The Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders for 2023 Reviewed by Expert
Hey there, welcome to Fishing Sensei; today, we’ll discuss the best ice fishing fish finders on the market. Ice fishing season is upon us, and a fish finder is a must-have if you want to make the most of your time on the frozen water. To help you pick the right one, we’ve compiled a list of the top 11 best ice fishing fish finders.
Throughout the research process, we focused on the critical features of each product. We considered each ice fishing sonar’s portability, display, internal components, and strength. Also, where applicable, GPS capabilities. Each ice fish finder has different attributes. So we compared and contrasted the strengths and weaknesses of the 11 best ice fishing fish finders.
After reviewing each ice fish finder, our best overall pick is the Humminbird ICE Helix 7. This top-of-the-line fishing product has many attributes and features that set it apart from the others on our list. It’s a dual-purpose piece of equipment that allows sonar flashing, graphing, and GPS locating, all displayed on a 7-inch LCD screen. You can even enjoy all three simultaneously with the capabilities of the split-screen mode.
The 20-degree ultra-wide sonar cone allows for spotting more fish out of one ice hole. And the lithium-ion battery will enable you to stay on the ice longer than an outdated 12V. The CHIRP Interference Rejection unit built into the Humminbird ICE Helix 7 is great. You’ll also have the upper hand on the lake with zero sonar interference from other ice fishing anglers around you.
We’ve taken the trouble to list each feature for all fish finders on our list. We’ve also listed down the most important specifications of each product for your easy perusal.
Now let’s open up the ice and dive into the top 11 best ice fishing fish finders on the market.
Our Top 11 Picks
- Humminbird ICE Helix 7 (Best Overall)
- Garmin Panoptix PS22 Ice Fishing Bundle (Best Splurge)
- Marcum MX-7GPSLI (Best Runner-Up)
- Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit (Best Multi-Function)
- MarCum LX-7 (Best Digital Flasher)
- Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing And All-Season Pack (Best Value)
- Vexilar GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack (Best Durability)
- Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar GPS (Best Wireless Fish Finder)
- Vexilar FLX-28 (Best Flasher)
- Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder (Best Budget)
- Lucky Portable Fish Finder (Best Portability)
The 11 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders
Heading into our list, we’ll be looking at LED flashers (no screen), digital flashers (fish flashers with screens), and digital hybrid sonars (GPS, sonar, flasher).
1. Humminbird ICE Helix 7
- Modes: GPS, Flasher, Sonar Graph
- Weight: 16.7 pounds
- Screen Size: 7 inches
First up, the Humminbird ICE Helix 7 is our best overall pick. The sleek design, versatile shuttle, and complex hybrid capabilities make this unit one of the best on the ice. The Humminbird has a 7-inch screen mounted to the shuttle, cone transducer, silicone screen protector, lithium-ion battery, and charging accessories.
The 7-inch display screen is entirely customizable. So you can choose whether you want a digital sonar, classic flasher, or GPS. Moreover, with the capabilities of split screen mode, you can enjoy GPS, flashing, and sonar scanning all at the same time.
Moving on to the lithium-ion battery, aside from the excellent battery life, you’ll notice the USB charging ports. This creates a battery charger for all your other devices. While also keeping your ice fish finder alive. Just note that if you want to charge while ice fishing, keep the built-in battery case closed, as the most vulnerable point is the battery.
The technological capabilities are impressive for the Humminbird. And the time and effort used to create the perfect shuttle don’t go unnoticed. The fishing pole holsters, adjustable screen settings, and transducer holder make it aesthetically pleasing and convenient for all ice anglers.
Even though this is our favorite, there are some cons. First, the lack of a carrying case creates an opportunity for accidents. Secondly, even though there is a built-in battery case, the accessibility for many cables isn’t ideal. Thirdly, the weight is 16.7 pounds, which may make transportation more difficult without a case. But don’t worry; Humminbird has gone ahead and made a separate portable carrying case to address these issues.
