Top 8 Best Portable Fish Finders Reviewed (2021 Buyer’s Guide)

Having the best portable fish finder with you at all times when fishing really can change the game. 

No matter what you’re fishing from, a boat, the shore, a kayak, or sup, you can whip a portable fish finder out of your pocket, drop it in the water and see what’s happening under the surface. 

You go from fishing blind to knowing exactly what’s happening underwater so you can tailor your fishing techniques to suit and catch loads or more fish – if they are there to catch.

Before we proceed with the review, here is a quick look at the top three fish finders in the lineup…

The Best Portable Fish Finders From The Review

Top Pick

Vexilar SP100 SonarPhone

A portable and accurate fish finder that can link to Navionics GPS app which can show charts all around the world.

Vexilar SP100 SonarPhone

The all-around best portable fish finder is the SP100 SonarPhone. 

It’s a castable fish finder that connects to your smartphone that you can use anywhere from on a boat, kayak, SUP, shoreline, or in an ice hole.

It gives you detailed images, has a good range and it connects up with Navioncins to give you an awesome GPS and Fish Finder Combo.

Best Value

Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder

An easy to use basic fish finder that makes it easy for anyone out on the water to get an idea of what’s happening below the surface.

Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder

The best portable fish finder for anyone on a budget is the Venterior VT-FF001 portable fish finder.

It’s a very basic but easy to use fish finder that will work from any vessel or in an ice hole. 

The readings are pretty accurate, it goes quite deep to 328ft, and all you have to do is connect some cables, drop the sonar in the lake, and turn it on.

Editor’s Choice 

If I had to choose the best portable fish finder for me, it would be the Garmin Striker 4.

It uses the best sonar tech to give you the most detailed images possible and it goes deeper than all the rest, so you can even take it offshore. 

It has a self-mapping GPS that not only tells you where you are, where you’re going, and lets you mark spots, but also makes a map of the area you’re fishing in for you. 

Editor’s Choice

Garmin Striker 4

The only portable fish finder that has a high-quality dual chirp sonar to give you very accurate images that are easy to read.

Garmin Striker 4

If I had to choose the best portable fish finder for me, it would be the Garmin Striker 4.

It uses the best sonar tech to give you the most detailed images possible and it goes deeper than all the rest, so you can even take it offshore. 

It has a self-mapping GPS that not only tells you where you are, where you’re going, and lets you mark spots, but also makes a map of the area you’re fishing in for you.

Our Best Portable Fish Finders 

Editor’s Choice

Garmin Striker 4 Plus with Dual-Beam

The only portable fish finder that has a high-quality dual chirp sonar to give you very accurate images that are easy to read.

Garmin Striker 4 Plus with Dual-Beam

The Garmin Striker 4 mountable fish finder is one of the best portable fish finders on the market.

It’s the only portable fish finder that has a high-quality dual chirp sonar to give you very accurate images that are easy to read on the 4.3-inch color display.

CHIRP Sonar

CHIRP sonar works by emitting dual-frequency sound waves, high and low, through a cone angle.

High-frequency sound waves show detail in shallow water, while low-frequency waves penetrate to a deeper water depth to show you what’s happening on the bottom.

When combined, they take fish finding to the max, as you’re getting as much detail as possible about every depth. 

Built-in GPS

The Garmin Striker 4 is not just a depth finder, it also has a built-in GPS.

You can mark good fishing areas you find so you can return to them another day, and it’ll also map the contours for you, so you can slowly build a depth map of the areas you fish in. 

The Garmin Striker 4 fish finder unit shows a max water depth of 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater, which is more than enough for all fishermen. 

Features

It comes in a durable waterproof case and when in action tells you the water temperature, depth, fish depth, and you can split the screen to see the GPS and depth finder at the same time. 

The Striker 4 also comes with a portable kit that includes a suction cup for the transducer. 

You can use the suction cup to mount the transducer to the transom of your boat, kayak, or SUP. 

