There has been significant improvement in fish finding technology over the years. Improvement in sonar technology has made locating fish easier and more accurate. This has greatly improved the fishing experience for most fishers.
Furthermore, with the increase in portable and wireless fish finders in the market there has been an increase in shore fishing and ice fishing. This improvements and breakthroughs have revolutionized fishing and have made fishing more enjoyable and successful.
With the use of the perfect fish finder you will be able to locate prime fishing points, collect data useful for bettering your skills and most importantly catch the type of fish you are looking for. With this review, we hope you will be able to find the best budget fish finders.
10 Best Budget Fish Finders In 2020 – Reviews and Comparison
If you are looking for a perfect fish finder for your fishing trips. you want to using fish finder in your kayak, boat and others, you can use this fish finder. the main purpose of this guide is to help you remove your confusion and choose the best fish finder in the market.
We also explain you detailed reviews of the top brand and models sothat you can easily identify your best fish finder which make more enjoyable your fishing time and catch more fish.
1. Garmin Echomap Plus 73SV Fish Finder
It comes with a 7” touch screen display with an 800 × 400 pixel resolution. The Garmin ECHOMAP plus 73sv is fitted with a GT52 transducer that gives you High-Wide CHIRP sonar, CHIRP SideVü and CHIRP ClearVü.
It is compatible with Panoptix sonar which is sold separately.
When using the 2D CHIRP sonar it can scan up to depths of 800ft and with the CHIRP SideVü and CHIRP ClearVü you get up to 500ft scanning capability. It comes preloaded with LakeVü g3 maps that provide detailed maps of over 17,000 US lakes and rivers.
You will also be able to create your own fishing maps which will be stored in the internal memory. Due to its Wi-Fi compatibility you are able to connect to the internet and share, download and update your fishing charts.
The ECHOMAP Plus 73sv comes with sail assistant technology that aids in sailing. It is able to capture wind speeds and angles data which aid in sailing.
The Garmin ECHOMAP has an easy to use interface which is intuitive and customizable. It is also easy to install and quick to disconnect as it does not come with lots of wiring.
However, this unit does not come with a user manual specific to the plus 73sv model hence it might be troublesome and hard learning how to use this specific model.
Garmin EchomapBuying Guide and Maintenance
All components needed come in the box when purchasing the 73sv. It comes with all necessary hardware and software components pre-installed in the unit. However, you will have to purchase other compatible software separately. It comes with warranty in case of any damage.
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73sv is one of the best budget fish finder on the market and is worth every single dollar. Its top notch specs and technology will totally change your fishing experience.
2. Lowrance HOOK2 7 – 7-inch Fish Finder
The Lowrance HOOK2 7 comes with a 7 inch screen display with high resolution SolarMax display. The screen is easy to use and comes with a keypad to help you access your settings option real quick.
It is fitted with a wide angle CHIRP sonar chip together with a splitshot transducer.
This 2 in 1 sonar technology gives you high CHIRP sonar and down scan imaging. It has a maximum depth capacity of 500ft for the CHIRP sonar and 300ft for the down scan imaging.
The HOOK2 comes preloaded the C-Map program. This gives you maps of US inland and coastal waters to help you easily locate fishing spots. Furthermore, it provides you with full chart plotter applications and basic GPS navigation software.
It comes with a Micro SD card reader to improve its internal memory and is compatible with various mapping charts such as Navionics.
The HOOK2 7 is superior in the fact that it provides wider sonar coverage with its wide angle CHIRP technology compared to other fish finders. It has autotuning sonar which automatically adjusts depending on the water conditions. In addition to that, it is easy to install and waterproof.
This model however does not come with a unit cover, it does not support NMEA connectivity and does not support external GPS despite its high price tag.
Lowrance HOOK2 7 Buying Guide and Maintenance
When buying the HOOK2 7 all of the essentials such as the transducer and power cables come in the box. You will have to buy the unit cover separately as it is not provided. In case of any damage, the unit comes with a one year warranty and a five year upgrade program that allows you to upgrade to a higher model in case of damage in the first five years.
Range of product
The HOOK2 7 has an “X” model. It provides basic navigation and GPS but does not support add on mapping.
The Lowrance HOOK2 7 Splitshot is one of the best premium fish finders on the market. If you are looking for a device that has up to date technology and add on mapping support then this is the right unit for you.
3. Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro Fish Finder
It comes with a 7” LCD display with an all-weather screen. This unit beautifully built as it is firm rigid and easy to use.
It has a keypad that is easy to operate and navigate through. The Dragonfly Pro+ comes with 2 CHIRP transducers.
You will be able to use wide angle sonar together with down imaging sonar to enable you to fish more efficiently. It is equipped with GPS and comes with Navionics+ which is preinstalled.
This gives you maps of over 10,000 US and Canada lakes and oceans. With the use of boating apps and sonar live charts you are able to create your own charts and improve your fishing skills. it has a depth range of 600ft for the down imaging sonar and 900ft for the wide angle sonar CHIRP.
The unit is waterproof and is use able in all types of weather. It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enables. Furthermore, you can download the fishing up and display all your sonar data on your phone.
This model is easy to use and install. Its ball and socket mount system allows you to mount this unit on your boat rail easily. It also allows for quick disconnection.
It uses the most advanced CHIRP sonar technology making it one of the good budget fish finders on the market. It has an anti-fog screen that does not mist in cold weather.
The only downside of this unit is that it is expensive.
Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Buying Guide and Maintenance
When purchasing the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro it comes fully equipped. You might need to buy a sun cover for the unit as it is not included in the box. It comes with a one year warranty in case of any damage.
This is a premium unit and does not fail to deliver. Its advanced technology is utilized well to give you one of the best fishing experiences.
4. Humminbird 1 Helix 7 Chirp DI GPS G2 Fish Finder
It features a 7 inch display with high definition ultra wide display.
It incorporates the use of CHIRP digital sonar, CHIRP down imaging, SwitchFire and DualBeam PLUS technology to give you detailed, clear and high resolution images.
It has a built in Humminbird Basemap that provides you with over 10000 US lake terrain coverage plus coastal coverage. You will be able to create your own real time maps using AutoChart Live.
It is compatible with LakeMaster applications which provides you with detailed maps of various lakes. It has a depth capacity of 350ft down imaging and 600ft with 2D sonar. It is GPS enabled and has a Micro SD card reader
The HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 comes with both down and side imaging hence it is really good in providing you with lots of necessary information.
The SwitchFire display technology enables you to choose different ways of viewing data on your screen. Furthermore, its high definition display provides high quality images as compared to other fish finders.
However, this unit is not compatible with Bluetooth and it is rather pricey.
Humminbird 1 Helix 7 Buying Guide and Maintenance
When purchasing this model all necessary components that you will need will come in the box. If you are looking to upgrade your map charts you will have to purchase Lake Master applications separately. In case of any damage this unit comes with a one year warranty.
The HELIX 7 is one of the best budget fish finder on the market. Its high quality display and top notch spec features combine to give you one of the best fishing experiences. This model definitely lives up to its pricey cost tag.
5. Lowrance Hook-3X DSI Sonar Fish Finder
It features a 3.5” display with a 256-colour TFT with 11 level LED backlight.
It is not touchscreen hence menu and options navigation is done using the keypad.
It features only the down imaging sonar CHIRP technology. The CHIRP sonar has a depth capacity of 300ft. it comes with a quick disconnect swivel for fast disconnection.
The sonar transducer on this model is very powerful hence you get clear images very fast. This model is easy to operate and quick to install and disconnect.
However, this unit has some flaws. It does not come with any navigation system. It is not GPS and Navionics enabled. It does not have any connectivity options. Furthermore, it does not use 2D sonar technology even though other units within its price range use it. This model is perfect for fresh waters only and is good for use in small boats and kayaks. Despite all these flaws it is quite reliable in giving you accurate data.
Lowrance Hook-3X Buying Guide and Maintenance
When purchasing the Hook 3X DSI you will be required to purchase a cover separately as it does not come in the box. It also comes with a one year warranty in case of any maintenance issues.
This unit is quite pricey and does not offer enough specs for a fish finder just below the premium market. However, its efficiency and accuracy make up for its flaw and it is a perfect unit for fishing in freshwater.
6. Deeper PRO Smart Sonar – GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder
Deeper revolutionized fish finding by introducing smartphone fish finders that allow you to cast your unit and fish from your boat or from shore. The Deeper Pro+ uses sonar technology to locate fish.
It has a depth capacity of 330ft. it is both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible.
It supports Apple and Android operating systems for phone connectivity purposes. It uses an independent Wi-Fi connection for better information relay.
