Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fish Finders Under $200 Reviewed

Looking for fish and don’t want to break the bank? We have reviewed the best fish finders under $200. These brands are reliable & affordable.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fish Finders Under $200 Reviewed

Looking for fish and don’t want to break the bank? We have reviewed the best fish finders under $200. These brands are reliable & affordable.

by Andrew

by Andrew

There is no better feeling than hitting the waters and reeling in a catch you can proudly show off to everyone. But, whether fishing is a hobby or a source of income for you, it can be challenging to hit the jackpot every time you cast the fishing rod unless you have a fish finder with you!

Preview

Product

Screen Size

Depth Range

Check Price

Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer, 4' GPS...

Garmin Striker

4cv

3.5 inches

1,750 Ft. in freshwater
850 Ft. in saltwater
250 Ft. in ClearVü

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

3.5, 5, 7 - inches

1,600 Ft. in freshwater
750 Ft. in saltwater

Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 Series Sonar G2...

Humminbird

410190-1

5 Inches

1,500 Ft.

Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI (Down...

Humminbird

410160-1

4.3 inches

Down imaging -  320 Ft.
2D sonar - 600 Ft.

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar - GPS Portable...

Deeper PRO (DP1H10S10)

NA

260 Ft.

Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with...

Garmin Striker 4

3.5, 5, 7 - inches

1,600 Ft. in freshwater
750 Ft. in saltwater

JOYWEE FF688C 3.5' Phiradar Color LCD Boat...

JOYWEE FF688C Phiradar

3.5 inches

984 Ft.


How Fish Finders Work & The Benefits of Using Them

Thanks to fish finders, you can be sure to hit the motherlode every time you go fishing. You can find the best fish finders under 200 dollars, but there are more expensive versions in the market as well. However, in our experience, the price seldom has anything to do with the quality of the fish finder.

All in all, these devices have one function only: to send out sonar signals via a transducer and figure out if there is a school of fish near you. As objects fall under the transducer’s beam, the device shows the estimated size of the item and how deep it is. It could be anything from fish to rocks, to vegetation, or the floor below.

If you are a seasoned angler or someone who just picked up a hobby, using a fish finder can improve-upon your fishing experience by removing the guesswork from the equation. It will guide you to where the fish swim, and you will get more bites to your bait than you could ever imagine. The readings on the fish finder will help you distinguish between live fish and random objects such as rocks, vegetation, stones, etc.

Ten reasons why you need a fish finder when fishing.


Tips For Choosing a Quality Fish Finder Under $200

Fishing Type & Environment

Choosing the best fish finders under $200 depends on a variety of factors like where you fish and the surrounding environment — whether you fish in salt or freshwater, or indulge in ice fishing. Accordingly, decide if you need to mount the unit or keep it on your person. Compare and figure out which fish finder is right for you — standalone fish finder, combination fish finder, or a networked system.

Mounting Type/Material

When fishing, the waters can go from calm to severe in a blink of an eye (rough seas, changing weather, thin ice, etc.). Plus, the water can be fresh or salty, so all gear, including your fish finder, should be resistant to corrosion.

This is why when looking for a cheap fish finder, make sure you are not compromising on durability. Whether you have a castable fish finder or a kayak fish finder mounted using fish finder mounts— the device should be able to withstand all adversities in your way, be it severe weather or a bumpy ride. Most fish finders can be mounted to the body of the transom (a vertical section on the boat's front). There are many universal fish finder mounts, or you can find one specifically for your device.

Transducer

The primary component of every fish finder is its transducer, which is used to send and receive sonar waves. If an object comes in contact with the sonar, it is displayed on the screen along with its dimensions and depth. Transducers come with different mounts, and they can be made from various materials. Choose the right one according to the usage:

  • A transom mount is the most used, and it is made of plastic.
  • An in-hull mount, thru-hull mount, metal-hull mount, or fiberglass mount requires a plastic casing.
  • A steel or aluminum hull requires stainless steel housing.
  • A fiberglass or wooden hull requires bronze housing

When narrowing down to the best fish finders under $200, also focus on the transducer’s cone angle — the width of the beam sent to the water. A wide cone angle covers more area but at reduced sensitivity, especially in deep waters. The best transducers have a cone angle ranging between 9 to 60-degrees, and most options provide a cone angle ranging between 16-degrees to 20-degrees; that’s good enough for beginners.

