How do you know at which point of the lake it makes sense to cast the line? To find the perfect place to fish, a fish finder can be very practical. The little helper provides some valuable information about what happens in the water and about the nature of the soil.
However, there are a lot of different fish finders for different needs, so it is not that easy to keep track and find the perfect model under $200 for your own purposes.
Best Fish Finders Under $200 in 2021
- Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv Fish finder
- LUCKY YT-US-Y2020-CLA Wireless Handheld Fish Finders
- Aukfa 001254 Underwater Fishing Camera
- Garmin Striker 010-02246-02 Sonar with GPS
- LUCKY FF718LiC-W Fish Finder
1. Garmin 010-02550-00 Striker Vivid 4cv Fish finder
The Striker Vivid 4cv from Garmin comes out as the test winner on various test portals, which is due on the one hand to the very good price-performance ratio and on the other hand to the fact that there are also some extras installed here. I would recommend this for any kayaker looking for great value and a Fish Finder that doesn’t take up much space.
In addition to the dual beam with frequencies of 77 kHz and 200 kHz, the Striker 4cv also works with the frequencies 455 kHz and 800 kHz to enable an accurate representation of the soil structure. This model also has the flasher feature like the striker 4 plus which price more than 300 dollars.
It has 7 color chosen options to see fish and structure in maximum contrast and clarity. The different color schemes can independently be set up. The package includes a tilt/swivel mount plus transom and trolling motor mounting hardware and cable.
The screen is easy to remove from the mount bracket for storage. You can make a plan or create routes to view your boat speed on your fish finder by using high-sensitivity GPS. And with this fish finder, you can store up to 2 million acres of maps with 1’ contours.
The transducer is a streamlined design to be mounted to a kayak or boat, but it can also be dropping down an ice hole. There is also a special ice fishing display view. For a fish finder less than $200, the quality is right up there. It is also very easy to install, set up and use.
The side imaging is functional and shows you fish and large features but not Crystal clear images.
2. LUCKY YT-US-Y2020-CLA Wireless Handheld Fish Finders
The fish finder from Lucky can localize the fish up to a depth, measure the water depth and the water depth and recognize the bottom contour. It has a range of 100 meters, which is a pretty solid figure. The fish finder has a simple design and a 7.1 cm LCD display. The sonar transducer works with 125Khz in a 90 degrees beam angle and it can be worked 5-6 hours after complete the charge.
The angler can throw this device very well into the water from the bank. This then shows the depth of the water and any fish echoes. The device can be used in both salt water and fresh water. Another advantage is the ease of use. The fish finder only has to be switched on and is then ready to use.
This handheld fish finder is waterproof in rains, so don’t need to worry about the splashes which make the display damaged. Even if it will drop into the river or lake, it would be floating on the water surface. You just need to set it in the open air to avoid water vapor because of the temperature differences.
You can easily well-concerned about the water depth when the sonar transducer fully in the water. If you attached the transducer to the hull of your boat or kayak, you can know the water depth distribution of a specific area when your boat or kayak is moving. This means you can understand the approximate fish location and fish size by the display.
It supports up to 328ft wireless operation and max 147ft water depth detection for wireless mode. And the depth detection range can reach up to 328ft when you switch to wired mode. The package also includes a 25ft/7.62m extension cable and an anti-fish bite plastic float.
3. Aukfa 001254 Portable Underwater Fishing Camera
Whether you’re a beginner, or already fishing at a professional level, you can take your fishing experience next level with Aukfa portable fish finder. The underwater fishing camera lets you know what’s going on under the surface, so you can transform your fishing experience.
It features a 7 inches LCD screen with a HD definition that provides crisp and clear images. Also, the LCD monitor features a removable sun visor so you can use it when you’re going fishing on sunny days in the sea or lake. You can easily identify the depth and temperature of the water through the screen.
The Aukfa fish finder is equipped with 12 pcs IR LED lights that you can turn on or off which allow you to 130° viewing so you can see clearly the fish in dark environments or murky waters, and shoots an HD quality video in the dark. Also, this budget fishing camera is fully waterproof.
