Best Fish Finders For The Money of 2018 Reviewed (UPDATED)

Whether you are just a novice angler or an expert at catching them hook, line and sinker, the best fish finder reviews will help you get great value for your money.

With many innovations, these fish finders have been modified to serve the user's purpose and improve their fishing experience. You can find a lot of fish finders in 2018 that vary in features and size. But the important factors are not only the scanning or screen size but also various technology as GPS, CHIRP, Sonar, the fish finding range, and speed sensor...

Best-Fish-Finder-2019

These reviews will help you pick it..

Rank

Image

Product Name

Sonar Frequency

Editor's Rating

1

Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV with transducer

ClearVü: 260/455/800 kHz

SideVü: 260/455/800 kHz

2

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)

3

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder

CHIRP Digital Sonar, DualBeam PLUS

4

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen-3 / LSS-2 Bundle 000-11788-001

CHIRP Sonar, StructureScan® HD, DownScan

5

Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR

Traditional Sonar: 

83 kHz/200 kHz

If you are in a hurry, then simply have a look at two of these models below:

1. For Professionals:

A premium unit with brilliant, spacious display, CHIRP and StructureScan feature. The photorealistic images captured are highly informative and simply delightful for a professional angler. Wi-Fi capability, GPS and charting are the other high-end features of this unit. The split-screens are useable, the operation is intuitive. 

2. For Beginners:

It’s hard to believe Garmin Striker 4 can have CHIRP and GPS and still be so inexpensive. The broadband and fish symbol ID make it easier to identify and catch the big game. With GPS tracking, you have SONAR history rewind and waypoint mapping to go back to fish-full locations. Not only is it easy to use for novice anglers, it fits most budgets too.


Reviews of 5 Best Fish Finder

1. Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV with transducer – Best Side SONAR fish finder

Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV with transducer

The Garmin Striker 7SV fish finder ropes in all the top SONAR technologies together into a reasonably-priced package. They accomplish this by removing the chart plotting functions which many anglers may not need. Down View, Side View and CHIRP technology seal the deal for this to be our best fish finder.  

Design

Easy-to-use 7-inch color fishfinder, Waterproof,  Split-screen
Garmin-striker-7sv-unboxing

Although available in multiple screen sizes, the Garmin Striker 7SV fish finder really comes alive with the 7-inch screen. This high-resolution display occupies most of the face of the device. It’s perfect for the split-screen arrangement of different scans. The color images look pretty vibrant in bright sunlight to calm evening glow.

There are dedicated buttons on the right side of the screen which reduce button clicks for every action. It comes with both transom and trolling mounts. It is waterproof as expected.

CHIRP

Highly efficient CHIRP

The Garmin Striker 7SV uses a highly efficient CHIRP transducer. This sends more energy into the water by pulsing a window of frequencies instead of a single frequency. We could see the clear results of the whopping 500W RMS energy it sends into the water column for better target separation and distance range.

Under ideal water conditions, the native transducer can scan 800 feet with traditional SONAR.

Side Vü and Down Vü

Garmin-striker-7sv-side-VU

The Garmin Striker 7SV fish finder offers both side imaging and down imaging. The CHIRP technology comes into play here as well since it uses a CHIRP transducer. The Side Vü and Down Vü also send a CHIRP-like beam instead of a single frequency. 

  • The side imaging helped us by penetrating deep into the water and scanning on both sides of the boat.
  • The down imaging scans right under the boat and helps distinguish between closely-spaced fish. 

You can scan clouds of fish and see their exact shape through these two kinds of imaging and CHIRP. The scanning range is 500 feet with Side and Down Vü. We found this range sufficient and never needed to go any further than that.

The other features of this fish finder include a flasher. We found this extremely useful for fishing when stationary especially in shallow water. Anglers would use it for ice fishing or jigging for crappie.

GPS also enables it to calculate your vessel’s speed even if you are almost standstill.

GPS and Waypoints

The highlight of this feature is that you can mark waypoints on the map where the fish are biting and other important locations. The GPS helps you navigate back to these points with a pathway displayed on the screen.

It also shows your position relative to the waypoints. The waypoint maps can be transferred to other Striker or echoMAP models.

