Whether you agree or not Fish finders are an interesting addition to fishing gear from black and white screens to colored fish finders, fishing is just fast with them. Rather than waiting or searching either down, is there any catch or not? Spot the fish on screen with multi-dimensional Sonars and cast the lure. Try your luck with these gadgets because with the best fish finders it’s all more catches and exciting fishing.
Now it’s a bit difficult to find the best one as many brands have launched many different fish finders, and each year a new model and different styles pop up. Especially the novice ones found them confused at this point. In this context, we have listed some of the best fish finders available throughout.
Although we can’t declare only one as the best as some have the features that other lacks. Your fishing location and the space on your boat also matter. So it’s now up to you what you pick, choose what suits you best.
Top 3 picks for the best fish finders
- 7 inches display
- Touch screen panel
- Triple shot transducer
- Dual Chirp Sonar
- 100% Carbon Fiber Rod
- Stainless Steel Hooded reel Seat
- Corrosion resistant
- EVA Grips on Handles
- Built in GPS
- Wi-fi connectivity
- Dual beam Sonar Scans up to 260 ft. depth
- Castable Transducer
List of Best Fish Finders
1- Lowrance HDS-Live Fish Finder
best fish finder overall
I am already a fan of wide touchscreen fish finders. So starting with my favorite feature, it’s a 7 inches screen, touch panel, and keyed panel. Although it is water resistant but some anglers avoid touching screens with wet or greasy hands, so it’s better to have both in one.
In our buying guide, we discussed transducer frequencies to get high-quality underwater images covering different depths. High frequencies cover upper water columns whereas lower frequencies reach the bottom level and display details.
With Dual Channel Chirp Sonar you can employ both views at the same time or quickly switch frequencies. Overall the operating system performs tasks quickly and responds in no time due to the Due-Core processor.
Three different imaging options are available with this one. Although the presence of a side scan raises its price but what is better than having an all-in-one fish finder? It’s the best triple-shot transducer fish finder.
The reason why we declared it as one of the best fish finders is its high-resolution display. Fish arches and underwater structure appears in such a high-definition display that you can easily differentiate each object.
This one also has a good networking feature. Auto-plots help contour the shortest path to your destination point using live maps however you have to spend an extra amount for Navionics Maps.
Overall it’s an all-rounder product optimal for both shallow and deep-water fishing. It’s an easy-to-use fish finder, you don’t have to do any advanced settings everything just appears on Click.
- Triple shot transducer
- Upgraded forward-facing sonar
- Easy to operate Unit
- Expensive Fishfinder
- The live Maps feature requires an extra amount to purchase
2- Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS Fish Finder
best fish finder for deep water
The very first thing to mention about this fish finder is its ease of use. Its keyed panel makes it easy to use. It’s a good option for old folks. For these old folks, Humminbird Helix is the best fish finder series than Solix and Apex.
It’s a 5-inch display fish finder, I personally am a fan of the wide screen like 7 to 9 inches as it’s easier to view these screens especially when kayak fishing. I was quite amazed when a 5-inch screen doesn’t even bother me.
Humminbird Helix 5 offers dual sonar technologies CHIRP plus down imaging. The results are satisfying as should be expected from a Humminbird fish finder.
This one is a good option for deep water conditions as downscan offers high-resolution in-depth water details. More good is GPS availability.
You can find your target fish far away from launching points without any fear. With Autochart Live record your map, save it and share it.
With all the GPS- models Built-in Basemap feature is also available. These built-in maps are a great addition to more advanced angling.
Although you may miss side imaging in this one, but dual beam feature offers combined beams i.e. high resolution and wide area coverage and depth details are displayed at the same point.
The only room for improvement is the water resistance. The keyed panel can be improved to be more protective, and resist water entering the internal panel.
- Its medium-sized screen doesn’t get in a way of a cast
- Transom Mount, the easiest mounting style
- Perfect for the elderly anglers
- Water resistance needs improvement
- All helix series aren’t featured with GPS so make sure to read the details before buying
3- Humminbird CHO (Control Head Only) Helix 9 Fish Finder
best networking fish finder
Humminbird never disappoints its users, it keeps on upgrading the models with more advanced technology for more enhanced underwater display. Each new series and model is a more advanced form of the previous one.
