Are you looking for the best fish finder under 500 bucks? If so then let us present to you a complete list with 10 incredible fish finders. Each with unique features and Sonar system. You won’t regret buying either one of these, guaranteed!
Modern innovation and manufacturing methods have decreased the price of fish finder significantly. Nowadays you can have access to more advanced features and superior hardware performance for a fraction of a price.
Top review team’s choice
All of these 10 products are best in its class in contrast to their price range. But we chose one of them as the best of the best. And the best fish finder under 500$ crown goes to-
Best Pick: Best fish finder under 500
I’ve got some cool Transducer accessories you might wanna look into.
1. Lowrance Hook2 7 SplitShot
Description: When I first used this Hook2 7 SplitShot, I immediately loved the Sonar with multiple frequencies. The Chirp capable has 83/kHz & built-in DownScan imaging of 455/800 kHz.
Also, the display is crisp and detailed. Hook2 7 SplitShot offers high-resolution Solarmax display. Excellent for daytime visibility as well. Unlike other manual tuning Sonar, you’ll get the autotune Sonar settings. Just plug and play.
If you get this Hook2 7 SplitShot fish finder, it won’t be obsolete anytime soon. Because you’ll have a detailed collection of maps. This high-quality mapping system has more than 3000 inland bodies of water.
The Hook2 7 SplitShot may not have a touchscreen. But, it makes up with its amazingly detailed down scan imaging. It is compatible with fishing hotspot pro, Jeppesen C-Max and Navionics Gold for extra map details. There are also some useful user-generated Sonar charts available.
But you can’t do the same with the Hook2. It doesn’t super sonar recording yet. Perhaps a software update will enable you to create your own personal lake maps. You just have to subscribe to the Insight Genesis program. Just like Elite-Ti.
You may have the auto chart feature like the hummingbird and the quickdraw of Garmin. With the exception of payment to enjoy the privacy of your chosen maps.
2. Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 64cv
Description: Just like the ECHOMAP Plus 63cv, the upgraded ECHOMAP Plus 64cv has much more in store for enthusiastic anglers. The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 64cv packs the punch of dual-frequency 50/200 kHz sonar with Garmin Chirp compatibility. With the built-in Clearvü Chirp and peak transmit power of 500 W (RMS)/ 4000 W, it can DownScan up to 2300 ft in the freshwater.
You’ll also get Clearvü at 77 kHz and up to 1,100 ft. Also, basic features like water temperature log and graph with Sonar recording and history rewind is available. Crystal clear 6″ WVGA display which is readable even in midday. As for map data, the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 64cv lets you access to the Bluechart g3 coastal maps. In addition, the 32 GB memory is adequate to save more routes, waypoints, and tracklog.
Creating your very own custom Mal is easier than ever. The built-in quickdraw Garmin mapping software efficiently designs any custom Mal with 1″ contours. You also have the power to control the fish finder with smart devices. Just download the ActiveCaptain® app. This will allow you to access OneChart and share your waypoints and routes with fellow sailors.
Preloaded Bluechart g3 charts include-
- Integrated Navionics data
- East coast
- West coast
- Gulf of Mexico
- The great lakes in Canada
These data are fetched from official charts and private sources. So you can extra status on the navigational, spot soundings, depth contour, tides, currents, etc. You also can grab some extra map using the ActiveCaptain app from OneChart. Syncing it with this 64cv Chartplotter will eliminate the need for MicroSD card. But I suggest you get one anyway. For any just in case moments
3. Lowrance Hook2 fish finder
Description: Lowrance Hook2 fish finder is adored by anglers for its simplicity and efficiency. The display is the first impression you’re gonna get from a fish finder. And Lowrance fish finder didn’t disappoint. The display shows detailed information. You can tell from fish to fish holding structures without stressing your eyes.
The Solarmax display is so vibrant, that it’s even visible under direct sunlight. Now let’s talk about that Autotune Sonar. The bread and butter for the Hook2. You’ll get to fish more and stress less about the sonar settings. Just plug and play.
That brings us to the mapping section. Backed up by a MicroSD slot, the Hook2 effortlessly spot depth changes, roadbeds or your preferred fishing spot. It’s made possible by the built-in, high-detailed US map that features 1-foot contours or more than 3000 lakes across the US.
