Sonars with side imaging - Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison


If you want to get the best fishing gear but you don’t have enough time to consider our tips and buying guides, this short paragraph can tell you just what you need to know. After having analyzed plenty of feedback coming from professional and amateur anglers alike, we’ve concluded that the Humminbird Helix 9 SI GPS is the one you should keep in mind. The large, 9-inch VGA display can ensure that you’re always able to see the data both correctly and efficiently. A transom transducer is part of the deal with this product. Also, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of those who have reviewed the device say that it is an all-around great sounder and that they could not recommend it more. That’s probably due to the fact that this unit boasts a SI/DI sonar with DualBeam Plus and SwitchFire. Plus, the GPS chartplotting and Ethernet networking capabilities are said to be excellent. If the Humminbird Helix 9 SI GPS is unavailable, be sure to check out the Humminbird 409470-1 HD SI.



Comparison table




For your consideration, we’ve selected three of the best side scan sonars we’ve come across during our research. All of the following units have been granted some of the best fish finder reviews in the world, coming from American and international customers. If you’re looking for the right value for the right price, have a look at them.


Our top choices


Humminbird Helix 9 SI GPS


As one of the top rated choices out there, this model should be one of those you simply must take into account. If you are in the market for a reliable chartplotter and side scan sonar, it’s very likely that you will appreciate the functionalities of this particular one. On the one hand, it boasts a 9-inch WVGA display, which means that you will always be able to visualize the data.

Most of the devices in this line come with displays that are just too small to enable ease of use or that can offer a certain degree of comfort. This is most certainly not the case with the Humminbird Helix 9.

Despite the fact that the product description on various retail websites isn’t particularly revealing as to whether or not the unit comes with a transducer, we’ll put your mind at ease by telling you that it does. The only thing that you will have to get separately is a Navionics chip as it is not included in the package.

Most of the consumer reports we have gone through with regard to the performance of this device are favorable and say that the device does precisely what it has been designed to do.

Buy from for ($870.99)





Humminbird 409470-1 HD SI


Compared to the unit we’ve showcased above, this one is considerably more affordable. While some online marketplaces usually sell it for over seven hundred dollars, Amazon customers can benefit from the retailer’s sale discounts and often get it for as little as five to six hundred.

This device is capable of excellent performance, even though it might not be the best in the line. It’s the right alternative for people who aren’t willing to spend a fortune on a side scan sonar. The dual frequency of this model allows users to choose between the 50kHz one or the 200kHz one.

With an internal GPS and a 5-inch VGA display with a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, it goes without saying that the Humminbird 409470-1 is an alternative worth considering.

The package includes the transducer.

Let’s see what buyers had to say about this product. While some are keen on emphasizing the exceptional features of this fish finder, others claim it was a great help for them in dense fog conditions.

Buy from for: See the Price!





Lowrance LSS-2


This is a fishfinder module that is compatible with the vast majority of HDS units. It would have been impossible to leave this variety out from this list, as it’s remarkably inexpensive compared to the other two devices we’ve described earlier on.

Furthermore, considering that it is more than capable of providing HD images of the bottom and of the fish, it has gathered quite a wide angle of appreciation over the years.

One of the most attractive specs of this mode is the StructureScan feature, which provides images of targets and of their shadows. This way, the displayed picture is far more realistic than the one of other units in the same line.

The manufacturers are offering a 2-year consumer warranty on both parts and labor.

The package contains the actual LSS-2 Sounder module, an owner’s manual, a power cord, a 6-inch Ethernet cable, and a transom-mount Skimmer transducer.

The Lowrance variety might not be as popular as the previously mentioned side scan sonars, but it’s fairly well-known for its performance and capabilities.

Buy from for: See the Price!





Humminbird 998c HD SI 


Humminbird has been designing high-quality units for quite a while now, which is why it might be that this one is the best side scan sonar on the market today.

The unit can be used for depths between 150ft and 1500ft, and with an extreme deepwater transducer, it’s capable of reading 3000ft. This is a down imaging, side imaging and DualBeam PLUS sonar.

Since the Humminbird 4087201 comes with GPS and built-in ContourXD, you won’t have any trouble getting your way around any waters.

The neat thing about this variety is that it has dual SD card slots, which can be utilized in order to load new and extra maps.

As for the screen, it goes without saying that the model is the best when it comes to accurately visualizing one’s catch. The 8-inch wide screen complete with the 480 by 800 resolution and the 16:9 color TFT display make it worth giving a shot.

Buy from for: See the Price!





Buying guide


What’s the best side scan sonar for the money? If you’ve struggled to answer this question but find it hard to make up your mind on account of the many models that now exist on the market, we’re here to help. Check out the following buying guide to correlate your needs and requirements to the features you’re looking for in a unit.




Depth is one of the first consideration when buying the best fish finders. Some models can offer readings of up to 200ft, while others can do the same up to 3000ft, provided they have the right transducer.


Screen size and resolution

To accurately see what’s going on under the boat, you need a screen size of at least 4 inches. The screen resolution also plays a major part in displaying crisp images, as does your personal preference between a color or a black and white display.


GPS and mapping

GPS and mapping aren’t two mandatory features, but if you want to know you’ll arrive home safely no matter the weather conditions, they’re definitely desirable.


Power and frequency

The more power, the better. In shallow waters, a high frequency is more important than a lot of power. On the contrary, fishing in deep, murky waters requires a high wattage.



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