Best Fish Finder for Small Boat in 2020 [#3 Budget Friendly]

best fish finder for small boatIf you want to have a great way to enhance your likelihood of finding fish, and an easy technique to find out where exactly the fish are in the water body, then you can get benefits from getting the best fish finder for a small boat.

A best boat fish finder is a remarkable way to obtain a view about what is happening under the water and surrounding your boat, thus you get an idea where exactly to cast your line to catch fish.

For a small boat, you are likely searching for something portable and small that doesn’t take up a lot of space on your small boat.

Are you looking for the best fish finder for the boat but don’t know what to look for, then you are at the right place.

There are a sufficient amount of fish finders that work well for a small boat. Here we reviewed the best fish finder for a small boat and by the end of the article you will find out what to consider before buying a fish finder.

QUICK OVERVIEW – TOP 8 BEST FISH FINDER FOR SMALL BOAT

  • Garmin Striker 4 with Portable KitAffordable, convenient, with a portable kit, CHIRP sonar technology, built-in GPS mapping, built-in flasher, with rugged design that is easy to mount and use.
  • Humminbird 410150-1 PIRANHA MAX 4Affordable, costs less than $100, compact, portable, waterproof, lack CHIRP technology, offers traditional 2D sonar and has a maximum depth of 600ft.
  • Garmin Striker 4 with TransducerRugged, durable, waterproof, highly accurate GPS, CLEARVÜ SCANNING SONAR technology, affordable option with CHIRP technology, and easy to use and install.
  • Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducerMilitary-grade construction with dual-beam technology and unbeatable performance that offers crystal clear images and perfect target separation.
  • Humminbird 410940-1 HELIX 7A fish finder and chart plotter with Dual spectrum CHIRP, Mega DI sonar, rugged transducer, adjustable backlight, built-in GPS, microSD card reader and brilliant display.
  • Lowrance HOOK2 4XEasy to set up and use, available under $500, built-in depth mapping, works as a phone, comes with bullet skimmer transducer, wide-angle CHIRP sonar and perfect for small boats.
  • Garmin Striker 4cv with TransducerEasy to use, compact, full-color display, built-in GPS and ClearVu scanning sonar, scan, and display data quickly, and works for both saltwater and freshwater.
  • Lowrance HOOK2 5 with SplitShot Transducer – Portable, compact, beginner-friendly, simple menu layout, easy access to keys and comes with SplitShot transducer, Down-Scan, and CHIRP technology.

Comparison of Top 8 Best Fish Finder for Small Boat in 2020

PreviewProductKey FeaturesPrice

  • Display: 7-inch
  • Built-In: GPS Mapping
  • Maximum Depth: 1,600 ft
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  • Display: 4.3" Color LCD
  • Maximum Depth: 600 feet
  • Display Picture: 272H x 480V
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  • Display: 3.5-Inch
  • Maximum Depth: 1,600 feet
  • Transmit Power: 200 W (RMS)
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  • Display: 4.3-Inch
  • Built-in: GPS Mapping
  • Transmit Power: 200 W (RMS)
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  • Display: 7-Inch
  • Underwater Clarity: 125 feet
  • Resolution: 800H x 480V
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  • Display: 4-Inch
  • GPS Plotter: No
  • SD Card Slot: Availible
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  • Display: 4.3-inch backlit
  • Built-In: GPS Mapping
  • Transmit Power: 300 W (RMS)
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  • Display: 5-inch
  • GPS Mapping: Yes
  • SideScan Imaging: No
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Best Fish Finder for Small Boat (Reviews for 2020)

In this article, we will go through the top 8 best fish finder for small boat. We will review each fish finder based on key features, convenience, price, accuracy and ease of use.

Following our recommendations for the best fish finder for a small boat:

1. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit – Best Boat Fish Finder

A well-known fish finder among lots of anglers regarding its great functionality and affordability. It comprises of several features that make fishing a fruitful experience.

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Product Highlights

Garmin Striker 4 comes with a CHIRP 77/200 kHz transducer which provides higher visibility and clarity.

It features a CHIRP sonar technology which creates fish arches with enhanced target separation.

A highly sensitive built-in mapping GPS enables you to check your current position accurately and quickly.

Moreover, it also allows you to track the velocity of the boat so that you can maintain the best speed. Another plus point is the portable kit that enables you to take it anywhere you want.

