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Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy MAX

Fishin' Buddy MAX

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3.5"DualBeam600' 2DNoNo

In case you are looking for one of the most basic and portable fish finder units, the Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy MAX is definitely one to put on your list. This unit not only that comes with the transducer, it also includes a clamp mount and a telescopic shaft for it, so you don’t have to drill holes in the hull of your boat.

To be clear, this is a standalone fishfinder unit. It does not have GPS or charts, and cannot be upgraded in order to provide any navigation features.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Screen: 3.5″ diagonal, color TFT with a 256 color range, 240H x 320V pixel resolution, with LED backlight
  • Sonar: DualBeam
  • Depth Capability: 600 feet (183 m)
  • Frequency and Coverage: 200 kHz / 28° and 455 kHz / 16°
  • Transducer: XP 9 28 T
  • Power Output: 300 Watts (RMS)
  • Power Input: 10-20 VDC
  • Power Draw: 170 mA
  • GPS: No
  • Maps: No

Sonar and transducer

As opposed to the Fishin’ Buddy MAX DI, this unit doesn’t have Down Imaging sonar. It only has DualBeam sonar, capable of two frequencies, 200 kHz, and 455 kHz. The transducer supplied with it is also a basic one, the XP 9 28 T, a transducer that doesn’t include a temperature sensor. 

Since the unit’s sonar is only DualBeam and not DualBeam Plus as for the HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2, it can only use one frequency at the time. It also doesn’t have CHIRP technology. However, it still provides a decent target separation, keeps track of the bottom and helps you identify the fish targets.

The transducer uses two conical beams, one of 16° for 455 kHz, and one of 28° for 200 kHz. Its maximum depth capability is 600 ft (183 m). Also, the recommended speed for the clearest images is between 1-6 MPH.

Since the Fishin’ Buddy MAX doesn’t have DualBeam Plus sonar, it also does not have the SwitchFire function. However, it does share several useful sonar functions with the other, more inclusive units. These are the Selective Fish ID, three types of alarms, and Structure ID.

Structure ID is a function that represents the weak returns as light pixels, while the strong returns will be darker. And finally, there’s also a WhiteLine function which highlights the strongest sonar return in white, resulting in a more distinctive bottom contour.

Selective Fish ID is a sonar function that replaces the fish arches with fish icons. Each fish icon will also have its current depth displayed next to it. However, not all the fish icons shown will actually be fish. The feature interprets most of the suspended targets as fish and will assign a fish icon to them.

Finally, the unit’s three alarms are Fish Alarm, Battery Alarm, and Depth Alarm. For the Fish Alarm, there are 3 fish size options such as “Large, Medium and Small” and you can choose one of them or all so that the unit will sound when it detects a fish that corresponds to the setting. The Battery Alarm sounds when the battery voltage is equal or less than the menu setting. The Depth Alarm will sound when the depth is equal or less than the selected value.

Control unit and mount

The Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy MAX comes with a different type of mounting kit than other units. The unit itself has a tilt and swivel mount, but this mount is designed to attach to the included 24″ (61 cm) pole. The pole is fixed, not telescopic as for the Fishin’ Buddy MAX DI.

The control unit features a color display with a 256 color range, 3.5″ diagonal, with a pixel resolution of 240H x 320V. It has LED backlight with 5 levels of brightness which considerably improves its readability in direct sunlight. It requires 8 AA batteries which are not included.

Also, it has excellent waterproofing, but when in contact with saltwater it’s recommended to wipe the unit immediately, as salt may eventually corrode its connectors.

The Pros

  • DualBeam sonar with two frequencies 200/455 kHz;
  • Transducer included;
  • 600 ft max. depth capability;
  • Various functions included, such as Fish ID, Bottom View, Fish Alarm, Depth Alarm etc;
  • Clamp for easy connection to the boat is included;
  • You don’t have to drill holes in the hull of your boat;
  • Color display;
  • Easy to install;
  • Affordable.

The Cons

  • The unit may jump and wobble in its support ring at higher boat speeds;
  • No unit cover;
  • No upgrade options.

Bottom Line

The Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy Max is a sonar only fish finder, featuring DualBeam sonar. It can use two frequencies, 200/455 kHz, being capable of scanning depths up to 600 ft, which means you can also use it off-shore if you remain in the shallow waters. The unit includes the transducer and a fixed pole for it, along with a mounting clamp, which is easy to install on most fishing boats. With a little improvisation, it can also be mounted on a buoy for ice fishing or stationary fishing. In all, it’s a versatile and affordable fish finder.


  1. Thank you for the review.. took a little time to find an in depth review for this unit, especially such a good written one. I actually bought one yesterday online for $120 and should arrive Tuesday to use on my portaboat. The down imaging model looked great, but an extra $100 wasn’t practical for my needs.

  2. I got one in june out of need My last portable unit finally died after 16 years of use I found a lot of problems with the unit Mostly bad engineering of the product Anyone looking at reviews will find out it does not stay in the holder this includes heavy waves on the lake The rubber O ring seal is the worst Seems to do nothing but squeeze out The battery holder gets rusted very quickly and the wires are prone to brake Seems to eat batteries sometimes Other times you will get 15 hours on batteries It weights more than what I expected ( Have to weight gear before fly-in trips )good things well it works and the color is great not overly happy and am honestly looking at either buying a older unit in good shape or possibly putting one together that runs on D cell batteries

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