11 Best Fish Finder Reviews – Top Rated for the Money

As an Amazon Associate and affiliate of other programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Fish Finder Reviews

While you might enjoy a day out on the water without having to think too hard about lure placement, sometimes it helps to know exactly where the fish are in the water. That’s where a fish finder comes into play.

Fish finders use sonar to create an image of the underwater area around your boat so that you can be better equipped to understand where the fish you are looking for is. You will be able to see groups of fish and individual fish out on the water. It can even help you find structures that certain kinds of fish might like to hang out around.

Click to View Post Navigation

Top 4 Best Fish Finders (Summary)

 

Image Product Details  
Lowrance HOOK2 7 - 7-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US/Canada Navionics+ Map Card … Best ScreenLowrance HOOK2 7
  • Great preloaded maps
  • Wi-Fi equipped
  • Great sonar
Humminbird 410950-1 HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI (MEGA Side Imaging) GPS G3 Fish Finder Most Information on ScreenHummingbird Helix 7
  • Easy to use
  • 7-inch color WVGA display
  • Cost effective
HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed Greatest QualityLowrance HOOK2 5
  • Preloaded maps
  • Amazing sonar
  • Great fish finding potential
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black Humminbird Helix 5
  • Very affordable
  • Sensitive dual-beam CHIRP sonar
  • Great GPS

For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.

This can help you understand the water that you’re in and it can help you fish more efficiently. A fish finder can even help kayakers that want to know about the area around them in case they decide to get out of the kayak.

Even if you possess expert fishing skills, your ability to tell where exactly you can find fish is grossly limited. Firstly, there is murky water you can’t see through, especially if you’re fishing on a lake. Also, there is the fact that fish understand that they are being hunted and develop methods to avoid becoming prey. 

Simply put, you need help in identifying where you can find fish. Wouldn’t you want every fishing trip to produce high yields?  You need a fish finder. Just like you would read the best fishing kayak reviews, you should look out for the best fish finders. 

Even though you cannot catch a fish with a great fishing plier, it is still necessary fishing accessories and anglers have lamented about the outcomes of not taking it along to fishing trips. A fish finder is like a guide and it is an essential fishing tool. Your fishing outcomes may simply be because you don’t use a fish finder.

This article provides detailed information about the best fish finders and where to get them.

What Is a Fish Finder and Benefits of Using It

What Is a Fish Finder and Benefits of Using It

A fish finder is an application of technology in specifying the location of the type of speed. Whether you are an angler or a seasoned fisherman, this gadget is aimed to improve your chances. It’s a simple gadget that applies technology by finding and tracking fish in a particular location.

Humans lack the skill to tell where exactly they can get fish in a particular location. A good fish finder covers for this human deficiency.

These tools perform their tasks by detecting the location of fish under the waves. The location of the fish is then relayed based on its relative location. Fish finders also perform other tasks such as detecting the temperature of the water and also function by estimating the depth of different positions.

A fish finder is a check on blind casting. Blind casting reduces the outcome of fishing trips significantly. You could spend hours fishing without making any catch. A fish finder ensures that won’t happen.

How Does a Fish Finder Work

There are three different types of imaging that range in accuracy and purpose. They are all based on a sonar system to create an image. Their accuracy and the kind of image that they create depends on the type of sonar that they are. There are pros and cons to each type, which is why they are useful for different applications.

Fish finding units  attach to boats and other fishing vehicles, but they also can work independently. There are fish finders for kayaks as well as other types of fishing vehicles.

A fish finder applies sound energy in pulses. The sound energy creates graphics of the underwater environment. The graphics are displayed on a monitor showing fish, debris and other ground structures. A fish finder simply works by emitting sound energy signals.

The technology may sound complicated. But it’s actually rather simple: The gadget uses sound waves to send out a signal sent from the transponder component. 

As the signal bounces off the different components of the underwater environment, it sends feedback to the locator. The signal is received by the locator and transformed into images. These images are shown on the monitor that indicate the different components of the underwater environment relative to your location.

Thus, from the image on the monitor, you’ll be able to tell where you can find a fish. You would also be able to tell where there are obstacles. A fish locator can thus be described as a gadget with two compartments — the monitor and the transducer. The monitor provides the information needed to improve your fishing outcomes with graphics while the transducer sends and receives the sonar.

1. Standard Sonar

An infographic about how standard sonar fish finder works

A standard sonar fish finder is simple. A cone of sonar is beamed down into the water. The sound that bounces back creates a rough idea of the water below. With the standard sonar types that were first used in fish finders, you see arcs where fish are.

The problem with standard sonar is a lack of accuracy. They have become more sophisticated over time, but these sonar types are still rough. They aren’t always capable of showing an accurate readout of the depth, but for finding fish they can work quite well.

Because they aren’t that detailed on the screens, it takes a little bit of time to understand how you’re supposed to read them. Once you get the hang of it, though, you’ll find that they can be quite useful.

2. Down Imaging

Infographic on how down imaging fish finder works

Down imaging is the more sophisticated version of the traditional sonar types. There are many different names for this more sophisticated imaging system, and it will largely depend on the brand of fish finder that you are looking at. Basically, the image is  much closer to a realistic view of what’s down there. Instead of seeing simply where the sound bounces back, your sonar will be able to use that information to create a clearer picture of the water below you.

This technology is a little more expensive, but it can make seeing what’s going on a little easier. Instead of your sonar getting stuck on a field of weeds below the surface of the water, you’ll be able to see that there is a field of weeds. Being able to accurately see the water below can help you understand where the fish are hanging out.

The downside of this imaging type isn’t just the price, but the time that it will take you to learn and understand this technology. However, fish finders that contain a more accurate sonar system will also often have a more typical sonar set up as well that you can toggle between. That’s a pretty nice system to have.

3. Side Imaging

An infographic of how side imaging fish finder works

Side imaging is different than the other two types of sonar. This one focuses on sending beams out to the side. You will be able to see less of what’s right below you and more of what’s around you. This kind of sonar is particularly useful is you are looking for structures around your boat. It also widens the area you can see. Instead of only seeing down, there is a radius that your sonar will be able to sense.

There are side imaging sonars that are sold separately, but you can also find the technology bundled in with the other two types of sonar. Side imaging can work well on its own, but it works extremely well with the other types of the technology behind it. It’s also a bit more expensive and harder to install than the others because of where the sensors need to be.

Pros and Cons of Using a Fish Finder

Technology has made fishing easier and more rewarding. One of the best ways technology is applied to directly improve the outcomes of fishing trips is as a fish finder.

You need this tool if you want to leverage available technology to improve the outcomes of your fishing trips.

Pros

The most obvious positive is improved efficiency. A finder almost guarantees improved efficiency of fishing trips because it leads you straight to your loot. Then all you need to do is ensure that you have the other right tools such as a flexible bass fishing rod for bass fishing.

Furthermore, locator units provide other information than the location of fish. You can also see the location of obstacles as well as the depth of locations. This extra information also help the productivity of anglers. You need details on the depth of locations as well as the presence of obstacles to navigate the waters exactly to your catch.

The possibilities that can be achieved differ according to device features. There are fish finders with features such as GPS. The combination of fish finder and GPS would make locating schools of fish and returning to shore easy. And say you fish with a kayak. As long as you can refer to the best fishing kayak reviews, as well as fish finders for kayaks reviews, you are on your way to maximize productivity.

A device like the fish finder  has few negatives, and its pros greatly outweigh the cons.

Cons

The commonly identified con is the cost of these gadgets. However, the value of the device is related to its cost. Just as premium surf fishing rod is worth its value, fish finders are very valuable fishing essentials.

Types of Fish Finders

Types of Fish Finders

The different fish finders are adapted to serve different purposes and cater to the varying needs of anglers. The three main types of fish locators are highlighted below:

Standalone

This type of fish finder could be described as basic. This is because it serves the simple purpose of locating fish. Standalone devices perform the basic role of these gadgets without extra features.

It is thus the cheapest and most common type. Standalone tools are also known for the wide screens of the monitors that indicate the location of fish. If you need a fish finder just for the purpose of leading you to fish, a standalone option is most suitable.

Network System

The network system performs much more than the basic role of finding fish. These devices incorporate different forms of technology such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Other features of these locators include videos, GPS charts and satellite radios. The screens of network system locators are wider, too.

If you’re looking for locators with comprehensive features, you should focus on the network system type.

Combo

Combo fish locators are more comprehensive than standalone ones. Besides the location of fish, they give information such as the depth of the water and the temperature. Combo fish finders also give information on the size of fish.

Other notable features of a combo fish locator include GPS and split-screen options for an enhanced viewing experience.

How to Choose the Best Fish Finder

When you’re considering a fish finder, you will need to think about what you’re going to use it for. Obviously, it will help see what’s going on in the water below you. This can even help kayakers that want to go swimming in the water and don’t want to jump into a shallow area or an area where they could get hurt.

