Exploring saltwater in search of fish is going to test your skills as well as your patience.
A large amount of salt and debris present in the water will provide a refuge to your finned targets.
So, even if you consider yourself a pro at the sport or you’ve got the assistance of an upscale fish finder, you will yield zero prey, unless taken help from the best saltwater fish finder designed for such a challenging marine environment.
The device has powerful transducers supported by innovative sonar technology that can travel through debris to reach considerable depths in order to successfully trace the presence of fish hidden near the bottom.
The rate of accuracy is higher as the improved sonar features are adept at distinguishing fish from other sea creatures.
What makes differentiating further easy is the decent size of the viewing screen complemented with a high resolution bright picture. As a result, you have a better idea of which casting angle for bait will successfully land you a target.
Best Saltwater Fish Finder 2023 Reviews
As fish finders come with a variety of features thereby finding one best for saltwater fishing becomes tougher than you actually thought. This is why we took the pains of collecting 10 of the best saltwater fish finders for money along with an easy-to-understand buyer’s guide. Together they will help you zero down your search to quickly locate the model adequate for your intended applications.
Top Saltwater Fish Finder Comparison Table
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1. Garmin Striker Plus 4 – Best Saltwater Fish Finder with Dual-Beam transducer
Garmin Striker Plus 4 is the definition of charming as it charms fishers with its user-friendliness and efficiency on waters without burning a hole in their pockets.
Coming with a dual-beam transducer and chirp sonar, it presents a bright and clear view of the aquatic world surrounding our vessel with distinct identification of every underwater object including fish.
The diagonal, 4.3” inch large display is arguably the actual wonder of this compact device as it allows you to have a crystal clear image of fish and contours regardless of the brightness of sunlight.
Another marvel is its highly active and sensitive GPS chart plotter as not only it gives you accurate coordinates to navigate with confidence but also enables you to mark waypoints and keep track of routes in order to keep a record of your favorite fishing spots.
Even more impressive is the contour mapping feature that lets you draw maps based on your personal observations and have them saved for later reviewing or as a backup for the next visit.
Finally, the device is pretty rugged and tough so it’s going to have your back for quite a large number of future fishing trips.
- Compact and portable gadget.
- Long-lasting and rugged.
- Efficient chirp sonar is better at tracking fish.
- Sun readable bright display.
- GPS plotter and contour mapping improve navigation and overall fishing.
- There’s no screen protection.
- Customer support issues.
If you want a rugged and portable fish finder with excellent value for your money, there’s hardly any model of the budget-friendly category that can beat Garmin Striker Plus 4. Its bright display and active GPS will give a joyful time on the water every time.
2. Deeper PRO+Smart – Best Brand Sonar Saltwater Fish Finder
Deeper Pro+Smart Sonar has a huge fan base of enthusiastic fishermen because with a slight rise in cost comes a highly efficient and smart fish detecting device.
It increases the joy of saltwater fishing tenfold as, first, it can be easily installed on a small watercraft in a flash. Secondly, due to the wireless design, you will not be overburdened with cables and internet devices.
Furthermore, the dual beam sonar waves can sweep an area of up to 330ft in one sweep while traveling as deep as 260ft for tracking those cunning targets that love to loiter near the bottom.
As expected of a “pro” assistance, it features GPS and bathymetric mapping to ensure you are never left stranded on uncharted water territory due to not knowing your way around.
You can sketch charts of bottom contours, fish hotspots and underwater plantations and have them recorded in a Lake Book to maintain an account of your fishing expeditions to look back on whenever you want to.
All in all, Deeper Pro+ ensures neither you miss a target nor any joyful detail about every fishing trip.
- Portable and rugged.
- Hassle-free installation.
- Dualbeam sonar can sweep a wider parameter to accurately detect a target.
- Built-in GPS along bathymetric mapping help you fish in any water with confidence.
- Compatible with a variety of fishing settings.
- Battery time isn’t long.
- Results aren’t reliable when the boat is standing idle.
- Relatively tad bit costly.
