If you enjoy fishing but hate waiting, we know how you feel. However, we have a magical solution for you. With a fish finder, you will have fruitful trips with next to zero effort.
But what if you are on a budget and want to buy sub-$200 fish finders? You can do that. But first, let’s take a look at what a fish finder is in the first place.
A fish finder helps you detect the exact location of fish, so you know exactly where to cast your bait. Moreover, some fish finders come with an in-built GPS that allows you to retrace your way back to shore or to wherever place you want.
Some models have maps and SD cards so you can mark your waypoints and the perfect fishing spots. This results in having future fruitful trips because you won’t spend time searching for places where there is a lot of fish.
So, if you are on a budget, you can still get a fish finder that has all or some of the above features and more. You just need to consider where you will fish and what you will fish for.
In this article, we have managed to compile a list of the best fish finders under $200 along with some buying guides you will want to read.
List of the Best Fish Finders Under $200:
- Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall
- Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar – Best Castable Fish Finder
- Garmin Striker 4cv – Best Fish Finder with CHIRP sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar
- Humminbird 410190-1 – Best Fish Finder for Kayaks
- Lowrance HOOK2 4X – Best Budget Fish Finder
- Humminbird 410150-1 – Best Fish Finder with Fish ID+ Technology
Our Top Picks:
Garmin Striker 4
|8 ounces||3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 in.||480 x 320 pixels.||50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)||1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet saltwater;|
Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar
|12.3 ounces||3 x 5.3 x 5.9 in.||–||90/290kHz||260 feet|
Garmin Striker 4cv
|11.2 ounces||3.9 x 1.8 x 6.9 in.||–||77/200 kHz||–|
|2.6 lb.||1.1 x 7.5 x 4.3 in.||480 X 800|
|83/200kHz||1500 feet||5 in.|
Lowrance HOOK2 4X
|2.2 lbs.||3.3 x 6.5 x 3.8 in.||480 x 272 pixels||50/200 kHz||500 feet|
|2 lbs.||3.6 x 3.9 x 6.8 in.||480 x 272 pixels||200/455kHz||600 feet||4.3 in.|
The 6 Best Fish Finders Under $200 in 2020
1. Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall
This is Garmin’s most basic unit; however, it has a lot to offer at a low price point. It has a CHIRP sonar, which is better than a traditional sonar as it sends continuous frequencies. In other words, it provides more information and creates crisper fish arches with better target separation.
Garmin Striker 4 scans to an impressive depth given that it 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 an okay-ish screen resolution of 480 x 320 pixels; however, the screen size is pretty small at only 3.5 inches. You can opt for models with a bigger screen size, but you will have to pay more, of course. It has models with screen sizes ranging from 3.5, 5, and 7 inches.
The good news is that (at this price) it comes with a built-in GPS of high sensitivity. It helps you spend more time fishing and less time searching for good fishing spots because you can mark up to 5000 waypoints as well as the perfect fishing spots you have already come across on your previous trips. How awesome is that, right!
It comes with a portable kit, so it is pretty convenient for kayaks, ice fishing, and canoe.
- CHIRP sonar
- Great depth
- Sunlight-readable screen
- Features GPS
- Small screen size
At such a price point, Garmin Striker 4 is a perfect fish finder for those on a tight budget. It offers almost all the features of high-end devices except for a big-sized screen. So, if having a large screen is not a priority, go for what we deem the best fish finder under $200.
2. Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar – Best Castable Fish Finder
If you are looking for a castable fish finder for less than 200$, you have got your one. Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar is a castable fish finder, so you cast it with your bait into the water. You can even use it while you are on the shore.
Gladly, it uses Wi-Fi, so you can use it anywhere as long as it is charged. However, it has a Wi-Fi range of up to 100 meters only, so you must carefully check your rod. Besides, it features an integrated GPS, so it allows you to get detailed data in real-time.
Here comes the logical question: if I cast this with my bait, where will I see the displayed data? Great question. The answer is you will see it on your smartphone or tablet. You just have to download the Deeper app, and then the data will flow before you.
Besides, it is an awesome device, given that it truly offers a lot of extra features for such a small amount of money. Some of these features are the ability to measure the water temperature and locate underwater structures.
It features a dual-scan technology, which makes it perfect for boat fishing, ice fishing, and shore fishing. It scans down to 260 feet with a frequency range of 90/290kHz.
The battery lasts for four hours, so you better have a spare battery with you if you are going on long trips.
- Has Wi-Fi
- Features a dual-scan sonar
- Measures the water’s temperature
- Short Wi-Fi range
- The app usually crashes
Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar is a pretty impressive castable fish finder. It has a lot of features to offer at an affordable price.
