Best Budget Fish Finder for Kayaks: Expert Reviews

Updated Aug 15, 2022 3:17 AM

After buying the paddle and life vest, the first kayak fishing accessory to add is a fish finder and GPS. Using the best kayak fish finder, anglers can harness the power of advanced sonar to see fish and structure below the water. Add a GPS, and the fish finder is a valuable navigation aid. Best of all, the best kayak fish finders are no longer expensive. Cool features that used to be reserved for expensive models are now standard on cheap fish finders. Whether you’re looking for a basic fish finder or an advanced sonar fish finder and navigation package, the best budget fish finder for your kayak is out there.

Answer a Few Simple Questions to Find the Best Budget Fish Finder for Your Kayak

With so many choices for the best budget fish finder for kayaks, you might get frustrated finding the right kayak fishing accessory. Just because you don’t have a big budget doesn’t mean you can’t get a great fish finder. The best features and functions are available at a lower price than ever. If you only need a small fish finder to mark depth and structure with basic GPS, then a four-inch fish finder may be right for you.

To use the fish finder and GPS in split-screen, or to access the power of side-scan sonar, look for a fish finder with a seven-inch display. Also, a seven-inch screen is best for a fish finder with GPS. The best GPS will include tide and current data along with detailed charts for navigation and finding the structure that holds fish. Today, many fishing kayaks are designed with routing and housing for a fish finder transducer. So installing any fish finder is quick and easy. 

So, is money the biggest factor when looking for the best fish finder for a kayak?

The best fish finder for kayaks allows any angler to add sonar and GPS to any kayak. From a basic fish finder to full-feature sonar and GPS, there is a value fish finder in your budget. The simplest fish finder has a four-inch screen that doesn’t take up much space. Look for a small base that is easy to install directly to the kayak hull. Or use a gear-track mount and flexible arm to easily install and move the fish finder display. Just because a fish finder has a small display, doesn’t mean it has to sacrifice features or quality.

The best budget fish finder for kayaks has a high-definition CHIRP sonar display, which sends sonar signals on two frequencies to create a more detailed image of structure and fish. The best kayak fish finder will also be a valuable navigation tool. Even basic GPS functions will help an angler find fish and find his way home. Not long ago, a basic fishfinder had a greyscale screen and single signal transducer. Now, color screens, high-definition transducers and high-power GPS are standard for the best budget fishing finder for kayaks.

Best Budget Fish Finder for Kayaks: Garmin Striker Plus 4

Garmin Striker is the best budget fish finder for kayaks.

The Garmin Striker Plus 4 Amazon

For a small fish finder, Garmin’s Striker Plus 4 has big features. The fish finder uses powerful CHIRP signal to create a clear image with excellent target separation. A basic GPS marks waypoints, plans routes and displays speed. QuickDraw charts allow the user to combine the GPS with fish finder to create custom depth charts. 

Do you need a fish finder with navigation charts?

Serious anglers are looking for all the advantages of a full-function fish finder and GPS. In addition to high-definition traditional sonar, a fish finder with GPS offers side-view and down-view sonar fish finder. These sonar fish finders use a high-power signal to create almost photographic images of structure and fish. Side-view sonar shoots a signal to the side of the boat to capture images of fish and structure up to 200 feet away. But the best kayak fish finder isn’t very good if you don’t know where you are. Combining a powerful sonar with detailed navigation charts and functions allows the angler to find structure, mark waypoints, monitor tide and current information and navigate from the launch to the fishing grounds and back. Today, these advanced features are available on inexpensive fish finder models that are a perfect fit on any kayak.

Best Budget Fish Finder with GPS: Raymarine Element 7 HV

Raymarine Element is the best budget fish finder for kayaks

The Raymarine Element 7 HV Bass Pro Shops

Side-view, down-view, 3D-view and CHIRP sonar signals make the Raymarine Element 7 HV a powerful fish-finding tool. A GPS with a detailed base chart and the ability to upload Raymarine and Navionics charts makes it a powerful navigation tool. Combining the two tools will give anglers an edge on the fish. 

Are you looking for the best fish finder with side-view sonar?

Nothing has changed the fish finder game like side-view sonar. The ability for the angler to see fish and structure up to 200 feet on either side of his kayak makes it harder for the fish to hide. The best budget fish finder for kayak with side-view sonar is compact and tough with a high-definition sonar signal capable of picking up slight deviations in structure and fish marks while cutting down noise and clutter.

Look for a display with multiple color choices to pick the shade that is most visible to match the conditions. A seven-inch display is easy to see from the kayak seat, even in direct sunlight. To fit in any kayak, the best side-view sonar will have a small transducer that will fit in a special scupper in the kayak hull. Using the best side-view sonar, you get a clear image of drops and humps, grass and rocks, deadfalls and wrecks and fish and bait hiding within.

