Best Portable Fish Finders

Portable Fish Finders - Reviews & Guides For 2024

Our Top Portable Fish Finders

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Portable Fish Finders buying guide

Being an avid angler, you know how easy it becomes to catch fish when you know its exact location. Long gone are the days when you had to mount bulky fish finders to your boat to tackle this issue. With the advancement of technology, portable fish finders are here at your service.

As the name suggests, the product is easy to carry and is relatively user-friendly. Having a clear view of the surface below your boat, you can quickly reel in the bigger fish.

All you need is to select the best product. For this, you need to look into every element. Collecting information on all the features can be a tiresome task, and you may end with false details and facts.

A buying guide provides you all the correct information at a single stop. You save a lot of your valuable time and quickly analyze all the features to strike down the best product.

So, without any further delay, let us give a glance at its short introduction and then move further with the guide.

What do you mean by Portable Fish Finders? Why do you need them?

With a suitable portable fish finder, you can find out what is going on under the water. This can be used as an essential fishing gear.

Being equipped with sonar, a finder can release sound waves, and the waves return after hitting any object below the water. You can see the information on the display of the fish finder.

As the name suggests, a portable fish finder is very easy to carry because of its lightweight. You do not need to incorporate rechargeable or disposable batteries, and thus it differs from the traditional fish finders.

You can keep this small fish finder inside your pockets to use them in different conditions while fishing. It is a great way to increase the fishing experience and get a better catch successfully.

Due to the lower price range, these fish finders are more affordable, and they are also straightforward to maintain. You can start using these units without any installation.

Also, they are more flexible than traditional fish finders. The compact size of these fish finders allows you to take them anywhere you want.

Types of Portable Fish Finders

  1. Portable

This is considered as the most traditional fish finder that is designed with a nylon case. This case is handy to carry all the kit parts that include the small and lightweight fish finder. It is equipped with a display screen that has a size between 3 and 7 inches.

Also, it comes along with a mounting base and a portable transducer. This fish finder is powered by rechargeable batteries. If you are planning for ice fishing, you can choose this portable fish finder. Moreover, it can be the perfect choice for open water fishing on a small boat.

  1. Castable

This is an advanced type of portable fish finder. It is even compatible with your smartphones. It does not have any self-contained unit. But this castable portable fish finder is equipped with a small transducer that you can throw under the water.

You need to download an app that will help you to connect the transducer to your smartphone. However, you should ensure that you have a stable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to run this particular fish finder.

  1. Mountable

Last but not least, the mountable type of portage fish finder is trendy among the fishermen, especially if they will catch fish on a boat.

If you like to catch fish in deeper waters, you will need a boat or kayak or canoe. You can use the float tube when you get all the necessary activities. Also, you will have excellent access to fix the portable fish finder.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Portable Fish Finders

High Resolution

The first and foremost thing you should check while choosing the portable fish finders is the high-quality resolution. Precise imaging is crucial for the fish finders, depending on the number of pixels present on the display screen.

If you go for a cheaper model, you will get a low quality of the image, so it will be difficult to distinguish between the fish and weeds. Therefore, you should always opt for a higher number of pixels to have a crystal clear image on the screen.

You should go for at least 240x160 resolution so that you can decipher the images without any hassles. It will also be better to look for a color screen instead of a black and white one.

Though black and white screens come up within a less price range, you may find it difficult to read them. Moreover, if you are fishing in rainy or cloudy weather, the image may blur on a black and white display screen.

If budget is your concern, you can choose the black and white screens, but you can understand the color screens easily. For sunny days, you should get a device that is glare-free.


With a powerful transducer, you can quickly get an idea of what is happening below the water. So, you must pay attention to this integral part when buying your portable fish finder.

The transducer emits sonar waves under the water, and the waves return to the transducer. Therefore, you should always look for a high standard transducer and choose the mount carefully.

If you want to install your portable fishing finder in a small-sized boat, you can consider a plastic made transom mount. You can look for the trolling motor transducer as well. Transducer having a durable fixing is appropriate for heavy-duty use.

You should look for materials like stainless steel or bronze to make sure the transducers are resistant to corrosion.

The cone angle also has a significant impact on the performance of the transducer. It will be better to go for a wider beam so you can see everything.

Wide Cone and Beam Angles

A transducer releases the cone-shaped sonar waves under the water to collect information about what is happening there. So, without considering the cone angles, you can not find the best fish finders.