Technical Details and Specifications

GARMIN STRIKER™ 7sv

Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV with transducer

Screen

7.0″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, WVGA color, backlit

Sonar

High Wide Traditional CHIRP, CHIRP DownVü, CHIRP SideVü

Depth Capability

+ 2D: 800 ft (244 m)
+ DownVü: 500 ft (152 m)
+ SideVü: 500 ft (152 m)

Operating Frequency

2D Sonar: High CHIRP 150-240 kHz, 24°-16°


DownVü: 455 kHz (425-485 kHz) 2.0° / 50° and 800 kHz (790-850 kHz) 1.0° / 30°


SideVü: 455 kHz (425-485 kHz) 2.0° / 50° and 800 kHz (790-850 kHz) 1.0° / 30°

Transducer

GT52HW-TM (12-pin) transducer included, along with trolling and transom mount, and 4-pin cable adapter

Power Output

500 Watts (RMS)

Power Input

12v DC (10-17v DC min-max)

GPS

High-precision, internal

MAPS

No

Routes, Waypoints, Tracks

5,000 waypoints

PROS

  • Available CHIRP, Down and Sidescan
  • Clarity and target separation
  • High-sensitivity GPS
  • Can share waypoints with echoMAP units via data cable
  • A-Scope, Bottom Lock, Split Zoom, Flasher, Fish-ID..
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Backlight can be adjusted
  • Easy to use and install
  • Maximum depth 2,300 ft freshwater, 1,100 ft saltwater

CONS

  • Cannot add full maps
  • No microSD card slot
  • Cannot copy waypoints from other than Garmin units

2Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder - Best portable fish finder and value for money

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

We expected the Garmin Striker 4 fish finder to be portable and somewhat rickety, given the price. It turned out to be compact but otherwise excelled in its physical design. It has a moderate 3.5” screen with buttons below for simple operation with gloved hands. 

It is IPX7-rated and can be submerged into 1m water for up to 30 minutes without damage.

CHIRP

Garmin-Striker-4-unboxing

We were pleasantly surprised to find CHIRP in a small and affordable package. The Garmin Striker 4 fish finder uses a dual frequency CHIRP.

The native transducer can be upgraded for a lower frequency beam too since the fish finder itself is capable of scanning at 50 kHz. With CHIRP, we saw much sharper fish arcs and separation compared to traditional single and dual frequency SONAR. It makes it easier to distinguish a school of fish from a ball of clump.

We really liked the Fish Symbol ID feature which enables the unit to display special fish symbols on the targets it identifies as fish. These could also help you identify small fishes from medium and large fishes. 

This fish finder also has a flasher for ice-fishing and fishing in shallow waters.

GPS and Waypoints

Garmin-Striker-4-GPS

The Garmin Striker 4 fish finder has built-in GPS module to locate your current position. It can also create a waypoint map where you can mark the hotspots and return to them. This is supported by SONAR History Rewind which allows you to scroll back in SONAR images to mark waypoints from the past. 

You can mark up to 5000 points with several icons available for use.

Technical Details and Specifications

Garmin STRIKER 4 Built-in GPS

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

Screen

3.5″ diagonal, 480H x 320V pixel resolution, HVGA color, backlit

Sonar

Dual Frequency CHIRP

Depth Capability

+ Freshwater: 1,600 ft (487 m)

+ Saltwater: 750 ft (228 m)

Operating Frequency

2D Sonar: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°

Transducer

CHIRP 77/200 kHz

Power Output

200 W (RMS)

Power Input

12v DC (10-17v DC min-max)

GPS

High-precision, internal

MAPS

No

Routes, Waypoints, Tracks

5,000 waypoints

PROS

  • CHIRP 2D SONAR
  • High-sensitivity GPS
  • Fish symbol ID
  • Waypoint Maps
  • Flasher
  • Maximum depth 1,600 ft freshwater, 750 ft saltwater
  • Vessel speed

CONS

  • Transducer wires can be more robust
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder

Design

Design-wise, the Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP fish finder is pretty much perfect. The 800x480 pixel display provides high-resolution viewing experience with LED backlights. It has a waterproof removable casing.

There’s a microSD card slot to expand memory and NMEA connectivity. A port to connect to GPS accessories is also provided at the back. It is IPX7 rated waterproof.

