There’s nothing more relaxing than heading out on a boat or sitting on the dock at your favorite fishing spot. I think we can all agree that the only thing better than just fishing is catching something!
Whether you’re settling in at your regular spot or exploring somewhere new, it’s pretty important to know where the fish are. If you haven’t used a fish finder before, they are just small devices that use sonar to ‘read’ the water bottom so you can locate fish underwater.
Fish finders are an essential piece of equipment, but there are so many to choose from, and they come in a wide variety of prices. That’s where we come in! We’ve put together a handy guide to help you find the best fish finder under $300 that fits your personal needs.
With all the advancements in technology, some fish finders come with additional features that could make your fishing experience more enjoyable. On the other hand, you may just be looking for a simple fish finder that will do the job quite well.
The 3 main varieties of fish finders to consider are standalone, combination, and network.
The standalone variety uses underwater imaging to locate fish. A good option for casual anglers that stick to smaller rivers and lakes, and is the least expensive of all varieties.
The combination option has GPS built-in, so you always know where you’re going. This is a nice option to have if you have a mid-size boat. A finder plus GPS combo can range a fair bit in price since there are a lot of different features that come hand in hand with the GPS capability.
Network fish finders are for serious anglers. Typically, they connect to your phone via built-in wireless or Bluetooth connectivity. These devices can handle multiple types of data, not only GPS and sonar but also raster, satellite radio, and video. In this article we won’t be reviewing network finders because they generally come with a price tag greater than $300.
If you fish on a dock, bank, or shore, you won’t need a GPS or network device. However, if you go out in greater depth on a mid-size boat, kayak or canoe, a GPS along with extra features like mounting and different types of transducers can come in handy.
If you want a device that shows you where the fish are, you can get by with a simpler model. To know how big specific fish are and what depth they sit at, or, mark different areas of the map, you will want a more complex model with a largere price tag.
If you want to get right into fishing with little delay, a simple, user-friendly model device may be just what you want. With a less complex model, you won’t have to read the whole user’s manual or end up spending an hour-or-so doing set-up and install before you starting your day.
On the other hand, if you are a professional angler (or maybe you fancy yourself one, we don’t judge), you might be willing to put in some legwork to get the most out of the more complex technology before you start your trip.
At the end of the day your choice of fish finder is a personal choice, but we do recommend sticking to a model consistent with typocal fishing practices.
Now that you have a better idea which kind of fish finder is best for you, we hope our top 8 choices help you in selecting one that will fit your angling needs.
We have included devices with several different capabilities at different price points (but all under $300). We’re confident that you’ll find one model that fits your fishing style at a price point you’ll love.
The Hummingbird Helix is our number one pick for a standalone fish finder. You won’t miss a thing on this widescreen display, but you also won’t be bogged down with a ton of extra features that you don’t need.
Take a look at our best value pick; we think you’ll be pleased! The color LCD and dual beam sonar give you a clear picture of what’s going on under your boat.
The Deeper Start Smart is our top pick for the best castable fish finder. Unlike other products which you mount to your boat or kayak, this device is meant to be used for the dock, bank, or shore fishing.
It is cast out into the water where it gives you a reading on your smartphone. The Deeper Start app that accompanies the device couldn’t be easier to read and use so you can catch the big one!
Check out our favorite utility fish finder. Not only is this Lowrance Hook2 easy to use, but it also has a split shot transducer so you can get multiple underwater angles. The Hook 2 comes in three sizes, we’ve reviewed the 5-inch screen, but it also comes in 7 and 9-inch screens for slightly higher prices.
This sleek device is a steal! With CHIRP sonar technology and GPS, the combination of fish finder has a waypoint map that allows you to mark and navigate to specific locations. The built-in flasher on this device is also ideal for ice fishing.
This standalone fish finder will tell you everything you need to know about the floor bottom. A simple push of a button is all it takes to start this device. The included protective case allows you to mount the unit to your boat or a kayak without worrying about water ruining the functionality.
If you’re looking for a simple standalone fish finder, this device from Venterior is a great value. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, but if you are looking to find fish, this will do the trick!
This finder is another great buy for a standalone fish finder. It’s got all the basics, and its user-friendly interface makes set up easy and a breeze to use, so you can focus on your fishing.
One can never underestimate the benefit of having a good quality fish finder. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, in a kayak, boat, canoe, or on the dock or ice, a fish finder is a must-have device for every type of angler out there.
The benefits of a good fish finder will enhance your ability to navigate the waters in any weather and locate fish for a more fabulous angling experience.
Don’t forget that many of these devices come with money-back warranties and come with excellent customer support; something to keep in mind when making your selection.
We hope that this article has helped you find the perfect “fish finder” for all of your fishing applications.