To be honest, there is no real definition for the best fish finder. It all comes down to what features suit you best, and how much you’re willing to spend.
The year of 2016 has been overflowing with new fleets of fish finders from various brands and with different features. Beyond that, these fish finding units feature advanced technologies that better enable fishermen to be more productive in their quest to locate fish.
Fish finders come in different sizes and shapes, and brandish state-of-the-art features such as Sonar scanning and GPS tracking and navigation, just to name a few. Besides, there are more low-budget ones that have limited functionalities.
These innovations have really changed the game of fish finding, and have subsequently made it more difficult to choose the one that’s best for you. However, if you’re having this kind of trouble, please sit back while I discuss some important fish finding matters.
- 1 Considerations Before Purchasing
- 2 The Best Fish Finders On The Market
- 3 Conclusion
Considerations Before Purchasing
While there may be great similarities among fish fishers in today’s fishing industry, there are several factors that you need to consider when opting to purchase a brand new fish finder. Here I have compiled a guide to assist you in finding your best fishfinder.
1. Frequency – Frequency plays an important role when it comes on to GPS. The majority of them will feature frequencies of 50, 192, or 200kHz.
The greater the frequency, the more operational the device will be in swallow waters. A more operational fish finder results in more fruitful fishing.
Therefore, I’d suggest choosing one with a mid-frequency of 192kHz. This delivers great performance and is fairly cost-effective. But as I said before, it all comes down to your budget.
2. Power – A fish finder’s power is measured in Watts(W). The more power it has, the more effective it will be. You’ll also notice that readings are displayed at a faster rate, and the device operates magnificently at greater depths.
So if you plan to fish only in shallow waters, a low-powered fishfinder would be great. Moreover, a 600-watt device would be sufficient for these conditions.
In contrast, if you want to fish in deep waters, this will demand the use of a high-powered fish finder. A device of 1,000 watts or more would be excellent here.
3. Price Range – The more advanced features a fish finder has, the more expensive it will be. Hence, it’s always important to have a specific budget. This will guide you in selecting the features that you wish to obtain while keeping an eye on your budget.
4. Display Specifications – Generally, a display is based on the number of pixels that it has. More pixels equal more a detailed screen. Moreover, you’ll have to pay more for that device.
- Resolution – I’d suggest buying one with a minimum resolution of 240V x 160H pixels. Honestly, this would give you a very cloudy display, but to garner a more enhanced view and even crisper images, you’ll have to spend more. An 800 x 420-pixel resolution would fit perfectly in this situation.
- Black & White versus Color – There is also the option of black and white or color display. Black and white is great if you’re working with a low budget. However, a color display enables you to see greater detailed images in millions of color, and allows you to view bottom structure and fish targets more easily.
- Touchscreen and Backlighting – There are also more advanced devices with touchscreen and backlighting capabilities. All in all, choosing the display that best suits you all comes down to your budget.
5. GPS Navigation – A GPS or Global Positioning System provides accurate directions for travel, and constantly monitors your location while at sea. This way, you’ll always be aware of your whereabouts, and have a basic knowledge of how to get back home. This can also come in handy in dangerous situations, such as getting lost at sea.
Fish finders with this feature are usually more expensive than ones without. So if you are serious about fishing and willing to spend the extra bucks, I’d recommend that you purchase a fish finder with this functionality.
- Read More: Fish Finder Features Explained
The Best Fish Finders On The Market
1. Amazing Cheap Fish Finder
Lowrance HOOK-3x – Often, a value fishfinder that still packs quality features is what most anglers are looking for. While expensive units make sense for larger vessels on big water, the average angler needs something that can get the job done without breaking the bank.
Enter the Lowrance HOOK-3x keeps it within most fishermen’s budget, and it still comes loaded with all the essentials to help you find fish fast.
A 3.5×8.9 inch HD color LED display with a 320×240 resolution and 11 lighting levels gives you a clear image of your sonar feed. Physical push buttons ensure operating reliability.
The HOOK-3x operates 83 kHz or 200 kHz. The 83 gives you a 60 degree cone, good for searching large areas, while the 200 gives you great detail in a 20 degree cone.
The Skimmer transducer gives you accurate readings of the bottom while you cruise at up to 75 mph.
The Broadband Sounder gives you an accurate reading of targets, as well as details of the bottom, so you know where to find a hotspot. Fish I.D displays fish icons instead of arches, to help you better identify targets.
