What is the Best Cheap Fish Finder?

cheap fish finderSelecting a best cheap fish finder can be a huddle bearing in mind that, most cheap fish finders are regarded as low quality. A good fish finder is supposed to allow anglers to see a graphic presentation of what is beneath their boats in order to allow them to see fish.

There are several things to look for in a fish finder before you purchase it, which include: whether it has a GPS, the size of the fish finder’s footprint, the resolution of the display, the amount of power needed to transmit, and the frequencies needed in order for the fish finder to work well in the ocean, sea, lake, inland or wherever you want to use it.

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There are three types of fish finders: standalone, network and combo. The standalone are those which perform no other function; the combo or combination ones combines products that also include chart plotter; and there are those which are fully networked, whose systems are networked offering several functions all viewable through one or more multi function displays.

Best Cheap Fish Finder Comparison

Some of the top cheap fish finders in the market includes:

Lowrance Hook 5 Fish Finder

Lowrance Hook-5 Fishfinder

This device  is one of the best inexpensive fish finder which is  made of GPS charter plotter and a fish finder which is  developed for anglers wanting a great value for less and that is what they exactly get with this fish finder. It has features which are only on brands which cost more, but here we are, with a quality fish finder and at an affordable price.  It has a critical clear five inch display screen which can be used to view GPS charts, DownScan and traditional sonar.

It provides a sharp 800 x 480 pixels that produces 16 bit color. The DownScan  solar imaging frequency is  455/800 kHz  and the traditional sonar’s frequency is  at 83/200 kHz.

The menu and the control buttons are an improved lot from the traditional one as it is much easier to use. You can switch between all  the three screens and all features with just one finger, which is a highly useful  feature, especially when you are trying to compare data from GPS points and sonar.

The software used on the Insight Genesis custom mapping allows the angler to create  own detailed maps  using his sonar logs for favorite fishing holes. An advanced digital signal processing (APS) cuts down on the need to manually control settings to locate fish or see structures in precise details.

There is an advantage of reviewing sonar map histories,  pinpoint waypoints where you previously passed,  other fishing trips  and transition areas. You can select preset page  using the multiple display window.

Features on Lowrance Hook 5

  • Save and replay previous GPS and sonar readings
  • Adjust the view shown on the display
  • Adjust sonar sensitivity
  • Set GPS alarms
  • Read and record the water temperature at various locations and depths
  • Set depth alarms


At its price, it is at the leading edge of fish finding technology. If it used well, the device can make a tremendous difference in your ability to find and catch all species of fish in all kinds of water and any type of structures.


Lowrance Hook 7

Lowrance Hook-7 Fishfinder

This is one of the best inexpensive fish finder that money can buy. It comes in an easy to use package for any angler at an attractive price. What is the best cheap fish finder  and what are some of the goodies packaged into it? There are several features in the Lowrance Hook 7 which will make you maximize every minute spent on the water, whether in inland lakes, offshore waters or solitary creeks, all these are built in this super fish finder.

Outstanding Features of Lowrance Hook 7

  • It comes with a 7 inch backlit color widescreen display
  • Has easy to use interface
  • Comes with CHIRP sonar to  better target separation and minimal clutter
  • ASP advanced signal processing for hands free adjustment of sonar settings
  • The DownScan imaging for photo like images of the bottom and structures
  • Highly accurate built in GPS antenna with detailed US map
  • The DownScan overlay to see CHIRP scans overlaid on DownScan imagery
  • Quick release bracket and multiple mounting options
  • ASP advanced signal processing for hands free adjustment of sonar settings


Humminbird Helix  10 SI GPS

Humminbird Helix 10 SI

It is very  light in weight  yet very powerful  thus making it to be  in the bracket  of the best inexpensive fish finder. It has  a 10.1 inch widescreen, which produces a 16:9 ratio to enable a high resolution of about  1024 x 600 pixels to be displayed.  Due to the large screen, it is possible to split screen views,  thus making navigating and tracking fish much easier and at the same time passing the fish finder as one of the best cheap fish finder for the value it offers.

Its front clearly marked control buttons that include a power button, directional, view changer, go to, waypoint marker and zoom.  It has a single micro card slot which enables users to store screen captures, load maps, waypoint markings,and software updates done via removable storage.  It is manufactured with a plug and play tool that enables anglers to connect power and Ethernet networking cables simultaneously. These cables stay securely in place via a unique clamping mechanism.

Down Imaging of Humminbird 10 SI GPS

This device is really one of the best inexpensive fish finder on the market with a down imaging that is superb.  The sound waves come in high frequency which come in thin slices. A three dimensional of whatever is happening underneath the water is displayed due to the down imaging of this wonderful device.  The anglers will be able to see what fish see in terms of fish population, timber, brush, rocks or any other structures. 350 feet is what the angler will be able to see clearly with the down imaging of a Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS.

