For successful snagging of a fish, correct placement of lure as well as the selection of the territory is crucial.
A good but simple fish finder will detect fish, but it might be unable to expose the target’s whereabouts and precise data about surrounding terrain.
And that will help you manoeuvre the bait in the right direction, or steer your vessel towards productive areas.
It’s very refreshing to know that there are some best fish finders under 400 that have answers to potential impasses that you might face during fishing.
A great fish finder under $400 is laden with some latest sonar technologies to help you promptly zone in on the finned target.
The visuals are remarkable and so is the functioning of navigational features.
The data from all features amalgamates into a perfect recipe for victory: A successful catch! Some exceed your expectations by including networking features and additional storage to give you the best possible value for the bucks spent.
Table of Contents
Best Fish Finder Under $400 [in 2023] Reviews
With a steady flow of newer products in the market, finding a perfect one might become intimidating. We’ve done half of the homework by giving you unvarnished reviews.
The buyer’s guide will answer your remaining queries. Hopefully, your discerning eye will locate the gem.
Top Fish Finder Under $400 Comparison Table
5 Ice Fishing
1. Humminbird 410220-1 – Best Black Fishing Hook Fish Finder Under $400
Those passionate anglers and hobbyists who are all about the win, win and win, Humminbird 410220-1 is the right man for the job – come with the assurance of victory without burning a hole through one’s pocket.
Its Dual Beam Plus with a wider beam searches a large chunk of the area at once or comes back with more precise detail through a narrow beam.
In support of that, the Chirp down imaging sonar has a reach of 300ft towards the bottom, which means it’s just suitable for shallow water.
But, that’s not a loss since the ultra clarity of information gives you a crystal clear picture of the bottom and fish.
The display is a decent 5-inch large, a perfect size especially for kayaks and small watercraft, with a bright viewing and split-screen mechanism.
This is the other magic part that ensures your success against the elusive target. The clear picture exposes the position of fish, fish school and surrounding area without any clutter and noise interference.
For the user’s peace of mind, its installation and controlling processes are kept simple and hassle-free to make sure he/she can get to the chase as quickly as possible.
- Dependable and compact structure.
- Wide display with coloured graphics and split-screen mode.
- Dual BeamPlus and Chirp down imaging capture accurate information of the fish and bottom landscape.
- Installing and running it is a cinch.
- Limited reach restricts its functionality to shallow waters only.
- Accuracy is compromised when there’s current in the water.
Humminbird has introduced the best affordable down imaging fish finder with model 410220-1. Its compact size and high-frequency Chirp digital sonar help anglers catch a large number of fish in shallow waters.
2. Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv – Best Value Fish Finder Under $400 with Cv20-TM transducer
Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv shows you how to double your investment. Under $400, it’s like a Christmas deal.
Not only there’s a Chirp ClearVu along with traditional sonar to guarantee quick detection of the fish and thorough view of the bottom, but the target separation is also remarkable.
Say goodbye to small, hazy and cluttered images that dampen the joy of potential catch; the display is 7” large with a promise of crisp and vivid exposure of fish, contours and plantation. Here comes your chance to throw the lure at the exact spot to hook the target.
What’s more appealing is that the controlling mechanism of this model is very straightforward, making sure nothing distracts you from the actual task.
To make things more straightforward, it employs a GPS and QuickDraw Contour software. So, whether you want to keep a diary of waypoints and routes leading to productive spots or sketch contour maps carrying your input, it’s prepared to answer your commands.
More impressively, the integration of built-in Wi-Fi gives you rapid access to ActiveCaptian app and maps of other fishermen, enabling you to comfortably approach productive territories.
- Inclusion of the transducer makes it an economical purchase.
- Traditional sonar paired with ClearVu scan exposes bottom structure and fish location with accuracy.
- Wide display with scintillating pictures of sonar returns.
- Easy to navigate.
- GPS and software for contour mapping help anglers reach fruitful areas.
- Built-in Wi-Fi for further assistance.
- There are no pre-installed maps.
- Doesn’t have the capacity to load maps.