The Hook2 features a super simple user interface. The transducer can be mounted in the hull, on the transom or on a trolling motor. It can even be mounted through a scupper hole. With the 7x, you’ll get a fresh SplitShot transducer offers both DownScan sonar and Chirp Sonar view.
The Hook2 is also pretty future proof with software and mapping updates. So you’ll never miss a bit.
4. Garmin Striker 7sv with transducer
Description: Garmin offers so many different types of fishfinder with an attractive price tag. The Garmin Striker 7sv is no exception. I mean how convenient it is to have a transducer included with the main fish finder unit! Starting with the display, as always, Garmin impressed us with it’s easy to read crisp and detailed information. Even under direct sunlight, you’re in business.
The included transducer is for the built-in Garmin Chirp traditional sonar plus Chirp Clearvü and Chirp sidevü scanning sonars. So that means you can view the classic Sidevü imaging sonar with the additional of Chirp Clearvü and standard 2D sonar data.
I have a serious issue with the Garmin Striker 7sv. Although they have tried to make the 7sv into a more enhanced and capable depth finder, they completely missed out on the addition of MicroSD slot. Hence no extra mapping. This puts the Garmin Striker 7sv into no man’s land. Because I know despite it’s sleek and reliable features, many anglers will skip on it even with the included transducer on offer.
On the plus though, the chirp Clearvü and sidevü is a real convenience. Let’s be honest here. You can get a complete feature packed fish finder like the Helix 7 Si GPS or the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73sv for a few hundred bucks. But, if you need an absolute classic with complete fish finder setup, go for the Striker 7sv. Besides, the Striker 7sv is the best fish finder under 500 bucks if you prefer bigger display.
5. Humminbird Helix 5 fish finder
Description: Sturdy build quality, reliable features, reasonable pricing, longevity, these are the words that can be used to describe the Helix 5 fish finder. The first thing you notice is the wide color display. And for good reason of course. How else you’re gonna view that zoom and bottom split screen feature without any issue? The visibility also very good even u see direct sunlight.
What I absolutely love about the Helix 5 that they included transducer with mount tools, power cable, and mounting bracket. Once you unbox, get ready to catch your next big fish! And for that reason, we’re crowning the Helix 5 best fish finder under 500 bucks. Well, it’s 21 dollars more, but in the 500 dollar range nonetheless.
Even though it’s direct competitors has a bigger screen, but it’s still one of the best fish finders for Chart Plotter and side imaging. The included transducer is a compact side imaging transducer also known as the XNT 9SI 189T. Perfectly compatible with hummingbirds transducer exchange program. For a little extra cash, you can further update to the XHS 9 HDSI 180 T. An excellent high definition side imaging transducer.
You can also get the service of Navionics Gold/Hotmaps and Lakemaster cards compatible with Helix 5. The switch fire feature is also very cool. Sometimes folks might get overwhelmed by the amount of info they see in the fish finder. But with Helix 5, you’ll have Max and clear mode. This dual display mode lets you eliminate any specific details of the map.
I recommend this fish finder. It offers efficient and practical features. With the combination of 2d Sonar, dual beam, digital chirp which covers a wide range of frequencies. A true champion of the fish finder market.
6. Raymarine Dragonfly 7 pro Chirp fish finder
Description: Have noticed the word pro in the product title? It’s not just a word. It has its purpose and once you unpack your first dragonfly 7 pros, you’ll notice right away. Also, ironically, the 7pro can be available under 500 bucks if you exclude Navionics mapping card.
Now let’s talk about the screen. It’s not a big one but surely won’t stress your eyes. The 5″bright optical LCD display shows crisp details of the DownScan objects. You can even distinguish small fish dots from brush piles. The glass and gel bonded display is also visible under direct sunlight.
You have to see to u realize how detailed and accurate data that dual channel Chirp and Downvision sonar provides. Chirp is introduced to spot the fish dot from other objects like boulders shadow, old tree trunk, brush piles, etc. Imagine how incredible to have two Chirp Sonar power at your disposal.
The Raymarine Dragonfly pro is also a very social fish finder. You can share your waypoints, screenshot of your Navionics map and other useful data with your fellow angler using the Wifish mobile app.
7. Humminbird 410300-1 Helix 7 Chirp DI GPS G2 Fishfinder
Description: For the past few decades, the hummingbird has become the go to the fish finder for both professional or recreational activity. The question might pop up in your mind, how did they do it? And continue doing it till date? Take the Humminbird Helix 7 DI GPs G2 Fishfinder for example. With the exception of side imaging, the Helix 7 offers almost every feature needed for a successful fish hunt.
