Fish, fish everywhere, yet not a single fish to catch.
There’s nothing worse than coming empty-handed from a daylong fishing excursion, mainly because you decided to rely on your guessing ability to locate the elusive target.
Fishing has evolved into a game of chess which means you will checkmate your target, the desired fish, only with the help of the best fish finder.
It has a powerful transducer supporting advanced sonar functions and software for navigation and mapping. Together they enable you to reach productive territories without delay and make calculated moves to seize the prey instantly.
The displays are also of admirable quality and clarity to ensure you have got a clear and bright view of everything the sonar gathers about the aquatic environment.
In a Hurry? Check Our Top 3 Recommendations:
- Humminbird Helix7 NAV (Top Pick Overall & Best Selling)
- Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2-9 (Features Pack 3 in 1 Transducer)
- Garmin UHD 94SV (Best Value with Chartplotter Feature)
Table of Contents
Best Fish Finder 2023 Reviews – List Updated
To err is human, but you cannot afford a wrong judgement here as not only will it cost you money but also the whole adventure; it will be a “Tai Tai Phiss”.
To keep you from such distress, this article includes comprehensive reviews of the top 10 best fish finders with a thorough buyer’s guide. Upon reaching the last word of this article, hopefully, you’ll have found the model of your dreams.
Top Fish Finders Comparison Table
1- Lowrance HOOK2 5 – Best Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer
If you are looking for an exceptional quality fish finder, the Hook2 5- 5inch Fish Finder is one of the best Lowrance designs.
It is an amazing unit that perfectly fits into the best category because it comes with multiple features. The device has a five-inch size that fits on small boats easily.
It comes with an auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus that give you more time for fish hunting. It is easy to operate the device and it will take less time to deal with the settings.
It has a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone that gives you double the coverage of traditional fish finders. A user can easily set up the device because of its single transducer that you can mount on the trolling motor, inside the hull, or on the transom.
The Hook2 5- 5 inch Fish Finder uses a single SplitShot transducer that includes DownVu, and CHIPR sonar. These give a great potential to find the fish with bottom mapping and a 300-foot cone. It provides clear views underwater and shows depth, structure, and fish.
The Lowrance Hook2 5 also comes with preloaded C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps with 1-foot contours for over 3000 lakes plus standard coverage of an additional 9000 lakes. It is the best fish finder GPS combo that is best considered for recreational fishermen.
- It is a great quality device.
- It comes with single SplitShot Transducer that provides amazing sonar.
- It comes with preloaded C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps.
- Its auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus give you more time for fish hunting.
- It has a smaller screen.
Lowrance Hook2 5 is the best option for hobbyists and recreational fishermen. Its clear display and sonar images give you a crisp view of the underwater world. Similarly, the preloaded GPS and inland maps ensure you spend time in lucrative fishing spots and return victorious.
2. Humminbird Helix7 NAV – Best Overall Top Pick Fish Finder
Humminbird Helix7 MSI came runners up on our list because like our top pick, that’s also a model of the Helix 7 series, this one is also one of the best Humminbird fishfinders.
Instead of just searching the area beneath a boat, HELIX7 MSI can expand the thorough search to either side of the vessel up to a 125ft distance, thanks to Mega Side Imaging.
The display is also the same 7-inch wide and equally flawless as the above model. Its TFT screen promises you enchanting images of the beauty beneath the water surface.
The sonar scans return with such precise and sharp identification of fish and bottom landscape that you can instantly do the math about the target’s whereabouts.
On top of that, you can decide how much more or less sonar information you want to be presented on the screen simultaneously to prevent cluttering.
To help you seize the day, the unit comes equipped with GPS, built-in maps and software for personalised mapping to make sure you means available to directly approach productive regions or highlight those waypoints and fish hotspots that you deem important.
- Chirp sonar reveals data with astounding clarity and detail.
- MSI can travel up to 125ft underneath as well as on the sides of a vessel to track fish.
- Easy-to-comprehend settings for sonar returns and split-screen.
- Bright and vibrant viewing window.