It is an efficient scanner and GPS combo device that works well in finding fish. Garmin striker 4 can survive the deepwater dipping of up to 1 meter within 30 min.

It enables you to visualize the contours, structures, and pieces of cover hidden inside the water. The LCD is visible even in dark and direct sunlight due to its backlit. Graph and water temperature sensors make ice fishing easy.

This fish finder is not best for high-speed watersports. Some fishermen said that Garmin Striker 4 is less efficient when the boat moves at high speed.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to mount on small boats
  • It comes with a rugged design
  • It is IPX waterproof so safe to use
  • Reliable battery life

Cons

  • The instruction manual is limited
  • Micro SD card reader is not available

Our Thoughts

Garmin Striker 4 plus is a lightweight and small fish finder full of remarkable features like CHIRP technology.

It comes with a transducer and double frequency CHIRP sonar. It is the best fish finder for the bass boat.

Also Read: 8 Best Fish Finders Under 500 Reviews in 2020 [#3 Top Pick]

2. Humminbird 410150-1  – Best Fish Finder for Bass Boat

The Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX 4 Fish Finder is a good value for the price and is one step up from a basic fish finder. It is one of the affordable fish finders for a small boat.

Humminbird 410150 fish finder

Product Highlights

The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a fish finder with basic technology that only offers traditional 2D sonar with no navigation features.

It operates at 200 and 455 kHz frequencies and uses Dual-beam 2D sonar. This model has XNT 9 28 T transducer that works well with both frequencies.

This unit goes 600 feet in depth at a maximum which means it can be used for offshore fishing until you stay near the shore at a depth less than 3 to 400 feet.

This fish finder is a great choice for small boats and is easy to maintain and install.

The receiver is rated IPX7 waterproof and transducer is 100 % waterproof. The IPX7 rating implies that the unit can handle splashes, rain and even 30 min of complete submerged.

The whole unit is portable and compact which makes it ideal for fishermen with small boats. It is very economical and costs less than $100 that is perfect for a fish finder and transducer package.

It lacks the advanced features and technologies but still reliable with traditional dual-beam sonar technology.

It doesn’t make use of CHIRP technology but the combo of down imaging and 2D provides you accurate info regarding what is happening under the surface of the water.

Pros

  • Very economical
  • Keypad interface is easy to use and understand
  • Portable and compact
  • Works at various depths
  • Dual-band transducer

Cons

  • Lacks CHIRP technology
  • No GPS available
  • Down imaging (DI) transducer sold separately

Our Thoughts

The Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX 4 fish finder is a great tool for small boat and kayak. If the cost is your main concern that you will not find a cheaper fish finder than Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4.

3. Garmin Striker 4 with transducer – Best Garmin Fish Finder

Garmin striker 4 with the transducer is a durable, versatile and portable unit that can be used in lakes, rivers, and even oceans.

Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer

Product Highlights

This fish finder by Garmin features dedicated buttons and a keyed interface. The device is easy to install and use. It is available in three screen sizes i.e. 3.5, 5 and 7 inches.

It has an IPX7 rating meaning that the unit will not be susceptible to water damage at any point.

The transducer can send a frequency of 77 to 200 kHz. It makes use of two conical beams, 450 for 77 kHz for freshwater, and 150 for 200 kHz for saltwater.

Like any other best fish finder for a small boat, Garmin striker 4 provides near-photographic images.

It operates based on CLEARVÜ SCANNING SONAR that is high-frequency sonar that displays clearly what is in your surroundings.

The two conical beam technology increases the target separation which recognizes individual fish instead of groups.

The traditional fish finders show a group of fish as a single one which can be inaccurate and misleading. The precision offered by GPS is amazing.

The transducer of this device is only capable of high and medium CHIRP. You can’t use low CHIRP with this unit. The GPS is basic and doesn’t feature chart-plotter.

Pros

  • The GPS is highly accurate
  • A cost-effective model with CHIRP technology
  • Waterproof
  • Keeps nearly 5000 waypoints

Cons

  • NMEA connectivity is missing
  • The unit comes without a cover

Our Thoughts

The design of GARMIN striker 4 with the transducer is rugged and provides extreme durability.

Moreover, the IPX7 rating shows that the unit is waterproof and withstands the unintended exposure to water. It also has a data cable which enables you to transfer the data from unit to laptop.

