Over the years, the number of fishing tools with which fishers take on the water has been increasing, and one significant addition to the list is a fish finder. These fantastic devices will make your fishing more fruitful and fun, both for expert fishers and enthusiastic amateurs alike. But if this is a whole new thing to you, you don’t have to worry since we are here to help you find the best fish finder on the market.
To buy the best fish finder, you will need to know what to look for when choosing one, the price range and the some of the top products with proven success rates. The good thing is that you will not have to look further for this information since that is precisely what you will find in this article.
- Things to consider when buying the best fish finder
- How We Picked the Best Fish Finders?
- How much does a good fish finder cost?
- Product Reviews
- 1. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder
- 2. Deeper Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder
- 3. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro
- 4. Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Color
- 5. Humminbird HELIX 5 DI
- 6. Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter
- 7. Lowrance HDS-9 Gen2 Touch
- 8. Garmin Striker 5cv
- Final Verdict
Things to consider when buying the best fish finder
You want to use the right fish finder on your fishing trip to make it enjoyable and less frustrating, and the best way to do this is knowing what you should look for in a fish finder when you go shopping. The main ones are:
The wattage of the fish finder is an essential factor to consider since it contributes to the efficiency and convenience of using the device. You want a fish finder that will display results fast enough and serve you for as long as you will be on the fishing trip, and that will require the highest wattage possible. All finders will have an indication of the level of wattage from 100-1000W.
Among the things that should dictate the amount of power to use is the depth of the water in which you will be fishing. Fish finders use sonar waves to locate fish, meaning that the shallower the water, the less power you will need. On the other hand, when fishing in deep water bodies, a powerful finder will be ideal since the readings will be displayed fast and will be clear.
The frequency of your device will affect the amount of detail showing up your screen. The higher frequencies – 192 and 200 kHz – are ideal for use in the shallow waters and the low kHz transducers are best for use in deep waters. The frequency of the fish finder will relate to the cone angle and will be 50, 83, 192, 200 or 400+ kHz for dual, single and multiple frequencies.
Therefore, you need to know where you will be fishing to know the right frequency range to pack.
Most fish finders are not bulky or heavy, but depending the type of fishing and the way you will be fishing, knowing the size that works for you will come in handy. For instance, most off-shore fishing requires that you use space efficiently and the best portable fish finder would be ideal.
While this goes without saying, it is still worth noting that color screen fish finder is the best pick for your fishing trip. They offer great detail beside being stylish and clearer than the black and white screens. As such, you will be able to see what if going on and to differentiate fish from underwater objects that may pop up on the screen.
Another good thing about the color screens is that you can use them any time of the day regardless of the brightness. This is not always possible with black and white screens especially when the day is too bright. However, if it is the only your budget can allow you to get at that time, half a loaf is better than none, don’t you agree?
The other thing to consider is the fish finder’s screen resolution which will be described in terms of pixels. To put it into context, think of a single pixel as a dot on your screen. Therefore, the more pixels you have, the more detail and clarity you will have on your screen. The minimum pixels which will make your screen look okay but not as clear as it should be is 240 x 160 Pixels.
For crispier and sharper images, go for a fish finder with the highest resolution, and when combined with the right size of the screen, you will be sure to have a great time fishing. The small screen units are ideal choices for secondary or backup fish finders. If it is the main unit, go as big as your pocket will allow.
When buying a fish finder, pick one whose transducer’s installation does not require a lot of skill. Transducers are a component of fish finders whose work is to emit sonar signals to the water and receive them after bouncing off objects. This information is sent to the main unit and displayed on the screen as a picture.
In most instances, the transducer is mounted on the boat, and the one that will work for you depend on a number of factors including your needs and the water in which you are fishing.
The cone angle of a fish finder can be described as the width of the beam sent into the water from the unit. In essence, it is how wide of an area the fish finder will cover when in use. It follows directly that the wider the cone angle, the larger the area covered by the fish finder, but with the increase in the depth of water, the sensitivity drops.
Cones range from 9 – 60+ degrees with the standard range being between 16 and 20 degrees. The good thing about transducers is that they can have multiple beam-emitting cones for more advanced needs. For this reason, you will be able to cover a large area which is ideal if you are fishing in a large water body.
