Best Fish Finder Reviews 2017 (for the money)

Fish finder is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting waveforms and pulses of sound energy that in return sends information back up to the display screen for you to ensure a good catch for the day.

It is almost like a sonar. The only difference is fish finder only search vertically below the boat whereas sonar searches in all directions including sideways. However, some upgraded high technology ones has this sonar function.

It is made up of 2 parts. First is the transducer which sends wave that shows you the location of fish and the display screen that provides details about the depth and exact location of the fish.

The types of fish finders are the portable ones, the ones with GPS, the ones for kayaks and many more. Moreover, there are certain factors to consider when purchasing your own product.

Those are the type of transducer, GPS, power and screen display preference. Therefore, do check out the top rated fish finder in this review to assist you in making the suitable choice.

Top 10 Rated Fish Finder Comparison Table

Here is the top 10 fish finder products decided by certain factors.

  1. The setup is rated from easy to hard.
  2. The clarity is rated from high to low.
  3. The GPS is rated yes or no.
  4. The transducer size is rated from small to big.

Name of ProductSetupClarityTransducer SizeGPSPrice
Raymarine Dragonfly-5 Pro Sonar EasyHighBigYes$$$
Lowrance ELITE Totalscan Fish FinderModerateHighBigNo$$$
Garmin Striker 7SV Fish Finder ModerateHighModerateYes$$$
Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ Fish FinderEasyModerateSmallYes$$$
Humminbird DI Helix 5 Fish Finder EasyHighModerateYes$$$
Garmin Echo 551 dv Fish Finder EasyHighModerateNo$$$
Lowrance Hook-3X Sonar Fish Finder EasyHighModerateNo$$
Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder EasyHighModerateYes$$$
Venterior Portable Fish Finder EasyModerateSmallNo$$
Humminbird Helix 5 SI Fish Finder EasyHighModerateYes$$$

Setup

The setup and operation should be easy. Basically, you should read the manual first, mount your fish finder on a transom mount or trolling motor, turn it on and finally adjust the settings.

There will be different settings so you should try them out to know each of their purpose such as the sensitivity.

Clarity

The clarity on the other hand is the ability for the display screen of the fish finder to produce a high resolution and clear image of the fishes under the sea.

The higher the clarity, the more vivid you will be able to different type of fishes and able to distinguish between the fishes and clutter.

GPS

GPS or widely known as the Global Positioning System plays an important role in finding your fish. The GPS provides additional information on your speed of boat on water and even the temperature of water.

Not only that, GPS also allows you to mark your favourite or previous location if you are planning to revisit the same spot again.

Transducer Size

A transducer is an instrument that converts physical quantities into an electrical signal and vice versa. When fish finding, the transducer detects the waveforms of the signal.

After that, it returns the signal back to the fish finder where the it will display the information such as the location of fish and depth of water on the display screen.

Raymarine Dragonfly-5 Pro Sonar

raymarine-dragonfly-5-pro

Equipped with a dual-channel sonar, this fish finder has a special wide spectrum sonar for photo-like images and a conventional sonar for targeting fishes in the sea.

Moreover, you can also live stream the sonar data to your smart phone using the Raymarine’s Wi-Fish mobile app. With this feature, you can easily rewind, save and share your day’s catch and sonar data with your friends on your social networks.

The display screen is able to withstand in any whether be it, a sunny or rainy day. Having a high definition LED backlit display,the display screen is optically bonded for sharp colour, wide viewing angle and no internal fogging.

Also, the display screen is of high quality as you can view it even under very bright light or the rain. You also can easily make out the fish using the down vision. A cover is not provided so you are advised to get one to protect your display screen to ensure that it will last long.

There also is a removable mounting ball that is compatible with the socket mounting system for more mounting options.

Besides providing a quick GPS lock-on, this product has an huge internal storage for you to save all you sonar data and images. You should also purchase optional micro SD memory card if you need extra storage.