The underwater video camera fish-finding system includes a powerful 12V 4500 mAh battery that gives you up to 8 hours of service when fully charged! This unit also includes 8GB SD card, so you can record the underwater landscapes to record take photos and videos of the wonderful moment when fishing.
The Aukfa 001254 fish finder comes with a durable carrying case so you can easily carry it with your other fishing gear. You will be able to continue use for a long time without issues.
4. Garmin Striker 010-02246-02 Castable Sonar with GPS
Garmin castable sonar device works with free striker cast app and compatible with apple or android devices. It is a wireless stream sonar that locates the fish and displays them on your smartphone or tablet in a second. Just download the app, connect your device then start fishing in minutes.
This smart fish finder built-in GPS that lets you create your own custom fishing maps with 1’ contours. The traditional 2-d and ice fishing flasher sonar modes stream wirelessly from up to 200’ away with the striker cast app on your mobile device. It performs well in both shallow and deep water and shows water depth and fish depths and fish size.
The battery life is incredible which provides 10 plus hour service after fully charged. To conserve battery life, it will automatically power on when it’s floating in the water and turns off when it’s not.
To make using sonar even simpler, turn on fish icons to view graphic images of fish targets and their depth readings, so you’ll know exactly where to drop your line. You can access the Garmin quickdraw community to download maps and communicate with others.
It is water-resistant to ipx6 and ipx7 standards (not completely waterproof) that able to expose water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. STRIKER Cast GPS sonar works in any water (even for ice fishing) to show you fish and structure in crisp detail. You can also use it to check water temperature as well.
5. LUCKY FF718LiC-W Portable Fish Finder
We believe, every angler deserves accurate data they can trust, whatever they need their fish finder for. The LUCKY FF718LiC-W fish finder determines the water depth, the approximate location of the fish and also able to detect weeds, sand and stones on the bottom. It can be used in a variety of ways and is therefore suitable for ice fishing, sea fishing and deep sea fishing.
This fish finder from LUCKY works very reliably up to a depth of 100 meters. It is also very practical that users can also specify the value in feet. Other useful functions of this device are a battery-saving mode, a fish alarm, and a backlight. The manufacturer grants buyers a twelve-month guarantee.
The sensitivity is adjustable, you can add or remove fish icons and alarms, and choose from 3 color displays. It is simple to use but has all the power to ensure accurate, reliable readings. It is a fast, effective small tool for marking fish from the shore, boat or kayak.
you are looking for a cost effective solution then LUCKY FF718LiC-W should be your choice. It can also be displayed the shape of the lake bottom and structures such as holes and drop-offs.
Keep in mind, it doesn’t include power adaptor but comes with USB cable, so you can charge it with that USB via computer or other electrical devices.
Fish Finder: Buying Guide
When buying a fish finder, a few points must be considered, which we will now introduce in more detail.
Frequency range should be chosen depends primarily on where the angler is fishing and what needs the angler has. If you want to find certain predatory fish mainly in local lakes and rivers, you can only use a fish finder with a single beam, a so-called single beam. But if you are looking for cod, flatfish or sea salmon in deep waters, for example, a device is required that not only extends in width but above all in-depth.
A high frequency range basically means that rather short waves are given into the water. In the ideal case, these are reflected by obstacles and then picked up again by the device and evaluated.
The angler then sees the result on the display and then knows where the fish are, how deep and how cold the water is, and also receives information about the nature of the bottom. The longer the wavelength, the better the images. A fish finder that offers 200 kHz, for example, not only provides very precise data but also shows whether the bottom is flat or rocky.
Another important purchase criterion when buying a fish finder is of course the transmission power. Here anglers can use a simple rule of thumb as a guide. The higher the transmission power (in watts), the more details are shown on the display. Very good models have values between 500 and 4,500 watts.
However, you should not save in the wrong place here. Because the clearer the pictures, the higher the chances of a catch. This is especially true in the event that you often fish in murky waters. Very weak models could then no longer clearly show whether it is a fish or just a part of a plant. The transmission power should therefore be as high as possible.
Display and presentation
Most fish finders on the market have an LCD display. Nevertheless, there are sometimes quite big differences. In order to be able to see all details very precisely, the monitor should have the highest possible resolution and good contrast.
