Harvesting fish is highly unlikely even when you possess hawk-like vision, perfect lures, rods and lines etc because fishing isn’t guesswork; it needs precision.
Precision will only come when you have the best side imaging fish finder.
I could have said a regular fish finder, but why only a side imaging fish finder?
Well, think of it as a shooting game between two opponents.
One possesses an AK47 while the other uses a sniper. It’s a no brainer who will come out victorious.
Side imaging fish finders can give you a detailed insight into the world underwater with data about crooks, crevices, bottom contours, vegetation and ocean bed in a distinguishing manner.
Their special sonar features accurately scan not only water under your vessel but also on both of its sides to make sure you don’t miss your target.
In addition, their navigation systems are more improved with options to mark your own waypoints for identifying fish hotspots.
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10 Best Side Imaging Fish Finder 2023 Reviews
Now comes the tricky part of shopping for a suitable fish finder. With so many side imaging fish finders claiming to be best, one is definitely going to be spoiled for choice. Since, we want to make things easier for you therefore, we have formed a list of 10 best side imaging fish finders that are actually best at what they’re supposed to do. Our buying guide and your budget range will lead you directly to the product of your choice.
Top Best Side Imaging Fish Finder Comparison Table
Helix 5 SI
1. Humminbird 410950-Helix 7 – Top Pick Overall Chirp MSI G3 NAV Side Imaging Fish Finder
This is the “elite” of side imaging fish finders which is evident from the sky-high price. But, if you’re a diehard fishing lover or dedicated fisherman, then going home empty handed isn’t an option. So, why not go big instead?
Its Chirp sonar technology will cover the nearby surrounding up to 125 feet on both sides of your boat as well as below it, giving you accurate side imaging and down imaging.
The detailed picture will be clearly displayed for you on a 7” widescreen. With such a large dimension and high quality display, even when you split up the screen the display quality will still remain clear enough for you to easily monitor data.
It has a built-in GPS system so you’ll have an opportunity to mark down places on the map that you’ve crossed by and note the fish hotspots. This will help you reach the exact spot on your next visit without wandering around for hours.
Speaking of wandering, it has a special addition called Navionics+map card that contains data of over 21,000 lakes in the U.S and Canada.
You can pick any location for fishing without wasting time on collecting data about the fish habitat in the selected waterbody first.
With such a smart and intelligent tracker at your disposal, locating a weak target will be a game.
- Superior image display on a wide screen.
- Built-in GPS system.
- Pre Installed data of over 21,000 lakes.
- 125 feet accurate side imaging as well as down imaging.
- Exorbitant price.
- SI imaging doesn’t change colour.
This fish tracker is costly but undoubtedly the best of the best side imaging fish finders that you can find. Its superior GPS performance and picture clarity make sure you put fish in your boat on every fishing trip.
2. Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2 – Best Value Wireless Side Imaging Fish Finder
All good things come with a price. However, the price is unduly high in this case, but with it comes a promise that you’ll have prey in your luggage at the end of the day every time Lowrance Elite-9 is around.
Its most noteworthy aspect is the unprecedented clear display. A 9-inch display with special SolarMax technology delivers a vibrant and clear image of such magnitude that you’ll not have seen before.
With such crystal clear view and target separation quality, you’ll have better knowledge of the underwater structure and fish school; identifying a weak prey or a specific target among a bunch of fish will be a breeze.
Besides, white LED backlight of the screen will allow you to see clearly whether it’s bright sunlight or dark at night. Its Active Imaging along with Chirp sonar will give you a crisp and sharp side scan and depth scan of the water.
Another distinguishing feature is its wireless connectivity. You can easily connect it to your phone or other units of the same model to share mapping, route data, waypoints etc.
With smartphone integration, you’ll not have to keep your eyes fixated on the unit all the time.
Spend time chatting with your friends or basking in the view because you’ll be notified if there’s any fish nearby- no need of keeping your eyes glued to the screen.
Furthermore, with special C-MAP Genesis Live, not only will you have a map display of the area, but it will also continue updating it no matter how fast or slow your boat is moving to indicate fish hideouts as well.
