Best Depth Finder For Pontoon Boat in 2022

By May 18, 2022
This in-depth guide makes it easy to find the best depth finder for your pontoon boat. Learn the difference between a depth finder and a fish finder, and discover top products in both categories.

If you don’t have a depth finder for your pontoon boat then you may be missing out on some impressive catches, or even worse, you might find that you don’t catch anything at all.

Different schools of fish tend to sit at different depths, and whether you are sea fishing or lake fishing, a pontoon depth finder can help you to cast your line at a depth that gives you the best chance of catching something.

You may have all of the other equipment you need, but without a depth finder, you may find it a frustrating fishing trip. Arguably, a depth or “fish finder” (a device that does a similar job) is the most important piece of kit you will buy, especially if you are exploring new and exciting areas.

Is a Depth Finder The Same as a Fish Finder?

Depth Finder

Before we dive into the pontoon boat depth finder options it is important to make this distinction.

A depth finder is a device to take on your boat with you that shows purely information about the depth of the water. On the other hand, a fish finder has incredibly similar technology but instead produces a view of where schools of fish seem to be. Fish finders also create maps for you to follow.

A fish finder often has depth finder capabilities. This means that many people buy a fish finder instead. A lot of companies have stopped making depth finders as a fish finder can do the same thing, so many of the products on our list are branded as “fish finders”.

Best Depth Finder for Pontoon Boat

Let’s dive into four of the best depth finders and fish finders for your needs.

Best Fish Finder for Pontoon Boat

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

Gives you a trustworthy way to view depth.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

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What we like

  • Comes with powerful GPS.
  • Reliable sonar for depth finding.
  • Easy to set alarms.

What we don’t like

  • Expensive.

Garmin is a company with a rich history of making navigational products, and that includes products for use on the water.

The Striker Vivid 4cv is a fish finder but has lots of different options for displaying the depth and even setting depth alarms. You can easily find the depth you’re looking for, or just see if you’re in a decent spot for fishing.

On top of that, you can enjoy all the fish finder technologies. The clever sonar color palette shows you an image of the bottom of the waterbed, and it uses a GT20 transducer for built-in CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar. This is a reliable method of seeing depth.

Being Garmin, the GPS features are great, too. You can even create and save routes that have been successful.

You’ll get a swiveling mount with the fish finder making it simple to mount this anywhere that is convenient on your pontoon boat.

Pros

  • Comes with powerful GPS
  • Reliable sonar for depth finding
  • It’s easy to set alarms for the depth you desire

Cons

  • More expensive than some of the competing models

Best Depth Finder With App

JOYLOG Depth Finder

One of the best fish finder and depth finder with a great range.

JOYLOG Depth Finder

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What we like

  • Compact.
  • iOS and Android app available.
  • Affordable.

What we don’t like

  • Tricky to charge.
  • Depends on the phone’s battery life.

JOYLOG is both a fish finder and depth finder with a range of up to 40 meters underwater. It is a small standalone sonar device, which can be used from your pontoon boat to see a topographic map and check things like the depth and the temperature of the water.

Just pair this with the JOYLOG APP to see the dynamics of what is going on underwater. It has reliable performance and even automatically shuts down after leaving the water to save battery.

This is easy to pair on both iOS and Android devices, so you won’t have to worry about whether it works with your phone. A modern device is likely to support it. It means a small and compact option for taking out on your fishing trip, and it just looks like another float.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Works well with iOS and Android devices
  • More affordable than most fish finder devices

Cons

  • Relies on the battery life of your phone
  • Bespoke charger can make it awkward to charge

Best Affordable Depth Finder

Handheld Sonar Depth Finder

If you’d rather have a handheld device try this affordable option with simple controls.

Handheld Sonar Depth Finder

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What we like

  • Excellent value for money.
  • Can attract some light-sensitive fish.
  • Don’t worry about mounting or recharging batteries.

What we don’t like

  • Only works with AA batteries.

If you’d rather have a handheld device instead of something that mounts onto your pontoon boat, this can still be used just as effectively and provides an affordable option with simple controls.

It detects fish and temperatures in water up to 300 feet deep, and you can also use this device on the ice. Simply shoot it through the ice and drill a hole to check the potential fish below.

It’s 30 meters waterproof so some people have even used this handheld model when diving and snorkeling. The device is roughly the size and shape of a flashlight and it uses AA batteries.

There is also a light that attracts fish by using an echo sounder. Some light-sensitive fish will be drawn towards it as a result, making your trip more successful.

Not only can this work as a pontoon boat depth finder, but you can also take it with you on any fishing trip or trip on the water where it might prove to be useful.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Convenient, no need to worry about mounting or recharging batteries
  • Can attract some light-sensitive fish

Cons

  • Not as good for the environment due to the AA battery use
  • Could benefit from the option to mount on your pontoon boat

The Simplest Depth Finder on The Market.

HawkEye DT1B DepthTrax 1B

The simplest but effective depth finder on the market.

HawkEye DT1B DepthTrax 1B

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What we like

  • Clear display.
  • Works up to 600 feet.
  • Can continue to detect despite various barriers.

What we don’t like

  • No mapping, GPS or fish finder features.
  • Some have described the alarms as “annoying loud”.

If you are just in the market for the simplest depth finder possible, with an interface that makes it virtually impossible to get the settings wrong, the HawkEye DT1B might be the option for you.

You don’t get any of the fish finder properties that other models on the list offer, but many people are just looking for an item to mount on their pontoon boat and see how deep the water is. This could be all you need.

The HawkEye works from 2.5 to 600 feet on a large display. It also offers an In-Dash Depth Sounder working at speeds of up to 60 mph.

The Sonar technology allows for depth readings even through aluminum or fiberglass hulls, and you can set audible alarms as well as LED lights to tell you when you have reached the desired depth.

Pros

  • Excellent polarized screen with a clear display
  • Works reliably up to 600 feet
  • Can still detect via Sonar through fiberglass and thin aluminum

Cons

  • No mapping, GPS or fish finder features in this simple device
  • Some have described the alarms as “annoying loud” – but then what alarms aren’t?

Summary – The Right Pontoon Depth Finder For You

Pontoon depth finders and fish finders can vary hugely in their price and features. The options on this list all have something different to offer and can assist you on your next fishing trip.

Before you take the plunge and make a purchase, think about whether you simply want a product to provide you with readings of the depth or whether you want other features. Some are capable of mapping out whole lakes to show you where potential schools of fish are, but this can lead to a more expensive purchase.

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