Best Fish Finder Under $200 on the Market for 2017

A good fish finder makes fishing trip more successful, but here’s the problem: It’s difficult to sort through all the choices and grab the best fish finder for your fishing style and home waters. And even harder to find one with the features and performance you need for under $200 dollars.

But choosing a good fish finder for a value price gets a lot easier when someone else does part of the leg work for you.

In this article we will take a look at feature-packed and functional fish finders that you can find in the budget-friendly sub-$200 dollar range. I think you are going to be pleasantly surprised at the high-quality fish finders that are available at that price.

10 Best Fish Finder Comparisons

Image

Product Name

Max. Depth

Display Type

Price

Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 Fish finder

Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2

256 ft

WVGA Display

Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Series

Deeper Smart Sonar Pro

130ft

Smartphone

Eyoyo Professional Fish Finder

Eyoyo Professional

99ft

TFT Screen

Garmin STRIKER 4cv

Garmin STRIKER 4cv

1,750 ft

Color Display

Vexilar SP200 T-Box

Vexilar SP200 T-Box

236 ft

Smartphone

HumminbirdPiranhaMax 197C

HumminbirdPiranhaMax 197C

600 ft..

197C PT Color

Garmin STRIKER 4 Fish Finder

Garmin STRIKER 4

1,600 ft

Color Display

FishHunter Portable 3.0

FishHunter Portable 3.0

100 ft

Smartphone

Lowrance Hook-3X

Lowrance Hook-3X

246 ft

Color Display

Venterior Portable

Venterior Portable

328 ft

LCD Display

Best Fish Finder under $200 - Reviews

We searched the tackle shops high and low and saw a lot of good fish finders. Here’s list of the best-performing fish finders priced at less than $200.

1. Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 Fish finder

Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 Fish finder

If you are like us and want a fish finder to have a large, easy-to-see screen, the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 is the only way to go in the sub-$200 price range. This powerful unit features a dual-beam function and a depth capability down to 1500 feet.

The features run to the bare-bones side, with no GPS, down imaging, or side view functions, and PC interface is only available as an option.

However, it does have everything you need to scan the lake bottom and identify fish. Along with the display size, several other user-friendly functions make the Sonar G2 a competitor in this price range. The unit offers split-screen capability and the Humminbird Switchfire Sonar feature that lets you control the presentation of the sonar returns for maximum readability. At 500 watts, this is a powerful unit that can separate targets down to 2.5 inches.

The Sonar G2 is built tough. It can be mounted in-dash, on gimbals, or on a pedestal. One drawback we found is that the unit does not swivel on the pedestal mount– it only tilts. Although this fish finder is not necessarily made for kayak fishing, it would work well in a custom mounting system tuned to the boat.

The big screen and the ability to toggle a large-digit view would potentially let you mount the unit forward in the boat where it would be tucked away and protected. We love large screens, and even though the Sonar G2 pushes the price range, it could meet the needs of many anglers.

What we liked

  • Big and easy to see
  • Simple interface
  • Tough construction

What we didn't like

  • Minimal features
  • No GPS unit

2. Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Series

Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Series

This is one of the new breed of lightweight, portable fish finders that can go anywhere with you. Use it from a small boat or kayak or even cast it out from shore. It’s ideal for ice fishing.

The all-in one design of the Sonar Pro incorporates the transducer function, and no separateparts or mounting materials are needed. Your smart phone or tablet serves as the display, with a simple app to link your device to the fish finder’s internal Wi-Fi access point.

The Sonar Pro works with iOS and Android systems. We used it with a Galaxy note with no problem at all. The range on this fish finder is excellent. It was one of the better-performing portable fish finders, sending a good signal out to about 300 feet. For such a small device, the resolution was impressive.

The Sonar Pro can pick out fish less than an inch long under 260 feet of water and show individual objects that are only a couple inches apart. It can easily reveal bottom structure in almost any water condition. At 6 hours, the battery life is good enough for a shorter trip. But with a 2-hour recharge time, a spare battery pack should be carried for longer expeditions.

The Sonar Pro offers features like split-screen modes, GPS functions, weather forecasts, fishing notes, offline maps, social media sharing and more. You can hook it up to the computer at home and download data to your records. This is an amazing little fish finder that puts a lot of power in the hands of the bank or kayak fisherman for less than $200.