The beamwidth is essential to determine the view you get from your portable fish finder. Usually, most of the portable fish finders are available with broader cone angles so that you can see more underneath your boat.

Dual-frequency transducers have the time angles of 20° and 60°. However, it is recommended to go with the 20° cone angle because it will help you catch fish in different depths.

Power Rating

Generally, Watts is used to measure the power rating of a portable fish finder. The power rating depends on the models.

The good quality units have a higher wattage so you can get the most appropriate readings when you are catching fish in higher depths. So, you should choose a powerful unit while fishing in deep water.

With a higher wattage, you will get a faster reading, which can be very useful for your fishing performance. It does not matter whether you will fish in saltwater or freshwater; a powerful fishfinder will be the right choice for deep waters.

However, the power rating is not much important when you are fishing in shallow water. So, you should first decide your fishing requirements and choose the power rating accordingly.


When you are scanning the portable fish finders, you will see three different ways to power your portable unit.

Some use disposable batteries, where some others run on rechargeable batteries. You can also power your unit by using a 12-volt power source.

What you need to do is to check the specifications of the portable fish finder you are going to buy to decide which type of batteries you will need for it.

Typically, the 12-volt fish finders are available at a lower price than other batteries, but you should remember that you need to plug them in before charging.

Some anglers find it a little difficult to plug the fish finder on the boat, which can decrease its portability.

Therefore, you are highly recommended to go for a disposable battery to work properly in the long run.

Display Qualities

If you cannot read the information clearly shown on the display screen, it will be difficult for you to analyze what is there under the water. So, you must look for a high-quality display.

What type of display you need entirely depends on your personal preference. Some people look for a more prominent display so that they can read the data accurately, where others are more likely to have color graphs to find out the exact location of the fish.

Moreover, it will be a crucial decision to choose a glare-free screen. If you are going to catch fish in sunny weather, the sunlight can create darkness on the screen, which can be prevented by having a glare-free screen.

When you fish at night, a screen equipped with a backlight can help you see correctly.


When it comes to choosing the connectivity, you will find two options, such as wireless and wired connectivity.

If you are looking for a traditional model, you need to wire the fish finder into any electrical system. Although you can get it at an affordable price range, you will not enjoy better portability.

You will need to plug in your fish finder on a boat for powering. On the contrary, most of the portable fish finders offer wireless connectivity. They are a little bit expensive, but you can pair a wireless fish finder to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

It will help you share your fishing trip and their details with your friends, and you can also analyze the maps later at your convenience. Hence, wireless fish finders can be a better choice for kayak or on-shore fishing.


Some portable fish finder units allow you to regulate the frequency of the transducer's sonar waves.

So, if you buy a portable fish finder with this adjustable frequency, it will increase your fishing experience.

It is useful for fishing in both deep and shallow water. With a higher frequency, you will get a better chance to get a crystal clear image of the underwater surface.

For shallower areas, you can go for higher frequencies of 190/200 kHz. If you plan to fish in the deeper sea, a lower frequency like 50 kHz will serve your purpose effectively.


You should not overlook the price while choosing your portable fish finder because it is one of the most crucial buying factors you must consider.

Different portable fish finders come up with different price tags, so it is essential to determine your budget in advance. This is an effective way to narrow down your choices quickly.

These units are available with a wide price range ranging from $50 to $350. If you go for a cheaper model, you will have to compromise with some features. There will be no GPS or connectivity, so it may be a little difficult to catch in different fishing conditions.

In contrast, the expensive models have several fancier features, which will make your fishing game smoother.

So, it is up to your choice how much money you want to spend on your portable fish finder though you are suggested to go with a moderate price range.


You will be surprised to know that all the fish finders are not waterproof. Though the transducer is resistant to water, there will be a high possibility that the LED screen will get damaged by water.

Therefore, having a waterproof fish finder has paramount importance. If not waterproof, at least try to get a fish finder that is resistant to water.

You can prevent your devices from getting submerged into the water, but it is hard to protect them from water splashes. You may also get caught up in the rain while fishing, so you will need to save your unit from getting wet.

It means that you should invest some more money to get a waterproof fish finder, and it will be worthy of your money. A portable fish finder that can handle wet conditions will be long-lasting.


It is no brainer that portable fish finders are easy to transport. Usually, these fish finders come lightweight so that you can carry them conveniently.

