Fish Finder Reviews
lowrance hds-8 fishfinder review

Lowrance HDS 8 Review

The Lowrance HDS 8 is a step down from the Lowrance HDS 10 but holds the great features that are available in Lowrance HDS fish finders. The Lowrance HDS 8 gives you a presentation you have to see for yourself. Read through the features below to get an idea of why this fish finder will help you catch more fish.

lowrance hds 8
Check Price on Amazon

Lowrance HDS-8 Display

The Lowrance HDS 8 has a large 8.4” display for clear viewing. Different color palettes give the user options for their favorite colors or day/night use. When splitting the screen into different views, you can easily change the size of each window if you prefer to view sonar, SideScan, DownScan, mapping, gauges in larger windows. The user can also pause the display on the Lowrance HDS 8 and zoom in for closer detail.

Temperature and speed also show up on the display. Sensitivity settings, transducer settings, and depth ranges can be displayed on the Lowrance HDS 8 as well.

The HDS 8 also features 6 softkeys, just like the HDS-10, on the front of the unit that offer quick access to different settings and options. These softkeys will help save you time getting in and out of menus, giving you more time to fish, instead of messing around with the fish finder.

Lowrance HDS-8 Sonar

Lowrance’s award-winning Broadband Sounder gives tremendous sensitivity to display more targets with higher definition on the HDS 8. This is one of reasons why most professionals choose Lowrance over other brands of fish finders. You will also get a very clear picture of the bottom, so you can find and follow subtle changes along the bottom. When the sonar is used in conjunction with StructureScan, the user will be able to identify objects with more ease.

The Lowrance HDS 8 will allow auto depth, manual depth and bottom lock.

Transducers recommended by Lowrance:

  • 83/200kHz transducer in water less than 900 feet. This is a recommended transducer for inland/freshwater.
  • 50/200kHz transducer in water greater than 900 feet. This is a recommended transducer for coastal/saltwater.
  • An optional AirMar transducer is recommended for up to 1 kW, for deeper saltwater applications.

Lowrance HDS-8 StructureScan

Lowrance has put together it’s terrific engineering to give the user what it calls StructureScan. StructureScan is a culmination of both SideScan and DownScan. With this technology, you will be able to see what is below the boat, as an image, with amazing detail on the large 8.4” high definition screen of the HDS-8. Tournament fisherman will love the use of StructureScan for pre-fishing events and then relocating to hotspots during a tournament.

Lowrance HDS-8 SideScan

SideScan is imaging that projects to both sides of the boat about 250 feet each side. Similar to Side Imaging on Hummingbird fish finders, It gives you a clear picture of what is off to the side allowing you to see if there is structure or fish that the 2-dimensional sonar cannot read. Using SideScan, on the HDS-8, along bridge pilings, weedbeds, or other vertical structure that you cannot drive over is no longer an issue when you’ve got SideScan. Finding fish in these tight cover areas has become a lot easier. Saving time on the water to fish more, and explore less is a common theme that fishing electronics companies are trying to improve on. Lowrance has hit the sweet spot here.

Lowrance HDS-8 DownScan

DownScan is similar to SideScan, but it shoots a beam (up to 300 feet)below the boat, and works with the 2D sonar to give you a 3-dimensional view of what is below you. Returns on the 2D sonar tend to give higher returns, thus making it a little difficult for the user to interpret what is below the boat. The DownScan shows a clearer view, allowing the user easier readability to identify individual fish, when the sonar may show a school or blob of fish. Sidescan may be great when sitting behind the steering wheel, but DownScan excels in the front of the boat. Cruising around with the trolling motor, tight on structure, DownScan can give you imaging that works and helps you find the fish you want to catch, even at slower speeds.

Sonar and StructureScan are used together with the LSS-1 module and a special low profile, easy to install transducer. Without the LSS-1 module, you will not be able to use they imaging features that the HDS fish finders can provide. The extra cost is well worth it.