In short, if you’re looking for an ice fishing fish finder with all the bells and whistles for a reasonable price. The Humminbird ICE Helix 7 is the machine for you.
2. Garmin Panoptix PS22 Ice Fishing Bundle
- Modes: GPS, Flasher, Sonar Graph
- Weight: 25.4 pounds
- Screen Size: 7 inches
Next up, the Garmin Panoptix PS22 Ice Fishing Bundle has everything a serious angler could need or want. This tech savvy fish finder is the most modern one out there today. With a 7-inch touchscreen LCD screen, lithium-ion battery, transducer, and carrying case, this is exactly what you need and more on the ice.
The Garmin Panoptix PS22 has over 18,000 preloaded lakes and ponds built into the GPS setting. On the 7-inch screen, you can navigate easily with your fingers on the touchscreen. When purchasing this fish finder, you’ll have the classic flasher option, digital sonar, and GPS capabilities.
The Garmin GPS is known worldwide for being the most accurate. So, if you’re ice fishing on a remote lake and you find any good fishing spots, just mark them on the map and you’ll be able to find them again easily.
I also like how the updated transducer and sonar capabilities don’t just give you bright lines and colors. Instead, you can see the entire outline of the fish movements across your sonar map.
Finishing off, the weight of this unit is 25.4 pounds, ultimately making this the biggest con of this product. But Garmin does make up for this with more accessories and a durable carrying case to make those extra pounds worth it.
When you buy a Garmin product, you’ll also receive a 2-year manufacturer warranty, covering anything that happens to your unit.
Since this is our “best splurge” option, the price is higher than the rest, so don’t sweat it if it’s out of your budget. We have nine more fish finders on our list under $800. But if you’re looking for the best of the best and won’t settle for anything less, look no further.
3. Marcum MX-7GPSLI
- Modes: Gps, Flasher, Sonar Graph
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Screen Size: 7 inches
Third on our list is the Marcum MX-7GPSLI. This ice fishing fish finder comes with a 7-inch LCD screen, a lithium-ion battery, a carrying case, and a transducer with a 20-degree range.
Assessing the features on the Marcum, we noticed the patented interference rejection. The Marcum has better interference rejection than both the Garmin and the Humminbird. The 12 settings available are also incredible and help avoid interference from fellow ice anglers out on the water.
Equally important, this unit is both a digital sonar and GPS, which allows you to have a digital flasher, sonar, and GPS all built into one. If you find that panfish honey hole far off on the lake, all you need to do is mark your pin. The Marcum MX-7 GPS can bring you straight back to the location and chart your route on the way there.
Although Marcum is one of the leading fishing brands on the market today, we still found some cons for this unit. If you’re a newbie just getting into sonars, the Marcum is quite difficult to navigate, and you may find it frustrating.
On the other end, the mapping system isn’t detailed enough for our liking. But Marcum has created aftermarket updates for the maps. Plus, with practice and consistency, navigating the interface will eventually become easier.
All things considered, if you’re looking for a brilliant module, the Marcum MX-7 is just that. You have the digital sonar and flasher with a built-in GPS that can bring you anywhere. If it weren’t for the Humminbird’s superior shuttle, split-screen capabilities, and a plethora of customizable features, the Marcum would have ranked higher. But for a few hundred dollars less than the Humminbird 7, it’s only to be expected that this fish finder has less features.
4. Garmin Striker 4 With Portable Kit
- Modes: GPS, Flasher, Sonar Graph
- Weight: 0.5 pounds
- Screen Size: 3.5 Inches
Next, the Garmin Striker 4 Ice Fishing Bundle focuses on the primary needs of an ice fishing fish finder. This model is the most affordable one in the striker series, and you still receive a 3.5-inch screen, transducer, and a protective carrying case.
