Best Fish Finders 2019 – Buyer’s Guide
Are you an avid angler? Are you frustrated by how you’ve followed all the tips and tricks for finding where the fish are hiding?
No matter how solid your fishing equipment is, if you can’t find where the fish are, you can never do a good job.
But thanks to the technology that can be found in the 21st century, there are other ways than asking the locals. The most reliable of which is the fish finder.
So here are the best fish finders you can find on the market.
Best Fish Finder: Comparison Chart
Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro
Garmin Striker 4
Garmin Striker 7sv
Humminbird Helix 5
Garmin Echomap Plus 73sv
The 8 Best Fish Finders for 2019
1. Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro - The Best Overall Fish Finder
The Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro features a 4.3-inch display with a 480 x 272-pixel resolution that helps you locate fish easily.
The LED backlight makes it easy to read during any lighting conditions, even in bright sunlight.
Its colors are quite sharp and vivid while its viewing angles are wide enough to let you see for extended angles.
A very great feature on the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro is the GPS functionality that allows you to see the directions underwater as well and makes a great GPS fish finder.
Moreover, it has a dual-channel sonar that provides you with a wide spectrum of everything. The CHIRP DownVision sonar produces very clear images while the second CHIRP sonar aims in on the fish.
Besides that, the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro’s Pro CHIRP enables the user to stream their sonar data to the phone for real-time transmission. It can also store up to 3,000 waypoints and 15 tracks.
You can download the Raymarine Wi-Fish mobile app to keep a record of all the information. You can rewind, save, and share your catch with other anglers and upload your images instantaneously.
Finally, the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro has a removable mounting ball that allows you to take it on different boats if you’d like.
This fish finder is a pretty great choice for someone who’s looking for the ultimate combination of the great features and the affordable price.
2. Venterior Portable - An Excellent Portable Fish Finder
The best thing about the Venterior Portable Fish Finder is that its transmitter is completely waterproof. This is a great addition to your fish finder and keeps it up and running for a longer time.
However, the receiver isn’t. So you have to be cautious and keep the screen away from water.
The Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD display are only capable of detecting bait fish or fish that is smaller than 10 cm.
But by all means, it’s still pretty accurate with its water depth and fish location estimations. It also displays both tall and short weeds as well as sand and rocks on the bed of the sea.
The Venterior Portable Fish Finder comes with a couple more features that make it a favorable choice.
From the adjustable sensitivity level to the various modes (battery save, backlight, fish alarm, and unit of measure), there isn’t anything you won’t find.
It also displays water depth in both units of meters and feet and you can display range between 1m and 100m.
The round transducer comes with a 25 feet cable and has a removable transducer float.
Finally, the Venterior Portable Fish Finder automatically shuts off after 5 minutes of idleness to save on battery.
The Venterior Portable Fish Finder performs smoothly with little to no errors.
Coming with all the necessary features and accessories that provide you with convenience, it’s one of the best choices on the market.
3. Deeper PRO+ - A Great Fishing Sonar
The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is compatible with any smartphone or tablet that runs iOS 8.0 or later as well as Android 4.0 or later.
This enables the user to view the sonar feedback right on their mobile device. The connected app also gives you features like a Solunar Forecast calendar, a weather forecast, fish notes, and more.
The device work on WiFi so you can use it just about anywhere. It also emits its own WiFi field. This extends the device’s connection range up to 330 feet (100 meters).
Moreover, the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar weighs only 3.5 ounces and has a 2.5-inch diameter which makes it quite portable.
The ABS construction makes your device able to give you tough, impact-resistant performance.
The solid battery allows your device to operate for 6 whole hours, with 2-hour charge time.
The high resolution gives you clear feedback while the 15 scans per second guarantees you don’t miss out on anything.
In addition, you can even use your Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar as an ice fishing flasher that enables you to take a look at the water column beneath your hole.
Finally, the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar has a bathymetric mapping. This extends your ability from merely viewing lake maps to create your own.
This allows you o mark hotspots, make a record of the sea bed, and accurately know where your fish will be hiding.
The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is a fish finder that gives you an amazing value. It’s very useful and does a precise job at locating fish.
4. Garmin Striker 4 - An Affordable Fish Finder
The Garmin Striker 4 comes with a Clearvu Scanning Sonar that shows you a great deal of what’s in the water around your boat.
The high-frequency sonar is capable of working on two frequencies: 50/200 kHz or 77/200 kHz to give you an almost photographic image of the objects, fish, and structures.
The CHRIP sonar emits a continuous sweep of frequencies to widen the range of the information you receive.
