10 Best Fish Finder for Small Boat in 2020

Best Overall Fish Finder for Small Boat

Fish Finder with GPS by Garmin

4.6/5

Fishing is a relaxing and engaging activity. You can sit for hours to reel in your prized catch. However, if you do know where the fish are located, you will be wasting time without getting a single catch. That is where a fish finder comes handy. You can get this device in many sizes.

Most people enjoy fishing alone as noise tends to scare away the fish. So, they head out in a small boat or kayak to enjoy this relaxing hobby. Such anglers should invest in the best fish finder for small boat to improve their fishing experience. It is only when they start using the device will they realize the value of it.

Related articles: best shallow water fish finder, best fish finder for kayak, how to install a fish finder on a fiberglass boat, how to install a Garmin fish finder tranducer & how to install a Lowrance fish finder

With so many fish finders out there, it can be tough to find the best for small boats. That is why we have reviewed the 10 best fish finders for small boats and also added a buying guide to make the entire selection and buying process simple and hassle-free.

S.No Product Name Rating Pricing
1. Fish Finder with GPS by Garmin Fish Finder with GPS by Garmin [4.6/5.0] Check-button-1.png
2. Fish Finder with Color Display by Hawkeye Fish Finder with Color Display by Hawkeye [4.1/5.0] Check-button-1.png
3. Wireless Fish Finder by Venterior Wireless Fish Finder by Venterior [4.4/5.0] Check-button-1.png
4. Portable Fish Finder by Garmin Portable Fish Finder by Garmin [4.6/5.0] Check-button-1.png
5. Wired and Wireless Fish Finder by Lucky Wired and Wireless Fish Finder by Lucky [3.9/5.0] Check-button-1.png
6. Portable and Wireless Wi-Fi-Enabled Fish Finder by Deeper Portable and Wireless Wi-Fi-Enabled Fish Finder by Deeper [4.2/5.0] Check-button-1.png
7. Fish Finder for Lakes by Lowrance Fish Finder for Lakes by Lowrance [4.2/5.0] Check-button-1.png
8. GPS Fish Finder by Humminbird GPS Fish Finder by Humminbird [4.4/5.0] Check-button-1.png
9. Smart Fish Finder by Deeper Smart Fish Finder by Deeper [3.9/5.0] Check-button-1.png
10. Portable Fish Finder by Ricank Portable Fish Finder by Ricank [4.1/5.0] Check-button-1.png

1. Fish Finder with GPS by Garmin

Garmin is a reputed company and is renowned for making the best quality fishing products and accessories. So, if you are looking for the best fish finder for small boat, this is the one for you. It comes with high-frequency sonar that offers precise, detailed, and clear images of anything that is in the water under and around the boat.

5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Display sizes vary from 3.5, 5 and 7 inches
  • Maximum depth in freshwater 1,600 feet
  • Maximum depth in saltwater 750 feet
  • Requires 12 Volt power supply

 

Tip: The screen and keypad are not water-resistant even though it has an IPX7 rating. Hence, keep in a Ziploc bag to keep it safe from water spray and rain.

Why We Recommend This Product

This particular fish finder is one of the best you will find. It comes with Clear Vu and CHIRP sonar. The former shows you what is in the water while the latter helps you find the fish. The user interface is simple, and we loved that the screen comes in varied sizes. If you enjoy ice fishing then this fish finder is for you; it comes with a built-in flasher. It allows you to check the speed of the boat while you are trolling.

Info Alert: You can check the sonar history to mark waypoints that you may have missed earlier.

2. Fish Finder with Color Display by Hawkeye

This is a good fisher finder for small boat. It is portable and its size is as much as a smartphone. The only difference is that it is thicker than a smartphone. It is filled with features that allow it to function just like a full-size finder.

4.8/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • FishTrax sonar
  • HD color display that has LED backlight
  • Fish finder indicators that have depth targeting
  • Maximum depth of 240 feet

 

Tip: You can attach this fish finder to your boat and let it do the hard work of finding the best fishing spots for you.

Why We Recommend This Product

The sonar can penetrate depths of up to 240 feet and ensure precise reading. The color display is a winner in our books. It offers glare-free images while the fish finder indicators produce high-definition images of the bottom landscape. The superior algorithm minimizes chances of false readings and when fish is spotted, it gives out an audible alarm. What more can you ask for?

