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Best Fish Finders for 2018 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

best_fish_finder

In this extensive buyer’s guide, we’ll rank and provide overviews for the best fish finders for sale in 2018. The guide separates the fish finders by feature sets and price point to help you find the best finders for your needs.



Venterior Portable Fish Finder 
Best Budget Fish Finder


venterior_fish_finder
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    Great for ice fishing also
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    Well lit display
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    Convenient controls



Garmin Striker 4 Built-In GPS Fish Finder
Best Kayak Fish Finder


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    Accurate in all water types
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    Very clear pictures
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    Multipurpose GPS
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    CHIRP Technology



Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP GPS
Best Down Imaging Fish Finder


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    Storage of maps
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    High-quality images
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    CHIRP Technology

Best Fish Finder Comparison Chart

Below is the table that shows the top fish finders for 2018. Each and every fish finder was chosen after careful reviews by specialists.

Ultimately, we put this list together to help beginners and veterans of kayak fishing find a fish finder that will meet their own specific fishing needs. Importantly, by updating this list and listening to your feedback, we hope this list will become a great resource for anyone that is looking to add a fish finder to the list of fishing accessories they need for their kayak fishing hobby.

Fish Finder

Display Size &  Color

Transducer

GPS Incl.?

Rating


best_fish_finders_garmin_striker_4

Garmin 010-01550 Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

(Editor's Choice & Best Kayak Fish Finder)

3.5" / Color

Yes

Yes

4.5/5

venterior_fish_finder

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

(Best Budget Fish Finder)

LCD Display

Yes

No

4.1/5

humminbird_fishing_finder

Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp GPS

(Best Down Imaging Fish Finder)

5" / Color

Yes

Yes

4.5/5

garmin_striker_4CV_fishfinder

Garmin Striker 4CV

3.5" / Color

Yes

Yes

4.3/5

Vexilar_Fishing_Finder

Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack w/19 Degree Ice

3 Color LED

Yes

No

3.9/5

Garmin_Striker_7SV_Fish_Finder

Garmin Striker 7SV

(Best Fish Finder Under $400)

7"/Color

Yes

Yes

4.2/5

Lucky_Fishing_Sonar_Wired

Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar

1.12" / Color

Yes

No

3.7/5

By keeping this list updated and taking feedback from the community, this will be a great resource for anyone looking to get a fishing kayak. I also highly recommend you read our Fishing Kayak Buying Guide below before making a purchase.



Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder (Best Fish Finder & Editor's Choice)

Recommendation

With a clean 3.5 inches size to fit almost any size kayak and, with latest CHIRP transducer technology as well as a GPS to help navigate you to the exact fishing spot, the Garmin Striker 4 delivers a punch for the discerning angler. Hard to beat this finder for the value and price it delivers.

Our decision on the best fish finder is the Garmin Striker 4. It stood out to us because it ticked most of our criteria, comes in a portable package and only sells for a small amount of money. And if you do not believe us then perhaps you should listen to feedback from customers who have used the product and gave it solid thumbs up.  All-in-all, we therefore recommend this fish finder to any serious angler.


Tech Specs:

best_fish_finders_garmin_striker_4

Power Output: 200 Watts 

Dept Capability: 1600 ft & 750 ft 

Temperature: Built-In Transducer 

Unit Size: 3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches  

Mount Type: Tilt/swivel Mount 

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

The Striker 4 comes from a stable of very successful fishfinders from the Garmin brand. It is one of a series of top range fish finders from Garmin that boasts several stellar features and modern technology including ClearVu technology and high sensitivity GPS. 

Regular anglers know the feeling that comes with being able to fish with more confidence. Integral to this is an excellent fishfinder that makes locating fish a cake walk and the Striker 4 is one such device. 

You can use the Striker 4 with its built-in GPS to locate fish around and under your fishing kayak. Better still, you can mark the hotspots where you’ve located fish, and return to them when needed or share these waypoints (maximum of 5,000 waypoints) with your other angler friends. Rest assured also that this GPS can lead you back to home.

Although the Striker 4 leans towards the budget-friendly line of fishfinders, it nevertheless, boasts of premium fishfinder imaging technology via its CHIRP technology. The technology sends out a wide range of frequencies instead of only one or two frequencies. As a result, you will get much better imaging output. 

Trust us, clearer imaging technology will change your fishing experience forever because of the type of results you will begin to enjoy.

For example, with CHIRP technology, you will now be able to pinpoint several specific fish among a group of fish detected by the imaging technology. This is a departure from older traditional sonar that will only display a group of fish on your screen. 