Lastly, if that doesn’t work out for you, you can always take guidance from preloaded US inland mapping containing data for 4,000 lakes to narrow down your search to productive spots.
- Bright and vibrant display even at night.
- Wireless connectivity.
- Accurate sidescan and depthscan viewing with Active Imaging and Chirp sonar.
- Rapid map updating reveals fish hideouts.
- Unduly high price.
- Complex use.
- Software issues.
Despite its exorbitant price and complex usage, Lowrance Elite9 Ti2 is regarded as one of the best fish finders, especially for pro fishermen. Its jumbo display with superior imaging, even at night, and accurate fish tracking ability make it a top-of-the-line unit.
3. Lowrance HOOK2 9 – Best Brand Side Imaging Fish Finder with TripleShot Transducer
We decided to go easy on users by adding this one by Lowrance. You’ll hardly find a fishfinder with as easy usage as Lowrance Hook2 9.
This alone makes it a top choice of fishermen fraternity but that’s not the only best selling point that its housing.
First, its 9-inch large screen lets you enjoy a clear image of the underwater world in the surrounding.
Its highlighting aspect is the Tripleshot transducer with conventional Chirp sonar which gives a wider coverage than many fish finders – accurate downscan and up to 300’ ft side scan on both sides – and locates baits and fish arches as well as mark structural contours.
Even more astounding is its Autotuning sonar technology that is committed to providing you with the ultimate clear image. It does that by adapting sonar settings according to changing water conditions.
You’ll not find a more apt blend of advanced tech and simplicity in any other unit.
Its GPS plotter and basic navigation system will allow you to add waypoints, follow trails and navigate to your desired location without any trouble.
This makes it truly a dedicated friend of fishermen and adventurers.
- 9-inch large screen with high resolution display.
- Wider sonar coverage than regular fishfinders.
- Autotuning sonar for better image clarity.
- Extremely easy to use.
- Built-in GPS plotter with simple navigation system.
- It isn’t networkable.
- Not suitable for ocean fishing.
This fish finder comes with a perfect blend of simplicity and modernism. Its ultra large screen and better picture clarity along with wider sonar coverage and simple navigation system make it a great value option.
4. Garmin Striker Plus 9SV -Best Value Side Imaging Fish Finder with CV52HW-TM transducer
Garmin Striker Plus 9Sv made it to the category of best side imaging fish finder because of its superior quality loaded with cutting-edge features and user-friendliness.
Its 9-inch large backlit LCD screen with automatic adjustment displays vibrant images and clear information that can be easily read regardless of day or night time.
Apart from high-resolution pictures, the screen is also waterproof. So, you’ll have no trouble using it even in rain.
It doesn’t have preloaded mapping, but has a built-in wi-fi connectivity to let you access ActiveCaptain App and Quickdraw Contours Community to take help from previously created maps.
You can even share your own maps and waypoints for other anglers.
but the highly sensitive GPS system will accurately track your position; let you mark waypoints and create routes for later visiting. It will also notify you of your boat speed which doesn’t directly affect your fish finding ability but it doesn’t hurt to have some extra information.
Its chirp sonar scanning is hands down the most striking feature of the unit. Chirp traditional sonar technology helps you select high, medium or both frequency ranges to reduce noise for getting HD image.
This along with multi-coloured and clear image helps you distinguish between fish bait, obstacles, vegetation and easily separate your desired target from the crowd.
Besides that, ClearVu and SideVu scan you a clear image at 180-degree and give you an overall view of everything on both sides of your vessel up to 240ft.
All in all, with such sharp tracking ability and superclear image quality, a fish escaping your snare will become almost impossible.
- User-friendly device.
- 9-inch large backlit LCD screen with waterproofing.
- Superior sonar scanning.
- Built-in wi-fi system for enhanced
- Sensitive GPS system also shows the boat’s speed.
- It doesn’t have a micro SD card feature and pre-installed mapping.
- Protective cover isn’t included.
Whether a first timer or professional fisherman, this fish finder will give you a wonderful experience on water with its user-friendly features and clarity of image coupled with a large display screen.
