Buying the best fish finder that could help you focus is necessary. But the road to comparing and reviewing the best fish finders is not easy. That’s what I’m here for.
Table of Contents
- What’s a fish finder?
- TOP 12 BEST FISH FINDER
- Lowrance HOOK2 7-Inch Fish Finder – Best for bass fishing – under 1000
- Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv Fish Finder – Best for catfish – Under 500
- Garmin echoMAP CHIRP Fish Finder – Best for lakes – Under 300
- Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder – Best for small boat
- Deep PRO+ Smart Sonar GPS Portable Wireless Fish Finder – Best for crappie
- Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Fishfinder – Best for Jon boat – Under 200
- Garmin Striker Plus 4 Fish Finder – Best for trolling motor
- ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder – Best for kayak – Under 100
- HOOK2 4X Fish Finder – Best for pontoon boat
- Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder – Best for ice fishing
- Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook -3X Sonar – Best for canoe
- HawkEye FishTrax 1X Portable Dot Matrix Fish Finder – Best for bass boat
- Buying Guide – What to Look For
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s a fish finder?
A fish finder is something most fishermen use. It can be the most versatile and advanced piece of fishing gear for most people. But buying it isn’t always cake-walk. Especially when there are so many models out there.
What a fish finder does is it makes use of GPS to locate and target fish. It makes use sonar and frequency system to also target depth, speed, and sight-lines. So if you’re stepping into unknown territory, having a fish finder can really help.
TOP 12 BEST FISH FINDER
Do you want a combination of the fish finder or one with GPS? Do you want fish finder for something more specific? Such freshwater or saltwater fishing
Those who spend plenty of time out on waters to find fish.
This is for you! So you can have plenty of versatile and commercial fish finders to choose from. So let’s begin.
Lowrance HOOK2 7-Inch Fish Finder – Best for bass fishing – under 1000
A fish finder you should have bought by now is the Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder. It is a very high-quality fish finder with a 7-inch display. The display is equipped with SolarMAX Display and one-touch access.
You can take this fish finder out into daylight. Its screen brightness, much better than most HDI units. Through the screen, you can view and access a wide variety of settings. Including automated sonar settings and transducer options.
The automatic sonar settings are helpful. You don’t want to be forced when making adjustments. So you can adapt to your present situations. While this can get messy sometimes and are often inaccurate. Automated sonar settings correct that.
The HOOK2 tunings also include built-in mapping and a micro SD slot. The built-in mapping has access over 3,000 lakes. In support with the micro SD slot which allows you to store your mapped charts.
The features and design of this best fish finder are good for all levels of fishing. It’s good for bass fishing, ice fishing, and kayaking. You can do a full GPS scan and view it comfortably on its 7-inch screen.
It’s also easy to set up and adjust quickly in case you want to calibrate. Other features include side scans, down scan imaging, and wide-angle sounder.
Mapping and detecting points are easy to do.
The screen is wide, bright, and sunlight-friendly.
There is no mounting plate.
Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv Fish Finder – Best for catfish – Under 500
One of Garmin’s models of fish finders has a lot of features that might excite you. It is equipped with sonar technology and dual-frequency sonar settings. But what’s special about this is the expert navigational and scanning features.
The GARMIN chip that powers through this fish finder makes all the difference. It gives you a clearer and wider view of your mapping chart. With the pre-programmed Quickdraw Contours. This fish finder allows you to create more maps and store them.
You can even sync all these settings up with your phone. Including setting up the Wi-Fi to get better access and accuracy. All you need to do is download the ActiveCaptain app. This should help you with software notifications and updates.
Though it doesn’t feature a touchscreen display. The unit is completely waterproof and has LED backlight. When I say it’s best for catfish, it’s because of its impressive Depth Range Shading feature.
This fish finder precedes the possibilities of shallow fishing. It gives you a bunch of color labeling. For map depths, unique fishing spots, and restricted or dangerous spots. Such color coding is really great because it helps one to navigate consciously. Isn’t that great?
You can save up to 5,000 waypoints.
