Goin' Fishin'

Best Fish Finder Under $300

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A fishfinder doesn’t fish for you. It doesn’t pick the bait, doesn’t throw the line, doesn’t get the fish to bite. It just ensures that you’re in the ballpark. You still need all the technique, patience, and luck as with traditional fishing. The fishfinder just tells you that you’ve got swimmers in the area!

Each fish finder can do the basics of finding fish, but some have more bells and whistles than others. The higher the price, the more technical ability your finder should have. That said, in our analysis, we’ve found that the best isn’t always the most expensive.

After a thorough review of several fish finders, we’ve found that the best fish finder under $300 is the Garmin Striker 4.

Best Fish Finder Under $300

The Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit is an outstanding fish finder that has it all. What’s more, it doesn’t disappoint in performance. Either keep all the equipment inside the provided carry bag and fish anywhere or use the mount or suction cup to fix it in place more permanently.

  • High sensitivity GPS and great depth range.
  • Transducer continues to work for trolling.
  • Various frequency channels to pick from, including CHIRP.
  • Saves data so you know all your waypoints, should you want to return.

For more technical details see our review below.

Sale
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
  • The power of simple - offers a keyed interface...
  • Waypoint map - use the waypoint map to easily...
  • Chirp sonar - chirp sends a continuous sweep of...
  • Built-in flasher - view your sonar data in the...


Runner Up: Best Fishfinder Under $300

The Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder is a first-class GPS fishfinder with a built-in base map. You can also load your favorite maps via the SD card slot. This beast includes side and downwards imaging with DualBeam focusing to cover more areas.

  • Various modes for viewing and digital CHIRP for scanning the waters to find the fish.
  • Nice color monitor that sadly doesn’t have a cover.
  • Accurate depth monitoring, giving clear views of all data.
  • Use the option of split-screen viewing to use various functions together.

For more technical details see our review below.

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black
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
$429.95

Budget Choice: Fishfinder Under $300

The Venterior VT-FF001 Handheld Fishfinder is a great choice for those who are budget-conscious. If you love simple fishing trips then this fish finder is perfect for you. No fancy frills and it’s very affordable. Use the LED screen for daylight and the yellow backlight for night time viewing.

  • Detects water depths and schools of fish.
  • Change the sensitivity level to pick up smaller fish too. It even has an alarm to alert you to any fish that are passing you by.
  • Perfectly mobile and easy to use.

For more technical details see our review below.


Fishfinder Buyer’s Guide

Few sports can boast of being more peaceful than a fishing trip. Much of that is to do with the surroundings that fishers find themselves in. Outdoors in the soothing waters of a lake, gently moving in a kayak, or the bobbing rhythmically motion of the sea. Both clear and saltwater fishing are popular pastimes.

A Fish Finder merely provides a helping hand. It doesn’t take the fun out of this outdoor sport. If anything, it makes it more enjoyable with better results. By using a fish finder, you’re more likely to catch something, making your trip much more satisfying.

It takes the guessing out of the game, giving you snippets of information, such as the water depth and temperature. The great advantage is that a fish finder speeds up the art of finding fish. If your trip is time-limited, then these little gadgets are priceless.

best fish finder under $300

If you want to return to a favorite fishing spot, some fish finders are capable of remembering exact locations. This function allows you to pick and choose the most successful fishing environments.

With sonar waves bouncing off the objects in the water, you’re sure to find your fish much quicker than guessing. No matter what type of boat you have, fiberglass, metal, wood, don’t worry! These gadgets come with all sorts of mounts to suit your needs.

Cone Angle

The important part of any fish finder is the cone-angle. The more advanced and expensive the unit, the better the functions, such as side and bottom beams known as dual beams.

A wider search area might cost you in clarity of image, so it depends on your personal choice. If you’re new to these little electronic devices, look for one that has around a 20% angle.

Screens

Some fishfinders still look like they were made in 2001. Old school screens, but high accuracy and utility. The good news is that more and more models now have clear color screens, giving you finer details in the data. Look for higher resolution screens to give a crisper clearer picture.

Frequency

The higher frequencies help collect finer details. It means you have more pulses sent out in your sonar waves, collecting more information.

For shallow waters, look for a higher frequency at around 200 kHz.
For deeper waters, it should be around 50 kHz.

Power

The rule of thumb is that the deeper you fish, the more power you need. Deepwater fishers need a higher wattage device and visa-versa for shallow water fishing.


Fishfinder Under $300 Reviews

In this section, we’ll look in-depth at five of our favorite fish finders under $300. We’ll start with a comparison table to get oriented, and then move into individual reviews. We’ll conclude with our favorites. If you’re interested in some lower priced models, see our recommendations for fish finders under $200.

