If you’re here just to find the best portable fish finder and really can’t afford to take the time to read the excellent reviews and buying advice prepared by our researchers, this short paragraph will highlight all the vital information. Very few anglers want to come back empty handed which is why we have gathered information from consumer feedback, expert reviews, relevant posts on social media sites, compared brand quality, value for your money, and price to find the best portable fish finder so you never have to tell the story about the “one that got away”. During our research the Hummingbird 408120-1 quickly caught our attention as one of the best depth finders for several reasons that included its 5 inch LED display that is easy to read in any lighting, dual sonar beams that show images beneath the boat, along with structures and fish on the bottom, and the preloaded maps of the coastline, lakes and rivers in the continental U.S. While this is among the best Hummingbird fish finders it might not be the right choice for all consumers who might be looking for something smaller that also fits tighter budgets, and the Garmin Echo 200 could be a second option. While it does lack the imaging quality and dual sonar beams that sets the other model apart, it is still capable of detecting nearby fish at depths up to 1,500 feet and comes at an affordable price.
How to Select a New Fish Finder
A fish finder is an invaluable tool that every angler should have. This device can help you find the best place to toss in a line and make almost any fishing trip a success. There are literally hundreds of fish finders to choose from with an astonishing array of features and functions, which can make it difficult to find the right one for you. To help you make an informed decision you will find informative tips listed below so you can choose the best fish finder rig to take on your next trip.
There are three main categories of fish finders and each comes with its own advantages. Models with GPS capabilities are ideal for use when you are fishing in the open water, and might need some help getting back to shore. These fish finders can also mark the location of favorite spots, and come with sonar for clearer views of wrecks and debris underwater. Standalone units do not come equipped with GPS navigation, but it can be added to some higher priced models for an extra fee. These units do come with sonar for underwater viewing, and its ability to give accurate depth and temperature readings make it the best kayak fish finder.
If you want to link to the internet or access any number of the informative fishing apps you probably want to consider a model that come with networking capabilities. While these are not cheap fish finders, if you want to be able to see locations of other “hot spots” or instantly share pictures of your latest catch a networking model might be the best choice for you.
Most appreciated Products – Comparison Table
|Product||Display Size||Price||Dimensions||Warranty||Our Rating||Get more info|
|5″||$$||18.8 x 7.8 x 16.2 inch||1 year||A+||Full review|
|5″||$$$||1.8 x 6 x 5.9 inch||1 year||A||Full review|
|4″||$$||2.8 x 4.1 x 5.8 inch||1 year||B+||Full review|
|Your smartphone/tablet display||$$$$||2.55 inch||N/A||B||AMAZON|
|2.3″||$$$||6 x 3 x 2 inch||2 years||C+||AMAZON|
Fish finders can be portable or fixed, and where you are going to use it should be considered. Portable models are usually lightweight and easy to pack with the rest of your gear, and can be used from a boat or on the shore. Fixed units are often priced a little higher, and can be mounted almost anywhere on the boat.
The size of the display is another important design feature, and most anglers recommend choosing a unit with the largest screen you can afford. This ensures that you can easily see the images being displayed even when you are piloting the boat or concentrating on your line. The fish finder should also be designed to be easy and convenient to use so you can take advantage of all of the functions and have a successful trip.
The most important aspect to consider on the transducer is the angle of the cone, which also refers to the width of the beam. The transducer emits sound waves to produce the images, and wider beams allow you to “see” more of what is underneath the water. Transducers can have cone angles from 9 to 60 degrees, but most are in the range of 16 to 20 degrees. Ice fishing fish finders often have a 20 degree cone angle which allows it to be used in water with varying depths.
The frequency capabilities of the transducer should also be considered, along with the type of beam. Units with higher frequencies are best suited for shallow lakes and ponds, while models with a lower frequency are designed for use in deeper water. Single beam transducers are relatively inexpensive, and are a great choice for weekend fishermen. Models with double, side or even triple beams are priced higher, but these units are capable of providing you with the performance you need to reel in prize worthy fish.
Fish finders can come with a variety of innovative features that can make it easier to find, catch and even share pictures of your latest trips. One feature that often comes in handy are preloaded maps of U.S. lakes, rivers and streams. This will allow you to plan a successful trip on unfamiliar waters. Some units even come with HD maps for clearer viewing of the underwater terrain.
Protective carrying cases are always convenient, especially if you plan on taking your fish finder with you. Included suction cup mounts for the display let you temporarily attach the display to a rented boat. Included instructions make it easy to program and operate the fish finder, and if it is a stationary model you want to check to see that all of the connecting cables and wires are included.
While there are hundreds of fish finders to choose from, you can dramatically narrow down your choices once you know what you are looking for. To make it even easier to make a smart purchasing decision you can find the best fish finders showcased below.
Top rated fish finders in 2016
The Humminbird 408120-1 Fishfinder has a Chartplotter/fishfinder with a high-resolution and a 5-inch, LED-backlit color display. These two main features are what fishermen talk about in the best portable fishfinders reviews. This unit is really amazing because it allows me to see clearly depths of up to 70 feet and I can see separate fish with as little as 2.5 inches apart. In addition, this portable fishfinder has a Dual-beam Switchfire Sonar with a 20-degree beam and wider 60-degree beam, allowing you to see thoroughly underneath. You are certain to get the fastest rate possible with its Real-time Sonar. It also has a built-in UniMap or up the ante with optional Lakemaster and Navionics cartography to help you find your way more accurately.