It can measure the speed of the boat.
Built-in wireless and GPS connection.
It doesn’t offer AIS sailing assist features.
No SD card or MicroSD reader.
Garmin echoMAP CHIRP Fish Finder – Best for lakes – Under 300
The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP strikes me as something that novices would love to use. It has a comfortable 5-inch wide display. With a 1-foot contouring feature, internal GPS, and sonar setting.
This best fish finder takes you through the best map creation software. And the kind that beginners know nothing of and need intuitive assistance with. Being slightly expensive, this device comes with its own mount and power.
It’s easy to install, user-friendly, and fully-equipped. The ClearVu imaging sonar technology is accurate. With the help of the GPS setting, it’s easy to navigate with. But the best part about this fish finder is that it shows great depth.
Making it a useful choice for lakes, canoes, and offshore fishing. The positioning, sensitivity, and resolution of the device are all impressive. It is certified weatherproof so it can take a beating from rain and splashes.
The depth finder and depth sounder is easy to use. The menu is easy to navigate. You wouldn’t even need to read the manual for installation. For this best fish finder is super easy and intuitive.
The GPS can also work without the transducer.
The tilt/swivel/flush mount are included.
Automatic guidance enhancement available.
No unit cover included.
It doesn’t include built-in maps.
Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder – Best for small boat
There’s a reason why the Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder is great. And it’s not just about the DualBeam plus, down imaging, or the coverage. Humminbird HELIX 5 comes from a non-GPS model.
It upgrades into a modern and intuitive fish finder from its predecessor. Making it the best fish finder for professional fishers. The device is fairly sensitive and easy to navigate. It’s the most valuable fish finder because it’s basic yet profound.
It finds fish easily and helps you detect the depths accurately. You can install this on your detachable mount on a small boat, kayak, or canoe.
Another great feature is that you can make a lot of tweaks to this. To help you with your fishing escapades and other requirements. The wide coverage offers plenty of viewing angles.
The detection depth goes at low as 350 feet. Making it a versatile and geographically-equipped fish finder for most people. Even in terms of usability, it has multiple language configurations. Even more so than most other fish finders on the market.
Easy and affordable to work with.
The display is clear, wide, and accurate.
Setup and accessibility are difficult to use.
Not ideal for beginners.
Deep PRO+ Smart Sonar GPS Portable Wireless Fish Finder – Best for crappie
You can’t worry about taking this best fish finder out for shore fishing. It has incredible depth and distance to take care of itself. The Deep PRO+ Smart Sonar comes feature-packed in many ways.
For starters, it has its own user-friendly and intuitive app. The app acts as the display, menu, and navigational settings all set up. Its powerful mapping functions are ideal for serious fishing use.
The Wi-Fi, casting range, and mapping features all run parallelly. For example, the app features a basic display and detailed display mode. The basic display mode suits the needs of beginners. While the detailed mode has more intricate adjustments.
If you’d like to tweak the sensitivity, color code, scan underwater vegetation, or check depth. In its own significant way, the Deep PRO+ Smart Sonar is rugged and effective.
If, until now, you’ve feared to take your fishing skills for crappie. You can check in immediately and experiment with the help of this fish finder.
The GPS tracks underwater topographic maps.
The operating temperature is all-encompassing and wide.
The sonar unit syncs all data to your phone.
It doesn’t read shallow-water measurements.
You cannot use a sinking line for this sonar.
Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Fishfinder – Best for Jon boat – Under 200
The Garmin Striker 4 is the top choice for the Under 200 price range. It’s easy to use and highly-sensitive fish finder. The interface and software are also intuitive and simple.
For a jon boat, you need a fish finder with such simplified functionality. This one has a good weight, long-lasting power, and durability. The device supports audible alarms and dual-beam and dual-frequency configuration.
The sonar capabilities on this thing are also impressive. The chirp sonar is accurate and valuable. It works in great tandem with the GPS setting. And you can even tread in unfamiliar territories for as long as you have this with you.
