The 6 Best Portable Fish Finders in 2022 – Buyers Guide

best portable fish finder
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They’re great for shore fishing, sea fishing, ice fishing, when on a fishing boat, even deep water fishing. There really isn’t a fishing trip where a portable fish finder wouldn’t be a helpful addition.

But the world of portable fish finders isn’t an easy one to navigate as portable units range considerably in their capabilities from one portable unit to the next. This makes finding the best portable fish finder for you needs a tricky task, which I’m here to help with.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Portable Fish Finder For The MoneyHumminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT
  • 4.3 inch Display
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • 600 ft Freshwater / Saltwater
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Portable Fish FinderGarmin Striker 4 Plus 
  • CHIRP Sonar
  • 1600 ft
  • Beginner Friendly
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Fish Finder On A BudgetVenterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder
  • 3.5 inch Display
  • Super Affordable
  • Extremely Portable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Castable Fish FinderDeeper Smart Sonar PRO+
  • DualBeam Sonar
  • GPS & Self-mapping
  • 330ft Connection Range
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Castable Unit On A BudgetReelSonar iBobber Smart Fish Finder
  • Bobber and Fish Finder
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Very affordable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Basic Fish FinderLucky Fish Finder
  • 2.4 inch Display
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Max depth of 328 ft
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Our Best Portable Fish Finders

Join me as I run through the top portable fish finders on the market and what to look for in order to find the right unit for your fishing trips.

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT

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

The Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT is one of the best portable fish finders around if you own a small boat, kayak, or enjoy ice fishing.

The reason this is a great fish finder is that it’s extremely portable as it comes with a portable carrying case, all mounting brackets, a rechargeable battery, cables, and a portable transducer. Just connect them all and you’re ready to go with your portable kit.

The battery is easy to charge, just plug it into the wall at home and once full it lasts for up to eight hours or more. Once fully charged, take the portable case with everything in it to your vessel and use the suction cup mount to mount the display and transducer, connect all the cables, and you’re reading to start finding fish.

Since this is a mountable fish finder you’ll be able to focus on fishing while viewing the display. It comes with DualBeam which allows you to search for fish, depth changes, and structure using a wide beam, and when you find good fishing spots, you can use the narrow beam to zoom in.

The fish finder will detect fish up to 600 ft deep and you can use the fish alarm, depth alarm, and Fish ID to make sure you never miss an opportunity. The Fish ID setting turns fish arches into fish icons making the sonar image a lot easier to read.

Overall this is an excellent portable depth finder but it’s a little tricky to use and it is missing some features most portable fish finders have such as GPS.

Pros

Cons

Garmin Striker 4 Plus

Garmin Striker 4 Plus

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

The Garmin Striker 4 Plus is by far one of the best portable fish finders on the market and it’s super affordable to boot. This particular model also comes with Rechargeable SLA Battery, transducer, display, and cables making it very easy to install and move around, but a carry case is not included – annoyingly.

The reason this unit features in almost all portable fish finder reviews is that it comes with every feature you could ask for while also being simple to use. With the Garmin Striker 4 Plus you get dual-beam and CHIRP sonar, a flasher, GPS, and it’ll even create bathymetric maps for you of your fishing areas.

The sonar images you get on the Garmin Striker 4 Plus fish finder are incredibly clear and accurate. You’ll be able to get accurate readings from the sonar waves to depths of 1600 ft making finding fish very easy. Plus once you find fishing spots, you can mark the area on your waypoint map.

The Garmin Striker 4 units are mountable fish finders meaning they are perfect for a small boat and you can use them for saltwater fishing, night fishing, and thanks to the flasher feature, it’s also a great ice fishing fish finder.

All the sonar images will be displayed in color on the small screen and you can even split the screen to see GPS and CHIRP sonar at the same time, and hopefully find more fish because of it.

