Every angler knows that a good fish finder is a perfect accessory that makes your fishing trip even more fruitful. Fish finders these days use advanced technology that allows anglers to get views from all angles of the boat. A great fish finder will streamline your fishing experience and optimize your catching potential.
Fish finders are so advanced that it can be overwhelming to try and choose one. Different manufacturers use different terminology to describe similar features. For example, you may see side imagery referred to as SI, SideVu, Side Scan. So it may be tricky to understand a fish finder’s specifications even if you know what you’re looking for.
Whether you’re an angler who’s just trying to get a clearer picture of what’s going on under your boat or you’re ready to step up your fishing game and make great use of a number of sophisticated features, our buyer’s guide will surely be a great resource to help you narrow down your options!
Side imaging and down imaging use sonar technology (and often a transducer) to create an underwater image that can show you details such as lake bottom, underwater debris and fish.
With side imaging, there are beams that must be placed on either side of your boat. These beams capture images of various depths and give you a side-by-side image on your screen so you can easily see the details.
Down imaging, on the other hand, uses a transducer that only projects its sonar beam straight down. With this technology you get a single image of what’s going on right beneath your boat.
Now that you understand the difference, you may be wondering what the benefit of a fish finder that uses side imaging technology instead of just down imaging is. Here are a few reasons why anglers love side imaging.
There are several important features to consider when you’re comparing different fish finder models that use side imaging technology.
What kind of boat are you hoping to use this fish finder on? Different boats need different installation methods so be sure the fish finder you choose pairs well with your boat. Check for additional accessories that must be purchased for a fish finder to be compatible with your boat to avoid frustration when you head out on a fishing trip.
Generally, side imaging fish finders with SI technology are meant for use on motor boats or bass boats. If you hope to get out on a kayak or inflatable you may need extra mounting equipment.
Another thing to consider is the transducer. A good SI fish finder should come with a transducer, otherwise you’ll have to purchase one separately. You can’t actually use the side imaging tech without it.
You might want your SI fish finder to include GPS. This combination allows you to navigate your way around the waters, watching for fish at the same time. So it’s a useful feature. If you do find an area full of fish, you can save that location’s sonar image. On a future outing, you can use the fish finder’s GPS to return to the exact location.
|Brands||Hummingbird Helix 7||Lowrance HOOK2 5||Humming Bird Helix 5||Garmin Echomap Plus||Garmin Striker|
|GPS technology included||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Depth Capacity||125 feet||500 feet||1500 feet||2300 feet||300 meters|
|Sonar Technology||Dual Spectrum CHIRP||CHIRP||Dualbeam with Switchfire||CHIRP||CHIRP|
|Screen Size||7 inches||5 inches||5 inches||9 inches||7 inches|
|Warranty||1 year||5 years||1 year||1 year||1 year|
Hummingbird has been making improvements in the fish finding industry for over 45 years. Their innovative sonar and depth finder technology lets you take your fishing to the next level. Hummingbird has made it their goal to help anglers of all different backgrounds make the most of their time spent on the water. The Helix 7 Fish Finder, features MEGA side imaging and down imaging on an ultra-wide, 7-inch high definition color display that’s so easy to read.
The Hummingbird Helix 7 is our top pick for a side imaging fish finder. It’s packed with features like GPS, duel spectrum CHIRP, and Swtichfire sonar and Lakemaster Plus, so you’ll have everything you need in one easy to use fish finder.
Lowrance is the brand that invented the first sonar device for consumers back in 1957, so you could say they know what they’re doing when it comes to marine electronics. This brand has been continually improving upon their technology for over 60 years to bring you the highest quality, most advanced features in their fish finders.
The best part is that their products are user-friendly and intuitive, so you don’t have to spend hours trying to figure out how to make use of your fish finder.
The Hook² Fish Finder offers so many great features at an amazing price making it our best budget option for a fish finder that includes both side and down imaging technology, auto-tuning sonar with double the coverage of other, more expensive units.
We mentioned above that the Hummingbird brand was innovative and angler friendly. So, it makes sense that they make not one but two excellent fish finder options that offer side imaging technology.
For an easy to use fish finder at an affordable price, the Helix 5 SI is a great option that allows user to customize and upgrade their experience based on their personal fishing needs.
With a high-resolution LCD screen display, you can easily take the mystery out of your fishing routes in vivid detail and at incredible depths. The addition of a MicroSD slot means you can upgrade your maps with Navionics, HotMaps, LakeMaster, or AutoChart Pro for an even better fishing experience.
Garmin is a leader in the GPS industry. The high-tech functionality of this fish finder from the leader in GPS technology is a great addition to your boat. They always strive to ensure their equipment contains all the best and most accurate technology.
This quality product allows anglers to spend more time exploring and less time worrying about their surroundings. Garmin lets its navigational equipment speak for itself and guarantees that you’ll be impressed with its functionality while you’re enjoying the great outdoors.
The Echomap Plus is jam-packed with fantastic features on an extra-large, touch screen that’s easy to read. Even under bright sunlight, you don’t have to mess with settings or extra cases to look at the screen. There’s no limit to what you’ll be able to see with Echomaps traditional sonar plus CHIRP clearvu and CHIRP sidevu scanning features, plus Panoptix sonar and the greatest depth coverage we’ve seen.
Another great option from Garmin and this one comes with a transducer included for the price. This Fish Finder uses Clearly technology for amazing down and side imaging on top of many other great features.
Anglers everywhere will appreciate the upgraded target separation of the CHIRP fish arches. This fish finder is another one of Garmins quality products at an excellent price point.
There are many great options on the market when it comes to user-friendly side imaging fish finders. Remember to consider what type of boat you’ll be using. Different boats require different installations. Check to see if it includes a transducer or you’ll need to buy one separately. Finally, don’t forget to think about handy features like GPS.
All in all, with the help of this guide, you should be able to find the best side imaging fish finder for your needs. Good luck!