The keyed interface and the dedicated buttons give it a minimalistic design and make it easy to use and install.
With a 3.5-inch display, you’re going to get an IPX7 water rating.
You can use the waypoint map to easily view, mark, and navigate to locations like brush piles, docks, and stumps.
Its maximum depth is a whopping 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater which makes it a great depth finder.
Finally, the Garmin Striker 4 comes with a built-in flasher so that you can view your sonar data in the classic format. This makes it perfect for ice fishing or vertical jigging.
The Garmin Striker 4 does an exceptional job at being a fish finder.
It’s the ideal choice for an entry-level device or a recreational angler looking for a budget fish finder.
5. Lucky Handheld - The Best Fish Finder for a Kayak
The Lucky Handheld Kayak Fishfinder has the ability to read and display the depth of the water, estimated locations of fish, short and tall weeds, as well as sand and rocks on the bottom.
Its detecting range extends from 3 feet (1 meter) up to 328 feet (100 meters) below the fishing sonar transducer. It also comes with a 25 ft cable and removable transducer float.
It’s quite a versatile device as you can use it for off-shore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing, or even sea fishing.
It has 5 sensitivity options, a battery saves mode, a backlight mode, and a fish school alarm that lets you know when to cast out.
Typically, its battery lasts about 4-5 hours.
You can hang the device conveniently around your neck.
Finally, it comes with a 12-month warranty.
Even though the Lucky Handheld Kayak Fishfinder can use rechargeable batteries as a better replacement for the short-lived ones, it still has some pretty solid features for such a cheap device.
It’s great for anyone that’s tight on budget or a budding amateur and generally as a fish finder for a kayak.
6. Garmin Striker 7sv - A Great Fish Finder for the Money
The Garmin Striker 7sv comes with a 7-inch color display that gives you detailed, real-time information regarding the data that’s collected by the sonar technology.
The device is capable of working at two frequencies: 77/200 kHz or 50/200 kHz 2D CHIRP sonar (Mid CHIRP and High CHIRP).
Furthermore, there are various 2D sonar functions available including an A-Scope, Bottom Lock, Flasher, Fish Symbols, and Split Zoom.
Its WiFi capabilities allow you to update it on-the-fly as well as pair it with smart mobile devices.
In addition, the QuickDraw contours feature allows you to take full advantage of the best live sonar mapping and store up to 2 million acres of 1-foot contour data.
The Garmin Striker 7sv smartly chooses the features it has to offer to spare you ones you might not need and focus on the CHIRP technology for 2D, SideVu, and DownVu.
It’s true that it has the minimum navigation and connectivity features but it gives you one of the best sonars out there at an affordable price.
7. Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 - Best GPS Fish Finder Combo
The Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 is a high-quality fish finder that gives you the best GPS fishfinder combo.
Its waterproof and removable cover has a Micro SD card slot behind it to store your marked locations.
Both the side imaging and down imaging combined gives you a very vivid view of the depth and all the structures and contours.
You can choose between two modes depending on what your aim is. If you want bigger fish, go for the “Clear Mode”, while if you’re looking for a school of fish go for the “Max Mode”.
A drawback, however, is that it doesn’t come with a standby mode, save or screen saver mode like most available devices.
Its display comes with out-of-the-box color accuracy. You get an 800 x 480-pixel resolution on a 5-inch Ultra HD widescreen LED-backlit display.
Combining the CHIRP sonar and transducer technology, the Humminbird Helix 5 gives a superb performance.
Moreover, it doesn’t cover only one frequency but a range of frequencies with better clarity and accurate separation between the water structures and fish.
The large transducer can be secured thanks to the 15-millimeter magnetic transducer mount.
The transducer lets you know the temperature of the water, besides being capable of going down to 1,500 feet deep in water.
The built-in GPS technology facilitates navigating around any lake.
Furthermore, the fish alarm in the Fish ID+ mode allows you to know the size of the fish you find to know if it’s large, medium, or small.
Finally, the Humminbird Helix 5’s battery life is pretty impressive as it lasts 7 whole hours. This is more than enough time to finish your fishing adventure.
The Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 is a fish finder and chart plotter with a lot of functional features.
It’s one of the devices of a higher price on the list, but it’s definitely worth every penny as it’s suitable for a variety of boat sizes and is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater.
8. Garmin Echomap Plus 73sv- A High-End Fish Finder
The Garmin Echomap Plus 73SV comes with a bright, sunlight-readable 7-inch touchscreen with keyed-assist.
It also includes a transducer for Garmin high, full CHIRP traditional sonar, CHIRP ClearVu, and CHIRP SideVu, besides being compatible with Panoptix all-seeing sonar. (The Panoptix is sold separately).
