What Is The Difference Between a Fish Finder and Sonar?

Fishfinder and sonar are a great addition among different fishing equipment. Although these two devices are roughly similar, there have some individual traits in each device. So, what is the difference between a fish finder and sonar? 

You will learn the core difference between a Fishfinder and sonar from this guide. Also, we have covered that which device is perfect for whom? Let’s go through it next. 

What are a Fishfinder and sonar?

What is a fish finder? Fishfinder is the ideal device to see the fish and obstacles beneath the water. On the contrary, sonar is more convenient for fish finding because it is designed with advanced technology than a Fishfinder. 

It is great to detect and show fish location from the sides, behind, and beneath. To put it more simply, a Fishfinder allows one to see the direct view underwater or under the ship. But a sonar device can see the fish’s location from all perspectives. 

The details differences between a Fishfinder and sonar

Fish Finder

Lucky Portable Fish Finder
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Wave scale:

A general fish finder is made with a smaller scaled sonar that works how to detect fish underwater within a limited area. On the other hand, it is a unique device that works within broad areas under the water. It can not only go underwater; it can send waves around the boat and collect information. Such waves can go directly to the underside of a boat or ship and return with information. 

Price, size, and portability:

When it comes to the price, a Fishfinder is very affordable than a sonar device. Besides, a Fishfinder is comparatively smaller, which makes it portable too. A fish finder is enough when you are fishing as your hobby or don’t have a huge goal for it.

Types of searching:

A Fishfinder usually comes in two types to figure out underwater fish schools. One type is     Standalone, which works to go only underwater directly. Another type is a combination that comes with an added GPS navigation function.  

Moreover, Fishfinder has come with a networking system that helps get a wide range of data from expert anglers. Especially, networking systems provide up-to-date details information. This feature is good to make a fishing trip successful. 

In addition, the networking system allows you to connect your mobile with Fishfinder. So, you can control the Fishfinder from your mobile phone.


Sonar Sound Wave
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Wave scale:

Sonar is a horizontal device that operates on a significantly wide range of wave scales. First of all, it has high efficiency. It can observe the scenery around the boat and observe the bottom of the boat very accurately. Besides, this device has come with a sounder frequency ideal to target big fish. 

Price, size, and portability:

A sonar device is larger in size and less portable than a Fishfinder. Besides, it is more expensive than a Fishfinder. If you want to get a lot of big catches and don’t want to waste time, then sonar is a perfect choice.

Types of searching:

A Sonar for fishing boats has two types of search systems. One is Searchlight, and another is scanning. The searchlight system refers to a lighthouse or prison-like device that can repeatedly search forth and back. 


The scanning system allows you to see your 360° views instantly. It works slightly like aerial photography. Is that scanning system is faster and more efficient than the searchlight system? A most important factor is a sonar device scanning system use multiple timer controller oscillators. This oscillator can accurately determine the swimming direction and speed of larger fish. 

Which is better between a Fishfinder and sonar device?

Since a sonar and Fishfinder both have distinctive features, one cannot be specified as better. However, Fishfinder is best for private use for an angler who uses a small boat or kayak. Besides, different size of Fishfinder is available in the market. It is important to know what the best fish finder is? Using a fish finder can give you the best result. 

FeatureFishfinderSonar Device
PurposeDetect fish and underwater structuresMeasure depth and locate underwater objects
DisplayHigh-resolution color displaySimple monochrome or grayscale display
ImagingAdvanced imaging technology provides detailed images of the underwater environmentBasic imaging technology with limited detail
MappingCan create detailed maps of the underwater environmentLimited mapping capabilities
CostHigher costLower cost
VersatilityCan be used for fishing, diving, and navigationMainly used for navigation and finding depths

Generally, a big game fisherman requires a sonar device. Most importantly, Fishfinder can’t cover the water areas around the larger boat and ship. On the other hand, the Sonar device is the best choice. 

Which device should you choose?

It depends on your requirement, preference, and budget. Fishfinder is good if you target small to medium fishes occasionally. A portable depth finder can easily transport by car, truck, and other devices. But a sonar is larger and is not easy to transport and move from one place to another. 


  1. Why is sonar fishing bad?

In some cases, sonar fishing is bad because the high-sound frequency is used in a Sonar device. Besides, sonar is harmful to the fish population. A fish may damage their organs and nervous systems due to the high sound frequency. 

  1. Do fish finders work?

Yes, Fishfinder works great to see fish and structures under the water. In the meantime, you will get water temperature, water depth, bottom topography, and the presence of fish from a fish finder. 


The main note at the end of this guide is that a Fish Finder and sonar are very effective fishing devices. The only difference is that Fish Finder works on a small range, but sonar works on a large range. Also, note that fish finder is best for private use and sonar is best for commercial use. 

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