However, the three different types of finders are going to let you see different things. The side imaging sonars are much more useful for seeing the area around you and helping you to get a sense of what the underwater landscape looks like. This is useful for people that are looking for particular kinds of structures for fishing or to check out what’s really going on below them.

If you’re keen to figure out where the fish are, then you might want a down imaging sonar or a more typical sonar. While it can’t show you everything around you, it can give you a sense of the fish right under you. That can definitely be helpful to some people. With more detailed views, you’ll even be able to see the plants that are growing below you.

You will be able to understand what you need the most. You might have to base your choice on what you’re doing or you might focus more on the price. However, there are options for almost everyone.

However, before heading out fishing, you should ensure that certain boxes are ticked. These boxes include ensuring that you carry protective items such as water shoes and sunglasses. You put on your sunglasses for fishing to avoid the direct sunlight and keep your toes dry with water shoes.

These activities are just as important as finding the best fish finder.

As you begin to shop for a device, keep in mind that the market is highly saturated with options. Choosing the best one is similar to finding the right spinning reel and can be a challenge.

The features you should consider before buying a fish finder are those that have been confirmed by experts as indications of the quality of the gadget. These features are highlighted below:

Frequencies

Fish Finder Frequencies

Fish finders operate at different frequencies. The ones with a low frequency operate at frequencies such as 50 Hertz. Those with a high frequency operate at frequencies that are up to 1000 Hertz. The frequency will determine its penetration level. The frequency of the transducer also determines the cone angle.

Simply put, the frequency of the fish finder determines the details that will be reported on the monitor. The two basic types of transducers are those that operate with low frequencies and those that operate at high frequencies have frequencies that are up to 200kHz. The frequency of the transducer you should choose should be dependent on your type of fishing.

Fish finders with a low frequency are suitable for fishing in deep waters since the water absorbs the frequency. They also have a wide cone angle. The reverse is the case for fish locators with a high frequency and they are suitable for fishing in shallow waters. This fish finders also have a limited cone angle.

The stability of the two types differs. Those with low frequency are less stable than those with high frequency. This stability is another feature you should note while choosing between the two major types as regards frequency.

Manufacturers have adapted certain fish locators to be the best of both worlds. Such transducers include those that can switch between a high and low frequency.

As regards the frequency of fish finders, if you fish in shallow waters, a high-frequency option is most suitable. If you fish in deep waters, a high-frequency option is most suitable. If you fish in both kinds of waters, you could buy both types or the hybrid type.

Choosing the frequency is similar to deciding to use a braided line for fishing. The choice is dependent on the type of fishing you do. There rule of thumb in regards to the frequency is this: Those with high frequencies provide the most details about a limited area, those with low frequencies provide information with limited details but a wider area.

You should note that the fish finders with high frequencies also provide details on the size of the fish and the depth of the water body. These details are not available from fish finders with low frequencies such as 50 Hz and 100 Hz. Devices with low frequencies, however, provide details on the quantity of fish in the area.

Power

Considering the power of a fish finder is important because the power determines how efficient it will be. The power which is measured in wattage, together with the frequency determines how deep the fish finder will probe. For every 100 watts, it probes 400 meters of depth.

A low-frequency locator of 100W will probe as deep as 400 meters. A high-frequency option with 100W may probe as deep as 100 meters only. While considering the power, do note that those with high wattage are most suitable for fishing in the deep. Those with low wattage are most suitable for fishing in shallow waters.

Screen Resolution

The screen resolution is important simply because it determines how well you would be able to interpret the details extracted by the transducer. The unit of measurement of screen resolution are pixels. The pixels of a screen determine how well the image will form.

For standard user experience, it is recommended that you choose a screen resolution that is at least 240 by 160 pixels. The effect of the screen size on the quality of images received is similar to the effect of the screen resolution.

Your focus on the screen should be on finding one that is big enough for you to easily get the required information. The size of the screens of fish finders includes 2 inches and 5 inches. The bigger screen sizes are known to provide better user experience than the smaller screen sizes. Thus, popular screen sizes include 4 and 12 inches.

Screen Color

Screens of fish finders are available as black and white, as well as color. Fish finders with screens that display in black and white are some of the oldest types. They are also some of the cheapest types. However, the user experience of these locator units is limited. The screen color influences user experience in that it determines how well the user can apply information obtained by the transducer.

