What is the best fish finder today? This is a question that even the most experienced angler will likely find difficult to answer. With the many fish finder units available in the market, it can really be tough to pick just one model. We will pick the best fish finder in this article.
Top 3 Reasons You Need to Buy A Fish finder
First, they will save you time
Unless you are fishing in a barrel, the first thing you need to do before you can catch any fish is find them. The problem with this is that fish stay underwater and generally, don’t carry signs saying ‘we’re down here!’
The next problem is that unless you’re in crystal clear water only a few feet deep, and the fish are kind enough to be swimming directly under your boat, you won’t be able to see them.
Let’s face it, how often do you spent the entire day moving from location to location looking for fish, and just hoping to get a nibble? A fish finder, however, uses advanced sonar technology to cut through the darkest and murkiest waters, and lets you see exactly what is under your boat.
Depending upon the frequency (or multiple frequencies) of the sonar transducer, and electronics package in the fish finder, you could have the ability to see not only directly below your boat.
Second, they will save you money.
No, fish finders are not free. You will have to purchase them. But for a few hundred dollars, think about the money you’ll save in fuel, not having to navigate around for hours trying to guess where the fish are.
With your fish finder, there is no guessing. The fish are identified on display, and their depth is also shown (if the unit you purchase comes with a depth feature).
In addition to fuel, you’ll also save on bait. Instead of picking a spot where ‘you’ve got a feeling the fish are nearby,’ and dropping line after line with bait, and coming up empty, why not go directly to where the fish are and drop the bait right in front of them.
You won’t have to cut your line losing hooks and lures/bait because what you thought was a bite was your hook getting snagged on a submerged tree.
Finally, you will actually catch fish
Forget about hoping that today is the day that you reel something in. You will no longer return home at the end of a long day with nothing but a sun burn.
Fishing is all about being in the same place as the fish, and them dangling some food in front of them. Your fish finder will not only show you where the fish are, but what other bottom structures are in the area, so you’ll know the best spot to cast your line.
The only thing you need to worry about is will you have enough space on board to hold everything you catch. So if you still want to save money, save time, and catch some fish, you need to buy a fish finder
We Done the top fish finder reviews in this article, taking into consideration the following factors:
- Ease of use
A Preview: Our Best Pick for the Best Fish Finder Reviews for 2017
Show Table of Contents
- Top 3 Reasons You Need to Buy A Fish finder
- A Preview: Our Best Pick for the Best Fish Finder Reviews for 2017
- Best Fish Finders in 2017 Comparison Chart
- Things to Look for in a Best Fish Finder
- How to choose best depth finder for the money
Data, however, is compromised when the boat where the fish finder is on starts to move fast.
Also included in this article is the Venterior Portable Fish Finder which is easy to operate and affordable. It includes a transducer, neck strap, and stainless bolt and wing nut.
A major annoyance for most users, though, is the 25 foot long cable of the transducer.
Another fish finder that we have reviewed here is the Lowrance Hook 3x. This fishfinder is very easy to operate as well with its Advanced Signal Processing that eliminates the need to manually change settings. It also has dedicated quick
It also has dedicated quick keys, and a power button that dabbles as the backlight control.
The Humminbird Helix 5 could be the best fish finder in its class. It has side and down imaging with GPS, with a bright and clear 5 inch display.
The lack of instruction manual though hurts its claim to being the best fish finder.
The Garmin Striker 4DV is a good fish finder as well. It has GPS, CHIRP sonar, and waypoint map.
We like that it is very compact and lightweight. The screen isn’t the biggest at 3.5 inches, though.
The Garmin Striker 5DV is one of the best depth finder units today. It is compact and ruggedly built, with advanced features like GPS, waypoint map, CHIRP sonar, and a built-in flasher.
Many Amazon.com depth finder reviews of this unit say it can scan waters as deep as 2,300 feet in freshwater, and 1,100 feet in saltwater. However, it doesn’t have an instruction manual.
The Humminbird Helix 7 also makes it to this list with its sturdy and compact design. It is also very loaded with features like GPS and side and down imaging.
It also boasts of a higher memory compared to the other fish finders in this list; meaning it can draw maps a lot faster. This could be the best fishfinder in the 7 inch display range.
