- 1 Top 10 Fish Finders in 2021
- 2 Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2
- 3 Garmin Striker 4
- 4 Humminbird 410940-1 Helix 7 CHIRP MDI GPS G3
- 5 Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar
- 6 Garmin Striker Plus 5cv
- 7 Lowrance Hook2 9
- 8 Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder Sonar GPS
- 9 Humminbird 140C Fishin’ Buddy
- 10 Humminbird ICE-35
- 11 Humminbird 898C HD SI Combo
- 12 Humminbird 698ci HD SI Internal GPS/Sonar Combo
- 13 NorCross HawkEye F33P
- 14 Humminbird 4086401 PiranhaMAX 175
- 15 What Is a Fish Finder?
- 16 Best Fish Finder Buying Guide
- 17 How Does a Fish Finder Work
- 18 Bottom Line
Hello there! My name is Rick and you’ve probably come across my website because you’re in search of a product that will make your fishing experience easier and more effective. Or maybe you are just looking for information to get a better understanding of fish finders. In any case, you’ve come to the right place. I’m not a professional in this industry, I’m just a fishing enthusiast and during my search for the best fish finder on the market I’ve learned quite a few things about them. To give you the benefit of all the research I’ve done, I’ve created this website.
There is a huge variety of fish finder brands, their models and types. All this can make it quite complicated and time consuming to find the right one for your needs. To help you in your search, we have compiled these fish finder reviews of the models that are popular and top rated in 2021. With our reviews, you can find the right fish finder for your style of fishing. To make sure that you get the right features for your needs, it’s important to do prior research. So read our reviews and comparisons to decide which model you need.
In selecting the top 10 models of fish finders we used research we had done of the models that are highest rated, best sellers and offer the best features.
Disclaimer: fishfinderguy.com is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
- Garmin Striker 4
- Sonar: CHIRP/Dual Bam
- Display size, inches : 3.5
- GPS: yes
- Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP MDI GPS G3
- Sonar: CHIRP, MDI
- Display size, inches : 7
- GPS: yes
- Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2
- Sonar: CHIRP/Dual Bam
- Display size, inches : 5
- GPS: yes
- Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- Sonar: Dual Beam
- Display size, inches : -
- GPS: no
- Garmin Striker Plus 5cv
- Sonar: CHIRP, ClearVu
- Display size, inches: 5
- GPS: yes
- HOOK2 9
- Sonar: CHIRP, SideScan, DownScan
- Display size, inches: 9
- GPS: yes
Top 10 Fish Finders in 2021
Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2
The top rated fish finder and one that offers the best value for the money is the Humminbird Helix 5 model. It’s available at an affordable price but offers top-tier technology and lots of useful features.
This fish finder features a 5 inch display with a color picture and high definition. Due to this larger screen design, you can easily read the screen of the fish finder even from a distance. This size also provides the benefit of being able to view the data in split screen mode. For example, you can view sonar data on one side and GPS tracking on the other.
Another advantage of this fish finder is an excellent sonar performance. The transducer that comes with the unit supports CHIRP and Dual Beam sonar. This means that you can either dial in a specific frequency or choose between wide and narrow sonar beams.
The use of CHIRP also means that instead of using just one frequency, the transducer operates over a range of frequencies. The result of this is highly detailed images with better target separation and overall greater accuracy.
On top of that, since this fish finder also uses Dual Beam sonar, you can also choose between 83kHz and 200kHz frequencies for when you want to scan with a wider or narrower beam. The wider beam will cover a larger area and the narrower beam will provide better accuracy. You can view the sonar returns of these two beams either separately or combined, which will provide you with a more complete picture of what’s happening underwater.
If you’re ready to spend a bit more, you can get this fish finder model with additional sonar technologies, such as side imaging and down imaging. And if you want a cheaper option, it’s also available with just Dual Beam sonar, without CHIRP.
In addition to great sonar features, this fish finder also offers GPS navigation. It features a high accuracy GPS receiver and comes preloaded with Unimap charts. These provided charts offer a view of underwater terrain and surrounding points of interest. They are not the most detailed charts, but the fish finder does come with a micro SD card slot, so you can upgrade the system with whatever charts you need.
