10 Best Side Imaging Fish Finders

Best Overall Side Imaging Fish Finder

Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird

4.2/5

All anglers will tell you that fishing is relaxing and thrilling at the same time. However, it can be frustrating if you do not catch anything while everyone else in the vicinity seems to be very successful. Their secret lies in using fish finders. These magical devices scan the water and send back signals to the screen so that you can see what is present. However, traditional fish finders cannot scour crevices, nooks, and structures in the water. These structures are renowned for holding fish and are often considered the best places to fish.

 

That is where a side imaging fish finder comes into play. With this type of fish finder, you will be able to identify all structures and objects in water as they scan 180 degrees either side of the boat or watercraft and ensure you find the best spots to cast your bait. Also, a majority of side imaging fish finders tend to penetrate deep into the water and cover larger areas so you enjoy better quality images and more detailed readings.

 

Side imaging sonars are able to differentiate between fish and underwater structures as they ensure you get a clear picture on the device’s screen. So, if there is a fallen branch in the lake or pond, the side imaging sonar will be able to scan it properly and this image will be displayed on the screen. You will not mistake it for a fish and hence, you will not try and fish in that area.

 

It is advisable to note that the best side imaging fish finders are extremely accurate. This accuracy comes from the advanced technologies that are incorporated into the device.

 

With so many different types of side imaging fish finders, it can be tough to choose one that is right for you. Thankfully, you can check the reviews of our 10 best side imaging fish finders and then decide. To make it even simpler, we have created a buying guide to help shortlist the best side imaging fish finder.

S.No Product Name Rating Pricing
1. Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird - Side Imaging Fish Finders Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird [4.3/5.0] Check-button-1.png
2. Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird - Side Imaging Fish Finders 2 2. Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird [4.4/5.0] Check-button-1.png
3. Echomap by Garmin - Side Imaging Fish Finders Echomap by Garmin [5.0/5.0] Check-button-1.png
4. Axiom Fish Finder by Raymarine - Side Imaging Fish Finders Axiom Fish Finder by Raymarine [3.2/5.0] Check-button-1.png
5. 5-inch Fish Finder by Lowrance - Side Imaging Fish Finders 7-Inch Fish Finder by Lowrance [3.9/5.0] Check-button-1.png
6. Helix 9 Fish Finder by Humminbird - Side Imaging Fish Finders 5-inch Fish Finder by Lowrance [4.3/5.0] Check-button-1.png
7. 7-Inch Fish Finder by Lowrance - Side Imaging Fish Finders Helix 9 Fish Finder by Humminbird [4.1/5.0] Check-button-1.png
8. Helix 10 Fish Finder by Humminbird - Side Imaging Fish Finders Helix 10 Fish Finder by Humminbird [5.0/5.0] Check-button-1.png
9. 5-inch Fish Finder with Navionics by Lowrance - Side Imaging Fish Finders 5-inch Fish Finder with Navionics by Lowrance [3.0/5.0] Check-button-1.png
10. Solix 10 Fish Finder by Humminbird - Side Imaging Fish Finders Solix 10 Fish Finder by Humminbird [4.2/5.0] Check-button-1.png

1. Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird

This side imaging fish finder by Humminbird has a modern look and feel to it. The large screen makes it easy to see things clearly, and the buttons are positioned on the top right corner for ease.

5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 7-inch screen
  • MEGA side and down imaging
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Ethernet and Bluetooth capabilities
  • GPS
  • Built-in Basemap
  • AutoChart Live

 

Tip: The display mode allows you to customize what you see while taking into account turbulence, temperature, lure presentation, and water depth.

Why We Recommend This Product

We liked that we could use the CHIRP and MEGA for side imaging. That allowed us to get images up to 125 feet on either side of our boat. The MEGA down imaging can penetrate 125 feet below the surface of the water to ensure precise and clear images. The CHIRP offers clear fish arches and nooks and crannies where fish can hide away. We also could customize the images, thanks to the two display modes.

Info Alert: Humminbird Basemap has maps of over 10,000 lakes in the US and also lets you identify depth markers, marinas, day markers, buoys, and contours.

2. Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird

The Helix series by Humminbird has the best side imaging capabilities, and the Helix 7 is no different. It comes with tons of features that make it a worthwhile investment.

