Best Fish Finder for the Money – 2022 Buyer’s Guide

// Updated: February 24, 2022
// Photos by Christian Anwander

If you have been fishing for a while, you may be familiar with the purpose of a fish finder.

For those of you who are new to the game, a fish finder is exactly as the name indicates. It’s a device that is used to locate fish in various bodies of water by making use of sonar. It will display the information in the form of a graph. The user reads the graph to locate fish, underwater objects, and the depth of the body of water. 

How it works is similar to the principle that is used in submarines. Sound waves emitted by the device, bounce off of the underwater objects and are reflected in the device. The reading received by the reader indicates the shape, size, and composition of the object. Most fish finders will create a basic image on the screen that shows the bottom of the water body and the positions of any fish in the area. 

Table of Contents:

10 Best Fish Finders for the Money Quick Answer List

Important Features in a Fish Finder

Best Fish Finder Under $300

Best Fish Finder Under $500

Best Fish Finder Under $1,000

Conclusion on the Best Fish Finders

Canoe at a lake
The best fish finder for the money can come in handy when fishing from a canoe on a lake

10 Best Fish Finders Quick Answer List

1. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable

2. Lucky Portable Sonar

3. Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

4. Deeper CHIRP Castable

5. Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP

6. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv

7. Lowrance Hook Reveal 7

8. Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder

9. Garmin Echomap UHD

10. Lowrance Elite FS7 (7 inch)

Important Features of a Fish Finder

Before you purchase a fish finder, have a look at some of the most important features that you should keep an eye out for. 

Transducer 

A transducer converts energy from one type to another. It is the most important part of the fish finder and determines the quality of the image that your finder will display. The better the quality of the transducer, the more accurate the location of the fish. 

An electrical impulse is converted by the transducer into sound waves, which are then transmitted into the water. The sonar waves bounce off the surfaces, fish, and debris and return to the device. 

Frequency

You also have to consider the various frequencies. Higher frequencies will give an image much more clarity. Higher frequencies work perfectly at shallow depths to detect smaller fish. With lower frequencies, the image on your device isn’t as detailed. However, they have a higher capacity for energy and work better in deeper waters. You need to find a fish finder that falls somewhere in the middle to be used in various bodies. 

Power

The power of the frequency of the fish finder also has to be considered. The more powerful the fish finder, the clearer the image you receive. With higher wattage, the sonar waves travel faster and deeper. Higher power is crucial in deeper waters. 

Cone Angle

The cone of the fish finder refers to the area that the sound waves cover. The larger the area of the cone, the wider the area it scans. Larger cones don’t necessarily provide better results and could be weaker. Smaller cones can provide clearer images

The depth of the cone is important and can go as deep as 150 feet below the boat. The angle of the cone is important too, and you should find one with a 20-degree angle. 

Casting a saltwater fly rod in the sea
A fish finder can help when fishing big or new bodies of water

Display 

The display screen of your fish finder is an important part of the fish finder. The image below the water surface will be displayed on it. You should be able to easily navigate, and also be simple. Too many features will just clutter up the screen, but you still need enough features to help you locate the fish with accuracy. 

Greyscale or Color

You can buy a finder that displays the image in black and white or color. For color displays, the stronger the echoes, the darker the color of the image. Colored screens will indicate the types of fish and the depth of the water. Grayscale images are sharper when the resolution is higher. 

Screen Resolution

As is with most screens, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image on your screen. Higher contrasts are optimal to be able to enhance pixel performance. You should always opt for higher resolutions when you purchase the fish finder. 

Screen Size

Fishfinders are available in different sizes and the screens can vary as well. Larger screens can hold more information. You can also opt for split-screen features. 

Size of the Finder

Fish finders shouldn’t be fragile. Your device will be exposed to the elements and take up way too much space. Larger finders are useless on small boats. Smaller fish finders will be less intrusive but have smaller screens, which can make it harder to see the details. Your decision will depend on the size of the boat. 

GPS

A GPS fish finder can be very important if you find yourself fishing in the middle of a fog, or if you drift too far out. The GPS can safely direct you back to safety and go back to land with the aid of this feature. You can also plot waypoints so that you can remember good fishing points for later. 

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two fishermen looking at a fish finder: Best Fish Finder for the Money Review
Looking at a fish finder

Best Fish Finder under 300$

In the first part of this big review of the best fish finders out there on the market in 2022 we want to take a look at the most affordable fish finders that still bring a lot of value. Here are a few good options that all come in at less than $300.

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable

Venterior is known for producing budget-friendly fish finders that are very simple for beginners. The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable comes with the basic features for its low price tag. The LCD screen comes equipped with a green backlight that makes it easy to read the screen at night as well. The main unit can be operated using the keys on the device. 

The sonar sensor can reach over 300 feet underwater. The unit’s float and sensor can be thrown into the water or fixed to the hull to get the readings.

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Lucky Portable Sonar

The Lucky Portable Sonar is loved by anglers for its portability and durability. The device can be mounted on the boat or you can use the neck strap to keep it close by. The fish finder displays the depth of the water, the location of the fish, and their size. 

The unit displays the information on a 2-inch screen that is very easy to read. The device gives continual contour and bottom readouts as well. The 25 feet cable allows you to decide which way you would like to use the fish finder. This fish finder is affordable and one of the best portable options on the market. 

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Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

The Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv is one of the newest releases by Garmin. This model comes equipped with a ClearVü sonar that creates images in many additional colors. The 3.5-inch HVGA is just large enough to provide the readings clearly and offers good readability in bright sunlight, and a backlight for the nighttime. The unit isn’t entirely waterproof but can tolerate rain and accidental water splashes. 

The Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv comes integrated with the CHIRP technology. Every ping released by the device covers various frequencies. The sonar waves can travel 1700 feet in freshwater and 830 feet in saltwater. The unit comes with a lot of additional features such as Fish Alarms, AutoGain, Circular Flasher, UltraScroll, A-Scope, Fish Symbols, Bottom Lock, GPS navigation, and more. This budget-friendly option is perfect for experienced anglers who can take advantage of all of its various features. 

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Deeper CHIRP Castable

The Deeper CHIRP is a portable and castable fish finder that uses CHIRP technology to locate fish with great accuracy, even when fishing from the shores. This fish finder comes with a simple guide that makes it very user-friendly, even for beginners. The green shade is subtle and doesn’t make it stand out in the water. 

Its battery is very long-lasting and the Deeper CHIRP Castable can also work perfectly in icy waters. You need to remember to charge it before every fishing trip. 

How do you view the details when the fish finder is shaped like a ball? By using your phone or tablet. You can download the app Fish Deeper for free, on your device. The fish finder will connect to the app by emitting a Wi-Fi signal that will allow you to view the readings from 330 feet away. 

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Best Fish Finders under 500$

In the second part of this big buyers’ guide we’ll take a look at fish finders that cost less than $500. These offer a range of additional features compared to the entry level fish finders but still won’t break the bank.

Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP

The Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP offers a fish finder with both side and down imaging features for under $500. It’s one of the reasons why the Humminbird is so popular with anglers. This model is updated with CHIRP technology that allows the sonar to cover more than one frequency. 

The Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP has an updated user interface and allows you to save screenshots. You can also lay down waypoints with the press of a button. You can also use the zoom buttons to control the sonar sensitivity.  The Bottom Hardness can be detected and help you locate places where fish are commonly found. 

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Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv

The Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv is the most advanced fish finder in the striker series by Garmin. The 7-inch screen displays the readings in bright WVGA colors and makes it very easy to read. It also comes with a split-screen functionality to help you see up to four different sonar images and GPS tracking at the same time. 

The Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv fish finder is durable and easy to use and is waterproof, allowing it to tolerate complete immersion. The screen also displays the depth, water temperature, and speed of the boat. With GPS navigation you can plot waypoints, display your current location, and retrace your path. 

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Lowrance Hook Reveal 7

The Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 boasts a 7-inch display screen with a high screen resolution. The images on the display are able to create amazing images that give you a view of the smallest objects underwater. It also features a split-screen view so that you can view 2D sonar, charts, and DownScan sonar images.

The TripleShot capability makes use of SideScan, DownScan Imaging, and CHIRP sonar. The Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 is a steal for under $500 despite offering all of the above capabilities. 

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Best Fish Finder Under 1000$

In the last part of the best fish finder guide, we’ll take a look at high-end fish finders that range between $500 and $1,000. These products sure ain’t cheap but if you are serious about fishing, go for one of the following. 

Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder

Raymarine is a specialist in manufacturing marine technology and electronics. The brand offers user-friendly and reliable products, which is also seen in the Axiom 7. The size of the Raymarine Axiom 7 Fish Finder makes it suitable for small to medium-sized boats. The device makes use of Navionics to navigate and find fish. The Axiom 7 has chart plotting abilities to chart extreme depths which makes it perfect for sea fishing. 

The multifunction display can be mounted on the boat with the mounting kit. As with all of Raymarine’s products, the Axiom 7 comes with a 2-year warranty. 

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Garmin Echomap UHD 94 SV

The Garmin Echomap UHD is a user-friendly fish finder that boasts a 9-inch color screen. It is equipped with a CHIRP ClearVü, CHIRP SideVü, and CHIRP traditional sonar. It also helps in creating custom fishing maps on the screen with the help of the built-in Garmin Quickdraw™ Contours mapping. It comes preloaded with LakeVü G3 inland maps. 

The wider range of frequencies using CHIRP technology offers a wider range of information to display clear images on the Garmin Echomap UHD

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Lowrance Elite FS7 (7 inch)

Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder
Lowrance Elite FS7 (7 inch): Best Fish Finder for the Money Review

The Lowrance Elite FS7 (7 inch) is a high-end fish finder that supports ActiveTarget live sonar. Like the Garmin Echomap, it comes with preloaded C-MAP Contour+ charts. 

With the aid of the Active Imaging 3-in-1 sonar, which includes CHIRP tech, DownScan, and SideScan sonar, the images on the screen are very detailed and clear. Alongside all of these features, the Lowrance Elite FS7 (7 inch) comes with Sonar Zoom, Fish ID, Sonar Recording, Sonar Rewind, Circular Flasher, Bottom Lock, Depth Line, and many more. This unit also comes preloaded with the C-MAP Contour+ chart platform. 

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Which is The Best Fish Finder For the Money For You?

Choosing the best fish finder for the money can be tough when there are so many options to choose from. This is an expensive device and many factors need to be considered. We hope that this guide has helped you to some extent. 

To better understand the specifications of the various finders, you should read the explanation of the features. This will help you differentiate between the various devices and choose the one that you need. 

We would advise that beginners opt for one of the lower-priced options, as it gives you just enough information to help you out. If you are an expert angler then one of the pricier options may be the best option for you. 

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in the Amazon Associates Program and earn a small commission at no extra cost for you if you end up making a purchase. We only recommend products we are convinced of and use ourselves. Thanks!