Fishfinders are the best way for anglers to see a graphic representation of what is under their boats. They can find fish and avoid angling in unsuitable areas by purchasing the best fish finder on the market.
When choosing a fish finder, you should consider whether it includes GPS, includes access to a boat network, area limitations, the quality of the screen, how much power it uses, and which frequencies you will need to get the best out of the area that you fish.
With the rise of WiFi and the world wide web, modern fish finders are a great example of how technology can help us in almost every situation and that the internet of things is nothing to be scared of!
Before we talk about the best fish locators on the market, you should ask yourself what kind of angler you are and how much information you need.
What kind of angler are you?
An infrequent fish hunter
If you tend to generally always fish the same area and you don’t need mapping capabilities, you could probably get away with a dual-beam sonar unit. This type of fish finder will give you information about the depth of the water and where those fish are at.
A frequent angler
If you fish regularly and like to alternate between a few mapped lakes, your priority should be to find out what’s below the surface and mark the map accordingly. For frequent anglers, search for reasonably priced sonar units that offer dual and down imaging together with GPS capability.
A keen and regular rod dangler
If you are fish-mad and can’t keep your rod out of your hands, you should get the best fish finder available so that you don’t waste time fishing in unsuitable locations. For you guys, investing in a high-end GPS fish finder is the way to go.
What do you need from a fish finder?
Sonar fish finders
The simplest and most basic way to find fish is by Sonar. These kinds of scanners can search a large area around your boat and let you know if there are any fish in the neighborhood. You won’t get pinpoint accuracy using just sonar but it’s a huge improvement over casting blindly with no idea if there’s even anything to catch!
Dual & down imaging fish finders
This kind of fish seeker works similarly to a photocopier. It shoots a beam straight down which scans the area under your boat or kayak. The unit then displays a 2D image of the area.
Higher-priced finders offer can also scan the area to the sides of your craft. These devices give extra info to help you catch some trout such as the depth that fish are at and the temperature of the water.
GPS fish finders
The most effective units include all of the features of dual & down imaging sonars, but you will see the information on a larger screen that will provide a comprehensive level of detail and much clearer imagery.
Using a GPS fish finder, you can learn about the topography of the lake/river so that you can decide on the best spot to land some fresh-water monsters!!
The three kinds of fish finder
Standalone fish finders
If your needs are simple and you only really need to know what’s beneath the surface of the water, you can probably get away with a stand-alone fishfinder. These units are perfect if you fish in unknown areas and are worried about damaging your boat.
You can find fish finders with large screens so that you can view the bottom with no extra distractions. Standalone fish finders are the cheapest models available and are often the best to start with if you are an amateur angler.
Combination fish finders
Combination fish finders will give you tons more info about the speed, temperature, depth, and size of the fish. These machines have one purpose and that is to find fish. If you spend a little more, you can get top-quality navigational GPS and twin-screen options.
Networked fish finders
Networked systems support a huge number of sources when it comes to your data. You can get detailed GPS charts, and also satellite radio information, too! These kinds of fish locators usually have Bluetooth & WiFi so they can easily be connected to your smartphone.
Best fish finder on the market
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2
When it comes to finding fish with the latest GPS technology, the HELIX 5 delivers the best functionality for a seamless user experience for both pro fishermen and beginners.
The unit is so darn good because of the precise broadband CHIRP, which uses imaging sonar to make charts and maps using Auto Chart Live. The previous version was excellent but the new and improved HELIX 5 is even better.
The interface is functional and the display is clear and very easy to read. The screen can produce an incredible 256 colors and features a backlit display that is easy to read both in the sun and at night.
The CHIRP sonar that this unit uses provides the best performance you will find and constantly gives you a precise picture of what is going on underneath your boat. You can see detailed measurements of the lake floor and obviously the location of your fishy friends around it.
Another reason we love the Humminbird fish finder is that it features a built-in SD card slot so you can save all your best waypoints. You can also upload extra maps to the software using the SD card.
With a simple interface, reliable software, and high-performing hardware this fish finder is suitable for beginners and intermediate fishermen but it may lack some of the advanced features that professional anglers may desire.
Overall, taking into consideration, performance, value for money, durability, and ease of use, we heartily recommend the Hummingbird HELIX5 as the best fish finder on the market today.
