5 Best Fish Finders for Boats (2024)

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Fish finder on a boat in a lake.
Fish finder on a boat in a lake.

Navigating the vast waters for that elusive lunker requires more than just experience. It demands teamwork with the help of cutting-edge technology. The best fish finders for boats have become indispensable tools for anglers, revolutionizing the way we locate and catch fish.

Let’s review the importance of fish finders, key features to consider when choosing among all the top-rated fish finders on the market, then we’ll take a look at our top 5 picks for the best fish finders for boats.

Related: Best Portable Fish Finders & Best Kayak Fish Finders

The Importance of Fish Finders

The ocean's depths conceal a world of marine life, and as any seasoned angler will attest, finding the right spot is often the key to a successful catch. Fish finders act as underwater eyes, utilizing advanced sonar technology to detect fish, measure their depth, and even identify the type of terrain below. In the vast expanse of open water, these devices transform the game, offering a significant advantage to those who wield them.

Advancements in Fish Finder Technology

As technology evolves, so do fish finders. Modern units come equipped with features that were once unimaginable. From high-definition displays to sophisticated GPS integration, these devices have become essential tools for any serious angler. Let's explore the key features that set the best fish finders apart from the rest.

Key Features to Consider

High-frequency Transducers

At the heart of every fish finder lies the transducer, a component responsible for emitting and receiving sonar signals. High-frequency transducers, operating in the range of 200 kHz and above, offer unparalleled detail and precision. The emitted signals bounce off objects underwater, creating a clear picture of the terrain and any fish in the vicinity. The benefits of high-frequency transducers extend beyond mere depth measurement; they provide a nuanced understanding of underwater structures and the behavior of the aquatic inhabitants.

GPS Integration

While locating fish is crucial, knowing your position on the water is equally essential. The integration of GPS technology into fish finders allows for precise navigation, marking key locations and helping you return to successful fishing spots. Imagine the advantage of having a digital map at your fingertips, complete with waypoints and information on underwater structures. GPS integration not only enhances the fishing experience but also ensures you never lose your way on the water.

Display Options and Resolution

Understanding Screen Technologies

When choosing a fish finder, the type of display technology plays a pivotal role. TFT (Thin Film Transistor) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) are the two primary contenders, each with its strengths. TFT displays offer improved color reproduction and faster refresh rates, ensuring a smooth and detailed imaging experience. On the other hand, LCD displays boast better visibility in direct sunlight, making them a preferred choice for open-water enthusiasts.

Color vs. Black and White Displays

The color spectrum adds a new dimension to fish identification. Color displays excel in distinguishing between various underwater elements, making it easier to spot fish and differentiate them from the surrounding environment. However, there are situations where black and white displays shine, particularly in low-light conditions. Understanding the nuances of display options is crucial in optimizing your fish-finding capabilities.

Benefits of Fixed or Mounted Fish Finders

Mounted fish finders, fixed to your boat's structure, provide enhanced stability and performance. Integrated seamlessly into the boat's systems, these units often come with larger screens and more advanced features. While installation may be more involved, the benefits in terms of reliability and functionality make fixed fish finders a preferred choice for dedicated anglers seeking a comprehensive fishing solution.

Selecting the best fish finder for your boat involves a careful consideration of features, technologies, and your specific fishing needs. Advancements in fish finder technology have ushered in an era where precision and efficiency reign supreme. Armed with the right knowledge, you can navigate the depths with confidence, uncovering the hidden world beneath the waves and maximizing your chances of catching that elusive lunker.

Our Picks for the 5 Best Fish Finders for Boats

Best Overall: Garmin ECHOMAP 9" UHD

Garmin ECHOMAP 9" UHD Fish FinderGarmin ECHOMAP 9" UHD Fish Finder

The Garmin ECHOMAP 9" UHD Fish Finder is a powerful tool for anglers of all levels. It features a bright, sunlight-readable 9" touchscreen display, CHIRP traditional sonar, and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars. These features provide you with a clear and detailed view of the underwater environment, helping you to locate fish and structure.

The ECHOMAP 9" UHD also includes preloaded maps of lakes and rivers, as well as the ability to download additional maps. This allows you to quickly and easily find your way around any body of water.