Display Screen

You have a choice between two types of displays – color screens tend to be more expensive but offer millions of colors – and black and white screens that are seen on cheap fish finder units and provide 265 shades of gray. So, it goes without saying, a color screen would make the sonar’s info much easier to comprehend, but that in no way means a black and white display is terrible; you just have to select the right device.

The good news is that many of the best fish finders under $200 feature a color display that provides uncompromised readability, whether it’s dark or bright outside. Also, consider the display size, screen resolution, and the number of available pixels — the more pixels your device has, the better the display. Ideally, you should aim for 240 x 160 pixels – a sufficient and reasonable sized display. But if you want something better, it may cost you a bit more, so choose wisely.

Type of Sonar

CHIRP AKA Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse sends several sonar waves at different frequencies simultaneously, leading to better, more accurate results. You get to know more about what’s underneath the surface; the information is reliable and quite exact. That makes fish finders with CHIRP a front runner for your attention.

Maximum Depth & Water Resistance

Whether you are using a castable fish finder or a fish finder for boats such as kayak fish finder, the chosen device should be resistant to water damage. And you would get to know this by looking at the device’s IPX or JIS rating (water resistance rating),

  • A four IPX rating means that the unit can handle water splashes.
  • A five or six IPS rating means that the fish finder can handle water at considerable pressures.
  • A seven rating means that the device can be submerged for 30 minutes at a depth of 10 feet.
  • An eight rating means that the device can be in the water for a significant amount of time.

Frequency

Many fish finders on the market have twin transducers and cones angles of 20-degrees and 60-degrees, and they typically come with different frequencies — 200, 192, 83, or 50 kHz. The higher the frequency, the more accurate the results, and the better would be your fishing experience. For shallow water fishing, choose a high frequency such as 192 kHz or 200 kHz. For deep water, your fish finder should be operating at a 50 kHz frequency.

Power

When narrowing down to the best kayak fish finder under $200, also remember to check the available power. If you do shallow fishing, you can choose a device with low wattage and vice versa.  For instance, a 100-watt device operating at a frequency of 50 kHz can pick up on readings at depths of 400 ft. In contrast, the same device operating at 200 kHz of frequency will show accurate reading up to 100 ft.

Performance Features

It’s also good to know what extra features are available on your selected fish finder to enhance your experience.  Some of the many options that the best fish finders under $200 include, but do not limit to:

  • An SD card slot to store new maps
  • Side-scanning to find fish on both the sides and not just underneath
  • GPS and Bluetooth to connect the fish finder to your handheld device, and online
  • The device should be easy to carry, mount, and unmount.

Warranty

The best fish finder for your money comes with a good warranty policy, so you can have the assurance that your investment is protected. Make sure to understand what the terms and conditions are, and under what circumstances the warranty will go void or when will it not be claimable. Ideally, the best fish finder under 200 should have a year’s coverage, but more is better.


7 Best Fish Finders Under $200 Reviewed

1. Garmin Striker 4cv

Our Top Pick!

Screen Size

3.5 inches

Depth Range

1,750 Ft. in freshwater

850 Ft. in saltwater

 250 Ft. in ClearVü

Chirp or Sonar

Both

GPS

Yes

Key Feature

Built-in flasher

Warranty

1 year limited

Topping our best fish finders under $200 reviews is the Garmin Striker 4cv, as it is the best device to get if you can afford to spend $100 to $200. You receive a superb tool that rocks a 3.5-inch screen with a resolution (pixel count) count of 480 x 320 and HVGA colors.

