Fishing is one of mankind’s most popular pastimes. Whether you are fishing from Japan or Canada, from the icy waters up north or a local stream in your backyard, as a job or as a hobby, we are, in some metaphorically corny way, all connected when we fish. If you share this connection, either as an experienced angler or a humble beginner, you can also share the benefits that come with some of the top rated fish finders, and having them at your side while fishing.
From the best fish finders for under 1000, 500, or even 200 dollars, to the honest branded fish finder reviews, this article can serve as your comprehensive guide for the fish finder market, to ensure that you know exactly what you are spending your money on. We will go over some of the best GPS fish finders, best offshore fish finders, bass boat fish finders, best depth fish finders, and much more. So no matter what you are looking for in these capable devices, we can help you find the best bang for your buck!
Best fish finder under $200: Garmin Striker
Best fish finder under $300: Garmin Striker 4
Best fish finder under $500: Lowrance hook reveal 5
Best fish finder under $1000: Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3N
Best kayaking fish finder: Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 DI Fish Finder
Best small boating fish finder: LOWRANCE HOOK REVEAL 7 TRIPLESHOT
Best ice fishing fish finder: Humminbird 410990-1 ICE Helix 7
Bets crappie fishing fish finder: Ray Marine Dragonfly 7 PRO
Best portable fish finder: Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy MAX
Best side imaging sonar fish finder: Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G4
Best live sonar fish finder: Garmin Echomap UHD
Best traditional sonar fish finder: Garmin STRIKER Plus 4
Links will be provided for each product as the article mentions them, but here is a quick, basic sneak peek at what we will review in this guide for the top rated fish finders:
Best Fish Finder Brands
Garmin Fish Finders: One of the biggest names in the fish finder market, with a wide variety of top fish finders for just about anyone with any budget.
Humminbird Fish Finders: Another top seller among fish finder brand names, Humminbird offers more high quality, budgeted or non-compromising fish finders for any occasion.
Lowrance Fish Finders: The third titan in the fish finder market, Lowrance claims many of the top rated models in fish finding, and is an essential stop on your fish finder finding journey.
Best Fish Finders on a Budget
Best Fish Finders for under $200: Outside of specific brands, we will also touch on a wide variety of budgets that you may be shopping under, including fish finders for under $200.
Best Fish Finders for under $300: Another price range we discuss, similar to the fish finders for under 200 dollars, is the best fish finders for 300 dollars or less.
Fish Finders for under $1000: For those with more expensive budgets who want to ensure quality on their fish finder, without sacrificing anything for price reduction, we go over some of the very best fish finders that money can buy for less than 1000 dollars.
Best Fish Finders by Usage
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders: Another factor we go over is the specific uses that many people have for fish finders, such as ice fishing. Each fish finder has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so we go over which fish finders are best for ice fishers.
Best Fish Finders for Crappie Fishing: One of the most common uses for fish finders is crappie fishing. Certain fish finders that we go over will be compared for the most beneficial when crappie fishing in this article.
Best Kayak Fish Finders: Kayaking is one of the most popular means of fishing, but it is also important to have a fish finder that matches the situation, especially when kayaking.
Best Small Boats Fish Finders: Other small boats that are commonly taken on the water when fishing are also mentioned, and we go over the best fish finders for all of them.
Best Portable Fish Finders: Portability is such a decisive factor for so many buyers, we included a section dedicated to top fish finders in the market based on portability along with quality.
One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for anything, including fish finders and fishing gear, is your allowed budget. Being responsible, but effective with your money is key. There are great options for almost any budget range, but you have to understand what you could be sacrificing when you make a decision. But it may be difficult to understand the difference between 100 dollar fish finders and 1000 dollar fish finders, and the features that define the 2 prices. This is why we will appeal to a wide variety of budgets in the following section, in an effort to help each reader find a quality, affordable fish finder according to their fishing needs, and financial needs.
Under 200 Dollars Fish Finder
Even if you are on a very limited budget in such a high tech market, like 200 dollars or less, there are great, quality fish finders that may suit your needs. If you want an entire article dedicated to just the best fish finders that 200 dollars or less can buy, I encourage you to look into the following link.
This will be more of an in depth summarization of that article, with more of a broader view on the whole market.
There are dozens of respected fish finder models for under 200 dollars, but we highlighted 5 of the best, and compared their advantages and disadvantages as affordable, quality fish finders. Ranging from $99.00 to $199.99, we have selected a variety of fish finders, and we hope that one or more will meet your fishing needs at an affordable price to you.
|Model||Title||GPS||Add ons||Transmit power||Frequency||Buy|
|Garmin Striker||Yes||Clear Vu scanning sonar, chirp sonar, built in flasher||200 W (RMS)||77/200 kHz||Click Here|
|Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4||No||Dual beam sonar, depth sonar, tilt and swivel mount||300 W (RMS)||200/455 kHz||Click Here|
|Phiradar JOYWEE 3.5"||No||Auto zoom bottom tracking, multi-language menu settings, dual beam sonar||100 W (RMS)||83/200 kHz||Click Here|
|LUCKY Portable Sonar Fish Finder||No||Water depth and data display, sonar transducer with attractive lamp, wireless and castable||-||125 kHz||Click Here|
|HawkEye Fishtrax||No||VirtuView HD color display, FishArc and FishID fish indicators||-||83/200 kHz||Click Here|
The Garmin Striker 4, for an affordable price of 119.99 dollars, is a model under a very respected brand in the fish finder market, and the technologically advanced device does not discredit the name. With a chirp sonar, built in GPS, built in flasher, and clear vu scanning sonar, the Garmin Striker 4 certainly is a top contender for the very best fish finders that 200 dollars or less can buy.
The Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 is also a model from a very big name in fish finding, but offering an even cheaper alternative, at just 99 dollars. However, the colored display, operating with dual beam sonar, down imaging, and a tilt and swivel mount, will make you think it is worth twice as much.
The Phiradar JOYWHEE is truly a fish finder for the people, with its extremely diverse multi-language menu settings, as well as its audible fish and depth alarm. Not to mention the dual beam sonar, paired with bottom contour and water temperature indicators and 100 degrees of sensitivity. This fish finder will truly give you value for just over 100 dollars.
The LUCKY Y2020-CWLA is a fish finder that prides itself on practicality and user friendliness. Not only does this fish finder come with an impressively long lasting battery, a glow in the dark transparent cap for night fishing, a wireless and castable sonar transducer, and an advanced color display, but it is also waterproof! It is hard to find much to complain about when you are dealing with this cost-efficient fish finder.
The HawkEye Fishtrax is also representing a large brand name, but it does not dissapoint. With the VirtuView HD glare free color display, it makes understanding the readings from the FishArc and FishID indicators easy as can be. It also comes equipped with HD bottom landscape imaging and algorithmic software programming that will ensure the minimization of false readings while fishing. No quality is sacrificed in this fish finder, and it is still just under 200 dollars to buy.
Each one of these 5 affordable, but credible fish finders is a safe investment of your money, but depending on how you intend to use the device, where, and when, there is an option that will suit your needs better than the rest. If you look further into this article, or the more in depth descriptions of these 5 fish finders in the article I linked above, you will be able to see other factors involving how you use the device, and how they should influence your decision. But if you are operating on a budget of 200 dollars or less, and you want to get a top notch fish finder, you hopefully now have a rough idea of what to expect, and where to look.
Under 300 Dollars Fish Finder
If your budget is slightly more inflated than 200 dollars, and you may have an extra 100 to spare, there are more quality options in the fish finder market that may suit what you are looking for. Some of these may overlap with the best fish finders for under $200, as once again I will summarize and relate a specific article dedicated to fish finders in this price range to the entire market. If you wish to view that article to go into more detail on the best fish finders for under 300 dollars, please follow the link below.
As can be clearly seen in the wide selection of functioning, top tier fish finders for less than 200 dollars, price can be reduced significantly while maintaining a good amount of quality. And this quality only increases as we add 100 dollars to the budget. Take a look at 5 of our top picks for fish finders on the market that match a budget of 300 dollars or less!
|Model||Title||Display Size & Resolution||Range||GPS Support||Power (RMS)||Frequency||Down Imaging||Buy|
|Garmin Striker Vivid 5cv||5 Inches 272 X 480 pixels||1100 Ft Saltwater 2300 Ft Freshwater||Yes||300 W||Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high) Clear Vü 260/455/800 kHz||No||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker Cast||N/A||148 Ft||Yes||Battery Operated||260/455 kHz||Yes||Click Here|
|Humminbird HELIX 5 DI G2||5 Inches 800 x 480 pixels||600 Ft||Yes||500 W||200/455/800 kHz||No||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker Plus 4||4 Inches 272 X 480 pixels||750 Ft Saltwater 1600 Ft Freshwater||Yes||200 W||Traditional: 50/77/83/200 kHz||Yes||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker 4||3.5 Inches 480 x 320 pixels||750 Ft Saltwater 1600 Ft Freshwater||Yes||200 W||Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)||Yes||Click Here|
The Garmin Striker Vivid 5cv may not have a Micro SD card reader, or chart-plotting capabilities, but it compensates with its wireless connectivity and Bluetooth. It also comes with down imaging, downvu and chirp sonar, GPS support, and it is water resistant. The Garmin brand should let you know you are dealing with only the highest of quality fish finders, at a fair and affordable price.
The Garmin Striker Cast, also from the Garmin family of fish finders, is another great option for fish finders within the 300 dollar budget. It too lacks features that many other fish finders have, such as track recording and split screen display, but it certainly makes up for it with the dual beam sonar, micro USB, and multiple sonar function abilities, such as A-Scope, AutoGain, and circular flash. The mobile connectivity and accessibility also makes it extra user friendly and easy to use.
