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Get In The Fish! | The Best Fish Finders For Every Scenario And Budget

on . Posted in Blog, Fishing

Although the purists out there will say that any fishing technology other than a rod and reel is unnecessary, fish finders are valuable tools to elevate your fishing experience.

Fish Finders give you a pair of eyes under the water. This gives you valuable insight into structure and feeding patterns that cannot be otherwise known.

largemouth bass near wood structure

The fish are there… you just need to find them. Check out our list of the best fish finders in various categories!

We will be going over the best fish finders in several categories. Because your fishing needs will vary, certain options may be better for the job than others.

These categories include: The best fish finders for kayaking, small boats, ice fishing, those of certain budgets, and more! Use this information to make smart decisions and make investments that best work for your fishing needs.

So, lets’ get started covering all the best fish finders in the categories below!

Best Fish Finders For Kayaks

man paddling fishing kayak at dusk

You may not think about needing a fish finder when kayak fishing, but it’s a great tool to help you locate fish, regardless of boat size.

Many people do not think of using electronics when kayak fishing, but it can be super helpful if you can afford it.

So, here are the best fish finders for kayaks!

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

The compact Garmin Striker 4cv is a top choice for those fishing from kayaks.

The Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv is the best fish finder for a kayak if you are okay with a smaller screen and more compact design.

These are very small but pack a punch in terms of quality and performance. The Striker 4cv is a great option for smaller kayaks and anglers who want something that takes up less space.

The Striker Vivid 4cv has dual frequency sonar, a water temperature log and graph, and a split-screen zoom, among other features.

Garmin is a leading brand in the space, so going with the Striker is a worthwhile investment for your kayak fishing adventures.



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Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot

The Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot from Lowrance is a great choice for kayak fishers who want an easily visible screen that can also be mounted in minutes to stay out of the way when needed.

The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot has a 5-inch waterproof screen that sports a a coating that will help make the screen remain visible even in direct light.

You can also get an installation kit from Lowrance that can be installed in minutes so that the fish finder stays out of your way while kayak fishing.

Lowrance is another established brand, but it tends to be a little more affordable than the others, which is nice.


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Best Fish Finders For Canoes

Canoes generally do not have fish finders on them, but if you like to fish from canoes, it may be a worthwhile investment.

Because there might not be a lot of mounting space or need for one on a canoe, some of the more compact fish finders are best.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

Because of its compactness, the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv makes another appearance as one of the best fish finders for canoes.

Because there is a fair bit of crossover between kayaks and canoes, the Garmin Striker is the best for both.

Because of the compact design and great performance, it can be affixed to your canoe with ease.

Plus, the size allows for a smaller price tag.

This is such a good fish finder, that you will see it again later in the list!



Deeper Pro+ With Smart Sonar

deeper pro smart sonar

The Deeper Pro+ with Smart Sonar is portable and will not take up space inside the canoe, making it a great option for canoe fishing.

One of the more unique offerings is the Deeper Pro + Smart Sonar.

This is a castable fish finder that goes out, maps the area, and uses GPS to give you a good sense of your surroundings.

This is a great canoe option because it is very portable and does not require any mounting or real space in the canoe.

In addition to the built-in GPS, the Deeper Pro+ sports on-shore mapping, a 330-foot cast range and a scanning depth of 260 ft.

It also requires no internet to operate.


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Best Fish Finders For Small Boats

Smaller boats, like those of kayaks and canoes, do not need fish finders designed for bigger rigs. This will be overkill and misuse of resources.

So, knowing what the best fish finders for small boats are, you can make a more informed decision.

Lowrance HOOK2 4x with Bullet Transducer

lowrance hook2 bullet fish finder

HOOK² 4x with Bullet Transducer and GPS Plotter is a great option for small boats with a limited storage space.

If you know you will be in smaller bodies of water in a smaller boat, the Lowrance HOOK2 Bullet is a great option.

This is a portable fish finder that comes in a carrying case with spots for a couple of tackle trays.

The interface is kind of basic, but it has everything you would need on a small boat.

It’s available in screens from 4-12″ and it has an easy-to-use interface with quick access key functions.

It comes with a 1-year warranty and also offers a 5-year upgrade, where you can upgrade to a newer model anytime within a 5-year period for a discounted price.


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Joywee Phiradar

joywee phiradar

The Phiradar from Joywee is a great option for the cost-conscious small-boat fisherman.

If you want to save a bunch of space and money, the Joywee Phiradar is a decent option.

The screen is small and basic (3.5 inches), but it will show contoured bottoms and fish in the water column, which is enough for many anglers.

It has a depth reading of up to 984 ft. as well as a bottom contour and water temperature indicator.

