Top New Ice Fishing Sonar for 2020

Marcum Technologies is a company built upon the sport of ice-fishing, bringing forth patented technology and exclusive features unprecedented in ice electronics.  Though at MarCum, our mantra is that features for feature’s sake are worthless unless they put more fish on ice.  For the last 20 years, MarCum has brought the bulk of fish-catching invention to the ice market, with a long list of patents, sonar-firsts, and innovations immediately copied by the rest of the industry.  MarCum units are hand-built, one at a time, from a blank circuit board on up.  All of those advancements have happened right here in the heart of the ice belt, meaning all Marcum sonars are American-made.  Below is a list of this year’s systems, and what make them each the top-performing sonar in their respective classes.

M1 – The People’s Champ

Key Features –
Bottom Zoom, Softpack

No other unit has put more fish on ice than the MarCum M1.  The feature set of this fishfinder has existed for nearly 20 years, though as an entry-level flasher, it offers advanced flasher features not found in basic systems.  Yet, at its core, the M1 is simple to use, with two knobs and two buttons that do all the work for you.  Ease of operation means you spend less time fiddling with your sonar system, and more time fishing. 

Undoubtedly, the M1’s best feature is that it’s a complete sonar system that offers bottom-lock-zoom, a feature rarely found in value-minded fish finders.  What does bottom-zoom mean to the angler?  It means that whether fishing suspended shallow bluegills, or bottom-hugging walleyes, you don’t have to break the bank to get a true performer.  Perhaps more importantly, you don’t need an engineering or IT degree to catch a fish.

Patented features like MarCum’s MBC lighting and brushless motor design, make it whisper-quiet.  The interference rejection system cancels out clutter from nearby sonar so well, it’s also patented.  Like all MarCum ice systems, the M1 is sold ready-to-use, with everything you need to take it out of the box and go fishing.  You get a rechargeable battery that’ll power the unit for days, a charger, and like all MarCum systems, it comes with a way to protect your investment in the deluxe padded soft pack in trademark “MarCum Red.”  Out of the box, and onto the lake, get ready to become a better angler with the MarCum M1.  For those who fear an entry-level unit won’t satisfy their many sonar needs, know this – we take as much pride in the M1 as our top of the line units, and lay the foundation for innovation up the line with this cutting edge flasher. 

M3L – MarCum’s Flagship Sonar

Key Features –
Moveable zoom, Patented IR, High-Definition Detail, Lithium LiFePO4-Powered

No other unit has put more fish on ice than the MarCum M1.  The feature set of this fishfinder has existed for nearly 20 years, though as an entry-level flasher, it offers advanced flasher features not found in basic systems.  Yet, at its core, the M1 is simple to use, with two knobs and two buttons that do all the work for you.  Ease of operation means you spend less time fiddling with your sonar system, and more time fishing. 

Undoubtedly, the M1’s best feature is that it’s a complete sonar system that offers bottom-lock-zoom, a feature rarely found in value-minded fish finders.  What does bottom-zoom mean to the angler?  It means that whether fishing suspended shallow bluegills, or bottom-hugging walleyes, you don’t have to break the bank to get a true performer.  Perhaps more importantly, you don’t need an engineering or IT degree to catch a fish.

Patented features like MarCum’s MBC lighting and brushless motor design, make it whisper-quiet.  The interference rejection system cancels out clutter from nearby sonar so well, it’s also patented.  Like all MarCum ice systems, the M1 is sold ready-to-use, with everything you need to take it out of the box and go fishing.  You get a rechargeable battery that’ll power the unit for days, a charger, and like all MarCum systems, it comes with a way to protect your investment in the deluxe padded soft pack in trademark “MarCum Red.”  Out of the box, and onto the lake, get ready to become a better angler with the MarCum M1.  For those who fear an entry-level unit won’t satisfy their many sonar needs, know this – we take as much pride in the M1 as our top of the line units, and lay the foundation for innovation up the line with this cutting edge flasher. 

M5L – The Ultimate Flasher

Key Features –
Dual-beam transducer, moveable zoom, Super-Fine-Line, Lithium LiFePO4-Powered

Take all of the award winning and patented designs of the M1 like interference rejection, and moveable zoom in the M3L, then add even more fish-catching technology, and you’ve got the M5L.  That innovation starts with a push-button Narrow Beam Transducer (NBT) mode, offering the angler an 8-degree ultra-narrow cone to see only what’s immediately below your hole.  Switch it back to the 20 degree cone for search and destroy mode, giving you the ultimate in flexibility, while making it both a large-patterning shotgun and a precision rifle.  

