I’m here to make your life easier, Fisherman! There is plenty of different makes and models out there. Compared to choosing a fishing rod for example, the process of finding the best fish finder for the money, ideally one with a large number of features if possible, can be quite challenging. You’d almost certainly like nothing more than to get it over with so that you can just enjoy the adventure and ease that comes with catching more fish with the best fish finder available.
It’s clear that you want to carry out some research before making a purchase, and that’s why I’m here to help you. I’ve put together a large, comparison chart, which will make it remarkably easy for you to find the best fish finder for your specific needs, no matter of whether you are looking to just make the Sunday fishing easier or are looking for a top-notch finder with the latest and the most advanced features available. By the time you are finished reading this guide, you will know precisely what to buy.
|Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2||Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3||Garmin Echomap UHD 94SV|
|Price range: around $500||Price range: around $900||Price range: around $900
|Screen: 5"||Screen: 7"||Screen: 9"|
|Transmit power: 500W (RMS)||Transmit power: 500W (RMS)||Transmit power: 500W (RMS)|
|Sonar: CHIRP (77/200 kHz)||Sonar: CHIRP, MDI (83/200/455 kHz)||Sonar: CHIRP ClearVü/SideVü (77/200 kHz)|
|Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon|
What Are Fish Finders and What Can You Do With Them?
Fish finders are sonars with display screens that allow fishers to see a graphic portrayal of what is below their boats so they can recognize fish. To select a fish finder, look at the type of unit – does it include GPS and is it a part of a boat-wide network, size of the fish finder’s working range, resolution and size of the display, the amount transmitting power you need, and what frequencies will work best in the inland, coastal or deep-water conditions where you like to fish.
Basically there are three types of devices available:
- Standalone fish finders that serve no other purpose. If you’re on a budget and want to see what’s below the water, dedicated finders give the biggest display and the most performance for the smallest cost. Perfect for small boats and small lakes.
- Combination finder products that also contain a chart plotter. These models are suitable for most mid-sized boat owners. You can use GPS for navigation to the fishing area, view both on the split screen, or view only the fish finder. There are also transducer modules available for chart plotters. This is a receiver that mounts to your ship and it “collects” returning sound waves.
- Fully-networked systems offering a large array of possibilities, all viewable through one large display. The features include radar, raster and vector GPS charts and graphs, video, satellite radio, controlling them through smartphone and so on. Multiple display support. New features are being introduced for more expensive models every year.
The larger the better, wide displays let you to see more useful details when you split the screen to display different types of data, such as your GPS chart, depth, frequency, radar screen, or data from transducers.
This is power of the fish finder device. The strength of the ping signal is stated in watts. Smaller lake anglers can see the shallow bottom with just 200 watt (rms) equipment. A 500-watt fish finder has enough power for most coastal uses. A truly serious fishers should look for 1,000 watts or perhaps even more. The higher the wattage, the faster your device can show readings, and the deeper your readings can be. The lower the wattage, the slower it will be, and is better suited to shallower water. That is because your fish finder reads the sonar waves it gets from the transducer.
Typically, higher frequencies provide the best and precise resolution, minimum background noise on the display and the best look from a fast-moving boat, but don’t pass through as deeply as lower frequencies. Low-water inland fishermen usually choose higher frequencies, say 200kHz, 400kHz or 800kHz. For highest possible depth, lower frequencies are advised. We suggest 200kHz or higher (as much as 800kHz) for water depths up to 200 feet(60 meters) and 80kHz or 50kHz for deeper waters. Some models allow multiple frequencies showing unbelievably detailed images and let you switch between them for wider, more general views, and narrower, more precise views of the waters under.
Fixed or Portable
For more established fishers and boat owners, a fixed finder would be a better option, it can be set in a fixed position on a boat. If you like to ice fish or travel around to fish, a portable fish locator would be more suited. MUUTA — Most of the models come with the transom mount for installation. The portable units come with the transducer already attached to the transom with the use of a suction cup.
TOP 5 MODELS:
Humminbird HELIX 5
Although the Humminbird HELIX 5 G2 shares much of its features with the HELIX 10, it has fewer functions and a reduced screen size. It also costs less.
The fish finder is waterproof and well-built. It has a large 5 inch color WVGA display. You can navigate the menu using raised buttons that are organized in an ergonomic, comfortable way. Side and Down Imaging are used by the HELIX 5 to provide a clear rendering of what is happening beneath the water’s surface.
Advanced imagery is created using Humminbird’s 2D sonar technology and CHIRP technology. The CHIRP frequencies can be accessed at a maximum depth 1000 ft and provide wide angle view. This fish finder uses two methods to cover the largest frequency range possible. It can produce more detailed maps and identify fish faster.
This fish finder’s processor quickly analyses the data and relays the results in real-time with AutoChart Live, Humminbird Basemap and other similar cartography tools. The HELIX 5 can also be used as a GPS device by utilizing the most recent maps and data from NOAA/LakeMaster to show reliable information on the weather. The HELIX 5 can be used for navigation, way marking, and write don points of interest.