Regardless of the limitations concerning mapping, Garmin Striker Plus is an excellent value fish finder, thanks to the implementation of multiple nifty features. Its sonar features have a strong affinity for finned targets, hence, making sure you always return with at least one fish to grill.
3. Garmin Striker Plus 5cv – Top Pick overall Fish Finder Under $400
This model by Garmin is identical to our previous product in many ways. The major difference is in the display.
You must have guessed by now from the title that the size of the display, though small and portable, is ideal for kayaks and small vessels. Don’t worry because the portability doesn’t come at the expense of the quality of the image.
The clarity view is clearer and carries more detail than seen on the majority of other portable models.
Hobbyists and occasional fishers prefer Striker 5cv because it has combined the strength of traditional sonar and Chirp ClearVu, which brings them one step closer to becoming fishing gurus.
The said sonar functions return with a detailed view of the underwater terrain. When every nook and cranny is exposed, how can a fish escape? Exactly, it can’t!
Striker Plus 5cv is all about business, which is evident through built-in GPS and QuickDraw Contour.
The former helps you identify waypoints, landmarks and routes of the territories you have travelled throughout the day while the latter gives you necessary information regarding the bottom contours of the selected terrain.
The only thing that most anglers have complained about is the lack of SDcard slot, which means you won’t be able to download updates or store data.
- Compact and tough structure.
- ClearVu scan offers an in-depth view of the underwater area.
- Clutterless and bright display with sunlight readability.
- Beginner-friendly controls.
- Built-in navigational features help accurately reach fruitful spots.
- Deprived of an instruction manual and SDcard slot.
- GPS gives glitches.
For beginners and on-budget adventurers, Garmin Striker Plus 5cv is a great value choice. The unit has a few shortcomings yet the overall utility of the device is better than many others, courtesy of effective sonar and navigational functions.
4. Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5 SplitShot – Best Top Rated Fish Finder Under $400
Great follow greatness which is why budding anglers and passionate anglers, who are also a bit parsimonious, go for Lowrance Hook Reveal 5.
The secret sauce for its greatness is Splitshot transducer that supports both traditional Chirp sonar and Downscan.
The chirp sonar gives you a better view of the area below the vessel while Downscan Imaging returns with high-quality images of fish-holding structures.
Another magic trick is done through the Fish Reveal feature. It combines the target separation aspect of the Chirp and structure images to highlight the fish’s position on its sunlight-readable bright display. And bingo, you have hooked first prey of the day!
Ready, steady, go…the autotuning sonar will automatically adjust the settings according to the changing fishing conditions, making sure it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to bring you the desired results.
Speaking of speedy results, its GPS plotter and Genesis Live for customised mapping help you navigate swiftly and accurately to the fish-holding spots. If that’s too much homework, don’t worry you can skip it without fearing failure.
Thanks to built-in inland mapping containing comprehensive maps of around 4,000 US lakes, you’ll have a better idea of the bottom terrain of a specific waterbody.
- Comes with a SplitShot transducer supporting Chirp sonar and Downscan.
- Fish Reveal highlights fish on the screen.
- The Solarmax display exhibits an ultraclear image even under direct sunlight.
- GPS plotter and customized mapping help anglers quickly reach fish-holding territories.
- Autotuning sonar makes its use more simple.
- You’ll have to get an SDcard for maps.
- Networking features are absent.
Those anglers who want to get the best view of underwater terrain without constantly having to fuss over settings should consider Lowrance Hook Reveal 5. It’s the best fish finder GPS combo under $400 because the unit comes with a SplitShot transducer that supports high-precision sonar functions.
5. Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5x – Best Brand SplitShot Fish Finder Under $400
If you need a job done right, don’t look further; Lowrance HOOK 5x with SplitShot transducer is an awesome fish finder that will instantly track the required fish for you.
Like the above Lowrance model, the SplitShot transducer of this model also has compatibility with Chirp sonar and Downscan Imaging. In short, it will be hot on the trail of the elusive gilled opponent.
