Nobody hates a great catch when out on a fishing expedition. But you may have invested in the best fishing reels and still spend hours silently waiting in your boat for you to hook some fish. Even an experienced angler will admit that locating great fishing spots is usually challenging especially when out in new fishing spots. But with developments in technology, there’s now a device that you can use to find fish underwater and even tell how deep inside they are swimming. If you love fishing, then you will love what a fish finder can do for you.
A fish finder is specially designed to detect fish around and beneath you. It uses a technology known as Sound and Navigation Ranging (SONAR) system that picks up echoes or pulses from fish in the water. Since their discovery, fish finders have continued to include advanced features such as 3D views of the water environment beneath you and sophisticated cone angles that are extremely accurate. So advanced are some fish finders that they can even tell you the exact type of fish in the water around you.
While shopping for a fish finder, you may get overwhelmed by the technical talk used by manufacturers to describe the products. For this reason, we have simplified the search for you and brought you the best fish finders in the industry that will turn you into a fishing guru and help you bring home all the fish that your fishing boat can carry.
Top 10 Fish Finders of 2020 Reviewed
1. Garmin Striker 4 with TransducerBest for Ice Fishing
Get to see all the activity going on under your fishing boat with the Garmin Striker 4 that provides accurate and reliable data. It features a 3.5-inch color display with a built-in high sensitivity GPS that will never let you down. Its high-frequency scanning sonar technology will provide you with near photographic images of the fish under and around you. Its simple but keyed interface has dedicated buttons that are user-friendly and easy to press.
It also has a waypoint mapping that lets you easily view your location, mark it, and save it in the device in case you need to return to it later. The device can pick up a sound echo from beneath up to a depth of 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in salty water.
It has a built-in flasher that lets you view the data in a flasher format. The CHIRP sonar with a traditional transducer will provide and create precise fish arches and provide you with advanced fish separation. For easy portability, the product includes a carrying kit with a rechargeable battery, built-in cable management for the transducer and a suction cup mount.
- Waypoint map for better navigation
- User-friendly interface
- The traditional transducer creates precise fish arches
- Small pins for charging
- The screen display isn’t well visible in bright sunlight
- May need to purchase additional mounting brackets
2.Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar Fish FinderBest for Shore Fishing
As a seasoned angler, you will love using the Deeper Pro + for shore fish angling since it will guide you along the shore for a great catch. Once paired with the Deeper App, this fish finder allows you to create a bathymetric map of the shore that helps mark all the fishing hot spots around you. It can cast up to a depth of 330 feet with a scanning depth of 260 feet. It uses a dual beam for advanced sonar scanning to find fish. As a smart device, it allows you to generate your WI-FI for easy connection.
It’s highly versatile and can switch to ice fishing mode which comes with a traditional flasher and a 2D vertical zoom. You will get free access to LazyBook that lets you map out and plan your next fishing trip from the comfort of your home. Some of the other great benefits you will get from this fish finder is knowing the temperature of the water, the type of vegetation around you, and the bottom structure for strategic angling.
- In built GPS for underwater topography mapping
- Smart WI FI connection to Deeper App
- Advanced sonar scanning with a dual beam
- Not great for beginners
- Not ideal for open water fishing
- Constant re-connection needed
3. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish FinderBest Portable Fish Finder
The Venterior VT-FF001 is one gadget you won’t want to leave behind when packing for your fishing trip. This dependable fish finder will display the approximate water depth and general location of the fish around you. It comes with a transducer that has a 25 feet cable that has a removable float. The portable fish finder can detect the depthhin a range p. illion in assets s an alternative investment provided under the etati of water within a range of 3 feet to 325 feet.
The user-friendly interface has five feature settings including battery save mode that you can switch on and off, a backlight mode so that you can find fish even at night and an audible fish alarm that alerts you when fish pass near you. It also has a weed and rock indicator to inform of you any obstructions underneath the water.
There’s also a side scan adapter with a stainless bolt and wall nut. It also comes with a neck strap to hang around your neck as you go about your fishing. The battery indicator shows you the level of charge left and when to recharge. The fish finder is suitable for a wide range of fishing, including ice fishing, shore fishing, boat fishing, and night fishing. You will also get an operational manual to guide on how to utilize the Venterior VT-FF0001.
