5 Best GPS Fish Finders – Review and Buying Guide
Traditionally, anglers would head out to the ocean or lake and play around with their equipment until they got home. Sometimes they’d be lucky to catch a big fish within minutes of setting bait, but other days luck wasn’t on their side. The same happens today, with some anglers opting the old-fashioned way of doing things, even though GPS fish finders are here now to make the activity much more accurate and successful.
The best GPS fish finder will not necessarily make fishing easy, but it will increase your chances of catching something within minutes of hitting the waters. It will not take the thrill from the process. Would you not be happier to be sure that your expedition will yield positively?
Table of Contents
- GPS Fish Finders – Review & Buyer’s Guide
- 1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Fishfinder
- 2. Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
- 3. FF688C 3.5″ Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder
- 4. Humminbird HELIX 7 Fish Finder 410930-1
- 5. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder
- Buying Guide – GPS Fish Finders
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
GPS Fish Finders – Review & Buyer’s Guide
We reviewed the best GPS fish finders on the market, let’s take a look.
1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer Fishfinder
Apart from being an affordable, small units of the Garmin Striker series with CHIRP you can find, this fish finder has other amazing features. The screen is 3.5″ and is backlit for better vision at night, and the sonar has a dual frequency CHIRP. It comes with a 010-10249-20 transducer that has a four-PIN connector, and this transducer is 77/200 kHz enabled. This means it uses two conical beams: 15° for 200 kHz and 45° for 77 kHz respectively. Because the control unit is capable of 50/77/200 kHz, you can use a 50/200 kHz transducer too for scanning deeper waters. Note that this unit will work for mid and high CHIRP, but not low CHIRP.
In fresh waters, this device will scan as deep as 1,600 ft. and up to 750 ft. in salt water. CHIRP sonar adds clarity to your images and reduces clutter for an overall better view and performance from this device. It also offers excellent target separation so that a group of fish together actually shows as several different tiny units as opposed to a huge mass that would be the case with a conventional sonar unit. The 2D sonar on this unit includes Fish Symbol ID, Auto Gain, A-Scope, Ultrascroll, Split-Zoom, Flasher, and several alarms.
While this unit lacks a Chartplotter, it includes a high-precision internal GPS module that marks mark waypoints to return to later. It also allows you to make these waypoints your favorite or mark them so that later in the future, you can still find and return to them. You can store up to 5,000 waypoints, and the unit will suggest icons for all of these. Thanks to the small 3.5″ display that is backlit and HVGA color enabled, you can read the screen even under direct sunlight. You can also view two simultaneous activities from the screen.
The unit has a rugged design and is IPX7 waterproof, which means it handles a bit of rain and a few splashes. It can survive immersions of up to 1 m in freshwater, but it is advisable to keep it out of the water if you can.
- Incorporates a high-precision internal GPS module that marks points to return to.
- Good depth in both fresh and salt water.
- Backlit display that allows you to view two activities simultaneously.
- High-sensitivity GPS.
- You can save up to 5,000 waypoints.
- Does not feature a chartplotter and coordinates information.
- It has no NMEA connectivity.
2. Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
The Humminbird Helix 5 DI is smaller when compared to the larger Humminbird family, but it comes at a reasonable price and with excellent features. The user-friendly allows split vertical viewing, and it is LED-backlit for night vision. This device’s head unit is similar to the rest of them in the Humminbird series, but it is incompatible with Down Imaging or Side Imaging. It does not support this sonar technology even with a transducer. That said, the package includes a transducer – XNT 9 20 T model that has a transom mount – and this does support the regular Humminbird Dual Beam Plus sonar. Its frequency coverage is 200 kHz/ 20° and 83 kHz/ 60°, and it incorporates temperature probe so you can read the temperature of the waters. Because the sonar is DualBeam Plus, you can simultaneously view the sonar beam return as a split vertical and blended.
The SwitchFire mode feature is yet another exciting feature of this fish finder. It gives you information on transducer beam about fish arches, better jig tracking, noise clearing and a focus on fish size accuracy. You will get all this information in less time and with more accuracy to make your expedition more successful. A little more on the Selective FishID+ that focuses on fish size. Instead of showing fish arches, this feature brings you the actual fish size to limit the chances of you picking the small fishes that are yet to mature. It groups them into three intervals; small, medium, and large, which makes it possible to decide what you want to go for.
