Do you want to buy a sub-$300 fish finder, but don’t know where to start? We have heard you loud and clear, and so we have written you this comprehensive article of some of the best fish finders on the market, and you will pay less than $300.
In case you are still new to this technology, we will tell you what a fish finder is. It is such an excellent device that gives you the whole pleasure of going on a fishing trip without having to spend so much time just waiting for a magical fish to make its appearance.
Fishfinders detect where the fish are and tell you about it. Such snitches? Yeah, we know! They use their transducer and sonar to bring you all the information on the display screen. If you don’t know what these parts are, scroll a bit to reach our buying guide, where you will find all that you might need to know.
If you are a beginner or a professional, buying a fish finder will never be a waste of money. Also, whether you will fish in lakes, rivers, or oceans, and whether you will go on a kayak, canoe, or fish from the shore, a fish finder will prove to be very handy. It is also suitable for ice fishing.
Since we know that you might be confused, we did our research and brought it all to you. Here you will indeed find the best fish finder under $300.
List of the Best Fish Finders Under $300:
- Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall
- Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – Best Castable Fish Finder
- Lowrance HOOK2 4X – Best Budget
- Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 – Best Fish Finder with Many Scanning Options
- Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 – Best Fish Finder with a Water Temperature Sensor
|Fish Finder||Weight||Dimensions||Resolution||Screen size||Depth||Frequency|
|Garmin Striker 4||8 ounces||3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9-in.||480 x 320||3.5-in.||1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet, saltwater||50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)|
|Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar||3.52 ounces||3 x 5.3 x 5.9-in.||–||–||260 feet||90kHz- 55°/ 290 kHz-15°|
|Lowrance HOOK2 4X||2.2 lbs.||3.3 x 6.5 x 3.8-in.||480 x 272||4||50 kHz to 800’ and 200 kHz to 200’||50kHz-200 kHz|
|Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5||2.6 lbs.||1.1 x 7.5 x 4.3-in.||800 x 480||5||1500 feet||83/200 KHz|
|Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4||2 lbs.||3.6 x 3.9 x 6.8-in.||272 X 480||4.3||2D depth to 600 feet and DI depth to 320 feet.||200 kHz-455 KHz|
1. Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall The 5 Best Fish Finders Under $300 in 2021
At such a low price point, Garmin Striker 4 is an impressive fishfinder with breathtaking features.
For starters, it features a CHIRP sonar that is a hundred times better than the traditional one as it sends a continuous range of frequencies at one time. The CHIRP sonar provides more information and creates crisper fish arches with better target separation.
Secondly, it has one of the deepest scanning abilities on the market, 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. As for how powerful it is, we can say that it is pretty awesome as it has a power output (Peak to Peak) of 1600 Watt and an RMS power output of 200 Watt.
Its third fantastic feature is giving its users the ability to check the speed by which they are trolling. Why is this brilliant? Here is why. This feature lets you know if the speed you are trolling with is suitable for the lure you are using or the fish species you’re targeting or not. Moreover, it will save you from a lot of trouble if you are in a wake-controlled area because you will know whether or not you are going at the right speed.
One of its yet great features is coming with a portable kit that includes a sealed, rechargeable battery with charger, built-in transducer cable management, and storage and suction cup transducer mount and float. The portable kit plus its IPX7 makes it suitable for a kayak, canoe, or even ice fishing.
Sadly, it does not have a Chartplotter. However, it makes up for this with its in-built GPS of high sensitivity. This GPS gives you the luxury of spending more time fishing than trying to find great fishing spots as it allows you to mark your favorite fishing spots.
Moreover, it will enable you to see where you are in relation to the waypoints you have marled before. As for the limit of waypoints you can mark, it allows you to mark up to 5000 waypoints.
All this information appears on a 480 x 320-pixel resolution display screen, which is an okay-ish resolution. It is also 3.5-inches only; however, if you are okay with paying more, you can go for other models with screen sizes of 5 inches or 7-inches. Its display screen might not be its best feature, but you can easily read it under the sun, so there is that.
- In-built GPS
- Very-deep scanning
- Sunlight-readable screen
- It marks up to 5000 waypoints.
- Lacks a Chartplotter
- Small screen
This is the best fish finder under $300, as it comes with tons of high-end features. Such features include having a CHIRP sonar, scanning to a great depth, having an in-built GPS, and giving you the ability to check the speed at which you are trolling. If you are okay with having a small-sized display screen and not having a Chartplotter, this should definitely be your first choice.
2. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – Best Castable Fish Finder
Whether you are an iOS or an android user, you can use Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar like a pro. What does it have to do with your smartphone or tablet? Well, it displays its info on the device you connect it with via Wi-Fi. It does not need any cellular data so that you can turn it off for uninterrupted usage.
It is a castable fish finder that is suitable for fishing from the shore, on boats, and even for ice fishing.
Besides, its built-in GPS lets you create bathymetric maps from the shore, have free access to Lake book, which is Deeper’s bathymetric management platform. This is such an attractive feature as it allows you to save, review, and analyze all of your maps on any device while you are chilling on your couch at home.