The detailed imaging of the surrounding territory paired with the on-point position of fish – revealed through Fish Reveal feature – projected on its 5” wide Solarmax screen makes the whole hunt a cinch.
Not only the screen is sun-readable, but it’s also waterproof. Meaning, day or night, sunlight or cloudy, you will know where the target is.
There’s a hitch though. The unit is devoid of preloaded maps. We would advise you to not lose hope because the bump is temporary as it makes up for the loss through a high-precision GPS plotter and software Genesis Live, for customized bathymetric maps.
You would have the liberty to jot down waypoints, routes or sketch personal contour maps and save the data in an SDcard for future references. Note that you’ll have to load SDcard because it doesn’t come with one.
- The weatherproof display boasts of a vivid pictorial representation of the aquatic realm.
- In-depth view of the underwater landscape.
- Precisely identifies the fish position.
- GPS plotter and personalised contour mapping allow anglers to smoothly sail through a territory.
- SplitShot transducer is included.
- Devoid of SDcard and pre-installed maps.
- Lack of networking features might be a putoff.
When budget-consciousness is putting a cap on your choices, go for Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5x. The unit is devoid of some advanced features, but the inclusion of a powerful SplitShot transducer and incredible GPS and plotter features compensate the loss, not to mention make it the best fish finder GPS combo under $500.
6. Deeper Smart – Best Affordable Chirp Sonar Fish Finder Under $400
Whether you are looking for the best castable fish finder or the best portable fish finder for ice fishing, Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar fulfils the required criteria.
Costing around $300, many fishermen brush it aside as a bit expensive, but the manufacturers offer a 5-year warranty thereby assuring its reliability.
Small or big, there isn’t a fish that will elude its radar. Triple beam frequency is in action here fellas. No wonder you get 100% accurate results of the fish location at a record speed.
Like other models of Smart Sonar series, this one also possesses a casting and depth range of 330ft. Be mindful that the sonar beams become active at 1/2ft depth.
Again, like its cousins, this one also permits you to draw maps highlighting fish-saturated zones and crucial waypoints; but, what earns it the throne is its ability to transform into a fishing journal to carry a record of the previous fishing ventures.
Photos, scans, maps and personal notes, all will be there for review whenever you want to reminisce those exciting moments.
What tops the chart is its quality to transform into a trip planner. Its Fish Deeper app allows you to map that waterbody where you plan to go for your next expedition.
- Incredible quality.
- Triple beam frequency is capable of accurately detecting fish both in frozen and regular running water.
- Can be cast as far as 330ft.
- Swiftly and accurately locates fish within 1/2ft to 330ft range.
- Capable of keeping a lucid account of previous expeditions.
- Fish deeper app for mapping a waterbody in advance.
- Relatively expensive.
- Instruction manual is like rocket science.
Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar is among the top-rated castable fish finders, despite a surge in price, because of its high-accuracy, fast sonar function and multi-talented design. Other than the primary function, it can also act as a fishing diary and planner, depending on whatever you need it to be at the given time.
7. Lowrance Elite-3X – Best Color Sonar Fish Finder Under $400
Many anglers claim that Lowrance Elite-3X is among the best affordable fish finders for kayaks and small boats. The breakdown of the product’s features backs this claim.
For instance, despite the portable size, the powerful dual-frequency waves (83/200kHz) can reach up to 800ft depth to accurately identify bottom terrain, flora and fish.
The portability comes at the expense of the screen size, which is very small for the liking of some fishers, but its coloured LCD nature along with waterproofing quality and backlit format recompense the loss.
So, though small, the screen not only showcases a vibrant view of the marine environment even in low lighting but also assure you of its unwavering commitment to deliver results regardless of the accidental water splashes thrown at it.
Peachier is that certain areas on the screen can be zoomed to get a better understanding of the displayed data.
In case you fear that, by pure mischance, you might still miss the catch, Lowrance has employed Fish ID.
It will blow an alarm when a fish will appear in the sonar’s boundary and highlight distinct fish icons for your targeted species to ensure it doesn’t slip away from your grasp.
