Handheld sonar systems – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best handheld sonar systems. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Hawkeye H22FX is the best because it’s budget-friendly, comes with an integrated flashlight, and can provide readings ranging from 2.5 feet to 200 feet in water depth. Besides, the Hawkeye H22FX has been described time and time again as versatile and easy to use, which is a significant detail to bear in mind for beginning users. The four interchangeable color lenses of this product can come in handy under many circumstances. If the Hawkeye H22FX is unavailable, you should consider the MarCum LX-I as it is a reliable alternative in terms of performance and quality.
Our Top Choice
The H22FX is a depth finder that comes equipped with an integrated LED flashlight. Although it’s rather reasonably priced, the model can offer you a good deal of detail with regard to the water depth, water and air temperature, as well as various fish readings. The capability of this model is from 2.5 feet to 200 feet.
Some anglers feel like they would not know how to operate the SOS function if they needed it.
Whether you are looking to use the HawkEye for a sailboat, fishing boat, or motorboat, it will surely raise up to par. Based on the owner feedback it’s gathered over time, it’s easy to use and versatile.
Performance and ease of use are two core features of the MarCum unit as it manages to serve you regardless of the circumstance. Its 2,500-watt power, as well as its 20-hour continuous runtime, make it one of the most reliable sonar systems ever to have been developed. Besides, the box includes a soft carry case.
The battery case could have been built out of better materials, as reported by some buyers.
The MarCum model is a high-end alternative developed for people looking to get depth readings of up to 299 feet, which is superior compared to other units whose capability is just up to 200 feet.
Also To Consider
Even if it is considerably more affordable than other options available on the market today, the Norcross H22PX is a good choice as it comes with the same depth reading capabilities of high-end choices. Besides, the unit offers info regarding the air and water temperature and also comes with a fish indicator.
Both the depth and the temperature are read by using the same button which is confusing and less useful.
This sonar system has a well-designed interface that does not raise any technical difficulties to owners. Its LCD display makes it a notable product as the Softglow backlight allows you to look at the display even at night.
For your consideration, we have compiled a list of the three most acclaimed units in the line. All of the following have been highly spoken of by American and international buyers alike. They’re dependable, convenient and easy to use, and they won’t ruin your budget. Have a look at them if you have the time.
3 Best Handheld Sonar Systems (Reviews) in 2023
1. Hawkeye H22FX Handheld Sonar System
The Hawkeye H22FX is probably the best handheld sonar system on the market today, considering the amount of appreciation it has managed to gather over time. The features of this model are diverse and extremely attractive, ranging from a fish indicator to display fish in the sonar beam to adaptive software programming that can minimize the false readings.
This unit is capable of offering depth readings from 2.5’ to 200’. As for displaying both the water and the air temperature, you needn’t worry about anything with the Hawkeye H22FX, since it has an integrated temperature sensor that does exactly that.
The model is water resistant and buoyant. One of the most appreciated characteristics of this variety is the integrated high-density LED flashlight. The product has two modes: manual and automatic. It is said that the manual mode works best for docks, piers, float tubes, canoes and kayaks while the automatic one is the perfect fit for boats and rafts.
The manufacturers are offering a 2-year warranty on this item.Buy from Amazon.com
2. Marcum Digital Handheld Sonar
This handheld sonar system has a power of 2,500 watts, making it the right choice for people who want to fish both in shallow and in deep waters. The model can offer depth readings up to 299 feet.
Unlike other devices in the same line, this one has a series of features that are pretty hard to say no to.
For example, the 12-cone angle and the oversized top-mounted LCD display make it one of the most popular varieties out there. Yet another noteworthy reminder of the excellent performance of this unit is the 6V lithium battery, which can work continuously for approximately 20 hours.
One of the reasons the battery of the MarCum variety is so long-lasting is that the sonar system automatically shuts off when it is not being used. This helps prolong the overall life of the device and of the battery.Buy from Amazon.com
3. Norcross Hawkeye H22PX Sonar System
The Norcross Hawkeye H22PX is capable of providing instant depth readings up to 200FT, so it’s safe to say that it does what it is supposed to do and does it well. The Norcross Hawkeye H22PX is a versatile and economical option that’s both reliable and waterproof.
Furthermore, it can be used for ice fishing just as well as for regular fishing, without forcing users to cut countless holes. In the summer, the model can be utilized as a temperature meter and as a range finder.
Since it is easy to use and friendly on a buyer’s budget, we recommend getting this system for anything from boat excursions and diving trips to long fishing trips with friends.
Some buyers characterize this variety as being a solid depth finder that also works well for kayak fishing, while others state that it is well-built and offers great value for the price.Buy from Amazon.com
If you’ve been wondering about which the best handheld sonar system is, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a short and informative buying guide to assist you in making the right choice. Whether you want to purchase new or used, the most important aspect to consider is that you should correlate your needs and preferences to the features of the device you’re looking for. Here are some core details to consider.