5. Garmin – Best Design Echomap Plus 73SV Side Imaging Fish Finder
It’s hard to create a list of best fish finders where at least two or three models from Garmin don’t make an appearance.
Garmin Echomap looks like a tablet with 7-inch large touchscreen, that almost takes up the entire front, and keys lined up on one side.
Imagine such a wide screen when it boasts of a crystal clear viewing, how wonderful will it feel even when you just monitor the world underwater? This increases your chances of capturing a fish, even two or more, substantially.
Sonar scanning is a common thing but this one has a Chirp sonar capabilities which are the crowning jewel of this unit.
Instead of shooting a single frequency at a time, this one forwards a continuous pulse – of your selected frequency from low-to-high range. This means you get more details on your target to form a foolproof snare.
Also, LakeVu HD maps technology is like google available to you in water because it contains detailed information of over 17,000 lakes.
In addition to that, you can create your own maps and waypoints and share them with other anglers if you want through Quickdraw Contours feature.
In other words, you get more mapping options than competing models are offering.
Last but not the least, its fast GPS is a refreshing change from traditional navigation systems because it keeps updating your position multiple times a second to give you a better knowledge of your surroundings to not only accurately mark waypoints but also return to your favorite fishing hotspot without getting lost.
- Better visibility with a large touchscreen.
- Easy setup.
- Fast and accurate GPS system.
- Superior Chirp sonar capabilities.
- Preloaded mapping.
- Quickdraw Contour helps create personal maps.
- Transducer requires a splash guard.
- Mapping issues.
Garmin Echomap 73SV will impress every fisherman with its better viewing, accurate side imaging and a fast and sensitive GPS system. It’s loaded with some high-tech features yet the installation and operation is very user-friendly. The overall good quality and performance at comparatively low price make it a steal.
6. Humminbird 410120-1 Helix 10 Best CHIRP Mega Side Imaging Fish Finder
Humminbird 410120 means more fish in your boat. That’s the simplest description of it. Don’t get scared because this is more budget-friendly than other advanced Hummingbird models.
The device employs a 10-inch wide backlit colour LCD screen to let you enjoy crisp contours and images regardless of the time and lighting situation.
More importantly, its screen is waterproofed so it will work fine even after accidentally splashed with water or used in heavy rain.
With its dualbeam plus 2D sonar technology, you get to cover a large area accurately.
In addition, Chirp-in MEGA Side Imaging, MEGA Down Imaging paired with a highly active transducer can give stunning side imaging of up to 250 ft and 125ft down. You can extend side and depth reach by taking help from regular side imaging.
If you thought Garmin Echomap had a superior GPS system, then this one with its 10 updates per second will blow your mind away. Speed of your boat and error-free coordinates will be with you throughout the trip.
Moreover, its Basemap chart containing in-depth reliable details about over 10,000 lakes further increases your chances of reaching fish productive spots without wasting time.
Apart from that, it has an AutoChart Live feature that allows you to draw your own maps with details about depth contours, vegetation and bottom hardness.
To make sure it’s not brushed off by you, it also employs built-in Bluetooth connectivity.
- Budget-friendly and user-friendly.
- Better side imaging of up to 250 ft on both sides.
- Waterproof 10” large backlit LCD screen offers a crisp view in any lighting situation.
- Easy installation and operation.
- Preloaded Basemap charts.
- Extremely active GPS system.
- Built-in bluetooth.
- Issues with depth scanning at higher speed.
- Doesn’t have weather support.
Humminbird 410120 Helix 10 proves to be a refreshing change from more expensive humminbird models not only due to its more budget-friendly price, but also because of better sonar features and GPS navigation system.
7. Humminbird 409640-1 Helix 5 – Best User-Friendly Side Imaging Fish Finder
Looks like Humminbird is on a mission to not leave others to make it to the top slots. It will give you powerful nostalgic feelings with the blessing of a low price.
Like the price, the device itself is also not very heavy. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s completely bland with just a screen.
It comes with a transducer that can delve up to 1500 ft depth with a side imaging of up to 100ft. Its fish tracking skill is unmatchable because of dual beam frequencies, whether sent individually or simultaneously.
