Choosing the right product for you in a sea of fish finders can be quite the task. It's often hard to know what to look for exactly. To make the decision an easier one, we've put together a list which will save everyone precious time, time that's better spent out on the water.
Lots of people tend to argue over their favorite device and create confusion, but our reviews will set the record straight. In any case, you should start by setting a budget which will narrow down your search.
We're not in the business of pushing products; we're here to give a clear and honest overview of the best fish finders on the market. If you're still not sure about what you want to spend your hard earned money on after reading our reviews, we recommend that you take the time to do research on your own.
- Top Rated
- What Types Are Available?
- How Does A Fish Finder Work
- Choosing The Best Fish Finder
GarminSTRIKER Plus 5cv
HawkEyeFishTrax 1C Color Handheld
GarminECHOMAP UHD 63cv
|Screen Size: 5"||Screen Size: 2” x 1.6”||Screen Size: 10.1”||Screen Size: 7"||Screen Size: 6"|
|Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels||Resolution: N/A||Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels||Resolution: 800 x 480 WVGA||Resolution: 480 x 800 pixels|
|Imaging: ClearVü||Imaging: N/A||Imaging: Down Imaging: 125 ft (800 kHz), 250 ft (MEGA), 400 ft (455 kHz); Side Imaging (Side to side): 250 ft (800 kHz), 500 ft (MEGA), 800 ft (455 kHz)||Imaging: DownVision: 600 feet; SideVision: 300 feet; RealVision: 300 feet||Imaging: UHD ClearVü 200 ft.|
|Max Depth: 750 ft||Max Depth: N/A||Max Depth: 1,200 ft (standard transducer); 3,500 ft (optional Airmar CHIRP)||Max Depth: 900 ft||Max Depth: 800 ft.|
|Transducer: GT20-TM||Transducer: FishTrax™ Intelligent Sonar||Transducer: XM 14 HW MSI T||Transducer: RV-100*||Transducer: GT24UHD-TM|
|Transmit Power: N/A||Transmit Power: N/A||Transmit Power: N/A||Transmit Power: N/A||Transmit Power: N/A|
|Frequency: Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz, ClearVü: 260/455/800 kHz||Frequency: 83/200 kHz||Frequency: 50/83/200/455/800 kHz & 1.2 MHz||Frequency: CHIRP 50/200; DownVision/SideVision/RealVision 350 kHz (320-380 kHz)||Frequency: CHIRP: 150-240 kHz; ClearVü: 800 kHz (790-850 kHz)|
Garmin STRIKER Plus 5cv
Let’s cut straight to the chase. The Striker Plus 5cv is not innovating the way we think about fish finders. It’s not Garmin flexing their muscles, showing us the latest cool tech their R&D department has cooked up. If you’re looking for a bleeding edge, top-of-the-line fish finder, this isn’t it.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a high-quality, affordable fish finder, Striker Plus 5cv might just fit the bill. At around $300, this unit is within the price range of most anglers. And with a wonderful out-of-the-box transducer, you can use the Striker Plus 5cv almost anywhere you want to fish.
HawkEye FishTrax 1C Color Handheld
The HawkEye FishTrax 1C Color Handheld (from here on simply called the FishTrax 1C) is a device that’s a bit tricky to review.
Look, we love our tech here at Fish Finder Tech. We’re big fans of feature-dense fish finder/chartplotter combos, capable of imaging, routeing, and a whole lot more.
The FishTrax 1C does none of these things. You’re not getting CHIRP Sonar. You’re not getting bells and whistles.
What you are getting is a simple device, about the size of a GameBoy. You can use it in almost any setup, from a large vessel to a kayak.
This thing finds fish. It does that well – not in any mind-blowing ways, not in any spectacularly innovative ways – but well…that’s what you’re getting – a portable fish finder.
Humminbird SOLIX 10
If you’ve read our HELIX reviews, you know we’re big fans of Humminbird’s high-end fish finders. We were, of course, absolutely thrilled to get our hands on a SOLIX 10.
We’re going to say right out the gate – this thing is expensive. But what you’re getting for the price is one of the best fish finders on the market. Honestly, there are few competitors who can put up a fight against this thing. The SOLIX has some of the best imaging we’ve ever seen. It’s got incredible range. It’s got loads of features.
And, finally, thankfully, it’s got something we want to see on every fish finder from here on out. It has a touchscreen AND buttons controls and – get this – a joystick.
Yes, the innovation that Nintendo masterminded on the N64 has finally reached the world of fish finders.
You’ll see in the pros and cons that the only real knock against this thing is that it’s pricey, and that it doesn’t come bundled with more maps. Prepare for a glowing review:
Raymarine Axiom 7
On the product page for the Axiom 7, Raymarine describes the device as “expandable, so its capabilities can grow, as needed”. That gives you a good idea of what they were looking to do with the Axiom series – create a fish finder/chartplotter that’s compatible with a wide variety of devices.
And boy, did they deliver. The compatibility on this thing is incredible – we didn’t have any drones to test it with, but yes, you can pilot drones with it, too. We’re also big fans of the user interface – the menus on this device are well-laid out and easy to navigate.
