Navigating the world of angling equipment can be challenging. That’s especially true when it comes to side imaging fish finders, given the extensive range of options available in 2023. This post makes it easy for you to narrow down your search by comparing the top-notch models on the market.
Finding the right fish finder is not just about catching more fish; it is about enhancing your overall fishing experience. Whether you are a casual hobbyist or an experienced professional, there’s a device that will cater to your needs. Let’s get started unveiling the best side imaging fish finders of 2023. Your ideal fishing companion awaits.
Also Read: Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders in 2023
Best Side Imaging Fish Finders
Best Overall Side Imaging Fish Finder
1. Humminbird 410950-1NAV HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI (MEGA Side Imaging) GPS G3 NAV Fish Finder
1. Humminbird 410950-1NAV HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI (MEGA Side Imaging) GPS G3 NAV Fish FinderShop now
What we like
- High resolution display
- Comprehensive mapping
- Intuitive user interface
- Excellent performance
- Solid price point
What we don’t like
- Installation requires painstaking care
- Depth display issues at high speeds
In the realm of angling, clarity and precision are paramount. The Humminbird 4109501NAV HELIX 7 Fish Finder excels at providing you with both, and combines utility with user-friendliness. As such, it is our top overall choice for a side imaging fish finder.
- The installation process is reasonably straightforward, ensuring you can get out on the water with little delay.
- The user interface is intuitive, allowing even the novice angler to quickly grasp its operation.
- The 7-inch, ultra-wide color TFT display offers ample room for a split-screen display. With 800H x 480V resolution and beautiful colors, it is easy to see the fish and underwater structures.
- This fish finder provides comprehensive mapping with its included Navionics+ data for over 21,000 lakes in the U.S. and Canada.
- Exceptional clarity is provided through the MEGA Side Imaging and MEGA Down Imaging, making for unrivaled views of the underwater world.
- Considering its advanced features, the pricing falls in a moderate range, making it a fit for most budgets.
- Shipping is surprisingly speedy, a testament to Humminbird’s dedication to customer service.
- One minor flaw is its inability to display depth when cruising at high speeds.
- It is easy to mess up the installation if you do not follow the instructions very carefully.
When you factor in its value for money, ease of installation, and top-notch imaging, this fish finder is a winner. The minor drawback involving depth display at high speeds does little to overshadow its overall performance. Humminbird has truly hit a home run with the 410950-1NAV HELIX 7.
Best Fully Networked Side Imaging Fish Finder
2. Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder with Active Imaging
2. Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder with Active ImagingShop now
What we like
- Impressive detail on the high resolution screen
- Maps are pre-loaded
- Fantastic networking capabilities
- ActiveTarget Live Sonar
What we don’t like
- Tricky installation
- Some units have transducer flaws
The Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder with Active Imaging is truly a game-changer. This model, 000-15688-001, comes packed with remarkable features that aid in making every fishing trip a success.
First and foremost, the Active Imaging 3-in-1, with its CHIRP, SideScan, and DownScan capabilities, provides a refined level of detail, allowing one to see underwater structures and fish like never before. The included ActiveTarget Live Sonar support facilitates high-resolution images of fish in real-time. Observing fish as they swim around structures and respond to your lure gives you an edge (and makes for a fun time).
Another impressive aspect is the Elite Fishing System’s full networking capabilities. With integrated wireless, NMEA 2000, and Ethernet connectivity, this model can communicate with other devices, share sonar, charts, waypoints, and more.
The 7-inch multi-touch screen is user-friendly and features a high resolution, making it easy to read and interpret underwater structures. A 9-inch display is available as well. It comes preloaded with high-resolution C-MAP Contour+ charts, saving time and effort.
It must be mentioned that the installation process can be a bit tricky. Also, some units seem to ship out with transducer-related flaws (most are not affected, thankfully).
- Active Imaging 3-in-1 and ActiveTarget Live Sonar provide high-resolution underwater views.
- Full networking capabilities, including data sharing with other devices.
- 7-inch multi-touch high-resolution screen for easy operation.
- Preloaded C-MAP Contour+ charts help to locate fish faster.
- Installation might be a bit complex for some users.
- There are occasional issues with the transducer in certain units.
In conclusion, the Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder with Active Imaging is a robust and feature-rich tool that can significantly enhance your fishing experiences. Despite a few minor drawbacks, it is highly recommended for serious anglers looking for powerful networking capabilities in a side imaging fish finder. It is indeed an investment that brings excellent returns in terms of successful and enjoyable fishing trips.
Best Large Screen Side Imaging Fish Finder
3. Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv with GT56UHD-TM Transducer
3. Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv with GT56UHD-TM TransducerShop now
What we like
- Large, beautiful, clear display
- Fantastic performance
- Compatible with Panoptix products
- Display is easy to read in the sunlight
What we don’t like
- Refresh rate could improve
- Price is in the premium range
Locating fish is easy with the Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv. This fish finder is outfitted with a GT56UHD-TM transducer, while the ECHOMAP delivers CHIRP traditional sonar and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars, all offering 20% more range than previous models.
A striking feature is the 12-inch keyed-assist IPS touchscreen, which is designed for ease of use and superb visibility under sunlight. This is significantly larger than the maximum size for a lot of competing products. The Vivid scanning sonar color palettes allow for easy differentiation between targets and underwater structures. So, even in unfamiliar waters, you are never lost.
Another excellent aspect of the ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv is its compatibility with Panoptix LiveScope™ LVS12 and the complete Panoptix™ sonar line (which you would need to purchase separately).
This device makes fishing more interactive, creating personalized fishing maps with 1-foot contours as you explore the water. It also facilitates sharing sonar, maps, waypoints, and routes with other compatible units.