Additional features to look for in the best fish finder include the wireless feature, water resistance, GPS and mapping and the material used to make the transducer. These options will majorly depend on your preferences and the amount of money that you are willing to spend.
How We Picked the Best Fish Finders?
The fact that there are many things to consider when choosing a fish finder makes it difficult for many fishers to pick the right unit. That is why we took the time to research and consider all the relevant features required in a fish finder and came up with the list of top products.
Another criterion was to go for the best rated fish finder on the market. These are those that many fishers have tried and tested and found to be working according to expectation. The resulting list is comprehensive and includes the fish finders that you can count on to have the best fishing experience.
How much does a good fish finder cost?
One of the questions many fishers want an answer to, before setting to buy a fish finder is the much it will cost them. Well, the truth is that you will more likely find a wide range of fish finders with different prices. The market has fish finders from as low as less than $100 to more than $1000.
There is no doubt the cost of a unit will depend on o the features it comes with. For instance, a color screen fish finder will more likely cost more than one with a black and white screen. It is advisable that you have a definition of the features you prefer, and make a budget before shopping. You will avoid impulse buying and be able to know the much you are willing to sacrifice.
1. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder
The Garmin Striker 4 with built-in GPS is one of the best rated fish finders online, and it is all for the right reasons. It features a 3.5-inch display screen which should be enough to help you locate the fish in the water. The lightweight and suction pad on the Striker 4 make its mounting simple and easy on any flat surface.
This kayak fish finder uses the CHIRP technology in its transducer which is used to send several beams into the water thereby covering a large area with frequencies ranging from 77-200 kHz. With this tech, you will get clear images of the water with advanced targeting both in deep and shallow waters.
Besides, the Striker 4 has other features to make your fishing fruitful such as the A-scope and Ultra-scroll which help in a real-time display of fish and their target even at high boat speeds respectively. The built-in GPS in this fish finder can be used to not only know where you are fishing but also pinpoint your favorite fishing spots even in vast waters.
◉ Built-in GPS
◉ Come with 3.5, 5, or 7-inch color screen
◉ Uses the CHIRP technology
◉ Suction pads for mounting
◉ Lightweight and compact
◈ Color screen with high resolution
◈ Multiple and continuous frequencies
◈ Easy to mount
◈ Ultra-scroll and A-scope for better targeting
◈ Ideal for both shallow and deep water
◈ Comfortable screen size
◈ Easy to operate
◈ Complicated user manual
◈ Can be damaged by moisture
◈ Doesn’t feature maps
2. Deeper Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder
If you want to go fishing and wonder whether there is a fish finder for you – there is. The Deeper Portable Wireless fish finder is an easy-to-use unit operated on an Android or iOS device. The first thing is to install an appropriate application for the fish finder and operate it on your device via Bluetooth conveniently.
It is portable, waterproof and comes with a rather powerful rechargeable battery to serve you throughout your fishing expedition. The good thing about this fish finder is that it can go places others cannot, and still give you the readings you need. As such, it is the best pick if you are looking to explore new waters and places like the shore, off a dock, or a bridge. The Deeper Smart sends out dual beams to cover a considerably large area on shallow and deep waters alike. The 90 kHz to 290 kHz frequency is enough to give you clear readings of the waters underneath and help you locate the fish you have come to catch.
◉ Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
◉ Dual Beam Transducer
◉ Frequency ranges from 90-290 kHz
◉ Operated on Android and iOS devices
◉ Battery can last up to 6 hours
◈ Easy to use
◈ Powerful battery
◈ Smartphone compatible
◈ Ideal for all types of fishing
◈ Lightweight and sturdy
◈ Battery life shorter than other fish finders
◈ Doesn’t penetrate deep water
◈ Some users had a hard time operating
3. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro
Raymarine is one brand name you cannot fail to come across when researching fish finders. The manufacturer is known for the production of quality units for a variety of fishing types, and the Dragonfly pro is no different. The use and installation of this fish finder are quite easy for any fisher including beginners.
It features Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS with an all-weather design for use on any day. You will notice the easy to control panel and a 5.7-inch color screen that make its operation and reading of findings straightforward and enjoyable. With the bright screen resolution, you get sharp images to help you locate the fish both day and night.
