Boat radar just keeps getting better and better as time goes on.

As the calendar ticked through the 20-teens there was a marine radar revolution going on. The advent of short-range solid-state units was soon topped by the ability to combine solid-state and long-range open arrays in one package, taking sensitivity at all ranges through the roof. Could radar continue getting even better, as the 20-teens turned into the 20-20s? You bet. Here are the biggest and best radar on the market in 2022.

First Watch allows you to display the radar on an iPad or iPhone. The NXT line enjoys Furuno’s latest radar upgrades.

Furuno DRS Radar

Furuno has been switching over to long-range solid-state open arrays and domes steadily through the DRS-NXT lineup, most recently rolling out the potent 100-watt DRS 12ANXT and 200-watt DRS25ANXT in 2020. They also introduced the latest and most potent of their “traditional” DRS X-Class version radar, the DRS 25A X-Class and 12A X-Class. These are six-foot, 25-kW and four-foot 12-kW units which feature 96-nautical miles of range, a lower weight and less noise as compared to the older models, improved short range detection down to 20 meters, target vectors displaying heading and speed, and moving target trail display.

Although its introduction was over five years ago, we’ve also got to mention the Furuno First Watch. The first wireless radar dome in the world, this little 19-inch, four-kW wonder may not be the most potent on the water but it does allow you to download a free app, then link up with the dome on your cell phone or iPad and use the device as a radar display. Nifty! Visit Furuno to see these options and more.

The Fantom line is Garmin’s latest. Don’t let that little dome fool you — the 24x can hit 48 nautical miles.

Garmin Fantom

Garmin introduced the Fantom line back in 2016 when solid-state open array units were still a new thing, and hasn’t changed their high-end offerings since. Just this past fall, however, they refreshed their dome line with the GMR Fantom 18x and 24x antennas. These enjoy a power boost with 50 watts pumping out 20- to 48-nautical mile ranges. They also incorporate Garmin’s MotionScope feature, which uses Doppler to color-highlight different types of targets. And unlike some domes, the GMRs can dual-range overlays on a single chart screen. Visit Garmin to learn more.

The Cyclone is the latest marine radar to hit the market.

Raymarine Cyclone

Raymarine has the newest radar out on the market in 2022, the recently introduced Cyclone. This line includes three-, four-, and six-foot open arrays with ranges to 72 nautical miles while putting out 55 watts. Raymarine also offers a 110-watt Cyclone Pro version, which boosts range out to 96 nautical miles. Target separation and detail, even out to extreme ranges, enjoys the benefits of CHIRP pulse compression and beam sharpening.

If these open arrays look a bit different from all others on the market, that’s not by mistake. With the increasing popularity of super-powerful, super-fast center consoles on the market these days, Raymarine designed the Cyclone specifically for high-speed use. It rotates at 60 rpm for by-the-second updating, and is shaped similar to an airplane wing to maximize aerodynamics. In fact, it’s the only marine radar out there rated for use in winds up to 100 knots. Yes, you read that correctly, 100 knots. Visit Raymarine, to see the lineup.

The Halo has been around for a few years now, and remains a top radar pick. Simrad was among the first to bring solid-state radar to the market, and the Halo is their latest version.

Simrad Halo

Simrad first introduced the Halo in 2015 and at the time it was billed as the first long-range open-array solid-state radar with pulse compression and beam-sharpening technology. There have been several software upgrades since its introduction but Halo remains the standard-bearer for Simrad, with 20- and 24-inch domes (24- to 48- nautical mile ranges) and three-, four-, and six-foot open array models (48- to 72- nautical mile ranges).

Simrad boasts some of the shortest start-up times in the business, and even the six-footer takes a mere 16 to 25 seconds to begin providing returns. MARPA tracking is available for up to 10 targets and in dual range mode can handle tracking 20, and Doppler is applied via Simrad’s “VelocityTrack” collision avoidance tech.

At the other end of the spectrum, even the little Halo20 dome packs a surprising amount of tech into a very small package. This unit will fit on just about any boat big enough to have a T-top yet it pumps 10 watts of pulse compression energy out to a 24 nautical mile range. And since it’s a low-energy unit there aren’t any worries about baking someone’s brain when they’re standing on the elevated casting deck or scrambling up onto the top to look for cobia. Visit Simrad, to check out the full specs on any of their radar units.

Choosing the Best Radar

So, which one of these units will be the best radar for you and your boat? Truth be told, all of today’s solid-state radar units are light years ahead of those spinning magnetrons we used to depend on. They’re exceptionally reliable, provide better target separation, can “see” in what used to be a blank spot close around the boat, and they don’t bake the entire marina in microwaves. Each of these manufacturers may offer a function or feature that appeals to one angler or another in specific, but with any one of today’s modern units aboard it will be hard to go wrong.

Net result: most people will choose according to which manufacturer’s menu system meshes the best with their brain. If you find Brand X gear easy to use, go with it. If you personally like Brand Y, there probably won’t be any major downsides to opting for that one. Because in this day and age, marine radar truly is better than ever before.

Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow's FishTalk Magazine, is Electronics and Fishing Editor for BoatUS Magazine, and is a contributing editor to several other publications. His...