10 Best Fish Finders of 2021 Reviewed
Quality equipment can be hard to find, but a high-quality fish finder shouldn’t be difficult.
It should have map navigation, sonar technology, side scan, radar, and 3D images. Your fishing gear isn’t complete without a portable fish finder, which is why many anglers have one. Also, having a fish finder will ensure that you catch fish every time that you go on a fishing trip.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
10 Best Fish Finders of 2021 Reviewed – Overview
Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for more details and picks 6-10).
The Raymarine DragonFly has screens that range from four inches to seven inches, and this fish finder is loved by many professional anglers. It is waterproof, has an LCD high-resolution display, and has a great color display. You’ll get very accurate pictures at water as deep as 600 feet!
This is because it has a special CHIRP DownVision sonar that has a focused fish targeting beam and an ultra-wide beam angle. Raymarine has an app called Raymarine Wi-Fish for you to use to connect to your fish finder. Of course, the DragonFly has wi-fi connectivity built-in.
Also, it has Navionics SonarChat Live for you to use to update your maps and access the newest chart data. There’s also an antenna that will work with C-MAP or Raymarine Lighthouse charting software. It’s about $680 on Amazon.
- Bright, sunlight-readable 9” touchscreen with keyed assist
This fish finder comes with several screen sizes, ranging between four inches and 12 inches, and they are all color displays. It comes with a transducer that also acts as a side scan, CHIRP sonar, and clear view. The clear view option will you get a better view of the underneath of the boat.
There are preloaded Navionics charts for the US Coastal waters, so you don’t have to worry about programming that in. This is very important because it makes sure that you have a safe fish-finding experience. There are buttons on the right side of the screen, and it’s also a touchscreen.
A power cable and dashboard mount are included with the price of purchase, and you can use this fish finder in saltwater and freshwater. It also has an autopilot, and the fish finder will show you real-time side imaging and down imaging of a fish.
The ultra-high-definition ClearVu scanning sonar is very good. This fish finder costs about $2000 on Amazon.
- 7-Inch screen with 800H x 480V resolution color TFT display
The Humminbird Helix 7 has a seven-inch screen that has sunlight readability. You can store 2500 waypoints in the GPS system. There’s an extra single micro sd card slot, and it has a split-screen. It has BlueTooth and ethernet connectivity, but it doesn’t have wi-fi.
Also, it has dual spectrum CHIRP, and the sonar images can reach up to 1500 feet deep. On top of CHIRP technology, it also comes with Navionics, Lake Master, and Auto Charting Pro, which allows you to make your own maps.
The CHIRP sonar improves target separation and gives you clear images. You can also use the MEGA side imaging to see up to 125 feet on either side of the boat. It costs about $1000 on Amazon.
- HDS-12 LIVE - 12-inch Fish Finder No Transducer Model is compatible with StructureScan 3D and Active Imaging Sonar. Smartphone integration. Preloaded C-MAP US Enhanced mapping.
This is by far the biggest fish finder because it’s available between 7 and 16 inches. Lowrance HDS-12 has the best sonar on the market. It has StructureScan HD, StructureScan 3D, Lowrance’s Onboard Pilot, and Mercury VesselView Link.
Also, it has wi-fi connectivity for you to connect your phone to, which means that you’ll be able to control your fish finder from your smartphone. It has some of the best technology out of the fish finders on the market. You can scan down and to the side in either 3D or HD with this sonar technology.
To create the 3D sonar images, the device combines multiple sonar systems. It doesn’t come with C-MAP or Navionics, but it’s fully compatible with both software systems. However, it does have dual-channel CHIRP sonar so that you can view two CHIRP channels at one time! It’s on Amazon between $1100 and $5605.
- Built-in Real Vision 3D Sonar with CHIRP Down Vision, CHIRP Side Vision and Traditional CHIRP Sonar
Raymarine really outdid themselves with the Axiom fish finder because it has very high functionality. It comes with SideVision, DownVision, and CHIRP sonar, making it one of the most advanced fish finders out there. It has a quad-core processor with the Lighthouse 3 operating system.
The screen is very high-resolution, better than many others on the market. This screen will also show you side images as well as underneath images. The Axiom fish finder comes with wi-fi connectivity, which will allow you to transfer data and control the device from your smartphone.
It has Navionics included, so you’ll get over chart plotting of over 20000 bodies of water in the US and Canada. Because you can hook your phone up to your device, you might not be surprised to find out that you can watch Netflix or listen to Spotify on your fish finder.
It costs about $3150 on Amazon, but the price is worth it with everything that you get with it.
The Simrad GO9 comes in 5, 7, 9, or 12-inch screens. The transducer that comes with it has active three in one imaging. It collects data from side scanning, down scanning, and CHIRP scanning. Also, this display can show up to four different screens at one time!
So, you can have the chartplotter navigation pulled up at the same time as the sonar and side scanner. The smart sonar that comes with the device will help you find places where fish might be hiding. Also, the radar can be pulled up on the screen to show you if bad weather is coming in.
