Which Is The Best Fish Finder Under 200 in 2018? A Review of 10 Popular Models
Nothing feels as good as heading out for an expedition assured of catching more fish. Fortunately, you don’t require decades of experience to achieve that feat. A good starting point rests with the best fish finder under 200. Although that’s a pretty low price-tag, the good news is that you can still find something of value. Let us explore ten such units in order to understand which one works best.
Table of Contents
- Which Is The Best Fish Finder Under 200 in 2018? A Review of 10 Popular Models
- Best Fish Finder Under 200 in the Market - Comparison Chart
- 1. Garmin Striker 4 with Built-In GPS Fish Finder (010-01550-00)
- 2. Raymarine Dragonfly 4DV Sonar
- 3. Hummingbird 409690-1 PirahnaMax Color Fish Finder
- 4. Garmin Striker 4CV with Transducer (010-01806-00)
- 5. Fishingsir Wireless Portable Fish Finder
- 6. Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook 3X Sonar
- 7. Vexilar SSP200 T-Box Fish Finder
- 8. iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder
- 9. Garmin 010-01806-00 STRIKER 43cv with Transducer
- 10. Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder
- Buying Guide
- Best Fish Finder Under 200 in the Market - Comparison Chart
Best Fish Finder Under 200 in the Market - Comparison Chart
3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches
13.78 x 13.78 x 13.78 in
8 x 16 x 12.3 inches
3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches
9.4 x 3.1 x 4.7 inches
3.8 x 1.9 x 6.5 inches
7.2 x 3.8 x 5.8 inches
2 x 2 x 1 inches
4 x 1.8 x 6.6 inches
4.7 x 1.2 x 3.2 inches
1. Garmin Striker 4 with Built-In GPS Fish Finder (010-01550-00)
Ranked among the best-selling fish finders on Amazon this unit provides a host of interesting features. It has a 3.5 inch color screen which makes it easier to locate hot spots. The package further comes with a practical keypad. This Garmin fish finder has 6 keypads one of which allows you to browse around and zoom in. Besides, the system provides enhanced scaling graphics. If well used, these can improve imagery especially when one is switching between depth and range scales.
Another interesting feature with this unit is history rewind capacity. You will need this feature in order to scroll through past images. Want to mark waypoints that you may have initially missed? Garmin 010-01550-00 promises to provide you with such flexibility.This unit comes with a GPS feature that has been ranked top among its users. The beauty about this capability is that it enables you to easily locate your ideal fishing spots. You can profit from this as it reduces the amount of time you need to navigate around. And in case you are worried about sharp arches, this unit has CHIRP traditional sonar. This CHIRP capability provides you with clear images of anything in the water below you.
The fish finder even gives you the capability to use a split screen. This is the kind of screen you need so you can scan two waypoints on your map. You can take advantage of this functionality to build a customized view as well.
2. Raymarine Dragonfly 4DV Sonar
At first sight, this fish finder looks like a cheap, low quality piece. A closer look at it however reveals a different story altogether. The Dragon 5 from Raymarine is home to some premium features. For instance, it comes with a much-needed anti-fog feature complete with a backlit. If you have been out there fishing during foggy days you can imagine how this feature can get. This fish finder provides you with an LED display. Although this does not look anything close to what you’ll come across amongst $2000 fish finders, it still does a good job. The display is fused for crisp colors and it allows you to view wide angles.
Another feature that makes Dragonfly worth checking out is its wide-spectrum CHIRP sonar. And that’s not all, because there is DownVision technology which allows you to view what’s beneath your boat. Its internal memory, though limited, can be backed up by a memory card. Fortunately, the Raymarine has a MicroSD slot ready.
Is that all? Of course no. This fish finder provides optically bonded sharp color. That way, you can capture high quality images with no strain. With lighthouse format charts and chartplotter features, there is a lot in it for you to uncover.
High definition display
Improved deep water resolution
Does not relay information on time or max speed
Not capable of plotting trips
3. Hummingbird 409690-1 PirahnaMax Color Fish Finder
Based on various reviews we’ve come across, the 409690-1 looks like a model that can improve your fishing experience for cheap. Its ability to display fish locations is above-average. What’s more? It is packed with wide variety of features, offering good value for money. But what matters is performance. Fortunately, this unit does not disappoint in that regard either. It comes with a dual beam transducer for easy fishing especially in shallow waters.
