Best Portable Fish Finder Reviews – Our Top Recommendation
A fish finder is a large and permanent device that needs to be installed in the control table of a boat. They may demand a lot of space and eventually waste a lot of time in installation that boat owners may use for any other endeavor.
Luckily, there are portable fish finders. These are not only much more convenient, but increasingly versatile devices fishers can use without having to install anywhere. This also means, they can use it practically in any place they want without problems.
Fishers who want to know precisely whether the fishes are from a large boat, a motorboat, in a kayak, or even just from the shore – the best portable fish finder will completely fit their needs.
If you are one of these fishers, then you’ll learn a lot from this guide. Take a look further to find out!
Top Rated Portable Fish Finders 2019
Garmin Striker 4
Humminbird Helix 5
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+
Best Portable Fish Finder Reviews
1. Garmin Striker 4 - Best Kayak Fish Finder
The perfect design for more versatile fishers, the Garmin Striker 4 is a magnificent fishfinder for those who need superior handiness and more protection. This means those who like to fish from difficult places will very likely prefer this one enormously.
It comes with a portable kit that comprises a waterproof carrying case and a stable mounting platform. This allows users to go on a kayak, canoe, inflatable boat, or just whatever and get exceptional results with little dangers to fear.
The radar and other detecting features are amazing as well. Including a Way point map for more convenient navigation with marking system and a clear view, make the perfect mapping environment.
You also get a CHIRP sonar, which means you get a continuous crisp visual of all the fishes around you. The best of the radars in the Striker 4 are the echo MAP chartplotter, the built-in flasher, and the high-sensitivity GPS.
You won’t ever get lost in the sea, and even in the coldest of environments, you will be able to find your way to your goal & always come back to your desired fishing location without problems. And what’s even better, you can also check your boat speed to avoid scaring your catch when fishing.
It also offers excellent imagine quality. The display is 3.5 inches, which means you get a very easy-to-use for almost anyone. And the battery is rechargeable so that you can get not only an easy-to-use device but also a very reliable one, even in hard situations.
The rest of the accessories are the trolling motor mounting kit, a transom, and a tilt/swivel mount. This way you can install a garmin transducer in your boat or canoe comfortably and use it without having to carry it on your hands at all times.
2. Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp
A giant 256-colors full-brightness 5-inches WVGA display plus backlight and a highly precise CHIRP sonar with GPS chartplotting and UniMap cartography - that and much more is what you get with this.
Not everyone knows how powerful it can be until they review the Humminbird Helix 5. Coming in eleven different models, you won’t find a device as robust, reliable, and convenient as this one.
It even comes with a micro SD port so you can save up your waypoints when fishing. It’s the perfect feature for fishers who want to go back to the same spot again and again. But now let’s get into more detail.
Not only it is one of the clearest and brightest out there, but it also offers a large 5-inch display surrounded by a slim bezel with portable design. You get a product to take anywhere you want and still get enough space to carry it without any issue.
The GPS alongside the CHIRP technology promote exceptional results. You get super accurate readings as well as the clearest sonar capacity you can think of.
And this is all improved when you consider the SwitchFire plus Dual Beam technology. You can adjust the details in the display and the readings with a simple touch. This allows you to take a look at whatever you want, faster and more efficiently, so you can focus on your fishing.
Still, you get even better responsiveness when you consider the Smart Strike system and the Base map add-on. You will be able to get instant results & screen features without having to wait seconds before it shows results.
This way you get faster searching, more accurate readings, and impressive navigation responsiveness for exceptional fishing results.
And of course, you also get the chance to create charts with the Auto Chart Live feature, helping you create & save fishing spots easily. All of this while being able to experience a super-detailed mapping experience.
3. Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+
A wireless fish finder seems interesting, right? Well, that’s precisely what the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is. An exciting yet handy, powerful, easy to use, and utterly reliable for users who love innovation.
This deeper sonar pro plus comes in a rounded design, which works as a GPS & sonar that sends the signal to your smartphone. You will be able to watch everything that happens in your surroundings directly on your phone, with great detail and exceptional data for a more effective fishing experience.
