Hey there! Welcome to my review of the best fish finder for pontoon boats.
I spent 40 hours researching and testing 12 of the most popular fish finders. Then, I considered exactly what makes a good fish finder for pontoon boats. I ranked these depth finders based on usability, performance, durability, sonar capabilities, screen size, built-in GPS, price ranges, and more.
Some of the special features that impacted how these depth finders were ranked include CHIRP capabilities, fish alarm, down scan sonar, side scan sonar, dual beam sonar technology, water depth, water temperature, and more.
These fish finders were head and shoulders above the rest of the group while remaining affordable.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a new fish finder to start catching fish. Choose one of these depth finders for your pontoon boat, and you’ll get a high-quality machine guaranteed to help you catch more fish.
Ready to take your pontoon boat to the next level?
Best Fish Finders For Pontoon Boats – Comparison Table
Best Fish Finder For Pontoon Boats Reviewed
I’ve carefully researched and compiled a list of the best fish finders for pontoon boats to take your fishing experience to the next level.
Lowrance HDS-Live Fish Finder
I highly recommend the Lowrance HDS-Live Fish Finder for pontoon boat owners seeking cutting-edge technology and top-notch performance for locating fish and structures.
- Advanced fish finder technology with CHIRP sonar and StructureScan 3D/HD
- Dual-core processor for quick response and faster redraws
- High-visibility color display for exceptional image quality
- Preloaded maps may not satisfy all users
- Touchscreen responsiveness could be improved
- Integration with other devices may vary
The Lowrance HDS-Live Fish Finder offers the most advanced fishfinder technology, allowing you to simultaneously view CHIRP Sonar with StructureScan 3D or HD for the best possible view of fish and structures beneath and beside your pontoon boat. I’m particularly impressed by the clarity of the images provided.
The device is backed by a powerful dual-core processor, which results in faster redraws and more efficient responses. This is especially useful when working with technologies like StructureScan 3D, Mercury VesselView Link, and Lowrance Outboard pilot.
The high-visibility color display is undoubtedly one of its standout features. Compared to other fish finders I’ve used, the HDS-Live offers a superior dynamic color range to show richly detailed, photographic-quality images. However, I did notice some occasional hiccups in touchscreen responsiveness, but it’s not a dealbreaker, given its brilliant performance overall.
Lowrance Hook Reveal 5-Inch Fish Finder
I highly recommend the Lowrance Hook Reveal 5-Inch Fish Finder for pontoon boat owners who want an affordable and efficient tool for locating fish.
- Remarkable FishReveal technology
- Easy-to-use GPS Chartplotter
- High-quality SplitShot transducer
- Lack of touchscreen
- Disappointing preloaded maps
- Incomplete documentation
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5-Inch Fish Finder really caught my attention while using my pontoon boat, mainly due to its FishReveal technology. This feature combines the target separation of CHIRP sonar with high-resolution DownScan Imaging, making it much easier to identify and locate fish beneath my boat.
I appreciated how simple it was to navigate to my favorite fishing spots using the GPS chartplotter. Planning and following routes was a breeze, and waypoint navigation was incredibly intuitive. The GPS plotter is especially helpful when on fishing trips when conditions change or visibility is low.
The included SplitShot transducer provided excellent underwater views, thanks to the high-resolution images of fish-holding structures from DownScan Imaging. Combined with the autotuning sonar, I was able to focus more on my fishing instead of constantly adjusting my sonar settings. The SolarMAX display also allowed for clear and easy-to-read visuals, even in direct sunlight.
Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder
I recently utilized the Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder on my pontoon boat and recommend it for its ease of use and wide coverage capabilities.
- Effortless navigation with auto-tuning sonar and user-friendly menus
- Expansive sonar coverage with a wide-angle cone
- Easy transducer setup with multiple mounting options
- Accuracy concerns in shallow, muddy waters
- May experience issues in depths greater than 50 feet
- Instruction manual and troubleshooting could be improved
When I took my Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder out for a spin, I immediately noticed the intuitive interface with auto-tuning sonar that helped me bypass fiddling with settings and start fishing. The wide-angle sonar cone was a game-changer as it doubled the coverage compared to traditional fish finders, providing me with a broader view of my surroundings.
Mounting the transducer was a breeze, thanks to the versatility offered by the design. I had the option to mount it on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor, or even through a scupper hole. It came with a Bullet Skimmer transducer, giving me the traditional 2-D sonar views of discerning fish arches.
However, there were a few drawbacks. When traveling in shallower, muddy waters, the fish finder’s accuracy was questionable. I also encountered issues when fishing in waters deeper than 50 feet, as the scale seemed to jump around. While it did not heavily impact my overall experience, the instruction manual could have contained more helpful guides for troubleshooting these concerns.
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder
I highly recommend the Garmin Striker 4 for any pontoon boat owner looking for an easy-to-use and reliable fish finder.
- ClearVu technology provides detailed images
- User-friendly interface
- Impressive CHIRP sonar for better fish detection
- Not suitable for deep saltwater
- Basic waypoint map functionality
- Screen size might be small for some users
Having tried the Garmin Striker 4 fish finder, its ClearVu technology impressed me as it offered near-photographic images of fish, structures, and objects in the water. The high-frequency sonar enabled me to see detailed representations of fish, making it easier to target specific species.