What we liked

  • Super light and pocket-sized portable
  • Long connection range
  • Feature-packed for the price

What we didn't like

  • Short battery life
  • Difficult to see fish in weedy conditions

3. Eyoyo Professional Fish Finder 

Eyoyo Professional Fish Finder

The Eyoyo Professional Fish Finder & Underwater Fishing Video Recorder is not the typical fish finder unit. We still wanted to include it in this review just because it is such a fun toy.

It is also an example of the amazing technology you can get for less than $200 bucks nowadays. The Eyoyo Underwater camera system is like something that would have only been available to scientists for thousands of dollars a few years ago. As the name indicates, this is not a sonar system.

It is a camera that gives you a real-time view of what is happening under the water. This makes it an ideal tool for ice fishing or any still fishing provided the water clarity is reasonable. It can also be used together with a sonar fish finder to observe how your bait presentations affect the fish, map bottom structure in detail, and record everything to view later on your computer.

The unit fits in a sturdy aluminum carrying case that is surprisingly small and light at about 4 by 3 inches and 4.5 lbs. It runs on a 12V DC rechargeable lithium battery power supply. Battery life is about 8-10 hours between charges depending how much you use the lights and the DVR function.

A fish-shaped HD camera drops into the water on over 150 feet of cable to send video of the marine environment up to the 7 inch color monitor. Your video footage and still snaps are stored on a 4GB SD card for later retrieval. This is the most entertaining fish finder in our review, and it is also good for other types of underwater inspection work besides chasing your favorite game fish.

What we liked

  • High capability at a low price
  • Fun to play with
  • Supports professional-style fishing strategies
  • Much cheaper than comparable fishing cameras

What we didn't like

  • Difficult to control the camera angle
  • Only works in clear water conditions

4. Garmin STRIKER 4cv Fishfinder

Garmin STRIKER 4cv Fishfinder

The Garmin STRIKER 4cv is a traditional-style boat-mounted fish finder that comes in at a light weight and a very compact form.

Of course, we all know that Garmin is the leader in GPS and location technology, and the STRIKER held up the Garmin reputation well. This is a tough and powerful little unit, with an IPX7 waterproofing rating.

It packs impressive power for its size with 500 watts cranking out resolution down to over 1700 feet in freshwater and 830 feet in saltwater. The unit easily fits in a jacket pocket when removed from the mounting plate. And we really liked how easy it was to remove the display for security or transport.

The transducer can be mounted on the transom or on a trolling motor, and accessory mounts let you expand mounting capabilities to fit a range of water craft. A sealed, rechargeable battery makes this Garmin portable and perfect for kayak, canoe, or ice fishing.

The STRIKER has nearly all the features we know from the larger Garmin models, including exceptionally accurate GPS marking and reliable boat speed readouts. Garmin CHIRP ClearVu sonar generates very detailed underwater views. We were pleased to be able to identify objects rather than just seeing red blobs.

A built-in flasher gives you a constant read on bottom depth while still fishing and works well for jig fishing. The tilt mount moves freely enough that you can always get a good look at the 3.5 inch color display. This also helps when you need to fight sun glare on the screen. The Garmin STRIKER offers high-end fish finder capabilities in a durable, portable package.

What we liked

  • Very high power for such a small unit
  • Good design on the display unit mount
  • Garmin reputation
  • Nice price point

What we didn't like

  • Screen size is on the small side
  • Mounting hardware could be beefed up a bit

5. Vexilar SP200 T-Box Fish Finder

Vexilar SP200 T-Box Fish Finder

If you want a light-weight, low-budget but high-function boat-mounted fish finder, the Vexilar T-Box is a good choice.

This is another smart phone or tablet-supported fish finder, and we do like the flexibility and capabilities of this type of fish finder. The T-Box system requires a twelve-volt power supply and consists of a transducer and a sending unit.

The transducer is mounted on your boat’s transom just like a traditional fish finder and can scan depths to 240 feet. With a bit of DIY engineering, the transducer could also be mounted on an accessory plate to allow the fish finder to be used on multiple boats. Internet or mobile data coverage is not needed to operate the T-Box.

The sending unit is small enough to tuck in anywhere in your boat, and broadcasts a hot spot that can be used by multiple devices. Users simply pair with the T-Box via an iOS or Android app that is available for free download.

