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
- Comparison of 10 Best Fish Finders Under $500 in 2021
- Top 15 Best Fish Finder Under $500 Reviews in 2021
- 1. iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Fish Finder
- 2. Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder
- 3. Humminbird PiranhaMax 4.3 DI Fish Finder
- 4. RICANK Portable Fish Finder
- 5. Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar
- 6. Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS Fish Finder
- 7. OVETOUR Portable Fish Finder
- 8. Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
- 9. FHX Portable Handheld Fish Finder
- 10. Venterior Portable Fish Finder
- 11. Garmin GPSMAP 78S Marine GPS Navigator
- 12. Lucky Wireless Fish Finder
- 13. JOYLOG Fish Finder
- 14. Garmin Striker 7sv GPS Fishfinder
- 15. LUCKY Kayak Portable Fish Finder
- How Exactly a Fish Finder Works?
- How to Choose a Best Fish Finder Under $ 500?
- Factors to Pay Attention to
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 10 Best Fish Finders Under $500 in 2021
|iBobber Wireless Fish Finder||Check Price|
|Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder||Check Price|
|Humminbird 410160-1 Fish Finder||Check Price|
|RICANK Portable Fish Finder||Check Price|
|Deeper Chirp Fish Finder||Check Price|
|Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder||Check Price|
|OVETOUR Portable Fish Finder||Check Price|
|Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS Fish Finder||Check Price|
|FHX Portable Handheld Fish Finder||Check Price|
|Venterior Portable Fish Finder||Check Price|
Top 15 Best Fish Finder Under $500 Reviews in 2021
1. iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Fish Finder
This cute little fish finder is very straightforward. It uses patented sonar fish identifier technology to mark fish, map depth contours, and underwater structure. Using a smartphone instead of a handheld display, you can use the sonar and even share your findings on social media.
The portable and flexible iBobber has a built-in LED beacon and battery charge indicator light. The battery has a decently long life, even over 10 hours. Within this time, you can save water temperature, weather, and location. You can also save species, photos, and hotspots.
- Patented sonar fish identifier technology
- Built-in LED beacon
- Battery charge indicator light
- 10+ hrs battery life
- Portable and flexible
- Works in saltwater, freshwater, and on ice
- It doesn’t give accurate readings when used for trolling
2. Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder
With built-in mapping, the HOOK2 4X is a detailed device. Often nominated as the best GPS fish finder under 500, it features a detailed map showing depth changes and taking you to your favorite fishing spot.
In my experience, once you get to know your waters, you will navigate to the places which were most rewarding to you. One way of finding these places is by depth measurement.
- Saves routes and trails
- Supports waypoint navigation
- Show water depth changes
- Only works with its default mount
3. Humminbird PiranhaMax 4.3 DI Fish Finder
Made with a new 4.3” display, the Fish Finder is already popular. Maybe this is why even others see it as the best fish finder under $ 500 reviews show. In particular, most users are attracted to its design.
But this practical device even sends audible alerts when it finds fish. Of course, some of these alerts will prove not worthy of stopping your boat. But it does offer a clear view of the waters right underneath the boat.
- Made with an upgraded 4.3-inch screen
- Includes one mount
- Made with IPX7 waterproofing
- Not the most feature-packed GPS
4. RICANK Portable Fish Finder
If you want to cast your line where fish will definitely bite, the RICANK fish finder is small and handy. The bright yellow color makes it easy to spot even if it slips out of your fingers. It uses a 200KHz sonar beam to get the job done. The signal is relatively stable for such a small device.
The transducer comes with a side-scan adapter, which is also somewhat rare among portable fish finders. It comes with standard features such as a fish alarm and selectable sensitivity. The transducer is waterproof, but the display unit isn’t, so keep it away from splashes or sprays.
A great thing about this fish finder is that it can be used for ice fishing in two ways. You can put it on top of the ice or submerge it in ice water to find fish. However, there shouldn’t be any water bubbles under it. However, there are some inevitable downsides. This fish finder cannot be used in turbulent or muddy water, trolling faster than 5 mph, and extremely cold water.