In all, this is one of the best fish finders for the money as it comes with lots of features that are mostly available on higher-end models. It offers both good sonar and navigation. It’s also user friendly and comes with an easily readable display.
Garmin Striker 4
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the best fish finder on a budget is the Garmin Striker 4 model. It might seem like a basic unit, but it actually offers multiple useful features and it even has CHIRP technology. At its price point, it’s surprising to find a fish finder with CHIRP sonar.
The use of CHIRP sonar provides you with a lot more detail of what is underwater around your boat. Since it sends a continuous sweep of frequencies, the sonar returns provide a wider range of information. This makes it easier to separate targets, identify structure and other objects. It provides an overall higher level of clarity, making it easier to read the screen.
It’s also a Dual Beam fish finder as the transducer is 77/200kHz capable. When using the 77kHz frequency, the transducer will transmit a narrow 15 degree conical beam and when using the 200kHz, it will transmit a 45 degree conical beam. This allows you to choose between scanning a wider area and getting more detail of what’s below the boat.
You can view the returns of these two sonar beams either separately or side-by-side. Viewing them side-by-side offers the advantage of being able to compare the data, which will give you a better idea of what is happening in the water.
Another sonar feature of this fish finder is the flasher mode. It uses a circular form to show the depth scale and it provides real-time information of fish swimming through the beam. This mode can be used for ice fishing or stationary fishing.
This fish finder also comes equipped with a GPS module. It offers you tracking of your coordinates and speed but does not offer any chartplotting capability. It shows your position and route on a blank screen. However, it does offer you to save waypoints, so you can plan routes to your favorite points of interest.
The downside of this fish finder is the small display size. It measures just 3.5 inches in diagonal. However, this size is not surprising considering the price of the unit. And while this smaller display size might not be the best for bigger boats, it can be a great choice for kayaks and smaller boats.
Humminbird 410940-1 Helix 7 CHIRP MDI GPS G3
Humminbird Helix 7 is one of the more advanced fish finders. It offers powerful sonar performance and it’s a great unit for those who are looking for a fish finder with down imaging capability.
One of the advantages of this fish finder is also its large sized display. It measures 7 inches in diagonal, so you can easily view it and read it even from a distance. There’s also backlighting for the screen that you can adjust depending on if you’re viewing it under direct sunlight or at night.
The transducer that comes with this Humminbird fish finder is capable of Dual Spectrum CHIRP and Mega Down Imaging. The Dual Spectrum CHIRP allows you to choose either a wide mode or narrow mode, depending on how you want the beam to scan the water. The wide mode scans a larger area, while the narrow mode scans with more detail. In addition to these two modes, there’s also the full mode. It allows you to select any other preferred frequency within the available range.
The sonar capabilities of this high quality fish finder don’t end there. It also offers Mega Down Imaging, which provides three times the output of standard Down Imaging. This means that you get a more clear image of nearly photographic quality. Using this mode, you can unlock new underwater details, which can help you in catching more fish.
This fish finder is also a chartplotter. It features a built-in GPS receiver and it includes basic charts. These charts include both lakes and coastal waters of the U.S. They are great for basic navigation, but you might not find them detailed enough for more advanced chartplotting. However, the system is upgradeable, so you could upgrade it with Navionics or Lakemaster charts.
Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar
For those that are looking for a portable fish finder, one of the top recommendations is the Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar. It’s a versatile fish finder that can be used when fishing from shore or boat. It’s also a handy unit for ice fishing.
This fish finder includes only the transducer. It’s designed so that you use it with your smartphone or tablet. This means that the size of the screen is determined by the size of the device that you choose. If you want a bigger screen, you can use a tablet. Or if you want a smaller one, you can use your phone.
The unit uses Wi-Fi connectivity for syncing with your mobile device. This provides fast data transfer and uninterrupted streaming of the sonar feedback. Since it uses Wi-Fi, it also means that you can use it anywhere you want, without being dependent on a Cellular connection.