The Garmin Striker 7SV also has GPS and CHIRP sonar but doesn’t have fancy maps. As such, its price is very competitive.We liked its 7 inch screen with a high resolution. We also love that it has side and down imaging.
Raymarine has two entries in this best fish finders reviews.
The Dragonfly Pro 4 has a 4.3 inch LCD screen with a pedestrian 480 x 272 resolution. But thanks to its optical bonding, the screen is able to display images in bright and sharp contrasts.
This portable and compact fishfinder also comes with a mobile app. It is also Wi-Fi capable.
Rounding out our list is the Raymarine Dragonfly-5 Pro. The latest from the brand, it has top of the line features like CHIRP sonar, DownVision technology, and Wi-Fi function.
The 5.5 inch display is also very good. It’s just too bad that the 5-Pro doesn’t come wit a cover.
Best Fish Finders in 2017 Comparison Chart
|Product Name||Dimensions(in)||Measures Depth||Display(in)|
|Garmin Striker 4||3.6 x 5.9 x 1.6||487m||3.5|
|Venterior Portable||2.2 x 9.6 x 5.9||100m||2.3|
|Lowrance Hook 3x||3.8 x 1.9 x 6.5||244m||3.5|
|Humminbird Helix 5||6 x 8.5 x 4||182m||5|
|Garmin Striker 5DV||7.4 x 4.5 x 2.1||700m||5|
|Humminbird Helix 7||5.6 x 10.5 x 5.8||457m||7|
|Garmin Striker 7SV||9.3 x 5.5 x 2.3||700m||7|
|Dragonfly Pro 4||13.8 x 13.8 x 13.8||183m||4.3|
|Raymarine Dragonfly-5 Pro||13.8 x 13.8 x 13.8||275m||5|
Below is a list of the top 10 Best Fish Finder Reviews 2017, you should definitely take a look at this list to find the Best Fish Finder:
1. Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder
This is a small, portable, and affordable fish finder with CHIRP sonar capability. We recommend this to anglers who want a CHIRP fish finder but don’t want to spend more on other advanced navigation features.
This unit comes with a transducer. It is very affordable and makes a great addition to any small boat or kayak.
The Garmin Striker 4 has a rugged design. It is water proof, and according to Garmin, can withstand immersions of up to 1 meter of freshwater.
It has a small, 3.5 inch display with a 480 x 320 pixel resolution. It’s not top of the line but you should have no problems reading it even in direct sunlight.
Because of the relatively small display, you can only view two panels or application on the screen.
Arguably the biggest selling point of the Striker 4 is its CHIRP sonar. It gives more power and clarity to the images displayed by the Striker 4.
With it, you can see clearer images with less clutter. You will be able to see fishes individually, even when they are close together.
Many Amazon.com reviewers are happy with this product. They say that it is the best sonar fish finder today.
Another comment is that it doesn’t drain much of its battery. Others feel that this model is a steal given its advanced features.
2. Venterior Portable Fish Finder
Aside from the fish finder, the package includes a transducer with 25 foot cable, a removable transducer float with rubber stopper, neck strap, and stainless bolt and wing nut.
According to reviewers on Amazon.com, this fish finder is very easy to operate. Set up is quick as you simply have to install four AAA batteries.
The 25 foot cable that comes with the transducer can be advantageous or disadvantageous.
With its length, users can drop it off a bridge or float it out on a lake or stream. They don’t need to have a boat to use it.
But for those who have a boat, the extra-long cable can be a nuisance.
However, the biggest drawback of this fish finder is that it is not waterproof. While Venterior says it has a waterproof design, many fish finder reviews experts on Amazon.com say the screen will get foggy when it is exposed to some moisture.
Another complaint is that it doesn’t remember the setting that you last used. Thus when you switch from meter (the default setting) to feet, the unit will go back to meter when you turn it off.
3. Lowrance Hook 3X
This is another highly recommended fish finder with a budget-friendly price tag. It features a 3-inch, LED-backlight screen with 320x 240 pixel resolution and sonar operation that gives up to 60 degrees of conical coverage.
It is easy to operate with its Advanced Signal Processing (ASP). This practically eliminates the need to manually change settings in order to view the bottom detail more clearly.