4. GARMIN Striker plus 4 with Dual Beam – Best Garmin Fish Finder for the Money

The GARMIN Striker plus 4 is tough, strong and hard to beat. It not only provides military-grade construction and dual beam technology but it is created by one of the well-known names in marine electronics.

Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer

Product Highlights

The best definition of Garmin Striker plus 4 is the gadget that offers crystal clear images and perfect target separation.

It comes with a wonderful design with a dual-beam transducer and CHIRP sonar to maintain its invincible performance. Also, it has a built-in GPS which enables you to create waypoints, mark routes and view speed of the boat accurately.

The quick-draw contour mapping software is another unique feature to generate maps with one-foot contours.

The great depth capabilities for this small device and ability to be utilized offshore make it very versatile. Moreover, it includes a temperature sensor with multiple mounts included.

The display may be small but a 4.3-inch screen offers quality images with different screen modes to display GPS and sonar at the same time.

You can get a depth finder, mapping unit, and fish finder all in one device without compromising the quality of function.

This device is not made to win beauty contests instead, it is built to find fish and it outclasses at doing so.

It offers clear, high resolution and easy to read images. Also, the integrated GPS and Quickdraw contour mapping software offers you one of the best portable fish finders. It can be considered as the best fish finder for deep water.

The only downside is the basic internal GPS that doesn’t make use of any charts and you can’t upgrade it with any conventional charts.

Pros

  • Rugged military-grade construct
  • Large display of 4.3 inches
  • Integrated GPS and Quickdraw mapping software included
  • Dual transducer offers crystal clear image

Cons

  • NEMA port is missing
  • Screen lacks cover

Our Thoughts

If you want a quality fish finder for a small boat, then this is surely for you. With a highly accurate GPS, it can be even used offshores.

The Garmin striker plus 4 is a portable fish finder that offers high-quality images and is easy to use.

5. Humminbird 410940-1 HELIX 7 – Best Fish Finder for Deep Water

It was released in 2019 and its capabilities and features are more like the older version HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 but it has a different sonar. It offers new Mega DI transducer and Mega down imaging sonar.

Humminbird 410940 fish finder

Product Highlights

It is a combo of fish finder and chart plotter. It features an LCD with backlight, providing outstanding readability in direct sunlight.

It has an IPX7 rating which makes it waterproof and withstands accidental exposure to water like rain and splashes and even full dipping in water up to 1 meter.

The two types of sonar offered by this fish finder are Down imaging and 2D Dual spectrum CHIRP. It features a new XNT 9 HW MDI 75 T transducer with a rugged design transom mount and 20’ cable.

It also includes a Humminbird Basemap, AutoChart Live, a built-in GPS receiver, adjustable backlight, a classic Gimbal mount, and a microSD card reader.

Operated with a keypad and does not have touchscreen technology.

Pros

  • CHIRP Down Imaging sonar and mega down imaging
  • Depth capacity of 1,200 ft
  • Accurate internal GPS
  • IPX7 rating shows it is waterproof
  • Clear images that are easy to read in direct sunlight
  • MicroSD card reader
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Lack cover of the unit
  • An in-dash mounting kit is missing

Our Thoughts

The Humminbird 410940-1 HELIX 7 Mega DI is a Chartplotter and fish finder with Mega DI sonar, Dual spectrum CHIRP, AutoChart Live, Humminbird Basemap charts, and GPS.

Being a mid-range fish finder and chart plotter, it is ideal for a wide variety of boats for both saltwater and freshwater.

6. Lowrance HOOK2 4X – Best Fish Finder for Jon Boat

The Lowrance HOOK2 4X is a great fish finder for fishermen searching for a quality fish finder that costs less than $500. It stands out due to its easy setup and uses while not compromising the features you require for the job.

Lowrance HOOK2 4X fish finder

Product Highlights

The HOOK2 4X fish finder unit comes with auto-tuning sonar to ensure that all data is precise and up to date so we can avoid missing your target fish. The navigation menu works just like a phone.

It has a wide-angle CHIRP sonar and bullet skimmer transducer. This fish finder is perfect for small boats, kayaks, and fishing boats with limited space.

This unit is a great value for its affordable price and ease of use. It is one of the easiest to install and use option among all the fish finders on the market nowadays.

