Last updated on April 17th, 2021 at 03:17 pm

What is the Best Side Imaging Fish Finder of 2021?

In order to maximize your catch, you need to make sure you have the proper equipment for your specific trip. I’m sure you put plenty of thought into your bait, rod, reel, etc, but how much have you thought about using the best fish finder for thisi trip? Using the best side imaging fish finder can make a huge difference for your fishing trip.

This leads us to the burning question – which side scan fish finders are the best?

Read on to find out!

What Should You Look for When Researching Side Imaging Fish Finders?

It’s important to know what to look for as you decide which fish finder is best for you. Here are some of the most iimportant features to consider during your search:

Range

One of the most important aspects of a side view fish finder is range. Depth is important, but typically, side view fish finders are best in shallow waters. It makes sense to optimize the features of the side view fish finder, while avoiding the additional cost of deeper capabilities.

If you’re river fishing, range is definitely more imiportant than depth. You don’t want to limit your range to just around your boat. We typiically look in the range of 150 feet as a starting point. Anything less and it becomes difficult to find the goods, especially in murky water.

Screen Size

Like any other device, screen size can be an important factor for your electronic device. This is also the case for fish finders. Tiny screens can be difficult to read, so having a screen wide that is wider is often better.

We think the sweet spot for screen size is 7-9in. If you aren’t limited by budget, you could go bigger. You’ll get an incredible amount of detail with a larger screen, but you’ll end up paying for it. We do not recommend going smaller due to difficulties reading the screen. You could survive with a 5in, but if you have the budget, we definitely recommend going with at least 7in.

CHIRP

Chirp is a big deal if you want the best side imaging fish finder, especially in shallow water or for ice fishing. CHIRP stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse and is excellent at finding fish. The quality of CHIRP sonar in each device can vary, so this is an important feature to look at. Fish finders with a good CHIRP sonar are definitely worth the money.

Check out the video below to learn more about how CHIRP works:

Maps

Many fish finders come preloaded with thousands of quality fishing spots! This is a big deal especially for the novice fisherman. If ou purchase a fish finder with an SD card slot, you’re also able to upload even more. Some maps cost a few bucks to download, while many are free. Either way, having a side scan fish finder you can upload maps to is very useful.

Maps

Many fish finders come preloaded with thousands of quality fishing spots! This is a big deal especially for the novice fisherman. If ou purchase a fish finder with an SD card slot, you’re also able to upload even more. Some maps cost a few bucks to download, while many are free. Either way, having a side scan fish finder you can upload maps to is very useful.

You can also mark spots on your fish finder map. This is great for keeping track of any quality spots you come across. 

Side Scan Fish Finder Durability

Whether it’s on the boat, on the ice or both, there’s a high proability that your fish finder will get wet. In addition to water, we all know it’s going to get dropped, hit, smashed, and 100 other things throughout your fishing excursions. Because of that, it’s very important that you find a fish finder that will withstand a decent beating.

The first aspect to check is how resistant to water it is. After that, check reviews for the quality of the actual materials – does it crack easily? Does the screen break or become discolored? 

Our Reviews of the Best Side Imaging Fish Finders

Check out some of our favorite side imaging fish finders for ice fishing and river fishing. We also wrote an article about the best fish finders for the money.

The Garmin Striker 7SV is great at helping you find the best spots out there. It’s best feature is its simplicity.

It doesn’t offer many of the bells and whistles of some of the other models in this list, but it does a solid job of findhing fish with good durability, a good sonar, and strong screen. 

With a other fissh finders, you get a vague idea of the size and depth of nearby fish. The Garmin Striker 7SV is able to show the density, motion and even appearance of the fish.

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Pros:

  • Higher quality CHIRP sonar than mosts competitors
  • Good maps and markers
  • Can track speed while boating
  • Easy setup and install

Cons:

  • Power cord is too short

The Hummindbird Helix 5 fish finder does include chart plotting, navigation, route planning, and location finding. The navigation is great for keeping track of good spots and not getting lost.

