Here, you will find our in-depth comparison review of all Vexilar Flashers including the FL-8e, FL-18, FL-12, FL-20 and the FL-22HD. Vexilar claims to be the top dog in ice fishing electronics, AKA ice fishing flasher, fish lasher, or fish finder. Anyone familiar with Vexilar Sonars for sale, knows they have a huge loyal customer base, and for good reasons.
Vexilar has been in existence since 1960 and can claim credit for introducing plenty innovations to the electronic fish finding market. These “firsts” include the first color display, first CRT display, the first LCD display, the first split-screen zoom flasher, the first self-levelling ice fishing transducer, the first flasher capable of zooming in on a 10 foot range and the first transducer able to shoot through an aluminium boat hull.
All Vexilar fish finders have gimbal mounts and can be used for open water or ice fishing and they are very portable weighing only 1.1 lbs. Need I add that All Vexilar fish finders are weather proof, but none are immersible. This article concentrates on Vexilar portable fish finders, transponders and ice pack (carrying case) combinations for ice fishing.
So, which Vexilar fish finder is best for you? Is it the next generation of flashers with flat screens (the FL-12, FL-20 or the new FL-22HD) or one of the classic Vexilar Flashers, the FL-8 or the FL-18?
We have tabled the relevant specifications for each Vexilar fish finders you will ove into the comparison table below
Vexilar Fish Finder Comparison Table
|Model:||Vexilar FL-8se||Vexilar FL-18||Vexilar FL-12||Vexilar FL-20||Vexilar FL-22HD|
|525 Segment, 3 Color LED Screen||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flat Screen and Surface||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Back Lit Depth Scale||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Max. Depth||120 ft*||200 ft*||200 ft||200 ft||60 ft|
|Min. Dept Range||20 ft||20 ft||20 ft||20 ft||10 ft|
|Auto Zoom and Split Screen||No||Yes, bottom 6 ft||No||Yes, 6 & 12 ft||Yes, 6 & 12 ft|
|Target Separation||2.65 in||2.65 in||2.65 in||2.65 in||2.65 in|
|Target Size||1 in||1/2 in||1 in||1/2 in||1/8 in|
|Low Power Mode||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Interference Rejection||10 Step||10 Step||10 Step||10 Step||10 Step|
|Control Knobs||2 + IR||3||2 + IR||3||3|
|Dimensions (HxWxD in)||4.4x6x3.5||4.4x6x3.5||4.4x6x2.4||4.4x6x2.4||4.4x6x2.4|
|Compatible w/any Vexilar FL Transducer#||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power: Peak/rms (watts)||400/50||400/50||400/50||400/50||400/50|
|Transducer Output||200 kHz||200 kHz||200 kHz||200 kHz||200 kHz, variable pulse|
|Power Draw||200 mA||200 mA||200 mA||200 mA||200 mA|
|Warranty||2 year||2 year||2 year||2 year||2 year|
|Battery Warranty||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year|
* Both the FL-8se and the FL-18 have deep water options which results in an increase in maximum depth to 240 feet for the FL-8se and to 300 ft for the FL-18.
#Vexilar FL series transducers; 9,12,19 (degrees) and tri beam (18,12 & 20 degrees).
Which Vexilar Flasher Should I Get?
This video is a summary of each Vexilar Fish Finder, including the Vexilar FL-8, FL-12, FL-18 and FL-20, to help you determine which one is best for your needs. It also goes over plus all ice pack systems and ice fishing transducers:
Below we go over advantages and setbacks of each of the Vexilar Fish Finders and the different packs offered for ice fishing.
Vexilar FL-8se Review
The FL-8 is Vexilar’s entrey flasher model and is claimed by Vexilar to be the most popular global 3-color sonar flasher. It doesn’t have all the whistles and bells, but it does have a reasonable price tag to help you buy.
With this at hand, you can now take the blinders off when you get out on the ice.
What the Vexilar FL-8 Fish Finder Can Do
What it can do is to see targets as small as 1 inch and identifies separate targets less than 2 3/4 inch. It can discover fish in shallow water and all the way down to 120 feet. It has the ability to look at six different depth ranges; 0-20, 0-30, 0-40, 0-60, 0-80 and 0-120 feet.
