The first question you need to ask yourself before choosing a fish finder is, “Will whatever am buying help me to catch the most fish?” If the answer to this question is yes, then go ahead and buy it. Don’t look for the flashers, transducers, echoes, sonars,and transom mounts. The main things one needs to look for in order to get best fish finders includes:
- Its Frequencies – Multiple, Single, or Dual
- Screen Resolution
- Black and White vs Colored Screens
- Cones Angles And Beams
- Transducer Material
Top 7 Fish Finders Comparison Guide
Some of the top fish finders include:
Its unit features a brilliant, extra wide brilliant, extra wide, 480 x 800 resolution display that depicts 256 colors on a 5 inch screen complete with black lighting that ensures crisp, clear images in all types of lighting conditions night and day.
Humminbird Helix 5 SI GPS combo delivers a crisp image for both structure and fish due to its down imaging, dualdeam plus and side imaging making it the best value fish finder. It has a 5 inch 256 color LED screen which has a 480 x 800 pixel display that delivers crisp images.
You will quickly identify cover and structure with Down Imaging while using Switch Fire to differentiate between cover and fish. The DualBeam PLUS sonar has a focused center beam and a second wider beam for both precision coverage and total coverage and this automatically makes it the best value fish finder. It gives you a full 100 foot section of side imaging from either side of your boat with clear accurate detail. Its GPS chart plotting uses the built in UniMap which covers inland lakes, rivers and continental U.S. coastlines.
At 4000 watts it has up to 1500ft depth capability peak to peak power. At 455 kHz at 85 frequency coverage, its DualBeam PLUS transducer has a side imaging and down imaging of 200kHz / 20 or 83 kHz /60 frequency/coverage. These qualities make this fish finder to be one of the best fish finders on the market.
What is in the box of the Garmin Striker 7sv when you buy it?
- 12 pin transducer to 4 pin sounder adapter cable
- STRIKER 7sv
- GT52HW-TM transducer
- Transom and trolling motor mounts
- Protective cover
- Power cable
- Tilt mount
Why Buy It
- Its GPS sensitivity and CHIRP sonar and the 7 inch color screen make it one of the best fish finder . To add on this it has Garmin CHIRP SideVu scanning sonars and CHIRP DownVu
- Includes Garmin GT52 transducer with high wide CHIRP 250 W, 455/800 kHz CHIRP DownVu and CHIRP SideVu with 500 W power.
- Share waypoints and routes with other STRIKE or echoMAP chart plotter combos
- Has smooth scaling software technology to depth range adjustment
- Find fish, mark and return to hot spots, ramps and docks.
Why It is The Best Fish Finder In The Market
The GPS receiver lets you mark hotspots so you can return to them very easily next time you are out fishing.This is the quality of this fish finder which makes it the best fish finder available. It comes a time when you accidentally stumble into a place where there are several fish to be found, yet it is a big lake so what will make you remember the exact spot? The hotspot comes in handy and allows you to make the place as place X.
On Strike 7sv, when you mark the place X, it will draw a line on the screen for the route so that wherever your boat goes, it will always remember the route to the spot. This will save you route around obstacles such as docks,buoys, and any other obstacles that could make you go round.
Installation, How Easy is It?
It is very easy to install a Germin Striker 7sv as you only have to push forward the SONAR frequencies through a single transducer. You don’t have to clutter the boat’s transom with lots of different sensors just pushing one will do the trick and gives you a nice, clean installation. This is a best rated fish finder.
Extras In The Shipping
When it is shipped, it comes loaded with trolling and motor mount adapter. If you don’t want any drill to fit the transducer on the transom, you can as well snap it into the trolling motor mount and place the mount to your motor.
If you are fishing from a kayak and you want portability, then this fish finder will make it to your desire as it is very portable and you can carry it wherever you want to go.
There will be no need to separate flasher unit; you can use this boat out in the summer and bring out ice augers for the winter. Its flasher unit function is useful for crappie jigging and any kind of stationary fishing.