The Vexilar has all the usual features found on high-end fish finders. The color display output gives you water temperature indication, audible target alarms, surface clarity readings and others. If you download Navionics boating maps onto your device, the T-Box split screen option will display maps and sonar images together. 

We liked the fact that 17 different language packages are available for this fish finder. Another nice touch is the neoprene arm band that keeps your phone safe and easily accessible at all times. The two-year parts and one-year battery warranties are also great. The Vexilar SP200 T-Box is a lot of fish finder for under $200, and it gets a thumbs-up from us.

What we liked

  • Features and power comparable to more expensive units
  • Multi-user capabilities
  • Good warranties
  • Great value to price ratio

What we didn't like

  • Be careful to shut it off or it will drain the boat battery
  • Transducer needs more angle adjustment range

6. HumminbirdPiranhaMax 197C Fish Finder

HumminbirdPiranhaMax 197C Fish Finder

The HumminbirdPiranhaMax 197C is a good basic or entry-level fish finder at a reasonable price. The dual-beam transducer produces clear and detailed images at 3 frequency settings. The down imaging feature gives you an incredibly realistic view of structure under your boat. T

he PiranhaMax can read depths up to 320 feet. Information is presented on a 3.5 inch color screen that is back-lit and easy to see even in bright sunlight. It can separate targets down to 2.5 inches in size, and has a fish ID feature to represent individual fish with icons.

This fish finder is simple and the interface is easy to learn and use. It has the basics: water temperature, depth, fish and depth alarms, and a zoom. The 197C does not have the bells and whistles of more expensive models. For example, GPS functions, charting and mapping, preset keys, or PC interface.

This fish finder also does not read boat speed, which was surprising considering that lower-priced models have speed indicators. But it does the job it was made to do rather well. The images are very crisp, and the down imaging capability is a high-end feature that we were pleased to see at this price level.

The transducer mount position is a bit awkward and the unit produces a spray of water at higher speeds. This may be an effect of particular transom shapes. Overall, this Humminbird is a good unit for the price. The down imaging feature makes it one of the best for kayak fishing applications.

What we liked

  • Clear and visible display
  • Down imaging
  • Four cone coverage settings
  • Easy to use

What we didn't like

  • No boat speed read out
  • Display mount looks weak
  • No PC data connection

7. Garmin STRIKER 4 Fish Finder

Garmin STRIKER 4 Fish Finder

If you would like to get into the quality and performance of a Garmin STRIKER at a little lower price range, consider the Garmin STRIKER 4 Fish Finder. It has the durable build and many of the features of its more expensive cousins.

The 3.5 inch color display, highly-accurate GPS and way-marking functions, built-in flasher, and boat speed indicator are all there. The charting and mapping software support and sharing capabilities are much the same.

The primary difference between the STRIKER 4 and the up-priced STRIKER 4 cv is in the transducer technology. The 4 cv model features the 500 watt CHIRP ClearVu setting while the STRIKER 4 puts out a 200 watt signal. However, upgraded transducer options are available for those willing to invest more down the line.

This Garmin is a fine fish finder for the money. The CHIRP technology sweeps frequencies from low to high and interprets the individual returns. This provides more information in the signal, allowing for very clear imaging and more detailed target separation. The durability of this unit is obvious. We really liked the slick mounting system, even though the base hardware could be a bit sturdier.

The range of motion is excellent, and the unit is easy to pop on and off. It is a nice kayak fish finder and it can certainly work in bigger boats as well. An optional portability kit is available to keep it clean and protected while you haul it around. Anything in the Garmin line is good, and this one of the best value fish finders in our review.

What we liked

  • Easy to learn and operate
  • Good mounting system
  • Garmin reputation and quality at a low price

What we didn't like

  • Small screen is hard on the eyes
  • Mounting hardware could be beefed up a bit

8. FishHunter Portable Fish Finder 3.0

FishHunter Portable Fish Finder 3.0

The FishHunter is a portable fish finder that comes in at the bottom of the price range for fish finders of this type.

App-powered and compatible with Android or iOS, the FishHunter reaches out with 200 feet of WiFi range and down with sonar to a depth of 160 feet. Very full-featured and powerful for its price, the FishHunter 3.0 is one of the most popular portable, castable fish finders out there.