The brand has taken fishing with fish finders to another level and Humminbird Helix 9 is proof. It’s a great addition to fish finders. The game changed with Mega Live and Mega 360 imaging.
With Mega 360 imaging nothing gets hidden from the angler. It takes a quick scan at a 360 angle with your boat right in the center. The fish movements, the movement of your bait, the distance of your target from the bottom, and spotting fish in the surroundings are all covered by mega 360 imaging.
From fish arches to spotting fish with live imaging is just incredible. Here you have three imaging modes forward, down, and landscape. Although it depends on the situation in which sonar scanning type is required, I must say its landscape mode is incredible. You will be aware of what is happening beneath the water.
A picture speaks thousands of words so a pictorial representation of Live Imaging’s landscape mode
These technologies just flipped the old folks’ fishing style, where the angler have to wait for the fish. Now spot your target with a revealed distance between you and the target, and make an accurate cast right on the picture.
If we have to give it a title is the best networking fish finder as Humminbird Generation four is more upgraded with networking features. As it is only a control head model so you have to set up the NMEA network 2000.
It has many wireless connectivity features first with Talon and Raptor shallow water anchors and secondly connects your mobile phone with your fish finder.
Moreover, contour maps, share them, and GPS features are all built-in features in helix 9. If you question which is the best fish finder? We can answer Humminbird helix 9. Because the only con we found is no transducer is included.
- The Helix series is available in multiple screen sizes
- Displays underwater details to an exceptional level
- High definition results
- Accurate results
- Control head only no transducer included
4- Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv
best fish finder under $200
If you have a small boat or a fishing kayak, then the Garmin Striker 4-inch display can be considered. Amazingly this small screen fish finder offers all the premium features that the big screens of the same series offer.
If you are new in this domain, never interacted with fish finders this is definitely for you. Easy installation and affordable price both are its highlighting features.
This small screen offers features as it can. With Chirp ClearVu scanning sonar the anglers can view both side scans plus the down scan. Although the screen resolution isn’t much higher.
GPS feature is also installed in this one. Now enjoy fearless fishing and go far away from the launching point to search for your target fish. You can also mark the spots.
Being a smaller-sized fish finder it is an optimal choice for kayak also where space is the big issue. For freshwater, inshore, and offshore fishing Garmin Striker vivid 4cv can be your fishing companion.
The transducer with CHIRP traditional SONAR shares the advanced aqua structure details water depth, fish arcs, frequency rate, and water temperature. However, we can’t guarantee the results are 100% accurate due to traditional sonar.
At this price point, Garmin Vivid is the best fish finder. However, for many features mentioned you may have to upgrade your model e.g. sharing and downloading maps isn’t supported by size 4.
- It has the split screen feature
- Affordable price range
- Not a good choice for stand-up fishing on the kayak
5- Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 7″
best fish finder for shore fishing
Don’t mix up the GPS feature with the Chart plotter concepts. Chartplotters are marine navigation devices with built-in installed maps, they display your current locations, and highlight the safest or shortest routes to your marked destination and with a GPS feature your current position will be highlighted.
The point concert of explaining this is the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD are Chartplotter integrated fish finders. They are the best fish finders for navigation.
The fishing experience just becomes easier when you will be well aware of your route. With BlueChart g3 the US-based maps and charts are already loaded into the device. They are the best choice for shore and inshore fishing.
The transducer included with the control head sends sonar signals downward. For a wide 360 coverage, you can embed Panoptix LiveScope scanning sonar system. However, this adds additional cost.
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD is mostly used for navigational purposes with other fish finders. With NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183 you can connect it with an ECHOMAP or other brand fish finders.
It’s a very wide range series you have multiple screen size options. Obviously, it depends on the size of your boat that is what suits you best. This one is a 7 inches screen with both touch and keyed panels.
Perfect for a foggy day fishing, displays, water depth, and water temperature is perfect for exploring more routes, and it’s nothing difficult with its operating system. It is all easy to use even for old folks.