Although the screen is small at 3.5 inches, you can upgrade to the 4.3-inch Striker 4 Plus with a larger size screen for $149.99 more. This basic model comes with everything – GPS, digital sonar, and digital flasher. On top of that, the transducer allows you to scan up to a maximum depth of 340 feet. All while the 12-step interference combats other fishermen nearby without any signal interruption.
One of the best perks of the Garmin Striker 4 is the fish and GPS course correction alarms. This allows you to step away from your console while busy rigging or setting up camp. Also, the course correction alarm will keep you on track if you’re on a kayak during the warmer months while tying some rigs up. Plus, the lightweight design (0.5 pounds) makes transportation a breeze.
Although the affordable price is appealing, Garmin could do better in some aspects. Even though it comes with a built-in GPS, there isn’t a chart plotter. A chart plotter gives you information on the depths and terrain around the water source (chart plotters are used in the warmer months on a boat). Also, you can’t take data out from this unit considering there isn’t any SD or Micro SD port.
The Garmin Striker 4 gives you the best multi-function on our list. It’s got portability, GPS, sonar, a flasher, the ability to use all year round, and an affordable price. If you decide the 3.5-inch screen isn’t for you, that’s fine too. Don’t forget, you can upgrade this device to a bigger screen.
Best Digital Flasher
5. MarCum LX-7
- Modes: Digital Flasher
- Weight: 12 pounds
- Screen Size: 8 inches
At number 5, the Marcum LX-7 is one of the best ice fishing flashers on the market. When purchasing the LX-7, you receive an 8-inch screen, built-in shuttle, transducer, and a 12V lithium-ion battery. Altogether, the equipment totals 12 pounds.
First off, the Marcum LX-7 is only a digital flasher. It is an upgrade from the older flasher models, such as the Vexilar GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack for sure. A new feature the Vexilar GP1812 didn’t have is the ability to customize the features (lights, alarms, display screen). This allows for making the unit more personalized to you.
The best part of this fish finder is the transducer. It has two angles to use, 8 and 20 degrees. The 8-degree view is better for vertical drop fishing, whereas the 20-degree is best for locating where the fish are and where to set up your hole. When using the flasher option, the two different degree angles ultimately allow the unit to identify where you want to see. Marcumn also added their 12-step interference, which picks up objects a lot more accurately.
So far so good, but what we noticed about the Marcum is that the screen is prone to glares. On the shuttle, you can customize the angle you wish to have the screen displayed to try and avoid this, but it isn’t a reliable solution. Another flaw is the lack of CHIRP feature. You’ll likely receive feedback from other anglers ice fishing in your vicinity, so be sure to have some distance.
If you’re a fisherman who enjoys a simple digital flasher, then the LX-7 could just be the fish finder you’re looking for.
6. Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing And All-Season Pack
- Modes: Digital Flasher, Sonar Graph (optional GPS)
- Weight: 4.5 pounds
- Screen Size: 4 inches
Up next, the Lowrance Hook 2 Fish Finder is a simple unit with a 4-inch screen, carrying case, and transducer. This fish finder also includes many lengths of transducer cable and extra features for customization.
The product is a digital flasher/sonar run by a 12V battery. You have an 800x440p screen that allows an easy view of the fish below, and once on the ice, the carrying case allows for quick portability. The transducer’s maximum depth is up to 300 feet, and the optional GPS is pre-loaded with 12,000 water sources globally.
This unit is extremely customizable, easy to use, and affordable. The CHIRP will prevent other ice anglers’ signals from disrupting yours. Plus, the powerful GPS will take you anywhere you need to go. Finally, the price will keep your wallet and marriage happy.
The Hook 2 does have some cons. Since it does come with many accessories, it may be hard to keep track of them while ice fishing. And the carrying case zipper opens down all the way (a little too far). Equipment can fall out, so be careful if you have the unit near your ice fishing hole.