With regards to power output, the Humminbird HELIX 5 has an output of 500 Watts RMS..
Every HELIX 5 model comes with a transducer. Standard equipment for the GPS G2 model includes a transom-mounted XNT9 20 T transducer. Additional accessories include all necessary mounting hardware and a mounting bracket for the gimbal.
The large screen also makes it much easier to see from a distance or to check out the digital readings from both GPS and fishfinder all at once.
This is a great fish finder tool for budget-minded anglers.
Humminbird HELIX 7
Humminbird Helix 7 fish finder is among the most advanced. This unit is able to provide powerful sonar performance.
This fish finder has a large display which is one of its advantages. The display measures 7 inches diagonally, making it easy to read and view even from far away. You can adjust the backlighting to suit your viewing conditions, whether you are looking at it in direct sunlight or at night.
This Humminbird fish finder comes with a transducer capable of Dual Spectrum ChiRP and Mega Down Imaging. Dual Spectrum CHIRP lets you choose between a wide or narrow mode depending on the way you want the beam of light to scan the water. The narrow mode scans more detail, while the wide mode covers a greater area. There are two modes. The full mode is also available. You can choose any frequency you prefer within the range.
This high-quality fish sonar has incredible sonar capabilities. Mega Down Imaging is available, which has three times the output as standard Down Imaging. You get a clearer image with almost photographic quality. This mode allows you to unlock underwater details that can be used to help you catch more fish.
This fish finding device can also be used as a chartplotter. It has a GPS receiver built in and basic charts. These charts cover both the coast and lakes of the United States. These charts are excellent for basic navigation but may not be sufficient for advanced chartplotting. The system can be upgraded with Navionics and Lakemaster charts.
Garmin Echomap UHD
The Garmin Echomap is a great option for those with a larger budget who want the best side imaging fishfinder. This feature packed fishfinder offers powerful sonar with navigation capabilities.
The 9-inch display is what stands out. This large screen is ideal for larger boats as it makes it easier to see from far away. You can also split the screen into four sections to view different sonar readings, or combine sonar and navigation simultaneously.
A compatible transducer is required to complete a fish finder system. You can choose from either the Panoptix or GT56 transducers.
The GT56 includes CHIRP sonar, which provides incredible clarity and definition. Fishing is a new experience. It provides a clear separation of target targets.
ClearVu is a combination of SideVu (which is basically a side scan) and ClearVu (which is basically a down scan). With a down scan you can see what’s underneath the boat. You can also view the sides of your boat up to 500 feet with a side scan. This allows you to see clearly structure, objects, as well as fish.
You can combine CHIRP sonar and a side scan, or a down scanner to see the most detail of fish and structures below and on the sides of your boat. Ultra high definition sonar is also available on the fish finder, ensuring that images are crystal clear and high in detail. You can also choose your preferred color palette. Each one offers high contrast colors.
The fish finder can also record sonar. It saves your position and coordinates the time for the sonar return. You can later view it again on your computer.
This Garmin fish finder is made by a company that is a leader in navigation products. It also features an advanced GPS built-in GPS. The unit comes preloaded with charts for the U.S. coast and Canada side of the Great Lakes. Garmin’s charts offer more detail than smaller fish finder units. They also include integrated Navionics data.
It provides basic charts as well as depth contours, currents and fishing charts. HD maps can be created with 1-foot contours to create custom fishing maps.
This fish finder also has network connectivity. You can connect the unit to any other device on your boat using NMEA 2000 or 0183 ports. This allows you to see all information on one screen. The unit also supports Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can pair it to your smartphone and use Garmin’s free app to receive updates, upgrades and connect with the community.
Lowrance HDS-7 LIVE Fish Finder
This Lowrance fishfinder is the best on the market and offers incredible fish finding capabilities.
This allows you to see two CHIRP SONAR readings simultaneously, giving you the best view of your craft from both sides.
It has a dual-core processor to make sure it is superfast and can update quickly and accurately.
You can identify objects and structures quickly with near-photographic quality image quality. Automatic route planning makes it easier to navigate the channels faster by automatically determining the safest and most direct route based on your vessel’s draft, beam and height.
A GPS is also included in the fish finder. GPS receivers have a 10Hz update rate which allows for smoother performance and greater accuracy in position determination. The GPS receiver also comes preloaded with high-detail maps of more than 4,000 lakes across the U.S.
HDS-7 LIVE also has Wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. This is Lowrance’s next-level tech right here.
Lowrance 12-incher HOOK2
Lowrance’s HOOK212 12 is a beast with its 12 inch display. It is a game-changer auto tuning sonar. It adjusts automatically based on fishing conditions. All you have to do is cast a few lines before it takes over all your worries.