- Backlight mode to allow night fishing
- Includes transducer with 25 feet cable
- User-friendly interface with numerous features and indicators
- Doesn’t work very well past 50 feet
- Transducer float keeps coming back up
- Not accurate
4. LUCKY FF718LiC Fish FinderBest Castable Fish Finder
Invest in this castable sonar fish finder from LUCKY and enjoy stress-free fishing and a bountiful catch. The FF718LiC comes in a wired and wireless mode with a floating and waterproof design. It has a 2.8 inch LCD with three color tones that will show the location of the fish. The wire cable can be cast to scan depth of 328 feet while the wireless mode scans a depth of 147 feet.
Whether you are out kayak fishing or shore fishing, the battery-powered fish finder will last you 10 hours on a full charge. Its sonar coverage is a 45-degree angle while on the wired mode while the wireless mode covers a 90-degree beam angle. It also features easy to press buttons that will help you zoom on display and a menu to choose the various available options. You can view how your targeted catch reacts and get to spend more time catching the fish rather than looking for it.
- Wired and wireless mode
- LCD colored display
- Extended 10-hour battery life
- The software needs easier installation
- Complicated to use for some
- Only includes a USB charger
5. Garmin Striker 7sv with TransducerBest WIFI-Enabled Fish Finder
Enjoy yet another great fish finder from industry experts, Garmin, who are keen on ensuring you enjoy your time fishing without much hustle. The Striker Plus 7sv boasts of a colored 7-inch display with a built-in GPS. The advanced GPS feature allows you to draw maps using the Quickdraw Contours software so that you can mark waypoints and create routes.
It also comes with the CHIRP Clearvu technology that lets you view nearly photographic images of what is happening underneath the water. The WIFI allows you to pair the device with the ActiveCaptain app that sends you smart notifications. The intuitive interface is user-friendly and has easy to use buttons. The screen will also display your speed to ensure you are on the right trolling speed. Remove the guesswork from your fishing by investing in this smart fish finder from Garmin.
- Large colored 7 inch LCD
- Advanced GPS feature for contour mapping
- WIFI for smart notifications
- Mapping is a headache
- Faulty WIFI connectivity
6. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish FinderBest Wireless Bluetooth Fish Finder
There is no reason to go out fishing only to rely on a lot of guesswork. With the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder, you will be able to pinpoint precisely where you should lower the net. It utilizes the compelling Sound and Navigation Ranging (SONAR) technology, which identifies fish by picking up their pulses or echoes.
It features a rechargeable battery with an indicator showing the charge status so that you do not have to rely on unnecessary guesswork. On a full charge, the battery provides a maximum of 10 hours of continuous use. You can connect it via Bluetooth to your phone so long as it uses iOS 10.0 or Android 4.3 or more advanced systems. Incidentally, the app is available free of charge on Android and iOS. With this device, you will get precise sonar readings to a maximum depth of 135 feet. You may use it either as a bobber or fishfinder, thanks to the two quick swivel connections.
- Can connect to your phone via Bluetooth
- Can work to a maximum depth of 135 feet
- The battery lasts for up to 10 hours on a full charge
- May fail to attach to the fishing rod properly
- You cannot charge it without the cradle
- Reports about the battery draining too fast
7. Phiradar FF688C Fish FinderBest Multi-Language Fish Finder
Accurately pick up the location of fish in water with the Phiradar FF688C Fish Finder that will make fishing a bliss. It has an 18 bit TFT 3.5 inch display that can be read even in bright light. Its depth reading ability starts at 1.8 feet to 984 feet with a precision of 1/10th. You will also experience 100 levels of sensitivity with every range of depth.
The device also has an auto zoom for the bottom contour and manual zooming as well. The device also supports several languages such as English, Russian, French, and Japanese. You can set the preferred unit of measurement and switch between feet and meter readings. The 200KHz/83KHz dual beam sonar frequency will provide you accurate readings.
- Precise depth reading
- Auto zoom feature for bottom contour
- Multi-language support
- Not submersible
- User manual not clear
- Mounting is a problem
8. Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish FinderBest Dual Beam Transducer Fish Finder
To get the most out of your fishing expedition, you need to get yourself the Humminbird Helix 5 that’s designed to locate and let you see any fish around you. It utilizes 2D sonar technology that will bring you good views of what’s happening in the water underneath you. It boasts of Switchfire feature that comes in two modes; Max mode and Clear mode. This feature lets you choose how much fish and underneath structure you want to see or not see for that matter.
It has both a wide and narrow beam where the wider beam covers more search area while the narrow one allows for more precision. The dual beam plus combines both beam for better detail. It also uses digital CHIRP technology to efficiently scan for fish in the water. The CHIRP scan covers a wide range, which gives you more options of where to find the fish.
- Dual beam scanning
- Switchfire Max and Clear mode
- Applies digital CHIRP technology for scanning
- Doesn’t have a screen cover
- Doesn’t scan very deep
- Hectic to install
9. Lowrance HOOK2 4X – 4-inch Fish FinderBest Fish Finder for Small Fishing Boats
You no longer have to undergo the hectic job of looking for fish for hours with this easy to use fish finder from Lowrance. The HOOK2 4X uses auto-tuning sonar technology with a phone like menu setting that is user-friendly and easy to operate. It offers a wide range sonar cone so that you can view fish within a wider range. The device is a single transducer that can be mounted on small fishing boats with limited space.
- Auto-tuning sonar settings
- User-friendly manual
- Wide range cone area
- Mounting it is hectic
- Auto depth feature doesn’t work well
- No GPS
10. LUCKY Portable Fish FinderBest Fish Finder for Night Fishing
Get to know what is happening around you and beneath you with this portable fish finder from LUCKY. It’s a wireless sonar transducer with an attractive fish lamp that helps detect fish easily. It has a transparent cover and backlight for easy visibility when it’s dark. It’s wireless hence highly portable and can support a transmission range of 197 feet. You will also get to enjoy features such as detection of sensitivity, depth range with an alarm and fish icon to show you when a school of fish is around.
The device is easily rechargeable using USB cable and can last for 4 hours if handheld and when on a full charge. The sonar sensor can last up to 10 hours. The device can be used for a wide range of fishing including kayak fishing, sea fishing, and boat fishing
- Wide sonar transmission range
- Long lasting sonar sensor
- Used for a wide range of fishing
- The handheld device runs out of battery power quickly
- Not the best for ice fishing
- Signal gets lost frequently
How to Choose the Best Fish Finder: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Patience is a virtue that every angler needs to catch fish successfully. You need to cast and wait. At times your patience may be tested as you sit for hours wondering where all the fish is or what’s happening beneath your boat. But this doesn’t have to be the case when you bring a fish finder along. Just like the name, this is a device that scans the area around you and lets you find the fish. More to that, it can also help you know the depth of the water and if there are any obstructions such as rocks beneath you.
Fish Finder Terminology
There are two common words that you will come across when looking for an ideal fish finder for your fishing excursions. They are;
SONAR – This is an acronym for Sound Navigation and Ranging, which is a technology that scans the water and picks up a sound echo which is then transmitted to the device. The technology is so effective that deep sea fishing fully relies on SONAR to find schools of fish.
CHIRP – This stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse which sends high pulse energy into the water column and uses frequencies to track the bottom of the water with better accuracy and at a faster speed.
Basic Parts of a Fish Finder
A fish finder is made up of two basic parts;
Transducer – This is considered the heart of a fish finder since it’s the one that sends out sound energy and receives the echoes which then interprets what’s happening in the water. Transducers come in different mounting styles where you can get the thru-hull which goes through a hole in the hull or the transom mount that goes at the back of the hull.
Display – Once the signal has been interpreted; it shows on the fish finder’s display. Fish finders have different display features depending on the manufacturer. The display can be colored or black and white, touch or use of buttons, have a backlight for night visibility and many more features.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Fish Finder
The following features are important considerations when shopping for a fish finder;
- Cone and beam angles – The size of the cone formed by a transducer is important in the performance of a fish finder. The wider the cone beam, the larger the area covered by the device. However, as the beam gets wider, the sensitivity to the depth of water reduces. The degree of the cone angle may range between 9 to 90 degrees. For advanced angling, a device with a dual or triple beam is better for more details.
- Display – You will come across a colored or black and white display. It’ important to ensure that the graphics on display are easy to read and interpret. Some of the devices have complicated set up software, which some find a headache to use. If you are into night fishing, ensure that your fish finder has a backlight for better visibility.
- Frequencies – You will find that most transducers work with different frequencies, which greatly influences the cone angle. When fishing in shallow water, higher frequencies ranging between 192 and 200 KHz are preferred while 50KHz will be fine for deep water fishing.
- Charging – Most of the fish finders are either battery powered or charged using USB. You have to ensure that the device will provide you with adequate power to take you for an extended period when out fishing.
- Other features – Other important considerations are the ease of mounting or using the device. Some operated best when handheld while others need to mounted. There are those that come with WIFI connectivity for easy recording and pairing with other devices.
A fish finder is the ideal companion when out in the water and will help you relax and enjoy the experience rather than spend hours guessing where the to find the fish. We hope that this review has provided valuable information on the best fish finders available in the market that will turn you into a celebrated angler in your home.