Nowadays, fish finders are widely used by professional fishermen and hobbyists who love to catch a huge amount of fish. Most of the available fish finders on the market are indeed reliable and are doing their job exactly as you’d expect from this device. Hence, they can be seen as useful if not must-have accessories for your fishing gear.
But, since there are thousands of them available on the markets because of the competition, choosing the right one may not be the easiest thing in the world. Especially, not at fish finders whose price tag is under $200.
Fortunately, in this article, I’ve listed the 5 best fish finders under $200 of which you can take advantage and get the best possible results without having to spend thousands of dollars.
Do you want to see what I’ve prepared for you? Yes? Let’s dive into action then!
The Top Fish Finders Under $200
5. Venterior VT-FF001
The Venterior VT-FF001 wold be an ideal option for you, especially if you’re a hobbyst that loves fishing but wouldn’t like to invest a lot of money for a fish finder. Currently, this unit is among the most sold fish finders on the market, because it brings numerous features, looks nice and performs even better, and it costs less than $100! This doesn’t happen too often, right?
I would also like to mention that the sides are protected by rubber, and this does not only contribute a lot to the protection but at the same time, it makes this unit easy to hold as well!
Furthermore, what got my attention regarding the screen is the presence of anti-UV protection that definitely comes handy, especially if you’re fishing under a bright, daylight since you will still be able to read the information without putting a significant effort!
Now, let’s talk about the features.
The VT-FF001 is equipped with a 25ft cord and round sonar transducer, as well as with a removable transducer float which I absolutely favor since this is one of the reasons that made the users keen on investing in such a fish finder. The reason behind this is the convenience because you would be able to fish from a longer distance, such as shore, bridge, and boat. At the same time, if you think that the cord is very long, you can fix this “issue” by coiling the rest of the cord!
Moreover, this fish finder comes with numerous features, including a unit of measure, 5 user-selectable sensitivity levels, battery safe mode, backlight mode. For instance, backlight mode is ideal if you’re fishing at night, whereas, the fish alarm is surely a great addition because it will push you an alert when this unit detects fish that are moving.
Another great thing about this unit is its ability to provide accurate detection in water depths that stretch from 3ft to 328ft! Additionally, you can use this unit for ice fishing, boat fishing, and shore fishing, but regardless of your use, the VT-FF001 will always output a consistent and reliable performance.
The only remark I have regarding this product is that you would have to take advantage of standard AAA batteries which may cost you an additional amount of money. But still, I think that this should not be a huge problem given the actual price cost of this fish finder and the features that are brought to you!
Overall, the Venterior VT-FF001 would be an ideal option for you, especially if you’re looking for a quality, durable and reliable fish finder that will provide you accurate information without having to spend a fortune in order to feel this pleasure!
4. Garmin Striker 4
The Garmin Striker 4 is reasonably-priced fish finder that does not look nor perform cheap, in fact, this fish finder packs a durable body with numerous features that will effectively keep track of the fish, so that you can get as much fish as possible throughout your fishing sessions!
In terms of the design, the Garmin Striker 4 has a compact, and by default, highly portable body that consists of a 3.5″ display that will offer you a clear sight and keep you informed regarding everything, an intuitive control layout that occupies the lower part of its body, a built-in flashed which definitely comes handy if you opt to try ice fishing or vertical jigging, as well as it has an IPX7-rated construction which makes this unit water-resistant to a certain level.
However, please keep in mind that the screen and the keyboard aren’t water-resistant, and therefore, you would have to pay attention to them especially if you find yourself under rain or if you drop this unit by mistake in water.
Performance-wise, the Striker 4 is powered by a Garmin CHIRP ( 77/200 kHz) transducer which in comparison to 1-single frequencies, the CHIRP outputs reliable and continuous frequencies that range from low to high and it analyzes them individually until their return. At the same time, CHIRP sonar technology is very popular nowadays because fish finders that have them are known for ensuring an excellent target separation, so, Striker 4 isn’t different at all!
