6 Best Portable Fish Finders – How to Choose the Best Fish Detection Unit

Fish finders are magical tools. When you’re out fishing, finding the best spot feels like an impossible mission – still, relying on a fish finder can solve this issue for you. Especially if you have a portable one, the advantage is that it can go to places where regular fish finders can’t. If you need something that is not mounted permanently on your boat, a portable fish finder is a great choice.

Devices such as these use a special technology, known as sonar technology, in order to scan the area underneath your boat and detect fish. As such, the best portable fish finder will make sure you don’t leave the spot without catching fish.

In this buying guide, we’ll go over several portable fish finders, in order to help you choose the best one. Since finding a suitable unit is difficult due to the sheer number of different products and brands, it’s best to get the right information and end up with the portable fish finder of your dreams. Let’s get to it!


Quick Picks

BEST PICK
Humminbird 410170-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 PT (Portable) Fish Finder
PREMIUM PICK
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
BEST VALUE
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder,  Handheld Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder with Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display
Humminbird
Garmin
Venterior
$166.29
$182.57
$35.00

Top Portable Fish Finder Product Reviews


#1. Humminbird 410170-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 PT Fish Finder – Best Fish Detection and Included Carrying Case

What’s great when getting a portable unit is that you also get a free carry case with it for easy transportation. Thankfully, this Humminbird portable fish finder has this benefit. Aside from all the other features it includes, it also has a soft-sided carrying case. Add that to the fact that a suction cup transducer, charger, and 7Ah battery are sent with it as well.

This amazing device has a very easy-to-use interface, meaning you won’t have to spend ages figuring out how to operate it. There are fish alarms, a Fish ID+, depth alarms, as well as zoom. Not only that you will know where fish is located, but you will also be aware of how deep the water is.

Thanks to the tilt and swivel mount, adjusting your viewing area angle will be a child’s play too. Moreover, it has a dual-beam sonar, which means you can choose from a narrow and wide beam. You will get some amazing detail on a good coverage area, making it easier to identify structure, fish, and contours.

Pros

  • Dual-beam sonar for better detail
  • Carrying case included
  • Larger screen
  • Easy to adjust and use
  • Has a great coverage area

Cons

  • The suction cup may have some issues as it doesn’t always do the best job at attaching the fish finder

#2. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – GPS Portable Fish Finder – Best for Shore and Ice Fishing

You need a fish finder that is as versatile as possible, and luckily, this castable device is just the right product in this regard. The Deeper Smart portable fish finder can not only be used while on your boat but also while doing shore and ice fishing.

The fish finder has an inbuilt GPS, which allows you to create bathymetric maps from the shore. With the product, you will have access to Lake Book, which is the bathymetric management platform from Deeper. As a result, you will be able to save your maps and analyze them on any device that you use in your own home.

It’s nice to connect it to the phone or tablet through WiFi, and the connectivity is great too. It takes seconds to install and you need no batteries or cables, which makes it very convenient in terms of portability.

Pros

  • Has amazing connectivity
  • No Internet required
  • Can cast quite far away and scan deeper
  • Comes with inbuilt GPS for creating your own maps from the shore
  • Needs no cables or batteries
  • Easy and quick to install

Cons

  • No orange cap for better visibility

#3. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder – Best HD Color Display

This HawkEye portable fish finder can be a great choice, particularly if having a top-notch color display is one of the requirements on your list.  The device has an HD color display with an LED backlight. As such, it’s amazing as it has a glare-free view. It’s extremely readable, which means that even when the sun is shining bright, you won’t experience problems trying to read it.

What’s amazing is that aside from the good screen, you also get an intelligent sonar system, which delivers readings up to 240 feet in order to find enough fish. Another great aspect is the fact that the sonar sensor is boat mountable, as well as trollable and floatable. As such, you have amazing portability with it, no matter where you go.

It also has an algorithmic software programming, which makes sure there are fewer chances of false readings.

Pros

  • Amazing HD color display
  • Algorithmic software to ensure proper reading
  • Fish depth targeting and fish finder indicators
  • Audible fish alarms
  • Intelligent sonar technology
  • Glare-free view

Cons

  • The transducer connector needs a lot of force to connect

#4. LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder – Greatest Versatility

The Lucky portable fish finder might be just what you need if you’re looking for something with plenty of versatility. The device is great to use whether you use it on a kayak, on the shore, or for ice fishing – so, it’s easy to adapt to all environments.

That’s not all, though – the feature that makes this unit so amazing is the 5 modes. It has five different modes with sensitivity options, so you can set the sensitivity depending on the fishing spot you chose. In addition, you have a backlight mode and a battery save mode. Also, let’s not forget that you get fish alarms too, for easier fish detection.

What’s more, the Lucky handheld fish finder can detect a fish in a good depth range, making it easier to find fish even in deeper water. The screen will show you water depth, as well as fish location, tall and short weeds, and the rocks and sands on the bottom. With it, you will also receive a warranty of 12 months.