Its strong point is the sonar system that lets the fish finder work well in many types of water and conditions.


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Best Fish Finders Under $500

If you have a moderate budget, but you are still looking for high quality, the $500 and under price range is best.

You can get some excellent fish finders in the $350-500 range. There are even some that fit there that rival the $1000+ fish finders.

Let’s take a look…

Humminbird Helix 5

humminbird helix 5

The Humminbird Helix 5 is one of the best fish finders for under $500, featuring Down Imaging. that gives you timber, brush, rocks and other structure imagery in great detail.

The Helix is Humminbird’s mainstay line, so going with this is a great choice.

It packs a serious punch when it comes to value as it has all that Humminbird is known for, usually under $400.

The screen is not that big (5″), but it has super clear imagery and has sonar systems to provide anything you need on the water.

It has all of the bells and whistles you would expect out of a fish finder at this price range.


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Garmin Striker Plus 7SV

garmin striker plus 7sv

The Garmin Striker Plus 7SV sports a 7″ screen and built-in wi-fi, and comes in just under $500.

The Garmin Striker Plus 7SV is a more expensive and larger fish finder than the other two previously mentioned Garmins.

The 7SV has a more traditional display that has more functions than the other models.

This comes in right around $500 and has a 7-inch, easy-to-use display.

It has built-in wi-fi for access to the ActiveCaptain™ app so you can receive smart notifications as well as the Quickdraw Contours Community. It also allows you to transfer waypoints and provides access to software update alerts.


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Best Fish Finders Under $200

Sometimes, you just need something to get the job done while not breaking the bank.

For those on a budfet, here are the best fish finders under $200.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

The Vivid 4cv makes the list again, this time for one of the best fish finders under $200.

This is the third time we have seen the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv and for good reason. Coming in under $200, this is the best budget, small fish finder on the market.

This fish finder has GPS and enough tools to get the job done without bankrupting your fishing fund.

It travels well, can be found all over the place, and is affordable.

What more could you want?



Lowrance HOOK2 4x

lowrance hook2 bullet fish finder

The HOOK² 4x with Bullet Transducer makes another appearance in the Best Fish Finders under $200 list.

Another repeat mention is the Lowrance HOOK2 4x with Bullet Transducer.

This is one of the only traditionally-shaped fish finders of this size under $200.

It is outfitted with GPS and is considered one of the easiest fish finders to operate.

This is a huge perk, considering it is catered to beginners who are on a budget.



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Best Fish Finders Under $1000

Although there are fish finders over $1000, most of them are overkill or designed for bigger rigs than the usual fishing boat.

Even if you are a hardcore bass angler, for example, you can find proper electronics for under $1000 in cost.

Here are the best fish finders under $1000 that will be worth your while.

Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2

lowrance elite-9 Ti2

The Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2 can display up to 3 inputs on the screen at one time, putting high value fishing information at your fingertips.

Although Lowrance has a reputation for being a more affordable brand, they do have a couple of high-end models.

This is where the Elite-9 Ti2.



It uses active imagining to up to 3 inputs on the screen at once, so you get the most of the information at your disposal.

Features include Lowrance’s highest quality sonar, real-time mapping, an easy-to-use touch screen, and can be integrated with a trolling motor.

This is a little under $1000, but it includes just about anything you need regardless of boat size or fishing endeavors.


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SIMRAD GO7 XSR

simrad GO7 xsr

If luxury is what you are looking for in a fish finder under $1,000, the SIMRAD GO7 XSR fits the bill.

Of all the fish finders today, this is the most like an iPad or tablet because of the quality screen provided.

Not only is the resolution great on the SIMRAD GO7 XSR, but the interface is huge.

This one comes in just under $1000 and makes you feel like you are using a luxurious item.

This is a touch screen fish finder that also comes with a handheld remote so you can switch between interfaces with ease and from any part of the boat.

The touch screen is viewable in the sunlight, has a built-in GPS receiver, and can connect with other mobile devices.


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Best Portable Fish Finder

If you find yourself constantly switching between kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and anything else, a portable fish finder may be best.

These can be brought on the move and be switched all-around at your choosing.

We have already listed a few great portable fish finders, but here is a couple that has yet to be covered.

Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT

humminbird helix 5 g2

Although not necessarily “small,” the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT has a ton of features for a portable fish finder.

Although many portable fish finders can be stuffed in your backpack or pocket, the Hummingbird 5 G2 is one of the more advanced portable options.

The Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT is a fairly large fish finder, but it comes in a portable carrying bag that makes the use quite easy. Plus, you will get more features with this due to the size about other portable options.

It features SwitchFire Sonar, which allows you to choose with the push of a button how your sonar returns appear as it pertains to water depth, temperature and turbulence.