Lowrance HDS 8 GPS/Mapping

Lowrance HDS 8 GPS

Similar with all HDS models, the Lowrance HDS 8 comes with an internal antenna. An optional external antenna can be attached to help limit satellite connection losses. Creating waypoints and routes are standard, and they can be named with detailed descriptions. The HDS 8 can store up to 5,000 waypoints and 250 routes. Users will particularly like creating a waypoint over an image in SideScan mode. This will ensure you can drive directly over the structure/fish that you saw as an image.

lowrance hds 8
Check Price on Amazon

Lowrance HDS 8 Mapping

The Lowrance HDS 8 comes with the enhanced U.S. basemap feature, as do all other HDS models. This basemap has coverage for more than 100,000 bodies of water, with nearly 5,000 U.S. lakes showing detailed contours and shorelines.

Insight USA high definition maps show incredible detail with Lake Insight, showing more than 60,000 marked hot spots. The hot spots show icons that give additional information about the fishing in that area.

Two SD card slots allow the user to insert additional lake maps. The Lowrance HDS-8 is compatible with Navionics, and “some” other lake map services. LakeMaster has been purchased by Johnson Outdoors and currently is only available for Humminbird products. Older HDS models will accept LakeMaster chips, but the newer models do not. This may affect your decisions in choosing to buy a Lowrance, depending on where you normally fish.

Lowrance HDS 8 Optional Features

Ethernet hookups on the back of the unit allow users to add additional features to increase the experience.

  • Sirius real-time marine weather and radio
  • Radar
  • Engine Gauges
  • Sharing data between other HDS units

Lowrance HDS-8 Conclusion

Lowrance has created a brilliant fish finder, and it is top of the line. The Lowrance HDS-8 would be a great addition for any fishing boat, whether it is for inland lakes or offshore. Recently, Lowrance has updated their HDS line of fish finders. See below.

lowrance hds 8 gen 2
Check Price on Amazon

The HDS 8 Gen2 Update

Lowrance has recently come out with their Gen 2 product line for their HDS fish finders. Lowrance users around the world have spoken and Lowrance, the company, has responded. The Gen 2 (Generation 2) is the same great HDS fish finder as before, but with some much-needed updates.

New features you can expect to see in your Lowrance HDS 8 Gen 2 

Processing speed

One of the downfalls of the Lowrance HDS 8 compared to its competitors is that the screen seemed to take longer to load. With the new processor, panning the screen is lightning fast. This is the best new feature of this unit in my opinion. But maybe not the coolest.

StructureMap View

StructureMap View is one of the neatest things I’ve seen in a while. StructureMap gives you the ability to overlay your imaging onto your mapping. If you are looking at your map window, and you have StructureMap turned on, it will automatically draw the imaging along your path as you move. With this feature, you can drive along your favorite fishing spot and record images onto your contour map, and view them on your computer at home or while in the boat. This is truly a great tool for fisherman, divers, and all boaters alike.

You can use StructureMap over these map views:

  • Enhanced Basemaps
  • InsightHD Maps
  • Built-in Insight Maps
  • Navionics Charts

The optimal speed for using StructureMap is between 3-4 miles per hour.


The TrackBack feature allows you to move your cursor over a spot on your imaging, mapping, or StructureMap, and create a waypoint. Imagine yourself driving over that spot you’ve always wanted to fish. With StructureMap, you can drive over it, and look at your imaging for any great fish cover, or even images of fish, then you can move your cursor over the fish on the image and create a waypoint. This makes it easy to come back to this exact spot and really key in on the exact spot those fish are sitting.

lowrance hds 8 gen 2
Check Price on Amazon

Lowrance HDS 8 Gen2 Final Thoughts

I’ve had a chance to play around with this unit in a store and was truly impressed with it’s capabilities. I believe that anyone who purchases this is going to be happy with their investment. It gives you the latest and greatest that technology has to offer fisherman. I honestly can say I recommend the Lowrance HDS 8 fish finder to anyone looking for a new unit.