3. Garmin Striker 4cv – Best Fish Finder with CHIRP sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar
If you need a Garmin fish finder but with a wider screen than that of Garmin Striker 4, go for Garmin Striker 4cv. It is only logical that it is pricier, but it still comes with less than $200.
It has a 4.3-inch display screen that is bright enough to be read with ease under direct sunlight. It also features an intuitive user interface.
It has a CHIRP sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar. This means that it sends many frequencies to gather more data. It has a frequency of 77/200 kHz.
Furthermore, there is an in-built GPS to help you mark waypoints, and even view the boat’s speed. Besides, the built-in Garmin Quickdraw Contours mapping software lets you store maps with 1′ contours for up to 2 million acres.
At such a low price point, all these features are heaven-sent.
- Built-in GPS
- Allows you to store maps
- 4.3-inch display screen
- CHIRP sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar
- Might not work in shallow water
Like I said, if you are a Garmin lover but want to get a Garmin with a big display, get Garmin Striker 4cv. Its built-in GPS, CHIRP sonar, along with its other features, make it truly appealing to a lot of those on a tight budget.
4. Humminbird 410190-1 – Best Fish Finder for Kayaks
If your priority is to have a large screen, Humminbird 410190-1 has a 5-inch screen that supports Color WVGA Display.
It is a reliable and portable fish finder that you can easily mount on your kayak if you are a kayak-lover.
Although it does not have a GPS, it uses a CHIRP sonar, which kind of makes up for not having a GPS since the CHIRP sonar and the big screen display ensure that you will have clear, detailed information. At such a low price, this is something great.
Besides, the CHIRP sonar is just one kind of the multiple sonar technologies it has. It features a 2D sonar, a SwitchFire, a Dual Beam, and a CHIRP sonar, so you are fortunate to get all these features for less than 200$.
At 4000 watts, this is an impressively powerful cheap fish finder. It also has an IPX7 rating, which makes it waterproof. In other words, you can use it without having to worry about it getting destroyed so easily.
Besides, it is straightforward to use, which makes it even more exceptional for beginners.
- Easy to mount
- Suitable for kayaks and boat fishing
- Suitable for beginners
- High resolution
- Does not feature GPS
The way I see it, this is a perfectly suitable inexpensive fish finder for almost all fishers. However, I believe it is specifically great for beginners and those who want to experiment with fishing due to its ease of use and excellent features. The only downside is that it does not have a GPS. However, this should not be a deal-breaker, given all the other tempting features. (and of course, the price.)
5. Lowrance HOOK2 4X – Best Budget Fish Finder
If you want a fish finder that comes under the $200 range and is easy to use, you will love what we have to say about Lowrance HOOK2 4X. Its smartphone design makes it very easy to handle. It also boosts your productivity because you will spend more time fishing instead of struggling with the settings.
Besides, you can adjust the brightness settings according to the sun’s brightness. Additionally, it features CHIRP technology, which is a must-have technology on all the best fish finders.
As we have mentioned, the CHIRP sonar sends continuous frequencies, so the picture you get on the screen is more accurate. It has a frequency range between 50/200 kHz. Also, it scans down to 500 feet, which is fantastic!
Speaking of the screen, it features a high-resolution Solarmax display (480 x 272) that is sunlight-readable. The screen is 4 inches wide, which is okay-ish.
As for the GPS, Lowrance HOOK2 4X also provides you with a GPS plotter so you can find your way back to the best fishing spots you have had luck with on your previous trips.
Furthermore, it has built-in mapping that features more than 3,000 lakes. You can also save your waypoints using the micro SD card.
Since this is a side imaging fish finder, it will give you information about the vast area around you. However, it won’t scan the area right below your boat. It scans down to 500 feet.
Sadly, it only uses one beam sonar and doesn’t allow you to change the frequency settings. However, this could be collateral damage given that you will get all the previously mentioned impressive features at such a low price point, don’t you think?
- CHIRP sonar technology
- Built-in mapping
- Easy to use
- The screen is readable in sunlight
- High-resolution screen
- Single sonar beam
- Can’t alter frequency settings
Lowrance HOOK2 4X is one of the best budget fish finders, given that it almost provides the users with everything.
6. Humminbird 410150-1 – Best Fish Finder with Fish ID+ Technology
For such a low price, Humminbird provides its users with another quite good fish finder. It has a 4.3 inch TFT LCD screen that supports 256 colors and a 480 x 272-pixel screen resolution.
Whether you are a morning person or a night person, Humminbird 410150-1 has your back with a back-lit screen that is easily readable in sunlight and at night as well.
A beautiful thing about this product is its Fish ID+ technology. What is it good for? I will tell you. This technology does not only translate the sonar signals into the location of the fish but also its relative size. Very impressive, I’d say.
You can also use the fish finder to determine the temperature of the water as well as the depth. Besides, it has a zoom feature so you can zoom in on a particular underwater area and learn more about it.