Its Wi-Fi connection makes the data transport fast, so you don’t lose any time while fishing. And what’s even better, you can send this data to a smartphone, tablet, or even a laptop if you have one. Just install the Deeper APP, and you will be able to analyze everything the device catches without any issue.
You have different fishing modes, from a Standard to Boat, Ice Fishing and even OnShore depending on your needs. You also have different types of scanning, a sensitivity adjuster, alarms, icons, and various display colors.
And what’s even better, you get a History Mode, a Calendar, Weather Forecast, and Map functions for a much more convenient capability.But it is the Sonar and GPS capabilities that make it so effective eventually.
This Sonar casts deeper and farther than most options in the market, helping you analyze a lot of space, so you get outstanding results. The scan function shows practically everything below the surface, from the depth to any structure, vegetation, or fish and more.
And of course, you can pinpoint whatever you want quickly, so you get exactly what you want when fishing.
Finally, you will have a real-time mapping feature that shows how fishes & other things move LIVE, so you can make the right move and the right time easily. Just hook it up to your intelligent device via Wi-Fi, and that’s it – a superb product to fish like a professional.
4. Venterior VT-FF001 - Best Fish Finder Under 100
The best portable fish finder under 100 without a doubt, the Venterior VT-FF001 is a straightforward and reliable product for those users who prefer simplicity & durability over anything else.
It offers everything you could need to enjoy a more effective fishing experience. From having an Anti-UV LCD with LED backlighting to having a very reliable transducer sensor that analyses up to 100m away – this device is not an option to overlook.
It is incredibly affordable as well, which considering how power-effective it is, you get a bang for your money. Only needing four triple-A batteries makes it perfect for those who don’t want to waste a fortune, as it not only needs only four but also makes them last for days with constant use.
The transducer also comes with a 25-feet cable, so you can make it work more effectively according to your needs. And of course, it also offers a Side-Scan adapter so that you can get even better results without issues.
With this device, you can scan practically anything underwater, from fishes to weeds, sand, rocks, and more. And it also remembers your setting and waypoints, so you don’t have to reset it when you go to the same places.
It is very convenient as well, offering five different modes for sensitivity, battery-saving, backlighting, fish alarm and even for a unit of measure. All of this while showing you the depth of the water, and working practically on any situation.
The Venterior is also totally waterproof and capable of withstanding very cold or hot temperatures effortlessly. So, you can use it in hot sunny days, or in the coldest ice-fishing trips without any issue.
Despite its simple design when compared to others in the list, it is still one of the most reliable & responsive you can get.
5. ReelSonar iBobber
Maybe the best portable fish finder for the money, the iBobber is a high-quality mobile device for those who like innovative designs and exceptional results.
It looks like a small piece of plastic, but it offers good sonar & GPS results if you want to find fish underwater. To use it, you need to hook it via Bluetooth to your smart devices such as phone, tablet or laptop, and it will start showing all the features it offers.
From waterbed & structure contour mapping to an interactive map with GPS spot tagging, the iBobber is a very responsive device for those who want versatility. You can even save water temperature, weather, location, get an idea of the fish species, and also make photos with the device.
It works practically on any condition or environment, and you can use it while on a kayak, boat, raft, canoe, or just anything. And of course, it behaves the same way in rivers, lakes, saltwater, fresh water, or just anywhere you want, even in moving waters that demand more sonar power.
The Trip Log feature offers the chance to get a sense of the location, time, date, number of fish and the species. Also, you can find the water temperature and the overall condition of the water. And for even better results, you can choose the type of fishing that fits your needs.
The device also comes with alarms for fishes and strikes. And if you need to connect with social media, the free app of the device allows you to. This way you share your catches and overall data the device offers.
It is incredibly small and portable and offers the chance to use it practically anywhere, which is something not all devices provide. In short, this is a very responsive, reliable, and versatile choice for anyone who loves straightforward devices.
Things that Make a Portable Fish Finder
To pick the perfect portable fish finder, you must know what it means to have the right one. For that, you’ll have to learn more about them with a brief reading of their features & critical factors..
Here’s what you should know before buying.
You may think that a portable fishfinder is the only type you need to look for, but it’s not.
