Buying fish finders can be tough – overwhelming even, with so many choices available! To make things easier for you, we’ve split up all the fish finders we carry into different categories and chosen winners from each.
You can also refer to our guide on How To Choose A Fish Finder if you want to get into the nitty gritties, and if you are a kayak person, we’ve also got a section on The Best Fish Finder For Small Boats & Kayaks. If you want ultra-portability, check out our section on Fish Finder Apps.
If you don’t have a boat
FishHunter portable fish finder – If you don’t have your own boat, you either like to fish from the shore, a pier, or maybe you rent a boat or go with a friend. In that case, the FishHunter ultra-portable fish finder is the way to go. There are many other fish finder apps out there, but from what we reviewed, the FishHunter is the most value for your dollar. Using it is as simple as downloading the app on your phone, connecting your phone to the portable device, hooking the device to your line and casting. Now you have a nearly full-featured fish finder working from your phone!
Really basic, color
Garmin Striker 4 – Garmin is truly one of the best brands when it comes to navigation and fish finding. The Garmin Striker 4 costs less than $150, but still packs GPS and crisp 77/200 kHz CHIRP SONAR into a small and convenient package. The Striker 4 is the way to go if you are constrained by both budget and space. With features such as smooth scaling(adjusting the screen depending on depth), auto-detecting fish, and the ability to mark waypoints, the Striker 4 goes up against much more advanced fish finders and does a hell of a job at it.
Easy to use
Raymarine Dragonfly 5 – The Raymarine Dragonfly is a whole new ballgame when it comes to fish finding. With a powerful GPS, as well as a state-of-the-art CHIRP SONAR, Raymarine has packed features found in models that cost thousands of dollars into a unit that you can grab for less than $700. Plus there is a generous 5 inch display. What really makes the Dragonfly stand out though is that you can operate the whole thing with just 3 buttons. It’s that easy to use!
3D SONAR/Traditional SONAR combo
Lowrance Hook 5x – Released early this year, the Hook 5x is part of Lowrance’s new Hook family, which is a budget Lowrance series to combine traditional SONAR and DownScan Imaging. In the Hook-5x, you get 4 frequencies of fish finding all packaged neatly into one little transducer. The Hook-5x is a great option for you if you want power and functionality but don’t want to break the bank. The only catch is that it doesn’t have GPS built in. If you want GPS, consider the Hook-5x’s big brother, the Hook-5.
3D SONAR with GPS
Lowrance Hook 5 Fish Finder/GPS – The Lowrance Hook 5 is a mid-sized, high-power fish finder. It has both traditional SONAR and DownScan that you can also view side-by-side, and uses CHIRP technology so you get a very sharp image all the time. It also has a GPS antenna that provides accurate signals. The built-in mapping package is already quite advanced(featuring 3000 US lakes and rivers and also coastal areas), and you can expand the mapping package using the built in MicroSD card slot for really detailed charts like Navionics Gold and C-Map(see this page for more information).
Budget Side Imaging
Humminbird Helix-5 SI – Side Imaging is a technology which builds up on Down Imaging. Side Imaging lets you see up to 240 feet on either side of your boat, giving you an overview of all of the structure underneath your boat. It’s not very useful for seeing what’s floating in the water column itself, but you can cover an amazing amount of water in very little time using it and see all the structure. It’s very useful for mapping out entire lakes. Side Imaging is pretty expensive on most models, though, and would probably set you back a hefty wad of cash. Luckily, Humminbird has looked into that and the Helix-5 SI brings you that same technology for less than $500.
High End Side Imaging
Humminbird Helix 10 SI – The Helix 10 SI is the Helix 5 SI’s bigger brother. It’s got a huge, 10 inch widescreen display which is really good for seeing Side Imaging readings, and it’s also got networking, traditional SONAR, and robust GPS. It’s like a hybrid cross between the Lowrance HDS and the smaller Helix series fish finders. This fish finder is for serious anglers who want nothing but the best for their boats.Check prices and ratings
All out power
Lowrance HDS Series – If you have the budget, the Lowrance HDS is a no-brainer. With powerful maps, very good SONAR, and the ability to add on DownScan and Side Imaging together with the LSS-2 StructureScan module, your fishing boat will become an unstoppable fish catching machine. You can also hook up any NMEA 2000 compatible electronics to see them on the HDS display. But my favorite feature, by far, is the fact that you can overlay Side Imaging data on a map and see both SONAR and mapping at once. The HDS series comes in sizes ranging from 5 inches to 12 inches, varying in price, too, so there is something for every budget.Check prices and ratings
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