While it’s expected for a fish finder to be water-proof, some cheap ones are not. It’s therefore good to note that the Hummingbird 409690-1 enjoys IPX7 waterproof rating. This is the kind of assurance you need when stepping out during a rainy season. High waves will not have to worry you either.
When all is said and done, this unit seems like an intelligent choice to settle for. It can be a perfect fit for any beginner, first-time users or even experienced ones. It is the kind of finder you go for if you don’t want to ruin your budget. And its specs are not as bad either. You get a tilt-mount base alongside 320 feet depth capabilities. In addition, you get 600 ft imaging when using the dual beam. And that’s not all, there are fish alarms, zoom features, fish ID+ and depth alarms. So you get astonishing clarity no matter the conditions. And best of all, this 2.5 pound fish finder doesn’t require a fortune to acquire.
Easy to use interface
Easy to mount features
Incredible clarity thanks to 197C DI Sonar
The screen could have been larger
Not as powerful as its advanced counterparts
4. Garmin Striker 4CV with Transducer (010-01806-00)
Garmin 4CV is one of the newer versions of the STRIKER series that come with ClearVu technology. This unit provides you with a 3.5 inch color screen with CHIRP sonar. It also has a high-sensitivity GPS which makes it easy to mark hot spots. Besides the hot spots you can also make the ramps and docks for a stress-free return trip. Garmin 4CV also contains a built-in flasher which also displays speed. Complete with tilt-and-swivel mount, this unit can easily be mounted on the dash of your boat.
One major selling point of this fish finder is that it has ClearVu technology. But what on earth is ClearVu? Well, this is patented technology that boosts clarity. Even when you are navigating over shrubbery and stumps, the view isn’t just indistinct bumps and red colored blogs. You are able to view real, recognizable objects. That’s the beauty of ClearVu technology.
You can therefore zoom in to submerged objects and explore the underworld much easily. Best of all, you get a clear view of fish. One interesting thing about this fish finder is that it is quite easy to operate. It has dedicated buttons alongside mounting gear for improved user experience.
Its display goes well beyond the basics. You can access valuable details such as GPS heading, GPS speed, bearing, distance to next and even off-course data. Another interesting thing is that you can even check your boat speed right from the screen. What’s more, you can track trolling speeds for fish species and specific lures.
Yet another unique thing about this finder is that it comes with a transducer (using 77/200 kHz). Its waypoint map makes it easy to navigate. This system sweeps through low and high frequencies interpreting them separately. It does not limit you to a single frequency. This of course goes a long way in helping you take control and even improve your catches.
Garmin by itself is a company with an attractive track record. They have been in this business for quite a number of years now and their ability to utilize GPS technology is quite something. Save for the otherwise limited screen area, Garmin Striker 4CV is a piece of mastery.
Improved screen clarity
Easy-to-use thanks to dedicated buttons
Mounting software and cables are provided
Incredible GPS functionality
Limited screen size
Requires a bit of patience to understand all its settings
5. Fishingsir Wireless Portable Fish Finder
This is one of those Fish Finders one is likely to dismiss at first glance. From a distance, Fishingsir Wireless looks like a cheap toy that can only be used in a pond. However, its reviews speak otherwise. In fact, majority of its users admit they were surprised by how effective this unit is.
For starters, it has a wide variety of settings and scrolling options. While that may sound like a big turn-off to newbies, the fish finder’s use friendliness overrides all expectations. The buttons and screen are well laid out and easy to grasp. And in case you get confused along the way, you simply press the Escape key and you’re taken back to the home screen. The user manual comes in handy – and if you are dedicated to learning, then understanding how to operate this Fish Finder should not worry you at all.
Next up is its charging system. Unlike other units that come with all manner of cabling and requirements, this one uses a simple USB charging system. You simply plug it in and wait for 3 hours for a full recharge.
The Fishingsir Wireless Portable Fish Finder is full of surprises. For instance, it comes with a tie-the-ball sonar transducer. This is special in that you only need to tie it to your fishing rod and cast it to the area you want to scout. Thanks to its advanced screen, you can easily scan the underwater in real time.
Besides tracking marine life, this unit also tracks water temperature and depth. And you don’t have to worry about water damage because this unit comes with IP67 water proof features.