Power

Portable units like the Garmin Striker 4 don’t need to be hooked up to power, and instead, run on a rechargeable battery.

The battery lasts a solid 6 hours or so, and you can change it out for a fresh one when it runs out so you can keep on fishing. 

The only downsides to this fish finder are that you can’t download charts to the GPS and that the mounting for the display sin;t so durable. Otherwise, it’s one of the best portable units around.

Specs

  • Display Size: 4.3 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Waterproofing: IPX7
  • Battery: Rechargeable battery
  • Power: 200 W
  • Frequency: 50/77/83/200 kHz
  • Sonar: Dual-beam sonar, CHIRP
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: Internal
  • Transducer: Included
  • Depth: 1600 ft fresh, 750 ft saltwater
  • CHIRP: Yes
  • Wi Fi: No

Pros

  • Built-in GPS for marking fishing areas
  • Great depth range
  • Uses CHIRP sonar technology for a detailed image
  • Good battery life and you can carry spares
  • Easy to read color display
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Easy suction cup mount transducer
  • Bottom contour mapping
  • Split-screen between GPS and depth finder

Cons

  • Display mount is not the best
  • No maps with the GPS

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4

A reliable fish finder with excellent accuracy. It’s loaded with features like a fish alarm, fish ID, depth alarm, and more.

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4

The Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 is a step down from the Garmin above, simply because it doesn’t feature CHIRP sonar or GPS, but it’s still one of the best fish finders in the review thanks to its excellent accuracy. 

Screen

The Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 comes with a 4.3-inch screen that has a great color resolution so you can see it no matter how sunny it is.

It’s loaded with features like a fish alarm, fish ID, depth alarm, water temperature sensor and you can zoom in on this sonar fish finder too. 

With the Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4, you can also switch from a normal arc view to a fish view so you can see more isolated targets, and try to drill down to the exact target you’re after. 

Sonar

The transducer that comes with the Humminbird PIRANHAMAX uses dual frequency sonar technology that gives out two beams at different frequencies that you can switch between. One is a high-frequency beam for seeing details in shallow areas, and the other is a low-frequency beam for focussing on the bottom. 

Display

The display is durable and waterproof and requires a rechargeable battery for power. You can swap out the batteries too, so you don’t have to stop and charge them when in the middle of fishing.

The downside to this fish finder unit is there is no GPS included and it’s not that intuitive to use for some people, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to navigate easily around this sonar fish finder.

Specs

  • Display Size: 4.3 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Waterproofing: IPX7
  • Battery: Rechargeable battery – lithium ion
  • Power: 300 W
  • Frequency: 200/455kHz
  • Sonar: Dual beam sonar
  • GPS: No
  • GPS Memory: NA
  • Depth: 600 feet in freshwater & saltwater
  • CHIRP: No
  • WiFi: No

Pros

  • Dual-beam sonar gives more detailed images
  • Easy to read 4.3-inch screen
  • Simple to mount to the hull or transom
  • Great power for high depth penetration
  • Good battery life and you can buy spares
  • A great option for a small boat and kayak fishing
  • Durable and waterproof

Cons

  • No GPS included
  • Not that intuitive to use

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

An ideal fish finder for shore fishing. It’s a high-quality castable fish finder that works to depths of 260ft

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is the best fish finder around for fishing from the shore.

Easy To Use

All you do is connect the transducer to your smartphone or tablet via the Deeper Smart Pro’s wifi, then attach the transducer to the fishing line on a rod and cast it out.

You can cast the deeper smart pro up to 330ft out and it’ll still have a connection to your phone or tablet.

Once it’s out there, you wind it in slowly and you’ll see everything that’s happening underwater displayed on your Smartphone. 

App

You don’t have to cast out the Deeper Smart Pro either, you can simply tie it on a rope and troll it around behind your kayak, or drop it in an ice hole when you’re ice fishing. 

The Deeper pro smart sonar app records all the depth data you’re receiving and slowly builds a GPS map of the area for you.