Moreover, this model has a transmit power of 200-Watts (RMS), and it can detect fish under 1600ft of freshwater, or 750ft of saltwater, and let’s not forget the inclusion of the GPS system which definitely comes handy anytime you want to pinpoint certain locations.
I would also like to mention that the Striker 4 is a highly accurate fish finder and those who’ve been using it claim that they were very satisfied by the detailed representation of everything that this unit has detected.
Finally, there’s yet one more thing that you should really know about, and that’s the features. The Garmin Striker 4 offers a plethora of features including Flash Symbol ID whose purpose is to show the depth of each target fish, the Auto Gain feature that will allow you to filter out unwanted noise without having to use your hand at all, and more!
Overall, I’d strongly recommend you consider this product as your next purchase, because it is affordable, yet feature-full, and therefore, if you ever decide to purchase it, you will definitely have an opportunity to own a fish finder that offers a great value for its cost!
3. Deeper PRO+
The Deeper PRO+ is a quality, smart fish finder that will undoubtedly offer you the benefits of the 21st century, since you won’t deal with cables like you’ve used to before, but instead, you can fish from a boat and shore by using your smartphone!
Design-wise, this model boasts a circular, all-black construction that is accompanied by a flasher display + zoom, and an accurate transducer which will guarantee you fast transmission of data along with a precise target separation of only 0.5″!
Since its design is very simplistic, I’d like to be focused on the performance so that you can have better insight regarding what you should expect from this unit in practice!
Well, the PRO+ comes armed with a built-in GPS which is one of the biggest highlights regarding this product, due to the fact that you would be able to create bathymetric maps from the shore, review, save and analyze maps on literally any smart-enabled device, and a castable sonar that can scan down to 260ft.
Aside from its accurate scanning, you will be surprised to know that such a compact, circular piece of tech is strong enough to have dual-beam scanning with up to 15 scans per second!
One of its beams is meant for wide scanning ( 90kHz 55-degrees) and it is meant for scanning through broad areas, whereas, the second is basically a narrow beam ( 290kHz 15-degrees), and it is meant for detailed scanning.
Another great thing about this unit is that it is completely Wi-Fi enabled, and doesn’t use Bluetooth in order to connect to your smartphone. Therefore, this is awesome because the PRO+ simply ensures fast data transfer and strong connectivity for your ultimate fishing experience!
There are multiple features as well, of which the most notable is the “Boat Mode” which allows you to download free online maps so that you can pinpoint the locations you think are the most useful, and a very interesting feature known as “Bathymetric mapping”. What does the latter feature means is that you can pull this fishfinder over the water and instantly, you will be given a chance to create your customized, yet detailed bathymetric maps of the bottom. Therefore, this feature will be available to you even if you’re fishing from shore.
Before we end, I would also like to mention that this model has a very useful mode known as Split Screen, and what does this mean in practice is that, you will be able to view the sonar feedback simultaneously and by default, you will have a better insight regarding the target fish which are approaching.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a smart-enabled fish finder that will undoubtedly boost your fishing experience and make you feel nothing less than convenience and accurate tracking, then the PRO+ would be the right option for you!
2. Garmin Striker Plus 4cv
The Garmin Striker 4cv can be seen as the upgraded version of the Garmin Striker 4 that I’ve already spoke about in this article, and if you thought that the Garmin Striker 4 is awesome, then let’s see what does the Striker Plus 4cv has to offer for you!
To begin with, this model has a compact, yet handsome-looking body that is composed of a 4.3″ display with a resolution of 480 x 320, an intuitive control panel that will help you have a fast navigation between menus, and a tilt/swivel mount which will let you adjust the unit’s position so that you will have a convenient reading without putting an effort at all. The second thing which will offer you a real convenience is the screen which is bright enough to offer you a crystal clear view even if you’re fishing under bright daylight!
Another great thing about its construction is its IPX7-rating which stands for water-resistance to a certain level, but, I wouldn’t suggest you use it underwater because you have to know that water-resistant product isn’t the same with water-proof.
