Before we dive into the best fish finders out there, i want to tell you about their story. Origins of fishing have been practiced for a very long time, it dates back to 10,000 years. Many people who live near lakes, rivers, and seas have had to do some fishing to get their daily meals. In the past, people didn’t use Fish Finders or any kind of device that would help them get the fish.
They had to use bare hands to catch a fish, it sounds impossible I know, but they had no other option. Nowadays there are a lot of devices that will help you get ”your daily meal”.
A lot of people do this activity for different reasons; some take it as a hobby while others do it as a full-time job. Some people consider fishing a boring and an old man’s sport, but fishing is more than that, if you never tried it you can’t truly give your honest opinion about this topic, any way you should check it out because it can be anything from a relaxing to a very intense experience, and that’s the beauty of it.
Now, when it comes to fish finders, I can say that the invention of fish finders is a technological blessing because it gives you the ability to locate and catch fish much more easily and turns the fishing experience into an enjoyable hobby. There are plenty of methods for fishing, but the best so far is the fish finder.
In 1948, The Furuno brothers (owners of a small marine electrical company in a small port of Japan) invented this amazing new technology that took the fishing to a new level. They started developing a fish finder using scrap materials and repeated this experiment many times. It didn’t work as they expected, however, gradual improvement of the equipment leads to successfully finding fish.
Nowadays, the technology has been advanced much more, in every aspect, of course in fishing too. Today you have a lot of fish finders out there, even the least expensive fish finders will provide accurate depth information in graphic and they cost around $100, but if you think that you are ready for a whole another level, a top-quality recreational fish finder can cost up to $1000.
What you have to do is choose the right and affordable fish finder for you, and do not forget that you should choose wisely depending on your purpose.
Based on my research I will try to provide you general tips on how to find the best fish finder. Here are my top picks that will deliver great qualities.
The 10 Best Fish Finders We Recommend
10. Humminbird Helix 5 SI
First, on the list, we have a nice product by Humminbird that is a decent fish finder, with an impressive GPS system and it is affordable. It has a great 5-inch screen with a 480 x 800 resolution display, which gives you detailed and a pretty clear image no matter if you have good lighting or bad. It includes SwitchFire sonar with two modes; Clear Mode and Max Mode.
Helix 5 SI is very effective and it surely gives you the results you are asking for. It is one of their latest models, with an amazing display it produces a great level of detail. It has a lot of features that even a beginner can use them easily.
The design is pretty cool on this one. It has a classic portrait orientation and gives you an easy usage. The Helix 5 SI it’s split between sonar, GPS, and large-font stats bar that the Humminbird users are already used to. It has a well-made stand, which allows it to rotate easily. Almost all of the controls are on the right side of the unit. This one is a simple and amazing fish finder. I would highly recommend it.
9. Vexilar SP200
Moving on, we have an affordable and very effective fish finder. Vexilar SP200 is a simple transducer with a wireless module that connects to your smartphone via an app so that you can easily see the temperature, depth, and sonar data.
It is highly effective and provides the user with nice features, but keep this in mind the only thing that might bother you is that it must be connected to a 12-volt power supply, so if you have a kayak, you should calculate where to fit it, because it provides power to your fishfinder.
Like I said it has some pretty cool features, for example being able to add your device technology and graphics to your fishfinder. It also has a T-Pod feature and it is amazing. The Vexilar SP200 comes with its very own application called the Sonar Phone.
This device can let you see down to depths of 240 feet in freshwater and it shoots a 200kHz dual-beam, I have to mention that it is very accurate, another great thing is that you are not limited in screen size, because you can use any phone or tablet and get the screen size you like.
To sum up, I would say that Velixar SP200 is a great Fish Finder because it takes marine technology to another level by using computer devices right on the water.
8. Lowrance Hook 7
Another Fish Finder that may help you take the fishing more seriously is Lowrance Hook 7, with a beautiful and simple design. It offers costumers great features and amazing results.