It’s not 100% accurate but it does paint a good picture of the bottom that you can use to up your fishing tactics 

Sonar

The Deeper Smart Pro is a high-quality castable fish finder that works to depths of 260ft thanks to its dual sonar that sends out waves at 90 and 290 kHz.

This sonar technology gives you really detailed images and is ideal for fishing in lakes or near close to the shore at sea. 

Power

The battery of the Deeper Smart Pro lasts around 6 hours and it’s easy to recharge via USB, but you’ll have to stop fishing and recharge the Deeper Smart PRO as you can’t swap out the batteries. 

Another issue with the Deeper Smart Pro is that it’s quite heavy to cast and you’ll want to make sure you use a thick line so it doesn’t break off.

Specs

  • Display Size: Smartphone
  • Display: Smartphone
  • Waterproofing: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Power: na
  • Frequency: 90/290 kHz
  • Sonar: Dual Beam
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: Smartphone
  • Depth: 260 ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • Wi Fi: Yes

Pros

  • Castable range of 330ft
  • Creates a detailed GPS map for you
  • Ideal for fishing from the shore or ice fishing
  • Easy to connect and use
  • A good battery life of 6 hours
  • Easy to charge with Micro USB
  • Gives you nice detailed images

Cons

  • You can’t replace the battery when fishing, you have to recharge
  • Heavy to cast, use 60lb braid or fishing line or it might snap off

Best Value

Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder

An easy to use basic fish finder that makes it easy for anyone out on the water to get an idea of what’s happening below the surface.

Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder

The VT FF001 is a small fish finder that is about as basic as a fish finder can get.

It comes with a very simple display that shows you approximate fish depths, differentiates between fish, bottom, rocks, and weed and it’ll tell you the depth you’re in, up to 328 ft. 

Usage

It’s not a castable fish finder, it’s a cabled finder that can also be mounted.

This means the transducer comes with a float and on 25ft of cable. 

You can drag it behind a boat, throw it out from the shore, drop it in an ice hole when you’re ice fishing, or mount it to your hull or transom. 

Portability

The unit is super portable and fit’s inside your tackle box or a small carrying case, and it tackles 4 x AAA batteries, so as long as you have some spares, you can fish all day long without any worries. 

It’s so simple to use that it makes it easy for anyone out on the water to get an idea of what’s happening below the surface, and being so basic, it’s incredibly affordable for any budget. 

The downsides are; the small undetailed screen, the fact that fish detection is approximate, and that the display unit is not waterproof.

Specs

  • Display Size: 3.5 inch
  • Display: Black and white
  • Waterproofing: No
  • Battery: 4x AAA
  • Power: NAS
  • Frequency: 200 kHz
  • Sonar: Single beam
  • GPS: No
  • GPS Memory: No
  • Depth: 328 ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • WiFi: No

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Very affordable
  • Replaceable batteries so you can fish all-day
  • Small and light, fits in your carrying case, very portable
  • Differentiates between fish, bottom, rocks, and weed
  • Mountable and floatable transducer
  • Good for ice fishing

Cons

  • Small undetailed display
  • The display unit is not waterproof
  • Fish detection is only approximate

ReelSonar iBobber Smart Fish Finder

As castable fish finders go, the iBobber provides a detailed picture of the underwater world and works up to 130ft of depth

ReelSonar iBobber Smart Fish Finder

The iBobber is another castable fish finder that you can use anywhere, on a boat, ice fishing, or from the shore.

Connectivity

It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and has a range of 100ft, which is high enough but it’s nothing compared to the Deeper Pros of 300 ft plus. 

The connection does drop in and out, but not that often.

Even the best fish finder will drop connection now and then. 

Castable

As castable fish finders go, the iBobber provides a detailed picture of the underwater world and works up to 130ft of depth, more than enough for lakes and inshore ocean fishing, but it is much shallower than other fish finders in the review. 

