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One way of improving your chances of catching more fish is by getting a fish finder. However, you don’t necessarily need to have a hefty budget for it. There are plenty of good fish finders out there that won’t break the bank. That’s why in this article, we’ll help you find the best fish finder under 200. We’ve done all the leg work for you by evaluating the features and quality of the best products on the market and as a result, we’ve come up with this list of the top 6 fish finders that cost under 200 dollars.
Top 6 Fish Finders Under 200
- Garmin Striker Plus 4
- Display: 4.3"
- Sonar: CHIRP
- Watt RMS: 200
- Max depth: 1,900 ft
- Maps: Waypoints, Quickdraw Contours
- Garmin Striker 4cv
- Display: 4.3"
- Sonar: CHIRP/ClearVu
- Watt RMS: 300
- Max depth: 1,750 ft
- Maps: Waypoints, Quickdraw Contours
- Garmin Striker 4
- Display: 3.5"
- Sonar: CHIRP
- Watt RMS: 200
- Max depth: 1,600 ft
- Maps: Waypoint
- Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4
- Display: 4.3"
- Sonar: Dual Beam
- Watt RMS: 300
- Max depth: 600 ft
- Maps: none
- Humminbird Helix 5 G2
- Display: 5"
- Sonar: Dual Beam PLUS
- Watt RMS: 500
- Max depth: 1,500 ft
- Maps: none
- Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- Display: -
- Sonar: Dual Beam
- Watt RMS: 200
- Max depth: 260 ft
- Maps: can create bathymetric maps
Garmin Striker 4
At the top of our list is the Garmin Striker 4 fish finder. It’s a budget-friendly unit that offers plenty of premium features that you won’t find in many other entry-level fish finders.
This device features a compact design, which makes it perfect for those fishing from a canoe or kayak. It comes with a 3.5 inch display that delivers clear and detailed images. Even though small in size, the screen still displays sufficient sonar information, such as bottom structure, baitfish and target fish. The screen is also big enough to display two types of information simultaneously. For example, it can display navigation and sonar side-by-side.
The display features a keypad operation. There are several buttons that allow quick navigation to different settings. It’s very intuitive and easy to operate even if you’re a beginner.
This fish finder includes a high frequency transducer. You can mount it on either a trolling motor or transom. It’s a dual beam 77/200kHz transducer that supports CHIRP sonar technology. Since it uses a wider range of frequencies, it delivers a higher level of clarity and detail. The screen displays crisper fish arches, which makes it easier to separate the targets.
The two cone shaped beams that the transducer produces are 45 and 15 degrees. If you need to scan a larger area, you can select the wider beam. And if you need to get more detail of what’s below the boat, you can switch to the narrow beam. Alternatively, you can choose to view both beams at the same time on a split screen.
This device is also great for those fishing in deep waters. It can scan depths up to 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater. It also performs well in shallow waters and can read well as shallow as two feet.
In addition to traditional sonar, this fish finder also features a flasher. It can come handy when ice fishing or when fishing from a stationary position. However, if you need a fish finder specifically for ice fishing, we recommend purchasing this product in a portable bundle that includes an ice fishing transducer and a portable bag.
Another advantage of this fish finder is the built-in GPS system. It allows you to maintain your positioning on the lake or river. However, this is not a chartplotter, so it doesn’t provide any detailed charts.
The GPS system also allows you to track your boat’s speed and it allows you to save different waypoints, so you can keep track of your favorite spots for fishing.
Garmin Striker Plus 4
The Garmin Striker Plus 4 fish finder is a unit similar to the previous model but with a few improvements. Due to the added features, it’s also a bit higher in price.
First of all, it has a slightly bigger display that measures 4.3 inches in diagonal. This makes it easier to view all the details of the sonar returns. It also makes it easier to read it from a distance and makes it possible to have two sets of information displayed side-by-side.
The display is also easy to read in different light conditions. It has adjustable backlighting, so you can easily see all the displayed information whether you’re viewing it in direct sunlight or at night.
This fish finder includes a dual beam transducer that comes with both a trolling motor and transom mounts. The transducer uses 77/200kHz frequencies. It uses conical beams that are 45 and 15 degrees in width. As for depth capability, it can scan as deep as 1,900 feet in freshwater.
The system also uses CHIRP technology, which provides images with more clarity and detail. Due to the increased detail and less clutter on the screen, the unit makes it easier to separate targets, as well as differentiate between fish and vegetation.
Similar to Striker 4, Striker Plus 4 model also features a flasher mode for ice fishing. Other sonar features include Fish Symbols, A-Scope, Ultrascroll, alarms and more. Fish Symbols replace fish arches with fish icons. Alarms notify you when the sonar marks a fish or when your boat reaches a certain depth.
