Want to know exactly where the big schools of fish are out on the lake or ocean so you have a higher chance of snagging a few during your fishing trip? Then you most definitely need to have a fish finder on-board your boat. These nifty little gadgets scan the water below you to find out if fish are present. This gives you a huge advantage. No longer will you be blindly navigating the waters, hoping to get lucky and land the right spot by guessing. Plus, these devices also provide other information such as the depth of the water, reveal obstacles that may get in your way, and more.

Finding the perfect fish finder can be tough, though. Not every fisher has the same needs. Some may be out on still water such as a lake or large pond. Others may need a device that can accurately provide depths and fish readings on the great big blue (the ocean). Then there are ice fishers that need a gadget that can obtain accurate readings even in super cold waters. Plus, there are so many different models available that it can be mind-boggling trying to sift through them all. That’s why we here at Consumer Essentials created the list below. We’ve tested several dozen fish finders and came up with a list of what we consider to be the five best, check them out below.

There are so many different fish finder brands on the market that it can be daunting trying to find the right one. Well, let us save you a headache! We’ve tested tons of these little gadgets extensively and compiled the data below. The list below features five of the best fish finders based on accurate readings, ease of use, screen size, and price. Use this list to narrow down your selection and get the fish finder that will be most beneficial to you.

The Smart Fisher’s Fish Finder Buying Guide

Still finding yourself confused and drowning in all of the options available? Don’t fret, we’re here to help. We know that picking out a fish finder can be tough. There are so many different options and several things you need to look for, it can definitely get confusing. Below, we’ve provided a few pointers to help you along the way. We name a few of the most important things to look for when you’re shopping for a fish finder.

Quality Transducer

The most important part of your fish finder is a gadget called a transducer. This is a small device that is attached beneath your boat. This is the thing that uses sonar signals to determine what’s around. A good one has a wide field of view and a powerful enough sensor to provide accurate readings in deeper waters. Plus, you need one that can provide readings while you’re actually moving along in the water.

The cone field is very important. Some of the cheaper models only have a very narrow and short field of view. This means you’ll only get to spot fish in the immediate area beneath your boat. A mid to high end model, on the other hand, will have both narrow and wide angle abilities, giving you displays of a large area under and around your boat. This makes it easier to spot fish.

Good Display

A good display is always useful, too. Generally speaking, the bigger the screen on the fish finder, the better. You also need to consider the overall resolution, too, though. Cheaper models have tiny black and white screens which are often difficult to read. If you want something that is extremely easy to see and provides details of what’s going on under the water you’ll want to spring for a slightly pricier model as these fish finders often features large (4 to 6 inch), full-color display screens. It’s not entirely necessary, but it often makes for easier reading.

Portable or Fixed Style

Depending on how often you go fishing or if you own or rent a boat, you’ll also want to consider whether a portable version or a fixed version fish finder is better for your needs. In most cases, if you own a boat and go out fishing quite regularly, you’ll want to purchased a fixed unit. These are installed onto the boat and designed to remain there.

Portable versions, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They’re meant to be used either by casual fishers or those who don’t own a boat, but rent them. They aren’t permanently attached to the boat like a fixed model. This makes it easier to just bring your finder along with you when you go on a fishing trip to use occasionally.


Last, but certainly not least, you should always consider the price of the unit. There are some very affordable options available ($70 to $80 models) and there are some very expensive ones, too ($100 to $200 or more). Not every fisher has the budget to drop a wad of cash on a fish finder. Not everyone needs a higher-end model, either. The cheaper ones are often fine for fishing in freshwater locations where the water isn’t too deep. The more expensive fish finders are better suited for deep, saltwater fishers.