Humminbird-Helix-5-G2-Design

CHIRP

The Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP fish finder has a dualbeam CHIRP SONAR which gives you more insight into the fish position than traditional SONAR. This transducer can operate in up to 1500 feet under water. We took it on some deep sea fishing trips and it performed admirably.

Humminbird-Helix-5

The Selective Fish ID feature assigns fish symbols instead of fish arches. It made fish finder reading that much easier. You also have fish alarms that can ring for large, large/medium or all fish. 

You can record the underwater structure through SONAR recording on to a blank SD card.

GPS and Charts

The Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP fish finder has an in-built GPS module tracks your location. It is supported by the UniMap charts of US coastline, inland lakes and rivers. You can use the Bird’s Eye view feature for a 3D look at your location. 

Humminbird-Helix-5-G2-Auto-ChartLive

When coupled with a Navionics chart chip, this fish finder can host AutoChart Live. This will allow you to map a complete lake in much detail for professional fishing, providing users with the ability to map the depth of any water source, includes space for 8 hours of mapping on the hard drive with additional memory available on optional AutoChart Zero Line card.

With GPS, you can save up to 2750 waypoints and come back to them if you want. You can also save up to 47 routes for navigation.

Technical Details and Specifications

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder

Screen

5″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, 16-bit color TFT, with LED backlight

Sonar

CHIRP DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire

Depth Capability

1500 feet (457 m)

Operating Frequency

200 kHz (175-225 kHz) / 20°, 83 kHz (75-95 kHz) / 60°

Transducer

Transom XNT 9 20 T

Power Output

500 Watts (RMS)

Power Input

12v DC (10-17v DC min-max)

GPS

Internal

MAPS

UniMap

Routes, Waypoints, Tracks

20,000 waypoints

PROS

  • Affordable entry-level device
  • Dual-frequency Traditional SONAR
  • Automatic Intuitive Settings
  • Bird’s Eye View
  • Navionics® Gold/HotMaps™ compatible
  • Compatible with all Humminbird LakeMaster charts, including Smart Strike
  • Backlit display
  • Fish ID
  • Depth Alarm and Temperature readings
  • 1,500 feet depth capability freshwater and saltwater
  • Reliable performance

CONS

  • Cheaper Garmin has both CHIRP and GPS
  • No cover included
Lowrance 000-11788-001 HDS-7 GEN3 Insight Fishfinder/Chartplotter with CHIRP/StructureScan and 83/200+ StructureScan Transducer

The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Insight is a highly sophisticated unit meant mainly for professional anglers who are into sport fishing.  It’s one of the more affordable ones in the Gen3 range. The CHIRP and StructuralScan features can transform your fish finding experience. GPS, Insight charts and Wi-Fi capability are the kind of premium add-ons this unit brings to the table.

Design

7-inch, LED-backlit, multi-touch, widescreen display
Lowrance-HDS-7-Gen3-Design

The Lowrance HDS7 Gen3 fish finder leaves us feeling like little kids who just discovered Lego. This is an advanced unit but it looks all business-like, which is probably for the best. Its 7-inch screen moves through visuals and menus with both touchscreen and keypad. We had no trouble operating it with gloved hands.

Lowrance-HDS7-Gen-3-Unboxing

It packs a couple of microSD card slots, an Ethernet port and an NMEA 2000 port as well. It is IPX7-rated for water-resistance. It comes with a transom and trolling mount.

A clever design point is the locking collar on transducer cable which maintains a waterproof and tight connection.

CHIRP and Structure Scans

CHIRP Sonar and StructureScan® HD

Lowrance-HDS-7-Gen3-CHIRP

The Lowrance HDS7 Gen3 fish finder provides both CHIRP and Structure scans through two separate transducers. The CHIRP technology has it usual benefits including superior noise rejection.

The Totalscan system runs the SONAR signal received from the transmitter through multiple algorithms to produce the most accurate fish mappings. The fish are represented in their approximate size and shape. We found that we could overlay both scans for spot-on imaging under water.

Lowrance-HDS-7-Gen3-Side-VU
StructureScan® HD, DownScan Technology

The transducer with this model also allows side scanning. With the StructureScan HD transducer, we got 180° viewing and recording of structure and fish below our vessel. You can also overlay DownScan technology on to the CHIRP SONAR readings.