When you plan saltwater or ocean fishing, you need assistance from a pro like Deeper Pro+. It’s not just the best saltwater fish finder, but also the best offshore fish finder due to its powerful and fast sonar scanning.
3. Humminbird Piranhamax 4 – Best Dual Beam Sonar Saltwater Fish Finder
Piranhamax 4 is Humminbird’s move to appease all those on-budget fishermen who yearn to have a Humminbird’s model in their fishing arsenal but the limited budget keeps them from turning their dream into a reality.
Despite being a low-end and portable model, it features a 4.3” large diagonal display screen that will have fishers enjoy a crisp, bright and colourful picture of what’s happening in water underneath their vessel.
Thanks to coveted dualbeam sonar, you’ll get a quick bird eye view of the underwater environment or have a detailed insight of a specific spot below, to know where contours, vegetation and fish lie in order to cast bait at the exact spot.
You can go for offshore or ocean fishing with confidence because with 455kHz frequency the sonar can penetrate to a depth of 320ft below the water surface to locate the existence of your required species.
Besides, you can always readjust the viewing angle by moving the mount a bit here and there to garner better outcome.
The GPS system is absent in this one. Yeah, a bummer but not as much because the 2D sonar and the rest of the features you get are nothing less than those you find in some premium models.
So basically you get quite a bang for your bucks.
- Small and portable.
- Larger display with bright and coloured view.
- 2D sonar is as good as that of the deluxe Helix series.
- Carrying bag isn’t included in the package.
- Doesn’t feature built-in GPS.
Humminbird’s Piranhamax 4, 410150-1 is the example of what a best inexpensive saltwater fish finder should look like. Its active dualbeam sonar and larger coloured display allow you to catch a target finned species even if its submerged near bottom.
4. Lucky – Top Pick Overall Handheld Saltwater Fish Finder
Having a tight budget will no longer be a barrier keeping you from enjoying your favorite sport, fishing, as long as you’ve a Lucky Handheld fish finder around.
It’s cheap, but only price-wise; performance-wise it’s awesome.
It’s small and compact so you could easily carry it on a small boat or hang it around your neck without feeling weighed down.
But, you could write a big and long letter full of admirations on its sonar performance as it allows you to have a thorough search of the underwater realm to trace the presence of a fish for you – sonar has a functional depth range of 3ft-328ft – while the compact screen will let you observe sonar information without straining eyes.
It’s not a wireless device and comes with a 25ft cable thereby you’ll not be able to toss it tens of feet away.
However, the maximum depth soothes your frustrations as finding those cunning gilled prey, loitering hundreds of feet below water surface, will never be a challenge with this unit at hand.
Besides, the long-lasting battery along with battery saving mode will give you a large window, ensuring you spend hours on end to catch the desired target or targets.
Besides, there’s no need to get intimidated by nighttime or low visibility as it will not stand in your way of acquiring your prized possession.
Since this unit features user-friendly modes like fish alarm and backlit mode to notify of the target presence in your vicinity while you look for its whereabouts on the display.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Sonar scan can accurately function within a depth parameter of 3ft-328ft.
- User-friendly settings.
- Compatible with versatile fishing scenes.
- It will succumb to heavy rain.
- Short casting range.
Lucky Handheld fish finder is the best inexpensive fish finder for saltwater as well as multiple other fishing applications in the true sense of the word due to its efficient and powerful sonar scan. It’s user-friendly controls will let both beginners and seasoned anglers fish with confidence.
5. Garmin Striker Plus 7 Cv – Best Good Looking Saltwater Fish Finder
Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv is the cousin of Plus 7sv of the same Striker series by Garmin, only differing in sonar feature.
Along with a traditional sonar, this one also integrates a Chirp ClearVu to give you optimum detail about the events and actions taking place in the surrounding waters.
As evident from the name, the screen is 7” large- which alone is a major mind-making factor- and reveals data about fish, bottom contours, weeds etc. with such an astounding clarity that you cannot help fawning over this model.
With such superb picture quality, missing a target is beyond one’s comprehension. In other words, there’s no concept of missing a catch with this as your companion.
Pro fisherman or just an adventurer out on water, no one wants to waste precious time tweaking with settings and Plus 7Cv with its simple and intuitive controls makes sure that neither do you have to.
As icing on the cake, built-in GPS along with contour mapping makes fishing more joyous and convenient by providing you with an opportunity to take into account important waypoints, routes and favorite fish schools to ensure nothing important slides your attention on next visit.
Last but definitely not the least is that it comes with Wi-Fi connectivity to allow you to gain access to maps and fish hotspots shared by other fishermen on ActiveCaptain app.
- Contains a transducer entertaining Chirp ClearVu sonar to acquire maximum data of underwater activity.
- Easy and intuitive controls.
- 7” screen displays a crisp and bright view of fish, bottom contours and plantations.
- Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity for enhanced performance.
- Doesn’t come with pre-installed maps.
- Doesn’t support loading of maps.
No matter what your level of fishing proficiency is, Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv ensures you catch fish left and right whenever you embark on a saltwater fishing trip. The device has a few pitfalls yet its overall performance makes it an outstanding fish finder.
6. Humminbird Helix 7 – Best Top Rated Chirp MDI G3 Saltwater Fish Finder
Every piece from Humminbird’s treasure is bound to make a statement within a few minutes of its use and Helix Chirp (410940-1) is an epic example of this wizardry.
This really is a worth treasuring unit as within a medium price range it gives you a taste of a top-notch unit.
The lack of colour choices will not seem a shortcoming anymore when you’ll be too busy enjoying a spectacular view of the aquatic realm that its 7” large coloured display promises.
Its fish detecting skills are equally marvellous as thanks to the powerful Mega Down Imaging scan, you cannot miss the existence of fish nestled up to 125ft in the water below your boat.
With Dual Spectrum Chirp sonar at your disposal, you can exert full control over its scanning technique.
Meaning, either sweep large swathes of water column in a single go or dedicate the entire focus to a specific spot using a narrow beam.
On top of that, you can also ask for additional information pertaining water depth, temperature, turbulence and lure position to make sure you’ve all the crucial and sub-crucial variables available for always staying one step ahead of your cunning opponent, fish.
In the end, it comes loaded with a transducer as well as mounting gears thereby just waiting for your call to start casting its magic spell.
- Superior quality large coloured display.
- Supports Mega Down Imaging along with Dual Spectrum Chip sonar.
- Transducer and mounting equipment are included for convenience.
- Reasonable price.
- There’s no warranty.
- Lack of colour choice.
Eager fishermen can make a statement with top-end-like Humminbird Helix7 Chirp (410940-1) fish finder without burning a hole in their pocket. The unit comes loaded with some tournament-grade features to help you land targets on every testing fishing expedition.
7. RICANK – Best Easy to Use Saltwater Fish Finder
Ricank portable fish finder is a minion in front of giants like Humminbird, but on its own it can leave you astounded both with its incredulously low price and awesome performance on almost every type of fishing adventure.
Kayak fishing, ice fishing, sea and river fishing, shore fishing etc, you name it and it has the skills to find suitable catches for you immediately.
Like the famous Lucky fish finder, this one also has a functional depth range of 3ft-328ft and within these bounds it can locate anything from small to large fish, short to tall weeds, sand to rocks on the sea bed in order to provide you a detailed insight of the underwater environment.
As this one is a castable fish finder so the 25ft cable doesn’t let you hurl it far. But, you’ll not be missing out on much since the depth range and its detection skills silence any complaint before you even utter it.
To nip all your objections at the bud, it features myriads of user-friendly controls including fish alarm, backlit screen format and battery saving mode to help you tackle any kind of situation to ensure your finned rival doesn’t take advantage of your unideal circumstances.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Cheap price.
- Functional depth range is 3ft-328ft.
- Myriad of user-friendly formats.
- Suitable for every type of fishing.
- Short cable doesn’t allow to cast it far.
- Confuses thick weeds with fish sometimes.
Ricank portable fish finder has the best value for your money. Its depth accuracy and fish detection is so on point in every fishing situation that it can at times beat the mighty Garmin and Humminbird.