It’s a basic fish finder, so there aren’t any fancy navigating features. However, it measures water temperature and has 11 backlight shades to ensure clarity of the view in every weather condition.
- Well-constructed, portable device.
- Optimum depth range is up to 800ft.
- Backlit, coloured display with multitude adjustments exhibit a sharp and vibrant picture.
- Fish ID with audible alarm instantly brings attention to the target.
- Minion-sized screen.
- Lacks navigational assistance.
Low budget will never lead you towards a cheap fish finder with shoddy performance because Lowrance has manufactured Elite-3X, an incredible inexpensive fish finder, to save the day. It lacks flashy features like GPS but the portable structure laden with other nifty features promise astounding results when kayaking.
8. Garmin 53cv – Best echoMap Chirp Fish Finder Under $400
When it comes to the best affordable fish finders, there’s hardly any name that can outdo Garmin. EchoMap 53cv with a transducer offers a sneak peek into the manufacturer’s wizardry.
Amateurs and passionate anglers, both cannot stop raving about it because of the uncomplicated installation and running processes. Plus, the decent size is ideal for small boats.
The chirp sonar together with ClearVu gives you a detailed and clutterless view of the marine realm to help you familiarize with the surrounding terrain and flora and at the same time locate fish.
On its 5” bright screen, you can see fish arches moving around along with structure and plantation with a photographic-like clarity.
As icing on the cake, it possesses sonar recording and rewinding options to allow you to get a glimpse of a specific sonar reading in case you missed something on the first read.
Unlike the Striker series, this one comes equipped with preloaded in-depth maps of 17,000 Canadian lakes and a high-sensitivity GPS that updates positions several times in a minute to prevent you from going astray.
No brainer anglers call it one of the best fish finders for freshwater.
- Specifically designed for freshwater.
- GPS updates position several times in a minute and stores up to 5000 waypoints.
- Pre-installed high-definition maps of lakes.
- Chirp and ClearVU sonar portray distinctive fish arches and icons for structure and objects.
- Sonar recording and rewinding functions.
- Instruction manual contains insufficient material.
- Limited application.
Garmin echoMap 53cv is regarded as the best reasonably-priced fish finder for freshwater fishing. True to its claim, the unit arms anglers with outstanding sonar functions and navigation system for a thrilling trip.
9. Garmin Striker Plus 5 – Best Design Bundle Fish Finder Under $400
Striker Plus 5 is the father of Striker 7 of the same spectacular Striker series by Garmin entailing a more budget-conscious price and a space-efficient compact size.
It’s one of the best ice fishing fish finders under $400 because, one, it bears the insignia of one of the fish finder’s pundits, Garmin; second…you are about to find out.
The compactness of the size doesn’t bring down the quality and clarity of the scenes displayed. Now for the ice fishing part, it carries a GT8HW-IF transducer, which not only makes it a powerful tool for ice fishing but also extremely cost-effective.
The unit knows how to distinguish between a variety of fish species and other underwater objects to help anglers immediately isolate the target of their interest.
Catching a fish has become extremely convenient as the built-in ClearVu sonar offers an insight into the aquatic realm, making you accustomed to every nook and cranny of the terrain.
The unit has employed an ice flasher mode to help you closely follow your jig and figure out the depth of the fish. That way you can promptly manoeuvre the bait to successfully seize the desired prey.
Do you know what else you can manoeuvre accurately? Your vessel’s direction, because the built-in GPS and personalized cartography will not just help you navigate, but also enable you to save important fish-active zones for future trips.
Finally, it includes a packing case to keep the gadget and other gears nice and clean after the job is done.
- Space-efficient, economical device.
- Special transducer and flasher setting for ice fishing application.
- Display promises a bright and clutterless portrayed of the aquatic activity.
- Personalized cartography and inherent GPS significantly boost productivity.
- A protective packing bag is included.
- Bereft of pre-installed maps.
- Hardcore fishermen might find its limited features less appealing.
The name and the special transducer says its suitable for only ice fishing; but, with a right transducer, it can garner desirable results in other seasons as well. The compact structure and reasonable price make it a very cost-effective option for hobbyists and beginners.