To be able to use all the features of this sonar unit, you need to download the provided app. Through this app, you can monitor sonar feedback, helping you to locate fish, identify structure and other objects. It uses dual beam sonar, scanning the water with a wide and narrow beam.
The wide beam is transmitted at a 90kHz frequency and it scans a broad area with a 55 degree cone angle. The narrow beam, on the other hand, uses the 290kHz frequency and a 15 degree cone angle, which provides more detailed scanning. As for the maximum depth capability, it can scan as far down as 260 feet.
In addition to 2D sonar, this sonar unit also offers a flasher mode. This mode can be used for ice fishing since it will let you examine the water column right beneath your hole.
The fish finder also comes with an in-built GPS. However, this GPS receiver is added more for creating maps than tracking your position. It can be used for creating bathymetric maps when fishing from shore. As you cast out and reel in the sonar device, the system will create detailed maps right on your smartphone screen. You can then use these maps for locating hotspots and other analyses.
Garmin Striker Plus 5cv
Garmin Striker Plus 5cv is another affordable fish finder that comes with some of the most advanced sonar technologies. It’s a great option for those that are looking for a fish finder that won’t break the bank but will provide both CHIRP and down imaging sonar.
The unit comes with a good sized display that measures 5 inches in diagonal. In addition to being able to read it from a distance, the size also makes it possible to view different data in split screen mode. You can view up to three panels, so you could have two panels showing sonar data and one panel shows GPS data.
It’s a color display that offers high definition imaging. You get crisp and clear images with well defined fish arches and other details. The display is also equipped with LED backlighting, making it sunlight readable.
For sonar, this fish finder combines CHIRP and ClearVu sonar technologies. CHIRP uses a continuous sweep of frequencies. The result is a picture with a high level of detail, which makes it easier to separate targets and spot different submerged objects. ClearVu uses a higher 455kHz frequency, which results in even more detail and near photographic imaging quality. By combining and comparing these two sonars, you can get a clear image of what’s happening below your boat.
This fish finder is also dual beam capable and it uses 77kHz and 200kHz frequencies. The wide beam of the 77kHz frequency will have more coverage, while the narrow beam of the 200kHz frequency will have less coverage but more detail.
There’s also a built-in GPS receiver in this fish finder, which means that in addition to monitoring fish, you’ll also be able to monitor your boat’s position on the water. It provides you with the coordinates and shows your boat’s position and route on a blank screen. The system doesn’t offer any maps but allows you to create your own using the included Quickdraw Contours software.
Lowrance Hook2 9
Lowrance is another popular brand that offers plenty of high quality fish finders and one of its top rated products is the Lowrance Hook2 9. It’s one of the best buy fish finders due to its high performing sonar, the inclusion of chartplotting and ease of use.
The first thing that stands out about this fish finder is the 9 inch display. This allows viewing up to four panels on the screen. For example, you can view four different types of sonar returns at the same time. Alternatively, it can also be sonar returns and navigation displayed side-by-side.
Another advantage of this unit is that it comes with a TripleShot transducer. This transducer supports three types of sonar in one unit. It includes CHIRP, down scan and side scan sonar.
This unit’s CHIRP sonar uses a wide-angle beam that provides double the coverage of most fish finders. This sonar technology also provides highly detailed images with clearly defined fish arches and other objects. The Side Scan sonar offers a view of the water to the sides of your boat, while the Down Scan looks down right beneath it. This provides all-around coverage, which is definitely a benefit when you want to locate more fish.
The fish finder also features auto-tuning sonar, which can be an especially useful feature for beginners. It’s designed to simplify the setup process and eliminate the need to dial in the sonar. It automatically adjusts it for you, so you don’t have to waste time dealing with settings and can instead go straight to catching more fish. And at any time you can take back full control over the process by switching to the Custom mode.
Additionally, the unit offers chartplotting capability. It features a GPS receiver and comes preloaded with U.S. inland lake maps. There’s also an SD card slot, so you can upgrade the maps at any time with any other maps that you might want.
Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder Sonar GPS
For just around 600 you can get this Raymarine Dragonfly fish finder that offers features that are usually found on much pricier models. It uses next-gen CHIRP technology that gives photo-like imagery with high resolution structure. The CHIRP technology transmits a wide spectrum of frequencies and the result is a much higher resolution. The generous size (5.7 inches) of the display gives an easy read of the underwater details and the 1600 nits give clear viewing even in bright daylight.
The powerful digital sonar engine can simultaneously display the sonar images and the down vision. Alternatively, you can view each one independently.
This model also includes a 50-channel internal GPS that features fast-acquisition technology.
The device comes with the quick release swivel bracket and the transom mount transducer, which makes installing the Dragonfly a quick and easy process.
- Humminbird 140C Fishin' Buddy
- Beam: Dual
- Display size, inches: 3.5
- GPS: no
- Price: $$$
- Humminbird ICE-35
- Beam: Dual
- Display size, inches : 7
- GPS: no
- Price: $$
- Humminbird 898C HD SI
- Beam: Dual
- Display size, inches : 7
- GPS: yes
- Price: $$$$
- Humminbird 698ci HD SI
- Beam: Single
- Display size, inches: 5
- GPS: yes
- Price: $
- NorCross HawkEye F33P
- Beam: Single
- Display size, inches: 2.3
- GPS: no
- Price: $
- Humminbird PiranhaMAX 175
- Beam: Dual
- Display size, inches: 4
- GPS: no
- Price: $
Humminbird 140C Fishin’ Buddy
Humminbird 140C Fishin’ Buddy is one of the top rated fish finders among the portable type. So you can use it on your boat, on the leased boat, on the dock, or for fishing from anywhere else. To use the device you won’t need to do any rigging or wiring. Instead, it uses extendable transducer tube housing with the length suitable for most small and mid-sized boats.
The 256 color TFT screen gives a clear image that can give you readings of depths of up to 240 ft. The charge of the unit can last up to 30 hours. It features SideFinding sonar that gives accurate readings. Its benefit is that you can point it in any direction and get full coverage of the area to find more fish. The temperature feature is included.
The wattage for the device is 1000 watts. Purchasing it, you have several options. You can either choose a black and white or color screen option. One more selection is of either dual or single beam sonar.
For ice fishing enthusiasts one of the recommended and top rated fish finders is the Humminbird ICE-35 model. One of the most liked features of this device is the zoom flexibility. It allows you to zoom in not just to the bottom but also to zoom in for more details in any part you choose of the water column. The three color fiber optic display gives you a clear view of the readings. The extreme temperature LCD technology reports the lake bottom and automatically sets the flasher. Other features include dual frequency, maximum 200 depth capability, and 800 watts peak-to-peak.
Humminbird 898C HD SI Combo
One of the more advanced and at the same time higher priced fish finder devices is the Humminbird 898C HD Side Imaging fish finder. The high price gives you more features, which for some might be very useful, while for others not that necessary.
As the above mentioned models, this unit also feature a 7 inch bright LED backlit LCD for crystal clear images. The 898C HD SI features Down Imaging for identifying cover and structure, SwitchFire for locating and targeting fish, HD Side Imaging for scanning the area of up to 240 feet to both sides of the boat location.
This side imaging fish finder is also a combo and features an internal GPS for chartplotting. It includes a built-in ContourXD map that covers the U.S. coastline, all the inland lakes and rivers. So almost anywhere you travel in the states, you will have an accurate chart to plot your way.
Humminbird 698ci HD SI Internal GPS/Sonar Combo
If you are looking for a more advanced model, then consider Humminbird 698ci HD Side Imaging fish finder. It provides powerful side imaging technology, a high resolution backlit display, 2D sonar frequencies with the ability to give readings of up to 1500 ft.
The power output is 4000 watts (Peak-to-Peak) and 500 watts (RMS). Side imaging offers 240 feet readings on each side of the boat.
This model includes an internal GPS unit that provides both GPS tracking and chart plotting. The split screen allows viewing sonar and charts at once, making it easy to navigate while fishing. It comes with UniMap cartography and a card slot with a selection of optional maps.