Sonar

It uses a single beam sonar with fish ID technology and creates a trip log sp you can see all your data in order to plan the next fishing trip to the same area. 

One of the best features of these castable fish finders is that the battery lasts 10 hours, so you can spend all day out fishing without needing to charge it.

Charing is also really simple via a USB, and you can even top it up in the car on the way to a new fishing spot.

Specs

  • Display Size: Smartphone
  • Display: Smartphone
  • Waterproofing: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Power: na
  • Frequency: na
  • Sonar: Single
  • GPS: Semi
  • GPS Memory: Smartphone
  • Depth: 130ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • Wi Fi: Yes, and Bluetooth

Pros

  • Includes a waterproof phone case
  • Awesome battery life of 10 hours
  • Easy to charge
  • Trip log function
  • LED beacon so you don’t lose it
  • Easy to connect to
  • Gives a detailed picture

Cons

  • Shallow max depth
  • The connection can flip in and out
  • Not a very high range of 100ft

RICANK Portable Fish Finder

An affordable fish finder that’s incredibly simple to use and as basic as they come.

RICANK Portable Fish Finder

The RICANK Portable Fish Finder is similar to the VT-FF001 we looked at above.

It’s incredibly simple to use and as basic as they come, which also makes it really affordable. 

Display and Screen

It comes with a display unit that isn’t waterproof, who doesn’t make a waterproof fish finder display?

But in any case, you can always put it in a waterproof cover. 

The screen is small but it does differentiate between fish, rock, weed, and the bottom, so you always know what you’re seeing. 

It goes to a depth of 328ft and measures depth accurately but the fish depth is approximate, so you’ll need to bear that in mind when you’re fishing. 

Sonar

The sonar comes on a 25 ft cable and you have to plug it into the display, and drop the sonar overboard, or mount it to your hull. 

You can use it for ice fishing, tow it behind a kayak, and although it’s not in the castable fish

finders category, you can throw it out 25 ft from the shore you’re fishing from.

The unit takes 4 x AAA batteries means no breaks from fishing to recharge, as you can just throw some fresh ones in a keep going. It’s also light and fits easily in a carrying case or your tackle box, making it very portable.

Specs

  • Display Size: 3.5 inch
  • Display: Black and white
  • Waterproofing: Only transducer
  • Battery: 4x AAA
  • Power: Na
  • Frequency: 200 kHz
  • Sonar: Single beam
  • GPS: No
  • GPS Memory: Na
  • Depth: 328ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • WiFi: No

Pros

  • Very basic to use
  • Super affordable for all budgets
  • You can swap out the batteries to keep on fishing
  • A pretty solid battery life of 4-5 hours
  • Super portable and fits in your tackle box
  • Shows you fish, bottom, rocks, and weed
  • Mountable and towable transducer

Cons

  • Small undetailed display
  • Castable limit of 25ft
  • The display unit is not waterproof
  • Detection of fish is only approximate

Vexilar SP100 SonarPhone

A portable and accurate fish finder that can link to Navionics GPS app which can show charts all around the world.

Vexilar SP100 SonarPhone

GPS App

The SP100 SonarPhone is one of the best castable fish finders I’ve seen, but the only reason I think this is because it links up to Navionics, a GPS app that shows you all the charts around the world. 

This means you can sit on your phone or tablet with Navionics running the GPS with the SP100’s sonar picture below it.

Together they make a truly portable and accurate GPS fish finder combination. 

Connectivity

To use the SP100, connect it via its own wifi hotspot to the app to your smartphone and cast it, drop it, or troll it in the water.

It has a connection range of 300 feet, so you really can cast it out far, and the single beam sonar gives you good detail of the fish, bottom, and structure below.

Multi-Connect

Another great thing about this unit is that multiple people can connect to it, so when you’re fishing with your buddies, they can all see what’s going on too. 

The downsides are that the batteries run out in 4 hours and you can’t replace them, you’ll have to stop fishing and recharge. 