Another Garmin brand that we mentioned in the best fish finders for under 200 dollars, the Garmin Striker 4 is still a great option and within the budget. It may not have mapping features, micro SD reader, or Wi-Fi connectivity, but it can still compete in terms of quality features with other fish finders under 300 dollars. Its high GPS sensitivity, map waypoint navigation, and ice fishing support features can make this fish finder stand out above the rest. It is very user friendly, easy to use and understand the display, and it is affordable and cheap without sacrificing too much quality.
The Humminbird HELIX 5 DI G2 is a fish finder that sacrifices very little in turn for lowered costs. One of the only major features it is missing is chart plotting functions, whereas it has micro SD card reading, down imaging, autochart live functioning, dual beam plus sonar, and so much more. For just under 300 dollars, this fish finder will surely not let you down.
Finally, to close out the 5 best fish finders for under 300 dollars, we have another Garmin branded model. The Garmin Striker Plus 4 is one of the most popular models in the fish finder market for under $300. It may not have an NMEA port, but it supports down imaging, has multiple frequency range, and can record up to 5000 waypoints for navigation, as well as up to 2 million acres of contours. This high end technologically advanced piece of equipment truly deserves its place on this list, even for the affordable cost that it offers, at less than 150 dollars.
All of these fish finders are from well respected brand names in the market, and will surely deliver you the quality you look for and the features you want at an affordable, sub 300 dollar price. It may overlap with the best fish finders for under 200 dollars that we previously discussed, but in our next 2 budget ranges, the fish finders will take much larger leaps in both price and quality. But for now, if you are looking to buy a fish finder and you have roughly 300 dollars to spend, I hope this section helped you understand the available market a bit better.
Under 500 Dollars Fish Finder
As we jumped from 200 dollar budgets to 300 dollar budgets, we will now increase it by 200 dollars, and go to the 5 best fish finders for under 500 dollars. If you have roughly half a thousand dollars to spend on a technically advanced and capable fish finder, you can get an incredible and reliable device, so long as you do your proper research first. We will summarize the top 5 fish finders for $500 or less from an in depth article on this price range of fish finders, so as in the previous budgets, the link to that article will be provided.
These are our top 5 picks for fish finders for under 300 dollars, and brief explanations as to why we recommend these models. You will now start noticing much higher quality functions and features in some of these devices compared to the cheaper alternatives, and hopefully this guide will help you understand what you can afford to invest in with your budget.
|Model||Title||Screen size||Keypad control||Sonar standard||Map options||Weight||Buy|
|Lowrance Hook Reveal 5||7 inches (800 by 480)||Yes||CHIRP broadband downscan sidescan||Yes||3.11 pounds||Click Here|
|HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2||5 inches (800 by 480)||Yes||CHIRP side imaging, CHIRP down imaging, and CHIRP digital sonar dual- beam plus||Yes||10.1 pounds||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker 7SV||7 inches (800 by 480)||Yes||CHIRP sonar: traditional, clearvu and sidevu||Yes||1.7 pounds||Click Here|
|Dragonfly, A80580||7 inches (800 by 480)||Yes||CHIRP down vision||Yes||3.21 pounds||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker Vivid 7cv||5 inches (800 by 480)||Yes||2D CHIRP sonar||Yes||4.4 pounds||Click Here|
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 is a phenomenal fish finder in almost any circumstance, with the possible exclusion of massively large bodies of water. However, the powerful transducer and auto tuning sonar, paired with the advanced preloaded inland map, makes this fish finder one of the best in the market. The split-shot feature is ideal for kayak fishers and other small boat users, and the impressive scanning can detect fish even in the deepest of hideouts.
The Humminbird 410230-1 Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is an ideal fish finder for small fishing boats and kayaks, but it is also universally a great device that performs well in every regard. With its built in GPS, excellent side imaging and down imaging, and charts with around 10 thousand lakes and coastal areas covering the US, this fish finder truly gives you bang for your buck.
The Garmin Striker 7SV with transducer is yet another Garmin model fish finder, which speaks to its efficiency at a reasonable cost in this market. It is very hard to find flaws in this model of fish finder, as the three powerful chirp sonars, Wi-Fi connections and activeCaptain app, and clear colorful display speak for themselves. A very great choice for an all around well rounded fish finder. Definitely one of the best fish finders you can buy, and for less than 500 dollars no less.
The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro is highly technical, top notch fish finder for less than 500 dollars with minimal sacrifices. The only flaw that sticks out is the lack of touch screen, but that is greatly overshadowed by the built in GPS, Wi-Fi connection, and next level display settings that effectively show individual fish clearly and quickly. Due to the ease of connectivity to any smart phone, this fish finder is very user friendly, as well as a top competitor for the best fish finders on the market for less than 500 dollars.
The Garmin Striker Vivid 7SV is a Garmin brand name fish finder that utilizes its top notch features and functions to make its way onto our top 5 fish finder list for 500 dollar budgets. Although it has no SD card slot, and no base maps, it supports a Wi-Fi connection, as well as preloaded contour maps and great sonar palette color. The device is very easy to use with the same activeCaptain app as the Garmin Striker 7SV, and it includes a CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP clearvu scanning sonar. This truly is a top quality fish finder that upholds the Garmin brand quality.
