Depth finders – 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 depth finder. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the HawkEye DepthTrax 1B is the best because it features digital programming and a large backlit display, and its front face is water-resistant. Most of the features of this model render it durable and rugged, thus allowing you to use it for many trips to come. The readings that this model can offer you are between 2.5 and 200 feet. If the HawkEye DepthTrax 1B is unavailable, you should consider the Faria Ches Ss Wht S In-Hull as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.
It’s a challenge to find a depth finder that won’t fail you during the most critical conditions and events of your fishing, sailing or boating career. To ensure high success rates on journeys out in the water, it is important to do some research and reading on this type of gear. Otherwise, you can simply take a look at these three devices proven to deliver as they are designed.
Our top choices
HawkEye DepthTrax 1B
The HawkEye DepthTrax 1B is a combination transom mount and glue-in-hull Airmar transducer that provides precise depth readings, in both feet and meters.
The device delivers depth readings from 2.5 to 200 feet even at speeds up to 63 miles per hour, perfect when the the boat is underway. Incorporating an advanced three-stage depth alarm warning system, the depth finder can be programmed to provide both deep and shallow water alarms, for dependable performance in any setting. Geared with state-of-the-art auto-sensitivity and auto-ranging features, the device also has a Keel-Offset function that enables adjustments on readings to accommodate vessel draft.
The 1.65-inch by 0.85-inch LCD uses Soft Glow™ backlighting that ensures effortless and reliable operation even at night. The device ships with black and white interchangeable face plates and bezels for a different look when you want. It can be surface mounted using the 1000-10 surface mount bracket or laid into a 2 ⅛-inch diameter mounting hole.
Perfect for sailors and power boaters, the Norcross Hawkeye DF1000D Depth Sounder helps keep users protected from eventualities in the water.Buy from Amazon.com for ($75.11)
Faria Ches Ss Wht S In-hull
The Faria Ches Sounder Transducer is an in-hull unit that delivers a depth capability of 199 feet or 61 meters, helping sailors and boaters navigate on the open water. The device is equipped with automatic gain control that ensures it’s always working at optimal levels.
Viewing the readings at night or in poor lighting conditions is no problem, as the device is equipped with backlighting on its oversized display. It has a keel offset feature that allows the user to modify settings to accommodate vessel draft. It also has deep and shallow water alarms that ensure safe navigation in the water, effectively preventing the boat from running aground or being swept too far out.
The depth readings are in meters and feet to address different needs. The device fits into a standard 22 ⅙-inch gauge hole, for hassle-free mounting.
The Faria Ches Sounder Transducer ships with a reliable warranty, serving as an assurance of excellent craftsmanship and superior quality. Perfect for powerboating, bass boating and for use in cabin cruisers, this device makes journeys in the water safe.Buy from Amazon.com for ($125.03)
The HawkEye D10DX.01T In-Dash Depth Sounder provides useful information on water and air temperature readings. It is engineered with adaptive software programming that reduces incidences of false readings, keeping the angler, boater or sailor safe in the water.
The device offers dual depth alarms to warn the user of shallow water that could make the boat run aground, or deep water that can be beyond the watercraft’s capability. Thanks to the SoftGlow backlighting, the glare-free display can be easily viewed even at night or in poor lighting conditions.
The unit is packaged with trim rings and interchangeable face plates for a unique look every time. The depth finder is outfitted with marine-grade plug and play connectors, ensuring freedom from corrosion that can be caused by constant contact with moisture. Buyers of the HawkEye D10DX.01T In-Dash Depth Sounder can enjoy free access to the manufacturer’s online technical support system, ensuring optimal use of the device.
The unit also comes with an industry-leading two-year warranty. It is ideal for installation in powerboats, cabin cruisers and bass boats.Buy from Amazon.com for ($112.71)
Choosing the Right Depth Finder
When heading out in the water, it pays to have the best depth finder scientifically engineered to generate a useful amount of information that the sailor or boater can use to navigate through the vast unknown expanse of the ocean, sea or river. As the science behind this type of equipment continues to evolve with advances in technology, it pays to know what the essential aspects of a depth finder really are.
Usability and Mounting
Some models are equipped with an easy-touch, algorithmic, digital programming that translates to accurate readings and precise fishing results. Others provide both water temperature and air temperature readings, eliminating the need to have two different devices on hand to gauge if the conditions are optimized for fishing, boating or sailing.
By far, the most typical application for the best depth finder is transom mounting. Positioning of the unit is vital in obtaining precise readings. Some models easily fit into a standard gauge hole for mounting.
Ensuring that the device is positioned just right can be an exercise in trial-and-error, especially when the boat is underway.
Most likely the least used function on the best fish finders is the sensitivity or gain. This results in a failure to make the most out of the sounder. The typical sensitivity scale for most fish finders is between 0 and 100 percent. However, unless the device reaches a sensitivity of over 50 percent, it is not considered to be working at near optimum level. With higher sensitivity, the unit detects even the weaker signals, such as those that bounce off from small fish and objects near the surface. Fish in shallow water and big fish deep in the water column are also on the edge of the beam.
Different brands and models of depth finders have individualized optimum operating settings, and the areas you frequently sail in also have a bearing on those elements.
The device should be able to deliver accurate readings while the boat is in motion. Although some tend to struggle at high speeds, top quality depth finders can provide precise depth readings in either feet or meters from 2.5 to 200 feet at increased speeds up to 63 miles per hour. These models even come with a depth alarm warning system featuring programmable alarms for both shallow and deep water. Others offer instant depth updates, for real-time usability.