Fishing technology has come a long way over the years. There are so many more fish finder options available to anglers than there once was. If you are willing to invest, the days of those bulky, hard to read, not very accurate, not very detailed fish finders are over.
The best 3D Fish Finders will absolutely impress you with the detail they provide. The imaging is incredible, but these fish finders aren’t cheap. For serious fisherman that want to map out lakes, and have every possible fishing advantage, here are some of the best 3D fish finders reviewed.
Important note: Most of these 3D fish finders will require you to purchase the proper display screen as well as the actual 3D imaging transducer. These two elements must be purchased together for it to work properly. Some packages will be selling these separately, why some will bundle both items together. Make sure if you are buying just the 3D imaging part that it will function properly with your current display. Also make sure that all software is up to date before you install.
Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 Fish Finder Review
Any 3D fish finder review wouldn’t be complete without the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3. This is one of the best 3D fish finders that money can buy, and it makes the old school fish finders we grew up with look obsolete.
There are three parts to this fish finder that can be purchased together, or individually. You will need the HDS-7 Gen 3 screen, Lowrance’s Structure Scan 3D Module, and the Structure Scan Transducer.
Part one is simple, make sure you have all the necessary components and make sure that all of your software is up to date, or it will not function properly.
Part two is that you will need to mount the 3D imaging transducer to your boat and making sure all the cables are connected properly from the transducer to the graph. It is important to read the manuals, and again, the 3D structure scanning transducer will only work with the proper display. Instead of explaining the entire installation process, check out the YouTube video at the end of the article. They do a really nice job of walking you through the entire installation process.
The biggest highlight of this fish finder is the screen display. It is phenomenal. It is a 7 inch high definition screen that is backlit, so it provides easy viewing no matter how bright it is outside. The images are incredibly detailed, it isn’t just a block on your screen that is supposed to represent brush or underwater structure.
The images are 3D, so you are going to know everything that is going on underwater. Structure, water depth, where the fish are, if you want the data, you are going to be able to get it. Expect to pay in the thousands of dollars for all the necessary equipment for this fish finder.
In return, you will get the most detailed fish finding imagery you have ever seen. There’s a reason this particular model was held up as one of the absolute best breakthrough designs when it came to fish finders using three dimensional imagery, and that trend is likely to continue with new releases.
2018 UPDATE: There isn’t much more to say about the new model (the Lowrance HDS-12) that we haven’t already covered in the original, but this upgraded version of the original HDS-7 takes all the features that anglers loved from the original and goes even a step further with clearer mapping, top notch 3-D displays, and offers more control than ever when it comes to seeing the display the way you want to see it.
Although this new model hasn’t been out very long, it is receiving rave reviews from anglers who decided to spend the money to see just what the new Lowrance 3-D fishfinder brings to the table and if it would really improve results. So far the reviews have been nothing short of glowing, and it looks like the HDS-12 continues the top notch tradition of quality that the HDS-7 started for Lowrance.
Humminbird 3D Fish Finders
Humminbird also offers what many would consider 3D imaging, or what they refer to as 360 imaging. This product will offer you a full 360 view around your boat. The sonar basically rotates automatically around your vessel, letting you know everything that is going on in a 300 foot circle.
The imaging is fantastic, letting you not only know where the fish are, but what type of structure is present. You can also isolate the imaging, so instead of doing a full 360 degree sweep, you can look at a 180 degree area in front or behind the boat. There is no place for fish to hide when this product is in use!
For this to work properly, you need to buy the Humminbird 360 Imagining transducer. It basically looks like a long pipe that can be mounted quickly to the front or back of your boat. Once mounted, the transducer is placed into the water and it starts gathering information for you, which you can see on the compatible fish finder.
For this product to work, it must also be paired with any of the ethernet ready, side imaging ready, Humminbird fish finder displays. A full list of acceptable models can be found on the Humminbird website, but include the ION 12, ION 10, ONIX10ci, ONIX8ci, HELIX 9, HELIX 10, and HELIX 12 models.