The Lowrance Elite – 5 Ti Downscan is one of the best fish finder on the market. It is an award winning StructureScan HD, DownScan Imaging, DownScan HD, Chirp, and broadband sonar is built in to make it one of the best value fish finder money can buy. It has a reliable Lowrance navigation technology and a high gain GPS antenna. In addition, it features Bluetooth and wireless connectivity which allows you to download software updates and insight genesis custom maps for instant use.
What is In The Box of The Lowrance Elite – 5 Ti DownScan
- Elite CHIRP Fish Finder
- Sonar and power cabling
- Quick release mount
- HDI Skimmer Transducer with transom mount hardware (83/100kHz, or 50/200kHz transducer)
- Installation hardware kit
- Operational handbook
When you open the box, you will be met by the angler fish finder which is the Elite – 5 Ti device. Release the mounting bracket, a cable, adapter and power cable with a user manual. The device measures roughly 10.9 x 8.2 x 9.2 inches and weighs more than 3 ounces. On the right of the display, the front part of the fish finder has the power on and off which can zoom in and out to make it to be among the best rated fish finder available. There are zoom in and out buttons which will enable you to control the view; a scroll controller and a menu button to make you navigate around.
When it comes to mounting, the unit can be mounted onto the boat using the external mounting bracket or by simply inserting it into the boat dashboard. It has a quick release button which guarantees safety of the unit when it is idle.
The Ti in the Elite – Ti stands for the touch imaging technology which it operates on. It has a five inch touch screen which has a backlight and a 16:9 ration display area which provides imaging of 800 x 400 pixels in full color. The Bluetooth enables anglers to download software upgrades or insight genesis maps instantly.
Why Buy it
- It has an easy to use touch screen
- Its touch screen provides fast, fingertip access to all Elite – 5 Ti features
- It has a high resolution display
- It has exclusive high resolution 5 inch LED backlight color display
- Top of the line sonar technologies provide the best possible views of the underwater environment beneath the boat
- It has a facility which enables one to scroll through the sonar, sidescan or downscan the history so that you can review structure or fish targets and mark the locations with a waypoint
- It has an internal GPS antenna
- It is highly accurate due to the built in antenna and a detailed U.S. map
- It has optional charts upgrades
- Has built in wireless connectivity
- MicroSD card slot
- Has quick release brackets
Specifications of the Lowrance Elite – 5 Ti
- Resolution of 800 x 400 pixels
- Operating frequency of 50/200 or 83 /200 kHz + 455/800 kHz
- Media Port 1 microSD slot
- One year warranty
- Display widescreen 16:9 WVGA color TFT LCD: 5 inches / 12.7 cm
- Power out: RMS (PTP) Max 500 W RMS
- Backlighting type: LED
- Sonar has depth alarm and shallow alarm
- Operating temperature -15° C to +55°C (+ 5° F to + 131 °F)
- Power consumption 12W (0.9 A @13vDC)
How It Operates
This is one of the best fish finder. The all in one skimmer transducer makes it to have TotalScan capability that provides CHIRP , StructureScan HD, DownScan Imaging, and Broadband Solar. Track fish easily with the traditional arch images; it uses Advanced Fish Symbol I.D. The CHIRP works in frequencies of 83/200/455/800kHz.
The CHIRP sonar emits electrical impulses from the transmitter to the transducers where they are converted into sound waves. In case the wave encounters a living image, it transmits the same to the transducer where it once again converts it into electrical signals which are amplified and displayed as images on the touch screen. The time it takes the wave to enter the water and return determines the distance of the object from the boat.
This is one of the best rated fish finder due to its varied sizes of 4 to 9 inches, which makes there to be an option for anyone from kayak anglers, the brass boats to tin boats. Lowrance has pushed the benefits of CHIRP sonar down to mainstream depth finders and now regular anglers can also enjoy and get the most of this clear scanning sonar technology.