4.8/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 7-inch display
  • CHIRP sonar
  • MEGA side imaging
  • MEGA down imaging
  • Dual-spectrum sonar
  • Basemap
  • GPS
  • Auto Chart Live

 

Tip: Use a trolling motor to power the fish finder as it will not experience electrical interference.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved the side-scan function that allowed us to check for fish arches and the lake bottom landscape with ease. It has Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity, and the built-in GPS is a handy tool for navigation. The maps are pretty handy. We liked the wide frequency range and the ability to customize the images. The returns from the sonar are very accurate and precise.

Info Alert: The Helix 7 allows you to save good fishing spots that you can visit whenever you feel like it.

3. Echomap by Garmin

This fish finder by Garmin has a massive 9-inch screen that is touch-enabled with a keyed assist. It has CHIRP sonar, Side Vu, and GT54 sonar. The images are displayed in high definition and can be easily read even in bright sunshine.

4.7/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Echomap
  • Transducer
  • Power-cum-data cable
  • Tilt mount
  • Flush mount
  • Hardware
  • Protective cover

 

Tip: You can run the Echomap with a built-in transducer on a trolling motor as long as you have the right adapter cable.

Why We Recommend This Product

The GT54 and SideVu sonars offer high-definition images that can easily be read on the touchscreen display. It enables you to see what is present under and around the boat. It also supports Panoptix sonar, and you can share the data that you receive with other Echomap devices in the vicinity.

Info Alert: Use the mounting apparatus to mount the fish finder on the transom. The tilt mount comes with a quick-release cradle.

4. Axiom Fish Finder by Raymarine

This fish finder has made to the list of the 10 best side imaging fish finders because it comes with CHIRP side and down vision and traditional CHIRP sonar. It offers precise, clear, and accurate imagery of the surroundings.

4.6/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 7-inch screen
  • RealVision 3D
  • SideVision
  • CHIRP Down Vision
  • High-frequency CHIRP

 

Tip: The Navionics application allows you to set waypoints to mark spots in the water body that you should avoid.

Why We Recommend This Product

This fish finder comes with exceptional clarity that allows you to discern every single detail in the water. We loved that it has built-in Wi-Fi capability that allows you to pair the fish finder with the Raymarine app on your smartphone. You can then view the images on your phone. The CHIRP side imaging sonar does the job perfectly and allows you to pinpoint fish arches and bottom landscape.

Info Alert: The fish finder operates on Lighthouse 3 operating system that renders it lightning-fast and ensures an intuitive experience.  

5. 5-inch Fish Finder by Lowrance

This fish finder by Lowrance comes with maps of lakes and triple shot transducer. It is easy to use as the sonar autotunes and the menu is intuitive, allowing you to spend more time catching fish rather than messing with the settings.

4.8/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 5-inch display
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Down scan
  • Side-scan
  • Triple Shot transducer
  • Preloaded maps of 4,000 lakes
  • GPS

 

Tip: You can scroll back on the screen to check a location or structure that you want to see again. 

Why We Recommend This Product

This is one of the easiest fish finders to install and use. The image clarity is amazing and you will be able to see what lies under and at the side of your boat with accuracy and precision. The CHIRP sonar identifies fish arches with ease. We loved the autotuning that automatically gets the sonar working effortlessly. The GPS helps you identify and mark waypoints as well as navigate.

Info Alert: You can upgrade the maps and add third-party maps to your arsenal using the micro SD card slot.

6. Helix 9 Fish Finder by Humminbird

This fish finder is big on technology. It looks stylish and does exactly what the manufacturer says it will do. You will love the detailed and clear images of what lies under the water.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 9-inch TFT display
  • Keypad
  • Bluetooth and Ethernet capability
  • Two micro SD card slots
  • Gimbal mounting bracket
  • Hardware for mounting
  • Power cable
  • Built-in GPS
  • CHIRP sonar

Tip: You can use the keypad control to toggle between screens while you are navigating to locate fish arches

Why We Recommend This Product

This high-end fish finder has some of the best technologies. The side imaging sonar can provide clear and detailed images of up to 200 feet on both sides of the boat. We loved the built-in GPS and the preloaded maps. The sonar provided clear views of what lies below. We could even customize the contour maps.

Info Alert: You can use the dual-spectrum CHIRP sonar in the wide mode to ensure wide coverage or in narrow mode to get maximum details.

7. 7-Inch Fish Finder by Lowrance

This is one of the best side imaging fish finders you will find on the market. You can simultaneously see the scans by CHIRP sonar as 3D or high definition. It enables you to see structures and fish at the side and below your boat.