Also, the depth could be larger than 120ft, it’ll still work for 90% of your fishing but considering others go triple that, we would expect more.

Specs

  • Display Size: Smartphone
  • Display: Smartphone
  • Waterproofing: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Power: 400 W
  • Frequency: 125 kHz
  • Sonar: Single beam
  • GPS: Navionics
  • GPS Memory: Navionics
  • Depth: 120 ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • WiFi: Yes

Pros

  • Works trolled up to 5mph
  • Good 300-foot connection range
  • Castable from the shore
  • Easy to connect and you can share with others
  • Integrates with Navionics for GPS
  • Small, fits in your pocket, very portable
  • Gives you a good detailed picture

Cons

  • Short 4-hour battery life before it needs a new charge
  • Limited depth of 120 ft

LUCKY Fish Finder

Another basic portable fish finder but this one has a color screen that is nice for target separation and seeing the details in direct sunlight.

LUCKY Fish Finder

This fish finder is another basic portable fish finder but this one has a color screen that is nice for target separation and seeing the details in direct sunlight. 

Sonar

It comes with a sonar attached to a 26ft cable like the other basic ones in the review, that you can tow behind your boat or kayak, throw from the shore, or drop into an ice hole. 

It’s easy to set up, just connect the cable to the display, and chuck the sonar overboard.

Max Depth

It works up to a high max depth of 328ft with a single beam but it’s not the most accurate sonar in the world – fish deaths will likely be approximate, and it might even miss some fish. 

At least you’ll know what the bottom looks like. 

Power

The battery lasts 5 hours, and you’ll have to stop fishing to go and recharge it via a USB. The display unit also isn’t waterproof, so you’ll need to be careful with it.

Specs

  • Display Size: 2.4 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Waterproofing: Only transducer
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Power: Na
  • Frequency: 200kHz
  • Sonar: Single beam
  • GPS: No
  • GPS Memory: No
  • Depth: 328 ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • WiFi: No

Pros

  • Basic and simple to use
  • Mountable or floatable transducer
  • Gives a detailed colored image
  • You can zoom in
  • Shows fish, contours, and structure

Cons

  • Very small screen size
  • Can’t swap batteries mid fishing, you have to recharge
  • The display is not waterproof
  • Not that accurate

What Is A Portable Fish Finder 

Portable Fish Finder

A portable fish finder is a device that tells you what is happening under the water’s surface. It lets you know what depth you’re fishing in, the changes in depth as you move around, and you can see underwater structures like fallen trees and even fish.

Portable fish finders come in one or two parts; either with a handheld display and a transducer or with just a transducer that connects to your smartphone that becomes your display. 

How Do Portable Fish Finders Work? 

A portable fish finder works by sending out sonar waves from the transducer into the water.

Echo

These sound waves then hit anything in their paths like fish, debris, underwater structures, and the bottom.

When they hit these submerged obstacles, they rebound and return to the transducer. 

The transducer then measures how long it took the waves to go out and come back and calculates the distance they traveled, plus a few more technical things that are a bit tricky to understand without a physics degree.

Relay

It then processes all this information and sends it to the display. 

The display then shows you a picture of what’s underwater letting you know the total depth beneath you and the depth any fish or structure are sitting at. 

You can use this picture to tailor your fishing style in order to catch more fish. 

NOTE

Some portable fish finders come with a transducer you can cast on a rod, others have ones you mount to your boat or trolling mortar, and some you can simply dangle over the side. 

Do Portable Fish Finders Work?

Yes, portable fish finders do work, but being portable, they don’t have the same amount of power as non-portable ones. 

This means they don’t send out as powerful sound waves, which results in a less detailed image. 

Even though the image is less detailed with a portable fish finder, what it is showing you is still accurate and you get to see the depth, structure, and the fish it picks up so you can fish accordingly. 

Garmin Striker 4 Plus Review

Who Should Get a Portable Fish Finder?

