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Old 28-05-2006, 20:40   #1
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Which is better? Furno, Garmin or RayMarine Radar

Hello All,
I am a new member to the Cruisers Forum. We recently purchased La Vita, our 1987 Hans Christian 33T.:cubalibre

We are preparing her for cruising and are planning to add Radar. We have researched the subject, but we cannot find recent comparison between Furuno, Garmin, or RayMarine. We need to make a decision, and welcome your comments.

What you would you recommend? Would you purchase your radar again?

Please let me know if you require further information.

Thank you all, very much for considering this question and sharing your knowledge with me.

Thanks, Charlie for helping me mind the "New Thread" button.

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Old 28-05-2006, 21:45   #2
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Furuno, Raymarine and Simrad have probably the most recognised name in the industry for consumer Radar. Garmin may make a good one, but they have not had a long enough track record in Radar to know.

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Old 28-05-2006, 22:51   #3
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My vote goes towards Raymarine.

They seem to have more kit stuff that you could add.

I don't know much about the others. Except that they are top name brands too!!

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
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Old 29-05-2006, 07:04   #4
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When we were doing the same analysis that you are, we went to a commercial fishing village and took a look at what the commercial fisherman (shrimpers, etc not charter sport fisherman) use. 90% have Furuno. These guys stay out for weeks and their lives depend on their equipment. The only decision after that was which Furuno unit.

We have the 17254c Navnet vx2 and the Furuno autopilot. We love them!!!!

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Old 29-05-2006, 07:22   #5
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Hi Folks,
Thank you very much for sharing your opinon with me.

Roger, I'm impressed with your response. You're right, the commercial guys really should know what's best.

Alan and CaptainK, thank you for your opinions, too. Each provides information we are taking into our final decision.

We plan to use this Radar to keep us safe for a long time to come.


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Old 29-05-2006, 08:29   #6
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I vote for FURUNO

I was checking out the new Navy SEAL RIB assault craft a few years ago in Guam. They were all fitted with Furuno radar systems. The Warrior on Watch told me the radars had always worked perfectly in all conditions on every mission and that not one had failed even in extreme use.

My feeling was that while Furuno was developing Mil Spec electronics for the US Navy - some of the technology would trickle down to the products developed for recreational use.

Therefore, I bought a model 1622 LCD radar. And although it's sold as a 16 mile radar - we were able to "see" the coast of Malta at a range of 26 miles!

I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another Furuno unit.

Radar - it's like having another mate standing watch with you.

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Old 29-05-2006, 10:26   #7
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Aloha Lynn,

Welcome aboard. This is a site with a great group of folks with good opinions and centuries of knowledge here to share.

Regards, --John--
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Old 29-05-2006, 12:11   #8
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Just a minor caution for the input your requested. Very few members of this forum have experience with more than one brand of radar, or if they do it is of different generations.
That said I think you received very usefull responses on this thread. None of the responses were of the category, "I bought xxxx and it is the best, by far." so you got very reasoned posts. However, just because a group of fishermen use the same source and a military group uses a specific brand is not necessarily a strong recommendation (none of the posters said it was, it was just part of their selection process). Remember the Government likes to buy from the lowest bidder. Also most fishermen are members of a Co-op, which may be the purchaser of their equipment - again looking for the lowest bidder.
So as long as you stay with the major brands, select the one that has the features and price that fit your needs you should be OK. BTW, you didn't ask what features members think are important in a radar. That might be more useful than a brand comparison.

Just remember no matter your choice, someone will always say there is something better, and the manufacturer will anounce the day after your purchase that whatever you bought it is now obsolete.

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Old 29-05-2006, 17:12   #9
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Thumbs up An additional consideration

Both Raymarine and Furuno have gotten good reviews from Practical Sailor. When I was making my decision, I went with Furuno because I plan to sail outside the US. Furuno has an extensive international support so if you run into problems elsewhere they are set up to service you without going through US operations. PS. Love the Furuno Radar/Chartplotter. So much easier an intuitive to use than Garmin that I had to use on a friends boat.
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Old 29-05-2006, 22:09   #10
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I have a Furuno 1732 4kw radar. I selected it after trying various manufacturer's demo units at the boat show. The Furuno met my criteria for "least clunky user interface at a reasonable price".

My favorite user interface was on the JRC unit, but it was only available in 1.5 or 2 kw, and from various sources I concluded that I wanted 4 kw. A former neighbor of mine is quite happy with his JRC radar.

If I remember correctly, I also liked the Simrad 4 kw offering, but I was not willing to pay that much extra for it. The principle reason for the price difference was the color display.

I did not consider Raymarine radars because of the price.

