Updated Jun 23, 2022 10:24 AM
Humminbird was born in and still lives in the bass and inshore fishing world. Started in 1971 in Eufaula, Alabama and spearheaded by Tom Mann, Humminbird’s first depth flasher brought deep-water bass fishing to the masses, especially tournament anglers.
That started an arms race among sonar manufacturers to have the best electronics possible available at an affordable price for everyday anglers. To stay at the head of the competition, Humminbird set milestones in digital displays and high-powered sonar. The iconic black and gold fish finders are on the boats of the best anglers in the game.
Today, Humminbird is on the cutting edge of side-imaging, down-imaging and live-view sonar. And, the company brings the best technology at an affordable price. From the simplest fish finder to the most advanced marine electronics, Humminbird emphasizes intuitive controls and user-friendly features.
With four distinct lines of depth finders and a variety of models, Humminbird likely makes a fish finder that’s perfect for how you fish. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to find the best one for you, because of all the differences in features, abilities, and detail.
How to Pick the Best Humminbird Fish Finder for You
The most important thing to consider before buying a Humminbird is which line to choose. Humminbird fish finders come in four lines: Apex, Solix, Helix and PiranhaMax. Each offers specific functions, along with features available across the lines. For example, you can get Humminbird’s best MEGA sonar on Apex, Solix and Helix, but only Apex and Solix have a touch screen. This means you can give up a few conveniences or advanced features and get the depth finder you need within your budget.
To determine the best Humminbird fish finders, we balanced features, user interface and cost. The winner didn’t always have the highest price tag or the most buttons; our picks are the best fish finders for various purposes and budgets.
Here’s a basic breakdown of Humminbird’s fish finder lineup:
- Apex is the top line of Humminbird fish finders, with the largest screens and the most advanced features. Since these fish finders are more than most anglers need, we didn’t enter them in the running for best Humminbird fish finder—they would win every category except size and price.
- Humminbird’s Solix line is ready to run multiple systems in up to four screens at the same time. The touchscreen display makes it easy to access all of Humminbird’s best features.
- By sacrificing the touch screen, the Helix line offers many of the same features as the more expensive models. For durability and versatility, the Helix line can’t be beat.
- The least expensive PiranhaMAX uses Humminbird’s best traditional sonar and high-resolution color display. The small housing with a 4.3-inch screen fits on a skiff, canoe or kayak. Available with traditional or down view sonar, the PiranhaMAX offers a powerful fish finder at a very reasonable price.
With four lines of fish finders, Humminbird covers both the water and most angler’s needs. Whether you’re looking for the most advanced electronics to stay ahead of the competition, or a simple fish finder to stay over the fish, Humminbird has you covered.
Why It Made The Cut: The Helix 5 comes with advanced sonar, down view, Humminbird’s basic base map, the capability to upgrade to more detailed charts—features most anglers can use—in a convenient size at a very good price.
- Screen size: 5 inches
- Display Pixel Matrix: 800 x 400
- CHIRP sonar
- Great price for its ability
- Best DownImage sonar
- Dual-signal CHIRP sonar
- Detailed base map
- No side or 360-view sonar
We didn’t choose the most expensive or the most feature-rich model as the best Humminbird fish finder for most anglers. Instead we chose the Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2, which has all the features most anglers need without anything extra. For a clear view of structure and fish below the boat, CHIRP sonar sends a long pulse of energy into the water and uses two signals for a stereoscopic image with improved definition and separation. To see every detail of structure, from tree limbs to individual boulders, the Helix 5’s DownImaging sonar uses a high-powered signal for a photo-like image of the bottom.
On the chartplotter side of the package, Humminbird’s base maps are detailed enough for basic navigation with the option to upgrade to more accurate maps. Or, use the custom mapping to make detailed charts of depth contours. The five-inch screen is large enough to see from a distance, but small enough to fit on a skiff or paddle craft.
Best with GPS
Why It Made The Cut: The eight-inch display with split screen mode allows an angler to see depth and navigation information simultaneously, and it offers interconnectivity between trolling motor, downrigger, and other electronics.
- Screen size: 8 inches
- Display Pixel Matrix: 1024 x 600
- Maximum depth: 1,200 feet
- Network connected
- Adjustable CHIRP frequencies
- High-definition display
- Lakemaster charts
- Side view and down view not included
The bright eight-inch screen on the Humminbird Helix 8 CHIRP GPS G4 offers enough space to run multiple functions in split-screen mode, and still provide a clear view. It has Humminbird’s best CHIRP transducer and the ability to adjust frequency and coverage to the water that you’re fishing.
With WiFi, ethernet and Bluetooth interfaces, anglers can communicate with the trolling motor, downrigger, and other Minn Kota and Cannon electronics from the Helix 8 G4. Humminbird includes their basemap and detailed Lakeview charts that include surrounding points of interest, and the ability to create a real-time map of your fishing area.
Best for Kayak Fishing
Why It Made The Cut: One of the best fish finders for kayaks, this model has an easy-to-read display with glare resistance and bright, clear colors. It also includes the latest side-view and down-view sonar with the option to add live sonar, plus detailed charts of lakes and coastal areas for North America.
