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Published Sep 15, 2021 9:25 AM

For over 60 years, Lowrance has led the way with the best fishing electronics. From the first transistor sonar capable of displaying individual fish to the first DownScan sonar to produce high-resolution images, Lowrance has grown to the largest manufacturer of marine electronics. Today, Lowrance offers fish finders at every level for every type of fishing and every budget. We’ve rounded up some of the best Lowrance fish finder models for offshore, inshore, freshwater, and kayak fishing—and even included some picks for shore anglers.

How do you find the best Lowrance fish finder for you?

My first fish finder was a Lowrance Fish-Lo-K-Tor, known as the little green box. The small metal box was amazing. Open the fish finder case, and set up the display. Stick the transducer to the transom of my little skiff, and like magic, the flasher would light up showing the bottom and fish swimming below the boat.

Today, Lowrance fish finders use high-powered sonar and GPS with universal networking to control a complete electronics system. To stay ahead of the game, Lowrance has added top-of-the-line features to more models at a lower price. 

Whether you choose the top-of-the-line Lowrance fish finder or go with the budget-conscious models, you get the innovation and technology of one of the biggest marine electronics companies.

What makes the best overall fish finder?

Over the last five years, sonar technology has advanced into the realm of science fiction. In addition to high-definition down-view imaging, the best overall fish finder can see what is to the side and in front of the boat. Combine the high-power fish finder with a powerful GPS, and the best overall fish finder offers information that wasn’t even imaginable just a few years ago.

The best fish finders not only include the most advanced sonar and GPS charts, but the display is networked to other electronics like RADAR, engine systems, autopilot, sound systems, and communications. Best of all, these functions are accessible by smartphone with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

Despite a long list of functions and features, the best overall fish finder is easy to control and can be customized for specific applications or used in default mode.

The latest trend is housing the best fish finder in a low-profile, flush mount display with a touch screen and push-button control.

The best overall fish finder pushes the envelope of technology to do it all for an angler who demands every advantage over the fish.

Best Overall: Lowrance HDS 12 Live Active Target

Best Overall

Lowrance HDS 12 Live Active Target offers traditional, CHIRP, DownScan, SideScan, and ActiveTarget Live sonar in one package. It also includes detailed charts with one-foot contours. Powered by a Quad-Core processor for seamless transitions between features or running several functions on one screen. This fish finder is housed in an easy-to-view, flush mount touch screen with high-definition color combinations.

How do you choose the best fish finder and GPS?

The great thing about the best fish finder and GPS is that the most advanced technology is now available at a lower price. In many cases, the features and functions of a higher-price fish finder are present in a less expensive model that’s only missing a few bells and whistles.

When looking for the best fish finder and GPS, consider a model with features you will use often. In many cases, advanced tools and controls can be sacrificed for a great fish finder that will do everything you need and more.

Some manufactures create a lower-price model with advanced features in less expensive housing. Instead of a flush-mount, touch-screen display, a less expensive model may have a larger housing with fewer colors or controls. For the average angler fishing for fun, these features will not be missed.

To get a top-of-the-line fish finder at a lower price, you may only have to sacrifice a few advanced tools and capabilities.

Best Fish Finder and GPS: Lowrance Elite 9 FS

Best Fish Finder and GPS

Lowrance took the functions and capabilities of its best fish finder and GPS and put them in a less expensive housing to create the best bargain fish finder and GPS. Starting with their best sonar and navigation, the Lowrance Elite 9 FS can do anything that the more expensive models do. The display can be networked to other electronics and controlled with a smartphone for ultimate accessibility.

Best Fish Finder for a Kayak

Kayak anglers work hard for their fish, so they want every advantage available. The best fish finder for a kayak offers a high-quality fish finder and powerful GPS in a tough package that will go anywhere.

Modern fishing kayaks are designed to accommodate larger transducers used with side-view and down-view sonar. So, paddle anglers can choose a fish finder with the most advanced features that will fit seamlessly into their small boat. To use live view sonar on a kayak, anglers mount the transducer on a pole to turn the sonar signal 360 degrees.

An advanced navigation system is just as important as a great fish finder. Monitoring location, finding structure, tracking speed, and setting a course is critical to getting the most out of a fishing kayak. A high-powered GPS will accurately and quickly provide a wide range of navigation data to quickly and efficiently paddle or pedal. Matched to detailed charts showing bottom contour and structure, the GPS helps you find fish and get to them.

Most important is a tough display with excellent imagery. A fish finder takes a lot of abuse in a kayak. The display is constantly exposed to direct sunlight and covered in salt and slime, so it must be easy to read in the worst conditions.

Just because a kayak is small and slow doesn’t mean the angler has to give up the most advanced fish finder and navigation tools. When it comes to electronics, kayak anglers can have their cake and eat it too.