Among portable finders, you may also find many kinds to pick from. Among them, you will find the handheld option, which one you can use on your hand without having to install it or mount it anywhere.
This is the classic type, and usually the most affordable of them all with simple & basic features.
Then there’s the mountable finder. This one needs more stability to properly analyze underwater. It is the most powerful, it often comes with different mounting accessories and typically offers GPS, CHIRP sonar, and other useful features.
Of course, this model tends to be pretty expensive, yet it is worth it for its quality overall.
Finally, you have the beacon or floating type. This one you can launch it on the water and connect with it via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to obtain all the data from underwater.
You will need a smartphone, tablet or laptop to use it. Yet, it comes with all the features other finders also offer, such as a GPS, sonar, and more. But of course, they are not as easy to use or reliable.
2. GPS & Sonar
The GPS and the sonar are essential parts of every fishfinder. With a GPS, you can map and track while you’re on the boat, so you can find the perfect spots to fish and find more fish accordingly.
Several GPS options in many finders offer the chance to map out destination, saved locations, and sometimes even get even better readings of underwater structures.
A sonar does the work of giving a shape to everything that is below the fisherman. Here is where the transducer comes into action. It analyses everything underwater to tell the fisher where the fish are.
Sometimes, these sonars such as the CHIRP, does much more than that, even telling the number of fishes, other structures, and providing real-time info of activity.
3. Depth & Distance
Having a GPS and a sonar is not enough. It is always important to have enough distance and depth so you can enjoy the device depending on where you are.
In waters deeper than 10 meters, it is not that important to have good depth but distance. When the water is very deep, however, the more depth you have, the better.
We recommend finders that offer at least 50 meters of distance to the surroundings, and at least 100 meters of depth for deep waters.
This way you get a much more useful product that analyses everything possible to increase your chances of catching the right fish.
4. Display & Mapping
A fish finder needs to have a large, bright, and resistant display so you can see all the data it offers without problems.
This also helps to get as much mapping info as possible, sometimes the right LCD can even provide a touchscreen, so you can interact with the mapping and get even better results in your fishing.
Some devices don’t offer an LCD screen but instead send the image and mapping signal to another device via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. These are also very useful, but the data may suffer from latency which may feel frustrating for demanding users.
5. Size & Weight
If it is portable, it needs to be small enough to be easy to carry, but large enough to offer enough visibility in its display. This also affects the weight, which immediately means the device may or not provide the necessary features.
The lighter the device, the more likely it comes with fewer features. The same happens when it is very small. Luckily, most devices of large or medium size offer mounting options, so you don’t have to carry them at all times. These are the ones you should go for.
However, if you need more versatility & convenience, go for the smallest and lightest devices - they are also beneficial. Especially for floating depth finders, it eventually comes all down to what you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even though we tried to make the guide as useful as possible, there are still many aspects we may have left behind. That’s why we offer an additional section where we answer common doubts most buyers tend to have - take a look!
How do fish finders work?
A fish finder comprises a sonar/transducer that emits sound waves. These waves travel through the water and hit everything in their path, creating a bouncing effect that makes the waves come back to the device.
When the device receives them, it generates an approximate image of everything the waves hit, which is what you see on the fish finders display.
How to mount a portable fish finder?
All units have their mounting process. However, most of them come with the suction cup or clamp system. You just attach the device to the suction cup or clamp it with accordingly, and that’s it.
For transducers, however, you will need the same systems but with additional wire, braided line, or rope to attach it to the boat.
Can I use a fish finder without GPS?
Even though it is not necessary for fishing, the GPS offers excellent advantages. But of course, not everyone needs one of these.
For small lakes and rivers, GPS is not that useful, so you can get a convenient device without GPS if this fits your needs.
Otherwise, a GPS can become an instrumental part of your fishing, especially in saltwater environments.
You won’t find the right finder easily, especially if you are a demanding fisher. But with our help, you can make sure you find the best portable fish finder for your needs, always following our recommendations and advice.
Just remember that it all comes down to your type of fishing and overall requirements. So choose accordingly and start having the best fishing experience you can! You won’t be disappointed if you take our help into account!