Whether you are shallow fishing or trying to catch fish in the deep blue sea, the Garmin Striker 4cv won’t disappoint you; it provides you with a variety of Sonar options, which include traditional 2D, and CHIRP. The conventional sonar can throw out two frequencies at 77 kHz, and 200 kHz and the CHIRP ClearVü bursts out a variety of wavelengths ranging between 455 kHz to 800 kHz.

Thanks to the provided GT20-TM transducer, you can view different CHIRP bands (medium and high range). What makes the Garmin Striker 4cv an excellent device and one of the best fish finders under $200, is the technologies it features and the many additional options such as a built-in GPS.

The fish finder GPS combo allows you to drop waypoints of places that entice you — at any time, you can return to the marked locations, and the GPS can also guide you back to shore once you are done fishing.

Pros
  • A wide variety of information is picked up courtesy of MultiBeam sonar and CHIRP
  • Perfect ice fishing fish finder as it comes with a built-in flasher
  • Built-in GPS can manage your routes
  • Ability to mark waypoints helps you reach good fishing grounds when needed
Cons
  • Unit does not come with a cover

2. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Best Portable Fish Finder Under $200

Screen Size

3.5/5/7 inches

Depth Range

1,600 Ft. - freshwater

 750 Ft. - saltwater

Chirp or Sonar

Both

GPS

Yes

Key Feature

Portable kit included and HVGA color display

Warranty

1 year limited

If you are in the market for a portable fish finder, look no further than the Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit, which is one of the best portable fish finders under $200. It uses CHIRP to provide detailed imaging, with adequate target separation, helping anglers distinguish between fish and other objects.

The Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit provides you with two display options — the traditional flasher mode or a fish finder mode. This makes it a prominent ice fishing fish finder, but wait; there is a catch — the included transducer is not fit for ice fishing. However, there are separate options available on the market.

Also, without the added sensor, this is still one of the best fish finders for small boat and the best fish finder for a kayak. Even though the Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit is cheaper, it is still packed with many outstanding features that are seen in the more expensive models. The sonar can provide accurate readings on the presence of fish and also the conditions underwater and beneath the ice — which can help you judge how fish react to your bait.

Pros
  • Select between different display sizes
  • All-season device
  • Can add waypoints
  • Carry bag for easy portability
Cons
  • Transducer sold separately for ice fishing
  • No SD card slot

3. Humminbird 410190-1

Best Fish Finder With GPS Under $200

Screen Size

5 Inches

Depth Range

1,500 Ft.

Chirp or Sonar

Both

GPS

Yes

Key Feature

2.5-inch target separation

Warranty

2 years limited

As we have mentioned in various places across the piece, it’s always great to have a GPS fish finder, instead of owning two separate devices. This is why the third fish finder in our best fish finders under $200 review is the Humminbird 410190-1, which is, without a doubt, a great investment.

Plus, this is also one of the best Humminbird fish finder units because of its big-sized display and ability to detect fish at depths up to 1,500 feet, courtesy of the transducer’s dual-beam functionality and the digital CHIRP.

Simply put, it has all the right features that fishermen long for from a fish finder, and they get it all without burning a hole in their pocket. The Humminbird 410190-1 Helix 5 Sonar G2 features the Humminbird Switchfire Sonar function that allows it entirely scan everything within the cone column.

Also, the unit has a considerable amount of power to ensure seamless operations. It runs on 4,000 watts, which is enough to provide accurate results at low as well as high frequencies. Thanks to this, the target separation is set at 2.5 inches. Above all, it can be mounted in-dash, on gimbals, and the build quality is excellent; thus, it will last you a for a good number of years.

Pros
  • Split-screen availability on a large display
  • Lot of power (4,000 watts)
  • Can provide readings at depths of 1,500 feet
  • Accurate findings
Cons
  • Some users were not pleased with its performance in shallow water

4. Humminbird 410160-1

Best Humminbird Fish Finder Under $200

Screen Size

4.3 inches

Depth Range

Down imaging Sonar - 320 Ft.

 2D - 600 Ft.

