Humminbird Helix 9 Complete Review (2021 Buyer’s Guide)

Humminbird Helix 9

Awesome fish finder and GPS chart plotter all rolled into one unit. You can mark fishing spots, see your speed, track your location, see your heading, and more.

I remember when I used to cruise around the Indian Ocean looking for sailfish and marlin without a fish finder and GPS.

I didn’t know I was fishing blind until the day I skippered a boat with a fish finder and GPS like the Humminbird Helix 9.

Wow! It made such a huge difference to my fishing and the way I tactically planned my next fishing day that I had to get one. 

Being able to see the bottom contours, depth changes, and mark fishing spots that were productive made me understand where fish were and when, letting me pick up patterns of behavior and in the end making my days on the water far more successful. 

The next day I went looking for one but there are so many models to choose from, and how would I know which model would be best for me?

Well with a lot of research, I found the Humminbird Helix 9 and stuck with that, and I have never looked back. 

Things To Think About Before Buying A Fish Finder 

While fish finders like the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega Si make it easy to see what’s beneath the water, track your movements, and mark great fishing areas, do you need one? 

The Humminbird Helix 9 Si GPS is perfect for anyone who owns a boat, sail or motor, and likes to use them on the ocean or lakes for fishing.

It’ll guide you around the world with the right maps installed, save you from shallow waters, help you find fish, and more. 

The Humminbird Helix 9 Si GPS is not the best for kayak fishing, small boats without power, and ice or shore fishing.

You’ll need to carry around a boat battery to power it and it’s not portable. The right sounder for this kind of fishing is either a portable or castable sounder.

Considering the Helix 9 Fish Finder

Here’s a list of key considerations that you should go through to be sure the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega Si GPS is the right fish finder for you. 

  • Do you own a boat with power on it to connect it to? 
  • Which fishing areas will you use it in? 
  • Is the display large enough for you to see? 
  • Does it penetrate deep enough? 
  • Which ocean and freshwater charts are compatible with it? 
  • Is it waterproof and durable? 
  • Does it have any software or connection issues in the reviews? 
  • What types of sonar imaging does it have?
  • Is a transducer included and what frequencies does it use? 
  • How do you mount the transducer and is it easy to install? 
  • Is the GPS accurate and does it come with a good basemap? 
  • Is it easy to use the features and intuitive to navigate around?

Humminbird Helix 9

Awesome fish finder and GPS chart plotter all rolled into one unit. You can mark fishing spots, see your speed, track your location, see the heading, and more.

Humminbird Helix 9

The Humminbird Helix 9 Overview

The Helix 9 is an awesome fish finder and GPS chart plotter all rolled into one unit. The Helix 9 GPS lets you navigate with confidence using the built-in base map that covers the US coast and over 10,000 lakes.

You can mark fishing spots, see your speed, track your location, see your heading, and more. 

Sonar

The Helix 9 also features awesome sonar technology to give you amazingly clear images of what’s beneath the surface on the crystal clear 9-inch display.

You can look to the side, focus on the bottom, and cruise with confidence while CHIRP sonar shows you everything up to 3000ft. 

Models

The Humminbird Helix 9 comes in a range of models all of which include a transducer, except for the CHO model (control head only) that gives you the option to pick your own transducer and other functional accessories. 

The models all include CHIRP and GPS but differ in price based on their extra sonar features.

The Di model comes with mega down imaging and the Si comes with both mega down and side imaging plus 360 imaging.

If you’re a casual fisherman with a boat, the standard Helix 9 is enough, but if you really want to see all the details of what’s below or are pro fishermen, it’s worth going for the Di or Si.

Pros

  • Crystal clear color display screen you can split-screen into 3 views
  • Detailed images of depths to 3000ft
  • Excellent sonar technology for seeing accurate images
  • Accurate GPS with a great basemap
  • Durable and waterproof build
  • 2-year warranty
  • Has great networking and connectivity for sharing, adding, or moving data
  • Make maps of your fishing area
  • Easy to add maps like Navionics
  • Connects to autopilot and radar

Cons

  • A little hard to understand how to use, to begin with

Features & Benefits

Display

Humminbird Helix 9 Display
Humminbird Helix 9 Display

The Helix 9 has one of the best displays of all fish finders on the market.

Firstly it’s quite a large 9-inch display screen making it very easy to see what’s going on. Some fish finders only come with a 4-inch display, so the Helix 9 is miles ahead with its screen. 

The screen is in color and in HD to give you exceptionally clear images when using the sonar.

It gives excellent target separation on the 9-inch display so you can determine what’s the bottom, debris, or fish. 

