Best Fish Finders Reviewed
There’s nothing more frustrating for an angler than struggling to locate the fish their after. While a languid day on the water may be ideal for some fishing enthusiasts, some are keen to adopt a more efficient and effective approach when it comes to finding hot fishing and the best spots to cast their line.
This is where a fish finder can flip the switch and make the action come alive.
Fish finders use sonar technology to provide you with accurate information about what’s around you under the water. This can be useful for swimmers and kayakers, as well as anglers.
When searching for the best fish finder, there’s a host of factors to take into consideration, including your budget and what you plan to use the fish finder for.
With an array of options available, the Fly Fishing Atlas team has come up with our take on the best fish finders for the money.
Top Fish Finder Comparison
Best Fish Finders For The Money
A brand famed for its high-tech marine electronics, Raymarine is a name you can trust when looking for a fish finder. The Dragonfly series is not the most high-spec range within the collection, but it is a brilliant option for anglers searching for a reasonably priced and highly capable product.
A compact, sleek model with a 4.3” LED screen, this fish finder is designed to weather all conditions and it’s also compatible with Raymarine’s Wi-fish app.
Offering a wealth of benefits at a price of around $290, buyers can enjoy the following features and benefits:
- Innovative CHIRP downvision and sonar technology: CHIRP provides incredibly detailed sonar images up to 600 feet in addition to a dedicated fish targeting channel.
- Transom mount transducer: the transom mount transducer produces superior quality images and unparallelled surface visibility.
- Navionics+: the Navionics+ feature gives you access to over 20,000 lakes, including all of those in Canada and the US, and the opportunity to create charts using Dragonfly Pro and the SonarChart app.
- Wireless capabilities: with built-in Wi-Fi, you can stream, share, and connect wherever you are.
- Mobile-friendly navigation and mapping
- Flexible mounting options
Who should buy the Raymarine Dragonfly Pro 4?
This product is a market leader, and it’s not difficult to see why. It comes with an expansive range of features, it boasts innovative technology, and it’s not out of reach of amateurs in terms of price. If you’re a keen angler, and you want accurate information with a host of additional perks thrown in, this could be a great purchase for you. Tech lovers will enjoy the connectivity features, and those who like to fish in deep waters shouldn’t encounter any problems.
In short, the Raymarine Dragonfly Pro 4 is a high-spec fish finder, which comes with all the wizardry and gadgetry you would expect from Raymarine. At almost $300, it’s not the cheapest option, but it does represent excellent value for money.
- Raymarine electronics
- Dragonfly Pro 7
- GPS chart sonar
The Garmin Striker 4 is a useful portable fish finder, which is ideal for anglers on the go. A simple but effective device with a straightforward interface, this is a great option for those who like to fish on the move from kayaks and canoes. Priced at $179, the Garmin Striker 4 offers a selection of features.
The main selling points Garmin Striker 4 include:
- 3.5” color fish finder with high-sensitivity GPS tracking
- Portable carry case ideal for fishing from canoes and kayaks
- Chart plotting using Striker and Echomap
- Smooth Scaling graphics to switch between shallow and deep water seamlessly
- Find fish enables you to pinpoint and mark hot spots you wish to return to
- CHIRP sonar transducer
- Tilt/swivel mount
- Option to upgrade to high performance CHIRP with either a GT8 or GT15 transducer
Is the Garmin Striker 4 fish finder the best option for you?
The Garmin Striker 4 has a lot going for it, but it’s not going to be the best option for every buyer out there. It does come with an impressive range of features and it boasts CHIRP technology, but it’s really aimed at those who enjoy fishing from kayaks and canoes and anglers keen on ice fishing. For some, the price will be appealing, but many may prefer to pay a little more for a more advanced product. One of the best aspects for some consumers will be the portability factor, as this means you can use your fish finder anywhere.
- 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.
- Waypoint map - use the waypoint map to easily view, mark and navigate to locations such as brush piles, stumps and docks.
- 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.
Available in a range of sizes from 5-inch to 9-inch, the Lowrance Hook 2 range of fish finders is among the most high-tech on the market. The price will probably alert you to the fact that this product is packed with features and it does offer everything you could possibly wish for from a fish finder.
If you want all the mod cons, but you don’t want to pay the best part of $1,000, you can opt for a smaller size. The 7-inch model comes in at $470, for example. The price of the unit reflects the technology involved and the undeniable finesse.
The best features of the Lowrance Hook 2 range include:
- Auto-tuning sonar and easy-to-use menus make finding fish a doddle
- Cover a larger area with a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone
- Simple set up and flexible mounting options
- Large selection of pre-loaded maps
- Split-shot transducer provides several different views
- Optimum quality images
- Precision Navionics mapping
- Share and stream with Wi-Fi
Who should buy the Lowrance Hook 2 fish finder?
The price of this product may put some buyers off, as it is among the most expensive options on the market. Smaller screens are cheaper, but if you’re looking for a basic product that will do a job without blowing the budget, this probably isn’t the ideal option for you. If, however, you’re searching for a sophisticated, pro-grade product, there’s no doubt that the Lowrance Hook 2 range is impressive. Wi-Fi enables you to connect devices and share and stream content, you can take advantage of a huge selection of pre-loaded maps, and the quality of the sonar images is undeniable. If you’ve got the money, and you’re looking for a product that will deliver on all fronts, you can’t really go wrong with this fish finder.
