Best Fish Finder Under $300

Last Updated: March 9th, 2020

If you fish in big lakes or the ocean then a fish finder is a piece of kit that you shouldn’t do without. A fish fisher will show you depth changes, underwater structure, and if fish are where you might expect them to be. They’ll save you a lot of time and guesswork trying to find where fish are and when.


At A Glance: Top 3 Fish Finders


There’s a huge range of fish finders out there and they can also be a tad expensive which is why we’ve put this review together of the best fish finders under $300.

OUR TOP PICKS

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black
Best Overall
Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
  • Clear screen
  • Solid electronics
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Venterior Handheld Fish Finder, Portable Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder with Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display
Best Budget Option
Venterior Handheld Fish Finder
  • Good value
  • Portable, use it anywhere
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Humminbird 410150-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 Fish Finder,Black
Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX 4 Fish Finder
  • Portable
  • Easy to use an install
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Lowrance HOOK2 5X - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and GPS Plotter (000-14016-001)
Lowrance HOOK2 5X
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
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JOYWEE FF688C 3.5' Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder 200KHz/83KHz Dual Sonar Frequency 300M Detection Muti-Language Auto Zoom
Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder
  • Great value
  • Simple to use
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Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer and Protective Cover, 4 inch Screen 010-01870-00
Best Allrounder
Garmin Striker Plus 4
  • GPS
  • Split screen
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HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed
Lowrance HOOK2 5
  • Simple to use
  • Great Sonar
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HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer
Lowrance HOOK2 4X
  • Great price
  • Simple to use
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Top Fish Finders under $300


Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black

The Humminbird Heklix 5 is one of the best fish finders out there for under $300. It’s perfect for both lake and sea fishing, it shows you a lot of detail and has all the features you need to really drill down and see the data you need.

The unit comes with SwitchFire mode which allows you to control exactly what and home much detail is shown on the screen. In Max Display mode you’ll be able to see every detail available from thermoclines, underwater structure, depth and fish. The Clear Mode will show you the same but just in a lot less detail.

It comes with a dual-beam option, both wide and narrow, this allows you to go into wide beam mode to cover a larger area or a narrow beam to focus in on a particular spot. You can also use DualBeam Plus to combine the two to get all the detail available down there.

The transducer includes uses CHIRP meaning it scans the water for fish like a radio would can the airwaves for stations. It, therefore, will cover a large range of frequencies giving you more accurate images of fish, structure and the bottom.

The set-up comes with a 5-Inch Color WVGA display, internal GPS chart plotting, a micro SD card to save waypoints on and add maps as well as all the cabling and mounts for installation.

Pros

  • Clear screen
  • Solid electronics
  • Easy to setup and install
  • A lot of detail
  • Works while cruising
  • CHIRP Sonar
  • GPS
  • Dual beam

Cons

  • The plastic clips can break, use the metal ones
  • Technical
  • Expensive
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Venterior Handheld Fish Finder

Venterior Handheld Fish Finder, Portable Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder with Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display

The Venterior Handheld is very practical and comes in at great value. It won’t show you a lot of detail but you’ll get all the key pieces of data like depth, structure and fish. It reads in 1-100m of water but there are some complaints that it stops working in around 30m. It doesn’t read on a mud bottom as it needs a solid bottom to get the signal back, something to be aware of.

The transducer sits on a 25ft cable with a float, so you can use it anywhere or on any vessel and switch as you need to. It doesn’t need to be mounted so you can even use it from a pier.

The display is small and it isn’t waterproof so you’ll need to keep it in a dry bag to make sure it survives. It does come with 2 years warranty and is very simple to use.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Portable, use it anywhere
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The display isn’t waterproof
  • Does not go to 100m in some cases
  • Not a lot of detail
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Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX 4 Fish Finder

Humminbird 410150-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 Fish Finder,Black

This unit from Humminbird has been made for use from a small boat or kayak and is an awesome portable option from Hummingbird. The display gives you great detail and you’ll see all the fish, depth changes and structure you need. It comes with a fish alarm to keep you informed and you can set it so it won’t go off when every tiny fish swims underneath you.