The Ice Flasher sonar function that is intended for ice fishing or checking stationery fish takes time to master, but when you get the hang of it, you realize how useful it is. It tracks movements of fish and shows you accurately the distance between your lure and the fish. Another feature – Sonar recording – records sonar returns for a particular area so that you can return to it later. You’ll need an SD card for this, and later you can extract this information into your laptop via an SD card reader.
- Has a Selective FishID+ that groups fishes into small, medium, and big.
- The display screen allows you to view images and information simultaneously.
- Has a SwitchFire mode that allows you to receive more information on fish.
- The device measures your boat’s speed accurately using GPS.
- The head unit can store up to 3,000 waypoints.
- The display is quite small.
- Its charts are quite basic.
3. FF688C 3.5″ Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder
The Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder offers basic dual beam sonar without GPS and charts. Because it has no CHIRP technology, the sonar pulse is fixed. Also, while it can swap between sonar frequencies and beams, it cannot use them simultaneously. Its frequency and coverage is 200 kHz/ 20° and 83 kHz/ 60°, and the package includes a dual-beam transducer with a transom mount. This mount with an internal temperature sensor is 20 ft. long. The control head also displays water temperature.
The unit’s maximum depth capability is 984 ft. (300 m) and although there is no mention of it, it most probably means fresh water capability and in perfect conditions. In salt water, capabilities are likely to be lower. While it might sound basic, this unit has quite a number of sonar features including Amplitude Scope (A-Scope), Fish Identification, Depth Alarm, Auto Zoom Bottom (or Bottom Lock), and Fish Alarm. The A-Scope function plots the intensity and depth of a sonar return while the Fish Identification assigns smaller or larger icons to the fish identified in the water. Auto Bottom Zoom or Bottom Lock sets off an alarm when a fish is detected or you reach certain depths.
The Phiradar FF688C is only 3.5″with a pixel matrix of 320V x 240H, which makes it a small unit. The LED backlight enables readability even when the device is under direct sunlight. It is keypad operated and you will have a quick access to sonar readings at the tap of the keypad. It has multi-language menu settings where you can choose among 14 languages. You can also set the depth in either feet or meters with ease.
Part of the package is a standard tilt mount. The batteries that are required to operate this unit are not included in the package, but they are readily available – 12V. The in-dash mounting kit is not part of the package either, but you have a power cable that measures approximately 5 ft.
- Has a dual beam sonar (83/200 kHz).
- Depth capability of up to 984 ft.
- Has a number of sonar features including A-Scope, Fish Identification, Bottom Lock, Depth Alarm
- And Fish Alarm.
- Multi-language menu settings for up to 14 languages.
- Easy to install and use.
- Unit display is quite small.
- Has basic sonar features.
4. Humminbird HELIX 7 Fish Finder 410930-1
Humminbird released this unit in 2020 as an improvement to some of its previous models. This Humminbird HELIX 7 Fish Finder 410930-1 has a Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar and offers distinct CHIRP modes. You have Narrow, Wide, and Full, each of which has a different role. Narrow and Wide modes have 180-240 kHz (narrow) and 140-200 kHz (wide) intervals, while Full – the unit’s default sonar mode – has 150-220 kHz. You can adjust this to between 140 and 240 kHz.
The new XNT 9 HW T transducer is incorporated in this unit with a transom mount and 20′ (6 m) of cable. It has internal temperature probe too and uses conical beams whose coverage is 25° in Narrow mode and 42° for Wide or Full mode. For maximum coverage you want select Wide mode and Narrow mode if you want a detailed report.
This unit’s maximum depth capability is 1,200 ft. (365 m), but you can expand this to 3,500 ft. (1,066 m) using a 50 kHz-capable CHIRP transducer. Its sonar capabilities do not include Side Imaging and Down Imaging, and neither does it support 360 Imaging because this technology only accepts 2D sonar. That said, it has all other sonar capabilities including Switchfire function, Bottom Lock, Selective Fish ID, Real Time Sonar (RTS or A-Scope), Depth Alarm, Sonar Recording, Screen Snapshot, Fish Alarm, and many more.
