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Best Fish Finder Under 500 in 2020

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Fast-advancing innovations have brought down the prices of marine electronics. As a result, you can find good fish finder options that come with features that were formerly found only on more expensive devices. That’s why you can find plenty of products with all the features that you’ll need that cost only 500 dollars or less. If this is your budget, here you’ll find reviews featuring the best fish finder under 500.

Top 6 Fish Finders Under 500

fish finders that cost less than 500
  • Humminbird HELIX 5
  • Display: 5"
  • Sonar: CHIRP/Mega Down/Side Imaging
  • Watts RMS: 500
  • Max depth: 1,500 ft
  • Maps: U.S. lakes and coastal areas
comparison of fish finders under 500
  • Garmin Striker 7SV
  • Display: 7"
  • Sonar: CHIRP/ClearVu/SideVu
  • Watts RMS: 500
  • Max depth: 2,300 ft
  • Maps: none
best fish finder under 500 dollars
  • Humminbird HELIX 7
  • Display: 7"
  • Sonar: CHIRP/Mega Down Imaging
  • Watts RMS: 500
  • Max depth: 1,200 ft
  • Maps: U.S. lakes and coastal areas
ice fishing fish finder under 500
  • Humminbird Ice Helix 5
  • Display: 5"
  • Sonar: Dual Spectrum CHIRP
  • Watts RMS: 500
  • Max depth: 400 ft
  • Maps: Basemap
inexpensive fish finder
  • Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv
  • Display: 7"
  • Sonar: CHIRP
  • Watts RMS: 500
  • Max depth: 800 ft
  • Maps: LakeVü HD
high end fish finder
  • Lowrance HOOK2 7
  • Display: 7"
  • Sonar: CHIRP/Down Scan
  • Watts RMS: 500
  • Max depth: 800 ft
  • Maps: C-MAP US Inland

Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MDI GPS G3

best fish finder under 500 dollarsOur top pick is the Helix 7 CHIRP MDI fish finder. It’s a fish finder and chartplotter combo that offers amazing sonar and navigation capabilities. It belongs to the third generation of Humminbird fish finders and it introduces all the latest innovations from the brand.

The device features a TFT display that measures 7 inches in diagonal. The wide screen makes it easy to pinpoint your next catch. Moreover, it allows different split screen options.

Also, with the backlighting, you can easily read the screen even in direct sunlight and at different angles. The display is keypad operated and it offers an intuitive interface.

For sonar, it offers Dual Spectrum CHIRP and Mega Down Imaging. The Dual Spectrum CHIRP can operate in three modes: Full, Narrow and Wide mode. The Narrow and Wide modes are fixed with the frequency range set at 180-240kHz and 140-200kHz. The produced conical beams are 25 and 42 degrees. As for the Full mode, you can adjust it to your preference and select any frequency in the range 150-220kHz.

The included Low Q CHIRP transducer also includes Mega Down Imaging capability. You can choose between regular Down Imaging that will operate in the frequency of 440-500kHz or switch to Mega Down Imaging that offers even higher frequency that is 1075-1150.

The transducer has a rugged design that you can mount on the transom. It also offers excellent depth capability. Its maximum scanning depth is 1,200 feet in freshwater. However, the Down Imaging mode can only reach 350 feet and the Mega DI only 150 feet.

If the 1,200 feet depth capability is not enough for your fishing needs, then you purchase the optional 50kHz transducer. With this system, you’ll be able to scan depths up to 3,500 feet.

This fish finder also offers great navigation features. It offers maps of the U.S. lakes and coastal areas. However, they are not particularly detailed. If you’re not satisfied with the detail in the included Basemap, you can upgrade the device’s database with Navionics or LakeMaster charts.

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PROS
  • 7 inch TFT display.
  • Transom mount transducer included.
  • Dual Spectrum CHIRP.
  • Mega Down Imaging.
  • Depth capability up to 1,200 feet.
  • Sonar recording and many other sonar functions.
  • Built-in GPS system.
  • Charts can be upgraded.
  • Waypoints and routes function.
  • Easy to install.
CONS
  • The included maps are not very detailed.

Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2

fish finders that cost less than 500Another great option from the Humminbird brand is the Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 fish finder. It comes from the brand’s second generation fish finders and it’s the perfect choice for those who would prefer to have both the side imaging and down imaging options.

This fish finder features a display that at 5 inches is a bit smaller than the previous model. However, it still provides ample screen space and the ability to view your sonar information in split screen. It’s also a color screen that features high resolution, which makes it easier to differentiate all the details displayed on the screen.

This fish finder comes with a transducer that offers three functions in one unit. The unit’s sonar capabilities include CHIRP sonar, Down Imaging and Side Imaging. You can view each one separately or have them displayed side-by-side in split screen mode.