  • Bright, sunlight-readable 9" touchscreen display

  • Clear and detailed view of the underwater environment

  • CHIRP traditional sonar and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars

  • Preloaded maps of lakes and rivers

  • Ability to download additional maps

  • Quick and easy to use

  • Compatible with a variety of Garmin accessories


  • Can be expensive

  • May be too complex for some users


The Garmin ECHOMAP 9" UHD Fish Finder is a powerful and versatile tool that can help you to improve your fishing success. It is easy to use and provides a clear and detailed view of the underwater environment. However, it can be expensive and may be too complex for some users.

For serious anglers who demand the best in fish finding technology, the Humminbird SOLIX 10 CHIRP MSI G3 is a must-have. This powerful fish finder boasts a suite of cutting-edge features that combine to create an unparalleled fishing experience. Here's a closer look at what makes this fish finder so special:

Key Features:

  • MEGA Imaging+: This revolutionary technology provides crystal-clear side and down imaging with a range of up to 250 feet. You'll be able to see fish, structure, and bottom details with incredible clarity, giving you a significant advantage on the water.

  • Dual Spectrum CHIRP Sonar: This sonar technology offers two distinct views - Wide Mode for maximum coverage and Narrow Mode for pinpointing fish targets with incredible accuracy.

  • AutoChart Live: Create real-time maps of your fishing spots with depth, bottom hardness, and vegetation information. This feature is perfect for finding new fishing areas and refining your approach.

  • Cross Touch® Display: The 10.1-inch touchscreen display is bright, clear, and easy to use. You can customize the display to show the information you need most, and the intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate through menus and settings.

  • Networkable: The SOLIX 10 can be networked with other Humminbird devices to share sonar data and waypoints, creating a powerful fishing system.


  • Unmatched imaging technology: The MEGA Imaging+ and Dual Spectrum CHIRP Sonar provide the clearest and most detailed images available.

  • Versatility: This fish finder can be used in a variety of fishing conditions, from shallow water to deep offshore environments.

  • Easy to use: The intuitive interface and customizable display make it easy to use, even for beginners.

  • Networkable: The ability to network with other Humminbird devices expands the functionality of the fish finder.


  • Price: This is a high-end fish finder with a price tag to match.

  • Learning curve: While the interface is easy to use, there are a lot of features to learn and master.

  • Size: The 10.1-inch display may be too large for some boats.


The Humminbird SOLIX 10 CHIRP MSI G3 is a top-of-the-line fish finder that offers anglers unparalleled technology and performance. If you're serious about fishing and have the budget, this is the fish finder for you.

Best Down-Imaging: Lowrance HDS Pro 10

Lowrance HDS Pro 10 Fish FinderLowrance HDS Pro 10 Fish Finder

The Lowrance HDS Pro 10 is a top-of-the-line fish finder that is packed with features to help you find and catch more fish. It boasts a large, high-resolution display, powerful sonar technology, and a user-friendly interface.


  • SolarMAX™ HD touchscreen: This bright, clear display is easy to see in direct sunlight and through polarized sunglasses.

  • ActiveTarget® 2 Live Sonar: This revolutionary technology lets you see fish in real-time, as they react to your lure.

  • Active Imaging™ HD: This sonar technology provides incredible detail and clarity, helping you identify fish and structure.

  • C-MAP® DISCOVER OnBoard charts: These preloaded charts offer detailed coverage of lakes and coastal areas.

  • Networking: Connect the HDS Pro 10 to other Lowrance devices to share sonar data, waypoints, and more.

  • Ghost® Trolling Motor and Power-Pole® Anchors control: Control your trolling motor and anchor directly from the HDS Pro 10 touchscreen.


  • Excellent image quality: The SolarMAX™ HD touchscreen and Active Imaging™ HD sonar provide stunningly clear images of fish and structure.

  • Powerful sonar: ActiveTarget® 2 Live Sonar is a game-changer for anglers, allowing you to see fish in real-time as they react to your lure.

  • User-friendly interface: The HDS Pro 10 is easy to use, even for beginners.

  • Versatile: The HDS Pro 10 can be used for a variety of fishing applications, from inshore fishing to offshore trolling.


  • Price: The HDS Pro 10 is a high-end fish finder and comes with a high price tag.