The unit is highly responsive which enables you to fish better at greater depths and higher speeds. The maximum depth range is a whopping 1000 feet.

Wi-Fi

The Lowrance HDS7 Gen3 fish finder has Wi-Fi connectivity which can be used to connect it wirelessly to multifunctional displays. We connected it to our smartphone with Lowrance GoFree App. It does need to be plugged in to the boat for continuous power though.

GPS and Mapping

It has a highly effective GPS receiver with navigational software. We were pumped to see that it could save up to 5000 waypoints and 200 routes and navigate back using the GPS and maps. You can also TrackBack to previous SONAR images and mark points.

It has the Insight planner charts on which you can plan your routes. Luckily for us, it’s compatible with a large range of cartography gear. The GPS function can be extended with software downloads. 

Technical Details and Specifications

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen-3 / LSS-2 Bundle

Lowrance 000-11788-001 HDS-7 GEN3 Insight Fishfinder/Chartplotter with CHIRP/StructureScan and 83/200+ StructureScan Transducer

Screen

7″ in diagonal, 16:9, 800H x 480V pixel matrix, full color, with LED backlight and multi-touch technology

Sonar

CHIRP and StructureScan HD

Depth Capability

+ Broadband Sounder: 750 ft (229 m)

+ StructureScan:  300 (92 m) ft

Operating Frequency

+ Standard 2D sonar: 200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°)

+ StructureScan: 455 / 800 kHz, 600 ft (183 m) coverage from side to side

Transducer

LSS-2 transducer (for StructureScan)

Power Output

500 Watts (RMS)

Power Input

10-17 VDC

GPS

10Hz Internal GPS Antenna

MAPS

Insight USA

Routes, Waypoints, Tracks

200 - 5,000 waypoints

PROS

  • CHIRP and StructureScan
  • Side and Down scans
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Insight planner charts
  • LAN port and 2 microSD card slots

CONS

  • Locked for use in the USA only
Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/83/200 XDCR​

Just like the Garmin Striker 4, the Lowrance Hook 3X SONAR fish finder is a budget unit too. It has a 3.5” diagonal with moderate resolution that we found sufficient for our use.

Design

Does it easily readable in sunlight from different weather conditions?

Lowrance-hook-3x-fish-finder

It is easily readable in sunlight from different viewing angles. There’s an adjustable LED backlight. Many experienced fishermen have lauded it for having a dependable design.

There are 6 buttons on board with a direction pad under the screen. The unit is robust and has good accessories. It comes with a transducer suction cup mount and a multi-angle viewing mount. Like any decent fish finder, it is IPX7-rated waterproof.

Features

Advanced Signal Processor
Lowrance-Hook-3x-CHIRP

The Lowrance Hook 3X SONAR fish finder packs an Advanced Signal Processor which alters the SONAR settings automatically, reducing the need for manual tweaking to see the fish and under water structure more clearly. We rarely find a fish finder that’s easier to set up than this.

Automatic Depth Scaling

The automatic depth scaling also saved us a lot of trouble. Its noise rejection feature filters out the noise around the transducer from the boat movement. Up to 40mph, we found the distances pretty accurate when double-checked with our HDS7.

It has the Fish ID feature which shows fish icons instead of fish arches. This gives you a rough idea of which fish species you are sailing over, though it’s not always accurate. 

The Fish ID is supported by track and alarm features too.

Dual Transducer

Great for shallow water fishing

The Lowrance Hook 3X has dual frequency transducer. The 200 kHz frequency is great for shallow water fishing. Fish-target separation gets a real boost here. The 83 kHz frequency covers a wider area.

This fish finder changes between the 83 kHz and 200 kHz frequencies with a single button press. You can even overlay data from both for a clearer picture of the underwater structure. The transducer also has an in-built temperature sensor which can track the bottom temperature at up to 75 mph vessel speed.