Side Imaging of Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS

Up to 240 feet  is what the side imaging can scan in either direction of a vessel  which measures  up to 150 feet deep, which gives a full 180 degree, below the water’s surface. The side imaging provides a wonderful magnification using the zoom buttons.


Garmin EchoMAP  93SV

Garmin 010-01579-01 echoMAP

It combines GPS with sonar and detailed mapping, making it to be among the best inexpensive fish finder.  It is created and unmatched by any rivals in its price range. With this device, the challenge of guessing where the fish are is virtually at an end and the fisherman can focus on the real sport of getting the fish to take the bait.

How Does It Work

It uses 500 watts for the transducer generates 77/200 kHz dual sonar beam for the widest amount of coverage. Its DownVu technology provides an accurate picture of the underwater scene directly underneath the boat. Complementing this feature is SideVu sonar which adds wide angle viewing reaching up to 750 feet on either side of the craft. It has HD –ID capabilities, these sonar beams operates in the unison to create a comprehensive image with both side and overhead viewing angles of the fishing area on the screen that leaves no doubt about what is going on below. The sonar data can be stored and transferred to a computer for closer analysis.


Why  Choose a Standalone Fish Finder

These are good fish finders if your interest is only to see what is below.  They are good for small boats used for fishing in inland lakes or if you are on a limited budget  as they cost the least. But if your pilothouse has room for multiple displays or if you just bought  a GPS, get a serious big screen fish finder. A GPS sensor can be added later to many units,  thus turning it into a chart plotter combo.

Networked System Fish Finders

They are available from the major suppliers. A networked fish finder has data sources,  including vector GPS, radar and rasters and many others. Most of them allow Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and can be controlled via Android or iPhone. These are great for medium sized or large vessels

Combination Fish Finders / Chartplotters

They are good for mid sized boats. A GPS is used to navigate the fishing ground, view both on split screen, or view only the fish finders. With the installation of a transducer, many chart plotters into combo units.

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How Many Watts For A Good Fish Finder

The strength and power of a fish finder are expressed in root mean squared (RMS). How great or  deep  down you can view  is what determines the power of a fish finder. This is what you are supposed to consider before rating any fish finder as the best cheap fish finder in the market; assess its power. One with 500 watts  RMS  should have plenty of power for most coastal applications. If you are a serious blue anglers should go for over 1,000 watts.  For inland fishermen, 200 watts is enough to see the shallow bottom.

Transducer Frequency

There are options of CHIRP system, single frequency, multiple or dual frequencies, the choice is yours and it all depends where the fishing is taking place. When the frequency is high,  then wonderful things happen; no noise on the screen and at the background and a wonderful view when there is fast move. But when if the penetration is low, then the noise is great. Higher frequencies are good for shallow water inland anglers which range between 200 kHz, 400 kHz, or 800 kHz. If you want maximum depth, use lower frequencies. 200kHz or higher is recommended for water depths up to 200 inches and 80 kHz or 80 kHz for deeper waters.

CHIRP or Broadband Fish Finders

The new style of broadband fish finders is CHIRP (compressed, high intensity radar pulse). They transmit  less peak power than a conventional fish finder, but their wide brand, frequency modulated pulses between 130 – 210 kHz can be very long in duration and put 10-50 times more energy into the water. Using digital pattern matching and signal processing, target detection is achieved by use of  CHIRP devices. This gadget makes it possible to separate fish from the bottom of the structure and also resolve individual fish. This is done very fast in a matter of inches unlike traditionally when it used to take several feet.

How Marine Sonar Work

The sonar works by sending out an electronic impulse from the unit to the transducer. The transducer converts the impulse into a sound wave that is beamed through the water column. The sound wave  moves up to the bottom and bounce back to the transducer. In case there are other object found between the surface of the water and the lake bottom,then it will definitely bounce back. When the signal is received an interpretation will be made and the results will be displayed on the screen. The depth of the  bottom, vegetation and structure of anything found under the boat will be displayed on the screen

Fish finder Screen Pixels

The transducer is the part that sends out sound waves in order to see what is below the surface of water. When dealing with transducers, the most important aspects are cone angle. The wider the degree on the cone, the larger the view of what lies beneath. As you move deeper, the coverage will widen.  The sensitivity diminishes with the widening of the cone angle, deep into the waters..


This is a very impressive best inexpensive fish finder as compared to the fish finder with almost the same specifications from different companies. It should be a popular choice for those looking for a big screen and a complete set of sonar features. This type of fish finder is a good value for your money and it is a worthy investment in case you want to do fishing and catch many fish. The price is just right and it wont hurt your pocket at all.

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