8. Venterior VT-FF001 – Best Value Handheld Saltwater Fish Finder
Sea fishing is just the beginning line of its vast versatility; it’s cut out for almost all types of fishing settings be it on kayak or small boat, offshore or shoreline fishing, or more challenging ice fishing and night fishing.
There’s isn’t much fumbling and tweaking required here. Just mount it on your watercraft or hold the receiver in hand and toss the wired transducer in the water with a minimum depth of 3ft.
It will shoot beams with an intensity that will help them easily penetrate 300ft below water surface to not just locate nearby fish school but also figure out its approximate depth, not to mention actual water depth.
All this information collected will be shown on a small screen in such a distinctive manner that you’ll not even for a second mix one part of the data with another.
Moreover, things continue to get peachy with the presence of multiple user-selectable formats including audible fish school alarm, backlit screen mode for nighttime and battery saving mode.
With that being said, it’s not even an option to come empty handed from your fishing venture.
- Budgeted mode with a 2-year warranty.
- Portable and easy to use.
- Versatile gadget can handle the majority of fishing scenes.
- Accurately and quickly locates fish in deeper waters.
- Short cable.
- Batteries aren’t long-running.
- Accuracy is compromised when the boat is moving fast.
If you cannot afford to lavishly spend hundreds of bucks on a fish finder, going for an inexpensive Venterior VT-FF001 fish finder will not let you miss out on much. It has a knack for detecting fish even when it’s loitering hundreds of feet deep in sea water or frozen water.
9. Lowrance Hook2 4X – Best Good Looking Saltwater Fish Finder
Those eager anglers who have a thing for well-reputed brands but the budget restraint is giving them anxiety, don’t worry because Lowrance Hook2 4X will end this dilemma.
It’s a budgeted model but far from stereotypically cheap devices.
Lowrance has kept its setup and keyed interface very beginner-friendly to ensure except the first few minutes the rest of your time is spent on the actual fish chase and hunt.
Talking of chase and hunt, gone are the days when hunting a specific species like catfish, crappie etc. seemed like a million dollar challenge because today it’s just a matter of a few minutes of patience on your part.
The second you the transducer hits the water surface, its unusually wider sonar coverage searches the surrounding area to garner as much detail as possible about fish and bottom structure.
As a fisherman you know how to use that gathered data to the best of your advantage. Patience is a virtue indeed!
There’s a little turbulence in our smooth sailing – I mean you’re destined to work with a smaller screen as there’s no other size available. Have a little faith people since its Lowrance, well versed in the art of turning losses into gains.
Display is Solarmax which means it promises a bright and crisp image with colored graphics to let you read the screen without straining eyes even under blinding sunlight.
Lastly, it will not upset the health of your wallet as the presence of a bullet skimmer transducer and a 2-year warranty has got you fully covered.
- Uncomplicated operating mechanism.
- Wider coverage sonar garners maximum detail about fish and structure accurately.
- Display is bright and clear supporting sunlight readability.
- Screen lacks different size options.
- Extra expenditure on charger and carrying case.
Brushing aside its minor shortcomings, Lowrance Hook2 4X has got everything to be rendered as the best value fish finder for saltwater and offshore fishing. Its simple and undemanding application attracts eager anglers and newbies alike.
10. Lowrance Elite-9 – Best Pocket Friendly Ti2-9-inch Saltwater Fish Finder
Elite-9 Ti2-9 by Lowrance comes with plenty of adorning features at the expense of a slight upheaval in price point – a bit costly but still not unduly expensive like some other high-end models of the same class.
Its plasma-like 9” solarmax display is undoubtedly the highlight of this model as it allows you to enjoy on-goings of the marine world below your vessel with unprecedented clarity and true-like colours.
Another noteworthy feature is its Chirp sonar complemented by Downscan imaging to acquire maximum and accurate information about contours, fish baits and vegetation with remarkable target separation.
Now, it doesn’t come off as a surprise that you will always return with desired trophies, targeted fish, to gloat in front of fellow fishermen and family.