The first thing you’ll notice is the display. A crisp 7″ WVGA color display, that is easy to read under direct sunlight. The unit packs a dual beam Plus Sonar with 4000 watts power output. Chirp Sonar scans reputedly than the regular ones. Imagine you have the power of twice the pulse it sends. The amount of detail you’ll see from this Sonar is mind-boggling.
I also like how hummingbird upgraded the 2D fish-finding feature with switch fire. The system lets you eliminate any kind of image data as you see fit. With a push of a button, you can add or remove any details like water depth, temperature, turbulence. You’ll also love how precise the built-in GPS is. It fixes position accurately within 2. 5 meters.
With the help of Lakemaster auto chart live, you can easily create and customize your favorite fishing spot. Just start recording and make your favorite map with so many details like water depth contours, vegetations & water surface conditions. Keep an eye on your 8 hours of recording time.
Once you set up your desired parameter, the smart strike feature of hummingbird will show the necessary data instantly. So less time for setting up and more time to catch up.
If you ask me whether to get the Helix 7 DI G2 or not? I would say, if side imaging isn’t that important for you, then go for it. Side imaging is really good for finding objects. Even something small as a car tire can be detected through side imaging. Folks like this feature because they tend to cast more baits at the boulders and brush piles near the channel Creek. Active fish tend to patrol that sort of spot frequently.
8. Garmin Striker 7SV with transducer
Description: The Garmin Striker 7SV features unmatched Sonar tech but lacks a little in navigation functions. But makes up with its Chirp sidevü capability. Not only you don’t need to pay anything for extra plotter function, but the unit also comes with a transducer.
Sonar & Transducer: The Garmin 7SV offers more than their specified number. The unit’s traditional sonar is capable of 50/77/200 kHz of pulse rating. Whereas both the down and sidevü offers identical rating at 260/455/800 kHz. That’s where the Chirp technology pushes the unit’s capability with the aid of Chirp GT52HW-™ Transducer.
Basically, you’ll get a very crisp, detailed and clean image from the Sonar feedback. Both the down and sidevü will help you detect your possible fishing spot efficiently. Chirp downvü makes it easier to separate fish from brush piles and other submerged vegetation. And Chirp sidevü scans larger areas to locate underwater structures like natural timbers, bush beds, the edge of a channel Creek. The combination of these techs ensures successful fishing session, Every time.
GPS: The GPS system is pretty basic in comparison to that awesome Sonar system. The unit rocks a basic system with the absence of chart plotter. It’s not a deal breaker though. The system can still generate accurate coordination and the speed of your boat. You’ll also have 5,000 waypoints storage facility. Not bad for a basic navigation system.
The unit: The first thing you’ll notice is the sharp and crisp 7″ WVGA screen. It can show 3 split screen. So you can have multiple functions active at the same time. Like 2D Sonar, Chirp Downvü and Chirp sidevü combination. Also, the readability of the screen is good. You can see everything clear under direct sunlight. Even if you have sunglasses on. Polarized sunglasses will be much effective.
The unit is also IPx7 waterproof and has mount support on Minn Kota and Motorguide trolling motor. There are also options for a portable kit and integrated transducer. Although the unit comes with tilt standard mount.
9. Lowrance Hook 2 5 triple shot transducer fish finder
Description: Around 2 years back, Lowrance has introduced the 4″-12″ Hook2 series. Although it lacked some features than the previous hook series, an excellent fish finder with powerful Sonar and precision navigation system. Take this Hook2 5 for example. It offers triple-shot transducer which has the capacity of down and SideScan, 2D broadband high chirp as well as being a chart plotter.
Sonar & Transducer: Lowrance is playing a whole new ball game with their new triple scan Transducer in the Hook2 5. Not only you’ll have a triple shot 3 in 1 transducer capable of Chirp 2D broadband, down and SideScan. Although the 2D Sonar isn’t dual beam. Rather it only provides high-wide CHIRP.
Their image quality is brilliant. You’ll be able to separate each fish dots from other obstacles and vegetations easily. You can also do some Sonar recordings on your SD card. Also, the overlay DownScan feature lets you overlay the data on the 2D broadband Sonar. It will help you spot the fish that are suspended or hiding close to any structures.