  • Size: The HDS Pro 10 is a large unit and may not be suitable for all boats.


The Lowrance HDS Pro 10 is an excellent fish finder for anglers who want the best possible technology. It is packed with features that will help you find and catch more fish. However, the price tag may be prohibitive for some anglers.

Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI G4 Fish FinderHumminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI G4 Fish Finder

The Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G4N Fish Finder is an impressive piece of technology that offers a wide range of features to help anglers of all skill levels improve their fishing success. Packed with cutting-edge sonar technology and a user-friendly interface, this fish finder is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to take their fishing to the next level.

High-resolution imaging for a clear view of the underwater world

One of the standout features of the Helix 7 is its MEGA Side Imaging and MEGA Down Imaging capabilities. These technologies provide incredibly clear and detailed images of the bottom structure and fish around your boat, allowing you to see exactly what's going on beneath the surface. Whether you're targeting fish in shallow water or searching for deep-water structures, the MEGA Imaging technology will give you the information you need to make informed decisions.

Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar for superior target separation

In addition to its MEGA Imaging capabilities, the Humminbird Helix 7 also features Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar. This technology provides excellent target separation and bottom detail, making it easy to distinguish between fish and other objects on the display. This is especially helpful when fishing in areas with a lot of clutter on the bottom, such as rocks, weeds, or trees.

Built-in GPS and AutoChart Live for accurate mapping and navigation

The Humminbird Helix 7 comes equipped with a built-in GPS receiver and Humminbird Basemap. This allows you to track your location, mark waypoints, and navigate to your favorite fishing spots. The AutoChart Live feature also allows you to create real-time maps of the bottom structure as you fish, which can be a valuable tool for finding new fishing spots and improving your understanding of the underwater environment.

Easy-to-use interface for a smooth user experience

The Humminbird Helix 7 features a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, even for anglers who are new to fish finders. The large, 7-inch display is clear and easy to read, and the keypad control system is simple and intuitive. The menu system is well-organized and provides quick access to all of the fish finder's features.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Humminbird Helix 7 Fish Finder:


  • Excellent MEGA Side Imaging and MEGA Down Imaging technology

  • Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar for superior target separation

  • Built-in GPS and Humminbird Basemap

  • AutoChart Live for creating real-time maps

  • User-friendly interface

  • Large, 7-inch display

  • Ethernet networking capability for connecting to other devices

  • Bluetooth connectivity for sharing data and updates

  • Wide range of pre-loaded views and split-screen options


  • Price tag can be a bit steep for some anglers

  • Requires a separate transducer for MEGA Imaging

  • May be too complex for some beginners


The Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G4N Fish Finder is a powerful and versatile fish finder that offers a wide range of features for anglers of all skill levels. Its superior imaging technology, GPS navigation, and user-friendly interface make it a valuable tool for anyone who wants to improve their fishing success.

Best Budget (for Depth): Humminbird HELIX 5 Sonar G2

Humminbird HELIX 5 Sonar G2 Fish FinderHumminbird HELIX 5 Sonar G2 Fish Finder

The Fish Finder:

  • Crystal-clear display: The 5-inch widescreen display is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.

  • DualBeam PLUS sonar: This technology provides excellent target separation and bottom detail, even in deep water.

  • SwitchFire sonar: This feature allows you to adjust the sonar returns to see more or less detail, depending on the fishing conditions.

  • Easy to use: The menus are simple to navigate, and the controls are intuitive.

  • GPS: The built-in GPS allows you to track your waypoints and trails, and it also provides accurate speed and position information.

  • Durable: The fish finder is well-built and can withstand the harsh conditions of the marine environment.

The Unit Cover:

  • Protects your investment: This neoprene cover helps to protect your fish finder from scratches, dust, and the elements.

  • Snug fit: The cover fits snugly on the fish finder and stays in place, even when traveling at high speeds.

  • Easy to remove: The cover can be easily removed for cleaning or when you want to use the fish finder.

  • Affordable: The cover provides an easy way to protect your valuable fish finder.


The Humminbird HELIX 5 is a highly functional unit that should deliver years of quality performance. We highly recommend it as a great budget option fish finder.

Humminbird SOLIX 10 Fish FinderHumminbird SOLIX 10 Fish Finder