Portable fish finders are ideal for people who want to detect fish but use vessels like kayaks, sups, or a small boat that doesn’t have onboard power to run a mounted fish finder, or for people who fish from the shore without a boat. 

How To Use A Portable Fish Finder

The best portable fish finders are easy to use.

Simply connect the display to your transducer and pop your transducer in the water by either mounting it to your boat or putting it on a float behind your vessel.

Then turn on the screen and wait for a few seconds for the image to appear on the display. 

Castable Fish Finder

Castable fish finders are a little different. If you’re using a castable fish finder for shore fishing or even from a boat, connect the transducer to the app on your smartphone.

Then cast it out into the water to the spot you’d like to cover.

After a while, you’ll see an image on your smartphone of what’s under your transducer. 

What Should I Look For In A Portable Fish Finder?

Types Of Portable Fish Finders 

There are three types of portable fish finders to choose from and each one is best for different situations. 

Wireless Portable Fish Finders 

A wireless portable fish finder is an ideal fish finder for shore fishing as it is technically a castable fish finder. Castable fish finders have a transducer that connects to your smartphone via their own wifi network to use it as a display. 

Once connected, you can cast the transducer on a rod and line to anywhere you like that’s within range.

Then you’ll begin to get an image on the display showing you the depth, the shape of the bottom, and the depth of any fish or debris in between. It’s not overly detailed but it gets the job done. 

TIP

You don’t just have to use these for shore fishing though, they are also great on a small boat, for ice fishing, or when you’re kayak fishing. 

Cabled Portable Fish Finders 

This kind of portable fish finder comes with a display and a transducer, plus around 25ft of cable that you use to connect between them. 

The transducer comes with a float, so you can let it out behind your small boat or when kayak fishing to see what’s happening under the water or drop it in your ice hole when you’re ice fishing. 

They are easy to use and the display is really simple but lacks detail. 

Mountable Portable Fish Finders 

This kind of fish finder is as close to a top-of-the-line powered fish finder you can find that’s portable. 

They come with a color display and a portable kit for your transducer, usually a suction cup you use to fix the transducer on to your vessel.

They provide detailed images of what’s happening below, and some of them even come with a GPS that makes it easy to find any fishing spots you’ve discovered. 

Display Quality 

Garmin Striker 4 Display

The best fish finder will have a display that is easy for you to see no matter the weather and show you enough detail to detect fish.

Not all displays are made equal however, and the best portable fish finder displays you can find will have a color screen that splits targets up into colors, so you can differentiate between the bottom, structure, debris, and fish while you’re fish finding. 

Portable Castable Fish Finder Display

Portable castable fish finders utilize your phone or tablet as a display through an app, so if you’re planning on getting one of these for shore fishing, the quality of the picture you’re seeing comes down to your own phone or tablet. 

Portable Sonar Fish Finder Display

A portable sonar fish finder that comes with a built-in GPS will likely come with a display that allows you to split the screen into two, so you can see the navigation screen and your depth finder screen at the same time, giving you the best of both worlds. 

Transducers 

Every portable small fish finder comes with a transducer, and since transducers do all the detecting, their quality dictates how detailed an image you’re going to see. 

A high-quality transducer works on multiple frequencies, one high and one low, known as dual-beam.

High frequency waves show detail in shallow water, while low frequency waves penetrate deep to see what’s on the bottom. 

Combination

When used together, they create a much fuller picture of what’s happening under water, showing you the detail near the surface and near the bottom simultaneously. 

Not all portable fish finders come with dual transducers, some only use a single beam, and the one you choose comes down to your personal preference and budget.

If you just want to know the depth and water temperature, a single beam is fine, but if you’d like to know everything that’s happening under your boat, you’re going to have to pay a little extra for dual. 

Portability

Fish Finder Mounted on a Boat
Fish Finder Mounted on a Boat

If your portable fish finder isn’t very portable, it’s not that useful is it? 

