Not only does sonar tell you the depth, but it also clues you in on productive underwater structure and even gives a live reading of where the fish are. Two of the more competitive comapies in this market are MarCum vs Vexilar. Below, you’ll find out which is best for you.
Deciding which sonar brand is best depends on which features you are looking for. If depth is all you need, then it’s hard to beat Vexilar’s waterproof handheld sonar. If you’re looking for a GPS/sonar combo for big water, then MarCum holds the clear advantage.
In the sections below, you’ll find a discussion on the features offered by each brand. This includes a thorough comparison of cone angle, pricing, and much more.
Marcum Vs Vexilar Comparison
Is MarCum A Good Fish Finder? Depth Finder?
MarCum is perhaps lesser known than Vexilar but does offer a wide selection of sonar devices for anglers. Is a MarCum sonar system right for you? Find out in the section below.
Flasher/Digital Display Sonar With Many Zoom Options
An upgrade to traditional flasher systems for ice-fishing, MarCum makes flasher/digital display systems with many zoom options. You can select from pre-set windows of 5′, 10′, 20′, or 40′, or you can infinitely adjust the zoom setting to fit the entire water column.
This sonar device also comes with an automatic bottom-lock feature. This allows you to view the water column to total depth with the simple push of a button.
MarCum makes a digital handheld sonar device the size of a flashlight. This is a great choice for those who like to travel light. It can fit in coat pockets with no problem. It has an LCD screen, reads through the ice to a depth of 299′, and is powered by a 6-volt battery.
MarCum also holds the advantage in terms of portability with its digital sonar/flasher combo systems. A padded soft pack comes with each device. Whenever you’re on the move, you can zip up the pack to keep your sonar device from getting damaged.
MarCum Sonars score high marks when it comes to inference rejection, particularly in the case of the LX-7Li device. This comes with a 12-step interference rejection feature and infinite zoom.
Interference, or noise from other angler’s sonar systems, can make it challenging to fish with sonar and may at times defeat the purpose of having sonar in the first place. This is where the interference rejection system of the LX-7Li comes in handy. You can easily separate tightly-bound schools of Crappie from sources of signal noise from other transducers.
Combo GPS/Sonar Systems
For anglers who spend time on more expansive waterways, it’s hard to beat MarCum’s combo GPS/Sonar devices, such as the MX-7GPSLi. The unit includes an internal GPS receiver, which allows you to view the all-important contour maps from a 7″ LCD.
Dual-Beam Transducer With NBT
MarCum’s ice fishing sonar naturally comes with a 20-degree cone angle that allows you to capture a wider view from the sides. However, this can be a disadvantage when you are trying to view fish bound tightly against a structure, such as a submerged tree.
This is where the Narrow Beam Transducer comes into play. With the press of the NBT button on the front display, you can flip the sonar to an 8-degree cone. This prevents the flasher from giving a false reading showing the tree as the bottom.
Is Vexilar A Good Fish Finder? Depth Finder?
Vexilar offers a wide variety of sonar solutions for both open water and ice fishing applications. In the section below, you’ll find a detailed discussion on the advantages of owning a Vexilar sonar system.
Five-Foot Depth Adjustments, Low Power Mode
Vexilar’s ice fishing sonar systems read down to a maximum depth of 300 feet and can be adjusted in increments of 5 feet at a time. Perhaps the most convenient feature is the low power mode.
The low power mode reduces the output power of the flasher and is designed to meet the needs of anglers fishing shallow and weedy waters. It reduces the signal strength by 50%. This eliminates clutter and is most advantageous for anglers targeting depths of less than 10 feet.
Gain Control and Cone Angle
Vexilar transducers come with a gain scale system that varies by model. This allows you to change the amount of application applied to the return sonar signal.
It can effectively act as a variable cone angle. As the gain level is increased, you’ll be able to see objects further away from the transducer.
Price Range & Wide Selection
Vexilar does appear to offer a more comprehensive selection of devices at a reasonable price range. Say, for example, you’re new to the game, and you just want to learn about the advantages of using sonar, but you also don’t want to spend too much.
Well, in this case, then Vexilar is the clear favorite. You can purchase an FL-18 with the Genz pack carry case, for the price seen here. For a slightly higher price, you can upgrade to the FLX-28, which has more advanced settings options for fishing in a variety of conditions.
Good For Canoeing & Underwater Diving
The LPS-1 handheld depth finder is the superior option for underwater exploration. The device is the size of a flashlight and waterproof to a depth of 150 feet. It also floats on the water! This makes it a favorite amongst ice anglers and canoers who just want to know the depth.
This is a big win for Vexilar since MarCum’s handheld sonar is not waterproof. There’s also a backlight display that makes it easy to read the depth in the dark.
Glow Ring For Lures (Easy Accessory Attachment)
Often the little things can make a big difference. You can make your fishing lure easily visible with the Vexilar Glo-Ring. This is an aftermarket addition that can be attached to any suitable battery, but it’s worth mentioning that many Vexilar devices already have an accessory port that makes installation easy.
For those searching for an affordable sonar flasher, Vexilar is the best option. The company offers a broader selection of products at a wider price range versus MarCum. However, MarCum does offer a unique Sonar/GPS combo device that works great for big water fishing. You may also find our article on the best underwater fishing camera useful.