Best Fish Finders

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So, you are looking for best fish finders for the money. The good news is that you have arrived on the right page. This is a comprehensive guide for someone with any budget. It covers all kinds of fish finders. On this page, apart from fish finders, you can read the theories of important factors which will help you decide what suits your style of fishing.

From technical aspects to price, we have taken the pain of covering all kinds of customers. From below $100 budget to $1000, the best fish finder in each range have been thoroughly reviewed on this page. So, it does not matter what your budget is you can find what is best with in your range of budget.

Importantly you will also be guided on what is a fish finder? How fish finders work? What features should not be compromised? Meaning of each technology and What technology suits you best?

NAMEGPSTECHNOLOGYSCREENPRICE
Humminbird 409950-1YES360 Imaging, Down Imaging, Side imaging, Dual beam9''
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Humminbird 409850-1YESSide Imaging, Down Imaging, Dual Beam7''
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LOWRANCE 000-11785-001YESCHIRP and Structure Scan7''Click Here
Raymarine A78YESCHIRP and CHIRP Down Vision7''Click here
Garmin Striker 7SVYES CHIRP, Side Imaging/Down Imaging7''Click Here
Garmin Echo 551dvYESDual Beam 77/200, Down Vision5''Click Here
Garmin 521SYESDual Beam4''Click Here
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+Bathymetric, MobileDual Beam 2D, 290/90KhzMobile screenClick Here
GARMIN 010-01550-00 Striker 4YESDual Beam CHIRP3.5''Click Here
iBobber Smart Fish FinderNo, MobileSingle Beam 118KhzMobile screenClick Here

 

WHAT DIFFERENCE BEST FISH FINDERS MAKES?

So, you might be wondering why you should even buy a fish finder. Well to explain very briefly without much complication with the help of an analogy. Would you like to be play a pitcher with or without your eyes opened on a baseball field? Would you like to play soccer with or without your eyes opened?

The answer is obvious, Opened eyes. Fish finder serves the same purpose. It gives you the eyes to see what is underneath your vessel let it be a kayak, boat etc. It will scan everything and present in front of you fishes, rocks, bottom/surface, marine plants, ship wreckages, garbage and if you are super lucky, it can even point out lost treasures. This is the potential of a best finder for the money.

Also, you need to put into calculation the amount of time a fish finder will save for you. You might be fishing on wrong spot your whole life when ideal fishing spots might be just few 100 feets away. You can change your fortune by addition of a very valuable asset in your arsenal. It is going to be an investment you will cherish for years to come.

The amount of catches and sizes of the catches will increase. You can not only improve the amount of catches but also a fish finder identifies and locates bigger fishes. Your quality of catches will improve with the quantity of catches as well.

However, I want to emphasize on the word ‘’Finder’’. It is not ‘’Catcher’’, it will help you locate where are the fishes underneath your vessel. It will not help you catch the fish. The finding part will be done by fish finder however, the catching part depends on your skill and other equipment.

Humminbird 409950-1 – For $900 to $1000 Budget

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This is Helix series Humminbird 9-inch fish finder. It is GPS combo fish finder and makes into the list of best fish finder for the prime reason of having state of art 360 imaging. I will explain it further in the review of this fish finder.

360 imaging is a revolutionary technology. It has honoured Humminbird to be awarded the best fish finder plaque. It scans around your vessel and forms a half sphere around your fish finder. The sphere formed has a diameter of 300feet which means that you can see with crisp details what is around your boat with a radius of 150 feet around your transducer. It is a prime feature and has made fish finding more interesting.

Besides 360 imaging humminbird 9-inch fish finder also provides the ability of side imaging, down imaging and dual beam. This is a complete machine and has all the perks of the best fish finders.Best Fish Finders, Best Fish finder, Best Fishfinder, Humminbird 409950-1 review

The display matrix is 800x 480 pixels which is quite enough for 9-inch display with a colored screen. The backlight inclusion makes it very easy to view the screen in direct sunlight. The RMS power output is massive with 4000 Watts which mean that all the beams will be powerful to go into deep water. The reflection will have more than enough strength to display the best results.

