5 Best Fish Finder For Small Boats : From Budget to High-end

A compact, handy, and portable fish finder will work brilliantly for your small boat. Very big screens are not something you require while you are on a fishing excursion on a small boat.

But the fish finder for the small boat should be absolutely feature-rich that will help you in retrieving the detail and information you want to.

Out of so many in the market, the best ones of the most renowned brands are here for you to select from. Your decision will be wise and right after you read our all-embracing buying guide along with the best products with the most recognizable features. From Hi-tech features to perfect navigation, the best value, and high castable fish finder, we have focused on the most awesome ones. Let us dive into the details:

5 Best Fish Finders for Small Boats Reviewed

small boat fish finder

Features You Will Admire

  • Precision Internal GPS chart which comes with built-in Anima cartography

  • The target separation is 2.5 inches with 5-inch WVGA display.

  • Imaging is all in the details, be it side imaging or down imaging.

  • Equipped with a Micro SD card slot for optimal maps or for saving waypoints.

  • Comes with a CHIRP Beam with a power output of RMS: 500 watts and Power Draw: 615 mA

  • The switch fire feature helps you in controlling the way your returns appear

This Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 has array of features to exhibit and delivers wonderful performance. This one features a 5-inch display and runs at a powerful 500 watts. The display it shows is full-color with 800 x 400 pixels and remains clear even while remaining in the dark or any lighting.

This relies on CHIRP sonar and you can take the benefit of the multiple sonar frequencies for creating a detailed map of what is present below. The thin beam quality also helps in constantly scanning from left to right under your boat. This way you have a wider area coverage and more data to monitor and work with.

Like the other high-end models this one features the down-imaging quality and this enables crystal clear imaging than the ones with only sonar. The device possesses max display mode and clear display mode which enables you to coherently control the level of detail on your screen.

This can hold up to 130 lbs or 59 kgs and this pretty impressive one. It is recommended to check the size guide before you buy this for your vehicle.


  • This has plastic clips and they are fragile.

smallest fish finder with gps

Features You Will Admire

  • High-frequency sonar which gives you a complete detail what is in the water and around the boat.

  • The power of simple offers a keyed interface with the detailed buttons.

  • Easy to install and use and available in different sizes.

  • The CHIRP sends a continuous sweep of frequencies with a range of information that is wide.

  • An ideal one for ice fishing and vertical jigging.

  • Current draw at 12 Volt: 0.23 Ampere.

This is a compact and handy device which works as a navigation system and has a built-in GPS too. Thus, device can be used to mark locations, brush piles, stumps, docks, and the setting of direct waypoints can also be done while you move forward.

This is a powerful system and can measure a depth up to 1,600 ft. In the saltwater, the maximum depth measures 750 ft. This uses multiple frequencies and after combining the results this provides a crisp reading on the screen. This also offers a wonderful target separation than the other standard frequency measurements.

A device with great bottom contours and features a screen that displays in full color. If the weather is sunny or cloudy, you can read this clearly.

This boasts of a display resolution of 480 x 320, enabling to read well without distortion or over-pixelization. You get almost everything on the screen at a glance, such as the current speed and current water temperature along with additional useful information.


  • This one requires a power source of 12V to plug-in.

good inexpensive fish finders for kayaks

Features You Will Admire

  • Features auto-tuning sonar and phone like menus.

  • This provides a wider sonar coverage.

  • A single transducer can be mounted on the transom.

  • You get 2-D sonar fish arch reviews with this.

  • Boasts of built-in mapping and micro SD slot.

Another quality fish finder which provides you with crisp and clear views of fish and fish-holding along with ultimate clarity. This is possible with a Solar max display of high-resolution. This is so easy that to use, as you need to just plug-in for fishing.

he autotuning HOOK2 sonar provides you with more time for fishing and less time dialing in your sonar. You can easily find depth changes, your favorite fishing spot, and road-beds with high-detail US map, and featuring 1-foot contours or more than 3,000 lakes.

The Micro SD slot saves your waypoints, routes, rails and you can upgrade your mapping with an optional chart card. This one automatically adjusts to any situation and provides a lot of convenience.


  • This doesn’t feature swivel mount or threaded mounting holes.

portable fish finder for kayak

Features You Will Admire

  • This portable sonar casts further, scans deeper, and can be used for shore, boat and ice-fishing.

  • Comes with an in-built GPS.

  • Enables rock solid connectivity without the need of internet.

  • Provides accurate data and scans down 260 ft.

  • You can install it in seconds with no cables or batteries with smooth rolling.

This is probably the highest castable sonar that casts further, scans deeper, and has more features than any other. This enables syncing with iOS or android devices. Works great for shore, boat, ice fishing.

