Vexilar FL 12 Vs. FL 18 Fishing Sonar (2024): In-depth Differences

Are you stuck deciding between Vexilar FL 12 and Fl 18 as your depth finders for ice fishing?

I mean, there is a crucial difference you must go through with this choice. The main difference you have to deal with is the zoom. While the Fl 18 has zoom features, the Fl12 doesn’t have them. And trust me, it can be a pretty big issue.

Other than the zoom feature, there are several differences to check out. You will get knowledge of them once you dive deep into the comparison.

So, keeping up with that, I will compare the two flashers in-depth.

A Quick Comparison Table

SpecificationsFL 12 Fishing SonarFL 18 Fishing Sonar
ZoomNo6’ auto, 6’ bottom lock
DisplayFlat-screenSplit screen
Special featureNight modeThree-color LED readout

Key Differences Between Vexilar FL 12 And FL 18 Fishing Sonars

  • Zoom
Vexilar FL 12 Fishing Sonar

The most important difference you have to consider when getting these depth finders is the zoom feature.

Using the depth finder with a zoom feature gets significantly more accessible and convenient.

Luckily, you have that feature in the FL18 fish finder. It comes with an auto zoom and bottom look zoom feature. Both are capable of zooming up to 6′.

You can use this feature while you watch the water column in real time. So, that’s pretty handy, especially for fishing smaller fishes.

On the other hand, the FL12 doesn’t have any zoom feature at all. This makes it difficult for you to fish using this depth finder. If you want to fish from deep water, I don’t think this one will meet your needs

. The clear choice has to be the FL18 depth finder. It’s about the availability of a crucial feature that may become a deal breaker for some people.

Also Read: Differences Between Humminbird G3N And G4N Fish Finder.

  • Pricing

Aside from the zoom factor, pricing can also be a concern for some. If you are someone who doesn’t need that zoom feature but doesn’t mind having it either, it can depend on pricing because it gives you a clear view of whether the zoom feature is worth the extra money or not.

The price of FL12 is much lower than that of FL18. Here, I am talking about the head only. If you want to save money and can make do with any depth finder, then FL12 is an excellent choice.

But if you want the best convenience and ease of use for your depth finder, I would surely tell you to go with the FL18 over the FL12, even with the higher price.

  • Display

The display of these fish finders has a slight difference in the type. It may dictate your decision regarding choosing the fish finders for your purpose.

With the FL18, you will get a split-screen setup. This is an excellent option to have for depth finders that come with a zoom feature. This way, you can zoom in wherever you want to while looking at the whole scenario you are working with.

In contrast, FL12 has a more traditional approach with a flat-screen design. It is the perfect choice if you are accustomed to the conventional setup. You will have an easier time using the fish finder compared to the FL18.

It is a personal preference kind of deals with this factor. It’s entirely up to you to decide on a finder based on the screen type.

  • Performance
Vexilar FL 18 Fishing Sonar

Now, let’s discuss the overall performance you get from these fish finders. Both of them are pretty good with their unique sets of features.

But one of them excels a little bit. And it’s the FL18.

The FL18 is just a better and upgraded unit compared to the FL12.

You get a very high-end performance from the fish finder with the features it provides.

Things like the auto zoom mode, low power mode, and bright and solid display make it an excellent choice. You will thoroughly be satisfied with the depth finder, especially for open water fishing.

As for the FL12, it doesn’t have too many features. But it indeed serves the primary purpose of a depth finder. Also, the low power mode can be pretty helpful for some people.

That being said, there is no question about the fact that you will go with the FL18 if you want superior performance. It offers too many handy features that make it a better option for high-end performance.

  • Special feature

Are you in search of something special in your fish finder? In that case, you might want to consider the special features of the finders here. Both have unique values, so you might find one that suits your needs.

In the FL18, you have the zoom feature. But it’s something that you may find in other fish finders as well. The unique feature of the FL18 is the LED readout with three different colors.

With this readout feature, you will get a signal about the targets’ strength. A red indication means the target is strong, and a green sign implies the target is weak. And an orange sign is something in between the two.

With FL12, the features are very much limited. But one unique feature that sets this apart is the night mode. I don’t think I need to explain too much about the night. Simply put, it’s a screen mode that you will find beneficial while using the depth finder at night.

Which Fishing Sonar Is A Better Pick For You?

Deciding on one of the fish finders out of the two that I discussed is very simple. You consider the zoom feature and the price.

Do you need a zoom feature in your depth finder? Then, without thinking of anything, you can go with the FL18. But if you are unsure whether you need it, you will have to consider the pricing. You have to consider whether the higher price is worth the zoom feature.

If you are looking for a budget option, don’t overthink; go with the FL12. It’s the clear choice in terms of a lower price. Here is how it operates.

Also Read: Differences Between GT54 And GT56 Transducer.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

What is the difference between a Vexilar FL 8 and an FL 12?

The difference between a Vexilar FL8 and FL12 is the screen type. The FL12 has a flat screen.

What is the difference between FL8 and FL 12?

The only difference is that the FL8 is a flat-screen version of FL12 with similar features and specifications.

Does FL 12 have zoom?

No, FL12 doesn’t come with any zooming capabilities.

When did the Vexilar FL 18 come out?

The Vexilar FL18 came out in 2001 for the first time.


Summing it up, the choice is effortless with the Vexilar FL12 vs. FL18. Most people suggest you go with the FL18 without even getting into the whole thing.

But now that you have gone through the in-depth comparison of the two choices, you can make an informed decision. So, there won’t be any doubts in your mind at all.

Go with FL18 if you want to zoom in and have better performance overall. But as a budget pick, the clear choice will always be FL12.

Also Read: Differences Between Garmin GPSmap And Echomap.

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