- DISPLAY: 7.0” (800x480 WVGA)
- GPS: Yes
- SONAR: CHIRP
- TRANSDUCER: Transom Mount
- DEPTH RANGE (ft): 600 (DownVision) - 900 (CHIRP Sonar)
Imagine, you're out on a fishing trip.
You have the best fishing reel and rod combo along with a wide range of bait and lure, anchored in a prime location.
Unfortunately, you haven't caught any fish because you don't know where the fish are.
So what do you do? How do you find the fish?
It would be best if you had a fish finder that gives you the exact location of where the fish are and increases your chances of catching them.
A fish finder or sonar is an electronic device that uses sound waves to produce a graphical representation of what's beneath the water, including fish, structure and marine environment.
Whether you're a weekend or pro angler, you should seriously consider including a top-rated fish finder in your fishing tackle.
There is a wide variety of fish finders available on the market; however, finding the best unit depends on where and how you choose to fish (from a boat, kayak, shore, pier, on ice or shallow water).
The purpose of this guide is to help you find the best fishfinder for your money that matches your fishing style and technique so that you can spend more time reeling and less looking for them.
We have invested 100+ hours in researching and reviewing the best fish finders in the market in 2019.
These reviews will help you make educative decisions in selecting the perfect fish locator that will ensure you spend more time reeling fish and less wondering where the fish are.
The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro is an excellent fishfinder GPS combo that is designed to help you navigate the waters, locate fish and learn about the marine environment.
The Dragonfly 7 Pro is available in a few different software packages. Each package comes with a distinct application that varies in price and functionality. However, the one we'll be looking at comes with a transducer and the U.S Navionics+ charts.
For a portable, mid-range fish finder, the Dragonfly 7 Pro can produce incredibly detailed photo-like sonar images of the marine environment below your boat. The units CHIRP DownVision mode can scan to depths of up to 600 feet, whereas the fish targeting conventional sonar can locate fish up to depths of 900 feet.
The finder comes equipped with a built-in 72 channels internal GPS module that delivers fast and accurate navigation along with the boat speed. The 7 Pro comes equipped with the Navionics+ charts that covers North American water including all the lake, river, and coastal maps.
Moreover, the microSD card slot enables angles to use different charts including LightHouse vector and raster charts, SonarChart, Navionics Gold and HotMaps, and C-MAP by Jeppesen.
The onboard Wi-Fi is a new addition to the Dragonfly 7 Pro that uses the Raymarine's Wi-Fish app (ios & android) to stream and record live sonar data to your tablet or smartphone.
The fish finder features a high-resolution 7-inch optically bonded LED-backlit display that delivers photo-like images and provides excellent visibility from every angle. The screen is scratch resistant and is guaranteed never to fog up.
The unit comes with a pivot-ball type mount which ensures easy angling and rotation (360 degrees) of the finder. The transom mount transducer supports both sonar channels and comes with an active water temperature sensor.
However, the unit is a bit slow when it comes to boot-up and shutdown. The buttons on the fish finder are also not backlit for night fishing. And, the Wi-Fi cannot be turned off.
Apart from these minor glitches, the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro is one of the best GPS fishfinder combo that is both portable and affordable.
In the box:
If you're looking for a portable fish finder that is budget-friendly, easy to install and can be taken to all your fishing trips, then you should take a look at the Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit.
The Striker 4 comes with a 3.5-inch HVGA color backlit display which offers crisp color and clear display even under direct sunlight. This small screen can easily display two different panels (applications) simultaneously.
The unit is waterproof (rated IPX7) which is essential when you're out with a kayak or small boat. The keyed interface with dedicated buttons makes navigating through the functions easy, even if you're wearing gloves.
Designed to work on a kayak, small boat, dock or on the ice, the Garmin Striker 4 portable bundles comes with a powerful transducer, a tilt/swivel, suction cup, and kayak in-haul mount. It offers Power RMS (200 W) which helps sonar beams reach deeper into the water (1,600 ft freshwater, 750 ft saltwater).
The CHIRP sonar sends out sweeps of sound waves to deliver a sharp image of the water for better fishing with excellent target separation and better-defined targets.
The fish finder comes equipped with a dedicated flasher circuit and transducer foam float making it an excellent choice for ice fishing and vertical jigging. However, for high-performance ice fishing, you may want to get a transducer (GT8 or GT15) that is specifically designed for ice fishing.