Finally, you can put a marine battery in a waterproof box to power the Striker 4 up. Alternatively, you can consider getting from Garmin a portable pack that is fully inclusive for your kayak fishing. 

All-in-all, I believe that the Striker 4 is the best consumer fish finder on the market, all things considered. For anyone looking for a budget-friendly fishfinder that packs a lot of modern features and delivers on down-view sonar, effective GPS, then you won’t go wrong with the Striker 4.

Pros

 Cons

  • Comes with a transducer
  • Hardware for mounting transducer included
  • Very accurate, even in deep and shallow waters
  • Multi-purpose GPS for marking and storing way points and navigation
  • Price friendly
  • Clear pictures
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to power - all you need is a marine battery
  • 3.5 inches screen size too small for some
  • Maps not preloaded
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best_fish_finders_garmin_striker_4

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder (Best Budget Fish Finder)

Recommendation

The VT-FF001, perhaps more than any other budget fish finder on the market, delivers the most for the price you pay. It is a budget friendly, portable fish finder that packs many of the latest technological advancements in sonar and more. It works in a variety of fishing environments and the fish finder has five different settings which is on par with a lot of the fish finders over $500. Ultimately, if you don't mind not being able to differentiate the size of fish and a somewhat older technology in your fish finder for under $50, it is hard for me to recommend any other machine on this list.  


Tech Specs:

venterior_fish_finder

Battery: 4 AAAs 

Dept Capability:  min 3 ft, max 330 ft

Temperature: -4F to 158F 

Sensor Beam Angle: 45 degree  

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder w/t Wired Sonar Sensor

The VT-FF001 is currently our favorite affordable fishfinder under $50. And, while it might turn off some beginners because for a few more dollars one can get a finder with better and more modern technology, it has the specs and features of some of the $100 – $300 fish finders on the market.

At just under $50, the operation of the VT-FF001 is a simple but effective device with one sensor beam angle and a tiny unimpressive LCD screen.  It is, however, adequate for an all day’s fishing trip in a fishing kayak as it is easy to locate fish in as little as three easy steps on the finder. 

It is so versatile that it can be used for freshwater fishing, for saltwater fishing and even for ice fishing. Wow!

The finder’s 45-degree angle beam will locate fish in depths ranging from 2.3ft to 328ft thus enabling anglers to can spot fish in fairly deep waters. The transducer has 25ft cable that enables you to cast it into the water and fish from offshore your boat or to fish onshore. Note that the finder doesn’t give water temperature readings, so don’t be surprised by this omission especially given the price it sells for. 

One feature we liked about the VT-FF001 is that its transducer spots only moving targets under the water. In most cases, moving fish bigger than 9cm will be picked up by the finder even if you cannot confirm the size of the fish on the display of the fish finder. Furthermore, be mindful of how you set the sensitivity setting also as it will only show big fish if the setting is set too low. 

Other features to rave about the VT-FF001 include the user-friendliness of its controls – to regulate the sensitivity, the unit measurement and, the battery mode. The other feature is the TN/anti-UV LCD black&white display with green LED backlight that gives you the basic information the transducer is giving you.  

Unfortunately, some beginner anglers do find the small LCD display and black&white  color as downsides of this fish finder. This impression gradually gives way to appreciation once they observe that they won’t have to struggle to always distinguish between moving fish and other objects underwater. 

Overall, with the impressive ability to estimate the location of fish, its backlight that help with night fishing and, five settings that save battery power and the ridiculously low price (for those features, we feel), the VT-FF001 is one of the best price-to-performance fishfinders on the market.

Pros

 Cons

  • Affordable
  • Also great for ice-fishing
  • Backlight enables use for night fishing
  • Multiple settings to prolong battery power
  • Convenient controls
  • Easy-of-use, even in tricky areas of the water
  • Spots moving objects only
  • No temperature data
  • Spartan LCD display screen
  • Does not save your custom settings
venterior_fishing_app
best_fishing_app

Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder (Best Down Imaging Fish Finder)

Recommendation

There’s a lot to like about the Helix 5. From it's dual frequency range, to it's relatively impressive GPS system, to it's moderate high price. This fish finder should definitely be considered if you're looking to spend under $300 on a fish finder that will go the distance with you


Tech Specs:

humminbird_fishing_finder

Power Output: 4000 Watts 

Display: Color

Display Size: 5 inches

Dept Capability: 1500 ft & 2500 ft 

Sonar Type: CHIRP, DualBeam Plus

Temperature: Built-In Transducer 

GPS: Yes 

Mount Type: Gimbal Mount 

Card Reader Available/Slots: Micro SD  card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints 

Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2 FishFinder

Humminbird has consistently improved its brand of fishfinder products over the years. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Helix 5 is one of the most effective and reliable fishfinders you can find on the market.