Pros

  • 12 months warranty
  • Shows a clear image and contour on screen
  • Great for various fishing environments
  • Can detect fish in deep water
  • 5 sensitivity modes

Cons

  • Not water-resistant

#5. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit – Best Chirp Sonar and Waypoint Map

Garmin is a good brand with top-notch fish finders, and this product is no exception. This Garmin portable fish finder model can be taken wherever your favorite fishing spot is, all due to the fact that you’ll receive a carrying case as a gift with it.

One of the things you will love about it is the waypoint map. The map is easy to view, and it makes things easier when you need to navigate various locations. For instance, it makes perfect if you need to go to locations like stumps, brush piles, and docks.

The chirp sonar will make sure to obtain a lot of information for you, as it sends a continuous sweep of frequencies. It will thus find out whenever fish are swimming underneath your boat, so you know where the best spot for fishing is.

The fact that it’s so easy to install and use makes it even better because it saves you time that you can use fishing.

Pros

  • Amazing chirp sonar technology for better fish detection
  • Built-in flasher
  • Waypoint map that makes it easy to navigate various areas
  • Available in multiple display sizes
  • Easy to install and operate

Cons

  • The instructions are not too clear

#6. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder – Best Handheld Fish Finder and Best Warranty

Venterior isn’t playing around either – in fact, this amazing fish finder uses 4 AAA batteries and can last 4-5 hours on continuous use, with new batteries. It is able to offer you an accurate depth reading, as it uses sonar technology in order to detect any potential fish.

This Venterior portable fish finder is very easy to use. All you have to do is toss the transducer into the water and then turn on the display unit. It will show you how deep the water is, and where fish are located.

Additionally, in order to make sure it properly detects fish in any water environment, it comes with 4 detectable sensitivity modes. It has a backlight mode, battery save mode, unit of measure, and fish alarm. The preferred mode is saved even when you turn off the unit.

The product comes with a 2-year warranty. If you encounter any issues after buying the device, you have to contact the customer support.

Pros

  • 2-year warranty
  • Can be taken anywhere, as it can even be worn around your neck
  • Accurate depth reading
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • May get confused with the amount of fish and size

Buying Guide

Even if one portable fish finder review has sparked your interest and you may have found your favorite unit, you should still know what to look for in such a unit. Maybe you will want to look for these devices yourself and make comparisons before you spend money on one. Having said that, here are some things to pay attention to when buying a portable fish finder.

Brand

The brand may not be the most important feature, yet it’s still worth considering in some cases. Some brands have experience with such devices, and they know how to manufacture them properly. Not to mention that particular brands may have their own, specific features that make the fish finder accurately detect fish at different depths.

As such, you can pick between a HawkEye, Humminbird, Garmin or Lowrance portable fish finder, and thus end up with the one that serves you properly. When you’re in the market for a fish finder, it’s always best to research the brands you stumble upon.

GPS

Although many fish finders do great with just sonar technology, sometimes it’s better to have an additional mapping feature to make sure you know what route you’re taking. While they may be a little pricier, GPS fish finders will be a blessing, especially if you tend to fish in various locations and look for new ones all the time.

What’s also cool is the fact that you can save the position through GPS too, so it’s easier to find it next time you return.

Type

With portable fish finders, you have different types to choose from, depending on which one is more convenient for you. For example, you can choose between mountable fish finders, which can be semi-permanently mounted on your kayak or boat. They cannot be mounted if you’re fishing on the shore, though.

Portable units are the most common models. Although they can be quite large, they are still lightweight enough to maintain their portability. They don’t need to be mounted because they can be held in your hand.

The last type is castable fish finders. These are a little more futuristic and they use WiFi or Bluetooth to connect to your phone. Because they are so small, they are easy to carry with you wherever you go.

Batteries

Since you’re taking these fish finders outside, it’s essential to have batteries that last long enough. You can choose between disposable or rechargeable batteries. Some can be plugged into a 12-volt power source on a boat too, but that makes them less portable. Rechargeable batteries are the best choice because you don’t have to always spend money on new batteries.

Waterproof

Make sure you choose a fish finder that is waterproof. Not all of them are, and you risk ruining it if water gets to the LED screen. Even if it’s pricier, it’s best to look for a waterproof unit.


Final Thoughts

You need to find the best portable fish finder to help you in your fishing endeavors, which is why we created this buying guide for you. Hopefully, our carefully researched information will be of use when you’re on the hunt for your new fish detection device. Consider all features when searching for the fish finder and check the products we reviewed.

Sources:

James S. Hankins
James is an expert fisherman who was lucky enough to spend much of her childhood chasing salmon, trout and sea trout..Have a question, need some help, or want to give your opinion? Drop us a comment below!

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