolling motor)
  • XTM 14 HW MSI (trolling motor)
  • XPTH 9 HDSI (thru-hull)
  • XM 9 20 MSI (transom)
  • XPTH 9 20 MSI (thru-hull)
  • XPTH 14 HW MSI (thru-hull)
  • XPTH 14 20 MSI (thru-hull)
  • XPTH 14 74 MSI (thru-hull)
  • XM 14 HW MSI (transom)
  • XM 14 74 MSI (transom)
  • XM 14 20 MSI (transom)
  • SSTH 14 HW MSI (thru-hull)

Note that the models with MSI at the end of their name have MEGA side imaging functionality, which is superior to regular side imaging.
Also keep in mind that you’ll need to check whether the transducer you’re interested in getting is compatible with your Humminbird unit.