Fish Finder

Best Fish Finders of 2018: Reviews and Comparison

Fishing can be an exciting and fun activity for the whole family, especially if you plan to go on a camping trip. Not only will you be catching your food, but you’ll be proud of the fact that you were able to find your dinner.

The question is, what would you do when you’re at a new spot, and you don’t know where those little fishies are? The solution to your problem is to bring a fish finder. The best fish finders can help pinpoint the exact location of the fish.

The Quick Answer

There are many fish finding devices on the market, but most of them don’t tend to work as well as the newer models. If you’re opting for an upgrade, then we highly suggest choosing the Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder. This unit may be slightly more complicated to use, but it has a good mix of features as well as being in a reasonable price range.

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Our Fish Finders Comparison Chart

Top Pick
Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder with Built in GPS, WiFi, Chirp Sonar and Downvision with Transducer and Navionics+
For Kayaks
Lucky Portable Fish Finder Transducer Sonar Sensor 147 Feet Water Depth Finder LCD Screen Echo Sounder Fishfinder with Fish Attractive Lamp for Ice Fishing Sea Fishing
Portable
Portable Fish Finder, NACATIN Fishfinder with Portable Fish Finder, Fishfinder with Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display
Budget
Venterior Portable Fish Finder, Handheld Fishfinder with Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display
Product Name
Raymarine Axiom 7
Lucky
X-CAT Portable
Venterior
Display Size
7 inch
2.4 inch
9 inch
5 inch
GPS
Yes
No
No
Yes
Depth Range
120 feet
130 feet
120 feet
1500 feet
Top Pick
Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder with Built in GPS, WiFi, Chirp Sonar and Downvision with Transducer and Navionics+
Product Name
Raymarine Axiom 7
Display Size
7 inch
GPS
Yes
Depth Range
120 feet
For Kayaks
Lucky Portable Fish Finder Transducer Sonar Sensor 147 Feet Water Depth Finder LCD Screen Echo Sounder Fishfinder with Fish Attractive Lamp for Ice Fishing Sea Fishing
Product Name
Lucky
Display Size
2.4 inch
GPS
No
Depth Range
130 feet
Portable
Portable Fish Finder, NACATIN Fishfinder with Portable Fish Finder, Fishfinder with Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display
Product Name
X-CAT Portable
Display Size
9 inch
GPS
No
Depth Range
120 feet
Budget
Venterior Portable Fish Finder, Handheld Fishfinder with Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display
Product Name
Venterior
Display Size
5 inch
GPS
Yes
Depth Range
1500 feet

Fish Finder Reviews

1. Lucky Portable Fish Finder (Best for Kayaks)

The Lucky Fish Finder can quickly help detect where fish are by factoring in the water depth and also by the use of sonar technology. This can help give you an accurate reading of where fish are, how many there are, and how far down they are swimming.

This fish finder has a bright 2.4-inch colored LCD screen which displays water contour, depth, temperature, and fish size. There are two separate modes: wireless or simulation. The sonar sensing technology has what is called an attractive fish lamp which makes it easier to find fish underwater.

The cover of the screen is transparent making it easier for you to see the different colors when you’re out looking for fish. The depth finder support can track up to 196 feet over the general area and also detect 147 feet into the water. This allows you to engage in ice, sea, river, and offshore fishing activities.

The multiple settings on the screen allow you to adjust the sensitivity, depth detection range and screen brightness. It has an alarm, can zoom in and out, change the fish icon, and alter the units. You can also change the language if you’re not fluent in English.

This fish finder and the sensor are completely rechargeable via the USB cable included in the package. The device will usually last at least four hours if it’s been fully charged and the sonar sensor will last up to 10 hours.

Pros:

  • Readable screen even in low light conditions
  • Allows you to fish in different environments
  • Waterproofed transmitter
  • Multiple setting
  • Long battery life

Con:

  • Handheld device is not waterproof

Who It’s Best For

Nothing is worse than finding out you’ve been standing for a long time at the wrong side of a riverbank or dock trying to catch fish. Imagine looking over at your side, and the guy next to you has a bunch of fish, and almost none have bitten your bait. This is where the Lucky Portable Fish Finder comes in.

