Shopping for a new fish finder can challenge beginner anglers; even experienced anglers can be overwhelmed by the options.
It’s tough to find the “best fish finder,” as there isn’t one definite answer. Whether you’re an amateur angler who occasionally fishes or a seasoned pro, a fish finder is unquestionably the most useful piece of equipment you can purchase.
Whether you have a side imaging fish finder or down imaging specific model, they act as an extra pair of eyes underwater. The devices use sonar technology to transmit and receive sound waves underwater to provide you with a graphic representation of what’s going on.
DownScan imaging is a new advancement, and downscan imaging fish finders produce a lifelike image of the bottom rather than a graphical representation.
In our guide, you can find fish finder reviews comparing the best models currently available.
By the end, you’ll have enough information to make the right purchase of your new down image fish finder.
- Why You Need a Good Down Imaging Fish Finder
- Top-Down Imaging Fish Finder Reviews
- 1. Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
- 2. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv, Easy-to-Use 7-inch Color Fishfinder, and Sonar Transducer, Vivid Scanning Sonar Color Palettes
- 3. Fish Finder 7 Inch Screen with Transducer and C-MAP Preloaded Map Options
- 4. Humminbird, Helix 7, CHIRP MSI GPS G3N
- 5. Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv with GT56UHD-TM Transducer, 7″” Keyed-Assist Touchscreen Chartplotter with U.S. LakeVü g3 and Added High-Def Scanning Sonar 7″ touchscreen with the keyed assist that is bright and sunlight readable
- Best Down Imaging Fish Finder Buying Guide
- Final Verdict
Why You Need a Good Down Imaging Fish Finder
Down imaging provides a highly detailed view of the area beneath your vessel. If using a kayak fish finder, they are useful for monitoring bait schools in deep water.
The best fish finders will also enable you to check your jig and scan rubble and hides beneath the water for possible hot spots.
This can be a real game-changer for bait fishermen in deeper water. You can obtain a real advantage while stationary fishing and using traditional sonar when you need to monitor your jig.
With such a high level of detail, this sonar might be used with the right fish finder to locate
more than just fish. You can use them t see much more than the fish underneath your boat and scour the bed for underwater things.
Some units can present you with down imaging and a chart at the same time to pinpoint what you see on a map. Add in some GPS capabilities, and you can revisit your favorite fishing spots using the top fish finders. (Find the Best Fishfinder Gps Combo Under 1000)
Top-Down Imaging Fish Finder Reviews
1. Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
The Humminbird HELIX 5 is the model for serious anglers who want plenty of features.
The HELIX 5 SI GPS offers a 5-inch screen and packs three sonar types — DualBeam, Down Imaging, and Side Imaging which is more than a fish finder requires. Accuracy is down to inches between fish on the best bass fish finder.
All areas of imaging are simplified using a strong transducer using CHIRP sonar and also temperature control. You can also screenshot or record the highly detailed images using the Micro SD card slot to show footage later.
The display can be read in bright light as it is an LED backlight screen, and this great kayak fish finder offers an IPX7 waterproof rating.
- Built-in GPS system with chart plotting
- DualBeam + Side Imaging + Down Imaging
- Clear 5-inch screen
- 1-Year Limited Warranty
- Limited to 100 ft depth
- Can give an incorrect reading if moving too fast
With a guide price of just under $365, you get a fully packed side imaging fish finder that offers all you need for every fishing scenario.
If catching fish in deeper inland waters or for ice fishing is your aim, then the Humminbird Helix 5 is the best portable fish finder you can find to locate fish beneath you. (Read our Hummingbird Fish Finders Review)
2. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv, Easy-to-Use 7-inch Color Fishfinder, and Sonar Transducer, Vivid Scanning Sonar Color Palettes
From the Vivid 7cv, the Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv is a fantastic upgrade on this device. The 7sv supports Garmin chirp traditional sonar plus chirp Clearvu and chirp sidevu scanning sonars from one transducer.
It comes with all the same fish finder and GPS features and wireless connectivity for use with the active captain app. All images are clear in any conditions on the 7″ color screen.
The Garmin ClearVu scanning sonar delivers a near-photographic vision of what is below you and your vessel. In addition, the Garmin SideVu scanning sonar provides a clear view of 200 meters to either side of your boat.
The GT52HW-TM transom mount transducer offers premium features such as dual spectrum CHIRP sonar besides ClearVu and SideVu scanning sonar in a compact unit.