It comes with built-in depth mapping enabling you to know your next fishing spot with more than 3000 lakes involved in mapping software.

The screen display is easy to see even in tough light conditions. You can also keep your map markups with incorporated micro SD card slot. You can also take your data somewhere else.

The GPS is not included with the unit which is necessary for fish finders today.

Pros

  • For high accuracy, wide-angle CHIRP sonar is included
  • Great value for the price and fit any budget
  • A great investment for small boats

Cons  

  • With affordability, the durability is missing as compared to other options
  • The GPS is not included out of the box

Our Thoughts

The HOOK2 4X fish finder is an affordable option with easy setup and running capabilities.

It is a good choice for small boats unless you don’t require help with navigation or have a separate GPS unit because it lacks GPS out of the box.

7. Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer – Best Bow Fish Finder

Garmin striker 4cv with transducer fish finder is the perfect fit for a small boat or a kayak. It has a compact size which makes it look like a phone instead of a sounder. However, its abilities are extraordinary.

Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer

Product Highlights

It comes with a modern ClearVu technology that is a form of noise-canceling technology that displays better images so that you can know what the sonar is getting. The display of 3.5 inches is small but clear.

The display can be separated into two panels for GPS and sonar and it is easy to read all the information.

It has a water-resistant IPX7 rating that is another property in favor of using this best fish finder for small boat.

This device makes use of CHIRP sonar for accurate imaging. The incorporated GPS will display the speed of the boat and enables you to put waypoints.

The Garmin Striker 4cv has a full-color display that offers you a clear scene of fish and other data it displays.

It is easy to use and comes with ClearVu scanning sonar and highly sensitive built-in GPS that operates well in combination to provide you a full mapping of the territory underwater. The unit is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater.

The Manual is not well detailed. The GPS is basic and it doesn’t let you save your maps. However, it provides your position and assists you get from one point to another.

Pros

  • The full-color display offers a clear image
  • It displays and scans data as compared to other fish finders

Cons

  • With less detailed manual, it doesn’t tend to be user friendly
  • It lacks contouring – a feature most fish finders have

Our Thoughts

It is one of the reasonably priced CHIRP fish finders that you can get with the addition of ClearVu technology that helps you discriminate your findings on the sonar.

If you are in search of an affordable device with extra features then this is the one.

8. Lowrance Hook2 5 Splitshot – Simple and Easy to Use

The Lowrance HOOK2-5 Splitshot is the easiest fish finder with GPS combination.

It enables you to have more enjoyable days with fishing by eliminating the stress of making complicated adjustments with easy menu layout, and game-changing Lowrance.

HOOK2 5 fish finder

Product Highlights

Due to its easy setting, it is a beginner-friendly unit that has a SplitShot Transducer. It comes with an auto-tuning sonar system and menus just like a smartphone.

The combo of DownScan and CHIRP technology offers a detailed view of the surrounding water. It comes with US Inland lake maps pre-installed for easy convenience and navigation.

The HOOK2 5 SplitShot comes with all the features that any angler requires. Due to its easy setting, one can spend more time fishing.

It has wide-angle CHIRP sonar which will offer double coverage. The transducer is also very easy to setup.

It is a great unit to install on small boats with limited space. It comes with a SplitShot transducer which enables you to can get DownScan sonar and CHIRP sonar. It also provides high detailed preloaded mapping.

The only downside is its lack of side-scanning capability because of the absence of side-scan sonar.

The info offered by this unit is detailed but not as comprehensive as the devices with side sonars.

Pros

  • Compact design great for small boats
  • Capability to mark a waypoint
  • Detailed maps of over 12,000 US inland lakes preloaded
  • Color display and easy to install
  • Automated sonar settings
  • Future upgradability choices for software and mapping

Cons

  • Unable to support external GPS
  • Side scan is lacking

Our Thoughts

Overall, this unit is a good enough package of features that are available at a reasonable price. Some features may be missing but for the price, compactness, and portability, one can live without them.

Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for When Buying Fish Finder for Small Boat

While looking for the best fish finder for your small boat, you need to consider many things. Some of the important features you should think about are size, color, technology, scanning, power, and transducer.

Here we have covered all the things you need to know when searching for different models.

fish finder for boat

Frequencies

Not all fish finders come with the same frequencies. Some fish finders have multiple, dual or single frequency transducer. The frequency is a thing which you must consider because it is the most important feature.