In terms of the performance, the Striker 4cv is equipped with a built-in flasher and tilt mount which will let you set the position of the fish finder in a way that you feel the most comfortable, has 500-Watts of power and it is GPS-enabled, which means that you will never have issues tracking the locations and checking the trolling speed for certain fishes and lures.
Moreover, this unit is based on the so-called ClearVu technology whose purpose is to ensure that the colors of the screen won’t be blurred or have some reddish contrast, whereas, the second technology that is known as CHIRP, will continuously provide you with accurate frequencies with the intention to give you the best possible information.
Namely, the transducer of this fish finder is good enough to emit strong and highly accurate beams that can cover a lot of space. For instance, the CHIRP is based on sweep frequencies ranging from low to high, instead of being based on just a single frequency. The results in return are really good, or in other words, it is almost photographic images of everything that passes underneath the water.
But that’s not all! According to the manufacturer, the depth range is up to 1750ft in freshwater and about 830 feet in salt water, therefore, I think that you will be fortunate to own such a terrific fish finder as a part of your fishing accessories.
To summarize, the Garmin Striker Plus 4cv deserves your attention, so give it a try and assure yourself of its potential!
1. Humminbird HELIX 5 G2
The Humminbird HELIX 5 is surely one of the best if not the best fish finder that you can find under $200, and the reason is very simple, this unit has 4000-Watts of PTP power output, utilizes dual beam sonar, and employs a 5″ color WVGA display which will be there for you to keep you informed regarding everything with higher level of accuracy!
Speaking of the design, the HELIX 5 G2 looks fascinating! Starting from the color representation, its waterproof body and all the way up to its screen, the G2 will fascinate you from the moment you take it out of its box and start using it!
If you take a look on the rear, you’ll instantly notice the presence of 3 connection ports, from which, the first is connected to a 12-volt battery source, the second is meant for connecting with the GPS output, whereas, the last one is for connecting with your dual-frequency!
Also, this model has a micro SD card slot as well, and as you can see, Hummingbird did an amazing job here!
On the front, there’s a large 5″ display that is followed by multiple buttons that sit on the right-handed side along with a joystick pad with embedded arrows that will help you navigate easily between menus.
The performance is one of the strongest points regarding this fish finder, and since you will need a fish finder to detect fish, this one will ensure more than that!
For your information, this model has a maximum power output of 500-Watts (RMS), 4000-Watts (PTP) as I’ve mentioned previously and when we add its 2D sonar, you will be nothing less than amazed with this fish finder. Why? Well, because it can locate fish and deliver clear images to you so that regardless if you’re fishing in freshwater lakes, coastal waters or even if you’re ice fishing, you will be informed literally about anything.
The next great thing about this model is the incorporated Dual Beam system which as the name suggests, is consisted of two beams that are focused on maximizing the details so that every fish that is present below water will be accurately delivered to you.
But, the manufacturer didn’t stop here. They’ve even utilized a Digital CHIRP ( Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pule), which provides accurate scanning for fish and the process is similar to the one you’re using in your car to find out FM stations. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Moreover, I would also like to mention that this model has multiple features as well, such as a built-in base map, auto chart live and even a built-in GPS on which you can rely completely since this unit will provide you a higher level of accuracy within 2.5 meters! Imagine, all these things are included in a fish finder that costs less than $200!
In the end, the Humminbird HELIX 5 G2 is a must-have product, and if you ever decide to purchase it, you will never regret that decision!
Things You Should Know About Fish Finders
As it is the case with everything in the world, having an understanding of a certain field is very important, regardless if this is regarding fish finders or not. If you’re curious why it is important, well, the answer is very simple. By having a better insight regarding a certain product/field, chances that you may go wrong are set to the minimum.
In this part of the article, I will be focused on bringing you some useful tips you should follow prior to making an actual purchase because I always want my audience to be informed about everything that is connecting to fishing!
