Several expensive models of fish finders come with highly advanced-tech features. But trying to get cheap may lead you to a less advanced and older version of fish finders. Choosing a low-cost device is better for a beginner or learner. Why so? When you are at initial trials, you may damage the gadget while using it. So, choosing a costly device is never a wise decision, try choosing best fish finder under $500.
Similarly, professional anglers use technology gadgets but do not rely completely on fish-finding tools. It is the skills and experience that help you catch a big fish. So, we have listed out the best fish finder under $500. Have a look at the following:
Our Top Picks:
|Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv
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|Humminbird Helix 5
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|Lowrance Hook Reveal 7-inch
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|Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv
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|Humminbird Helix 7
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|Simrad Cruise 7-7 inch Fish Finder
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Top 6 Best Fish Finder Under $500 Reviews
1. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv
- It features built-in Quickdraw mapping to facilitate the user amazingly.
- Wi-fi and mobile phone compatibility make it a favorite for users.
- It is a portable and easy-to-use fish finder.
- The screen size is large enough to view every structure in detail.
- Its Chirp sonar is highly sensitive and advanced.
- The side Vu scanning feature requires a compatible transducer separately.
- Due to continuous scanning, the battery capacity may get lower.
Garmin is a reliable name in the world of fish finder devices. So, you can purchase its low-cost devices also without any hesitation. Garmin Striker fish finder only comes with a control head, so you have to arrange a compatible transducer. Garmin striker displays a 7-inch colored screen that uses vivid scanning to detect the water structures.
Striker Vivid 7sv uses Clear Vu and side Vu scanning. You can mark the waypoints comfortably with its highly sensitive GPS feature.
Further, a Wi-Fi connection enhances the compatibility and sharing of the device. You can instantly get connected with the ActiveCaptain app and save all data and fishing points on the Cloud platform. Further, you can receive smart notifications regarding maps and targets on your smartphone. It is an amazing feature.
Finally, the package includes Striker Vivid 7sv control head, power cable, 12-pin to dual-4-pin transducer adapter cable, tilt/ swivel mount, hardware, and bumper sticker. It is ideal to get GPS connectivity with a sensitive side scanning feature in a low-cost fish finder.
2. Humminbird Helix 5
- GPS and Marine Basemap have made tracking and waypoint exploring easier.
- Keypad control gives you quick access to the menu and custom settings.
- The user-friendly interface allows the user to navigate AutoLive charts, built-in maps, and much more comfortably.
- Dual-spectrum sonar CHIRP increases the efficiency and accuracy of the reading.
- The more features you use at one time, the sooner the battery capacity may end.
- Voltage may differ if use away from US states.
The Humminbird Helix series is ideal to move on with excitement and motivation. It will help you explore new fishing spots and your favorite ones where you can enjoy several bigger targets. Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp sonar carries an outstanding display with HD-quality images. The 5-inch screen size is enough to work with Live built-in Autochart, Basemap, and GPS navigation.
Another interesting element is the user-friendly interface. The keypad control gives you access to the menu system and custom settings.
Further, Dual spectrum Chirp allows 2-D sonar. You can scan and view images in high frequency and low frequency. When you require a wide angle, use high beams to get nearer imaging details while for minor details go o with narrow beams. Built-in GPS and Basemap allow you to explore densely populated fishing spots.
You can navigate and mark the specific area with the AutoLive chart. Save the desired maps and charts and revisit your favorite holiday points.
3. Lowrance Hook Reveal 7-inch Fish finder
- Tripleshot transducer focuses on high-resolution images with Sidescanning and down scanning.
- The screen size is large enough to view the fish structure and other details.
- It is a portable and easy-to-use device.
- Lowrance fish finder can work best in bright daylight also.
- There are no pre-loaded maps or mapping features available.
- GPS plotter may cause issues while moving the boat at a higher speed.
The Lowrance Hook Reveal model offers the best display with a 7-inch screen. It can help you see in bright daylight as well. So, you can get high-resolution images in bright and dim daylight. The performance of Sonar CHIRP is appreciatable. You will find it highly sensitive in Downscan and Sidescans.
Further, anglers who require detailed and wider Sonar from the single transducer will like this model. With a sidescan, you can better know the fishes roaming around the boat. Moreover, the downscan is ideal to identify the rocky structures, humps, and much more under the boat.
GPS plotter works to create new water routes and lead you to the best directions. Finally, autotuning sonar is an appealing element of the fish finder. You need not waste your time customizing the settings. Now, you can focus on the fishing activity as Autotuning sonar adjusts the fish finder automatically.
4. Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv
Best GPS Fish Finder Under $500
- Equipped with all accessories nothing to buy additional.
- Proloaded Garmin Quickdraw Contours mapping software
- Enables you to share your waypoints with other garmin devices
- It is a compatible device that can save and share data with other devices.
- The user-friendly interface makes operating easier and quicker.
- Built-in mapping and blue chart g3 are ideal to move on in desired directions.
- CHIRP traditional sonar works with CHIRP ClearVu.
- It is easier to carry it anywhere.
- The images are of not high resolution.
- No wi-fi connectivity is available.