The Garmin Striker 4 comes equipped with a built-in high-precision GPS which makes navigating through the waterways easy and effortless. Moreover, you can mark the waypoints of your favorite fishing spots, drop-offs, weed beds, rock piles and check boat speed easily.
The 12 V rechargeable battery that is included with the portable kit is sealed and very reliable. It comes with a smart charger and the battery will easily back you on a 2-3 days fishing trip.
If you're looking for a portable fish finder that is small in size and can be easily installed to your kayak or small boat, then the Garmin Striker 4 with a portable kit is for you.
It is an entry-level fishfinder with an affordable price tag, but packs in all the necessary premium technology found in high-end models.
If you're planning to hunt for fish on frozen waters and looking to invest in a quality fish finder, then the Marcum LX-7 is for you. The flashers advanced functionality, ingenious design, and updatable software makes LX-7 one of the best ice fish finder available in the market today.
With its crystal clear 8-inch LCD screen, you'll be able to see and read all the necessary information quickly. Its four user-selectable color palettes help visually distinguish between fish, lure, and structure.
The LX-7's advanced user-defined dashboard setting allows you to position all the metrics right where you want them on the screen.
That is digital depth, battery voltage, range, gain, interference rejection (IR), target adjust, or any combination thereof.
The Marcum LX-7 features a top of the line sonar system that can scan to depths up to 300 feet with cone angles of either 8 or 20 degrees. With a half-inch target separation, you get a precise view of the fish target relative to your transducer and jig.
The LX-7 incorporates an intelligent Interference Rejection (IR) technology that prevents the flasher from picking up other fish finder signals in the vicinity.
The unit comes bundled with a 12V rechargeable battery and charger and will last a day or two on a single charge.
The Marcum LX-7 doesn't come cheap but is worth every penny you spend. Its top of the line features and technology makes ice fishing more fun and increases catch rates. The Marcum LX-7 is a top-rated ice fishing electronic on the market today.
If you're looking to locate fish & structure below and on either side of your boat, you need a fish finder with side imaging sonar feature such as the Humminbird Helix 5 SI with GPS.
The Humminbird Helix 5 SI is well known for its affordability and sonar features (side, down imaging and DualBeam Plus). The transducer sends out fan-shaped sonar waves with coverage of up to 240 feet on each side of the boat (480 feet total).
The down imaging depth range of this fish finder isn't extraordinary (up to 100 feet) and is ideal for lakes and inland fishing.
The side and down imaging sonar produces a photo-like image of the structure, vegetation and helps determine the location of the fish hiding in the creeks.
A notable feature this affordable fishfinder comes with is the sonar recording function. This feature allows you to record, save and review your sonar data without re-scanning a specific spot.
The Helix 5 SI comes with a built-in GPS that is designed to mark your exact location and boat speed with a refresh rate of five per second. The waypoint capabilities make it very easy to mark and locate hot spots and return home on unfamiliar waters.
The Helix 5 SI comes pre-installed with a UniMap chart that lacks a few map details compared to the Helix unit released in 2017. However, the fish finder supports charts from LakeMaster, Navionics Gold and HotMaps.
The Humminbird Helix 5 SI comes equipped with a 5-inch color TFT display that outputs sharp and crisp colors. The LED backlight ensures adequate screen light during the day or night.
The unit comes with an IPX7 rating, and the Gimbal mount makes it easy to adjust on your boat. It comes with a microSD card slot for upgrades (charts and software), sonar recording and data transfer.
The Humminbird Helix 5 SI is an excellent fish finder and chart plotter unit that is mainly known for its side-imaging capabilities. Over the years it made a prominent place in an anglers fishing gear arsenal for its affordable price and functionality.
It is, without a doubt, the Helix 5 SI is one of the best fish finders with side imaging capability in 2019.
If you're in need of a fish finder that gives you a nearly photographic fish-eye view of what's directly under your boat, then you need a fish finder with down imaging capabilities like the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 74cv.
The Garmin echoMAP 74cv comes equipped with both CHIRP 2D traditional and CHIRP ClearVu (aka down-imaging) capabilities to find and target more fish. It's superior down vision technology offers less clutter and excellent separation between fish targets and the structure below.
The Garmin 74cv comes with a transducer that can measure both water temperature as well as your boat speed (1-6 MPH). The transducer can scan to depths up to 1800 feet for 2D and 1000 feet for ClearVu.
