Best Fish Finders Under $1000 in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Going back home, empty-handed after a fishing trip, is such a disappointment. And even if you do return with some fish, I believe that the process was pretty hectic that you don’t think you want to repeat. This is where the awesomeness of owning a fish finder makes its appearance.

If you need to invest in a fish finder without paying more than $1000, you can do that as there are a lot of amazing fish finders that come under the $1000 range. Moreover, they offer you a lot of breathtaking features.

For example, some are equipped with an in-built GPS that allows you to mark waypoints as well as your most fruitful fishing spots to return to them later. I find this feature pretty beneficial as it helps the fishers find the fantastic places without having to waste some time on each fishing trip just searching for good fishing spots.

What is also great is the CHIRP Sonar technology that helps you get clear and detailed images of the underwater community. As for the depth, you will have the option of choosing from various fish finders with different depths ranges.

If you read what we have to say, you won’t only find information that would eventually lead you to the best fish finder under $1000, but you will also find a small buying guide as well as our recommendations.

List of the Best Fish Finders Under $1000: 

  • Lowrance HOOK 2 9 – Best Overall
  • Garmin Striker 4 – Runner Up
  • Simrad GO9 XSE – Best Fish Finder Featuring an Autopilot
  • Humminbird Helix 7 – Best Fish Finder with Three Sonar Types
  • HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Best for Featuring a 20-Hour Battery
  • Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI – Best Fish Finder with a Water Temperature Sensor

Top Picks:

Fish Finder 

Weight Dimensions Resolution Screen size Depth Frequency 

Lowrance HOOK 2 9

5.65 lbs. 18 x 10 x 6-in.800 x 4809-in.

200 KHz

Garmin Striker 4

8 ounces 3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9-in. 480 x 3203.5-in.1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet, saltwater 

50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)

Simrad GO9 XSE

6 lbs. 13 x 10 x 9-in.800 x 480 9-in.1000′  

500′  

300′  

100′  

Sidescan: 300′

CHIRP (mid/high)

83/200 kHz+ 455/800 kHz

Humminbird Helix 7

1 lb. 20 x 13 x 10-in. 800 x 4807-in. 1,500 feet for 2D images and 100 feet for side imaging

50/83/200/455 kHz

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C

10.2 ounces 6 x 3 x 2-in.240 feet 

83kHZ-

200 kHZ

Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI

2 lbs. 3.6 x 3.9 x 6.8-in.272 X 4804.3-in.2D depth to 600 feet and DI depth to 320 feet

200 kHz-455 KHz

The 6 Best Fish Finders Under $1000 in 2020

1. Lowrance HOOK 2 9 – Best Overall 

Lowrance HOOK 2 9

If you are looking for an excellent fish finder under $1000 that is easy to use, HOOK2 9 is the one for you. You will spend more time fishing and less time dialing in the sonar thanks to its HOOK2 Autotuning sonar. All you have to do is to plug it in and start sailing. 

It is not only distinguished with its ease of use, but also with its easy setup. You can mount its single transducer on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor, or through a scupper hole.

As for its coverage, it provides you with double the coverage of a traditional fish finder sonar as it employs a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone. Moreover, it comes with a TripleShot transducer which gives you DownScan sonar (scans right down the boat), SideScan sonar (up to 300′ to each side), and CHIRP sonar (fish arch) views. It has a frequency of 200 kHz.

Besides, it comes with pre-loaded high detail mapping, which allows you to fish in areas you have never been to before as a pro because it has pre-loaded US and CA mapping that features 4,000 lakes with 1-foot contours. You can upgrade your mapping with a chart card if you want. Also, there is a micro SD card slot so you can save your waypoints, routes, and trails on the micro SD card. 

Its 9-inch Solarmax display of 800 x 480 resolution can easily be read under direct sunlight. It is needless to say that it is very clear and allows you to see down to the smallest details. 

