Best Portable Fish Finders

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In a hurry? Here are the best products at a glance.

How to Pick the Best Portable Fish Finder

A portable fish finder can be a helpful tool whether you like to fish below the ice, with a jig, from a boat, or from the shore. The older style of wired fish finders have to be attached to a motor boat’s electrical system to work, but new wireless fish finders can be taken anywhere. However, it’s hard to page through portable fish finder reviews yourself and keep track of all features as you go, so our research team checked dozen new and bestselling handheld fish finders to select the best fish finder models with a range of features and prices. Whether you’re looking for the best fish finder GPS combo or a simple fish finder that can tell you the depth and temperature of the water, they can all be found on this list. A fish finder is an easy way to help you up your fishing game even if fishing is a hobby rather than a lifestyle. Before reading the fish finder reviews below, check out these handy specs to pay attention to when shopping. These features tell you a lot about each portable fish finder.

Wireless : Traditional portable fish finders wire into an existing electrical system and draw power from your boat to operate. Wired fish finders tend to be cheaper, but wireless models are more portable and convenient. Some use AAA batteries, while others are rechargeable. If you like to fish by kayak or on the shore, a wireless fish finder is the best option, since you don’t have to plug it into anything.

Built In GPS : A GPS fish finder combo allows you to map and keep track of good fishing spots and ones to avoid. The best GPS fish finder models combine satellite data with other mapping methods so you can easily find areas that are clear of tangling weeds and debris and full of fish again and again. If you want to be able to find the same jackpot area on your next trip, a handheld fish finder with GPS is a good choice.

Maximum Depth : Most fish finders can measure depths of up to 100 meters, or about 328 feet. Depth may not be as much of an issue for you if you tend to fish in shallow waters, but if you fish in the ocean or deep lakes and rivers, having a maximum depth of 100 meters or more can be crucial to finding your next big catch. Fish finders have the best depth sensing in freshwater since salt water decreases the effectiveness of sonar.

Color LCD : A color LCD display is a great feature for mapping debris and bottom composition as well as potential fish. Most simpler and cheaper fish finders have a black and white LCD screen and don’t provide as much information. A few fish finders transmit data in full color directly to your smartphone and can provide even more detail than a handheld fish finder with a color LCD screen.

Dimensions :  If you want a handheld fish finder that can actually be held comfortably in your hand, dimensions are an important spec! The size of the product can also impact how easy it is to mount. If you like to fish from a kayak or other small watercraft, you may prefer a small fish finder – but smaller ones can also have fewer features unless they transmit data to your smartphone like a few on our list.

Weight : Most of the portable fish finder reviews on our list are for models around a pound or less. If you like to fish in remote areas or off a kayak, a small and lightweight fish finder is a good choice. Heavier models tend to have larger screens and more features but are better for installing on a motorboat than toting with you across the ice or out to a hidden lake. It’s a tradeoff, so pick the one that fits your personal requirements.

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Garmin Striker 4

The Garmin Striker 4 allows you to mark waypoints on a map with GPS to easily find good fishing spots and places to drop anchor. It measures water temperature and allows you to view detailed underwater sonar maps at different depths. CHIRP sonar technology sends out a range of frequencies and interprets them clearly in real-time, whether you’re moving or stationary. It has a rechargeable battery and a suction cup so you can mount it anywhere. Besides its impressive depth capabilities, the Striker 4 also has a flasher format option ideal for ice fishing and vertical jigging. We found that the color LCD screen of this fishfinder was vibrant and offered a lot of information, and the keypad was intuitive and easy to use. It’s a fantastic product!

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

If you’re looking for a simple and budget friendly model, this portable fish finder from Venterior the right choice. A 25-foot cable attaches the black and white LCD display to the transducer, which has a removable float. The display has green LED backlighting so it can be used at night as well as during the day. You can select from five different sensitivity levels and toggle a fish alarm. Like most fish finders, this one requires a minimum water depth of one meter (about 3 feet 4 inches) to function properly. It requires 4 AAA batteries and comes with mounting hardware and a lanyard. The drawback with this budget model is its lack of water temperature sensing, limited bottom composition display and its inability to display the sizes of the different fish it senses. None are a big deal for beginners.

