If you are hooked on fishing but don’t have your own boat or other watercraft, on which you could mount a fish finder, then your choice should be a portable fish finder. They are usually less expensive than fixed devices, but you can also find pricier and more advanced models as well.

If you have come to this page, then you are looking not for just some device, but for the best portable fish finder or best kayak fish finder. We have prepared a list of top 7 portable fish finder reviews. Depending on your budget and your needs and fishing style, one or the other model might be the perfect device for you. Before making the decision, consider your budget, the device’s screen resolution, transducer and ease of portability.

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 175
  • Humminbird PiranhaMAX 175 PT
  • 4.4 Customer rating
  • Beam: Dual
  • Depth Capability: 600
  • Price: $$$$
Garmin Echo 150 Portable
  • Garmin Echo 150
  • 4.5 Customer rating
  • Beam: Dual
  • Depth Capability:
  • Price: $$$
humminbird 140c
  • Humminbird 140C Fishin' Buddy
  • 4.2 Customer rating
  • Beam: Dual
  • Depth Capability: 240
  • Price: $$
top-portable-fish-finders-for-boats
  • Deeper Smart
  • 3.9 Customer rating
  • Beam: Dual
  • Depth Capability: 130
  • Price: $$
NorCross HawkEye F33P
  • NorCross HawkEye F33P
  • 3.6 Customer rating
  • Beam: Single
  • Depth Capability: 100
  • Price: $
Signstek FF-011
  • Signstek FF-011
  • 4 Customer rating
  • Beam: Single
  • Depth Capability: 100
  • Price: $

Top Kayak Fish Finders

Humminbird 140C Fishin’ Buddy 3.5-Inch Waterproof Fishfinder

humminbird 140cA more advanced portable fish finder is the Humminbird 140C Fishin’ Buddy. There are several options for this model. You can choose more budget friendly or a pricier option depending on your choice of the color or black and white screen.

It’s a fish finder that includes temperature and 1000 watts power output. The 3.5 inch LCD can either have 8 level grayscale in a black and white model or 256 color TFT in the color option. Choosing this model, you can also buy the device with the dual or single beam. It’s fish finding capabilities reach the depths of up to 240 feet.

Humminbird 140C also features SideFinding sonar. You can point it in any direction and get the cover of the underwater from every side of the boat and find more fish. The power of the device allows continuous use up to 30 hours.

You can easily attach it to the buddy’s boat or a dock. The transducer tube housing is extendable from 24 to 40 inches. This is enough to reach the water from almost any small and medium sized fishing boats.

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Humminbird PiranhaMAX 175 PT Portable Dual Beam Fishfinder with Portable Case

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 175The PiranhaMax 175 PT comes with a convenient soft-sided carrying case, which allows easy portability and taking it with you anywhere you need it. It’s a dual beam system that uses 200/455 kHz frequencies.

The 4-inch grayscale display is designed with enhanced contrast that gives clear edge imaging, even in direct sunlight. The RMS power output is 200 watts and PTP power output is 1600 watts. The maximum depth it can reach is 600 feet.

The package of this model includes the suction cup transducer, carrying case, 12v battery, and charger.

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Garmin Echo 150 Portable

Garmin Echo 150 PortableGarmin Echo 150 is another great solution for those who fish from leased boats, kayaks, docks, canoes and other small vessels. This model also includes a soft-sided carrying case that also has a rugged base and support arm for protecting and holding the Echo 150 in place. The unit also comes with a sealed AGM rechargeable battery and the charger for it. For storing the smart charger there is a built-in pocket on the bag.

The cable management and storage is built in the transducer. It wraps on the bottom of the base and the support arm.

Echo 150 features a black and white 8 grayscale display. It offers dual beam sonar (77/200 kHz) and AutoGain technology that maximizes targets while minimizing clutter. The device also includes a water temperature sensor and audible alarms. The transmitting power is 1600 watts peak to peak.

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Deeper Smart Portable Fish Locator for Smartphone or Tablet

top-portable-fish-finders-for-boatsFor more tech savvy fishermen there is the Deeper Smart fish finder. It’s a wireless system that works in conjunction with Android and iOS devices. The smart sonar technology works in depths up to 130 feet and with the help of Bluetooth connection shows you the information of the fish location, pond bed, obstacles and water temperature on the screen of your tablet or smartphone. The dual beam (90/290 kHz for a 15/55 degree) gives wide coverage with great detail. The audible alarms will notify you about fish locations, its size, and depth.

The device also includes an application with additional features: camera, sonar function history log, fish activity calendar, weather forecast, fishing log, maps, integrated with social media.

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NorCross HawkEye F33P Fish Finder

NorCross HawkEye F33PAn even more budget friendly model is the NorCross HawkEye F33P model. It might not be your perfect choice if you are a professional angler, but as a beginner you will greatly benefit from it in your fishing.

The unit is that small that can fit right in the palm of your hand. The fish finder is also accurate and allows easily detecting fish banks. Its single beam features a 45-degree angle that gives the precise reading of the underwater up to 100 feet. So compared to Echo 100, it doesn’t show as deep.

There are three sonar sensors included. You can either troll it, float it, or mount it onto your kayak or boat. To use it, you can just power the unit on, toss into the water the sonar sensor and in no time you will be able to see the readings. The device is powered by four AAA batteries, which will give you about 20 hours of continuous use of the fish finder.

