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I have been fishing all of my life. My mom says that I was catching fish before I was born. I am not a professional, but I love to fish. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine someday I would be writing about fish finders.
Technology has changed the way we fish. From the top fishing rods and reels, trolling motors, types of line, and trusting the locals to find the best fishing spot, the sport has come a long way. Nothing makes this more evident than today’s top-rated fish finders.
There are many different fish finders with different features. This can sometimes make it a daunting task to choose a fish finders. So I decided to do some research and try to help you choose the best one for the money for your fishing needs.
Defining The Best Fish Finder
Everybody will have a different definition of a good fish finders. Some will equate it to best bang for your buck. Others will equate it to quality and range. Yet others will simply mean the best for the type of fishing they do like deep sea fishing, lake fishing, river fishing, or ice fishing.
So I am not going to try to convince you which one is the best quality or best bang for your buck. Instead, I am going to show you fish finders in different price ranges and let you decide which one is the best fish finder for you. I do have three recommendations, but you are the one that has to determine if the fish finder is the right type for your fishing adventures.
If you need help deciding which fish finder would be best for you, I suggest you read our Fish Finder Buyers Guide.
In this article, you will find a quick comparison chart of fish finders, and then below you will find product listings for each weed eater pulled from Amazon’s product database for you to compare.
However, before we go onto the list, here is a helpful video on how to buy a fish finder by West Marine.
Our Top 3 Picks For Fish Finders
Scroll down to see our other top fish finder picks
How We Determine What Is A Top Fish Finder
Why You Should Trust Us When Searching For The Best Fish Finder
We spent over 40 hours researching and writing this list of the top fish finders so you wouldn’t have to spend your time doing the research. We consulted with the top experts in the industry and coupled that with our own experience to bring you this list. We do not accept free products or incentives when we review products to keep our opinions unbiased and helpful to our readers.
In making this list of the top fish finders, we kept three things in mind: Quality, affordability, and customer satisfaction.
Fish Finder Quality
As an avid fisherman myself the last thing I want to do is cause you to have a bad fishing trip because of a review we gave. So when I decided to make this list of fish finders, quality was the number 1 consideration. I desire that you catch more fish.
That is why you do not see off-brand knock-offs on this list. You only see the top fish finder brands in the fishing industry.
Fish Finder Affordability
Although our list of fish finders has units with price ranges from $100.00 to $1,000.00, these are not the highest priced fish finders in any way shape or form. Some of the most expensive fish finders can run in the multiple thousands of dollars.
Customer Satisfaction With The Fish Finder
We spent the time reading all the customer reviews left on these top-rated fish finders to ensure that any fish locator and depth finder we recommend is well liked by real anglers. Every fish sonar we recommend was rated with 4 stars or better at the time of this writing.
Humminbird Helix 10
- 10 inch widescreen color LCD with easy-to-use Reflex menu System
- Ethernet networking capabilities
- CHIRP sonar (2D, DI, & Si) for improved sonar performance and target separation
- Metal transducer Brackets on 2D & DI
- Built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity
Best Fish Finder For Small Boat
Simrad Go7 XSE
- Easy to use multi-touch interface
- Full-featured chartplotter with widest available cartography support (Insight, Navionics, CMAP)
- 7-inch flush or bracket mount display, widescreen with bright LED backlight
- Includes TotalScan™ transducer for medium/high frequency CHIRP sonar and StructureScan® HD imaging
- Built-in GoFree™ Wi-Fi
Top Fish Finder 2018
Lowrance Hook 7x
- Lowrance Hook-7X Sonar Mid/High/Downscan Fishfinder
- CHIRP sonar plus DownScan imaging combed to provide the best possible view beneath your boat
- Mid / High CHIRP transducer with Down Scan
- Advanced Signal Processing (ASP) reduces the need to manually adjust settings to see fish, structure and bottom detail more clearly
- TrackBack to review recorded sonar history including structure, transitions or fish targets, then pinpoint locations with a waypoint
Best Fish Finder GPS Combos Under $500
There are some great fish finder GPS combos for the avid fishing enthusiast under $500.00. Here are some great ones ranging from $200.00 to $500.00
Garmin Striker 7SV
- Clearer scanning sonar - shows you more of what is in the water around your boat. This high-frequency sonar gives near-photographic images with detailed representations of objects, structure and fish.
- The power of simple - offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons. The Device is easy to use and easy to install. Available in 3.5-, 5- and 7-inch display sizes.
- Way point map - use the way point map to easily view, Mark and navigate to locations such as brush piles, stumps and docks. Water rating IPX7
- Chirp sonar - Chirp sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which provides a wider range of information. Chirp sonar is able to create crisper fish arches with better target separation.
- Built-in flasher - view your sonar data in the Classic flasher format; ideal for ice fishing or vertical jigging.
Lowrance Hook 5
- EASIEST TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 5x Fish Finder features auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus giving you more time to spend fishing and less time dealing with settings.
- WIDER SONAR COVERAGE: The HOOK2 5 offers a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone giving you double the coverage of traditional fish finders.
- EASY SETUP: A single transducer can be mounted on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor or through a scupper hole.
- MORE SONAR VIEWS: The Lowrance HOOK2 5x comes complete with a SplitShot transducer which gives you DownScan sonar (straight down) and CHIRP sonar (fish arch) views.