- Basemap charts are a bit disappointing.
- Less-experienced anglers will find its learning curve a bit vexing.
Humminbird Helix7 MSI (410950-1) has all the tricks up its sleeves to ensure hardcore anglers have everything at the tip of their fingers to successfully seize a fish. The unit lacks in certain areas but that doesn’t bring down its overall great value.
3. Humminbird Helix 9 + G3N – Best 9-Inch-Display Fish Finder
One look at this gem will help you discover how Humminbird is monopolizing the fishfinders’ business. From price to the last inch of its pristine construction, every aspect mirrors “top-notch”.
The unit comes with highly-desired Mega Side and Down Imaging, which there’s nothing that’s beyond your range.
For a 200ft radius, the territory is yours to explore, whether it’s straight downwards or on the sides of a boat.
Dual Spectrum Chirp sonar permits you to either initiate a general scan of a large segment or fixate on a narrower portion for maximum details.
The good thing is you’ll get sharp and well-identified fish arches and bottom structures to ensure no confusion allows the target to elude your snare.
If you’re an aesthetic person like me, the 9” large, sleek and shiny display complemented with the easily intelligible keyed menu will instantly make you head over heels in love with this unit.
The images are revealed in such a bright and real-life manner that one could easily get drowned in their vibrancy and most likely forget about the hunt altogether.
Seasoned anglers who’ve used this model will vouch for its high rate of target detection because of its high-precision built-in GPS and Humminbird Basemap.
Together they not only keep you abreast of your present coordinates but also make you aware of the surrounding territory.
Finally, you can sketch contour maps with AutoChart Live software to fill in the missing information, if there is any.
- Top-notch fishfinder is suitable for multiple applications.
- Variable Chirp sonar functions including Mega SI+ improve the outcome.
- The display is 9” and complemented with true-life pictures and an easy-to-use keyed interface.
- Built-in GPS and Basemap help anglers conveniently reach productive fishing zones.
- Comes with necessary hardware including transducer and mounting gear.
- Navigating the keyed menu is pain at first.
- The unit glitches in rough or bumpy water.
- Mounting transducer to trolling motor is tricky.
Humminbird Helix9 Mega SI+ costs a fortune but it’s a fabulous fish finder nonetheless, proven by its accurate Mega SI+, detailed Basemap and high-precision GPS. navigating through the keyed menu might be a pain at first, but remarkable performance is worth the effort.
4. Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2-9 – Best Active Imaging 3-in-1 Transducer Fish Finder
Lowrance has almost reached the epitome of perfection with its premium model Elite-9 Ti2-9. The price tag is no doubt high but so is the list of majestic features that it brings to the game.
First, its gigantic, plasma-like screen supporting Solarmax quality and high-resolution imagery is hands down the crowning jewel of this model.
Day in, and day out, it exhibits a crisp and distinguishing view of the marine landscape, containing structures and objects of interest in vibrant colours for instant recognition.
I would advise you to leave all the doubts and scepticism at home because in the presence of chirp sonar paired with efficient downscan and sidescan, missing a fish or confusing it with weed or structure is not possible.
Speaking of doubts, there’s no place for doubting your navigational prowess too as the unit comes integrated with detailed maps of thousands of lakes and software, C-Map Genesis Live, for personalized mapping carrying secret fish hotspots and important waypoints.
The good thing is that it has wireless connectivity too. So, you can share information regarding important waypoints and routes to fill in other fishers.
- Gigantic display with sharp and bright viewing in every lighting situation.
- Improved chirp sonar with sidescan and downscan imaging make structure and fish identification a piece of cake.
- Built-in comprehensive maps and customized cartography help narrow down productive spots.
- Wireless connectivity adds more to the user’s convenience.
- Exorbitant price.
- The operating process is a bit complex.
- Customer service issues.
Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2-9 belongs to the deluxe-like range of fish finders, which is an ideal option for seasoned fishers who love to explore offshores regularly. Among other things, its huge screen with remarkable clarity and multiple chirp sonar functions help you garner optimum information about the underwater terrain.