Power is a matter of great concern when it comes to buying the best fish finders. If you usually fish in shallow lakes, high frequency is more important compared to power. However, if you plan on using the system in deep, murky waters it might be better to pick a higher wattage. The golden rule, in this case, is the more power, the better.
Some models can be used for up to 20 hours at a time while others have to be charged after just 7 hours of use. Battery life should be a factor if you’re keen on the idea of going out on fishing trips, where you extensively use the system.
Warranty is a manufacturing brand’s way of respecting its customers. Our advice to you is to pick a product that is covered by at least 1 year of consumer warranty.
» Check the information from past years
Sonars from Humminbird – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best Humminbird sonars. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Humminbird 409640-1 is the best because it’s one of the most sophisticated fish finders with side imaging and built-in GPS navigational systems we’ve come across during our research. UniMap cartography is part of the deal with this product. In addition to all of this, it’s worth noting that this device also allows owners to upload additional maps by simply using the MicroSD card slot that the unit has been equipped with. If the Humminbird 409640-1 HELIX 5 is unavailable, you should consider the Humminbird 409700-1 as it is a reliable alternative in terms of performance and quality.
To considerably improve your buying journey, we have compiled a list of the three most popular sonars we’ve come across. All of them are manufactured by Humminbird, one of the most well-known brands in the industry. The following units have gathered positive user reviews on the part of American and worldwide customers.
3 Best Humminbird Sonars (Reviews) in 2023
1. Humminbird 409640-1 Helix 5 SI Fish Finder with Side-Imaging
After going through countless consumer ratings, we think it’s safe to say that this is the best Humminbird sonar out there on the market. It’s affordable and easy to use and does what it is supposed to do.
Some of the most attractive features of this variety include the internal GPS Chartplotting with built-in UniMap cartography, as well as the microSD card. The latter can be used for uploading new and extra maps.
Saving waypoints can be done also via the microSD card.The model features a 5-inch 800 by 480 screen, with a color backlit display. The power output of the unit is estimated at 4000 watts. Side imaging, down imaging and dual beam are three core specs of the Humminbird 409640-1.
Let’s see what buyers had to say about this product.
Most of the comments we’ve analyzed are positive, which brings us to the conclusion that this unit has gathered some of the best Humminbird sonar reviews. Many buyers praise the value offered for the price.
2. Humminbird 409700-1 541 Fish Finder
Compared to the alternative we’ve showcased above, this one is considerably more affordable. Normally, a low price does not necessarily mean low quality.
The fact of the matter is that this is a monochrome sonar which does not address the needs and requirements of advanced users. By contrast, it might be the right choice for people who are still having trouble figuring out whether or not they need to use a fish finder. Some of these individuals might not be willing to wreck their entire budget over buying a unit, regardless of its specs.
This unit has a 5-inch 240 by 240 screen, with 12 levels of grayscale and a dual beam frequency. Users can select 83kHz for fishing in deep and murky waters and 200kHz if they’re practicing in shallow lakes.
The maximum depth capacity of this variety is estimated at 800 feet.
In spite of its limited capabilities and average display, the Humminbird 409700-1 is rather popular amongst buyers, as they claim it works well and is easy to install.
3. Humminbird 409590-1 Helix 5 Fish Finder
It would have been impossible for us to leave out this model from this list, as it is probably the most affordable yet perfectly capable Humminbird sonar we’ve analyzed. Granted, it might not be as advanced as other modern alternatives, but it will do its job as well as possible.
Buyers are advised that the Humminbird 409590-1 does not have GPS, time or MPH. The unit works as a 2D sonar and displays just the depth and the water temperature.
The pack includes the XNT 9 20 T transducer with dual frequency. As is the case with the formerly described variety, the frequency of this one can be customized between 83kHz and 200kHz.
In conclusion, this variety is destined for boaters and anglers who require a dual beam sonar and probably already own a fish finder. On the other hand, if you trust your abilities well enough, you might benefit from buying this sonar alone, as most of the people who did claim it is dependable and offers great value.
Looking for the best fish finders out there on the market? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We find great pleasure in giving out a helping hand to prospective buyers, which is why we have put together a short buying guide. Remember to consider your needs and preferences before buying a certain model. If your time allows it, go over some sonar reviews.
Power and frequency
If you plan on fishing in shallow water, power isn’t all that important. Yet frequency is. The higher the power, the better. With frequency, things aren’t so easy as to say that one type is great for all waters. 50kHz might be the right choice for deep waters, whereas 200kHz is great for shallow lakes.
Screen size and resolution
Gone are the days when fishfinders came with screens similar in size with the ones of old cell phones. Nowadays, we recommend buying a unit that has a screen at least 5-inch wide.