I found the Furuno radar easy to install and easy to use. I do not use the chartplotter or network features. I would be happy buying another one if I needed it.
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Old 30-05-2006, 02:39   #11
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I think you are approaching this from entirely the wrong angle. The difference in quality on the top radar systems these days is very slight. However, there are significant differences in prices (both purchase and spares) and in bells and whistles. You need to decide on your basic criteria first, and I would suggest the following as a basic selection criteria:

size and weight of the scanner - this will have an effect on your stability so has some slight relevance! It will also have a major impact on power requirements and accuracy of the system. 18" is farely standard and is normally linked to a 2kw transmitter. 15" is lighter with slightly less accuracy in bearing but still a good size (I have this one). 10" is the smallest and lightest - bearing accuracy is poor, but it is a cheap and low powered system , but really should only be fitted in small boats that cant take the weight of a larger scanner. There are larger scanners, and some bigger boats fit a 24" scanner, it is more accurate in bearing, but it needs a lot more power (4 kw) and you cant fit it high enough in the vessel to make much use of the additional range.

size and type of display - the old fashioned cathode ray tube is still the best, but the diffferences with a modern lcd are so small that you cannot justify the space requirement. The size of the display will depend very much on your own boat and were you intend to install the display. Bigger is better, but also takes more power.

facilities - this is the area that needs to be researched for the major differences in capability and price. Some offer a North up display, which I favour, but you must have a high spec gyro to provide the feed for this. The rest will use a heads-up display (which means that the top of the display will follow the bearing of your ship's course, and the subsequent picture willl vary as the bows yaw. Another major facility which some favour is MARPA (or similar) which automatically detects and tracks targets. Other systems can allow you to share the display with a plotter (not my favourite) and lots have guard zones etc.

Useful data for your choice is power consumption in standbye, and how long it takes to transmit from standbye. another is how long to transmit from cold start.

When you have got this data, you can then compare costs and a selection will be a lot easier.

I have a furono, but would have been just as happy with a JRC.
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Old 30-05-2006, 12:38   #12
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Well done Talbot. I was going to suggest the same thing.
My I add a little more to the display.
I have an older B&W LCD. It is very hard to read. The only way I can "see" a boat in fog is to look for dots that move at a different pace to all other information. Very hard to do when you can not also have a visual to backup your screen info. The colour screens give you a little more detail B&W don't. If I were to buy a Radar today, I would be looking at colour (providing I can afford it).

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Old 30-05-2006, 13:02   #13
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I have an old Raytheon R40 CRT radar just so my current equip is listed and have owned Furuno in the past.

However I was debating whether to replace the current system with current generation stuff I did a fair amount of research. I only seriously looked at two manufactures Raymarine and Furuno. My spec was a 7 or 8" color display for the nav station and a 10" display for the cockpit. Ideal it would also have the ability to network with a PC based nav program. Both can do all of the above however only with their own stuff. Oh well. So then went back to just radar.

Net net I decided that Furuno was the better solution.

Part of the reason was as sited by Roger and Kirk above but also after talking with the techs that install the stuff I became convinced that Furuno has a better solution. Resolution and target discrimination being two important deltas. Both have all the bells and whistles. Ended up not doing anything but having my current system checked out and it is still working great and performing within spec. And did not have a 5 figure price tag when all was said and done. Multi station gets expensive....
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Old 06-06-2006, 16:36   #14
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Hi Folks,
I am very impressed with the thoughtful replies to my radar mfg question. You have all give me reason to rethink our situation.

We are in contact with Bethel Marine. The have good prices and excellent customer presales support. Please let me know if anyone has problems dealing with them. We are about to place a large order.

Thank you again for sharing your wisdom with me.

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Old 07-06-2006, 04:58   #15
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When our Vigil RM died I decided to go MFD a few years back. These systems you can build up all data is visible on one monitor. While this makes for a less cluttered nav station, these MFDs can be complex and if they fail... you loose everything.

For this reason I we have a separate Horizon chartplotter which works fine and use Cmap chips. The instruments are the B&G hornet which all have their own displays in the nav station and cockpit and have been working flawlessly for 20 years. They are NOT networked to the MFD which is a RayMarine C80.

The 2 KW radar is a vast improvement over the monochrome Vigil... and it includes Marpa, which is a great feature when it works.

I ported the GPS fix over to the C80 from the Horizon and bought the Navionics charts and now was able to have the same fix displayed on two plotters and overlay the radar plot on the chart, which is another interesting and useful feature. You can toggle back and forth between radar only and radar on chart to more easily identify moving targets and distinguish them from fixed targets.

We then added a RayMarine GPS antenna so we now have two independant plotters.

Now we are adding a NASA AIS engine which is supposed to plot on the radar screen or the chart screen on the C80.

The C80 has some user interface issues and you have to drill down in their menus to fdind data. But it IS configurable to your own likes and they DO upgrade their software which is very easy to updrade yourself with a card. You can use this card to store and transfer waypoints etc.

We have not really put the radar to the test in poor visibility yet, only a reasonably clear days and nights.

User interface is important and MFDs seem to be the way things are going. The Raymarine C series seems to be reasonably flexible and complete, but the user interface could be more intuitive and easier to use.

Furuno has a long standing reputation for radars... If the other features are there, it would be a good choice I would guess.

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garmin, radar, raymarine

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