5. Garmin UHD 94SV – Best Value EchoMap Fish Finder
When it comes to manufacturing pristine-looking, top-end fish finders, Garmin doesn’t shy away from giving tough competition to its rivals; one living proof of that is EchoMap UHD 94SV.
The first thing that stands out is the key-assisted sleek touchscreen that promises stunning pictures of everything that sonar is gathering underwater; thanks to the split-screen format, you can observe optimum information at once.
This fish finder stands for sonar powerhouse as its Chirp sonar captures on-goings of the world underwater with astounding clarity and detail.
Eliminate the possibility of returning empty-handed from your life altogether because the SideVu and DownVu will reveal a life-like film of the surrounding territory.
As far as 700ft on either side of the boat, the fish is bound to show up on your screen, if there’s any present in the water.
More peace of mind is coming your way because the GPS and BlueChart G2 charts are not simple like those in some competing models.
They’re stellar in the sense that not only do you get updated coordinates but also make reaching the desired location a walk in the park; just punch in the specific location and the unit will pave way for you to reach there.
Not to mention, you can create customized maps for further assistance.
The only thing that you might not like is the absence of networking features. Oh, and also the sky-high price.
- Stellar quality and endurance.
- Key-assisted touchscreen boasts of a stunning view.
- SideVu and DownVu show a 180-degree view of underwater activity.
- GPS and G2 charts help reach a location without trouble.
- Software for drawing personal maps.
- Deprived of networking capabilities.
- Not suitable for newer entrants.
Garmin EchoMap 94SV is an elegant-looking fish finder entailing a high price. Its huge screen and multiple sonar views, including Side Vu and DownVu, allow you to have all the information required to successfully ensnare a fish at the tip of your fingers.
6- Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 – Best Affordable Fish Finder
If your budget is tight and you are looking for an affordable fish finder, then you need to consider Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fish Finder. It is best for entry-level fishermen or anglers.
It has many useful features that help you to identify the location of fish. It comes with a 4.3-inch diagonal display that shows water temperature, battery, and Voltage readability etc.
It only supports 320 and 455khz (dual-beam sonar) and is effective up to 600 feet. It gives you a clear picture or view of underwater. You can see what’s going on below your boat. This device has an easy-to-use interface, unlocking the power of Fish ID+, fish alarms, and depth alarms.
The PiranhaMax4 screen resolution is 272×480 pixels. You can choose from a narrow and a wide beam for excellent details or a great coverage area. Both functions help to identify fish, structure, and contours.
It provides tilt and swivels mount option that offers quick adjustment according to your viewing area angle.
The Zoom has never been simpler. It is a great technological chomp that no fishfinder matches its class. The PiranhaMax4 comes with 2400 watts PTP/300 Watts RMS and Sonar coverage 28® and 16® @ – 10Dd.
One of the amazing things about this unit is you can watch timber, bridge pilings, rocks, brush, and any other structure pop with great detail. It is the best fish finder for a small boat.
- It comes with a 4.3-inch diagonal display.
- It is an affordable and reliable device.
- It comes with dual-beam sonar.
- Easy to use keypad interface.
- No CHIRP Technology and no GPS.
Humminbird Piranhamax4 is an entry-level device aimed at facilitating budget-conscious users and beginners. The dual-beam sonar paired with a clear screen helps you analyse fish, structure and contours beneath your boat. Long story short, it is one of the best value-for-money fish finders for less experienced users.
7- HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Best Selling Fish Finder
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder is one of the best-selling fish finders that comes with great quality features.
It is the best for experienced anglers who looking for affordable and high-definition fishing capability. Its fishtrax intelligent sonar offers precise fish finder readings up to 240 feet.
It has a VirtuView HD colour display with an LED backlight that produces a glare-free view that provides great fishing data for easy readability. It comes with 5-level adjustable sensitivity, an audible fish alarm and a backlit display for easy night time view.
One of the incredible features is it has FishArc and FishID fish finder indicators with fish depth targeting along with HD bottom landscape imaging.