For someone with little to experience using fish finders. The Garmin Striker 4 is dynamite and user-friendly. There’s a lot going on with its technology that beginners would love to make use of.
Such as the high-quality transducer. It has great clarity, sensitivity, and noise immunity. Though it is small, it has a maximum depth of 1,600 ft in freshwater. And 750 ft. in saltwater. Giving you the best performance that money can buy.
It offers a real-time display of fish passing near the beam.
You can target fish even at higher boat speed.
Easy to assemble and use.
The device is not waterproof.
Garmin Striker Plus 4 Fish Finder – Best for trolling motor
When it comes to finding fish, you don’t want any limitations. But what about fishing at night? The Garmin Striker Plus 4 is for experienced fishermen. It has CHIRP Sonar Clarity and Quickdraw Contours.
The spacious and colorful screen offers crystal-clear images. While the device can also hold on to 2 million acres of mapping with a 1ft. contour. Isn’t that great?
There’s a unique quality to this fish finder. It’s that the Garmin Striker Plus 4 offers HD fishing mapping of all the places you’ve gone to. That you want to store and go back to for future trips as well.
This best fish finder also offers target separation. This is from both shallow and deep water which is really intuitive. You can get bottom contours even if the boat is going at a high speed. This is a good, all-encompassing fish finder for most people.
The signal noise and high-sensitivity GPS holds its position steady on the water. The device remembers all your important spots. Including those where the fish bite and mark docks. So you can always go to what works for you and leave the guesswork out.
The display is sunlight-readable and bright.
The automatic night mode is good for low-light reading.
It accurately measures depth and speed.
No lake mapping routes available.
The sonar setting is a bit tricky to use.
ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder – Best for kayak – Under 100
This is the most portable and compact fish finder. You can throw it in your fishing gear bag and use it whenever you like. The ReelSonar iBobber is wireless and app-run. This means it has no display screen.
The fact that it’s “app-only” makes it one of the most intuitive finders. Because everybody brings their phones on a fishing trip. And it’s the best thing to have to access all your fish-finding data on it as well.
The app offers depth, weather and location, contours, and underwater structure. But that’s not all. Its price point and features are big for someone accessing unknown territory. You can get the measurements of the water temperature accurately.
You can also set up some alerts to help aid your fish finding needs. It lets you know the type of fish you’ve passed over as soon as you do. It determines between two fish sizes. The LED light is suitable for night or low-light fishing.
To think of it, this is good one-person fishing. So if you’re in your kayak and have a few hours to find fish in a new territory. This iBobber helps you find fish smarter, quicker, and more effectively.
Long battery life on a full charge.
GPS spot tagging with intuitive mapping features.
Bluetooth has a limited distance range.
HOOK2 4X Fish Finder – Best for pontoon boat
The HOOK2 4X Fish Finder is easy to use and a basic fish finder. The fact that it’s good for a pontoon boat is because of its intuitive features.
It has automatic sonar tuning features. The interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It takes less time to get the settings you want. So you can focus on what’s really important and that is fishing.
The setup is also very sympathetic to newbies. Being affordable and valuable, this unit is easy to mount. You can drill it inside the hull or mount it separately on the trolling motor. The size and weight of this fish finder are ideal for small boats.
Having said that, the findings and readings on this device are great. They work well on water. It offers good quick glance references. And the wide-angular cone covers most traditional fish findings in the industry.
Easy to use and get used to.
The mounting options are plenty.
Not accurate and heavy-duty.
No screen adjustments.
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder – Best for ice fishing
The Venterior Portable Fish Finder ranks the highest for what it’s advertised for. This means it’s portable, handy, and durable. It looks like an old-fashioned fish-finding tool. The ideal choice for old-school fishers who hate using modern technologies.
But there’s a lot of modern usage for this fish finder. Only that it’s without GPS and color screen display. It detects everything from fish location, rocks, and water depth.
The screen has a technical setup to it. With green/yellow backlight, the display has a more visual tracking method. Including fish alarm, battery indicator, and fish locations.