The Lucky Portable Fish Finder is best for both beginners and expert fishers who want to get a faster reading on where fish are located. This is also great for those who want to catch more than a puny little fish.

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2. X-CAT Portable Fish Finder (Best Portable)

The X-CAT Portable Fish Finder is an excellent choice because it has depth and temperature perception systems and can convert metric units into other units. Use this to your advantage as it will come in handy when you’re fishing in a new climate.

The waterproof sensor and depth detection allow you to see the fish that are around you accurately. You can take the device on a boat, use it onshore, or anywhere else you desire.

The whole system doesn’t require you to set up or drill any hole into your boat to install a device. Instead, you can tie the sensor onto the rope and throw it directly into the water.

The sensor will then be activated when enough water touches the switch terminals. This will then send results back to the receiving host of the unit, and when a fish is near the alarm, it will start to emit a noise to alert you.

The LCD screen for the receiving host is bright enough, making it extremely helpful if you’re fishing in areas with limited light. Any information that has been collected will be displayed on the screen including water depth, fish size, battery level, temperature, and bottom contour.

Pros:

  • Wireless
  • Versatile
  • Two charging ports
  • Readable screen even in low light conditions

Con:

  • Handheld device is not waterproof
  • Not suited for bodies of water with depth lower than two feet

Who It’s Best For

This device is best for those who are looking to fully submerge part of their device into the water for a more accurate reading. This device is also suitable for those who want more information on the environment and the fish they are tracking. Unlike other units, this one gives you an estimated size of fish and can notify you when one is detected.

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3. Venterior Portable Fish Finder (Best Fish Finder for the Money)

The Venterior Portable Fish Finder is the cheapest fish finder that can be used to locate fish in different environments. On display, you will also see short and tall weeds, sand, rocks, and any other obstacles around the fish.

The depth range of this unit is anywhere from one to 100 meters. Included is a round transducer float which has a 25 feet cable that can be used to put the unit in the water. There are also five different settings: sensitivity, battery save mode, alarm, unit of measure, and blacklight. Lastly, there is an auto shut off feature if the device is left idle for more than five minutes.

Pros:

  • Multiple settings
  • Clear LCD screen
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with a two-year warranty

Cons:

  • Shuts off automatically
  • Handheld device is not waterproof

Who It’s Best For

This is suited for individuals who want to have an efficient fish finder without going beyond their budget. This is also best for those who are just learning how to use fish finders.

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Below are other budget fish finders that you should consider:

a. Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder (Best Fish Finder under 200)

The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder is a powerful but straightforward device. It has an interface which has buttons that you can press to change the settings. This comes in handy if you’re getting your hands wet.

The device also has different display sizes. It also comes with a waypoint map that can be used to mark and navigate different environmental obstacles such as stumps and brushes.

The chirp sonar is a great way to locate fish because it uses constant frequencies and provides more information. The last unique part of this is the flash feature because it makes it easier to determine where you need to fish.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Long battery life
  • Comes with a carrying case

Cons:

  • GPS is not accurate
  • Ice fishing transducer is not included

Who It’s Best For

This unit is perfect for all those who want to go fishing in bodies of water that are not too clear because of its flasher. When you’re fishing in this type of water, you’re going to have a hard time seeing exactly where you’re going to need to put your rod and bait. The flasher can help you know what depth you need to put your rod down.

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b. Raymarine Dragonfly Fish Finder (Best Fish Finder under 500)

The Raymarine Dragonfly Fish Finder is a device that can be used in every season. It has a five-inch HD LED screen that is backlit, allowing you to see all of the colors. It even has a wide viewing angle, and the screen has anti-fog properties.

The dual-channel, full-spectrum chirp sonar can give a more accurate reading than other types of sonar. This includes providing more information about other obstacles.