It has algorithmic software programming that not just minimizes false readings but also sounds an audible fish alarm signalling the presence of fish.
Its high-definition VirtuView TFTN display has three operating modes including Fish Finder, Data, and Ice-Mode Digital Flasher.
The fish finder mode helps you identify the presence of fish and the overall depth of the water on the HD display.
The Data Mode enlarges depth, temperature, and battery voltage readings for ease to understand. The Ice-Mode Digital Flasher gives a real-time view of the Fish Trax sonar echoes.
It shows what is happening below. You can save many bucks if you choose HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder.
- Its fishtrax intelligent sonar offers precise fish finder readings up to 240 feet.
- It has a VirtuView HD colour display with LED backlight produces a glare-free view that provides great fishing data for easy readability.
- It comes with 5-level adjustable sensitivity, an audible fish alarm and a backlit display for easy night time view.
- It has algorithmic software programming that not just minimizes false readings but also sounds an audible fish alarm signalling the presence of fish.
- Its Screen is small and battery life is low for extended fishing trips.
If you are looking for a fish finder that is both affordable and portable yet gives you high-definition views and accurate fish data, HawkEye Fishtrax 1C is your guy. Its multiple adjustments and easy operation prove it helpful in versatile fishing scenes.
8. Garmin Ultra 106sv – Best Top Rated EchoMap Fish Finder
Here is another magical creation by Garmin specially crafted for those hardcore anglers who are looking to upscale their arsenal.
Just a heads up though, it’s steeply priced, which makes it a cup of tea for restricted affluent consumers.
Fish here, fish there, fish everywhere because it’s a versatile unit that not only supports ClearVu and SideVu sonar scans but also Panoptix Livescope sonar system.
In simple English, explore freshwater or Oceania, it will show you everything present in the vicinity with astounding precision and detail, including fish and other living creatures.
I would call it a sea guide in flesh and blood, figuratively speaking because the unit comes loaded with diverse means of navigational guidance – built-in inland maps and Garmin’s special g3 coastal charts.
On top of that, the unit has a unique Auto Guidance feature to help you plan the smartest route to a specific location while QuickDraw Contours software gives you a free hand to give commands for personalizing cartography.
Another crowning feature lies in its display that’s 10” in size. It comes in a combination, touchscreen with keyed assistance, and is vouched for offering unmatched vibrant and sharp visuals regardless of the outdoor situation.
To fully seal the deal, the unit employs Wi-Fi and NMEA 2000 connectivity which gives you easy access to updates and ActiveCaptain app for additional help if needed.
- Tremendous sonar features and performance.
- Versatile device.
- Loaded with LakeVu inland maps and g3 coastal charts for smooth navigation.
- 10” touchscreen paired with keyed menu offers ultra-large and clear scene.
- Connectivity arrangements for added convenience.
- Transducer needs to be purchased separately.
If you want to have an exhilarating ocean fishing experience with a top-of-the-line feature packed fish finder, Garmin echoMap 106sv is the safest and most reliable dude for the challenge. Its remarkable sonar technology and imagery will help you see and capture whatever you’re looking for.
9. Garmin UHD 93sv – Best Brand Echomap LCD Fish Finder
Garmin Echomap UHD 93sv is like an identical twin of the above-reviewed UHD 94sv of the same EchoMap series with a slight difference in the price, this being a few bucks less expensive but the best of Garmin’s craftsmanship nonetheless.
Since it’s a twin, so the size and display quality are almost the same; the touchscreen has an easy-to-navigate keyed menu and boasts of life-like vibrant pictures of the scenes below the water surface.
Such high-definition clarity and precision of the view are attributed to its GT54 transducer that supports chirp traditional sonar and SideVu scan.
Meaning, that you don’t have to twist and turn to get a wholesome scan of the surrounding territory, the given sonars will let you know about everything present on the sides of the boat.
Let your inner explorer free because the device has built-in LakeVu inland maps containing contour data of over 17,000 lakes.
It’s just a matter of selecting a waterbody, reaching there will be as easy as a walk in the garden because the preloaded maps cover vital information, helping you reach the designated location without any trouble.