Temperature and speed are also included in this unit. It has side imaging and down imaging. For easy installation of the Humminbird 698ci HD SI there is the tilt and swivel quick disconnect mounting system.
NorCross HawkEye F33P
The most popular fish finder under 200 is the NorCross HawkEye F33P model. It’s simple but also quite innovative. If you are looking for a portable device on a budget, then this is the best option.
This model is designed to give readings of fish, structure and weeds as deep as 100 ft. The downside of this unit is that it doesn’t draw an image, but only shows an image that denotes fish and other objects. So it’s a good model for beginners. Experienced anglers, however, will most likely find it too simple.
One of its benefits is the tiny size. It can fit in the palm of a hand. So you can easily fit it in your pocket or tackle box, or some other small storage space.
Since it’s a portable unit, there is no mounting of the device needed. You just throw the transducer into the water from the dock or boat. You can let it float or troll behind the boat. This small fish finder does come with mounting tabs, so you can mount it on your boat if you wish.
Humminbird 4086401 PiranhaMAX 175
The last model we would like to mention in our top 12 list is a model also from the Humminbird brand. It’s also one of the best inexpensive fish finder models. It comes with a black and white display. The sonar is dual beam and its frequency (200/455 kHz) allows viewing readings of depths of up to 600 feet. It’s also a small fish finder with the display being just 4 inches. The clear edge grayscale display clearly shows everything even in direct sunlight.
What Is a Fish Finder?
A fish finder is a sonar instrument that is designed for the specific purpose of detecting fish underwater. It does so by detecting reflected impulses of sound energy. All the electronic impulses that are reflected off fish are converted into information that is then displayed in graphic rendition on the screen of the fish finder. In addition to locating fish, these units also measure the depth of the water, locating underwater debris, and bottom structure. The image on the screen of the fish finder can represent just one fish in the form of a small icon or with a series of arches.
Best Fish Finder Buying Guide
How to choose a fish finder? There are so many fish finder brands and models of fish locators available that it can be quite difficult to figure out which one would best meet your needs and your individual fishing style. Moreover, it’s also easy to get lost in transducers, echoes, sonar, flashers and transom mounts. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a good fish finder is the question: will it help you to catch more fish? To make this choosing process less complicated and so you can understand more about fish detector features we have compiled this buying guide. Using this information will help you to make the best choice.
The transducer is the main part of the fish locator. It sends the sound waves and shows what is underneath the surface of the water. The sonar signal that the transducer sends into the water, bounces off of the objects that are underwater and then get picked up by the transducer. The signal is then translated into a picture.
When checking the transducer, the most important feature is the cone angle. For a bigger perspective of the verges underneath, choose a bigger degree on the cone. The wider beam gives more coverage of the under water and allows locating more fish within it. However, its drawback is the quick loss of strength. Due to this, it cannot penetrate the water as deep as the narrow cone. The narrow one can go really deep even in shallow waters and can also give information on the composition of the bottom.
To get the most of the both there’s the dual beam type of transducers. It’s also called dual frequency and which combines both features in one unit. Other types of transducers are more specialized. They include multiple beams (can be 4 or more). These cover a larger area of the underwater and can even give a 3D image on the display. One more option is the side beam transducer. These units shoot their signals to the sides, which increases the search area for fish.
Display (size, resolution, color/mono)
The display is all about pixels. With more pixels, you will be able to see more details, so it’s also an important factor to consider. More pixels also mean a higher price of the fish detector. We would suggest going a minimum of 240(v) x 160(h) pixels of the screen. However, this screen will give a pretty blocky image. To have a sharper image and better resolution, you will need to invest more.
The displays of the models are also available in different sizes. A bigger sized screen will give you a clearer and better picture. It will be easier to differentiate on it all the data that is usually displayed, such as echoes, numbers and other data.
You can also choose either a color or black and white display. If you are looking for a budget unit, then a black and white option will suit just fine. Benefits of the color screen include greater detail showing in millions of colors, easier viewing of the screen in bright light and easier viewing of what’s going on underwater.
