Top 10 Best Fish Finder Under $200
Fish finders are useful but can be quite pricey. However, don’t let this talk you out from getting one because many great devices are also affordable.
I set out to find the best fish finders under $200 that work well in deep and shallow water. I came across several types and sizes meant for both beginners and professionals.
The Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 has a large screen and two technologies I found especially useful. In addition, it has exceptional coverage and is easy to set up.
But, take a look at the rest. One of these might be the best option for your needs.
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
Best For Beginners
Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder
Best by Budget
Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 Series
Top 10 Fish Finders For Under $200
- Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
- Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder
- Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 Series
- Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone, Black
- HawkEye Fishtrax 1C with HD Color Virtuview Display
- Eyoyo Portable Underwater 1000TVL Fishing Camera
- MOOCOR Underwater Ice Fishing Camera
- Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar – Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder for Kayak and Ice Fishing
- JOYLOG Portable Wireless Finder with APP
- JOYWEE FF688C 3.5″ Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder
1. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
This Garmin Striker 4 comes with a transducer and Clear Vu scanning sonar. Its high-frequency sonar provides photographic images of fish, structures, and objects around and under your boat.
What makes it stand out is choosing between three display sizes. You can go for a 3.5, 5, or 7-inch display, depending on your needs and preferences.
It has a water rating of IPX7 which means you can submerge it under a meter of water for about half an hour. So, an occasional splash won’t do it any harm.
Garmin Striker 4 has waypoint maps to view, navigate, and mark locations like docks, stumps, and brush piles. It allows a maximum depth of 1,600ft in freshwater and 750ft in saltwater.
It uses Chirp sonar that uses continuous sweep of frequencies to provide a wide range of information. As a result, it makes for crisper images and better target separation.
2. Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder
Lowrance Hook2 is packed with useful features for both beginners and experienced anglers. However, what I liked the most was the phone-like menu that’s easy to use regardless of the settings you need.
It comes with wide sonar coverage, making it easy to see what’s around and under your boat. It shows everything from fish, structure, weed, and whatever else is under the surface.
The Solarmax display is easy to read even in the sun, showing everything in excellent clarity and detail.
The package comes with a Bullet Skimmer transducer giving you traditional 2D sonar views. You can mount it on the transom, on the trolling motor, inside the hull, or through a scupper hole.
Another thing that stands out is the built-in mapping. It makes it easy to find your favorite fishing spots as it contains more than 3,000 lakes in the USA.
3. Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 Series
Humminbird 410190-1 comes from their Helix 5 series and is one of the most popular affordable models. It features a 5’’ widescreen display that’s easy to read even in the sun.
The two technologies that stand out the most are DualBeam Plus and SwitchFire. SwitchFire is possibly the most special sonar technology, allowing you to control how the sonar returns appear.
You get to choose between two display models, making it easy to add or remove detail, temperature, water depth, turbulence, and lure presentations. In addition, it’s fairly easy to use, even for beginners.
DualBeam Plus Sonar allows generous coverage area, showing data in great detail. This makes it easy to identify fish, contours, and structure.
The narrow bean is meant for high-accuracy returns, while the wide beam serves when you want a broader search area. And, what’s great is that you can view the two beams separately.
4. Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone, Black
Vexilar T-Box SP200 is a unique model permanently mounted in your boat. However, keep in mind you have permanent access to a 12-volt power supply because this isn’t included with the fish finder.
This system is designed to turn your phone or tablet into a fish finder. It uses patented Wi-Fi signal technology to transmit information, but you don’t need phone coverage to use it.
It creates its Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to share the signal with other people if you want to. But, you’ll have to download the software app. It’s free and works for both iOS and Android.
Another thing that stands out is that it offers 17 languages. In addition, it comes with a neoprene armband, making it easy to have your phone at hand all the time.
It has a depth indicator, but it also shows water temperature, surface clarity, fish, and much more.
5. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C with HD Color Virtuview Display
HawkEye FishTrax is an intelligent sonar device that allows precise fish readings up to 240 ft. It’s packed with useful features, making it easy to use across lakes and ponds.