Last but not the least, EchoMap 93sv supports networking functions and also allow you to jot down waypoints and map routes to your favourite fish hideouts, increasing productivity remarkably.
- GT54 transducer supports multiple sonar scans including SideVu.
- Compatible with the all-seeing Panoptix system.
- High-definition, brilliant imagery.
- LakeVu inland maps cover over 17,000 lakes.
- Built-in support for networking features.
- Financially not feasible for on-budget anglers.
- Doesn’t offer depth warning.
- The transducer is a bit bigger.
EchoMap 93sv is one of the best Garmin fishfinders under$1000 but it’s an excellent exchange for the money due to the powerful transducer and detailed Chartplotter. It has a large touchscreen with easy-to-use keys that will instantly let you see everything present around you.
10. Simrad Go-9 XSE – Best Active Imaging Fish Finder
We have reached the final product on the list that will have your attention in a blink of an eye. The Simrad Go-9 XSE is no doubt costly but the rewards are twice the price.
First, its sleek and shiny 9” touchscreen with user-friendly navigation will make up half of your mind because it’s not every day that you come across such deluxe devices that even a newer entrant could easily operate.
The unit will help you fish like a pro because of Chirp sonar and Structure Scan (Side and Down Imaging). This means that from general aquatic terrain to the last fish present in the vicinity, everything will be unravelled for you with precision and clarity.
What makes it an awesome fish finder is its commitment and dedication to the user’s convenience.
Along with high-speed GPS and built-in cartography, this goes a mile further and implements TripIntel technology to help you plan a safe and sound trip, not to mention a fruitful one too.
Finally, you can gain access to software updates and save a whopping amount of data as Wi-Fi connectivity and dual MicroSD card slots are present.
- High-quality backlit display with user-friendly multi-touch interface.
- Multiple navigational features to ensure smooth sailing.
- Chirp sonar paired with Down and Side Imaging reveals the fish location and the aquatic environment with unerring clarity.
- Wi-Fi connectivity and SDcard slots for updates and data storage.
- Absence of keyed menu might perturb some anglers.
- The transducer is not as good as expected.
Once you get past its shortcomings, Simrad Go-9 XSE will leave you speechless with its easy-to-navigate touchscreen and high-precision multiple sonar views. Also, the unit features a high-seed GPS and other performance-grade features to help you travel through any terrain with zero trepidation.
Buyer’s Guide: By Getting to The Best Fish Finder in 2023
There are a few ingredients that are vital for making a fish finder the best. Knowing about them is as crucial as having a fish finder in the first place because only then will the selected unit survive the applications you have in mind. These are:
The transducer is the heart and soul of the whole product as it houses sonar beams that garner the information. The power of the transducer and sonar frequencies will determine the depth and shallowness range of the unit.
A transducer up to 300W will work best in shallower waters. Anything above that power will be safe for deeper exploration.
Similarly, the frequency range also helps determine the appropriate use.
Frequency describes the power of the sonar rays. High-frequency means sonar waves will not delve deeper but will carry large detail. This is good for shallow water fishing.
On the other hand, low-frequency rays can travel hundreds of feet deep, near the seabed, but the scan returns with lesser details. Such units are suitable for deepsea fishing.
Many models employ dual-frequency to help you get the most out of a single unit, wider coverage and optimum details at once. Buying such a unit will diversify the functionality.
No matter how powerful the transducer is or how impressive the sonar functions are, a fish finder without a brilliant display is just a piece of junk.
The size of the viewing window and the image quality will make or break your game. A fish finder with 5” or larger screen laden with coloured palettes will exhibit a bright and intelligible view of the activity below water.
Also, the backlit screen will make sure that image visibility doesn’t get compromised due to outdoor lighting situations.
It’s always helpful to look for a feature-loaded fish finder, especially when you’re willing to spend hundreds of bucks.
Performance-grade features like GPS, built-in charts as well as networking support will enable you to get the optimum outcome for every excursion without enduring unpleasant incidents.
