Last Updated on February 3, 2021 by Donnell Henderson
When I first started fishing many moons ago, I got fed up with heading out for the day and not getting a single bite. That’s around when fish finders started becoming more commonplace on the market, and I went out and got the biggest model I could get.
I spent $200 and chose a model that had all the bells and whistles. There was just one feature that was missing — the ability to find fish. At first, I thought that I had a knack for finding the wrong spot. I was proven wrong when my friend landed a two-pound bass from a boat right next to me.
That’s when I realized that a lot more research was in order. I made it my mission to find the best fish finder under 200 dollars so that my readers didn’t have to waste their money. It was tough to have to spend hours and hours out on the water testing these devices, but it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make for you, my readers.
Want to know what I found? Then check out my full review below.
My Top Pick
The Humminbird Helix 5 may not have all the features of its more expensive rivals, but it delivers a picture that is as good or possibly better. The screen is a good size, and the picture comes up crystal clear and in full color. It’s an outstanding model at this price point.
- Best Fish Finders under $200 are
- 1. Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 Fishfinder – The Best Fish Finder Under $200
- 2. Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Series
- 3. Eyoyo Professional Fish Finder
- 4. Garmin STRIKER 4cv Fishfinder — Best Value for Money
- 5. Vexilar SP200 T-Box Fish Finder
- 6. Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Fish Finder
- 7. Garmin STRIKER 4 Fish Finder
- 8. BOBLOV 7 Inch 1000TVL 30m IR Fish Finder
- 9. Lowrance Hook-3X Fish Finder
- 10. Venterior Portable Fish Finder
- Buying Guide: Getting the Most Out of Your Budget
- Final Thoughts
Best Fish Finders under $200 are
1. Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 Fishfinder – The Best Fish Finder Under $200
When it comes to budget-friendly fish finders, you can’t expect something with all the bells and whistles. In the case of this Humminbird Helix 5, that means giving up the GPS functionality. This becomes completely worth it when you see the excellent image quality, though.
- Built-In Basemap
- 5-Inch Full-Color Display
- Dual Beam Sonar
- 4000w power output
I like the screen size and the image quality with this model. It’s durable and sturdy and will take a bit of a beating. The interface is simple. However, the gadget freak in me would like to see more features, and I wish it had a basic GPS.
Here’s a video overview of this unit:
- High-quality color image
- Screen easy to see in even the brightest sunshine
- CHIRP sonar creates an accurate picture of what’s happening in the water
- Gimbal mount is strong and durable
- No GPS
- Very basic model – no side view
- You can upgrade features by adding optional side view and GPS, but this pushes up the cost
- Not ideal for shallower waters
The Helix 5 is a pared-down model, and that shows in the price. That said, it’s a great intro model and will give you everything you need to find the fish. It gets our vote as the best fish finder under $200 thanks to its impressive image quality. If you want to know more about Helix 5, click here for our in-depth review.
4 out of 5 stars. Never compromise on image quality.
2. Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Series
This model is different in that you can cast it into the water. This capability gives you a lot more versatility overall and allows you to search for fish wherever you like. You’ll need to have a smart device to read the data transmitted.
- Can be cast into the water up to 330 ft
- Scan reaches 260 ft
- Dual beam sonar
- Adjustable beam
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Connects to your smartphone
This model appeals to me because it is so different from the others out there. Being able to cast the device gives you a lot more scope. It’s great for use when you’re out kayaking, or if you want to try a spot of ice fishing.
Of course, it can be a pain to have your smartphone with you. I know most of us carry them anyway, but there’s a lot to be said for having a dedicated fish finder.
- Easy to carry
- Connects to any smartphone
- Good image quality
- Nice range
- The battery life is limited
- It battles to distinguish fish hiding in vegetation at the bottom
- You have to be careful to keep it within range or lose the Wi-Fi signal
- No GPS
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro makes an impressive addition to your fishing arsenal. It’s easy to pack, and portable as well. Overall, it’s not a bad buy considering it comes in at under $200. I do advise getting a spare battery if you’re out for longer trips.
3 out of 5—Cast your net wide and find fish lurking in the corners.
3. Eyoyo Professional Fish Finder
The Eyoyo is another model that breaks the typical mold. It is also castable but in this case, does come with a monitor as well. It’s got a cool look to it and comes in a hard case. So, if you want to play at being scientist dude, you’re all set.
- 7-inch full-color display
- Fish model design
- 8-hour battery life
- Can be cast into the water
- Comes in a hard case
- 15 m cable
It also comes in at an exceptional price. I like that it’s castable and so more versatile than a standard fixed model. The picture produced is pretty good for the price too.
