Fishfinder VS Depth Sounder – Which one to Choose?

When it comes to professional fishing there is only one question that still revolves in every angler’s head. Whether you should use a fishfinder or a depth sounder? Although they provide relatively the same data, some anglers choose one over other. But what is it that separates one from another? There is a list of reasons why some anglers prefer a standard fishfinder over a depth sounder and vice versa. It all depends on your style of fishing.

Some prefer to have a wide screen with multiple charts of data, while other are contempt with a smaller device with a fewer amount of data at their display. In order to decide whether to use one or another, let’s look at what each has to offer.



Fishfinders are essential parts for every angler’s arsenal, and there is a wide variety to choose from. Here are five attributes of fishfinder to help you understand if this is the type of device that you need in your fish catching adventure.

Combination fish finders

GPS Integration

The first question that you should be asking yourself is whether you want your fishfinder integrated with a GPS Chartplotter. It can be really handy, especially if you're using a smaller boat. Combine those two functions onto a single screen, and you'll get all the data that you need to easily track underwater activity.

Size Matters

Next there is the screen size and affordability. Screen sizes can vary from as small as a 3.5-inch screen, over a 5-inch display, to a 7-inch or even larger display. Bear in mind that a bigger screen adds to the price of the device, which is only natural.

A Matter of Choice

The next thing you should think about is the picture quality. The number of pixels on your display determines how detailed the image on your screen will be. If you’re looking for a device with a decent image quality, 480 pixels screen will provide with just what you need to get a clear picture of what’s going on bellow the water surface. These displays will provide a very accurate picture of fish activity as well as structures and the bottom of the lake, pond or river that you’re fishing in.



Another thing that you should think about when buying a fishfinder is how much power it requires. Power is measured in watts RMS. Smaller fishfinder may require as little as few hundred watts RMS, while larger devices need thousand watts or more to run. But what is it important to have more power in your device? More power enables you to scan deeper into fresh or salt water. Besides having a bigger reach, devices with more power will provide with a clearer picture. And we all know how much clearer image means.

High and Low

FInaly there is the difference in frequency. Higher frequencies usually work better in shallow waters, while lower frequency model provides more accurate data in deeper water. If you want to be prepared for every situation you can simply get a dual-frequency model that enables you to fish in both deep and shallow waters. This way, your device won’t dictate whether you’ll go for a deep water fishing in lakes, or a river or pond fishing adventure.

Depth Sounder


There is a variety of depth sounder devices that may be suitable for your fishing needs. Depth sounder devices can vary from simple sonar measurers to top-notch devices with multiple charts of data and variety of settings to adjust on their display.

The main question here is how good are you in sonar reading? Furthermore, you need to decide if you’re going for a shallow wate​r or deep water fishing.

If you have a smaller boat or a dinghy, a basic depth sounder is definitely the type of electronic device that you should be equipped with.


Basic Models

A basic depth sounder can measure the depth of the water and the temperature. If this amount of data is all that you need to fish, then, by all means, purchase a basic depth sounder. This model is extremely simple to use as all that you need to do is to submerge it and measure the depth. However, if you’re looking for more data than this, you should purchase a more sophisticated device that provides all sorts of data.

Variety of Settings

Next to sonar reading chart, advanced depth sounder device will provide with an exact GPS location as well as other information. A high-tech depth sounder will also have multiple fishing setting. 

depth sounder
You can choose from a variety of fishing modes like shallow water, deep water, fast trolling, slow trolling or ice fishing. Each of these settings will adjust the sonar transmitter to focus on a specific type of data retrieval.

In most cases when selecting each of these fishing modes, the only thing that you’ll need to adjust is the direction where you’re pointing your depth sounder.

The Conclusion

While fishfinder devices may provide a variety of data that can be applicable for both shallow and deep water fishing, depth sounder models are strictly for either inexperienced anglers, or for professional ones. There is no middle. They either provide the maximum amount of data that professional anglers need on their sea voyage or minimal amount of data that is sufficient enough for a fish hunting enthusiasts that have little experience in using these devices.

Furthermore, a depth sounder device is perfect for you if you have a smaller boat, where a fishfinder is the best choice if you’re on a yacht or bigger boat in general. Therefore, when it comes to choosing between a depth sounder or a fishfinder, you should start by asking yourself what type of fishing activity you prefer.

Both devices can provide with more than enough data that a professional angler should need. The only difference is that a depth sounder models are more extreme when it comes to usability. You can either get a basic model that provides data about depth or temperature, or a highly sophisticated device that may be too complicated to use due to the amount of data and settings that it provides.

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