Perfect for small boats or kayaks
Offers a multilingual menu
Easy-to-follow instruction manual
Highly effective in locating prime fishing spots
Has a relatively weak battery that doesn’t hold onto charge for long
Can be a little confusing for a beginner to operate
Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook 3X Sonar
This Lowrance fish finder is way better than just dropping your fishing life anywhere hoping to catch fish. Of course it is not a super high-end kind of thing but it certainly offers some good features. For example it comes with a 3-inch LED backlit screen. The screen offers detailed resolution and although it could be bigger and better we certainly think it’s worth its under $100 price tag. Because it is backlit, it means you can easily read the details from every angle irrespective of the position of the sun.
One little feature that makes this among the best fish finders in the market is the advanced signal processing functionality. This completely does away with the need for manual adjustments. It makes it a tad easier to analyze details as you focus on controlling the boat. To make sure you are not shooting in the dark, the fish finder comes with a broadband sounder. The sounders detail easily pinpoints key targets, detail and even bottom contour for you.
For easy operation, this unit comes with dedicated quick keys which help you zoom in to your target for up to four times. The finder operates on dual-frequency of between 83 kHz and 200kHz which helps maximize the view beneath. One unique thing about 83 kHz operability is that allows you to explore a maximum of 60 degrees in conical coverage. The 200kHz on the other hand allows you to scout a maximum of 20 degrees conical coverage.
Large display area thanks to 60 deg conical coverage
Tracks changes in water temperature
LED backlit screen
Easy to useGood value for money
Its wiring harness is a little too short
7. Vexilar SSP200 T-Box Fish Finder
This is a hybrid system as it offers both portable and fixed functionalities. Recommended for small boats, the T-Box comes with a transducer, which is equipped with a wireless module. This module is connected to your phone through an app, which means you can track everything right from the palm of your hand. The only issue here is that it only works when connected to a 12-volt power supply. So you will need to fit your kayak with a source of power to keep this unit working.
At a price that is well below the $200 mark, you get a unit with a dedicated transducer. What that means is that you can transmit images to pretty much any screen. So screen size is not an issue here. Want a big screen, then you simply need to connect it with your tablet screen. There is really no limit to the screen size you can use.
This fish finder operates on 200kHz dual beam which allows you to scout a conical area of up to 40 degrees. For deeper views, this unit allows to analyze depths of 240 feet in fresh water. That’s obviously more than enough for a beginner.
We really like the fact that this unit is highly accurate. Its transducer works like just any other unit you would find in pricier models. When all is said and done, the Vexilar SP200 provides good value for money. You can even use it with a 10 inch iPad screen. If you were to opt to buy any other fish finder with a 10 inch screen, you would have to spend at least $1,000. So this unit really provides good value for money.
Uses patented WiFi signal to transmit live signal to your device
Cell phone network coverage not needed to operate
Free app available for iOS and Android systems
Easy to use
Requires to be connected to a 12 volt power source which means spending more on setting up one in kayak.
8. iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder
Small is the new big in the world of fish finders nowadays. The iBobber, is small and petite but wait until you discover that it can any screen size. To start with, this fish finder is app based. This app typically transforms your mobile/tablet screen into a Sonar screen. You therefore get the freedom to scout for fish at the comfort of a screen you’re familiar with. This does not happen with normal fish finders. It’s only a preserve of smart and technologically advanced fish finders like the iBobber.
The GPS enabled unit allows you to capture hot spots and even save them for another day. Want to find your way back home? This finders highly sensitive GPS is there to guide you. And that’s not all, this app has an inbuilt capacity to supply you with a lunar calendar. If you are a beginner angler, this calendar will come in handy in helping you track important fish data.
That’s not all, the iBobber gives readings of up to 135 feet deep which is absolutely not too shabby for something this petite. Price-wise, this fish finder is relatively cheap. An equivalent, normal-sized fish finder would require you to cough out in excess of $500. That’s the beauty of introducing smart devices into the mix.
Amazing connectivity with smartphone irrespective of carrier network status
Can be used anywhere in the world
Easy to set up and use
Good value for money
Small qualms with the otherwise perfect fish finder would be that it is not exactly water proof. You would need to purchase a separate cover for that.
9. Garmin 010-01806-00 STRIKER 43cv with Transducer
If you’re looking for more flexibility, then the 43cv is just what you need. Built with enhanced CHIRP sonar technology, this unit provides high screen resolution. Its ClearVu functionality has a capacity of 1750ft which you will agree is quite deep.