This gives you a wider scan of the area to detect the presence of all the fish in the water first, then lets you zero in on your target and voila! You have grabbed your selected fish!
Besides that, using its regular sensor will give you even more fruitful target isolation, especially in shallow waters. I have to say that if you still fail to catch fish, then definitely fish have a bias against you.
Like any other fishfinder, the display on this one also shows the regular data about depth, water temperature and speed etc.
Plus, the presence of GPS will help you create customized mappings and charts to mark productive spots on every getaway and fishing adventure for future trips.
- Transducer can scan depth up to 1500ft with 100ft side imaging.
- Dualbeam frequencies for more accurate targeting.
- GPS mechanism for making personalized notes.
- Screen is hard to read in sunlight and at night time.
- Limited chart data.
This is a more budgeted model of humminbird, but the drop in price doesn’t come at the expense of overall quality and performance. It’s superior side imaging and better sonar functioning make it undoubtedly the best side imaging fishfinder for money.
8. Lowrance HDS-7 – Best Live C-MAP Insight Side Imaging Fish Finder without Transducer
This is one of the most advanced models available in the market entailing a hefty price tag of course, after all coming nip and tuck with Humminbird and Garmin has a price.
It doesn’t come with a transducer – quite annoying I know – but the bright side is, you can get one that serves your purpose.
Its 7-inch screen might seem a bit smaller for such an advanced model, but that will not even be the last thing on your mind when you’ll be enjoying high-resolution live imaging of your lure and moving target.
After all, the chase is better than the catch.
No, you’ll not be doing the chasing only; it also covers for actual fish capturing.
Thanks to the Chirp sonar system with StructureScan 3D technology and dual core processor, you’ll get the best view of structure and fish below and on both sides of your vessel in a flash.
It also comes with a new color range to let you enjoy near-photographic images of whatever the unit is displaying.
You no more have to worry about getting lost or losing fish hotspots because the incorporation of detailed maps and highly sensitive GPS will keep updating your current coordinates to let you mark accurate trails.
Or, if you can use bluetooth connectivity then download accurate maps.
- Ultrasharp and crisp imaging with new color range.
- Fast fish tracking.
- Live imaging in real-time.
- GPS system for accurate trailing.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Exorbitant price.
- Screen is comparatively smaller.
- Transducer isn’t included.
If money is not an issue and your main priority is to enjoy the chase and catch of your target to the fullest, then there is no fish finder better than Lowrance HDS-7 Live. Fast fish tracking ability with accurate sidescan and GPS system make it worth the money.
9. Garmin Striker 7SV – Best Top Rated Side Imaging Fish Finder with Transducer
Garmin really knows how to keep its competitors on their toes. This latest addition of Garmin Striker 7SV is a living proof of it fighting tooth and nail for winning the slot for best side imaging fish finder for the money.
Like other Garmin Striker models, the outside look is the same with a 7-inch large sunlight-readable view screen with keys added on one side. However, it’s the inside that really steals the show.
It’s traditional Chirp sonar comes with a ClearVu for down imaging of up to 250ft and SideVu for side imaging of around 500ft.
Together they enable you to accurately identify fish and natural objects underwater; and then separate and capture your desired target without any hindrance.
In addition, with a right transducer and 2D sonar, this combination of side and down scan can extend to 800ft. When such a wide area is within your exploration range, coming back without a catch is highly unlikely.
Another strong selling point is the built-in GPS mechanism. Calling it strong is on point because it lets you mark and save around 5000 waypoints.
There are no preloaded maps but that’s not a dealbreaker because you can create personal routes or use wifi connectivity to take help from Quickdraw Contours Community and ActiveCaptain app for mapping and charts.
- Sunlight-readable screen with high-resolution viewing.
- Capable of giving 250ft down imaging and almost double side imaging accurately.
- Strong GPS system.
- Portable device with a carrying cover.
- Lacks preloaded mapping.
- Transducer cable is often loose.