These 5 fish finders are all very technologically advanced and aquatically efficient, as they sacrifice less of the high end functions for cost reduction compared to fish finders for $300 or $200. No matter what fish finder you pick between these 5, you will get a brilliant device that will make you wonder how you ever fished without it.
Under 1000 Dollars
Our final, and largest budget cap that we will discuss in this article for fish finders is for people who have 1000 dollars to spend on the upmost best fish finders in the market. These fish finders are about as good as they come, with almost zero sacrifices in quality or features for cut costs, as the prices can near almost 4 digits in many of these 5 options we will go over. As always, I will provide a link to the in depth article on this specific budget that goes over each one of these fish finders, and summarize it here in regards to the overall market.
All of the fish finders that are in this graph and described below are top quality, and no matter what you choose, they will all provide in every aspect of fish finding. That being said, there are advantages to certain models depending on what you intend to use them for, so pay attention to the differences between the devices we will discuss to find what best matches what you are looking for.
|Model||Title||Screen size||Touch Screen||Low Q CHIRP||Transducer||Frequency||Buy|
|Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv||7 inches||Yes||Yes||GT52||455/800 kHz||Click Here|
|Lowrance Elite FS 7||7 inches||Yes||No||Active imaging 3-in-1||350 kHz||Click Here|
|Humminbird, Helix 7||7 inches||No||Yes||XNT 9 HW MSI||50/83/200/455 kHz||Click Here|
|Raymarine Element 9 HV||9 inches||No||No||HV-100||350 kHz||Click Here|
|Lowrance HOOK Reveal 9||9 inches||No||No||Tripleshot||455/800 kHz||Click Here|
To start us off with the 1000 dollar budget fish finders, we have another Garmin model. The Garmin Echomap UHD 73sv is one of the best fish finders that money can buy, with laveVU HD G3 preloaded maps, a high quality display that gives clear and distinct images, supporting touch screen, paired with dozens of other features and implements to maximize efficiency when on the water. The LiveScope technology unfortunately has to be purchased separately if you want it, but besides that slight setback, there are really no other flaws to point out with this top quality fish finder.
The Lowrance Elite FS7 Active Imaging fish finder has an impressive 3-in-1 active imaging function with multi-touch screen, and it supports Ethernet for connecting to other devices, among traditional means of connection that other finders support. Although this model can be very challenging to set up, especially if you are new to fish finder technology, the efficiency and output you will receive is well worth the complexity of getting it ready.
The Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3N fish finder may lack dedicated down imaging crystals in the XNT9 HW MSI T transducer, however it compensates in surplus with the built in autochart live recording, as well as MEGA imaging. The dual spectrum CHIRP, MEGA side, and down imaging are some of the highest quality you can get, and the maps are compatible with Novanics as well. This fish finder is truly worth the offered price.
The Raymarine Element 9 HV model of fish finder lacks touch screen settings, but for such a minimal problem, it has a million highly advanced features and functions to make it stand out. The built in maps, paired with bigger screen display and excellent sonar ability is what lands this device a spot in our top 5 fish finders for under 1000 dollars. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity is supported, and it is very user-friendly, especially for such an advanced device.
Finally, the Lowrance Hook Reveal 9 Tripleshot is a guaranteed great choice if you are looking for quality fish finders for under $1000, as it has countless features and functions that you will wonder how you ever fished without them. The preloaded US and Canada maps will be a blessing to local fishers, and the auto-tuning sonar and fishreveal technology will out shadow the lack of networking functions and external GPS. Especially when the built in GPS is so technologically up to date.
This final budget range has summarized 5 of the best fish finders, not only for less than 100 dollars, but 5 of the best in the whole market. These are all highly advanced, complex and efficient pieces of technology, and are worth their high listed prices, but must also be handled with care above all else. Hopefully you have a much clearer idea of how to spend your 1000 dollar budget in the fish finder market after reading this, and I hope you find and make the best purchase according to you fishing needs.
So no matter what your budget is, there are top notch, quality fish finders in the market that can meet your expectations and fulfill your fishing needs, it just takes a bit of research to find the perfect match for you. Budget is one of the most important factors to take into account when shopping for fish finders, but hopefully our summarizations of common budget intervals helped simplify the options you have a little bit.
As you have hopefully been able to realize throughout this article so far, fish finders, just like most other technological products, come in many shapes and sizes. The difference can be compared to one buying an iPhone 6 vs an iPhone 6s, or one buying an iPhone 6 as opposed to a Samsung, or even a computer.
Each model of fish finder has features and functions that make it unique. There are advantages to every fish finder, just like there are disadvantages. However, choosing the correct fish finder not only in accordance to your budget, but also in accordance to how you intend on using it, will maximize the impact of the unique advantages of each model, while minimizing the set backs or flaws that may be present.