Pros:

  • TripleShot transducer
  • Solarmax display
  • In-built mapping 
  • Can be read in sunlight 
  • Has micro SD card slot 
  • Autotuning sonar
  • Easy to use 
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • No live mapping 

Bottom Line 

Lowrance HOOK 2 9 is the best fish finder under $1000 with a TripleShot transducer. It has almost all the impressive features out there.

2. Garmin Striker 4 – Runner Up 

Garmin Striker 4

Although this is Garmin’s most basic unit, it still has a lot to offer. For starters, it features a CHIRP sonar that sends continuous frequencies, so it provides more information and creates crisper fish arches with better target separation.

Its information appears on a screen with a 480 x 320-pixel resolution, which is not great but not terrible. However, it is small at only 3.5 inches. If you are okay with paying more, you can go with a larger screen size as it has a screen of 3.5, 5, and 7-inches.

With Garmin Striker 4, you can check the speed by which you are trolling. I love this because it lets you know whether or not you are trolling with the right speed for the lure you are using and for a particular fish species. Besides, if you are in a wake-controlled area, you will know if you are going at the right speed or not. 

As for how deep it scans, Garmin Striker 4 scans down to 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater with a frequency range of 50/77/200 kHz. It also has a power output (Peak to Peak) of 1600 Watt and an RMS power output of 200 Watt.

Although it does not have a Chartplotter, it still provides you with a built-in GPS of high sensitivity that allows you to see your position in relation to the waypoints you have marked before. Thanks to this option, you can spend more time fishing rather than wasting your time searching for productive spots as it lets you mark your favorite fishing spots so you can revisit them later. Besides, you can mark up to 5000 waypoints. Pretty awesome, I’d say!  

Whether you will fish on a kayak, canoe, or even go ice fishing, it will be suitable because it comes with a portable kit. It includes a sealed, rechargeable battery with charger, built-in transducer cable management, and storage and suction cup transducer mount and float.

It is also suitable for all of this as it is IPX7, so water cannot destroy it. 

Pros:

  • GPS 
  • Sunlight-readable screen
  • CHIRP sonar 
  • Scans down to a considerable depth 
  • IPX7

Cons: 

  • Lacks a Chartplotter 
  • Small screen

Bottom Line 

Garmin Striker 4 is such a breathtaking fish finder. At such an affordable price, it comes with most of the features you would find on high-end devices like a CHIRP sonar, IPX7, in-built GPS along with other features. The only drawback is that it has no Chartplotter. The small-sized screen is no biggie because you can choose a wider display at a higher price if you want.  

3. Simrad GO9 XSE – Best Fish Finder Featuring an Autopilot

Simrad GO9 XSE

Simrad GO7 XSE has a 9-inch flush or bracket mount display that is extra easy to use thanks to its multi-touch interface. You will be able to navigate through the menus without experiencing any difficulties because it has large icons and widgets. You will also be able to read it under direct sunlight due to the presence of an LED backlight. As for clarity, it is pretty clear as it has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.

Navigation has never been more straightforward, given that it features a Chartplotter with a built-in GPS of high speed (10Hz.). Besides, its wireless connectivity gives you access to the most recent charts and updates. You can choose from various charts available from C-MAP. You can also use C-MAP Easy Routing to plan your future trips as if you are planning a typical road trip. 

If you wish to record the perfect fishing spots and waypoints, you can do that with a micro SD card, since it has dual micro SD card slots. 

If you want to focus on fishing only, you can choose to steer your boat with a Simrad autopilot! How brilliant, right! 

As for the sonar, you can add a sonar transducer that is sold separately so that your device can work as a castable fish finder. You can also choose from CHIRP or traditional transducers to StructureScan HD imaging for a picture-like view of fish. 

The CHIRP sonar range of this device is CHIRP (mid/high) 83/200 kHz, 455/800 kHz. As for how deep it scans, you will be happy to know that it scans down to 1000′ for the 83kHz, 500’ for the 200kHz, 300′ for the 455kHz, and 100′ for the 800kHz. Its side-scanning can scan deep down to 300’. 