The in-built GPS facilitates bathymetric maps for the shore and you can enjoy the access to Lake book- Deeper’s bathymetric management platform) and can review analyze all of your maps on any device from your home comfortably.


  • This occasionally disconnects from the Wi-Fi hotspot.

How to Choose an Ideal Fish Finder For Small Boats ?

There is so much that should be studied properly before you buy the best fish finder. The technology, size, color, and much more.

Your awareness will help you in deciding right and wise. Different models are available and you should keep in mind the following factors before you choose one.

Selecting the right fish finder needs few important considerations prior to the product purchase.

best fish finder for kayak

Wattage and Power

When you are equipping your boat with a fish finder then power is an important thing to consider. Since your boat is small and will be confined with small waters and not the big ones, the power will be required. You local fishing hole may be a lake, river, or any other small water body.

kayak depth finders

There are fish finders with high wattage and they tend to work well in deep waters and you need a lot of wattage for your small boat. May be you take your small boat in very deep waters of more than 200 ft., then power becomes essential.

There are low wattage fish finders also, and they work well for shallow waters, these ones are probably the best for excursing in a bass-boat or a canoe, then then with less power you can enjoy quieter trips.

Power and information speed go parallel, and the high-wattage fish finders help in the transmission of information in just no time while the low-wattage ones may require some time to deliver real-time data.

Battery Life

fish finders for kayaks

The fishing habits you inherit and possess, decide the battery life you will require. You may like to relax and then fish in the evening after the sun or perform fishing in the morning, and this will require a sufficient battery life.

There are fish finders that have rechargeable batteries and we recommend you to take a spare one for avoiding any hassles. There are other fish finders that will take AA or AAA batteries and you should always have extra for an uninterrupted adventure. This will be probably the most convenient option for you.

small fish finder


Another important thing to consider is the transducer when you are shopping for fish finders. Their function is extremely important, as they send signals across the water and responsible for this hard work emitting and receiving them.

They are used for the purpose of interpreting what is underneath the water and then displaying it to you. When the signals are emitted, then they bounce off the objects and return to the transducer.

After this the transducer is able to read these signals and calculates the time which took to return them. The objects, how far they are, and even what they are made of is disclosed by these transducers.

Time is another important constraint, as the fish moves quickly, so a good transducer will always keep you well informed and that too timely, so that you catch fish properly.

Cone Angles and Frequency

small boats depth finder

There are multiple, dual, and single frequency models of fish finders that are available. The frequency is related to the cone angle and this directly determines, how far or fast the beam travels.

Even the detail which can be read by this and the display information all is determined by these. This is simple calculation, that a transducer that has high-frequency will always return more detail than the low-frequency one.

On higher numbers of returning signals the sonar waves are emitted and data is collected. If you are not going away from your norm, and have some fixed favorite fishing spot then a low-frequency transducer also works well.

Even with the angles, the larger ones get detail of more area but less of it and the smaller cone area will search a small area in much detail. The right combination what is needed by you of angles and frequency should be checked before you buy.

Since you will be dealing with a variety of fishing conditions, though expensive the fish finders of any type are just worth everything.

display screen of fish finder

Display Resolution

The pixels are also an important consideration that should be checked before you select the finest fish finder for your boat. More the pixels, more is the picture clarity and for sharp images you need to have more pixels.

If you are not keen to have a complex piece of information then fewer pixels will just serve fine. The resolution (minimum) is generally 240 x 160. But the details you will get is minimum and this relates to the basic fish finders. You should be able to customize your view accordingly with a large screen with a resolution which is comfortable to see.

Color Displays, GPS feature, and portability

GPS feature and portable fish finder

It is a matter of your personal preference and choice that you go for a fish finder with a black and white screen or a colored one. The HD displays, full color provide clearer details than the black and white ones.

Even in glare and light the colored screens are far better to read and understand. The GPS feature provides easy navigation and better understanding of the surroundings. As compared to the permanent ones the portable fish finders are much easier to carry and transport wherever you go.

There are bow mounted units and consoles also. If you want to have it in your vision while you are piloting your boat then the console works great. And while fishing the bow mounted ones will prove beneficial.

The concluding lines : 

Out of the very many alternatives of fish finders available the top-most brands are mentioned in this article and the features you were wanting will surely leave you satisfied. Since we are talking about small boats then a portable fish finder will prove of much use.

The comprehensive buying guide speaks about all the factors such as wattage, battery power, transducers, display resolutions, frequency, color, consoles, portability and much more should be taken into account before you spend money.

The cost of a product matters, but on the contrary durability, clarity, and utility of a fish finder is all that matters. All that you need should be on the screen and that will give you peace of mind as a fisherman for sure