What Is The Difference Between Humminbird Helix 5 and Helix 7?

UPDATED 28 MAY 2021

by Robert Ceran

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The Helix 5 and Helix 7 fish finder series are among the most popular Humminbird lineups, and together account for a very large percentage of devices being used by anglers today.

If you’re thinking about getting a new unit from one of these series, you need to decide whether the more basic functionality of a Helix 5 unit is enough for you, or if you want the more advanced features found in Helix 7 models.

In this article we compare the two fish finder series side by side, and discuss their most important differences, so you can decide which one is best for your purposes.

Humminbird Helix 5 and Helix 7 fish finder series compared side by side

ModelPriceDisplayMappingGPSCHIRPDown imagingSide imaging

Helix 5 DI G2
5"NoOptionalNoYesNo

Helix 7 CHIRP Mega DI GPS G3
7"YesYesYesYesNo

Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2
5"SomeYesYesYesYes

Helix 7 CHIRP SI GPS
7"YesYesYesYesYes

The table above compares the most important specifications and features of two models from each series, to get an overview of their similarities and differences.

Now let’s discuss their most important differences in more detail.

The most important differences between the Humminbird Helix 5 and Helix 7 series

Display size: This is the first area with obvious differences. If you place a Helix 5 unit next to a Helix 7, it’s clear that the latter has a significantly larger screen with 7” diagonal, compared to 5” diagonal of the former. 

The more generous screen size makes a huge difference if you plan to use split screen functions a lot, and especially on the models with side imaging (SI). Since side imaging scans large areas at the same time, it really helps to have a larger screen size for this, especially if you plan to run it side by side with down imaging or GPS data on a split screen.

Bottom line: The larger display size of the Helix 7 is much better for reading sonar signals (especially side imaging data), and for using split screen views effectively when you combine several different functionalities at once.

Mapping: While the low end Helix 5 models don’t have mapping capabilities, high end models as well as all Helix 7 models do. However, models of the latter series have more advanced mapping functionalities, and come with an integrated base map, and are also compatible with Lakemaster and Navionics maps. 

GPS: The low end Helix 5 models don’t have internal GPS, while high end units plus all Helix 7 models do. 

CHIRP: Low end Helix 5 models don’t have CHIRP sonar (which generates more detailed and crisp read outs), while higher end models as well as all Helix 7 models do.

Down imaging: All models of both series have down imaging, but some Helix 7 models have mega imaging technology, which is of higher quality than the down imaging sonar on Helix 5 models.

Side imaging: High end models in both series have side imaging sonar, while lower end models do not. So this is not a difference between the two series, but rather a difference between high end and low end models in each of the series.

Bottom line: High end Helix 5 models have many of the same features as Helix 7 models, including high quality side imaging sonar, CHIRP sonar, GPS, and mapping functionality. However, their biggest handicap is the smaller screen size, since the more generous 7” display makes a huge difference in allowing the user to take full advantage of all sonar and mapping capabilities side by side with a split screen view.

Now let’s take a closer look at each of the models in turn.

Helix 5 DI G2

This is an entry level model in this series, and is designed to provide basic 2D sonar and down imaging functionality, but almost nothing else. It does not have CHIRP, and it doesn’t a GPS receiver, though you can connect it with an external GPS unit, and it also doesn’t have any mapping capabilities. 

On the upside, one of the biggest advantages of this unit is the highly affordable price, which makes it a great choice for entry level anglers.

Features:

  • Dual beam sonar
  • 2.5” target separation
  • Temperature sensor

Helix 7 CHIRP Mega DI GPS

This unit combines high quality down imaging and CHIRP with high end mapping capabilities. This is a perfect choice if you don’t need side imaging, as it provides a set of high end fish finder technologies at a great price. Among its mapping functionality are chartplotting (creating your own custom maps), as well as full compatibility with Lakemaster and Navionics lake maps.

Features:

  • Dual spectrum CHIRP
  • Autochart live
  • Built in base map

Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2

This is a high end model in this series, and comes with CHIRP, internal GPS, and some mapping functionalities. In terms of mapping, it’s compatible with Lakemaster maps, but doesn’t come with a Humminbird basemap. Also, it’s compatible with Navionics gold/hot maps, but not with Navionics Platinum. 

Features:

  • Dual spectrum CHIRP
  • Side imaging sonar
  • GPS chartplotting

Helix 7 CHIRP SI GPS

This unit comes with a powerful combination of Humminbird sonar technologies (including CHIRP, down imaging, side imaging, and dual beam sonar), combined with state of the art mapping capabilities. Also, the generous 7” screen size is perfect for combining several sonar read outs with GPS data on a split screen view, which is much harder to do effectively on the smaller Helix 5 screen.

This unit also comes with ethernet and bluetooth networking capabilities, which is great if you want to work with several devices in parallel.

Features:

  • 360 imaging
  • Humminbird basemap
  • Compatible with Minn Kota trolling motor

Conclusion

In summary, while high end Helix 5 and Helix 7 models have many similar features, which include CHIRP sonar, side imaging, GPS, and mapping capabilities, the most important advantage of the latter series is the larger screen size, which makes a big difference when you want to combine several sonar read outs with mapping data side by side on a split screen view. 

This size difference is especially significant if you’re using side imaging, because it’s very hard to take full advantage of it on a small screen. However, if you’re not planning to use side imaging, you may not need the larger screen size. 

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