- FISH FINDER & GPS: The HOOK2 5x provides basic navigation with a GPS plotter that allows you to add waypoints, follow trails, and navigate. No maps included.
Humminbird Helix 5
- 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
- CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar. Power Output RMS : 500 Watts. Power Draw : 615 mA
- Precision Internal GPS Chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography
- Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints
- Target Separation - 2.5 Inches
Garmin Striker 5CV
- Includes transducer for built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar
- Built-in Garmin Quickdraw Contours mapping software lets you create and store maps with 1’ contours for up to 2 million acres
- Built-in GPS lets you mark waypoints, create routes and view boat’s speed. Frequencies supported : Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz
- Bright, sunlight-readable 5” display and intuitive user interface
- Rugged design for every fishing environment. Display resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
Fish Finders Under $300
Maybe you don’t hit the water every weekend but you would like to have the advantage of having a fish finder when you do. These inexpensive fish finders might just be the best fishfinders for you. You still get some of the advantages of the pricier models but don’t pay for all the bells and whistles.
Raymarine Dragonfly 4DV
- 4.3" All-weather, high-definition LED backlit display
- Optically bonded for sharp color, wide viewing angles and no internal fogging
- Dual-channel sonar - wide-spectrum CHIRP DownVision sonar for photo-like images and a second CHIRP conventional sonar channel for targeting fish
- Stream live sonar data to your smartphone with Raymarine's Wi-Fish mobile app; With the Wi-Fish you can rewind, save and share the day's catch with friends on your favorite social networks
- Aspect ratio: 16:9. Includes US lakes, rivers and coastal maps; Includes transom mount CHIRP transducer with temperature sensor
- Led-backlit 3 inch color display with detailed 320 x 240 resolution that's easy to see in full sunlight & from wide viewing angles
- Broadband sounder detail easily identifies fish targets, bottom contour, structure detail, bottom hardness, thermoclines & more
- Dual-frequency 83 or 200kHz operation helps maximize view beneath boat
- 83kHz sonar operation provides up to 60deg of conical coverage ideal for displaying largest fish arches & searching large areas
- 200kHz frequency provides up to 20deg of conical coverage for enhanced fish-target separation & lure tracking for drop-shotting technique
Best Portable Bobber Style Fish Finder
Maybe you are a river fishing enthusiast or maybe you like to fish using a kayak or inflatable rubber boat. This portable bobber style fish finder will help you find the big ones that are lurking beneath the surface.
Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+
- FishFinder Bundle Includes:
- 1 x Deeper Smart Sonar PRO Series - Wi-Fi Connected Wireless, Castable, Portable Smart Fishfinder for iOS & Android Devices
- 1 x Universal Waterproof Case, CellPhone Dry Bag Pouch for Apple iPhone 6S 6,6S Plus,7 SE 5S, Samsung Galaxy S7, S6 Note 5 4, HTC LG Sony Nokia Motorola up to 6.0" diagonal - Black
- Deeper Smart Sonar PRO, USB Charging Wires, Neoprene Carry Pouch, 2 Attachment bolts, Quick Guide, Safe Usage and Regulations Manuals & Universal Waterproof CellPhone Case
- Universal waterproof case dry bag fits all smartphones up to 6.0" diagonal size (Certain big screen phones need to remove protective case); Credit card wallet money waterproof dry bag for beach, fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, snorkeling and water park activities - 100 feet IPX8 Certified waterproof; Offers waterproof / snowproof / dirtproof protection for your device while maintaining full touch screen functionality (Phones pictured are not included.)
How To Use A Top Fish Finder
When you purchase your fish finder you will be learning how to read sonar based data. This is different than what you would see if you panned an underwater camera down under your boat. The data is time based, not distance based.
So when you use your new fish finder, you will need to remember that what you are seeing is not the spacial movement but time scans.
You also will find that you get better images and data if you keep moving rather than stay stationary. The reason for this is that with the movement you give your fish finder the ability to get different angles on any fish or object below you.
Tips For Reading The Fish Finder Depth View Screen
Not all fish finders have icons that tell you what a fish is and what is a tree stump. Not always is it easy to say right off the bat. Here are a few tips to help you read your view screen.
- A thick line at the bottom shows a soft bottom where a thin line indicates a hard or rocky bottom.
- The right to left movement of your screen is not panning right to the left. It is the image based on time.
- Adjust your sensitivity controls so that objects are clear and distinct from the background.
- Mount your transducer where it gets a steady flow of water across it rather than near turbulence. Less turbulence will significantly improve the image you see on your view screen.
Here is a helpful video on how to read your new fish finder with sonar technology.
Final Thoughts on Fish Finder Technology
I still remember the days when I had to know how to read the water to find fish. However, I also love the new technology like chirp technology that makes it so much easier to find the fish and where the fish are biting.
Let me know if you found that this fish finders list has helped you chose the top fish finder for you. Let me know if there is anything I can add that will help you make your decision on what is the GPS fish finder for the money for you. I will try to update the content as time and technology changes. Feel free to share some fishing tips as well.
For further information you might want to read our fish finder reviews, our buyers guide to learn how to buy the best fish finders on the market. Alternatively, our fish finders comparisons.