6 Best Fish Finders For The Money Reviewed

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Hello there! In this article, we’ll be scanning the market in search of the best fish finders for the money.

Over the years, I haven’t tried that many fish finders, but I’m on my third one now, and I’ve fished in all sorts of different waters. I’ve learned a lot!

Besides the ones I already had, this journey introduced me to some groundbreaking discoveries. Out of all, I picked the top 6 that really stood out.

I checked each based on how clear the display is, how easy they are to use, how deep they can show, and what other anglers say about them.

I’ll be honest. The Garmin STRIKER 7 is by far my favorite.

Its GPS and sonar technology are top-notch. And it helps locate fish like a pro, making it great for both new and experienced anglers.

But if you’re looking to spend less, don’t worry. This list has options for all budgets, making sure every angler finds the right match.

Now, let’s dive in and find the best fish finder for you.

Our Top 6 Picks

  1. Garmin STRIKER 7 (Best Overall)
  2. Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv (Best Value)
  3. Lowrance Elite FS 7 (Best Splurge)
  4. Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 (Best Budget)
  5. Humminbird HELIX 5 (Best Navigation)
  6. Garmin STRIKER 4 (Best Portability)

The 6 Best Fish Finders For The Money

This comprehensive list has an option for every taste. And every type of budget.

Let’s jump right in to give you the juice.

Best Overall

1. Garmin STRIKER 7

  • Display Size: 7 inches
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Max Depth: 2,300 ft (Freshwater), 1,100 ft (Saltwater)

The first on the list is a very special item for me.

Up until I got my hands on the STRIKER 7, I had only owned two other fish finders. One of them I feature later on, but none from the same brand.

Trust me when I say you can’t go wrong with Garmin. You just can’t. GPS technology is truly their forte.

I got the STRIKER 7 as a gift sometime during the pandemic, and immediately hit my buddy up to go and test it.

Aboard his kayak we went. Two passionate anglers with our new toy in hand.

The first time I powered it up, I was in love. Clear, vivid images on a big and bright 7-inch color display. Wow!

The interface is user-friendly and a breeze to navigate, which is really helpful when you’re not so familiar with this kind of tech.

The heart of the STRIKER 7, though, is its high-sensitivity GPS paired with the CHIRP sonar. They provide precise location data and high-quality sonar imaging. It felt like having a reliable friend on board, guiding me to the fish.

I was also particularly impressed with the GT20 transducer, which comes bundled with both traditional and ClearVü scanning sonar. I could easily spot fish hiding spots.

The absence of mapping functionality is a slight drawback, I must say. However, the superior sonar system and GPS features quickly outweigh this. It’s a negligible trade-off.

The Garmin STRIKER 7 definitely helps me catch more fish and is a super valuable addition to my fishing arsenal. I highly recommend you give it a go.

Best Value

2. Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv

  • Display Size: 4.3 inches
  • Resolution: 480 x 272 pixels
  • Max Depth: 2,300 ft (Freshwater), 1,100 ft (Saltwater)

Next up, we’ve got a great second candidate.

When it comes to striking a balance between price and value, the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv sails ahead of the pack. It’s a compact yet extremely powerful tool.

I initially thought the smaller screen would be a setback, but its clarity and precision quickly dismissed those concerns.

It’s crisp, and the resolution gets the job done. Every. Single. Time.

One of the greatest features is, once again, the scanning sonar tech. Garmin’s ClearVü is no joke! It’s like the murky waters just clear up beneath you.

On top of that, we’ve got the Quickdraw Contours mapping software. Creating custom maps of my favorite fishing spots was not only fun but added a personal touch to each fishing adventure. It truly sets it apart from other fish finders in its range.

Now, the ECHOMAP has one major downside for me: the absence of a touchscreen. Its button interface is pretty user-friendly, but still, we can’t dismiss that.

Comparing it to others on the list, though, the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv holds itself very well, especially at this price point.

Investing in the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv is like recruiting a trusted fishing ally. This thing is a compact powerhouse that fits well even in smaller vessels.

Best Splurge

3. Lowrance Elite FS 7

  • Display Size: 7 inches
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Max Depth: 300 ft

We’re moving up a tier with this next one. Every dollar spent echoes in its superior functionality.

The Lowrance Elite FS 7 is not cheap, but it’s exactly what most anglers need. With exceptional networking capabilities and some wonderful features, it does not disappoint.

It’s an investment not just in a fish finder, but in an enriched fishing adventure.

The star of the show is the Active Imaging 3-in-1 technology. It’s like having a sonar superpower, unveiling the mysteries below with astonishing clarity. You don’t get just down imaging sonar, but side imaging too.

Its 7-inch display is another big plus, and every pixel brings the underwaters to life with extreme detail.

Though it didn’t come with an in-dash mount, the ease of connecting it to other devices made up for it. The networking capabilities are stellar. Sharing data or syncing with other devices is also a breeze.

The transducer, however, could use a boost. That’s its greatest weakness. But to be fair, the down and side imaging and networking swiftly overshadow this minor glitch.

While the Lowrance Elite FS 7 is not for every pocket, it’s every angler’s wet dream. If you’re looking to splurge on a companion that brings more to the table, this is your go-to gear.

Best Budget

4. Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4

  • Display Size: 4.3 inches
  • Resolution: 480 x 272 pixels
  • Max Depth: 320 ft

The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is the star of the budget show. It’s the kind companion that takes a novice’s hand and guides it through the fishing dance.

The first time I tried it, its Fish ID+ feature caught my eye. It’s like having a friendly guide beside you, and trust me… No more guessing games. The Fish ID+ lays it all out clear and simple.

Now, let’s talk screen. The 4.3-inch display might seem modest, but it’s perfectly paired with its resolution. You won’t really need more than this screen size. I felt it was just right.