Devices with colored screens guarantee excellent user experience as images include the most details. Locators with colored screen are also suitable for use in different lighting conditions. It should be noted that these fish finders are pricier than those with black and white screens.

Transducers

Transducers are one of the two major components of a fish locator. This is the component adapted for sending the sound waves and receiving them. It could thus be regarded as the functional part of the fish locator.

Several types of transducers are available. They include the thru-hull transducer, the in-hull transducer and the transom-mount transducer. Transom-mount transducers are most suitable for the smaller boats. Transom-mount transducers are also very easy to install. These transducers are mounted on the boats and especially easy to install. Fish finders for kayaks, for example, are available in sizes adapted to the sizes of the kayaks.

You should be interested in the features of the transducer because if it is not very compatible, you would need to buy another. Features of the transducer to look out for include the type, as mentioned above, the length of the cable and the type of your boat.

If the length of the cable of the transducer is not sufficient, you would have to extend it. The suitability of the length of the cable is determined by the size of the boat.

In considering the type of transducers available, you should note the material for making the transducer. Transom-mount transducers are very compatible with a wide range of boats. You should pay particular attention to the transducer material if you’re going for a thru-hull or in-hull transducers. Hulls that are made up of fiberglass or metal could be paired with plastic housing. Those with made up of aluminum or steel could be paired with stainless steel housing. Hulls made of wood could be paired be bronze housings.

Cone Angle

Fish Finder Cone Angle

The cone angle is another important feature that you should note when choosing a locator. Reviews of certain items, such as the best kayak reviews and premium surf fishing rod reviews, wouldn’t miss mentioning certain points that should guide your buying choice.

The cone angle is one of such important factors you would find in every fish finder review. The cone angle is the angle of the waves which measures the required qualities of the water. Your choice of cone angle should be guided by the style of fishing you do. This is because fish locators with wide cone angles are most suitable for fishing in deep waters. Those with a small cone angle are most suitable for fishing in shallow waters.

However, it is noteworthy that as the depth of the water increases, the accuracy of the fish finder decreases. There are devices with cone angles that range from 90 to 600. A lot of the available fish finders, however, have a cone angle of 150 to 200. Experienced anglers tend to own fish finders with different cone angles to achieve maximum productivity on every fishing trip. 

GPS Capability

GPS systems are included in a lot of the available fish locators, especially the network system types. Although deciding to get a fish locator with a GPS system is as optional as deciding on the use of the braided line for fishing, a GPS system has numerous advantages.

Fish finders with GPS systems are especially suitable for persons that angle in large water bodies and could use some help getting back to shore. With a fish locator that has a GPS system, you can easily find your way back to shore and save the time that could have been spent figuring it out. A GPS system also allows users to save prime locations, allowing the creation of custom maps.

GPS systems are found in a lot of the new fish finders which are particularly more expensive than those without a GPS system. The capabilities of the combination of fish finder and GPS are, however, much more extensive.

Scanning

As regards scanning, fish finders are available in two types. There are those with a side scan and those with a down scan. Scanning could also be referred to as the viewing angle. Fishfinders with a side-scan provide a wide view of the surrounding waters, with more focus on the expanse covered than the depth. Fishfinders with a down scan give the most details in relation to depth.

Because of the fundamental features of these fish finders, the choice of either type should be determined by where you fish. If you fish in deep waters, the down scan type is the most suitable option. If you fish in shallow waters, the side scan type is the most suitable option. The application of tools and accessories that are adapted to your style of fishing is particularly notable, as in using a bow for bow fishing.

Manufacturers are delving into the production of fish finders that combine both viewing angles. However, a lot of these options are currently not on the market. To get the best of both worlds, you would need to buy fish finders with both angles, respectively.

Manufacturer

The quality of a fish finder will be influenced by the manufacturer simply because certain manufacturers are more committed to maintaining quality than others. So, you should pay a healthy measure of attention to the brand name of the fish finder you buy.

You should not note that the best fish finder may not come from the biggest brands. However, brands that consistently produce quality products will have a good reputation amongst anglers. You should pay attention to that reputation gathering information from other anglers and online reviews.

Portability

Although portability is not a strong point of fish finders, there are portable options. The portable fish finders are especially those adapted for fishing in small bodies of water. Such fish finders are suitable for fishing with a small boat or kayak a still small water body. With the portable fish finders for still water bodies, you can simply cast the transducer into the water and watch findings on the screen.