Though it offers advanced features, this device might lag in its refresh rate. In addition, the price point is on the higher end of the spectrum, which may deter some buyers.
- Exceptional 12-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen.
- GT56UHD-TM transducer provides a wider range and greater depth detail.
- Supports Panoptix LiveScope™ system.
- Allows sharing of data with other ECHOMAP units.
- Could benefit from a faster refresh rate.
- Premium price may be a deterrent for some.
All things considered, the Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 122sv is a top-end fish finder that promises to elevate your fishing experience.
Best Side Imaging Fish Finder for Ease-of-Use
4. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv Fish Finder
4. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv Fish FinderShop now
What we like
- Vibrant, clear display
- Easy navigation and mapping
- Convenient app
- Impressive ease-of-use
What we don’t like
- Documentation isn’t great
- A chartplotter would be nice
Ready to elevate your fishing game, but need a side imaging fish finder that is especially easy to use? The Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv may just be the tool for you.
Unpacking this device, you will appreciate the compact and lightweight form factor, tipping the scales at just 454 grams. Its 7-inch display, packed with vibrant colors, simplifies fish and structure identification. With its high-contrast Vivid Scanning Sonar color palettes, understanding what’s happening beneath the water becomes effortless.
This fishfinder comes loaded with Garmin’s signature CHIRP sonar, which, when paired with the included GT52HW-TM transducer, offers unparalleled underwater detail via CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars.
It should not take you long to locate and learn how to use all the features; the Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv has an easier learning curve than a lot of competing devices thanks to its intuitive design.
Navigating waters is made easy with this device’s high-sensitivity GPS, allowing waypoint marking, route creation, and speed tracking of your boat. The Quickdraw contours mapping feature provides the ability to create and save customized maps, down to 1-foot contours.
One of the standout features is its built-in Wi-Fi, which enables seamless connection to the ActiveCaptain app. With this, you can transfer waypoints, receive smart notifications, and even join the Garmin Quickdraw community.
However, note that there’s no chartplotter function – a miss for those who need advanced navigation.
Though the setup can initially seem daunting due to scant documentation, a variety of online video guides are available to walk you through it.
But Garmin’s customer service does not disappoint. Should one need help, the support team goes above and beyond.
In summary, the Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv Fishfinder is a fantastic device that puts advanced sonar capabilities and GPS navigation into a compact, user-friendly package.
- The high-contrast, easy-to-use 7″ color display is vivid and easy to read.
- Superior sonar capabilities provide accurate imaging.
- High-sensitivity GPS makes for easy navigation.
- Quickdraw Contours mapping helps you customize your journey.
- Wi-Fi connectivity with app support offers convenience.
- Excellent customer service awaits you should you need it.
- The lack of a chartplotter function is a bit annoying.
- Limited included documentation makes setup harder than it needs to be.
Best Side Imaging Fish Finder for the Money
5. Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Inch Fish Finders with Transducer
5. Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Inch Fish Finders with TransducerShop now
What we like
- Great value for the low price point
- Precise and accurate
- Easy navigation
- Autotuning Sonar
What we don’t like
- The transducer is fragile
- Occasional lag issues
An excellent buy on a budget, the Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Inch Fish Finder with Transducer offers a delightful balance of functionality and affordability. FishReveal technology, exclusive to Lowrance, merges the pinpoint accuracy of CHIRP sonar with high-resolution DownScan Imaging. This translates to simpler identification and tracking of fish on the display.
Navigational aspects are straightforward with the built-in GPS Plotter, allowing for easy waypoint, route, and trail navigation. Note, however, that the “x” models of HOOK Reveal lack an included map or add-on mapping support.
One of the key highlights is the TripleShot transducer, a boon for any angler. The wide-angle high CHIRP sonar coupled with high-resolution structure images from SideScan and DownScan Imaging makes for a comprehensive tool.
The Autotuning Sonar is another thoughtful inclusion, offering consistent, high-quality sonar images by dynamically adjusting settings based on fishing conditions.
However, not everything is perfect. The TripleShot Transducer can be a tad fragile. Moreover, there might be minor lag because of the refresh rate.
- This product offers exceptional value for the price.
- FishReveal technology provides excellent fish detection.
- The TripleShot transducer delivers wide-coverage, high-resolution imaging.
- Autotuning Sonar adapts to changing fishing conditions.
- The transducer can be a bit delicate.
- You might sometimes get some lag due to the refresh rate.
All in all, the Lowrance Hook Reveal is an excellent tool for an angler looking to upgrade their fishing arsenal while being conscious of cost. The feature set is impressive, and despite a few minor drawbacks, it remains a strong choice.
Side Imaging Fish Finder vs. Down Imaging Fish Finder: What is the Difference?
Down imaging gives you a detailed, vertical view beneath your boat, allowing you to see fish, structures, and bottom contours clearly. On the other hand, side imaging offers a wider, horizontal view, scanning to the sides of your boat. It helps in covering more water and identifying the structures and fish on either side.
You might prefer down imaging for fishing the depths, while side imaging can be suitable for trawling in shallow waters.
How to Choose the Side Imaging Fish Finder
When you are picking out a side imaging fish finder, you need to consider the following factors:
- Screen size and resolution
- Inclusion of down imaging
- Overall performance and accuracy
- Refresh rate
- Whether sonar is included
- Type of transducer
- Mapping capabilities
- Networking capabilities
- Setup and installation
Also Read: 5 Best Portable Fish Finder in 2023
Now you are familiar with some of the best side imaging fish finders on the market. Figure out what your priorities are in terms of features, ease-of-use, and performance. Any of the products in our list would make an excellent addition to your boat, but you will have the best experience if you choose the product that most closely matches your needs.