Easy To Read

The 9-inch display is also glass bonded with 400 x 800 pixel and a 1500 nit resolution that keeps it bright and readable.

Being glass bonded also makes it resistant to glare so you can read it in direct sunlight and adds some extra durability.

Split Screen

The display screen can also be split into 3 to provide a means to see a GPS screen and two sounder screens on the display at once.

This gives you all the best fishing data all at once so you can see what’s beneath, where you are, and plan your best fishing tactics accordingly. 

GPS 

Every model of the Helix 9 comes with a built-in GPS that shows you where you are, where you’re going and where you’ve been on the base map.

In addition to this, it’ll let you know your heading, add up to 2750 waypoints and program up to 45 different routes. 

Maps

Humminbird Mapping Technology

The base map covers 10,000 US lakes and the US coastline.

It is quite detailed showing you buoys, marinas, hazards, points of interest, contours, depth markers, and more.

It’s enough to get going with and you have the option to add Navionics, LakeMaster, and CoastMaster maps if you want more detail or prefer them. 

Memory

The memory of the GPS runs on two SD card slots.

The SD card slots accept microSD’s up to 32 MB, giving you up to 64MB of memory. They are great for adding maps and other data as well as for saving all your data. 

AutoChart Live

Humminbird Autochart Depth Contour
Humminbird Autochart Depth Contour

Every Helix 9 comes with AutoChart Live that allows you to create maps, in real-time, of your fishing spots.

This means you can hit the record button and the unit will record the data, save it and map it while you watch so you can save the details for a later date and add it to your chart. 

Power, Depth, And Frequencies 

All the Helix 9 models come with the standard amount of power you’d find in other similar fish finders with 500 W and peak-by-peak of 4,000W.

This is more than enough power to penetrate to a large depth of 1200-3000ft so it has you covered from lakes to way offshore. 

Frequency

The sonar runs on multiple frequencies depending on the mode it’s in, I discuss this more below. The Helix 9 has a range of 50/83/200/455/800/1200 kHz which is very comprehensive. 

The reason this is important is that low frequencies go deep without much shallow detail, and high frequencies stay shallow and give a lot of detail. 

A 50 kHz wave will hit a depth of 3000ft but not pick up much detail and a 1200 kHz wave will only get to a depth of 60 ft but show loads of detail within that 60 ft. 

NOTE

When used in combination or separately, like with the Helix 9, you can see the deep detail and the shallow detail all at once for a full picture of what’s beneath.

CHIRP

Every Helix 9 model features CHIRP imaging and it’s the best fishing sonar around for use while you’re trolling.

CHIRP imaging works by sending out multiple frequencies at the same time penetrating to the bottom to give you accurate doeth readings but also staying shallow to give you the details of any fish or debris in the water. 

CHIRP gives you the fullest picture possible for general use and is ideal for when you’re exploring and looking for fishing areas.

Find out more about Humminbird CHIRP in the video below…

What is CHIRP Sonar? Humminbird

Dual Beam SwitchFire 

All the Helix 9 models also come with Dual Beam SwitchFire that lets you switch very easily between using 83 kHz (wide mode) for covering more area or using 200 kHz (narrow mode) to focus on small details.

This allows you to scan larger areas and when you find something interesting, switch into a more detailed mode to find out if there is anything worth fishing for down there. 

Down Imaging

Another one of this unit’s features is down imaging.

Not all Helix 9 models come with down imaging, only the Di and Si models feature it.

Down imaging allows you to focus a sonar beam up to a depth of 200 ft to see what’s really down there in a lot of detail: 

Is it a fish worth catching? 

A structure worth marking for next time? 

Or nothing at all? 

Down imaging will let you know.

Down imaging is exceptionally useful for bottom fishing and bass fishing as you can find fishing hot spots with ease, so make sure you get a model with it if this sounds like something you’d find useful. 

Side Imaging 

Humminbird Side Imaging
Humminbird Side Imaging

Side imaging is like down imaging but even cooler.

Instead of scanning down, it scans to the side, up to 200 feet on either side of your boat. With side imaging features you can even see fish in water you haven’t disturbed yet and decided where to throw a cast to whether to troll over there. 

It’ll truly make your time on the water even more efficient, as you won’t spend time in dead areas you might have thought looked fishy before side-scan came into your life and showed you they weren’t.

It only features on the Si Helix 9 unit, but it’s an awesome feature to have.

It’s one of the features I want to get, I’d even spend the extra cash without asking my wife. 