The unit is powered by a 12 vDC battery, and is mounted by a convenient tilt and swivel base.
For the angler on a budget looking for a helping hand finding his target fish, the HOOK-3x is an easy on the wallet solution.
- Read More:
2. Wireless Portable Fish Finder For Smartphone – No Boat Needed
Even though a boat is not needed, the Deeper Smart Portable Fish finder is best used for boat fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, or angling because of its Bluetooth feature. Therefore, if you’re an angler who is interested in these kinds of fishing methods, this device is your best friend.
With the Deeper, you can use Bluetooth technology for the transfer of data to other Bluetooth compatible devices in a maximum range of 150 feet. As a result, you can view images from your cell phone or tablet while relaxing on your boat.
This device is greatly suitable for anglers who are technology savvy and brandishes a sonar feature with a dual frequency which spreads across a wider area for a more extensive search and more accurate returns. What’s more is that if you’re in fresh or salt water, it can operate at depths of 1.5 – 40 feet.
When compared to other common sonar fish finders, the Deeper is more lightweight, user-friendly, and compact. Weighing just 100 grams, you can easily carry it around for day-to-day fishing.
If you have a Bluetooth-compatible smartphone and tablet with iOS 5+ and Android 2.3+, the Deeper can be used with it. It also features an application that keeps you updated with all the latest features and content. You can even share your day’s activities with friends on Facebook and other social media platforms.
If it happens that your Deeper device gets lost, you can always retrieve your data from online Cloud Storage Services. It keeps all your data synchronized for future usage.
3. Portable Fish Finder For Kayak
This device provides you with GPS functionality, which helps you to navigate by providing accurate directions to get you where you need to go. Moreover, it continuously monitors your location to keep you up-to-date about your whereabouts. Also, you can mark your most-liked fishing areas and return to them later.
The Striker 4 has a color 3.5-inch display with a 480 x 320-pixel resolution. This is fairly good for viewing images of target fish and bottom structure.
A CHIRP sonar transducer is also included with this device. The transducer offers frequencies of 77 or 200 kHz and transmits a peak-to-peak power of 1,600 Watts. This results in more effective operation in shallow waters and better target separation – fishfinders.info.
How does this work? It emits a full wave of low and high-level frequencies, and then construes them one after the other at the time of their return.
Besides, you can always upgrade to a more performance-driven CHIRP that has a GT15 or GT8 transducer. However, you’d have to purchase these separately.
If you choose to engage in ice fishing with the Striker 4, it flaunts an integrated Flasher that allows you to see that bottom even in muddy conditions. It also shows your target fish when they enter the device’s sonar beam.
4. CHIRP Sonar – Down Imaging Fish Finder
Lowrance Hook-7 Sonar/GPS – If you’re in need of a fish finder that provides highly-powered Down Imaging sonar scanning and great affordability, then you’re in the right place.
The Hook-7 allows you to view target fish and bottom structure with more crispness and clarity via its diagonal backlit display, which measures 7 inches and has an 800 x 480-pixel matrix.
Its GPS feature comprises of 16 channels which determine your location with great speed and accuracy. By updating each second, you can see your boat on the display as you travel along.
Furthermore, the Hook 7 features DownScan and 2D CHIRP Sonar mechanisms, which both contain Base Maps. This collaboration allows you to see crisper images and target separation.
Beyond that, its Advanced Signal Processing makes some modifications in order to filter your image. Furthermore, it enables you to operate the device much easier.
In enhancing the images, irrelevant signals are filtered out. Subsequently, whether or not the Hook 7 is operating with CHIRP or DownScan, all the unwarranted jumbling will be eliminated, hence providing more preprogrammed filtering.
CHIRP also allows for the increased provision of target separation, along with depth penetration. However, 2D sonar has a different setup. This is the reason why the combination of 2D and CHIRP is so essential for the locating of game targets.
On the other hand, DownScan gives you an uncommon imaging variation. Due to its unique operation, DownScan allows you to get a greater idea of what shapes the Hook 7 is displaying.
- Read More: Top 5 Down Imaging Fish Finders 2016
5. Excellent Side Imaging Fish Finder
Humminbird Helix 7 SI – The Helix 7 SI is a fish finder that has Side Imaging, SwitchFire, and Down Image sonar capabilities, and can be used in either salt-water or fresh-water fishing.
