The budget fish finder is more or less a dying breed. The under-$100 fish finder is already extinct. There is no such thing left on the market, but if you want affordability, you can still get close. Of the three major fishing electronics manufacturers, which are Humminbird, Garmin, and Lowrance, two make units priced under $200. Lowrance does not.
Humminbird makes the PiranhaMAX series, while Garmin has a couple sub-$200 models of their Striker series. These are the only fish finders on the market under $200. Both feature 4.3-inch vertical orientation screens
The PiranhaMAX is offered in two models, the PiranhaMAX 4 and the PiranhaMAX 4 DI. The PiranhaMAX 4 is a sonar-only module, while the DI offers sonar and down imaging. Other than that, they are identical.
Garmin Striker series
Garmin offers three versions of the Striker series that are under $200. These are the Striker, the Striker plus, and the Striker Vivid.
The big difference between these and the PiranhaMAX is that the Vivid series includes GPS and mapping, which Humminbird’s offering does not. All three Striker models include GPS, mapping, and way-pointing as features.
The original Striker series contains sonar and mapping. The Striker Plus features the same plus Garmin’s Quickdraw Contours technology, which allows you to use sonar data to draw maps in real time as you fish. The Striker Vivid has all of that plus down imaging, which Garmin calls ClearVü.
Pricing of options
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 – $119.99
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DI – $169.99
Garmin Striker – $139.99
Garmin Striker Plus – $159.99
Garmin Striker Vivid – $179.99
The Striker Vivid is going to be the best bang for your buck. Just from a feature standpoint, it isn’t super close. Down imaging, regardless of brand, is a vastly superior image to that of traditional sonar. The Striker Vivid is the only unit under $200 that can give you GPS and chart-plotting abilities, sonar, and down imaging. It’s only $20 more than the Striker Plus, which lacks down imaging, and it’s only $10 more than the PiranhaMAX 4 DI, which lacks mapping.
Image quality is high pretty much no matter what brand you go with these days, and while screen size is certainly small, you won’t find anything bigger for under $200. The Striker Vivid has the best collection of features.
- Easy-to-use 4-inch color fishfinder with new vivid scanning sonar color palettes to easily distinguish fish and structure; tilt/swivel bailmount bracket included
- Includes a GT20 transducer for built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar
- High-sensitivity GPS to mark waypoints, create routes and view your boat’s speed
- Includes built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping