Table of Contents
- 1 Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
- 2 Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder with built in GPS and WiFi with Navionics+ Charts and Transducer
- 3 Raymarine E70294-US Dragonfly-4 Pro Sonar/GPS with US C-Map Essentials
- 4 Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR
- 5 Garmin 010-01872-00 Striker Plus 5Cv with Cv20-TM transducer, 5 inches
- 6 Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin STRIKER 5cv with transducer
- 7 Lowrance 000-11448-001 Elite-3X Fishfinder with 83/200 Transducer
- 8 Lowrance ELite-5 CHIRP 000-11650-001 Fishfinder / Chartplotter
- 9 Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ - GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder for Shore and Ice Fishing
- 10 Humminbird 409600-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder with Down Imaging
One of the key factors to consider when choosing the right fish finder is the price. Considering some units cost more than a thousand dollars, it's easy to see why the premium isn't best for everyone. If you are an avid angler in need of a dependable unit but don't want to spend a lot of money, you have come to the right place. Many brands are now offering great fish finders under $300 and we have narrowed down the 10 best to ease your search. These units provide accurate data and make it easy for you to find fish without putting a hole in your pocket.
Keep reading to learn more about our favorite fish finders under $300.
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder with built in GPS and WiFi with Navionics+ Charts and Transducer
Raymarine E70294-US Dragonfly-4 Pro Sonar/GPS with US C-Map Essentials
Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR
Garmin 010-01872-00 Striker Plus 5Cv with Cv20-TM transducer, 5 inches
Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin STRIKER 5cv with transducer
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ - GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder for Shore and Ice Fishing
Humminbird 409600-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder with Down Imaging
The Hummingbird 410210-1 Helix-5 offers a powerful combination of down imaging and side imaging sonar, thus staying ahead of the competition to garner a lot of positive reviews. It comes with CHIRP sonar technology with the ability to scan a maximum depth of 1000 feet. The waterproof rating of IPX7 means that this fish finder can withstand exposure to water and resist full immersion.
Also included is a relatively large 15mm transducer that mounts easily. It allows you to know the temperature and can be used at a depth of 1500 feet. The built-in GPS technology makes it easy to navigate your way around the ocean and keep track of your favorite fishing spots. This fishfinder comes with UniMap charts, and you can equip it with LakeMaster or Navionics thanks to the Auto-Chart Live. The Auto-Chart Live utilizes GPS info and 2D sonar to map and reveal the depth contour of the lake.
The unit has a 5” ultra HD LED-backlit display with 800x480 resolution. It can spread the images over a wider area or split them into two halves. You get three alarm settings in the Fish ID+ mode to let you know when the device detects a small, medium or large fish.
- Includes MicroSD card to store marked locations
- Screenshot and sonar recording functions
- CHIRP and transducer technology
- Up to 7 hours worth of battery life
- Lacks standing mode to save battery life
The Dragonfly 4 Pro is part of a new series of affordable fish finders by Raymarine that’s here to stay. It offers a few improvements over preceding models including clearly marked zoom in/out, a simpler 4-way direction and enter button as well as back and power buttons. The new attachment mechanism is easier to use with the locking collar and the ball-and-socket design offers swivel rotation.
This device comes equipped with 50/200 kHz and 82/200 kHz dual CHIRP sonar technology. It pings a wide conical beam to create images with better clarity than devices with single channel sonar. The wide-spectrum CHIRP DownVision sonar offers photo-like images while the second CHIRP conventional sonar channel comes handy when targeting fish. Also included is a 4.3” LCD screen with 480x272 WQVGA resolution and 16:9 aspect that allows for single or split-screen illustrations. The built-in optical bonding is a handy technology that allows sharper contrasts and brighter colors. It also makes it easy to view images from multiple angles.
You can stream live sonar data thanks to the integrated WiFi mobile app, which connects your smartphone and fish finder. This eliminates the need to strain to see the device’s screen display. There is a factory installed C-MAP and 50-channel GPS/Chart Plotter. You can expect fast-tracking of lakes, rivers as well as coastal locations in the United States. This function also allows you to plot 10,000 track points, 3000 waypoints, and 150 routes.
- Compatibility with Navionics and Lighthouse charts/maps
- Ability to stream live sonar data to your smartphone
- 2D and Down Imaging sonar technology
- Flexible mounting options
- Doesn’t work well at high speeds
The Raymarine E70294-US Dragonfly-4 Pro is a unique fish finder that does everything it was designed to do and guarantees anglers the best features. It is a compact unit that boasts quality images for easy interpretation.