There are dedicated quick keys that users can turn to if they want to focus on the strategic fishing areas.
The power button also acts as a backlight control, so users will be able to change the screen lighting depending on ambient conditions.
We also love its Fish ID that shows fish icons instead of the usual fish arches. There are also track and alarm options in this unit.
Apart from those features, Amazon.com reviewers say they didn’t encounter any problems in mounting and installing this fish finder. They also love that its viewing angle can easily be adjusted thanks to its tilt and swivel bracket.
Others also say that this doesn’t drain its battery quickly.
However, many users say that this fish finder will struggle in showing bottom structure, depth, and water temperature when the boat moves at a pace faster than 5 miles per hour.
There are also reviewers who doubt whether this fish finder is water proof.
4. Humminbird HELIX 5
The Helix 5 has a 5 inch display that has a landscape orientation. It has an excellent 800 x 480 pixel resolution.
Not surprisingly, a lot of Amazon.com reviewers have pointed out that the high resolution display of this unit is a reason why they’re happy with the Helix 5.
Mounting the Helix 5 is done through a plastic gimbal mount. This replaces the old, quick disconnect mounting system that Humminbird used for so many years.
It also features a single microSD card slot located on its left side.
This may be packed in features but the Helix 5 isn’t networkable. This may have been due to Humminbird’s desire to keep this model affordable.
Another issue that’s been repeatedly raised by Amazon.com reviewers is the lack of an instruction manual. You would have to go to Humminbird’s website and look for its user’s guide to get some help in using this fishfinder.
Overall this is still one of the best fishfinders in terms of functions and price. It doesn’t have the steepest price but it is loaded in features that should keep the techie user contented.
5. Garmin Striker 4DV
The Garmin Striker 4DV is a compact, budget friendly GPS-enabled fish finder. It also features waypoint map, CHIP sonar, and a built-in flasher that is ideal for ice fishing.
The Striker 4DV is very compact that you should have no problems fitting it in your kayak or boat. The unit, in fact, weighs a mere 8 ounces.
The screen measures 3.5 inches diagonally, with a clear 480 x 320 pixel resolution. A cluster of control buttons sits next to it.
We like that it comes with a swivel/tilt mount that allows users to install it in any watercraft. There’s also a transducer that goes along with it for producing and gathering sonar pulses.
The Striker 4DV offers max penetration of 1,750 feet in freshwater, and around 800 feet in saltwater. We think that’s very solid given its price.
Aside from sonar readings, the Striker 4DV has a waypoint map. It lets users label rich fishing spots on the screens.
And with its GPS capabilities, the unit is able to visually trace the user’s direction and distance across the water.
Many reviewers on Amazon.com are raving at how easy it is to operate the unit. They also love that the screen, despite being a bit small, is able to show clear images even when under the sun.
We feel that the lack of maps is the only factor that prevents the Striker 4DV from being the best cheap fish finder.
6. Garmin Striker 5DV
Like its cousin Striker 4DV, the Garmin Striker 5DV has a very compact and rugged design. It also has high sensitivity GPS, waypoint map, CHIRP sonar, and a built-in flasher.
But it beats it cousin in many facets. One is the depth range.
The 5DV has a depth range of 1,100 feet in saltwater compared to just the 800 feet of the 4DV. It is also capable of scanning up to 2300 feet in freshwater compared to just the 1,100 of the other Garmin model.
And it has a bigger, 5 inch screen. We felt that with more space, the screen is able to show more data like depth, scanning sonar, down view sonar and waypoint views.
We also love the scaling feature that leads to uninterrupted image when the unit changes frequencies.
Amazon.com reviewers agree that the ability to customize the screen is one of the best characteristics of this fishing depth finder. Others also love how fast and accurate the GPS function of the Striker 5DV.
Similar to the Striker 4DV, this unit doesn’t have a user’s guide. You would have to figure out how to use it.
This doesn’t sit well with most of its users, especially those who found the waypoint map quite difficult to use.
Still, this could be the best depth finder unit today.
7. Humminbird Helix 7 FishFinder
It is also non-networkable like the Helix 5.
But the Helix features a glass bonded display that is a lot better than the plastic lens used on the Helix 5.
