If you’re an avid fisherman, then you know how important it is to have the right equipment on hand, especially when it comes to tracking your catches down to the tiniest detail.
A good fish finder can be an invaluable tool that helps you locate your quarry more easily and quickly. For serious fishermen, choosing the right fish finder to complement your boat can be challenging, especially when there are so many available options on the market.
If you’re not sure what kind of fish finder suits your needs and budget, we’ve got you covered with the five best fish finders under 500 on the market today!
Our comprehensive guide will help you navigate the ocean of different products and identify the top brands and devices that will meet your needs without breaking your budget.
How To Choose The Best Fish Finder Under $500?
The best fish finder under 500 is one that will allow you to see deep into dark, hard-to-reach spots. The unit should be easy to use and able to stand up to a beating at sea. Here’s how you can choose which is best for your needs.
First, think about what kind of water you’ll be fishing in. Different kinds of water have different characteristics: For example, salt water is much denser than freshwater, so it won’t reflect sound waves, as well as freshwater, would. This means saltwater fish are more difficult to spot using sonar—but they might also provide a better fight!
You should also consider whether or not you need detailed information on your screen—or if an overview will suffice. Some units offer split screens, which show both your current location and nearby fish. If you want to know exactly where every school of bass is swimming below you, these types of screens are ideal.
If all you want to do is get an idea of where larger schools may be located, then a simpler display will work just fine.
OUR PICKS OF BEST FISH FINDERS UNDER 500
These five fish finders are the best on the market under $500 because they all meet these criteria and more!
#1 Garmin Striker 7SV with Transducer
- 7″ GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional
- ClearVu and SideVu Scanning Sonar Transducer
- Built-in Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software
- 7 inches
The Garmin Striker 7SV is a versatile fish finder that can be mounted on a boat or onto your kayak. The device comes with an internal GPS receiver, which means you won’t have to purchase one separately (which saves you money). The screen is easy to read in direct sunlight.
An in-depth map view shows the depth of underwater features and structures, which can help you find fish and avoid hazards like rocks or drop-offs.
You can use it to track baitfish, locate submerged structures, and more. Its screen measures 4 inches diagonally, making it easy to read no matter where you are. You can get all of these features for under $400.
- 4-inch diagonal color display
- 480 x 800-pixel resolution
- Internal GPS receiver
- 2-hour battery life
- In-built transducer for more accurate readings
- Floats if it’s dropped overboard
- Easy-to-read screen
- User-friendly Interface
- No SD card slot
- Slightly bulky design
Why Did We Choose This Product?
This product is a must-have for fishermen who want to catch fish. It has a screen that’s easy to read, and it comes with an internal GPS receiver.
All of these features are nice because they save you money. If you purchase all of these things separately, you would spend more than $500.00. The device even works with a snorkel!
This means that if your water conditions aren’t great or if there isn’t enough visibility in your area, you can still use your Garmin Striker 7SV to find fish.
#2 Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Inch Fish Finders with Transducer and C-MAP Preloaded Map Options
If you’re looking for a fish finder under 500 dollars, chances are you’ll want something that’s both durable and easy to use. Lowrance makes some of our favorite portable fish finders that fit these criteria, so we suggest checking out their Hook Reveal 5-inch model.
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5-inch fish finder has a backlit display that makes it easy to see in direct sunlight and an onboard GPS that automatically records mapping data as you’re using it.
It also includes a built-in transducer for measuring water depth, plus handy features like a wireless remote control and chart plotting software for your computer.
- 240 x 320-pixel display
- Internal GPS receiver
- 200 spots per side
- Memory can hold up to 10,000 waypoints at once
- High-resolution display
- For both freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Easy to Use
- No internal battery
WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?
We particularly like that you can download maps for your area before heading out on your trip—this feature helps ensure you won’t waste time searching for fish when you could be catching them instead.
If there are no fish around, you might as well spend your time doing something else! The unit features two transducer ports and one color display, ensuring you’ll always know where to cast next.
It also has a wide range of zoom options so you can see fish at longer distances. Lowrance makes several models that offer even more features, but for those on a budget, we think their Hook Reveal 5-inch model is tough to beat.