GPS: Don’t think that the hook2-5 is only a fish finder. It’s also a chartplotter as well. Based on C-map charts, the unit is equipped with standard US inland charts. The unit will provide you high-detailed US mapping with a foot of contours for over 3,000 lakes. You’ll have basic details like boundaries between water and land with precision.
The GPS itself is highly sensitive, shows coordinations and can calculate our boat speed. You can store up to 3,000 waypoints, around 100 routes, 100 trails and nearly 10,000 points each. A lot of data entry by the hook2-5. And Overkill for a single recreational angler.
The unit: When you unbox, the first thing you’ll notice that 5″ diagonal TFT color display. The led backlit will provide you ample visibility, even under direct sunlight. The display offers up to 70° of viewing angle. Pretty insane for a fish finder.
With the hook2-5, you’ll have IPx7 waterproofing on your side. You’ll find a panel-type mount and a bracket-mount with this unit. A sun cover would’ve been like icing on the cake.
Our thoughts: If display size isn’t that important for you, then the hook-5 fishfinder is a dime in the dozen. And the power of the Sonar with both 2D broadband Chirp and powerful CHIRP DownScan and CHIRP SideScan will be at your disposal. I recommend this one folk.
10. Garmin Striker 4
Description: Garmin has brought a basic fish finder in the market. The Garmin Striker can also be called as the fish finder for beginners. Besides, you’re getting a compact design with a CHIRP. I don’t know any other manufacturer ordering CHIRP in this kind of price range.
Transducer: The 010-10249-20 transducer of Garmin Striker 4 is a 4-pin connector. The two conical beams 15°/200 kHz and 45°/77 kHz. But if you want to scan deeper, the transducer will work at 50/200 kHz frequency. Although this kind of frequency is only available for mid and high CHIRP.
Low CHIRP isn’t supported by this unit. You’ll get 1,600 ft in freshwater and 750 ft in Saltwater. This kind of depth is only possible at 50 kHz. The onboard Transducer of Striker 4 can scan somewhere at 800 ft. Not bad for a compact fish finder.
With the aid of CHIRP SONAR, you’ll still get amazing details from Striker 4. So even at this price range, you’ll enjoy better image quality, great target separation, less to no clutter.
GPS function: Despite having a high-precision integrated GPS module, I would like to have chart plotter as well. I know in this price range this sounds criminal. But I think Garmin missed a great opportunity to dominate the budget fish finder criteria.
The GPS although lets you mark your favorite waypoints. So you can later come along and score some big catch. You’ve got more than 5,000 waypoints to make. Which is way more than you think.
The unit: Garmin Striker has a small 3.5″ HVGA display. The screen resolution and performance is acceptable. Especially under this kind of price range. You’ll be able to read information quite easily. Even if it’s a midsummer day.
Garmin Striker 4 may have some shortcomings in the feature and screen size, but boy they built in like a stone. The unit feels solid in hand and the IPx7 waterproofing is like icing on the cake. It also has the ability to survive within 1 meter of freshwater. ( Not recommend)
Sticker 4 also lacks in the memory department. With the absence of a MicroSD card slot, you can’t store all your preferred data in this unit alone. But Garmin has given us a solution via NMEA connectors. Other units that have ECHOMAP and the identical unit can share data via data cable. The unit has swivel mount and power cable in the box.
Our thoughts: You know what I’m gonna say. Yes, it’s one of the best fish finders for beginners. Just enough features, Excellent build quality, powerful CHIRP SONAR and excellent pricing. The Garmin Striker 4 has the ability to strike hearts across the novice anglers. In addition, veteran anglers can also be benefitted from this unit. Imagine you went on a vacation for a week and found a way to cast some lines from a boat!
Tips to buy your next/new Fishfinder (11 must see tips)
This section of this article is aimed to give our readers a few tips to pick the best fish finder under 500$. Because what if you didn’t like our listings? Yes folks, for those who haven’t agreed with our list, can easily pick the best fish finder if he/she checks out these 11 tips.
Whether you’re gonna cast from a canyon, pier, on a kayak or conventional fishing boat, choosing the right fish finder is a must. The right type means features that you prefer.
The most important hardware on a Fishfinder. Sure without Sonar it’s like a DVD player, but without a sharp, crisp, well-readability, good viewing angle display, even Sonar won’t make any sense. So check the display resolution and nits after you decide on a model.