4.6/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 7-inch screen
  • CHIRP sonar
  • SideScan
  • DownScan
  • StructuralScan
  • TotalScan
  • On-screen mapping

Tip: Remove the bezel to reveal four holes that you can use to flush mount the fish finder on your boat.

Why Do We Recommend It

We loved the technology that lets you see images in 3D or high definition. We found the entire system extremely responsive and the presence of internal GPS antenna offers an accurate position of the structures. The transducer can be mounted on the bow or transom. The fish finder has maps of 4,000 lakes and comes with Navionics autorouting.

Info Alert: The fish finder comes with smartphone integration that allows you to keep your eyes out for fish and also get text messages and important phone calls.

8. Helix 10 Fish Finder by Humminbird

This technology-filled fish finder comes with a color screen. It is compatible with Minn Kota trolling motor using an adapter cable of Helix 7.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 7-inch color display
  • MEGA sonar
  • CHIRP sonar

Tip: Use the down imaging capability to get clear underwater images 125 feet below your boat.

.

Why We Recommend This Product

It can take clear and accurate images up to 125 feet and we found that quite impressive. The dual-spectrum CHIRP sonar can be used in two modes – wide mode to cover a larger area around the boat and narrow mode to get precise and detail-oriented images. We were able to identify fish arches with ease and also clearly discern fish-holding structures in the water.

Info Alert: Use the AutoChart Live to map the depth, bottom, vegetation in the water.

9. 5-inch Fish Finder with Navionics by Lowrance

You will find that this fish finder is very easy to use. The auto-tuning sonar does all the hard work for you so that you can enjoy fishing rather than struggling with the settings. It is also easy to set up and the perfect choice for small boats and kayaks.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 5-inch color display
  • Built-in map
  • Micro SD card slot
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Side and down scan imaging
  • GPS mapping

Tip: If you want to install this fish finder to your dash, you will need an adhesive gasket, which is not mentioned in the user manual.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved that it was easy to setup. We mounted it on the trolling motor but the transducer can be mounted inside the hull of your boat and the transom. It is the perfect fish finder for small and compact boats and vessels. We also liked the auto-tuning feature and side scan was mindblowing – it scans up to 300 feet each side of the boat. The CHIRP sonar is accurate in identifying fish arches while the 4,000 preloaded maps come with one-foot contours.

Info Alert: You can save third-party maps and waypoints in a micro SD card.

10. Solix 10 Fish Finder by Humminbird

The screen is massive at 10.1 inches and that means you can clearly see the details. It comes with MEGA side and down imaging capabilities and the images are detailed and crystal clear.

4.4/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • 10.1-inch touchscreen display
  • Keypad
  • Built-in GPS
  • Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity
  • CHIRP (dual-spectrum) sonar
  • 2 micro SD card slots

Tip: Synchronize the fish finder with your smartphone so that it displays text messages and phone call alerts on the screen.

Why We Recommend This Product

The large display screen allows you to see the images without distortion. The side and down imaging abilities ensure you get to clearly see every detail. The CHIRP sonar can identify fish arches and structures that hold fish. We found that the display is easy to use and you can get up four independent viewing screens.

Info Alert: The sidebar menu allows you to customize the display so that you have your favorite items at the touch of a button.

Buying Guide for the Best Side Imaging Fish Finders in 2020

There is a reason that anglers love side imaging technology in their fish finders. Fishing may be fun and relaxing as long as you know where to find the fish. The best fish finders do just that. They help you find a large cache of fish in lakes, ponds, and seas. However, the key is to ensure you have the best fish finder; otherwise, there is no way that you will return from a successful fishing trip.

 

The best fish finders come with side imaging technology. This technology has the ability to detect more fish compared to traditional sonar. You will notice that the standard sonar will not be able to detect the fish that side imaging sonar can. Also, side imaging sonar tends to scan the water on either side of the boat and this allows you to see where the fish are located in relation to the boat.

 

So, if you are looking to buy the best side imaging fish finder, here are the features that you should be looking at:

 

Your Vessel:

The best side imaging fish finders usually come with mounts and using those mounts, you can mount them on the dash or hull. If you use a kayak, it is best to opt for a fish finder that is portable and battery-operated. Also, the smaller the fish finder, the easier it will be to accommodate it on the kayak.

 

For boats, you can mount the fish finder on the dash, transom or hull. If the fish finder can be mounted on the transom, make sure it has the right hardware and mounts to ensure that it stays safe after mounting.

