Best Fish Finder Review and Buying Guide
Whether you go ice fishing, lake fishing, or ocean fishing, the whole point of the exercise obviously is to find and catch fish. However, you can’t see very deep into the water, which is a problem when it comes to knowing where to fish. You also need to know about the bottom contours of the lake or sea bed, plus where obstacles are.
If you go fishing with just your rod, you might never even come across a single fish, at least if you do not know where to look. However, this is where a fish finder becomes useful. These finders use sonar to help map the bottom of the seabed, plus they help find fish of all sizes. Fish finders really are convenient tools and a prudent investment for the serious fisher. We are going to help you find the best fish finder by reviewing five very good products, so let’s get to it right now.
Best Fish Finder Reviews
In terms of moderately priced fish finders, the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder is hands-down one of our favorites. It is easy to install, fairly easy to get the hang of, and it can find fish at deep depths, plus it can build bottom contour maps as well.
The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder comes in various display sizes. You can choose from a 3.5 inch, 5 inch, and 7 inch display size. The display is color and high resolution, with good contrast, plus the larger sizes really do make it easy to see what is going on with the fish underneath you. The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder provides super-clear images that are almost like photographs, so you can see exactly what is underneath you.
The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder comes with a waypoint map so you can easily mark and remember things like seaweed buildups, rocks, brush, and other underwater obstacles. What is also pretty cool is that it has a large maximum depth. It can go down to 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater. Also, is the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder can tell you how fast your boat is going, which comes in handy for several reasons.
The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder comes with a high-quality CHIRP sonar function. This provides you with a deep and wide sweep at continuous frequencies which provide you with a wide range of information, showing fish arches, locations, obstacles, and bottom contours. The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder comes with a flasher function to display information in the classic flasher format, something that is ideal for techniques like ice fishing and jigging. We also like the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder for its keyed interface and relative ease of use and installation.
The good part about the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder is that it comes in at a good price but is still very functional. It has accurate representations, near-photographic image quality, it’s fairly easy to use, has a display that comes in various sizes, a really deep maximum working depth, and it doesn’t even cost that much.
The bad part about the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder is that it is not that durable, and after prolonged use, the software can be a bit buggy. It’s not the most durable item out there and it should not get wet by any means.
This is an interesting fish finder to go with if you are doing small-time fishing, or also just if you are stationary. This is a bobber sonar fish finder that uses your smartphone as a display. It’s quite functional, it’s handy, and it does a great job at what it is built for, plus it’s not that expensive.
The ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder is a stationary bobber. This means that you just place it in the water beside your boat, and it will float there, gathering information as events happen. It connects to your phone display using Bluetooth.
Some people really like this wireless aspect for convenience and the fact that you can use a simple phone application as the display. However, some people have noted that weather and rough water can affect the Bluetooth connection in a negative way. On a side note, the application for the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder can be used on both iOS and Android, plus the app is free.
You can attach fishing line to it so it does not float away from you, although this is not included. We like that the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder comes with an easy-to-spot LED beacon; in the event that it gets away from you, at least there is a light on top of it to help locate the fish finder.
This is a very convenient device to use, although it does have somewhat limited functionality. For one, its maximum operational depth is 135 feet. This is OK for lakes and shallow waters, but not for oceans or other deep water fishing applications. Another downfall is that it needs batteries. It has a maximum battery life of 10 hours, although it usually never lasts that long. However, it does have rechargeable batteries, which is beneficial.
With that being said, the sonar readings are very accurate. You will be able to see small and large fish alike, plus you will be able to see bottom contours as long as the bottom of the water is within range of the bobber. Of course, what helps create such accurate and high-quality images is the fact that you are using your smartphone screen for the display.
It also comes with trip and spot logging, weather info, trip info, optional social media share features, fish strike alarms, temperature readings, lunar calendars, and a few other useful features too.
The good part about the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder is that it is wireless and it bobs in the water. It also has a plethora of useful features that come in handy when fishing. The ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder is also not very expensive, and fairly durable too.
The bad part about the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder is that the Bluetooth connection does not always work so well. Second, a maximum operational depth of 135 feet is not too impressive. Finally, the battery life on this item is just not that great either.
The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder is a very cost-effective and affordable fish finder to keep in mind. It has a great warranty, it is highly portable, and has a pretty decent maximum operation depth. There is also the fact that it is fairly easy to use.
The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder features a 25-foot transducer cable with a round transducer and a transducer float. You can let it float from the boat up to 25 feet from you or you can attach it to a pole or a boat, plus it can be used for ice fishing. It’s quite the versatile fish finder. We like that it is small and portable, because you can easily pack it into your tackle box and take it with you. The fact that you can use it for so many different fishing applications is a bonus.