What really impressed me about this portable fish finder is its accuracy. Though small, the LCD display is all-encompassing. It literally has everything you need to find fish. Whether you’re a beginner or proficient at fishing, it doesn’t matter.
Most of the features you see in this device are well-calibrated. It can really enhance your fish-finding abilities. The sensor float works well in your hand and the water. The device comes with mounting options.
Though the main device is not waterproof. The transmitter is waterproof. Unless you press a button on the main device, the screen shuts off in about 5 minutes. It is ideal for ice fishing below -20 degrees.
It’s also good for finding fish on lakes, deep sea, and shallow waters.
The maximum range of depth is 328 feet.
The manual and neck strap are excellent additions.
No GPS or touchscreen display.
Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook -3X Sonar – Best for canoe
This is a lesser-known model of the Lowrance Sonar Fish Finder. But that doesn’t mean it’s inefficient and ineffective. It has tons of exciting features such as the LED back-lit and dual sonar operation.
If you want to capture wider viewing angles, this is it. It even features Broadband Sounder which helps in fish targeting more accurately. If you haven’t owned an in-depth finder like this one. Using the Lowrance will come as a surprise to you.
Within its affordable price range, it is a breeze to install. The display is bright, clear, and lit. It calculates plenty of speeds. Though it’s basic, it packs a punch in all the features it offers.
Making it one of the best fish finders for kayak or canoe fishing. It has the most accurate fish targeting system. The kind that will never miss a fish even if it passes underneath the boat.
The sensor has a built-in water-reading temperature chip. The sensor itself can perform at higher speeds up to 75mph. The device has fish-detecting IDs or icons. These help you identify fish better and more easily.
Once you configure the alarm setting, it’s all good. Even the Advanced Signal Processing allows you to make manual adjustments. There’s detailed structuring in this fish finder. The kind that not many “under 100” models have to offer.
And it’s for this reason that this has now become my best fish finder!
You can swiftly switch between 83 to 200 kHz.
The quick-release bracket is durable.
Long battery life.
It doesn’t come with a cover.
It doesn’t go deeper than 100 feet.
HawkEye FishTrax 1X Portable Dot Matrix Fish Finder – Best for bass boat
HawkEye The FishTrax is one of a kind fish finder. It packs a lot of features in its portable and small design. Somehow, given that it has no GPS. It is still a full-featured competitor with lots to offer.
The transducer doubles as a floating unit. It works for ice fishing, bass boat, and for trolling motors. The device has two distinct frequencies it works on. So it starts from shallow water as low at 1.5 feet down to 240 feet.
This also makes it one of the best freshwater fish finders. It also allows you to tweak its sonar sensitivities. So that you get a better picture of what’s going on down there. You can lower sensitivity to rocks. And focus on what’s really important and that is fish.
While this a good practice for an entry-level fisher. More serious and proficient fishers need that sensitivity. And so you can adjust the sonar to include such tweaks as and when you like.
The dot-matrix display is accurate and sufficient. It displays icons that are better to place when you’re on the water. The depth range and other important scales are all up on the screen.
It even features different modes for use. Such as the fish finder mode, data mode, and ice flasher mode. For the price you pay, the HawkEye is a classy choice.
Fish targeting and spotting are accurate.
Easier to switch between frequencies.
It doesn’t have built-in GPS configuration.
The battery life is poor.
Buying Guide – What to Look For
Why would you want to buy a fish finder? It gives you cutting-edge fish-finding technology in a handy tool. It can be used for entry-level and professional fishing use. And it comes with its own mounting gear, sensors, etc.
But what makes a fish finder really impressive is the accuracy. It can give out the most accurate locations and accurate fishing targets. It also allows you to sync important fishing data such as new locations, fish targets, etc.
I’m sure you have plenty of questions about fish finders. Such as how to get more out of a fish finder. And its basic features and functions. Let’s look at the features a fish finder.
Critical Features to Look For
The display screen of any fish finder needs to be large enough. Large enough to discern different types of fish, measurements, and other information. You want your fish finder to display all important details on the screen.
