Fish Seekers
Sharing's Caring

The Top 8 Best Fish Finders Under $300 in 2019

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.

What Kind of Fish Finder Is Right for You?

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.

Key Considerations Before Purchasing

Fishing Style

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.

Information Detail

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. 

Complexity of Set-up

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. 

Our Favorite Fish Finders Under $300

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.

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder

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.

Pros

  • A 5-inch widescreen color display for easy viewing
  • Helix’s CHIRP sonar technology is super sensitive. Users even report the fish finder detects the lure moving around in the water, so there’s no way you’ll miss any fish!
  • A user-friendly interface with keypad buttons
  • Great price and great consumer reviews
  • Comes with mounting accessories and equipment

Cons

  • Some users report the plastic clips used for holding the cable break easily. You can purchase extra plastic or metal clips.
  • A bare-bones fish finder, so don’t expect any extra features!
  • Some users report spotty readings
Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX 4 Fish Finder

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4

Best Budget Option


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.

Pros

  • Sonar easily tracks and monitors water bottom, provides accurate readouts
  • The color LCD screen is easy to read and also lets you scan to other areas with no lag in the image
  • Comes with a tilt and swivel mount and a 20-foot mount transducer
  • Under $100
  • Built-in fish alarm
  • Covered by a warranty

Cons

  • No GPS
  • Side-scan and down imaging not available on this model
  • Users report difficulty using fish marker feature; for this reason, it may be best suited for more casual fishermen
  • Some users say the transducer doesn’t have a very long life
Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder - Castable Wi-Fi Fish Finder for Recreational Fishing from Dock, Shore or Bank

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!

Pros

  • 6-hour rechargeable battery
  • Scans down to 165 feet
  • This fish finder has its built-in wireless connection so that you won’t use your mobile data
  • Small enough to fit in your tackle box
  • Built-in sensors turn the fish finder on automatically when it hits the water, and also automatically switches into night mode
  • Deeper Start app shows the depth and size of fish, as well as a chart readout of the floor bottom
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Covered by a 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Not for use on boats
  • Limited range, users report it loses connectivity if casted more than 10 feet away from their smartphone
  • If you’re fishing alone, you need the Deeper Start smartphone mount as the fish finder can lose signal if you place your phone on the ground or have it in your pocket. The mount is a separate purchase
HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed

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.

Pros

  • Uses a broader angle CHIRP sonar, so you get twice the coverage of a standard fish finder
  • The transducer is easy to set up and can be mounted, used in the hull, on the trolling motor or in the scupper hole
  • The unit has an SD card slot so you can upgrade your maps for additional fees
  • Lightweight and compact
  • The split-screen option allows you to see multiple readings at once
  • The color display has an easy to read 5-inch screen
  • Covered by Amazon’s 30-day money-back warranty

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with mounting accessories or a cover
  • The unit may be sensitive to sudden movements and need to be restarted to function correctly
  • Some users find their local lakes are not included in the preloaded maps that come with the device
  • No GPS
Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5' GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional Transducer

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.

Pros

  • Simple keypad interface
  • Waypoint map that measures a maximum depth of 1600 feet freshwater and 750 feet saltwater
  • Multiple features including a plugin to map your route for easy navigation before you head out, speed and time measurement, and even water temperature
  • CHIRP sonar is very sensitive to underwater movement
  • Covered by a 1-year warranty

Cons

  • The screen on this unit isn’t waterproof. If there’s a chance of splashing near the device, you’ll need to use a protective cover (or a Ziploc bag).
  • The unit needs to be plugged into a power source.
  • The 3.5-inch color display can be challenging to read in bright sun
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

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.

Pros

  • Dual-frequency sonar shows fish, water depth, bottom contour, water temperature, and bottom composition
  • Comes with a transducer that you can float, troll or mount to your boat
  • The color display is glare-free so that you won’t miss anything in the sun
  • AAA battery powered and long battery life reported by users
  • Covered by a 2-year warranty
  • Also, has an ice fishing flasher and data mode that shows a zoomed-in view of relevant readings so you can see them from further away

Cons

  • Screen size is smaller than a standard phone screen so it can be difficult to read
  • Some users reported issues with device turning on after several uses and difficulty resolving the issue with customer service
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder,  Handheld Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder with Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display

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!

Pros

  • AAA battery powered
  • Shows water depth and approximate fish location as well as seabed composition
  • Backlit for night use
  • Comes with a 25-foot cable for transducer as well as afloat
  • Covered by a 2-year warranty

Cons

  • The LCD screen is fundamental and doesn’t show detail like a color monitor
  • Some users report the device doesn’t work in water deeper than 50 feet despite product description
  • No GPS
FF688C 3.5' Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder 200KHz/83KHz Dual Sonar Frequency 300M Detection Muti-Language Auto Zoom

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.

Pros

  • 3.5-inch 18-bit screen is easy to read and can be viewed even in bright sun
  • Provides depth readouts from 1.8 to 984 feet
  • Bottom tracking shows the difference between big and small fish and indicates their depth

Cons

  • The unit can’t be mounted, must be hardwired to a boat
  • No GPS

Final Thoughts!

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. 

Happy fishing!

Leave a Comment: