furuno.....but just remember that it is more about the transducer and how it is mounted than the fishfinder itself. a 600 watt transducer is good but a properly mounted dual frequency 1000 watt transducer will let you see much better and with much more definition. for the money your talking about you will end up with a 600watt unit....rick
get the biggest color screen you can afford, regardless of brand.
I know Lowrance gets a bashing, but my LCX-27c works real good
w/ the standard 50/200mhz transducer in waters to 200'.
Rick is right, doesn't matter what you get make sure it's a good transducer.
I think W/ the new nmea-generalized connectors, you can adapt a higher performance transducer to whatever head unit you're using.
there's a lot of variables ( type of fishing, budget, type of boat, etc.)
that will affect your descision. there is no right answer. do your research
and you won't be sorry. (for the most part )
Careful here, a good bronze 1kw thru-hull will cost as much as his budget for the whole unit. Not all machines(especially in that price range) can run a 1kw. You need to pair the unit with the transducer. In that price range you don't have too many options. You can probably get a nice Raymarine or come close to a Furuno 585. I might wait till spring and see what they unvail with broadband this winter. If nothing else, it should lower the cost of traditional FF units.
I love my furuno 582L. And I have had many others to compare.In fact I have 5 sitex units in my cellar (I think 2 or 3 still work)
Anyhow, The 582 is a pisser finder. I've watched my jig go down and watched a fish mark move in on it and hooked up! very cool. I use the transom mounted 'ducer. I know it's said that a through hull will give me more def. but I've been happy with the unit as it is. You might ,on ebay, be able to come close to one of these with your budget. I think I paid 1K for mine several years ago.