And it should have better lightning, backlit display, and navigation. Fish finders are categorized according to their screen size. Such as 3-, 5-, 4-, and 7-inches.
While some fish finders come with an “app-only” functionality. The Bluetooth/wireless configuration syncs all your data to your mobile screen.
More advanced features for display are split-screen function, touchscreen, and color choices. Some fish finders also offer night mode for finding fish in low-light conditions.
You have to choose from CHIRP, side, and down scanner. These are scanning technologies transmit waves. These waves detect and measure waves to keep track of your boat and your surroundings.
CHIRP scanner makes use of sonar technology. It’s more detailed than side and down scanners. Serious fishermen need a clearer resolution of what’s happening under and at the sides of your boat.
CHIRP scanner works for deep-sea fishing so it helps you scan rocks and other objects in the water.
Side scanners, as the name suggests, track the sides of the boat. While the down scanners track what’s underneath the boat. While this may sound restricted. Most fish finders offer a combination of down and side scanning for more accuracy.
Having built-in maps, graphs, and charts can help. These preloaded maps allow you to get an idea of where you are. However, these are often expensive and are sold separately. Depending upon your local location.
Anglers also find it useful to create and save new maps. Whether you’re an occasional angler or not. Having customized maps and graphs of a lake or river is essential. This helps if you want to go back to your previous fishing location. To help you look for newer fish and create a wider searching area.
Is GPS important for fish finders? GPS is ‘Global Positioning System’ and it helps with finding and saving location. In case you want more information about where you are. What’s around your boat and under your boat.
This can be valuable information for someone looking to find more fishing locations. That is, if you’re scouting new territory, GPS is the safest feature to use.
However, entry-level models do not offer GPS. But they are equally effective at helping you find fish.
Wireless connection, on the other hand, is for better syncing abilities. If you’re a techie, you might want wireless connectivity. It helps you transfer data such as fish locations, current locations, and depth range.
So it helps to start from where you stopped from your previous adventure.
This includes the frequency of the transducer. There is a single, dual, and broadband type of frequency. The higher the frequency, the clearer the image. And the lesser the background noise while locating.
Fish finders with high frequency can also target fish while the boat is moving. While low frequencies work well when your boat stays put in one place. There are less background noise and vibration arising from the signal.
The frequency for shallow waters is 200 to 800 kHz. And for depth ranging deeper than 200ft. it is from 20 to 80 kHz.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the best fish finder brands on the market?
While there are many fish finder brands on the market. You’d want to know about these.
Humminbird – If you want a mass-market fish finder brand. Humminbird can offer a variety of depth finders including entry-level products. Most of its models are feature-rich and extensive. Including finders with CHIRP scanner, imaging features, and GPS connectivity.
Lowrance – Lowrance has a series of advanced and rugged fish finders. It offers intricate digital mapping systems at an affordable range.
Garmin – I’m sure you’ve heard about Garmin as essential fishing gear. Garmin fish finders offer preloaded maps, charts, built-in Wi-Fi, and larger display screens. The prices range from mid-level of high-end models depending on what features you want.
How powerful is a fish finder?
A good fish finder with a powerful sonar unit can do wonders. This includes the wattage and the frequency of the transducer.
The power wattage of any fish finder directly influences its performance. This can either make or break your deep or shallow fishing needs.
If you want something entry-level, a 500-watt fish finder is essential. It offers all useful features including a great depth range. But for more serious use, a 1,000-watt model is more fitting.
From a variety of models to choose from, I’m sure finding your ideal choice can get confusing. Most manufacturers have their own terminology for their features. And navigating these features and capabilities can be overwhelming.
But what you need to carefully analyze is your needs. And then look for specific features that help you enhance your skills. Let’s say you’re scouting an unknown territory. Then having GPS technology would be extremely helpful.
How well you perform while finding fish depends upon the best fish finder. Like the Lowrance HOOK2 7-Inch Fish Finder. It has everything you need from accessibility and depth ranging for angling.