This unit has an internal GPS receiver to show coordinates for your location with precision. It can also save up to 2,750 waypoints that you can go back to later. It includes route creation and track-plotting functions to enable you to save up to 45 routes and 50 plotted tracks respectively at 20,000 plot points per track. This unit also has the Humminbird Basemap platform which covers previous UniMap or ContourXD base charts. It shows over 10,000 lakes in the US as well as coastal waters. Useful indicators include nav-aids, depth markers, buoys, hazards, marinas, and other points of interest.
The AutoChart Live feature is one that Humminbird added to this model, and it reveals the depth contours of your lake as you sail. You can create custom contours of the depth recorded is not the same as your chart. Finally, this 7-inch display unit is IPX7 waterproof to handle immersion of up to 1 meter in fresh water.
- Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar with advanced capabilities.
- Waterproof for up to 1m in fresh water.
- A 7″ display that is backlit for easy reading under direct sunlight.
- Supports AIS and GPS heading sensor.
- An in-dash mount not included
5. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder
The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+, sometimes called the PRO Plus, is a high-end fish finder transducer that transmits over Wi-Fi to a tablet or smartphone. It works well with iOS or Android, and its onboard GPS lets you into a world of aquatic mapping and Deeper’s online Lakebook platform. Its Wi-Fi reach is 260 feet, down from 330 feet. Even still, this is a decent distance that tramps most of the competition.
As far as sonar goes, this unit features a dual-band sonar transducer whose first band is 90 kHz. This lets you scan a larger area to locate fish. Once you’ve located the target, you can switch to 290 kHz over a 15-degree cone. This band reaches depths of 260 feet. Thanks to the GPS receiver that is part of this unit, the transducer can now capture a stream of depth readings over a range of locations. Combined with mapping software, it creates a color-coded map with bathymetry lines.
This Deeper fish finder has four main sonar modes; Standard Mode, Ice Fishing Mode, Boat Mode, and Onshore GPS Mode. Standard Mode is the primary fish finder display while Ice Fishing Mode has a split screen and screen flasher for ice fishing. Boat Mode connects to the GPS system for tracking and bathymetric mapping, while Onshore GPS Mode exclusively relies on its onboard GPS to create map data.
Some of the screen color modes available for this model include; Classic color mode, Day color mode, and Night color mode. Other accessories that this unit boasts include Boat mount, Night Fishing Cover, and Smartphone Mount. At its price range, this unit is a decent fish finder.
- Strong connectivity even over a long casting range.
- Built-in GPS.
- An innovative Lake-book web platform.
- A good sonar app.
- The base model does not include a night fishing cove.
- A little too pricey.
Buying Guide – GPS Fish Finders
These are the things to look it for when planning to buy a fish finder.
Portable or Fixed?
If you own a fishing boat, you may want to have a fixed device because you will not need to get it off the boat at any time. They are bigger and bilker with larger displays and more memory to save data. Their sonar capabilities are advanced, and they have deeper capacities both in fresh and saltwater. They are certainly more expensive, but then again you only buy this once.
Portable fish finders have a smaller display and fewer sonar capabilities when compared to their affixed counterparts. They are less expensive and can be taken anywhere because they are usually the size of a mobile phone. They are easy to use, as they require no installation.
3.5” to 16” of display size is preferable as you get to see more information on your target. Larger screens are also able to multitask so you can see two reports simultaneously. The best combo is a 9” screen that shows you all the information gathered by your device while also doing other tasks. Larger screens are usually available on foxed units while the portable ones have 3.5 – 9,” which is good enough.
New fish finders have GPS and fish finding detection abilities combined to help with mapping and data collection. With a GPS onboard, you can clearly see where you are and the depth of those waters. You can also enter new information to help others track this route in the future. If you find a spot with lots of fish that you would wish to come back to at some other time, you can mark it for easier location the next time.
The more sonar capabilities a fish finder has, the costlier it will be. If you are investing for the long-term knowing that you would want to use this device severally into the future, then don’t be afraid to splurge. Glare protection is yet another factor you may want to consider when making a purchase. It will protect your eyesight when glaring at the screen under direct sunlight. At the same time, a display that is backlit for better night vision is also a good choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Conclusion – Wrapping Up
Have you used a fish finder before? If you haven’t, it will undoubtedly change the way you fish. Traditional fishing involves guesswork, and so you could spend hours chasing a futile lead, but that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.
Technology is here to make our work more efficient, and so we should take full advantage of it, whether you are doing this for fun as a sport or as a new hobby that will introduce new people into your life, you may want to do it with the best fish finder on the market.