This is a GPS combo fish finder and you can install Navionics Gold and Navionics Platinum maps on it by a MicroSD card slot. Humminbird also boasts the best user experience. The software used gets updates from Humminbird. 2750 waypoints, 45 routes and 20 thousand track points can be dropped on to the map. You can start an adventurous salt water fishing with this device without the worry of drifting into unknown areas of ocean.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 9-inch wide screen
Resolution: 800 x 480 pixel matrix with LED backlight
Technology: 360 Imaging, Down Imaging, Side imaging, Dual beam
Depth: 150 feet for Side and Down Imaging
Power: 4000Watt
Transducer: Yes – Transom
Waterproof: Yes
Temperature: Yes
SD Card: Yes – Two

Humminbird 409850-1 – For $800 to $900 Budget

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For anglers with budget range in 800 dollars to 900 dollars. Humminbird aces this range as well. Helix 7 is a 7-inch screen with pixel matrix of 800 x 480 and a colored screen. Humminbird takes great pride in making this fish finder glare free. You can view what is on the screen with great detail even in direct sunlight. Since most best fish finders are operated outdoor this is an important aspect and most brands have taken care of it in recent years.

This is a GPS combo fish finder that includes down and side imaging as scanning transducer. Side imaging will help you scan what is on side of your boat, kayak or vessel. The side imaging can work uptil 100 feet in the surroundings. With down imaging, you can scan what is underneath. These are high frequency scanning beams and do not operate at higher frequency.
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The model comes with dual beam scanner as well. It operates at 83/200 Khz frequencies. The maximum depth you can measure with it is 1500 feets. The output transmitting power is 500 watts while for peak to peak the power output is 4000watts. So, you have a very powerful machine at your disposal.

This is not a standalone but a GPS fish finder combo and makes into this list of best fish finders. You can integrate it with new maps come from Navionics Gold, Navionics Platinum, AutoChart and LakeMaster. The internal built GPS will provide you your location with pinpoint accuracy. 360 imaging is not supported by this fish finder and you cannot buy it separately as well.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 7-inch wide screen
Resolution: 800 x 480 pixel matrix with LED backlighting
Technology: Side Imaging, Down Imaging, Dual Beam
Depth: 600 feet
Power: 500Watt
Voltage: 8-20 Volt DC (direct battery)
Transducer: Yes – Transom mounting
Waterproof: Yes
Temperature reading: Yes
SD Card: Yes – One

LOWRANCE 000-11785-001  – For $700 to $800 Budget

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In this list of best fish finders, this is the first unit with touch screen. Although Humminbird has been producing quality best fish finders but Lowrance has taken the lead by providing touch screen displays. But this touch screen is reported to be very sensitive, which is both a good and a negative feature. If you have big fingers then you may get annoyed by unwanted touch clicks.

It comes with CHIRP structure scan. It will make nice crisp images on to the screen and you can locate fish with great precise. You can view results of both CHIRP and Structure Scan side by side. Structure scan is the 3D scan. It makes images of the structure with in this range. However, it works best when combined with CHIRP or Dual Beam.Best Fish Finders, Best Fish finder, Best Fishfinder, Lowrance 000-11785-001 HDS-7 review

This is also a GPS combo fish finder. By help of internal GPS operating at 10Hz you get pin pointed location update. It will show trails of your path on to the screen. You can see the exact same trail and reach the shore or the bank safely. It also comes with in built maps for most of US in land lakes, rivers and coastal areas. It is also compatible with maps from your favourite brands as well.

With Lowrance Broadband sounder technology included on to the chip you can see results on screen with higher speed from 1 feet to 300 feet of depth. Please note this fish finder is sold by more than one seller at Amazon at different prices. Also price of this unit might fluctuate.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 7-inch wide screen
Resolution: 800 x 480 pixel matrix with LED backlighting
Technology: CHIRP and Structure Scan
Depth: 1 to 300 feet
Power: 500Watt
Voltage: 12 Volt DC (no battery)
Waterproof: Yes
Warranty: Yes – 2 Years
Temperature reading: Yes
SD Card: Yes – Dual

Raymarine A78 – For $600 to $700 Budget

best fish finders

Raymarine also makes into the list of best fish finders. Model A78 has a diagonal screen length of 7 inches and has screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixel including the back light display. Notice although the budget has gone down by $100 but still you are getting the same screen size and resolution. Another plus point is that the screen is touch.

This is a GPS combo fish finder with inbuilt GPS antenna and comes with Navionics Gold cartography/maps. It also supports Raymarine LightHouse Charts, C-MAP by Jeppesen. You can install them with microSD card. The number of way points symbols that can be stored are 70. You can store 3000 waypoints divided among 1 groups of waypoints. Which means that a total of 100 groups can store upto 3000 waypoints each.