It is easy to use and it is a 9.26 x 3.0-inch unit that includes 7-inch 800×400 pixels high-resolution.
Like I said it has great features like the highly accurate built-in GPS antenna with a detailed map, it also is compatible with a variety of Lowrance and Airmar transducers. Has a trackback to let you review sonar history and set waypoints.
It comes with easy-to-use controls consisting of a Keypad, Menu button, Power/Light, Pages, Zoom In/Out, and Enter buttons, another thing that is cool at this Fish Finder is that lets you select from ten levels of LED back-lighting. It has full-screen and split-screen combinations. Split-screen results on display present you with a huge amount of information, and that alone is very helpful.
7. Garmin echoMAP 73sv
Another useful and top-tier Fish Finder is the Garmin echoMAP 73sv, it is an amazing addition to the fisherman’s gear. First of all, you should know that if you buy a Garmin product, you can be sure that you will get great value for your money. The Echomap 73SV has a large screen, connectivity options, triple sonar transducer and many more features that will not let you down in the fishing world.
As I mentioned that you will surely get a great value for your money, you can be pretty sure about that with this one, because it is highly effective. It has a 7” screen, trolling motor transducer, 500-wat RMS power, and Lakevü HD preloaded maps.
With this Fish Finder, you can detect fish at a depth of 2,300, which is very impressive thanks to the three-wide sonar frequency ranges.
Simple Garmin designs, easy to use, easier for the ones that are familiar with Garmin products. It has a WVGA display with great keypad control, Let’s not forget the Sonar Features that include bottom-lock, fish symbols, spilled-zoom, and A-scope.
The only thing that might bother you is that numerical readouts may not be accurate at high speeds, otherwise it is a Fish Finder that you should look up to.
6. Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP
As we move on we have another Lowrance product that offers you great features and helps you with the tracking at a reasonable depth. It provides basic CHIRP capabilities and its processor is faster than of its predecessor. It gives the customer clearer views of bottom surfaces, clarity, and fish in greater detail, thanks to the 7-inch,480 x 800-pixel display.
The Elite-7 has a great display with lots of features. It provides images along with boat speed, water temperature, water depth and time. It also gives you the opportunity to overlap sonar and down-scanning images for a better display.
There you will find a CHIRP setting that lets you decide whether you wanna find it on a high 200kHz, Medium 83kJz or Low 50kHz.This, of course, depends on the transducer. For example, you can use the High CHIRP on freshwaters, on the other hand, the Low CHIRP is best for maximum depth performance. I would say that the Elite-7 is a highly popular fishfinder, with good reason, based on its performance you can tell that it will never let you down.
5. Garmin Striker 4
This one is a nice and affordable fish finder, it is extremely accurate and very useful. It has a great display with plenty of resolution, it has so many features that will please you with the performance of this product. It offers smooth scaling and uninterrupted imagery when moving between deep and shallow waters. It can withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
When it comes to effectiveness Garmin Striker 4 is an amazing device that will help you catch more fish. It comes with a waterproof rating of IPX7, it also comes with a GPS for docks and hot spots that make you find your way around the waters.
Garmin Striker 4 has a simple and brilliant design. It features a portable design that helps you on smaller boats. It has big keypads, so you don’t have to worry if you are using gloves. Moving on Garmin Striker 4 also has a CHIRP Sonar transducer and delivers the clearest and smoothest Waterflow picturing which means that it gives you the best image possible.
4. Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3
Moving on, we have another Lowrance Fish Finder, that will give you lots of amazing features. It is easy to use and it’s very helpful this alone makes the Fish Finding business a lot more enjoyable. The HDS 7 Gen3 has great navigation capabilities that will provide you great results in the fishing world. And the navigation isn’t the only feature of the HDS 7 Gen3. There are lots of features that will surely help you get the results you want.
The company always comes up with new display capabilities with each new Fish Finder model, this one is one of them. It has a 7-inch touchscreen with 800 x 480-pixel resolution, with gorgeous clarity. You can also change screen brightness based on the atmosphere you’re fishing. This device utilizes CHIRP sonar to give a clear picture of the underwater. I should also mention that it features a helpful built-in 10 Hz GPS, which is much more advanced than the previous models. The clarity and detail of readouts are unfair for the fish in this one.
