The world is indeed becoming a more exciting place with the never-ending advancement of technology. The fishing industry hasn’t been spared at all in every sense of the word. Gone are the days when we had to employ hectic measures just to locate or discover fishing spots. The invention of the fish finder should be one of the greatest inventions in man’s history considering our intimate relationship with these wonderful creatures. There are various aspects of fishing you need to consider to make sure you get the best fish finder.
Whether you are an addicted angler or the occasional fisherman, you need to up your game and have one of these gadgets to enjoy your experience to the best possible level. Upon discovering that it’s not as easy to come across the best fish finder, we have endeavored to come up with a comprehensive guide covering the best fish finders in 2018. There aren’t many fish finder reviews available either. Brace yourself and let’s get started.
Best Fish Finders 2018
1) Lowrance 000-12635-001 – Best Fish Finder
The first real gem of a fish finder we shall consider is the Lowrance hook-3x Sonar. Its economic but crafty design surpasses expectations along with other superior features that command a lot of respect from both its Lowrance cousins and other fish finder brands. Let us at once appreciate the cutting-edge design and general features of this fish finder.
The first glance will meet your eye with nothing other than elegance and compactness. The fish finder comes in an all grey color with dimensions of 3.8 x 1.9 x 6.5 inches regarding length, width, and height. The weight mocks other behemoth finders with a modest value of 2 pounds. The color display has a diagonal value of 3 inches and promises an impressive resolution of 320×240. Now let us get to other details relating to other more technical features.
1) Navigational features:
a) It possesses a Broadband sounder detail that is capable of easy identification of fish targets, contours, structure, bottom hardness, and thermoclines.
b) It has advanced signal processing which reduces any need for manual adjustment settings to have a clear view of fish and associated structures.
2) Sonar Features: The transducer functions at two frequencies known as dual-frequency in other words. The two frequencies are 83 and 200kHz. The 83kHz frequency allows for up to 60Degrees of conical coverage due to a conical shaped beam which is ideal for displaying the large fish arches and searching wider areas. The 200kHz frequency has a conical coverage of 20 degrees for effective separation of fish-targets. Additionally, the fish finder has a page’s button that helps the user switch between the 83 Khz and 200Khz views.
3) FISH ID: The fish finder lets you see icons to assist you with Identification of fish targets. It also incorporates alarm and track options. There are also dedicated keys which help you zoom up to 4 times the general view and focus on major fishing areas.
4) It has a patented transducer that also incorporates a sensor for temperature.
5) The transducer is also capable of transmitting signals at a boat speed of 75mph.
6) It has a tilt and swivel bracket and supports the Lowrance advantage program.
- It possesses a great array of navigational features not commonly seen in most compact or portable fish finders.
- It has advanced sonar abilities that should go along way advancing your fish tracking abilities.
- It provides a 4-star bottom visibility profile.
- It is portable and relatively affordable when compared with other high-end fish finders with almost the same capabilities.
- The small size and screen might appeal to those who prefer a secure and wide display gadget.
All in all, the Lowrance XDCR provides all that any serious angler needs for the best experience possible. A great design coupled with an impressive array of features should get anyone excited enough to give this gadget a try. A 3.9 amazon rating does the rest of the talking.
The hummingbird HELIX7 certainly commands respect and trust from the most experienced and adventurous anglers. A wealth of cutting-edge technology makes it a worthwhile update of its already impressive predecessors which include the powerful Helix 7 Chirp DI GPS G2. Impeccable design, the inclusion of CHIRP sonar and Auto-Chart Live give anyone a pair of kingfisher’s eyes at the bottom of the waters. Such enhancement obviously doesn’t come cheap hence the rather hefty price tag that will suck at least 400 dollars from your bank account. This review will provide an in-depth investigation on the fishfinder and discover if it is worth the fat bundle of bucks it demands. Our journey will involve a look at the design characteristics, the technical specifications or key features, the pros and cons followed by our verdict. It is one of the best hummingbird fish finders.
The Helix 7 comes on stage with one of the sleekest designs you can find on the market today. The out of the box all-black design features a glass 7-inch display with simple and clear control buttons to your right side. The overall dimensions prove the gadget a bigger option when compared to other hummingbird and other fish-finding devices. It boasts of a combination of 1.1 x 10.5 x 5.8 inches regarding width, length and height respectively. Accompanying the dimensions of the device is the weight which goes all the way up to 10.4 pounds. Compare it with the likes of the Garmin striker and the Lawrence Hook-3XDSI, and you will notice most of them hardly hit the 5-pound mark thus proving how big this finder is. The display size of this gadget hits 7 inches regarding diagonal length thus promising a big and better view especially when you are into the split screen mode. Unlike its predecessors whose screens are made of plastic, the Helix 7 has a glass screen that eliminates all the horrors that come with plastic screen viewing especially poor viewing in the sun. In addition to this, the display also adds a few things on the table. The color TFT provides a 16-bit color range, 800H x 480V pixel matrix and also, a LED backlight and IPX7 waterproof function. There’s surely not much more you can ask for; this is simply remarkable by today’s standards.
1) Cutting edge navigation features
a) It houses an ultra-efficient GPS module which is capable of offering fixes within 2.5 meters. WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS boost this above-average GPS.
b) On top of obtaining GPS data, the gadget is also able to give you feedback on the much-needed vessel speed that almost always affects your fish finding capacity.
c) It has a smart memory that is able to store numerous waypoints, tracks and routes. To be more specific this machine can nail up to 2,500 waypoints, along with 45 routes and 50 tracks. Formal tests report up to 20,000 points per tracks which is a rare phenomenon in other fish finders.
d) The Auto chart live option: This is a unique gem of a feature that utilizes sonar information and the GPS feedback to let you know the shape or contours of the body of water you are on thus basically giving you the much needed underwater clarity you need.
e) In addition to the Auto chart Live, the device also features the basic hummingbird navigation charts which come in the HumminbirdUniMap package. The basic chart package is a bit limited though as it mostly provides the service of a regular GPS which covers landmarks such as lakes, ocean, streams, with accurately described landmark-water boundaries.
