These are like a pair of eyes attached to your boat. You can see what it looks like under the water on both sides. Yes, you might have down scans but these will make you feel like Poseidon. You’ll always know where the fish is. The advent of tech is what brought this.
Some of these have super clear imaging, you can see everything clearly like those NatGeo shots. This goes by the name mega imaging, you can even zoom in and still see an unblurred image. To some hobbyists, it feels like cheating, since finding fish is half the game to them.
I can write books on this but that’s not the point. And there won’t even be much for you to know from it. Your priority right now is to get the most out of budget. So, let’s see which one’s the best side imaging fish finder for the money.
Grab the Best Side Imaging Fish Finder
Some features are common in every fish finder. But unique adds and subtracts in the fish finders make them more considerable over others. To make your work easy some of the best fish finders are listed here highlighting the unique features and technologies. Consider them and grab the best one for you.
1. Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
With jaw-dropping industrial design Helix 5 fishfinder has come up with the remarkable display option. The landscape viewing feature is unique and easier to read.
This fish finder answers the call with a brilliant color display of 800H x 400V,5’’ 256 with backlight. The Dual Beam PLUS sonar with 4000 watts PTP power output gives great detail and a large coverage range.
The accurate data coverage on the device helps to know where the fishes are while fishing in the boat quickly. Even if you are not still and moving in the water, this device will read the depth imagery and show you what is in front.
On the other hand, it has exactitude Internal GPS Chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography which helps to navigate through the unknown territory.
You can mount to the side of the boat simply and steadily by this device. Whether it’s clear sunny weather or on cloudy days, this fish finder provides accurate readings overcoming the weather challenges.
Moreover, the Helix 5 is full of technologies like the visceral REFLEX interface, definite Broadband CHIRP and the amazing mapmaking power of AutoChart Live. It has the system of maximizing your angling experience.
- The clips that hold down on the transom are not rich and break easily.
- The hardware quality is not the best because of its poor material.
- It can save 500 waypoints only and with the power of the waypoints disappear.
2. Lowrance HOOK2 4X – 4-inch Fish Finder
Broadband Sounder, High CHIRP, Side Scan, and Downscan imaging sonar options are some of the exclusive technologies you will get with the HOOK2 4X fish finder.
It has features like autotuning sonar and phone-like menus which offers easy access to the key functions of the device, saving time for fish finding. The autotuning sonar is a unique addition, a cutting-edge technology that actively sets sonar settings for peak performances as fishing conditions change.
It provides a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone doubling the coverage of conventional fish finders. 4″ SolarMAX™ screen of high resolution and a sunlight viewable display presents an emphatic, vivid, facile-view display in any condition.
No matter how large or deep the area you’re fishing, returning to the favorite spot or needed spot has never been easier. The high-sensitivity GPS antenna is the reason behind it.
Also, this fish finder has the ability to save waypoints, following traces and navigating to the required spot with the exact GPS plotter.
A single transducer can be installed on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor which makes HOOK2 4X perfect for small fishing boats or kayaks with restricted space.
The Bullet Skimmer transducer delivers the conventional 2-D fish arch views. It has a simple front dash and gimbal-bracket mount. The fish finder can read depth as well as temperature.
- The depth reading fails sometimes.
- When you’re traveling at average to high speeds, it loses the bottom tracking display.
- Many complain that it’s not durable.
3. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer
The Striker Plus 4 fishfinder provides unique Quickdraw Contours mapping software which originates HD fishing maps of the areas you’ve been. This built-in software generates and depots up to 2 million acres of maps with 1’ contours. The Garmin CHIRP technology provides a higher level of clarity and ingoing.
The double beam transducer has enriched this fish finder with crystal-clear images delivering extraordinary target separation and resolution in shallow, dense water. Even at higher speeds bottom contours are seen. Signal noise can be subdued at greater depths for a sharp explication of what’s under.
The built-in high-sensitivity GPS makes it easy to come back to the targeted spot. This technology saves waypoints and sustains your position at every point.
It also allows your fishfinder to show current speed on-screen being so cheap for the money. This feature lets you simply know if you’re trolling at the correct speed.