The FL-8 has the same 525 segment, 3-color radial display you can see on all the other Vexilar fish finders, the only difference is the newest models have flat screens. And like all other models, the resolution sits at 0.46 inches at the 20 ft scale, 1.37 inches at at 60 ft scale and 2.74 inches at the 120 foot scale.
The FL-8 l also possesses the same gimbal mounting bracket and a ten steps of interference rejection as all the other Vexilar fish finders.
If you find that you spend most of your time looking for fish in deep waters (80-120 ft), you could add a smaller angled transducer (9 or 12 degree) in the future since all Vexilar FL transducers fit all Vexilar FL fish finder models.
What the Vexilar FL-8 Can’t Do
So, you want to know some of the fancier options missing from the FL-8? It lacks the zoom function, low power mode or bottom lock options. Zoom is a nice functionality for any device, but not necessarily a deal breaker. The bottom lock function is more important for fishing from a boat than on the ice and the low power function is nice for more discrimination while fishing weedy or shallow water, but then again this shouldn’t discourage you.
At first, this might appear expensive to your pocket but you will agree with me that they hold their value too well.
As of the time this article was in draft, I saw 7 used FL-8s (with carry packs and transducers) sell on amazon during the past 7 days for between $*** and $*** (including shipping).
Now, if that’s not enough to get you in the new ice fishing game, then think about it this way. You could purchase a new FL-8, with an ice pack and transducer for around $***, use it for two years, then be able to sell it for at least $***. That’s only costs $** per season. If you only fished 6 times per year, that would make the cost of the FL-8 fish finder less than the cost of beer, coffee or tea for most of us.
Wouldn’t you be more excited about going ice fishing if you knew you would never fish in the wrong spot? And not only be able to find fish, but also know which jigs and jigging methods bring the fish in and which ones they ignore. If you told me you actually enjoy spending 5 hours bouncing a jig up and down in an area with no fish, I would say you are either just there for the beer, calmness or you are hiding from someone.
Vexilar FL-18 Review
For about $** more than the FL-8, you could be ice fishing with the FL-18. The FL-18 has all of the features of the FL-8 but with more functionality!
One of which is the ability to detect fish down to a depth of 200 ft and the FL-18 also can see targets as small as 1/2 inch.
The FL-18 has 5 depth ranges instead of 6 (0-20, 0-40, 0-60, 0-80, 0-200 feet), but adds the ability to automatically zoom into the bottom 6 feet of water to find those walleyes. In zoom mode, the left half of the display screen provides a magnified view of the zoom area. The FL-18 also has the ability to lock onto the bottom and hold the zero scale on the bottom. This feature is really more important for fishing from a boat, and not so important for ice fishing.
Vexilar FL-12 Review
It would seem that the FLx12 is Vexilar’s new generation fish finder that has tried to create a balance between the most important functions from the FL-8 and FL-18 models and an affordable price.
The FL-12 has the new flat screen profile that reduces the snow or ice accumulation and increases the viewing angle. It ha the same range (200 feet) deep and 5 depth ranges at 0-20, 0-40, 0-60, 0-80 and 0-200 feet as the FL-18. The FL-12 has the ability to identify targets as small as 1 inch and like the FL-8, lacks the zoom or bottom lock capability.
Vexilar FL-20 Review
The new FL-20 is Vexilar’s new generation fish finder that provides the extra’s for those that want more functionality and upgraded performance. One new feature of the FL-20 is the Night Mode, which dims the display by 50% to make it more comfortable to read in the dark and helps preserve your night vision.
The split screen and zoom that was first introduced with the FL-18 has been improved and the FL-20 has an extra zoom range. The first zoom range is from the bottom to 6 feet above the bottom and the second range is from the bottom to 12 feet above bottom.
The zoom area is shown on the left side of the display. The FL-20 has increased detection ability to 300 ft deep and has 5 depth ranges (0-20, 0-40, 0-60, 0-80 and 0-200 feet). The FL-20 also has a new 20 ft Low Power mode for use in weedy or shallow water and an improved ability to detect targets as small as 1/2 inch.
The FL-20 does not have the ability to lock onto the bottom, but again this feature is not needed if you plan on ice fishing.
Vexilar FL-22 HD Review
The FL-22 is another product by Vexilar for sale. It attempts to push sonar technology to maximize target detail for depths up to 60 feet and claims to have delivered”… the best target ID and target separation of any sonar system ever made.