Moreover, it has pre-installed inland mapping containing essential notes of 4000 lakes to help you get fully accustomed to a waterbody.
On top of that, the integration of real time mapping will let you update maps by allowing you to follow your desired finned target to its hidden sanctuary, courtesy of C-Map Genesis Live software.
Lastly, you can use its wireless networking to share your personally observed waypoints, routes and other mapping details, without requiring connecting cables, with fellow fishermen if you feel charitable enough to help them out.
- Large plasma-like display offers an unmatchable clear and sharp view.
- Chirp sonar together with Downscan imaging accurately detects fish and bottom contours.
- Built-in mapping.
- C-Map Genesis for updating maps with personal notes.
- Wireless networking for conveniently sharing personalized mapping details.
- Slightly higher learning curve.
It’s a bit costly but going a little overboard will reward you with a high-end fish finder fully loaded with tournament grade innovative features. The unit can be considered as the best saltwater fish finder due to its active sonar technology and improved mapping.
Buyer’s Guide: Getting the Best Saltwater Fish Finder in 2023
Fish finders of every category are packed with a myriad of features so locating the one best for saltwater fishing will need more than just basic knowhow about the gadget.
This buyer’s guide will ensure you’ve an idea what the best saltwater fish finder for money should entail.
Fish finder, whether small or large, cheap or expensive, without an adequate display will be a waste of money. An adequate display means the screen is large enough to let you monitor information related to the maritime environment without straining your eyes.
The larger the screen, the easier it will be to read what’s displayed on it and the more information it will carry at once without overcrowding the screen.
However, as the screen size increases, you’ll witness an equal increase in the pricing.
Another factor that can impact screen visibility is the quality of picture. This hinges on the number of pixels. Higher number of pixels means you’ll get a high resolution crisp and bright image.
Also, coloured display is easier to read as compared to a black and white one, not to mention it gives a more true-like view of the underwater world.
Sending sonar signals and receiving data of fish and bottom structure is the job of a transducer so you need to check how powerful it is.
A simple method to check the power is to see how deep it can cast sonar waves. A powerful transducer will allow sonar signals to penetrate hundreds of feet deeper to locate and distinguish between fish, bottom landscape and vegetation, be it in murky water, saltwater or freshwater.
A 500watt transducer will work efficiently for almost all fishing applications.
Frequency is another key factor that needs your attention as it will determine the depth range as well as detail of the information.
A high frequency will not go deeper into water but it will carry better overall detail of the view, even from a moving watercraft.
Lower frequency will work perfectly for deep sea fishing and offshore fishing as the beams can travel hundreds of feet below the water surface to detect targets hovering near the bottom.
However, the image will lack detail. Low frequency is ideal for shallower waters.
A general rule for the frequency you should learn by heart is: the deeper you search, the lowest will be the frequency. Lower frequencies can delve deep and bring better returns.
So, the gist of all is that either pick a dual-beam chirp or low-frequency unit for saltwater or offshore fishing ventures.
Side & Down Scan
Side and down scan provides you better detail of the whereabouts of targets in your vessel’s vicinity as it will cast beams on both sides of the boat as well as below it.
This innovative technology increases the possibility of landing targets whether its saltwater or freshwater fishing.
I can name dozens of fishfinders that are great in every aspect, but their higher learning curve and testing setup suck the joy out of the whole experience. For instance, Elite-9 Ti9 of Lowrance, HDS-12 Live and some high-end units of Humminbird’s Helix series require practice and patience to master their operating mechanisms.
Alternatively, HDS-7 Live is also a high-end, feature-packed unit, but its easy and intuitive interface can blow you away.
In low-end and economical units, Hook2 4X, Garmin Striker Plus 4 and Ricank Portable fishfinders are the easiest to use.
All in all, prefer a unit carrying adjustment and customisation options but with a highly user-friendly interface, be it in a keypad menu or touchscreen format – something that even less-experienced anglers can navigate effortlessly.
