9 Best Fish Finders in 2019 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Fish Finder

A fish finder is a tool that helps you find large bands of fishes quickly and easily. In the past, you needed sophisticated pieces of equipment that cost several thousand dollars to do the same task.

Luckily, with advancements in fish finding technology, you can now find fishes at a very affordable price. Best, those devices are highly compact and do not take a lot of space when attached to a boat.

If you are on the market for the best fish finder for the money, we have exactly what you need. We reviewed popular fish finders that professionals and beginners use every day.

You absolutely must read about what we think about them!

If you are looking for the fish finder, here are some reviews that I recommend for you to read such as portable fish finder, kayak fish finder, ice fishing fish finder

Image

Product Name

Display size

Rating

Current Price

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fishfinder Best Overall Fish Finder

1. Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder

5 in

4.4

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fishfinder Best Cheap Fish Finder

2. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fishfinder Best Cheap Fish Finder

​N/A

4.4

Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin STRIKER 5cv with Transducer

3. Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin STRIKER 5CV Fish Finder

3.5, 5, 7 in

4.3

Hook-3X All Seas Pack Sonar 83,200 XDucer Fish Finder

4. Hook-3X All Seas. Pack Sonar 83/200 XDucer Fish Finder

3 in

4.0

Humminbird 409800-1 Helix 7 DI Fish Finder with Down Imaging Sonar

5. Humminbird 409800-1 Helix 7 DI Fish Finder

​N/A

4.7

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

​N/A

4.0

Lowrance 000-11657-001 Elite-5X CHIRP with 83,200+455,800 Transducer

7. Lowrance 000-11657-001 Elite-5X CHIRP Fish Finder

5 in

4.1

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder - Best Budget Portable Fish Finder

8. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder

​N/A

4.0

Docooler Portable 3.5 LCD Fish Finder Outdoor Sensor Fishing Finder Alarm Depth Locator

9. Docooler Portable LCD Fish Finder

3.5 in

5.0

1. Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fishfinder - Best Overall Fish Finders

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fishfinder Best Overall Fish Finder

Frankly, the Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX is one of the best fish finders on the market. It can look intimidating, but it is fairly simple to use for anyone who has experience with using a fish finder.

This is a professional tool that has an excellent build construction and a rich feature-set.

The screen is a 5-inch WVGA display which is crisp and easy to read. It can show up to 256 colors and has a backlit which allows you to easily use this tool in the dark.

This device is equipped with a 5 chirps system that outputs a powerful 4000 W sonar wave and leaves a more detailed mapping of the ocean floor as well as detects fish bands more efficiently.

The display uses a system called switchfire which gives total control to the user, from the presentation of the sonar output to adding and removing details like water depth turbulence and temperature.

Additionally, this unit has a very precise GPS plotting cartographic map and is connected to data sources like NOAA and LakeMaster for the most up-to-date sea or lake charts. This is a lot of tracking versatility right there.

Pros:

  • Backlit WVGA display with 256 colors. Can easily be seen in the dark
  • Powerful 4000 W chirp for detailed mapping
  • GPS chart plotting. Live connection to sources like NOAA and LakeMaster

Cons:

  • Not very beginner friendly

Note

Note that this is a fairly complex fish finder system that is not suited for beginners. If you have never used a fish finder before then there are more user-friendly models like the Garmin Striker which is also much cheaper.

2. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fishfinder - Best Cheap Fish Finders

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fishfinder Best Cheap Fish Finder

We know, a fish finder is not always the cheapest fishing device. If the price is important to you and you still need a quality and semiprofessional fish finder, then the Garmin Striker 4 is a model worth considering.

It emits a powerful high-frequency chirp that leaves a detailed image mapping of the ocean beneath the boat.

Furthermore, installation of this device is fairly simple. The device itself is fairly simple to use with its keyed interface that allows you to control the fish finder with ease.

It provides you with different types of formats like the classic flasher format that makes it more convenient to fish depending on your environment.

Moreover, this system has a waypoint map that gives you the possibility to make annotations to your current location within the map. It also provides you with a clear view of interesting locations in your vicinity. Very practical if you are new to the area!