This product is easy to use once you have installed the transducer in which you can use the instruction manual as a guide to install it. After that, the transducer is just auto adjust so you just have to hook it and go fishing.

On the other hand, the screen is not fingerprint-proof hence you can easily get fingerprints on it thus making it hard to clean and remove them. So, you are advised to handle the screen properly either by wearing thin gloves or using clean hands.

The transducer of this fish finder is quite big and long so it might stick out of the boat. Hence, it is advisable to use this fish finder on a large boat.

Suitable for :

  • Dual-channel sonar
  • Wi-Fish
  • GPS

Lowrance ELITE Totalscan Fish Finder

lowrance-elite-7-ti-med

Lowrance’s fish finder provides downscan imaging which is the ability to provide detailed picture-like images of the bottom and the structures directly below the boat.

The display screen is touchscreen so you can easily control it yourself without getting confused with too many manual buttons. Even so, you are advised to refer to the manual that explains the functions of this finder thoroughly.

The touchscreen of the display screen of some products might be a little faulty sometimes so you are advised to calibrate the screen and reset the unit to get it working perfectly again.

Besides that, the display screen of this product shows pictures of high resolution with size 7-inch LED backlit colour screen. It also has a large sized screen so you can view more details about the sonar data on the screen easily.

This product not only comes with a downscan but also a sidescan transducer but it is best not to use both of it at the same time for clarity purposes. CHIRP which is a frequency modulated sound pulse works only when the sidescan is turned off.

Moreover, this product is waterproof so it can withstand rainy weather. The display screen comes with a cover to protect the screen hence increasing its durability. Also, it can be pole or surface mounted on any boat easily.

The instructions are poor so if you are confused about some functions of the operation, you are advised to surf Youtube and do some self-learning.

The transducer of this product is very long nevertheless, always producing high resolution images. There is also a track back feature that allows user to scroll back through the sonar history to review the structure or fish targets to detect its same location again.

Finally, there is a wireless built-in wifi with Bluetooth so you can access and share the images and sonar data using your smartphone easily. This product also provides access to free cloud storage and a micro SD card slot so you can store more data and images.

Suitable for :

  • Downscan and sidescan imaging
  • Wireless Wifi with bluetooth
  • Track back feature

Garmin Striker 7SV Portable Fish Finder

garmin-striker-7sv

Garmin’s fish finder is equipped with a rugged design that is very attractive to look at. It also has a high sensitivity built-in GPS receiver that allows you to mark your favourite spot and also display your speed so you know how fast you are travelling on water.

Moreover, it has a waypoint map feature so you can easily view, mark and navigate various locations and is perfect to  detect the location of fishes in large areas such as the open sea.

This product comes with CHIRP sonar feature which is the most sophisticated sonar technology used for fishing. Therefore, this feature sends a continuous wave of frequencies, ranging from low to high which provides a wide range of information.

Besides that, this product has a built-in flasher so you can view your sonar data in the classic flasher format hence making it ideal for ice fishing and vertical jigging.

The image displayed on the screen of this product is of high resolution and a clear detailed image. The screen is also big with a wide angle hence it is perfect for using split screens so you can compare the images and analyze them accordingly.

Installation instruction are simple, making it easy to follow and use thus is extremely suitable for beginners. However, the transducer included in this fish finder unit can only be used for a flat hulled boat.

This fish locator has a down-view, side-view and CHIRP sonar system hence providing the best and most accurate location of fishes underwater, at the bottom of the boat and the surroundings.

On the other hand, this product does not have mapping so it can’t pinpoint an exact location if you plan on visiting the same spot. Hence, this product is not appropriate to be used in open waters, it only can be used in coastal or freshwater.

If you like this product and prefer a mapping system along, you are advised to purchase echomap separately.

Suitable for :

  • Rugged design
  • Waypoint map
  • CHIRP sonars

Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ Fish Finder

deeper-smart-sonar-pro

This fish finder is suitable to be used in fresh and salt water operation. Not only that, it is equipped rechargeable batteries with a 5.5 hour of continuous use on a single charge. Hence, you don’t have to buy a new set of batteries each and every time.

