Best Fish Finders 2021 – Reviews, Types and Buying Guide

In the market for a new fish finder? Want to catch even more fish? We’ve gathered up the best fish finders out there in 2021.

Any fisherman or woman is always trying to catch more fish and have more fun. It’s why we do it and is what we seek as anglers. We check on lake water temperatures and try and learn how they influence fish behavior. We check the weather, the moon phases, wind direction & speed, we take our lucky lures and do our best to outsmart those fish so we can enjoy our sport more.

But perhaps the biggest factor in helping you catch more fish is by using a quality, technologically advanced fish finder and associated GPS equipment. Find the best fish finder isn’t always necessary – finding the best finder for you is what you’re after – in my opinion. Do need a fish finder for freshwater or saltwater? Downscan? Sidescan? Livescope? Or a portable fish finder for the fishing dock or a fish finder for ice fishing? We’ve broken out the huge topic of fish finders into easy to digest sections in hopes to make your journey to purchasing a fish finder easier.

*Note: all products on this website are linked to other websites. Should you purchase something from there, we may earn a small commission. This doesn’t influence our ranking behavior, we utilize ranking data from the source where we find the products.

Anyways, let’s jump right in!

Top 10 Best Selling Fish Finders

According to Amazon.com, these are the Top 10 Best Selling Fish Finders. There are some things to consider. Keep in mind that these are scattered throughout the various types of fish finders. We go into each type later in this guide. Check the Table of Contents to more quickly locate what you’re looking for. These are likely the best selling items because they are a great area where price and quality meet. This is simply a starting place for you and to show you what the fish finder market looks like right now.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Lowrance HOOK2 7 - 7-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed …
  • HOOK2 7 - 7-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed
  • EASIEST TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 7 Fish Finder features auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus...
  • WIDER SONAR COVERAGE: The HOOK2 7 offers a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone giving you double the...
  • EASY SETUP: A single transducer can be mounted on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling...
  • MORE SONAR VIEWS: The Lowrance HOOK2 7 comes complete with a SplitShot transducer which gives you...
Bestseller No. 2
Humminbird 410950-1NAV HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI (MEGA Side Imaging) GPS G3 NAV Fish Finder
  • 7-Inch screen with 800H x 480V resolution color TFT display
  • Includes Navionics+ (U.S. And Canada) SD card for out-of-the-box map coverage of over 21, 000 lakes...
  • Mega Side Imaging: see the world below like never before with crystal-clear viewing out to 125 feet...
  • Mega Down Imaging: Get unprecedented underwater clarity with coverage down to 125 feet below your...
  • Includes transducer and mounting hardware, power cable and gimbal mounting bracket
Bestseller No. 3
Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv, Easy-to-Use 4-inch Color Fishfinder and Sonar Transducer, Vivid Scanning Sonar Color Palettes (010-02550-00)
  • Easy-to-use 4-inch color fishfinder with new vivid scanning sonar color palettes to easily...
  • Includes a GT20 transducer for built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP ClearVü scanning...
  • High-sensitivity GPS to mark waypoints, create routes and view your boat’s speed
  • Includes built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping
SaleBestseller No. 4
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
  • Clear Vu scanning Sonar shows you more of what is in the water around your boat; This high frequency...
  • The power of simple offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons; The device is easy to use and...
  • Waypoint map: Use the way point map to easily view, mark and navigate to locations such as brush...
  • Chirp Sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which provides a wider range of information;...
  • Built in flasher: View your sonar data in the classic flasher format; Ideal for ice fishing or...
Bestseller No. 5
Humminbird 410150-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 Fish Finder,Black
  • Display Size Diagonal - 4.3-Inch
  • Dual Beam Sonar
  • 2400 watts PTP/300 Watts RMS
  • Depth Sonar 320 ft (20) 455 kHz, 600 ft (20) 200 kHz
  • Sonar Coverage 28° & 16° @ -10dB
Bestseller No. 6
Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7x SplitShot - 7-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer, GPS Plotter
  • FISHREVEAL: Fish are easier to find and easier to identify. FishReveal combines the target...
  • GPS PLOTTER: Navigating to your favorite fishing spot is simple with the GPS Plotter, which makes...
  • SPLITSHOT TRANSDUCER: Perfect for anglers who want the best views below the boat, SplitShot features...
  • AUTOTUNING SONAR: Spend more time fishing and less time reworking your sonar settings with HOOK...
  • 7-INCH DISPLAY: Enjoy crisp and clear views of your display no matter the conditions – even in...
Bestseller No. 7
Garmin Striker Plus 5cv with Transducer, 5" GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer and Built In Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software
  • Includes transducer for built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar plus CHIRP clearer scanning sonar
  • Built-in Garmin quickdraw contours mapping software lets you create and store maps with 1’...
  • Built-in GPS lets you mark waypoints, create routes and view boat’s speed
  • Bright, Sunlight-readable 5” display and intuitive user interface
  • Rugged design for every fishing environment
Bestseller No. 8
Humminbird 410200-1 HELIX 5 DI G2 Fish Finder
  • 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
  • Down Imaging for a clear view of what's happening below your boat
  • SwitchFire SOnar to take command of how your sonar returns appear
  • Dual Beam PLUS Sonar - Two beams combine for great detail and a generous coverage area
  • Keypad control interface X-Press menu system
Bestseller No. 9
Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5 SplitShot - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer, Preloaded C-MAP US Inland Mapping
  • FISHREVEAL: Fish are easier to find and easier to identify. FishReveal combines the target...
  • HIGH-DETAIL INLAND MAPS: Get high-detail maps of almost 4,000 US inland lakes. Create custom contour...
  • SPLITSHOT TRANSDUCER: Perfect for anglers who want the best views below the boat, SplitShot features...
  • AUTOTUNING SONAR: Spend more time fishing and less time reworking your sonar settings with HOOK...
  • 5-INCH DISPLAY: Enjoy crisp and clear views of your display no matter the conditions – even in...
Bestseller No. 10
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer, 010-01870-00
  • Includes dual-beam transducer with Garmin Chirp traditional sonar for crystal-clear images and...
  • Built-in Garmin quickdraw contours mapping software lets you create and store maps with 1’...
  • Built-in GPS lets you mark waypoints, create routes and view boat’s speed
  • Bright, Sunlight-readable 4.3” display and intuitive user interface
  • Rugged design for every fishing environment. Frequencies supported: Traditional: 50/77/83/200 kHz,...