One of its most outstanding features is that you can stream live sonar data to your smart device with the help of Wi-Fi. You can rewind, save, and share the fish you caught all from the use of this fish finder.

There are also removable mounting balls which allow you to attach the device to a surface. Additionally, the system includes around 3,000 waypoints of internal storage and has 15 separate tracks. You can even use a microSD card to expand the space.

Pros:

  • Easy to read display
  • Unique sonar system
  • All-weather design
  • Allows streaming
  • Extended storage

Con:

  • Poor quality mounting system

Who It’s Best For

This unit is designed for social fishers who enjoy sharing their catch with their friends and family. You can show off whatever you caught that day and essentially have bragging rights.

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c. Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 Fish Finder (Best Fish Finder Under 300)

The Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 is a state-of-the-art fish finder which is high quality and reliable. It has a bright HD screen that is backlit and has vibrant colors. The unit uses chirp sonar technology which gives you a better reading than other fish finders.

With this device, you will be able to get the locations of fish, objects, and the environment. The product also has SmarStrike settings that give you the options to customize the parameters and will help you get the unit up and running in no time.

The Hummingbird Basemap displays details of the surrounded area by accessing a GPS from Lakemaster and NOAA. These maps will provide you with information about the depth, navigation, points of interest, and lakes.

There is also an integrated Autochart Live system, which allows you to create the maps of the areas you visit; thus, giving you the ability to customize your favorite fishing spots. You can put in depth and vegetation, and locate the points where fish bite the most.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Excellent display
  • Slim profile
  • Stylish looking

Con:

  • Limited battery life

Who It’s Best For

This device is best for those looking for a high-quality fish finder that can help them build their maps of the area and customize most of the settings. We highly recommend this for expert fishers or for people who tend to spend most of their days outdoors and those who track wildlife.

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4. Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder (Best Fish Finder and GPS Combo)

The Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder has a built-in fish targeting chirp sonar system which can be used to locate objects and fish. It also has a quad-core processor that gives you fantastic power which won’t lag when you’re out in the wilderness.

The multi-touch interface integrated has the Lighthouse 3 operating system which provides you with better boating experience. With the help of Wi-Fi, you can pair your phone with Raymarine apps. The unit also includes Navionics charts which give more than 20,000 maps of rivers, lakes, and ponds in the USA and Canada.

Pros:

  • Ultra-wide detection
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Compatible with iOS and Android phones
  • Loaded with charts and maps

Con:

  • Complicated to use

Who It’s Best For

This unit is for those explorers who don’t mind chipping out a little extra cash for some compelling features. The unit doesn’t lag like most others, and it will give you constant access to all the programs in any weather. If you’re looking for the most up to date maps already pre-installed into the system, then this is for you.

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5. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder (Best For Ice Fishing)

The HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder has a backlit LCD screen that displays sonar data with icons, pictures, and has an easy-to-read color scheme. The unit includes five different levels of sensitivity, and an alarm will sound whenever the unit picks up on a fish.

The dual-beam FishTrax sonar can pick up a wide range of fish up to 200 KHz. The unit can also be expanded by using the built-in accessories. There is also an ice mode flasher that can help you locate where to put your rod and determine the unit.

Pros

  • HD color display
  • Portable
  • Can be mounted on a boat
  • Dual frequency
  • Fish depth identifier
  • Readable screen even in poor lighting condition

Con:

  • Limited battery life

Who It’s Best For

This unit is great for those beginning fishers who are looking for an easy-to-read unit which can accurately track fish in the water. The unit doesn’t use any complicated markings or symbols, and you can adjust the sensitivity. This is great for any fishing including ice fishing.

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6. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar (Best Castable Fish Finder)

The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar has Wi-Fi capabilities and can be used while you’re out on your boat without the use of cellular data or internet access. The whole unit is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and can operate on fresh or saltwater.

