If you have a budget of 500 dollars for your next fish finder, you’re in luck, because there are ton of great fishing units and finder+gps combos under $500. A budget of 500 or less is not very restrictive when considering an effective, fun to use fish finder that will help you catch more fish.
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When looking into fishfinders at this price point, there are a few features that will come pretty standard for this dollar amount. Most devices close to $500 will include dual beam sonar capabilities, gps tracking abilities, high quality color screens, and larger depth capabilities than cheaper fish finders. Let’s jump into the reviews to find the best fish finder under $500.
1. Humminbird Helix 5 SI GPS
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First let’s discuss Humminbird’s Helix 5 SI GPS fishfinder. This unit clocks in at around $440 depending on the time of year, which is well under the 500 dollar budget we’re trying to achieve. It comes with a transducer and a power cable, and both the side and down imaging is said to work perfectly.
The screen is 5″ wide and displays high quality LCD color.
You can use the internal GPS to bring less devices on your boat, and an included micro SD card slot lets you use Humminbird’s cartography and Navionics maps, making it easier to find the best spots for fishing.
It works great up to 1500 feet in depth, which is more than enough depth for most anglers to catch fish in.
2. Lowrance Elite-5 CHIRP Gold
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Next let’s talk about Lowrance’s Elite-5 fishfinder with CHIRP sonar. Clocking in at about $470 at the time of writing, this fish finder is about $30 below budget. Its sonar capabilities range from 83/200+455/800 with its included transducer. The Elite-5 also includes a 5″ color LCD, making the screen about equal with the Humminbird Helix 5.
This unit combines CHIRP Sonar, down Scan Imaging, chart plotting with its detailed US mapping, and a built-in GPS antenna to create basically a super-unit.
CHIRP is said to be a higher quality sonar technology which can help you differentiate fish better. The transducer is transom mount, like many others.
No SD card is needed as this unit has built in memory and includes over 3,000 maps already. You can also create your own maps.
One very cool and unique feature of this fishfinder is its ability to show 3 types of displays at once, with a three-panel view. This means it can show charts, CHIRP sonar ranges, and Down Scan Image readings all at once, on the same screen.
3. Garmin Echo 551dv
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Normally about 430, this fish finder is going for around $305 at the time of writing this article, which is almost half of the 500 budget we’re using for this comparison.
Garmin fish finders may not be as popular as the Lowrance or Humminbird brands, but they are equally high quality.
This model has the following features:
- echo 551dv, 4-pin all-in-one 77/200 kHz HD-ID / DownVu transducer
- transom mount and trolling motor mount
- tilt/swivel quick-release mount
- power cable
- split color display that lets you see sonar and downvu scans at the exact same time, so you can see the floor of the body of water, in addition to fish and other structures that might be helpful
- usable depth up to 2,300 feet
So, if your budget is under $500, which fishfinder should you buy?
If you need more depth, get the Garmin Echo 551dv.
If you want the impressive CHIRP sonar with built in maps, get the Lowrance Elite-5 CHIRP gold.
If you want a reliable unit with high quality display and the ability to use maps on a micro SD card, get the Humminbird Helix 5 SI.
There are also plenty of other options available for high quality fish finders under $500 and at any other budget, so if none of these seem like the right choice for your fishing needs, shop around and you are sure to find the best fishfinder for your money with a little bit of research.
(If this is a bit over your budget, check out all our fish finder reviews here.)