Technical Details and Specifications

Lowrance Hook-3X Sonar, W/83/200 XDCR

Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/83/200 XDCR​

Screen

3.5″ diagonal, 320V x 240H pixel matrix, 256- color TFT, with 11-level LED backlight

Sonar

Dual-frequency 83 or 200kHz

Depth Capability

300 ft. (91 m)

Operating Frequency

83/200kHz

Transducer

000-12635-001, with transom mount

Power Output

180 Watts (RMS)

Power Input

12v DC (10-17v DC)

GPS

No

MAPS

No

Routes, Waypoints, Tracks

No

PROS

  • Automated settings
  • Dual frequency SONAR
  • Fish ID and alarms
  • Durable unit
  • Affordable

CONS

  • No GPS or connectivity

Complete Buying Guide On The Fish Finders​

The newer fishermen and some of the old ones too, are not completely clear on the fish finder technology. With the gap in information, you may end up paying for a device you don’t require or one that doesn’t match all your requirements.

Either way, you don’t get the full value of your investment unless you know what to look for in the best fish finders for you. So here’s a complete buying guide for you.

What is a Fish Finder?

What's Fish Finder

A fish finder is a device used to locate fish underwater using sound waves. This is called the SONAR technology, wherein sound waves are transmitted and reflected waves(echo) are received to calculate distance.

The fish finder has a screen where these electric sound signals are shown as graphical representations of fishes and other objects via small symbols. It also calculates the depth of the water, provided it has the range.    

How does fish finder work?

The fish finder device is either mounted or placed on the boat or the vessel. Most of them are portable handhelds.

The fish finders have a transducer which produces the sonic wave and transmits it into the water. This wave disperses in the water in a conical manner. As it hits an object, part of it is reflected back and received by the fish finder. The time it takes to receive the echo is measured and the velocity of the wave is known.

Determining the distance with velocity and time is easy. The wave could be reflected by any object underwater and the fish finders are equipped to differentiate between them and fish based on the size and shape of its swim bladder. In fact, this information can be used to tell between various fish species too.

The areas where the sound wave doesn’t hit any obstruction, it reaches the sea bed. If the bottom only has dirt, it may get soaked up and return a light echo. If it’s a rock bottom, you get a powerful echo.

This information is displayed on the screen in a more readable format. You can adjust some parameters of the screen while others are fixed like the maximum resolution, display size etc., so you must make a purchase accordingly.

The screen looks something like this:

Fish-Finder-Screen

How to choose the best fish finders?

There are some technical details that help sort through the fish finders and find the best ones for you. We check the following the specs: 

1. Transducer Frequency:

The transducer is the part of the fish finder that emits and receives the sound waves. The frequency of the sound wave is determined at the transducer. The usual frequencies range from 50 kHz to 800 kHz.

High frequency transducers have shorter wavelengths and hence can discern smaller objects/fishes. In short, they pick up more details of the underwater situation. Higher frequency transducers have lower range, so they are best used in shallow water.

  • A 200 kHz transducer will have a clear range of around 600 feet.
  • A 50 kHz transducer at the same power will range around 2000+ feet but it cannot pick up as much detail. It will only detect fish that has an air bladder larger than 1” (the wavelength of sonar).
Dual frequency transducers Wide Beam and Narrow Beam

These days, most fishermen resort to dual frequency transducers. These emit both a lower frequency wave and a higher frequency wave with Wide Beam and Narrow Beam. This way you can get both depth and detail on the fish finder screen.

Multiple-frequency transducers also exist.

2. Cone angle:

cone-angle

A cone angle is the angular width of the sonar wave. This tells you how wide the wave beam travels under the vessel. Lower frequency transducers usually have a wider cone angle, so they cover a larger area and find fishes that aren’t under your boat.  They may not be detailed enough to show fishes distinctly if there are more than one fishes crowded at the same point.  

The higher frequency waves are more focused and used to find fishes right under the vessel. The average cone angle is between 15-20°.

3. Power:

Power-of-fish-finder

The power and wattage of fish finder is an important measure of its fish finding range. Higher the power, the deeper the wave penetrates. It’s important to understand how power ratings are tied with the transducer frequency.

At 50 kHz, for every 100W of power, you get to 400 feet more.  But at 200 KHz, with every 100W the range increases 100 feet. The wattage ranges from 600W to 3000W. For shallow waters, you would require a lower power.

In a dual frequency fish finder, the power will break between low and high frequencies based on your requirements.

Always note the RMS power of the fish finder. This is the power that it can maintain. Manufacturers often mention the peak power, which is the instantaneous power of the unit, to confuse the buyer. It’s typically much higher than the actual RMS power.