It comes with a frequency of 200/455kHz and can scan deep down to 600 feet.
As for the sonar, it features a dual-beam sonar, which is great because you get to choose a narrow beam for greater detail or a wide beam for broader area coverage. However, it does not have CHIRP sonar. It also lacks a GPS and an SD card, which may be a bummer to some people.
- 4.3-inch screen
- Dual-beam sonar
- Scans down to 600 feet
- Fish ID+ technology
- The screen is readable at night and in direct sunlight
- No CHIRP sonar
- No GPS
- No SD card slot
If you are okay with not having a GPS and not being able to mark the fishing spots you need to return to later, this device will please you. Its semi-large screen of high resolution and impressive features is very catchy.
What to Expect from a $200 Fish Finder?
A lot of people on a budget become worried, thinking that they won’t get a fish finder that will suit their needs. In this article, we beg to differ. Yes, there are some features that you will have to compromise; however, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get what you need.
For example, most fish finders under the range of $200 feature a good range of frequency, high wattage, and high-resolution screen. You will find some differences between the models, and you have to prioritize your needs.
However, some models do not feature GPS or have a small-sized screen.
The choice is easy, though. Just think of what you need the fish finder for, prioritize your needs, and you will be good to go.
How to Choose a Fish Finder When You Are on a Tight Budget
If you are on a budget, you won’t be able to get a fish finder that has all the greatest features on the market. However, this does not mean that you can’t get a fish finder that is just suitable for your needs. You just have to decide what features are of importance to you and what features are just okay to dispense with.
Here, I will tell you some of the most essential features in general. You get to decide which of them is the most important to you.
This is a feature that all fish finders have. Checking the frequency of a fish finder before buying it is of extreme importance. This is mainly because frequency determines the depth and the range. What does this mean?
Well, it means that if you will fish in shallow water, you must get a fish finder with a high frequency. A high-frequency fish finder has wider beams, and so covers larger areas. However, it does not scan very deep down. 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.
If the fish finder comes with a transducer, that would be great. A transducer sends sonar waves in the water, and then they come back to you with information about what is under the water.
You will be able to see more of what is under the water if the beam of the transducer is wider. They usually vary between 9° and 60°. A 20° cone angle is ideal for fishing at various depths.
The higher the power, the quicker the images and information will appear on your screen. It also shortens the response time.
4. Screen Resolution and Size
This is one of the crucial features a fish finder better has. The significant frequency and high power will make no difference if you can’t see the information because of the small-sized screen or the low resolution.
The higher the resolution, the more details you will see on the screen.
5. Screen Color
Having the information displayed on a colored-screen is better than a black and white one. Still, you might not have a colored-screen, and it would not make a huge difference.
This is one of the features that you might not have on a budget. Having a GPS will help you mark your waypoints and mark the perfect fishing spots that you find on your way. However, if you don’t have it, it might not be a big deal. It all depends on your priorities.
I believe that if you are on a budget, you would not appreciate getting a fish finder that does not last for a long time. So, to save your money, get one that is durable and withstands harsh conditions.
By now, I believe that you have found the best fish finder under $200 or at least narrowed down your options. In case you are still hesitant, allow me to help you a little bit more by summarizing some of the products.
Of course, I will start by saying that our first product is perfect. The greatest Garmin Striker 4 does not come with a traditional sonar but with CHIRP sonar. As for the depth, it scans down to 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater.
It even features an in-built GPS, which is an essential feature in high-end fish finders! It helps you be more productive because you won’t spend time trying to know where you are. It also allows you to mark 5000 waypoints, which is incredibly amazing!
Its only downside is the small-sized screen, but it is your call after all.
As for our second recommendation, I would say go for Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar if you need a castable fish finder. Although it does not have a CHIRP sonar, it has dual-scan, so you can choose whether you need a narrow beam or a wide beam. In other words, you can choose to scan a large area (not in-depth) or a small area (in-depth.)
It is also suitable for kayaks, ice-fishing, and shore fishing.
In case you are looking for the cheapest fish finder on our list, go for Lowrance HOOK2 4X. Don’t worry because coming at the lowest price doesn’t mean that Lowrance HOOK2 4X offers low-quality features. In fact, it has some great features, among which is the CHIRP sonar that even some more priced devices lack.
It also scans down to 500 feet, which is not bad at all. Moreover, it does not only come with GPS but also with built-in mapping that features more than 3,000 lakes. Like I mentioned above, you can use the Micro SD card to save waypoints so you can come back to them on later trips.
It has almost all of the fantastic features. However, it comes with a single sonar beam, which is pretty okay-ish at such a sum of money.
To sum up, all of the above devices are the best fish finders under $200 range, so you just need to re-read the article, reconsider your priorities, and you will find your one.