Make the Humminbird Heli 7 Di GPS your underwater eye as it is one of the best value fish finder on the market. With this fish finder, you are assured of navigating and having a clear picture of what is going on. It has a down imaging GPS and a wide screen that makes it brightest with a high resolution of 800 x 480 pixel resolution, which is supported by the advanced glass bonded display of the advancement of Humminbird’s technology. This makes this fish finder to be one of the best rated fish finder available.
No matter how low or high the sun is, the screen will always be clear to the view; brightly and without glare from any angle. At the ratio of 16:9 on its display, it will automatically offer the optimum for viewing the cartography and the sonar at the same time and getting all the details you need. This is according to the best fish finder reviews by the current users of the gadget. It has a HELIX processor, which has a double RAM for lightening quick way point management and screen refresh.
Its peak to peak power is at RMS/4000 watts to 500 watts, this device has the power to deliver very clear sonar images and provide down imaging scans loaded that have all the details kept for 45 routes which is equivalent of 2500 waypoints. It supports Autocharts pro, Navionics, gold Hotmaps and LakeMaster AutoChart via its single Micro SD card slot.
It has an internal GPS and built in UniMap. Depth capacity of 1500 inches, 600 inches, with XD transducer which you buy separately.
Why Go For It
- It has an internal precision GPS
- It has a 7 inch HD color screen
- It has built in UniMap
- It has a 16.9 inch widescreen glass-bonded display
- It is compatible with LakeMaster, AutoChart Pro, AutoChart and Navionics Gold/HotMaps
- It has an ultra bright glare free any angle viewing
- It has a single micro SD card slot
- It has a crisp 480 x 800 pixel resolution
- It has 500 watts RMS/4000 watts peak to peak
- SwitchFire Sonar lets you customize the view
- Down imaging depth capacity is 350 inches, 1500 inches with XD transducers (which is to be bought separately)
- Down imaging technology adds incredible details
- 2500 waypoints/45 routes
Features of a Huminbird HELIX 7 Di GPS
- Frequency Coverage
- Dual beam plus: 200 kHz/20° and 83 kHz/60°
- Down Imaging 455 kHz / Narrow, Medium, and Wide fan shaped cone
- Side Imaging : 455 kHz/84° (x2), 480 ft, side to side coverage
- Transducer: Transom XNT 9 SI 180 T
- Power Output: 500 watts
- Power Input: 10 – 20 VDC
- Power Draw: 800mA
- GPS : Internal precision
- Maps: Humminbird UniMap
- Depth Capacity
- 100 feet (30m) for side imaging and down imaging
- 1500 feet (457m) on DualBeam Plus
- Screen: 7 inches diagonal, 256 color TFT, 800 H x 480 V pixel resolution, with backlight
- Sonar: Side Imaging, Down Imaging, DualBeam Plus with Switch Fire.
How It Works
It comes with the XNT 9 SI 180 T which is a transom transducer which supports 200/83/455 kHz frequencies, but it doesn’t support elements from 800 kHz in the transducer. It has a built in temperature probe, which makes it to be one of the best fish finder as it enables the head unit to indicate water temperature though it doesn’t offer a temperature graph function.
The transducer supports all types of sonar technologies that the display unit provides which include Side Imaging, Down Imaging, and Standard Sonar. The standard sonar can operate at 200 kHz with a narrow, more focused beam of 20 ° while at 83 kHz it has a beam of 60 °. Both beams are conical shaped. Since the unit supports DualBeam Plus sonar, both the views offered by the 200 kHz and 83 kHz beams can be observed in split screen, blended together separately thus says the best fish finder reviews.
Its sonar side Imaging, according to the fish finder reviews, operates at 455 kHz, working with two side beams, 84° each, covering a surface of 240 feet on each side, 480 feet overall . As for the down imaging, the unit actually uses the side imaging beam to create one beam for the down imaging. The beam is fan shaped and razor thin fore to aft and wide from side to side. The side to side width of the DI beam can be modified
How Does It Navigate
It has an internal Precision GPS receiver which uses WAAS for correction. This offers a fast position fixed with an accuracy within 2.5. Waypoints, routes and tracks with this HELIX, it has these functions covered. It can store up to 2,500 waypoints with 45 routes with 50 WP each. It has a track plotting function which is able to record your course in a breadcrumb manner, thus saving up to 50 distinctive trucks which are equivalent to 20,000 points each. It measures the boat’s speed via GPS.