Like I said it has lots of amazing features, and when I say lots, I mean it. For some users this might be a problem, the basics are easy, but with its advanced technology, you might get stuck a bit, but of course, it has a user manual and with several reads, you will surely be ready to use them. The HDS 7 Gen3 is not a Fish Finder for beginners, keep this in mind.
3. Garmin Striker 7SV
We move on with other Garmin products that provide the user with some great qualities. This one is the top model in the Striker series. It has a bright 800 x 480-pixel screen that allows you to see sharp images on the display. It also has a great fish locator that comes with a swivel mount that allows it to be oriented fo maximum usability.
This one too has some nice features. Its sonar imaging power can spot the fish very quickly, on the other hand, its GPS tracking powers help led you back to them in the future. Landmarks or waypoints such as natural features or docks are added on the maps for additional guidance. This one gives you maximum depth of 2,300 feet in freshwater and 1,100 in saltwater.
Great Fish Finder with very clear images on the unit, shows the fish up to 50 feet away from your current location. This one is also excellent for ice fishing and vertical jigging, it has a continuous sweep, which means that you won’t miss a thing. It has something that might bother you if the battery is disconnected, you need to reset the whole unit. So make sure to keep the battery connected when you are fishing.
2. Lowrance HOOK2
Here we have another Lowrance product, with some great features. It is one of the most popular Fish Finders out there. And there are reasons why this one is very popular. The radar does not use a single pulsation rather it sends out a range of frequencies that have a gradual order.
The HOOK2 has a 4-inch display panel to display whatever is processed by fishfinder software. It has a SolarMax technology that helps you a lot, especially during extremely bright days. Uses a technology that allows the display to give you a wide range of viewing angles. Also if you go fishing at night, you don’t need to bother because you will be able to see all the images.
This one is great because it saves you a lot of time. For a very short period enables you to see more fish and cover more water. In other words, it is surely a great Fish Finder and helps you get the results you are seeking.
Its GPS is simple and very accurate, it gives you a bird’s eye view of what lies beneath the water surface. This Fish Finder has increased the amount of fish that you can catch during each fishing expedition. It surely is one of the best units for kayaks and boats with less space.
1. Humminbird Helix 10 CHIRP Mega Si GPS
If you are looking for a big screen, lots of features and a great GPS system, then this is it. It is easy to use, the menus have been updated graphically, but the menus themselves are mostly the same. It has 1024 x 600 pixels, and this alone is a big reason if you are a big-screen enthusiast.
The Helix 10 comes with HD side imaging, blended beam down imaging, and 83/200 kHz standard Sonar. The motion of the cursor around the screen is so smooth, they are not like the jerky cursor movements like the other models. It has over a dozen new color palettes to work with and this makes the fishing business for the user much more enjoyable. The screen is sharp, bright and bigger than ever, this Fish Finder is one of the best that is out there.
It has too many great things, but I will cut it short. It has the Lakemaster, AutoChart Live, SmartStrike, The bright, high-resolution screen with Side/Down Imaging and 360 Imaging capabilities. This one is a top-tier Fish Finder. The Helix 10 will change the way you fish forever, and that’s why I consider it as one of the best fish finders ever.
These were the Top 10 Fish Finders based on my research, I hope that these reviews have been helpful to you.
What Is A Fish Finder?
Now, when it comes to fish finders, I can say that the invention of fish finders is a technological blessing because it gives you the ability to locate and catch fish much more easily and turns the fishing experience into an enjoyable hobby. Real fishers know that fishing is not as easy as it sounds but with the help of a fish finder, it surely becomes easier.
There are many successful fishermen out there who use their gut to locate and catch fish, however, using a Fish Finder helps you a lot. An electrical impulse from a transmitter is converted into a sound wave by an underwater transducer (hydrophone) and sent into the water. When the waves strike something such as a fish, it reflects and displays the size, and shape of the object. This is how a Fish Finder works.