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Garmin’s ECHO200 5 inches Grayscale Dual Beam Fresh/Saltwater Fishfinder is user-friendly. With a powerful capacity of 300 watts (RMS) of high-sensitivity sonar, and a large 5-inch HD display, I can say that this is the ideal unit for me. In addition, the Garmin echo 200 is also packed with Garmin’s HDID target tracking technology that enables me to obtain a clear picture of what lies underneath, making my day on the water more enjoyable. Its system’s dual-beam transducer has a wide scanning angle that perfectly scans both deep water and shallow water, with the ability to scan to depths of 1,500 feet. One of the most popular portable fishfinders on the market, it only takes a few minutes to install the Garmin echo 200 Fishfinder, making your fishing trip hassle-free and more satisfying.
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The top rated Garmin Echo 101 US and Canada with Transducer deserves high marks due to its use of advanced sonar technology to deliver exceptional target definition and fish arch identification. This tool boasts a compact profile that saves on boat space. It is also superbly easy to use. The single-beam transducer has 1,600 watts peak-to-peak power output, enabling it to dive down to a maximum depth of 1,500 feet. The quick-release tilt/swivel mount works perfectly with the versatile transom and trolling mount kit to ensure problem-free installation. The four-inch grayscale display comes with 256 x 160 pixel rating to ensure excellent target identification. This fish finder is affordable, too!
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The top rated Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder utilizes Bluetooth technology to enable you to view sonar readings on your device from up to 150 feet. The device doesn’t require sonar to run efficiently, making it a practical piece of gear to use anywhere. This is a dual frequency sonar that enables you to get both wide area search for ample results and narrow area sweep to ensure high accuracy information. Usable in depths from 1.5 feet to 40 feet, the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder can run in both fresh and salt water. Lightweight at just 0.22 pound, the fish finder is designed to be more compact and smaller than ordinary flashers or sonars. It makes the perfect companion for serious anglers.
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These days most of the top rated fish finder reviews underline the efficiency of the NorCross HawkEye F33P model in displaying with precision the location of banks of fish. The particularities of this fish finder make it a reliable and useful tool helping fishermen obtain good results. With a compact design, the NorCross uses an ultra-wide, 25 degree sonar beam angle that delivers great accuracy from 1.5 to 99.9 feet which is quite impressive. Furthermore, this NorCross model is operational down to zero degrees Fahrenheit and it fits right in the palm of your hand.
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Products which are no longer available
Humminbird PiranhaMax 230 PT
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 230 PT portable 4-inch waterproof fish finder offers with ease greyscale images of the column of the water, thus pointing out with precision the location of the fish. Due to the 20-degree and also 60-degree sonar beams and the impressive 90-degree single-beam wireless sonar, the Humminbird helps the user to better identify his targets on the 4-inch LCD display. Furthermore, this fish finder model is capable of scanning 600-foot depths with the dual beams, 120-foot depths with the wireless one and maintains a target separation pattern of only 2.5 inches, placing the device among the best portable fish finders in 2016.
Garmin Fishfinder 140
Thousands of satisfied fishers consider the Garmin Fishfinder as one of the best portable fish finders in 2016, known for its accuracy in pointing out the presence of fish in various locations. The 140 model has a 10.16 cm grayscale display that shows the fish automatically and recalibrates itself in order to keep track of the changes. Furthermore, the Garmin Fishfinder is equipped with the See-try technology and the Ultrascroll that refreshes the screen so you have up to date information, thus fishing with more success. The device also has a 2x and 4x automatic and manual zoom that allows you to better pin point the fish.
Thousands of satisfied fishermen consider the TOMTOP portable fish finder as one of the best portable fish finders in 2016, known for its precise localisation of fish irrespective of the water conditions. The technology behind the device allows the detection of grass, rocks, sand or weeds which may compromise your fishing while also getting an approximate location of the fish. Furthermore, the TOMTOP portable fish finder has an efficient round sensor with a 7.5 m cable and a 45-degree beam angle that allows for quality results.
Humminbird 120 Fishin` Buddy
You can better your odds of catching more fish by using a fishfinder. One such device is the Humminbird 120 Fishin` Buddy which can aid you in your quest for fish. You can see what is underneath the water line on a 4 inch monochrome LCD. It runs for an impressive 30 hours straight so you are able to have an extra long fishing session. Also it can find you fish in depths up to 240 ft. If you have your trusty Fishin` Buddy with you, then you are bound to find the fish wherever they are hiding.
Garmin Echo 100
Knowing where the fish are can sometimes be hard, but not with the Garmin Echo 100 Fishfinder. You go where the fish are and you know exactly how many are there and to which depth you find them. The fishfinder comes with a 4” display screen. And so you can better differentiate the fish and the water bed type the screen has a 8-level grayscale. The maximum depth is 600 ft meaning that it is useful for finding all sorts of fish, even those that stay at great depths. These feature make the Garmin Echo 100 one of the top rated portable fishfinders today.
Including the latest technology in identifying fish underwater, the Lowrance X-4 portable Fishfinder allows the user to benefit from a solid performance translated into more fish being captured on a daily basis. The model is highly visible even when you have it in direct sunlight and it is able to cover an impressive area of 60 feet. The Lowrance X-4 comes equipped with the automatic Advanced Signal Processing feature that tunes in for the best sonar pictures even if the terrain presents various difficulties. Furthermore, this fish finder device has automatic depth ranging that offers instant screen updates, a special feature underlined in the current top rated fish finder reviews.
Humminbird SmartCast RF 35
If you want to find fish more easily, then the Humminbird Wrist Mount Fishfinder is a possible way to go. Just attach it to your wrist and you are ready to find where the fish are at. You have a 1.25 inch high-visibility display where you can identify the fish with ease. It is very simple to use the one-touch controls. The Humminbird is waterproof as you can imagine and has Wet Switch Technology that can save battery life so you can use it for longer periods. Fishing is made so much easier with the use of the right technology like the Humminbird.