A fish finder works by using the echolocation to show electronic pulses of the fish among sea features such as rocks, corals and other sediments. Moreover, it converts this information into readable visual data that might appear as fully defined and colored graphics rendition in more premium models of fish finders.
Such fish finders help the fishermen identify needed clusters of fish and lower their baits in favorable locations and depths.
Table of Contents
- How exactly a fish finder works?
- How to choose a good fish finder?
- Comparison of 10 Best Fish Finders under $500 in 2019
- Top 10 Best Fish Finders under $500 Reviews in 2019
- #1 Humminbird Helix-5 Fish Finder with Chirp
- #2 Garmin Striker 7 with Transducer and Traditional Chirp
- #3 Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp DI Fish Finder
- #4 Garmin EchoMap Chirp 53cv with Transducer
- #5 Garmin Echo 151dv US and Canada with Transducer
- #6 Lowrance Hook 2 Deep Depth Fish Finder
- #7 Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder
- #8 Lowrance Elite 5 Touch Fish Finder with GPS
- #9 Garmin GPSMAP 78S Marine GPS Navigator
- #10 Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 Fish Finder
- Factors to pay attention to
- Relevant Resources
How exactly a fish finder works?
A fish finder transmits a sound wave, which has been converted by a transducer from a simple electrical impulse, and once this sound wave hits the fish it bounces back. Latest models of fish finder are capable of displaying size, shape and even composition.
However, the accuracy and level of precision will largely depend on the frequency as well as the pulse that has been transmitted. A good fish finder will be able to show you what you otherwise would have never seen with your naked eye especially what is located at great depths.
Lately, a reliable and accurate fish finder is an essential piece of equipment for fishermen wanting to have efficient and fun fishing trips. Moreover, a good fish finder will likely come with a navigation system that is also crucial for safe marine voyages regardless of whether it will be a commercial or private trip.
The navigation system is necessary for all marine vessels as it helps the fishing crew stay the path and helps know the exact coordinates of the vessel at any given time. This can be especially useful for fishing vessels that venture far away from the shore.
Furthermore, a good navigation system will enable you to quickly find the shore, port or new fishing destination. Hence, you could say that fish finders with navigation systems have fully replaced the old fishermen’s means of finding one’s way in the sea especially with the help of compasses and large maps.
How to choose a good fish finder?
Firstly, look at what transducer the fish finder has as they are the essential part of the fish finder. Transducers are needed to send and receive sound waves that will bounce off fish, rocks and other formation allowing you to see all of this on a display.
Basically, you could say that transducers are like translators because they convert the bounced sonar waves into clear pictures on the display that a fisherman will be able to understand. These transducers can be mounted in a number of ways however the easiest will be the transom mount.
However, such mount will only work for small to medium boats thus if you have a bigger bought then you would need the thru-hull mount at least. Transducers are made with different materials thus you will need to pick the transducer depending on what type of marine vessel you have.
If you go out to sea once in a while only then a transducer with plastic transom mount should be just fine moreover such transducers are compatible with virtually any boat. However, steel hulls, as well as aluminium ones, will need stainless steel mounting.
Comparison of 10 Best Fish Finders under $500 in 2019
|Image||Brand||Transhucer Incluheh||Batteries||Compass||Display size||Display resolution||Latest Price|
|Humminbird||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||5 inches||800*840||Check Price|
|Garmin||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||7 inches||800*840||Check Price|
|Humminbird||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||7 inches||480*640||Check Price|
|Garmin||No||2 AA||3 axis compass||4 inches||800*840||Check Price|
|Garmin||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||7 inches||480*640||Check Price|
|Lowrance||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||7 inches||800*840||Check Price|
|Raymarine||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||7 inches||480*640||Check Price|
|Lowrance||No||2 AA||3 axis compass||6 inches||160*240||Check Price|
|Garmin||Yes||2 AA||3 axis compass||7 inches||160*240||Check Price|
|Humminbird||2 GB||2 AA||3 axis compass||5 inches||160*240||Check Price|
Top 10 Best Fish Finders under $500 Reviews in 2019
#1 Humminbird Helix-5 Fish Finder with Chirp
It is fitted with dual GPS and GLONASS satellite receiver thus you can be sure of continuous and accurate signal that will provide you with exact fish positioning and other crucial data such as water depth, large rock formations and nearby ports.
#2 Garmin Striker 7 with Transducer and Traditional Chirp
Garmin Striker 7 with Transducer comes with a medium sized color display that can be easily read in the sunlight plus this device has a long life battery that has been reported to work for at least 15 hours before needing a recharge.
Furthermore, this model of Garmin fish finder comes with a 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter. It works great with 2 polaroid AA batteries or the rechargeable NiMH batteries.
