View Full Version : Best Detector for a Newbie

01-07-2013, 10:25 AM
I am really new to this hobby having only owner a cheap walmart special metal detector. I have gotten hooked on this hobby and would like to know what the best detector to obtain would be. I have several early 1900 houses and deserted railroad towns that I have permission to hunt. most are just cellars and foundations and don't know what kind of detector and/or equipment i should purchase. Any and all help, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated

01-07-2013, 10:42 AM
What a loaded question! You'll get a dozen different opinions on a bad day.
Budget will be the biggest question to answer. I have two friends that have gotten solid deal on craigslist for MXT's @ $300 with extra coils and there's nothing wrong with that altough I'd opt for the MXT PRO.

From what I've been learning I think the best value might be the AT Pro. Alot of potential for $600.

Tony Two-Cent
01-07-2013, 10:44 AM
Welcome to the forum, Wilybuck! Glad to have you here! We would certainly be glad to help you any way we can.

What is your budget range? You can get a basic entry level machine for $100, or a nicer used detector for around $200, or a new mid-level machine for $300-500, or a more advanced machine for $600-$2300 and up. What is your budget range?

It seems that many people get a Garrett Ace 250 or Ace 350 when they are ready to upgrade to an affordable mid-level machine. Many of our members here have success with those models. Of course there are other options as well.

We can try to steer you in the right direction and give you some options on detectors. I went through the same thing a couple of years ago when I was getting back into the hobby and looking for a new detector. Lots of confusing information on the internet!

01-07-2013, 12:22 PM
The significant other said she will let me spend NO MORE than $1000 on everything.... Not a penny more at the risk of severe bodily injury. haha

01-07-2013, 01:48 PM
Make sure you get a Lesche (for defense purposes only). For that amount of $'s you will be able to outfit yourself quite nicely. The internet is full of information on the various detectors available.

01-07-2013, 02:36 PM
Hi, and welcome to the forum :)

In my opinion it will cost you around $300 minimum to get started with a new entry-level detector (ACE 250 or 350, $200-$300, plus lesche or other digger and pinpointer, $50-$100). You have experience with detecting and already have sites in mind to detect, which indicates that you know this will be a hobby you are likely to stick with.

Many (not all, but many) people who start with an entry-level machine like the ACE 250/350 series end up upgrading within a few weeks or months to a higher level machine. Many start out with the Garrett ACE series (or comparable machines by other manufacturers) because they have a tight budget and/or because they are not sure that the hobby is really something they will continue to invest time in. If they continue with the hobby, then they frequently upgrade.

It is hard to describe the differences between an entry-level machine and a higher level one to someone who has not experienced the process. Usually people will just say the more expensive machines have more bells and whistles which is true, but doesn't really capture the true essence of the reason. Most people (myself included) who started with the ACE250 go through the detecting learning curve with that machine until the limitations of the machine become clear to them, and become an issue in their detecting.

In my opinion the entry level machines like the ones I mentioned above are great coinshooters. One limitation is that most do not have the capacity for ground balancing which results in falsing in ground which is mineralized unless the sensitivity is reduced (resulting in loss of depth). Another limitation, at least with the ACE, is the lack of volume control related to target depth (all signals are the same volume regardless of depth). The main limitation, though (which captures the things I listed above, as well as other factors) is that there is just less information that the machine is capable of telling you about the target under the coil - compared to higher-end machines.

This doesn't mean that it is easier to find good targets with a higher end machine. This is a mistake that many people new to the hobby make. Even some detectorists not so new to the hobby may tend to make this mistake, and think that upgrading to a higher end machine will almost instantly result in better finds. This can lead to disappointment, because it is a process to learn what ALL detectors are communicating regarding the target under the coil. It is frequently even more of a learning curve to understand what a higher-end machine is telling you about the target, as compared with a machine with less features - that is, if you want to put the time in to really, truly, know and understand the machine. The detectorists here and on other forums who consistently pull silver coins from hunted-out areas do so because they know their machines extremely well.

So the big difference is that higher-end machines are capable of giving you more information about a target, including in some cases, incredibly subtle or iffy information about very deep targets or those good targets that are buried among trash or iron. Most any detector will pick up a coin or other desirable target at a relatively shallow depth (5 inches or less) which isn't surrounded by other metal, and will be relatively accurate in identifying it as a coin. The reality is that, at least in public places that have been detected previously over many years, the good targets that are still in the ground tend to be VERY deep, or else mixed in trash and therefore give iffy or bad signals that do not prompt the detectorist to dig. This is where the higher-end detectors excel, as far as I'm concerned. But again, it requires that the user really understand the machine.

