Fish Finder Tech

Do Fish Finders Come With Transducers

You know the old expression “There are plenty of fish in the sea”? Well, the same could be said of fish finders - there are a whole lot of different ones available, and they can all come with a variety of features and accessories.

This makes the question “do fish finders come with transducers” a tricky one to answer. The best answer we can give without going into detail is “Yes, most of the time”. That said, we can elaborate a bit more on how and when transducers show up in fish finder packages - so let’s do just that!


Chartplotters without transducers

Have you seen an unbelievably good deal on chartplotters that you think is too good to be true?


It may very well be.


Normally, companies sell their high-end chartplotters with the transducer included in the box. Sometimes, however, they’ll sell the unit without the transducer. These are usually marked as being “without transducer”, but sometimes you’ll see the acronym CHO, which stands for Control Head Only.


Why do companies do this? Because not everyone needs a transducer. You may, for example, want a bigger SOLIX chartplotter. If you already have a smaller model, you’ll already have the XM 14 HW MSI T transducer - so buying a model with another transducer means you’ll be spending money for no reason.


Now, transducers aren’t the most expensive part of a fish finder - the SOLIX 10, without the transducer, costs only about $300 less than the SOLIX 10 with the transducer. That being said, there’s no reason not to save that extra bit of cash.


Transducer compatibility

Knowing that you can buy a fish finder without a transducer can also be handy if you have spare transducers lying around. You might have old fish finders that have broken - you’re looking for an upgrade, and maybe a different model, but you don’t want to waste your perfectly serviceable transducer.


That’s when you’ll have to look into transducer compatibility. To do this is simple enough - the product manuals of most fish finders will include transducer compatibility. If they don’t, you can always ask the manufacturer.


Should I buy a fish finder that doesn’t come with a transducer?

The answer to this question is simple enough, but you have to answer a question first: do you have a transducer that’s compatible with the fish finder?


If the answer is no, then you should absolutely not buy a fish finder without a transducer. Most of the time, the transducer packaged with the fish finder comes at a steep discount, so unless you’ve got a hookup that will sell you the transducer for pennies, you should get the package deal.


If you do have a compatible transducer, then it depends what you want to get out of the fish finder. You might, for example, not have a CHIRP transducer. If your new fish finder comes with a CHIRP transducer, you might decide to pay the extra to have that great feature.


In the end, it’s all up to you - the consumers! The purveyors of fine fish finding products! Find out what your existing transducer is capable of and what the packaged transducer is capable of, and make your decision. 

We can help, of course - we have resources that allow you to compare the best fish finders and transducers. All of our reviews come with a detailed description of the out-of-the-box transducer to make it easier for you to decide what’s best for your needs.

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