Preview
Runner-Up
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black
Top Choice!
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices,Classic,Small
HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer
Budget Pick
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder Handheld Fishfinder Fishing Gear Depth Finder with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display
Name
Humminbird HELIX 5
Garmin Striker 4
Reelsonar
Lowrance Hooks2 4X
Venterior VT-FF001
Price on Amazon
$429.95
$198.11
$81.19
$105.00
Price not available
Runner-Up
Preview
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black
Name
Humminbird HELIX 5
Price on Amazon
$429.95
View on Amazon
Top Choice!
Preview
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Name
Garmin Striker 4
Price on Amazon
$198.11
View on Amazon
Preview
ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices,Classic,Small
Name
Reelsonar
Price on Amazon
$81.19
View on Amazon
Preview
HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer
Name
Lowrance Hooks2 4X
Price on Amazon
$105.00
View on Amazon
Budget Pick
Preview
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder Handheld Fishfinder Fishing Gear Depth Finder with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display
Name
Venterior VT-FF001
Price on Amazon
Price not available
View on Amazon

Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder

Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder

Key Points at a Glance

  • Color WVGA 5-inch Display.
  • Precision GPS chart plotting and real-time dual beam sonar.
  • Keypad control.
  • Includes:1 Transducer, power cable, mounting hardware, and bracket.
  • Uses Digital CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse).
  • Micro SD card slot.
  • Black neoprene cover.

Dimensions and Specs

  • Weight 0.5 pounds (8-ounces).
  • 3.5-inch screen (diagonal).
  • Dimensions (approx.) 3.6 x 1.6x 5.9 inches.

The Details

With an inbuilt base map, this model continues to evolve as technology improves. The 2D Sonar is perfect, whether you’re a lakeside fisher or prefer coastal fishing. It even works in icy waters.

The two display modes on Switch-fire give you Max or Clear mode. These modes determine how much detail you see on the screen.

As if that’s not enough, you can use the narrower DualBeam for finding the fish beneath the boat. Or, use the DualBeam Plus for even more clear details.

The Digital CHIRP is a real game-changer. This sends out long and high pulsed energy to generate better imaging. It collects vast data on what lays in the further depths below your boat.

What comes back is crystal clarity on your screen. And, it’s not only what’s below you, but what’s at the sides of the boat as well.

Use the split-screen to look at different images of different layers of the water, so you can stay on top of your game all the time.

Best of all, the software is upgradeable, enabling you to keep up to date with new additions and changes.

The Bottom Line

  • It doesn’t have a screen cover making the screen vulnerable to scratch and water damage.
  • This model has an inbuilt base map only. It requires an SD card ready loaded for mapping of your favorite areas.
  • There is no inline fuse holder.
  • Rechargeable battery can last up to 16-hours.
  • Comes with plastic clips for pinning down the cable. These are prone to breaking. You could simply invest in taking along a few extra metal ones that are little more robust.
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 :...
  • Precision Internal GPS Chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography
  • Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints
  • Target Separation - 2.5 Inches

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Key Points at a Glance

  • Color Display Resolution of 480 x 320 pixels
  • High sensitivity GPS
  • Keypad interface
  • Built-in flasher for ice fishing
  • Includes Garmin CHIRP 77/200 kHz
  • Portable carrying case included

Dimensions and Specs

  • Weight 0.5 pounds (8 ounces)
  • 3.5-inch screen-diagonal. (also available are 5 and 7-inch)
  • Dimensions (approx.) 3.6 x 1.56 x 5.9 inches

The Details

Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder

The Garmin Striker 4 is an excellent fish finder for kayak or ice fishing. It works well at finding fish, and it is super effective in getting you positioned at your favorite fishing spots.

The unit has a handy sonar rewind. It allows you to backtrack and find your way to points of interest that you’ve already discovered. Also ideal for returning to your boat ramp. Save your favorite fishing areas and return to them the next day.

The ultra-scroll feature means you can display fishing targets while moving. The unit displays the boat’s speed, which is ideal if you’re trolling for fish with a particular lure. It has a useful A-scope, which is a real-time display feature. The A-scope picks up schools of fish that pass through the transducer beam.

For freshwater fishing, it has a maximum depth of 1,600-feet, and for saltwater, it’s around 750-feet.

This versatile fishfinder supports traditional frequencies of 50, 77 and 200 kHz. Plus, of course, the continual CHIRP of medium and high frequencies, with a transmitting power of 200 W (rms). Upgrade to high-performance CHIRP for even better resolution of shallow and deeper waters.

No drilling required to fit it in the boat unless you want to install a mount.

What’s in the bag?

  • Garmin Striker 4 Fishfinder.
  • Sealed rechargeable battery (10-12 hours), and charger.
  • Built-in transducer cable and suction cup mount, and float.
  • GPS tracking.
  • Instruction manual.
  • Portable bag for transportation.