In addition to all these impressive features, it comes with an HDI skimmer transducer that delivers fi-finding sonar for beginners and allows them to keep an eye on depth. It also features the FishReveal technology that combines between the functionalities of the CHIRP sonar and the DownScan Imaging sonar. 

In other words, like the CHIRP sonar, it clearly detects fish throughout the water column, and like the DownScan Imaging sonar, it creates a picture-like view of fish-holding structure right below your boat. 

Pros:

  • Two-year warranty 
  • Dual micro SD card slot 
  • CHIRP sonar 
  • DownScan Imaging Sonar 
  • Built-in GPS 
  • Chartplotter 
  • Wireless connectivity 
  • 9-inch screen
  • High resolution 
  • Features C-MAP and C-MAP Easy Routing

Cons:

  • Expensive 
  • Weak mounting 

Bottom Line

If you are willing to pay less than $100 with a teeny bit, then go for Simrad GO9 XSE. It comes with a lot of appealing features, so it is very much worth your money. It is also great for beginners as it is for professionals. 

4. Humminbird Helix 7 – Best Fish Finder with Three Sonar Types 

Humminbird Helix 7

With a 7-inch display screen of 800-by-480 pixels, you will be able to see the information with a crystal-clear clarity on its pre-loaded split screen view options. Moreover, it is backed with an LED backlight so you can easily check it under the sun. It also comes with 256 colors that you will surely need to identify the fish and structure underwater. 

This is one powerful fish finder given that it has a transmit power (RMS) of 500W and 4,000W peak-to-peak. As for the frequency, it operates at 83/200 kHz and 455 kHz with 2D imaging and side and down imaging, respectively. 

Its depth is also relative to the frequency by which you are trolling. It scans down to 1,500 feet for 2D images and 100 feet for side imaging. The side imaging sonar gives you a picture of what lies to the right and left of your boat, while the down scan imaging gives you a picture of what is right under your boat. 

Another piece of good news is that its three sonar types: side-imaging, down-imaging, and DualBeam Plus, are supported by a CHIRP sonar technology that is way better than traditional sonars. It sends continuous frequencies and therefore brings clearer images with improved target separation and detailed information. 

This fish finder comes with an in-built GPS that allows you to set waypoints and routes and prevents you from getting lost. It even allows you to program up to 45 routes and 4,500 waypoints. 

One of its other attractive navigational features is the presence of the AutoChart Live that shows the depth contours of a body of water and is based on information provided by the 2D sonar. With it, you will also stay up-to-date in regard to depth contours. 

However, this feature will not work unless you have a LakeMaster Navionics or ZeroLines card. 

Pros:

  •  AutoChart Live
  • In-built GPS
  • CHIRP sonar technology 
  • Side-imaging, Down-imaging, and DualBeam Plus 
  •  256 colors
  • High-resolution display 

Cons:

  • Requires LakeMaster Navionics or ZeroLines card

Bottom Line 

If you are looking for the best fish finder under $1000 with Side-imaging, Down-imaging, and DualBeam Plus, then the impressive Humminbird Helix 7, is for you. Its high-quality screen, ability to show split-screen, colored screen, and in-built GPS made it one of the best fish finders on our list. 

5. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Best for Featuring a 20-Hour Battery 

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C

Looking for a fish finder that has a VirtuView HD color display screen? You got it. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C has a fantastic screen display that you can easily read under the sun thanks to its LED backlight. 

Its 25-degree sonar beam delivers accurate readings down to 240 feet. The reason why they are that precise is due to the presence of algorithmic software programming that minimizes false readings. Besides, it makes an alarm whenever it detects fish, so you can finally take a small break from focusing. 

It has three frequency modes 83 kHz, 200 kHz, or dual-view (200 kHz and 83 kHz.)

Many customers love its easy setup as it comes with a transducer, side-scan adapter, sensor float, 30 feet of cable, and a cable strap.

Whether you need it for a boat or a kayak or both, it will be suitable thanks to its portability as it is trollable, boat mountable, and floatable. You can even use it for ice fishing and in deep weeds, thanks to its sensor. 