This portion of the article will analyze the importance of knowing how you will use a fish finder once you purchase it, and how that knowledge should help shape your decision. Whether you are a lifelong kayak fisher, an enthusiastic ice fisher, small boat fishing, bank fishing, or any other wide variety of fishermen and women, we will hopefully cover a rough description of what fish finders are best for YOUR intended use.
Kayak Fishing Fish Finders
Kayak fishing is one of the most common variations of the beloved water activity, but it can also call for different, more specialized equipment due to the unique nature of it. It is very important to take this into account if you are shopping for a fish finder that you know you will use during kayak fishing, as there are obvious choices that have advantaged over others in the market, and you can get much better value for your money if you do the proper research first.
The provided link above is to an article completely written on fish finders that are best when kayak fishing. It analyzes 5 different models in depth, and explains clearly what the advantages, disadvantages, and qualities are for each one, as well as why they are best when kayak fishing. I will reference and site that article, as well as summarize the basic points, but if you wish to read more on this specific activity in the market of fish finders, I encourage you to follow the link above.
|Model||Title||Display size||Touch Screen||Color||Measuring depth||Transducer||Buy|
|Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv||7 inches||No||Black||200 feet||GT52HW- TM||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer||7 inches||No||Grey||1600 feet||200 W RMS||Click Here|
|Humminbird HELIX 5||5 inches||No||Black||1500 feet||XNT 9 DI T||Click Here|
|Elite-7 Ti - 7-inch Fish Finder||7 inches||Yes||Black||240 feet||100 W RMS||Click Here|
|Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 DI||4.3 inches||No||Black||320 feet||XNT 9 28 T||Click Here|
The table above is comparing 5 different fish finders that we believe to be the best for users who intend to kayak fish with the devices. While all of these models are great fish finders in general, whether you are kayak fishing or otherwise, they are also hand picked as kayak fisher favorites, for a number of reasons.
We selected them with a variety of budgets in mind, so as many people as possible can find the absolute best purchase for their allocated spending amount. Even if your budget is 99 dollars, or if you have over a grand to spend, we have analyzed a great fish finder for your kayak fishing adventures!
Size is extra important when considering fish finders for kayaking. This is partially because size of the display is always critical for the user, as it allows them to clearly see what information is being relayed to them in any condition. However it is also important because setting up fish finders can be challenging on certain boats, kayaks, or other vessels. You must take into account your kayak size and shape when purchasing a fish finder, and either base the model off of that, or buy an additional mount to allow your fish finder to fit comfortably and safely within the kayak.
For kayak fishing, there are a variety of key factors that can make or break a great fish finder, so it is important to know what they are. Size, water proof ability, display in adverse weather, and much more are all things to keep in mind when shopping in the fish finder market with the intent to kayak using a fish finder.
But if you are looking for a fish finder for other variations of small boats besides a kayak, we have you covered as well!
Other Small Boat Fish Finders
Although you have probably noticed how high tech and advanced most fish finders are, they are most commonly used by humble, non commercial fishers, and anyone can buy and utilize one to its fullest potential. No matter how you intend to fish with this device, it will prove very helpful once on the water. Once again, we have a link to a separate article below, one that focused entirely on fish finders for small boating, and we will be summarizing it while attempting to analyze the most important details in relation to the entire fish finder market, to help you realize what is the best fish finder for you if you plan to use it on any variation of a small boat.
If you intend to use a fish finder not for kayaking, and not for commercial or shore fishing, but instead on a small boat, this section will greatly help you find the perfect fit!
|Model||Title||SCREEN||RANGE||CHIRP SONAR||MAP CAPABILITY||GPS||FREQUENCY||Buy|
|Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv||7 inches||2300 ft. in freshwater (1100 ft. in saltwater)||Yes||Yes||Yes||50/77/200 kHz 260/455/800 kHz||Click Here|
|Humminbird HELIX 5||5 Inches||1,500 ft||Yes||Yes||Yes||455 kHz (420- 520 kHz)||Click Here|
|Lowrance Hook Reveal 7||7 Inches||500 ft||Yes||Yes||Yes||200 kHz Wide Angle High Chirp 455/800 kHz||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker 4cv||4 Inches||1,750 ft freshwater, 830 ft saltwater||Yes||Yes||Yes||50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)||Click Here|
|HawkEye FishTrax 1X||2.75 Inches||240 Feet||Yes||-||Yes||200/83kHz||Click Here|
|Raymarine Dragonfly-5||5 inches||600ft CHIRP down VisionTM and CHIRP Sonar Models 900ft||Yes||Yes||Yes||200 kHz Sonar/350 kHz down Vision||Click Here|
Much like the kayaking fish finder section, we have compared multiple top quality choices for users looking for the ideal fish finder for small boat fishing. However, this time we isolated 6 choices instead of 5, and have selected them based on factors that are most important when small boat fishing, not kayak fishing.
These factors include the material and durability of the device, as weight and size is important, especially when small boat fishing, and quality material is always important for any fish finder, so it does not break 2 months into buying it.