- Built-in GPS feature
- Transfer waypoints to smartphone
- Clear images of underwater structures
- Large screen to easily find fish and identify fish
- It doesn’t have pre-loaded maps
- Reports of fogging on the screen
With a guide price of just below $500, you have an impressive device, and the fish finder works well using multiple types of imaging technology. You can split the screen in multiple ways to check your waypoints and check images from the dual-beam sonar.
No matter what your fishing style, you can find the Garmin Striker Vivid among the best bass boat fish finder options there is.
3. Fish Finder 7 Inch Screen with Transducer and C-MAP Preloaded Map Options
The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 Fish Finder is among the world’s best-selling series of fish finders. This model has seen an upgrade with FishReveal, a powerful fish-finding tool that combines proven target identification using the renowned Lowrance CHIRP sonar.
With this, you get high-resolution images of bottom detail and structure from DownScan Imaging.
The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 7 Fish Finder offers advanced features from automated sonar settings to the 7″ SolarMAX display. It also delivers double the sonar coverage to many conventional sonar fish finders.
Other features comprise the high-detail maps of nearly 4,000 US inland lakes. You can also create custom contour maps of your exact location by placing these on top of any map or the GPS plotter by using Genesis Live.
- Automated sonar settings
- 7″ SolarMAX Display
- Uses TripleShot imaging transducer for double sonar coverage
- FishReveal makes it easier to find and identify fish
- Instructions are not very clear
- Can suffer from interference from the trolling motor
With a guide price of just under $650, you could be reaching the top end of your budget, yet you get a split-screen device to monitor your GPS and underwater images from the high-frequency sonar.
If catching more fish is the object, using the FishReveal technology, you get high levels of target separation from the Lowrance CHIRP sonar beams. You can find it well placed on the list of best depth finder for bass fishing.
4. Humminbird, Helix 7, CHIRP MSI GPS G3N
MEGA Side Imaging, MEGA Down Imaging, Dual Spectrum CHIRP Sonar, Ethernet networking capabilities, Bluetooth, AutoChart Live, GPS, and Humminbird Basemap are included in the HELIX 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3N fish finder.
The 7-inch ultra-wide display provides enough area to view the several pre-loaded split screen view options.
You can now see 125 feet on either side of your boat, which is new to HELIX 7 MEGA Side Imaging and offers 3X the standard Side Imaging sonar output.
The dual-beam sonar also offers exceptional Down Imaging for perfect underwater clarity to a depth of up to 125 feet below your boat. Fish arches and a clear view of fish-arches help you spot more fish and where you need to cast.
The SwitchFire Sonar waves offer two display modes, where you can adjust water depth, temperature, and turbulence, and more.
- 1-year warranty
- Connect to other mobile devices
- Store maps on SD card
- Built-in Humminbird Basemap
- Included Basemap not high in detail
With a guide price of just under $900, the 7-inch Helix 7 is at the top end of any angler’s budget. However, it crams in lots of features for anyone serious about fishing and needs a step up compared to CHIRP traditional sonar.
You get clear views and can see exactly what is below you, or on the side from the best bow mount fish finder.
5. Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv with GT56UHD-TM Transducer, 7″” Keyed-Assist Touchscreen Chartplotter with U.S. LakeVü g3 and Added High-Def Scanning Sonar
7″ touchscreen with the keyed assist that is bright and sunlight readable
On the Garmin Echomap, you get various sonar frequencies such as CHIRP conventional sonar, Ultra High-Definition ClearVü scanning sonar, and SideVü side imaging scanning sonar. You’ll find you get a 20 percent better range provided by one included transducer.
Color palettes for scanning sonar make it vivid to identify targets and structures that rival even the best 9-inch fish finder.
Features include over 18,000 lakes with up to 1′ contours with the preloaded LakeVü G3 inland maps and integrated Navionics data.
You can find many features unique, such as the Panoptix all-seeing sonar, LiveScope sonar, mapping, and user data sharing capabilities to other Echompa devices.
A bail mount with a quick-release mechanism for quick and easy movement is compatible with the Force trolling motor. Using this, you have full control of the motor from the screen, routing to waypoints, following tracks, and more when kayak fishing and your hands are full.