Info Alert: The fish finder does not require a power source at it operates on four AAA batteries.

3. Wireless Fish Finder by Venterior

This small boat depth finder is wireless and that does away the need for wires and cables. It has a color TFT LCD screen that comes with a choice of two background colors. It can be used in any fishing environment.

4.7/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • TFT LCD display
  • LED backlight
  • 2.6-inch display screen
  • Built-in polymer battery of 3.7 Volt

 

Tip: This fish finder is not waterproof and hence, you need to protect it.

Why We Recommend This Product

Since it is handheld and portable, it was easy to carry it. It has two small holes that allow you to tether it onto the fishing line. The display screen does not have a glare and you can see the images and readings clearly, even in bright sunshine. It has a depth range of about 2.6 feet to 131 feet.

Info Alert: The fish finder switches off automatically if the depth is shown as — for five minutes. It helps to save the life of the battery.

4. Portable Fish Finder by Garmin

If you are looking for a good fish finder for small boat, take a look at this portable fish finder. Since it is portable, you can easily carry it in your backpack. It comes with a simple and easy-to-use interface.

4.6/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 3.5-inch color display
  • Chirp sonar transducer
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in rechargeable battery

 

Tip: Use the fish finder to check the speed of your boat so that you can adjust it for the lure you are using while trolling.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved that we could mark the waypoints on the map and also check our position in relation to those points. The interface is simple, and we found it very easy to install. The Chirp sonar allowed us to discover fish and we ended up with a good catch.

Info Alert: The suction cup is extremely stable and can mount the fish finder on a bench or transom.

5. Wired and Wireless Fish Finder by Lucky

This fish finder not only able to locate fish but it can also measure the depth of the water, the temperature of the water, and image the bottom landscape. It has a depth capacity of 328 feet when wired and 147 feet when wireless.

4.8/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 2.8-inch three-tone LCD display
  • Rechargeable 3 Volt lithium battery
  • 45-degree sonar coverage

 

Tip: The float automatically comes on the moment it comes in contact with water.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved that this fish finder can be used wired or wireless. It is compact and easy to carry. The device is extremely accurate and can precisely measure the depth and find fish, even in lakes that do not have too many of them. This fish finder is rechargeable and after a full charge, the battery lasts for 10 hours when used continuously.

Info Alert: The wireless transducer has a non-rechargeable battery and requires an adapter when using in the US.

6. Portable and Wireless Wi-Fi-Enabled Fish Finder by Deeper

This portable fish finder can be synced with your smartphone or tablet so that you can connect it using the Wi-Fi. It does not require the internet, and data can be disconnected to ensure you enjoy an uninterrupted connection with the fish finder.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Portable and castable sonar
  • Syncs with Android and iOS
  • Built-in GPS
  • Depth capacity of 260 feet
  • Build-in flasher

Tip: If the sonar gets disconnected from your smartphone, reel it in to re-establish the connectivity.

Why We Recommend This Product

This sonar has a casting distance of 330 feet. It was easy to install as it has no batteries or cables. It provides incredible data, including fish, vegetation, and underwater structures. The built-in GPS helps you create bathymetric maps that you can store on the cloud-based map management platform.

Info Alert: This fish finder is capable of performing 15 scans per second of the surrounding water.

7. Fish Finder for Lakes by Lowrance

If you are looking for the best fishfinder for small lakes, this device by Lowrance will not disappoint you. It comes with built-in maps of inland lakes in the US, making it easy to find your way for some thrilling fishing.

4.6/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 5-inch color display
  • More than 3,000 US lake maps
  • Automated sonar settings
  • The transducer enables triple shot

Tip: Get the straight down, each side, and fish arch images on the same screen with the TripleShot transducer.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved the maps of lakes and the easy setup. You can easily install the transducer inside the hull or on the transom or trolling motor. It is a great fish finder for small boats with compact space on the console. It is pretty accurate and precise and provides interesting data that you can mark on waypoint maps. The GPS enables you to navigate as well as follow trails.

 

Info Alert: Since the sonar auto-tunes, you can spend more time fishing rather than adjusting the settings.