The 360 technology and mount will normally cost around $1,000. Add to that the cost of the fish finder model that you connect it to. We can’t stress this enough, if you try to use this with a non-ethernet, non-side imaging fish finder it will not work properly! This might be frustrating but that’s how the system is going to work together, so we want to make sure you understand everything you need to get the most out of your fishing equipment.
The biggest complaint with many people about this product is it cannot be integrated with some of the older fish finder models.
FishHunters Directional 3D Fish Finder Review
The biggest reason to pick the FishHunter Directional 3D fish finder over some of the other options is its portable capabilities. This option does not have to be mounted to a boat. It uses a Wi-Fi connection in the transducer to connect to your smart phone or tablet.
How this product works is really simple. You cast out or place the transducer into the water, and it is going to start kicking data back to your smartphone or table once you download the app. Again it used a Wi-Fi connection to connect, but you do not have to have an internet connection and it does not require any data.
This product creates really neat 3D maps and 3D bottom contouring. The ball you cast out into the water actually has 5 transducers that relays information, providing a larger coverage area that most of the other portable fish finders on the market. Those transducers also help to provide a lot of detailed information when you are using the mapping features.
The fish finder itself will gather information for you from up to 200 feet away, and in water depths of 4 feet to 150 feet. It works really well for ice fishing, working in temperatures up to -20 degrees. In ice fishing situations, the transducer will actually float on top of the water in your fishing hole instead of needing to be fully submerged.
With a battery life of up to 10 hours, this is a great fish finder. However, your tablet and smartphone might not be able to last that long.
FishHunter also makes a non-3D portable fish finder call the FishHunter Pro. This version is very effective, but does not give you the 3D details that the FishHunter Directional 3D Version gives you. Make sure you are purchasing the right version if you are hoping for 3D images. If you want a portable fish finder, but don’t need the 3D imaging we would recommend looking at Deeper Fish Finders.
The price point is also much more affordable with this option. However, it has a lot more limitations than other boat mounted options.
3D Fish Finders FAQ
Q: What is the best 3D fish finder on the market?
A: This is going to change from year to year, especially as new models are released. However, there are certain companies that consistently make the list as producing the best three dimensional fish finders on the market, such as Lowrance, Humminbird, and FishHunters.
Q: What are the advantages of a 3D fish finder over 2D models?
A: The more detailed pictures on the bottom give anglers a much better sense of the bottom of the body of water, any cover at the bottom, as well as where the fish are. This full display lets anglers really understand everything going on in the water and lets them more accurately see what they’re dealing with and adjust strategies accordingly.
Q: What is the average price for a 3-D fishfinder?
A: This varies a lot depending on whether it is used or new, the brand, the exact model, and whether you are getting all the necessary gear together or buying bit by bit. Prices will commonly range from $1,000 on the low side (make sure you’re getting all the equipment) up to $3,000 for top notch models. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Q: Where are the best places to buy a 3-D fishfinder?
A: We’re fans of shopping online, especially on Amazon, and if you can do that through one of our links up there, we would definitely appreciate it! (Full disclosure: we are Amazon affiliates)
There are also a few other companies like Garmin that make 3D fish Finders. A Garmin 3D fish finder will even show you your lure being reeled in and if a fish is chasing it. Just like with Humminbird or Lowrance you are going to have to buy the 3D mapping technology so it can be mounted to your boat, as well as the appropriate fish finder that will work with it.
If these options are just too expensive for you, there are some very inexpensive but effect portable fishfinders available.
Final Thoughts (for now)
These fish finders are for the most serious of anglers. They will give you every fishing advantage you can imagine. They do take a little bit of time to get used to, but the data they give you is phenomenal. And you won’t have any complaints about how detailed the imaging is. It will be pretty hard to come up with an excuse for not caching more fish with one of these fish finders in action!
Here is the promised video showing the Lowrance 3D Structure Scan being installed.