Pros:

  • Cost-effective fish finder with a rich feature set
  • Versatile and interactive waypoint map
  • Statistics on boat speed
  • Easy to install and use

Cons:

  • The power port is fragile. Can easily be broken

Note

The Garmin Striker 4 is a fairly straightforward and easy to use fish finder. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more premium an expensive models, but it definitely gets the job done. If you want an affordable fish finder then this is a very good model to consider.

3. Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin STRIKER 5cv with Transducer

Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin STRIKER 5cv with Transducer

The compact keyed interface is a very common layout in a fish finder. The Garmin 010-01807-00 also uses this interface as it provides greater ease-of-use.

Moreover, the large display size makes it easy to process the information. This fish finder can emit a powerful sonar wave that produces a detailed photographic image of fish and objects nearby.

The chirp sonar system is also very efficient as it sends a continuous chirp sonar wave that allows you to track a shoal of fish and real-time.

As for the installation, it is very easy as the base is flush and contains 5 bolt holes of standard size for a fish finder. If you are replacing a fish finder model with this one, it should fit just fine.

Lastly, when you go ice fishing or vertical gentling, this model has a built-in flasher which gives you the possibility to view all your data in the traditional flasher format.

Pros:

  • Emits a continuous chirp that produces a detailed photographic image
  • Ability to view sonar data in the traditional flasher format
  • 3 display screen sizes for more convenience
  • Easy to install and use

Cons:

  • Has difficulty tracking when the boat is moving faster than 5 mph

Note

Note that the Garmin 010-01807-00 is available in 3 different screen sizes of 3.5 inches, 5 inches, and 7 inches. Additionally, note that there are no maps on the system by default. You will need to install it separately to get started.

4. Hook-3X All Seas. Pack Sonar 83/200 XDucer Fish Finder

Hook-3X All Seas Pack Sonar 83,200 XDucer Fish Finder

The Lowrance 000-12638-001 focuses a lot on visibility. Indeed, this fish finder offers a clear 320 x 240 3 inches display that is easy to read.

This unit is easy to install with holes at the base for mounting to your boat, either directly or via suction cups (not provided). Moreover, it outputs a powerful sonar that allows it to create a clear photographic image of the sea bottom almost instantly.

You can easily spot fishes, big or small with this fish finder because it has excellent clarity.

Best, its dual frequency range of 83 kHz and 200 kHz for 60-degree and 20-degree conical area coverage is more than welcome. Suffice it to say, if there is a school of fish nearby then the Lowrance 000-12638-001 will definitely be able to spot it.

This unit comes with a portable carry bag and it's very easy to use, even if this is your first fish finder.

Pros:

  • Frequency of 83 kHz and 200 kHz for 20 deg and 60 deg conical coverage
  • Good resolution of 320 x 240. Clear image
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Despite a respectable resolution, the screen size is only 3 inches.

Note

This fish finder is quite big and not very portable. Additionally, it will be difficult to fit in small boats like a kayak.

5. Humminbird 409800-1 Helix 7 DI Fish Finder with Down Imaging Sonar

Humminbird 409800-1 Helix 7 DI Fish Finder with Down Imaging Sonar

In terms of build quality and feature set, the Humminbird 409800-1 Helix 7 DI is one of the best fish finders in this review.

This unit also has a focus on ease of use. If you are an absolute beginner, you will have no problem operating this device. Best, once the unit is installed, there is a pivot system that allows you to easily adjust its position.

Moreover, one of the best features of this unit remains the 16:9 screen. It is a gorgeous 480x800 screen resolution with 1500 brightness that makes it clear both during the day and at night.

All in all, it has powerful sonars that produce a clear and crisp image of objects in the sea.

Pros:

  • Large screen resolution of 480x800. Image is crisp
  • Screen is visible during both the day and at night
  • Comes with a transducer for ease of install
  • Very beginner friendly

Cons:

  • The price. it is one of the most expensive fish finders in this review

Note

The 16:9 aspect ratio makes this unit ideal for a parallel install, where you have 2 similar models working together. You can install them on both sides of the boat with the included transducer for best effect.