The minimum resolution that you can use to actually understand what’s going on under the boat is 240 by 160 pixels. Anything lower than that will make you focus on interpreting the image instead of concentrating your efforts on the actual catch.
3 Best Sonar Systems (Reviews) in 2023
It’s not easy to find a premium sonar system, as the best ones don’t come with a tag that says they are of top quality and should be purchased by consumers. Fundamentally, the burden of proof is with the buyer, who has to do a decent amount of research and reading to ensure making an intelligent purchase. These three products have always been considered top rated by satisfied users.
1. Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System – Fishfinder
This model is among the most versatile alternatives we have stumbled upon and that’s because it’s both a fish finder and an ice fishing sonar system into one. It’s convenient and easy to utilize, despite the fact that most ice fishers tend to think that the display of sonars is often anything but user-friendly.
On the one hand, it’s very likely that you will enjoy the large 8-inch screen that this unit has been outfitted with. Besides, it should be noted that the Marcum option comes with four user-selectable color palettes. So, if you’re upgrading your ancient sonar and wouldn’t want to learn the color coding system used by this new one, you needn’t worry about anything.
What’s more, the interface helps you make the most out of the many functions this device is capable of offering. In actuality, you have a high chance of enjoying the multifaceted sonar display LCD windows that this unit boasts.
The neat thing about the transducer that this option comes with is that it has two cone angles, thus allowing you to make the most of the product. In other words, you’ll be able to read the info of at any depth. Based on the owner feedback, both the response and the detail provided by this unit are excellent.
Make the most of this real-time panoramic sonar equipped with a powerful sonar engine. This allows the device to generate detailed underwater images on the real-time display.
Enjoy nothing less than user-preferred, easily viewable images of fish, underwater structures, and lures so you can plan your fishing strategy properly. This provides a good advantage when ice fishing.
With the immersive 8-inch screen, you make the most of the multiple underwater windows to see various aspects underwater. You also have the vertical zoom function, circular flasher, widescreen graph, and a variety of combinations of parameters.
Thanks to the Sonar Footprint, you get to check the extent of the coverage of the onboard transducer. This is critical for pinpointing the fish targets in relation to the position of your lure.
There’s optimal spacing between adjacent sonar signals, so interference is effectively avoided. Target signals are transmitted in less than 0.2 seconds from the water to your screen, for real-time depiction.
A buyer was disappointed to find the unit is not a starter model as it takes a steep learning curve to be able to master its features for optimal operation.
2. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – GPS Portable Wireless
The Deeper Wireless Sonar Smart Fish Finder comes with a free application that helps anglers maximize their day out fishing.
The app includes weather, fish activity calendar, maps and sharing functions. The device can be used together with handheld devices such as tablets and Smartphones and is compatible with both Androids and the Apple iOS. Using Bluetooth technology, the sonar system transfers sonar readings to portable devices from up to 150 feet. It doesn’t even require cellular data to run, so it can be used anywhere.
This device is a dual-frequency system that offers ample search for wide areas and high accuracy returns for narrow areas. It works in depths ranging from 1.5 feet to 40 feet, whether in salt or fresh water. Lightweight at just 0.22 pound, the device is much lighter and smaller than any of its competitors.
Installation is a breeze, as this portable device is as small as a tennis ball and needs no wires or external batteries to put in. It goes where other fish finders can’t. The unit is usable on the shore, the dock, on bridges, in boats and kayaks.
There’s a reason why this model carries such a name, and it gives a clue as to why that is so. This sonar system wirelessly connects via Bluetooth to Android and iOS devices such as tablets or smartphones. It also shows deeper images, so to speak.
The screen of your handheld device displays the collected sonar images from the castable system in the water. It enables you to view detailed water column and bottom information directly on the screen of the tablet or smartphone.
Suitable for all fishing styles, this sonar system is versatile enough for ice fishing, shore fishing, boat fishing, shore fishing, riverbank fishing, kayak fishing, and even float tube fishing.
Offering a connection range up to 130 feet in ideal conditions, this device is usable for both fresh and saltwater fishing. It has a working temperature range from -4°F to 104°F to make it suitable for a variety of settings.
The supplied app does not have the ability to refresh the Bluetooth connection from within it, according to a customer who is still satisfied with the unit’s performance despite that deficiency.
3. Hawkeye H22FX Handheld Sonar System
The HawkEye DF2250FX is a handheld sonar system that enables you to find and detect what is underneath your boat. The convenient handheld design facilitates the easy carrying of the implement so you can hold it easily like a flashlight for an optimal functionality. What’s more, the device does come with a high-output LED flashlight with four colored lenses that allow you to have a good visual capacity of objects under the water.
The unit features a revolutionary Adaptive Software Programming that reduces the incidences of false readings so you can really plan your next step. Delivering depth readings from as shallow as 2.5 feet to as deep as 200 feet, this handheld sonar allows you to navigate on the water in your boat with ease, thus helping you avoid getting snagged in the structure below.