- Preloaded maps and charts
- Easy to use
- Accurate routes
- Only down imaging
6- Garmin Striker Cast, Castable Sonar with GPS
best castable fish finder
Fish finders have gone so far first in the race of sonar technologies and now portables are the trend. To make sure you have the best fish finders on the list, how can we neglect portable fish finders?
Garmin striker Cast is a go-to fish finder. Forget about long cables and mounting styles. All you have to do is to install the app on your mobile and boom!!
Don’t think the premium mountable fish finder features lack here. With 2D sonar technology, you can view fish arches and underwater structures. Although we can’t compare it with Helix or HDS live but at this price point, it’s the best fish finder for the value.
It’s a good fish finder for your everyday fishing. It supports freshwater fishing and fishing from the shore. The product description also mentions ice fishing but in my case, it wasn’t effective.
However, recommended for freshwater, ponds, pier fishing, and inshore cast. Use a strong fluorocarbon line leader or monofilament fishing line for this castable fish finder. At least 20 pound test required to avoid line breakage.
GPS feature is also available but you have the option to go without it as it adds additional cost to buy a GPS fish finder. This point depends on personal preference.
Without the GPS feature, you can’t contour maps and mark your secret spot or share it with Garmin Community. While on the other hand, it’s your phone you have the GPS and internet facility.
One full day battery life with 150 to 200 feet Bluetooth range, almost a golf ball size fish finder that easily fits in your tackle box.
- Long battery life 11 to 12 hours
- Gives accurate depth results
- Light in weight
- Easy to install and use a mobile application
- Not perfect for ice fishing
- GPS features add additional cost
- Not ideal for cast more than 200 feet
7- HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
best fish finder for small boat
Not in every case you need to own a boat, or should have the latest smartphone to use a fish finder. Some fish finders don’t need special protocols and are easy on your budget.
The big issue with advanced mountable fish finders is the difficulty with setting up the cables. And they are obviously expensive too. Many recreational anglers avoid using fish finders due to their prices.
Now we have a solution for you. HawkEye fish finders are one the basic level fish finders that it wouldn’t be an issue if though using it the first time. The user-friendly interface and simple with good quality display make it an optimal choice for beginners.
You will be notified by the fish alarm each time a fish is detected and the target is represented with a fish arch and icons. With Dual-beam sonar you can use it for both shallow and deep-water fishing. As both frequencies high (200 kHz) and low (83 kHz) cover all water columns.
The transducer with two cone angles of 20 and 60 degrees no doubt covers wide areas and more depth coverage.
It’s a versatile fish finder as you have plenty of ways to use it. You can simply drop your fish finder into the water and hold the control head in your hand.
In addition to that, you can mount it on your boat, and use it the way you want. I think it’s a great gift for the younger ones if they are just learning fishing or want to be familiar with fish-finding tech.
It’s a very basic level fish finder with a depth coverage of 1.5 feet. It has the potential to be the best fish finder for small boats, it’s easy you don’t have to drill the holes for it. It’s a good fish finder for still fishing.
- One of the cheapest fish finders
- Easy-to-use interface
- Water Resistant
- Full day battery
- Not recommended for fast-moving boats
8- Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder
best portable fish finder
The portables are also advancing in technologies same as the mountable ones. The best part about portable fish finders is that you don’t have to interact with totally a new thing. Just a new app or game installed on your regular mobile.
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is just smart as its name. It’s a better option than the Garmin Striker as it supports long casts up to 330 ft. however, it may be a bit challenging to achieve casting accuracy with this transducer, especially for beginners as it is a bit heavier than other castable fish finders.
The fish finder has its own Wi-Fi connectivity feature and also a Bluetooth option with pretty good battery timing about 9-10 hours. It can be charged with any of your android chargers with a simple USB cable, the cable is included in the package.
This small-sized fish finder scans underwater structures with dual bean frequencies. Get the depth details up to 260 ft. and upper water columns on your smartphone screens with this small bomb.
The application has a split screen feature and displays the fish with icons and arches. It’s a more advanced and clear resolution than the previous one.