High frequency means more detailed images. It is because such models direct more sonar waves and collect a more accurate image.

If you are fishing in shallow waters, high-frequency models are the great choices. In contrast, if you are going to fish in different water bodies, you may go for a fish finder with multiple frequencies.

Scanning

In terms of scanning, fish finders are divided into two types. One type is with side scan and other with a down scan. Scanning is also known as a viewing angle.

Fish finders with down scan imaging give the maximum details relative to depth. While fish finders with side-scan offer an extensive view of the water with great focus on width covered than depth.

Which one you should choose, depends on the type of water body where you fish. If it is shallow water, the side scan imaging is the right option. In contrast, if you are going to fish in deep waters, the down scan imaging is the ideal choice.

Screen Resolution

The screen resolution may not a critical factor to consider but it is still important as more pixels enable you to get a more precise image that is easy to read. You need to go for more pixels if you want clear results and sharp images.

In general, you should look for 240×160 screen resolution which is considered a minimum.

If you are more thoughtful about the quality of the image, you may look for more resolution and a big screen. Such models are a bit costly but offer sharp and quality images that are easier to read.

Power

Another important factor to consider is the power which depends on the type of water and your plan to use the fish finder.

High wattage means you will be able to see the information readings quickly. Power also has an impact on its depth; therefore the high wattage enables the unit to go deep in water.

On the other hand, less wattage means a slower model which is good for shallow waters.

Transducer

One of the most important things to consider when looking for a fish finder is the transducer. It is the part of the fish finder which emits the sonar waves to water and receives it.

The transducer directs the sonar signals to the water and then collects them once they rebound off the underwater objects.

The signal information is then received at the main unit that transforms it into an image. Consequently, you will get an idea of what is going on underwater.

Many models come with transom mount transducers that are easy to install, mount and use.

Color

The screen of fish finders comes both colored and black and white. Oldest type fish finders have screen display in black and white.

Such models are cheapest but the user experience of these fish finders is limited.

The color of the screen affects user experience in determining how good a person can apply the information gained by the transducer.

With the colored screen, you can get enhanced detailing and much easier to read the image.

A colored image on a fish finder enables you to visualize the information material with more details.

It will help you to understand and see what is going on in underwater and it becomes easier to read in sunlight.

Best Fish Finder for Small Boat (FAQs)

✅ Can I use a fish finder on a small boat?

Yes, you can use a fish finder on a small boat. There are fish finders especially made for small boats as we reviewed in this article. Such fish finders are well known for features such as their portability and size.

✅ Are the entire fish finders waterproof?

Yes, the fish finders are waterproof as they have to be submerged in water. However, some models are just water-resistant and not completely waterproof. Only water-resistant units are unable to withstand being submerged.

✅ Can I use a single fish finder for ice fishing, deep, and shallow waters?

Among these three environments, ice fishing is the most extreme. Therefore, your fish finder needs to be especially durable and robust to be appropriate for ice fishing. Some fish finders are devoted to withstand extreme conditions and fishing in risky environments like ice fishing.

You must look for such durable fish finder models for ice fishing trips. However, you can utilize the same fish finder for deep, shallow water and ice fishing as it is the most dynamic to use fish finder that is appropriate for various environments.

✅ Do I require separate fish finders for saltwater and freshwater environments?

In terms of performance, fish finders will work equally in both situations. However, they can differ in their waterproof rating which affects their durability straight away.

The salt can rust your fishing gear that is the reason why you need a premium quality reel, rods, and other equipment.

Same with fish finders as the chances are the water will squeeze them at a point. The fish finders have better penetration ability in freshwater as compared to saltwater.

Conclusion

The best way to improve your fishing game is by adding the best fish finder. A device, irrespective of how expensive or sophisticated, will enable you to have a good idea of what is happening under the surface of the water.

It can help you be more confident in the water and return with more fish.

Do you want to know which fish finder is best for me? Our pick is GARMIN Striker plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer as it is one of the most affordable fish finders in the market today.

It is an all-rounder unit that comes with all the modern and latest technologies that you want to have in today’s fish finder. It is specially built to ensure that you get all the work done with a single machine.

In one device you can get a mapping unit, depth finder, and fish finder without compromising the quality functions.

Last update on 2020-07-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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