The echosounder (fishfinder) has become an indispensable part of modern boat fishing. It allows us to quickly find fish and underwater hotspots while fishing. Thanks to new developments, the displays, usability and functions have also improved considerably in recent years, so that we now have a large number of really good devices. Echosounders or fishfinders allow us to find our way even in large waters as guest anglers and also to find spots again easily at any time, provided the device has a GPS function.
But not only on the boat, but also on belly boats and fishing kayaks the devices are very helpful. Especially when vertical fishing for catfish, hardly anything goes without an echo sounder. In this article you will find everything you need to know about echosounders and with the market overview you will surely find the right device for you. What you should consider when buying and what the functions mean, as well as all questions about echo sounders can be found answered further down the page. To the guide>>
Fishfinder for shore anglers
In the meantime, echo sounders are no longer exclusive to boats, but shore anglers can also use them. There are two different versions. One is the Deeper Fishfinder, which is ejected and sends the data to the Smartphone. The other is feed boats, such as the Carp Madness, which has a built-in echo sounder in addition to providing assembly and feed when carp fishing.
I would be careful with devices that work with Bluetooth. Usually you are very limited with them, because the range is then only about 20 m!
Meanwhile it has become known that the Deeper Fishfinder is a solid device that sends the data directly to the Android or IOS (apple) smartphone and makes it visible via a free app. So there is no need for a separate display and most people should have their smartphone with them when fishing anyway. The device communicates with the smartphone via WLAN, but does not need the internet. The device scans up to 80 m deep water and the battery lasts for about 5.5 hours.
In the meantime I have tested the Deeper Pro+ myself and found it to be good. You can find the test here >>.
Carp Madness the feeding boat with echo sounder
Practical for carp anglers: a feeding boat that also functions as an echo sounder and transmits the data to a display by radio. The boat can carry up to 4 kg of feed and even has lamps for use in the dark. Personally, I have never seen the device in action, so I cannot say how good the boat is. The best thing is to have a look at the device yourself.
5 -inch devices in comparison
5 inch devices have a display of 12.7 cm diameter which is the display size of most average smartphones.
Here I would like to point out the big comparison test of the rod and reel editors, which I have taken into account in the comparison of the devices. In the video most of the devices you find here are also mentioned. Furthermore I have researched on many international sites and got the opinion of many users.
The best 5 inch device
The decision is difficult, all devices are relatively similarly good. Nevertheless the Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro stands out positively among all devices. The good chart compatibility, simple menu navigation, the high detail level of the picture, as well as integrated Wifi and the excellent screen make the device nevertheless the best 5 inch device. In terms of price, it is relatively on par with the other devices (except the Lowrance Hook2). Last but not least, the enormous maximum depth of 250 meters in 2D mode makes it the best device for Norwegian drivers.
One more tip about the device. The 2D and photorealistic division on the display should be set to vertical.
The price Highest performance 5 inch echo sounder
In terms of price/performance the Lowrance Hook2 5x GPS is clearly ahead of the smaller devices. It is a very
popular basic model that can display speed with GPS. The menu is intuitive and quick to use and all functions are quickly set.
Unfortunately the 5x device is missing a chart plotter, but for about 50€ extra charge the device is also available with an integrated chart plotter. A disadvantage that remains with both devices is that either the 2-D or the photorealistic image is displayed.
Garmin Striker Plus 5 CV – the best display
The device has one of the best display performance and a screen that can even be divided into three parts. This allows GPS map, 2D display and photo mode to run and display simultaneously. The only annoying thing is the relatively long manual adjustment of the system settings. The device also comes at a quite attractive price, although it doesn’t have to hide from the more expensive devices. Only a touch display would have been desirable and the lack of compatibility with other than the preset card.
Humminbird Helix 5 DI GPS G2 – Own depth maps
Who wants to create own depth maps can hardly pass the Humminbird Fishfinder with the 5 inch devices. A good menu, which is easy to use and an overall good picture complete the device. Only the low depth is to be called a real deficiency and thus the device remains uninteresting for Norway fishermen.
7 inch units in comparison
7 inch units have a display diameter of 17.78 cm. This corresponds to smaller Android tablets.