Types of Fish Finders

There are generally 3 types of fish finders out there: Portable or Handheld, Wireless or Castable and Fixed Mounted fish finders. We’ll explain a bit below.

Portable or Handheld

These are going to be fish finders that are entirely self contained and are easily portable for ice fishing or dock fishing, or are even small enough to be handheld and easily carried to your fishing location. Some examples of the best selling handheld or portable fishfinders are:

Bestseller No. 1
Venterior Portable Rechargeable Fish Finder Wireless Sonar Sensor Fishfinder Depth Locator with Fish Size, Water Temperature, Bottom Contour, Color LCD Display
  • Castable: No more long & heavy cable for transducer. Clear Color Screen: it comes with clear color...
  • It detects and displays water depth, water temperature, fish size (small/medium/big), fish depth,...
  • No need to drill hole in your boat hull to install the sensor any more. Two small holes on the...
  • Note: 1. Press and hold 3 seconds to turn on the display. 2. The sensor will turn on automatically...
  • Warranty and Brand Support: The Venterior Portable Fish Finder is covered by a 2-year Warranty. Any...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Humminbird 5 410260-1 Fish finder , Black
  • 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
  • CHIRP Digital sonar engineered to help you see individual fish
  • SwitchFire Sonar to take command of how your sonar returns appear
  • Dual Beam PLUS Sonar - Two beams combine for great detail and a generous coverage area
  • Humminbird basemap built-in provides a clear view of underwater terrain
Bestseller No. 3
Humminbird 410170-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 PT (Portable) Fish Finder
  • Display Size Diagonal - 4 3-Inch
  • Dual Beam Sonar
  • 2400 watts PTP/300 Watts RMS
  • Depth Sonar 320 ft (20) 455 kHz 600 ft (20) 200 kHz
  • Sonar Coverage 28° & 16° @ -10dB