8. GPS Fish Finder by Humminbird

This fish finder is rather high-tech and comes with built-in maps by Anima. It has a WVGA color display that is about 5 inches, making it ideal for small boats and kayaks. The images are displayed in high-definition so you can make out every inch of the contour.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 5-inch color display
  • Slot for micro SD card
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Mounting hardware
  • Gimbal mounting bracket
  • Power cable

Tip: The side imaging scans up to 300 feet on either side of the boat to help get a better understanding of the lake or pond bottom.

Why We Recommend This Product

We feel that this is an excellent pond fish finder as its side imaging ability allows you to see clearly on either side of the boat and under the boat to find hidden fish arches. The CHIRP sonar ensures that it shows you the fish that the 2D sonar misses out on. We loved the two display modes as they gave us complete control over the level of details we wanted to see on the images.

Info Alert: The built-in Basemap enhances the fishing experience by providing data for freshwater and saltwater, allowing you to get accurate maps with precise details.

9. Smart Fish Finder by Deeper

This portable fish finder is wireless, making it the perfect choice for fishing and camping trips. It uses your smartphone Wi-Fi to connect with your phone without using the internet. So, regardless of where you are, the fish finder offers signals to catch fish.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Fishfinder
  • USB cord for recharging
  • Instruction manual

Tip: If another device is connected to your smartphone, it is best to switch it off when you are using the fish finder. That way, it will not lose connectivity.

Why We Recommend This Product

This small fish finder is portable and you can connect it to your line and cast it into the water. The finder provides useful details, like the location of the fish, their size, and the depth they are at. It also provides images of the bottom landscape and vegetation. It can save each scanned image with the time and location.

Info Alert: It takes about 2.5 hours to recharge the battery, which lasts for six hours after a full charge.

10. Portable Fish Finder by Ricank

This fish finder is portable and comes with a display unit and transducer. It can easily detect the depth of the water, location of the fish, size of the fish, bottom landscape, and the surrounding vegetation.

4.4/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Display unit
  • Transducer with a 25-foot cable
  • Transducer float that is removable and rubber stopper
  • Neck strap
  • Side-scan adapter for the transducer
  • Stainless wing nut and bolt

Tip: This fish finder for small boats can operate in water temperatures ranging from -4 deg F to 158 deg F.

Why We Recommend This Product

While the display unit is black and white, it displays images clearly and precisely. The transducer comes with a 25-foot cable and once it reaches maximum depth, it detects the fish and bottom landscape from 3 feet to 328 feet. It has a backlight mode that enables you to fish at night. It does not need an external power source as it uses 4 AAA batteries, which when new can work for 4 to 5 hours of continuous use.

Info Alert: You can use your fishing rod to guide the transducer and float to your desired location in the river.

Buying Guide for the Best Fish Finder for Small Boat

We realize that it can be overwhelming to choose the right fish finder for your needs. That is why we have created a small buying guide that will assist you to choose so that you purchase the best fish finder for small boat.

 

Material:

Ensure that the material used to make the fish finder is not only durable but also compatible with the hull of your boat. You need to pay special attention to this if you intend to mount the fish finder on the hull of your boat.

 

For a small boat, a plastic casing is the best choice. It is compatible with most hulls besides being durable and lightweight.

 

Water Resistant Rating:

The last thing you want is a fish finder that gets damaged due to water. So, look for the IPX rating that the fish finder has. Ensure that it has a minimum rating of 4 to 5 so that you have peace of mind knowing that the fish finder will be able to handle water sprays.

 

The highest IPX rating is eight and this means that the fish finder will be able to stay submerged without sustaining any damage.

 

Power:

The power of the finder should be based on your needs. Remember, a unit that has high wattage will have more power, and hence, it will be more accurate. However, it is not necessary to always have an external power source to get high wattage. Many fish finders use rechargeable batteries or AAA batteries to operate.

 

Since you are on a small boat, it makes sense to opt for rechargeable or battery-operated fish finder so that you do not have to get hassled about finding a power source to operate the device.

 

Display Screen:

You can choose between black and white and colored display. Usually, if your budget is limited, you should opt for a black and white display screen. The same also holds if you are a beginner. However, do remember that you will not be able to get detailed images on a cloudy day or in the night, and you may find it hard to read in bright sunshine.

 

A colored screen makes the images more interesting as it gives you precise contours that are engaging. Most fish finders with colored screens tend to give more details about the surroundings due to the colors and hence, they offer better readability.