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Signstek FF-011 Wireless Fish Finder

Signstek FF-011This model will suit both beginners and professionals. Signstek FF-011 will help you to easily find out the location of fish, bottom contour, and composition of water and depth. You can use in freshwater lakes or sea.

It offers easy use. The included transducer you need to attach to the end of your fishing line then you can just case into the water and let it float. Alternatively, you can use the side hull transform mount. For power, it uses four AAA alkaline batteries. The sensor provides a 90-degree beam angle. It can scan the water depth up to 99 feet. You can check more Signstek portable fish finder reviews on Amazon.

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Best Portable Fish Finders Comparison Chart

Product nameBeamDepth capabililty
Humminbird 140C Fishin' BuddyDual240
Deeper SmartDual600
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 175 PTDual-
Garmin Echo 150Dual130
NorCross HawkEye F33PSingle100

Advantages of Portable Fish Finders

  • More affordable. In general, fixed finders are usually more costly compared to portable units.
  • Flexibility. Portable fish finders can be easily transported and so can be used in different locations. If you are fishing from a land based location, a kayak or from a boat you are renting, the portable type of fish finder is the perfect choice for you.
  • Ease of use. Since there’s no permanent installation required, it’s easy to set up the device and have it in use in moments.
  • Transducer flexibility. The transducer can also be conveniently used in different situations. You can easily throw it into the water from the dock, boat or shoreline. Optionally, you can also temporarily mount it onto your kayak, canoe or other watercraft.

Mounting Transducer on a Kayak

There are several ways for mounting a transducer on a kayak. You can either install it in the hull, mount it on the back, or near the rudder. Other options include using a portable kit and attaching it to the kayak with a suction cup or just letting dangle over the side of the kayak. The last option might not be ideal as it reduces the life of the equipment. So first decide where to mount the transducer.

Installing to the hull is one of the most common ways. For this method, you should start by choosing a good, flat spot on the hull where you will install the transducer. Lightly sand to rough up the area and clean away any dust, debris or grime.

Apply marine goop to the bottom of the transducer, but make sure that there are no trapped air bubbles, as they will compromise the readings. Place the transducer to that spot. Press it down and move a little from side to side till it’s all the way down against the hull. Tape down with duct tape on top. You can remove the tape once the goop dries out a bit and then wait for 24-48 hours for the loop to try out completely. The transducer should not be moved during drying.

Another method to use is through the scupper hole. Though it has one drawback – one of your scupper holes will be plugged up. This is a good option if you are buying a Lowrance portable fish finder, as the brand offers a special scupper kayak transducer mount that is easy to install. You just fit the transducer on the mount and stick it through the scupper hole.

One more easy way to mount it is on the back of the kayak, near the rudder. For this installation, you will need to mount a metal or plastic plate to a flat area on the back of the kayak. Then you mount the transducer onto that plate and run the wire to the place you where you will mount the fish finder. Just make sure that the transducer is above the rudder and the bottom of the kayak.

Optionally, you can acquire a portable kit, which usually includes a battery, suction cup, and bungee cords. The suction cup allows mounting the transducer wherever you want on your kayak. It’s very easy to mount, and just as easy to remove.

Things to Consider When Using a Fish Finder on a Kayak

  • First, you should start by positioning your fish finder on the kayak. Several of the options of the transducer mount I have mentioned above. The perfect position would depend on several factors, one of them the type of kayak you have. Then make sure that you install it within reach, so at any time you can easily reach out and change the settings on the unit. Also, the fish finder should not interfere with your working space, so it shouldn’t be in the way of your bait, rigging gear, or your paddle stroke.
  • One of the important features that a kayak fish finder should have is waterproofness. Check that the device carries a waterproof rating of at least IP67. IP means “Ingress Protection” and the numbers show the level of protection against solids and liquids. However, even though the unit is waterproof, it does not mean that you can blast it with water with a high-pressure house when cleaning your kayak. So put the electronics safely away.
  • Since on a kayak you don’t have the ability to plug your electronics into a power socket, you will need to carry a battery for a power source. To choose the right size of the battery, check the milliamps of your fish finder.
  • You will need to find a storage place for the battery, where it will be protected from the salt water, which corrode and shorten its life. To secure the battery you can design a foam block or a battery tray and then glue it into the hull of your kayak.
  • To get the power to your fish finder you will need to run a wire between the two. Solder all the connections (just crimping does not exclude moisture that can eventually wick into the wire) and make sure that you seal well with no exposed joints left. To further keep the moisture out give it a quick coat of protectant. It’s also recommended to apply the protectant to the plugs and sockets.
  • When using a fish finder on a kayak it’s also important to take proper after care. During the day it will get exposed to saltwater, so once you get home at once remove that crusty layer of salt. Just give it a quick wash with some tepid fresh water. Once dry, store it away in a dry box.
  • Other necessary fishing equipment like proper boots, outwear.

Bottom Line

Just like with fixed fish finders, portables also have a wide selection of models that are perfect for fishing from small craft, kayak fishing, fishing from a shore, and ice fishing. You can either choose color or black and white, dual or single beam, higher or lower depth capability. In the list of 7 best portable fish finder models I compiled small boat and kayak fish finder reviews of the best rated and best seller models. I hope that after reading my portable fish finder reviews, you will be able to decide which would be the best choice for you.