It scans down to 260ft, has an amazing target separation of 0.5″, makes around 15 scans per second. Besides, you can cast it as far as 330ft / 100m.
It employs a dual-beam sonar, which means that you can choose between using a narrow or a wide beam. It is needless to mention that wide beams (90kHz 55°) cover a broader area but with not much detail; whereas, narrow beams (290kHz 15°) give you a more detailed image of a small area.
It requires no cables or batteries, offers smooth trolling, and can be set up very easily.
- Uses Wi-Fi and not Bluetooth
- Employs dual beam sonar
- Requires no cables and no batteries
- Short-life battery
If you are looking for the best castable fish finder that comes in less than $300, then Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar shall be an excellent choice. Its ability to save your scans and maps to the Cloud, giving you the ability to access them from anywhere, is such a brilliant feature.
3. Lowrance HOOK2 4X – Best Budget
This is a fish finder for those who are looking for one that is so easy to use. Thanks to its phone-like menus and auto-tuning sonar, you will spend most of your time fishing rather than wasting some hours just trying to dial in the sonar and set the settings. You just need to plug it in, and you are good to go.
Besides, it offers a wide-angle sonar cone, and therefore covers double the coverage area of traditional fish finders.
Lowrance HOOK2 4 comes with a Bullet Skimmer transducer that gives you traditional 2-D sonar (fish arch) views. It is super easy to set up and can be mounted on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor, or through a scupper hole.
At 200 watts, it can provide a 50Hz and 200 kHz that can display a signal image of up to 800′ and 200′ deep, respectively.
Besides, its built-in mapping function lets you find depth changes and roadbeds. Moreover, since it features a built-in U.S. map with high details that features 1-foot contours of more than 3,000 lakes, you will easily find your favorite fishing spots.
To record these fishing spots that you find very productive, use the SD card as it has a micro SD card slot. You can also use it to save waypoints, routes, and trails. Plus, you can upgrade your mapping with an optional chart card.
As for the display, it has a 480 x 272 pixel-Solarmax Display that gives you crisp and clear views of fish and fish-holding structure. It can be read in direct sunlight and provides you with high-quality images.
- Offers double coverage
- Has an auto-tuning sonar
- Easy to use
- Solarmax Display
- In-built mapping
- No GPS
- Small screen
This fish finder offers you a lot in consideration of the sum of money you will pay in return. Its auto-tuning sonar and its super ease of use render it an impressive fish finder. Still, the lack of a GPS may seem like a significant drawback to some customers.
4. Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 – Best Fish Finder with Many Scanning Options
With its 2D sonar and dual beam function, Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 will find you fish like never before. The 2D sonar allows you to locate fish in lakes, coastal waters, or ice.
Moreover, the dual-beam allows you to employ a wide or a narrow beam to scan a more substantial area with little detail or to scan a small area down to the tiniest details, respectively. Does it stop here? Definitely not! It also employs the DualBeam Plus that allows you to combine the two beams at the same time! Crazy, isn’t it?
Besides, it features a digital CHIRP function that is way better than the traditional sonar as it sends various frequencies at the same time. It brings back more accurate and more detailed returns of fish, structure, and the bottom.
Furthermore, it has Side Imaging and Down Imaging. The Side Imaging shows you detailed images of what lies on the right and left sides to your boat by sending out ultra-thin beam scans. On the other hand, the Down Imaging lets you see a detailed image of what is right under your boat by sending out high-frequency sound waves emitted in ultra-thin slices.
As for the display, it has a SwitchFire display that offers two display modes: Max Mode and Clear Mode. It lets you choose how much detail you want or don’t want to see on the screen. It has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and can be read in sunlight with its LED backlight.
It also features Humminbird Basemap Built-in, AutoChart Live, which creates real-time maps of your fishing spots and is compatible with LakeMaster.
It has a peak-to-peak power of 4000 watts and a 500W RMS, scans down to 1500 feet, and has 83/200 kHz.
- AutoChart Live
- 2D sonar
- CHIRP sonar
- Down Scanning
- Side Scanning
- Dual Beam Plus
- No GPS
- Not as durable as one would like
I believe that if you need a 2D sonar, a CHIRP sonar, Down Scanning, Side Scanning, and Dual Beam Plus all in one, then this is the best fish finder under $300.
5. Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 – Best Fish Finder with a Water Temperature Sensor
Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 features a dual-beam sonar, which is super handy as it gives you the freedom of choosing between using a narrow and a wide beam. Use the narrow beam if you need to get a detailed image of a little area because it can’t cover a wide area. On the other hand, if you need to cover a wide area but don’t care much about the details, use the wide beam.
No matter which beam you use, it will give you an image and bring you information about what is right under your boat because it features down imaging sonar. The down imaging sonar has a 2D depth to 600 feet (200 kHz) and DI depth to 320 feet (455 kHz.)
Sadly, you can only operate one frequency at a time because it features a Dual Beam scan function and not a Dual Beam Plus.