- Stable signal
- It comes with a side-scan adapter
- Selectable sensitivity
- It can pick up small fish
- Only usable on calm water and mild weather conditions
5. Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar
You may even use it on rivers as a result. But it shows clear results with depths of up to 330 feet and it streams its images on your smartphone. I know I need it in many of my fishing trips.
- Made with a unique castaway design
- Shows the bathymetric map on the smartphone
- Works with offline maps
- Not the most detailed maps
6. Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS Fish Finder
Humminbird Fish Finder comes with an extra-large color WVGA display that can be easily read in the sunlight. Moreover, it comes with a 3-axis compass, CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar.
Power Output RMS : 500 Watts. Power Draw : 615 mA, Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints. And it also boasts a barometric altimeter as well as 2 polaroid AA batteries.
- The display can be easily read in the sunlight
- They also have good customer support
- Moving and stopping sensor is inaccurate
- Takes a long time to download maps
- No warranty
7. OVETOUR Portable Fish Finder
The OVETOUR fish finder makes use of cutting-edge sonar detecting technology in a small, compact package. The display unit has a very user-friendly interface, making the unit an excellent choice for beginners.
The best thing about this fish finder is perhaps its energy efficiency. Running on 4 AAA batteries, this device can keep running for 4-5 hours efficiently. In fact, the user manual comes with some tips on extending battery life- users found the tips quite effective.
- Works as a kayak fish finder below 8pmh speed
- 80-100 meter working range between transducer and display device
- Energy efficient
- Useful instruction manual
- It does not display fish arc
8. Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
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. Also, you will receive other crucial data such as water depth, large rock formations and nearby ports.
Lastly, let me inform you of a downside sported by this tool. Despite all the shiny features, there’s been reports of the battery leaking. That certainly isn’t something you’d want to happen!
- A large screen is easy to read
- Fitted with Chirp technology
- Accurate positioning and fish finding
- Takes hours to recharge
9. FHX Portable Handheld Fish Finder
The FHX portable handheld fish finder can read fish location and bottom contour to quite a high degree of accuracy. The portable detector range is in a 45-degree cone underwater, and the sonar cable’s length is 25 feet. The range makes it suitable for offshore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing, etc.
The great thing about this tiny fish finder is that you can even use it on a moving kayak, given that the speed is less than 5pmh. The transducer has a removable float so that you can use it in a variety of ways. It supports 5 modes of sensitivity. There’s also the battery-saving mode and backlight mode.
- Reads fish location and bottom contour
- The portable detector range is in a 45-degree cone underwater
- 25 feet fishing sonar cable
- Removable transducer float
- 5 modes sensitivity options
- Fish and fish school alarm
- The display tends to get foggy with condensation
10. Venterior Portable Fish Finder
This fish finder set has a wireless and castable transducer and a transparent color TFT LCD screen. The screen is readable even in bright sunlight or at night. Changing the background to white makes it more visible under bright sunlight.
This fish finder can be used in quite a few fishing environments, such as ice fishing, trolling, or casting. If you want, you can also run this fish finder in simulation mode.
The sensor can be tethered to your fishing line, so you can just cast it out. This fish finder is relatively inexpensive, so, typically, it’ll have some weaknesses. It’s not waterproof, so be careful and keep it away from splashes. It also runs out of charge quickly, so use it carefully.
- Wireless and castable
- Bright TFT LCD screen
- Equipped with a fish alarm
- The display unit can be customized to suit your needs
- It runs out of charge in about 3 hours
This Garmin GPSMAP 78S model of fishfinder comes with large and easy to read screen. Also, it is fitted with a durable transducer that has an accurate signal that will provide you with exact fish location. This is another amazon choice best fish finder under $ 500.
Garmin GPSMAP have Worldwide shaded relief basemap; microSD card slot for optional mapping. Also, it has built-in 3-axis electronic compass as well as a barometric altimeter with 1.7MB built-in memory.