The FishHunter app supports 5 different screen views including 3-D and ice fishing flasher settings. It also features a unique Directional Casting view that tells you exactly where to cast in relation to what the sonar is picking up. This is a very useful feature for bank fisherman, and it’s helpful for the kayak fisherman as well.

Another thing we liked was the mapping function, which lets you cast, drift, or troll the FishHunter over an area to build up a 3-D map of the bottom structure one 80-foot swath at a time. The maps can then be GPS tagged, stored on your device, and transferred to your PC. This is similar to functions found on boat-mounted units that cost hundreds more.

The FishHunter is a small device that easily fits in a tackle box or pocket. The military-grade seamless rubber construction gives great durability. The unit comes with a tether cord, charging cable, and a cigarette light USB charging adapter so you are ready to go right out of the box. In terms of features, the FishHunter is a good choice for a castable, super-portable fish finder.

What we liked

  • Many unique features
  • Durable seamless construction
  • 10-hour battery life
  • 3-D mapping function 

What we didn't like

  • No warranty

9. Lowrance Hook-3X Fish Finder

Lowrance Hook-3X Fish Finder

The Lowrance Hook-3X is another name brand fish finder that does everything it should at a bargain basement price.

The Hook-3X is made to order for the kayak fisherman because it is barely larger than a pack of cigarettes. It runs off 12V DC power, and we find that it draws very lightly even when running for hours on a compact sealed lead acid kayak fishing battery.

The high resolution color display is visible in bright sunlight and from a range of viewing angles. We did find ourselves wishing that the tilt mount offered a bit more back angle. For kayak use, careful selection of the mounting position should eliminate any problems. The display is very easy to remove when not in use.

Dual frequency operation at 83 or 200 kHz lets the unit produce wide or narrow conical coverage to adapt to the bottom structure and the type of fishing you are doing. The Skimmer transducer can provide accurate bottom tracking at speeds up to 75 mph. The transducer mounting hardware was not quite beefy enough in our view. That said, it is light and efficient for small-boat applications.

The unit itself is pretty easy to use, and comes with plenty of documentation to shorten the learning curve. The smaller operating buttons are tricky to use with gloves on and take some getting used to. We really liked the fish ID system that shows fish icons rather than the fish arches. Hook-3X is a value-priced fish finder that does a lot for the money and delivers the quality you would expect from Lowrance.

What we liked

  • High power and full features in a small package
  • Sturdy display mount
  • Trolling motor attachment included
  • Low price 

What we didn't like

  • Transducer mount is light-duty
  • Back tilt angle is limited
  • No PC data connection

10. Venterior Portable Fish Finder 

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

The Venterior Portable Fish Finder is the bare bones at the lowest price you will find. But it does the job of telling you how deep the water is, what the bottom is like, and if there are any fish down below.

The small, battery-operated display unit looks a lot like a hand-held radio. The floating transducer connects to the display unit with a 25-foot cable. Like other castable portable fish finders, you toss the transducer in the water.

But in this case, the transducer hangs down below a small float at a preset depth. The readings are sent back to agrey-scale LCD display that is backlit with a green LED and surprisingly readable in bright sunlight. The unit can read depths between 3 and over 300 feet. This is competitive with units that cost 3 times as much.

This affordable unit is perfect for the weekend fishermen to keep on hand in the tackle box for occasional use. It will work well as a basic ice fishing fish finder, but the batteries will need to be kept warm for good performance.

Use it when fishing off docks, let the kids play with it without fear, or carry it in the backpack on hikes. This unit has a high utility value forits price point, so it is worth considering if it fits your needs.

What we liked

  • Super-low price point
  • Very simple to use
  • Pocket-size

What we didn't like

  • Uses AA batteries
  • Difficult to throw the float very far out

Our Findings on Fish Finders

When you take a close look at the selection of the best fish finder under $200, it is easy to see that there is a pretty nice selection of feature-packed fish finders on the market. The units being built today are often quite similar in performance and build quality. In many cases, just one or two specialty functions or features set one fish finder apart from another that costs hundreds more. 

We were especially impressed by the new generations of app-driven WiFi connected fish finders. By harnessing the display quality of a smart phone or tablet, and the massive support for functions and modes that is available from an application, you get quite a powerful fish finder.

Take a closer look at some of these sub-$200 fish finders. Think about your style of fishing, the waters you frequent, and the type of boats you use. We are sure you will find a unit here that offers the performance and features needed to maximize your fishing experience. 

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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