Wireless and Castable Fish Finders

These little things are neat, especially if you regularly fish from shore, a kayak or the dock. These are lightweight wireless fish finders that report their readings via bluetooth back to an app on your smartphone. You can attach them to a line on a dedicated fishing rod, cast it out, and get back sonar images, depth, temp and other data right in your palm. Pretty dang neat. Overall, if you’re a kayak angler or bound to the shore or fishing dock, these would come in quite handy, especially for the price.

Pros

  • Completely wireless
  • Easily portable
  • Convenient for kayak fishermen
  • Simple All in One solution for some anglers
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Limited data and battery life
  • Less features than mountable units
  • No GPS capability typically

 

Bestseller No. 1
Deeper START Smart Fish Finder – Castable Wireless Wi-Fi Sonar Fish Detector
  • PORTABLE: Castable fish detector. Lightweight for comfortable casting, sleek design for easy...
  • SMART TECHNOLOGY: Generates its own Wi-Fi. No mobile data or internet required. Automatic night...
  • EASY TO USE: Fish finder displays fish location and size, water depth, bottom contour and vegetation...
  • GREAT SPECS: Casts out to 165ft and scans down to 165ft with 40° sonar beam for accuracy and...
  • RECHARGABLE BATTERY: 6 hour battery life with 2.5 hour recharge.
SaleBestseller No. 2
ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices,Classic,Small
  • Patented sonar fish identifier technology
  • LED beacon
  • Rechargeable battery and charge status indicator light
  • 10+ hrs battery life.Syncs with iOS (Apple) 10.0 and later operating systems and Android 4.3 or...
  • Accurate sonar readings down to a depth of 135'
Bestseller No. 3
Deeper Chirp 2 Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Extended Battery and Night Fishing Cover for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder Smart Sonar Fish Radar Depth Finder
  • HIGHEST SPECS: Casts out to 394ft with solid connectivity. New Wi-Fi module ensures a better and...
  • FAST CHARGING POWERFUL BATTERY: Working time up to 15 hours. With power saving mode on, it’s...
  • FISH DEEPER APP AND WEB PLATFORM: Plan your fishing trips and map the waters you fish to maximize...
  • EXTENDED 5 YEARS MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Now you can have a peace of mind and simply enjoy great...

Fixed Mounted Fish Finders

These are what you would consider you’re classic boat mounted fish finders. They are powerful units that have a separate transducer (sometimes multiple) and provide a plethera of data about the lake and the bottom composition. Most often they also have GPS technology with lake maps and navigational features including the marking waypoints to aid in getting home or to mark a hot fishing spot. These are computers for you boat!

Bestseller No. 1
Garmin Striker Vivid 7cv, Easy-to-Use 7-inch Color Fishfinder and Sonar Transducer, Vivid Scanning Sonar Color Palettes (010-02552-00)
  • Easy-to-use 7” color fishfinder with new vivid scanning sonar color palettes to easily distinguish...
  • Includes a GT20 transducer for built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP ClearVü scanning...
  • High-sensitivity GPS to mark waypoints, create routes and view your boat’s speed
  • Includes built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping
  • Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to connect to the ActiveCaptain app with compatible smartphone to...
Bestseller No. 2
Humminbird 410220-1NAV HELIX 5 CHIRP DI (Down Imaging) GPS G2 NAV Fish Finder
  • 5-Inch widescreen LED backlit display
  • Includes Navionics+ (U. S. and Canada) SD card for out-of-the-box map coverage of over 21, 000 lakes...
  • Down Imaging to see a clearer view beneath your boat
  • CHIRP digital sonar engineered to help you see individual fish
  • Humminbird and Navionics map cards to create real-time maps of your fishing spots
Bestseller No. 3
Garmin Striker Vivid 5cv Bundle with Transducer and Protective Cover, 5-inch Color Fishfinder, Vivid Scanning Sonar Color Palettes 010-02551-00
  • Easy-to-use 5” color fishfinder with new vivid scanning sonar color palettes to easily distinguish...
  • Supports Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar (requires compatible...
  • High-sensitivity GPS to mark waypoints, create routes and view your boat’s speed
  • Includes built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping
  • Genuine Garmin protective cover included. Save your unit from any damage or discoloring from the...

