5" color display. Features both sonar and GPS in an affordably priced unit. Produces vivid images. Not difficult to learn to use, even for beginners who are new to using fish finders.
Fewer features and capabilities than pricier options. Single SD memory slot.
Compact size makes it highly portable. Has DualBeam sonar like the larger, more expensive options. Comes with a mounting unit. Offers 2,400 watts of peak power. Affordable.
Screen is only 4.3", but it offers sharp imaging. Doesn't have all of the fancy features of other models, but if you prefer a compact unit, you probably won't mind.
View crystal-clear sonar images from 125 feet both below and on both sides of your boat. Easy to switch between information-packed display modes. Comprehensive mapping technology.
A touchscreen version would have been nice.
Surprisingly clear and detailed sonar imagery. See exactly what’s under your boat. 7-hour battery. Covers a huge range around and underneath a boat. Includes carrying case.
Mounting hardware sold separately.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Fishing is a sport that requires patience, but you can get to the action a bit faster with the use of a fishfinder — a device that locates fish using sound waves.
Humminbird, based in Eufaula, Alabama, makes some of the most advanced fishfinders on the market. Since 1971, their fishfinders have helped anglers locate prey, alert them to the depth of the thermocline in the summer and keep them safe from underwater snags.
These high-end fishfinders offer advanced features, like Down Imaging and Side Imaging and dual-beam sonar. They also include the standard variations of screen size, storage, and CHIRP technology.
Though Humminbird offers a range of products, their fishfinders can be fairly expensive even at the entry level. Because of the variety of features offered, finding the right Humminbird fishfinder can be challenging. Continue reading our buying guide to learn more about their advanced fishfinder line and find the right product for your needs and budget.
Humminbird screen sizes, measured diagonally, vary from around 4.5 inches to 15 inches or more.
A larger screen is easier to read and gives you more detail. It will be easier to distinguish the difference between a school of small fish and one or two large fish, see where the bottom is, find the thermocline, and learn other important details.
However, a larger screen is a more expensive screen. Unless you’ve got money to burn, at some point you’ll have to make a trade-off between what you can see versus how much you can spend.
Weight isn’t quite as much of an issue because fishfinders will typically be bolted to your boat. Some Humminbird fishfinders weigh in around 2 to 3 pounds (between the display and the transducer). Other, larger models can top out at 14 pounds or more.
On a large boat, it won’t make any difference. If you’re a kayak angler, however, that extra weight can become a hazard or can at least cause your craft to list slightly.
If you want a trip log to keep track of where you’ve been, where you found the fish, or what the bottom of the lake or river is like, you’ll need some memory on your fishfinderinder. This is where an SD card slot comes in handy. Perhaps most importantly, an SD card slot allows you to access maps of your favorite fishing areas.
Humminbird fishfinders may have microSD or SD card slots, but not all models support external memory storage. Their SD cards may come loaded with their Humminbird Basemap cartography system if the model you purchase does not have Humminbird Basemap installed.
Humminbird fishfinders use either touchscreen controls or button control systems. While touchscreens are more common in their more expensive models, some anglers prefer the simplicity and reliability of button controls. Many of their models include both buttons and touchscreen controls.
No matter your preference, Humminbird has a model that will meet your needs.
Humminbird fishfinders come with two types of imaging: Down Imaging and Side Imaging. Some more expensive models have both types. Each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Before we go any further, you need to understand that Down Imaging and Side Imaging are names that are proprietary to Humminbird. Other manufacturers, such as Garmin, use DownVü and SideVü, while Lowrance uses DownScan and SideScan.
Despite the differences, the names all mean the same thing. Here, we’ll use the Humminbird nomenclature.
With Down Imaging, the sonar returns a picture of the lake or river bottom that is directly under your boat. It is especially helpful in deep water. It also produces reliable images even when you’re moving at high speeds.
In contrast to its name, the image produced from Down Imaging shows the terrain surrounding the boat.
This system relies on a single transducer. This means you get less information and the images receive have a lower resolution. There’s also very little side information in a Down Imaging fishfinder.
With Side Imaging, what you’ll see on the screen appears to be a split screen at first glance. There’s a bright line down the center of the screen, surrounded by a black area. The line represents the path your boat is on. On either side of the black or blank area is the underwater terrain and fish off to either side of your boat.
This result comes from the sonar aiming to the sides of your boat. The area directly under your boat and extending 20 to 25 feet to either side will be blank or black, representing what is essentially a blind spot.
Side Imaging scans the water very rapidly and provides a realistic, top-down image of what is under the water. This is especially useful for finding fish in shallow water.
However, Side Imaging fishfinders are more expensive than Down Imaging ones, and they can only be used at low speeds.
CHIRP, or “Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse,” can show you objects and obstacles that you wouldn’t be able to see with some older forms of sonar. It does that by employing a wide range of frequencies to produce a detailed, comprehensive image of the fish, structures, and terrain on the bottom of the lake or river.
This is a common feature among Humminbird’s high-end models. Their smaller, cheaper fishfinderinders don’t include CHIRP technology.
Some Humminbird fishfinders are equipped with DualBeam sonar, which allows you to tune the sonar beam to provide you with different information. Humminbird fishfinders equipped with CHIRP technology may feature Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar, which functions the same as dualbeam sonar but includes more detail.
When you’re using the wide mode on your sonar beam, you’ll get wider coverage at the expense of detail.
The narrow mode focuses the sonar beam on a smaller area, sacrificing coverage for detail. This is useful when you are trying to locate (and possibly identify) individual fish beneath your boat.
All Humminbird fishfinders include transom mounting hardware to attach the transducer to the underside of the hull. Many of their models include a swiveling gimbal mount for the display and controls, but this is not always the case.
Inexpensive: For $90 to $120 are entry-level Humminbird fishfinders. These are mostly portable fishfinders with a small screen and few features. If you are looking for a no-frills model that will simply help you spot your prey, an entry-level model may meet your needs.
Mid-range: Humminbird fishfinders for $120 to $350 have larger screens with better resolution and more colors, better imaging technology, SD chip slots, and even internal GPS.
Expensive: Humminbird’s most advanced models cost from $350 to $3,600 or more. These feature-packed models often include extra-large screens with improved resolution, GPS tracking, built-in maps, and other features to give you as much information as possible about your surroundings.
Q. Can I use a Humminbird fishfinder to locate the thermocline?
A. Yes. Once you’re over deep water, slowly increase the sensitivity until you start to see a sharp line on the display, or in some cases, a fuzzy area near the bottom.
Q. Can a Humminbird fishfinder ID the fish on the display?
A. Many of the medium-priced and high-end models can. They have built-in libraries of fish data. If a fish on the display matches one in their library, the result will be displayed next to the fish.
Q. Can a Humminbird fishfinder tell me the difference between a hard, rocky bottom and a smooth one?
A. Some of their more advanced models have that capability. A bottom that is hard and smooth will a dense, narrow line on the display. A rocky bottom will show up as bumps, while sand or mud will display as a thick line.