Shopping for a new fish finder or pontoon boat depth finder can be a challenge for the inexperienced angler. Even those who travel can find it tough to find the right depth finder for boats Amazon anglers use.
It will be hard to come across any single best fish finder, or best GPS depth finder for pontoon boat use.
There are dozens of new models produced every year, upgrades to old models, and there are pros and cons of one pontoon depth finder compared to the best depth finder for ski boat.
In our guide, we can help you find the best depth sounder for sailboat of any type. Once you are out on the inland lakes for fun, love ice fishing in the middle of winter, you need kayak fish finders or a fish finder for pontoon boat.
Here we have five of the best fish finders and depth and portable fish finder for pontoon boat on the market to meet all budgets.
Why You Need a Good Depth Finder For Pontoon Boats
Rather than looking for a fish finder on pontoon boat or kayak as a standalone device, you need one that doubles as a depth finder and tells you where and what shape the lake’s bed is.
You can see the bottom in shallow waters, yet you won’t know how deep the water is in the center of the lake. Because of this, you need a depth finder to know how long to set your line and hook. Sea fishing can be even harder, as you’ll have no way to estimate the depth of water on your fishing trip.
Likewise, river fishing needs you to know where the river bed is if you run aground or snag objects under the water.
Some combos of depth finder and portable fish finder show you the temperature and also have GPS capabilities. Here you’ll find two benefits. You can use the GPS plotter to mark your best fish location, rock crops and find your way home when you’re in unchartered waters.
Based on the type of fishing you do, you can dictate the model of fish finder you go for. Some you can cast, which are suited for shore fishing when you wish to know where the fish are.
It is also more suited to use a purpose-built device that’s waterproof and can withstand the rigors of kayak fishing, to lots of use on your pontoon boat. (Find the Best Fish Finder For Kayak)
Top Depth Finder For Pontoon Boat Reviews
1. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
Get the Garmin Striker 4 to improve your chances of catching fish in any water without spending hundreds of dollars on a depth finder or fish finder.
It has tons of features in its small size, and you can monitor the speed of your pontoon boat to ensure you’re trolling at the correct speed to attract the fish.
Overall, the kit includes everything you need, from target separation chirp sonar to create crisper fish arches to the IPX 7 waterproof system.
- Built-in flasher for ice fishing or jigging
- Nice accurate display
- Lightweight and Portable
- Split-screen mode
- No included battery
- Hard to read in dazzling light
With a guide price of less than $120, you can find all you need in this portable device. It is the best fish finder and can read a Maximum depth of 1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet of saltwater.
With a 3.5” display screen and extremely lightweight feel of just 8oz, it will shock you at just how capable it is for such a neat little package, including a GPS tracker and tracking map display for route finding and favorite fishing spots.
This is the best fish finder pontoon boat with a trolling motor with the required hardware. Covered by a one-year limited warranty, you get a full backup of the depth finder, Clearvu Scanning Sonar transducer, and Chirp Sonar technology.
2. Humminbird 410950-1 HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI (MEGA Side Imaging) GPS G3 Fish, Finder
No matter what imaging fish finder you have, you’ll find the Humminbird fish finders such as the Helix 7 a big upgrade.
The first feature worth mentioning is that you get a split-screen. You can monitor the seafloor, look at the map, and do other things with the 7-inch wide display.
You now know where you are and where to go as the device is powered by a proprietary, Low Q CHIRP transducer; dual Spectrum CHIRP offers two ways to search: wide mode for maximum coverage and narrow mode with Mega Down Imaging for unprecedented underwater clarity.
You can now find the largest likely area for the school of fish. Alternatively, you can limit the band to get the best-detailed sonar to detect their presence in a certain area.
- Great accuracy
- US coastal maps and inland lakes included
- Easy to use
- Large split-screen display
- Too large to be fully portable (10.54 x 3.68 x 5.8 inches)
With a guide price of just over $650, it is a lot to pay compared to other fish finders, yet you have lots of included features. You have dual beam sonar transducer frequency, the best chance to see your fish arch, and clear vision as the pontoon fish finder works up to 125 feet under your pontoon boat.
3. HawkEye DT1B DepthTrax 1B
If you don’t need to identify fish and just need a reliable depth finder, the HawkEye DT1B can be ideal.
The depth finder is among the best and gives readings of 2.5 to a max detection depth of 600 feet. The device comes with ShootThru sonar technology, so there are no holes in a fiberglass hull to get accurate readings. You get an accurate reading when traveling at speed, so you can tell how deep the water is even when surf fishing.
- Set alarms for upper and lower depths
- The LED backlight is energy efficient
- The display is 100% waterproof.