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The scanning ability is conventional CHIRP and CHIRP down vision. With dual CHIRP, you have great control over what is underneath. You can scan and views results side by side on split screen on big 7-inch display. Although the screen will be split but with large 7 inch display you will not have trouble reading the results. The maximum depth which you can measure with this device is 600 feet.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 7-inch wide screen
Resolution: 800 x 480 pixel matrix with LED backlit
Technology: CHIRP and CHIRP Down Vision
Depth: 600 feet
Power: 300Watt
Voltage: 12 Volt DC (no battery)
Waterproof: Yes
Warranty: Yes – 3 Years
Temperature reading: Yes
SD Card: Yes

Garmin Striker 7SV – For $500 to $600 Budget

best fish finders

7-inch diagonal screen size with screen resolution of 800×480 pixels. It is very light in weight only around 700grams lesser than 1 kg. Making it easier to handle and portable. Design is very rugged and build is strong. It can display results at high speeds and takes in 12-volt power from your boat.

It comes with traditional CHIRP with ability of scanning at 50/77/200 Khz. CHIRP can be operated both at mid and high rang frequency. It is also accompanied with ClearVu and SideVu which are Garmin terminologies analogical to side and down view. The transmitting power is 500watt and maximum depth which can be measured is 2,300 feet for freshwater and 1,100 feet saltwater. You can view result on split screen. The results can be zoomed in for more in depth analysis.

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This device is also a GPS combo fish finder. You use can use the feature of waypoint where you can drop points on fishing spots. The strong build also makes it easy to handle on your salt water fishing journey. You can mount the transducer on trolling motor but would have to follow procedure for that. You can also mount it on the hull but that results in performance reduction.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 7-inch-wide screen
Resolution: 800 x 480-pixel matrix with LED backlit
Technology: Conventional CHIRP and Side Imaging/Down Imaging
Depth: 2,300 feet for freshwater and 1,100 feet saltwater
Power: 500Watt
Voltage: 12 Volt DC (no battery)
Waterproof: Yes
Temperature reading: Yes
SD CARD: No

Garmin Echo 551dv – For $400 to $500 Budget

best fish finders

5 inch diagonal screen size with screen resolution of 480 x 640 pixels. Very light in weight of just 500 grams. The display unit can be placed on tilt/swivel mount. The display also comes with smooth transition which gives seamless changes on the screen from shallow to deep and from deep to shallow water. You also have wide to narrow cone angle giving you immense control over what is below your boat.

The model operates on conventional Dual Beam Sonar 77/200 Khz and down vision. The transmitting power is 500 watt and maximum peak to peak power is 4000watts. The freshwater maximum depth which can be measured with this unit is 2300feet. It will also show you the water temperature on the screen. You can do split screen and view the results by zooming in. This fish finder is also equipped with fish symbol Id which helps in identifying fishes.

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Garmin Echo 551dv fish finder comes with swivel mount and the transducer cable is 20 feet in length. If you have a trolling motor then it will work on it smoothly. You need to plug in external 12 volt  output from your boat as power source. The model is just at border line when it comes to display size for kayaks. If you can manage well the battery and transducer mounting then you can consider this unit for kayak fishing as well.

It is a standalone fish finder and you will not be able to plot your coarse on it. So, if you are planning to do fishing on a big lake or ocean then you should be extremely careful and make sure you do not cross the safe zones. In no time, strong river currents or ocean waves can take you far away and you would not have realised it. The catches will lure you to go deeper into the ocean and its actually not really worth it.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 5-inch diagonal screen
Resolution: 480 x 640-pixel matrix with LED backlit
Technology: Dual Beam 77/200, Down Vision
Depth: 2,300 feet for freshwater
Power: 500Watt
Voltage: 12 Volt DC (no battery)
Waterproof: Yes
Temperature reading: Yes
SD CARD: No
GPS: No

Garmin 521S – For $300 to $400 Budget

best fish finders

At screen resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and 4-inch display screen Garmin 431S is just over the basic fish finder screen resolution of 240 x 160 pixels. It makes into the list of best fish finders owing to its GPS combo. Although the screen resolution is low but Garmin has compensated that short coming by making the screen ultra-bright so you can view what is on the screen with ease. The bright sunlight will not prove to be hindrance to read the screen.

Although it competes with Lowarnce 000-11448-001 Elite-3X  but this model does not include the GPS and is a standalone fish finder. Having GPS makes dramatic difference and this is the prime reason Garmin 431S makes into this list of best fish finders. You can do saltwater fishing or even in big lakes with peace of mind.

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It comes with in built maps for most US inland lakes. So, you do not have to buy the maps from expensive sources. But if you want to install premium maps then after buying them you can install them via microSD card. This fish finder can store a maximum of 3000 way points. With route capacity of 100 and track log capacity of 50 including 10,000 points can be saved in this model. All this is done by inbuilt GPS internal antenna.

