Top boating autopilots for 2021
7/26/2021

For many boaters autopilots are essential equipment, not merely devices to make your day on the water less stressful or more fun, although pilots deliver those goods as well. Like just about every other piece of electronics onboard, autopilots have continuously stepped up their game in terms of performance and user friendliness.

If you’re shopping for a pilot that meets both your needs and those of your boat, we’re here to help. Below are autopilots that manufacturers singled out as their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the latest model or the one with the most features, but the pilot that may be their most popular or technologically advanced or the workhorse of the line. This list is part of an exercise that Marine Electronics Journal does every year in which we report on 17 categories of electronics. We call it the Best & Brightest Boating Electronics. Last week we looked at top-rated MFDs-multifunction displays. Next week The Mic will roll out the Best & Brightest audio entertainment systems and speakers.



Garmin GHP Reactor 40 with SmartPump v2

Garmin’s Reactor 40 hydraulic autopilot keeps you on course at cruising speeds, minimizes heading error, reduces power consumption and more, so you can be more comfortable while cruising. Solid-state nine-axis Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) sensors provide reliable vessel control in all sea and weather conditions and consistent heading accuracy within 2°. With a complete package designed for powerboats and sailboats, Garmin brings an advanced marine technology to the boating public that was once only available for commercial boats. Experience the ultimate hydraulic autopilot performance when paired with the one-size-fits-most, high-reliability, brushless SmartPump v2 that eliminates the risk of rudder "hard over.” Its patented Shadow Drive technology automatically disengages the autopilot if you take the helm and re-engages when you hold a steady course.

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