The transducer cable features an 8-pin connector and includes mounts for transom and trolling motor.
Moreover, the echoMAP 74cv features the latest sonar technology called the Penoptix. It gives you the ability to see live sonar data, as well as the lure and fish, attacking it in real time.
This chartplotter unit comes packed with a highly accurate built-in GPS that gives you a bird's eye view of your position and heading. You can easily mark and save your favorite fishing spots and waypoints making it easy to get around.
The unit comes default with BlueChart g2 maps that covers all the U.S waters including Bahamas, Mexico. Moreover, the Garmin 74cv is capable of working with charts like BlueChart g2 Vision and LakeVü HD Ultra (US or Canada) which adds functionalities like Auto Guidance and easiest route calculation.
The Garmin 74cv features a large display (7-inch) that allows you to view three different panels simultaneously and is waterproof (IPX7). Moreover, the fish finder comes with a protective cover, tilt-and-swivel mount, and a flush mount.
The Garmin echoMAP 74cv is a mid-range fishfinder chart plotter combo that comes with features to help you locate, target and catch fish effortlessly. If you're looking for the best down-imaging fish finder, then the echoMAP 74cv is your go-to unit.
If you're one of those anglers who like to catch fish from the shore/bank or is looking for a handheld fishing sonar that is castable, affordable, and high-performing, then the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is for you.
The Deeper PRO+ wireless fish finder features a high-end dual beam sonar that lets you see crystal clear images of the fish and structure below with a target separation of 0.5-inch. It uses wide scanning beam to cover broad areas and a narrow beam to give you detailed scanning.
The depth range is from 2-260 feet making it an ideal scanner for both shallow and deep water.
The Deeper PRO+ comes equipped with a highly precise GPS that helps you track your location and position from the bank or kayak. You can easily store your favorite fishing spots, create waypoints and install updated maps.
The unit is an advanced transducer that doesn't come with a dedicated display unit. Deeper connects to any smartphone or tablet through Wi-Fi (up to 330 feet) and give you readings regardless of your location.
The unit is an ice fishing flasher with a diameter of 2.5-inch, allowing you to explore marine life beneath the hole. It comes with an advanced app that will enable you to receive and record data with a split screen view.
The PRO+ is equipped with a rechargeable battery that will give a good 4 hours run time of continuous use.
The Deeper PRO+ is one of the best castable fishing sonar that comes packed with all the latest technology that can find fish in places no other fish finder can reach.
If you're a beginner angler looking for a quality fish finder that comes with all the necessary features to kick start your angling game but doesn't cost a lot, then the Lowrance Hook-3x is for you.
It is an entry-level device priced under 100 bucks; this compact sonar device uses traditional sonar with dual-frequency to give a clear picture of the fish and terrane below the surface of the water.
A 60-degree cone angle allows you to scan a large area and the 20-degree angle ensures an enhanced fish-target separation and lure-tracking. The depth range is about 300 feet and can give you accurate data from 3 feet onwards, making it ideal for shallow waters.
Despite its low price tag, the Hook-3x comes with a Patented Skimmer® transducer that comes with a built-in temperature sensor and can keep track of the bottom at speeds of up to 75 mph. However, for precise imaging and maximum efficiency, it is best to keep the boat speed to as low as 1-6 mph.
The Hook-3x uses an Advanced Signal Processing (ASP) system that helps reduce noise and clutter automatically allowing you to focus more on your fishing and less about the setting.
The Lowrance Hook-3x feature a 3.5-inch LED-backlit color display that provides clear visibility under direct sunlight and gives a wide viewing angle. The unit comes with buttons to navigate through different functions easily and quickly.
This affordable fish finder also comes with features like fish ID, zoom and fish alarm. Moreover, it is straightforward to install and uninstall the fish finder.
If you're looking for a fish finder that is easy to use, has all the necessary features and comes under $100, then you should consider the Lowrance Hook-3x.
If you're a weekend angler looking for a fish finder that is easy to use, has a large display, performs well but costs less than 200 dollars, then you should consider the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2.
The Helix 5 Sonar G2 comes with a traditional dual beam sonar that emits two frequencies simultaneously to produce an accurate reading of the bottom.
Though it lacks CHIRP sonar technology but offers all the necessary bells and whistles to scan the lake bottom and identify fish targets.