TripleShot 3-in1 sonar is powerful and convenient. It has a wide angle, high-chirp capability, which provides twice as much coverage than most fishfinders.
This package includes everything you need to locate your next fishing spot, or rediscover an old favorite spot. It also comes with a map that covers more than 3000 lakes in America and precise contours measuring 1ft for navigation on any terrain.
Lowrance HOOK2-12 has three frequencies available: 200kHz for traditional 2D sonar and 455/800Hz to be used when scanning through sided Underwater Scanners.
These higher ranges use CHIRP technology, but the intervals aren’t specified. We will let you know that they can modulate sound waves at various times to produce different tones without changing frequency or directionality.
This Lowrance fish finder includes a TripleShot transducer. This transducer has an 8-pin connector that can be mounted on ships or boats. It integrates temperature sensors to provide accurate readings of water depths as high as 60 feet (18m).
TripleShot is a sonar imaging transducer that gives a real representation of the environment. This unit is capable of detecting objects as low as 150m underwater and still maintaining a precise bottom reading at 55 mph.
The HOOK2-12 TripleShot includes the U.S Inland Basemap. This map is based on C-MAP’s charts and covers more than 4000 US lakes. It has 1′ depth contours to accurately depict boundaries between water/shoreline, as well as various points of interest such islands or other landmarks.
Lowrance 12” fish finder is durable and can withstand direct sun or rain. You don’t need to worry about muffled sounds and alerts on your next adventure due to its IPX7 waterproof design.
TOP 4 BUDGET-CONSCIOUS MODELS
Garmin Striker 7SV with transducer
7SV makes fishing much easier and is a more advanced model than 5DV, it includes the CHIRP DownVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars and has the unique capability to find structures on each side of the boat. It features a simple-to-use 7-inch color fishfinder with integrated, high-sensitivity GPS and CHIRP sonar, as well as Garmin’s own advanced CHIRP ClearVü™ and Garmin CHIRP SideVü™ scanning sonars that helps to find fish easily, mark and come back to favored fishing spots or docks and ramps. The 7SV also includes the transducer with high wide CHIRP 250 W, 455/800 kHz CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü with 350 W power. You can share waypoints and routes with other STRIKER or echoMAP™ chartplotter combos systems. Smooth Scaling™ software technology comes with for depth spectrum adjusting.
Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder
This little Garmin model is an absolute best-seller. It offers a lot of bang for the buck, it even has high-sensitivity GPS built in. The easy-to-use 3.5-inch color display makes it simple enough to view what’s going on under the water, it can also show the boat’s speed on the screen to be sure you are moving at the appropriate speed for the lure you’re employing and for a certain fish species.. You can mark and return to your favorite spots, docks and it’s also a great addition for locating your path back to the boat ramp. Hassle-free and very convenient keypad is located below the screen. The CHIRP (77/200 kHz) sonar transducer is also conveniently integrated with this unit. The transmit power is rated at 200 W RM and that translates to 1,600 W peak power. Can later upgraded to a more powerful CHIRP with a GT8 or GT15 transducer (both of them sold individually). A portable kit is attainable to secure and carry your Striker 4, so it’s fantastic for kayak, canoe or ice fishing.
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
This compact fish finder is an excellent choice. It’s portable and as small as a smartphone. It has many features that enable it to function exactly like a full-size locater. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C can reach a maximum depth 240 feet. Sonar can reach depths up to 240 feet, and provides precise reading. We love the color LCD screen. The color display is glare-free and the fish finder indicators provide high-definition images. It reduces the chance of false readings, and it sounds an alarm when fish are detected. You can’t ask for more. The lightweight fish finder is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy portability, versatility and long-lasting durability. It’s priced around 150 us dollars.
Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 DI
Humminbird’s PiranhaMAX 4 makes it the latest model in the popular PiranhaMAX low-cost series. This model features a 4.3-inch 256 full color TFT display and is backlit with super bright white LEDs for optimal daytime viewing. This device is popular among casual and professional fishermen because it offers many attractive features at an affordable price.
DualBeam Plus and Down-Imaging combine to offer remarkable technology in a compact device. These two technologies are combined in the PiranhaMAX 4 DI to give accurate information about what’s beneath the surface of water.
It not only gives you information about the spot of particular fish but also rates them according to their size.
It is simple to use and easy to understand. Zooming in on specific areas allows you to learn more about your fishing performance. This unit is a great value (around $140) due to its ease of use and innovative technology.
Choosing the right fish finder can be an overwhelming task, especially since different models offer various capabilities. Some models are big or small, basic or loaded with features. Some units are perfect for beginners or less frequent fishermen, while others are a greater fit for professional use, for larger boat owners and for bigger lakes. You must choose what display size to have and if you want a high resolution screen. GPS and sonar are not always featured, however they are nice add-ons. It’s good to have chart plotting so you can tag good fishing spots for next fishing trip. Whatever you may considering, I trust this article has delivered you beneficial information to help in your hunt for fish!