Though only offering basic navigation details, the gadget goes an extra mile by being compatible with the top of range chart chips. Among these are the Navionics plus, the Lake Master PLUS, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum plus charts.
f) Exceptional drift and off course Alarms: The Drift Alarm is a beneficial feature that enables you to mark an area with a specified perimeter for your boat, the alarm simply sounds if the boat shifts out of the perimeter range. The Off Course Alarm helps you stay on the pre-set course and provides you audio feedback in the form of an alarm if you drift off the course.
g) The Bird’s Eye View function: How about having eyes above and behind your boat? This feature does just that, and it lives up to its name. This will aid you in understanding your whereabouts and make the Lake or Sea less of a watery maze.
2) To notch Fish-finding features
a) XNT 9 DI T transducer. This one is an undoubtedly a powerful transducer that is accompanied by a 6-meter cable. Additionally, the package comes with a Transom transducer.
b) It operates on the 200, 455, and 800 kHz frequencies. The 200/455 kHz is used for 2D imaging whereas the 455/800 kHz functions to provide the Down Imaging.
c) The devices comes with the monumental CHIRP technology: This technology allows you to modulate the sonar pulse on several frequency ranges including 175 to 225 kHz, 420 to 520 kHz and 790 to 850 kHz. This affords the device powerful imaging that is capable of differentiating the fish from the underlying structures, and enables clearer vision between targets while other devices struggle to provide such views.
d) It can pierce the water down to 600 ft. For DI it can reach down to 350 ft. Whereas the 2D can go all the way to 600 ft. This is quite an impressive fit that challenges most finders.
e) Complementary features enhancing the experience include Circular Flasher, Selective Fish ID+, Real Time Sonar, Fish Alarms and Switch-Fire.
a) It hosts a NMEA port and a micro card reader that supports upgrades for charts, data transfer and other storage functions
b) The Gimbal mount offers a convenient support that secures the device firmly resting any concerns for safety.
- The CHIRP sonar technology enhances clarity at depths that other finders struggle to live up to.
- Top of the range transducer offers much more.
- It offers depth versatility. It functions remarkably up to 600ft making it usable for both shallow and in-land angling.
- A wide range of sonar functions.
- Enhanced GPS with MSAS, ENGONS, and WAAS
- It combines auto chart and Unimap charts.
- Ultra-powerful and adequately sized display with 800×400 resolution.
- IPX7 waterproof.
- Easy installation
- Absent 360 imaging.
- There seems to be no cover for the unit.
A great finder with an awful load of features that provide a lot for the price tag. Depth penetration and clarity at both shallow and deep angling offers a lot for the price. Something to consider if your pockets and needs can handle it. Many hummingbird fish finder reviews have it as a top rated fish finder. It is the best fish finder gps combo under 1000.
3) Garmin Striker 4 Bbuilt-in GPS – Best Fish Finder GPS Combo
If you don’t want to spend any money on highly advanced features while still having a high-quality portable finder, the Garmin Striker 4 from Garmin’s striker series should be on your top 3 list. It is one of the most affordable fish finders out there that can offer you a lot with a price tag that shows a figure under 100 dollars. Believe it or not, it has CHIRP technology, a sound transducer, and great depth. This is rare to find in most finders belonging to the less-than-a-100 dollars class. Let us have an in-depth look at this gadget and see if it’s worth the effort of dipping your hand into your pocket to get the much-valued coin. It is arguably the best kayak fish finder that we have in the review.
Like most finders from Garmin, this fish finder comes in an all-black compact design that wants undoubtedly eat up a lot of space on your boat. The actual dimensions and the weight can well describe the size of the device. It comes with a 3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9-inch dimension and a 2.35-pound weight which shouldn’t raise concerns related to carpal tunnel syndrome. Compare it with the Hummingbird seven which goes all the way up to 10 pounds, and you will surely appreciate the difference. The display comes with a rather small diagonal length of 3.5 inches which is pretty much similar to other Garmin devices including the striker 4dv and Striker 4 portable bundle. The display boasts of a matrix of 480V X 320H and a backlight which offers excellent viewing even with the sun scorching you from right above or from an angle. The design also features IPX7 waterproof to make sure it survives the wet environment that it can be immersed to a depth of 1m in freshwater. Also, the finder comes with other essential accessories including a data cable for data transferring waypoints along with a secure and stable tilt or swivel mount.
1) Navigation features
A Precise GPS module: The gadget makes it up to the lack of a chart plotter through an impressive GPS that enables you to mark your waypoints with precision in case you get your fishing spot and want a revisit. The device can keep a record of about 5000 waypoints which can come in handy if you are quite an intensive angler.
2) The transducer and other functions
a) The package comes with a 010-10249-20 transducer which can operate at 77/200 kHz. The transducer produces two beams which take a conical shape where one is 15 degrees with the 200 kHz frequency and another one function with the 77KHZ frequency at 45 degrees.
b) The control unit is not limited to 77/200 kHz but also capable of handling the 50/77/200 kHz. This feature gives the gadget the capability to get deeper regarding scan depth. Operating at 50/200 kHz, you can function with mid and high CHIRP.
c) Can get down to scan depths of 1600ft in fresh water and 750ft in saltwater when using the 50 KHz cable.
d) It Offers better clarity through CHIRP technology. With this technology, you can better differentiate fish and underlying landscape and also able to distinguish individuals from a shoal.
e) Additional excellent features which allow better clarity include the flasher-mode, Autogain, and the ultrascroll.