Price & Warranty
No matter which features you prefer, at the end of the day, pricing is always a major deciding variable. One general rule I always share with customers asking for help is: if you are a professional fisherman planning to step up your business or a tournament-grade angler, confidently go for a top-of-the-line unit loaded with the latest technologies.
On the other hand, the logical choice for amateurs and occasional users is to pick an inexpensive unit without bells and whistles. You can acquire high-efficiency features even in economical devices. I can give you a few names for reference: Garmin Striker Plus 4, Lowrance Hook2 4x, Garmin Striker Plus 7cv, Venterior VT-FF001 and Humminbird Helix7 Chirp MDI.
Whichever unit you choose (expensive or inexpensive), make sure it offers an arresting warranty program. After all, it’s your money, effort and numerous future expeditions on the line.
Fish finders are acquiring more and more features in order to remain at the forefront in this competitive market.
Features like GPS system and built-in mapping are a must as not only they give you a better sense of directions but also help you find your way back in emergency situations.
They will also help you pin waypoints, routes and favorite fish hotspots to help you conveniently revisit them without unnecessarily meandering around.
You will come across overall great units lacking built-in maps or adequate detail about the bottom topography. In such circumstances, software allowing personalised cartography in real-time or downloaded maps acts as a saving grace. When that’s the case, confirm the unit has storage to house imported maps and other information.
Connectivity features prove really helpful for the import and export of relevant information through navigational apps.
What is the best saltwater fishfinder?
– If it’s about the best offshore fishfinder GPS combo, my top picks are Garmin echoMap 126sv, Humminbird Helix7 Chirp and Simrad Go9 XSE.
– When it comes to a high-end fishfinder for saltwater fishing that is the best overall, nothing can beat Lowrance HDS-12 Live.
– If you want the best affordable fishfinders for offshore fishing, my top choices are Garmin Striker Plus 7cv, Ricank Portable Fishfinder, Lowrance Elite9 and Hook2 4X.
What frequencies should I use for saltwater or offshore fishing?
As a general rule, the deeper territories you fish, the lowest frequencies work the best. Roughly speaking, when your depth exceeds 1500 feet, frequencies lower than 140kHz are your solution. If you are fishing between 600-1500 feet, a frequency range between 80-150 kHz will serve you well.
Remember that the frequency varies in chirp transducers and offers better target detection and target differentiation.
Do I really need a fishfinder for saltwater fishing?
It depends on the depth and size of the water body. You may not need a fishfinder for inshore saltwater fishing because you mostly fish in shallow areas. But, if your goal is to fish in the bottom, deeper water or offshores, you will definitely need a fishfinder with efficient sonar and navigational facilities – one that can perform accurately in saltwater and brackish water.
I always suggest users pick a unit that can function well in more than one type of fishing scenario.
What’s the best way to differentiate between bottom fish and the bottom contour (echo)?
Inexperienced anglers have difficulty distinguishing between the bottom echo and bottom fish, particularly with low-end, primary functions fishfinders. Generally, slightly upgraded models carry a feature in the setting menu called ‘White Line’. Activating it draws a white line right above the bottom contour on the screen. When a sonar return shows the presence of a fish, the echo is displayed in a different colour right above the white line to separate the fish from the bottom echo.
What to look for in the best value saltwater fishfinder?
If you want a little bit of both, i.e. a taste of advanced technology and value for the money without going bankrupt, look for a unit that offers a mix of sonar imaging and screen clarity at a relatively reasonable price.
Low-to-Mid-Range units of Humminbird’s Helix and Garmin’s Striker series have a bunch of both.
However, if you aren’t afraid of becoming a couple of grands poorer, Humminbird Helix 10 G3N and Lowrance HDS-7 Live will give you the time of your life on the water.
Fishing in saltwater will no more seem like an impossible dare if you’ve a best saltwater fish finder on-board. Its improved sonar technology will easily and quickly detect fish hovering near bottom without mixing it with debris and plantation. Above list contains fish finders with varying features and price ranges to suit demands of a wider population of anglers. In order to instantly find the model cut out for your intended uses, the above given reviews along with the buyer’s guide will give you a detailed outline to help you zero in your search to that specific model.