It scans the water with 77/200 Khz Dual beam. The larger frequency can scan deep into shallow water while higher frequency can scan shallow water for you. The transmitting power is 500 watts and the maximum depth you can measure with this unit is 900 feet. While going down deep with low frequency waves, signal might lose power while on their way up. It can be a problem it the screen resolution is on lower side.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 4 inch 240px x 320px colored
Technology: Dual Beam
Depth: 900feet Dual beam
Power: 500 Watts
Water Proof: YES
Salt water fishing: YES
GPS: YES
SD card: YES

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ – For $200 to $300 Budget

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If you are looking for best fish finder in the range of 200 to 300 dollars then this is the most different fish finder. If you have budget with in this mentioned range then it is assumed that you are hobbyist and probably own a kayak. This kayak fish finder is very portable and is of only 6.5cm ball. You can even place it in your pocket.

The operating principle is straight forward. Simply attach the Deeper Smart Sonar pro with your fishing rod or with your fishing equipment. Then throw it in the water. The ball itself is the transducer and you do not need to take the stress of mounting the transducer.

The transducer has an in-built Wi-Fi and it starts transmitting data by it. To receive the transmission from the transducer you need to install deeper smart pro app. The app is available both on Android and IOS. Simply download the app and then turn off the mobile data on your smart phone. Search for Wi-Fi signals and you will find deeper Wi-Fi transmitting. Connect with it and open deeper app. You will begin seeing the results from the transducer.
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You do not need to worry about the display unit in this fish finder. The screen resolution depends on your cell phone itself. Better the smart phone better will be the screen display. So deeper has further increased mobility and handed over the display unit responsibilities to the mobile phone. It even takes the battery out of question. Deeper transducer has in built battery that can be charged by a 110/240 V source and can last for 6 hours.

It works by Dual Beam Sonar operating at 290/90Khz with cone angle of 15 for narrow and 55 for wider scan. Moreover, it can scan upto depth of 260 feet and includes a temperature sensor. In addition, it also includes GPS but that is only going to show you what is at the bottom of the lake and you can save it. It is not conventional GPS.

In all the gold, there are short comings of this fish finder. the charming wireless transmission becomes troublesome as soon as your distance with the transducer increases. At 130 feet of distance the connection breaks completely and you would have to retract the transducer back. Also, the battery lasts for 6 hours only so you cannot plan a very long day as boats do not have the 110/240 Volt source available. As a tip, turn off the mobile data when using this fish finder. Because when you lose Wi-Fi reception your mobile will connect to mobile data and will not connect back to weak Wi-Fi signal.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: Depends on your Smart Phone
Technology: Dual Beam 2D, 290/90Khz
Depth: 260feet
Power: 2100 Peak to Peak
Battery: 6 hours – 110/240V charging
Water Proof: YES
Salt water fishing: YES
GPS: YES

GARMIN 010-01550-00 Striker 4 – For $100 to $200 Budget

best fish finders

Another Garmin makes into this list of best fish finder. In low budget best fish finders Garmin has been producing very competitive fish finders. The price of Garmin unit is slightly over 100 dollars and this is a GPS combo fish finder. It has a 3.5 inch display and has colored screen. The screen resolution of this 3.5inch screen is 480 x 320 pixels. This is a very high pixel matrix for this sized screen.

Garmin has provided DownVu employed in this device. This is a GPS combo fish finder but do not get carried away, you will not get all the perks of a fish finder with GPS. It only has the chartplotter integrated which is a blank sheet that allows you to drop waypoints over it. You can navigate your way through the way points. It allows you to drop upto 50 thousand way points.

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The maximum freshwater depth this fish finder can scan is 1600 feet. Although it is a GPS fish finder but it is an entry level machine and I would personally recommend buying a better machine for salt water fishing. You should never compromise on your safety. The scanning ability for saltwater fishing is 750 feet.

The operating frequency for Dual Beam CHIRP is 77 KHz and 200 KHz and transmitting cone angles are 15 and 45 degrees. The transmitting power of these frequency are 200-watt root mean square (RMS) and 1600 peak to peak power. The good news you can mount the transducer onto your trolling motors.

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: 3.5 inch 480px x 320px
Frequency: 77/200 Khz Dual Beam CHIRP – also operate-able at 50/200 for more depth
Depth: 1600 Fresh water and 750 salt water
Battery: 4 AAA 6-8 hours
Power: 200 Watts
Transducer: YES
Water Proof: YES
Salt water fishing: YES
GPS: YES

iBobber Smart Fish Finder for Budget less than $100

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The most affordable fish finder in this list of best fish finders. It is under 100 dollar and is perfect for an angler who is just starting out and is on a budget. Like deeper smart pro this unit also does not have display unit rather you can connect transducer with your smart phone. This is the reason why this fish finder is so affordable. As the manufacturers have integrated the transducer with your smart phone via app.