#3 Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp DI Fish Finder
A very compact and portable fish finder that is made with Chirp technology and easy mapping programs plus the TFT color display ensures easy reading even in the sunlight.
With this device, you can share your position, route and other data with other users through a wireless connection.
Furthermore, this model comes with a 3-axis tilt compensated compass that will ensure accurate positioning.
#4 Garmin EchoMap Chirp 53cv with Transducer
Moreover, it comes with Chirp front and side imaging ensuring that you get a clear and precise picture of what is around and beneath you.
This fish finder check positioning every 5 seconds ensuring you stay on route and always have up to date.
#5 Garmin Echo 151dv US and Canada with Transducer
This Garmin fish finder can be easily tilted and swivelled as needed plus it has a quick release mechanism.
Moreover, the packaging box comes with clear documentation and instruction booklet that address the most frequent questions and errors.
Furthermore, Garmin Echo 151dv has a colorful display with 480*640 resolution screen and it comes with a waypoint map that will enable you to easily mark, navigate and view different locations.
#6 Lowrance Hook 2 Deep Depth Fish Finder
Moreover, this fish finder has a long life battery that has been reported to work for at least 8 hours before needing a recharge.
Furthermore, this model of Lowrance Hook 2 fish findercomes a GPS system too.
#7 Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder
Moreover, it comes with a sturdy and durable mounting that you could use to position the fishfinder in a way that will be comfortable for you.
Plus, this model of fish finder has large internal storage for up to 3000 user waypoints and 15 routes as well as a 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter.
#8 Lowrance Elite 5 Touch Fish Finder with GPS
Moreover, this Lowrance fishfinder refreshes the image on the display every 15 seconds and will notify you immediately if a new fish location is found.
Furthermore, it comes with an HD data card that you could use to store important information such as your coordinates, preferred fishing locations and waypoints.
This Garmin GPSMAP 78S model of fishfinder comes with large and easy to read screen plus it is fitted with a durable transducer that has an accurate signal that will provide you with exact fish location.
Garmin GPSMAP have Worldwide shaded relief basemap; microSD card slot for optional mapping. Also, Built-in 3-axis electronic compass; Barometric altimeter With 1.7MB built-in memory.
#10 Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 Fish Finder
Power Output RMS : 500 Watts. Power Draw : 615 mA, Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints and a barometric altimeter as well as 2 polaroid AA batteries.
Factors to pay attention to
Transducer mounting is not the only thing you need to be worried as the transducers cone angle is very important too. Basically, the cone angle stands for the total width of the signal beam that will be transmitted into the water from your marine vessel.
Naturally, a wider cone will mean a larger area will be covered plus keep in mind that the deeper the signal reaches the wider the cone gets. Depending on the model of the transducer, the cones can vary in their width however usually they range between 9 and 60 degrees.
Furthermore, some transducers are capable of emitting more than one cone however such models are much more expensive. Therefore, as you can see deciding on what model of the fish finder to buy can be difficult especially with so many models on the market ranging from simple ones to full-sized ones that cost at least several hundred dollars.
However, the process of choosing the best fish finder does not have to be that complicated if you decide what exact features and functions you want to see in your fish finder. Hence, decide on how large you want the screen to be and remember that large screens are much easier to read from a distance.
This can be especially useful with models that show sea and lake beds as a large screen can be used to see any large rocks on the path that could cause potential hazards. Also, the most fish finder will be portable however some upscale models might be too large and heavy to be carried around.
Choosing a fish finder transducer can be confusing especially if you have not done this before however if you even slightly brief yourself with what a good transducer must have then you should not have a problem. Hence, remember that a good transducer must have stable and sturdy mounting plus it must have good beam width as well as frequency because it will determine how well the signal will bounce.
Moreover, remember to never feel upset if you won’t catch any fish during your first fishing trip as some species are extremely fast moving, for example, tuna, thus it can be difficult to detect especially if the boat will be moving at high speed.
Furthermore, keep in mind that there are a total of three transducer types; through-hull, transom-mount and lastly in-hull. Also, there are the down-looking transducers as well as side-looking ones and each mount will be suitable for a specific transducer.
For example, the through-hull transducers are mounted underneath water thus they are considered the most reliable as they never tend to lose the signal because of their submersion under water. On the other hand, the in-hull transducers’ signal might be lost as the signal passes through a fibreglass hull that often degrades the signal’s frequency thus leading the fish finder to have difficulty picking up the fish location.
According to hundreds of professional boaters and fishermen, the best transducer for catching large and quick moving fish such as tuna, swordfish and kingfish is to go for the bigger models of transducers as they feature bigger ceramic parts that emit the needed sonar signal.
In other words, the larger this part the stronger the signal is and thus clearer and more accurate picture on the display.