Moreover, this product has an onshore GPS mode and dual frequency sonar so you can detect the exact location of the fish from the boat from the bottom.

Equipped with advanced features such as real time down mapping, unlimited data history and ice fishing mode, this fish locator is efficient and has a multipurpose function. For example, ice fishing is beneficial for portable movements.

Having a high frequency technology, Deeper Smart’s fish finder allows it to collect and quickly transfer more accurate data so you can get a good catch when fishing. This product is ideal if you plan on fish finding during kayaking.

The design of this product is small and light so it is portable and easy to carry. Hence, this product is suitable for a little adventure in a lake or pond but not on open water in the sea.

Furthermore, this product is easy to setup and understand with the user guide and its application. However, if you are still confused, you may refer to the customer service or self-learn through Youtube.

Wireless wifi connection is included with the purchase of this product so it is easy to use when you are onboard on water. The wifi connection is compatible to be used on IOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

However, there might be slight connection issues when your boat is going through choppy waters or clouds. The problem will resolve by itself but it will take a while. Or, you could close the app and relaunch the fish finder to restore back its connectivity.

For good wifi connection, you must make sure that the Deeper fish locator is half in and half out of the water for the wifi to constantly work. Hence, this is not suitable for shallow waters.

Suitable for :

  • Wireless Wifi connection
  • Onshore GPS mode
  • Dual frequency sonar
  • Advanced high frequency technology

Humminbird DI Helix 5 Fish Finder

humminbird-409620-1-helix-5-di-fish-finder-with-down-imaging-and-gps

Humminbird’s fish finder come with a transducer, transom mounting hardware and cables to connect it together for it to function efficiently.

However, this fish locator does not include batteries so you are advised to purchase separately the batteries that runs off in 12 Volts. Not only that, this product also has no display screen cover included so you should get one to protect your screen.

The instruction manual provided comes in a CD disc. It is very technology savvy, however it is hard for the user to bring it to the lake while fishing to use the soft-copy manual as a reference.

Moreover, this product is easy to install and operate. If you are having problem using it despite the help of the soft-copy manual, then you should probably go through Youtube tutorials and do some self learning.

This product has a nice display screen that produces bright images with excellent clarity. It displays the images of the life in the ocean, GPS location, GPS speed, temperature and depth.

Besides that, there is a microSD slot thus providing extra storage space so you can save optional maps or waypoints with a gimbal mounting system. The gimbal mounting system provides rotation about a single axis and serves as an excellent mounting system .

It is also waterproof so it can withstand rainy weathers without damaging the product. However, it is advisable to get the cover for extra protection.

Equipped with a precise internal GPS chartplotting, you are most likely to get an accurate location of the fishes at certain depths. Also, this device has an excellent down imaging feature so you can get a good view of the life under your boat.

Furthermore, this device has a built-in Unimap cartography which is a low resolution map of US for example or other international units.

Therefore, this provides good mapping so you can know the area you are in very well. You also can easily set a mark on the map to return to the same point another day to continue fishing or so.

Suitable for:

  • Down imaging
  • Waterproof
  • GPS
  • Built in Unimap cartography

Garmin Echo 551 dv Fish Finder

garmin-echo-551dv-worldwide-with-transducer

This fish finder includes an Echo 551dv, DownVu transducer with a transom mount and trolling motor mount, tilt or swivel quick-release mount and power cables.

The Echo 551dv provides images with the clearest possible fish arch returns and a nearly photographic bottom and structure details under the boat.

The DownVu transducer scans images simultaneously on a horizontally and vertically split screen thus providing you images with high resolution, impressive clarity and good details.

The transducer can be easily mounted on to the trolling motor of the boat. However, the length of the transducer cable is slightly short which is around 15 ft so it is not suitable for a large fishermen boat for mass fishing for instance.

Not only that, Garmin Echo’s fish finder is included with a sonar history rewind so you can easily check your history on the places you have explore without having to map the points. However, it is a lot better if you do map the points for easier use.