Considering its power, it transmits 2400 watts peak-to-peak and 300 Watts RMS, which is powerful enough.
Where will you read the information it provides you with? On its 4.3″ LCD Display that has 256 colors. It has a resolution of 272H X 480V pixels. Most likely, you will go sailing in the morning, so you will be happy to know that you can easily read the display under sunlight thanks to its LED backlight.
In addition to the beautiful features stated above, it also enjoys 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.
One of its not-great features is missing a CHIRP Sonar and using a traditional one, instead. However, it has a tip 2.5” target separation so it can easily differentiate fish from general vegetation.
Another negative point of this fish finder is not featuring an in-built GPS or any other navigation function. If having any navigation tool is one of your must-have features, then this device won’t please you.
- Down imaging
- LED backlight
- Dual-beam sonar
- Has a water-temperature sensor
- Misses CHIRP sonar technology
- No in-built GPS
- Does not feature a Chartplotter
- Does not have a Dual Beam Plus scan function
Featuring a Dual scan function and having an LCD screen with 256 colors made Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 one of the best fish finders under $300 range. In addition to that, its down imaging makes it great for those who need a fish finder that scans what is right under their boat. If you are okay with its disadvantages, then what are you waiting for?
How to Choose a Fish Finder Under the $300 Range
Being on a tight budget requires you to make an informed decision before purchasing anything. For example, you must know the essential features of a fish finder so that you choose one that suits your needs without having to compromise much. In the following lines, you will find some of the most important features a fish finder should have. However, if you deem one of these features as unworthy, it is okay as it depends on your needs and your needs only.
The frequency of a fish finder is highly crucial for many reasons. Higher frequency sends more sound waves into the water and therefore returns with more details. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get high-frequency fish finders.
Low frequency scans deep down into the water, so it is better if you will go fishing in deep water; whereas, high frequency scans a large area but doesn’t scan deep down. This is because high frequency has wider beams, and low frequency has a narrow beam.
The transducer’s function is to send sound waves into the water. These sound waves let you see what is underwater. 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°, and the 20° cone angle is ideal for fishing at various depths.
If you need a detailed image, go for a narrow beam, and if your priority is to cover a wide area, go for a wide beam.
Fishfinders with higher wattage bring the information faster to your screen as well as shorten the response time.
4. Screen Resolution and Size
The wider the display, the more information you will be able to read out of it. However, if you will fish on a kayak or a small boat, get a small-sized screen because you wouldn’t love the fish finder that takes half of your workspace.
As for the resolution, always opt for one with high resolution because it will be clearer and shows better details.
5. Screen Colors
A colored screen is better than black-and-white ones as it allows for better details. Also, it helps you distinguish between the information you see on the screen so that you will appreciate it.
6. Water Resistance
The fish finder will be very close to the water, so if you get one that is not waterproof, you will be sorry for your poor choice. Devices with IPX7 are what you should go for.
7. Chartplotter and GPS
There is a difference between devices with a Chartplotter and those with GPS. The main difference lies in the Chartplotter’s ability to allow you to map the area around you. This feature lets you do some navigation, so you know where you are in relation to where you started. However, GPS will only allow you to mark your waypoints.
8. CHIRP Sonar
Some models come with a traditional sonar, whereas others enjoy a CHIRP Sonar technology that stands for compressed high-intensity radar pulse. The CHIRP sonar is better than the traditional one because it sends continuous frequencies at a time instead of just one like the traditional sonar. I advise you to get one with a CHIRP sonar to enjoy clearer images and higher resolution.
What to Expect from a $300 Fish Finder
At $300 or less, you can get a fish finder that is more than capable of providing you with amazing fishing trips.
Like you have read above, the fish finders on our list are all under $300. Yet, they provide users with some of the most amazing features that are usually found on high-end devices.
Such features include featuring a CHIRP sonar, dual beam, dual beam plus, an in-built GPS, an SD card slot, and more.
So, you just weigh your options and see which one of the above fish finders best suits your needs and priorities.
By now, we love to think that you have already decided which of the above devices is the best fish finder under $300. However, we know that some of you may be hesitant and afraid of investing a sum of money in a device they haven’t used before. So, allow us to provide you with a short recap.
If you need a castable fish finder that allows you to cast from the shore, go for Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar. We also love it because it is compatible with Android and iOS. Moreover, it features a dual-beam sonar and is suitable for fishing from the shore, on boats, and even for ice fishing.
In the first place comes Garmin Striker 4. It is especially suitable for those who need a fish finder that can scan down to great depth. It also marks up to 5000 waypoints and features an in-built GPS. However, it has a small screen and doesn’t feature a Chartplotter.
A budget-friendly choice is Lowrance HOOK2 4X because its various amazing features come at a low price. Some of these features are offering double the coverage, having an auto-tuning sonar, and a Solarmax Display. It is also an excellent choice if you’re looking for a fish finder that is super easy to use. However, it has no GPS and comes with a small screen.
The remaining two fish finders are not any less significant. They, too, offer beneficial features. You have to see what group of features suits you more and go for the device that offers them.