Moreover, there are several standard sonar features that are default like the SwitchFire, Selective Fish ID+, fish alarm, temperature alarm, depth alarm, vertical and circular flasher.
The unit comes with a default transduce with a transom mount that can send sonar waves to reach depths up to 1500 feet. The transducer can give you an optimal reading of the bottom structure at a boat speed up to 20-30mph.
The control unit is equipped with a 5-inch display with an adjustable LED backlight allowing excellent readability under any lighting condition. The unit is rated IPX7 which means it can take quite heavy water splashes and even immersion in freshwater.
The dedicated keys on the fish finder allow you to navigate through the functions easily and comes with a standard Gimbal mount for better adjustment of the display.
The Humminbird Helix 5 G2 is an excellent fish finder that comes in under $200 price range though it lacks the GPS function but makes up for it with the other necessary features.
The Garmin Striker 5dv is an excellent fish finder recommended by serious anglers because of the potential it packs in under the 300 dollar price range.
The Striker 5dv comes equipped with a multi-frequency CHIRP sonar that fires down continuous sweeps of sound waves to get a crystal-clear sonar image of the world below.
The ClearVü scanning sonar produces a photographic image of the structure, submerged objects, and fish. The high-frequency sonar can scan to depths up to 1900 feet for traditional sonar and 750 feet for DownVu.
The Striker 5dv is equipped with a built-in high-sensitivity GPS that can precisely give your GPS location anywhere you go on the lake. Most importantly, it enables you to mark fishing hot spots, docks, boat ramps so that you can quickly navigate to the location whenever you want.
The speed sensor on the Striker 5dv gives you an accurate boat speed reading that helps you maintain the right trolling speed thus increasing your chances of hooking your catch.
The Garmin Striker 5dv comes with a built-in high-performance flasher that increases your success rate whether you're ice fishing or jigging for crappie.
The waterproof control unit is rugged that houses 5-inch display and large buttons that can help you quickly navigate through the functions. The locator offers three panels per view and an adjustable backlight to give you a perfect display under any lighting condition.
The Garmin Striker 5dv is one of the best fish finders under $300 category that comes with all the necessary features to find and catch fish in both fresh and coastal waters.
If you're looking for a quality fish finder that comes with all the advanced marine technologies and comes with a price tag under $500, then you should take a look at the Garmin Striker 7sv.
The Striker 7sv uses CHIRP sonar to scan the water column to give you a clear picture of the structure, submerged objects, and fish. It uses the traditional 2D sonar, DownVü, and SideVü to produce an enhanced view of everything below and on the sides of your boat.
This fish finder can scan to depths up to 2300 feet in freshwater and 1100 feet in saltwater.
The Garmin Striker 7sv comes equipped with a built-in high-sensitivity GPS that gives you a precise location of your boat on the water. Moreover, the GPS allows you to mark and store fishing hotspots, boat ramps, and other places on the lake.
The GPS allows you to navigate to places you marked previously and help you return to the boat ramp if you're lost. You can store up to 5000-waypoints.
The Striker 7SV also has a built-in flasher circuit that allows you to use standard sonar format for ice fishing or vertical jigging. It will show the bottom condition, your bait and fish depth.
The display unit features a 7-inch LED display that is large enough to give you a 3-panel split-screen view. The adjustable backlight display ensures proper view under any weather condition. Moreover, the screen is also polarized sunglass friendly.
Just like other Striker units, the 7SV has a compact and rugged design that can take abuse from years of use. It is rated IPX7 which means it can virtually waterproof.
The only downside is that the fish finder lacks a microSD card slot but makes up for it with all the necessary features. If you're looking for a fish finder that comes under 500 dollars with excellent features and performance, then the Garmin Striker 7SV is for you.
The Simrad GO7 XSE is a top-rated fish finder GPS combo that comes with all the premium fishfinder technologies to help you locate fish, navigate through the waters and is priced under 1000 dollars.
The GO7 XSE features a TotalScan transducer that enables 2D Broadband CHIRP, StructureScan (side and downscan) functionality to produce wide-angle HD images of fish and structure below.
However, you need to keep in mind that the CHIRP cannot be used together with sidescan but can be used together with the downscan. The transducer comes equipt with an active water temperature sensor, 30-meter long cable, and can scan to depths up to 1000 feet on CHIRP and 300 feet on side and downscan.
