Skip to Content

A Comprehensive Lowrance Active Target Live Sonar Review

A Comprehensive Lowrance Active Target Live Sonar Review

Most Lowrance Active Target Live Sonar reviews cover the product, as expected. What they don’t tend to focus on is the live sonar technology that’s eclipsing everything else in the fish finder market. It’s incredible technology, and once you have your hands on it, there’s no going back. 

Unboxing the Active Target is almost as fun as using it. The transducer and module have plenty of heft and bulk, but not in a bad way. You get the immediate sense that you’re handling a sophisticated piece of hardware that’s durable and ready to hit the water.

Of course, Garmin and Humminbird have their own versions of live sonar, but Lowrance didn’t make its name from producing generic, everyday products. Lowrance knows their business, and as such, they’re now a giant in the industry. The Lowrance Active Target Live Sonar is no exception.

Overview of Lowrance Active Target

Some of the images the transducer feeds to the high-res multi-touch screen defy belief. The level of detail is incredible, and sometimes it reaches the point where you can visually identify the species of fish you’re looking at. 

One of the reasons I like the Lowrance Active Target so much is the immediate versatility it offers. If the data return wasn’t immediate, it would kill the enthusiasm. Slap this thing on a trolling motor (especially a ghost), and I get feedback on where I aim it and when I aim it, all based on where I turn the trolling motor. 

That’s all there is to it. The transducer is a single transducer capable of producing multiple views (active imaging 3-in-1) in real-time, and the module interprets the data for the visual display. The key here is capability, and there is little doubt that Active Target is capable. 

The Active Target transducer relays visual information so impressively that the tiniest details are rendered, including your lure, baitfish, the moment a fish strikes your bait, and the surrounding environment, down to the smallest details. 

The module is a high-performance processor. If you slapped it into a modern-day computer, it would be largely unimpressive, but, the dual-core processor is overkill on the water. It’s responsible for massive amounts of underwater information, and it does so without any noticeable lag. 

It’s also built to last, with temperature, water, shock, and vibration resistance built into its shell. 

lowrance active target sonar

Compatibility: Lowrance Active Target Compatible Units

Lowrance was smart to include as many of their other units as possible for compatibility purposes. While some anglers might already own some of these fish finders, the only useful part to combine with the Active Target system is the head unit (fish finder/display unit). 

The Active Target system doesn’t work without both the module and the transducer. Fortunately, that means you can grab the Active Target system and then choose your own head unit. Lowrance sells some fish finder display screens individually (without their respective transducers) as well. 

That makes life so much easier, doesn’t it? I’ve often found that it’s far more affordable to just buy an HDS Carbon Unit (for example) without the usual transducer and module. You should also keep in mind that no matter what you pick, it will probably need a software update to get it up to spec with the Active Target. 

  • HDS Carbon 7
  • HDS Carbon 9
  • HDS Carbon 12
  • HDS Carbon 16
  • Elite FS 7
  • Elite FS 9
  • HDS-7 Live 
  • HDS-9 Live 
  • HDS-12 Live 
  • HDS-16 Live 

No matter which of the above units you choose to go with, you’ll have to download the appropriate update for the unit to work with Active Target. An SD card is a simple way to download and install the update. 

I just used a micro SD card (you can get a standard SD card sleeve if your PC doesn’t accept a micro), went to the Lowrance downloads page, selected ActiveTarget and English from the two dropdown menus, and downloaded ActiveTarget software 22.1.

Once you’re done, your display unit will recognize the Active Target, and you’ll follow a series of on-screen prompts to configure everything. It’s not a convoluted process, just something you have to do no matter which unit you go with.

Features and Benefits of the Lowrance Active Target

With the Active Target, an angler can take advantage of active mapping, which provides visual information of the underwater topography, including submerged structures, rocks, tree limbs, roots, and you name it.

The range of the Active Target’s sonar is 200’, with a 135° x 18° beam that might seem narrow in height angle until you consider its installation advantages. On a trolling motor, it scans as you turn the motor, and since the feedback is immediate, that 18° becomes negligible in a hurry. 

lowrance active target imaging

The image quality and high resolution are so exceptional that watching fish take my bait is commonplace.They say patience is what makes an angler. Sure, but there’s nothing wrong with a little underwater entertainment while you wait.  

Of course, the image quality and the detailed richness of the feedback are easily the most attractive selling points. But there is a lot more to the Lowrance Active Target than just resolution.

  • Forward view, down view, and scout mode
  • Live images
  • Works with Elite FS Fishfinder, HDS Live, and HDS Carbon Series
  • Comes with multiple trolling motor mounts
  • Active mapping 
  • IP67 weather/water resistance
  • 1.5A power consumption
  • Power cable, fuse, and ethernet cable included

With your head unit of choice, there’s not much the Lowrance Active Target can’t cover, from big schools of fish to individual fish movements and behavior. It eliminates much of the guesswork and keeps you on the fish. 

Final Thoughts

The Lowrance Active Target Live Sonar System is an exceptional transducer and power module setup that will take your head unit and fishing capabilities to the next level. The ultra-wide views, chartplotters, transom mount, and image clarity are exceptional. 

There is some competition out there, however, and Lowrance Active Target does have some room for improvement. There’s no such thing as the perfect fish finder setup, but Lowrance’s Active Target comes pretty close.

The first time you watch recognizable crappie, bluegill, or bass hit your bait (which is also visible), you’ll be sold on the unit’s capabilities.