Luckily, all the portable units made are quite portable, but different types are more portable than others. 

Cabled and castable fish finders are by far the most portable.

They are so small that they fit inside your pocket.

Mountable fish finders are a little more cumbersome, as they require you to carry a larger display, transducer, and cable, so you might need 3 pockets to get them to the water. 

Battery Life & Type

Having a fish finder that runs out of battery mid way through a fishing session is a pain. 

Suddenly you’ll go from having a great insight of what’s happening beneath the surface to fishing blind again. 

Portable fish finders use either AAA batteries or rechargeable ones.

Picking one that uses AAAs is a great bet, as when the battery dies, you can just swap in some fresh ones and keep on fishing. 

If a fish finder runs on rechargeable batteries, it’s likely that once it dies, you’ll have to stop fishing. 

In these cases, you’ll want the battery life to be a minimum of 6 hours, so you can have a solid fishing session before it runs out. 

RECOMMENDATION

You can find units that go for 10 hours or more too, so if you like for fish from dawn to dusk, make sure to pick one with a battery life to match. 

Water-Resistance

Kayak Fishing
Kayak Fishing

Who would make a fish finder that’s not waterproof? 

Unfortunately, it does happen. 

All transducers are waterproof, it’s only the display you’ll need to check up on. Most displays are rated to IPX7 standards meaning they can be submerged up to 1 meter for 30 minutes before any water drips in there. 

The more simple displays are not water-resistant in any way, and if you go for one of these, you’ll want to take a protective dry bag for it to sit in, as any large splash or accidental drop could end it’s life pretty quickly. 

Cost 

A portable fish finder can be as expensive as you want it to be.

There are budget units and high end units, and it all comes down to how much detail and accuracy you want to see. 

Budget Units

A budget unit will measure the depth accurately but it might struggle to identify fish and debris.

If it does detect them, the depth it gives you will likely be approximate. 

This info is enough for some fishermen. 

I would quite happily use one of these as fishing depth changes is one of the most effective places to catch, and these budget units give you enough info to do so.

However, you will miss out on seeing little gold mines like a fallen tree or other small pieces of structure where fish would hold. 

High-End Units

A more expensive unit will let you see everything from fish, to structure, depth changes, and even bottom type with excellent accuracy.

If you can afford it, these are certainly the way to go, as seeing a full picture is far more useful than seeing half of it. 

You’ll be able to spot those magical areas like a pile of rocks with 100 fish on it and it’s much better for fishing in open water, where you’re trying to find shoals of bait fish rather than fishing based on depth. 

Sounding Out

Here’s another look at the best three portable fish finders from the list…

Thanks for reading. 

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a portable fish finder is capable of and if they are the right match for you. If you’re still undecided, here are some extra clues to picking the right one. 

Top Pick

For an all-around versatile setup, the SP100 SonarPhone takes the cake. You can use it anywhere, on anything, and even cast it 300ft into the ocean to see what’s happening there. Plus, it links up to Navionics to become an all in one fish finder GPS. 

Best Value

If you want to spend as little as possible and aren’t bothered about a really detailed image, the Venterior VT-FF001 is a solid bet.

It’s incredibly affordable and will tell you the depth you’re fishing in up to 328ft within any contour changes and it’ll detect the odd fish or two. 

Editor’s Choice

The Garmin Striker 4 is the best portable fish finder in my eyes for its awesome sonar tech that’ll give you the most detail out of all of them and go to the deepest depth. It also has an in-built GPS so you can mark your spots, find them later, and it’ll actually map the contours you fish for you. 

I hope you enjoyed the article and thanks again for reading.

Portable fish finders are useful tools and they really do help you catch more, just make sure the one you choose has the features you need.

Have fun discovering what’s beneath the surface and I hope you catch them all. 

Feel free to check our other articles, we cover everything from the Best handheld GPS for fishing, to the best fishing bags, so if you ever need to know more about something, the info is right here waiting for you.

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.