4. Screen Size:

Screen-Size

The choice of screen size is based on your preferences. If you prefer a smaller portable unit, the screen would be small. The details would have to be cramped in what space is available. Wider screens are easier to monitor. Wide screens are also useful if you want to split the screens to show more than one kind of data.

For example, if you want to see GPS data and fish finding data on split screens or data from transducers of different frequencies, a wider screen helps.

5. Display Size:

Screen resolution fish finder

The resolution of the screen determines how grainy the picture looks. Higher resolution results in a clearer and more detailed picture. The minimum resolution recommended for a decent image is 240x160 pixels. Higher resolution fish finders around 640x640 bring truly amazing image quality.

6. Color Screen or Gray Scale? 

darkest-color-vs-colored

Black and white screens are the more economic choice. But in fish finders, you have good units with colored screen within small budgets too. Colored screens are easier to read in the sunlight. You may have to peer into black and white screens in bright sunlight.

7. Down Imaging and Side Imaging:

Down-Imaging-vs-Side-Imaging-fish-finders

Fish finder can scan in two ways: side imaging and down imaging. Either they scan directly under the vessel. Or they may scan under and to the sides of the boat. This is closely related to the cone angle concept or beamwidth.

Side scans allows you to cover large areas of the sea but their power decreases in deep water. So you must know how deep your fishing destination will usually be, before selecting the scan technology. You also get fish finders with dual scan which can range to the sides and under the vessel effectively.

8. GPS Combos

GPS is a must-have feature in fish finders now. The GPS is used to determine your actual geographical location. A GPS module allows you to mark the points in water where you caught a good haul and save them for later. You can map your location in real time and so can the search and rescue team if you wind up in some trouble.

The accuracy of GPS tracking becomes a buying consideration now and not all fish finders are equal in this regard. You can add GPS sensors to some fishfinders later.

Check our buying guide here:

+ Best Fish Finder GPS Combos Under 300
+ Best Fish Finder GPS Combos Under 500
+ 
Best Fish Finder GPS Combos Under 1000

9. CHIRP:

CHIRP-fish-finder

The CHIRP fish finder uses the CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radiated Pulse) technologyTo explain this, understand that traditional SONAR fish finders use 1, 2, or multiple distinct frequencies to red underwater objects.

Of these the lower frequencies like 50 kHz give the highest penetration but the lowest detailing. 200 kHz frequency gives great detailing but low penetration.  

A CHIRP fish finder transmits a long pulse over a range of frequencies at a time instead of a single frequency pulse like traditional fish finders.

For example, it will send 130-210 kHz pulsing putting more energy into the water column. This gives you both excellent penetration and detailing. The CHIRP pulses are usually 10 times longer in duration than the traditional fish finder pulses.

There are three CHIRP frequency ranges:

  • High CHIRP: 150-240 kHz for fresh water and inland fishing within 600 feet range
  • Medium CHIRP: 80-160 kHz for more coverage and quick scanning at lesser detail than High CHIRP
  • Low CHIRP: below 80 kHz for up to 10,000 feet underwater.

CHIRP fish finders are available in a large price range. The features of the premium units include:

  • Dual Channels: Such CHIRP fish finders have two transducers for two frequency ranges. You can choose between them based on species, depth and your fishing style
  • Custom frequencies: It allows you to use CHIRP as a traditional fish finder with the frequency fixed at a single point within the CHIRP range. You can manually adjust the frequency if you are looking for a particular species at a certain depth.
  • Transmitting power: You get adjustable transmission power from 300W to 4000W RMS. The affordable ones are usually 500-600W RMS.

Section 2: Best Fish Finder Brands 2018

An easy place to start when buying a new fish finder is to select the brand and check all the offerings in a selected budget.

Each brand has certain characteristics which make them more appealing to their target audience. For some brands, it’s a range of affordable fish finders, for others it’s their customer service. Understanding these differences considerably narrows down your search. It also helps you find the one brand you can stick to in case you have to make an emergency purchase. 

Here are the top fish finders brands based on our survey.

best fish finder brands 2018 charts

1. Lowrance

Lowrance-fish-finder-brands

The Lowrance fish finder has some of the best budget-oriented fish finders that bring excellent value for money, features-wise. For an affordable price, you will find their units with CHIRP, DownScan, and Built-in GPS with maps and ability to upgrade to Lake Insights and Navionics.  