Another factor that we considered when highlighting these 6 models is the inclusion and usability of a GPS. All of the choices come with a built in GPS, and it is especially useful for small boaters, as marking waypoints and tracking movement is extremely helpful for finding your favorite fishing spots, and returning home safely every time.
We also tried to analyze a handful of fish finders that varied in frequencies, as small boating is a massively diverse type of fishing, and it includes so many different depths of fishing. Higher or lower frequencies are included in this top 6 pick, for shallower or deeper waters respectively. It is also very helpful to have a device with multiple frequency settings for practicality in many different types of waterways and conditions.
Size is also a very important factor in small boat fishing, as it is in kayak fishing. Mounting options must be considered as small boats come in so many different shapes and sizes. You want to find a model and a mounting option that provides the most flexibility and maneuverability when on the water.
Obviously, another key feature of a good fish finder for small boating is having it be waterproof. Small boating is the most common place when fishing to get wet. Splashes, tips, or even big catches can throw water on you and your device. Make sure your fish finder is waterproof before making a purchase.
We realize that small boating is easily the most common medium of fishing, so we made extra sure to find the best of the best fish finders that are ideal for users who plan to fish on a small boat. We hope that if you match this bill, we made it at least a bit easier to narrow down your options as you shop for a fish finder.
Ice Fishing Fish Finders
One of the most unique settings in fishing is ice fishing. This massive shift in atmosphere from other common types of fishing can be the reason it is so much fun, but it can also make equipment that is made for traditional water fishing much less practical, and in some cases, unusable. Fish finders are no different, as many models are designed to work for ice fishing, but some models certainly are not.
The link above is to an article dedicated solely to ice fishing fish finders, and what makes them ideal for those unique conditions. It goes much more in depth on each choice it offers than we will, but here will be the summarization of the article, as well as an analyzation from a broader point of view, encapsulating the entire fish finder market.
|Model||Title||Screen||Depth Range||CHIRP sonar||Map capability||GPS||Frequency||Buy|
|Garmin STRIKER Plus 5||5 inches||800 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes||435-475 kHz & 800- 840 kHz.||Click Here|
|Humminbird ICE Helix 7||7 inches||400 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes||130-250 kHz||Click Here|
|Marcum LX-7||8 inches||300 feet||-||Yes||Yes||50/200 kHz||Click Here|
|GARMIN PANOPTIX PS22 ICE FISHING BUNDLE||7 inches||800 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes||55/77/200/260/455/800 kHz||Click Here|
|Lowrance Hook Reveal 5||5 inches||500 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes||50/200 kHz||Click Here|
|LOWRANCE HOOK-3X SONAR||3.5 inches||300 feet||Yes||-||-||455/800 kHz||Click Here|
There are so many factors that go into finding the best 6 fish finders for ice fishing, as the method and style of ice fishing requires much different techniques, both in the literal fishing sense, and in the technological sense.
One factor that went into our decision was frequency. This one is huge, as fish finders for ice fishing operate at different frequencies than standard fish finders. Standard rules for frequencies still apply however, so we picked devices with both high and low frequencies for shallow and deep water fishing. Dual frequency or higher fish finders are best, especially when ice fishing, as it provides extra flexibility over where you can use it. It is definitely wise to keep this in mind when shopping.
The presence of a GPS is also a majorly important factor when shopping for ice fishing fish finders, as navigation can be the most influential thing in success on the ice. The ability to mark particular areas on the GPS function is extra helpful when fishing in an environment that has little to none distinguishable landmarks or features, such as large ice floors.
Battery of a device is extra important to consider when shopping for fish finders as an ice fisher. This is because of the obviously serious danger of running out of battery while on the ice, and having no navigation or connection to help get you back to safety. A long lasting battery is essential to making the best choice for a fish finder that will aid you on your ice fishing adventures.
Durability in the cold weather and extreme climates is also something worth looking into before you purchase a fish finder and bring it on the frozen lake with you, as many pieces of technology are not built for negative temperatures or being subject to extremely low temperatures for long periods of time. Make sure your fish finder is ready to endure the cold right along with you before buying it.
We truly hope that if you are a buyer looking in the fish finder market for a device that will assist in your ice fishing, that you have found this section helpful. Ice fishing may be a very different experience from standard water fishing, but there are models of fish finders to assist you nonetheless.
Best Fish Finders for Crappie Fishing
If you’ve gone crappie fishing before, you know that the satisfaction of catching one can be almost as good as the taste of one, and if you plan to crappie fish often with the fish finder you are shopping for, there are certainly a number of models that will be ideal for you.
