Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Review: Taking You Back to the Basics

Last Updated on March 31, 2022

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As a fishing community, I think we all make one big mistake. We glorify these monster budget fish finders loaded with countless features that you’ll probably never even use.

I do it too.

I look at units like the Lowrance Elite FS and think that it’s the standard and that’s simply not true. 

There are so many great basic fish finders and you’re going to see one in this Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 review.

This unit is simple, easy to use, great for beginners, and incredibly affordable. It reminds me of humble beginnings. I might break out some old fish finders just for fun now. 

Anyway, I want you to realize that you don’t need a massive budget or a Master’s degree to use a fish finder. In this review, you’ll see that accuracy and simplicity are sometimes the keys to catching more fish. 

Comparison Table of the PiranhaMAX 4 Models

ImageFeaturesRatingPrice
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4
  • 4.3” screen
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • 320-foot depth range
  • Keypad controlled interface
  • Fish ID+ and fish alarms 
9.7
Bass ProCabela's
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DIHumminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DI
  • 4.3” screen
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • Down imaging technology
  • 320-foot depth range
  • Keypad controlled interface
  • Fish ID+ and fish alarms
9.5
Bass ProCabela's
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 PTHumminbird PiranhaMAX 4 PT
  • 4.3” screen
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • 320-foot depth range
  • Keypad controlled interface
  • Portable carrying case
  • Fish ID+ and fish alarms 
9.1
Amazon

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Reviews: By Model 

Let’s break down each model of the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 to help you better understand the differences between each option.  

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Review 

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4

Specs 

  • 4.3” screen
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • 320-foot depth range
  • Keypad controlled interface
  • Fish ID+ and fish alarms 

Who is it for? 

The PiranhaMAX 4 isn’t going to blow anyone away with crazy features or outlandish GPS and mapping technology. It’s a basic fish finder that serves a basic purpose.

The unit comes with a 4.3” screen, 256-color TFT display, keypad controls, and various depth alarms and indicators to alert you of fish depths and the location of fish beneath the boat. 

This is a great budget fish finder for those who aren’t looking for anything fancy. It’s simple to use, easy to install, and an exceptional beginner choice for anglers getting into fish finding technology. 

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DI Review

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DI

Specs 

  • 4.3” screen
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • Down imaging technology
  • 320-foot depth range
  • Keypad controlled interface
  • Fish ID+ and fish alarms

Who is it for? 

In this PiranhaMAX 4 DI review, we’re stepping it up a notch. This unit comes with down imaging which gives it a bit of an advantage over the other units.

While traditional dual beam sonar will alert you of fish and help you get an idea of structure, down imaging provides a much clearer and more accurate image. 

Now, instead of looking at infrared imaging and illustrations of fish, you can see actual fish and structure beneath the surface. You still get all the previous features but this is an added bonus, at an added cost of course.

The PiranhaMAX 4 DI comes with the XNT transom mount transducer with a 300W RMS output. It offers advanced 2D sonar, color display, improved target separation, and dual-beam plus. You can mount it using the included swivel mount and hardwire it to your motor’s power output or use the external battery. 

I recommend this fish finder for anglers who may have a little experience using fish finders and they’re looking for something they can grow into. If you’ve been using fish finders for a few years, you’ll grow out of the base model PiranhaMAX 4 pretty quickly. 

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 PT Review

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 PT

Specs

  • 4.3” screen
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • 320-foot depth range
  • Keypad controlled interface
  • Portable carrying case
  • Fish ID+ and fish alarms 

Who is it for? 

The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 PT is a direct replica of the base model PiranhaMAX 4. The only thing different about this unit is that it comes with a cover that makes it easier to get in and out of the boat. 

I recommend this unit for those who are looking for a portable fish finder. Also, if you rent boats and can’t install anything permanent on them, this one comes with a suction cup transducer.

The unit functions well but the carrying case could use some attention. It’s difficult to get the fish finder inside the case and charging the battery is a challenge because it’s hard to get everything attached when the unit is inside the case. 

Keep in mind that there is an added cost to get this case even though you’re getting the same fish finder. For some, it might be cheaper and more effective to purchase an aftermarket carrying case. 