An essential feature to consider before choosing the fish finder is its power. The power measure of these units is watts. Higher wattage gives better effectiveness, better speed of displaying readings and more usable depth. For shallower water, you can use a unit with lesser wattage.
So if you plan on fishing in deep waters, for example in the Great lakes or salt water bodies, look for more powerful units. While for shallow waters 600 watts might be enough for you. For serious anglers, a more recommended wattage would be a 1000 and up wattage.
When choosing the fish finder, you also need to choose the unit with the right frequency, which is also an important feature of the transducer. The frequency is directly related to the angle of the cone. On most of the transducers, you can find the following frequencies: 50, 83, 192 and 200 kHz. A higher frequency will give you more detail on the screen. You can find models that offer dual, single and multiple frequencies.
Portable or Fixed
You also have a choice of buying a fish finder that is portable and entirely self-contained or a fixed unit that you will need to mount onto your watercraft.
Portable fish finders are the better choice for those who lease their boat. Also if you ice fish or “fly-in” fish, a portable unit would be more suitable for you. They usually come with their own carrying case and battery power supply. Most of the fish locators 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.
For more settled fishers and watercraft owners, a better choice would be a fixed unit that they will be able to mount in any precise location on their boat. According to your preference or needs, you can mount the transducer either on the stern, hull or trolling engine.
Fish Finder and GPS in One Unit
If you are looking for an ultimate fishing tool, consider adding GPS to it. The Global Positioning System (GPS) with the help of satellites calculates your exact position.
A GPS is a must have for many fishers and having it in one unit with a fish detector is economical, space saving and convenient. Having the addition of a GPS gives you many benefits. It will give you the ability to mark hot fishing spots and easily return to them in the future, as you can mark the spot on the GPS and then track your way back to it later. These spots are called waypoints and on most units, you will be able to mark hundreds or even thousands of them.
A GPS also gives you navigation through the waters. For this, you will need to select a unit that comes with background maps and charts. One more benefit of the addition of GPS is safety. Wherever you fish, you will have the confidence that at the end of the day the GPS will easily point you home. For example, you could be fishing throughout different locations during the day, or you could lose sight of land, or some severe weather could suddenly roll out. In such situations, a GPS will give you the exact direction to your home and will tell you how far it is.
How Does a Fish Finder Work
Understanding how a fish finder works will help you to understand how to use it. Fish finders work using sonar. It’s a technology that uses sound waves to display underwater objects. The fish finder produces the sound wave and with the transducer sends it through the water. Penetrating the water deeper, the sound wave starts to spread in the form of a cone (commonly called a beam). As the wave encounters objects within this beam, it sends the signal back to the transducer.
By calculating the amount of time between when the sound wave was sent and when it bounced back, it measures the distance and shows it on the screen. If the wave doesn’t encounter anything on its way, it reaches the bottom. If the bottom is soft and it’s just mud and weeds, the signal gets absorbed. A rock bottom will reflect a stronger signal back.
These sonar reflections will also display on the screen. So this way a fishfinder reads and lets you view the bottom and everything it encounters in between. The angle of the sonar beam is measured in degrees and it’s called the cone angle. A wider angle covers more area underwater. Different fish detector models come with different cone angles. Some models also include multi-beam sonar technology that allows covering a much wider area.
If you would like to check the fish finder prices, you can follow the links to Amazon. It’s a convenient place to shop and you can always buy there a fish finder for a good deal.
The best value fish finder models that we have listed above are the most popular in 2014. All of them have high fish finder ratings and predominantly positive reviews of the users. According to your needs, one model or other might be a better choice for you. When you compare fish finders, you should consider your budget and the features you would like the fish finder you are looking for to have. Before choosing fish finder, you need to decide do you need a portable unit or a fixed one for mounting onto your boat. Also, consider will a fish finder be sufficient for your needs or do you also need an integral GPS in the unit. We hope that with the information that I have provided in this best fish finder reviews, you will find a fish finder that will help you catch more fish.