It doesn’t have a sonar built-in, so the image depends on the clarity of the water, though. You can use it alongside a sonar fish finder to improve the results that you get.
- Good image quality
- Comes in a durable case
- Image is dependent on water conditions
- You don’t have a lot of control over the angle of the camera
Overall, this is not a professional fish finder by any stroke of the imagination. That said, if you’re working in clear waters, it will do a good job of showing you what’s going on under the water. The real clincher here is the excellent price.
3 out of 5—The coolest model on offer.
4. Garmin STRIKER 4cv Fishfinder — Best Value for Money
Garmin is a brand that doesn’t need any introduction. The company is superb at creating GPS systems, and, it appears, finding fish as well. This unit combines sonar and a robust GPS and comes in under $200.
That makes it our “Best Value for Money” pick.
- 3.5-inch color display
- CHIRP sonar
- 500-watt power
- Reaches a depth of 1,750 ft in fresh water and 830 ft in salt water
The Striker 4cv is a powerful unit that offers a good navigation system and fish finder. It’s lightweight and easy to dismount and carry if you need to. It gives a high-quality image. You’ll battle to find such a feature-packed model at this price range.
On the downside, the screen is small, and the mounting doesn’t appear to be all that strong.
- All you need in a fish finder
- Lots of power
- Great for navigation
- Excellent manufacturer
- Awesome price
- The screen is small at 3.5 inches
- We’d prefer a more rugged housing
Don’t let the screen size put you off. You’re not going to find this kind of value matched anywhere else.
4 out of 5—Unparalleled value for money.
5. Vexilar SP200 T-Box Fish Finder
This model also consists of a separate transmitter and receiver. You can easily mount the unit as you would any other model. To read the data, you’ll have to link up to it using your smartphone. It provides everything you need to find fish and presents a good, clear image.
- Two-year warranty
- The battery is guaranteed for a year
- Links up to your smartphone
- Must be mounted
- Color display
- Comes with a neoprene sleeve that you can wear on your arm for your phone
- Has built-in Wi-Fi
- Reads to a depth of 240 ft
- Supports 17 languages
I like that this unit is lightweight and feature-rich for the price. It is wired into the boat’s battery, so battery life is not an issue. The warranties available are also pretty good.
I’m less fond of the fact that there’s no auto-off feature for this model. That means if you forget to switch it off, it will drain your battery.
- Excellent features in this price range
- Excellent warranties
- Good image produced
- Can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot
- No auto-off
- Transducer angle is fixed
You’re getting a pretty good deal for your money here. If you like being out on the water for more extended periods, the fact that this is wired into the boat’s battery is a big plus.
3 out of 5—All the lasting power your battery can provide.
6. Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Fish Finder
Humminbird doesn’t disappoint. Even with this more low-end model you get a lot of the features that you find in the more expensive versions.
- 3.5-inch color display
- Reads to a depth of 600 ft
- Has a depth and fish alarm
- Good image quality
- No GPS
- Three frequency settings
It’s highly accurate and produces a crystal-clear image. The screen is easy to read, and it’s easy to use. The entire unit is portable and comes in a nice little carrying case.
The screen is on the smaller side, though, and there’s no GPS. That’s to be expected at this price point. What I did find puzzling, though, was that there are no PC linking capabilities.
- Great image quality
- Down imaging ideal for deeper water
- Several frequencies to choose from
- Easy to use
- No GPS
- No way to connect to your PC
- The mount could be better
Is this the best model that Humminbird has come up with? To be honest, I prefer the Humminbird Helix range. That said, as portable models go, this packs quite a punch. If you just need a basic fish finder at a great price, this is more than adequate.
3 out of 5—Humminbird does it again.
7. Garmin STRIKER 4 Fish Finder
Don’t do a double take here; I’m not repeating myself. This review is for the plain Garmin Striker, which is different from the Striker 4cv. It doesn’t quite have the same range and comes in at a lower price.
- Clearvu sonar
- Very simple to use
- 3.5-inch full-color display
- Waypoint mapping
- Reads up to 1,600 ft in fresh water and 750 ft in salt water
- CHIRP sonar tech incorporated
The Striker 4 comes with GPS as well as the fish finder. It also includes a lot of the features that you’d expect from more expensive models. However, the screen is small. You can opt to increase the screen size, but you’ll have to pay more if you do. It is suitable as a starter model, but you might want more versatility at a later stage.
- Image quality is high
- Easy to use
- Great manufacturer
- Has GPS and a range of other features
- The screen is small
- The mounting could be better
This model is not quite as powerful as the 4cv model, so its range is not quite as good. That said, it’s still great value for money and offers affordable tech.
3 out of 5—Garmin quality is always worth the price.