- Easy to use controls when kayak fishing or ice fishing
- Lots of included mapping
- Easy to fit and carry
- Comprehensive CHIRP sonar technology
- It needs an additional map chip to get full mapping
With a guide price of just under $850, you get a device that tops many fish finder reviews for capability. If you are serious about fishing in many areas, you could find this comprehensive multi-scan fish finder the best for your fishing exploits.
Best Down Imaging Fish Finder Buying Guide
There are many areas you need to consider when purchasing a down scan fish finder. They offer a lot and are more complex than your regular castable fish finders. Our fish finder buyer's guide is more about what to check to find the ideal purchase.
A fish finder's power is one of its most important aspects. It impacts image clarity and fish finder performance at different depths.
By definition, power is the amount of work done each second. Using a higher-wattage finder means it will work for longer periods of time.
As a result, the gadget will receive more data every second, and images will be clearer. In the same way, higher watts result in better performance in deeper waters. The principle is the same.
It may seem minor, but you won't have time to sit down and figure out what each button does while you're out on the open seas and need to make quick judgments.
Instead of becoming an issue, search for a fish finder that is simple to use and helps you solve problems on the water.
A touchscreen display is standard on many fish finders. A touchscreen is often preferable simply because it is more intuitive, although these can increase the cost.
Keep three factors in mind for the display: display size, image quality, and whether it is colored.
A larger display screen is preferable as it can be easier to read, yet quality can affect this also.
The screen not only shows the underwater environment but also other information like depth and pressure. There will be even more information if you use a split-screen display.
Smaller screens will suffice, but a larger screen delivers a clearer image. Larger displays are more expensive, so if you're on a budget, you might have to compromise.
The pixel resolution of your screen will also influence the image quality. The image will be clearer if the screen resolution is higher.
Information may be read more readily with a clearer image. The pixel resolution must be at least 240 x 160. Above that ratio, anything should work OK.
Last. You need to consider if the display is colored or black and white. Colored monitors are more expensive, although viewing echo data becomes much easier. You can only work with shades of gray on a grayscale display, but the upside is that it is less expensive.
The transducer is, without a doubt, the most important component of the system. The sonar sounds are emitted by the transducer, which bounces off objects and is subsequently processed into images. Your fish finder will be useless without a transducer.
It's important to use the right transducer with your down imaging fish finder. Transducers for down imaging fish finders are usually dual-frequency.
It's important to remember that, although some versions claim to offer down imaging capabilities, the transducer is not included. You may have to pay extra for the transducer and make sure the equipment you're buying has the down imaging sonar capabilities.
The output power of a transducer is measured in peak-to-peak watts or watts RMS.
While the concept is the same here as it is with fish finders, the more the better, you will need to understand how to interpret these units for comparative purposes.
Keep in mind the cone angle of your transducer as well. The cone angle determines the width of the emitted beam. As the angle of the beam widens, so does the beam width, which increases the likelihood of finding fish.
A large cone angle has the disadvantage of sacrificing depth. As a result, a smaller cone angle is required for deeper waters.
GPS is excellent, but the question is whether you should have a device with GPS built-in or carry a separate GPS locator with you.
The answer is unequivocally in favor of getting a GPS combo. This is because wayfinding may be done well with a separate GPS device, but this device does not know why you are using the GPS.
When your fish finder incorporates a GPS combo, however, the GPS and fish-finding features will be combined, and the GPS will work with wayfinding and fish finding.
Most GPS combo devices nowadays allow you to view maps and add your own layer of information to them. As a result, opting for a GPS combo is always a superior option. (Find the Best Hunting and Fishing Apps)
Integrated SideScan imaging fishfinder combo is worth considering for your gadget. Because the
downscan only works in two dimensions, it's more important to emphasize the vertical. Thus, to gain a third perspective of the world, you'll have to roam around independently.
Using the SideScan side imaging, you will have a three-dimensional view seamlessly integrated with the down image, enabling you to pinpoint regions of interest more easily.
When testing, there were lots of features on each fish finder to go through. On many, they were comprehensive, and many were luxuries rather than an obvious benefit. With this, and the price to performance, the Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder was the best of the bunch.
The display is a good size and keeps overall dimensions convenient yet clear. It has great battery life, and you can carry the best fish finder around, no matter the type of fishing you are doing.
It offers accurate sonar waves and can help you clearly define fish with the 2.5-inch fish separation.
Chart plotting and the chance to save your waypoints with the SD card make repeat fishing trips a breeze.
The Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS has to be the best down imaging fish finder for the money and most anglers.