- Capable of operating at dual frequency including the 50/200 KHz range which allows deeper access.
- CHIRP technology offers top-notch clarity experience characterized by simplified fish location.
- An array of extra sonar features to compliment the CHIRP tech.
- Highly efficient GPS.
- Great memory-saving of up to 5000 waypoints.
- Affordable and easy to install.
- It lacks NMEA for connectivity.
- Limited navigation features. Only has the GPS to offer primary navigation options.
This finder offers a solution for those who are looking for a portable, affordable and yet efficient finder. An array of great features such as the CHIRP technology and its accompanying features should make anyone with a limited budget seriously consider taking this on board. It indeed remains one of the best fish finders for the money. It features in many portable fish finder reviews as a great fish finder.
4) Vexilar SP200 T-Box – Smartphone FISH Finder
Gadgets are getting smarter with every passing year, and finders are no exception to the fast-changing environment. The vexilar SP200 features a finder system that is mounted to your boat while wirelessly connecting to your smartphone to display images from beneath the waters. Going at under 150 dollars at Amazon, this innovative option provides excellent service similar to fish finders whose price tag demands much more. It is arguably the best fish finder for a small boat.
Take a deep breath and consider the following breathtaking features.
The Vexilar PS200 is a transducer that comes with a wireless module that you connect to your smartphone which then provides high-quality images. The box has five essential elements which are the transducer, the wireless T-box, a USB adaptor, an armband and fixing screws. You need a 12v power source on your boat to connect to using the 12v USB adaptor which is then attached to the T-box for power. Overall, the dimensions show a combination of a 3.75×7.25×5.75 inches for the T-box. The weight hit the 2.38 pounds. Regarding screen size, there is no limit to screen size as it all depends on the kind of smartphone you are using.
The T-box connects to your smartphone using a Wi-Fi launched by the T-box. There is no need for a mobile network coverage thus you can use the Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.
1) Sonar features
a) It uses a powerful and precise SP200 transducer which emits a 200 KHz beam with a 20-40 degree range
b) It is capable of shooting beams to 240 ft. Which is good enough and way deeper than its similar competitors like the bobber and the Deeper.
2) Navigation Features
Some navigation app is available online for you to choose depending on the smartphone you are using. These provide a wide range of navigation features that can be used to enhance your positional awareness. For instance, the Navionics app offers the following navigational features:
- It shows Navionics nautical charts for a particular area.
- It functions as chatter and GPS, offering you the advantage to establish waypoints, routes, and tracks.
- Provides sonar charts live for mapping contours of the specific waterbody underneath.
- It allows you information of tides regarding direction and heights
- Capable of providing split screen display.
- It features inbuilt dual beam technology.
- Provides the ability to work with a variety of screen sizes.
- The depth is adequate for most anglers.
- Wireless connection offers positional versatility s you don’t need to be close to your device.
- It provides access to top ranging navigational tools like the live chart.
- There may be wireless connectivity issues with the smartphone.
- Some smartphones may not be compatible with the online app.
The vexilar SP200 provides a top-notch overall angling experience at a reasonable cost and can prove an excellent substitute for the rather expensive widescreen fish finders around. The simplicity in design and setup adds on to the finesse that graces this exciting gadget. It is the best fish finder under 200.
Our next review moments will be spent looking at one of the best portable fish finders on the market today. The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 53cv features powerful Sonar and transducer properties along with other extra features that give it a not so typical versatility to make your angling experience is worthwhile. The portable, sleek design adds on to the display of splendor this gadget possesses. Though the price may be a bit on the higher side, it provides excellent performance to price ratio. Let us have a closer look at the device. It is arguably the best fish finder for ice fishing in the review.
Like most gadgets from Garmin, the Garmin echoMAP 53cv comes in compact all-black design but with an air of elegance to it. Size-wise, the overall dimensions have 6.8 x 1.7 x 5.4 inches figures to display rather a small gadget typical of Garmin’s products. The total weight also attests to the gadgets dimensions with 4.95 pounds. The display has a 5 inch diagonal and boasts of a 480 x 480-pixel resolution. The IPX7 waterproof ensures top class sealing from splashes or even immersion to depths of about 1m. Additionally, the display also supports split views which can enable you to look at your charts and dual frequency on a split screen.
The unit also includes flush or swivel mount which provides the combination of security and practicality. The unit is designed in such a way that all the cables connect to the mount while the control unit connects to the mount through a multiple pin connector.
1) The sonar and transducer.
a) It contains CHIRP sonar Technology which functions with both the 2D and Clearvu frequencies.
b) It hails with the GT22HW-TM featuring a four pin connector and trolling motor mounts.
c) It features a 6m cable which has an integrated temperature sensor. The unit displays temperature values on temperature logs and graph functions.
d) It functions on three frequencies for 2D viewing. The frequencies are 50/77/200 KHz. The Clearvu function also involves three frequencies which include 260/455/800 KHz. Using the transducer that comes together with the unit, It is only capable of handling the high, wide CHIRP for 2D with pulse modulation at the 150-240 KHz range. Considering the Clearvu, the transducer functions on the 400/800 KHz frequencies. All in all, this is quite a feature that is capable of providing excellent views on the state of affairs under water.
c) Exceptional depth: The unit can penetrate up to 2300 ft. in freshwater regarding depth. Coupled with a 50 KHz transducer, it can go all the way to 800ft for 2D function whereas, for Clearvu, it can extend to the 500ft mark.
d) Required boat speed: To produce close to crystal clear images the recommended speed range is 1-6 MPH. But in general terms, it is capable of providing images with speeds of up to 30MPH.
e) Extra Sonar related features include Sonar recording, Sonar rewind, Bottom Lock, Flasher and data graphs.