It has a 4.3’’ display which is bright-sunlight readable. The intuitive user interface makes it easier to navigate to whatever feature you want. Its rugged design is suitable for any kind of environment. Transom and trolling motors are included to prolong the technologies.
- The fish finder is not viable.
- GPS capability is limited as there’s no lake map included for this unit.
- The push connections in the back are not watertight and corrode.
- It is hard to install.
4. Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4.3 DI Fish Finder
The Piranhamax fish finder has come up with the exclusive preloaded map feature of fishing areas. It provides keener images in the 4.3’’ stylish and more modern color LCD.
This clear picture of what’s under your boat makes fishing easy and reliable. The Down Imaging sonar pays a fish’s-eye view of the underwater region. It has a power range of 2400 watts PTP or 300 watts RMS.
Double beam sonar combines a narrow and wide beam that gives an eminent detail or a large coverage area which leads you to identify fish, structure, and contours. High-frequency sound wave specifications create amazing images and maximum depth capability is 320’(DI) and 600’.
You can adjust your viewing area angle nimbly with the Tilt and Swivel mount feature of this waterproof fish finder. It has a fish symbol ID, fish alarms that help you to know immediately where your target is.
It also has depth alarms for cautiousness. With a simpler zooming system, built-in transducer and easier-to-use interface this non-portable fish finder can make fishing a breeze.
- The screen doesn’t work well in bright sunlight often.
- The device is not very time friendly.
- It needs scrolling through menus in an un-intuitive way.
- It doesn’t include GPS technology.
5. Hummingbird Helix 7 Fish Finder 410950-1, CHIRP MSI GPS G3
In 7’’ color TFT display screen with a resolution of 800H x 400V, you’ll get the translucent view of what’s under your boat by Helix 7’s Mega Down Imaging. It has a coverage of 125 feet below.
Mega side imaging provides clear images out to 125’ on either side of your boat You’ll get better details with up to 3x more output than normal Side Imaging and Down Imaging sonar with a range of 480ft, 75ft MEGA.
It has the setting to pre-build maps and two display modes help to add or remove details. It has units like Dual spectrum CHIRP, switch fire sonar, gimbal mounting bracket and so on.
Ultra broad display grants you wide space to view the pre-loaded split screen view options. Long, well-destined fish arches, a diaphanous view of fish structures and the underworld are provided by Dual Spectrum CHIRP technology.
This spectrum combines two types of features, a wide mode for the highest coverage and narrow mode for the highest detail.
SwitchFire Sonar allows you to take order of how your sonar returns occur. It has 2 display modes for adding or dispelling detail, records for water depth, temperature and turmoil, even for appealing presentations.
The unique built-in Hummingbird Basemap takes you to the opportunity of having the perfect view of the underwater region and surrounding points of fishing.
AutoChart Live can make real-time maps of where you’ll fish. It can include charts of more than 10,000 lakes. It has technologies to Identify buoys, day markers, hazards, marinas, depth makers, etc. With a transducer, mounting hardware, power cable, and gimbal mounting bracket this fish finder is surely in the front row.
- The transducer wire is too short.
- It doesn’t have a favorite button.
- The side scan is not as good as a professional wreck finder.
- It’s just an angled side-scan from your boat.
6. Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer, 4″ GPS Fishfinder
Target separation has got new dimensions by the CHIRP traditional sonar of Striker 4cv fishfinder. Crystal clear view with photographic essence is now possible as this fish finder has the exclusive CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar technology.
These above two features are built-in and the device includes a transducer for it. More fish will be added to your basket of triumph easily.
Without requiring any special knowledge, the built-in Garmin Quickdraw contour mapping software provides you with the HD fishing maps of the places you’ve been.
It allows you to make and store maps with 1’ contour for up to 2 million acres. The GPS is also built-in in the device to stain waypoints, create routes and know boat speed.
4.3’’ display screen is completely reliable for a bright sunny day or any kind of environment. So even on the brightest days, the display will give you easy readings. The large screen makes it simpler to see what’s under your boat. The rugged design of the device is suitable for fishing.
The intuitive user interface helps you to install the fishfinder and navigate to your needed feature easily. The fish finder includes transom and trolling motor mounts with a transmit power of 300 watts (RMS).
With the primary technologies, you can be ready for anything on the water with Striker 4cv fishfinder.
