Every year fishing device manufacturing brand, manufacture dozens of fish finder models. And novice fishers could be overwhelmed by the available options.
But, the challenge is finding out the best one among them. So in this article we have come up with the list of best fish finder under 500.
Each fish finder is packed with tons of electronic wizardries, such as GPS lake mapping, down imaging, side imaging, and much more. Lots of things are there that could help you choose the proper depth for ultimate fishing.
This article's purpose is to take you through today’s top but low-cost fishing electronics devices and compare their features to cut through your confusion.
In a hurry?! here are my top picks
BEST FISH FINDER UNDER 500 REVIEWS
1) GARMIN STRIKER VIVID 7CV - BEST 7 INCH FISH FINDER UNDER 500
Garmin's Striker Vivid 7cv is a large unit that offers a larger 7-inch display screen, 7 extra color modes for the ClearVü sonar, mapping, waypoint marking, wireless connectivity, and much more at this price point.
It allows using multiple sonar frequencies for ClearVü and standard CHIRP mode plus dual-frequency, in case you combine a dual-beam transducer. You can use both sonar beams and view the results simultaneously in split-screen format.
The plastic GT20 transducer supports standard CHIRP and CHIRP ClearVü; uses two conical beams and two-channel modes, 77 and 200 kHz for the CHIRP sonar. You could cover up to 1,900 ft depth in 45° angles with the 77 kHz mode and 15° angles with 200 kHz mode using the standard CHIRP sonar.
The two oval-shaped beams at 455 kHz and 800 kHz modes provide up to 750ft depth coverage and respectively 5° x 53° and 1.6° x 29° angles beam coverage.
The fishing device has only a basic GPS plotter option plus does not support maps. But, don't worry; it would help you create useful bathymetric maps of your favorite fishing spots.
You can mark the waypoints, record tracks, and current coordinates; thus, you could define the best fishing way between multiple waypoints. The unit lets you store up to 2 million acres of maps, create your fishing maps with up to 10 depth ranges plus mark them with color-code for a quick view.
In our opinion, this is one of the best rated fish finder for under 500 that offers the biggest bang against your budget.
2) HUMMINBIRD HELIX 5 SONAR G2 - BEST DEPTH AND FISH FINDER UNDER 500
Humminbird always offers the best deals on fish finders, and the HELIX 5 Sonar G2 is no exception. Plus, the G2 model comes with a better interface, several new advancements and easier-to-use than the previous models of Humminbird.
It has the basic XNT 9 20 T transducer, offers 20° coverage with 200 kHz beam frequency, and 60° with 83 kHz beam frequency. You could achieve a maximum depth of 1,500 ft with the 83 kHz mode.
The Humminbird HELIX 5 Sonar G2 offers several advanced features, like the Switch Fire function, fish ID plus fish ID alarm, depth alarm, temperature alarm, and much more. The Switch Fire function only works with Dual Beam Plus sonar, enabling two modes – Max and clear.
The Clear mode focuses on the biggest target and eliminates most clutters, while the Max mode displays all information on the monitor to ensure that you wouldn’t miss a single target. The selective fish ID allows you to mark the noticed target as fish and help you catch more fish, taking less time.
The fish alarm will inform you about the large and medium-sized fish with a different tone. The alarm rings when you reach your desired depth; the useful temperature and battery alarm are available here.
However, the waterproof material construction allows full immersions in freshwater, the LED backlight and large digits enable superior readability, even under bright sunlight. I think, now you would agree with us that it is the best inexpensive fish finder option for ice fishing.
3) GARMIN STRIKER 7SV - BEST FISH FINDER WITH SIDE VIEW UNDER 500
If you are looking for the cheapest fish finder with side imaging, there is nothing better than the Garmin Striker 7SV units. It offers versatile modes and utilizes up to 800 kHz frequency to get super clear images from both sides and down-faced sonar.
The CHIRP GT52HW-TM transducer is an exclusive add-on that really helps serious anglers to catch more fish. The CHIRP elements provide a clearer view, eliminate all clutter, and contour the targets in no time.
The side view and down view come in handy to observe fish targets. The side imaging features help you understand the position of your targets and other things related to your targets or boat. On the other hand, the downside imaging features help you understand the shape of your targets and how far it is.
The temperature sensor reads the temperature level at the top of the water, while the temperature graph function indicates temperature variation over the scanned area.
The basic GPS tracks the boat's speed, informs about the current coordinates and helps you mark waypoints. Moreover, you can save up to 5,000 waypoints for future reference. The Garmin Striker 7SV can be considered as the best depth finder under 500 dollars with the largest screen possible, plus clear-cut down and side viewing.
4) LOWRANCE HOOK REVEAL 7 SPLITSHOT - BEST FISHFINDER GPS COMBO UNDER $500
The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 split shot fishfinder series usually offers advanced sonar features, model no 000-15514-001 is no exception. Moreover, the revealed model has a bright, detailed, and possibly largest LED 7-inch screen that provides high-resolution images from DownScan Imaging.