2) Navigation Features
a) The Quickdraw Contours: This feature offers you the ability to view the contours of a particular waterbody. This ability is great especially when the waterbody you are angling from isn’t supported in the pre-built in charts.
b) It has the 5HZ GPS/GLONASS internal receiver which has exceptional accuracy and speed. For those more curious, it is capable of functioning at refreshing your position at five times per second.
c) It can save 5000 waypoints, 100 routes and houses a trail recording function that can handle up to 50000 track points
- The CHIRP Technology ensures cutting-edge definition and excellent clarity.
- Powerful GT22HW-TM 4-pin transducer.
- Speedy GPS function.
- Preloaded charts.
- Quickdraw contour feature.
- Compatible with numerous charts including Blue charts g2 vision ND Lakevu HD Ultra.
- It supports AIS and DSC VHF RADIO.
- It comes with a unit cover.
- Easy installation and operation.
- The manual isn’t specific to the device. It follows a holistic approach to all the echo-MAP CHIRP unit family.
Though not less than 320 dollars at Amazon, this fish-finder gives you an eagle’s eye below the eerie waters for an excellent fishing adventure. You will have to work hard to come by any apparent shortfalls. Lots of great features and performance to it make it a worthwhile investment indeed. One of the best fish finders around. It is arguably the best fish finder under 500.
Supporting it is price by a reasonable number of features, this fish finder provides an awful load of features which you would find interesting. The Ray-marine Dragonfly is part of the dragonfly series which include The Dragonfly 5 pro and the dragonfly seven which also hold a lot of features that this finder provides. Let’s take a look at the critical elements of this device and see if it deserves a place on the market.
The dragonfly holds one of the most gargantuan dimensions on the plain of fish finders amounting to a combination of 13.8×13.8×13.8 inches. This number is not small by any means when compared to most of the fish finders. When it comes to the weight, the dragonfly hits the 4.5-pound mark. The unit features a 7-inch display in diagonal with a pixel matrix of 800HX480V. Additionally, it has a LED backlight and an aspect ratio of 15:9.
The unit also holds an IPX6 and IPX7 waterproof rate proving its ability to withstand the wet environment. It needs a 12V battery to function and comes with a 1.5m cable and a pivot-ball type mount.
1) Sonar features
a) It has a powerful CPT-60 transducer which has an integrated water sensor.
b) It Supports CHIRP technology for both the Down-vision sonar and 2D channels. The sonar pulse is modulated on the frequency range between 170-230 kHz for 2D CHIRP, and 320-380 kHz for CHIRP Down-Vision.
c) Depth: Can reach 600 ft.
2) Navigation features
a) It has a super-efficient 72-channel, Internal GPS/GLONASS.
b) It includes the U.S Navionics+ charts covering dozens of U.S inland waterbodies and coastal areas.
c) In addition to the U.S Navionics, it is also compatible with Sonar chart, Navionics Gold, and Hot maps.
d) Retains capacity to store numerous waypoints, tracks, and routes which can be saved through the microSD card options.
e) It offers Wi-Fi connectivity. This capability enables you to stream data onto a tablet or smartphone using the WI-Fish app.
- It offers dual channel sonar along with 2D CHIRP and CHIRP down-vision.
- It has powerful transducer with temperature sensor capabilities.
- It has enhanced target separation.
- It has a superior depth of 275 meters.
- It is Wi-Fi enabled.
- Precise GPS module.
- Supports a myriad of extra sonar features to enhance the quality of vision.
- Powerful display characteristics.
- Easy installation
- The unit does not have NMEA ports.
- It lacks an integrated recording function for sonar images.
The Ray-marine Dragonfly 7 pro is no inferior finder if you are looking for a top-notch gadget which provides a balance of price and value. It has an excellent array of features in both designs, sonar capabilities, and navigation. It wouldn’t be an imprudent move to consider this gadget if your pocket allows it.
This gadget is one fishfinder with cutting-edge flair in almost all the departments. Just the feel of the device will make you feel on top of the fish privileged. It features a wide touch screen with a lot of incredible sonar and navigational features. Let us spend a few moments to discover if the price tag is justified.
The exciting all-black sleek design features a behemoth-sized fish finder. The dimensions tell it all with a height, length and width combination of 13 x 14.8 x 10.7 in. The weight reaches the 12.7-pound mark making it one of the biggest fish finders around. The touchscreen is, in essence, a showstopper beating almost every other finder on the market today. The widescreen featured with exceptional color range and clarity reminds you of your touch experience on the iPad or your Samsung galaxy note. It features a Solar-MAX Plus display that makes viewing a breeze at almost any angle. The calibrated touch makes sure such that any water doesn’t affect your touch on the screen. Five buttons are at your disposal to make sure your angling doesn’t come to a halt in case the screen malfunctions.
1) Sonar abilities
a) The sonar can function at 83/200 kHz or 50/200 kHz displaying 2D images.
b) It can get as far as 3000 ft.
c) Supports Structure-Scan HD providing sides can coverage at a depth of up to 600ft.
d) The LSS2 transducer provides a down-scan signal for a direct top to bottom viewing.
e) It supports split-screen mode.
f) It supports FISH ID.
a) Compatible with a wide range of charting including Navionics, C-Map Max-N, TOPO and the Insight Genesis.
b) It houses a 5 Hz internal GPS antenna.
c) Able to store 200 routes and 5000 Waypoints
d) It allows for depth contour shading
- Supports structure scan, broadband and an excellent array of additional sonar features.
- It comes with two transducers namely the LSS-2 and the 83/200 KHz thus removing the need for an extra purchase.
- Magnificent display with a lot of features rarely offered by most fish finders.
- High-level precision GPS capabilities.
- Preloaded maps which can be handy for U.S users.