Breaking down the Most Noteworthy Features 

You’ve seen the units and at this point, what do you think? It’s a relatively basic fish finder compared to some of the other more complex fish finder reviews that I’ve done. But, if you know me, you know that I’m a fan of keeping things simple. 

I don’t think you need to go out and spend $2,000 to get a good fish finder. Not everyone needs a GPS fish finder, chartplotting, and live imaging. Some people are looking for a simple fish finder that helps them do what these devices are actually intended to do…

…find fish. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best features in this Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 review. 

Display/Screen 

The PiranhaMAX 4 offers a 4.3” screen

The PiranhaMAX 4 offers a 4.3” screen with a 480×272 pixel matrix. This isn’t going to win any awards for advancements in technology, but let me tell you why this screen is the right choice for this fish finder. 

It’s portable, it only weighs two pounds, and it comes with an LED backlight that makes it easier to see in direct sunlight. This is a great kayak fish finder or for small boats.

In fact, I recommend it as one of my top choices in this review of the best fish finders for small boats

I’m also a big fan of the push-button interface over the touchscreen. I’m a known hater of touch screen fish finders because I think they lose their sensitivity over time, the sun impacts the effectiveness of the screen, and they get super gunked up really quickly. 

The keypad-controlled interface is really simple to use and easy to navigate. This makes this fish finder a great choice for older generations that might not be as excited about all the new advancements in fishing technology. This fish finder gets back to the basics and what it does, it does right. 

Sonar 

These fish finders are a great option for anglers with little to no experience. They don’t complicate things with various sonar options and a ton of different settings to tweak and adjust when you’re out on the water. 

You have dual beam sonar and that’s it. What this means is that you get two options to choose from. There’s a 16 degree, 455 kHz cone and a 28 degree, 200kHz cone. You’ll want to choose the wide-angle cone when you’re scouting the water and trying to find an ideal place to fish.

Once you’ve narrowed it down, you’ll switch to the 16-degree cone to zero in and get a more accurate reading. 

Down imaging sonar is a feature added only to the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DI. That’s what the “DI” stands for.

Now, instead of simply seeing infrared colors and little fish icons, you’ll get actual images of structure and fish arches.

I highly recommend upgrading to the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 DI because I think it’s a worthwhile investment. It’ll help you learn more about advanced fish-finding technology without diving too deep into both the learning curve and financial investment. 

Alternatives to the PiranhaMAX 4

Let’s take a look at two other fish finder options to compare the features and price. After reviewing these, you might decide that one of these options better suits your needs. As you go through, I will be comparing the features directly to the PiranhaMAX 4. 

Garmin Striker 4 

The Garmin Striker 4 comes with a 3.5” screen, CHIRP sonar, GPS, and a depth capability of 750 feet. This unit brings a lot of features to the table and packs them all into a small and portable unit. Plus, it’s relatively affordable at only a little more than the PiranhaMAX 4. 
 
What does the PiranhaMAX 4 offer that this doesn’t? Not much, just a cheaper price point and a slightly larger screen. I think the Striker 4 is a great introduction to advanced fish finding technology if you want to start learning about GPS and mapping as well.

Humminbird Helix 5 

For many, the Humminbird Helix 5 was our first “big boy” fish finder. This unit is a lot less portable than the PiranhaMAX. It’s more expensive, larger, more permanent to mount, and it has a lot more settings and customizations that will have a prominent learning curve for those without experience. 
 
That said, it’s a great fish finder. The Helix 5 offers down imaging and CHIRP on a split-screen so you can look at the scanning and DI sonar at the same time. You get the push-button interface which is easy to navigate and you can view it all on a five-inch screen. 

The Helix 5 is a stern upgrade from the PiranhaMAX but as you could imagine, that comes with a price as well.

Final Thoughts 

What do you think about the PiranhaMAX? Do you think it’s a solid fish finder option for you? If you’re new to fish finders and you’re looking for a beginner-friendly unit, this is the one you want. It’s also a great portable fish finder unit for renting boats. 

The goal of this Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 review is to help you better understand why fish finders like this still exist on the market. Not everyone needs or wants a 12-inch touchscreen DI, SI, Active Imaging, Super Sonar+ fish finder for $6,000. Sometimes a nice little $100 fish finder is all you need. 

If this sentiment resonates with you, the PiranhaMAX might be the right choice. Click here to view more details about the unit and see the current price.

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