6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

As one of the best cheap fish finder in this review, the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C is still a decent performer.

It has an HD color display that is big and easy to read. Additionally, its small size makes it portable and it will easily fit in a small pocket.

But, if you do not want to store this unit but instead mount it on your boat, you can do so. It comes with a suction cup mount that makes it easy.

The interface is intuitive and easy to work on, as we have no reserve on the dual-frequency sonar system in this unit. It allows you to do both a 60 degree and 14-degree conical area coverage.

Plus, the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C comes with many accessories, including a carry bag. You definitely get your monies worth with this fish finder.

Pros:

  • Good price. Value for money
  • HD color screen is visible both during the day and at night
  • Portable. Will fit in your pocket
  • Comes with many accessories

Cons:

  • List ElA little basic. Not intended for professional useement

Note

This model is one of the most versatile fish finders we have in this review. It can be installed almost everywhere, and even if the 83 kHz conical coverage is only 14 degrees and not the standard 20 degrees, it is a solid performer.

7. Lowrance 000-11657-001 Elite-5X CHIRP with 83/200+455/800 Transducer

Lowrance 000-11657-001 Elite-5X CHIRP with 83,200+455,800 Transducer

The Lowrance 000-11657-001 is a definite upgrade to the Lowrance 000-12638-001 we reviewed above. This model is more professional and has even better features that make it an excellent fishing companion.

The device has a special feature that incorporates both a chirp sonar and an image scanner at the same time. With this feature, you can easily spot the difference between bait and fish. Moreover, the 5 inches screen is crystal clear and easy to read.

Further, one of the best things about this unit is its ability to work with a faster boat speed. We are all too familiar with fish finders that stop working when the boat speeds up a little. This is not a problem with the Lowrance 000-11657-001.

But one of the kicker features that you will love in this fish finder is the Advanced Signal Processing (ASP) that automatically does all the image processing and adjustments for you. This is a very handy feature for both beginners and professionals alike.

Pros:

  • Works great even with the boat moving fast
  • Crisp and clear 5 inches screen
  • Advanced Signal Processing (ASP)

Cons:

  • It is an expensive fish finder
  • We don't think it is the most durable fish finder out there

Note

You can use this device to easily create your own water map. If you need a fish finder that provides you with a lot of map charts and customizations, this is a good model to consider.

8. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder

This fish finder is the most affordable solution for this review. You can't expect too much from this little guy, but it still manages to provide decent and useful features.

It is powered by 2 x AAA batteries for convenience and is very portable. We find the monochrome screen to be basic, but it gets the job done.

The VT-FF001 can quickly detect fish from a range of 3 feet to 328 feet, which is actually very good. But what is excellent is that it can calculate the distance between you and the fish with exceptional accuracy.

Best, the sensitivity if this device can easily be adjusted.

Pros:

  • The most affordable model in the review
  • Sensitivity can be adjusted
  • Can calculate the distance between you and fishes accurately
  • Decent depth range of 3 feet to 328 feet

Cons:

  • The screen is very basic and no colors

Note

This model is portable and will make an excellent freshwater fish finder in our opinion. It lacks features for serious deep sea game, but for lake fishing, it will perform just fine. We rank it as the best freshwater fish finder in this review.

9. Docooler Portable LCD Fish Finder Outdoor Sensor Fishing Finder Alarm Depth Locator

Docooler Portable 3.5 LCD Fish Finder Outdoor Sensor Fishing Finder Alarm Depth Locator

The Docooler has very respectable features for the price. It has the traditional 200 kHz for 60 deg and 83 kHz for 20 deg. Moreover, the photographic imagery is actually very good.

Sure, the screen size is only 3.5 inches but still quite readable. It can also be easily be mounted anywhere on the boat as its installation is easy.

What we really like about this unit is definitely its good reading depth range of 1.8 feet to 984 feet.