It comes with a lithium polymer battery that has an estimated battery life of 6 hours and is rechargeable to full capacity in 2 hours. You will also be able to download maps and charts using Boat Mode.
Through bathymetric mapping you are able to create your own maps and it is useful for shore fishing.
The Deeper Pro+ is a very efficient unit for shore fishing and for those who do not have boats. Its bathymetric mapping technology is superior and is as good as any other fish finder on the market in location fish.
It is also very efficient in ice fishing. It also uses its own Wi-Fi network hence you do not need internet access to operate it.
The only downside of this device is it may lose network in heavy waters for a while.
Deeper PRO Smart Sonar Buying Guide and Maintenance
When purchasing this unit it comes with all the necessary items. It also comes with a user manual that is apt in helping you use the device. You might need to purchase a cover for this unit as it might become invisible in dark waters. It comes with a warranty.
This is a very good alternative for those who do not have boats. It gives you the same features as other fish finders and it is equally efficient.
7. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fish Finder
If you are looking for an affordable, premium and efficient fish finder that can operate well in both shallow and deep waters then the Striker 4 is perfect for you.
It uses a CHIRP sonar transducer and comes preinstalled with GPS technology.
It uses a high resolution screen display that transmits clear and detailed images. It has a keypad that is easy to operate. Its operating system is easy to operate and is user friendly.
You will also be able to save your fishing points on your device. It has the capacity to save up to 5000 mapping points which you will be able to navigate through in future
The Garmin Striker 4 is extremely accurate in deep and shallow waters. It is not affected by water turbulence hence it gives you readings in all types of weather.
It is portable as it has a rechargeable battery hence you can carry it with you wherever you go. It is easy to install and operate.
However, this model does not come with a big enough screen compared to other fish finders.
Garmin Striker 4 Buying Guide and Maintenance
When you buy this model you will get everything you need in the box. All the equipment necessary for its operation come in the box. It also comes with a one year warranty.
Garmin are known to make reliable and efficient devices. The Striker 4 is no exception. It is affordable and works perfectly well in all weather conditions. This is an ideal unit for anyone looking for a budget friendly fish finder.
8. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder
The ReelSonar iBobber is a castable and portable fish finder. It uses wireless connectivity to connect the casting unit to your mobile device or tablet with a range distance of 100 meters.
It uses sonar technology to locate fish. The sonar on this device has a depth capacity of up to 135ft.
it comes with an activated GPS service together with interactive mapping that gives you waterbed and contour structures.
It has a rechargeable battery that can give you over 10 hours of useful life. It is also Bluetooth compatible and gives you the option of logging in data from your fishing trips which can be saved on your device.
The iBobber is very hand for shore fishing, ice fishing and night fishing. Its sonar technology is very powerful and can be used in any type of water and will provide you with accurate information.
It has a good depth capacity hence you will not have any trouble fishing in deep waters. This unit is covered with LED lights hence you will be able to spot it from far away.
The only disadvantage is its connection radius. You will not be able to fish using the iBobber if you are far away from it.
ReelSonar Buying Guide and Maintenance
All the equipment needed for set up come in the box. You will need to download the fishing application for your app store to make these unit fully operational. It also comes with a one year warranty in case of any software or hardware malfunction.
This unit is very useful for first time fishers. You do not need to own a boat to use this unit and it will change your fishing experience.
9. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
When it comes to affordable gadgets Venterior produces the best budget friendly fish finders.
Due to its cheap price tag it does not come with loads of specs. It uses sonar technology to locate fish.
It has depth capacity of between 3ft and 330ft. it does not come with a rechargeable lithium battery so you will need to purchase AAA batteries for this unit. It comes with a rubber floating pack and a cable for tying the unit on your boat or kayak.
The best thing about this unit is that it is cheap. It is easy to operate and install.
However, this unit does not give you the same efficiency you would get from other fish finders. It does not show you the size of the fish but only shows their location.
Furthermore, even though the manual says the device is waterproof you should avoid submerging the unit fully in water as the screen is not airtight. The Venterior fish finder accuracy will be hampered by turbulence and strong water waves and currents.
Venterior VT Buying Guide and Maintenance
When purchasing this model all necessary equipment come in the box. You do not need to purchase any extra equipment. The only thing to note is that the unit needs AAA batteries so make sure you have enough stock of that. It comes with a warranty which is viable for one year.