To back this up is a high resolution backlit screen which operates on 480H x 320V pixel resolution. Moreover, the unit operates within the frequencies of 77kHz and 200kHz. The former provides up to 45 degrees conical view while the latter provides 15 degrees. Of course, that range of view is much less than some of the units we’ve seen here. But all in all, 45 degrees is quite wide – and probably just enough to get you started. The Garmin 43cv runs on a 5Hz internal GPS which makes it easier to plot maps and set locations.
Besides that, it comes with advanced transducer with incorporated temperature sensor. That means you can explore the waters with a bit more data. More data means more confidence and greater chances of large catches.
Admittedly, this is a very small unit. However, given its depth capabilities, you can’t help but admire its performance. What’s more, it has incredible speed scanning abilities. Use it in calm waters and you should be able to track great depths even when cruising at 30MPH. For optimum readings, though, it’s recommended to use it at a maximum of 6 MPH.
Last but definitely not least, this unit enjoys an IPX7 waterproof rating. That’s to say it can handle splashes, rains or even immersions of up to 1 meter.
Great display resolution
Wide viewing range
Accurate internal GPS
Easy to set up and use
Small screen size
Manual is a little difficult to make sense of
10. Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder
It is normally difficult to get a good dependable fish finder under two hundred bucks but Signstek is quite different. Running on a 2.8 inch color display, this unit is equipped with LED backlight screen. This is pretty easy to read both at night and even in direct sunlight. Best of all, the screen operates on V240XH160 resolution. This is enough to satisfy even the pickiest angler out there.
The Signstek FF-003 receives data when the power is off. Its sonar sensor needs to be cast from the boat or rock and the fish finder is good to go. As far as brand reputation is concerned, Singstek have built a good name for themselves. The manufacturer is renowned for offering good customer support. Their track record of producing quality marine electronics is certainly beyond reproach.
Considering the amount of thumbs ups it has received, it might be worth trying it. In fact, anyone can use this unit irrespective of experience. Thanks to its easy operation, you can easily turn it on, cast out the sonar sensor and you’re on the move.
Incredible sensitivity levels
High-tech LED front light display showing up to 512 colors
Good customer support
The manufacturer could have provided better directions
Small screen with limited color options
Technology and modern-day fishing are like Siamese twins. It’s almost impossible to separate the two. When it comes to fish finders, identifying one that is capable of delivering the best results is key. With factors like budget and level of experience, it is important to search further. Talking about budget, the best fish finder under 200 could mark a good starting point. But is price the only factor to consider? We delve deeper.
It’s recommended to go for higher frequencies like 200 kHz when operating in shallow water. However, if fishing in deep waters then 50 kHz would work best. What you need to know is that, the higher the frequency, the more details will show up on the screen.
Since anglers operate outdoors most of the time, it's crucial to consider the power options offered. Units with high wattage are known to be faster. Those with lesser wattage tend to be slower and are recommended for shallower water. As a general rule, the shallower the water gets, the lesser the wattage you’ll need.
The pixels your screen displays is an important factor worth considering. Usually, the more the pixels, the greater the detail you get to see. Avoid going for units with less than 240x160 pixels. Anything below that tends to be blocky and vague. Remember, the higher the pixels, the better the resolution. That also means sharper, crisper images.
B/W Vs Color Screens
Black and white screens are still available. However, you should only go for them if you’re operating on a really tight budget. On the other hand color screens allow for greater detail. Such a screen would make it easier for you to differentiate fish from other underwater objects. Quite frankly, color screens make it easier to see and understand what’s going on.
A transducer is a unit that encodes and decodes sonar waves. A well-to-do transducer is one that translates signals into pictures we can understand. Fortunately, most well made fish finders come with transducers out of the box.
It is important to go for a cone angle that allows for a wide beam to be illuminated right to the bottom of the water. A cone angle of 20 degrees or thereabout would be enough for a beginner. However, as one advances, it’s recommended to go for 60 degrees. What you need to know is that the wider the degree, the larger the area under cover. That could also translate to more catches as well as less effort on the anglers part.
Considering all the facts, it’s nearly impossible to pick the best fish finder under 200. It seems like most manufacturers have really upped their game. With the entry of smart fish finders, the stakes have only gotten higher. That said, Garmin Striker 4 still rules the charts. It's backed by numerous positive reviews edging rivals to rank as Amazon Bestseller. While it is not perfect, we like the fact that it has a highly effective GPS, CHIRP sonar and scaling graphics. We'd recommend trying it particularly if you're looking for a customizable fish finder.