The Bottom Line

  • While it states it’s good for ice fishing, many users pick up an ice fishing transducer to increase performance.
  • It’s recommended you watch YouTube videos before you set off on a fishing trip. The included instructions aren’t too clear, particularly for beginners.
  • The screen is small so make sure it suits your eyesight strength, before buying.
Sale
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
  • The power of simple - offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons....
  • Waypoint map - use the waypoint map to easily view, mark and navigate...
  • Chirp sonar - chirp sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which...
  • Built-in flasher - view your sonar data in the classic flasher format;...

ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder

ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder

Key Points at a Glance

  • LED Beacon
  • Blue tooth syncs up to 100-feet
  • Free app compatible with IOS, Android, Google Watch, and iWatch.
  • 10 hours rechargeable battery operated.
  • GPS spot tagging on interactive mapping.
  • Trip logging.

Dimensions and Specs

  • Weight 1-pound (16 ounces)
  • Dimensions (approx.) 2 x 2 x 1 inches

The Details

ReelSonar Wireless Smart Fish Finder

ReelSonar’s fishfinder is a sensible design for modern-day fishing, though it still needs a bit of work to shine. Instead of a built-in screen, it uses your smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth technology. It even works with the Apple Watch or Google watch, syncing up to a range of 100 feet.

This makes complete sense, as everyone has their phone on them anyway, and it’s much easier to keep a phone app updated than a clunky fishfinder with software developed before the iPhone came out.

This unit is ideal for the following types of fishing:

  • Dock and pier, the device will read what’s underneath.
  • Kayak and canoe.
  • Shoreline.
  • Ice.
  • Nighttime fishing with light.
  • Fresh or saltwater.

The free software offers great sonar fishing that you can share on social media. Your whole team can then have access to whatever you have tracked. All data collected as you map out the waterbed, and log temperatures and depths, can be shared to benefit your friends and family.

The strike and fish alarm will alert you when fish are close by, or even if they bite. The trip log allows you to save your favorite spots and find them another day, with GPS markings. It even records the species of fish you catch, along with all the other details you want to log and save.

No need for permanent installation as this is a lightweight, portable fish finder that can be carried along in your tackle box. Cast it out and watch the details develop on your smartphone or smartwatch. If you see an underwater log blocking the way, mark it out so you can avoid it on any future trips. Then again, it may be attracting the fish so you might want to know exactly where it is.

A great device for a quick fishing trip.

The Bottom Line

  • Can’t be used for trolling, not even at 5mph. Any water movement will cause the Bluetooth sensor to lose contact. Though you can use it for river fishing.
  • Relies on having a charged Bluetooth capable Smartphone, Tablet or Watch, with you.
  • In shallow waters, ie under 3-feet, it can confuse fish with weeds.
  • Many believe it works better with a dedicated fishline.
  • For maximum efficiency, you should keep the software updated.
Sale
ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices,Classic,Small
  • Patented sonar fish identifier technology
  • LED beacon
  • Rechargeable battery and charge status indicator light
  • 10+ hrs battery life.Syncs with iOS (Apple) 10.0 and later operating...
  • Accurate sonar readings down to a depth of 135'

Lowrance Hook2 4X – Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer

Lowrance Hook2 4X - Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer

Key Points at a Glance

  • High Resolution Solar Max Display, 4.3in 480×272
  • Plug and Play Auto tuning sonar settings.
  • Includes: 1 Bullet Skimmer Transducer for 2D sonar viewing.
  • Wide This wider angled sonar gives you double the range of other fish finders
  • Digital Keypad.

Dimensions and Specs

  • Weight 2.2 pounds (35.2 ounces)
  • Wide angle screen for wider sonar coverage: L3¾ x H2¼ inches
  • Dimensions (approx.) 3.3 x 6.5 x 3.8 inches

The Details

Lowrance Hook2 4X Fishfinder

Lowrance has been making high-quality boating equipment for decades, ad the Hooks2 4X is no exception. It is powered with 10-17 vDC at 12 volts, and is an all-round useful fish-finder and can even be used while trolling.

The menu system of this unit is particularly easy to use, and was designed in a straightforward, sensible way. You won’t be fighting the fishfinder to try to configure it. You’ll find the phone-like menus easy to read and understand.

The sonar has an extra wide-angle, which shows up well on the widescreen display. It also has automatic sonar settings and depth range. While it comes with a Bullet Skimmer transducer, it can be optimized for any type of transducer. Good as a depth finder and also shows fluctuating water temperatures.

This is one of the simpler models on our list. If you’re a novice with fish finders, you can find the instructions on YouTube quite easily. Or download them, print them out and take them along with you on your next fishing trip.

The Hooks2 comes with a gimbal bracket and 10-inch cable for easy installation. It has a year’s warranty, and includes the opportunity to upgrade with a discount. That’s a nice feature!