- Can take reading through fiberglass and aluminum hulls
- It won’t help locate fish
- Doesn’t use Chirp sonar
With a guide price of just under $200, it is high to pay for a depth finder with no fish finding features. However, if you don’t need down imaging yet, it is essential you need to know the water depth. There isn’t a device that offers real-time changes at such a variation in depths with accurate alarms. Add in the 2-year warranty, and you have the best depth finder for pontoon boat. (Find the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder)
4. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer, 010-01870-00
Try the Garmin dual-beam transducer with Garmin Chirp traditional sonar for crystal-clear images and remarkable target separation in deep water to increase your chance of catching fish. (Find the Fastest Trolling Motor)
The Striker Plus 4 offers built-in GPS, a bright 4.3 screen display, and more to show you the best fishing environment, mark waypoints, create routes, and view the boat’s speed. You also have the built-in quickdraw contour maps; you can cover up to 2 million acres of places traveled.
Even at high speed, you get a clear view as the high-frequency sonar helps cut through all the underwater noise on this effective portable fishfinder/ depth finder.
- Crystal-clear images of fish swimming and remarkable target separation
- GPS point marking
- Split-screen with a high level of clarity
- GPS is hard to understand at the beginning
- It can be hard to distinguish fish from debris in some areas.
With a guide price of just under $140, you get a highly affordable depth finder that gives you a fish reveal. You can quickly spend fishing time fishing rather than trying to find the spot you were in previously. It can be read in direct sunlight and is useful for your pontoon boat right down to row boats.
5. HawkEye DT1H Handheld Depth Finder with Temperature, 300 Feet
The DT1H uses an improved sonar system to give you the results, similar to the previous Hawkeye depth finder.
However, this one differs fas you don’t need to know how to install a depth finder on a pontoon boat as this handheld device is as portable as you can get.
You dip the end in the water for ease of use, and the reveal autotuning sonar takes readings in seconds.
However, it has a slightly lesser depth range than the DT1B. You can only get readings from 1.5 to 300 feet of lake or sea bed with it. Yet, it makes up for the lack of a depth reader with water and air temperature readers.
- Very accurate sonar settings to 300ft
- Highly portable and easy to use
- Offers water and wind temperatures
- Waterproof to 200 feet
- Not a fish finder
- The on-off button can cause issues
With a guide price of just under $150, you get a depth finder that beats anything else on the market. It is the most portable and most accurate up to the depth it covers. It may not help you find fish, but you’ll not know how deep the water is beneath you.
Best Depth Finders For Pontoon Boats Buying Guide
When searching for the best depth finder, there are a few things to consider before purchasing the device you think will help you catch more fish.
The first and most important thing to consider when purchasing a fish finder is whether your pontoon boat has a place for it. The transducer is a sensor that is placed in the water as part of a fish finder. It operates by transmitting sonar waves and receiving reflected pulses.
For getting a fish finder, the size of your pontoon counts. You must first check the size of your pontoon boat and then check the transducer cable length is compatible with your boat.
You can find a low-cost fish finder designed for small boats, or you can find models that come with an included bullet skimmer transducer or throw sonar transducer that sits away from your pontoon in the water, such as the Lucky Handheld fish finder.
Fish finders with GPS are a blessing and are recommended. Because it will assist you in determining your position and preventing you from losing it when fishing, you can, however, make your own maps. Its performance will be unaffected by a GPS, and even without GPS, a fishfinder/ depth finder will suffice.
There are a few different sonars—sonar with side-scan, down-scan, and a combination of the two. The solution is based on a few factors.
If you require a fish finder to deal with side imaging in shallow water, go with the side-scan sonar. It is not recommended for water depths greater than 75 feet; however, the down-scan sonar is ideal for seeing a fish-holding structure in deeper waters.
As you find in many devices such as the Lowrance Chirp Sonar, Chirp Sonar differs from the Hook reveal autotuning sonar.
A combination of side-scan and down-scan sonars is best, regardless of your pontoon boat size.
Is a Depth Finder the Same As A Fish Finder?
A “depth finder,” often known as a “digital depth finder,” is a device that displays depth information. … A “fish finder” uses the same or a similar transducer to produce a visual, video view of the water and bottom beneath the boat, as well as a history of several seconds or minutes.
A fish finder can be a depth finder, yet a depth finder can’t be a fish finder.
Is There a Depth finder App?
There isn’t a depth finder app, yet you can get fish finders that use the throw or cast transducer. With these, you use the app on the phone to present the images. Screen size is based on your phone size, and the transducer information is sent via Bluetooth.
What does chirp mean on a depth finder?
CHIRP Sonar stands for “Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse,” which means it can detect fish that other types of 2D sonar can’t. You can find some activate a fish alarm, yet many don’t
If you need to know the water depth, then the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer can suit you. In our tests, it ran circles around some others. It cost half or more than half of some options, yet had more features and was more useful.
With split-screen, warranty, accurate sonar, and much more, there isn’t anything not to like with the Garmin. It is among the most portable and most useful depth finders for pontoon you can find.