You can use 83/200kHz for 2D sonar viewing that offers 20 and 60 degree angles. This Dual beam sonar allows you to choose between a narrow and a wide view of the underwater. You can also view them on a split screen.

Alternatively, you can modulate the pulse via the CHIRP function, which would provide you with detailed images of what’s happening below your boat. With this sonar function, you can scan depths up to 1,500 feet.

For Side and Down Imaging, you can either use the 455kHz frequency or modulate the pulse in the 420-520kHz frequency range. The second option also uses CHIRP sonar, which improves the imaging quality and target detection. When it comes to depth capability, Side Imaging can reach depths up to 200 feet and Down Imaging can scan depths up to 350 feet.

The included transducer is designed for a transom mount. For a trolling motor mount, you’ll need to separately purchase an adapter kit.

To help you navigate the waters, there’s a built-in GPS receiver. It will help you keep track of your location on the map and it will help you plan routes and save waypoints. This Humminbird fish finder includes the same Basemap charts as the Helix 7 model. If you prefer, you can also upgrade the system to better charts.

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PROS
  • 5 inch display.
  • Split screen capability.
  • CHIRP sonar.
  • Down and Side Imaging.
  • Includes transducer with a power output of 500 watts.
  • Scans depths up to 1,500 feet.
  • Sonar recording and other useful functions.
  • GPS system.
  • Includes Basemap charts.
  • Upgradable.
  • Transom mount.
CONS
  • Smaller screen.

Garmin Striker 7sv

comparison of fish finders under 500Garmin is another popular brand in the industry and its most popular fish finder under 500 is the Garmin Striker 7sv (you can also check out our Garmin Striker Plus 7sv review). It’s a high quality unit that offers excellent value for the money.

The fish finder includes a 7 inch display. It features a color screen, providing more detail and making it easy to separate fish from debris and other objects on the screen. The crisp images also allow you to pinpoint with ease the exact location of the target fish.

This unit comes with an all-in-one transducer, meaning that it offers all three functions: CHIRP, side scan and down scan sonar. And thanks to the large size of the display, you can view all these sonar readings on a split screen. This allows you to compare the sonar returns, making it easy to find target fish. It also allows you to look at the underwater world from every angle, so you can see all the objects lurking below.

So, first of all, it uses traditional CHIRP technology, which provides a high level of clarity and detail. Since it operates over a wide range of frequencies, it provides a wider range of information, helping you to detect target fish with ease.

The included transducer also combines ClearVu and SideVu technologies. They operate at frequencies 266/455/800kHz and provide you with a picture of what’s happening right below your boat and to its sides.

Another advantage of this system is its depth capability. It can scan waters as deep as 2,300 feet in freshwater and as deep as 1,100 feet in saltwater.

Sonar capabilities of this fish finder don’t end there. It also offers an ice flasher that can be used for stationary fishing. This mode is perfect for ice fishing and vertical jigging. It offers a circular scale that features depth markings of underwater objects.

The fish finder also has a built-in GPS receiver. Unfortunately, there are no maps included. It only shows the boat’s position on a blank white screen. However, it does allow you to save waypoints and track routes, making it easy to return to them in the future.

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PROS
  • 7 inch color display.
  • Split screen viewing capability.
  • CHIRP sonar, ClearVu and SideVu.
  • Includes ice flasher function.
  • Depth capability up 2,300 feet.
  • High-sensitivity GPS.
  • Waypoints functions.
  • Easy to install and use.
  • 1 year warranty.
CONS
  • No Micro SD slot for upgrading mapping.
  • Does not offer maps.

Humminbird Ice Helix 5

ice fishing fish finder under 500If you’re looking for a fish finder under 500 for ice fishing, then we recommend checking out the Humminbird Ice Helix 5 model. It comes in a portable kit and it offers features designed specifically for ice fishing.

The unit offers a 5 inch display, which allows you to make the most of its sonar capabilities. Also, with high resolution and color, it makes it easier to read the screen and distinguish between different displayed details.

This fish finder features both traditional sonar and ice flasher mode. Traditional sonar operates using CHIRP technology that supports 50/83/200kHz frequencies. You can either modulate the operation over a range of frequencies to get the most detail or select to use the Dual Spectrum CHIRP.

The Dual Spectrum CHIRP feature allows you to choose either a narrow or a wide beam with angles 15 and 21 degrees. Depending on which mode you choose, you can either scan a greater depth with more detailed returns or scan a wider area.

This unit also includes an ice flasher. It features a digital depth display with a depth scale. When using it, you can also choose between the narrow and the wide cone in order to fine-tune the sonar coverage.

There is also a wide array of viewing options available. You can choose to view just the ice flasher or have it displayed side-by-side with the traditional 2D sonar. Alternatively, you can view it on a split screen with mapping on one side and sonar on the other.

