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7 Best Radars

Radar can be a useful tool on any size vessel, so it’s important you choose the right one.

Each year, the well-respected USA based, National Marine Electronics Association’s Marine Electronics Journal (MEJ) publishes what electronics makers themselves consider their “Best and Brightest” product in any given category, and put’s them into a “Buyer’s Guide.” The magazine asks manufacturers to identify the one radar model they rate highest in overall terms in their product line for one reason or another. It may not be the most technically-advanced or the newest, overall they consider it their “Best and Brightest.” Here is their 2021 pick of radars.

Raymarine Quantum 2

Quantum 2 is the latest generation of Raymarine’s popular Quantum CHIRP radar, now made even better with the addition of Doppler target processing. Quantum 2 instantly highlights moving radar contacts and colour codes them to indicate whether they are inbound or outbound.

Boaters will enjoy vastly improved situational awareness and confidence at the helm. Like its predecessor, Quantum 2 uses CHIRP pulse compression technology for superior target detection at both short and long ranges. Integrated Wi-Fi and thin cabling simplify installation plus Quantum’s energy efficient and lightweight design provide safe radiated emissions and substantially reduced power consumption.


The SI-TEX MDS-12 provides high-resolution digital radar for the popular NavPro 900 and NavPro 1200 Series MFDs. Wireless Wi-Fi integration makes it easy to install and rig this 4-kW, 24-inch radome on any type of vessel, giving navigators 36 nautical mile range with superior target resolution. The MDS-12’s slotted-wave-guide-antenna design and digital signal processing ensure excellent target definition, as well as separation between closely space targets. With a full range of professional-grade features and the ability to integrate with the NavPro’s 9″ or 12″ (22.86 cm to 30.48 cm) high-resolution color LCD displays, the MDS-12 is an excellent option for powerboats and sailboats of all sizes. Backed by SI-TEX’s two-year limited warranty.

Simrad HALO20+

Ideal for a wide range of boats, the Simrad HALO20+ comes in a compact dome antenna and delivers high-quality short-, mid- and long-range detection. HALO20+ radar delivers a full 360° sweep every second, thanks to its 60 RPM rotation at ranges up to 1.5 nautical miles. These ultra-fast updates give boaters an almost real-time view at close range, offering the ultimate view for collision avoidance of fast-moving targets. Boaters can monitor two distance ranges at once in Dual Range mode, allowing them to keep an eye on distant weather cells while watching for collision hazards nearby. Simrad HALO20+ radar’s pulse compression technology means no compromises in detection at either selected range, while beam sharpening provides enhanced separation between small or distant targets.

Furuno DRS25ANXT

The Furuno DRS25ANXT is a 200-watt solid-state radar with pulse compression and Doppler frequency shift sensing technology with open array antenna options ranging from 3.5′ to 6′ (1.07 m to 1.52 m). Designed for NavNet TZtouch, TZtouch2, and TZtouch3 MFDs, the DRS25ANXT along with the 100-watt DRS12ANXT are packed with features. Target Analyzer clearly shows hazards, changing the colour of dangerous targets approaching your boat to red. Green echoes are stationary targets or targets approaching your vessel at fewer than 3 knots. Echoes dynamically turn red when targets are approaching at a speed of 3 knots or faster. It works the same when you’re following another vessel. Also, Target Analyzer works independently of your vessel’s speed.

Garmin GMR Fantom 254   

GMR Fantom 254 is Garmin’s most powerful 4-foot solid-state radar, featuring 250 watts of power. It uses MotionScope technology to detect and highlight moving targets in different colours, which helps you avoid potential collisions, find flocks of birds and track weather. New MARPA Automatic Acquisition allows for triggering and tracking with no user prompting on all returns, boundary zones, guard zones or MotionScope. Scan-to-scan averaging, a new feature, helps aid in reduction of sea clutter and interference. Its pulse compression technology provides high-resolution imaging and maximizes energy to help you detect and identify targets. Auto Bird Gain helps you identify flocks of birds on the water. The GMR Fantom 254 radar has a detection range of 20′ (6.1 m) to 96 nautical miles.

Koden MDC-5200

The Koden MDC-5200 Series radar from SI-TEX Marine Electronics delivers professional-grade performance for a wide range of vessels. With available output power ranging from 4 to 25 kW and maximum range scales up to 96 nm, this radar is built for professional operators in challenging conditions. Features include built-in AIS interface for displaying up to 1000 targets, built-in ARPA tracking of up to 100 targets, comprehensive ship’s data display and C-MAP chart overlay (with optional SD card). Koden’s Clear Image feature provides high-speed sampling in the short range for precise target acquisition and tracking, while Auto Gain and Auto STC settings allow for easy operation. The 12.1″ (30.73 cm) high-resolution XGA display with anti-reflective coating provides clear viewing in any environment.

Onwa KRA-1007_N

The Onwa KRA-1007_N is a low-cost, reliable and high-quality independent radar antenna that can be used with Onwa MFDs or connected directly to a PC or wirelessly through a home router. The KRA-1007_N can display radar targets using a PC with Onwa radar PC software. Using the unit with Onwa MFDs enables the radar function for target interpretation. The antenna uses digital radar target technology, sports fully digital signal processing and built-in sea and rain clutter algorithms. It shares the same protocol with all Onwa magnetron pulse radar antennas. The range reaches to 36 nm, operating at X-band frequency with an output power of 4 kW.

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