- The hefty price tag doesn’t make it available to everyone.
- It might take a lot of getting-used-to to learn the efficient use of the numerous features.
This beast of a fish finding machine offers an excellent price to quality ratio. The numerous features justify the price at Amazon. It is one of the best fish finders you can come across on the market today.
Deeper smart fish finder is one of the most exciting fishfinder technologies around featuring great wireless capabilities. It is a portable fish finder that can be at any point on the surface of the water while connected to your smartphone using Bluetooth. It is capable of capturing various essential elements like the depth, temperature, fish and other relevant details. The connection is capable of working with your device from a distance of about 40 meters. Let us take a look at the devices exciting features. It is the best fish finder under 300 in the review.
The fish finder takes a simple form of a round black ball with demarcated by an orange line in the middle. Regarding dimensions, it offers a combination of 2.6×2.6×2.6 inches, weighing at about 3.52 ounces. It has the diameter of 2.6 inches and proves to bigger than its deeper sonar pro and deeper sonar plus cousins which have diameters of 2.55 inches. When compared with the ibobber, it proves a bigger gadget with the ibobber falling at 2 inches. The fish finder comes with a 3.7V Lithium polymer battery which can last for 6 hours on nonstop usage and takes 2 hours to charge fully. It also comes with a power adapter which is compatible with a 110V/240V Micro-USB.
1) Sonar features
- It has a dual beam sonar which functions at the 290 kHz (15°) / 90 kHz (55°) frequencies.
- It has a maximum depth of 130ft for the narrow beam and 4.3ft for the wide beam.
- It has temperature sensors and a functional temperature range of -20 to 40 degree Celsius
- It has a scanning frequency of 7 scans per second.
- It possesses a target separation range of 3 inches
2) Navigation features
- Mapping: Supports boat mode contour mapping which offering depth, temperature, vegetation and structure mapping.
- It does not have GPS features.
- The use of Bluetooth proves a massive plus for the device as you don’t need an internet connection through mobile data or Wi-Fi.
- It offers an excellent transducer which supports dual beaming.
- Easy to install.
- It provides excellent underwater viewing incorporating vegetation and landscape structure.
- Compatibility with a range of mobile devices makes it have an unlimited display size.
- Lacks GPS and other navigation tools to enhance positional awareness.
- The maximum depth is not as remarkable as similar wireless fish finding devices.
The Deeper 3.0 Smart Portable Finder proves a worthwhile option to consider if you are in for a portable and affordable finder that provides the basic fish finding necessities. It should certainly make it into every enthusiast top 5 best portable fish finders.
This fish finder is big in every possible way. The price tag, the size, and the features give you an impression the designers had one thing in mind: GREATNESS! Let’s find out if there is any truth in this.
The first thing you will see as soon as it’s out of the box is the mammoth size of the control unit. The dimensions of this product measure a colossal 13.4 x 4.2 x 7.1 inches with a complimentary weight of 12.1 pounds. The fish finder mainly dwarfs other finders and make them look like schoolboy toys, that is if you have a thing for big gadgets. The display unit features 9 inches regarding the screen diagonal, a pixel matrix of 800×480 resolution, and boasts of a 65000-color range. The color range is quite superior if you care to compare with other finders in the same class. The finder also has IPX7 waterproof to show for waterproof capabilities.
The fish finder also has microSD card slots for data transfer along with Ethernet, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 ports. Additionally, the finder comes with the Gimbal-type mounting kit and a unit cover. The finder also has one rare feature which can only be found in the Helix nine, 10, and 12 units from Hummingbird which is the AS RC1 wireless remote which gives you the capability to execute tasks from a distance through Bluetooth.
1) Sonar features and properties
- It comes with the 2D Sonar XNT 920T transducer. The transducer has an inbuilt temperature probe for water temperature tracking.
- Three sonar frequencies capabilities. The unit functions at 50/83/200 kHz frequencies through the supplied sonar only supports 83/200 kHz.
- Can get to colossal depths of 3000 ft. When the XNT 9 DB74T transducer is used, the supplied transducer can get to 1500ft.
- Offers split screen display capabilities.
- It can support 360-degree imaging.
- Great extra sonar features including Real-time Sonar, Selective FishD+, Switch fire and Bottom Lock.
2) Navigation Features.
- A powerful and high precision GPS.
- Features inbuilt contourXD maps which cover about 3000 US lakes and other landmarks.
- Features the 3D bird’s eye view function which provides 3D positional awareness.
- Incredible memory with the capability to store up to 2750 waypoints, 45 routes and 50 trails with 20000 points per trail.
- Features a live auto-chart which provides the capability for on-point mapping.
- Compatible with a number of charts including Navionics platinum+ and lake master charts.
- It has a powerful XNT 9 20T, with an inbuilt temperature probe.
- 3000 ft. Groundbreaking depth capacity.
- A myriad of sonar functions to enhance clarity.
- High precision GPS module.
- Features Auto chart lives.
- A wide and powerful display.
- It supports IPX7 waterproof.
- It offers wireless remote control options.
- It has internal software that can be upgraded.
- It can engage in 360 imaging.
- The hefty price tag may pose a challenge for those on a budget but need a finder with superior performance.
- A myriad of high tech features may render first timers having a lot of getting used to.
The Helix 9 is, without doubt, a great product that provides a lot of value for the high price. An exceptional array of both navigational, design and sonar features give enough reason for the hectic monetary investment. No wonder it is a regular on best fish finders lists on the web today.
The Gen3 series represents Lowrance’s masterclass in producing top-notch fish finders with state of the art displays. The series combines exceptional touchscreen display units, superior navigation tools, and CHIRP technology. The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Insight is one of the finders in this series, and it doesn’t fall short of anything like this. Let’s put it under the magnifying glass and see if it’s worth the hard-earned bucks in your pockets.