- GPS units don’t have charts for records and cannot be modified with charts.
- The size of the transducer is not specified.
- The depth reader is properly applicable for 8+ feet of water.
- The water-resistance of the fish finder is poor.
Aspects for Being the Best Side Imaging Fish Finder
Every fish finder has some general aspects. To kick-off knowing them is primary since otherwise, reviews may seem nothing better than jabbering. Like handheld fishing GPS devices, the fish finder also has some aspects to look at.
Fishfinder includes some technologies which general people or most of those who’ll use are not pros. So we would likely take you to the main theme, ranges, useful area, or value of each unit particularly.
Frequency ranges are numbers that decide the overall performance of the sonar scanners. It can be single, dual or multiple. Usually, multiple frequencies covering 50 to 200 kHz is a decent choice.
If you’re to fish in the deeper water, the lower frequency might be best for you. But for shallow water, higher rates are what you need.
Peak to peak or in short PTP rating is the range of swing in its oscillating power. RMS or root mean square power is the effective value and asks for more concern. Top finders provide around 300 watts RMS or higher while PTP varies from 2400 to 4000 watts.
Note that Higher the power, the more it will work in a given amount of time. That means more information will be brought up to the device every second and the image will be more visual, clear and steady.
Screen Resolution and Size
The higher the vertical and horizontal pixels, the more is the screen resolution of a fish finder. For example, 800H x 480V represents the respective horizontal and vertical pixels’ quantity. More pixels make information more visible and easy to inspect.
A TFT display of 4 to 5 inches is enough. Yet you can always go for 7 inches LED screens which will, of course, be the best option except for affordability.
It is as easy to think as black and white movies never provide more in focus and peripheral details like color ones. Any high-resolution screen like 800×480 ones uses a variety of colors that simply differentiates between different objects.
Transducers volley sonar waves out through the water for getting into a digital illustration of nonliving objects, forms, and living things like fleshes. Not all fish finders include a transducer. So, always double-check to get the unit with a transducer. Otherwise, you may need to buy one out of the package.
A backlight screen makes it a lot easier to reach data even in bright sunlight. Being in open water, the weather won’t be in favor of you all the time and backlight comes as a savior. to save you from finding a dark place rather than in bright light. But if you observe and inspect from a darker place, you may compromise.
Side imaging fish finders are mostly suitable for shallow water. As for that most of the side imaging fish finders have a depth range of 1500. But for deeper waters, you should choose a unit with side imaging and down imaging features.
Q: How can I tell the breadth of the place I’m looking at on the sonar screen?
Ans: The breadth of the place of the bottom seen at any given time differs according to the depth of the water. A specific beam is used as all the downward-looking sonar beams are cone-shaped. The beam gets wider with the water getting deeper but it’s not a 1-to-1 relationship always. A scope mode is live, real-time imaging.
Q: Can I determine which type of fish is under by looking at the returns on the screen?
Ans: It is possible to determine which kind of fish is under your boat but it needs practice. Most fishes are discovered by sonar to the presence of their air bladder.
The giant bubble of air works as a sound reflector and though the size and shape of the air bladder differ from species to species. The shape that returns is almost the same for one species. But some technologies like chirp DownVision, chirp SideVision can provide more detail.
Q: Are fish finder and depth finder the same thing?
Ans: No, they are not. A depth finder is exactly a display of depth information where a fish finder is much more of what’s under the boat.
Whether you are a beginner or a pro in the line of fishing, fishfinder is an important tool for you to have. The next time you pack your bag for fishing, don’t forget to take the best side imaging fish finder with you which can change your experience a lot.
Among the listed fish finders Lowrance HOOK2 4X – 4-inch Fish Finder is a good option. It’s unique autotuning sonar can actively set sonar settings for peak performances. With the good frequency and wide-angle CHIRP sonar, this fish finder provides a clear view of the fishes in a large screen display.
Hummingbird Helix 7 Fish Finder 410950-1, CHIRP MSI GPS G3 has a very high resolution with a high frequency and a high screen. It has both side and down imaging units that provide wide coverage.
However, you should look for the frequency, screen resolution, coverage, and transducer in the device you are selecting. A faithful fish finder will ease your tiredness and take you more steps ahead in being successful and secure in the water.