It’s a recommended fish finder for inshore and freshwater fishing but not highly recommended for shallow water conditions, as shallow submerged rocks can damage it.
It is one of the best portable fish finders offering a wide scanning of aqua structures. Plus no additional cost for adding GPS, it’s a built-in feature.
- Attractive external body
- Accurate depth results
- Cloud storage offered by the application
- A bit heavier than other portable fish finders
- Not good for shallow-water fishing
Features to look for the best fish finders
Types of Fish Finders
You can pick from two different styles of transducers the mountable vs portable one.
Mountable Fish Finders
The other term used for Mountable fish finders is boat-mounted fish finders. You have to properly set up the whole system in your boat. First, mount transducers, install transducer cables, and install a fish finder. In short, you have to watch a YouTube tutorial when it’s your first time.
These fish finders cover multi-dimensions and more depth aqua structure details by ending strong Sonar signals as compared to the other type.
Portable Fish Finders
These fish finders have changed the game. No need to install plenty of cables just grab it and drop it at the fishing locations. Many different varieties are available in portables also. Some are castable as they get attached to the fishing line, while some are simply fixed at the bottom part of the boat in each case all you get rid of are wires.
You can view the details like water depth, water temperature, and fish arcs simply on your mobile screens by installing the application. Portable fish finders are good alternative options to expensive and large sized fish finders.
What’s the point of buying a fish finder if it doesn’t offer you a clear and high-resolution display? The following factors I consider in a fish finder’s display
- Monochrome or colored display
Today most fish finder brands offer colored displays, black and white screens are relatively old-fashioned although still available. I personally prefer the colored display as each object like rocks, or fish appears with a different prominent color while the detection becomes difficult with monochrome screens.
- Anti-Glare Screen
Although anti-glare screen protectors for transducer screens are used for this purpose but the screen also has this feature as Kayak fishing is preferably a daytime activity. This point also adds to user-friendliness.
- Split Screen Features
When you have the option of multiple views at the same time then why not adopt this new technology? Brands like Humminbird now offer 4 screen views at the same time. You can view what’s at depth, and what’s ahead along with the map.
It’s dependent on personal preference as it’s just a feature the quality isn’t affected by this.
- Keyed Panel with touch screens
The display isn’t only concerned with the resolution, the full front panel is also included. Along with touchscreens, it is preferred to also have keyed panel, as anglers who aren’t familiar with touchscreens can easily navigate screens and operate the software.
Size of the Fishfinder
The size of the fish finder matters a lot. What if your expensive widescreen fish finder although giving a high-resolution display is interrupting your cast? Always pick the size according to your boat or kayak size. Especially in the case of fish finders for kayaks, sizes should be picked wisely.
However, you may have to sacrifice the widescreen with smaller-sized fish finders but it’s better than a lost catch or other damage to the gadget.
The main hero of the whole fish finder setup is the Transducer. The sending and receiving of Sonar signals by which a high-resolution underwater picture is displayed on the screen are all done by the Transducer.
Basically, it uses SONAR technique which send sound waves, these echoes are bounced back, and as a result, an underwater depth picture is created.
There are many different features of a transducer that influences the fish finder’s performance. So they should be considered.
Power of the Transducer
Just like a fishing rod, the fishing transducer also has a power rate. In my opinion, on the basis of power, we can declare one as the best fish finder. As deeper the details you get, the more powerful and best fish finder you have especially in heavy covers. On the scale of power, we can determine how deeper a transducer can display an aqua structure.
Your transducer will be the one bearing rough water conditions as it is mounted downside the boat or the kayak, so it’s a must-have property that it should be a durable one.
Transducer construction materials should also be considered. Basically, we have three options for the transducer material which are selected on the basis of the boat in use. Each material is best for specific hull types.
They are an all-rounder type. They are the optimal choice for boats with fiberglass or metal hulls.
Stainless Steel Housings
If you are going with stainless steel transducer mounting in a metal hull then some heat-insulating material and fairing will also be required. Its recommended mounting stainless steel transducers in aluminum or steel hulls.
For fiberglass or wood hulls Bronze housings are recommended.