#3 Lowrance Hook Reveal 9 Fish Finder
- 9 Inch Screen with Transducer
- C-MAP Preloaded Map Options
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 9 series combines affordability with incredible performance. For anglers on a budget, or those looking for their first fish finder, it’s an excellent choice.
It comes equipped with built-in GPS and sonar capabilities, so you can easily track your position and depth while fishing. And it also has an easy-to-read color display that shows you real-time information about what’s below your boat in crystal clear detail.
The Hook Reveal 9 is compatible with both transducers and down imaging sensors, so you can use whichever one works best for your fishing style and needs.
- Dual Beam Plus Sonar
- 455/800 kHz Transducer
- One-Touch Switching
- Up to 10,000-Watt RMS Power Output
- Waterproof down to 200 ft.
- Great Performance
- Can find baitfish
- Long battery life
- Not user friendly
WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT
Lowrance is a leader in fish finder technology, and its Hook Reveal 9 is one of our favorite options. The fish finder offers an impressive number of features for its price.
It has an easy-to-read color display that shows depth and water temperature. It also comes with a transducer mount and transducer, so you can get started right away.
And while it’s not as high-tech as some other models on our list, it’s still powerful enough to help you catch fish—and maybe even enough to help you land your next big catch.
You get plenty of other features as well, including an SD card slot for storing maps and waypoints, plus QuickDraw contours for showing changes in water temperature over time.
If you don’t want to spend too much money upfront but are willing to upgrade later, then go ahead and buy yourself a Hook Reveal 9.
#4 Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp MDI GPS Control Head Only Fish Finder
Humminbird’s Helix 7 is a top-of-the-line GPS fish finder. This system offers high definition imaging and multi-beam sonar to detect fish below your boat in crystal clear detail, along with an integrated GPS unit to mark hot spots. Topping out at 4,000 watts, it can also detect deeper fish than most similar models.
- Screen Size – 7
- Screen Type – Touch screen LCD
- Sounder Type – Dual-Beam plus Sonar with Down Imaging
- Dual-Beam plus Sonar with Bottom Imaging
- Side Imaging and GPS
- Color Display
- Depth Capability – 10,000 ft. (3,048 m)
- Can detect deeper fish
- High definition imaging
- Easy to install
- Accurate results
- Wide range of features
WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?
This fish finder is one of our favorites—and it’s available at a great price, too. It combines GPS with sonar to bring you more accurate and reliable results than most traditional fish finders.
In addition, it includes a high-definition mapping that makes it easy to identify depths, contours, and other landscape features.
If you want to upgrade your fishing gear without breaking your budget, then we recommend Humminbird’s Helix 7. You won’t be disappointed.
#5 Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder
- With Active Imaging 3-in-1 Transducer
- Preloaded C-MAP Contour
The Lowrance Elite 7 features an Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer with a 50/200 kHz frequency for clearer, more detailed scans of underwater objects.
The Lowrance Elite 7 also has a built-in Chartplotter with preloaded C-MAP Contour+ mapping and includes LakeVu HD Ultra high-definition satellite Imagery maps.
- Sonar/Sounder Technology – DownScan Imaging
- DualBeam PLUS Transducer with Chirp and SideVu
- Color Display – 7-inch sunlight viewable color LCD
- Built-in Chartplotter
- Preloaded C-MAP Contour+ mapping
- Connectivity – Ethernet, USB 2.0, SD card slot (SD cards not included)
- Sonar/Sounder Power Output – 500 Watts peak to peak
- Sonar/Sounder Frequency 50 kHz or 200 kHz standard
- Clear and bright display
- Easy to use
- Multiple types of fishing
- Short battery life
WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?
The Lowrance Elite 7 is one of our favorite fish finders. It has a lot of great features and it’s reasonably priced. This fish finder offers great value and convenience, as it comes with a preloaded chart (from Lowrance) that covers most of Lake Michigan, making it one of our top choices for fishermen on a budget.