Great design quality will quickly meet a single glance at this finder in a sleek all-black unit boasting of an impressive touchscreen with a keypad placed at your right side. The device has 8.5 x 3.3 x 5.8 inches regarding dimensions which is quite on the lower side when compared with the Elite-5 Ti. Regarding weight, it strikes 2.5 pounds and proves heavier than the Lowrance Elite-5 Ti. The device has a display diagonal of 7 inches with a pixel matrix of 800×480. The aspect ratio goes all the way to 16:9 ensuring superior viewing quality. The LED backlight offers an extra advantage in enhancing viewing, especially in direct sunlight.
The unit also includes two microSD card slots along with NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 ports. Additionally, it also comes with a bracket and flushes mounting systems to offer an easy to install and secure fish-finder system on your boat.
1) Sonar features and functions
- Supports Structure-scan HD sonar technology which provides Sides-can imaging and Down-scan imaging capabilities.
- Two transducers with one functioning on 83/200 kHz and another one on 455/800 KHz.
- Equipped with CHIRP technology through the standard sonar which provides the ability to modulate frequencies providing enhanced underwater viewing.
- Display unit allows split screen viewing.
- It integrates a range of advantageous sonar functions including FISH ID, Flasher sonar, Split Zoom and Bottom Lock.
2) Navigation tools
- It features preloaded USA charts for inland and coastal waters along with a generic reference Map.
- Allows you to create waypoints, routes, and tracks with a memory capacity that can store up to 5000 waypoints, 200 routes and at least 100 tracks.
- It supports other cartography maps including Insight pro, Insight HD, TOPO Insight and Insight Genesis.
- It supports SiriusXM Marine Weather and Studio and some autopilot systems including Smart-steer, motor-guide pinpoint GPS, and Lowrance Outboard pilot.
- It supports CHIRP technology and structure scan for clear underwater viewing.
- It provides a versatile display unit with a touch screen and split view capabilities and powerful resolution.
- It contains a magnificent array of sonar functions including backtrack, FISH ID, and flasher.
- It has up-to-date navigation tools that provide great situational awareness.
- It provides a combination of down and side scan.
- It may be a bit of a labyrinth to use for first timers due to a myriad of features for one device.
- The hefty price may make it unavailable for most people.
This is a high-end fish finder that will leave you scratching your head if you are quite a stern critique. Every department from navigation tools to sonar features oozes with the excellence that justifies its large price tag. My personal best fish finder in 2018.
The Lowrance Elite 5Ti is truly elite in every sense of the word as far as finders are concerned. It is one of the great finders that belong to the Lowrance Elite Series whose production started in 2016. The 5Ti features an array of cutting-edge features which justify the price tag. Among the rare features are the touchscreen easy to operate screen, the structure scan, and the enhanced Elite base maps.
Let us walk through the details of the finder to see if the hype fits the features and the performance.
The immediate impression you will get from the finder after unpacking is dominated by sleek elegance and modern technological artistry. The overall device’s dimensions feature a 10.9×8.2×9.2 area to consume and a 1.15-pound combined weight. The touchscreen display presents a 5-inch diagonal and an 800×480 pixel matrix with a 16:9 ratio. The display also features a split screen with the capability to handle three-panel views which is quite a rare advantage that most finders fail to live up to. The backlight offers a pure white LED for enhanced sunlight screen visibility. Like most Lowrance finders, the device also features the IPX7 waterproof feature capable of holding off anything from splashes to immersions.
The unit also offers one NMEA 0183 output and a microSD card reader with a single slot. Additionally, it also comes with a mounting bracket and a power cable.
1) Navigation features
- It includes a fast GPS module with WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS support.
- It features inbuilt Lowrance Base maps package which offers the support you need for waypoints, routes, and tracks.
- Offers a range of navigation alarms which include No GPS Fix, Arrival, Low Boat Speed and Waypoint Radius.
- Compatible with some custom maps including Lake Insight, Autic Insight PRO and C Map Max-N and Hotspots PRO.
2) Sonar and transducer Features
- Supports CHIRP technology. The technology only applies to the 2D sonar frequencies.
- TotalScan Skimmer Transducer. The transducer is 26 cm in length, has an interpreted temperature sensor and is accompanied by a 7.4 m cable and a transom mount. The transducer also functions with both the 2D and Structure-Scan.
- Scan depths extend up to 1000 ft. With the transducer. For structure scan, the depths extended to at least 300 ft.
- Able to function with speeds of up to 35 MPH for side scan and 55MPH for down-scan.
- It has a myriad of sonar functions including the Track-Back, Bottom Lock, Flasher, amplitude Scope, and Temperature Graph.
- It combines CHIRP 2D sonar and Down-scan, Side-Scan features.
- It includes a totalScan transducer.
- It reaches an impressive depth of up to 3000 ft.
- An excellent array of navigation features.
- Offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Excellent display with remarkable screen resolution.
- Precise GPS technology.
- It supports a wide range of custom charts.
- It offers a MicroSD card reader for file transfer and backup.
- Easy installation process.
- The touchscreen technology is not exactly ideal in a wet environment. You will have to dry your hands regularly.
- It does not come with a unit cover.
- A somewhat holistic manual to the Elite series.
The Elite 5-Ti offers a modern finder with excellent design features and an excellent sonar and transducer set. It lives up to its hype with an array of extra features to make your angling experience as smooth and fun as possible. Certainly, a great option to think about if you can handle the demanded price tag.
Buying the right finder for your needs doesn’t come any easy considering a myriad of models around. All in all, it all comes down to ones balancing finances and one’s fish finding needs. The key is making sure you get the best possible quality for the resources one is putting into the finder. We hope the above guide provides the hoped-for comprehensive assistance for your informed decision.