The Lowrance Hook 2 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles and isn’t the best option on our list. But the easy, user-friendly interface, price, many accessories, digital sonar, digital flasher, and GPS put the Hook 2 at our best value buy.
7. Vexilar GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack
- Modes: Flasher
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Screen Size: Flasher Display
Coming in at number 7, the Vexilar GP1812 FL 18 is the OG on our list. This product has been around since 2002. Vexilar has created one of the toughest ice fishing flashers in the world, and since people are still buying it, it’s only right we review it.
The simplicity and ease of the Vexilar make this a favorite for anglers who just want an ice fishing flasher. Since it is an older model, you only have three knobs, which control gain, range, and mode. Along with those, you’ll also have a LED flasher display with alarms to alert you when fish are near.
Considering this is a classic style flasher, it’s good to know the bright LED lights light up the fish flasher. This translates to an easy viewing system with an easy-to-use design.
The unit is simple and durable, and since its creation, users have reported just how durable this ice fishing flasher is. Sometimes simplicity is the best, and with the Vexilar GP 1812 FL18, that’s precisely what you’ll receive.
Having said that, some view simplicity as a downfall. If you’re a modern angler, this ice fishing flasher may not be for you. You won’t have GPS, digital sonar, or chart plotters, but if you’re knowledgeable and confident in your ice fishing abilities, you may only want a fish flasher.
The Vexilar is one of the oldest ice fishing flashers in existence. If you’re a fan of older models, stick to your gut, and stay with what you like. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Best Wireless Fish Finder
8. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar GPS
- Modes: GPS, Sonar Graph
- Weight: .77 pounds
- Screen Size: Displays on Phone
At number 8, The Deeper Pro Plus Smart Sonar GPS is the only wireless unit on our list. The product comes in a baseball shape weighing only 0.77 pounds. This fish finder also comes with a charging cable and instruction manual, all together in a small package.
First, the Deeper Pro Plus displays directly to your phone via Bluetooth and Wifi, creating a modern touch. Since the unit is wireless, you’ll have to tie it to a fishing rod or let it float in your ice hole. Considering the product is small and durable, this sonar is also excellent for warmer fishing seasons. Usually, when summer fishing, you’ll be out on the lake.
If you plan to lake fish during the summer, you will simply attach the Pro Plus to your rod and cast it to the location you want to view. You’ll have up to 330 feet before the signal is broken to your device, opening up a large sector of the lake that was only accessible by boat before.
The wireless capability is a double-edged sword though. If your line were to cut or frayed, you’d have difficulty recovering and locating the device. Granted, the device will float all the time, so with some time and effort, you should be able to find it. Before sending the Deeper PRO+ out to do its job, I’d suggest you to secure it with a heavy braid to prevent possible abrasions.
The mobility, durability, and wireless capability make this the best wireless option available. You’ll be glad to hear it won’t break the bank too. With the ability to fish all year round, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth out of this unit.
9. Vexilar FLX-28
- Modes: Flasher
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Screen Size: Flasher Display
Coming up next, we have the Vexilar FLX-28. This is a unit like the Vexilar FL18, but newer. This is a simple ice flasher with the ability to zone in precisely where you want. Vexilar gives you the ice flasher mounted to a shuttle, then attached are the transducer and float.
The Vexilar FLX-28 has updated LED flasher lights. These light up in different settings depending on the strength of your gain. On the unit, you’ll notice three knobs. One with mode, another with gain, and lastly, one with range. Making the Vexilar one of the simplest units available. It also weighs just 11 pounds, so travel won’t be a problem.
The Vexilar FLX-28 is the simplest and best flasher on our list. The transducer has a 20-step interference rejection. With the interference rejection, you’re gaining better accuracy. The Gain mode allows the flasher to identify within 1/4 inch accuracy.
Some downsides to consider are simplicity. If you’re an angler who’s more tech-savvy, you might not like this unit. But if you enjoy the simplicity and the basic flasher package, the Vexilar is a great option.