Yes, there’s a little hiccup. The lack of GPS or chart plotting might be a miss. But remember folks, we’re dancing the budget waltz here.

Simplicity is its charm. And that makes it less intimidating for someone new to the angling game.

And speaking of simplicity, the user interface is fantastic! Even if you’ve never laid hands on a fish finder before, the PiranhaMAX 4 welcomes you with open arms.

Comparing it to others, it’s the ease of use and price tag that sets this budget fish finder apart. It’s the friendly neighbor in a community of high-fenced houses.

If you’re new to the angling scene or just looking for a budget-friendly companion to assist you, this is a catch you won’t regret. It’s about making fishing fun and accessible, not rocket science.

Best Navigation

5. Humminbird HELIX 5

  • Display Size: 5 inches
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Max Depth: 1,500 ft

We’re locking our eyes on another target now.

The Humminbird HELIX 5 feels like having a bulletproof compass aboard. It will ALWAYS lead you in the right direction.

Navigating vast expanses of water can feel like wandering through an endless maze, but not with this little fella.

The Dual Spectrum CHIRP 2D sonar is the cornerstone of the HELIX 5. The first time I sailed with this tech, I was stunned. We’re talking high definition, high accuracy navigation. It feels like cheating!

The device also includes an internal GPS with Humminbird Basemap and AutoChart Live built-in. You can also plug in Humminbird and Navionics premium fishing charts.

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, though.

The screen is small when compared to others in the range, and the resolution is not all that great. I also spent quite some time going through the manual, I didn’t find it to be super intuitive. 

The device’s build quality could also use some improvement, but all in all, I still think it’s a good product. 

If you’re keen on a visual companion that can narrate the underwater saga as you sail, this is it. Make each fishing expedition a story worth telling.

Best Portability

6. Garmin STRIKER 4

  • Display Size: 3.5 inches
  • Resolution: 480 x 320 pixels
  • Max Depth: 1,600 ft (Freshwater), 750 ft (Saltwater)

Big things often come in small packages. And my foray with the Garmin STRIKER 4 brought that adage to life.

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a compact beast that’s as nimble as it is effective.

The CHIRP sonar technology is the talk of the town among the STRIKER 4 users. My first venture with it showed very clearly why.

The lack of preloaded maps did catch my eye, but it’s a minor hiccup for what this device brings to the table. It’s like setting out on an adventure with a blank canvas, ready to be filled with your discoveries.

The compact 3.5-inch display is a marvel. With a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels, it’s remarkable how much detail is packed into every inch of this portable fish finder. It’s a testament to Garmin’s knack for marrying compact design with functional prowess.

It’s accurate, and it’s easy to use, but where this small fish finder really shines is in portability. It’s a breeze to mount on kayaks, canoes, or even take along on an ice fishing escapade.

The ability to create custom maps is a cherry on top, making each fishing venture a personalized experience.

It’s a pocket-sized aquatic scout. Always by your side, always ready.

How To Choose the Best Fish Finder for the Money

Navigating the market for fish finders isn’t as daunting as it seems. Especially when you have a seasoned angler guiding you through the murky depths.

As someone who has spent over two decades casting lines, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of a reliable fish finder. Here’s a breakdown of factors to steer your decision in the right direction.

Display and Interface

Having a clear and intuitive display is crucial. I personally value a high-resolution color display which allows for clear imagery and easy differentiation between structures and fish schools.

If your budget allows, go for 800 x 480 pixels. Also, make sure the interface is user-friendly, and you’re not fumbling through menus while the fish are biting.


This will depend on where you need your fish finder to go. Are you heading out on a kayak? A bigger boat?

I usually go fishing with a portable mount so it’s easier to handle and install. I would say that’s probably your case, too.

However, you might need something more sturdy and reliable.

Mapping and Charting

A feature I can’t do without is advanced mapping and charting capabilities. This not only helps in marking sweet fishing spots but also allows you to navigate waters with ease.

Look for devices that offer detailed charts or have the ability to create custom maps.

Transducer and Sonar

This is the heart of any fish finder. The transducer sends sonar waves into the water and interprets the signals that bounce back.

A CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse) sonar is something I swear by. You’ll get a more detailed and accurate depiction of the underwater terrain than with traditional sonar.

Not all great fish finders use one, but the top fish finders usually do.

As for imaging, side imaging is effective when used in shallow water. On the other hand, down imaging is also great for shallow water, though not as good as side imaging. However, it’s particularly effective in deep water, much more so than side imaging.

Fishing Preferences

Your fishing preferences play a key role in selecting a fish finder.

For freshwater anglers fishing in shallower water like lakes or rivers, a standard one with basic sonar capabilities will suffice. However, the adventurous saltwater angler venturing into deep water will need a high-frequency sonar, GPS, and chart plotting.

If you fancy ice or fly fishing, look for portable fish finders to allow for freedom of movement. You might also want specialized features like flasher sonar.

Max Depth

The maximum depth of your fish finder is crucial. How much you need depends on your fishing environment.

Casual freshwater or inshore fishing doesn’t require more than 200 to 500 feet. When I go offshore fishing, though, I usually carry something with at least 500 to 1,000 feet.


Price is a factor, but it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. A good fish finder is an investment towards plentiful catches and enriched fishing experiences.

Look for finders that offer a good balance between price and features (such as the fish finders on this list). Ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

Our Verdict

And there we have it.

With the right fish finder, you’ll locate and catch fish with ease.

There’s a lot to learn about fish finders though, and it can feel like a lot when you’re just starting out.

If you’re still unsure, I’d say go for the Garmin STRIKER 7. If I could only pick one fish finder (heaven forbid!), that’d be my choice today, hands down.

Catch you next time. Until then, happy fishing, everyone!

Photo of author


Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.