10. Humminbird PiranhaMax – Best Color Fish Finder Under $400 with Down-Imaging
It’s quite a feat to insert the latest technology like Down Imaging in a low-end fish finder like Humminbird 409690-1 PiranhaMax 197C. But, Humminbird is famous for accomplishing the impossible, so no surprise here.
It’s not flattery to call this an incredible fish finder for shallow water because, hail to its Down Imaging, the unit will give a precise view of the happenings of the world directly below your boat to a 320ft depth.
With dual-beam sonar, you can expand the search to a 600ft depth to find out about the bottom landscape and fish activity.
Its portability is both a blessing and a curse. Former, because the space-efficient design can be conveniently accommodated on small watercraft. But, if you want to enjoy large pictures in high resolution, the shrunk screen will displease you.
However, it can still give you a vibrant image with its 256-colour display that exposes the sonar results with clarity.
Chomping at the bit to flaunt your first prey of the day? Luckily, you will not have to wait for long to do that because features like Fish ID, fish and depth alarms will make sure you snag a target as soon as it appears on the unit’s radar.
Lastly, navigating all the functions is so simple that even an amateur will run it like a champ.
- Portable and cost-effective unit.
- Dual-beam sonar supplemented with Down Imaging outclass the competitors.
- Multiple alarms and Fish ID prevent the escape of the fish.
- 256-Colour display showcases a crisp and clear view of the information.
- Beginner-friendly functions.
- Small screen might be a nuisance.
- This entry-level device isn’t suitable for seasoned fishermen.
PiranhaMax 197C (409690-1) is the best inexpensive and entry-level fish finder by Humminbird. Despite the small size and low cost, the device is loaded with an impressive technological chomp to help new entrants and occasional fishers ace the game.
Buyer’s Guide: By Selecting to The Top Best Fish Finder Under $400 [in 2023]
It’s a misconception that the dwindling price of a fish finder will completely rob you of the choices, not to mention force you to settle for less-than-ideal performance. We can mention several crucial features that could help you make the most of a situation if you make sure they are present in the unit you chose.
A transducer is the essence of a fish finder as, without it, the fish finder is just a toy. Not all transducers are suitable for every application. For instance, a unit with a power of 200-300W is effective only for shallow waters. Anything above these figures will be better for exploration of deep seas and oceans.
As for the frequency, a high-frequency sonar beam will horizontally travel through to give you a precise view of a larger segment, but it will not go deep.
Low-frequency waves penetrate hundreds of feet deep, but you will have to sacrifice on the detailing. Devices that contain both frequencies are the best as you can adapt according to the nature of the territory to get optimum coverage and details.
Many transducers possess high-efficiency latest sonar technologies, yet they disappoint you when water is brack, there is current in the water or higher levels of salinity. The obstacles below compromise the accuracy of sonar echoes. Therefore, confirm whether the transducer is for freshwater, saltwater or both. A cost-effective and wise choice is to select a versatile unit that works in all types of water.
Despite the restricted budget, many fish finders employ chirp sonar as well as Down Imaging. Chirp sonar is better than traditional sonar because it garners more details and promises exceptional clarity. If the chosen device has a Down Imaging scan, even better.
It will give you the best possible view of the activities taking place directly beneath your boat, eliminating chances of mistakes in recognition of fish, structure and bottom flora.
The more versatility a unit can offer, the better it is to opt for it. Instead of buying two separate sonar fishfinders for coverage and depth, an astute move is to choose dual-beam sonar. It will offer horizontal and vertical search – depth and broad coverage sonars – side by side so that you don’t have to choose between them.
At this price range, expecting a plasma-like giant display window will be stretching it too far. That doesn’t mean you should settle for a puny screen devoid of colours and controls. 3”- 5” size is a safe option when portability is your main concern.
However, make sure the screen has a backlighting format and coloured graphics to ensure bright and intelligible pictures regardless of the visibility conditions.
Some models like Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv come with as big as 7” display and coloured visuals. So, if you want to enjoy bigger pictures, Striker Plus 7Cv is a worthy option.