Best Budget Fish Finder with Side-View Sonar: Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MSI 

Humminbird Helix 7 is the best budget fish finder for kayaks

The Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MSI Amazon

The Humming Helix 7 with MEGA Side Imaging has a stronger signal for a more detailed image. The best side-view sonar also has a GPS loaded with Humminbird’s base map and custom mapping. Tested and proven an icon in kayak fishing, the new Helix 7 MSI has all the functions most kayak angler’s need. 

How can you choose the best castable fish finder for a kayak?

Many kayak anglers don’t want to install a fish finder display and transducer on their kayak. Or, they have more than one kayak but a budget for only one fish finder. For these anglers, a castable fish finder is the best budget fish finder for kayak. Castable fish finders use a small transducer about the size of a tangerine. Tie the transducer to the end of a fishing line and cast it away from the kayak. Then, slowly retrieve the transducer while watching the display on a smartphone app. Or, attach the small transducer to a flexible arm mounted on the kayak to use it as a traditional sonar that doesn’t require permanent installation. The transducer uses Wi-Fi to connect to the phone. The best castable fish finders can even collaborate with the smartphone GPS to create custom maps of favorite fishing areas.

Best Castable Fish Finder: Deeper Smart Sonar Kayak Bundle

Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Kayak Bundle is the best budget fish finder for kayaks

The Deeper Smart Sonar Kayak Bundle Amazon

Deeper started the castable fish finder trend and still leads the race. The Deeper Pro Kayak Package combines their powerful Wi-Fi transducer with an easy-to-use smartphone app. All data is backed up and secured on a cloud server. The Kayak Package includes a flexible arm and C-clamp to attach the transducer to the kayak. 

Do you need the best kayak fish finder for the money?

Some anglers are looking for the best fish finder for the money. The best budget fish finder for kayaks sacrifices some features to save a little money. For around $100, you can get a high-powered traditional sonar and basic GPS. Even a cheap fish finder uses an advanced transducer with a high-powered signal and wide and narrow views. And, a basic GPS marks waypoints, creates routes and displays speed. Even at a bargain, the best budget fish finder is a powerful fishing and safety tool.

Best Sonar for the Money: Lowrance Hook2 4X

Lowrance HOOK2 4X Bullet GPS is the best budget fish finder for kayaks

The Lowrance Hook2 4X Bass Pro Shops

Lowrance’s Hook2 4X fish finder and GPS is easy to use and easy to see. The four inch screen is bright and clear, even in direct sun. A high-definition sonar image with autotune shows the clearest view of fish and structure. The simple menu and basic features are accessible through intuitive buttons. 

Garmin has the best budget fish finder for kayaks
You can also add a fish finder to your canoe. Joseph Albanese


Q: What is the best inexpensive fish finder?

Even after reviewing all the options available, you might still ask what is the best inexpensive fish finder? While there are plenty of basic fish finders for around $100, fish finders with advanced features can be bought at a great value. As fish finder technology has advanced into side-view and down-view sonar with high-powered GPS and detailed navigation charts, the best features are available at a lower price. To choose the best inexpensive fish finder, look for the cheapest fish finder that has the features you’ll use most often. 

Q: What is the best fish finder for a kayak?

Will any fish finder work on a kayak? What is the best fish finder for a kayak? It has never been easier to add electronics to a kayak. Many fishing kayaks are designed to accommodate a fish finder and transducer. If you plan to add a fish finder, look for a kayak with a special scupper to hold the transducer and gear tracks or mounting pads to install the display mount. For a simple fish finder and basic GPS, a four-inch display will take up less space in the cockpit. To access advanced features like side view and navigation charts, a seven-inch display is large enough to see in split-screen mode. 

Q: Can you use a fish finder on a kayak?

Can you use a fish finder on a kayak? In fact, you should use a fish finder on a kayak. Whether you’re on a motorboat or a kayak, a fish finder is a valuable fishing and safety tool. A fish finder provides images of the structure and fish below and to the sides of the boat. Combined with a GPS, the angler can keep track of speed, fishing locations and navigate to the fishing grounds and back. Kayak anglers value a GPS for information on speed and tracking so they can save paddling and pedaling energy. Monitoring depth and structure along with speed and distance allows kayak anglers to fish better and safer.

Why are there so many options for the best budget fish finder for kayaks?

Kayaks are designed for easy fish finder installation and fish finders are designed with more features at a lower price. This is a great time to harness the power of the most advanced electronics available on almost any fishing kayak. To find the best budget fish finder for kayaks, look for sturdy construction, a compact display and easy-to-install transducer. To find the best fish finder for the money, squeeze the most features out of the least expensive fish finder. Today’s best bargain fish finders for kayaks come with advanced sonar and navigation features at a great value. 

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