It has wi-fi so that you can connect to your smartphone and control the Simrad GO9 from your phone. Or, you can have the screens pulled up on both the fish finder and your smartphone, which means that you don’t have to worry about not having the screen with you at all times. It costs about $1150 on Amazon.
This is the best fish finder from Humminbird because of everything that it comes with. It has a five-inch screen with a tilt mount so that you can move the screen to suit you. The Helix 5 has SI GPS and has three types of sonar imaging: dual beam, side imaging, and down imaging.
The CHIRP sonar has water temperature control and the ability to screenshot and record the sonar. The screen has an LED backlight so you can see the screen at night or in direct sunlight. Also, the device is waterproof. One downside is that it doesn’t have Auto Chart Live.
Another downside is that it can only reach about 100 feet of water depth, which isn’t ideal if you want to see deep-sea fishing. It costs about $290 on Amazon.
- Clear Vu scanning Sonar shows you more of what is in the water around your boat; This high frequency sonar gives near photographic images with detailed representations of objects, structure and fish
The Garmin Striker 4 comes with a 3.5-inch, 5-inch, or 7-inch screen that’s also waterproof. The CHIRP technology it comes with has high-frequency and can see up to 1600 feet underwater! However, this is one of the cheapest fish finders on the market, so it’s the one to get if you only need it for shallow waters.
Garmin is a very reputable brand when it comes to fish finders, so you don’t have to worry that the cost means that it isn’t a quality device. The GPS system on the Striker 4 is very user-friendly. With the cost of the device, you’ll also get a wall mounter and ClearVu built into the device.
It’s not a touchscreen, but it only has six buttons for you to choose from. This fish finder is very good for ice fishing because it has a built-in flasher and waypoint navigation. It’s one of the cheapest fish finders on the market at about $110 on Amazon.
- EASIEST TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 12 Fish Finder features auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus giving you more time to spend fishing and less time dealing with settings.
Lowrance Hook-2 has three different kinds of sonar: DownScan sonar, SideScan sonar, and CHIRP sonar. With a reasonable price tag and easy-to-use buttons, it’s good for all fishers, from the most experienced anglers to the most inexperienced fishers.
It’s got preloaded maps of the US and Canada that are highly detailed, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Fish finders that are very similar to this one don’t have as much sonar coverage. The sonar on this fish finder also has auto-tune, which is great for beginners to help them get to a good fishing spot.
You can get this fish finder with a five-inch screen, or you can get a larger screen at seven or nine inches. It’s about $1040 on Amazon.
- Dual Beam Sonar: Choose from a narrow and a wide beam for great detail or a generous coverage area, helping you identify fish, structure and contours
This is one of the smallest high-quality fish finders on the market at four and a quarter inches. It can have a narrow or wide-angle configuration that can reach up to 600 feet underwater. The narrow-angle offers images that have great details, and the wide-angle has images that have really good area coverage.
Humminbird has a technology called Fish ID+, which makes it much easier to find fish. It’s not a touchscreen, but there are only four buttons on the unit. However, it is a color LCD screen that comes with a tiltable mount.
It’s one of the cheaper fish finders on the market, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that the fish finder features aren’t high-quality. It’s about $140 on Amazon.
The Raymarine DragonFly 7 Pro W Wide Spectrum CHIRP Transducer is the best fish finder out of these options for everything that it offers at the price it comes at. Raymarine has its own app that can help you control and connect to your device from anywhere, while also updating the maps and routes on your device.
Many professional anglers use the DragonFly, which is how you know that it’s a quality fish finder. It comes with all the amenities you would want and none of the unnecessary bells and whistles.
What to Look For in A Fish Finder
- Portable vs Fixed
- GPS Integrated
Fish finders use the downscan and/or the sidescan. A downscanner can show you an individual fish amongst a school of fish, which often means that they can be too powerful for shallow waters.
The sidescanner will help you see underwater on the sides of the boat, leaving you within a castable distance of undisturbed water. A really good fish finder will have both of these scanning types.
Portable vs Fixed
Many kayak fish finders are portable because it’s kind of hard to permanently mount something to a kayak. However, portable fish finders aren’t as advanced as the ones that you have to mount to a spot.
If you aren’t sure if you’ll use a fish finder, you should find a portable one to begin with because they are a lot less expensive. But, if you want a high-quality fish finder that will last you a long time, you should get one that you have to fix in place.
A transducer is how a fish finder works; it sends out sound waves to locate things below or beside you. A quality transducer will have a cone angle, operating frequency, and installation type.
A transducer has to be mounted, and many anglers choose to mount theirs to a trolling motor or transom. Also, you need a transducer that suits the type of fishing you plan on doing.
The display that your fish finder offers is one of the most important things because you can have a great transducer and not be able to see if there’s a school of fish underneath you because your screen is bad.
You should look into how many pixels the screen has so that you know if you can see the fish. The more pixels it has, the better the picture will be.
You might think you know every inch of the river you’ve been fishing on since you were a kid, but you might not. Lakes, rivers, and oceans are changing daily, so you need to be prepared to get back to shore.
Your fish finder needs a GPS already programmed in it. Also, you should try to get a GPS that allows you to save locations so that you can come back to your favorite fishing spots over and over again with no problem.