 

The speed of the boat needs to be in harmony with the chart speed as if your boat is faster than the chart speed, it will cause distortion and inaccurate readings.

 

Ease of Use and Setup:

Since these devices have a number of applications, it is best to find a side imaging fish finder that has a user-friendly interface and is intuitive. That way, you will not have to struggle to learn the technologies and utilize them to your benefit.

 

Also, the setup should be simple, quick, and convenient. The device should come with the necessary brackets and hardware so that you can install it. Having an instruction manual that is easy to follow will help you and ensure you can get the fish finder up and running within no time.

 

Transducer:

This is the most important part of your fish finder as it sends back signals from the sonar to the display. Make sure that the transducer has different frequencies for side-scanning, down scanning, and CHIRP sonar so that you get a 360-degree view of the water and what lies under your boat. Also, make sure that the cord of the transducer is strong as a broken cord is a common problem among anglers.

 

Frequency Range:

Most fish finders transmit signals at 15 kHz to 200 kHz. However, all fish finders do not come with this wide range of frequencies. So, if you are looking for the best side imaging fish finder, find out the frequencies that the device has and then educate yourself so that you know which frequency to use when. This will ensure you enjoy a superior performance from the device.

 

Lower frequencies are ideal for deep water and wide cone. On the other hand, if you want to know what is happening under your boat, opt for high frequency. Be prepared as the images and readings from higher frequencies will not be as clear as those from lower frequencies.

 

Display Screen:

The screen resolution is important as you will want the highest possible resolution so that you can view the images clearly and precisely. Remember, the side imaging will be of no consequence if you cannot identify what you are seeing on the screen. Also, ensure that you can read and see the screen in bright sunshine without any problem.

 

It is advisable to opt for a colored screen as you will be able to identify fish arches, structures, and vegetation with ease. When you can see things clearly, you will be able to identify them and not mistake them for fish. Also, a colored screen does not make viewing monotonous.

 

Durability:

Your fish finder can get wet while you are fishing and hence, make sure that it comes with a high IPX rating. The higher the rating, the more resilient it will be to water. The fish finder also should be sturdy so that it can take rough use without showing visible signs of wear and tear.

 

Fish finders are expensive and the last thing you want to do is break the device on the very first use. So, find a durable device that can take a beating is what you should be looking for. Such a device will give you years of service without any problem.

 

Portability:

Portability is not an issue if you intend to mount the fish finder. However, if you want to carry it along with you on the trip or use it on a different boat, it is best to get a smaller side imaging fish finder that is easy to carry.

 

Mounting Style:

You can mount side imaging fish finders in different ways. A transom-mounted finder means that the transducer is mounted on the flat portion of the stern, where the two parts come together. Transom mounting is the most common type. However, you can also mount the transducer on the hull.

 

You may find that the best side imaging fish finders come with built-in mounts and this makes it convenient to mount it on the trolling motor while fishing or when the anchor is dropped. When you opt for this type of mounting, it enables the transducer to scan the water better and get more information.

 

Price:

This is perhaps one of the most important factors as many people use price as the sole criterion of choosing side imaging fish finders. However, it is important to realize that the best side imaging fish finders do cost a lot and at the same time, it is possible to get a good side imaging fish finder that is not exorbitantly priced. That is why you need to look at the features to justify the cost.

 

Warranty:

Most devices come with a one-year warranty for manufacturing defects. It is rare to find a fish finder with any other type of warranty. Lowrance is one brand that offers an upgrade program for five years. Otherwise, other brands do not offer anything other than the warranty.

 

Our Verdict

These are the 10 best side imaging fish finders. Each has its pros and cons and that is why you should read the reviews carefully to ensure you find the perfect side imaging fish finder for yourself.

 

According to us, out of these 10, the best is Helix 7 Fish Finder by Humminbird. It is stylish and modern to look at; it comes with high-end imaging technologies, and you can enjoy split-screen viewing. The device has a water-resistant rating of IPX7 and the screen is big enough to clearly see everything. It has Bluetooth and Ethernet connectivity. However, the best feature is that it can scan 125 feet on either side of your boat and the images are plainly displayed on the colored screen. You will find that the images are accurate and you will be able to identify fish-holding structures and vegetation with ease. The CHIRP sonar allows you to pinpoint fish arches and you can use the preloaded maps of lakes and coastal areas to identify marinas, buoys, markers, and other features.

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