This fish finder is also equipped with a basic GPS system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any charts. However, it does allow you to keep track of your coordinates. On top of that, it shows you your speed and allows you to save waypoints and routes.
Another addition to this Garmin fish finder is the QuickDraw Contours feature. This mapping software uses the combination of GPS and sonar returns in order to create depth contours of the places you’ve been to.
Garmin Striker 4cv
There’s one more Garmin fish finder under 200 that we’d like to mention. The Garmin Striker 4cv also makes a great fish finder with plenty of useful features.
It comes with a high quality 4.3 inches display. It’s bright and easily readable even in sunlight. The display also offers enough space to observe sonar and GPS returns. Moreover, it even allows you to observe the two different types of sonar or the sonar and GPS data in split screen mode.
When it comes to sonar performance, this fish finder includes a transducer that uses both CHIRP and ClearVu technologies. The CHIRP sonar uses 77/200kHz frequencies, while the ClearVu sonar uses 455/800kHz.
CHIRP sonar can be modulated in order to get the best results for your specific fishing situation. It can help in getting clearer images with better definition and target separation.
ClearVu is the down imaging technology, which scans the water right under your boat. The image it creates is nearly photographic, so you can clearly see structure, objects and fish. Being able to recognize the underwater objects will make it easier to make the right fishing decisions.
This fish finder can also be used for ice fishing. It doesn’t include an ice fishing transducer, but it does offer a circular flasher. This flasher mode can also be handy when fishing from a stationary position.
The system is also capable of reaching great depths. It can scan down to 1,750 feet in freshwater and 830 feet in saltwater. Though, it can’t reach as deep in the ClearVu mode.
Moreover, this unit also offers some navigation capabilities. The built-in GPS allows you to keep track of your coordinations, your speed and your marked waypoints. However, it doesn’t have any charts, so this is not the right system for chartplotting.
Using the unit’s GPS system, you can create your own maps. It uses the QuickDraw Contours software that can map the bed of the lake or river that you’re fishing on.
Humminbird Piranhamax 4
Another good budget fish finder option is the Humminbird Piranhamax 4. For the price, it provides a lot of value by offering features that are bound to improve your fishing experience.
The 4.3 inches display with a high pixel matrix and good color resolution. The size is big enough to read the information, even from a distance, but it is also compact enough for use on small boats and kayaks. There’s also adjustable backlighting. This means that you can get a clear reading rain or shine, day or night.
The interface is very user friendly. There’s a keypad that allows easy and quick navigation between different functions. For example, you can up the contrast, which will create a more obvious distinction between different sonar returns. You can also zoom in into different parts of the sonar when you want to get a clearer reading of a certain area.
This fish finder uses Dual Beam sonar, which operates at 200kHz and 455kHz. There’s no CHIRP sonar or Down/Side Imaging, so it’s more basic sonar that uses only one frequency at a time. The unit still delivers good sonar returns, but they will not be as detailed as with CHIRP units.
The two frequencies produce two cone shaped beams. One is 28 degrees wide and the other is 16 degrees. The maximum depth capability will depend on the frequency being used. It can scan down to 320 feet when using the 455kHz frequency and down to 600 feet with the 200kHz.
Additionally, there are a few other sonar features. For one, there’s the Fish ID+ feature, which displays fish icons instead of fish arches. There’s also fish, depth and battery alarms. Moreover, it also includes Bottom View function that focuses the sonar onto the bottom, allowing you to target fish that are feeding close to the bottom.
Humminbird Helix 5 G2
There’s another great Humminbird fish finder in the price range of under 200 dollars. The Humminbird Helix 5 is an affordable unit that is built to meet the highest expectations.
It features a 5 inch diagonal screen and it’s the largest screen size of all the fish finders on this list. So, it’s a perfect option for those who are looking for an inexpensive fish finder with a bigger screen.
It’s also a color display with high pixel resolution, which provides high detail imaging. This makes it easy to differentiate between different objects on the screen.
The included transducer supports Dual Beam sonar, operating at frequencies 83kHz and 200kHz. It produces wide and narrow beams, so you can choose between scanning a wider area and scanning with more precision. For example, you could start by scanning with the wider beam in order to find potential fishing spots. And then, you could use the narrow beam to get a better focus on the area.
These two beams can also be used separately, blended together into one image or displayed side-by-side on a split screen. This can give you a complete picture of what’s happening underwater.
There are also a few downsides to this device. First of all, there’s no CHIRP technology, so the sonar imaging might not be as crystal clear as with more expensive units. And secondly, there’s no GPS receiver, so you can’t track your boat’s position and speed. However, this same Humminbird model is available with these upgrades. Just search for Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2.