This fish finder lets you have a taste of both worlds, simple user-interface and cutting-edge features, without going overboard. Also, its superior sonar performance and navigation system make it further irresistible.
10. Humminbird 410220 – Best Affordable Black Fishing Hook Side Imaging Fish Finder
Wrapping the show with another stellar model by the one and only Humminbird. Coming with a humminbird’s signature appearance, this one has enough bells and whistles to keep the game interesting without upsetting your budget.
Its 5-inch screen is large enough to give you readable information of fish, underwater contours, depth and temperature data yet portable enough to be easily carried around.
The good thing is, you can split screen to get dual frequency readings at once.
Like many Humminbird’s products, this one also uses Chirp sonar to give you clearer Down and Side imaging.
Its basic DualBeam Plus has somewhat higher frequencies which means your scanning range will be a bit limited, but the loss is fully compensated with marvelous information clarity. Now that’s called a real masterstroke!
We don’t like this skeptical look on your face so here is a more precise scanning range. DualBeam Plus gives you a scanning range of 600ft and 300ft when using Down Imaging.
See, now you know that with these dimensions it is perfect for more shallower and freshwater.
- Portable and budget-friendly.
- Better information clarity and colour display.
- Setup and operation is uncomplicated.
- Perfect for shallower and freshwater.
- Doesn’t perform well in tidal waters.
- Limited range.
This fish finder in a portable design has enough bells and whistles to perform its function well without getting out of budget range. Its colour display screen, easy usage and scanning range make it a perfect option for fishing in shallower or freshwater.
Buying Guide: Selecting The Best Side Imaging Fish Finder 2023
The above list will prove helpful, but an independent investigation will help you, even more, to accurately locate the best side imaging fish finder.
That can be only done when you have background knowledge of all the crucial characteristics involved in the process. The below features will help you filter out the right product instantly.
The frequency range isn’t just random numbers. It will help you decide where you should go fishing. A simple rule is to remember to pick a higher frequency range unit if you intend to fish in shallow waters.
A higher frequency range will give you more details.
For more deep water fishing, go for devices with low frequency range. The details will be limited, but the beams will deliver more precise information about your target.
It’s clear as a glass, the higher the wattage power of the device, the quicker it will be at delivering results. Quick response time will enable you to cast a lure before the target slips from your sight.
Your fishing game will be over before it even starts if the screen size is small or display quality is hazy. Always opt for large screens with high-resolution imaging to enjoy more detail with excellent clarity even if the lighting situation isn’t ideal.
Speaking of display quality, there’s hardly a person alive who would want to spend time watching a movie in black and white nowadays.
This is what a balck and white display will look like – completely bland and boring. Go for high-resolution screens with various colour indicators for distinguishing between information.
Colour ranging will also give you a more real-like view of the underwater world.
I get a lot of queries regarding the size of the screen, wondering why they should spend extra to acquire a bigger screen when several smaller display screens also sport higher resolutions. While I have no bias against compact display windows, I recommend larger display units for additional perks like a split-screen format. No matter how many diverse details you collect, they appear obscure when your small display is further split into mini sections.
If you have budget and space restraints, sticking to a 7-9 inches screen is a practical choice. These are easy to accommodate on boats of all sizes, including space-efficient kayaks. Plus, the display is wide enough to pick apart multiple pieces of information effectively at a given time.
Besides, the unit should be weatherproof to withstand exposure to water, wind and other harsh environmental factors.
Information is displayed on the screen through a transducer. A fish finder that doesn’t come with a transducer means you’ll have to spend extra money.
So, it’s logical to select a model that comes with a transducer. Also, make sure the transducer is powerful enough to give you good readings for the type of fishing you have in mind.
Side Imaging vs Down Imaging
Both use higher frequencies to gain an incredible level of detail and have a distinct set of advantages in particular fishing types. Side Imaging launches beams on the left and right of the transducer to collect details about the structure, submerged objects and schools of fish on both sides of the vessel. The technology is better for fishing in shallow water because of its wider proportional range. It is highly customizable and specifically targeted for trolling anglers.