- Easy to read
- Accurate positioning
- Comes with warranty
- Long shipping
12. Lucky Wireless Fish Finder
Looking for the best fish finder under 500 led me to Lucky Wireless’ device. This compact device has 90-degree readings. It measures water depth, water temperature and it shows you the location of the fish.
With the contour of the bottom, you will also know the right depth you need to reach for your newest catch.
- Made with a compact design
- Rubber-reinforced construction
- Measures water temperature
- Limited depth readings to 147ft
13. JOYLOG Fish Finder
Gone are the days of depending on a confusing fishfinder display. Today, we have replaced many gadgets with only the smartphone. So why not use it as a fish finder display as well? Using this Bluetooth-connected JOYLOG sonar and a free app, you can turn your smartphone into a fish finder!
This digital sonar enables you to explore at a depth of 0.6 to 40 meters. It starts up automatically when you toss it into the water and has a green fish lamp on the bottom that lures in fish. It has a lot of simple features that make it very user-friendly.
- Adaptable to various environments
- Up to 26 kinds of operation language
- Light and portable
- Good battery life
- Very user friendly
- Not capable of 3D imaging
14. Garmin Striker 7sv GPS Fishfinder
Garmin Striker 7sv with Transducer comes with a medium sized color display that can be easily read in the sunlight. Also, 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.
- The display can be easily read in the sunlight
- Batteries will be enough for up to 15 hours of continuous work
- 7-inch display
- Fitted with Chirp technology
- Good customer support
- Some reading might be wrong
- Takes a long time to restart
15. LUCKY Kayak Portable Fish Finder
LUCKY fish finders are renowned for being compact yet capable, and this one isn’t any different. This fish finder has a depth detection range between 1m and 100m. However, the transducer doesn’t work in small places, so you can’t test it in small spaces like pools.
Despite looking more or less like any other portable fish finder display device, this display device feels quite solid and sturdy. The package does not include a kayak mount, but it does come with a bracket that you can use.
You can mount the transducer to the boat hull, attach it to a fishing pole, or even use the float. The one downside to this fish finder is the transducer wire. It tends to disconnect easily. So, if you’re using the float, be careful, or the wire might get snagged on something and disconnect.
- Solid and sturdy design
- High depth detection range
- Turning off the backlight extends battery life
- It’s suitable for people who don’t want an extravagant fish finder
- The transducer wire is somewhat troublesome
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 best fish finder under $ 500 will be able to show you what you otherwise would have never seen with your naked eye. Especially, it shows you what is located at great depths. Lastly, a reliable and accurate fish finder is an essential piece of equipment for fishermen wanting to have efficient and fun fishing trips.
The best fish finder will likely come with a navigation system. Regardless of whether it is a commercial or private trip, this tool is also crucial for safe marine voyages. The navigation system is necessary for all marine vessels as it helps the fishing crew stay the path. Also, it helps you to 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 Best Fish Finder Under $ 500?
Firstly, look at what transducer the fish finder has as they are the essential part of the fish finder. We need these to send and receive sound waves that will bounce off fish, rocks and other formation. Thus, this tool allows 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.
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. A wider cone will mean a larger area will be covered. Lastly, 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 best fish finder under $ 500 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 under $ 500 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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can I Use My Phone as a Fish Finder?
A: Yes. As long as you have a sonar transducer capable of connecting with your smartphone via Bluetooth or wi-fi. The advantage of it is usually the lowering of cost. If you’re looking to buy a fishfinder with a large display, you’ll have to shell out a lot of cash. But if you’re using sonar and a smartphone app, you can use it on any screen size. From smartphones to tablets, you can pick the screen you want.
Q: Do Cheap Fish Finders Work?
A: Yes, they do work. But it’s only natural that they wouldn’t work quite as well as high-end fish finders. When we think of cheap fish finders, we mostly think of portable fish finders. While they’re an excellent choice for people who rent boats, or practice shore fishing, ice fishing, or fly fishing, they’re not all that useful if you’re looking for stable or precise results.
Choosing a best fish finder under $ 500 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 fiberglass 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.