Garmin ECHOMAP Plus with a 4.3-inch screen display is easier to use. Keypad control gives quick access to the menu system. The screen display is readable under daylight.
It comes with a transom and trolling mount. Traditional CHIRP Sonar Plus Chirp Clear VU scanning allows the users to perform best in shallow waters. Further, Built-in Quickdraw contour mapping creates new fishing maps. The software of the Quickdraw mapping is efficient and fastest to operate.
Well, can you imagine preloaded BlueChart g3 Charts at such a low cost? Yes, it is there inside. It is super amazing to have this advanced mapping with coastal US Navionics data. The device has made sharing easier with other ECHOMAP or Striker devices.
5. Humminbird Helix 7
- Ethernet networking enhances the compatibility of Helix 7 with other fish finders.
- SwitchFireSonar allows two displays. You can personalize the display setting.
- The 7-inch screen is larger enough to have visible imaging and other details.
- Dual-spectrum CHIRP scans narrow and wide-angle imaging.
- It lacks preloaded mapping and GPS connectivity.
- There is no Bluetooth connectivity.
Like other Humminbird Helix series, this latest Helix 7 fish finder provides an amazing colored display with 7 inches screen. You can connect with different fishfinders using Ethernet networking.
Talking about Dual-Spectrum Sonar CHIRP allows well-defined fish and water objects. You can detect and differentiate between a fish and other aquatic animals easily.
SwitchFire sonar controls the reflection back of the sonar beams. You can switch between two display modes customizing the water depth, temperature, and other displays.
On the whole, Humminbird Helix 7 is loaded with advanced tools to locate fish. Further, it also has an upgradation option of add-on technologies i.e. Minn Kota i-Pilot Link, 360 imaging, and CHIRP radar.
6. Simrad Cruise 7-7 inch fish finder
- Preloaded maps and chart plotters are superb for navigating on-spot data.
- It is easy to use and navigate.
- You can detect water depth and fish location automatically with the CHIRP Sonar transducer.
- It is a handheld, comfortable device.
- The keypad and rotating dial facilitate the users to switch between different menus.
- There is no live GPS tracking.
- Battery capacity may end sooner by using more features at one time.
Simrad Cruise is a simply elegant device that allows efficient navigation and route tracking. The keypad control and rotating button give quick access to the temperature, depth, mapping, and navigation settings.
Well, it comes with pre-loaded coastal maps of the US. So, Simrad Cruise makes you ready to move instantly. No need to download new locations or spend extra time navigating new fishing spots. Preloaded maps and charts make it easier for you while you go on the water routes. Further, it enhances your experience with C-Maps and Navionics data.
Finally, under $500, it is an amazing fish finder that comes with a high-resolution screen display of 7 inches.
Tips For choosing the best fish finder under $500 – Buying guide
People often set a budget before buying any tech device. A fishing trip may cost you higher than other holiday trips. So, it is necessary to think economically before planning a fishing activity. Are you thinking of purchasing a new fish finder? If yes, this guide will describe to you how to choose the cheaper fish finder intellectually.
Remember, being cheaper does not mean that you have to compromise on quality. Many expensive and high-quality devices have more luxury features than necessary ones. One of the purposes of expensive fishfinders is to increase the users’ comfort level. However, Here are some features listed that you need to consider before placing an order.
Sonar is the most premium feature of a fish finder. What is sonar? Sonar – sound navigation and Ranging – is a process of propagating sound waves or energy in the water, and as sonar beams or waves reflect, the water depth is measured. It is also an important way to communicate under the water.
Today, Fishfinders use different types of sonar technology. We have listed the most common sonar types that you can find in the best fishfinder under $500.
CHIRP – Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse is a powerful fishfinding sonar. It works with various low-beam frequencies to locate the fish and track the bottom of the water. Since its invention, Chirp has replaced the 2-D sonar or ultrasound waves.
CHIRP sonar releases different types of frequencies and sends constant signals in the water to get better imaging output. If you want to see in the shallow water, it is better to keep the frequency higher to expand your view around the boat. So, high Chirp Sonar can help you catch a big deal that is roaming around your boat.
On the other hand, a low chirp sonar or low-frequency beams are used to see deep in water. It brings scans from the bottom of the water and helps you to see vegetation, weeds, fish, and other aquatic organisms. Luckily, several portable and low-cost fishfinders use high-quality Chirp Sonar. Though many other features are skipped to keep the cost of the fish finder low, it is satisfactory to have quality sonar CHiRP.
Fish finder users often like to upgrade the device by choosing premium fish finders for the best down imaging. The higher tech you search for, the more money you need to spend.
Down imaging helps the users to identify and differentiate the structures, water objects, and organisms in depth. As compared to CHIRP sonar, CHIRP brings only a colored palette. To view this in detail, a down imaging scan is necessary. A down imaging scan is used for deep waters where low-frequency or narrow beams are sent to get an accurate reading. Many fish finders from popular brands come with the down imaging scan.
If you search for the best fish finder under $500, you will be surprised to see that majority of the big names have been offering this feature in the device. It undoubtedly increases the demand and worth of the fish finder.