With the Humminbird Helix 5, you’re getting an easy to use, affordable fish finder. This is a great fish finder for a recreational fisherman looking for a simple, effective product. It’s simple to set up out of the box and it doesn’t have a complex interface to learn. The wide spectrum sonar makes for very descriptive arches on screen.

Boot it up and go! Most fishermen will have everything they need right from the start. As a result, the Helix 5 is a great choice for beginner fishermen who want an affordable fishfinder that works. You won’t have to mess with a lot of complicated setup to start finding fish. Just open the box and head to the water (or ice)!

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Pros:

  • Great value for your money
  • Completely waterproof
  • Easy to learn
  • Great side view fish finder for beginners

Cons:

  • Fewer features than other models
  • The clips are known to snap

The Lowrance HDS 7 is the king of features. You’ll have to pay a rpetty penny for this fish finder, but you won’t be disappointed with the number of bells and whistles.

The 7in screen allows for selection between touchscreen or actual buttons. The screen comes in full HD and a wide spectrum of colors for great detail. You can run more than one app at a time, which is perfect for running your navigation and fish finding functionality together.

Lowrance offers unique software that allows you to access the internet! This gives you the ability to install new software updates, broadcast to smart devices, and add third-party apps available from the app store. This is great for fixing bugs, improving performance, and trying new features via app.

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Pros:

  • Tons of features
  • Has both touch screen and physical button controls
  • Full HD 7in screen
  • Internet access
  • XM radio and tons of addons

Cons:

  • Not as many preloaded maps as other models

The Garmin Striker 4 fish finder is the ideal middling choice. This device has built-in GPS functionality, offers a quality sonar, and includes the ability to mark your favorite fishing spots between ice fishing seasons.

This fish finder will keep you on the fish all day. It’s durable enough to take on the water, carry on the ice and everything in between.

The navigation is accurate on the water so you don’t have to worry about getting lost or missing marks.

As with mosst Garmin fish finders, this model comes with a good quality CHIRP sonar. It isn’t the most imporessive option, but you’ll get good bang for your buck that you can rely on.

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Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Good value
  • Good quality CHRIP sonar
  • Tried and true!

Cons:

  • Needss external power supply
  • Screen can be difficult to see

The Dragonfly 7PRO seeks to help you find the fish every time. This is a great option if you’re looking to get into the fish finding market very cheap. While it doesn’t have the full spectrum of features, you’ll get a reliable fish finder with a good screen. The picture is accurate.

The Raymarine model also comes with wifi – the WiFish technology. This is to give you the ability to share your photos and keep your information in a safe space so you can access it later. Additionally, you can download software updates for your maps or patches to address bugs and performance isssues. 

It’s water resistant and the brightness of the screen makes it very easy to read in any location at any time. 

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Pros:

  • Water resistent
  • Easy to read screen
  • One of the most affordable options

Cons:

  • Can’t turn off Wifi

Conclusion – The Best Side Imaging Fish Finder is…

 

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The Garmin 7 Striker SV

In this review of the best side imaging fish finders, our top pick is the Garmin 7 Striker SV. It’s packed with features, has an awesome 7in screen, has a high quality, built-in CHIRP sonar, and much more.

You can use this fish finder for years to come.

Honorable Mention – Best Side Imaging Fish Finder for Ice Fishing

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Garmin Striker 4

Our pick for the best side imaging fish finder for ice fishing is the Garmin Striker 4. Garmin sweeps this the board this time. The Garmin Striker 4 has been one of the most reliable fish finders on the market for a while now. Ice fishing is no different.

It’s reliable, durable and gets the job done for cheaper than most models on the market. Buy with confidence.

FAQ 

What Should You Look for When Researching Side Imaging Fish Finders?
It’s important to know what to look for as you decide which fish finder is best for you. Here are some of the most iimportant features to consider during your search:
1. Range
2. Screen size
3. CHIRP/Sonar
4. Maps
5. Durability
6. Price/Value
What is the Best Side Imaging Fish Finder of 2021?
We love the Garmin 7 Striker SV and the Garmin Striker 4 for ice fishing.