Coupled with its excellent conical range, you can spot large schools of fishes quickly and easily with the Docooler Portable 3.5-inch.

Pros:

  • Excellent depth range
  • Auto zoom feature for more tracking versatility
  • Audible fish alarm alerts you when it detects fishes

Cons:

  • Not the best build construction

How to Buy a Fish Finder

How to Buy a Fish Finder

Like any other purchase, you first need some knowledge on factors to look for. Hopefully, our guide below will help you find the best fish finder for the money.

1. Screen

Of course, the screen is where all the action is at. It displays sonar data in a meaningful way and also allows you to manipulate this data.

Most fish finders have a screen size in the range of 3.5 inches to 7 inches. This is big enough to provide a comfortable view. Note that those are typical smartphone screen sizes so it should be familiar to most people.

Additionally, a color gamut of 256 colors is ideal for those who need to get the highest level of detail. The more color the fish finder has, the clearer the photographic imagery will be.

Lastly, when it comes to the screen, make sure that it is backlit. A backlit screen makes it so much easier to operate at night and you do not need a flashlight to see what you are doing.

2. Interface

The interface of the fish finder is how and where you use the device. It contains buttons in a specific layout. Most fish finders have a keyed interface that makes it easy to use.

Take note the button sizes and how close they are. You don't want the button crammed together as this will make it difficult to work with.

3. Continous Chirp System

The continuous chirp in a fish finder is an important feature for photographic imaging. Basically, a continuous chirp will provide you with a detailed and real-time map of what is going on under your boat.

Models that do not have the continuous chirp system are awkward to use as it feels like looking at a still image rather than a live feed of surrounding objects.

4. Frequency Ranges

There are several frequency values that are useful in a fish finder. The 83 kHz, for example, gives you the possibility to track larger fishes in a wider 60-degree conical area.

While higher frequencies like 200 kHz are excellent for 20-degree conical coverage. This is a good frequency for lure tracking using the drop-shotting technique.

Your fish finder needs to be able to operate at those common tracking frequencies for more versatility. Even better, some fish finders have a dual tracking system that allows you to track fishes using both 83 kHz and 200 kHz at the same time.

This provides you with a very detailed view of the activities and objects underneath your boat.

5. Tracking Speed

When the fish finder emits a sonar, it needs a small amount of time (measured in milliseconds) to get the waves back and process it.

However, some fish finder models have difficulty performing this task when the boat is moving too fast. This is simply because the fish finder becomes overwhelmed with data the faster you move and hence cannot process it.

While all fish finders will be useless past a certain speed, it should still be functional at low speeds. Keep an eye out for models that can at the very least track at a minimum speed of 5 mph.

How Does a Fish Finder Work?

Fish finder work

While the fish finder may look like a simple tool, there are actually some quite complex technologies working inside.

How it works is actually quite simple and elegant.

Basically, you can imagine the fish finder as being a small low-powered computer with a built-in screen that emits sonar.

This device is attached to a boat and sends a sonar wave down. It then measures the time this sonar is emitted and the time difference that it receives the signal back.

Additionally, if an object, like a shoal of fish, gets in between the bottom of the ocean and your boat, the fish finder has an automatic way of calculating this and present the data to you in a meaningful way. It can even show you the distance and number of fishes (or objects) it found.

Basically, all that the fish finder does is emit sonar waves and calculate differences in the signal it receives back.

Not all fish finders are the same, though.

Some are more sophisticated than others and can spot tiny objects that are only centimeters in length at great depths. Others have GPS incorporated and can work with complex charts. Others can compute very fast even when the boat is moving at great speeds and present you with fish data in a matter of seconds.

Conclusion

As we have seen, there is a model for every budget and need out there. This tool is very useful for any amateur fisherman or professional. You simply cannot skip on this type of equipment if you do any type of fishing.

Most of them are portable, easy to operate and does not cost that much when compared to other types of fishing equipment, that are significantly more expensive.

Moreover, we think that our fish finder review did a pretty good job by gathering some of the best models on the market in one place. If you have still not found a fish finder for your need, go through our review again.

Allen Ethan