The transducer uses dual-beam, so you can choose to focus in on a particular feature or simply check out a wider area. It uses a 4.3 inch color LCD display, the screen is crystal clear and it comes with a tilt and swivel mount so you can adjust it as needed in the glare.

The transducer comes in a wide range of frequencies and can read up to 600ft depending on what frequency you use. It has a suction cup mount which makes it very potable but it can fall of sometimes while you are cruising around.

It doesn’t include GPS, just sonar.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Easy to use an install
  • Crystal clear color screen
  • Good Value
  • Fish alarm

Cons

  • No GPS
  • Transducer mount can pop off
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Lowrance HOOK2 5X

Lowrance HOOK2 5X - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and GPS Plotter (000-14016-001)

This unit from Lowrance is made to be mounted and is not portable. It comes with an option of a 5 or 7 inch display which can then be split to show sonar and GPS or two sonar options. It uses a wide-angle CHIRP transducer to give you a wider range of coverage over multiple frequencies and you can choose to use arc or straight down mode or both when in split-screen mode to give you the ultimate detail. The transducer auto-tunes so won’t have to spend time setting up and fish instead.

You can mount the transducer on the trolling motor, on the hull or through a scupper hole. The unit does come with GPS but its very basic and has no maps. You can add waypoints, follow your old routes and navigate.

There are some complaints about this set-up. It suffers from power issues, it may not connect all time and can switch on and off.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
  • Split screen for sonar and GPS
  • CHIRP dual-beam sonar
  • GPS

Cons

  • Expensive
  • GPS is basic
  • Maps not included
  • Power issues
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Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder

JOYWEE FF688C 3.5' Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder 200KHz/83KHz Dual Sonar Frequency 300M Detection Muti-Language Auto Zoom

This fish finder comes it at amazing value, is easy to use and shows you everything you need. It picks up every bottom type, including mud, will show you water temperature, fish size, depth and contours. It works in any depth from 1.8-984 ft which is more than enough, even if you’re offshore.

The unit is pack with useful features. You can set fish and depth alarms, change your units and use either auto or manual zoom. The most useful feature is anti-interference mode which is super useful in grassy lakes or weedy areas.

The display is very small at 3.5 inches but it is in color. GPS is not included and you will have to wire it into your boats power source. It’s very small for not being portable and you might want a larger screen for a non-portable option.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Simple to use
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • Quick setup

Cons

  • Small screen
  • No GPS
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Garmin Striker Plus 4

Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer and Protective Cover, 4 inch Screen 010-01870-00

This fish finder comes with everything you’ll need, GPS and all. It features a dual-beam CHIRP transducer that gives you crystal clear images that include target separation. You can see the contours on the bottom much more easily, even at speed. You can even adjust the signal noise at great depths to get a better view of what’s happening underneath you.

It comes with a built-in GPS that holds your position anywhere. You can mark waypoints, create routes and see your speed. You can map the contours, make your own maps of a given area, there isn’t much you can’t do with this unit.

The display made for use in the sun. It’s a tad small at 4.3 inches but it does offer a split-screen option.

Pros

  • GPS
  • Split screen
  • Mapping option
  • Simple to use
  • Simple to install
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Good value

Cons

  • Small screen
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Lowrance HOOK2 5

HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed

This is a great in-boat fish finder from Lowrance but it’s not portable and must be mounted. It’s easy to set-up thanks to the auto-tuning feature. Simply connect it up, turn it on and you’re good to go. It’ll work everything out by itself and then you can easily navigate through the user-friendly display.

The transducer can be mounted in the usual places, comes with both split-shot and CHIRP so can use both the wide arc or straight down view. This is useful when you want to focus on a particular area or see a wide image.