The fish finder’s effectiveness and reliability are informed by its valuable features. Unlike its competitors that offer single frequency, the Helix 5 fishfinder gives you both CHIRP and 2D imaging.

The combination of the two technologies allows for enhanced frequency range, clarity, and a clear separation between structures in the water and fish.

Like with other top-of-the-range fish finders, this fish finder also has a built-in GPS system for easy navigation. It also has such premium features as a fish alarm in three settings for small, medium and large fish. The alarm automatically goes off when the device detects a fish.

Furthermore, the fish finder features UniMap charts. Although not detailed as much, the charts become valuable when you need to view lakes, rivers, and streams with boundaries.

Something else that makes this fish finder amazing is sonar recording capability. This is a valuable feature that saves you the trouble of having to perform regular scans for a specific spot so long as you use a memory card. You simply rewind back to a spot that is already saved.

Is the device value for the money? Unlike other fish finder gadgets in its class, this device retails at a slightly higher price. This is not surprising considering that it boasts of premium features and powerful performance.

The device’s only drawbacks are its less-detailed charts and the fact that the clips designed to hold down cables are made of plastic and are, therefore, susceptible to breakage.

Pros

 Cons

  • Very sharp graphics 
  • Clear pictures
  • Archived mapping is a plus
  • Easy to install
  • You might find the 5" screen size too small
HELIX_CHIRP_GPS_Fish_Finder
humminbird_fishing_finder

Garmin 010-01806-00 Garmin STRIKER 4cv with Transducer 

Recommendation

The Striker 4cv is essentially the same finder as the Striker 4 except that the 4cv costs a bit more and has better ClearVu than the Striker 4. This is really the biggest difference between the two and so if you think the extra clarity of images will enhance your fishing and the benefit is more than the  difference between the two finders (~$50), then it makes sense to go with the 4cv version. 


Tech Specs:

garmin_striker_4CV_fishfinder

Display Type: HVGA

Display Size: 3.5" diagonal

Display Resolution: 480 x 320 pixels

Power Output: 300 Watts 

Max Dept : 1,750 ft freshwater & 830 ft saltwater

Temperature: Built-In Transducer 

Mount Type: Tilt/swivel mount

Garmin 010-01806-00 Garmin STRIKER 4cv with Transducer

Garmin has a long history of producing high-quality products that usually become popular instantly. The Garmin 010-01806-00 Striker 4cv with the transducer is one such product.

From the outset, the fish finder’s 3.5-inch color display gives a wide range of information including GPS speed, distance to destination, GPS heading, depth, bearing, and time of arrival among other vital information.

The device’s strong point is the combination of the 77/200 kHz CHIRP sonar scanner and the 455/800 kHz CHIRP Clearvu technologies in the transducer.

The CHIRP sonar scanner gives you a sustained sweep of frequencies with valuable attention-to-detail information. The frequencies range from low to high and the device interprets the frequencies separately. The images that you receive are photographic-grade images.

The CHIRP ClearVu technology is no doubt very valuable. It allows you to have a clear view of everything below including submerged objects and structures. This is in addition to fish. It makes locating fish easy for you.

Just in the same way that you can mark docks and boat ramps, this fish finder allows you to mark your fishing hot spots to return to the same spots another day.

The device also features a built-in flasher. This is a valuable addition considering that it allows you to have a classical view of the data that you receive. This is probably the best device to have for vertical jigging and ice fishing.

The Striker 4CV is not only easy to install but also easy to operate. It comes along with tilt-swivel mounting hardware and cables. Its operation is through dedicated buttons and a keyed interface.

Pros

 Cons

  • Great size for a kayak
  • ClearVu gives clear images
  • Accuracy of readings and ease-of-use
  • Very accurate, even in deep and shallow waters
  • Multi-purpose GPS for marking and storing way points and navigation
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to power - all you need is a marine battery
  • No side imaging
  • No loaded maps in the GPS
garmin_striker_4CV_fishfinder
fishing_app

Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack with 19 Degree Ice Flasher  

Recommendation

The Genz Pack prides itself on the improvement that ice fishing legend Dave Genz made on it and its nearly indestructible feature that makes it last for "a while." We were amazed about how easy it was to use straight out of the box. If  you have a decent amount of money to spend, then I highly recommend that you go get this fish finder. Especially if you do lots of ice fishing.