Another important feature that you should search for is side scanning. It will work best if you love to row in shallow waters. Side imaging uses high-frequency waves to scan what is in front and behind the boat. Some fishing spots like lakes, streams, and rivers often have fish on the top surface of the water. So you need not use a device with down imaging.
Shore or dock anglers prefer side imaging as you can scan up to 400 feet around the fishing area. So, it is an amazing depth. However, fishing in saltwater or oceans may not be helpful with such a device.
GPS and Mapping
Those who have been using older versions of fishfinders are often unknown of the GPS tracking of fish finders. Yes, it is an amazing feature that helps the user identify and revisit different locations.
Bigger brands of fish finders like Garmin, Humminbird, and others have been using GPS tracking and built-in maps in their devices. The goal is to facilitate the users in the best manner. GPS trackers navigate new locations and identify and save them.
Built-in mapping or real-time mapping allows the users to search for new fish spots and explore newer targets. You can find GPS connectivity in the following ways:
Garmin fish finders come with Marine Basemaps along with chart plotters. What is a marine Basemap? It includes maps of streams, lakes, oceans, and rivers under 100 feet. Garmin covers thousands of lakes and streams in the United States with maps of airports, urban areas, and other major landmarks nearby.
What are the benefits of Marine Basemap and chart plotting? It facilitates the user by tracking and recording the map’s location. You can mark different points where you have caught more fish and want to revisit. Further, you can also mark the next fishing spots that you missed and want to go on in next time. Garmin adjoints the Marine Basemap with Navionics data. However, not all fish finder brands add this feature to the devices.
BlueChart mapping and plotting is an expensive technique. It is designed for saltwater mapping. But you will find rare devices that offer the downloading of certain coastal areas. It is highly expensive and may cost you more than $300 to cover a lake in a single state of the US.
It is available on the devices as an upgrade if you wish. For freshwater, streams, lakes, and river fishing, you may not need it. But offshore anglers can avail of it as a bonus feature. If you are a professional fisherman of saltwater, you should have this investment. You will earn great by using this technology. It will navigate you to different densely populated fishing spots.
To sum up, you cannot get this technology from low-cost fishing gadgets. Of course, you have many other worthy options under a limited budget.
Unlike Basemap, LakeVu is an active GPS technology that offers you depth range shading, active maps, and an auto-guidance feature as well. Further, you can install Activa Captainapp and work in collaboration with the app to get access to the data and save it on the cloud. You can access the saved maps and locations anytime and from any device with the app.
LakeVu covers nearly 18,00 lakes in the United States. It is the ideal tool for freshwater or lake anglers to move on.
Display and Screen
The display is the primary feature that everyone sees at first sight. The screen size and screen resolution matter when you need a detailed view of underwater objects.
Those who suffer from sight impairment may prefer a bigger screen size. Usually, screen sizes are available from 2.7 inches to 12 inches or more. But if you need the best fish finder under dollar 500, you can get only a 2.7 to 7 inches screen. But it is better to buy a screen size ranging from 3 to 4 inches at least. Further, you can get a standard size in smaller fish gadgets.
Some people have no issue with shorter screen sizes, while others consider it important due to visibility issues. If you have been purchasing a bigger screen size in your budget, the fish finder manufacturer might have skipped many other features to keep it economical.
The screen resolution matters to a greater extent. It reveals a clearer picture of the targetted area. The higher resolution means the more details you can view. In a budget-friendly device, you can get 800 × 480 pixels of the screen. It is a standard resolution.
However, many low-cost devices may offer HD quality resolution (though it is not High Definition screen), but it provides better quality. Never compromise on screen resolution, as poor screen resolution may distort the images, and you may not accurately assess the target’s details.
If you need a low-cost fish finder, it never means that you buy a traditional or outdated tech gadget. For under $500, you can avail several trending and popular brands of fish finders. However, getting all the hi-tech features in a low-cost device may not be possible. If you have a high-quality Chirp sonar with down imaging, it may lack GPS connectivity and compatibility with other devices. You may not find sharing and saving data in the desired fish finder. On the whole, compromising the price also needs to compromise some features. This guide will surely help you to get a handy device with super quality.
To sum up, gadgets and tech devices may fail if you lack fishing skills. A fish finder is of no use if you do not know how to tackle the situation by having a target in hand. Fortunately, Humminbird, Garmin, and Lowrance have also manufactured premium fish finders with GPS connectivity, mapping, and attractive display features.
The devices with GPS connectivity, preloaded Basemaps, and chart plotting are ideal. It is amazing to get these premium features for under $500. Further, another way to get the best fish finder under a low budget is to access renewed products. But there is no guarantee of the functioning of renewed fish finders. So, it is better to go on with the new fish gadgets with minimum fishing tools.
Choose the fish finder according to water depth, water quality, and fishing location. Further, make sure that the desired fish finder fulfills the requirement of your fishing trip. On the whole, you can work best with a low-cost fish finder. But you should have trust in your fishing skills. Hope this buying guide of best fish finder under $500 will help you get the best option for the next Christmas fishing trip.