Chirp or Sonar

DualBeam Sonar

GPS

No

Key Feature

Comes with in-dash & tilt-swivel mount

Warranty

2 years limited

The fourth fish finder in our review is the Humminbird 410160-1, which is the best Humminbird fish finder under $200. Whether it's bright and sunny or dim and dull, thanks to the 4.3-inch LED-backlit display, reading the screen will never be an issue. Additionally, the device comes with an in-dash and a tilt-swivel mount — which is the right placement to understand all findings at a glance.

The Humminbird 410160-1 has dual-beam sonar — the down imaging sonar can reach to depths of 320 feet, whereas the 2D sonar can send out a signal up to 600 feet. Also, two different frequencies are used, which can be changed according to how deep the signal is sent, however at a given time, only one frequency can be outputted.

Despite the device not featuring CHIRP sonar, still, the provided target separation is at 2.5-inches; which is good enough to distinguish between fish and other objects, and between large fish, small fish, and a school of fish.

However, the Humminbird 410160-1 does not have a built-in GPS, and there are no navigation functions or the ability to add waypoints. Even then, the device provides outstanding results, and above all, it is set at a very reasonable price point.

Pros
  • User-friendly device
  • Color display + good-sized screen
  • IPX7 rating
  • Features a DualBeam sonar
  • Alerts you if there are fish in proximity
Cons
  • No in-built GPS
  • Despite having a DualBeam Sonar—only one frequency can be sent out at a time

5. Deeper PRO (DP1H10S10)

Best Castable Fish Finder Under $200

Screen Size

NA

Depth Range

260 Ft.

Chirp or Sonar

Sonar — dual-scan technology

GPS

Yes

Key Feature

Castable fish finder

Warranty

2 years limited

Next in our fish finder under 200 dollars reviews is one of the best castable fish finders under $200—Deeper PRO (DP1H10S10). If you ask us, this is also one of the best wireless fish finders under $200. Whether you need the best ice fishing fish finder or something for your boat, this device will be a substantial investment. It is a castable fish finder that is cast along with your bait via your fishing rod. Once underwater or beneath the ice, the device depicts what’s in its surroundings by using a dual-scan technology.

The reason we call it the best wireless fish finder is because it has a built-in Wi-Fi that keeps it connected to a display device, i.e., your phone or tablet. Just download the app, and all data will start populating in real-time on your screen, courtesy of the built-in GPS.

The Deeper PRO (DP1H10S10) can operate in all kinds of water, be it fresh or salt, and on one full charge, the battery has enough juice to keep the device running up to five hours. The best part is that even when fishing in hard to reach places where standard fish finders don’t operate efficiently, the Deeper PRO will not face a problem, it will move along with your bait, and provide on spot-readings if fish are being lured by it.

Pros
  • Connectivity is stable thanks to the provided Wi-Fi
  • Data starts coming forth as soon as it hits the water
  • App is easy to use
  • Dual scan sonar allows for a wide and narrow scan
Cons
  • Some users had trouble adjusting the weight as this device adds another 3.5 oz.

6. Garmin Striker 4

Best Rated Model Under $200

Screen Size

3.5/5/7 inches

Depth Range

1,600 Ft. - freshwater

 750 Ft. - saltwater

Chirp or Sonar

Both

GPS

Yes

Key Feature

HVGA color display

Warranty

1 year

Sixth in our reviews, we bring forth another brilliant device from Garmin again — the Garmin Striker 4, which to us, is undoubtedly a best-rated model under $200. You get the option to choose between three display sizes—3.5-inches, 4-inches, and 7-inches. Unlike the many cheap fish finder units on the market, this device provides a glare-free readable display at all times, in all conditions, as it has an HVGA color display.

What makes this a great catch is the availability of CHIRP sonar, which helps in seamlessly pinpointing locations with decent amounts of fishes. Plus, once you find a good fishing ground, the device lets you add it as a waypoint, so you can sail back to it if and when needed. We would also like to point out that you can create 5,000 waypoints, which is more than enough, even for the most obsessive fishing enthusiasts.