These sonar features make the Helix 7 SI a better candidate for boat fishing and angling. Why? Because the device is performance-driven and highly-powered.
Its Side Imaging feature presents you with a 180-degree field of view which shows you anything that may be situated under the water’s surface. With its XNT 9 SI transducer, it emits a sonar beam with a whopping frequency of 455kHz, which spreads out to a range of 240 feet around the boat.
Down Imaging, on the other hand, allows you to see more realistic images of the aquatic environment. It sends out a range of thin sonar waves at 455kHz which form the images.
SwitchFire emits impulses that have a frequency of 83 or 200kHz. This works to produce a 2D colored display that provides information about temperature, water depth, or turbulence.
It emits an amazing peak-to-peak power output of 4,000 Watts. Due to that high power output, it will perform extremely well in shallow waters. So if you wish to go boat fishing in deep waters, this unit would be recommended.
It comes with a diagonal 7-inch LED widescreen display which is perfect for split-screen viewing. The color TFT backlit display also has an 800H x 480V resolution, and 256 color depth.
- Read More: Top 5 Side Imaging Fish Finders 2016
6. CHIRP Sonar/GPS Combo
Garmin Striker 7SV – Whether you own a boat, canoe, or kayak, you can be sure that you’ll get great fish finding results with the Garmin Striker 7SV. It also has an integrated flasher that can be used in stationary fishing like ice fishing.
The flasher shows you the bottom even in muddy conditions. Additionally, you can see fish at great depths. Furthermore, you can check the speed at which you’re travelling on the screen.
This allows you to adjust your speed so you won’t spook your fish targets. This is very essentially in areas where fish are reactive to movement.
It weighs just 1.5 pounds, and has 9.3 x 5.5 x 2.3-inch dimensions, which makes it fairly well-sized for daily fish finding.
It also features a 7-inch user-friendly color display, with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. This allows multiple high-quality images to be displayed at the same time. The display also brandishes a backlighting feature, which allows for easy readability even in bright sunlight.
A top-notch integrated GPS is also included in the device, and helps to prevent you from getting lost at sea by always monitoring your location. If you like to always be on the move, it can quickly create navigational points to get you around.
Moreover, it allows you to pinpoint areas where you’ve been most productive, so you can return at a later time. You can tag docks, ramps, and other areas. All you need to do is retrace the marked points and return to them.
- Read More: Top 5 FishFinder GPS Combo 2016
7. Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Humminbird ICE HELIX 5 Sonar GPS – When you buy Humminbird equipment, you spend a bunch, but you always end up with a quality unit jam packed full of features, sure to make you next day on the water a successful one. The ICE Helix 5 is no different, offering a huge amount of tools to the angler in a small package.
A 5 inch, 800×480 resolution HD LED display gives you breathtaking feedback from your sonar.
The ICE Helix 5 comes with Humminbird’s precision GPS, giving you the power to navigate and mark your favorite spots with unparalleled ease. You can chart out your favorite lake, mark your secret hotspots, and find your way anytime, anywhere.
Humminbird’s Switchfire sonar gives you multiple ways to view your feedback, tailored to the many situations you may find yourself in. View every minute detail, or scale back a bit to find just your target fish. Split Screen gives you an even greater edge: view multiple different sonar modes simultaneously. Flasher mode gives you the advantage in ice fishing.
DualBeam sonar gives you unmatched accuracy in your sonar reading. The unit operates on 83 or 200 kHz, so you can view large areas, or pinpoint a spot in great detail. Or you can use both at once, seeing a 20 degree at 200 kHz cone beneath you in great detail, while still keeping an eye on the big picture, a 60 degree cone at 83 kHz. The unit has a depth range of 1500 ft.
For a modest price, Humminbird always delivers with quality instruments ready to make your day on the water a success. The ICE Helix 5 continues that legacy.
In choosing the fish finder that best suits you, it is important to keep your budget in mind. Why? The more features a fish finder has, the more expensive it will be. However, it all depends on what features you are looking to obtain.
Different brands manufacture fish finders with different styles and features. So far, 2016 has been a year for the introduction of newly crafted fish finders with more advanced features. This has made fish finding much easier for fishermen, but has caused great difficulty when trying to pick out the best one.
If you’re searching for a great fish finder, first consider how much you’re willing to spend, and then make a list of all the features that you’d like that fish finder to have. Afterward, finding that perfect unit will be so much easier!