Are you worried about it getting destroyed by the water? No need because it is IPX7 and can be submerged down to one meter into the water. 

Besides, it features FishArc and FishID fish finder indicators that target the fish depth and HD bottom landscape imaging.

It is powered by 4 AAA batteries that last for 20 hours. 

Pros:

  • Can be read under sunlight 
  • Features algorithmic software programming
  • FishArc and FishID fish finder indicators
  • Two-year warranty
  • Can be used for 20 hours 

Cons:

  • No Chartplotter 
  • The waterproof feature might not work
  • Problems with registering depths

Bottom Line 

This portable device is one of the best fish finders under $1000 as it provides accurate readings and lasts for 20 hours straight. However, if you need a Chartplotter or need to scan depth further than 240 feet, sail away. 

6. Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI – Best Fish Finder with a Water Temperature Sensor 

Humminbird 410160 1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI

Humminbird is not new to the market; however, it always tries to make a difference. With it, you can choose between using a narrow or a wide beam as it features a dual-beam sonar. The narrow beam gives you a detailed image but does not cover a wide area, whereas the wide beam provides wide coverage but with not much detail. 

It features a down imaging sonar, so it gives you a detailed image and information of what is right below your boat. The down imaging sonar has a 2D depth to 600 feet (200 kHz) and DI depth to 320 feet (455 kHz.) Power-wise, it is powerful as it transmits 2400 watts peak-to-peak and 300 Watts RMS. 

Although featuring a Dual Beam scan function is excellent, it would have been a thousand times better had it featured Dual Beam Plus because only then could we have been able to operate more than one frequency at a time. 

As for the screen display, it has a 4.3″ LCD 256 Color Display and displays clear images of 272H X 480V pixel resolution. Besides, you can easily and clearly read the information it displays under the sun thanks to its LED backlight. 

Moreover, it is equipped with an XNT 9 Di T transducer that has a water-temperature sensor, can be mounted on the transom, and uses conical sonar beams. You can use the transducer to scan the water for fish and even let it target them for you. 

Sadly, Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI misses one of the essential features: featuring a CHIRP sonar technology. However, it comes with tip 2.5” target separation so it can detect fish from general vegetation. 

Another disadvantage of this fish finder is that it does not feature an in-built GPS or any other navigation function for that matter. I believe that this is something you must consider and make sure you have no problem with before you purchase the device. 

Pros:

  • Down imaging 
  • Clear and wide display screen 
  • Features a dual beam sonar
  • Has a water-temperature sensor

Cons:

  • No in-built GPS 
  • No Chartplotter 
  • No CHIRP sonar technology
  • No Dual Beam Plus scan function 

Bottom Line 

I would say that this fish finder is impressive had it not been for not having any navigation function nor featuring a Dual Beam Plus scan. However, if you are okay with not having these features, this device will not disappoint you. 

How to Choose a Fish Finder

Having a fish finder on your fishing trips will undoubtedly make them easier and more fruitful; however, you have to buy one that suits your needs. That is to say, before purchasing a fish finder, there are some essential things that you should consider. 

1. Power 

If you will fish in shallow water, power won’t be of crucial importance; however, if you will fish in deep water or saltwater, buy the device that has the highest wattage. 

High power enables the device to display the readings on its screen as fast as possible. It also boosts the accuracy of the readings and information you will get. 

2. Transducer 

A transducer lets you see what is under the water by sending sound waves into the water. It is related to the cone angle as it transmits cone-shaped sound waves below the water. The beamwidth usually varies between 9° and 60°. 

The width of the beam you go for depends on your preference. Get a narrow or a wide beam depending on whether you need a detailed image or a wide coverage area, respectively. In case you do not know yet, go for a 20° cone angle as it is ideal for fishing at various depths.

3. Frequency

The higher the frequency, the more details you will get on the screen because the higher the frequency, the more the sound waves that are going into the water. 