The three-in-one transducer is what really sets it apart from its competitors—its part-side imaging and two-frequency digital transducer. It’s also easy to install, simple to use, and gives you information about temperature and water depth.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Fish Finder Under 500 Dollars
There are many factors to consider when you’re looking at purchasing a fish finder. The size of your boat, the lakes you’ll be fishing on, and the type of fish you want to find all play an important role in determining which fish finder you should buy.
There are many brands of fish finder on market these days. So, you need to consider different factors before buying a product. In doing so, you will be able to buy a good fish finder for under 500 dollars and enjoy your fishing experience.
- You need to consider whether you want a fish finder with GPS or not. built-in GPS allows you to mark spots where you catch fish so that next time around you can head straight there without having to waste time searching around aimlessly. You can easily get one with GPS, but you may have to spend more money on it.
- Do you also need to consider how many people will use it? If you are planning to use it alone, then buying a fish finder with a 2-4 inch screen is good enough for you and it won’t cost much money either. But if you want to share your fishing experience with your friends or family members then buy a bigger one.
- The next thing that matters is your budget. You should spend as less as possible but get as many features in return. For example, if you have decided on spending around 500 dollars on a fish finder, then look for one which has GPS features and a display size of at least 4 inches.
- You also need to think about whether you want a portable or non-portable model? If you are planning on moving your boat frequently from one place to another, then go for a portable model as it is easy to carry around with yourself and doesn’t cost much money either.
- You should also Know Your Needs. For example, if you want something basic for fishing in small ponds or lakes near your home, then you probably don’t need anything too advanced or expensive; however, if you frequently travel on boats or spend most of your time on larger bodies of water where deep-sea fishing might be involved, then it makes sense to invest in something more capable and powerful.
- Last but not least, you need to consider what kind of water you will be fishing in? If you are going to fish in saltwater, then buy a fish finder with waterproof feature.
Comparison Table of Top Picks
|GARMIN STRIKER 7SV||LOWRANCE HOOK REVEALS 5 INCH||LOWRANCE HOOK REVEAL 9||HUMMINBIRD’S HELIX 7||LOWRANCE ELITE FS 7|
|FEATURES||4 inch diagonal screen, 2 hours battery life, in-built GPS, all-in-one transducer||five-inch display, Split-Shot transducer, DownScan-Imaging, great deep-water performance
|fish-finding color palettes, Real-Time Mapping, Preloaded AUS/NZ chart||AutoChart Live, Dual Spectrum, Built In GPS||Ethernet connectivity, on screen mapping, Integrated Bluetooth|
|$ 490||$ 475||$ 489||$ 500|
1- What is the number one fish finder on the market?
Lowrance HDS 7 Gen3 is hands down one of the best fish finders on today’s market. It is a high-end model that comes with all of the features you could ever want in a fish finder. The screen is large and easy to read, it has an advanced GPS system, and it can show sonar images and much more. It also comes with free maps for life which is really cool. This fish finder does everything you need it to do and then some.
2- What does CHIRP mean on a fish finder?
CHIRP stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radio Pulse and is a signal sent by a fish finder. The advantages of CHIRP are that it travels farther underwater, returns faster than traditional pulse signals, and provides better resolution. Basically, it allows you to take a closer look at what fish are doing without having to physically move your boat.
3- Can you run two fish finders off one transducer?
Yes, you can do it with several models and there are both advantages and disadvantages depending on which way you go. The advantage of having two units is that they will be more accurate in their readings since they won’t be as prone to interference from each other as if they were sharing a single transducer. The disadvantage is that you have to run two separate power cords for them and deal with running two different displays instead of just one.
When it comes to fishing, no one wants to get less than they can from their boat. To be sure you’re getting everything you can out of your time on a boat; invest in a good fish finder.
There are many reasons to go fishing. Maybe you love to eat fish or maybe you just like to spend time with your family. Either way, if you have a boat and you want to get more out of your boating experience, it may be time for you to invest in a high-quality fish finder.
The five fish finders reviewed here are designed to help anglers land more fish with superior performance and ease of use.
They range in price from around $100 to nearly $400, but all deliver excellent value for their price point. Choose one that fits your needs, and then head out onto the water knowing you have an edge over other anglers who haven’t invested in a fish finder yet.