It’s simple math, the higher you will go in the fish finders’ class range, the higher the price will go. It will be a waste of precious bucks if you spend hundreds of bucks on a feature-loaded device, half of which you’ll not even have an opportunity to use, for occasional getaways.
However, if you’re in the fishing business or a hardcore angler, a high-costing unit laced with cutting-edge technology will keep you at the top of your game.
Types of Fishfinders
There is no strict and distinct division of fish finders. We have roughly divided them into three types based on features and money. It becomes easy to pick your dream model if you know the range of features and price tag it entails.
Entry-Level Fish Finders
These are basic fish finders that lack fancy features and advanced technologies. They are usually ultra-portable and cost just a couple of bucks. A befitting example of this type is HawkEye Fishtrax 1C. Humminbird Piranhamax 4 also falls into the same category. They are simple, portable and affordable. That doesn’t mean they are totally plain Jane. They carry various essential and handy features to enhance the experience of entry-level users and first-timers.
Mid-Range Fish Finders
Fish finders belonging to this category slightly grow in size, features and price. They are neither bland nor jam-packed with advanced functions. Products like Humminbird Helix7 and Lowrance Hook2 5 give you an idea of what mid-range models entail. These are suitable for avid anglers, enthusiasts, hobbyists and more experienced fishermen.
Advanced Level Fish Finders
As the name suggests, these models are for skilled and hardcore anglers and professionals. They contain large and sophisticated displays and fancy features like Side and Down Imaging, networking, GPS and mapping capabilities. A look at Garmin EchoMap UHD93sv, Simrad Go-9XE, Humminbird Helix9 and Lowrance Elite-9 Ti9 will give you an idea of what advanced and top-class fish finders have in store for you.
Some of the fish finders we reviewed above are sophisticated with large displays, while others are portable with smaller screens. We all admire huge and fancy models, but they become a hindrance instead of assistance when you are a beginner or fish on small vessels.
Conversely, smaller displays present small and often unclear images of the underwater realm. Therefore, you should consider the pros and cons of both and choose the product according to your needs. Sacrifice the size if you have a small boat or kayak, but do not compromise on the clarity of the display.
Top-quality or budgeted, the device will be a total failure and a waste of money if you struggle with its operation. It’s a gross misconception to associate user-friendly operations only with inexpensive, beginner-level models. Invest in a product that entails a user-friendly interface to ensure you spend maximum time hunting fish and less on settings.
For instance, Humminbird Piranhamax 4 and HawkEye Fishtrax 1C are entry-level devices, while Garmin EchoMap 94SV and Garmin Ultra106sv are feature-packed advanced models. However, the common thing in all four has the low learning curve and easy operating mechanism.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a fish finder?
A fish finder is a fish tracking device that launches sonar waves in the water to check whether it contains fish or not. It also distinguishes between a fish and a structure to minimise mistakes and near-misses.
How can you choose the best fish finder?
When choosing a fish finder, consider its sonar range, transmitting power, display type and resolution. Also, check whether its frequencies and GPS will deliver results in inland, deep-sea and coastal environments. A device with basic features will work best for beginners and occasional users.
Which brand has the best fish finders?
The fish finder industry is currently ruled by three brands, Humminbird, Garmin and Lowrance. All three of them have a vast collection of fish finders ranging from entry-level to high-quality sophisticated models. Advanced Humminbird products are unbeatable while Lowrance and Garmin outrank others in terms of value for money, model options and ease of use.
Is fish finder worth the money?
Yes, it is. It’s a one-time investment that makes your fishing expeditions more fun and fruitful in the long run. It helps you catch more fish and works best for at least half a decade, given that you have bought a reliable product.
Now that we have established the fact that fish tracking isn’t an arduous task as long as you’re assisted by the best fish finder; the only onerous challenge is to find a unit that talks the talk. Lucky for you that our above reviews cover a diverse range of fish finders, all designed to supersede each other in quality and performance. You will have no confusion whatsoever about picking the appropriate product once you go through the buyer’s guide given at the bottom.