Furthermore, the CHIRP technology also provides adequate target separation, no longer would a school of fish appear to be one big fish, a problem that many fisherman and anglers face while using a fish finder.

The Garmin Striker 4 also has a DualBeam Sonar, which allows for fishing in shallow as well as deep waters — in salt water, it can operate at a depth of 750 feet, whereas in freshwater it can go as low as 1,600 feet.

Pros
  • CHIRP plus 2D Sonar for excellent results
  • User-friendly interface
  • Several sonar features which are easy to use
  • Allows users to record 5,000 waypoints
Cons
  • Need to purchase 50kHz transducer separately

7. JOYWEE FF688C Phiradar

Best Kayak Fish Finder Under $200

Screen Size

3.5 inches

Depth Range

984 Ft.

Chirp or Sonar

DualBeam Sonar

GPS

No

Key Feature

No interference when in contact with vegetation or grass

Warranty

NA

To cover all grounds, we had to mention the best fish finder for kayak fishing. Therefore, last but not least is the JOYWEE FF688C Phiradar, which is the best kayak fish finder under $200 and the best option for a small boat. Whether you fish ponds, lakes, river, or the sea — having this device on your person offers much-needed assurance that you will not return empty-handed from your fishing trip.

All findings can be seen on a decent-sized 3.5-inch display, which is readable in the sun and when it's dark, and the added advantage is that the screen does not reflect light coming its way. Gone are the days of putting your palm on top of the display to read it when there is less light present.

Plus, if you are not well-versed with the English language, not a problem, the JOYWEE FF688C Phiradar allows users to change the language. You have a choice between Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, English, Dutch, Italian, and a lot more.

The device comes with a DualBeam Sonar with two frequencies — 83 kHz and 200 kHz, thanks to which you get precise reading time after time. Also, when the sonar beam comes in contact with vegetation and grass below, interference is zero to none, which also makes the device an ideal pick when fishing in lakes.

Pros
  • Battery life indicator
  • No distortion — anything and everything is picked up.
  • When the sonar comes in contact with vegetation, there is no interference
  • Reading the display is comfortable even in adverse conditions
Cons
  • Some users complained that the tool is not easy to use

Comparing a Cheap Fish Finder To Expensive Devices

Like any other product on the market, cheap fish finder units may not have as many features and capabilities as their expensive alternatives. But, this in no way means that they cannot deliver on-point readings; you just have to be cautious about what you invest in as some of the best fish finders under 200 dollars can do wonders for your fishing trip.

Firstly, experts say that if you are good at your craft, and own a good boat, you should also not hold back on investing in a good fish finder for a boat. On some cheap fish finder units, you will receive a small 3.5-inch screen, possibly a black and white display, and depth limitations up to 100 feet.

Whereas expensive options will feature a large color screen, GPS and Bluetooth capability, 3D sonar, and networking options with other fish finder users. The best part is – though $200 is a cheaper price point – the best fish finders under $200 units come with all the much-needed features found in expensive fish finders So you can opt for them with the assurance that you won’t be compromising on much, plus they are durable, and water-resistant so will last you for a good number of years.


Comparing CHIRP to Traditional Sonar

CHIRP, i.e., Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse, can provide better readings then a traditional sonar fish finder. While sonar fish finder units operate on a frequency or two to get the job done, CHIRP-based fish finders burst out a variety of different frequencies at the same time to detect everything with accuracy that falls under the transducer’s beam.

This allows for better target separation and a greater depth reach, which in turn helps anglers comprehend how fish are reacting to the given bait. A CHIRP Clearvü will enable you to inspect the water beneath and revert with a nearly photographic image. Similar to a side imaging fish finder, CHIRP Sidevü gives you precise reading on whether there is a presence of fish around the boat.


How to Install & Operate a Fish Finder

Setting It Up

Once you have your hands on the best fish finder under 200 dollars, it’s to make some calculated decisions on where to place it, how to mount it, how the wires may be connected, and many other factors.