The accuracy of the fish finder’s result is rated on the basis of frequency. These frequencies offer you a more detailed and quality image of what’s beneath your boat.
They are categorized as high and low frequencies. High-frequency transducers are used for high speed boats. Scanning the smaller portion and upper water columns. Displays the smallest fish arcs because at higher frequencies power rate is decreased whereas screen resolution is increased.
However, on the other hand, for deep water conditions, lower frequencies are adopted. As sound waves spread farther and wider at low-frequency rates. But you have to sacrifice the clear image of deep bottom water levels.
Precisely speaking, use high-frequency transducers i.e. 20 MHz or higher when a high-resolution image is more important over depth e.g. shallow water conditions. Whereas for deeper water details shift to low-frequency rates e.g. 50 Hz.
The good news is with fish finders like the Lowrance, with the help of Dual beam Sonars both images can be displayed at the same time with the split screen option.
We are all familiar with the basic functioning of the fish finders and their transducer, the waves are released and when they hit something, they bounce back and the image is created on the screen.
So what does a CHIRP SONAR does and how it is different from the standard SONAR? Basically, both are differentiated on the basis of frequencies. The standard sonar sends sound waves at the same frequency rate.
Whereas the latest CHIRP Sonar sends waves at a vast range of frequencies instead of single, resulting in a more high-quality image, accurate results, and fish detection as stronger waves are emitted. Because the major drawback to the standard sonar is the inexact results they might or might not be true.
CHIRP sonar transducers are the optimal choice for finding water depth and shallow water fishing.
As the name suggests you will get high-quality, high-resolution, more detailed underwater pictures that are right beneath your boat.
Modern down-imaging transducers detect the nitty gritty details whatever the object is, from rock to sand and the target fish everything is visible to the angler.
If we differentiate Down imaging transducers from the CHIRP sonars, the main difference is the clarity of results. In the case of CHIPR sonars, the image is created when waves bounce off hitting any object it can be a rock or a fish it’s hard to differentiate between structure and other objects.
In the case of down imaging, it’s like Live Television streaming. You can easily differentiate between all the aqua structures and objects. Spots the fish clearer and quicker. A high rate of accuracy is guaranteed using down imaging.
However, only the area below the boat is covered you can’t get to know what is ahead, with down imaging. They are recommended for deep-water and vertical fishing but are not a good option for shallow-water conditions.
With the more advanced technology, the drawback of down imaging is covered by the Side-imaging Transducers. Now you can be aware of what’s ahead, what’s behind, and at the same time what’s right below.
Its only main difference with the down scan is the area covered whereas the picture quality and depth accuracy are the same. They are good in shallow water but not recommended for deep-water fishing as you can’t find water depths with a side scan imaging as the sonar waves do not go much deep.
Its optimal results are 50-75 feet from the boat.
As we are discussing features for the best fish finders “cone angles” are an important topic to highlight. The width of the waves is referred to as cone angles. The released waves are emitted as a sound beam i.e the waves are emitted in a cone shape. These sound beams become wide on reaching the bottom levels i.e. more area is covered by the wider cone.
Wide cones may cover wide areas but offer a less resolution picture and mainly detects fish in surrounding areas missing the fish right below the boat.
Here the main concept is narrow cone angles cover the less underwater area, but detects even smaller objects and present a clear picture at high frequencies. Narrow cone angles have a high concentration rate and present aqua structure in high resolution.
The higher the frequency the narrow will be the cone angle.
Honestly speaking I don’t consider it much important as we all have smartphones with built-in GPS features in them. Then why spend extra money on fish finders with GPS facilities?
It is effective with the Chart plotter feature although it also costs extra but you can mark your secret fishing spots for the next time.
But there may be situations where your mobile signals drop right in the middle of the river, these fish finders have strong signal-catching abilities.
Either you pick a mountable or a portable fish finder, for fishing standing on shore or for kayak fishing its all up to your personal preference. Our role was to present the list of all the best fish finders available in the market. We have shortlisted all the best options now it is your turn to pick one and declare your best. Best of luck with your fishing with these advanced technologies.