Deeper Pro+ Smart Portable Sonar
Lastly, if you’re looking for a portable fish finder, we recommend checking out the Deeper Pro Smart portable sonar unit. It’s a versatile fish finder that can be handy in a variety of situations, such as when fishing from a kayak, boat or shore.
Being a portable unit, this fish finder doesn’t require any installation. It comes with a small sonar unit that you can cast out from shore, drop it into an ice hole for ice fishing or troll it behind your kayak.
There’s no display included. Instead, it requires you to use your smartphone for reading the sonar returns, as well as using its other functions. This means that you choose the size of the display. Moreover, this also adds to the portability of the unit. You don’t need to carry an additional display and the sonar unit itself is so small that it can fit in the palm of your hand.
This fish finder works through an app that you can download on your phone. The sonar unit connects to your phone using Wi-Fi, which provides a stronger connection with fast data transfer. The Wi-Fi connection also increases the range of scanning. Thanks to it, the sonar unit can scan further and deeper. It has a casting range of 330 feet and a depth range of 260 feet.
The unit uses only dual frequency for sonar. It produces two beams with angles 15 and 55 degrees. You can switch between the two to either cover a broader area or to get more detailed returns.
It’s also a great unit for ice fishing. The app includes a flasher mode. So, you can drill a hole in the ice, drop in there the sonar unit and watch the sonar returns on your phone.
The sonar unit also features a built-in GPS receiver. Whenever you’re fishing from shore or boat, you can use it to map the bottom of a lake or river, creating bathymetric maps. These maps you can then use to locate target species and spot fishing hotspots.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Fish Finder Under 200
To ensure that you get the right fish finder under 200 for your needs, there are certain things you should take into account before making a purchasing decision. By deciding on a budget under 200 dollars, you’re already narrowing down your options. However, there are a few other things to consider.
Reading the sonar returns is a lot easier if you have a large screen. If the screen is so small that everything is clustered together, it will be difficult for you to differentiate between fish and other underwater objects.
However, the largest screen is also not always the best. It might be too bulky for your boat or kayak. And it can also be too expensive.
That’s why it’s best to find a balance between price and size. Though, for the price under 200, most fish finders come with screens up to 5 inches.
If you’re buying a castable fish finder, it only includes the sonar unit. This leaves the choice of the screen size up to you since you can use either your phone or tablet.
Choose a fish finder with a user interface that is easy to use and read. You won’t get much out of your unit if it’s too difficult to use. The display should be clear with easy to use buttons and settings.
There are multiple types of sonar. However, at this price range, most fish finders will offer only the standard dual beam sonar. And if it additionally offers CHIRP sonar or side imaging and down imaging, it’s definitely an advantage.
The dual beam sonar allows you to switch between two different beam sizes, producing different sonar results. One beam can scan a larger area and the other can scan with greater detail. However, if you also add to it CHIRP sonar, you get a much clearer picture of what’s happening beneath your boat.
Maximum Depth Capability
This is also an important feature to consider since the fish finder should be able to scan the depths that you’re fishing in. You can usually find the maximum depth capability clearly displayed in the product’s specifications. Before you buy a certain fish finder, think of where you usually fish and how deep it is there. Then, choose a fish finder unit with the appropriate maximum depth capability.
When considering depth capability, keep in mind that it will also depend on the type of water you’re fishing in. If you’re fishing in freshwater, the fish finder will be able to reach further down. And in saltwater, the maximum depth capability would be lower.
The performance of a fish finder also depends on the power that it can transmit. It determines how fast the transducer can send and receive sonar waves. Higher wattage means that you’ll get quicker images displayed on your screen, which can help in making your fishing more accurate.
Transducer Mounting Options
Most fish finders offer transducers with a transom mount. Some can additionally offer a trolling motor mount. Make sure that you choose a fish finder that comes with a transducer that matches your mounting choice. Alternatively, you might need to buy an additional mount for your application.
With a GPS tracker, it will be easier to know where you’re and where you’re going. In addition to that, it will also let you keep track of your speed and will allow you to save different waypoints on a map.
Unfortunately, most fish finders in the price range under 200 don’t offer chartplotting. They mostly come with basic maps or no maps at all, showing only your coordinates and your route on a blank screen.
For under 200 dollars, you might not be able to find a fish finder with all the bells and whistles. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to settle for something useless. There are plenty of good fish finders in this price range that offers good features and great sonar accuracy. So, if you want to find a product that will get the job done, we hope that our list of the top picks in 2021 will help you find the best fish finder under 200.