If you read the deeper smart pro review above then it works on very similar way. Download the app and connect with the transducer. The best part is that the fish finders coming in this range have low screen size but with iBobber small screen size goes out of questions as you will be using your smart phone which are usually of 5 inches these days. The size is extremely small and light and is very portable you can keep it inside your pocket.
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iBobber operates at 118Khz and has the ability to scan water to the depths of 135 feet. As soon as it detects fish it will mark it onto your screen. The fish categorized by this machine is on one parameters that is the size. One with size of over 15 inches and the other of size lower than 15 inches. So you can do selection and target place where you believe will yield bigger reward.

Deeper works on Wi-Fi but iBobber works with Bluetooth. Now here is the catch Bluetooth is known for connectivity issues. Although company claims that the range is upto 100 feet but Bluetooth suffers connectivity issues after 80 feet of distance. In addition, as the temperature decreases the connectivity further drops even if the distance is not much. So, you should keep this in mind that with this budget range you can experience connectivity issues.

If you are looking to buy wireless fish finder and are confused between iBobber and deeper smart pro then without thinking more go for deeper smart pro. Am asssuming you can afford deeper and you are confused because both work in similar fashion. It operates on Wi-fi and has better range, Bluetooth is too fragile in terms of wireless signal transmission. In addition, devices operating on Wi-fi lose battery much quicker than those with Wi-Fi

SOME IMPORTANT KEY FEATURES

Display: Depends on your Smart Phone
Technology: Single Beam 118Khz
Depth: 135feet
Battery: 10 hours
Water Proof: YES
Salt water fishing: YES

WHAT FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT IN BEST FISH FINDERS

At first choosing a fish finder can be tricky if you are new into this hobby. There are number of factors which make enormous difference between an ordinary fish finder and a best fish finder.
But we have gathered all the important aspects on this page. Each factor is explained and will help understand the impact it will have on your fish finding ability. Here is what matters:

1) SCREEN SIZE

From 2 inches to massive 9 inches. A best fish finder in your money range can be of any size. However, it is very important to consider the screen pixel matrix.

Pixel matrix is the ratio of pixels dispersed on to you fish finder screen. Greater the number of pixel greater will be the image definition. If you have a large screen and small pixel matrix then there will be low resolution and you will be on losing side. If you have small screen and high pixel matrix it is a win situation.

The minimum accepted pixel matrix ratio is 240h x 160w. Larger than this pixel ratio better is your resolution. But do keep in mind that if you are comparing two best fish finders both have the same screen size then you must compare pixel matrix of both. The one with more pixel matrix will have better image definition.

Fish finder displays results on screen in the form of images. The way the image is appearing will depend on the technology whose result you are viewing. In any technology result, where fish are appearing in the form of snow flakes, dots or arches it is the screen resolution which will help you identify object of interest.

If you have low pixel matrix for a big screen then you will be confusing objects of non-interest as fishes. Reading a fish finder can be tricky at times. Fish forms arches around themselves. A large object promising to be a fish can only be a boulder with a tiny fish on top of it, causing it to appear orange. You will be tricked into thinking that it is a huge fish and might lose an hour hunting for the wrong catch.

But if you had better resolution and little more experience with best fish finders then you will be quickly able to understand the image on the screen. Because you will have better resolution, better temperature depiction on screen. The orange color would not be distributed on the boulder and remain limited to the fish only.

2) COLORED OR GREY SCREEN

Fish finders come in colored version or grey scale versions. Both can be operated but these days working with something not colored is usually not acceptable. Grey scale screen fish finders are less expensive than colored best fish finders. You can find fish with both of them but it will be easier to understand the image with colored screen then with a non-colored screen.

The heat reflected back from fishes is displayed on screen in orange shades. If the screen is a grey screen then you will not be able to see these identification markers. You will mistake objects of non-interest as fish. As different scanning technologies depict fishes as dots, snowflakes, arches etc. So, when you are comparing best fish finders see what you are comfortable with.

3) COMBO OR STANDALONE

There are many kinds of best fish finders available. We can categorize them into two specific categories. One is the stand-alone fish finder which serves only the purpose of tell you where is the fish. The second type is the combo GPS fish finder. The combo will not only tell where is the fish but also tell you where is the sweet fishing spot located on the map as well.

