Buying Metal Detectors 2022
Today the best metal detectors are used for a diverse range of tasks from airport security, to clearing landmines, to construction, and of course treasure hunting. Frenchman Gustave Pierre Trouvé demonstrated the first prototype metal detector in 1874, which was perfected by Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell in 1881. In both cases the original aim was to find bullets in shooting victims.
Treasure hunting is not only great fun, it can also have educational value. While big finds are rare, there is always the potential for financial reward. As a result, metal detecting has become extremely popular, and a huge range of machines is available. For those who are interested in this fascinating hobby, but who have no experience with the technology, choosing the right model can be difficult. In this article we look at the science, the features, and suggest the best metal detectors for a variety of treasure hunting challenges.
How To Pick the Best Metal Detectors
There are hundreds of metal detectors on the market, so selecting the favorites wasn’t easy. Several detectorist have experience using these devices, but a lot of research was required to fully understand the technology, and ensure we had the latest information. The following aspects were also key:
Versatility: Sometimes people are looking for a specific type of device. A metal detector for gold, or a deep metal detector, for example. However many buyers, particularly beginners, want a metal detector for the beach or back yard that can identify a variety of different “treasures.” A big part of the pleasure is the suspense of not knowing exactly what you will dig up. With that in mind we tried to ensure each of our best metal detectors could find as wide a variety of items as possible.
Ease of Use: Metal detectors use features like “sensitivity,” and “discrimination” to fine tune search parameters. Different frequencies might be used, or pre-set modes. We look at these in more detail in the “Things to Consider” section below. While each of these features can allow the metal detector to focus on particular types of treasure, it’s important that the basics are straightforward so that people can get started as quickly as possible. We have tried to choose metal detectors that have a high degree of intuitive control, so users can learn while they hunt.
Brand and Price: We are always looking to find the best possible value, but choosing a metal detector based on cost alone can be problematic. We prefer to select well-known brands with a proven track record, and plenty of feedback from satisfied users. Real value for money comes from metal detectors that live up to the claims made for them, and that display long-term reliability.
Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector
The Minelab Equinox 800 regularly tops independent reviews of the best metal detectors for its high-quality, go-anywhere construction, and accurate, multi-function targeting ability.
The Minelab Equinox 800 is our pick as one of the best metal detectors currently available, and many other independent reviewers agree. This is a high-quality machine that offers outstanding versatility, and the ability to fine tune search features to individual preferences.
Minelab’s Multi-IQ is a key feature, allowing the full range of frequencies to be run simultaneously for the widest range of detection. They can also be selected individually for more focus. This makes it capable of finding gold, silver, coins, jewelry, iron, and metal relics. Four different terrain modes can be further enhanced with automatic or manual ground balancing, and two custom search profiles can be saved for each mode. There are 50 target IDs available, allowing advanced notch discrimination to filter out “junk.” For those who like an audible signal there is 25-level threshold adjustment. Bluetooth headphones are included.
While the machine has a 5-level depth indicator, Minelab themselves don’t quote an actual maximum distance. However, tests show it can identify coin-sized objects at around 12 to 15 inches. The Minelab Equinox 800 is a completely waterproof metal detector, and can withstand immersion to a depth of 10 feet.
The Minelab Equinox 800 is an excellent machine, and for the experienced treasure hunter it is competitively priced. That said, it’s not for everyone. The complexity means beginners might struggle to get the best from it, and it will be beyond the budget of many. Users are also a little critical of run time. The built-in battery is rated at 12 hours but can be less. A power pack can be used to extend this, but extra cost is involved. Recharging takes about 4 hours.
Garrett ACE APEX
Garrett Ace Apex is a new innovative metal detector with new Garrett’s Multi-Flex technology a multi-frequency feature introduced in Nokta Impact and Minelab Vanquish, but with best performance and sensitivity.
Multi-Flex technology give the prospector a wide variety in detection applications for different types of ferrous or non-ferrous metals and detection of buried objects at different sizes in all terrain and soil types.
Garrett Ace Apex combines modern design with a large screen with excellent performance, excellent detection depth on a wide variety of targets, plus a fast target recovery speed and a variety of practical uses that suit all the needs of prospectors and treasure hunters.
Garrett Ace Apex is a metal detector that must be acquired by the prospector in order to discover precious objects and hidden gold at a competitive price.
This technology allows the user to choose a specific search frequency from among a set of preset frequencies in order to limit the search to a specific metal type or size.
Or he can select one of Apex’s simultaneous multifrequency modes in order to cover all the targets and sizes at the same time to achieve best performance and shorten required time.
As a general law: lower search frequencies generally offer improved detection on larger and more conductive targets (for example large silver coins).
On the other hand, higher frequencies generally offer improved detection on smaller and less conductive targets (example: hammered silver coins, gold nuggets).
Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector
Those looking for a metal detector with an extensive feature set for modest investment will certainly want to consider the Nokta Makro Simplex+. Like most modern devices, ease of use comes by way of preset modes. In this case all-metal, field, park, and beach. The latter compensates for salt water interference making it a top pick as a beach metal detector. The unit is also waterproof to IP68, so it can be fully submerged to 10 feet.
Nokta’s Iron Volume control is unusual in that it filters out iron signals in silent mode without alerting the user. Unfortunately it can’t be used in all-metal or beach modes. Wide-ranging notch discrimination comes via target IDs. For night and underwater use there is a backlit screen, illuminated controls, and a flashlight. This detector also features a vibration mode to signal finds when visibility is poor. In addition, the shaft can be reduced to just 25 inches long for use in tight spaces. Fully extended it goes out to 52 inches.
The Nokta Makro Simplex+ metal detector offers very good value but it’s not perfect. Having a rechargeable battery is great, but connecting it for charging isn’t as easy as it could be. The high frequency rate means it isn’t the best metal detector for gold. While the machine is compatible with Nokta’s wireless headphones, they aren’t included.
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