Best Fish Finders 2018 – Buyer’s Guide (DEEP INSIGHT)
Here is a comprehensive buying guide for best fish finders 2018 to have a deep insight for a better decision.
With the recent technological trends, fishing is becoming easier courtesy of the invented tools that simplify the process. Among these tools include the fish finders which aid in locating fish underwater using the sonar beam. If you, therefore, want to advance in the fishing trends as an angler, then this buying guide is an ideal resource for you.
What are the types and how to select the type that suits you?
Whether you are a professional fisherman or just want to fish casually, having the right tools for the job is a guarantee of success. The best fish finders are an important accompaniment for anglers who want to have a view of the underwater and enjoy fishing. The recent developments in technology have seen these finders advance in their make. Fish finders come in three major types namely the standalone, network and combo fish finders.
Standalone fish finders: If as an angler your goal is simply to see what is below the water surface, then this is the ideal choice. Standalones are convenient where the fishing territory is unfamiliar to you. This is especially the case if you are a weekend angler in unmapped water mass. They are cheap compared to other types of fish finders for their limited features. However, this notwithstanding, you can get these types of fish finders with bigger display screens for a wider view.
Network system fish finders: These finders are an advanced type of fish finders offering superior qualities on bigger display screens. These fish finders also feature satellite radios, GPS charts and videos that make them support a wide range of data sources. Moreover, with their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features, these finders can connect to different devices for control hence efficient.
Combo fish finders: These finders are ideal for finding fish as they offer more options compared to the standalone. These options include the depth, speed, temperature and the size of fish. Other technical features they offer include the navigation GPS as well as split screen option that allow you to observe the fish during fishing.
Special Features that we need to consider
Upon knowing the types of fish finders in the market, it is up to you to make your decision on what to purchase. As a smart angler, among the special features you should consider before making your purchase include:
Transducer: Transducers emit and receive sonar waves and translate the signals into pictures that are easy to see and understand. As a smart buyer, you should understand that not all fish finders come with a transducer. In most cases, fish finders come with transom mount transducers which are easy to mount and install on smaller boats. These transducers are however limited to the small size boats. Thus, if your boat is big, you will have to purchase your own resulting in extra expenses. Also of importance is the transducer cable length which is subject to the size of your boat. With a bigger boat, you will require longer cables. In some cases, you will embrace the need for extensions for the wires to work well with your boat. Finally, it is worth noting that the style and shape of the transducer you select, whether Thru-Hull, In-Hull or Transom-Mount should match your boat type.
Display screen colors: Display screens either come in black and white or colored screen options. The black and white options are the oldest in the market and not as efficient as the colored options when it comes to offering enjoyment and view. These models are also cheap. On the other hand, colored screens offer greater color detail and are easier to see in both bright and dark lightings. Thus, if you are not tight on your budget, consider buying the colored display screen units.
The transducer material: Besides the transom mount transducers that are compatible with any boat type, it is important to select your transducer material wisely. Where you are using an in-hull or thru-hull transducer, consider plastic housings where the hull’s material is metal or fiberglass. Where the material is either steel or aluminum, opt for stainless steel housings. Bronze housings will work well with wooden hulls since wood expansion can damage plastic resulting to leakages.
Portability: Fish finders are somehow complicated unlike other products. For this reason, finding the best portable fish finder may be difficult. This is because; their portability implies their availability in one single complete unit which is usually not the case. Despite this, if you still want your finder to be portable for your convenience needs then you might as well consider selecting devices that are easy to attach to the transducer which is the device’s primary unit. While doing this, also ensure that the elements are easy to detach from the primary unit anytime you want to transport them. However, if space is not a limitation for you, then consider other options.
Design and durability: As a smart buyer, go for finders whose shapes and sizes suit your space. To ensure durability, select finders with water resistance capabilities as well as non-corrosive material especially when you are fishing on salty waters.
Price: While price is an important element of purchase, it should not solely dictate your purchase decision. Thus, when making your purchase decision, ensure you factor in your budget without compromising on quality. This will entail reviewing the top brands and visit different shops to ensure you gain value for your money.
The technical specifications impact greatly on the functionality of your finder. Among the specs you should consider include:
Frequency: The frequency of a fish finder takes two approaches including the fish finder frequency and the transducer frequency. Selecting the former frequency involves making a choice among the single, dual and multiple finders. On the other hand, transducers will come in the 50, 83, 192 and 200 kHz frequencies from which you will make your selection. With transducers, high frequencies offer the finest detail of the underwaters. Transducers with high frequencies feature low background operating noise and are suitable even for fast-moving boats for their quality view. However, while you may consider buying a finder with a high frequency, it is important to note that these fish finders cannot penetrate deep into waters. Thus, if you want to have a view of the deep waters, a low-frequency transducer is ideal.
Wattage: This indicates the power your finder emits. As a rule, with high power, you will be able to view more clearly through the waters deeper depths and be able to distinguish your targets. Thus, finders with 500 watts or more will be ideal if you want to fish in the coastal areas, saltwater masses and other deep water fishing. Alternatively, if you intend to use your finder on shallow waters, then purchasing fish finders with lower wattage is ideal.
Display screen resolution: This resolution, measured in pixels, dictates your chances of getting the best sized and quality fish. With more dots and hence more pixels, you will be able to view more detail on your screen. At a minimum, you should consider display screens with a 240(v) x 160(h) pixels. Despite this giving you a bigger display, the images will be blocky hence, the need to factor in the screen resolution. Combining an excellent resolution display screen with the screen size will result in clear images. Thus if you are a professional angler, bigger screens with high resolutions are the ideal selection.