Tech Specs:

Vexilar_Fishing_Finder

Power Output: 400 Watts (50 watts RMS) 

Display Resolution: 525 segments

Frequency:  200KHz

Dept Capability: 20, 30, 40, 60, 80 & 120 ft 

Temperature: Built-In Transducer

Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack with 19 Degree Ice Flasher (Most Popular 3 Color Sonar Flasher)

Just like other anglers, you will most likely appreciate that Vexilar has remained one of the top premium brands for fish finders. It is not surprising that Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack with 19 Degree ice flasher is the most popular 3-color sonar flasher in the world.

This is probably the best unit to go for if you are into ice fishing. Indeed, its design ensures that you have a flawless ice-fishing experience. It has a high-impact carrying case with a battery that offers you up to 7 hours of uninterrupted operation.

The 19-degree FL-8se flasher is a valuable feature to have on any fish finder. It indicates color green for weak targets, orange for medium-strength targets and color red for strong targets at the bottom.

The addition of superior LEDs, over 500 resolution segments, and interference rejection capability make the fish finder an all-around flasher and fish finder that performs extremely well in bad weather conditions.

The device has up to six depth ranges of 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, and 120 feet. Its display is also sufficient and it gives you large and visible readings for timely information.

Fishing in ice is certainly not an easy task. The ability to know whether or not you are close to fish is, therefore, a valuable ability. That and more is what this fish finder and flasher gives you. Its only drawback is that you may need to make use of a lens in extremely bad weather conditions.

Pros

 Cons

  • Pre-drilled holes for optional accessories
  • Built-in transducer holder fits all sizes of ice-ducers
  • 3-color LED display
  • 6 depth ranges - (20, 30, 40, 60, 80, 120)
  • 10 interference rejection settings
  • No major one yet

Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV w/t Transducer (Best Fish Finder Under $400)

Recommendation

If you can overlook a somewhat lacking GPS, the Striker 7sv carves out a place for itself among budget-friendly fish finders by being reliable and easy-to-use.  The sideview on the finder offers fantastic images of the bottom of the water and clearview is equally impressive. In the end, the Striker 7sv offers an affordable-yet-reliable option for any angler looking for as hassle-free of an experience from a reasonably-priced fish finder. 


Tech Specs:

best_app_for_fishing

Display Type: WVGA color

Display Size: 3.6" x 6"; 7" diag

Display Resolution:800 x 480 pixels

Power Output: 500 Watts 

Maximum Depth: 2,300 ft freshwater / 1,100 ft saltwater 

Mount Type: Tilt/swivel mount 

Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV with Transducer

It has almost become a tradition that manufacturers produce fish finders that feature both sonar technology and chart functions. Garmin appears to have broken this tradition with the introduction of the Garmin 010-01809-00 Striker 7SV fish finder with a transducer.

This device’s selling point is the sonar technology that includes CHIRP Sidevu and CHIRP DownVu elements. The device’s high level of performance, therefore, revolves around the sonar technology with very minimal navigation functionalities.

Both the SideVu and DownVu sonar elements are very valuable especially when it comes to observing structures. While the SideVu element helps you to understand the exact position of your target in relation to your location at a range of 228 meters (750 ft) on either side of your Kayak, the DownVu element helps you to see how deep your target is.

The device comes with a powerful GT52HW-TM transducer. The maximum depth you can reach with the device is 2,300 ft in fresh water and 1,100 ft in salty water. However, the transducer only allows you to scan up to 500 ft in SV/DV and up to 800 ft in 2D.

Nevertheless, the device features a simple GPS system that informs you about your coordinates. This is in addition to letting you track your Kayak’s speed.

Unlike other 7-inch fish finder devices on the market, this device cuts back on most features in order to give you superior sonar functionality. Its only drawback is the fact that it has no card reader and is only compatible with Garmin devices. 

Pros

 Cons

  • Good size  for kayak fishing
  • Hardware for mounting transducer
  • Easy-to-use 7-inch color fishfinder
  • Share your favorite waypoints and routes with other Striker and echoMap combos
  • Never miss waypoints with sonar history abilities
  • Maps not pre-loaded
  • Portable pack doesn't come with purchase
garmin_striker_7sv_fishing_app
Garmin_Striker_7SV_Fish_Finder

Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar, Wired Fish Finder Alarm Sensor Transducer w/t LCD Display 

Recommendation

This is not the fishfinder to get if you want to a very versatile finder for all manner of fishing and in all conditions. However, if it's ease-of-use and reliability that you are looking for in the sub $100 range, then you'd be lucky to find a better option than the Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar.


