When it comes to fish finders, Lowrance is a well-respected and trusted name in the industry. Two of the most popular models from Lowrance are the HDS Live and Elite FS, but how do they compare, and which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look at the key features and differences between these two models.
When it comes to screen size and resolution, the Lowrance HDS Live series clearly outperforms the Lowrance Elite FS series.
The HDS Live series offers larger display sizes, including 9″, 12″, and 16″ options, compared to the Elite FS series, which only has 7″ and 9″ options.
Additionally, the HDS Live series boasts higher resolution screens, with the 9″ model featuring 1280 x 720 pixels, the 12″ model offering 1280 x 800 pixels, and the 16″ model displaying 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The larger display size and higher resolution make the HDS Live series a better choice for anglers who need more screen real estate to view maps, charts, and sonar data, especially in situations where there’s a lot of clutter on the screen. The higher resolution also means that details will be sharper and easier to read.
On the other hand, the Elite FS series may be sufficient for those who don’t need as much screen real estate, and may prefer a more compact and portable unit for fishing on smaller boats or kayaks. The 7″ and 9″ display sizes are still a good option for those who want a clear view of their fishing spots and nearby structure.
Overall, it ultimately depends on the angler’s needs and preferences. Anglers who fish in larger bodies of water and want more detailed information displayed on their screens may prefer the HDS Live series. Meanwhile, those who fish in smaller lakes or rivers, or prioritize portability, may find the Elite FS series to be a better fit.
The Lowrance Elite FS and Lowrance HDS Live both have impressive networking capabilities, but there are some differences between the two models that anglers should consider before making a purchase.
In terms of Ethernet ports, the Lowrance HDS Live has two ports, while the Lowrance Elite FS has only one. This means that the HDS Live can connect to multiple accessories, such as radar or other fish finders, simultaneously, whereas the Elite FS can only connect to one at a time. Therefore, the HDS Live may be a better choice for anglers who want to run multiple devices at once.
Regarding transducer ports, the Lowrance HDS Live has two, while the Lowrance Elite FS has only one. This means that the HDS Live can support two transducers at the same time, allowing anglers to use multiple sonar technologies simultaneously. In contrast, the Elite FS can only support one transducer, which may limit the type of sonar technology that anglers can use.
NMEA-2000 and NMEA-0183
Both models support NMEA-2000, which is a networking standard used in the marine industry for communication between devices. This means that anglers can connect their fish finder to other devices, such as a GPS or an autopilot system.
However, the Lowrance HDS Live also supports NMEA-0183, which is an older networking standard. Anglers who have older devices that use NMEA-0183 may find the HDS Live to be more compatible with their existing equipment.
Conclusion: Winner HDS Live
In conclusion, the networking capabilities of the Lowrance HDS Live and Lowrance Elite FS are impressive, but there are some differences between the two models. The HDS Live has two Ethernet and transducer ports, making it a better choice for anglers who want to use multiple devices simultaneously. However, the Elite FS is still a great choice for anglers who only need to connect to one accessory at a time. Additionally, the HDS Live’s support for both NMEA-2000 and NMEA-0183 makes it a more versatile option for anglers who have older devices that use the NMEA-0183 standard.
When it comes to mapping features, the Lowrance HDS Live has a slight advantage over the Elite FS. This is because all sizes of the HDS Live series have two memory card readers, allowing users to access and combine mapping data from different sources.
This is particularly useful for anglers who like to have both Navionics and C-Map available in one unit or who want to combine Navionics with recording sonarlogs for Reefmaster or C-Map Genesis.
In contrast, the Elite FS series only has one memory card reader, limiting the amount of mapping data that can be stored on the unit. This can be a drawback for users who want to access multiple mapping sources or record sonarlogs.
However, it’s worth noting that both the Elite FS and HDS Live use Micro SD memory cards up to 32GB, so they offer similar storage capacities.
Overall, if mapping is a priority for you, the Lowrance HDS Live is the better option as it provides more flexibility and options for accessing and combining mapping data. However, for anglers who only need basic mapping capabilities, the Elite FS series is still a great choice with its user-friendly interface and reliable performance.
2D Sonar Comparison
Regarding 2D sonar, the HDS Live and Elite FS are almost identical. 2D sonar has been around for a long time and has little room for improvement. There are some differences, though. The HDS Live does have better coloring, which helps you better identify the size of a fish, but this is a very specific use case.
Down Imaging Comparison
Down imaging is similar to 2D sonar in that the image quality on the HDS Live and the Elite FS are very close to each other. To the naked eye, they are pretty much the same in quality. The HDS Live does have a slight edge, though. A closer look shows that the down imaging is crisper and more defined than the Elite FS. But for most anglers out there, the difference is negligible.
Side Imaging Comparison
The side imaging has the most difference between the two fish finders. The quality of the side imaging is far superior on the HDS Live. The scan in the HDS Live clearly defines fish, rock piles, bottom composition changes, and rock transitions. The side imaging within the Elite FS is still good, you can make out specific objects and fish, but it just doesn’t compare to the high quality of the HDS Live.
The HDS Live, straight out of the box, requires little to no adjustment to get a high-quality image. The side imaging looks even better on the HDS Live due to the higher resolution screen that the Elite FS lacks. If you mainly want to use side imaging, HDS Live is the way to go.
Price and Value for Money
One of the most significant differences between the Lowrance HDS Live and Elite FS is the price. The HDS Live is more expensive, with a nine-inch screen costing around $1950, while the Elite FS is priced at around $1,000.
The Elite FS is a more affordable and tangible option for most anglers, providing around 85% of the image quality of the HDS Live. In terms of value for money, the Elite FS is a clear winner.
In the end, the HDS Live is the better fish finder overall and the best Lowrance fish finder. The Elite FS is still a good fishfinder, especially for anglers with a tighter budget. While the 2D sonar and the down imaging are very similar between the two units, the HDS Live outperforms it in every other aspect. It has a higher screen resolution, better networking capabilities, dual transducer connections on the back, a more powerful processor, and incredible side imaging image quality.
If you are an angler just starting, the Elite FS is a good mid-range unit with capabilities that can compete with most other fish finders on the market. If you are an experienced angler and want a fish finder with premium features, HDS Live is for you. You could use both of them together if you need a second screen for your HDS.