It also has a 800 x 480 pixel, 256 color LED backlit display. According to Humminbird, the brightness display of this unit is 1500 nits or very bright.
It also has a 2xD-RAM memory which means it can draw maps faster. The unit also refreshes its screen at a faster rate.
We like how Humminbird introduced a gimbal mounting bracket for the Helix. The said bracket is a lot better than the mounting system found in its older models.
Aside from offering very advanced features despite its low price, the Helix 7 has been getting good fish finder reviews for being sturdy.
One reviewer on Amazon.com shared how his Helix 7 has withstood various conditions. He says his Helix 7 had been rained on and kicked, but it remains working up to this day.
The issues raised against this fish finder can be dismissed as being petty, like the transducer plug mount having a tendency to loosen up, or the non-inclusion of a case or cover.
8. Garmin Striker 7SV Fish Finder
Do you wish to get a fish finder with advanced features like GPS and CHIRP sonar but hesitant to pay for fancy maps? If so, consider getting the Garmin Striker 7SV.
This unit has a 7 inch screen with a high 480 x 800 pixel resolution. It offers 2D, side, and down imaging features as well as GPS and CHIRP sonar.
It doesn’t have preloaded maps, though. But if you are a small lake fisherman who doesn’t need those maps, then you wouldn’t really be missing that feature.
We like the brilliant backlit display of this unit that makes it very readable even on the sunniest of days. With enough space, the screen is able to show multiple sharp images simultaneously.
The built-in flasher, meanwhile, is very useful in stationary fishing.
In case the powerful sonar imaging feature of the 7SV can’t spot fish, you can turn to its GPS tracking. You can also note landmarks like natural features on the unit for additional guidance.
Many of the reviewers on Amazon.com are in awe at how this unit is able to perform all those functions without consuming a lot of battery. One reviewer shared how he was able to fish for more than 8 hours before the battery dropped to below 10v.
Aside from the maps, user’s guide is something conspicuously missing in this product.
9. Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro
The Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro is loaded with features you would think that it is a high-end product. But isn’t it nice when you see its price tag well within your budget?
This is a waterproof unit that’s very easy to use. It has a 4.3 inch LCD screen with a decent 480 x 272 resolution.
Images appear in bright colors and sharp contrasts thanks to its built in optical bonding. We also like that the images are viewable at different angles.
With that screen size, the 4Pro can show single or split screen illustrations. You don’t need to worry, though, as the unit shows easy to read large numerals.
And yes, this is a fog-resistant device that you can bring for any fishing expedition.
This unit is also Wi-Fi capable so I can connect to a smartphone or tablet. This is a great feature as they can use the mobile app of Dragonfly in rewinding or capturing still images.
Aside from the ease of installing this unit, Amazon.com reviewers commend Dragonfly for its good screen resolution. They say that the screen could have been bigger, but they surmise that it would affect the portability of the unit.
Others, though, are disappointed that the unit takes a lot of time when starting up.
10. Raymarine Dragonfly-5 Pro
This is the latest offering from Raymarine and expectedly, it has all the advanced technologies you would want from a fish finder. Yet it is still competitively priced which makes a lot of anglers very intrigued with this unit.
One of its key functions is CHIRP sonar. With this feature, there are more signals emitted into the water leading to better images seen on the Dragonfly Pro’s screen.
In short, you will see images that are clear and very distinguishable.
The DownVision technology meanwhile, works at depths of up to 160 feet. Many reviewers on Amazon.com describe the images that it pulls to be photo-like in terms of clarity.
We also like that it has WiFi, and a mobile app that lets you control the unit. This means you and your buddy won’t have to jockey to get the best view of the screen.
Simply connect to the mobile app, and you can see whatever your buddy is seeing on the Dragonfly Pro’s screen. Speaking of screens, the Dragonfly 5 offers a 5 inch display with a 480 x 800 pixel resolution.
Amazon.com reviewers are very fond of this unit. They say that it is easy to use, and the screen is bright and readable even when under the sunlight.
A major issue though is the lack of a cover.
Things to Look for in a Best Fish Finder
With all the features of a typical fish finder compounded by the number of models available in the market, it can really be overwhelming for a novice buyer to pick just one fish finder.
