A portable fish finder can be a helpful tool whether you like to fish below the ice, with a jig, from a boat, or from the shore. The older style of wired fish finders have to be attached to a motor boat’s electrical system to work, but new wireless fish finders can be taken anywhere. However, it’s hard to page through portable fish finder reviews yourself and keep track of all features as you go, so our research team tested out two dozen new and bestselling handheld fish finders to select the best fish finder models with a range of features and prices. We checked each fish finder for accuracy by reading the same area multiple times, and actually managed to catch a few fish ourselves! Whether you’re looking for the best fish finder GPS combo or a simple fish finder that can tell you the depth and temperature of the water, they can all be found on this list. A fish finder is an easy way to help you up your fishing game even if fishing is a hobby rather than a lifestyle. Before reading the fish finder reviews below, check out these handy specs to pay attention to when shopping. These features tell you a lot about each portable fish finder.
Wireless - Traditional portable fish finders wire into an existing electrical system and draw power from your boat to operate. Wired fish finders tend to be cheaper, but wireless models are more portable and convenient. Some use AAA batteries, while others are rechargeable. If you like to fish by kayak or on the shore, a wireless fish finder is the best option, since you don’t have to plug it into anything.
Built In GPS - A GPS fish finder combo allows you to map and keep track of good fishing spots and ones to avoid. The best GPS fish finder models combine satellite data with other mapping methods so you can easily find areas that are clear of tangling weeds and debris and full of fish again and again. If you want to be able to find the same jackpot area on your next trip, a handheld fish finder with GPS is a good choice.
Maximum Depth - Most fish finders can measure depths of up to 100 meters, or about 328 feet. Depth may not be as much of an issue for you if you tend to fish in shallow waters, but if you fish in the ocean or deep lakes and rivers, having a maximum depth of 100 meters or more can be crucial to finding your next big catch. Fish finders have the best depth sensing in freshwater since salt water decreases the effectiveness of sonar.
Color LCD - A color LCD display is a great feature for mapping debris and bottom composition as well as potential fish. Most simpler and cheaper fish finders have a black and white LCD screen and don’t provide as much information. A few fish finders transmit data in full color directly to your smartphone and can provide even more detail than a handheld fish finder with a color LCD screen.
Dimensions - If you want a handheld fish finder that can actually be held comfortably in your hand, dimensions are an important spec! The size of the product can also impact how easy it is to mount. If you like to fish from a kayak or other small watercraft, you may prefer a small fish finder - but smaller ones can also have fewer features unless they transmit data to your smartphone like a few on our list.
Weight - Most of the portable fish finder reviews on our list are for models around a pound or less. If you like to fish in remote areas or off a kayak, a small and lightweight fish finder is a good choice. Heavier models tend to have larger screens and more features but are better for installing on a motorboat than toting with you across the ice or out to a hidden lake. It’s a tradeoff, so pick the one that fits your personal requirements.
For this review, we tested many fish finders and selected the ten best. Some are simple devices that use icons to show the locations of fish, weeds, and rocks, while others offer colorful maps and can even send detailed sonar data directly to your smartphone. Whether you’re a pro angler or just like to take your fishing pole with you for some fun, you can find a great fish finder for your needs on this list. You’ll be hooked!