Do we have a couple of gripes? Absolutely, and you’ll learn about them in this review. But all in all, Raymarine has done an excellent job with this fish finder. Durable construction, lots of features, and one of the best OSs on the market in LightHouse 3. The Axiom 7 is one of the best fish finders on the market.
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv
While not quite as impressive as its big brothers in the Echomap UHD series, the Echomap UHD 63cv still finds itself in the higher echelon of our reviews.
Why? Because it’s so inexpensive.
There’s no touchscreen, and the transducer that comes with the unit isn’t as impressive as the one that comes with larger Echomap UHD units. Aside from that, the Echomap UHD 63cv has everything you’ll see in other units from the lineup.
You get UHD ClearVü. You get great networking. You get excellent map compatibility. You get ActiveCaptain. You get it all – in a unit that costs way under $1000, including the transducer.
What Types Are Available?
Portable Fish Finders
Often a fish finder or depth finders can be quite an unwieldy device. Many products come with different parts which can make setting them up and taking them off a real hassle. On the other hand, portable fish finders are very easy to carry around. When installed, they are self-contained, they run on batteries, and the transducer is attached to a suction cup. That way you can start finding fish in a matter of minutes.
Portable fish finders usually consist of a few pieces which make them stand out. But, using two different parts doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice quality or space. This is possible with systems that have quick attaching mechanisms. That way you can connect devices with head units or ones that come with a separate transducer. Some transducers even attach to the end of your fishing rod and go underwater.
Portable fish finders or depth finders sometimes need to be connected to the bottom of your boat. But, even if that's the case, you can do it with an attachment system that doesn't require screws or drilling of the hull. This way of installing fish finders is ideal if you don't own your boat or don't want to damage your vessel.
Fish Finders With GPS
Having a fish finder with GPS can make a huge difference. If your fishing trips are on big lakes, for example, and getting lost is easy, then you'll be glad to have a way to know your exact location. Besides that, with a GPS fish finder, you'll be able to keep track of all your favorite places to fish at.
First of all, you should take a look at what kind of maps come with the device you want to buy. Maps come in different forms, but all in all, they let you know where you are and where you're going. Another important thing to consider is getting a GPS fish finder which offers upgrades and updates to its software. One more thing to be aware of is a unit's accuracy. You will want to know where you are within a dozen or so feet.
Finally, a GPS-ready device is going to be either internal or external in its form. If you buy one that has an external unit, you will need to attach it to your boat. Attachment can be a problem if you own a smaller boat or need a portable fish finder which doesn't need installation.
Fish Finders For Kayaks
When it comes to making a kayak fish finder, manufacturers take into account specific conditions. One of which is a profound lack of space in comparison to a regular boat. A person who is in the market for kayak fish finders needs a light, waterproof and sturdy unit. These help to find fish without leaving owners worried about damaging their device. A kayak fish finder also needs to be light, so it doesn't make rowing harder.
One more thing to consider is choosing a device that will mount on your kayak with ease, a device that doesn't need external parts. With such a small vessel, a transducer made for installation on the outside can cause problems.
Another thing to think about is whether you will need GPS. Getting lost on a kayak can happen to anyone in large bodies of water or unfamiliar places. That's why knowing your exact location and where you are going can make a huge difference. After all, you are relying on your strength when out fishing in a kayak. When in a kayak staying on course is crucial; you won't be able to start a motor when you get tired.
How Does A Fish Finder Work
Although many anglers and fishermen know about fish finders or have used them, not everyone understands how they exactly work. They are somewhat complicated devices. But knowing the basics of how they operate will help you use them with greater success. Money can buy the best fish finders, but you will need to invest some time as well if you want to learn how to use them the right way. That's why we have put together this article. We want to show you how you how a fish finder works and get you acquainted with the most important parts.
The transducer on a fish finder is what does most of the work. The transducer sends out reads sonar waves. That way it determines the size, shape and distance of various objects in the water as these waves bounce off of them. Transducers create sonar waves with a crystal that vibrates under electrical current. These vibrations produce sound waves. You can find a few different types of transducers in fish finders that all have pros and cons to them. The application of a fish finder determines the type of transducer you will need.
The other critical component to every fish finder is the display. You will be spending much of your time looking at and interacting with it. What information the transducer collects, the display will be showing. When it comes to screens on fish finders, there's a huge variety. While some are only in black and white, other fish finders come with full-color displays. A full-color screen can give you a refresh rate of up 30 frames per second and a full HD resolution. Some units show gathered information in a rudimentary form, as lines or arches. Other advanced devices use recognizable icons to display different kinds of objects.
Choosing The Best Fish Finder
If you want to choose the best fish finder for you, there're a few things you should do. First of all, you need to know what you are looking for. Most fish finders come with a few essential parts. Learning the basics of how these different parts work separately and together is crucial. With a basic understanding of how these components operate, you can then take advantage of all our reviews. That way you will avoid buying something that doesn't suit your needs.
Fish finders can come in a variety of different specifications. Some have basic features while others have many advanced ones. Some fish finders are for professional use, while others are entry-level devices aimed at people who want to try the technology out. Most importantly of all, the price can vary to a great extent. That's why you should arm yourself with knowledge before spending your hard earned money.