Not everyone’s into fishfinders. If you’re a self-proclaimed fishing purist, you may brush off the use of a fishfinder as a high-tech, unnecessary gadget.  But it can be a very valuable tool, especially for those fishing in deep water.

To state what they’re good for simply, fishfinders give you the gift of underwater vision. We have to get a bit more technical in order to understand different types of fishfinders so you can decide what works for your needs; the most basic device will show you directly what’s underneath using “down scan” technology. Our Humminbird PiranhaMAX 197C is an example of a fishfinder that uses down scan to provide a glimpse into just what’s underneath your boat.


As you can guess from the name, “side scan” technology sends out sonar signals to the sides of your boat. Paired together in newer, more powerful models, the combination of down and side imaging provides a full 180 degree high res view of everything that’s around your boat, structures included.
The Lowrance Elite-5 TI TotalScan is an example of a model that offers both down and side scan capabilities.

(Side note: If you’re trying to dissect the mystery of what is being conveyed to you on the screen – a first glance at a fishfinder can be confusing – this article may prove helpful.)

The difference between a unit that goes for a couple of hundred dollars and a unit that runs closer to $1,000 doesn’t just depend on down/side scan tech; it’s all about the size of the screen and the number of features.

The most entry-level of fishfinders, such as the Humminbird 541, typically have of a low-res gray background and white screen, lower end transducers (meaning less depth) and no GPS. These work just fine for beginner anglers who are fishing in shallower water. More advanced fish-finders like the Lowrance Elite-7 TI TotalScan offer features like GPS, full color screen, sonar/3D image, more powerful transducers, wifi and touch-screen capabilities and even the ability to connect to a fishing network.


A tip to note is that although navigation isn’t their main purpose, fishfinders with GPS are good for safety purposes, especially if you’re fishing alone.


Here’s our full selection of fishfinders – let us know if you have any questions about a particular one you’re eyeing or if you’re still wondering what to prioritize!