8. BOBLOV 7 Inch 1000TVL 30m IR Fish Finder
The BOBLOV 7 is another model that falls into the category of fishing camera. That means that there is no sonar feature. This brings the price down nicely but also means that it’s only really useful in clear water.
That said, it is pretty cool. You can watch the fish biting under the water. You can use it along with a standard sonar to get a complete picture.
- 7-inch full-color monitor
- Sun visor
- Cold-resistant casing
- High Resolution
- Night Vision
- Comes packed in a hard case
The price is fantastic, and the picture quality is great in clear water. This is not a photo-realistic image; it’s an actual photo. If you like to identify different fish, you’re going to like this model. The 7-inch monitor is easy to read.
It doesn’t have sonar, so it’s only going to be effective if the water is clear. That’s not ideal if you want to go after fish hiding on the bottom, or in vegetation.
- Good price
- Great picture
- Has a reasonable range
- Will be great for ice fishing
- Works in shallower water
- No sonar
- No GPS
The BOBLOV 7 is a fun model to have. If you’re a pro fisherman, or you like fishing under a lot of different conditions, it’s probably not ideal.
3 out of 5
9. Lowrance Hook-3X Fish Finder
Lowrance is another brand that has achieved a well-earned reputation for quality and practicality. This fishfinder is pretty basic, but it has everything that you need to find fish.
- Full-color display
- Easy to read no matter what the weather is like
- Downscan imaging with dual-frequency settings
- Zoom function included
It can be wired into the battery and doesn’t draw a lot of power at all. The screen quality is good, and you can see it even in bright sunlight. It’s also effortless to use.
It is, however, a bit small. That’s part of the appeal if you’re a kayaker, I guess. For a boat, though, the size might be problematic. There is also no GPS included.
- Very efficient on power
- The small design makes it easy to transport
- You also get a trolling motor connection
- Durable mount
- Full-color screen
- No GPS
- No way to connect up to your PC
- The screen may be too small for some
The Lowrance Hook-3X has everything that you’d want from a fish finder. I’d have preferred it to include GPS, but for the price, I’m not complaining.
3 out of 5
10. Venterior Portable Fish Finder
This model is for those on a strict budget. I’m going to be completely honest here – this wouldn’t be my first choice, but for the beginner who just wants to get an idea of the tech, it works just fine. And, considering that it costs under $50, you’re still getting a good deal.
- Various settings available
- Two-year warranty
- Water-depth display
- Has a 25 ft cable to connect the transducer
- Will read up to a depth of 328 ft
You’ll never beat the price on this model. It’s basic but straightforward to use. It’s portable and will help you find fish. It’s got a reasonable range, and you can cast the float and transducer out. It’s okay for a beginner, even though the picture looks like a simple video game rather than a photo-realistic scan. You’ll get an idea of where the fish are, but not the exact location.
- Costs under $50
- Easy to use
- Portable and small
- The picture is very simplistic
- Needs AA batteries to power it
The Venterior might not be the model that you’ll want to brag to your friends about. That said, it does the job and so can land you kudos for catching the most fish.
2.5 out of 5
Buying Guide: Getting the Most Out of Your Budget
For under $200, you can’t expect a fish finder that has everything. That doesn’t mean that you have to settle for any old rubbish, though. You can still get great imaging and accuracy at this lower price point. Whether you’ll also get extra features like GPS is not a sure thing, though.
So, before you start looking, I’d suggest narrowing down what features are most important to you. Do you need the GPS function, or could you live without it? What kinds of fishing conditions do you work with?
Say, for example, that you want to fish in deeper waters, you’ll need a transducer that has a lower frequency. The lower frequency creates a narrower beam, so you won’t cover as much of the water around the boat. The beam will travel further down, though.
If you’re sticking to rivers or streams, you probably want a transducer that has a higher frequency. This will allow you to cover more of the water around the boat, but it won’t go very deep down.
If you tend to spread your time switching between depths, choose a dual-frequency model for the best results.
Take some time to consider what your real needs are and don’t get dazzled by features that you’ll never use. I love gadgets just like you do, but every extra feature means an extra cost. That’s not always worth it if you’re working on a tighter budget. Although if you have a little more money to work with, say $500, you could afford models with more premium features, such as that much-desired GPS.
Overall, all the models that we’ve talked about here today will get the job done. Some in more style than others. If you’re looking for the best of the best, the Humminbird Helix produces the best quality images and most accurate results in this price range.
If you want a model that gives you GPS as well, the Garmin Striker 4cv takes a beating—this model is the best all-around value model by far.
All you need to do now is to decide what features are most important to you. Then you can make an informed decision about which model will work in your situation.
If you want to see more fish finders, view our best list here.