Tech Specs:

Lucky_Fishing_Sonar_Wired

Power Output: 500 Watts

Display: 1.2inch 

Depth Capability: 3ft ~328.08ft 

Transducer: 1.18inch diameter sensor

Sensor Coverage Range: 45 degrees beam angle in 200Khz

Sensor Operating Temp: -14F to 122F

Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar, Wired Fish Finder Alarm Sensor Transducer with LCD Display

This is one of the most affordable but highly functional fish finder devices on the market. It is particularly suitable for ice fishing. It is a simple and portable fish finder with superb water temperature readings.

The fact that it is portable means that you do not need to have a kayak to use it. It is designed with the shoot-thru sonar technology with a floatable sonar sensor.

The sensor remains highly functional at temperatures of between -10 and 50C. The device can operate for 20 hours continuously on 4X AAA batteries.

The device comes along with a 25-feet cable and a rounded sonar transducer. It has a maximum detection range of up to 328.08 ft (100 meters) and 45 degrees sensor coverage range.

Because of its small size, the device features a 2-inch UV resistant display screen. The UV resistance saves you from glare problem. The display itself has the Blue LED backlighting, which makes the screen clear regardless of location and easy to see on both cloudy and sunny days.

Although that small, the device boasts a fish alarm. This is good because fishing in ice is often a big challenge. This fish finder is a useful tool whether you are a fisherman who fishes from the shore/bank or an established angler.

Pros

 Cons

  • Shows both small and big fish
  • Wireless
  • Great screen and easy to read on cloudy or sunny days
  • Battery doesn't last long. Take extras
  • Beginners might find it challenging to use 
lucky_fish_finder
Lucky_Fishing_Sonar_Wired

How to Find the Best Fish Finder for Kayak Fishing

No angler leaves home to go fishing and expecting not to catch at least some fish. Avid anglers know that special feeling from conquering the challenge of locating fish and catching some. That is why such anglers depend on good inexpensive fish finders for kayaks as part of their key fishing accessories. 

We, therefore, felt it important enough that we try our best to help you in this tricky search for the ideal fishfinder for your need. 

In our opinion, these are the main features that you should watch for in the best portable fish finders:

Power

How do you want to power your fish finder? There are two basic means – (1) Using a marine battery that is placed in a waterproof box and running the cables to the transducer and display in your kayak and (2) A portable fish finder pack

Transducer

As a kayak angler, you need to make efficient use of space on your fishing kayak. How you mount your transducer is one such way to optimize your kayak space. We recommend you check what type of mount that the transducer comes with before you go the suction cup route. 

CHIRP

Fantastic and well-defined imaging of the fish and other objects around you will further improve your whole fishing experience. Unlike older technologies that only show you a group of fish as one large image, CHIRP technology, in contrast, can place you at the exact spot best for catching the fish of choice by providing you a clearer image of the water below.

GPS

Especially useful for anglers that love to wander offshore and out of sight or land. If you are one such angler, then a GPS is a must so that you can find your way back home. It also helps you mark certain spots you might want to visit or share with your other angler friends. 

Size

As stated earlier, real estate on a fishing kayak is limited so the ideal fishfinder will have a screen size no more than 5 – 6 inches. 

We believe understanding and keying-in on these five features will increase your chances of finding the right fishfinder for your need. These are the same features that guided us in identifying the seven fishfinders above that we considered the best fish finders on the market at the moment.

CONTRIBUTE TO THIS LIST OF THE BEST FISH FINDERS FOR KAYAK FISHING

If you have experience with a particular fish finder and you want to contribute a review to this list, please help us out by going to the comment section to post which fish finder you like or have and why it’s one of the best fishing finder on the market. With kayak fishing being quite an expensive hobby and there being so many different fishing accessories including fish finders out there, it’s tough to get a chance to review all of the different options. 

By helping us out and telling us about your experience with fish finders, this list can be made much better and more helpful for those who are looking to get into kayak fishing.

 

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1comment
garmin gps fishfinder - May 21, 2018

These are in fact impressive ideas in about blogging.
You have touched some nice things here. Any way
keep up wrinting.

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