If you are particularly interested in a portable fish finder for larger bodies of water, you should consider the ease of detaching and attaching the components. It is important to point out that fish finders are rarely available as single units.

The best kayak reviews always focus on portability. You should note the portability of your fish finder if you use a kayak. Look out for options that are easy to detach and reattach, with respect to the transducers. Such options will be easy to transport too.

Design and Durability

Certain features determine the durability of a fish finder. These features include the ability of the gadget to resist water penetration. Your style of fishing would also determine the features you should look out for as regards durability. If you fish in salt waters, you choose fish finders with corrosive abilities.

Fishfinders are available in a wide variety of shapes and styles. Your preferred style and design could be based on available space.

Price

Your budget plays a noteworthy role in determining the fish locator you choose. However, irrespective of your budget, you should look out for features that make the best fish finder. Manufacturers produce locators with excellent features for the different budget levels.

External Factors to Consider

Fish Finder - External Factors to Consider

Boat Type/Size

You should consider the size and type of your boat before buying a fish finder. That way, the fish finder will not negatively impact your productivity as seen with certain transom-mount and trans-hull transducers and smaller boats.

With canoes and kayaks, you should opt for fish finders suitable for shallow waters. A combination of fish finder and GPS is also recommended for fishing with canoes and kayaks. The best fishing kayak reviews always highlight the importance of GPS systems for ease of navigation.

Water Depth

The water depth is an important factor to consider as you choose a fish finder, as highlighted above. Fishfinders with a low frequency are suitable for deep waters, while those with a high frequency are most suitable shallow waters. There are those are suitable for both water conditions.

Saltwater vs Freshwater

Features that determine the suitability of a fish finder for freshwater and saltwater include the frequency and overall quality. Fishing in saltwater environments is typically more tasking than fishing in a freshwater environment. Thus, your gadgets should be equal to the task while fishing in saltwater environments. Fishfinders do more work in saltwater environments than freshwater environments because of the challenging terrain which could be filled with debris.

Fishfinders with a high frequency are most suitable for saltwater angling while fish finders with a low frequency are most suitable for freshwater angling. There are fish finders that are suitable for both environments too, even allowing users to switch between both modes.

Fish Type

Using bow for bow fishing is as essential as using the right fish finder. The type of fish you’re going after will determine your fishing style and your choice of a fish finder.

The specifications of fish finders determine the kinds of fish they can detect. The more powerful a fish finder is, the higher its abilities to detect individual fish. A low-quality fish finder cannot differentiate the types of fish: they only identify schools of fish.

Fishfinders with a high frequency are adapted to spot individual fish much better than those with a low frequency.

11 Best Fish Finders 2020 – Reviews and Comparison

1. Lowrance Hook2 7 – Best Small Water Fishfinder

There is no arguing that the Lowrance Elite 9 can take a chuck out of your budget. It is well worth the price but only if you have that money to spend. You can always opt to go a little smaller which can save you a surprising amount of money if you don’t need that big HD display.

The Hook2 in a 7-inch display has the same SolarMAX display that can show all of the information the 9inch can. You just loose 2 inches and at this size, that can be a lot. You still have plenty of room to show your favorite charts, maps, and the sonar images but you will find yourself zooming in more often.

The 7 inch Lowrance unit comes preloaded with all of the same maps as the 9 inch as well as the ability to download other, higher detailed maps. This is still a pro-level tool even if it is a touch smaller. The compromise was never on quality, just the display.

Yes, this can still share with other Lowrance units. In this case, this is perfect for a small bass boat while the larger unit serves better for bigger boats. If you end up with both, data can be effortlessly shared between them so you don’t have to remember everywhere you have been.

Pros

  • Great screen
  • Wi-Fi equipped
  • Great sonar
  • Preloaded maps

Cons

  • Costly for a smaller unit
  • Less viewing modes

2. Humminbird Helix 7 – Easiest to Use Fishfinder

Probably the most well know and perhaps even the highest selling fishfinders on the market have been Humminbird. They were among the first ever made for a wide consumer market and aimed at the recreational fisherman. None of that has changed but the technology has advanced.

The Helix 7 is the current flagship fishfinder from Humminbird and leads the way with a 7-inch color WVGA display. This has been optimized for daytime viewing but can slightly washout in the sun. Like most units this size, you can get in close on a single view or show multiple panes for the most information you can pack on a screen.

This unit uses a 2d pulse sonar that uses a SwitchFire technology developed by Humminbird to differentiate between the bottom, fish, and structure. This is among the better fishfinders to put you on fish quickly.