It has a drift alarm and off course alarm. The drift alarm gives you the possibility to select a perimeter for your anchored boat and in case it drifts out of the perimeter, the alarm will sound. The off course alarm is similar to the drift alarm, only that the alarm will sound if you divert from your setup course.
How it Displays and Screenshots
It gets most out of its 7 inch display by use of a glass bonded lens which makes it possible to get a bright display that is easy to view in direct sunlight. It is oriented in the landscape mode making it possible to set the side imaging to use most of the screen to look for structure, while keeping smaller window for the GPS map.
The Humminbird Helix 7 Si is a medium unit which sells at a medium price. It is one of the best fish finder in the market because of its navigation features. It has several upgrade possibilities available in the market to support superior mapping, other transducers and its software is upgradable. Due to it having Down Imaging and Side Imaging, it will definitely pass for one of the best rated fish finder.
This is one of the best fish finder available on the market. It has down imaging and side imaging features and a GPS combo that fits any boat as well as your budget. It has a larger screen and it is one of the easiest fish finder to use, thus making it to be one of the best rated fish finder. It is time you started fishing with this powerful CHIRP sonar.
It is easy to install and use with a 5 inch screen and includes Quick draw contours software which instantly creates HD maps with 1 foot contours as you do your fishing. The GPS updates position and heading 5 times per second. The good news is that, it also supports NMEA 2000 for engine data, autopilots, and sensors. The cords are plug directly into the mount allowing you to quickly install and remove device from power and mount. Get a best value fish finder for your money by purchasing this EchoMap CHIRP 53 dv.
What is In The Box
- The EchoMap CHIRP 53DV fish finder with pre programmed US LakeVU HD maps
- Power and Sonar cables
- Quick release Mount
- Assembly and mounting hardware
- Installation and operational handbook
- Trolling motor transducer mount
- In dash flush mount
- Tilt mount with quick release cradle
- GT20/GT22HW-TM transducer
- GT52HW-TM transducer
What Makes it One of The Best Fish Finder
Its cheap sonar which operates at all low/medium and high ranges in the 2D down and side scanning sonar models to supposedly increase clarity and target separation in the images. If you are fishing in deeper, more clearer waters, this technology can be used to make a difference on what you will see making bottom hugging fish to be seen clearly and baitfish can turn from a cloud into individual fish.
The down scanning sonar creates superb imagery of the lake bottom and structure, thus making it to be one of the best value fish finder. Each of these models comes bundled with the down imaging capable transducer.
The Side imaging transducer is packed with a lot of capabilities as you will get the low/mid/high CHIRP sonar at 50/77/200 kHz
The preloaded LakeVu cartography and mapping solution provides an in depth view of the shoreline contours up to 1 foot. You can be able to save the sonar history, backtrack over previous fishing hotspots while at the same time having a clear history of past fishing trips. It has an enhanced auto guidance feature which makes it one of the best rated fish finder as it allows you to enter your previously visited location and enable you plan your future trips safely by avoiding shallow waters.
This fish finder comes with CHIRP sonar which is a wide spectrum of sonar technology. More signals are emitted into the water, resulting in better details coming back to the unit. It is one of the best fish finder on the market. It gives clarity to help you distinguish what you are seeing thus getting the advantage of a wide spectrum channel for better imaging of terrain combined with a conical channel that works to identify the fish. What is the best fish finder than this?
Its down imaging technology is accurate at depth reaching 160 ft and the images it pulls offers photo like clarity. This is only possible because it uses multiple frequencies and thus the benefit of using several frequencies rather than one single frequency is what each pulse of transmission goes across a wider spectrum resulting in better images that are easier for one to interpret.