Cone angles and beams: This spec is significant in selecting a transducer for your finder. The cone angle is the beam’s width sent from the bottom of your boat into the water. This angle ranges between 9 degrees up to above 60 degrees. At the transducer, the angle is pointy and widens as it goes down. Thus, if the cone degree covered by the water is large, the sensitivity of your device will reduce. As a smart buyer, therefore, consider purchasing fish finders with a cone angle of at least 20 degrees for greater performance.
Despite the limiting feature of the cone, transducers feature beams that allow for more than one cone. The standard transducer will feature one beam. With advanced transducers, however, the beams are more hence a wider coverage of the cone angle.
GPS systems: With the current, developments in technology, purchasing a finder with a Global Positioning System (GPS) is ideal to ensure your traceability as you navigate through the waters. With this feature, you can go fishing on your own, resting assured that your paths are traceable in the event of a security threat. Also, while considering this feature in your purchase decision, ensure that the software supporting this feature is upgradeable to meet the constantly evolving technology to cut down on costs in the long run.
Choosing the Right fish finders for Your Lifestyle
As a smart buyer, your decision to purchase a finder will solely depend on your lifestyle. For this reason, you will need to do a perfect match between the qualities and the products to arrive at the best choice. The list below comprises of the three outstanding products and their features to guide you in your selection:
Quality display in deep waters: When fishing in the deep waters, unlike shallow waters, it is difficult to see the underlying mass. You, therefore, need a finder with a high-quality display to attain this. Thus if you are a deep water fisherman, then Humminbird 410300-1 HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 Fish finder is the ideal solution for you. This equipment features a big display screen of 7 inches with a 1500-nit brightness that allows you to view your targets even where the sunlight is indirect. The finder also has a built-in GPS receiver that offers 2500 waypoints and 50 routes enabling you to not only navigate through your fishing spots faster but also accurately. With this feature, it is easy to track the movement of your fish underwaters. The result is a save up on time you take to return to your most productive spots in the water mass.
To ensure an exceptional separation of the target from the background and other obstacles, this finder features a CHIRP Down Imaging Sonar which ensures the selection of the Low, medium and high-frequency ranges for clear image output. Additionally, for an accurate discernment between the fish and the water, the finder features SwitchFire sonar. The finder also has a single Micro SD card that allows for usability with compatible cards like the Hummingbird Lake Master, Navionics + and Auto Chart.
If you want a small size finder and still enjoy the quality display benefits, then the Garmin Striker will be an ideal option. The finder has CHIRP sonar which aids in frequency transmission. The CHIRP also aids in creating clear fish arches hence separating the target from the bottom structures. With the Waypoint map on this finder, you can also locate the most productive points on the lake as well as the docks and stumps to ensure you maneuver through the most productive points without getting lost saving up on time.
High sensitivity GPS: As an angler, if you want a small size finder, then the Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder will be an ideal selection. This finder is available in the 3.5, 5 and 7-inch display screen sizes. Unlike the Humminbird model, this finder features a higher sensitivity GPS that ensures you easily mark and utilize your most productive hot spots. Moreover, with this feature, you can also mark other locations on the lake such as the boat ramps and docks enabling you to go back and forth without getting lost. Additionally, the Garmin Striker has a high-frequency Clearvu Scanning Sonar that enables you to get detailed near-photographic images of the components inside the water that is around your boat.
Vertical fishing: vertical fishing unlike horizontal requires the right technology to view the unseen. If you, therefore, practice vertical fishing, then the Garmin Striker, unlike the other two finders should top on your purchase list. This finder features a built-in flasher that ensures viewing of the sonar data in the flasher format hence the ideal finder for ice fishing. With the built-in flasher, you will be able to view the bottom of the water, your bait and the depth of the fish. Additionally, you can observe the movement of the fish with respect to your bait movement.
Portability: While some finders are difficult to transport, the Garmin Striker model features a portable kit that ensures its safe transportation making it the best portable fish finder. The finder’s portable kit also includes a rechargeable battery and charger that ensures your finder continues to serve you for a longer time. Other elements in this kit include a built-in transducer cable and the storage and suction cup transducer mount and float.
The best fishfinder for the money: If you are want to enjoy a good return for your money as an inshore angler, then Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR is the ideal selection. This finder, while it lacks a GPS unlike the other two products will save you much especially where GPS is not your top preference. It is power efficient, operating at 12 volts with a transmission power of 100 W RMS. Its dual frequency of 83 and 200 kHz maximizes the view beneath the boat. And its sonar operation offers up to 60 degrees of cone angle making it ideal for searching large areas while offering a maximum display of fish arches.
The finder works best with in-depth, graphics and temperature analysis. For an excellent display and an all-round view, this finder has a 3.5 inches display screen. This feature, backed by its 320 x 240 screen resolution ensures a clear view of the images even in full sunlight. Lowrance finder also features an advanced signal processing (ASP) that automatically adjusts the settings for a clear view of the fish structure and bottom. This feature, combined with the broadband sounder detail ensures the easy identification of the targets, structure detail and bottom hardness among other features.
The best fish finders FAQ
What is the difference between the narrow and wide cone?
Transducers with wide cone angles scan more water and gather more elements including the rocks and fish together. Narrow cone transducers, on the other hand, can detect small details and structures at a great depth.
What is the ideal choice between flashers and LCD?
While many people opt for LCDs for their readability efficiency, there is no major difference between them and the flashers. LCD’s, unlike flashers, do the processing in real time before you see the details.
Which settings should I select to enhance my spot fishing ability with 360 imaging on Humminbird?
While the 360 imaging remains is ideal for viewing targets and the bottom, you can consider setting it on low to enhance spot fishing. The low-speed setting will dictate the rotating transducer speed. Alternatively, you can also turn the sharpness setting on either Medium or High or play around with your contrast and sensitivity; setting the sensitivity values between 2 and 6 and the contrasts high between 11 and 15.
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