Plus, the fishing device adds the benefits of a split-screen with 200 kHz 2D SONAR, GPS chart plotter, live onboard mapping, and Fish Reveal CHIRP DownScan overlay functions.
The Sonar Autotuning and FishReveal options ensure the best sonar images and make the sonar settings less time-consuming. They will automatically adjust the settings according to your changing fishing conditions. The SplitShot features like surface clarity, noise rejection, Fish ID, Circular Flasher, fish alarm, depth alarm help you the best in fish-finding.
The navigation features come in handy to record tracks, create routes and save waypoints. The device could save up to 3,000 waypoints, 100 fishing routes, and stores in its memory. It cannot record depth contours, but you could create fishing maps with depth contours. You have to load the unit or save the Genesis Live created map using a blank microSD card.
Overall, this split-shot fish finder device has excellent fish-finding capabilities plus offers a lot of advanced features within the budget; and, is perfect for the fishermen who want the best visuals below the boat.
5) Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv with Cv20-TM transducer - Best marine GPS and depth finder
The Striker Plus 7cv shares most fish-finding features to the older Garmin Striker 7cv; also, it adds several extra features. Like, it incorporates WI-FI technology and enables options for drawing the depth contours of the fishing lake.
It uses CHIRP sonar technology in both types of sonar - 2D and Clear Vü to provide a better view of the underwater environment. The CV20-TM transducer system is capable of using only 77/200 kHz frequencies for 2D and 455/800 kHz for another sonar.
The clear view and sonar features let you determine your target in less time. So, you can easily separate the fish targets and other things; plus, mark them to ensure that you will not miss any target.
The navigation and GPS features show your position and the previously marked waypoints. It also gives you the options of creating your own fishing maps, recording the depth of the lakes, and calculating the speed of your boats. You could save up to 5000 waypoints and 1,500 hours of recorded map data.
The large screen, clear visuals, wide frequency and area coverage, and advanced features really make this fishing device an excellent value.
6) GARMIN ECHOMAP UHD 63CV - BEST GPS FISH FINDER UNDER 500
The Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv is one of the best fish finders with GPS that has Navionics data availability, which covers more than 17,000 US lakes with up to 1' depth contours. Plus, it is capable of storing 5,000 waypoints and up to 100 routes in its memory.
The recording function is also available, which records up to 50 tracks with a maximum of 50,000 points per track. The 5Hz GPS receiver gives your position updates five times per second, whereas the GPS speed function calculates the speed of your boat.
Seeing the UHD in its' name, one could expect a 4k resolution from its' display; but this is not the case! The 6.2-inch screen only offers imaging in 800H x 480V pixel resolution; the UHD refers to the capabilities of the sonar and transducer.
The device is also loaded with the latest sonar and navigation features that one fishing enthusiast could expect from it and would be incredibly worth buying for the cost. So this is the best fish finder under 500 that is worth giving a shot.
7) Lowrance Hook Reveal 5
Lowrance Hook-5 is similar to the previously reviewed Lowrance Hook Reveal 7x SplitShot model, but with two major differences. For example, the Hook-5 features a smaller display screen, but the 5-inch screen is enough for observations; Right? Moreover, it provides a decent imaging result, and it also comes with a lower price tag than the previously reviewed model.
Before moving forward, let us clarify that we’re talking about the 000-15500-001 no model of the Reveal 5 series. The display indeed gives you less space, but it is capable of using the split-screen function, with which you can observe up to 3 applications simultaneously. The adjustable LED backlight with 11 levels comes in handy while using it in bright daylight or at night.
It also has a solid build of IP-X7 waterproof material, efficient sonar, and transducer with similar frequency and area coverage. The sonar features and navigation feature options are also the same. So, you could get another one-to-all device at less price; if you compromise the display size only.
8) Garmin STRIKER Plus 7sv with CV52HW-TM Transducer - Cheapest side imaging fish finder
We again placed another best side-imaging fish finder under $500 from Garmin. The model belongs to the STRIKER Plus 7sv series but offers better underwater and side view plus slightly wider imaging than other models.
The 7-inch diagonal monitor displays crisp-quality sown and side imaging, whereas the adjustable LED backlights enhance visibility under bright sunlight and at night.
The dual-frequency sonar plus the sonar features and the navigation features would help you target more fish and catch them faster; also, make sure that you don’t miss a single target. If you want the cheapest fish finder with side imaging and the same sets of features, nothing could be better than Garmin STRIKER Plus 7sv fishfinder, model no - 010-01874-00.
9) Best cheap depth finder by ‘LUCKY’
Now, we’re going to talk about a handy fish and depth finder, model no Y2020-CT, which has 328ft water depth detection capability. It comes with a sonar transducer and plastic coated cable that prevent it from fish bites. The 200 kHz sonar beam covers a wide detection area at a 45° angle.