Pros

Cons

Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder

Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder

Specs

  • Display Size: 3.5 inch 
  • Display: Color
  • 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

The Venterior VT FF001 Portable Fish Finder is an extremely small fish finder unit that is very basic and simple. It doesn’t do all the magical things a Garmin or Humminbird does but it’s very affordable and gives accurate depth readings too.

This portable fish finder consists of a display, transducer, and a 25 ft cable – that’s it. It’s a bit like a Gameboy that finds fish (if you remember those). To use it, you just need to add 4 AAA batteries to the display, connect the transducer cable to the display, and put the transducer in the water.

You can throw the transducer out if you’re shore fishing, mount it on a pole if you’re in a kayak, troll it behind or even use a transom mount on a boat. The battery lasts around 4 hours but the great thing is, you can just add fresh ones when they run out, so you can have unlimited fishing time with it.

It can penetrate to a depth of 328 ft and it gives accurate readings. Any structure or fish will be displayed on the screen in color as either fish, weed, or rock symbols and you can even adjust the sensitivity and turn on a fish alarm.

These portable fish finders work well when you want to know about depth changes more than anything as the sound waves the sonar emits aren’t quite good enough to give you accurate data about fish readings.

The main issue with this battery-powered fish finder is that it’s not waterproof so you’ll have to keep it safe in a waterproof case if you want it to last.

Pros

Cons

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar

deeper pro plus

Specs

  • Display Size: Smartphone/Tablet
  • Display: Smartphone/Tablet
  • 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

The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is one of the most impressive portable fish finders and one of the best castable fish finders on the market. By a castable fish finder, I literally mean one you can cast out from the shore and wind back in.

This castable fish finder consists of a transducer that is about the shape and size of a baseball. It creates its own WiFi hotspot which then connects to your smartphone or tablet ( android or iOS device) via the Deeper Pro App.

To use these castable fish finders all you need to do is charge it up, connect it to your phone/tablet in the app, and put the transducer in the water. It has a connection range of 330 ft allowing you to cast it over 100 meters and slowly wind it in when fishing from the shore. You can also drop it in an ice fishing hole or tow it behind a boat or kayak.

The fish finder uses DualBeam sonar which gives you accurate sonar images down to a max of 260 ft, which is more than enough for inshore and freshwater fishing. You’ll be able to see fish, depth changes, and structure on the images with ease.

This portable fish finder also comes with GPS and mapping software so you can see your location, make waypoints and navigate using the app plus it will build contour maps of where you’re fishing for you.

The internal rechargeable battery lasts for 6 hours of continuous fish finder use and you can also recharge it using a power bank via a micro USB port.

As far as castable fish finders and wireless fish finders go, this one is a good fish finder. The only drawback is that it’s heavy to cast so be sure to use a heavy 60lb plus braid so it doesn’t snap off.

Pros

Cons

ReelSonar iBobber Smart Fish Finder

ReelSonar iBobber Smart Fish Finder

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

The ReelSonar iBobber portable fish finder is also one of the best fish finder for bank fishing. It is a similar castable fish finder to the Deeper Pro featured above but it’s a more basic and affordable version.

The fish finder comes as a bobber, and you can choose to use it either as just a bobber or as a fish finder too. It’s very small and thus highly portable meaning you can literally keep it in your pocket or in your tackle box.

To use the fish finder you’ll need to pair it with your phone/tablet and connect it to the iBobber app. Once connected, you can tie the fish finder onto some fishing line, cast it out into the water, and then slowly bring it back to shore.

As you bring the iBobber in, it’ll use its single beam sonar to scan the water and then build a water bed map on your phone/tablet.

You’ll be able to see depth changes, rocks, weeds, and fish. You have the option to view fish as arches or use the fish tagging view which will display the fish as icons, in different sizes, with depth labels. This allows you to hone in on particular fish and hopefully catch more fish too.

The fish finder lasts for 10 hours or more once fully charged and has a connection range of 100ft, which is enough for most fishing scenarios but, the connection can drop out now and then.