Firstly, you need to have all tools at hand that may be required in the installation process. Though there is no right set, ideally, you should have a wire stripper, wire fish, fishing rod, wire crimper, adhesive, screwdriver (Philips's head), cable ties, fish finder mounts, sealant, terminal connectors, clamshell fitting, etc.

Now follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Get yourself registered on the fish finder network; this helps you and the fish finder manufacturer to communicate if need be
  2. 2
    Update the software of your fish finder
  3. 3
    Pick the right spot to mount the fish finder where you can easily see the screen without taking your eyes away from the prize
  4. 4
    Make sure the wires will reach the power outlet
  5. 5
    Make incisions via a drill to fit the fish finder mouth and for the cables to easily pass
  6. 6
    Put sealant on the holes before putting in the mount
  7. 7
    Run the power leads through the holes and according to how far the power source is — cut the wire
  8. 8
    Choose the right place you want to put the transducer and select a transducer mount accordingly, then connect the transducer’s cords to the fish finder mount.
  9. 9
    Connect the transducer
  10. 10
    Put your fish finder on the mount, connect all the wires, and power up the device.

Here is a video on how to install your best fish finder under 200 dollars.

Reading The Fish Finder

Here are some things you need to master:

  1. 1
    Learn to distinguish between fish and other objects — if your fish finder features Fish-ID technology (most fish finders have it), this would be a child’s play
  2. 2
    Your fish finder might show fish as arches that are easier to comprehend
  3. 3
    Learn how to detect the size of the fish; your best bet would be to consider the thickness of the arch – the thicker the arch, the bigger the potential catch.
  4. 4
    Full arches mean that the fish is circling within the transducer beam, whereas half arches say that the sonar detected only a part of them
  5. 5
    Baitfish will appear as balls, lines, dots, or dashes; also, they may appear in yellow colors, whereas vegetation will appear in green, which is why buying a device with a color display, is a plus.

People also Ask (FAQs)

What are the best brands for fish finders under $200?

The top fish finders under $200 are produced by top brands such as Garmin, Humminbird, Deeper, Lowrance, and JOYWEE.

How important is it to invest in a fish finder gps combo?

Yes, a GPS fish finder combination enhances your fishing experience. The best GPS fish finder available on the market will help you in – reaching the right spot – and guiding you back to shore. Here is a detailed piece on the best fish finder GPS combo available on the market.

Which is better, a down imaging or a side imaging fish finder?

Inherently, both can help you in various situations, so they are on par. Down imaging fish finders feature a transducer that points the sonar rays underneath your boat. In contrast, side scan fish finder directs the sonar to the sides.

What are the benefits of investing in a castable fish finder?

Whether you fish from the shore or on ice, your best bet would be to buy an ice fishing fish finder or a castable fish finder. The best castable fish finder unit will have the following benefits:

  • You get a reading at high depths on your phone
  • You can differentiate between potential catch and vegetation
  • You can access multiple fishing views on the provided app, which is available for grabs on app stores, etc.
How accurate are fish finders under $200? Do they work in rivers?

You have to answer the question — what is the best fish finder under 200? After thorough research, when you buy one, you will have excellent readings, and the fish finder would also seamlessly work in rivers.

Where can I buy a fish finder battery, fish finder mounts, and the best fish finder under 200 dollars?

You can buy the best fish finders under $200, a fish finder battery, and fish finder mounts from local fishing stores, or you can get some excellent bargains on Amazon since it is a multi-vendor market place, you can fish out your chosen device at the


Conclusion

All in all, a fish finder can guarantee a productive fishing spree—you will have a filled bucket in no time. However, choosing the best fish finder for the money with a budget of $200 can be a challenge.

This is why we did the legwork and narrowed down to the seven best units that will fit all your requirements. If you ask us, what is the best fish finder under 200? Without a doubt, the Garmin Striker 4CV is the best fish finder under $200.

Top