The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder has a decent display. It’s not huge, nor is it a color display, so it could be a bit better, but it is fairly easy to read, plus it has a backlight for those dark days. It can detect and display water depth, weeds, bushes and brush, rocks, and bottom contours too; this is quite important for many different fishing applications.
The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder has many different settings. For one, you can choose between 5 different sensitivity levels. You can also use the battery saver mode, fish alarm mode, and a few others too. What is also nice is that you can have the water depth displayed in meters or feet.
In terms of its operation depth, you can use the Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder to find fish in depths ranging from 3 feet to 328 feet. That is not bad at all, and although it’s not the best for very deep water fishing applications, it should do just fine in most other circumstances. Keep in mind that this fish finder can handle both extreme cold and heat, which is important to note.
The good part about the Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder is that it can be used for lake fishing, ice fishing, and offshore ocean fishing too. It can handle extreme temperatures and is fairly durable. We like the display because it is backlit and easy to read, plus it has a fairly good operational depth as well.
One of the negatives about the Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder is that the transducer cable is only 25 feet long, which is not impressive. The readings are not 100% accurate, which can be problematic.
If you are looking for an affordable fish finder, one that will not make you go over budget, but still gets the job done, the Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder is a great option to keep in mind. It has a nice display, it is accurate, and easy to mount as well.
The Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder features a high resolution 4-inch color display with a backlight. We like the display because its large size and the backlight make it very easy to read. The fact that it has a high level of contrast and resolution is very useful. The bottom line is that it is very easy to see fish, the bottom, and all kinds of obstacles. Also, the fact that it is easy to use is another big bonus; many fish finders just are not easy to use, but this one is.
The Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder comes with the transducer included, which is obviously quite important, because this is the piece of gear which actually puts out the sonar and finds fish. In terms of mounting, the display itself comes with an easy-mount setup for the dashboard of your boat, or you can just put in on your kayak. The transducer also comes with an easy mount system so you can easily attach it to the bottom of your boat or kayak for accurate fish finding.
Something that we also like about the Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder is that the sonar cone is very wide. It gives you a very wide view of what is going on underneath and around your boat. On that same note, the effective operational depth is fairly deep – a few hundred feet at the very least. It also comes with various features like fish alarms and bottom contouring.
The good part about the Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder is that it can be easily mounted, which goes for both the transducer and the display. On that same note, this fish finder is also very easy to use in general, with a very easy-to-understand menu. It has a decent range, a wide sonar cone, and a nice display too.
The bad part about the Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder is that it the battery life is not all that good. Also, the software can take a while to load, plus it is a little buggy sometimes.
Although this is by far the most expensive fish finder on this list today, it is not only a fish finder, but also a GPS mapping unit, which is really cool. Of course, it also does a great job at actually finding fish, quite accurately at that, with the added bonus of having GPS mapping capabilities.
The Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder features a beautiful 5-inch color WVGA display. In other words, the display is nice and big, plus backlit too, so it is very easy to read no matter the occasion. At the same time, it also features high contrast and high resolution images so you can always tell exactly what is being displayed.
The Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder comes with a GPS base map of all US waters, both within the country and off the coast. It already has thousands of maps preloaded onto it for accurate fishing. These maps show the position you are in, plus they already come loaded with sea bed contours. Besides that, the Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder also comes with a micro-SD slot so you can load new maps onto it as well.
The Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder does a great job in terms of cartography. It can easily map bottom contours, rocks, brushes, seaweed, and other such things with ease. It also displays the depth of the water, as well as the depth at which the fishing are hanging out. The auto-chart feature can create new, accurate, and up-to-date maps.
The really impressive part about the Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder is that it has a maximum operation depth of 2,500 feet, which is many times more than even the second best option on this list today. It can give you precise readings on fish size and location, plus contours, temperature, water turbulence, and more.
The good part about the Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder is that it is very versatile; it is both a GPS and fish finder. The GPS feature is very accurate, you can create new maps on the go, and load on more maps too. The fish finder uses great CHIRP sonar and has an insane maximum working depth, plus the display is very nice as well.
The bad part about the Humminbird 410210-1 GPS G2 Fish Finder is that it is by far the most expensive option of fish finder on this list today. Also, it has so many features that it can be a bit confusing and hard to use.
Fish Finder Buyers Guide
There are a few important things to research before you purchase any fish finder, so let’s talk about these real quick.
One thing to pay attention to is the angle of the sonar cone. The wider the cone is, the wider the view you will get on your display, thus showing you more information.
There are still good black and white fish finder screens out there. These have the bonus of consuming less energy, but on the other hand, color screens are much easier to read.
Simply put, the higher the frequency of the sonar, the more detailed the images will be. Having a fish finder with multiple frequencies is always a good option.
You want your fish finder to have a lot of power in relation to the operational frequency. The higher the power level, the deeper it can go.