The first thing that stands out is the VirtuView HD color display. It has an LED backlight, allowing glare-free view so that you can use it in daylight.
The entire device seems quite rugged and able to withstand rough use.
Another thing worth noting is that the sonar sensor is trollable, floatable, and boat mountable. As a result, it’s incredibly portable and easy to carry on various fishing trips.
Also, HawkEye FishTrax has FishID and FishArc indicators for fish depth targeting. It shows HD bottom imaging, so it’s easy to figure out what’s under your boat.
And, its algorithmic software programming eliminates false readings and sounds. So, apart from being affordable, this fish finder is also easy to use for beginners.
6. Eyoyo Portable Underwater 1000TVL Fishing Camera
Eyoyo Fish Finder is unique, easy to use, and useful for beginners and experienced anglers. It features a 7’’ LCD monitor in full color with 800×480 pixels.
But, what stands out the most is that it comes with a removable sun visor. This is excellent for bright weather when the sun is shining right in the display.
It comes with a 1000TVL camera, making it easy to spot whatever lurks under or around your boat. And, it also makes it easy to figure out the structure, vegetation, and other things underwater.
The 12-piece IR LED lights allow you to spot fish in a dark environment. But, the image will turn black and white once you open the infrared light.
Another thing that stands out is the waterproof carrying case that allows easy portability. Its battery lasts for about eight hours, depending on the features and functions you use.
7. MOOCOR Underwater Ice Fishing Camera
Moocor is another fish finder 720p camera with a 7’’ screen and DVR function. It shows a realistic image of what’s under the water surface, allowing you to spot fish, vegetation, and structure.
It’s a 1280×720-resolution camera that makes it easy to see fish in the dark. The display has a full-view IPS panel to see the image from all angles.
It comes with 12-piece LED white lights along with the 12-piece IR lights. Both are easy to switch on and off using dedicated buttons.
However, I liked the most that I didn’t need a third-party player. Moocor plays the videos it records, or you can open them directly on your phone. There’s also a 16GB memory card included so that you don’t have to buy one separately.
8. Deeper PRO Smart Portable Fish Finder for Kayak and Ice Fishing
Deeper Pro Smart is a portable and castable fish finder you can cast up to 330ft. It scans down to 260ft and is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
It provides precise target separation, and real-time data as its two beam frequencies allow 15 scans per second. As a result, you can view fish, vegetation, depth, structure, and consistency.
Another thing I like about it is the GPS mapping. It was easy for me to create bathymetric maps from my boat, but I assume it’s equally simple on a canoe and kayak.
Your scans, points of interest, and maps are easy to access from the device’s app and web platform. It’s designed to work in all seasons, so it’s equally suitable for on-shore and ice fishing.
And, it doesn’t require any mounting. It’s fully portable, so it doesn’t have cables, screws, or wires.
9. JOYLOG Portable Wireless Finder with APP
Joylog is another smart sonar fish finder that utilizes reliable technologies to provide precise information. It’s a portable and castable fish finder you can use in different conditions, be it cold or dark.
The first thing that stands out is high-resolution digital sonar imaging. It shows fish at a depth of up to 130ft. But, it also indicates structure, vegetation, and whatever else is lurking under and around your boat.
It’s easy to use since you don’t even have to start or shut it off. It does this automatically once you cast or remove it from water. The whole process takes about thirty seconds, and it’s quite an interesting touch.
Another thing worth noting is the multi-language support. It operates using 26 languages, so it doesn’t matter where you live. And, it uses a wireless connection, offering a stable signal within 160ft.
It’s small and easy to carry around as it measures only 2.56 inches in diameter. And, it weighs only 0.199 pounds.
10. JOYWEE FF688C 3.5" Phiradar Color LCD Boat Fish Finder
Joywee FF688C is designed for amateur anglers and professionals fishing at different locations. It shows fish, depth, bottom contour, vegetation, and everything else in lakes, rivers, and seas.