The iBobber app also has a trip log function where you can enter data such as date, time, location, water temp, conditions, type of fishing, lure, number, and species of fish caught to create your own fishing stats to refer to later. You can also get weather updates and lunar info in the app too.

While this is a great fish finder, it’s quite basic and will only suit shallow areas. The readings are pretty accurate when it comes to depth and semi-accurate when it comes to fish.

Pros

Cons

Lucky Fish Finder

lucky fish finder

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

The LUCKY Fish Finder is a very basic unit that comes with a small display, a 25 ft cable, and a mountable or floatable transducer, a 12 Volt charger, and a neck strap. To use it, all you need to do I charge the unit at home then connect the cable to the display and the transducer and turn it on.

You can choose to have the transducer floating in the water, say in an ice hole or next to your kayak, or have it mounted on your vessel. Once on, it will show you images of the water bed, contours, structure, and fish on the rather tiny 2.4-inch screen.

The sonar readings are semi-accurate and only reliable when it comes to depth, as the fish readings are way off in a lot of instances. The battery also only lasts 5 hours on a full charge but you can charge on the go via the 12-volt charge or a power bank.

While these fish finders are very simple and easy to use, they might not last very long as the display is not waterproof or very durable. You’ll want to keep it around your neck or in a waterproof bag to keep it safe.

Pros

Cons

What To Consider To Find The Right Portable Fish Finder

What To Consider To Find The Right Portable Fish Finder

Type Of Fish Finder

The first step to buying the right portable fish finder for your fishing is needs picking the right type. You have the choice of castable, hand-held, and mounted fish finders.

Mountable Fish Finders

Mounted fish finders such as the Garmin and Humminbird units featured provide far more accurate sonar images than the other unit types. And they are great kayak fish finder, boats, and ice fishing but they are not castable for use from the shore.

This is because they have more power and thus a large range of low and high-frequency sound waves. The only downside is, they aren’t as portable since you’ll need to carry a large marine battery around to power them.

Castable Fish Finders

Castable units are great for fishing from the shore but they are not as accurate as mounted units not does their battery last as long with a max of 8-10 hours of continuous use. Also with a castable unit, you’ll need to use a smartphone/tablet as your display, which can be risky considering you’re out on the water.

Hand-Held Units

Basic handheld units such as the Lucky or Venterior fish finders provide the least accurate sonar images but they are highly portable and work well if you just want accurate depth readings.

Which Type Is Best?

If you’re fishing from the shore, then you have to use a castable unit as these are your only option for this style of fishing. If you’re on a boat, kayak, or ice fishing then a mountable unit is best as you’ll get the best sonar images from them.

FAQs

Do fish finders actually work?

Yes, fish finders work very well in my opinion as they give you additional data in order to find fish more consistently. Fish like to hang around underwater features like depth changes or structure and you’ll never know where these are without a fish finder to tell you.

Is a fish finder and depth finder the same thing?

Yes, a fish finder and a depth finder are exactly the same things and they work in the same way by sending out sonar waves that bounce off the bottom and fish which are then used to create an image of what is under the water.

Which Portable Fish Finder Is The Best

Which Portable Fish Finder Is The Best?

If you’re not fishing from the shore then the Garmin Striker 4 Plus is by far the best portable fish finder to go for. It provides accurate readings using CHIRP and DualBeam sonar, has a built-in GPS, creates contour maps of your fishing areas, and it has a built-in flasher for ice and vertical fishing.

If you’re shore fishing and want the best castable unit then the Deeper Pro+ is the way to go. it has the best sonar out of all the castable options, a solid connection range of 330ft and it also comes with GPS and self-mapping software.

For anyone who just wants to know what depth their fishing in from a boat/kayak and/or is on a tight budget, I’d recommend going with the Venterior VT FF001 unit. It’s super portable, uses changeable AAA batteries, and provides accurate depth readings.

Thanks very much for reading my article, I hope you found it useful and have chosen the right portable fish finder for you. Fish finders are incredibly useful bits of kit and they are well worth having without whenever you go out fishing.

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