But we have made things easier for you by suggesting the following things to look for when you are shopping for a fish finder:
1. Display screen
You would want a fish finder with a full color screen. It is a lot better than black/white screens because you can see images a lot better.
It’s a good thing that most of the fish finders today have color screens. Prices of these units have also become more affordable, so there’s really no reason to scrimp on a unit with a black/white display.
Aside from the color, you should also take into account the screen size and resolution. With a large screen you will be able to spot the exact place where the fishes are.
Larger screens, though, mean that the unit becomes less portable. A fish finder with 5 to 7 inch of screen is considered the sweet spot as far as screen size is concerned.
There are two ways for fish finders to scan fishes and structures below your boat—side scan and down scan.
Down scan imaging is powerful and focused but it can make you miss targets that are not passing directly underneath. On the other hand, side scan fish would enable you to scan lots of water but isn’t as effective as down scan imaging for deep waters.
You’d want to get a fish finder with both side and down scan imaging. It’s like getting the best of both worlds.
The top fish finders today have GPS capabilities. With this function, you can save spots where you have successfully fished, or mark points of interests.
4. Design and durability
The design of the shape can affect where and how the device will be mounted on your watercraft.
You should also get a fish finder that is waterproof and weather resistant. If you’re looking to fish in saltwater, then buy a fish finder that is designed to resist corrosion.
This is a function that is particularly useful if you swim with a buddy. With a Wi-Fi capable fish finder, you can connect to a phone or tablet and still see the images shown on the fish finder.
So in effect, you get to have an extra screen aside from the fish finder. This means you don’t have to jockey for position with your buddy in seeing the images flashed on the fish finder.
It is common for novice anglers to base their buying decision on the price. Those with limited budget naturally go for the cheapest unit; others with money to burn go for the most expensive device.
But it is wiser to consider your needs first then determine which fish finders address those needs. If you are to choose between 2-3 fish finders with very similar features and design, you then pick the lowest priced unit.
How to choose best depth finder for the money
Are you an avid fisherman? Are you looking for the best depth finder for the money? Due to the advancement in technology, there is a wide variety of portable fish finders that you can use for your next fishing trip to the river or lake.
There are numerous brands, offering a diverse range of products with different specifications that cater to the majority of fishermen. Most portable depth finders have similar basic specifications, while more advanced models boast extra functions.
If you are having difficulty choosing the best depth finder reviews for you, the most important factor, money, should help you decide! It mostly depends on how much you are willing to spend on the depth finder. There are products that are less than $100 and it may even range to as high as several thousands of dollars.
Let’s first divide products by budget range:
a) $100 or less
Products in this price range are usually very simple and have a small screen, low resolution, without GPS. Data obtained from these screens can be hard to interpret. The most depth these products will get is 100-150 feet.
If you are just starting out your fishing hobby or prefer to fish in shallow waters, this would be the recommended product for you. Check out the Lowrance Hook 3X, a great basic fish finder.
b) $100 – $300 price range
There are a wide variety of products available in this price range. Most products in this range provide GPS, a colored screen, and a higher resolution giving you the ability to read the data obtained better! Most of them are also user-friendly. Products in this range include the:
c) $300 – $600 price range
Products in this price range can be considered high-end products. It combines the best technology featuring color screens, bigger screens with better resolution, increased depth readings of 500 feet, and GPS capabilities! Some examples are:
d) $600 or more
Depth finders in this price range are the best of the best. They are for professional use, featuring high definition screens, SONAR, mapping packages, and the ability to check radars, weather forecast, an installed satellite radio, and the ability to combine 2 or more units together.
This is no doubt the product for you if you are a professional or if you have the money for it. It can also be used to monitor your engine and help with navigation. Premium products include:
Other factors that should help you decide how much you should pay for the product you desire includes the functions or features the product has, the ease of use, screen display, and the portability of the device.
Now that we have listed the best fishfinders in the market today, there’s just one question that needs to be answered—what is the best model in this list?
While there are lots of top rated fish finders in this list, we have to go with the Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro.
It has the advanced functions you would want from a top rated mode—CHIRP sonar, DownVision technology, Wi-Fi compatibility and a large, 5.5 inch screen.
It’s very easy to install and operate. And the price is a steal for all its good qualities.
It is hard to argue that the Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro is the king of fish finders today.