The XSE comes equipped with a built-in GPS and Chartplotter which supports a wide range of cartography programs including Navionics, Insight Genesis and C-MAP. Setting and recording waypoints is as easy as a simple tap on the screen. Moreover, you can assign custom names for your favorite hot spots and destinations.
The highly accurate GPS system ensures you’re exactly where you want to be and return home safely under any weather condition. The GPS provides an accurate speed reading and can store up to 10,000 waypoints.
The Simrad GO7’s display unite is more like a tablet or smartphone which features a 7-inch multi-touch display that is customizable. The touchscreen makes setting up and navigating through panels and functions a child's play.
The built-in Wi-Fi enables wireless cloud communication for downloading and uploading maps, software, and data. Moreover, the built-in wireless connectivity enables you to mirror your fishfinder display to a tablet or smartphone which gives you instant access to charts and other functionality from anywhere on your boat.
The unit comes with a U-bracket mount and comes with a sun cover and is rated IPX7 waterproof.
If you have a budget under $1000 and are looking for a fishfinder that has the looks, functionality, and performance, then the Simrad GO7 XSE is the one for you.
Before you spend a dime, make sure you understand how the device works, this will help you know how to use your fish finder.
Remember you can have the very best fish finder GPS combo in your boat but it won't help until you know how to use it.
To begin with, fish finders use sonar to display everything below and around your boat. This unit produces sound waves, and the transducers send the signals through the water.
As the signals penetrate deep in the water, it spread in the form of a cone. When the sonar hits an object, the signal is sent back to the transducer.
The computer then calculates the time between when the sound was sent and when the feedback was received to locate fish, determine bottom structure and depth, and displays it on the screen.
The fish finder market today is flooded with countless fish finder brands, models and a variety of types. On top of this, technology has taken the fish locator market by a storm, with some devices enabling more features than others.
Not only this, the prices are very competitive, and this also makes the buying process a bit tricky and time-consuming for beginners.
On top of this, a high-quality fish detector is not a cheap device. The good news is that we’ve prepared the following buyers guide to empower you so that you choose the right product without any hassles. Moreover, with our extensive reviews above, you can quickly settle for the best.
A Global Positioning System (GPS) is an essential feature of a fish finder. A GPS will help you locate a fishing ground you previously marked without much effort. Not only this but it will also help you navigate through the waters effortlessly.
With a GPS fish finder combo, you can fish even in new environments and still chart your way home. However, not all fish finders will come with a GPS option, so you need to make the right choice when buying fish finders.
Two devices make up a fish finder: the display unit and the transducer. The transducer is the devices that emit and receives the sonar waves. Without the transducer, a fish finder is just a simple screen that cannot display any data.
Usually, fishfinders come with a default transducer that works pretty well. However, you can purchase an aftermarket transducer if you need added sonar features like CHIRP, DownScan, SideScan, and ForwardScan.
When it comes to choosing a transducer, the cone angle will determine how sensitive your sensor will be. The sonar waves sent by the transducer spreads from one point and widens as they move deeper.
The more the waves extends, the more it loses their sensitivity. A top-rated fish finder is the one with a narrow cone angle as it can go to deeper heights and remain sensitive.
The display of your fish finder is crucial. A black and white screen will function well, but a color screen is more appealing and gives precise details of different types of fish available. Also, you may need to check the size of the screen.
A larger screen is better as it provides wider viewport. This helps you interpret and distinguish between different features under your boat. However, note that a larger screen may cost you more.
In most cases, this functionality will come built in the GPS. It will help improve your fishing efficiency as you will know whether you’re trolling at the right speed for a particular type of fish.
Power is an important consideration when choosing a fish finder. In a depth finder, power is measured in watts. A good fish finder should be powerful enough. High wattage means the device will show faster and accurate readings.
The best fish finders have a minimum wattage of about 600 watts. However, power will also depend on the depth of fishing; shallow water requires less energy compared to deep waters.
When looking for a high-quality fish finder, the level of experience and boat ownership will determine which device is right for you. If you are a pro, a fixed fish locator will be more suitable for you as you can mount it on an ideal location in your boat. However, if you don’t own the vessel, then a portable unit is a perfect choice for you.
Price is often related to value. Many anglers believe that expensive devices are the best. This is not the case; the best fish finder is one that you can use with ease, and give you a remarkable performance.
Some of the expensive devices are of poor quality and not up to the task. Consider your budget and choose what works best for you. After all, it is all about satisfaction and getting more fish.