Surprisingly, the FL-22HD has the ability to identify targets as small as 1/8 inch. The FL-22HD also has 6 depth ranges (0-10, 0-20, 0-30, 0-40, 0-50, 0-60 ft) and was made uniquely for fishermen who want to see as much information as technologically possible at any depth between 0 and 60 ft.
Like the FL-20, the FL-22 HD comes with the Night Mode, the new 20 ft Low Power Mode and two zoom ranges (bottom – 6 ft & bottom -12 ft) and the split screen display.
The FL-22HD also has the Bottom lock option for those that would also use the fish finder from a boat.
What’s an Vexilar Ice Pack?
Truth be honest, unless you’re going to carry it in your pocket, you will want to mount your ice on something. An ice pack is a combination carrying case, accessory holder, rod holder, transducer holder, battery holder, and cable storage compartment. Sure you can make your own…
Best Vexilar Flasher Combo Packs
|Vexilar FL-8se||Genz Pack||19 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FL-18||Genz Pack||12 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FL-18||Pro Pack II||12 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FL-18||Pro Pack II||Tri-Beam||CHECK|
|Vexilar FL-12||Pro Pack II||12 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FLX-20||Genz Pack||12 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FLX-20||Ultra Pack||12 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FLX-12||Pro Pack II||12 degree||CHECK|
|Vexilar FLX-28||Pro Pack II||Tri-Beam||CHECK|
|Vexilar FLX-28||Ultra Pack||Tri-Beam||CHECK|
|Vexilar FL-22HD||Pro Pack II||Tri-Beam||CHECK|
|Vexilar FL-22HD||Ultra Pack||Tri-Beam||CHECK|
Vexilar Genz Pack Review
The Vexilar Genz Pack is a minimal model, named for the Dave Genz, the legendary ice fishing pioneer. Genz invented the ice box or “blue box” and the fish trap, which has been refined into the next generation Genz Pack. Genz Pack is a a heavy duty blue ABS plastic carrying case that has a compartment for standard sealed lead-acid or gel cell batteries.
It is built in away to allow it sit on top of a 5 gallon bucket, so it is within easy reach without having to stand on your head.
It has an eye-bolt for the ice transducer, and comes with an holder that fits all of the Vexilar transducers. The Genz Pack also has a compartment to store the 7 foot transducer cable.
Vexilar Pro Pack II Review
The new, improved and upgraded Vexilar Pro Pack II now comes with a larger, more comfortable handle and a gimbal bracket in addition to the features of the Genz Pack. The Pack II in circumference than the Genz Pack, so it fits into a 5 gallon bucket for transport, but you can still set it on top of the bucket for viewing, just turn the bucket upside down.
More features found on the Pro Pack II includes a small tackle box and a rod holder, which fits just under the fish finder.
Vexilar Ultra Pack Review
Aside having the functions of the Pro Pack II, the Vexilar Ultra Pack ha a totally enclosed case for the battery and features an external charging posts, so the battery doesn’t have to be removed to be charged and other devices can be run from the same battery pack.
The Ultra pack also boasts of on/off switch to turn off all accessories connected to the battery at one time, so you can’t leave any of the electronics turned on by mistake.
It also has a battery status indicator, so you know when to recharge or switch batteries and the rod holder is adjustable and can be placed at various locations on the Ultra Pack.
The Ultra Pack also comes with a taller profile so it creates more space to read and reach the controls.
Here is a video overview of the Vexilar Ultra Pack Features:
🔋 Vexilar Fish Finder Battery Life
I have never seen or heard anyone complain about Vexilar fish finders having a short battery life as some fish finders. The 9 amp hour (ah) sealed lead acid battery should go for 45 hours with the 200 mA power draw, but remember that completely draining lead acid batteries will damage them. Vexilar recommends that the battery not be drained more than 80% (20% power remaining). I have seen recommendations that lead acid batteries should not be drained more than 60%. The 200 mA power usage should last for 27 hours and still have 40% power remaining or for 36 hours and still have 20% remaining. So it is possible to fish all day long for many days in a row without running out of power, but probably best to play it safe and plug in the battery to charge at night.
To learn more about how to use these Vexilar flashers for sale, you can read the Vexilar User Manual and instructions here.
Finding and Catching Fish with a Vexilar Flasher
This short video shows using a Vexilar Flasher while ice fishing to find and catch bluegill: