Garmin map 76S

I have a gift of $200 to spend on a GPS and have considered the Garmin Map 76S,on sale at $209, Garmin factory store. This would my first GPS So I don’t really know much about handhelds and what features I need.Saerching the archives suggests tht the 76 is a pretty good unit for kayaking.Can anyone give me pros and cons or suggest a better choice in this price range. I mainly paddle flat rivers, estuaries, and bays and am interested in finding my way among grass islands and back channels and checking my speed. Automotive navigation would be a plus but secondary to on water use. Thanks in advance for any input.


We have been long time users of the
Garmin Map 76 hand helds, and we think they are great.

If you never have had any GPS experience, you might find it takes a long time to learn all the features, but once you know them all you will like it.

It was a bit easier for us since we started with the little yellow Etrex which is a basic one and then graduated to the Map 76.

I am not sure what the “S” stands for, but last year my wife decided to upgrade to the Map-76 color and shortly after using it and talking to Garmin she returned it. -

Their color is great, but they changed several of the features and it appeared that the designer who changed them was definately not a paddler.

Getting the tides was one, and changing the size of waypoint icons globelly was another.



the 76 series are very good units. the 76s is a full featured unit ( the s stands for sensors). if you load it with topo it will guide you off (and on) road. if you’d like turn by turn directions while driving you may load it with garmin’s hwy software. i’d say that at the price it would be a good deal. however, you might look at the 76c series. a bit more expensive, but with a high sensitivity antenna and the ability to change between topo and roads with the insertion of a chip, not to mention the color screen. good luck with your choice. -harry

C series
The 76 is my all-time favorite of the Garmins. Harry is right - the “s” designates that it has the compass and altimeter. Some people like 'em, but they are battery-suckers. You can turn 'em off though, and save your batteries while using all the other features.

Personally, I prefer the “c” models because the color screen is so much easier to read in the daylight. All the new production 76 series are now also “x” models - meaning they have the more sensitive receiver and expandable memory. If you find a used or refurbished unit without the “x” in it’s designation, that doesn’t mean it is not worth having though. The older ones work very well, but the “x” models do better in deep canyons and under tree cover. The expandable memory is nice, but the older 76c units already had 128mg of internal memory - which is a lot.

BTW - for some reason, the “c” units also have better battery life, according to Garmin.

You should be able to find new 76cx units for under $300. I have seen refurbs available for just over $200. I have a factory-refurbished Garmin that has given me years of daily service, so I wouldn’t be afraid to go that route.

I don’t think you can find a better handheld for marine use than the Garmin 76cx

Slightly beter prices

– Last Updated: Dec-16-08 12:07 PM EST –

I did a quick check at and found slightly better pices on Garmin Map 76 units. $198 delivered for a 76S and $250 for a 76CSX. (links to Amazon page for 76 series)

There are similar low prices on
Map 76cs and map 60cs factory refurbs on EBay. The CS’s are going for between $130 and $160. I just got a Map 60cs for $159. Came with a year’s factory warranty, so far so good.

map 76 cx
I ordered one from Ebay $219 for factory refurbed with 1 year factory warrenty. thanks to all for advise.


Garmin 76s
I have a 76CSx and it’s an excellent model and works great. But you will need to purchase the maps that go with it if you plan on using it on the road. The base map system is pretty lame, which is what comes with it.

Call Garmin as their pre-sales and tech support is excellent and they will tell you more.

speed and distance on same screen
It took a few minutes but garmin 76 does have speed and distance on same screen. And I love the big buttons on front

I bought a 76s years ago, probably 5 years. It’s been one of those purchases that I just cannot regret. Not only has it held up and performed remarkably well, but it still holds its own all these years later. Would I like a color screen and better reception? Yeah, it would be great. But after all these years the same unit is still giving me everything I need and more, and I still cannot justify an upgrade.

That is a remarkable lifespan for a tech product.