Whether shallow or deep, the fish locator works well at any depths hence showing an accurate depth reading. The display screen also comes with a cover to protect your screen so you need not purchase one.

Equipped with a high quality screen and colour display, it is fairly easy to read the features and information on the screen such as the depth, location, temperature and GPS speed.

The combination of the colour screen and the DownVu transducer displays a vivid picture of the life underneath the boat and can easily distinguish fishes and clutters.

This device is easy to use once you get used to the different settings available. However, the controls are easy to navigate hence this product is very user-friendly and suitable for beginners.

You also need to make sure that you connect the plugs completely in their sockets at the back or it won’t work right. For extra guidance and assistance, you can visit the Garmin website and watch their tutorial videos.

Suitable for :

  • Echo 551dv
  • DownVu transducer
  • Sonar history rewind

Lowrance Hook-3X Sonar Fish Finder

lowrance-hook-3x-sonar

Lowrance’s fish finder is fairly easy to use and understand so this fish finder is very suitable for beginners. Mounting the fish finder on your boat also is simple and fast to learn.

This product works very well for smaller scale boats such as kayaks and canoes. This is because this product is more suitable for viewing the bottom of the shallow lake and finding fish at shallow depths of the lake and docks.

On the other hand, this fish finder has no GPS and mapping functions so you are not able to track and map your location or find out extra information such as your GPS speed. Hence, this product is suitable for users who just come to enjoy the view and find fishes to catch in lakes and ponds under small scale.

Moreover, the display screen has an LED-backlit 3 inch colour display that has a high resolution and clarity. The display screen  shows a detailed and clear image even under full scorching sunlight and from wide viewing angles.

This device has a broadband sounder detail that can easily identify fish targets, bottom contours, structure details and bottom hardness and send back the information back through the transducer to the display screen.

The advanced signal processing feature of this fish locator is also very technology savvy as it reduces the need to manually adjust settings to view the fish, structure and bottom details more clearly according to your own preference.

Operating on a dual frequency operation, this feature improves insight on the behavior of the fish below and maximizes the view underneath the boat which in return provides a more accurate data and reading.

Furthermore, this product also has a high frequency, 32kHz sonar operation that provides conical coverage which is ideal for displaying the largest fish arches and ability to search larger areas at once.

This fish finder is not designed for boats that goes fast as it won’t show readings if you start drifting although it reads depths and temperature well for shallow depths.

Suitable for :

  • Broadband sounder detail
  • Advanced signal processing
  • Dual frequency sonar

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

garmin-striker-4-bbuilt-in-gps-fish-finder

The ClearVu scanning sonar feature in this fish finder is able to give you a near-photographic image with detailed representation of objects, structure and fish that will capture the fantastic view of the ocean life below you.

Moreover, also equipped with a CHIRP sonar, it continuously sends sweep of frequencies which provides wider range of information displayed on the display screen. Not only that, crisper fish arches with better target separation can be created.

A waypoint map in this product also help you easily mark, view and navigate locations. You can simply return back to the exact location you visited previously by marking the point in the waypoint map.

Not only that, this product is simple to use and install according to the user manual provided and it also offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons thus further simplifying the operating process.

The transducer cable is very long so you can use it to accommodate large boats easily. The mount is also very solid so you lock it securely into position without worrying about it coming off in the middle of your journey.

There is also a built-in flasher together with this device so you can easily view sonar data in flasher format. Not only that, the display colour of the screen is moderately sized, bright and easy to read under direct sunlight.

However, there are no chart data that comes together with the GPS of this fish finder. In other words, the GPS has no map outlines, only waypoint markers. So, you can still drop waypoints and make tracks to be saved and referenced without any preloaded maps.

It is also lightweight and portable making it very suitable to bring along during kayaking. Due to its small size, it is not advisable to purchase this fish finder for larger boat usage.

Not only that, you are able to constantly monitor the battery voltage which appears on the upper left of the display screen so you can estimate your journey based on the battery level.

