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Garmin’s new radar packs 250W of pulse compression power.

Today’s solid-state radars draw less power, turn on instantly and use a very clean, stable signal to deliver defined targets both close to the boat and very far away. To put it bluntly, solid-state changed the radar game for recreational boaters. And they keep getting more powerful.

The new Garmin GMR Fantom 254/256 radars offer 250W of power, more than twice as much as the Fantom 124/126. The latest in the Fantom line comes equipped with Garmin’s MotionScope technology to highlight moving targets in different colors and show echo trails. This helps boaters avoid collisions or find birds over fish. It’s also very useful when tracking squalls and thunderstorms.

prm-Fantom 254-256

The 254/256 picks up defined targets from 20 feet off the bow up to 96 nautical miles away by using pulse compression. It’s also the first Garmin to include scan-to-scan averaging, a feature that reduces sea clutter and interferences to make it easier for the user to spot targets. Other user-friendly features like Dynamic Auto Gain and Dynamic Sea Filter make it much easier to adjust settings on the fly. With the Automatic Acquisition, which uses mini-automatic radar plotting aid (MARPA), the captain can simultaneously track up to 30 targets.

The 4-foot Fantom 254 costs $9,999 and the 6-foot Fantom 256 retails at $10,499. Both units offer a lot of power for a range of on-water activities.