The difference between the higher end models and this Humminbird are immediately apparent. The way the Helix series stores and shows data is much different and can be hard to adjust to. That said, this unit will give you everything you need if you spend the time to learn the display.

Pros

  • Great reputation
  • Easy to use
  • Cost effective

Cons

  • Less preloaded maps
  • Less sonar views

3. Lowrance Hook2 7 – Best Bang for Your Buck

We have featured both the Hook2 7 and 9 above and while the 5 shares some of their great features, it is a bit of a different beast. The quality is still there along with many of the same features but this unit is made more for the recreational fisherman. In that role, this is a simply amazing unit that stands up to fishfinders costing much more.

The 5 inch LCD screen is still easy to read in any light condition but isn’t large enough to do the 4-way split mode used on larger Lowrance units. Instead, it restricts this to two vertical pains that can show modes of any of its included modes. Or you can zoom in to a single-mode for a very detailed display.

This fish finder uses a single TripleShot transducer that includes DownVu, SideVu, and a CHIPR sonar. These give you great fish finding potential combined with bottom mapping and a 300-foot cone on either side of your craft. The views are simply amazing and detailed to show structure, dept, and fish.

You get preloaded CMAP mapping of 3000 lakes at a 1-foot contour level and 9000 additional lakes covered with a more standard detail. If you were to pay for this data alone, it would cost nearly as much as this unit alone. When it comes to value and performance there is simply no fishfinder that comes close.

Pros

  • Great value for quality
  • Preloaded maps
  • Amazing sonar – 3 views in 1

Cons

  • Smaller screen

4. Humminbird Helix 5 G2 – Best on a Budget Fishfinder

When it comes to the top-selling fishfinder for the Average-Joe fisherman, we come back to Humminbird. This is a widely and successfully advertised model that stands up to hype enough to stay popular in the modern market. It may lack features common on high-end models but if those are not needed, you can save some serious bucks with this model.

It should not sound like this is a base-model unit, it is quite a bit more than that. Unlike cheaper models, this does have a full color 5 inch HD WVGA display that is readable in any light. This is a perfect display for all of the included options and data this fish finder can display.

Even as a more budget model, this still comes preloaded with Anima maps and internal GPS plotting for easy navigation and waypoint creation. You can load additional maps using the MicroSD slot if you don’t get enough. You can track, save, and export all of your favorite locations or import data from other units to check out great spots you may have missed.

With a Dual-Beam CHIRP PLUS sonar, you get amazing fish finding potential and can make out structure and other features with a little practice. These are not the most intuitive units but they do work quite well, especially on smaller water. It may be missing some highly desirable features but when money is tight this will do way more than just get you by.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Sensitive dual-beam CHIRP sonar
  • Great GPS

Cons

  • Smaller screen
  • Fewer modes
  • Harder to read

5. Deeper PRO

Deeper PRO Fish Finder is explicitly made for shore fishing. It’s a versatile and wireless option that’s meant to cater to fishers of all skill levels.

This fish finder has a built-in GPS which allows you to create bathymetric maps. It also has a bathymetric management platform called Lake Book that allows you to save and review maps even from the comfort of your own home.

You can also use this to get a thorough understanding of where is a fish and which one exactly. The finder will let you know how big the fish is, where hot spots are and give you an idea of the layout and vegetation of the underwater area.

You can cast this up to 330 feet and it can scan down to 260 feet. It has a 55-degree wide beam and a 15-degree narrow beam.

Pros

  • Bathymetric maps can be stored on management platform
  • Gives you a clear understanding of underwater layout
  • Scans down as far as 260 feet

Cons

  • Black design isn’t great for visibility

6. Venterior VT-FF001

When you use Venterior Fish Finder, you’ll be able to see the location of the fish, water depth, weeds, sand and rocks. It also has a blacklight function that allows you to use it during the night or in dark conditions.

Aside from blacklight mode, it has other modes to help you out too. This includes a fish alarm, 5 levels of sensitivity, battery saver mode and the unit of measurement used.

It’s also a versatile choice. You can use this handy tool when you’re fishing in a lake, river or even at sea.

This product also has a 2-year warranty. The manufacturer promises a 24-hour response time to any customer with a problem.

Pros

  • Can be used in almost any type of water
  • Multiple adjustable settings
  • Blacklight mode allows you to use it at night

Cons

  • No GPS memory

7. Lucky

LUCKY Portable Fish Finder is a wired option with a 26-foot distance. The depth detection is pretty impressive at a 328-foot total.