It looks much like most fish finders, but I found it pretty easy to use. Its 3.5’’ 18bit display is large enough for you to read all information with ease, even in bright sunlight.
Another thing worth noting is the adjustable sensitivity. It has 100 levels of sensitivity to work better in various conditions.
Auto Zoom tracking and quick manual zoom allow you to choose how you’ll use it. And, it has a multi-language menu, so it works for everyone.
You can also pick between meters and feet, depending on what you find easier to read. The DualBeam sonar frequency operates at 200/83 kHz, showing clear images of what’s under and around you.
Buying Guide: Fish Finders Under $200
Use, screen resolution, and transducer are only a few of the things you should consider before buying a fish finder under $200.
Here’s what else you should keep in mind:
Design and Durability
As you noticed, most fish finders look somewhat the same. It’s a standard design brands stick to because it’s proven most convenient.
However, you might still come across other, more unique options. Therefore, when thinking about the design, you should first consider your needs and preferences.
You should first think about the size and whether the device will fit your boat. Most fish finders are built to handle rough use, so an occasional drop to the ground can’t harm them.
Make sure its design adds to the ease of use. For example, it should be rugged, simple, and easy to work with.
All fish finders require a power source regardless of their price. Some connect to your boat, while others have rechargeable batteries. You might also come across models that use disposable batteries, but I wouldn’t advise these.
You can choose any option you like, depending on what you find most useful. However, rechargeable ones have a limited battery life, so you can only use them for so long.
Most anglers go for those that connect to a power source because these have unlimited runtime.
A fish finder needs to be waterproof because you’ll likely get it wet within minutes of setting it up. Now, this goes for all its parts and components, including the transducer, the screen, and all else.
Not only do these things have to handle an occasional splash of water, but there’s also the risk of dropping the device in water.
Most are rated as waterproof, but it’s always best to check the exact rating so that you know what you’re working with.
By considering the intended use, you have a higher chance of selecting the right fish finder under $200. Think about your fishing style and the environment where you’ll use the device.
Most models work well in all conditions, but you might want to double-check if you’re ice fishing. In this case, you’re exposing the fish finder to sub-zero temperatures, and this is something not all devices can handle.
You might also want to consider mounting options, depending on how you’ll use the transducer.
Again, think about your fishing style when choosing a certain type of fish finder. Some devices are meant to be mounted on a boat, while others are portable and castable.
Portable ones feature no cables or wires, so they’re slightly easier to work with.
You’ll come across ice fishing flashers that show what’s beneath the ice. These are ideal for sub-zero conditions since they’re made to handle these harsh temperatures.
The transducer is possibly the most important part of your fish finder. It’s the technical piece that sends sonar waves under the water surface.
However, it’s not always the same. Some are more high-quality than others, offering more reliable and precise images of what’s below the water.
So, check the type of transducer you’re getting. But don’t forget to check its beam angle, operating frequency, and wattage as well.
A transducer can have a high or low operating frequency, but it can also have both. A high-operating frequency is more detailed, returning more details thanks to the wider sonar coverage.
This is perfect for fishing in shallow waters.
Low-frequency sonar sends waves deeper into the water, so it’s meant for deep water fishing. And, dual-frequency sonar operates using both frequencies, which allows it to work in deep and shallow water.
Cone Angles and Beams
The sonar waves a transducer transmits into the water end up taking a cone shape. This cone has a narrow or wide-angle.
A narrow beam goes deep into the water, while a wide one has wider coverage. As a result, you can either see what’s under or around your boat.
If you want to see what’s both under and around, you might want to go for a dual-beam fish finder. These emit wide and narrow sonar beams and can be used in shallow and deep waters.
Wattage translates as the power rating of your transducer. The higher it is, the more powerful the fish finder is.
The most powerful fish finders send waves deeper into the water, returning sonar readings quickly. This is important if you fish in deep waters, while a lower power rating is usually enough for shallow waters.