The Raymarine Dragonfly pro uses two CHIRP Sonar transducers that sent continuous beams into the water to not only cover a large area but also give clear imaging of the objects in the water. With it, you can target fish more efficiently and differentiate them from other underwater objects. Also, you can use the fish finder on your smartphone with a Wi-Fi app.
◉ GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity
◉ CHIPR transducer
◉ All-weather construction
◉ 7-inch display screen
◉ Can be used on smartphones
◉ Chart Plotter
◈ Clear and bright screen
◈ Fast power up
◈ Easy to follow instructions
◈ Compatible with smartphones
◈ Water resistant
◈ Features GPS
◈ Easy to mount and use
◈ Multiple and continuous beams
◈ Unupgradable software
◈ Screen is a little polarized
◈ Not ideal for use when boat is speeding
4. Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Color
If you are new to using fish finders and looking for something convenient and easy to use, then the Humminbird PiranhaMax fish finder is the best option for you. It comes with a simple design and an easy to control panel to help you identify the fish from other objects in the water. With, it, you will not need any technical skill to operate since you will get everything in the user manual.
This fish finder features a 3.5-inch color display screen with enough brightness and a pixel matrix of 240H x 320V to give you crisp and sharp images of the water. Other features like the Fish ID+, alarms for both the fish and depth as well as zooming make it use better than most other fish finders in its level.
Another thing that you will appreciate about this fish finder is the high wattage of 1600 PTP that will be ideal to serve for a significant part of the day. The transducer comes with a technological chomp and dual frequency sonar that hep to cover a large area and display clear images. Also, you can tell the depth of the water.
◉ 5-inch display
◉ Color screen
◉ 240H x 320V pixels
◉ 1600W PTP power output
◉ Dual Frequency Sonar
◉ Temperature and Depth checker
◈ Easy to use interface
◈ Bright and color screen
◈ Powerful battery
◈ Fish and depth alarms
◈ Dual frequency
◈ Detects the water temperature
◈ Not ideal for use at night
◈ The depth reader didn’t work for some users
◈ Menu is complex to operate
5. Humminbird HELIX 5 DI
There is always no harm in digging a little deeper into your pocket to get a quality product, and as far as fish finders are concerned, that would be the Helix 5 series from Humminbird. The first thing that you will notice and like is the big 5-inch display screen that you can be sure to count on for clear and great detail of display.
The resolution of 800H x 480v and 256 colors screen is enough to allow you to differentiate fish from other objects in the water making it a good fish finder. When using the fish finder at night, you will have no trouble using the screen since it is entirely backlit. As such, the end of the natural light should not be a reason to pack and leave for home.
The Humminbird Helix 5 has a dual frequency plus sonar and a CHIRP transducer which maximizes both the coverage and the target accuracy. As such, you will detect as many fishes as possible. Another feature worth noting is the built-in GPS whose data can be stored in an external SD card storage. Moreover, you will get the reading of the contour, depth, and temperature of the water.
◉ CHIRP technology
◉ Dual frequency
◉ 5-inch display color screen
◉ 800H x 480v resolution screen
◉ Built-in GPS and Anima cartography
◉ Micro SD Card Slot
◈ Great resolution and brightness
◈ Wide enough screen
◈ Easy to mount and sturdy
◈ Uses dual beam frequencies
◈ Transducer uses the CHIRP technology
◈ Can store data on external SD card
◈ GPS chart plotting
◈ Quite pricey
◈ Some users had problems operating the GPS
6. Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter
The GO7 XSE from Simrad is both a fish finder and a chatter plotter with features you will get in the best Lowrance fish finder, and the best part if that it is quite easy to operate regardless of your experience. It comes with a 7-inch touchscreen with a resolution matrix of 800H x 480V and adjustable backlight, to make it easy for you to view details any time of the day.
The technology used in the sonar is the 2D CHIRP and structure scan that work well with transducers for both SideScan and DownScan depending on the transducer that you use. The fish finder can scan depths of up to 1,000 feet with the 2D CHIRP and 300 feet with the StructureScan. The frequencies range from as low as 50 kHz up to 800 kHz meaning that you can use the Simrad GO7 XSE both in shallow and deep-water fishing.