This finder is both easy to carry and rechargeable. If you charge it completely with the included USB cable, you can expect around five hours of uninterrupted use.

You can also adjust a few settings as well. The sensitivity, brightness, zoom, depth range and alarm and units are just some of the features you can play around with. Turning the brightness down can help you conserve the battery too.

This model isn’t limited to the type of water and you can use it for ice, river, shore, kayak and sea fishing.

Pros

  • 328-foot depth detection
  • Can be used in any type of water
  • Adjustable settings help you see clearly

Cons

  • Display isn’t waterproof

8. Humminbird

Humminbird Fish Finder aims to give you as much coverage as possible. It can image up to 320 feet down and has sonar coverage of 16, 28 and 74 degrees.

The fish finder is another option that’s made to go with you on any fishing trip. You don’t need to worry about having a different finder for every type of fishing trip you go on. No matter if you’re shore or sea fishing, this finder will work for you.

It can also read the water temperature in the area. You can toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius measurements.

This isn’t difficult to set up either. All you have to do is use the multi-directional mount to place it wherever you need to. Since it runs on AA batteries, you don’t have to worry about a charge of only a few hours.

Pros

  • Down imaging helps to give you an accurate idea of the area
  • Can be mounted almost anywhere
  • Meant to be used in almost any type of water

Cons

  • Mount isn’t always stable

9. Garmin Striker 4

Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder helps you to locate fish and takes the guesswork out of fishing. This device has multiple features that allow to mark your best fishing spots, thereby helping you to locate them anytime.

It’s equipped with a chirp transducer that displays fish and other structures at a higher level of visibility. It uses sonar technology to continuously transmit frequencies and gather a wider range of information.

It comes with an in-built GPS that is highly sensitive. This allows you to pinpoint your exact location. You can use this feature to navigate around brush piles and also guide your back to the docks.

With a 3.5 inch color screen, you can track the speed at which your boat is going. This product is portable and easy to use.

Pros

  • Transducer that provides higher level of clarity
  • In-built highly sensitive GPS
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Might get damaged when it comes in contact with water

10. Phiradar FF688C

Phiradar FF688C Fish Finder can be used to detect schools of fish in all bodies of water. It is designed for use by both beginners and professional fishermen.

It releases a powerful sonar frequency that can detect location of fishes, depth, vegetation and contours of the water bed. With a depth range of up to 300m and a precision of 1/10, you will be able to get the exact location of the deep contents of the water.

This device clearly indicates the size of the fish and can be zoomed in automatically or manually. It has options to display information in up to 15 different languages.

It releases an alarm when it detects fish and also when it reaches a depth of up to 99 feet. This product can measure the temperature of the water and also has 100 levels of sensitivity setting.

Pros

  • Displays the exact location and size of fish
  • Clearly visualizes the bottom contour of water with a depth range of 300m
  • Fish and depth alarm

Cons

  • Depth finder might not be accurate

11. Lowrance HDS-9

Lowrance HDS-9 Fish Finder is a 9 inch device with a HD display. It has wireless connectivity and can be integrated with your smartphone. This way, you can answer important messages and calls without losing sight of the fish.

Combining chirp sonar, active imaging 3D and structure scan HD, it provides high-resolution images of all the structure and fish below your boat. It comes with a GPS and a highly detailed C-MAP US.

It has a multi-touch screen that can be viewed in low lighting. It has a wide range of viewing angles and a dynamic color range. The images produced have high contrast and look nearly photographic.

This device works well with chirp sonar transducers in order to cover a greater distance and display fish locations clearly. It can scan depths of up to 300 feet.

Pros

  • Utilizes various technology to produce high resolution images
  • 9-inch screen can be seen clearly in low lighting
  • In-built GPS and C-MAP US

Cons

  • Liable to be harmful to human health due to chemicals

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

This is an important consideration with fish finders, just as with durable fly fishing rod. While trying to get the right fly fishing reel, you should also consider the value-to-price ratio.

Generally, fish finders that are more expensive have more impressive features such as a GPS system. However. There are good quality fish finders that are budget-friendly.

How to Install and Use a Fish Finder

Get started with installing and using your fishfinder with the following steps.

Step 1 – Consult the manual

While the instructions here provide a general guide, the manual will share information specific to your fishfinder. It is important, to begin with consulting your fishfinder manual.