While crappie fishing may not be the most atmospherically diverse fishing variation, it still allows for technology such as fish finders to prove advantageous over others in terms of crappie fishing. The article linked above goes further into detail about that than we will, but here is the summarization of what factors to look for in a fish finder that you intend to take with you on a crappie fishing journey.
|Top||Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable||Uses smartphone’s screen||260-330 feet||Yes||90-290 kHz||Yes||Click Here|
|Garmin Striker 4||3.5 inches||1600 feet in fresh water, 750 feet in salt-water||Yes||77/200 kHz||Yes||Click Here|
|Humminbird 410230-1||5 inches||1500 feet||Yes||130-250 kHz||Yes||Click Here|
|Ray Marine Electronics E70320||7 inches||600-900 ft||Yes||50-200 kHz||Yes||Click Here|
|HawkEye Fishtrax 1C||2.75 inches||240 feet||Yes||200/83 kHz||No||Click Here|
Crappie fish are some of the most common specialized fishing targets on the water these days, and many crappie fishers are greatly benefited with the assist of a fish finder at their side. Even if it is just a small feature that proves useful for fishing in certain areas or for certain species, there are fish finders that can be said to be better than others in regards to crappie fishing. It is best to look into the features that make some models stand out for crappie fishermen and women before buying, so you can be sure you made the optimal purchase.
One common factor that is always important when fish finder shopping, but is highlighted even more for crappie fishing, is the screen. Screens can display results in a wide variety of ways, such as black and white, colored, high resolution or low resolution, split screen, brightness variations, and so much more. It is important to know what screen you are buying with your fish finder, to make sure you can comfortably read the data and act on it, as the fish finder is rendered useless if you can not understand what it is picking up. Many fish finders display individual fish and identify them, so if you are keen on crappie fishing, those may be the best choice for you.
A highly portable fish finder is also very useful for all kinds of anglers, including crappie fishers, as it allowed for easy maneuverability when seeking the best locations for crappie fish, and quick adjustments to allow for optimum hot spot fishing time. We will go into portability much more later on in this article, but a very portable fish finder that does not sacrifice too much of its ability in other aspects is key when crappie fishing.
A GPS is also important for crappie fishing, as it is ice fishing and small boat fishing. The GPS waypoint markings or possible cloud inclusive GPS saving systems allow for crappie fishers to return to their favorite fishing spots with ease each time they go out. It also makes finding your way home a whole lot less worrisome, and the whole process of getting to the fishing spot and getting back is halved with a GPS.
Other fish finder features such as transducer, frequency, and power are also important to consider, as it could make the difference when maximizing your crappie fish haul each time you’re on the water.
If you, like thousands of other frequent fishers, are commonly fishing for crappie fish specifically, there are not many distinctions to make in technological aid, but there are some. We hope that this article has helped you in finding the best model fish finder to maximize your gains, and we hope that if you continue reading, you learn more about how to make the absolute best purchase with your money in the fish finder market.
We believe that portability is such a decisive factor in fish finder technology, it should have its own section in the usage aspect of fish finder market guides. Depending on how you plan to use your fish finder, portability can either be the make it or break it deal, or it can be a non-factor.
The article linked is an in depth analysis on the top 6 fish finders based on a number of factors, with the biggest one by far being portability. We are going to summarize the top 6 portable fish finders.
|Model||Title||Range||CHIRP sonar||Map Capability||GPS||Frequency||Buy|
|Garmin Striker 4||1600 feet (freshwater) 750 feet (saltwater)||Yes||Yes||Yes||50/77/200 kHz||Click Here|
|Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar||260 -330 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes||90-290 KHz||Click Here|
|Venterior VT-FF001||3- 328 feet||Yes||-||Yes||200 kHz||Click Here|
|Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4||320-600 feet||Yes||-||-||200-455 KHZ||Click Here|
|Humminbird Fishin' Buddy MAX||300-600 feet||-||-||-||200-455 KHZ||Click Here|
|ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder||135-243 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes||118 kHz||Click Here|
Portability is the factor that separates the best possible fish finder for massive commercial fishing boats, kayak fishing, ice fishing, and every other possible use for a fish finder. Portability may be something you can disregard as a factor, but if you think portability is something you are going to value having in a fish finder, the table above links to 6 of the best fish finders at varying prices and styles, all portable.
A highly portable fish finder may sacrifice some quality in other features, or it may increase the price, but it can be worth it depending on how you intend to use it while you fish.
Other Key Features and Details
Fish finders, being highly technical devices, consist of many essential functioning pieces that work together to provide the information that we pay for. From transducers, sonars, and other must have features, to GPS and Bluetooth services, and other optional features, there are dozens of functions that can make a fish finder stand out. Here are some of the biggest, and what to look for in terms of each of these features, in addition to other factors worth looking into as a buyer.
It is wise to read the reviews for products you are considering buying, as many consumers can point out previously unmentioned flaws or benefits with the product in their personal experience. It is especially important to do a little extra research when shopping for cheaper alternatives to high end equipment, as many models sacrifice quality for affordability.
In the fish finder market, durability is a big concern for many consumers, as varying fishing conditions can damage, or even destroy a fish finder, rendering it useless. Looking into the durability of a fish finder before making a purchase is advised, especially for fishers who plan to use it in adverse or harsh conditions.
The screen is obviously important as well in every fish finder, so if you have a preference between black and white screen or colored screen, or if you have trouble seeing certain patterns or small indicators, the screen is definitely going to be something you will want to make sure fits suits your liking.