Sun protection is also an advantage so that you can read all information without any problems on very sunny days. Black and white displays should also have a large number of so-called gray levels.
Stationary or mobile
There are stationary and mobile fish finders. The former are attached directly to a boat. It emits ultrasound waves to the water from its underside and usually delivers very good results. After all, it is located directly above the water and there is less interference.
A mobile fish finder on the other hand is very useful for anglers who do not own a boat. The difference is that such a device sends ultrasonic waves over the water. So you still have to bridge a little bit of air and sometimes deliver somewhat poorer images.
But that cannot be said in general terms. There are also some very good mobile fish finders that also deliver very good results and by no means hide behind the stationary versions.
A very practical function that many fish finders bring with them is the so-called side imaging. Thanks to this technology, the device can not only look down but also see everything to the left and right of it.
As a result, such a fish finder delivers precise images through a large viewing angle. However, the results of such a device are also a little harder to read. The angler should therefore already have some experience if he wants to use such a fish finder.
Price and performance
This is probably the most important point in comparison for consumers. Is the expensive device really worth it, or is the best device the cheapest fish finder? Price and performance must be in a usable ratio to each other. And of course, that is not only determined by what the manufacturer gives the device in terms of performance, but also by what the angler needs.
This point cannot be clearly checked in the test. A comparison in the form of a comparison table is more useful, in which the different functions, extras and performance points of the various fish finders are marked as available or not available and the prices can be compared.
How does a fish finder work?
The device uses echo sounder technology: it emits ultrasonic waves that are reflected by hard objects. The device calculates the distance based on the time discrepancy. In this way, both the underground and objects and fish in the water are displayed.
Are apps better than separate devices?
That depends on the demands. While stationary echo sounders work very precisely, the apps that only use GPS in particular are very imprecise. But there are also manufacturers who combine different technologies and thus offer quite reliable app-based devices. Stationary devices that are permanently installed on the boat work most precisely.
Do you really need such a device?
No people have been fishing successfully without sonar for this century. Many still do that today. But the device helps in the test to increase the fishing success. And of course, having fun with technology also plays a role.
The finder does not show where there are fish, but where there is something in the water that has a higher density than the water. It could be a fish. And maybe it will even bite you.
How expensive can an echo sounder be?
That depends on the demands on the technology, the size and the use of the device. The cheapest fish finder currently costs 50 dollars – if you have more budget, you can get the high-quality fish finder for around 300 dollars. On average, the products presented here in the fish finder comparison cost around 160 dollars. Whether the device is any good depends not only on the price.
You have to pay attention to these points when using a fish finder if you want to achieve a really optimal result.
The assembly of the echo sounder
The fish finder must point down as straight as possible when attaching it to the bottom of your boat. If the transmitter moves to the side, the sound waves are also sent to the side. This leads to a falsified result that even the most experienced angler can hardly interpret correctly because the depth of the water alone is misrepresented in such a case.
Even if the device is installed too close to the motor or its propeller, this can lead to a falsification of the result, because water bubbles caused by the motor can slide into the measuring range here. Such an echo sounder should also not be attached to sharp edges. The resulting water eddies can seriously affect the result.
Where the assembly of the encoder makes the most sense depends on the type of your boat. When gliding, the encoder should be installed as centrally as possible on the boat. If it is a displacement boat, the front third of the boat is the best choice, here it is most sensible to install it with a transducer rod specially developed for fish finders.
Pay attention to external sources of interference
In addition to errors during assembly, external sources of interference can also lead to the result being interpreted incorrectly. For example, the screw water of passing ships can lead to incorrect results. However, this also settles down relatively quickly, so that you simply have to wait until the water has calmed down again. Technical faults, for example from the on-board electronics or from other fish finders that are used in the vicinity with the same frequency, are much more disruptive.
A fish finder can help find fish, even if they are in hidden areas in the water. In order to find the perfect model for your own purposes, the points described above should be observed.
A high-resolution display is very important so that every detail can be seen very precisely. A distinction is made between mobile and stationary fish finders. The latter is permanently installed on a boat, while the former can be used flexibly.
You should know exactly what requirements you place on a fish finder. If you choose a fish finder that is really tailored to your needs, you have an excellent basis to really increase your catch quota over the long term.