The integrated GPS enables onshore bathymetric mapping to give an accurate reading of the area. You can also customize and create your map and then upload it to your PC. The unit picks up on anything that is bigger than ½ inches in size and can reach down to 260 feet in depth detection.

Pros:

  • Wireless
  • Extended connection range
  • Castable
  • Suited for all types of fishing

Con:

  • Android Connectivity Issues

Who It’s Best For

This fish finder is excellent for shore and boat anglers who are looking for a unit that can map out functions and help increase their accuracy and enhance the casting range. Connect the unit to your smart device, and you can easily convert data back and forth between the two units.

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7. Humminbird 409640-1 Helix 5 (Best for Side Imaging)

The Humminbird 409640-1 Helix 5 has a brilliant GPS system with an HD 800Hx480V 256 display which also has blacklight capabilities. There are side and down imaging systems, which can help you determine locations on the map.

The beam plus sonar uses approximately 4,000 watts, and the internal GPS chart plotting can be synced with a microSD slot. This way you can save waypoints on the map.

Pros:

  • Easy plotting
  • Maximizes angling experience
  • Extended memory

Con:

  • Not fog resistant

Who It’s Best For

This unit is best for those who are looking to have a simple device that can spot fish but also work as a GPS unit to build maps. It’s very basic and will get the job done.

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Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Fish Finder

There are a lot of factors that you would need to consider when choosing the right fish finder. When you know about these factors, then you will be able to narrow down your options further. Take a look at some of them below:

Frequencies

If you are planning on fishing in shallow waters, a high-frequency fish finder, such as one that runs on 192 or 200 kHz would be ideal. Deep water fishing, on the other hand, requires a fish finder with frequencies as low as 50 kHz.

Power

The more power a fish finder has, the faster it will be able to portray the information it gathers from beneath the water. A fish finder with a lower wattage is suitable for shallow waters, whereas more wattage is needed for fishing in deep waters.

Screen Resolution

Obviously speaking, the more pixels your screen can handle, the more details you will see. So, investing in a fish finder with a high-resolution screen display would be the way to go if you are after crisp and clear images.

Transducers

This is the part of a fish finder that obtains and transmits sonar waves. For casual fishing, a plastic-type mount transducer would be sufficient. However, there are also transducers that come in high frequencies, which provide a 360-degree range and the ability to see up to 5,000 feet down.

Cone Angles and Beams

Most fish finders have cone angles that range from 9 to more than 60 degrees. A fish finder with a 20-degree cone angle would be able to provide fishing areas in different depths. The most basic fish finder has a single beam. More beams are added as the fish finder becomes more advanced.

Colored or Black and White Screen

A colored screen would be able to give you far better and more in-depth details of what’s going on underneath.

Those are just some of the main features that you should take into consideration when looking for a fish finder. The most important point to keep in mind is that the fish finder you choose should serve your purpose. It has to be versatile and customizable enough so that you can have the best and most productive fishing experience.

Fish Finder FAQs

Why has the system stopped transmitting?

Most fish finders run on a dedicated loop that may get interrupted when the device is used for other applications. If you notice that it has stopped transmitting, the reason is most likely a sudden spike or drop in the power supply. Simply restarting the device should fix this problem.

What type of sonar do you need: side- or down-scan?

In all honesty, this depends on your preferences and needs. The obvious difference between the two is that a down-scan sonar broadcasts signals that are directly below the boat, while side-scan sonars broadcasts angled signals to the sides of your boat.

Down-scan sonars provide more accuracy and focus, yet sometimes can be too much that you miss other activities happening to the sides of the boat. On the other hand, side-scan sonars are able to scan vast amounts of water with fewer disturbances and lesser noise.

Is it recommended to buy a portable fish finder?

A fish finder that you can bring with you anytime, anywhere is something that most people desire and for good reasons too. It can be used for fly fishing, ice fishing, and people who rent boats. Additionally, you can even decide if you want it mounted or not. The problem, however, is that fish finders that are not mounted tend to be moved around a lot, causing inconsistent results in their readings.

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