If you’ve ever dropped your transducer on a pile of fish, especially in cover, you know that it can be a target-rich environment that robs your ability to decipher fish from bottom, fish from cover, and fish from other fish.  The NBT mode allows you to focus on fish only immediately nearby your lure, giving you a leg-up on fooling individuals within the school.  Now, switch on SuperFineLine (SFL) mode to cut the target size of fish, bait, or cover nearly in half, all while maintaining burning bright, razor-crisp definition.  That gives you more power on ice to determine if a fish is near your lure, or has already inhaled it, offering simply more clues and cues to promote success on every outing.   

Like the M3L, the M5L is designed for maximum mobility on ice with the lightweight Lithium LiFeP04 battery that now comes standard.  MarCum designed the “Brute” battery to compliment systems like the M5L at nearly half the weight as a sealed lead-acid battery, with Lithium LiFePO4 technology for incredible run-times and a long-life.  MarCum also tests these batteries to the highest industry standard certifications, meaning that there’s finally a power-plant both safe enough and worthy of the technology inside MarCum’s M5L sonar.

LX-7L – The Big Screen

Key Features –
Customizable digital display, designed specifically for ice, Lithium LiFePO4 powered

The first thing that strikes you on a Marcum LX-7L is the size of the screen.  That huge, broad, and beautiful screen.  All of MarCum’s exclusive digital platform and features are brought to life on this industry leading 8” screen, giving them even more detail while taking them a step or two further.

While the exterior of the unit gets most of the attention, what’s notably more impressive is what’s under the hood.  Inside, you’ll find an ice-specific sonar engine that performs in real-time, long held as MarCum’s secret sauce that other sonar manufacturers are still racing to duplicate.  Depth ranges that apply to an ice angler first and foremost make this an “ice-first” unit that excels on the hardwater, rather than an open-water unit retro-fitted for some hardwater use. 

Customization is now simple, taking a static display and making it fully adjustable by the angler to any number of scenario or fish species.  Bring history into the equation to see what you may have recently missed.  The real-time graph, showing cadence of presentation, overlaid on top of a fish’s reaction to it, gives anglers a real advantage in replicating the jigging stroke of the moment.  That makes it worth the price of admission alone.  Display vertical zoom on top of graph mode and/or flasher simultaneously, giving you the ability to see the underwater world in a variety of views all at once. 

Yet don’t be fooled into thinking it’s overly complicated.  Automatic features that simply aren’t capable in a flasher-style unit are now brought to life in vivid detail.  Auto and dynamic ranging means less time fiddling and more time fishing.  Drop the transducer in the hole and the unit does the work for you, giving you depth down to the foot while maximizing the resolution and display capabilities of the unit. 

Of course, we package this digital powerhouse with a battery worthy of the sonar it fuels.  The 12V10AH Brute ensures that incredible innovation, displayed on an immense screen, is still light as a feather and doesn’t require constant re-charging.  The LX-7L is a system you’ll own for years to come, and it comes with a Lithium LiFePO4 power-source that’ll last just as long.

MX-7GPS – Sonar Plus Mapping

Key Features –
Sonar plus GPS, designed specifically for ice, Lithium LiFePO4 powered

There’s a lot of sonar/gps combos on the market, but none of them are designed for ice like the MX-7.  Built on a proven real-time platform, the MX-7 takes sonar to the next level with the addition of mapping.  It’s a sonar/gps combo designed to give you the best experience on ice possible.  Rather than modifying an open-water sonar, MarCum’s approach is all-ice, all the time, meaning that the MX-7 is built by ice-anglers, for ice-anglers. 

It’s what guides our industry-leading real-time sonar, meaning zero delay or lag-time and the most responsive unit on ice.  It’s also what drives design and operation of the unit, as MarCum knows you’ll be too busy fighting a walleye or fooling a crappie to mess with 10 keystrokes and hunting through endless digital menus to change simple system settings.  Instead, the MX-7GPS sports several one-touch buttons on the head of the unit for easy adjustment and quick changes.

Dedication to the ice market is also why we’ve partnered with the most trusted name in mapping – Navionics.  Harness the power of rich mapping feature sets like community edits through daily updates to provide the freshest contour data available.  Find fish with the mapping, and keep track of them through the MX-7GPS’s waypoint management system, all while having the fish-catching power of MarCum’s industry-leading sonar on the same screen.         

Of course, the best sonar on ice is worthless if it doesn’t run all day, and that’s why it’s powered by a battery MarCum calls the “Brute” – a featherweight Lithium LiFePO4 battery designed for the rigors of the sport.  The 12V10AH Brute shaves carry weight in half, while also lengthening run-time and duration of service, making the MX-7GPS a mainstay for years to come.    

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