The Best 7 Inch Device
With the best display and ease of use and the highest maximum depth in fresh water, the Garmin Echomap Plus 72 SV is the best 7 inch fishfinder in comparison. Even if the maximum depth in salt water is not reached, it is still the device of choice for Norway fans. A touch screen is still rare in fishfinders but the Garmin device has one and that is also a plus. Only the price is the highest among the 7 inch echo sounders.
The price Powerful 7 inch depth sounder
The Lowrance and Raymarine units are close in price
but the Dragonfly 7 Pro offers more for the money. The high depth performance and the very good display, just like the 5 inch
unit, make the depth sounder a real recommendation. This device is also still suitable for Norway and looks good on any boat. Last but not least many different charts are supported.
Humminbird Helix 7 SI Chirp G2 GPS – Own depth charts
The 7 inch Helix model also allows easy creation of depth charts. The price is between the other two devices.
Side Imaging is also a feature that is especially useful for finding fish next to the boat. The only negative point is the very small depth range, which is still sufficient for freshwater.
Advice that has to be taken into account with echosounders
With echosounders many factors play a role, which have to be considered when buying.
Fishfinder is available with screen sizes from 4-12 inches, i.e. 10-30 cm. The size has an influence on the price and on the power consumption. So larger displays cost more and also have a higher power consumption. In general, for small boats smaller displays make sense, while for larger boats a large one makes sense.
Resolution and number of pixels
The number of pixels, also known as resolution, is directly related to the display size. High-resolution displays are sharper and more comfortable to watch. In principle, the higher the number of pixels, the better the display. All echo sounders mentioned on this page have nearly the same resolution, no matter if 5 or 7 inch device.
Most fishfinders now have a colour display, as these have become cheaper over time. Color displays are nicer to look at and show details better than the old black and white or grayscale displays. So my advice is definitely the right color display.
Depth and frequency
Fishfinders have certain frequency bands, which they also need directly for different depths. So they are usually equipped with several frequency bands. 200-800 kHz are ideal for shallow water, while frequencies of 50-80 kHz are suitable for deep water. A higher frequency also gives a more detailed picture of what is going on underwater.
The technology that combines many frequency bands is called CHIRP and has revolutionized modern fishfinders. Nevertheless, all fishfinders have optimal ranges and maximum depths. CHIRP models are often a bit more expensive than devices without this technology.
Besides the display, the transducer is the heart of the echo sounder. It emits sound signals which are reflected by surfaces. With the help of the time the signal takes, the water depth is calculated. The signal is also reflected by fish, so we can also see them on the display.
The transmitter sends in certain cones in which the signal is emitted.
Salt or freshwater
An important factor to consider is whether you want to use your echo sounder in salt water or freshwater. Salt water requires higher quality equipment that is strong enough to display the fish well even in deep water.
How many watts a Fishfinder has an influence on how fast our display shows what is under water and how accurate the display is. This also makes it easier to identify individual fish or even fish species. For deep water higher watt numbers are needed than for shallow water.
Many devices have a temperature sensor built in. With this the temperature can be determined at least on the surface.
GPS and maps
Many modern fishfinders come with built-in GPS, which also increases safety on board. So you can still find the shore even in dense fog. Also very important for us anglers is the possibility to save hot spots on the map (chart plotter) and thus to be able to approach the spots quickly and accurately. The disadvantage is that these devices are somewhat more expensive. Nevertheless I would recommend such a device to everyone.
Many GPS devices also show the driving speed. This helps enormously especially when trolling to keep the right speed.
The map material is either from Navionics, C-Map and LightHouse.
Down Scan DownImaging etc. – many names one technology
Most fishfinders have a 2-D display and another “photorealistic display” on. For this photorealistic display there are many different names of the manufacturers and yet it describes almost the same.
- Raymarine calls it DownVision
- Humminbird DownImaging
- Garmin ClearVü
- Lowrance DownScan
The cost of echosounders for anglers
Echosounders from well-known manufacturers cost a minimum of 230 € upwards including transducer. In this range the Deeper Fishfinder and the Lowrance Hook2 moves 5x, whereby the second comes without GPS possibility. As already mentioned, mobile devices and devices with smaller displays are cheaper. Larger devices cost around 500-1000 €, whereby there is no upper limit for professional devices.