The portable fishing device is perfect for ice fishing, bank fishing, and fishing from a boat or kayak. The device is completely waterproof, even uses anti-corrosion material to enable full submersion for better imaging and fish finding. The fish alarm would let you know when it detects fishes; it allows different tone settings for different sized fish.
If you’re a novice angler and the budget is pretty low; you could go for Lucky Y2020-CT fish and depth finder; you would get a satisfactory fishing experience, for sure.
10) GARMIN ECHOMAP UHD 64CV - BEST FISH FINDER CHARTPLOTTER UNDER 500
The ECHOMAP UHD 64cv includes the overall same specs and features, even the GT24UHD transducer of the predecessor UHD fish finder model ECHOMAP UHD 63cv, which we reviewed above.
It updated the BlueChart g3 coastal charts; offers high-resolution satellite imagery of US lakes, including inland coverage.
Otherwise, it has the same Ultra High-Definition down scanning sonar, imaging, and navigation features, which can create custom onboard mapping and store waypoints that would help the anglers catch more fish.
Easy keypad control setting options help beginners a lot, while the automated adjustment features lessen the sonar setting time and ensure you can pay all your attention and time towards fishing. The device gives all to the anglers to ensure that they spend most of their free time pursuing their passions.
What's the use of a fish finder?
The fish finder is the device that uses SONAR technology, which means Sound Navigation and a Ranging system to measure water depth and find fish. This fishing device stepped into the market in the 90’s era first; and has constantly been upgrading since then.
Today’s fish finders offer unbelievable performance using e-compass, radar, and GPS mapping systems. Aside from these navigation features, it also offers some fishing features like fish ID, fish alarm, temperature sensor, depth finder, waypoint marking, custom mapping, and much more, making the device more reliable and efficient than ever before.
Professional anglers and even those who practice fishing as a leisure activity has started using fish finders.
Buying Guide For Best fish finder under 500
Finding out the ideal fish finder is not an easy task; so, we would recommend keeping your eyes out for the following points -
A powerful device means a highly powered transducer works satisfactorily in deeper water and sends clear images. A 500-watt device or more than 200 RMS only can deliver sharp imaging in any condition.
Side Imaging / Down Imaging
A fish finder that features Side imaging will provide you a clear picture of the area on either side of your boat (scans up to up to 400 feet)
By using a fish finder like that you can a clear view of rocks, fishes and underwater obstacles beneath the water surface. Not that the fishes may not be directly under your boat but you can still track them using a side imaging fish finder.
In contrast a Down imaging fish finder will give you a clear picture of what is directly beneath your kayak/boat. Mostly, all budget friendly fish finders use a down imaging sensor beam only.
You will not get the imaging accuracy that you need to find anything underwater without having a high-performing transducer.
The frequency of your fish finder device will tell you the quality of the images it can deliver. Higher frequencies mean you will get more detailed imaging.
The CHIRP SONAR technology is the best that uses various frequencies for higher resolution imaging and wider coverage, making it easy to distinguish fish targets.
Display size and color
A fish finder device with a big screen would make it super easy for you to find out and observe targets. Most of the fish finders you see today have a colored screen with LED backlight for better vision, even under bright sunlight and at night.
Before purchasing a fish finder, never forget to check out whether it has IPX7 material construction or not.
A GPS fish finder displays your best fishing graphs, the previous fishing route; plus, it allows you to create waypoints and fishing maps; so, you can easily document the best fishing spots for future reference. A fish finder with GPS mapping would come in handy in foggy weather when you don’t even know where you are.
1. What can I expect from a fish finder under $500?
$500 is enough budget to get a decent fish finder with these features: A quality display screen, high performing CHIRP SONAR technology-enabled transducer, and the complete set of SONAR and navigation features, including GPS and live mapping.
2. Are depth finders waterproof?
Generally, most fish finders or depth finders are not completely waterproof; but have a strong water resistance power. The IPX7 material-built device can be submerged up to one meter for a few minutes, like around thirty minutes.
3.Can I check the temperature on the fish finder?
Some fish finders have temperature sensors, and they display temperature readings and variations while fishing.
If you’re looking for an affordable fish finder and stick your budget around 500 dollars, you’re in the sweet spots; and, you would get varieties of full-featured fish finder options within your budget range.
As you know, nothing is the best; each model or brand has its own strength. You have to choose the best for you; with which you would be able to catch more fish and catch them faster. Hoping our reviews and purchasing tips would come in handy during your shopping, you would end with the best value fish finder.
Hey there! I am Jerry and to sprinkle some words about me, I am a bookworm, writer, and probably loves music. I love writing, and I have been writing for about ten years for different products. I am good at budgeting, so I find listing the budget picks on my articles easy.