The operation of Lowrance fish finders is often well-executed. Many of the higher-end models have both touch-screen and buttons for operation. 

2. Humminbird

Humminbird-Fish-Finder-Brand

The Humminbird vs. Lowrance debate polarizes the fish finder community. The differences are nominal and both brands have their strengths.

The Humminbird is best known for their patent for side-imaging and their excellent customer service. The Lowrance fish finders have a larger feature set in many devices but Humminbird are generally much easier to operate.

Humminbird excels in making high-quality fish finders. Humminbird users remain loyal to it for the reliability. Your Humminbird fish finders are supported by dedicated customer service reps and online discussion threads that offer a lot of help to the users.

3. Garmin

Garmin-Fish-Finder-Brand

Garmin fish finder has become a close contender of the Humminbird and Lowrance in the fish finder market. They are new to this domain but they bring their vast experience of making GPS receivers for marine and golf requirements.

They have the technology to build high-quality displays and easy operability. Add that to SONAR and some clever imaging and they have a soaring market share in the fish finder industry too.

They have a superior customer service to both Lowrance and Humminbird. Garmin is known for their distinguished CHIRP SONAR which performs a sight better than Lowrance and the clarity of their displays.

4. Raymarine

Raymarine-Fish-Finder-Brand

Raymarine is another long-reigning brand of fish finders. They have some very popular units like the DragonFly. They used to be infamous for their non-responsive customer service but that has changed since they were acquired by FLIR systems in 2010. Customers have better access to customer support now.

The screen and detailing of the Raymarine display are noteworthy. They are quite in demand in the UK as it’s the homeland of the company. They have grown more conservative with the prices to compete with Garmin and Simrad.

Garmin has been giving the Raymarines a run for their money since they came to the market. They are relatively easier to use.

5. Furuno

Furuno is known to make fish finders that are built like a tank. These are high-quality units that easily last for years without needing any upgrade. They have a limited but pretty high-end line-up starting at $500. These are built solid and prepared for rough use. The closest competition to Furuno are expensive Garmin fish finders.

Furuno stands by their products and offer excellent customer service, a strong suit of Garmin. They also have very graphic and vibrant displays. They are unbeatable in creating integrated navigational marine systems. 

If you are a one-and-done kind of angler who requires a long-term dependable fish finder, Furuno is a great brand to check out.

6. Simrad

Simrad-Fish-Finder-Brand

Simrad and Lowrance have merged under the banner of Navico. So the under-the-hood technology for both is same. But the fish finders difference in their feature sets. Simrad units have more advanced features and exceptional display. They are designed mainly for saltwater use. But they do exceedingly well in freshwater too.

Anglers are enamored by the detailing and resolution of the Simrad fish finder screens. With features like StructureScan and side-imaging, the imaging is almost photographic. You get some larger screen sizes too for people who fancy that. We think of them as deluxe versions of Lowrance fish finders.

If you have the cash to shell out and want the most reliable fish finder with vibrant imaging, Simrad is your brand.

Our Verdict

The Garmin Striker 7SV fish finder is conservatively priced for all the features it provides. It’s a CHIRP SONAR with both Side scanning and Down scanning.

The high depth capability bolsters its comprehensive ability to scan large, wide and deep areas under water. Its GPS capabilities extend to marking way points but stop short of maps which not everybody needs. It has a feature set with a unique scope and large usable design. 

The other best fish finders we covered also excelled in their respective price ranges and expectations. The key is to audit your existing devices and vessel and to find the fish finder that would suit YOUR needs.

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Alex D. Allen

My name is Alex D. Allen, and I’m a professional fishfinder researcher and fishing enthusiast. You’re probably on my website in search of a fishing device that can help make your experience a lot easier and more productive; or perhaps, just trying to glean information to get a wider understanding of what fish finders are and how they can benefit you. Whatever your purpose may be, you’ve come to the right place.

ALEX D. ALLEN  // Authority

Best Fish Finders For The Money of 2018 Reviewed (UPDATED) was last modified: November 18th, 2018 by Alex D. Allen