Fish Finder Features & Core Parts

Fish finders these days have so many bells & whistles it will make your head spin. They are full blown computers – essentially electronic brains for your boat. The features that are right for you may not be perfect for another angler. As with everything, the “best fish finder” isn’t best for everyone. It all depends on the features you want & need for the type of fishing you most often do, and of course cost is always a factor for most.

Many fish finder features are neat, but are just added to spruce up offerings and attract more fishermen with the marketing around those whizzy-but-useless features, so keep an eye out. If a feature seems like it is overkill, it probably is overkill. Understanding the core features that are offered is important in your decision.

Displays

Which display you choose for your fish finder is important because your display is where the rubber meets the road. It is how you interact with your equipment. It is what you look at and use to control options and is how you actually use your fish finder. When choosing a display, keep some key items in mind. Basic things relating to all electronic displays come into play here: the size of it, color ranges, contrast, brightness, touchscreen and level of detail that you will be able to discern on the screen. Anti-glare coatings are something to consider as well.

The number of pixels in your display is the most important factor in determining the level of detail it will be capable of displaying. If you add color to that display, it will produce highly crisp and detailed images and other information. Most anglers agree that color displays instead of black & white make things easier to see, especially when out in the sun.

The bigger the screen, the easier things will be to see. Pretty simple there. Overall, a color display with high pixel amount and a larger screen size are some key things to shop for when finding your next fish finder.

Transducers

The transducer part of your fish finder it what allows you to…well…actually find fish. It is the eyes and ears of your unit. To get a bit deeper, it is technically the ‘ears’ of your fish finder unit, since it uses sound waves to create an image of what is beneath the water – including the bottom composition, depth, and any lunkers that may be lurking. The transducer unit typically has a temperature sensor coupled with it so that you can be aware of the water temperature near the surface where you’re fishing. If you’re curious about water temperatures, we publish many current lake water temperatures for select lakes around the country, as well as water temps for the Gulf of Mexico.

 

GPS

Many of today’s modern fish finders feature GPS technology that is inbuilt within the unit. The global positioning system that allows us to navigate roadways with accuracy throughout the United States and around the world is also incredibly useful for us anglers. Not does it allow for basic navigation that can help you get home safely in unfamiliar waters or in the event of heavy fog (I’ve been there – very scary!), they also allow you to set waypoints and markers when you find a honey hole.

Using GPS on your boat, this will allow you return to those productive spots again and again. On some inland lakes and reservoirs that are used for flood control purposes, the rising and falling of the water level throughout the season or from year to year can impact your ability to accurately find the precise location where you caught fish the last time.

Scanning Directions

In general, fish finders use one or both methods of scanning that produce the image you see on your fish finder display. These two methods are sidescan and downscan.

Sidescan scans to the side of the boat, which produces an image of the water and bottom of whatever is to one or each side of the boat. This method requires you to be near the area you are wanting to scan for fish. It also allows you to scan water that you have no driven over with your boat – so there is less disturbance from your engine and craft. This works better in shallower water. Sidescanning while fishing under docks near the shore would produce a great image of what you’re casting towards.

Downscan scans directly beneath the boat. If you bottom fish frequently, you would get good use out of a downscan transducer unit. It produces an image of the water column and bottom composition you are fishing over. It can produce very detailed images, especially in deep water. Over more shallow water, downscan can get distorted with “noise” fairly easily.

Finding a fish finder with both sidescan and downscan would be ideal to fit all scenarios you might encounter.

 

 

 

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