You will be able to integrate great maps from Navionics Gold+ or Navionics Platinum which will have all the maps and their details. You can also save great fishing spots you find on the map. So, the next time you return you can simply turn on the GPS and locate where was that point where your held many catches last time.

The GPS will not only tell you where is the fishing spot but also make a track on the map which you can follow to reach there. Some best fish finders have the ability to make the safest possible track, which means that if last time you reached at the fishing spots taking odd turn in odd remote locations then this time it will be a newer and safer shorter way.

It all depends on your budget, If you are not a very passionate angler or even if you are passionate angler but you fish on a kayak on your local lake. In such a situation, you can rely on standalone unit. After all you know you backyard better than anyone else. So, why spend extra bucks. But if you decide to do so then the GPS is not going to be a luxury, you can still benefit from it.

Another great plus with a GPS combo fish finder unit is the promise it makes to ensure your safety. If you are a salt water angler then you need to double check your location all the time. Sharp ocean currents can drift you away from shoreline in no time. You will be mesmerised with the view and soon you have lost signals on your mobile phone as well. This is common and can prove fatal. With a GPS combo fish finder, you will know where you are at all the time and ensure your safety. So, the next time you go for salt water fishing you will be confident of the adventurous journey.

4) TRANSMITTING POWER

Another important aspect is the transmitting power. It is the amount of power your GPS combo fish finder or standalone fish finder sends into the water. Greater the power, more will be the signal strength and more will be the scanning ability.

Greater strength means the depth signal is analysing, it will be scanned more efficiently and with more details. So, a signal with lower strength will not be able to efficiently touch the object and dissolve into water.

But it is not a one-way journey. Fish finders work on the principles of sonar waves. So, a signal which spreads around in the water also has to make the coming back journey as well. The reflection if not strong then it will not be able to reach back to the transducer.

Transducer when receives signal of inferior quality it will not be able to send quality images back to the display unit. Display unit will receive a substandard quality signal and the image processing done will not be up to the mark. In the end, user will see a blurry and mixed image on the screen and it will be difficult to locate where is the fish.

So, keep in mind the transmitting power when buying a fish finder. If you are confused between two best fish finders then compare their transmitting power as well.

5) OPERATING FREQUENCY

As name suggest and explained in transmitting power. The frequency of signal sent by transducer in a fish finder is called its operating frequency. There can be more than one to many operating frequency of a transducer. It depends on the kind of technology employed by the fish finder.

The higher frequencies have smaller wavelength and are able to scan shallow water. So, if you are on kayak on a local lake which is not very deep (more than 100feet) you can rely on a fish finder with only the capacity to operate on one frequency.

The lower frequencies have larger wave length and have great penetration power. So, if your fish finder operates at lower frequencies then it can scan at greater depths as much as 1500 feet.

So, you think you only need lower frequency transducer? Well NO! you need a transducer which operates both at high and low frequencies. The low frequency although can scan greater depths but at shallower depths its performance is substandard. You will not be able to see what is just under 5-10 feet with low frequency beam.

So, a fish finder with mixture of both, high and low frequency will be best.

6) BATTERY

Fish finders come in two types when in terms of battery as well.

One works on batteries. There are room to install batteries typically 4 AAA batteries. It is great in a sense that it will be portable you do not need to worry about cables. But there is a problem as well. Such fish finders batteries last for typically 6-8 hours. You would need to either buy rechargeable batteries or buy back up batteries unit.

Also, such fish finders performance go down as soon as the battery voltage drops below certain point. So, if you are using it on 4th hour of the 6 to 8 hours usage time. You should keep in mind that fish finder performance would be going down with every hour. Because whether low or high frequency, your signal will not have the strength. It will not be able to reflect back completely and bring in the complete information back to the transducer. So the 4th hour image processing will be lower in quality to first hour.

The second type of fish finder is the one which takes direct input voltage from a 12V DC battery and very rarely 110/220V source. Such battery will have the problem of cables and managing a big battery on your vessel. If you are on a kayak then every inch is gold and giving big space to your battery is very crucial. Also, you have to make sure that all the wiring is completely water proof.

There are some situations where you have to compromise and even use a battery fish finder on your kayak. Buy if you are on a boat then you do not need to worry about the power source. As most boats have their own battery output. Also with in built battery you do no need to make water proof arrangements. In addition, on boats you have plenty of space so the space factor is also balanced.

So, it depends on your style of fishing. The kind of vessel you are on, how much portable your other equipment is. So, when comparing two best fish finders with in your budget prefer the one which is more portable and powerful.

