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I have been fishing all of my life. My mom says that I was catching fish before I was born. I am not a professional, but I love to fish. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine someday I would be writing about fish finders.
Technology has changed the way we fish. From the top fishing rods and reels, trolling motors, types of line, and trusting the locals to find the best fishing spot, the sport has come a long way. Nothing makes this more evident than today’s top-rated fish finders.
There are many different fish finders with different features. This can sometimes make it a daunting task to choose a fish finders. So I decided to do some research and try to help you choose the best one for the money for your fishing needs.
Defining The Best Fish Finder
Everybody will have a different definition of a good fish finders. Some will equate it to best bang for your buck. Others will equate it to quality and range. Yet others will simply mean the best for the type of fishing they do like deep sea fishing, lake fishing, river fishing, or ice fishing.
So I am not going to try to convince you which one is the best quality or best bang for your buck. Instead, I am going to show you fish finders in different price ranges and let you decide which one is the best fish finder for you. I do have three recommendations, but you are the one that has to determine if the fish finder is the right type for your fishing adventures.
If you need help deciding which fish finder would be best for you, I suggest you read our Fish Finder Buyers Guide.
In this article, you will find a quick comparison chart of fish finders, and then below you will find product listings for each weed eater pulled from Amazon’s product database for you to compare.
However, before we go onto the list, here is a helpful video on how to buy a fish finder by West Marine.
How We Determine What Is A Top Fish Finder
Why You Should Trust Us When Searching For The Best Fish Finder
We spent over 40 hours researching and writing this list of the top fish finders so you wouldn’t have to spend your time doing the research. We consulted with the top experts in the industry and coupled that with our own experience to bring you this list. We do not accept free products or incentives when we review products to keep our opinions unbiased and helpful to our readers.
In making this list of the top fish finders, we kept three things in mind: Quality, affordability, and customer satisfaction.
Fish Finder Quality
As an avid fisherman myself the last thing I want to do is cause you to have a bad fishing trip because of a review we gave. So when I decided to make this list of fish finders, quality was the number 1 consideration. I desire that you catch more fish.
That is why you do not see off-brand knock-offs on this list. You only see the top fish finder brands in the fishing industry.
Fish Finder Affordability
Although our list of fish finders has units with price ranges from $100.00 to $1,000.00, these are not the highest priced fish finders in any way shape or form. Some of the most expensive fish finders can run in the multiple thousands of dollars.
Customer Satisfaction With The Fish Finder
We spent the time reading all the customer reviews left on these top-rated fish finders to ensure that any fish locator and depth finder we recommend is well liked by real anglers. Every fish sonar we recommend was rated with 4 stars or better at the time of this writing.
Our Recommendations Of The Best Fish Finders
Editors Choice Award – 2018
Here are three top fish finders that we feel are the best of the best overall.
Best Fish Finder For Small Boat
Top Fish Finder 2020
Best Fish Finder GPS Combos Under $500
There are some great fish finder GPS combos for the avid fishing enthusiast under $500.00. Here are some great ones ranging from $200.00 to $500.00
Fish Finders Under $300
Maybe you don’t hit the water every weekend but you would like to have the advantage of having a fish finder when you do. These inexpensive fish finders might just be the best fishfinders for you. You still get some of the advantages of the pricier models but don’t pay for all the bells and whistles.
Best Portable Bobber Style Fish Finder
Maybe you are a river fishing enthusiast or maybe you like to fish using a kayak or inflatable rubber boat. This portable bobber style fish finder will help you find the big ones that are lurking beneath the surface.
How To Use A Top Fish Finder
When you purchase your fish finder you will be learning how to read sonar based data. This is different than what you would see if you panned an underwater camera down under your boat. The data is time based, not distance based.
So when you use your new fish finder, you will need to remember that what you are seeing is not the spacial movement but time scans.
You also will find that you get better images and data if you keep moving rather than stay stationary. The reason for this is that with the movement you give your fish finder the ability to get different angles on any fish or object below you.
Tips For Reading The Fish Finder Depth View Screen
Not all fish finders have icons that tell you what a fish is and what is a tree stump. Not always is it easy to say right off the bat. Here are a few tips to help you read your view screen.
- A thick line at the bottom shows a soft bottom where a thin line indicates a hard or rocky bottom.
- The right to left movement of your screen is not panning right to the left. It is the image based on time.
- Adjust your sensitivity controls so that objects are clear and distinct from the background.
- Mount your transducer where it gets a steady flow of water across it rather than near turbulence. Less turbulence will significantly improve the image you see on your view screen.
Here is a helpful video on how to read your new fish finder with sonar technology.
Final Thoughts on Fish Finder Technology
I still remember the days when I had to know how to read the water to find fish. However, I also love the new technology like chirp technology that makes it so much easier to find the fish and where the fish are biting.
Let me know if you found that this fish finders list has helped you chose the top fish finder for you. Let me know if there is anything I can add that will help you make your decision on what is the GPS fish finder for the money for you. I will try to update the content as time and technology changes. Feel free to share some fishing tips as well.
Do you need some help learning how to operate your fish finder? Check out this informative article on fish finder basics.
Do you need to know where to mount your fish finder? Here are 4 fish finder mounting locations.