HawkEye FT1P

The HawkEye FT1P is a step up from our budget pick because it has a more detailed bottom structure display as well as being able to sense the water temperature. It has a flasher mode for jig fishing, and by switching out the 4 AAA batteries for lithium batteries, you can use this fish finder for ice fishing. It’s hard to tell what exactly is unique about the intelligent FishTrax sonar, but we found that it works well enough, whatever it is. In addition, the HawkEye FishTrax series has a completely waterproof housing, a backlit LCD display, and fish alarm. The FishTrax 1 is designed specifically for beginner anglers for its ease of use. The FishTrax 1P uses icons to show fish and doesn’t show different fish sizes. It is mountable but doesn’t come with the hardware to do so.

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

This ultra-compact and lightweight castable product is one of the best fish finder GPS combo models we’ve seen. Toss the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ into the water, and it broadcasts its own Wi-Fi signal (which is more dependable than a Bluetooth connection) to connect to your smartphone or tablet and transmit detailed data from up to 330 feet away. The Deeper App for iOS and Android interprets the data from the dual sonar frequencies to show colorful, detailed bathymetric maps as well as depth, bottom contour, and water temperature. You can adjust target separation from 1.3 centimeters and reduce noise based on the water conditions. The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+, though premium priced, is very fun to play with thanks to its rich features for ice fishing and just about any kind of fishing environment.

Venterior VT-FF-002

The Venterior VT-FF-002 uses rechargeable 3.7-volt batteries in both its LCD display system and transducer. It senses water depth, temperature, bottom contour, and the sizes of different fish, all shown in icons on the LCD display, which can be backlit for night fishing. The transducer can be tethered to a fishing line and cast, or attached to a cord to hang beneath or off the side of your boat. The VT-FF-002 has ten different sensitivity settings, but it has one of the less impressive maximum depths of our fish finder review list, just 120 feet. However, it has enough other features to satisfy most buyers. This is one of the few budget fish finders that can differentiate between the sizes of the fish it senses, making it easier for you to reel in a big one.

FishHunter Military Grade

The FishHunter is a cheap, intelligent, and castable fish finder. It transmits through Bluetooth to the FishHunter app, available for Android and iOS, from up to 80 feet away. It has some mapping capabilities as well as showing you the depth, water temperature, and bottom structure, as well as the size and depths of different fish. It has a more limited broadcasting distance compared to the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+, and Bluetooth is less reliable than Wi-Fi. However, it is a great way to try out a smart castable fishfinder if you’re not sure you’ll like it. It has a rechargeable battery that can last for up to eight hours of continuous use and can be utilized for ice fishing in waters up to 66 feet deep.

Erchang Sonar Fish Finder

The Erchang Sonar Fish Finder runs on 4 AAA batteries, with a simple LCD display attached to a transducer by a 32-foot cable. It is similar to our budget pick, but unlike the Venterior option, the Erchang does show water temperature as well as the bottom composition and fish in icons. The LCD screen has a backlight for night fishing, and you can set a fish alarm as well. The fish finder comes with a transducer float, a neck strap, and simple mounting hardware to get you started. It can be used for ice fishing as well as regular fishing, although operating it at less than zero degrees Fahrenheit is not recommended. If you’re looking for a basic and inexpensive fish finder, the Erchang Sonar is a great option and very similar to our budget pick.

Venterior VT-FF003

The VT-FF003 portable fish finder from Venterior has a simple LCD that uses icons to represent fish at different depths and to differentiate between rocks, sand, and weeds. It also senses the depth and temperature of the water. It has five sensitivity options so you can filter out smaller fish. The LCD has a backlit option for night fishing, and the VT-FF003 uses four AAA batteries. The transducer has a 25-foot cable and removable float. The VT-FF003 also has a fish alarm feature, but it doesn’t show you the different sizes of the fish–you have to use the sensitivity settings for that. This handheld fish finder has a greater maximum depth than its cousin, the VT-FF002, but five sensitivity settings compared to the VT-FF002’s ten.

Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C

The Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C has quite a few features while still being easily portable. The color LCD display offers detailed bottom composition and the ability to zoom in on areas of interest. The Fish ID+ shows the size and location of fish, and you can set both fish alarms and depth alarms depending on what you’re looking for. It has a separate transducer that can be cast or mounted (with hardware not included with this package) to your boat or motor. It uses dual frequency sonar to capture a greater range of detail than more basic fish finders and is powered by one 12V rechargeable battery. However, it’s worthwhile to note that our top pick has GPS capabilities and a greater maximum depth. Both are worth comparing.

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