Wi- Fi on The Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Fish Finder
It has a Wi-Fi which you can connect to the smartphone or tablet. This means you and your fishing partner don’t need jockey for the best view of the screen as you just need to connect and you can see it on your mobile device. This app is what makes it to become best rated fish finder as you can rewind and capture images.
What is In The Box of The Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Fish Finder
50 channel GPS for precision guidance; a fish finder, chartplotter and GPS navigation device; built in Wi-Fi which allows streaming straight to your smartphone; 5 inch all weather, high definition LED backlit display; MicroSD memory card reader for extra storage; optically bonded display for wide angle viewing sharp color, no fogging; stream live sonar data via WiFi mobile app; dual channel wide spectrum CHIRP sonar; includes all ball and socket swivel mount; 50 channel GPS which delivers precision guidance; high speed tracking and better deep water resolution; down vision provides photo like images; compatible with optional navionics and Raymarine Lighthouse format charts.
Feature of The Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Fish Finder
- Dual channel Sonar
- CHIRP clearness
- Navionics Mapping
- 5 inch screen
- Split screen capabilities with single button
If you are looking for a fish finder to invest in, the best fish finder to buy is the Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro as it will deliver some of the top quality service any fish finder can afford. It has an edge cutting technology and it is almost a century of experience which qualifies it to be the best value fish finder money can buy.
The Garmin EchoMap 73sv is easy to install and easy to use, thus making it one of the best fish finders available. It comes loaded with LakeVu HD which helps to hone in on the fish. The keypad control on this 7 inch color display comes preloaded with maps of over 17,000 lakes on its LakeVu maps. It has a built in, multi frequency CHIRP sonar of 77/200 kHz HD-ID sonar, DownVu, SideVu and Garmin CHIRP which makes it to give clearest views in the water. It has a 5 Hz GPS and can update 5 times a second, thus making it easier to mark and return to waypoints.
Why Buy It
According to the best fish finder reviews, Garmin EchoMap 73sv is rated highly by current users. It is said to be the most advanced when it comes to the technology for available for the fishing and boating public, thus making it to be one of the best rated fish finder. With its CHIRP, you will be able to get a clear high definition and target due to more energy being put onto the target than the traditional sonar. It has sonar recording capabilities that coordinates the timing of the sonar return with your boat’s position, thus saving digital information back for playback on the computer using Homeport planning software.
This is one of the fish finders which are easily portable and that is why they are considered the best fish finders. When you are off the water, you can easily keep it safe and secure; no need for messy plug and unplug wires from the unit because the cord plug direct into the mount thus allowing you to quickly install and uninstall the EchoMap from power and the mount.
Get to buy a fish finder after careful research. Buy one which fits your needs.
Its Frequencies – Multiple, Single, or Dual
What is the best fish finder when it comes to frequencies? It is a known fact that, dual frequency transducers come with both 60 and 20 degrees cones. Frequencies are an important factor in transducers. The most common frequencies of transducers are 200, 192, 83, and 50 kHz respectively. When fishing in shallow waters, then the high frequencies of 200 and 192 kHz are the best. In deep waters, lower frequencies of 50 and 83 kHz is the best. So if going for commercial or professional usage, pick on the lower frequencies.
Best rated fish finders are those with high frequencies as they get more sonar waves being sent and received by transducers than the low frequencies that is what makes them to be best for shallow fishing as it will show more details up the screen.
When it comes to purchasing a fish finder, power is an important factor for best fish finders. A fish finder power is measured in wattage (W). If the wattage is high, then your unit will be able to display readings faster, and it can read deeper, but if the wattage is low, then your unit will be slow in displaying readings and can only read in shallow waters. This is so because, the fish finder translates sonar waves it receives from the transducer and this requires power, if the power is low, then it will automatically be slow and the reading will not be clear. The opposite happens when the power is higher, the reading will be faster and clearer. So if you are going to fish in shallow water, then you don’t need a lot of wattage but if your fishing is to be done in a lake or salt water bodies, get the best fish finder that is more powerful.