Shopping for a new fish finder can be a hard task, especially for the experienced angler, there are dozens of models coming up every year, and each has its place for the right use. There are a large number of fish finders out therefrom at any budget and any skill level. If you are asking: ”Should I get a Fish Finder?” , ” Is a Fish Finder worth it ?” If you want to fish, then yes, it is the right type of device for you.
What To Look In A Fish Finder
Of course, there are some things that you need to know before buying a Fish Finder, this depends more on the intended purpose of the device. Fishing right? Yes, I know that, but what I am trying to say is that if you are a beginner and you just want to go out with some friends and catch a fish once in a while you don’t need a $1000 Fish Finder with high-end features. On the other hand, If you go fishing more frequently and do it as a business or as an experienced enthusiast then you might want to get a more advanced model. Either way, it is better to be informed before making a choice.
Before buying a Fish Finder you should always consider looking for the display you want. The more pixels you have, the more detail the display can put out. If you want to spare money then you can aim for lower resolutions. 240 x 160 is the minimum you will need if you go a little lower I’m afraid that you will have some trouble catching the fish. However, try to buy the best display quality you can afford because it will pay off.
About the water resistance, you should always check the JIS or IPX ratings. If the rating is less then 4, then that might cause you some trouble. On the other hand, a rating of 8 can go underwater for a considerable period. You need to know that the rating makes all the difference. Don’t forget to take a look at the rating before you hit the lakes.
GPS is another important thing for Fish Finding. With the GPS you can record the depth, and it increases your safety, (especially during worst fishing times). And of course, only with a map on the Fish Finder, you can find and mark the hotspots you are looking for. Besides, the GPS systems will also allow you to mark favorite fishing places, and even check dangerous areas in the water.
Having a better CHIRP means that you can identify the fish easier.CHIRP is the sonar technology that fish finders employ. It uses bursts of different frequencies to let the transducer vibrate at a low frequency.CHIRP will deliver better target separation and give you images with deep water penetration.
You should always pay attention to the price. Some products are pretty expensive and still have bad quality. That’s why you should always research before buying the product.
Portable or Fixed
This one depends on your fishing style. If you do a lot of fishing in other people’s boats or rental ones, then a portable unit is what you need. If you own a boat or a kayak, then you should consider a fixed Fish Finder.
These are a must to every Fish Finder. They send out and receive sonar waves. In other words, the transducer is the heart of a fishfinder system. It receives the echoes after it sends the sound waves. These work with any kind of boat, you just need to install it right.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Does A Fish Finder Work?
A: As I mentioned, an electrical impulse from a transmitter is converted into a sound wave by an underwater transducer (hydrophone) and sent into the water. When the waves strike something such as a fish, it reflects and displays the size, and shape of the object. This is how a Fish Finder works.
Q: What Fish Finder Should I Get?
A: This depends more on the purpose. If you are looking for a cheap one, then you might not get the results that you want, but still, out there are a lot of affordable Fish Finders that will keep you satisfied. However, if you are a professional or an experienced enthusiast, then you should consider getting the top-tiers. Take a look at the Top 10 based on my research.
Q: Do I Need A Fish Finder?
A: Fishing is not an easy sport, at times can be dangerous too. So I would recommend you to buy a Fish Finder if you want to catch a large number of fishes and be safe at the same time. If you have been fishing for a long time and can’t decide whether you need one or not, then you should buy one and see the difference.
Q: Do Fish Finders Work?
A: Yes, they work well. They give you accurate readings on the depth, the fish and also the temperature of the water. Just make sure to check the reviews of the product before you buy it because it might not turn on as you would expect it.
To sum up, I would say that Fish Finders are a must in today’s world. Of course, you can fish without a Fish Finder but you will never get the same results as working with a Fish Finder. I think that I have given you some nice top 10 Fish Finders based on my research that you should look up to.