Side imaging fish finders are here to save the day. It may cost you a little more money to have this enjoyable fishing experience, but who isn’t willing to try out new things every day?
These devices come in different brands, shapes, and prices. It will be so hard to make up your mind about the best side imaging fish finder for you, but that’s why I’m here. I will make your life at ease.
Side imaging fish finders are the cool thing nowadays. I’ll make sure to narrow down your options and walk you through this trip step by step till you buy one of the best side imaging fish finders.
Table of Contents
List of the Best Side Imaging Fish Finders:
- Garmin Striker 75V – Best Overall
- Humminbird 410230-1 Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 – Best for Multifunctionality
- Lowrance HDS-7 – Best for Technology
- Lowrance Hook 25 – Best Rechargeable Side Imaging Fish Finder
- Humminbird 410210 Helix CHIRP GPS G2 – Budget Choice
Our Top Picks:
|Garmin Striker 7SV
|1100 Ft. in saltwater, and 2300 Ft. in freshwater
|Hull, transom, kayak
|Hull, transom, kayak
|Lowrance Hook 25
The 5 Best Side Imaging Fish Finders in 2021
1. Garmin Striker 7SV – Best Overall
The Garmin striker is an attention-seeker kind of finder. It looks so good that no fisher can skip it. It’s effortlessly mounted and can be used in saltwater and freshwater.
It’s impressive how deep the Garmin can go. The device can go to levels more profound than its Humminbird and Lowrance counterparts. It can go deep till 2300 feet in freshwater, and 1100 feet in saltwater.
It has the CHIRP sonar, which can show you a detailed picture of your prey by reflecting its density and shape on the screen. Is that it?
No, there’s more to the Garmin Striker than most fishers think.
The device has two features, particularly tailored for Garmin devices. Firstly, clearVü, which is responsible for giving you a clear image of the moving bodies below your boat. Secondly, SideVü, which provides you with a high-quality picture of marine life on both sides of your boat.
The Garmin Striker weighs about 1.7 pounds, which contributes big time to its portability. It can be mounted on big boats or kayaks.
Another worth-mentioning feature about the Garmin Striker is that it reflects the speed of your boat on the screen. Maintaining slow speed is crucial while using side imaging fish finders because the slower the pace of your boat, the more precise the image of your prey on the screen.
Another advantage is that it comes with a transducer, which forms a high image resolution. The device doesn’t support the Wi-Fi feature, but it works as GPS during fishing trips.
The Garmin Striker has a one year warranty in case of any accidents.
- Embedded GPS
- Loose and unstable cord
This one will work ideally with ice fishers, because of its lightness. Also, the embedded GPS will replace the absence of Wi-Fi and preloaded maps. It’s good quality for money.
2. Humminbird 410230-1 Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 – Best for Multifunctionality
This version of the Humminbird is the all-around side imaging fish finder. It’s budget-friendly, multifunctional, and beyond description.
It can be used in different seasons throughout the year with no lags. The Humminbirds are made to cope with climate change and different fishing techniques. For instance, if you are an ice fisher, then the device should be on the top of your list because of its buttoned screen.
It’s also provided with an outstanding display that will work flawlessly on sunny days. If you are a night owl, it would also work fine because of its vivid display.
Most of the fishing trips may start at dawn and end in the evening, which makes the Humminbird the right choice because of its nine hour-long battery life.
What comes off like a surprise is that it can do both side and down imaging, which is what any fisher could ever ask for. I know I would!
It can work as a side-scan sonar that forms clear pictures about the world on both sides and still give you an idea of what lies down beneath you till 400 feet deep.
What most people don’t like about this device is its heavyweight, Unlike the Garmin Striker, which could be carried around in your back pocket. It must be mounted on boats or big kayaks to offer a stable balance and proper functionality.
The Humminbird offers a one year warranty to all device holders.
- Weather adjustable
- User friendly
- Long-life battery (9 hours)
- Low in stock
- No touch screen
It’s an all-in-one type of finder. I can’t find one valid reason not to buy it. It suits all fishing techniques and can be mounted on boats and kayaks, although it’s pretty heavy, and some people may consider it a downside. But, its high wattage and long battery life attract a lot of buyers towards it.
3. Lowrance HDS-7 – Best for Technology
The device is so entertaining, especially to technology geeks. It comes with multiple options to make you in control as a fisherman, as it gives you the privilege of choosing between a touch screen or buttoned interface, which wasn’t provided by the Humminbird fishfinder.
The Lowrance is simply adapted to weather conditions. If you are feeling cold and wearing gloves, you can use the physical buttons feature in the device.