- HOOK2 7 - 7-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US / CAN Navionics+ Map Card
- EASIEST TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 7 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 7 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 7 comes complete with a SplitShot transducer which gives you DownScan sonar (straight down) and CHIRP sonar (fish arch) views.
Ideally suited to shore anglers, the Deeper Pro Plus is a castable fish finder, which boasts wireless capabilities and offers the opportunity to source hot spots in seconds. A versatile product that will appeal to amateurs, as well as those looking for something a little more advanced, the Deeper Pro Plus has a lot to offer at a reasonable price ($219). If you buy the Deeper Pro Plus, you can enjoy a host of features, most notably:
Versatility: this fish finder is designed to suit every angler, and it’s ideal for all kinds of environments. From shore fishing and hole hopping to fishing from a boat or a kayak, you’ll only need to buy one fish finder.
Built-in GPS for shore-based bathymetric mapping: the Deeper Pro Plus fish finder is currently the only fish finder on the market that gives you the ability to produce bathymetric maps from the shore.
Wi-Fi and app connectivity: this fish finder creates its own Wi-Fi signal, and you can connect with the Deeper app to access and produce maps, analyze data, and mark hot spots.
Strategic planning: with dual-beam sonar and the ability to cast up to 330 feet at a depth of up to 260 feet, you have access to a vast amount of information. Using the Deeper Pro Plus, you can find fish, as well as learning about the depth and water temperature, the vegetation and the structure of the ground beneath you.
Is the Deeper Pro Plus a good buy for the money?
If you enjoy shore fishing, this is a brilliant product for you. With the Deeper Pro Plus, you can fish anywhere you like, but this fish finder is geared towards those who tend to spend most of their time on terra firma. This castable fish finder is packed with great features, and at $219 it offers excellent value for money.
- Versatile, wireless, castable fish finder for avid anglers, with an emphasis on shore fishing.
- Find fish and hot-spots faster. See fish location, their size and suspended depth as well as underwater structure, vegetation, bottom contour and hardness. Know water depth and temperature.
- Built-in GPS enables you to create bathymetric maps from the shore. Enjoy free access to Lake book, Deeper's bathymetric management platform where you can save, review and analyze all of your maps on any device from the comfort of home.
- Casts up to 330ft and scans down to 260ft. It operates with dual beam sonar frequency, 55° wide beam (90kHz) and 15° narrow beam (290kHz).
- Generates its own Wi-Fi signal to sync with your smartphone, anytime, anywhere. Pairs with the free, easy-to-use Deeper App, updated monthly. Compatible with iOS and Android devices. Made in Europe. 24/7 customer support.
When it comes to finding the best fish finder for amateurs who want a reliable product at an affordable price, it’s always wise to check out Humminbird’s offerings. The Helix 5 often appears in fish finder reviews, and it’s widely regarded as one of the best options out there in the under $250 category.
The Humminbird Helix 5 rates highly for many reasons. Although it’s priced at around $240, it has features you would expect from higher-priced models, and you can’t help but feel like you’re getting a lot for your money with this particular fish finder. There’s a 5-inch HD WVGA screen that is clearly visible in any light and you can access pre-loaded maps at the touch of a button. It’s also possible to add maps using a Micro SD card.
With sensitive dual-beam CHIRP sonar, you can be sure of clear, accurate images and you can plot charts and maps thanks to in-built GPS. The SwitchFire feature enables you to add or remove detail to your images, offering you much more than a standard 2D picture.
Is the Humminbird Helix 5 the best fish finder for you?
If you’re looking for a fish finder that is easy to use and guarantees great quality images, as well as the option to access pre-loaded maps and create your own charts with minimal hassle, the Humminbird Helix 5 is a good choice. This is a solid, reliable product, which offers a lot for the money, and it’s perfect for those who don’t want or need to spend extra on features they won’t necessarily use.
- 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
Top Fish Finders Features To Consider
- Screen Size – Larger screens with high definition graphics are going to provide you with more detailed information. These large fish finders are great for larger boats and watercraft with ample space and mounting surfaces. But if you are fishing from a kayak, canoe, or even a float tube, a smaller compact unit with a smaller screen might be a better option.
- GPS – All of the technological advantages of GPS on dry land can also apply on the water. When you find a hot fishing area, a fish finder equipped with GPS provides for plotting charts and keeping record of prior locations so you can easily return to your favorite spots. Advanced models offer maps and depth charts which can be downloaded and viewed from the water.
- Wireless Capable – Wifi connectivity offers the ability to share and stream your data by connecting to your smart phone or other cellular devices. Wireless capabilities makes sharing locations and information with your friends and family super easy.
- Portability – Some fish finders are designed to be permanently mounted and wired into your boat. Other fish finders remain fairly portable so that moving your fish finder to another boat or into your house is a breeze. Portable fish finders offer a lot of benefit if you have multiple watercraft and only want to buy a single fish finder.
If you’re on the hunt for a fish finder, hopefully, these reviews will point you in the right direction.
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