Also, make sure the screen is weather-protected to avoid glitches due to accidental contact with water. It is even better if the display claims to be sun-readable. It assures that dazzling sunlight won’t be hampering your ability to observe the data correctly.
Furthermore, look for a split-screen option. You see, the advantage of having multiple pieces of information at one time lets you factor in all the vital variables for an inescapable strategy. However, this feature is most beneficial on screens larger than 4 inches. Else, you will have to strain your eyes to comprehend puny figures and symbols.
GPS & Mapping
Best fishfinder under $400 is only best if it gives you more than basic functions. It is better to check that the device has at least a few navigational functions.
Having a built-in GPS and pre-installed maps with adequate details will help you sail smoothly in any water territory. If a device is lacking built-in maps, then at least make sure it has custom mapping software to make up for the loss.
After all, you don’t want to go round and round in circles in search of a productive spot and lose your way in the process.
Since most of the models we reviewed above require mounting, it is better to check if they all carry the necessary mounting gear and brackets to avoid inconvenience. Look for a unit that has a hassle-free mounting procedure and is flexible. That way you can adjust the angle or position of the setup to get the best possible outcome according to the situation.
Also, a temporary mounting setup is better as it doesn’t compromise the portability – one can easily uninstall the entire structure to fix it to another boat or carry it in a bag if needed.
I wouldn’t advise you to take your chances and select a unit with a somewhat complicated operation and setup. It’s a Big NO, even after the said unit excels in overall value, reliability and utility. I prefer units like Garmin Striker Plus &cv, Humminbird Helix 5 and Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 and 5x that don’t offer nifty features at the expense of convenient use. Such fishermen-friendly units are safe choices for all, seasoned anglers, hobbyists and entry-level users.
What is the difference between a Splitshot and a Tripleshot transducer?
A Splitshot transducer has a traditional sonar for tracking bait and pinpointing fish. It also performs DownScan Imaging to highlight the structure lying directly beneath a vessel.
On the other hand, a tripleshot transducer offers a three-way search, i.e. downwards and on both sides of a boat. It does what a splitshot transducer does alongside additional Down and Side Imaging.
Which is the best fishfinder for the price?
The list is never-ending. But, if I am to share my top choices, they will be;
- Lowrance Hook Reveal
- Garmin Striker and Striker Plus – low to mid-range units under 400 bucks.
- Humminbird Helix 5
- Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar
Do all fishfinders under $400 are GPS combos?
Not necessarily. The lower your price graph goes, the possibility of finding a reliable unit laden with the best GPS and other navigational facilities lessens. However, Garmin Striker Plus (5cv and 7cv), Striker Plus 5 Ice Bundle, EchoMap 53cv, Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro and Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 and 5X are a few names having the best GPS combos and overall value.
Which fishfinder is the best for kayaks and small boats?
Garmin Striker Plus 5, EchoMpa 53cv, Lowrance Hook 5, Hook Reveal 5, Humminbird Helix 5 and Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro are some of the popular units best for small vessels, including Kayaks, Minn Kota and canoes. Their ability to track fish, structure and fish-saturated zones unerringly makes them the best fishfinders GPS combo for the money.
Do GPS and chart-plotting features of cheap and portable fishfinders work?
The answer is an emphatic YES! So far, I have tested and practised with dozens of low-costing combination fishfinders, a good number of them correctly gauged depth, fish, fish-holding sanctuaries and structure. Many also determine water temperature accurately. You can inspect the following few for reference;
- Garmin Striker Plus 7cv and echoMap 53cv
- Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 – entire Hook Reveal lineup has the best mapping technology.
- Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro.
As you’ve come this far, it means we have done the job right. The above candid reviews of the top 10 fish finders under 400 along with a thorough and easy-to-comprehend buyer’s guide must have given you a good idea of what to expect from a fish finder in the given price range. I know how crucial it is to pick the best fish finder for a successful getaway on waters, that’s why I have selected only the time-tested products for your consideration. You can choose any of the mentioned models without fear because each will give you an exhilarating experience on your next fishing venture.
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