The ability to see a cruising marlin 100ft to the left in the water, get in front of it, and then make it want to eat is something is one of the best features I could think of having out on the water. 

What Others Are Saying…

Humminbird Helix 9 Review
Humminbird Helix 9 Review

I have been scouring the internet looking at every Humminbird Helix 9 review and almost every Humminbird Helix 9 review I laid my eyes on was positive, which goes to show just how great one of these fish finders is.

Alternatives

Garmin Echomap Chirp 74Cv

Suits fishermen who don’t want to get every detail on what’s happening to the side of their boat and are happy just knowing what’s beneath.

Garmin Echomap Chirp 74Cv

There are of course some other similar products to review one of which is the Garmin Echomap Chirp 74Cv.

Like the Humminbird Helix 9, it does well at being both a GPS and a fish finder and it’s more affordable than the Helix 9 but is lacking quite a lot of features in comparison and comes with a smaller screen of 7 inches. 

It’s a great fish finder to get for anyone that owns a boat and loves to get out on the water, and it suits fishermen who don’t want to get every detail on what’s happening to the side of their boat and are happy just knowing what’s beneath. 

Here’s a summary of the differences. 

The Garmin echoMAP 74cv is:

If you’re looking for something a little more affordable and don’t mind losing out on some of the Helix 9 features, the Garmin echoMAP 74cv is worth having a look at. 

Here’s a summary of the differences

Pros

  • More affordable
  • Comes with blueChart® G2 coastal maps preloaded

Cons

  • Has a smaller screen
  • acking side imaging, Bluetooth, and wifi connectivity
  • Unable to connect to your phone for notifications

Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 SplitShot

A more affordable sounder/GPS combo that you can add maps to and includes CHIRP, down imaging and it’ll draw maps for you like the Helix 9.

Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 SplitShot

The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 SplitShot is another fish finder that’s worth a review before buying the Helix 9.

Again it’s a more affordable sounder/GPS combo that you can add maps to and includes CHIRP, down imaging and it’ll draw maps for you like the Helix 9. 

The screen is a little smaller and you don’t get some sonar technology like switchfire or side imaging.

Versatile

It’s a good sounder to get for lake and even ocean fishing, and it’ll give you most of the data you could want on the water, apart from what’s to the side of your boat.

Plus you can’t connect it wirelessly to anything like your phone and if something went wrong, It is also worth noting that Lowrance customer service is hard to get hold of. 

Here’s a summary of the differences. 

The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 SplitShot:

Pros

  • Is more affordable

Cons

  • Comes with a smaller display
  • Doesn’t include side scanning
  • Doesn’t have wireless connectivity
  • Has poor customer service

Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv

A good fish finder to get if you’re on a budget or already have a chart plotter.

Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv

If you’re on quite a tight budget or already own a chart plotter, then a review of the Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv before you buy the Helix 9 is worthwhile.

It’s over half the price of the Helix 9 but it can’t use maps like the Helix, so you can’t see any charts on it. 

GPS

You can still use the GPS function though and mark waypoints, plus the sounder is very accurate. The display is smaller than the Helix 9, and it doesn’t have the ability to do side scanning. 

The Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv is a good fish finder to get if you’re on a budget or already have a chart plotter.

It could even be useful if you fish in a small area that you know well enough to not need detailed maps and all you want is to know what’s under the water. 

Here’s a summary of the differences. 

The Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv:

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Accurate sounder
  • Has GPS and can mark waypoints

Cons

  • Has a smaller display
  • Has no wireless connectivity
  • Can’t use maps or charts
  • Doesn’t come with side scan
  • Doesn’t go as deep as the Helix 9

Conclusion 

The Humminbird Helix 9 is a comprehensive series of chart plotting fish finders that are amazing at what they do.

Across the range, you can find every feature you could ever want to get for fishing – they can even drive your boat for you. 

The Helix 9 offers every kind of sonar imaging out there, has awesome maps, an accurate chart plotter, is simple to use, and the display is as crystal clear as can be.

You’ll never struggle to find fish ever again with one of these, and you can pick the unit that suits your budget or your needs best. 

Hope it Helps!

I hope having read this Humminbird Helix 9 review you have been convinced of its reliability and accuracy. 

Owning a sounder and chart plotter combo does change the game, but owning a Humminbird Helix turns catching fish even further in your favor than most others thanks to its amazing accuracy and feature set. 

Please feel free to share this article around with your boating buddies, and if you’re not convinced by the Helix 9 we have a few other articles for you like ‘Garmin Fish Finder Reviews’ and ‘The Best Fish Finders’ where you’ll find detailed reviews of loads of similar sounders.

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.