Our favorite feature is the dual channel sonar, which includes a CHIRP conventional sonar technology for targeting fish and a wide-spectrum CHIRP DownVision sonar for photo-like images. The latter allows the device to transmit more signals into the water and interpret more detail. Performance is quite exceptional with fast, reliable tracking when pursuing fish at a depth of 600 feet.
Raymarine incorporates a 50-channel GPS that delivers precision. The built-in WiFi makes it easy for the angler to stream live sonar data from their smartphone. This device is equipped with Wi-Fish, which enables you to rewind images or share them on social media with friends. The 4.3” screen with 480x272 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. You will be able to view quality and detailed images
- Robust mounting bracket
- Dragonfly transducer with a narrow, streamlined body
- Crisp DownVision and CHIRP for clear, detailed images
- Transmits more sonar signals into the water for wider coverage
- Reliable performance even at 600 feet depth
- Pricey compared to other finders in its category
The Lowrance 000-12635-001 was released in 2016 and is a simple fish finder only unit that doesn’t have advanced navigation features. Despite this downside, it has remained popular among anglers and understandably so. It uses the DSI skimmer transducer and is a DownScan sonar unit that operates at two frequencies i.e. 455/800 kHz. The device utilizes fan-shaped beams for scanning, with the 455 kHz beam being wider than one for 800 kHz.
You can use the 000-12635-001 to track fish at a depth of 300 feet, which is quite incredible considering it's a DownScan only device. The transducer includes a 6-meter cable and temperature sensor that indicates the temperature of the surface water. As for the scanning speed, this unit can keep track of organisms at the bottom provided the vessel doesn’t exceed 55 MPH. Consider maintaining a boat speed of 1-6 miles per hour for maximum clarity and detection.
The 000-12635-001 features a LED backlit 3” screen with 320x240 resolution. It uses broadband sounder detail to easily identify fish targets, bottom hardness, bottom contour, structure detail and more.
- Dual frequency operation maximizes
- Advanced signal processing reduces
- Broadband sounder detail
- DSI skimmer transducer included
- Lacks navigation features
Designed as an upgrade of the older Striker, the Garmin 010-01872-00 Striker Plus comes with new tech and features. One of the major advantages over the older Striker 5Cv is the QuickDraw Contour, a mapping software that allows you to map bottom contours to intervals of 1-foot. The tech can automatically create contour map and you don’t need special experience to use the software.
It transmits at up to 500 watts and the sonar can reach depths of 1100 feet in saltwater or 2300 feet in freshwater. The device includes a transducer for Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP ClearVÜ sonar. The CHIRP sonar is dual frequency and can be upgraded to 50/77/200 kHz frequencies. CHIRP ClearVÜ operates at 260/455/800 kHz to produce a constant sweep of signals. This ultimately means clearly separate and stacked images of fish, submerged objects, and underwater structures.
Unlike the older 5Cv models, this one comes with built-in Wi-Fi, enabling you to share maps across several Garmin devices. The ActiveCaptain app is a free utility that connects your fish finder to a compatible mobile device.
- 5” display with 800x480 resolution
- Ultrascroll technology allows viewing of fish at high speeds
- AutoGain maximizes image sharpness by minimizing clutter
- Built-in GPS allows course over ground tracking
- Unit cover not included
The Garmin 010-01807-00 Garmin Striker 5Cv will certainly make the life of any fisherman hassle free. It boasts two types of sonar i.e. ClearVÜ and 2D CHIRP. ClearVÜ sonar operates at 455/800 kHz while 2D CHIRP is capable of 50/77/200 kHz. The transducer comes with a 20' cable and has an integrated temperature sensor. You can see more of what is in the water as the high-frequency sonar provides photographic imagery with detailed representations of underwater structures, fish, submerged objects etc.
This fish finder offers a simple way to locate your favorite fishing spots with a built-in GPS Chartplotter. You can use the waypoint map to view, mark and navigate to stumps, docks and brush piles. The 010-01807-00 comes with a 5" widescreen that displays clean images. The sonar can be used at a maximum depth of 1100 feet in saltwater and 2300 feet in freshwater.
While it doesn't have the Sonar Recording and Sonar Rewind functions anglers have come to expect from Garmin fishfinders, it includes a few sonar functions that can prove useful. Examples include Fish Symbol ID, Circular Flasher, A-Scope and Bottom Lock.
