Both of companies make great units. Be careful of forum opinions based on five year old units - they've both come a long way - especially in networking.
Both companies have jammed so many gee whiz features in that I think they have become less easy to use for basic navigation
. Go to West Marine
and play with the unit. If you need a manual, that's a bad sign. Take your wife too. My wife does most of the chartplotter
work on our boat
so her opinion is important.
Don't be influenced by the techie feature race
. My Garmin
has 3D - I never use it. And I don't have a desire to play music
over my chartplotter.
The two companies also offer different charts
. Garmin has their own brand. Raymarine
(and now offers their own free charts
too). The way the charts display can be quite different as you move around and zoom. This is especially true if you like to use "Course Up" instead of "North Up" orientation. I personally find the Garmin charts more legible in "Course Up" mode.
But I haven't seen either Garmin or Raymarine's newest offering. Maybe it's all changed.