◉ 7-inch color touchscreen
◉ 2D CHIRP or StructureScan sonar
◉ Frequency coverage from 50-800 kHz
◉ 500 Watts power output
◉ Built-in GPS
◉ Micro SD Card slot for
◈ DownScan, SideScan, and 2D CHIRP
◈ Easy to navigate through menus
◈ Quick and understandable chart updates
◈ High resolutions screen
◈ Straightforward interface with touchscreen capabilities
◈ Ability to store data in Micro SD card
◈ Easy to install and mount
◈ Touchscreen can fail when your hands are dirty
◈ The easy mounting is only for the transducer
◈ Transducer mount didn’t work for some users
7. Lowrance HDS-9 Gen2 Touch
The HDS series from Lowrance has been one amazing production, and the one that made it to our list of reviewed products is the HDS-9 Gen 2 fish finder. You know that you can count on the best Lowrance fish finder for ultimate fishing thanks to their precision and efficiency.
With this piece of technology, you will have an easy time detecting and targeting fish courtesy of the comprehensive scans of the transducer using four different channels. Better yet, the 9-inch screen gives you a wide view of the projections to make the right move. The high price tag the Lowrance HDS-9 comes with can be attributed to features such as the charting technology that not only locates you on the map but also offers HD 3D readings.
◉ GPS and mapping
◉ Four separate transducer scan channels
◉ A 9-inch touchscreen
◉ High definition reading
◉ External storage capabilities with Micro SD slot
◈ Sturdy and durable
◈ Wide 9-inch display color screen
◈ GPS and Mapping
◈ Four-channel sonar scanners
◈ The menu is easy to navigate
◈ High-quality, high definition imaging
◈ Quite pricier than other models
◈ The touchscreen can fail if the hands are wet and dirty
◈ Some users found the transducer cord too short
8. Garmin Striker 5cv
Garmin is a producer of one of the best kayak fish finders, and its Striker 5cv is an improvement of the preceding Striker 5dv. From their names, the former uses ClearVü sonar technology which offers a broader viewing compared to DownVü used in the Striker 5dv. In addition to this, the Striker 5cv also uses the 2D CHIRP for better imaging. The transducer comes with an integrated temperature sensor which will help you to check the temperature of the water, and both a trolling motor and a transom mount.
For navigation, the 5cv uses a waypoint map which is different from the mapping used in most fish finders. You can use the map to pinpoint important spots like boat ramps, fishing spots or docks using the various decent icons appropriate for each waypoint. To make this more efficient, you can make use of the integrated GPS to not only find your location and but also calculate the speed of your boat.
The Striker 5cv has a 5-inch color display screen with 800H x 480V pixel matrix and adjustable backlight for easy viewing both day and night. It has a Fish Symbol ID feature that detects and assigns an icon to the fish indicating its depth as well. Other features that make this fish finder ideal for use when you go fishing include the A-Scope, Bottom Lock, Auto Gain, and is waterproof – all aimed at making your fishing fun.
◉ High-frequency ClearVüscanning sonar for clear and detailed viewing of the underneath water
◉ Waypoint map for easy navigation and making locations of relevance
◉ Uses buttons on its keyed interface
◉ CHIRP technology for easy targeting and separation of underwater objects
◉ Built-in flasher for vertical jigging and ice fishing
◈ ClearVü and V2D CHIRP sonar
◈ Integrated temperature sensor
◈ Highly sensitive GPS
◈ Can us waypoints to pinpoint locations
◈ Wide display screen with LED backlight
◈ Easy to install
◈ Relatively cheap
◈Doesn’t come with a unit cover
◈ Lacks a microSD slot
Every fisher needs an easy to operate fish finder that will offer the best resolution and crisp imaging. Our list consists of some of the best fish finders on the market and picking one among them will depend on your preferences and the much you are willing to spend.
The Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder offers the desirable features of a kayak fish finder, and the price is not exaggerated either, and that is why it is our recommended product. The high-resolution screen it comes with is ideal for use even at night, and the compact size makes it easy to mount and install.