- Internal memory can store up to 5000 waypoints
- High sensitivity internal GPS
- Can calculate the speed of the boat
- Dual frequency sonar and multiple functions
- Lacks microSD support and NMEA connectivity
The Lowrance Elite-3X is an affordable option for beginners looking to get their hands on a decent fish finder. It comes with a broadband sounder transducer that operates at a dual frequency of 83/200 kHz, providing a clear visualization of anything beneath the boat. The 83 kHz sonar works with a 60-degree conical beam to scan larger areas while the 200 kHz adds 20-degrees to create vertical displays.
This unit has a 3.5" LCD screen with 256 colors and wide viewing angles, hence plenty of details for a low-priced fish finder. It has a resolution of 320x240 and offers 11 backlight levels that accommodate different weather conditions. The quick keys help you adjust the device in a matter of seconds while the dedicated keys minimize the time required to manage different settings.
Fish ID is a unique function that helps you interpret sonar readings with ease. Rather than use arches, it utilizes icons to display different fish targets. This function includes track and alarm options. You can utilize the Advanced Signal Process function to minimize the need for manual setup. This type of processing enables the device to display clearer and more detailed imagery.
- Works in freshwater and saltwater
- Has a high waterproof rating of IPX7
- Intuitive and easy to use for beginners
- Some problems with accuracy, especially in deep water
The Lowrance Elite-5 offers cutting-edge performance and user-friendly fish finding. It comes with the best combination of down scan imaging, sonar, and GPS mapping. It is equipped with a 5" color LCD screen that allows for single or split-screen viewing. The CHIRP sonar incorporates Down Scan Imaging technology, which makes it easy to identify and distinguish targets. It also offers superior noise clearance.
The GPS technology used in this unit is quite advanced and includes a detailed US map. It has an Insight Genesis feature that allows anglers to plot customized maps from recorded sonar data. Thanks to the integrated TrackBack technology, you can review the recorded sonar data including fish targets, structure, and transitions.
Another notable feature is the Advanced Signal Processing, which reduces the need for manual adjustment of settings. You can upgrade the charts with the MicroSD slot. The unit is compatible with Nautic Insight, Lake Insight, Navionics, Jepenesse C-Map Max-N and more.
- User-friendly interface with color display
- Advanced and accurate GPS technology
- Ability to create custom maps with Insight Genesis feature
- CHIRP sonar technology to identify targets
- Doesn't include a transducer
If you are looking to get your hands on a finder for shore or ice fishing, the Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ is an excellent contender. This smartphone fish finder offers anglers who fish from the shore precision fish finding that was previously only available to those with boats. The addition of a mounting bracket has made it agiler than ever before. This device is compatible with devices running Android 4.0 or later and iOS 8.0 or later.
It operates on an independent WiFi connection and as such, you can use it from anywhere. This is a great leap from the original Deeper Portable Fish Finder that used Bluetooth. It also means a greater connection range of 330 feet as compared to 140-feet Bluetooth reach. The unit boasts ABS construction for impact-resistant performance and is powered by a lithium battery that allows 6 hours of use before requiring a 2-hour recharge.
It operates on dual-beam frequencies and has a maximum depth of 260 feet in freshwater. The bathymetric mapping feature allows you to not only view lake maps but also create custom ones. You can record bottom contours of your favorite fishing spots as well.
- GPS powered lake maps
- Can cast at further ranges of 330 feet
- Scans deeper than any other castable fish finder
- A Powerful dual beam sensor
- Not for use in saltwater
Concluding our list is the Hummingbird Helix 5 DI, a perfect tool for beginners who don’t want spend a lot of money. It has LCD backlighting that adjusts to ensure visibility of imagery. The factory installed UniMap cartography offers detailed and colored 3D charts of water bodies in the US. It is capable storing 45 designated routes and 2500 waypoints.
The Helix 5 DI uses high-frequency sound waves and down imaging sonar to a clear view of what's happening underneath the boat. With the ability to scan up to 350 feet, you will be able to see game fish, bait balls, man-made structures, terrain contours and even vegetation at the bottom. There is a DualBeam Plus function that provides images up to depths of 300 feet.
- Supports international languages
- Down Imaging Sonar
- Dual Beam Plus sonar
- Store up to 45 routes or 2500 waypoints
- Lacks trolling motor mounting hardware
It takes a good strategy to find a good fish finder for less than $300 with a few of the latest features i.e. CHIRP, side vu sonar, down imaging etc. The models reviewed above are the best in terms of price, capabilities, and value. All you have to do is identify what works best for your fishing situation.