Best Fish Finder Under $300: 6 Picks From A Fellow Fisherman

best fish finder under $300 cover photo

I tested six of the best fish finders under $300 and found the Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 to be the best all-around.

There are so many fish finders on the market. It’s no easy task to dig through all of them and find which ones are worthwhile. I’ve been an avid angler for most of my life and have experience with a wide range of these units. I’ve tried them on boats, kayaks, and the deep sea. I’ve taken people on deep-sea guided trips and inshore trips. Later in life, I moved into freshwater with a much smaller boat. I will always have a fish finder on board my vessel.

I chose the Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 because it has several features you’d typically find in top-end fish finders, but at a much lower price. It provides dual beam sonar with a side view, so you can use the split-screen and check out the bottom and the sides at the same time. The 5” display is the perfect size for a smaller boat or kayak while still being easily readable. The best fish finder under $300 should also include GPS which lets you place markers along your route, and the easy-to-use interface makes this pick a no-brainer.

Our Pick
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2

The Helix 5 is an excellent option for those looking to get some great features and still keep the unit small enough not to overwhelm a smaller boat.

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When I take clients out on a guided trip to catch fish, I need to do precisely that. Without a quality fish finder, I can’t be as confident that I’m giving my clients the best possible experience on the lake. It’s vital to my business that I find the fish each and every time out.

The best fish finders under $300 is going to outperform the rest. Bring one of the fish finders I tested on your next trip, and you’ll quickly see the huge difference it makes.

Here are the top six:

Best Fish Finder Under $300- Reviews

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 Fish Finder

What You Get

  • 5” display
  • Three types of sonar
  • GPS fish finder combo with storage for up to45 routes

The Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP is a great fish finder, particularly when you figure in that it’s under $300.00. There aren’t many finders on the market within its range that provide near the options and features this guy offers. You’d typically be looking at paying closer to $500.00 for these. Still, Humminbird has been able to combine their years of expertise into this unit for a real bargain.

The 5” screen has an 800×480 resolution and a 256 color display, bringing a surprisingly high-quality visual experience. The included transducer has CHIRP, side, and down imaging sonar. It scans wide and deep, meaning you get a wide range to view where those pesky fish are hiding. You can even pick them out around pilings and cover them with ease.

With the GPS, you can pin 45 routes and store up to 2500 waypoints. That means you get to keep coming back to the exact honey holes time and again. Not only the best fish finder under $300 but also the best GPS fish finder combos under $300.

Overall, it’s a fantastic unit and will work perfectly in a boat, pontoon, and kayak. Give it a shot. You’re sure to love it.

Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5X SplitShot Fish Finder

What You Get

  • 5” display
  • Wi-Fi functionality
  • Advanced chart plotting
  • GPS fish finder combo

The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5 Split Shot is a heartbeat away from being the top choice. It has three sonar types, CHIRP, down, and side image scanning, chart plotting, GPS, and Wi-Fi built-in. You’re not going to find this kind of functionality in anything at this price point.  

It comes with a great display that offers a split-screen, allowing for side and depth viewing. You can connect to your phone and download it to your finder via Bluetooth. There are several fantastic features in this finder, and it works great in a boat. The 5 comes with preloaded maps but may not allow additional slots to add memory for extra downloaded maps. Upgraded versions do.

Garmin Striker Plus 5CV Fish Finder

What You Get

  • 5” display
  • 1100 ft. depth
  • GPS fish finder combo

The Garmin Striker Plus 5CV is a good choice for the price. It outpaces the 4CV in every way and scans up to 1100 feet in saltwater. The display is 800 x 480 resolution color on a 5” screen. The GPS in this device allows you to store 5000 waypoints.

This Garmin fish finder is big enough to take out on the ocean in your boat, yet small enough to go out in your kayak or pontoon. It sets up quickly, and the learning curve is almost nonexistent. If you’re out for a device that’s easy to use, quick to set up, and you’re not interested in all of the many bells and whistles, this is your budget fish finder.

Packaged with ClearVu sonar technology standard, you get ultra-clear imaging. Garmin has built a fantastic feature here. The clarity from ClearVu makes this finder one of the very best you can buy at this price point. The 1100-foot depth in salt water comes from the increase in the size of this unit over the 4CV. It will scan even deeper in freshwater if you happen upon a lake that’s over 1100-feet deep. Perhaps you fish Lake Tahoe or Lake Chelan. This would come in handy at one of those.

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ Fish Finder

What You Get

  • Portable fish finder
  • Scans to 260’ Deep
  • Bathymetric Maps
  • Perfect for ice fishing

The Deeper Pro+ claims to be the only portable, castable combo that lets you make Bathymetric maps from shore or your boat. Connect it to the side of your boat, pontoon, or kayak, and you’ll have all the benefits of a fish finder that scans up to 26-feet deep.

You can make maps and add more information online later to enhance them even more. Time of day, season, weather, tactics, temperature, barometric pressure, and anything else can make the next trip even better. This device can lead you to build a database that will be a fantastic resource for years to come.  

It has dual beam sonar allowing broad area scan and narrow beam options, though, with the 260-foot depth limitation, it’s not ideal for deeper waters. The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ is also super durable. That makes it a perfect choice for ice fishing. Just drop the ball in the ice hole, and you’re ready to scan. Easy enough.

Next up is the battery life. It will last roughly six hours on a full charge. If you’re planning on a longer day, it’s a good idea to buy the extra battery. You can’t use the device while the battery charges, and it takes around two hours.

This is undoubtedly our recommendation for the best castable fish finder.

Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder with Bullet Transducer and GPS Plotter

What You Get

  • 4” LED Display
  • Dual beam sonar
  • Fish ID technology

The Lowrance Hook2 4X is a reliable, popular, affordable, simple fish finder for those looking for a freshwater fish finder. It doesn’t offer any significant features found on more expensive devices, but that’s not what people buy it for. This Lowrance fish finder provides solid performance and outstanding reliability for the price.

It has dual beam sonar technology with its proprietary DownScan sonar, which offers 83 kHz and 200 kHz. The low frequency gives a wider scanning area, with the higher giving a narrow area with much greater detail. Depths reach up to 300 feet and can handle speeds up to around 50 mph. The slower the speed, the better.

This budget fish finder is always a great choice for those looking to save money or those wanting a fish finder for a kayak or pontoon.

Lowrance Hook-3X All Season Pack Fish Finder

What You Get

  • 3.5” display
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • Skimmer transducer
  • Ideal for ice fishing

The Lowrance Hook-3X All Season Pack is an excellent option for those looking to get everything they need in one stop. This device will give you the ability to set up on your boat, kayak, pontoon, and ice shelter. It’s accurate and will let you see close enough to see your own lure in the water.

This compact fish finder comes with a 3.5-inch display with LED backlighting. The backlighting makes a huge difference for night fishing. The display also has a 256-color display, making it easy to read.

The All Season Pack is perfect for ice fishing because it comes with a transducer specifically designed for ice fishing. It has Fish ID built-in and allows you to set alarms, so you can track those guys under the ice.

Lowrance fish finders, known for their durability, are always a good choice for anglers looking for a reliable fish finder that will stand the test of time.

With all of this versatility, it is a no-brainer to include the Lowrance All Season as one of our picks for the best fish finders under $300.

Fish Finder Buyer’s Guide

fishing during sunset

How To Choose The Best Fish Finder?

There are a few factors you should consider when choosing the right fish finder.

Screen size

The larger the screen size, the easier it is to see what is on the display of the fish finder.

Transducer type

There are three types of transducers — single-beam, dual-beam, and side-scanning. Single-beam transducers are good for general use, while dual-beam and side-scanning transducers are better for detecting fish and structures in specific areas.

Price

Fish finders range in price from around $100 to over $1,000. Decide how much you want to spend, and then choose the model that best meets your needs.

What is CHIRP Sonar?

CHIRP vs Traditional Sonar

So far, we’ve looked at a few different fish finders and what they include. But what is CHIRP Sonar?

CHIRP sonar stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse. It sends out a continuous pulse of energy that covers a wider area than traditional sonar. This pulse is broken down into lots of different frequencies that are all analyzed by the fish finder.

This technology allows you to see more fish, identify them better, and track them in greater detail. It’s also great for finding structure beneath the water’s surface. If you are into ice fishing, a fish finder GPS combo can be crucial for hiking back to your favorite fishing spots.

As you can see, CHIRP sonar technology is a huge improvement over traditional sonar. If you can afford it, I highly recommend choosing a fish finder with this technology.

Do You Need GPS on Your Fish Finders?

underwater topography

GPS is another important feature to consider when purchasing fish finders.

A fish finder GPS combo allows you to mark waypoints and return to them later. This is really helpful if you’re fishing a new spot or if you want to keep track of the best places to fish.

GPS is also helpful for finding your way back to the dock or shore if you get lost.

Not all fish finders come with GPS, but it’s a feature worth looking for if you want the ultimate in flexibility and convenience.

Do I Really Need a Fish Finder?

If you’re serious about fishing, then the answer is yes — you need a fish finder. A good fish finder can help you catch more fish by showing you where they are hiding. It can also help you avoid shallow water and other obstacles that could damage your boat. So, if you’re serious about fishing, then go out and buy yourself a good fish finder. You won’t regret it.

Best Fish Finder Under $300 Concluded
fishing rod

In conclusion, I’ve found the Helix 5 fish finder to be the best fish finder under 300 dollars. It does everything I asked of it, plus a lot of things usually relegated to the higher-end models. The 5” display is super easy to read, plus a great warranty. Overall, this fish finder is a steal.

When you set out to buy a fish finder, you need to think about where you’re going to use it. If the lakes you fish are on the shallower side, any of the finders on this list will do a great job. If you’re targeting deeper waters or saltwater, you’ll need to choose a fish finder more carefully. Don’t go with a 200 — 300-foot depth range when you’re fishing in 1000 feet (304.8 m) of water. You’ll be disappointed in your purchase and won’t find near as much fish as the surrounding boats.

Screen size matters to an extent. If you have bad eyesight, get a bigger screen. If space is a premium, a smaller screen makes sense. You can always zoom in on a smaller screen if necessary.

Remember to buy extra batteries if you expect long days and go with a portable fish finder, especially if you plan on ice fishing.

All the fish finders on this list are great for what they are. You won’t be disappointed in any of them as long as they meet your needs. The Humminbird Helix 5 is my choice as the best fish finder for under 300. You can buy it here. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

For a great video on the capabilities of the Helix series, check out this video from Humminbird below:

For more guidance on choosing your next fish finder, check out the pages below:

Eric Larson

Eric Larson

Hi, my name is Eric. I am a contributor for A Fellow Fisherman and a former charter captain who has been saltwater fishing since before I can remember. I grew up in New Jersey, fishing mostly the Delaware Bay and River, as well as many offshore charter trips. I have had an enormous passion for fishing my whole life, and am lucky to have done it as a profession. I am confident when it comes to telling people about the best techniques for catching fish, but am still open to a good debate.

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