With Vexilar, you’re choosing a widely known and durable brand. For only a few hundred dollars, it’s definitely worth your consideration.
10. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
- Modes: Sonar Graph
- Weight: .88 pounds
- Screen Size: 1.8 inches
At number 10, the Venterior VT-FF001 portable fishfinder is the simplest product with the lowest price on our list. For a mere $42.99, you get a 1.8-inch screen built into the handheld module. Once connected, you’ll find the transducer, its float, and the cable feeding into the unit.
This unit is simple, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. There’s only sonar available on screen, but you’ll notice display customization options for how you want it to display fish. The screen has an LCD backlight, allowing for easy viewing at night or day. And finally, with only three buttons, two navigation, and one mode option, you’ll master this device in no time.
The transducer can also read up to 328 feet and the fish alarm allows you to step away from the ice if necessary.
The only drawback this fish finder has is its use of disposable batteries. The unit uses 4 AAA batteries; eventually, they will die, leaving you in a pickle. As such, be sure to carry some spares with you.
If you’re just getting into sonar fishing and you’re on a budget, this is the best ice fish finder for you.
11. Lucky Portable Fish Finder
- Modes: Sonar Graph
- Weight: 0.9 pounds
- Screen Size: 2.9 inches
Last but not least, we have the Lucky Portable Fish Finder. This is a small fish finder that fits directly in your hand. The 2.9-inch screen is easy to read, and the weight is less than a pound, so portability is as simple as putting it in your pocket.
The maximum depth that the sonar signal can reach is 328 feet, and the display screen shows you the depth, water temperature, and fish. For its price, this fish finder is remarkably accurate. The Lucky Portable fish finder is a basic model for sure. But if you’re looking to get your feet wet with sonar fishing, this is a great option to learn on.
Unfortunately, there’s a huge downside – sensitivity. You’re more than likely to pick up some underwater vegetation that could come across as fish.
Other than though, for under $100, the Lucky Portable Fish Finder is truly a steal. This portable fish finder is an excellent option if you plan to fish all year round. Its small size allows for ice fishing during the winter and boat fishing during the warmer months.
Why Buy Ice Fishing Fish Finders?
An ice fishing fish finder is a valuable tool to aid you in finding fish quicker. It helps you locate fish and underwater structures, improving your chances of catching fish. Here’s why you should consider buying an ice fishing fish finder:
- Find Fish
- Identify Structure
- Depth and Temperature
- Ease of Mind (You know there are fish there!)
Things To Consider When Choosing An Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Below, we’ve listed the top six features to think about when you’re comparing fish finders. Although we can’t always have everything in one unit, aim to find a unit that accommodates all your ice fishing needs.
Whether you’re a gadget wizard or a basic fisherman will determine the right fish finder for you. If you struggle with keeping up with technology and prefer just the basics, lean towards a model such as the Lucky Portable or the Venterior VT.
On the other hand, if you’re tech-savvy and love the newest gadgets, then an ice fishing sonar such as the Garmin Panoptix PS22 is right up your alley. With updates constantly available and 18,000 water-based maps, your options are endless.
Frequency is an important consideration when choosing an ice fishing fish finder. It determines the maximum depth that the transducer can detect up to.
A lower frequency (50kHz or lower) transducer will provide a deeper range. But note that with a lower frequency; you’ll have fewer details. A higher frequency unit (200kHz or higher) will penetrate the water at shallower depths but with much more detail.
We compare frequency or warm/cold weather durability when talking about transducers. Be sure to choose a unit that will provide the image you want.
For a more detailed image with less depth range, you’ll want 200kHz or higher. However, get a unit with 50kHz or less if you want a deeper range.
Also, ice fishing transducers are either a flasher type (emitting a signal) or a digital type (receiving a signal), depending on the fish finder’s capability.
Screen resolution decides your display clarity. The higher the resolution (4k,1440p,1080p), the more clearly everything will show up on the screen. Of course, higher resolutions will cost more.