The Garmin Striker 4 features a simple, keyed interface with dedicated buttons. I found it straightforward to install and navigate. The device is available in 3.5-, 5-, and 7-inch display sizes, with a water rating of IPX7. However, some might find the display size of 3.5 inches small.
The high-sensitivity GPS is another standout feature of this fish finder, allowing me to mark waypoints, create routes, and keep track of my boat’s speed. It also comes with built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping, which let me create and save maps with 1-foot contour accuracy.
The built-in CHIRP sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies, providing a wider range of information, resulting in better fish location and detection. With the waypoint map, I easily marked locations such as brush piles and docks, but the functionality and navigation may feel basic to some users. Another point to consider is that the fish finder works well for freshwater, with a maximum depth of 1,600 feet, but only goes up to 750 feet in saltwater.
Humminbird HELIX 5 DI G2 Fish Finder
The Humminbird HELIX 5 DI G2 Fish Finder is a reliable and feature-packed option for those looking to enhance their fishing experience on pontoon boats.
- Impressive 5-inch color display
- Down Imaging provides detailed underwater views
- Flexible sonar options with Dual Beam PLUS and SwitchFire
- No GPS functionality
- Screen size may be small for some users
- Speed register not present
When I first used the Humminbird HELIX 5 DI G2 Fish Finder, I was immediately impressed by its 5-inch color WVGA display, which provided clear and vivid visuals even when viewed from a distance. The Down Imaging technology offered a detailed view of what is happening below my boat, allowing me to identify fish, structures, and other underwater features with ease.
The Dual Beam PLUS Sonar and SwitchFire Sonar options put me in control of how my sonar returns appeared on the screen, making it easy to adjust the details and coverage area based on my preferences.
Additionally, the keypad control interface and X-Press menu system made navigating the device’s features a breeze, allowing me to focus on fishing instead of fumbling through complicated menus.
However, one downside to this model is the lack of GPS functionality, which can be a deal-breaker for some users who prefer to have built-in navigation capabilities.
Additionally, the screen size might be a bit small for those who need or prefer a larger display, and the advertised speed register was missing.
Despite these cons, the Humminbird HELIX 5 DI G2 Fish Finder remains a great option for any avid angler looking to improve their fishing experience on pontoon boats.
Considerations For Pontoon Boat Fish Finders
As an experienced boating enthusiast, I understand how important it is to choose a fish finder that best suits your pontoon boat. With so many options available, selecting the right one might feel overwhelming.
To ease your decision-making journey, I have prepared a brief buying guide covering the essential features you should consider while purchasing the best fish finder for your fishing trip in your pontoon boat.
Screen Size and Resolution
The screen size and resolution play a crucial role in displaying accurate and detailed underwater images. I recommend opting for a fish finder with a screen size of 5 inches or more to ensure clear visibility. Additionally, the resolution should be at least 480 x 800 pixels to provide crisp and sharp images.
Transducer Power and Frequency
An efficient fish finder should come with a powerful transducer to transmit signals effectively. A higher wattage indicates a stronger signal, allowing you to fish in deeper waters with better accuracy.
A 500W transducer is typically sufficient for pontoon boats, but you may consider a more powerful one depending on your fishing requirements. Equally important is the frequency, with dual or even triple frequencies being ideal for maximizing signal penetration and detecting distinct fish arches.
For more guidance on the different types of transducers and which one to choose, check out the page below:
For me, a fish finder with a built-in GPS has proven to be incredibly valuable. Not only does it provide accurate navigation, but it also allows me to mark fishing spots and track my trolling routes.
Additionally, many fish finders offer advanced mapping features like down-scan sonar imaging and side-scan capabilities for a comprehensive view of the underwater terrain and fishing environment, making it easier to locate fish hiding spots.
Waterproof and Durability
As you will be using your fish finder on a pontoon boat, it is essential to ensure that the device is waterproof and durable enough to withstand varying weather conditions. Always check the IPX rating of the product, with a minimum rating of IPX7 being suitable for adequate protection against accidental water exposure. Furthermore, the build quality should be sturdy, with corrosion-resistant materials used for longevity and reliability.
Price and Warranty
Last but not least, always consider your budget when choosing the best fish finder for your pontoon boat. There are high-end models offering a wide range of features, while more affordable options focus on key functionalities.
It’s always wise to balance functionality, quality, and cost to ensure you get the most value for your money. Finally, opt for a fish finder with a suitable warranty period to safeguard your investment and provide peace of mind during your next fishing trip.
Pontoon boats offer unique advantages for fishing, providing stability, ample space, and an open layout, which makes installing and using a fish finder much more convenient. Choosing the right fish finder for your pontoon boat can take your boat to a different level while also making your fishing experience enjoyable and efficient.
When selecting a fish finder for your pontoon boat, consider important factors like the unit’s screen size, resolution, sonar capabilities, and GPS functionality. While some fish finders offer more advanced features and multiple sonar frequencies, it’s crucial to find a balance between affordability and practicality for your specific needs.
Additional consideration should be given to factors like durability, ease of use, and compatibility with your pontoon boat. A fish finder that’s quick to install, portable, and integrates seamlessly with your boat’s setup is vital.
With so many fish finders on the market, finding the perfect one for your pontoon boat can be overwhelming. That’s why picking one of the options I mentioned above will ensure you get a quality depth finder.