The Bottom Line

  • Be careful when you read the advertised features. The unit comes in various sizes, all with a different range of features. The more features you add, the more expensive it gets. It’s easy to misunderstand which model you’re reading about, but not if you’re aware of this. The Hook2 that we’ve reviewed is the one with the most basic features.
  • Has a flasher option, but you will need to buy an ice transducer for it to work at its best.
  • No downwards scanning, only the traditional, but extra-wide, sonar imaging.
  • No trolling mount, though many users have managed to get around that.
  • This model is not GPS, though they do sell the same model with added features, such as GPS.
HOOK2 4X - 4-inch Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer
  • EASY TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 4x Fish Finder features auto-tuning...
  • WIDER SONAR COVERAGE: The HOOK2 4x offers a wide-angle sonar cone...
  • EASY SETUP: A single transducer can be mounted on the transom, inside...
  • TRANSDUCER INCLUDED: The included Bullet Skimmer transducer gives you...

Venterior VT-FF001 Handheld Fishfinder

Venterior VT-FF001 Handheld Fishfinder

Key Points at a Glance

  • LCD Display with yellow backlight .
  • 4.6cm Portable and Waterproof Sonar Sensor Transducer.
  • Various sensitivity settings.
  • Option to use Fish Alarm.
  • Handheld monitor, or hang on a neck strap.
  • Uses 4 x AA batteries (not included).

Dimensions and Specs

  • Weight 1.09 pounds (17.5 ounces)
  • Dimensions (approx.) 9.6 x 2.2 x 5.9 inches.

The Details

Venterior VT-FF001  Fish finder

The Venterior VT-FF001 is a basic fish finder that still gives you many options. It can be used for any type of fishing: fresh or saltwater, from a boat or in the icy waters. What you get is the handheld unit for all your readings and a portable transducer attached to a 25-foot cord. The idea is to fit the portable transducer wherever you want it to go, such as:

  • On the hull of the boat using the provided adapter (moving up to 5mph).
  • On a pole.
  • Hang it with the detachable float and cast it out in the water, even icy waters.

This little unit can read water depths ranging between 1 to 100 meters. It also boasts an alarm to alert you of any schools of fish that might be passing you by.

If you want to know whether you have large or little fish in the region, simply alter the sensitivity settings. There are two possible settings; High – which will detect both large and small fish, or Low – to focus on larger fish only.

If you prefer night time fishing, use the yellow backlight option.

The unit reader must stay above 0-F and the transducer will work between minus 4F up to 158F. The sensor beam gives you a 45-degree angle in its sonar readings. This little gadget also has a battery “save mode” setting.

Great customer service and the Venterior comes with a 2-year warranty.

The Bottom Line

  • You will have a problem detecting motionless bait and any fish under 10cm. The sensor isn’t powerful enough.
    It will switch off automatically after 5 minutes if the depth is out of its capabilities.
  • While it does have a weed and rock indicator, the identifier is quite basic.
  • Depending on the quality of batteries you use, you’ll only have a usage time up to 4-hours. The AAA batteries are widely available and easy to replace.
  • It doesn’t give a clear measurement of fish, only that they are larger than 10cm (4 inches). You’ll get a large or small fish icon but not an exact size.
  • Nor will the sensor indicate which direction the school of fish is swimming in.
  • No cover or carry case for the handheld unit, which is not waterproof. You may want to pop it in a plastic bag.
  • Some users find that the cord attached to the transmitter can get in the way of fishing.
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder Handheld Fishfinder Fishing Gear Depth Finder with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display
  • Shows you what is in the water: Detects and displays water depth,...
  • Easy to Use: Toss the transducer into water and turn on the display...
  • Very portable that you can take it anywhere: It comes with neck strap...
  • Accurate Depth Reading: The fish finder use sonar to detect water...
  • Warranty and Brand Support: The Venterior Portable Fish Finder is...

Conclusion

A fish finder helps to plan out your fishing trip so that every moment is spent on actual fishing. Not only that, it helps to improve your catches.

There is no doubt \ technology has made fishing a more successful, engaging hobby. No longer will you waste time “hoping” the fish might happen to come your way. With a fish finder, you can go to the fish. These little gadgets, even the ones with the most basic of designs, will guide you on water depth, temperature, and obstacles. Finally, they’ll give you the location of the fish depending on how advanced your unit it.

Some even inform you what kind of fish are around. Others set off an alarm to alert you that fish are nearby. Lots of functions to suit those who enjoy fishing.

Whether you’re a competitive fisher, or simply enjoy being outdoors with nature, a decent fishfinder will certainly enhance your outing. Fishfinders come in a range of budgets so you don’t need to spend a fortune. The more expensive the unit, the more bells and whistles you get. The more expensive ones also tend to have a wider sonar range with increased data and more clarity on your screen.

The best of all is that these innovative little gadgets just keep getting better.

Sale
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black
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
$429.95