A lower-resolution screen still works just as well. In some cases, you won’t even notice the difference. But higher resolution screens are game changers when fishing in low light conditions or nighttime.
When considering a fish finder, there are some key factors to consider for your battery. First, you should decide on lithium-ion, 12V, or even disposable batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most efficient (using the least amount of power, for the longest time). Behind Lithium-ion is the older 12V, which uses power fast and kills your battery quicker. Lastly, you have disposable which we all know to die quickly and then must be thrown out. You should also take into account the battery life.
Some batteries have options such as USB charging ports, battery-level display lights, and solar chargers. Be sure to consider the lengths of your fishing trips, what you will use the battery for, and if you want accessories. The more accessories, the higher the price will be.
Every fisherman fishes differently. Whether you ride your snowmobile to the lake or you hike yourself in will decide how important portability is to you. Smaller portable fish finders can fit right in your pocket.
Usually though, when downsizing that much, you’re losing out on some key features. The larger the unit, the more accessories you’ll have.
With larger units, carrying handles and cases are imperative. With smaller, i.e. more portable fish finders, a lanyard or carrying strap is very important so you don’t lose the device.
For your convenience, we’ve listed some frequently asked questions. Each that we have gathered from the fishing community regarding fish sonars.
What’s the difference between ice fishing and regular fish finders?
Ice fishing fish finders are designed specifically for use in cold temperatures. With that said, they’re built to withstand the harsh conditions of ice fishing. They typically have a larger design and use a transducer with a shorter frequency range to better penetrate the ice.
On the other hand, a regular fish finder is designed for use in warmer temperatures and may not be as durable or efficient in cold conditions. They may also have a smaller design, which is better for kayaks and boats. These fish finders also use a transducer with a longer frequency range for deeper water fishing.
Do Ice Fish Finders Need To Be Waterproof?
An ice fishing fish finder doesn’t necessarily have to be waterproof. However, it is imperative the device is water-resistant and can withstand cold temperatures.
Protecting the battery and electronic components from getting wet is most important. Many ice fishing fish finders come with waterproof or water-resistant cases to protect them from the elements.
Should I get a flasher or a digital sonar unit?
The choice between a digital sonar and a flasher fish finder for ice fishing depends on your personal preference and the type of fishing you plan to do.
Digital sonar units use a display screen to show detailed images of what’s beneath the ice, such as fish, structure, and depth.
These fish finders usually have a variety of features, such as GPS, more detailed maps, and water temperature. They are generally more updated and expensive. But they also offer more detailed information and better clarity of what you’re looking at.
Flasher units use LED lights to indicate what the transducer is picking up below. Some folks claim a flasher is harder to master than a digital sonar unit. On that same note, some veteran anglers swear by the flasher.
The digital sonar is for you if you’re looking for a fully loaded unit that gives you information on just about anything in the water. But if you’re a simple fisherman, who just wants help finding that honey hole on the ice, go with the more affordable flasher fish finder.
We’ve gone over what makes an ice fishing sonar great and 11 of the best ice fish finders. Whether you’re searching for a product with portability, the best price, or the best durability, there’s something for everyone on the list.
If you’re still having trouble making your mind up, I recommend getting the Humminbird ICE Helix 7. This top-of-the-line ice fishing product has many perks and features. Which sets it apart from the others on our list. It is a dual-purpose piece of equipment that allows sonar flashing and GPS locating, all displayed on a 7-inch LCD screen. With the capabilities of split screen mode, you can enjoy GPS, flashing, and sonar scanning simultaneously.
Lastly, in case you need any other ice fishing tackle, we’ve conveniently compiled them for you too. Here are the best ice fishing shelters, boots, rods, reels, and lures. Have fun on your ice fishing trip!
Content retrieved from: https://fishingsensei.com/gear/fish-finders/best-ice-fishing-fish-finders/.