Another great feature of this fish finder’s sonar is the six-setting interference rejection. You can adjust it so that if there are any competing sonar signals around you, you’ll still get a clear picture of both sonar and flasher.

As the other fish finders mentioned on this list, this model also features a GPS system. It includes Humminbird’s standard Basemap. It’s not the most detailed map, but it can be upgraded.

This is a complete portable kit. The fish finder comes with a carrying case, ice fishing transducer, cable and a battery with a charger. So, once you receive your new fish finder, you just need to charge the battery and it’s ready for use.

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PROS
  • 5 inch LCD display.
  • CHIRP sonar.
  • Ice flasher.
  • Six-setting interference rejection.
  • Dual beam technology.
  • Split screen.
  • Built-in GPS.
  • Includes Basemap charts.
  • Can be upgraded to better charts.
  • 1 year warranty.
CONS
  • Requires upgrading for more detailed maps.
  • More suitable for ice fishing than boat fishing.

Garmin Echomap Plus 73cv

inexpensive fish finderThe Garmin Echomap Plus 73cv is also a great ice fishing bundle. It’s a good choice for those who are looking for a unit that would be used for ice fishing rather than boat fishing.

This device also offers a large screen that measures 7 inches in diagonal. It makes it easy to view it from a distance and it makes it possible to view different types of information simultaneously. For example, you could view the flasher and the maps side-by-side.

The display also combines keypad and touchscreen operation. Having the keypad is a good addition since if you’re wearing gloves, you wouldn’t be able to use the touchscreen.

For sonar, the fish finder features the traditional CHIRP technology and a built-in flasher. Using CHIRP sonar, you can select beamwidth in the range between 8 to 16 degrees. It’s a narrow CHIRP transducer, which is perfect for ice fishing. It offers highly detailed images, so you can clearly see fish arches, bottom structure and other underwater objects.

The flasher features a circular scale. It shows you the depth of different submerged objects. This can help you detect fish and watch your jig. You can also compare the flasher information with the traditional sonar by viewing both returns on a split screen. This provides superior readout and more success with catching fish.

The GPS system of this fish finder includes LakeVu g3 maps. They cover over 17,000 lakes, so it includes only inland maps and no coastal coverage.

As this is an ice fishing bundle, it comes as a kit with everything included in the package. That includes the display unit, a convenient carrying case, GT10HN-IF ice fishing transducer, battery, charger, cable, grommet and foam float.

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PROS
  • 7 inch WVGA display.
  • CHIRP sonar.
  • Flasher mode.
  • Can reach depths up to 800 feet in freshwater.
  • Sonar recording and rewind.
  • GPS system.
  • LakeVu maps.
  • Wireless connectivity.
  • Comes as a complete kit.
CONS
  • The touchscreen is useless when operating it in gloves.

Lowrance Hook2 7

high end fish finderThe last product we’d like to mention in our list of top fish finders under 500 is the Lowrance Hook2 7. This is also an amazing unit that offers a balance of simplicity and power, delivering impressive sonar coverage.

The first thing to note is the large display. With 7 inches diagonal, you get ample surface space, so you can easily read sonar images even from a distance. It also has backlighting that you can fine-tune depending on the light conditions.

This fish finder comes with SplitShot transducer, which is a two-in-one sonar unit. It offers both the traditional CHIRP sonar and Down Scan Imaging. Traditional CHIRP sonar provides you with images displaying fish arches. Down Scan imaging, on the other hand, provides you with a view straight down from the boat.

The advantage of the included transducer is also the variety of possible mounting options. You can mount it on the transom, on the trolling motor, inside the hull or through a scupper hole. This means that this fish finder is suitable for use on a variety of vessels, including on kayaks and canoes.

When using the device, you can select either the autotuning sonar or select the settings yourself. The autotuning feature can be great for those who are just starting out with using a fish finder or those who prefer to spend more time fishing rather than finding the right settings.

This fish finder is also a chartplotter. It offers high detail mapping that features 4,000 lakes with 1-foot contours. You can use these maps to navigate the waters, as well as to find fish holding structures.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

PROS
  • 7 inch display.
  • CHIRP sonar.
  • Wide-angle sonar.
  • Down Scan Imaging.
  • Autotuning sonar settings.
  • Includes SplitShot transducer.
  • Variety of mounting options.
  • GPS with high detail mapping.
  • 1 year warranty.
CONS
  • No cover.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of fish finders that are available in the under 500 price range. However, if you’re looking for the best fish finder under 500, you might like one of the six products we’ve listed in these reviews. We picked them based on their sonar performance, display quality, user-friendliness and other useful features. All of these fish finders offer excellent functionality and for a price that will not break the bank.

If you’re not sure what to look for in order to choose the highest quality fish finder, we recommend checking out our buying guide where we cover in detail all the features of these devices.

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