However, it also depends on your kind of fishing. For example, the wider beams of a high-frequency fish finder let it cover large areas but do not allow it to scan deep down in the water. But, in case you will fish in deep water, go for a device with a low frequency so that it scans deep down. However, it will only cover a narrow area. 

4. CHIRP Sonar 

Some models have CHIRP Sonar technology (stands for compressed high-intensity radar pulse) as opposed to the traditional sonar. The CHIRP sonar sends continuous frequencies at a time instead of just one like the traditional sonar. As a result, it comes back to the user with clearer images and higher resolution. 

5. Display Size and Resolution 

It is needless to say that the wider the display size, the more information you will be able to read on it. However, you got to check the size of the fish finder in relation to the size of your workspace. For example, if you will be kayak fishing, you should not let the screen size take up a lot of your working space. In case you will go fishing on a big boat, then a larger screen is the better option. 

The higher the resolution, the more the details you will see on the screen. 

6. Display Color 

Most fish finders under $1000 have a colored screen. A colored-screen is better than those in black and white since they allow you to see better and more precise details. 

7. Water Resistance 

IPX6 models are okay-ish; however, the IPX7 models are the better ones. IPX7 models resist water up to 3.2 feet deep for half an hour; whereas, IPX6 ones can only withstand 12.5 mm nozzles for only three minutes. 

8. Chartplotter and GPS 

There is a difference between devices with a Chartplotter and those with GPS. A Chartplotter allows you to map the area around you and do some navigation to be able to know where you are in relation to where you started. However, GPS will only allow you to mark your waypoints. 

What to Expect from a $1000 Fish Finder

Fishfinders under $1000 range have most of the features that high-end fish finders provide their users with. For example, most of them come with an in-built GPS that allows you to mark your waypoints. However, only a few of them feature a Chartplotter. For example, on our list, you will only find a Chartplotter in Simrad GO9 XSE. The Chartplotter is a fantastic navigational feature as it allows you to know where you are in relation to where you first started the trip.

Most of the devices come with a micro SD card slot that I love because it allows the user to save waypoints and amazing fishing spots to return to later on future fishing trips. This saves you the time and energy you would otherwise spend on searching for productive waters. 

Furthermore, most of the fish finders like Garmin Striker 4, Lowrance HOOK 2 9, Simrad GO9 XSE, and Humminbird, Helix 7, enjoy a CHIRP sonar. This is 4 out of 6 of the products we have reviewed, so there are high chances you’ll get a fish finder with CHIRP sonar. Like I have mentioned above, the CHIRP sonar is better than the traditional one as it sends various frequencies at a time and therefore returns with clear and more detailed images and information. 

As for the frequency and depth, the fish finders that are under the $1000 range come in various frequencies and scan at different depths, so you can choose the one that suits your needs the most. 

Likewise, they differ in the size and resolution of their screen display, so you can also choose whatever you want more. 

All in all, getting a fish finder for less than $1000 won’t necessarily require you to compromise your needs. 

Final Thoughts 

I love to think that you have already found the best fish finder under $1000, given that it is not a complicated process anymore now that you have read all the detailed information stated above.

However, in case you are still having trouble deciding, we will tell you our recommendations.

If having a big-screen display is crucial to you, I would say you go for Lowrance HOOK 2 9, Simrad GO9 XSE, or Humminbird Helix 7. Besides, they are not only great for their widescreen display but also for a lot of other features.

For example, Lowrance HOOK 2 9 has a TripleShot transducer, which gives you DownScan sonar, SideScan sonar, and CHIRP sonar (fish arch) views. Simrad GO9 XSE features an autopilot, and Humminbird Helix 7 has an AutoChart Live as well as three sonar types that are side-imaging, down-imaging, and DualBeam Plus supported with the CHIRP sonar technology.

In case you are looking for the fish finder that scans very deep, purchase Garmin Striker 4 as it scans down to 1,600 feet in freshwater and to 750 feet in saltwater.

Finally, no one fish finder is the ultimate best, as it entirely depends on each user’s preference.