Best for Kayaks: Lowrance Hook Reveal 9

Best for Kayaks

Hook Reveal 9 houses Lowrance’s best fish finder and GPS in a less expensive model that is still easy to use. A bright display with advanced target separation and incredible detail qualifies the Hook Reveal 9 for use on open boats under the toughest conditions.

Do you need the best fish finder for the money?

Just because you only need a basic fish finder doesn’t mean you have to settle for a crappy fish finder. Even a less expensive fish finder can still produce bright, detailed images of fish and structure below the boat.

When shopping for a budget fish finder, pay close attention to the transducer. Look for a transducer with a powerful signal and a large cone to produce detailed images. Adjusting the settings on the display can further improve the image.

In the past, anglers looking to save a few bucks would have to settle for a grayscale display. Today, you can get a full-color screen for under $100. A color display is easier to see in direct sunlight from a distance. And, the colors allow the angler to interpret the display differentiating structure from the bottom and target fish from baitfish.

Since budget fish finders are often used on small boats and kayaks, even the best fish finder for the money should have sturdy construction.

Best Budget: Lowrance Hook2 4X

Best Budget

Lowrance’s Hook2 4X is small enough to fit in a kayak, canoe, or skiff with big features for a sub-$100 fish finder. A high-powered transducer produces a wider cone for more coverage and greater detail. The color screen makes it easier to see fish and structure from a distance in direct sun.

Are you looking for a fish finder you can cast from shore?

Anglers fishing from shore now have access to powerful fish finders that are easy to use. A new generation of castable fish finders allows any angler to explore the bottom and structure in search of bait and fish. 

A castable fish finder comes in two parts. The transducer is housed in a plum-sized ball that is tied to a line. The angler throws the transducer away from shore and uses a smartphone app to access the sonar data.

The best castable sonar also includes a GPS plotter that uses the sonar information to create custom maps of the area. 

The smartphone app also allows the angler to track catches, log locations, and share fishing information on a global network with other anglers.

The race to create the best castable fish finder includes features not available in traditional fish finders. These powerful tools are great for shore anglers and popular among small boaters, too.

Best for Casting: Lowrance FishHunter Pro

Best for Casting

The FishHunter Pro is a fish finder and GPS for anyone, anywhere. The transducer has multiple signals for a detailed view of fish and structure. Then, mark hotspots and create custom maps with the GPS plotter. And share catch info and fish stories with a network of anglers on the smartphone app.


Q: Which Lowrance fish finder is best?

With so many great options, choosing what Lowrance fish finder is best isn’t easy. Lowrance family comes in four lines: HDS Live, Elite FS, Hook Reveal, and Hook2. HDS Live is the top-of-the-line model with every feature and function available. The Elite FS is less expensive, but hardly a step down with most of the features available in the HDS without a flat screen. The Hook Reveal and Hook2 are great choices for small boats and kayaks. The Hook Reveal is one of the highest-resolution fish finders with detailed navigation charts. Finally, the Hook2 houses a color fish finder available with a GPS plotter. Lowrance offers industry-leading features to fit any angler’s needs, from the most expensive model to the least expensive.

Q: What should I look for when buying a fish finder?

When buying a fishing finder, look for the features you need for the fishing you do. Tournament anglers and guides look for every bell and whistle to give them an edge on the fish. If you plan on including radar and communications in the electronics package, choose a fish finder that allows networking. Most fish finders come with a GPS. 

For advanced navigation and fish hunting, choose a navigation system with detailed charts, current, and tide information. For inshore and small-boat anglers, a great fish finder and powerful GPS without the advanced control features will save a few bucks without sacrificing important capabilities. One of our favorite fish finders uses a smartphone app and portable transducer to give shore anglers and small boaters the power of color display and basic GPS with instant access to a community of other anglers.

Q: How do you use Lowrance fish finders?

Lowrance fish finders are easy to use. From the most advanced model to the simplest, the controls are intuitive and make sense. The best Lowrance fish finders use a touch screen and buttons to control features. For small boaters and kayakers, a touch screen is not as tough and more expensive. While the fish finder and GPS settings are infinitely adjustable, auto-tuning sonar finds the ideal settings without the angler touching a button.

Choosing the best Lowrance fish finder is easy

Since the first fish finders hit the water, Lowrance has been leading the way in helping anglers find more fish. Today, Lowrance fish finders use the most advanced technology in the toughest, easiest-to-use package. Lowrance offers the latest fish finder technology at any price, from down-view to side-view and even live-view sonar. Lowrance fish finders have become a valuable tool for any type of fishing with a powerful and accurate GPS with detailed navigation charts. Even the least expensive and simplest Lowrance models are reliable and powerful with the best basic sonar and GPS. Whatever your fish finder and navigation needs are, Lowrance has you covered at any price.