However, the 12V battery required lasts for a long time so you do not have to frequently change them.

Suitable for:

  • ClearVu scanning sonar
  • Waypoint map
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Built-in flasher

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

venterior-portable-fish-finder-water-depth-temperature-fishfinder-with-wired-sonar-sensor-transducer-and-lcd-dispaly

Venterior’s fish finder includes display, transducer, removable transducer float, side-scan adapter, neck strap, stainless bolt and wing nut and finally an operation manual.

The round transducer and the removable float is important and can be used for fishing off the dock, on a boat and even for ice fishing.

It has various feature settings with selectable sensitivity which are battery save mode, backlight mode, fish alarm and unit of measure. For example, you need to press and hold the FTM key for more than 3 seconds to convert the unit of measure for depth and temperature.

The transmitter of this device is waterproof but the receiver which is the unit with the display screen is not waterproof. So, you should be careful to not submerge or spray the receiver end with water to ensure its durability.

Moreover, this product detects and displays water depth, temperature and the approximate fish location. However, this product is a good depth finder rather than a fish finder which is not too bad for its price.

This product is easy to use so it is perfect for beginners who is learning and good for a lazy unproductive stroll. Also, the depth reading is fairly accurate.

The operation of the sonar sensor is simple. Firstly, you need to toss the sensor and its float into the water. Then, attach the side-scan adapter to the boat hull using the mounting tabs followed by attaching the main sensor to the handle and the lower sensor in the water.

This fish locator uses rechargeable batteries to operate so you do not have to keep on buying new batteries all the time and is environmental friendly. The battery life is also long and lasting so you can spend longer hours on water.

Furthermore, it works well for a small scale boat such as kayaks and canoes in shallow areas mostly like ponds and lakes. The cord of the transducer is also slightly short so you it is tedious to use it on a large boat.

Suitable for:

  • Sonar sensor
  • Good battery life

Humminbird Helix 5 SI Fish Finder

humminbird-409640-1-helix-5-si-fish-finder-with-side-imaging-and-gps

This fish finder is easy to set up and install. The instructions are a little unclear so you are advised to surf Youtube and watch their tutorial videos or visit the Humminbird website for further guidance.

Besides that, this product has a micro SD card slot for external storage. This external storage can be used to save optional downloaded maps and waypoints so you can track your location before with ease and go there again.

Equipped with a high precision internal GPS chartplotting with built-in Unimap cartography, you need not worry about getting lost as most of the places are already mapped inside the system.

However, the chart data of this product is quite limited for freshwater areas so if you always visit and fish in freshwater areas, you can purchase additional maps.

The included mapping is pretty good with the Navionic chip add-ins. These Navionic chips includes marine and lake charts in huge regions with Nautical Chart, Sonar Chart, Community Edits and daily updates for a year.

The display screen is slightly small compared to the screen of other fish finders. However, the quality is still very good as the images produced are coloured and of high clarity and resolution. Hence, you will get a vivid picture of the life underneath your boat.

Moreover, this device mounts to the boat using a new plastic gimbal mount that rotates the transducer at about a single axis. Or, you could even do the mounting on the trolling motor transducer according to your own preference.

This product also has GPS mapping that will help detect the depth accurately, chart your course and save locations of the places you have visited before.

Not only that, the GPS can detect water temperature which in return is helpful in finding certain type of fishes which resides in different temperatures.

This fish locator comes with side imaging and down imaging that will provides images of fishes and detects the depths below the boat and at the surrounding of the boat.

Suitable for:

  • GPS
  • Built-in Unimap cartography
  • Navionic chip
  • Side imaging and Down imaging

Conclusion

Finding the suitable fish finder is not a piece of cake. You should look into various factors such as GPS, setup, clarity, transducer size and price. Try checking out our reviews for fishing pliers, fishing sunglasses, fishing backpacks and we even have one for kayaks!

Therefore, I hope my review assists you in making your decision.

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