It is good to remember that, best rated fish finder at 50kHz, for every 100 watts of power, will be able to show readings of up to 400 feet. Dual finders are the most mid range finders that are available in the market. This is because, when you use them, you are able to view frequencies from both end in a split screen fashion i.e. 85/200 or 50/200.
For a fish finder to be rated as the best value finder, it must have a good screen resolution. The higher the number of pixels, the better the resolution. At minimum, the resolution should be at 240 (vertical) x 160 (horizontal) pixels. For a quality sharp, crisp image, it is good to go for a higher resolution than 240 x 160 pixels.
The screen size combined with the screen resolution makes the ultimate factor for how clear your fish finder display will be. The cheaper units will have smaller screens, thus making them good only as a secondary or back up fish finders. For a main unit, it is good to go for the biggest size you could ever find and which your budget will allow. With a bigger and higher screen, you will be able to get a clearer picture because the numbers, data and echoes will be spread out and easier see and differentiate.
Black and White vs Colored Screens
Color screens are good as they allow for greater details and one is able to see millions of colors instead of 265 shades of grays from black and white screens. If you read best fish finder reviews, you will learn that, most users have rated the color screens with a five star. This is due to the effect of the color screen to the fish and the under water, it brings them live on your screen. Color screens are easier to see in brighter light than black and white. When the weather is dull, color screen stand out.
Only go for the black and white fish finders if your budget cannot allow you to buy a color one. Otherwise, read the fish finder reviews and you will definitely go for a colored screen.
Sonar waves are received via the transducers. They then sent the sonar signal to the water and the underwater objects are bounced off and picked up again by the transducer. These data are picked up to the main unit which translates the signal into a picture that we can see and understand.
Best value fish finders come with transom mount transducers out of the box. This type of fish finders is the easiest to mount and require very little installation. Thru hull are good when you have grown and your needs are growing.
Cones Angles And Beams
This refers to how wide of a beam is sent from the bottom of your boat into the water. It resembles an upside down ice cream cone. It is very thin and pointy at the top where the transducer is. The more further down it goes, the wider it becomes. The wider the degree of the cone the larger the area that is being covered. The deeper it goes, the wider it becomes and the lower the sensitivity goes.
This transducer cone is available in the range of 9 degrees to 60 degrees with most of them being between 16 and 20 degrees. The best degree point to start with is 20 degrees as it is an excellent point that fish in different water depths.
One of the wonderful feature of a cone is, more than one cone can start to transmit from the same point. A standard transducer will have a single beam. As you advance,you can start using triple, dual beams onwards. The more beams you have, the more water you can cover. If you are planning to go fishing in a lake, go for more beams.
Some best rated fish finders come with these beams, but others you have to upgrade. Though it will cost you more, but it will be a worthwhile cost.
Transducers come made of different materials and for specific fish finders. Those which come with plastic, transom are the best. It is good for casual or sport fishing and it is compatible with most of the boats available on the market, except the pontoons where you will have to mount the transducers somewhere else.
If you happen to use a thru-hull or in-hull transducers, then you will have to use the plastic housing for fiberglass or metal hull. For aluminium or steel hulls, stainless steel housing is recommended. For wood or fiberglass, bronze housing is recommended.
Speed and distance are features on some units and which are important in trolling as it will help you to tell the speed at which you were traveling when the fish strikes. Make sure to have a temperature gauge on board as it will help you find warmer water or locating an ideal temperature for the type of fish you are trying to catch.
Most best rated fish finders have GPS as it helps in case of an emergency. Every boat needs a GPS to provide coordination or help get the trip back home. Using the GPS and some apps,you can be able to draw own maps if you frequent an uncharted body of water or fish on a small lake. You can use programs such as LakeMaster Maps or Lowrance Insight Genesis. Both programs are compatible with Humminbird 1100, 900, 800 and 700 series.