It comes with GPS and maps that are upgradeable. Maps of 3000 US lakes at 1 foot contours are included and you get normal coverage of another 9000. You can also upgrade this you can use the handy SD card reader it comes with. If you’re a lake fisherman, this is certainly worth looking at seriously.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Great Sonar
  • GPS
  • Maps included
  • Upgrade-able
  • Auto-tuning

Cons

  • Expensive
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Lowrance HOOK2 4X

HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer

This the smaller less sophisticated version of the Hook2 5. It has less features, no GPS, but it’s perfect for small boats or kayaks and the price is very competitive.

It’s simple to setup thanks to the auto-tuning and you can only see arc sonar as it does not come with CHIRP or down view. It comes with a bullet transducer for small vessels which is easy to mount.

The display is 4 inches and easy to use. It gives great detail of the bottom, the fish beneath you and is easy to see in the sun.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Simple to use
  • Wide Sonar
  • Auto-tuning

Cons

  • Small screen
  • No GPS
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What To Look For

Here are the things you need to be aware of when you’re looking to buy a fish finder. All the information below will make it easier to pick the right unit for where you fish and the vessel you use.

Transducers

Transducers ping out and receive the sonar waves that map the bottom for you. The waves are sent out, hit the bottom or fish and return back to the transducer. They are then processed by the central unit and displayed on the screen.

Getting the right transducer for your boat depends on the mounting material and the type of hull you have. Most transducers out there come with plastic mounts which are easy to install and work most hulls. If you want an in-hull or thru-hull mount, a plastic housing may not be the one for you,

For fiberglass or metal hulls you will need plastic housings, stainless steel or aluminum hulls need a stainless- steel housing and if you have a fiberglass or wooden hull, you’ll need a bronze housing.

Cone Angle & Beams

The cone angle effects the beam of your transducer in terms of width and therefore detail. The wider the beam the more you will see but with width you also lose detail, especially in deeper water.

Most transducers have a 16-20 degree angle which is great for normal days on the water. Some transducers can send out one, two or three beams and even side beams. Each extra beam gives you greater coverage and a more detailed picture of what’s going on.

Transducers can send out more than one cone and have dual or triple beams, and even side beams. Each extra beam allows you to cover a greater area and will give you a fuller picture of what is going on under the water.

Some units come with single beams, others with many and this is usually shown in the price of the fish finder. Dual beams are better than single beams in shallow water, as they will cover a larger area.

Power

The depth and accuracy of your fish finder is based on the power that is has. A high wattage depth sounder sends out the sonar waves with more power so they’ll reach greater depths and return to the unit faster. If you fish in deep water you’ll want a fish finder with high wattage. If you stay in the shallows then a low wattage fish finder will work just fine.

Our Favorites

The Venterior Handheld is the best fish finder from the line up if you’re on a budget. The price is great, it does the basics well, giving you the detail you’ll need about depth, fish and structure. It’s also portable and can be used anywhere.

Sale
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer and Protective Cover, 4 inch Screen 010-01870-00
  • Includes dual-beam transducer with Garmin Chirp traditional sonar for crystal-clear images and remarkable target separation
  • Built-in Garmin quickdraw contours mapping software lets you create and store maps with 1’ contours for up to 2 million acres

The all-rounder of the group is the Garmin Striker. It has all the great features you may want including GPS, dual-beam, and split-screen and for a good price.

Sale
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer and Protective Cover, 4 inch Screen 010-01870-00
  • Includes dual-beam transducer with Garmin Chirp traditional sonar for crystal-clear images and remarkable target separation
  • Built-in Garmin quickdraw contours mapping software lets you create and store maps with 1’ contours for up to 2 million acres

The best one in the line up is the Hummingbird Helix 5. It does everything you could want from a fish finder and it’s backed up with some amazing features that add a lot of value.

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black
  • 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
  • CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar. Power Output RMS : 500 Watts. Power Draw : 615 mA