If you have a heavier and bigger fish finder, it will cause trouble to carry it with you anywhere you want. So, you must look for a compact design that can be packed effortlessly.

You should never compromise with this factor, especially when you are looking for a portable fish finder. If you think a model is not convenient enough to carry, you should discard it instantly without a second thought.

Screen size

It has been said before that high-quality resolution is essential to get clearer and sharper images. However, the display screen size has a significant impact on the number of pixels found across the screen.

You will get some fish finders with larger screens while some others have smaller screens. So, it ultimately depends on you how big you want to see the images.

Generally, the portable fish finder units come at least with a 3.5-inch digital display. You can consider this as a standard size. With a bigger screen, you will have more pixels that will increase the display's resolution.

However, if portability is your foremost priority, you should search for a smaller screen. But make sure that the screen is not so small that you are not able to read effortlessly.


Weight is another critical buying factor that you should not overlook when buying the portable fish finder. You will want your portable fish finder to be lightweight so that you can hold it comfortably.

Usually, portable fish finders come up with a lighter weight. They have a very compact design and lightweight construction so that you can carry them with you without any difficulties.

These lightweight fish finders, generally, have the weight up to 1 pound. If you are interested in kayak fishing, you can pick up the portable models to get a good catch efficiently.

On the other hand, if you are fishing from a larger boat, you will have enough space to mount the fish finder properly, so the weight will not make much difference.

Therefore, you should select the weight according to your fishing needs.

Ease of Detachment

If you have a portable fish finder that can be attached easily to the boat, you must ensure that it will be removed without any trouble.

For this type of fish finder, you will need packages having multiple transducer lines. It also depends on the size of the boat you are choosing for your fishing activities.

Normally, you will see a sensor that can be attached to your boat so you can remove the fish finder without any extra effort according to your needs. If you want, you can remove only the screen without changing the wires set up.

If you find a fish finder that is built for casting, you should check beforehand how easy it is to remove and adjust. Usually, castable fish finders are very easy and convenient to detach.

Step by step guide to use a portable fish finder

It does not matter how expensive a fish finder you have under your possession. If you cannot accurately use the device, you will not be able to catch fish efficiently.

Not all portable fish finders have the same features, but you can use them at ease. You need to follow some necessary steps, and you will be all ready to use your portable fish finder with efficiency.

Check out these steps to know how to use a portable fish finder effectively:

  1. Go through the instructions

The primary step to start with a portable fish finder is to read the manual carefully to know the instructions. After buying the fish finder, take it to your home and start reading the given instruction manual.

Read A to Z of the manual to have a fair idea of how to use the buttons. Then you should start learning how to find a school of fish.

  1. Turn of the fish symbols

All the fish finders come up with the in-built fish symbols, which are not quite similar to the actual data.

These symbols are there to tell you about the fish's position, but unfortunately, they are not capable enough of showing the accurate information going on under the water. By turning off the feature, you can figure out the data in a more significant way.

  1. Maintain the rest auto functions

You should not underestimate the other auto functions. Especially if you are a beginner, you should follow the default settings for clearer images.

  1. Peak the transducer

You must tune your equipment correctly to avoid any type of technical glitches. You should adjust the sensitivity of your transducer to get the right one for you. You can change the range thrice the water depth and then turn off the default sensitivity. Keep increasing until you find another visible line at the bottom.

  1. Reset the range

Once you are done with peaking your transducer, you must reset the range and put it properly.

  1. Zoom features

You can use the zoom features to get a closer view of the fishes. The beam can penetrate a tight space so you can easily examine the fishes appropriately.


  1. Why is water bad for regular shoes?

Water causes the shoes to get soggy and ruin their natural shine, especially if you are wearing them in saltwater. Therefore, you should always keep a pair of water shoes to handle the wear and tear of shoes properly.

  1. Can these shoes be used normally as well?

Yes, water shoes are quite versatile and can be used normally as well.

  1. In what activities are the water shoes beneficial?

You can perform a plethora of water activities such as surfing, diving, hiking, fishing, etc. wearing these shoes. It is all because of their water-resistance and slip-resistance abilities.

Summing Up

With all this information about portable fish finders in your hands, stop looking here and there. Go through all the critical pointers and strike down the best product that fulfills your requirements.

With an elite tool, you can catch tons of fish and have fun during your expedition. / - © Copyright 2020