Alternatively, down imaging wins in the depth range. It gives you a snapshot of details underneath your vessel that seem unreal to capture with other sonar waves. This allows you to locate possible ‘hot spots’ by letting you observe a jig, bait school, debris, weed and hideouts below the surface. This technology is a game changer for vertical fishing in a deeper waterbody, be it for bait fishermen or stationary fishing.
Compatibility with Trolling Motor
Another thing you need to be cautious about is the compatibility of the unit with your trolling motor to avoid tons of hassle. The GPS of your gadget must work with the trolling motor if you want to select and lock crucial points on the finder. You can even draw routes to mark the path you want to explore on the trolling motor.
You can unlock all these amazing navigational tricks only with a trolling motor-compatible unit
The more, the merrier. It will always prove beneficial if you go for a fish finder with extra bells and whistles like a backlit LCD screen, preloaded mapping, GPS navigation system etc.
They might not seem to have a direct impact on your fish-catching ability, but on closer inspection you’ll come to realize that they will prove fruitful for productive fish hunt.
- GPS Chartplotter: Having GPS and chart plotter technologies alongside sonar echoes ensures you’re never wanted for lucrative fishing destinations. Besides, you get a better understanding of the bottom construction of a terrain.
For instance, you will be able to pinpoint both productive and hazardous spots, determine depth markers and contours and recognize buoys.
- Networking Functionality: You can sync several fish trackers to your unit to form a fishing powerhouse system if your device sports supersonic ethernet networking. Such units are also compatible with other maps. So, you can work on Navionics if needed. Thanks to Bluetooth networking, you can sync the gadget to your cellphone to get notifications.
- Does your unit feature an SD card? You will need this additional storage capacity to save notes and new maps. The memory card also keeps a record of your glorious moments to let you relive them again and again long after returning from the venture.
Q. Which fish finder has the best side imaging?
I will narrow down the list to the top 5 picks that are genuinely ‘The Best’ side imaging fish finders for the money.
1. Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp MSI – Best for kayaks or small boats.
2. Lowrance Hook2 9
3. Garmin Striker Plus 9sv and EchoMap UHD 93sv – Best value for the money.
4. Humminbird Helix 10
5. Garmin echoMap 73sv
If you have the liberty to go above $1000, then Humminbird Solix 12 and Lowrance HDS-7 Live are the best premium side imaging fish finders.
Q. Is side imaging better than down imaging?
It isn’t about which one is better. It’s a matter of which one serves best in what situation. Both technologies are lauded for collecting higher levels of detail. Side imaging is apt for less deep areas due to its broad proportional range. It gives you a high number of customization options and is purposely designed for trolling fishermen.
Conversely, down imaging has a far-reaching depth range and serves well in vertical fishing situations where you want to inspect deeper bodies.
Q. What speed is best for side imaging?
Side Imaging technology usually works best when your boat is moving within a speed limit of 10 mph. The precision and accuracy generally get compromised above that speed.
Note that Side and Down Imaging and 2D technologies don’t work when you are stationary or barely moving.
Q. Is there any disadvantage of the side scan sonar?
The side scan sonar lacks bathymetry – the ability to study and measure the depth of oceans, lakes or seas. So, a side scan usually works in collaboration with depth-determining tools, such as single or multiple-beam sonars, to draw a detailed map of the seabed or floor of the ocean.
Q. Which is the easiest and one of the most affordable side imaging fish finder?
The award goes to Lowrance Hook2 9 Tripleshot without any hesitation. You get Chirp, Side & Down Imgingsand GPS Chartplotter at a very affordable price. Automated sonar makes its use the easiest you could find.
Garmin Striker Plus 9sv, EchoMap Plus 73sv and Humminbird Helix 5 also have pleasingly low learning curves. Their entire setup, installation and use are a breeze.
Best side imaging fish finder works like a heart for a fruitful fishing trip. They are not only easy to install and operate, but also improve the rate of capturing fish significantly. Finding the right device may not seem like a taxing chore once you have gone through the above list of best side imaging fish finders. If 10 products still seem like a wide choice, then taking help from our buyer’s guide will let you filter out the right model for your needs without any confusion.