 

GPS Feature:

Having a navigation system is essential. It allows you to find your way back safely and also saves time. So, it is prudent to get a fish finder with GPS capabilities. That way, not only will you be able to navigate in a stress-free manner but you will also be able to mark waypoints so that you know where to head the next time you come for fishing.

 

Type of Water:

Many anglers do not realize that they require different fish finders for freshwater, saltwater, and ice fishing. Typically, if you enjoy saltwater and ice fishing, you should invest in a fish finder that uses high power levels. Only then you will get accurate readings and data.

 

For freshwater fishing, you can go with a fish finder that requires lower power levels. It will provide accurate readings without a hassle.

 

Cone Angles and Beams:

A fish finder does not spread out the beam to scan the surroundings. Rather it makes use of a cone-shaped beam that is directed downwards and from there it spreads. This expansion is of varying degrees, depending on the device. Most fish finders have an expansion degree ranging from 16 to 20 degrees.

 

Some fish finders produce more than one beam and this makes them more advanced compared to a single beam fishfinder. A device that emits more beams will be able to scan a bigger area around the boat. Such a fish finder is perfect for a lake or shallow water bodies.

 

Down Imaging:

A standard fishfinder creates images by compiling the readings. Hence, you will only get a general idea of what is under the boat. On the other hand, if a fish finder has down imaging, it allows you to get accurate and clear images of what is underneath. That means you will be able to discern rods, fish, and vegetation with accuracy. However, fish finders with this feature tend to be expensive as it is advanced sonar imaging technology.

 

Portability:

You have a choice between permanently mounted or portable fish finder. If you opt for a permanently mounted fish finder, you will not be able to travel with it if you go camping or decide to take a friend’s boat. So, keep this in mind when you are choosing between mounted and portable fish finders.

 

Frequencies:

Fishfinders have transducers single, dual, and multiple frequencies. Make sure you check the frequency of the fish finder as the higher the frequency, the more detailed will be the images that you see on the display screen.

 

Typically, you should opt for a high-frequency fish finder if you like fishing in shallow water bodies. However, if you fish in different types of water bodies, it is best to purchase a fish finder with multiple frequencies.

 

Display Screen Resolution:

While some fish finders can be synchronized with your mobile phone and you can use your phone’s display to see the imagery, others come with a separate display unit. Check the resolution of the display unit as one with more pixels will offer clearer and precise images.

 

Ensure that the display has a minimum resolution of 240 x 160. That is the bare minimum. However, if you want high-quality images, opt for a higher resolution fish finder. Remember that a bigger screen size may not be the best choice for a small boat as it could be heavy to carry. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and what you expect from your fishfinder.

 

Transducer:

This is the most important part of the fish finder as it is the transducer that emits the sonar waves to capture data to create images for you. The transducer sends sonar waves into the water and they bounce off objects under the water. This information is then converted into images and displayed on the screen.

 

If the transducer is not of good quality, you will not get precise images of what lies in the water. This will hamper your abilities to find fish and enjoy a superior fishing experience.

 

Our Verdict

These are the 10 best fish finders for small boats. You can read the reviews carefully and based on the buying guide, you purchase the best fish finder for a small boat, one that suits your needs.

 

After testing these 10 fish finders, we feel that the Fish Finder with GPS by Garmin is the best. There are several reasons for this. For one, it is made by Garmin, which is a leading brand for fishing products and accessories. This particular device comes with high-frequency sonar that enables it to create detailed and precise images of what lies under the water. The readings are highly accurate. The device uses CHIRP and Clear Vu sonar to ensure you get accurate readings. It also has a built-in flasher, making it a good choice for winter ice fishing.

 

This device can penetrate up to 1,600 feet in freshwater and about 750 feet in saltwater. So, you can utilize it for both kinds of water. It requires an external power source of 12 V but getting that access to power is not that difficult even if you are on a small boat.

 

The user interface is simple and once you understand how to use the GPS, navigation will not difficult. The display screen comes in three sizes, namely 3.5, 5, and 7 inches. So, you can choose the size you like.

 

You can save the sonar history and this enables you to go back to the older images to look for missed waypoints. You can mark and save them.

 

This fish finder comes with an IPX rating of seven, making it a great device to use in water without any worries.

 

So, there you have it – the best fish finders for small boats. Out of these, you can choose a good fish finder for small boat, one that suits your needs and fits into your budget with relative ease.

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