If you are looking for an affordable fish finder that can handle the basic elements of fishing then the Venterior is perfect for you. Despite its limited technology it is quite efficient and will improve your fishing experience.
10. LUCKY Handheld FF1108 Fish Finder
The FF1108 has a clear LCD display with green LED backlight. It is different from other fish finders as it uses a sensor to locate fish and also depth levels. This model uses a wireless sensor to transmit data from the water.
It has a range of 35 meters hence you will need to be close to the fish finder.
It has a depth capacity of between 40ft and 131 ft. its power is supplies through the use of four AAA batteries.
It is waterproof and can resist interference from grass in lake regions. It also has a power saver mode to ensure maximum battery life.
This unit is good in that it is able to detect fish sizes and also locate weed in the water. It gives you live updates from the bottom contour and gives adequate depth readings.
This unit is portable and can be used in all types of water. Its water resistance feature allows you to safely submerge the FF1108 without fearing any water damage.
The only disadvantage of using this device is that is has a short wireless range hence you will need to be as close as possible to the fish finder.
LUCKY Handheld Buying Guide and Maintenance
All the Lucky FF1108 essentials come in the box after purchase. It is easy to set up and install. It comes with a one year warranty in case of any damage.
This unit is extremely affordable and good for first time fishers looking for a fish finder that can accurately locate fish. It is not big in size hence it can be carried around easily.
Buying Guide – Best Budget Fish Finders
To ensure you make your time on the water productive and successful you need to have the right and relevant equipment. It is crucial to purchase the appropriate fish finder and this involves looking carefully at a number of factors.
Type of water
Different water bodies have different types of water. Oceans contain salty water while there are some lakes that have fresh water and some others salty. It is important to identify the type of water you are fishing in as it will impact of your fish finder equipment.
Fresh water has a low density hence low wattage devices are convenient for such water. Salty water on the other hand has a high density hence you require high wattage devices that will be able to transmit sonar waves with ease.
Type of boat
Most fish finders use sonar technology which requires the installment of a transducer on the boat. Some boats lack a transom hence hindering the installment of the transducer.
Furthermore, it is also important to note that some fish finders are not water resistant hence are not good for open water vessels or kayaking and canoeing.
Portability and Time on Water
For short fishing periods it is advisable to use small fish finders that have decent battery life and that are rechargeable. For long fishing periods it is advisable to purchase fish finders that have long battery life and that are rechargeable. For hobbyist fishers who move around a lot then purchasing a portable fish finder will be ideal.
One important element of fish finders is the display. For you to receive clear and high resolution images you require a display with a good resolution. It is advisable to get 240 × 160 pixels or higher resolutions.
It is important to note screen size also plays a huge role in the amount of pixels the display can accommodate. Good displays give you better detail and crisp images. It is important to note that black and white displays will not offer quality images.
Power and Frequency
Before buying any fish finder it is important to consider the depth of the waters you will be fishing in. for shallow waters, you require a low wattage device and high frequencies of 200 kHz. For deeper waters, it is advisable to buy high wattage devices with lower frequencies.
This is because for deep waters you require more energy for the sonar waves to be transmitted over a longer distance at a fast rate hence higher wattage requirements.
Most fish finders are mounted on open vessels and this means they are prone to water contact. It is critical and important to consider water resistance so as to prevent damage of the equipment.
How We Tested Fish Finders
It is necessary to regularly check and test your equipment to ensure that it is still operating at optimum levels. You should always test your transducer first.
To test your transducer, install the fish finder on your boat and place the transducer in water so that you can check the transmission of sonar waves. Once you power up the device you will receive information on your screen.
If you are able to get depth numbers that indicates that your device is working. If you don’t receive any data or imagery it means that your device or transducer has a defect. This first step is done in shallow water and with your boat still.
If the first step in successful, you can now start moving. While gradually increasing speed, check your fish finder and see whether you are still receiving data i.e. depth levels and fish location. If it works well while moving at low speeds but not at high speeds then you should make adjustments and do this test again.
Make sure you read your user manual so as to know the location and angle of installment of your transducer so that the test is effective.
When choosing the right fish finder choose one that suits your fishing style. Make sure you consider all the variables such a water type, depth and range. This will help you buy the best budget fish finder that will give you maximum benefit and totally change your fishing experience.