Yes folks, don’t let others say otherwise. Size does matter. Apart from choosing a well-tuned color display, you gotta go with size as well. The bigger the display, the better it gets. A reasonably sized display can show multiple features and data at the same time using a split screen.
When you’re scanning from a boat, marking out the right waypoints is critical. A situation like this and dithers where a bigger size of the display comes handy.
GPS has become one of the most basic features of a fish finder. Nowadays, chart plotter with precision high-accuracy GPS module units are getting popular. See how much waypoints your preferred unit offers you to mark. Pick a fishfinder with chartplotter. Because it’ll create an electrical navigational chart which you can later access. It’ll show where you’ve been, your direction and speed of the boat. A nifty feature that shouldn’t be missed out on.
Unless you won’t have to dismount your fish finder more often, I suggest you opt for a more secure installation option. And for that, there are plenty of mounts available online. Some fish finder even comes with a mount in the box.
Modern fish finder units are coming to the market with pre-installed maps by the thousands. Some manufacturers are letting users buy maps as well. However, a bunch of us like to fish in small ponds, rivers, and creeks. These unlikely areas may not be accessible via traditional maps data. That’s why it’s always better to go for a fish finder that offers custom mapping feature.
Sometimes, you might want to transfer certain data’s to your PC or phones. That’s where a MicroSD card comes in handy. Even with NMEA connections with data cable, you should always buy a fish finder with a MicroSD card slot.
Wireless device compatibility
With the availability of smartphones and tablets, many fish finder rocks the ability to connect with them. This kind of feature is absolutely effective when you have a fish finder on board. You won’t have to be in front of the actual fish finder to access data.
You can use nearly all of the features of a fish finder like setting waypoints, navigation and custom map making. It’s like your phone or tablet has become a synced sub fish finding device. So if you have a big boat, I recommend you get a fish finder with this wireless smart devices compatibility.
Preinstalled charts & maps
Many fish finder these days come with GPS and Chartplotter. Compatible with preloaded maps or charts. So if you like to fish at a diverse location, choosing a fish finder with preloaded maps can be beneficial, financially.
The temperature of the water is crucial for fish location. Pick a fish finder which has a water temperature probe installed in the transducer. Temperature data will help you determine the possible feeding or breeding ground of the fish.
Flasher function is particularly important for those who want to do some ice fishing and vertical jigging. Flasher helps you concentrate on the fish by eliminating unwanted data’s.
DownScan and SideScan
DownScan is helpful to determine fish from other obstacles like boulders, tree trunks, and brush piles. SideScan sends wide angle Sonar beam to spot fish near any obstacles and at the edge of channel Creek. I recommend you to buy a fish finder with both this function. Anglers will enjoy these two features in split-screen.
A. Dual spectrum CHIRP is the latest addition of the fish finder world. I’m pretty sure hummingbird brought that technology to the light. Basically, the low CHIRP frequency Sonar can be adjusted to your likings via this feature. And the 2D return is spectacular.
With this feature, you won’t have to tune up the settings frequently to get the ample result. Innovation like this helps anglers clearly-defined fish arches and precision target separation. You’ll have more finesse structure data with less clutter for a balanced signal to noise ratio.
A. This is much like a specific product oriented question. But I’ll try to answer it generally. The size of the dot can determine the size of the fish. CHIRP DownScan is better at fish measurements rather than side imaging or 2D Sonar. Some fishfinder comes with smart fish imaging feature in the settings. See if you find something like that and I you do, enable it.
A. Sure, it would be my pleasure. I’ve seen folks close to me trim down the Transducer power cable to fit their boat. Terrible idea by the way. Cool, it rather than cut it short. Because electrical wire may cause some signal disturbance if gets separated from their industrial assembly.
This one sure will annoy a few of us. It’d be great if you can clean out the bottom surface of the transducer after every haul out. Especially with 240-grit sandpaper. This would remove slime and branches off the bottom.
And lastly, please. Don’t paint the transducer. Because it already comes with a special paint that doesn’t affect the signal. Repainting it may cause malfunction.
In the end
Thee used to be a time when fish finders with features like these cost over a thousand dollars. The technology was affordable to a certain group of anglers. But smart manufacturing and using cheaper yet better raw materials have decreased the price tag significantly.