Garmin depth finder

What’s the Best Depth Finder for Your Small Boat?

What’s the Best Small Boat Depth Finder?

Knowing the depth beneath your boat could be the difference between catching a limit or getting skunked. It could also prevent the headaches of running aground or a prop strike.

Depth finders are a valuable feature for anyone hitting the water, but which one is best for your small boat? Keep reading to learn more about Garmin chartplotters and fishfinders that can show you the depth and a whole lot more.

Does Garmin Make a Depth Finder?

Yes. Well, kind of. We don’t sell a unit that only shows you depth because most boat owners need to know a lot more than depth, and so should you.

If you’re looking for a depth finder, what you really want is either a fishfinder or a chartplotter with a depth-finding feature. Garmin has incorporated the depth-finding feature into all our chartplotters and fishfinders.

Fishfinder vs. Chartplotter — What’s the Difference?

A fishfinder is just that — a fish finder, dinner winner, crappie radar — you get the idea. It uses sonar technology to locate fish and structure. A chartplotter also has those sonar capabilities, as well as mapping technology to help you navigate.

Traditionally, these units would be on separate displays and would clutter up the helm. But technology has come a long way, and Garmin incorporates both features into one unit/display. On most of our devices, you can see both your sonar and your digital GPS map on the same screen. This gives you all the data you need, when you need it, in one convenient package.

Chartplotters and Fishfinders with Depth Finders

Every chartplotter and fishfinder that Garmin sells comes with a depth-finding feature. Your job is to figure out your budget, where you’ll be fishing, how big a screen you want, and what other features you need, such as sonar.


If you just want to know depth, the Garmin STRIKER™ 4 is a great start. Beyond depth, you also get an easy-to-use 3.5” color screen with traditional sonar and a high-sensitivity GPS to help you navigate.


For even more features or a bigger display, the Garmin STRIKER™ Vivid series offers displays from 4” to 9”. In addition to showing you the depth, this fishfinder supports ClearVü™ and SideVü™ sonar technology for an enhanced view beneath the water when you’re fishing.


For even more features and preloaded maps, the ECHOMAP™ UHD series is a great choice. This chartplotter also supports Panoptix™ and LiveScope™ live scanning sonar for anglers who need the best fish-finding technology.

More Than a Depth Finder

Although you may just be looking for a depth finder, you’ll quickly realize the value of the other features these devices provide.

Chartplotters, for example, will show you a visual map of the body of water you’re on with topographic lines that show bottom contours. You can use this to home in on certain fishing depths or know which areas of the lake you want to avoid entirely due to shallow water or rock hazards. 

A chartplotter or digital map with GPS will also keep you and your crew safer when weather rolls in or you stay out past dark and need help finding your way back to the dock or boat launch.

Designed to Endure

Garmin chartplotters and fishfinders are designed with the modern boat owner in mind. From johnboats to bass boats, they blend seamlessly into every helm style and are available in different sizes to accommodate all layouts.

All our marine products are built to sustain the harsh environment of fresh and saltwater. The sunlight-readable displays make them easy to read while you’re on the water, even with polarized glasses.

If you’re still not sure which direction to head, use our marine system builder to help you decide. When you finally do get on the water, be safe and have fun.