- Screen size: 10 inches
- Display Pixel Matrix: 1280 x 800
- Touch screen
- Side imaging and down imaging
- Live and 360-view
- Lakemaster and Coastmaster charts
- Touchscreen and button control
The Solix 10 CHIRP MEGA G3N is the ultimate kayak fish finder and GPS combo because it houses all of Humminbird’s top-of-the-line features in an easy-to-use and easy-to-see display. Kayak anglers use the Solix 10 for the wide, clear, bright screen and super-fast processor that allows the user to quickly access multiple functions on one screen.
Humminbird’s MEGA imaging is the most detailed and adjustable imaging on the water. LakeMaster and CoastMaster charts are accurate for finding bottom contours and finding your way home. The touch screen and intuitive menus and control make it simple to take advantage of all of Solix’s functions.
Why It Made The Cut: The portable kit includes a five-inch Helix display, dual-spectrum CHIRP sonar, and a powerful 1024-segment flasher mode so you can see bottom, fish, and your lure simultaneously—a solid advantage when jigging on the ice.
- Screen size: 5 inches
- Display Pixel Matrix: 800 x 480
- High-definition display
- Adjustable CHIRP signal
- 1024-segment flasher
- Recharge glow-in-the-dark jigs
- Large, clear display
Humminbird’s Helix 5 ice package houses a powerful fish finder in a portable case complete with battery and transducer. The Helix 5 CHIRP G2 uses Humminbird’s dual spectrum CHIRP sonar that can be adjusted for the best return image. Combined with the 1024-segment flasher, anglers can mark bottom structure and individual fish at the same time. To focus on the most productive area of the water column, use the adjustable zoom.
Don’t worry about fishing in a crowd—six settings on the Helix 5 dial in the sonar signal to dial out competing signals. There’s even a Jig Charge Mode to recharge luminescent lures quickly. An additional benefit: with a traditional transducer and mounting bracket, the Helix 5 fish finder can be installed on your boat for use on open water.
Best on a Budget
Why It Made The Cut: The 4.3-inch color screen is larger than other compact fish finders, anglers can choose between a wide or narrow beam for deep or shallow water, and it costs less than $100.
- Screen size: 4.3 inches
- Display Pixel Matrix: 272 x 480
- Dual spectrum CHIRP sonar
- Low cost
- Full-color screen
- Dual-beam transducer
For a small fish finder, the PiranhaMax 4 packs a powerful punch for less than $100. The bright, 256-color display makes it easy to determine hard bottom from soft, and displays structure such as rocks and deadfalls. Anglers can choose a wide beam for shallow water and a narrow beam to capture more detail in water up to 600 feet deep. The PiranhaMax boasts a sturdy housing and glare-resistant screen and swivel mount—perfect for use on an open boat—and has fish and depth alarm settings.
When it comes to crowning the best Humminbird fish finder, we could have picked the most expensive model with the most features. But that’s not fair to anglers on a budget. So, we looked for the best Hummingbird fish finder most people could afford.
Lining up all the Humminbird fish finder models and comparing them for features and value, we settled on the Helix 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 as the best Humminbird fish finder for most anglers. Combining the best down imaging sonar with a high-powered GPS and Humminbird’s basemap allows the Helix 5 to cover the bases without breaking the bank.
The best fish finder will fit in almost any boat or watercraft. To meet these criteria, a fish finder doesn’t have to do it all. But it must perform at the top of its class. We looked at fish finder display, sonar signals, available options, and transducers. Then we examined navigation for accuracy and accessibility. We’ve discovered that a fish finder with the features we need is easier to use than a more advanced model with complicated options. Easy access and the features most anglers need weighed highly.
Q: How do I choose a Humminbird fish finder?
It’s actually really easy to choose a Humminbird fish finder. Humminbird offers four distinct lines of fish finders, with a variety of models in each line.The Apex series offers all the bells and whistles in screens up to 18.5 inches wide. Step down to the Solix for most of the same features in a smaller screen size. Sacrifice the touch screen and save some money with the most popular Helix line. Or, get a great fish finder boasting Humminbird’s industry-leading technology in the PiranhaMax series.
Q: Is Humminbird side imaging worth it?
Humminbird’s side imaging means you get a fish finder that can see to the side of the boat, and gives the fish no place to hide. Side-imaging sonar has led to 360-imaging and live-view, for complete coverage of the water around the boat. Humminbird’s MEGA sonar is the first to use signals over one megahertz to provide the clearest and most detailed imagery. Using side-imaging sonar, you’ll be able to see fish and structure up to 200 feet on either side of the boat. In fact, you can even identify specific species of fish and determine the depth at which they’re swimming.
Q: What is the difference between Humminbird G2N and G3N?
Humminbird’s G2N fish finders were replaced with G3N and now the new G4N. Each level offers higher power output and better transducer signal to provide a clearer and wider side-view, down-view, 360 and live-view image. The latest G4 has an upgraded screen with increased resolution.
Getting a fish finder often means choosing one that has the features you don’t want rather than one that has the features you do want. Price, size, and advanced features all go hand in hand, so think about what you need, and what you don’t need, before buying one. Make sure you know how to read your fish finder display before heading out so you make the most of your time on the water.