The screen is the first thing we see on a fish finder regardless of its price. Its resolution is critical for reading the data.
A high-quality screen with high resolution shows the information clearly. Without a quality screen, you’ll struggle to read the information regardless of how well the sonar works. In this case, it’s typically hard to tell fish apart from weed, rocks, and other things found underwater.
So, take the time to consider the screen size and resolution to have crystal clear images that are easy to read.
Although not all fish finders have colored screens, you can find several affordable ones that do. Look for one that has a wide range of colors since it’ll be easier to distinguish objects than in black and white.
Black and white show the same information, but it’s more difficult to tell what exactly the images are. This is especially the case in deep waters where vegetation and structure are denser.
So, the more colors it has, the better.
Some fish finders under $200 have built-in GPS systems, although this is more common with expensive devices.
GPS systems allow you to track your locations and mark waypoints. It’s a handy feature that makes a huge difference, especially when fishing in unfamiliar waters.
Plus, it allows you to mark spots of interest so that you can go back the next time.
Most fish finders are relatively portable because they’re mostly small. These compact devices won’t take up too much space in your bag and boat.
However, it’s always worth checking the exact dimensions and weight so that you’re sure it fits your needs.
Castable fish finders are the most portable since they don’t require any wires or cables. But they’re also the easiest to lose, so make sure to use them carefully.
How to Use a Fish Finder?
Using a fish finder is easy regardless of whether you’re a beginner or not. Most devices are similar, although use can vary depending on the type you go for.
So, you won’t use a traditional fish finder the same way you use a castable one.
The steps usually include mounting the fish finder and its transducer if separated. Then, change and adjust the settings like the sensitivity, alarms, and fish identification.
Luckily, most devices come with a user manual you should read to familiarize yourself with how it works. This is especially the case for learning how to use maps and GPS.
FAQ for Fish Finders Under $200
How Does Fish Finder Work?
A fish finder sends signals downwards or at an angle to detect fish. It shows the depth at which the fish are as well.
It consists of a transducer and display. The transducer can be mounted on your boat or kayak, which is pretty easy to do.
It uses sonar technologies that send signals that are then interrupted by fish or other objects. It then sends the information back for you to see on the display.
There are many types varying in efficiency. Some are easier to use than others, but it’s always important to familiarize yourself with how it works to get the best results.
How Accurate are Fish Finders?
Fish finders are more and more accurate, especially if you go for one with CHIRP technology. These are designed to show the depth at which you can find fish and obstacles along the way.
However, the accuracy also depends on the sensitivity setting you’re using.
Why do I Need to Use Fish Finder?
A fish finder shows what’s under the water, making it easier for you to know where the fish are. This is especially important when ice fishing or fishing in deep waters.
A quality fish finder under $200 shows where the fish are. It also shows the size and depth at which you can find it.
Many also show water temperature, depth information, and bottom contour, so you’re more likely to go home for a catch.
Can I Connect it to Smart Phone/Ipad/Tablet?
A smart fish finder connects to a smartphone or tablet using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You can also sync it with your phone, in which case you can read the information from there.
Can I Use the Same Fish Finder for Shallow Water, Deep Water, and Ice Fishing?
This depends on the fish finder you’re buying. A fish finder with DualBeam technology emits both narrow and wide-angle sonar beams.
These show what’s under and around your boat, working well in deep and shallow waters. The technology is good for ice fishing as well.
Can I Use it in Salt Water?
Yes, a fish finder works in saltwater conditions. However, maximum depth is usually calculated using freshwater.
If you use it in salt water, you should consider that the water depth it can handle is reduced.
Final Thoughts on the Best Fish Finder Under $200
Which fish finder under $200 do you think it fits your needs the best? Although these are affordable, they sport the latest technologies and easy-to-use systems to give you the most reliable readings.
The Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 is the most convenient, thanks to the combination of features and specifications. It works equally well for beginners and experienced anglers regardless of the fish you’re targeting.