Step 2 – Mount the fish finder

The way you will mount the fish finder will be determined by the type of transducer it is. There are transom-mount, trans-hull and in-hull transducers.

Step  3 – Set up the fish finder

The fish finder will have automatic settings input. You could simply turn on the gadget and observe it working with the automatic settings. Afterward, you can input preferred settings.

Step 4 – Input preferred settings

You can input your preferred settings. The sensitivity of the fish finder is the major setting that can be adjusted. Adjusting the sensitivity changes the operating power of the gadget. If you’re not sure what adjusting the setting would do, you could try your hands on a combination of them and see what happens.

Here are some other common settings that can be adjusted on a fish finder. The fish ID settings are usually turned on automatically. You may turn it off when you become very familiar with the gadget. The suppressor setting and auto depth settings are other settings that can be adjusted once you become very familiar with the gadget.

You should note the depth cursor which changes position to indicate where you can find fish.

FAQ

Which fish finder has the best down imaging?

Fishfinders with the best down imaging are usually most suitable for fishing in deep waters. The frequency, as well as other qualities of these fish finders, make them most suitable for deep waters.

Are fish finders waterproof?

Yes. Fishfinders are waterproof. However, there are fish finders that are only water-resistant and not waterproof. Water-resistant fish finders cannot withstand being submerged.

Can I use a fish finder on a kayak?

Yes. There are fish finders for kayaks. These fish finders are known for features such as their portability.

Do fish finders show water temperature?

Yes. Fishfinders show temperature. This feature may not be available in standalone fish finders. Network system fish finders measure temperature.

Can I sync my fish finder with my smartphone or tablet?

A lot of the fish finders available on the market are compatible with devices such as smartphones and tablets. There are even fish finders with custom applications with a range of features. With the custom fish finders’ apps, you can measure different parameters such as temperature and other environmental conditions. You can also make recordings with some of the available custom fish finders’ application.

What do I do if my transducer is broken?

If your transducer broke off the mount, it may not be completely damaged. You can attempt remounting it. However, if there is physical damage to the transducer, you should consider buying a new one and installing it.

You may also assume that your transducer is broken if it doesn’t pick up sounds. If your transducer doesn’t pick up sounds, consult the manual for troubleshooting tips.

What can cause interference with my fishfinder?

Interference can result from mixing up the wiring of your transducer with other wirings. The interference may also be as a result of the mounting if mounted to trolling motors.

Can I use the same fish finder for shallow, deep water and ice fishing?

Ice fishing is the most extreme of these three environments. Thus, for your fish finder to be suitable for ice fishing, it has to be especially durable. Certain fish finders are dedicated to fishing in extreme environments such as ice. You could specifically look for such fish finders for your ice fishing trips.

While you can use the same fish finder for shallow, deep water and ice fishing, it is most productive to use fish finders suitable for different environments.

Conclusion

When it comes to improving your fishing game, the best way to improve your time is by adding a fish finder. The machine, regardless of how sophisticated or expensive, will allow you to really get a better idea of what’s going on below you. You’ll be able to be more confident in the water and come back with more fish to eat.

However, keep in mind what you’re looking for in a fish finder. There are a lot of options out there, and we’ve covered some great ones here. Consider what you want from your fishing experience, and then move on from there. Hopefully, we’ve given you some great advice that will help keep you at the top of your fishing game.

If you want to step up your angling game, you need help. That help can come from a fish finder that has benefits of identification of the location of fish and navigation, amongst others. The quality of the fish finder you choose will determine how well it is able to lead you to the fish and improve the outcomes of your fishing trips.

Factors such as your fishing style and type of fish you’re after will guide you as you decide on the best fish finder. Ensure that your chosen option serves most of your needs and will enhance your productivity.

Photos from: veralub / depositphotos.com, Baloncici / depositphotos.com, FedBul / depositphotos.com,

Photo of author

Sammy Garrard

I am the Founder and Chief Editor of soutdoors.com and a prepper with over 15 years of experience. I’m excited to my knowledge and the things I learn while travelling in British Columbia, Canada where I live and around the world. Feel free to follow me on Twitter!

6 thoughts on “11 Best Fish Finder Reviews – Top Rated for the Money”

  1. I personally like Lowrance HDS-7 than others. It’s fast and amazingly easy to operate. You may want to review it someday.

    Reply
  2. Hi that’s a great post about fish finder. Personally my choice is Garmin Echo, but you have discovered new things. Thanks for your true effort.

    Reply

Leave a Comment