Also, the device comes with a vivid HD screen that reflects colors attractively.
It’s user friendly, as it enables you to navigate between applications quickly without missing a notch about the life down there.
The device is provided with the CHIRP sonar, which will offer you a clear differentiation between fish and obstacles.
If you have a compatible transducer to this device, you are good to go. But, if you don’t, then you must buy a transducer which will be of an extra cost.
The Lowrance has a suitable weight for mounting on boats or kayaks. In addition to the fact that the device has internet access, which gives the fisher the privilege of checking online maps, and compensates for the low-quality preloaded maps offered by the device.
On the other hand, the device goes deep to 300 feet only, which may not be satisfactory to many fishers as there are other devices like the Garmin Striker that goes till 2300 feet deep in freshwater.
To all fishermen with trust problems, the Lowrance offers you a 2-year warranty.
- Internet access
- Touch screen and physical buttons
- Easy mounting
- CHIRP Sonar and HD screen
- The transducer isn’t included
- The preloaded maps are low-quality ones
The Lowrance HDS-7 is a technology-loving fish finder. It can access the internet, which could come in handy. The Lowrance proprietary software supports this feature. Also, using the internet allows you to connect the device to your cell phone and download as many applications as you need.
4. Lowrance Hook 2S – Best Rechargeable Side Imaging Fish Finder
The device may not be the best, but it has some worth-considering features. One of them is the preloaded maps of the US and Canada, which is useful if the GPS isn’t working well.
This model can come with three different transducers. Firstly, the triple shot transducer is a game-changer because it automatically refreshes the uploaded images on the screen, which are already clear because of the CHIRP sonar.
Secondly, the split shot transducer, which gives you the best of both worlds, offers you the benefits of having a CHIRP sonar plus the down scanning options for the world down below.
Finally, there is the bullet transducer, which comes in a minimal size and can fit on small kayaks and boats.
The device possesses an autotuning sonar feature that the Lowrance website refers to as: ”Made by the anglers for the anglers.”This feature helps the sonar to adjust to different water changes automatically.
It’s small in size and light in weight, that’s why it can be mounted on kayaks and transoms. Also, it can go to more profound levels than the HDS-7 Lowrance, as it goes till 500 feet deep.
Furthermore, It comes with a rechargeable battery that works for several hours per day. Honestly, the battery can die before the end of your fishing day. So, it’s recommended to bring along a spare battery and a charger, which doesn’t come in handy because no one likes the extra baggage.
This Lowrance device offers a one year warranty.
- Mounted on different boats
- Triple shot transducer
- Preloaded maps
- The rechargeable battery has a short life span
- Hard to navigate
You can buy this one if you go on short fishing trips, you won’t notice the lag in the battery. The reviews mentioned that after a month, the battery would no longer be recharged, and you will have to buy a new one, which can get a little pricey. But compared to all the excellent specs in that device, we can neglect that one demerit.
5. Humminbird 410210 Helix CHIRP GPS G2 – Budget Choice
That model is by far the cheapest side imaging fish finder. It has a good enough display for its cost.
It has a dual-beam sensor, which scans the surrounding space between the angles 20 and 60 degrees. The previous feature makes this Humminbird a keeper.
The device can spot schools of fish, as well as individual ones. It possesses the CHIRP sonar, but it doesn’t offer the best side-scan sonar, so the reflected images aren’t entirely clear.
The 410210 Humminbird can go deep to 500 feet and still gives you a clear image of the fish on both of your sides. But, some fishers claim that the device can go deep till 1500 feet but with a little blur in the image reflected on the screen.
Since it’s a Humminbird, it comes with the standard Humminbird map, which is not as good as the Humminbird 410230. However, it can still do the trick for some beginners.
The Humminbird offers a one year warranty to all device holders.
- Standard Humminbird map
- Dual-beam sonar
- SD card slot provided
- Too basic
- Doesn’t come with a transducer
- Needs software update
- Can’t be mounted on different platforms
- Doesn’t support side-scan mode
It’s not the first pick for any professional fisher, but then again, it’s a good quality for money. A side imaging fish finder for 300$ is hard to find these days. It can still achieve the primary purpose of a fish finder.
You should also check out this guide to the best Fish Finder GPS combos that will save you a lot of effort, time, and money.
How to Pick Your Go-to Side Imaging Fish Finder
Every angler should own a fish finder. Whether you are a beginner or a professional fisher. It’s always a good idea to buy one.