The Garmin Echomap Plus 73SV comes with preloaded LakeVu HD maps that include more than 17,000 total lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, 13,000 with 1’ contours.
You can get multiple options for your sonar frequencies: CHIRP, low, mid, and high.
Furthermore, the built-in QuickDraw Contours mapping software is capable of creating personalized fishing maps with 1’ contours as you fish.
Finally, you get free access to OneChart, smart notifications, and Garmin QuickDraw community data.
The Garmin Echomap Plus 73SV gives you some exceptional mapping freedom compared to other devices. Its extensive features justify its high price point.
How to Choose a Fish Finder:
These next few things are the factors you should consider when you’re setting out on buying a fish finder.
This feature is important to let you know your location as well as the objects beside or beneath your boat. Consequently, helping you find the best fishing locations and navigating the water.
Quality of the display screen and its size
If you can’t easily see and read the data that your fish finder collects, it will be useless. Make sure you get a fish finder with a high-resolution screen that produces color images.
Moreover, the bigger the size of the screen, the better you’ll be able to view images when you’re close to the unit or at the other end of the boat.
Ease of use
This divides into two aspects. The first is the intangible system and how easy it is to customize the way the transducer collects information for fine-tuning the unit.
Look for the ones that allow you to change the display colors to adjust the contrast and visibility according to your needs.
The second aspect is how easy it is to physically install the fish finder and mount it to your boat.
This is especially true if you’re going to change the location of your fish finder often, or if you’re using a kayak or canoe that you’re going to store between one fishing trip and the next.
Vertical jigging or ice fishing can’t happen without a flasher.
It helps you get rid of any unnecessary information and puts all the focus on your fish and your lure.
Water temperature probe
Knowing the water temperature can give you a lot of indications about the fish behavior and where they may be hiding.
Custom map-making function
If you’re fishing in a smaller farm pond, a creek, or a river, it’s usually harder to find charts or maps that provide you with your desired details.
That’s when the custom map-making function shines and allows you to make your own custom map on the go.
Preloaded charts and maps
This spares you the need to buy separate maps for your device, especially that some map packages are pretty pricey.
That’s why preloaded maps add a lot of value to the fish finder that has them.
How to read a fish finder?
The direction of reading: You should know that the reflection of SONAR will be displayed from the right to the left. This means that the latest reading would be on the screen’s right.
Water depth and temperature: The upper left side of the screen displays 2 numbers. The right-most one represents the depth of the water and the other indicates the temperature of water beneath your fishing boat.
Reading soft and hard bottom: The red-colored wavy indicates the surface of the water body while the green layer beneath it indicates that beneath the water surface, there’s a soft bottom.
Reading the position of underwater structures and trees: If the green lines are visible in the midst of the red-colored wavy ones, then the reading is indicating the position of a structure beneath the water and close to the bottom.
The left part of the screen may show treelike objects, those are trees located beneath your fishing boat.
How do fish finders detect fish?
The fish finder basically sends electric signals to the submersible. The converter, then, transmits the signal as waves.
When a sound wave hits an object, it reflects back to the transducer for interpretation.
The recorded sonar, then, is returned on deck to the fish finder that displays the information in different shapes, forms, and sizes.
Do fish hear sonar?
Indications show that gamefish aren’t able of hearing high-frequency waves of SONAR.
What does CHIRP mean on A GPS fish finder?
It’ short for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse. It’s basically sending electric signals to discover objects underwater.
What is down view sonar?
As the name suggests, it’s the ability to provide a detailed, picture-like image of the bottom and structures below a boat.
What is the Lowrance Structure Scan?
This is the ability that the add-on module for Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotter devices employs by using Broadband technology, high-frequency, a very-narrow-beam transducer to combine DownScan with Side Scan data from either side of the boat to build a better image of the world beneath your boat.
What is Humminbird Down Imaging?
This is where the sonar uses a razor-thin beam to take a sonar snapshot of the area down to 400 feet to the left and to the right of your location.
This image, then, is added to others that you’ve taken before so that an incredibly detailed view of the lake bottom is built.
Which Is The Best Fish Locator Overall?
The fish finders on this list are all pretty effective and efficient.
But if you’re looking for the one that gives you the best fish finder for the money, opt for the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro.
If you’re looking for the one that reaches the most depth, then you should go for the Garmin Striker 4, while the Lucky Handheld Kayak would be the best entry-level fish finder, and the Venterior Portable –as the name suggests- would be the best for portability.
The Garmin Echomap Plus 73SV is the fish finder with the bet mapping capabilities, but you have to be willing to expand your budget a little.