The Dual Beam PLUS Sonar gives you a generous coverage area to identify fish, contours and structure. You can toggle between narrow and wide beam or view them side-by-side.


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Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4

humminbird piranhamax 4

The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a sleek, hand-held fish finder option for those looking for portability and affordability.

If you are looking for a more traditional, hand-held portable fish finder, the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a top option.

The PiranhaMAX 4 can easily fit in your tackle box and be temporarily mounted wherever you need it.

Despite being affordable and portable, it has excellent mapping skills and can even find fish up to 600 feet deep.

Features include dual beam sonar, tilt and swivel mounting and a 1-year warranty.


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Best Fish Finders For Crappie

Crappie are super fun fish to catch, and changing your fish finder choice slightly is important. They are smaller than bass and fish finders can be super helpful for pointing them out on the water.

Below are a couple of fish finders that can work with any species, but excel when targeting crappie.



Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro

raymarine dragonfly 7 pro

The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro provides photo-like images, which can help identify smaller fish like crappie.

Although the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro is not a huge fish finder, it brings great value to your crappie fishing.

The wide spectrum CHIRP sonar system is great for mapping smaller fish like crappie very clearly and accurately. This, along with some other great features, like built-in wi-fi and online sonar image sharing, makes the Dragonfly 7 Pro fish finder worth checking out.

The Dragonfly 7 generates photo-like sonar images with incredible clarity. It can scan up to 600 ft. deep.

Be aware, though, there are no charts included in the software.


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iBobber Wireless Smart Fish Finder

ibobber wireless smart fish finder

The iBobber Wireless Smart Fish finder can be used in kayaks or small boats and is a great option for crappie fishing.

Another fish finder that is using modern technology and a more unique way to map is the iBobber Wireless Smart Fish Finder.

You may not always be using a boat when crappie fishing, or, if you are, it might be a small Jon boat or kayak.

The iBobber is a fish finder that uses a bobber with simple, sonar technology to move information from the water to the app on your phone. It is super portable and great for crappie fishing.


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Best Fish Finders For Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a unique subset of the fishing culture. When going through ice, you are automatically fighting an uphill battle.

Using a fish finder is crucial to see under the ice and increase your chances of hooking into a great fish.

Garmin LiveScope

garmin livescope fish finder

The Garmin LiveScope is pricey, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better fish finder for ice fishing.

The Garmin LiveScope is the best ice fish finder on the market as it has the necessary technology and protection to accompany you on the ice.

The 9-inch screen is so accurate that you can watch your lure go down into the water column and a fish eat it in real time!

This is probably the most expensive fish finder on the list, but it will also last the longest and bring an incredible user experience.



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Humminbird ICE-55 Color Flasher

humminbrid ice-55 color flasher

The Humminbird ICE-55 Flasher is different than all the other fish finders on this list, but it uses less energy.

If the fancy screens and top-notch fish finders cost a bit too much money, a color flasher may be in the cards.

The Humminbird ICE-55 is a great option for fishing through the cold, hard water.

Reading the information and the lights has a bit of a learning curve, but it is well worth the effort once you master it.

Since there is no screen like the traditional fish finder, this one requires less energy and a totally different way of interpreting the information.



Best Fish Finders With GPS

The better fish finders on the market will be equipped with GPS. This allows you to map bodies of water, mark hotspots, and learn a lot about the area you are in. Here are the best fish finders with GPS!

Humminbird Helix 5

humminbird helix 5

The Helix 5 from Humminbird is a GPS powerhouse, with the ability to store 2500 waypoints.

The Helix 5 has been already featured, and it shows up again for good reason.

This fish finder is outfitted with a fantastic GPS that allows you to store 2500 waypoints, 20,000 track points, and so much more.

You can do a lot with the system, so the investment is well worth it. Along with the GPS, it has a great sonar system and interfaces for ease of use.



Lowrance HDS-Live

lowrance HDS-Live

The HDS-Live is one of Lowrance’s more costly models, but its imaging is top-notch and it features preloaded C-MAP® Contour+ mapping.

The Lowrance HDS-Live is a high-end fish finder outfitted with GPS and active imaging.

These two aspects alone bring a ton of value into the purchase. This is one of Lowrance’s most expensive models, so be prepared to spend some money for those add-ons.

If this is something you can afford, the Lowrance HDS-Live imaging fish finder is an excellent option.


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Closing Thoughts On Best Fish Finders

The fish finder you choose needs to fit your needs, budget, and fishing scenarios.

If you can hit all three of those points, you have found the best option for you!

Listed above are the best fish finders in a number of important categories. We hope you find the one that’s right for you… happy fishing!

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