- A full color 5″ WVGA display for accurate detail
- CHIRP dual beam system + sonar to see what’s under the boat
- An internal GPS & chart plotting system
- An optional SD card slot to upload extra maps and save waypoints
- You need to spend a bit of time learning ALL of the functions of the unit
- The display is a little plain and could be improved
Best budget fish finder on the market
Garmin Striker 4 GPS
If you can’t quite afford the Humminbird, Garmin’s Striker 4 is a very worthy adversary built with lots of innovations in fish-finding technology. The Garmin is fitted with a CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse) sonar and has everything you could need to make fishing easier and more fun.
The Garmin’s features include a dual-beam transducer, a transom, a tilt & swivel mount, a trolling motor mount, and a power cord. It comes with a rechargeable battery which is accompanied by a charger and suction cup mounts so that you can attach the device to your boat or kayak.
The Striker 4 has a clear and easy-to-read display with 480 x 320-pixel resolution, a waterproof rating of IPXY (which means it can withstand immersions underwater), and the whole unit only weighs 8.1 ounces and measures 3.6 x 5 x 1.6 inches.
The CHIRP sonar allows anglers to distinguish their “fishy prey” with improved accuracy and gives you a better chance of catching fish than many other fish finders at double the price of the Garmin. Featuring a highly-sensitive GPS, you can see everything beneath your vessel. This clever fishing gadget gives users a reading of the river or lake bottom, acquires info about the depth of any target, and shows where you should bait, too!
The Garmin Striker 4 comes with some great features including a target depth meter, an A-scope (for real-time surveys of the sonar rays), and a water temperature sensor. The final feature we particularly love is the “Fish Symbol ID” which allows users to find the names of the different kinds of fish that they catch.
A glance at the Amazon reviews shows that customers of the Striker 4 are loving the device with many of them appreciating that you can save up to 5,000 waypoints at a time and that the device is quick & easy to get up and running.
The Garmin Striker 4 is a fine fishing companion and the best budget fish finder on the market.
- A dual frequency of 77/200 kHz or 50/200 kHz;
- CHIRP 2D sonar
- Many sonar features such as Fish Symbols, A-Scope, Ultrascroll, Flasher, and more
- Very high-sensitivity GPS
- Ability to save up to 5,000 waypoints
- Super easy to set up
- Unbeatable unit for the price
- There is no cover for the unit included
- Cannot see latitude & longitude
Best top-end fishfinder
Dragonfly Pro 7
If you’ve been fishing for a while, you have probably heard a lot of good things about Raymarine. The brand has an excellent reputation for producing the best fish finders on the market.
The Dragonfly 7 Pro features a top-of-the-line high-resolution display and it’s fitted with the latest “CHIRP” technology. The unit is an excellent tool for not only locating fish but also learning about your local marine environment, too. The display settings and navigation features are straightforward so basically, you can just switch it on and start finding those elusive fish straight away.
In addition to all the regular functions, the Raymarine fishfinder makes navigation a breeze thanks to its very reliable built-in GPS circuit. To help you avoid obstacles in shallow water, the 7 Pro uses high-speed bottom tracking.
The easy-to-read screen has one of the best displays in its class. It uses the latest optical-bonding LCD technology to produce brighter colors, and clearer images and its all-weather performance ensures it never “fogs up” on chilly cold mornings.
The Raymarine displays a near-photo quality image of what’s under your boat and can be used for both salt & freshwater down to scan to a maximum depth of 600 feet (180 meters). It also boasts built-in WiFi which means you can so you can stream data to any other device such as your smartphone or tablet so that you can properly analyze the data after returning home.
Raymarine’s Dragonfly 7 Pro is super-easy to operate but if you get stuck, there is a comprehensive manual to help you learn all of its capabilities. It can be safely mounted on your boat, kayak, or canoe but is also very compact weighing less than 9 pounds and measuring 14 inches on each side.
The most important aspect of a fish finder is its performance. The bottom-tracking and image updates are quick and smooth with customers claiming that you can spot a small school of fish in ravines up to 100 feet below the surface.
Our final point is that when light conditions deteriorate, Raymarine’s Navionics prevent you from getting lost. You can track your location in real-time relative to the coastline or lakeside and easily set up waypoints so you can get back to your favorite spot again!
- The interface is user-friendly and very responsive
- It features the latest and best CHIRP DownVision technology for bright & clear images
- It has a rugged all-weather LCD
- Wi-Fi and high-performing GPS
- Very easy to setup & navigate
- Bootup time is a tad slow
- The buttons could have been backlit for extra visibility
- You can’t upgrade the software
- Not fitted with NMEA ports
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to see our list of the most popular IOT devices from our tech section.