If you are a beginner and you got yourself a fish finder then, you wouldn’t worry about locating fish hotspots. If you are a professional, then you are experienced enough to know where to find your fish. Although, you shouldn’t waste your precious time on secondary things, and start using the side imaging fish finder to save your time.
Choosing a fish finder can get pretty overwhelming because there are wide varieties to consider.
You can go online and check the best side scan fish finder and buy yourself the coolest one out there. But, wouldn’t it be better to know the basics of a good-quality side imaging fish finder?
There is no particular frequency range that you should consider. You need to choose the frequency of the device based on the distance from where you plan to fish.
If you fish in deep waters, then you should consider a low-frequency side imaging fish finder. However, if you fish in shallow waters, then a high-frequency fish finder will give you a clear cut image.
It wouldn’t hurt if you got a high power fish finder. If the power is high, then you will get faster and more explicit images for the marine life down there, which will be reflected as readings on the screen of your device.
It is the core of your selection criteria. A transducer sends sonar waves deep down into the water and collects some info about life down there. The waves return with clear clarification.
Transducers can be mounted in different angles on your fishing boat. Also, they can be adjusted to variable frequencies according to your fishing plan.
The whole point of having a fish finder is to have a smooth picture of what goes on deep down. So, if you don’t have that bright display on your screen, that might be a little worthless.
The display should be with adjustable brightness to keep you going on sunny days.
When you are in the water, everything gets slippery. You have to be careful not to break your finder. That’s why you have to be very picky and choose one with supreme durability, to stick with you through thick and thin.
Fishfinders are used in the water. It won’t make any sense if that fish finder isn’t waterproof. Make sure to have a durable waterproof finder.
I believe that human beings think of any massive object as a burden. The same applies to fish finders. The lighter, the better.
But that aspect isn’t that effective anymore because you will mount the finder anywhere on your boat.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Do You See in Side Imaging Devices?
When you turn on the fish finder’s screen for the first time, you might feel some confusion. Cheer up! Everything is about to be more explicit.
The first thing you will notice is a boat-shaped highlight at the top of your screen, and that image represents the distance that you have covered.
The dark shaded area on the two sides of your boat represents the water column beneath you. Any school of fish or unusual moving body will be shown as a lighter transition in the darker shades.
Should You Pay these Extra Dollars?
It depends, but mostly yes, you should. Nothing is ever perfect, and neither is the side imaging fish finder. Every day people discover new technologies and try to reach a better outcome for the problems that were in previous products.
Side imaging fish finders are perfect for shallow water fishing, especially if you aren’t rushing your boat. That way, you can take high-resolution scans of what lies on the left and right of your boat.
The problem with side imaging fish finders is that you can’t detect what lies deep in the water beneath your boat. If you move quickly, you won’t be able to take proper images, because the device needs time to send sonar waves and receive them back, which later on is displayed as a low-resolution picture.
Side Imaging vs. Down Imaging Fish Finders
Side imaging fish finders are an excellent option when you are fishing in shallow waters because they can capture clear images on the two sides of the boat, but not below it.
You have to be moving slowly to get the right quality image of the marine life on both of your sides, which may lead to missing some fish troops passing by. But, they still can give you a more accurate image than down imaging fish finders.
A primary turn off about side imaging fish finders is that they are comparatively pricey.
Down imaging fish finders are best used in deep waters, as it can give you a good picture of the marine life beneath your boat. What stands out in this type is that they can take quick shots while the boat is moving at a relatively high speed.
What makes down imaging fish finders a buzz killer is that you will know that a particular fish is 5 meters below your boat. But you won’t know if it is 5 meters down to your left or your right.
It’s funny that a side imaging fish finder may be more expensive than all the fishing equipment collectively. But, you need to buy your peace of mind. Save up for a month or two, and get that life-saving device. You will save your time with this amount of money.
I recommend the Lowrance HDS-7. The Wi-Fi feature in the Lowrance device is a deal-breaker for all technology geeks. You can access Google maps using the Wi-Fi feature, which can spare you the con of having low-quality preloaded maps on that fishfinder. However, the fact that a Lowrance comes with no transducer can turn away a lot of buyers.
But it’s nothing a Humminbird 410230 can’t fix. A Humminbird is a multifunctional device that supports side and down imaging, which provides you with a clear cut image that could spare you the absence of Wi-Fi. It may be low in stock, but it is still available at many sellers on Amazon. You’d better fetch yours before it’s all gone.
It all depends on what type of fisherman you are. You have to check all the properties and know if the side imaging fish finder is the best side imaging fish finder for you.