The device also provides temperature readings to the nearest 1/10th Degree so you have a good idea whether you can make a good day of fishing, just choose another spot, or simply pack up and go home. An awareness of the water temperature enables you to know whether the water is conducive to a fish strike or not.
This is a versatile marine tool that provides a Side Scan Fish Detecting Sonar functionality for the scanning of ledges, drop-offs or hiding places of the fish.
This handheld sonar system enables you to search for and identify objects in the water, which enables you to know what lies beneath your boat or on the water so you know exactly what the next plan of action should be.
This exceptional implement comes with an adaptive software programming to ensure that false readings are avoided so what you see is what you get.
The high-output LED flashlight with 4 colored lenses enables you to get a good visibility of the underwater objects to lessen the guesswork and also provide safety in your outdoor activity.
The unit delivers depth readings from a shallow 2.5 feet to a deep 200 feet, enabling you to navigate on the water with ease and without worrying that you could get stuck easily on underwater objects that have protuberances on them.
The device also delivers temperature readings to the nearest 1/10th Degree so you have a general idea how fishing is on a specific spot in the lake or river.
It takes a learning curve to know where the SOS function button is as there is no indicator or label.
One can’t find the best sonar system without investing some time in reading and research. This helps the potential buyer get familiar with the specific elements that determine the ability of the device to assist anglers. To find the fish and hopefully make the season’s best catch, these aspects are what you want to check out in a sonar.
Generally quantified in watts, the power of the best sonar system is an expression of the measurement parameters of the AC voltage total swing from the peak negative to the peak positive value. To describe the output power of the device’s transmitter, experts use the term peak-to-peak (PTP).
Sonars are also evaluated using RMS or root mean square, which denotes the DC voltage that can create an identical heating effect matching the AC voltage. Fishing in considerably shallow water will demand high frequency and less power. Conversely, greater power is required when fishing in greater depths with murky water.
Just like the best fish finders, the sonar system has to be equipped with a powerful transducer that provides the cone angle and operating frequency needed for successful use in the water. Serving as an antenna, the transducer sends out sound waves that get returned to it as echoes. The transducer unit can be mounted inside the hull or on the transom of the boat, or to the trolling motor via a special mounting kit. For large fiberglass boats, a true thru-hull option is ideal.
Consider the type of fishing usually done to help decide on a suitable cone angle.
The display is an essential aspect of any marine GPS unit. Detail is a primary factor, followed closely by pixel. Crude and blocky images result from fewer pixels, while smooth curves, lines, subtle nuances in structure plus thermocline comes from more pixels. In addition, check out devices with high contrast and high resolution.
Some models have straightforward basic displays, while others can be used with a smart handheld device such as a smartphone for viewing of images.
Products that are no longer available
Marcum VX-1P Pro
Designed to deliver total system performance, the Marcum VX-1P Pro Ice Fishing Sonar System / Flasher is equipped with 1,000 watts of peak-to-peak power for superb usability in the water. The unit ships with everything needed for out-of-the-box functionality.
It comes with the VX-1 Sonar powerhead, a rechargeable battery, a charger, an electronics shuttle with an adjustable transducer arm, a gimbal bracket, and a self-aligning transducer. The patented ten-level Interference Rejection system ensures clarity by reducing noise from other devices nearby.
The receiver has an expertly engineered design. Enjoy precise 2-inch target separation on the clear color display. The Bottom Lock Zoom optimizes fish and jig detection by magnifying the bottom of the water column.
The device automatically locks on the bottom by scale, thus delivering 5 inches in 20 and 40 inches scale, 10 inches in 80 inches scale and 20 inches in 160 inches scale, helping the user make sensible choices while fishing. This top-grade flasher unit utilizes TrueColor™technology, which ensures exceptional resolution and sharp and vivid detail. The screen-protecting snow shield ensures lasting use.
Norcross Hawkeye H22PX
Engineered to be a highly versatile handheld depth sounder, the Norcross Hawkeye H22PX Sonar System gives instant depth readings from 2.5 to 199 feet in 1/10th precision. The display will give real-time air and water temperature at the press of a button, along with fish readings. It can be used to shoot through ice in the winter before a hole is cut.
The device is also usable in the summer as a temperature meter and range finder while diving. The onboard Shoot-Thru technology enables the user to obtain readings through boat hulls and the ice. The sonar system is designed for anglers, as it allows users to find where the fish are hiding.
The Norcross Hawkeye H22PX is able to scan an area quickly and efficiently for ledges, drop-offs and of course, hiding fish within 199 feet. It even scans under lily pads, weeds and docks where trophy fish are, so you can make your cast confidently.
The advanced technology on the device scans right through obstructions, including ice or boat hulls in the way.
» Check the information from past years