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Garmin Fantom 18 vs 24 – A Battle Between The Best Radars!

Best Radars Gramin

Looking to buy a new radar for your boat? Probably you’ve seen Garmin Fantom 18 and 24 on the internet while looking. Before deciding to buy one, it’s always better to compare them. So, what are the dissimilarities between Garmin fantom 18 vs 24?

If you have a flexible budget go for Fantom 24. This one has a better range, display and crisp resolution. But if you are a bit tight on your budget, Fantom 18 is a no-brainer. Fantom 18 doesn’t offer much less for a reasonable price. Also, keep the size of your control panel in mind while buying a radar. Anyhow, that was just a brief on this topic. We have a whole discussion waiting for you!

Garmin Fantom 18” vs 24”: Basic Differences

Garmin Fantom 18 vs 24

As the name suggests, the main difference between these two radars is their displays. Other than that there are minimal differences between them. The dissimilarity between these two isn’t like the differences between Garmin and Raymarine. As they have the same manufacturer.

They are just two variances of almost the same product. Yet, they have a few noticeable differences. Let’s take a glance at this table to get an overview:

Category: 18 inches 24 inches
Price: Comparatively less expensive More Expensive
Dimension: Smaller (18x: 20″ x 9.8″) Larger (24x: 25.4″ x 9.8″)
Weight: Lighter (14.0 lbs) Heavier (17.0 lbs)
Range: Smaller Larger
Imaging Precision: Less Precise More Precise
Display: 18’’ 24’’

This was a small preview of the basic differences. So you don’t have to choose only based on this information. We have a fully detailed segment waiting for you down below!

Garmin Fantom 18” vs 24” – Detailed Comparison

The table gave you a hint about the basic differences between them. But to make a decision one must explore more. That’s why we’ve done a detailed comparison based on different categories.

Dimension and Display

The radar you use must compliment your boat or control panel. It will look like a misfit if you don’t select the proper size. The 24” one is larger with dimensions of (25.4″ x 9.8″ or 64.5 cm x 24.9 cm) with a 24-inch display. If you prefer a bigger display this one is for you.

On the other hand, the 18” one is slightly smaller in size (Dimension 20″ x 9.8″ or 50.8 cm x 24.8 cm). For a comparatively smaller control panel, this can be a great fit. It’ll provide the same performance in a smaller display of 18 inches.

Winner: Fantom 24 edges this round. Because the larger the display, the better you’ll understand your surroundings.

Image Resolution

Fantom 18 and Fantom 24 uses pulse compression technology. This provides high resolution and enhanced target detection by maximizing energy. This process helps to differentiate noise from the intended target. The beamwidth plays an important role here. The narrower the beam width, the higher the resolution.

Fantom 18 offers a comparatively wider 5.2-degree beamwidth. Whereas, Fantom 24 features a narrower one with a 3.7-degree beamwidth. Precise imaging means less chance of an accident. This will result in saving your money from investing in keel guards. However, if you consider buying it do buy a keel guard as well!

Winner: In conclusion, Fantom 24 illustrates a better, more precise high- resolution image. This announces it as the winner in this category.


Both of them are from the same manufacturer. So, the maximum range is the same for both of them. That is 48 nautical miles. The minimum range is also identical for both of them at 6 meters. But there’s a catch! The difference between them is in the precision at a longer range.

The Fantom 18 one has an antenna length of (17″ or 43.18 cm). In contrast, the Fantom 24 one has a (23″ or 58.42 cm) long antenna. In theory, a larger antenna has a superior range. It is a factor affecting the range so you should consider it. But it is not the most important one.

Winner: The winner here is Fantom 24. It’ll receive the wavelengths at a better efficiency.

Price Point

Garmin radar

Another important factor that computes in the buying decision is the price. There’s no harm in buying a bit expensive product with better specifications. But we always try to find a cheap alternative. Like we do while choosing between Sea Ray and Bayliner.

The price of an 18 inches Garmin Fantom is $1999.99. As it is slightly small the price is a bit less. Whereas, you can buy a larger one with a 24 inches display for $2799.99.

Winner: The clear winner here is Fantom 18. You can buy almost the same product for $800 less.

Our Verdict

Fantom 24 is superior in all categories as we can see. The only thing on Fantom 18’s side is the price. If you have a comparatively small boat Fantom 18 will be of great value. But if you use your boat extensively, go for the Fantom 24.

Also, the budget is a big factor here. If you have enough to splurge on a Fantom 24, then do it. But Fantom 18 too offers much for a lesser price. But do not compromise on buying a great radar. Because it’s just as important as knowing how to sail a boat.


beamwidth in radar

What is beamwidth in radar?

From the main lobe of the antenna maximum energy is radiated. The peak power of radiation is radiated from a specific area. This area is called Beamwidth.

What should be the length of the antenna?

The minimum length of the antennas should be at least 1/4 of the used wavelength. For example, if the wavelength is λ the antenna must be λ/4 long.

Which are compatible with Sonar for these radars?

Fantom 18 and Fantom 24 both are compatible with the new Sonars. The GPSMAP 752/952 and 1022/1222 series compliments them really well.

How important is the increased resolution of a 24 inch radar over a 18 inch?

The increased resolution of a 24-inch radar over an 18-inch radar can be important for some boaters, depending on their specific needs and intended use. A 24-inch radar typically has a larger antenna, which can provide greater range and resolution compared to an 18-inch radar. This increased resolution can allow boaters to more accurately discern smaller targets and details on the water, which can be particularly useful in low-visibility conditions or in areas with heavy traffic.

Additionally, a larger radar antenna can provide better separation between closely spaced targets, reducing the likelihood of false echoes and improving overall radar performance. This can be particularly important in crowded harbors or busy shipping lanes. However, it’s important to note that larger radar antennas typically require more power to operate and may be more expensive.

Additionally, the increased resolution of a 24-inch radar may not be necessary or useful for all boaters, particularly those who primarily operate in open water or do not require detailed radar images. Ultimately, the decision of whether to opt for a 24-inch radar over an 18-inch radar will depend on a boater’s specific needs and intended use.

How important is it to get the radar from the same vendor as the rest of the system?

How important is it to get the radar from the same vendor as the rest of the system

It is generally recommended to get the radar from the same vendor as the rest of the marine electronics system, particularly the display and chartplotter. This is because marine electronics systems are often designed to work together as an integrated system, and using components from different vendors can sometimes result in compatibility issues or reduced performance.

When you purchase a radar and chartplotter from the same vendor, they are typically designed to work together seamlessly, with features such as plug-and-play compatibility and shared data transfer protocols. This can make the installation process smoother and reduce the likelihood of compatibility issues.

Additionally, using components from the same vendor can often provide access to more advanced features and better technical support. For example, some manufacturers offer proprietary features that are only available when using their own brand of radar with their chartplotter or display.

That being said, it is still possible to use components from different vendors and create a functional marine electronics system. However, it may require more research and customization to ensure that the components are compatible and functioning optimally together.

Ending Note

That was everything we could come up with on Garmin fantom 18 vs 24. Hope we helped you to make this important decision.

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