Garmin Transducers

There are several types of sonar available, each with special capabilities. And each requires a different transducer to work most effectively. For optimum performance, it is very important to match the transducer to your device’s sonar. To start, make sure the transducer you are buying pairs with your unit, and what type of sonar technology you would like to add!

Choosing the right mounting for your needs can be tough. Here we have broken down the different methods of mounting your transducer so you can get the best option for you.

In-Hull Mounting

An in-hull transducer is installed inside a boat hull against the bottom and sends its signal through the hull of the boat.

Pros of the in-hull: 

  • No need to drill though the vessel, no drag
  • Boat can be trailered without damaging transducer
  • No exposer to marine growth
  • Can be installed and serviced with the boat in the water
  • Great high-speed performance as long as water flow below the transducer is clean (no turbulence)
  • Works with any engine type: inboard, outboard and i/o when installed over solid fiberglass
  • Performs well on both power and sailboats

Cons of the in-hull:

  • Not recommended for metal, wood and cored fiberglass hulls
  • Loss of signal by transmitting through hull

Kayak In-Hull Mounting

The kayak in-hull mount attaches to the inside of a kayak, against the bottom and sends its signal through the hull.

Pros of the kayak in-hull: 

  • No need to drill into the vessel
  • No drag, protects transducer from rocks when launching
  • Will not catch on weeds or marine vegitation
  • Easily removable

Cons of the kayak in-hull:

  • Not recommended for metal or wooden vessels
  • Slight loss of signal by transmitting through the hull
  • Recommended flat section for best sealing against the boat

Trolling Motor Mounting

These are attach either to the shaft or below the body of a trolling motor.

Pros of the trolling motor mount: 

  • Provides sonar images from the bow, right below where you are fishing, instead of further astern on the hull or at the transom
  • Easy to install and remove, no need to drill into the hull
  • Stores with trolling motor when lifted out fo the water

Cons of the trolling motor mount:

  • Sonar image corresponds to position of trolling motor, may not be optimum direction in currents or windy contitions
  • Hangs low in the water, if you don’t pay attention to depth, it’s vulnerable to hitting submerged objects

Transom Mounting

These are attached to the back (transom) of a boat hull.

Pros of the transom mount: 

  • Good for trailered boats, out of the way of the rollers
  • Easy-to-install and remove, especially if a kick-up bracket is used
  • Good performance at boat speeds below 30 knots (34 mph)
  • Can be used with any hull material

Cons of the transom mount:

  • Will not work on vessels with an inboard engine
  • Not recommended for sailboats because of excessive heeling
  • Will not work on stepped hull


Thru-hull transducers, as their name implies, are installed in a hole drilled through the hull.

Pros of the transom mount: 

  • Works with any engine type; inboard, outboard or i/o
  • Words for power and sailboats
  • There are thru-hull transducers for every hull material

Thru-Hull transducers come in two styles: Flush and External

Flush thru-hull transducers sit flush or nearly flush with the boat hull. These are recommended for smaller boats with a minimum deadrise angle. They are often installed on sailing vessels because they produce minimum drag.

External thru-hull transducers extend beyond the hull’s surface and usually require a fairing to aim the sound beam vertically. These are designed for larger untrailered vessels. Installed with a high-performance fairing, the transducer face is flush with the surface of the fairing and parallel to the waterline, resulting in truly vertical beam, putting maximum energy on the target. Mounted in clean water forward of propellers and running gear, this installation produces the most effective signal return because nothing on the vessel interferes with the transducer’s active face.

When to use a thru-hull pair: A thru-hull pair is recommended when mounting a SideVü transducer in a location that has a deadrise greater than 5 degrees.

To obtain the best possible performance, install all transducers according to the included installation instructions. If you experience difficulty during the installation, contact Garmin Product Support.

Garmin Panoptix

Garmin’s award-winning Panoptix LiveScope sonar brings real-time scanning sonar to life. It shows highly detailed, easy-to-interpret live scanning sonar images of structure, bait and fish swimming below and around your boat in real time, even when your boat is stationary. Full capabilities are available with the Panoptix LiveScope System. The Panoptix LiveScope™ LVS12 transducer provides an economical solution for your GPSMAP® 8600xsv chartplotter — without the need for a black box — with 30-degree forward and 30-degree down real-time scanning sonar views.