Type of sonar
For your information, there are different types of sonar on the market. The standard dual beam sonar is the most common at the fish finders whose cost is less than $200, and even though it offers strong performance, keep in mind that if you opt to use it at extreme depths, the results won’t be the best. But still, this is normal though, since currently, you’re looking at fish finders that are under $200.
Furthermore, nowadays, some offer CHIRP, which currently is known as the industry standard for sonar because the current fish finders are indeed reliable and at the same time, CHIRP sonars are good enough to work pretty well in deep water.
Always, try to choose a fish finder that has an IPX rating for water-resistance/proof. Preferably, look forward to IPX7-rated fish finders, because there are plenty of them available under $200. In fact, most of the ones mentioned in this article will have such a rating.
Depending on the area where you will be fishing, you should get fish finders that are strong enough to satisfy your preferences the most. For example, you can find some fish finders that can scan as deep as 2000 feet, and some can reach about 200 feet down. If you love fishing on lakes, then I’d advise you to look after 200-foot fish finders.
First of all, I’d like you to know that a transducer, as a technical component, is responsible to transmit sonar waves below the water, and therefore, this is a very important aspect that you should take a look at before you make an actual purchase. In addition, most transducers work with dual frequencies, and they usually come with 50, 83, 192, and 200 kHz.
For instance, professional fish finders have a frequency that stretches about 50kHz, whereas, if you’re fishing in shallow waters, then you should take a look at 192-200kHz fish finders.
I’d suggest you prioritize those fish finders that have a high wattage, because the higher the wattage the more powerful they will be, and this is especially important to transmit information in form of waves quickly and more accurately. Some of the fish finders listed in this article will be strong even though they cost $200. So, don’t worry at all!
The rule of the thumb says that the more pixels your fish finder has, the more quality the screen will be. Hence, the optimal screen resolution should be of at least 240 x 160 pixels, because anything less than this will look, simply put, funny.
Colored or colorless display?
Living in the 21st century brings numerous advantages, and one of them is having a color display. At the same time, they are known for producing more details in comparison to black and white screens. So, I’d advise you to look after color displays because they are way easier to read and understand!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How do fish finders detect fish?
A: Well, fishfinders operate at high frequencies that are based on sound (between 20-200kHz), and by doing so, they detect targets as separate echoes. For instance, if we assume that a typical fish may swim from point A to point B, their sound is being reflected in the transducer, so, the reflected sound or echo will instantly appear on your chart display.
Q: Are fish finders useful?
A: Of course they are since they are specifically designed to be based on the sound waves which are primarily used to locate fish as well as other objects that are located below the water surface. Now, the “useful” part solely depends on the quality of the fish finder, since you can’t compare budget ones with those who cost more.
Q: Do I need a fish finder?
A: Actually, you don’t have to own one, however, given the fact that we can’t see underwater, having a fish finder will help you have better insight regarding what’s going on under the water surface. In addition, fish finders will provide you with useful information regarding the place where fish are the most concentrated, and chances that you will catch more fish is simply guaranteed! It’s simply a case of making everything easier, just like with fishing headlamps. You don’t need them, but having one can make your job easier.
Q: What’s the best fish finder available on the market?
A: Although I’m not able to give you an accurate answer to this question, I can at least, give you a proper answer to this question. Personally, I think that all of the aforementioned fish finders are quality enough to be considered as “the best” for their purpose. So, the final choice is entirely up to you.
Q: Is it possible to use fish finders in deep, shallow water or for Ice fishing?
A: In general, yes. However, you would have to look for a dual-frequency transducer that is good enough to transmit wide-angle and narrow sonar beans.
After all, I think that the information included in this article has helped you gain a better understanding regarding the fish finders, and the key aspects you should look after in case of an eventual purchase.
Also, I’ve tried to bring you the best fish finders under $200, because keep in mind that the end decision should be entirely brought by you, because you would be the one who is going to use a fish finder, so feel to choose the one you think is the most relatable to your style and needs.
If you have additional questions, I will be there for you as well, and in case you purchase any of the aforementioned fish finders, feel free to contact me and share your experience with me!