7) PORTABILITY

Fish finders can vary in terms of their portability. There is a wide variety of best fish finders available to cater needs of each type of angler. You can mount the fish finder on a dash mount on your kayak, boat etc. You can also keep it on your hands and move around with it on your boat.

This is matter of personal preference. It can be troublesome to mount a fish finder on to your dash mount but once you have fixed it there. It will be worth it to view results on a fixed place. But why have a display unit and manage space for it. Why not give this image processing and displaying image job to your smart phone?

Your smart phone can be as smart as your display unit. Some best fish finders come with the ability to integrate results with your smart phone or they don’t have a display unit at all. Instead all the results from the transducer are sent directly to your mobile phone via wifi or Bluetooth. But its not all gold there are shortcomings of such units as well.

Such smart phone integrate able fish finder are rated as best fish finders by some but you should keep in mind that they can operate at specific ranges. Wifi operates at 130 feet while Bluetooth operates at 100 feet length. Also at lower temperature these signals lose their power and it you will get connectivity issues.

8) ELEMENTS

You should also check whether the device is durable or not. Best fish finders must be water proof. It should be able to withstand water splashes. Humid ocean air should not trouble your fish finder. In wintry weather, there should be no internal fogging on the screen. Fish finder should also be shock proof. There will be strong water current every now and then you will experience on ocean or river. Usually all the good brands are very good when it comes to durability. So, if it is a famous brand you should not worry much about the durability.

9) USER FRIENDLY SOFTWARE

Best fish finders boast great user experience. When you use it for the first time it should not take you much time to understand what all the features or buttons are about. You should be able to move around the operating system without much trouble.

A lot of efforts have been made to make user interface and user experience as smooth as possible. But one brand which is ahead of all fish finders is Humminbird. They enjoy the crown of being the most user friendly hand held devices. Although Lowrance is providing great touch screen fish finders but Humminbird is still ahead in the race. But the downside is that Humminbird best fish finders are more expensive than most brands.

10) TRANSDUCER MOUNTING

Mounting a transducer can be tricky. You may or may not get best results with the transom mounting. Sometime trying something new works best for your transducer and hence the results. In transducer transom mounting you simply have to connect the transducer with a hook outside of your vessel. Sometimes you are on a big vessel and its very much possible that you run out of transducer wire to your sitting place. In such a situation, you have to manipulate the art of transducer mounting. These few methods will help you out.

Most boats and kayaks come with a built-in transom mount. Usually you do not need to alter the transom and mounting should be easy. If you are a kayak angler then you can consider hull mounting for your transducer. All you need to do is to open the hatch and clean the hull as much as possible. Then attach the transducer with epoxy transducer glue to your hull. It will give excellent results and will save you space on your kayak.

Another kind of transducer mounting is magnetic mounting. It is very easy and convenient. You have to buy a magnetic strip that you will join to the inner side of your boat. Boat has to be 13mm thick to make the magnet effective or magnet should be powerful to withstand strong water currents. On the outer side of the boat connect the extensions and do the necessary nuts and bolt action to make the hook.

There will be no drilling and no damage for your vessel and your chosen best fish finder for the money will be easily manageable. These are just some of the methods that will help you in mounting. So, when you have chosen two fish finders you calculate how easy it will be for you to mount the transducer on your boat.

11) SCANNING TECHNOLOGY

Different fish finders come with different kind of scanning technologies. It can be confusing to select the type of scanning technology which suits your style. In this list of best fish finders you will find all sorts of fish finders.

It all depends on your budget. The more scanning technologies you are equipped with, better will be your ability to scan water. It is worth noting that you might already have a fish finder. Do not look to add more technologies and try two best fish finders combo on your vessel. It is only going to make your life more difficult as an angler. Look for something which has more scanning abilities than you last fish finder.

a) SINGLE BEAM DOWN IMAGING

Single beam scan operates at one frequency only. These fish finders are entry level fish finders. It is a basic scanning transducer. But it can still scan and display results depending on whether it is a high or low frequency beam.

As you boat moves forward thin slices of single beam signals are thrown downward. These thin slices get compiled and makes a big triangle. The wider the cone angle wider scanning will be done. Smaller the cone lesser will be the scan spreading but more will be the depth.
These beams provide results for either shallow or deep water. It is a great addition but certainly not the best or the most sophisticated scanning transducer out there.

b) SIDE IMAGING

Very similar to down imaging, as the name implies side imaging scans what is on the side of your boat. It is an excellent addition and works great in combination with down imaging. The area which side imaging can cover is usually 240 feet. So, if both left and right sided length is added a total of 40 feet will be scanned by the transducer.