Fish finders can also come with dual, single, or multiple frequencies, which all provide their own purpose. Knowing where you will be using your fish finder is key again in picking out specific frequency ranges, as shallow waters are best suited with high frequencies, whereas deeper waters are typically navigated with lower frequencies.
It is worth looking into the power of the fish finder. Power in a fish finder can be an indicator of speed and accuracy, as well as how long it will last on the water. And it is not a bad idea to check if the fish finder is water resistant, as it varies per fish finder.
The inclusion or exclusion of a GPS in your fish finder will be a noticeable factor as you use it. The presence of a GPS allows for easily navigatable trips to and from your favorite fishing spots and areas. Not all fish finders come with a built in GPS, but those that do may even have waypoint marking features, where you can easily and quickly mark a waypoint on the fish finder, and the GPS will save it and you can use it for whatever purpose later in your trip.
Cloud functionality is also a feature that some fish finders come with, and can be extremely useful for saving data on hot spots, connecting online to other map systems for easy navigation, or even communicating with other fishers locally with cloud inclusive fish finders as well.
Transducers, Beams, and Cone Angles
Specific features in fish finders are what make them stand out in terms of quality. Transducers are essential to every fish finder, and the mounts and materials used for the transducers are worth looking into before purchasing. Beams and cone angles are also key in a good fish finder, as it can reveal a wider search area for the finder, or a more customizable and precise search area, possibly with multiple beams. It is good to have an idea of how you will use the fish finder, and base the number and type of beam and cone angles with that in mind. So how do these technological devices function?
Transducers are devices containing piezoelectric crystals, which send sonar pulses into the depths of the water below your boat. These pulses vibrate at specific frequencies, which are listed and have unique benefits, and as the pulses encounter an object directly, they bounce back to the transducer that sent them, which receives the signal, and translates it into a readable display of what it found.
Beams and cone angles are customizations of the sonar pulses that the transducer emits. These control how narrow or wide the waves that are sent are, which effects how detailed and specific it will be, as well as how far it will reach in any direction. As beams and cone angle presets are all good in different situations when fishing, it is good to have a highly varying and customizable transducer when it comes to beams and cone angles.
Transducers, being one of the most important, if not the most important feature of a fish finder, come typically in 5 categories. There are:
Traditional sonars, which is the most basic category of sonar, that send signals out in a cone shape, and picks up readings within that cone. As it picks up readings, the screen scrolls along to display them all. Traditional sonars use a single set frequency.
CHIRP, which stands for compressed high intensity radar pulse, sends much more powerful waves into the water, for more descriptive and useful information displayed. It also can emit waves at a range of frequencies, instead of just a single frequency.
Live sonars are almost self explanatory, as forward facing sonars that have live readings in real time, rapidly capturing readings from the targeted area and displaying it in milliseconds.
Imaging sonars, which can be in the form of down imaging or side imaging, pick up very detailed but narrow pictures from waves sent in small beams, and as the boat maneuvers the water, these narrow pictures form an entire, realistic and precise image of the depths beneath your boat, or water bed beside your boat. Side imaging sends narrow beams hundreds of feet in 2 directions, reading below the water in each direction and sending the results directly to the transducer, which interprets these pictured results and fills them in to make an entire simulated display. Down imaging is more of a hybrid between traditional sonars and the side imaging sonar, with a traditional sonar return, as beams fill in the display as it moves right to left, with live information moving in on the right side of the screen.
360 sonars, much like the side imaging sonars, pick up narrow readings at a time, however instead of counting on your boat to move enough to get a whole picture from the readings, the 360 sonar rotates automatically to gather readings from every angle, and then paints the full picture with that data.
As there is such a wide variety in each transducer category, not to mention transducers themselves, we have highlighted 3 fish finders that we believe to be the best in their overarching style and technique, from 3 different types of sonars.
Side Imaging – Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G4
This incredible fish finder not only has a reputation as one of the best examples of side imaging sonars in the market, it also supports CHIRP, and the 2 transducer models compliment each other wonderfully.
Live sonar – Garmin Echomap UHD
This device also supports CHIRP, but compliments the advanced mechanics with a live, forward facing sonar, instead of an imaging sonar. It is one of the first very high quality and respected fish finders in the market to rely on live sonars in the transducer aspect.
Traditional sonar – Garmin STRIKER Plus 4
This is a cheaper alternative that still supports chirp, and has dual beam frequencies, but is a traditional sonar with set, nonadjustable frequencies. It offers guaranteed quality at a cheap cost, but will not offer the same results that the counterparts with live sonar and imaging sonars offer.
We sincerely hope that this article was helpful to you in your fish finder scavenge. We tried our best to highlight a wide variety of fish finders, as well as fishers circumstances in which they may use said fish finders. This market can be confusing, and even overwhelming at times, but hopefully after reading this article, you are more aware of what to take into account when shopping, and how to find the best possible fish finder to suit your fishing needs! Thanks for reading!