The echoes received back by the transducer are then sent back to the display unit which compiles the data of what is happening in the surroundings. If your fish finder comes with both down and side imaging then you can see the compiled results on split screens on your display unit.

c) DUAL BEAM SONAR

Dual Beam as implied by the name uses two beams combo. The combo includes two frequencies one of higher frequency and other of lower frequency. The larger frequencies of 200Khz have smaller wavelengths and are not able go very deep into the water depths. The echoes which return back do not have the bottom floor results as it is meant to scan what is immediately under your vessel.

The second beam is of lower frequency which is typically of 77 or 83 Khz. As mentioned in this post lower frequency beams have larger wavelength are able to scan water at greater depths. But they are not able to scan shallower water depths.

So, a combination of both low and high frequency beam will show football field sort of split screen on your display unit and you can view the result. It will take some time but with in 2-3 experience you will be better able to read the results.

d) CHIRP

Conventional CHIRP is a game changer. It is a step ahead from dual beam sonar. Instead of sending two beams of frequencies CHIRP sends band of beams. Spread from low to high end. Each frequency scans the depth it is specialised to scan.

CHIRP comes in modes of scanning from 28Khz to 210Khz. These bands are divided into High, Medium and Low range. Typically, when you will buy a CHIRP fish finder it will have the capability of operating at two ranges.

This 28khz to 210khz is further divided into three regions. 28 to 65 Khz for low range scanning that can scan as deep as 10,000 feet. Medium range scanning from 85khz to 135Khz that can go as deep as 6500 Feet. While high range 130Khz to 210Khz that has the ability to scan upto 3300 feet. It all depends on your style and place where you are fishing. Having CHIRP will increase your ability massively and these days CHIRP has become a must attribute in a best fish finder.

e) DUAL BEAM CHIRP

Like the dual beam sonar there is an alternate to it called Dual Beam CHIRP. Conventional dual beam sonar can only send just two beams of frequency signals into the water. Dual Beam CHIRP differs from dual beam sonar by sending band of frequency from low to high frequency. Therefore, each frequency scans what it is best for.

The transducer gets results of the echoes from the band of frequencies and you get a very refined result on your screen. Dual beam CHIRP is a high end technology and many fish finder brands are offering this scanning technology at very reasonable prices.

f) STRUCTURE SCAN

It is the Lowrance provided technology. Which scans what is underneath and displays 3D image of the objects scanned. It was not built for fish finders but rather made for military use. You can view the 3D scan results on your screen but just like I said it was not meant to find fish but to make structure on to the screen of what it is scanning.

Therefore, you need to combine results of structure scan with CHIRP or Dual Beam or Dual Beam CHIRP to compare results of both side by side and double check your fishing spot with tremendous accuracy.

g) 360 IMAGING

This is the best and state of art scanning ability. It comes only in high end devices and Humminbird is the pioneer in this technology. It’s the best and the most you can get out from a best fish finder.

If you are using a fish finder with technology other than 360 imaging then you have to move around on your vessel for the frequency slices to get compiled and you can view the scan results on a wide area. However, 360 Imaging is a game changer. Without moving it tells you what is ahead, what is back, what in on the right and what is towards the left of your vessel. You do not need to move an inch to get the scan results.

Although it is no more an old technology but is still the most sophisticated technology that comes in a fish finder. Humminbird came up with it first and soon as they brought it into the market they won the best fish finder award. The screen however, is not touch but Humminbird also boasts off the best user interface. So, If you have good budget and looking to get the easiest and state of art scanning transducer then look for humminbird 360 imaging.

VERDICT

It is very crucial that you do not compare one fish finder with another with in the same list other than deeper smart pro and iBobber. All these are best fish finders with in their same category.

If you managed to read all the page then I must congratulate that your knowledge about best fish finders must have increased. Specially after reading all these scanning abilities you will have an idea of what each technology means. You must have crafted an idea in your mind what you need for your style of fishing. It is worth noting that Garmin uses name DownVu for its one of the scanning abilities. It is no different than down imaging.

If you can afford to buy fish finder from any of these budget categories then you must take the decision and make your life easier. The investment is not just the increase in amount of quality catches but more importantly it is the time. You will save tons of time by finding a better fishing spot. Your chances of catching fish will also increase exponentially.

So, do not waste more time in traditional techniques. Embrace the modern technologies, go out and start fishing!

HAVE A DIFFERENT BUDGET? CHECK THESE

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Best Fish Finders
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Best Fish Finders
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Best fish finders on the planet. We have written detailed review for every body budget.
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