So having said all of that, think about what kinds of sites you have and what kinds of sites you want to detect in the future. Think too about whether you are interested in finding relics (iron) or if you are mainly just looking for coins or silver. Or gold.

There are a lot of differences even between mid-range and high-end detectors, such as multi-tones (some detectors use only one tone - eg, White's MXT - whereas others allow for multiple tones to be used to match to the conductivity of the target), whether or not you want a visual/digital meter or only want to rely on sound, etc. Some of those things you probably will not know the answer to until after you are further into the hobby. An advantage of most higher-end detectors is they allow the option for such features if you want to use them.

So rather than suggest a specific detector (everyone has their personal favorites), those are some things to think about. Given your budget and previous detecting experience, and the likelihood that you will remain engaged with this hobby, I would suggest at least a mid-range machine for you.

No matter which machine you choose, be prepared to spend a lot of time learning what it is telling you. It's worth it. :yes:

01-07-2013, 03:20 PM
thats easy what you want to do is research the different brands and pick the one you want the best based on what you have learned from your research my advice is to get the best one that you can afford the reason like the above post 99% of people that start out with the entry level get bored with them and upgrade very soon save yourself the trouble and wait till you can get the best one in your budget dennis

01-23-2013, 03:21 PM
Most posts are not brand specific. I would suggest the Garrett AT Pro or AT Gold. Also get the Garrett Pro Pointer, and a Lesche for digging. These are rugged machines that are water proof to 10 feet. A good pinpointer will make recovery faster. As the others indicated, when you make your decision, and it arrives at your door, get out and learn what your detector is telling you. Good luck, and post your finds. Here in Wisc. we will be waiting for the thaw so we can return to our hunting for pull tabs and other treasures. :frozen:

01-23-2013, 03:34 PM
well mate ive had mega success with my whites coinmaster , it payed for its self in 6 months and ive found a lot of oldes to (see posts under lee).
189 bucks new and if your interested im selling mine for 100 bucks and i still have no idear why im selling it , it homes in on silver like nothing ive ever used.

03-05-2013, 12:47 PM
Personally I think buying a lower end metal detector is a waist of money IF you know you are going to enjoy the sport. I mean, if your really going to get into it you might as well start out right and get something in the middle price range. I would recommend something around $600 such as the
Garrett at pro

or the garrett at gold.

There are a few other options out there for sure but these seem to be the most popular right now.

Best luck to ya.

03-07-2013, 10:47 AM
:peace: Hello and welcome to the forum. You will find alot of knowledgeable folks here. To help you with all your questions. I know not many talk about ebay much. But I have found great deals on it. Along with the buyer protection clauses that has been introduced. You're pretty much guaranteed a good product. I have had no problems so far. The item has to be decribed truthfully. Or you will get your money back. My advice is to research what machine you would be interested in. And then start searching ebay. There are alot of good deals to be made. I would almost like to change my name from Starman to (Sniper). There are alot of machines for sale that are still under factory warrenties. And most take pretty good care of their equipment. I also think that ease of use is important. There's alot of expensive bells and whistles out there, that most don't even use. Most, find a good program to work with. And go with it. I wouldn't waste my money on a machine that you're going to end up wanting something better. A friend of mine wanted a MD. I told him. When he decides to buy. Let me know. And we would work together to get him a descent detector for a descent price. Well, he ended up getting this cheap mail order detector. For a little over $100.00. Well, you get what you pay for. I droped a silver dime on the ground. And swung his detector over it. I almost had to touch the dime to get a signal. With the money your wife is going to let you work with. You should be able to set your self up with a great rig. The Lesche digger is a must! And you should think about the sunray inline probes. They are fantastic! It's a hassle to have to take your headphones off. So that you can hear your hand held probe. I have went to the minelab Etrac detector. I think it's a great machine. And very easy to use. But there's alot of folks out there, that will argue that point. Whites Detectors are known for their quality. The Teknetics T2, and fisher F75 machines are a good choice too. Make sure you get a detector that will allow a number of different coils. I think thats important also. There are a few detectors, all though very good. That have a very limited number of coils that will work. I have went from one MD to another. And slowly found targets that I missed with the other machines. But As you progressively get better at detecting. Maybe it was not so much the MD. But the guy swinging it at the other end. :crossfingers: Don't settle! Get the detector you like. You'll be happier in the end! happydance02

10-02-2013, 06:38 PM
Whites COINMASTER, fisher f2, minelab exterra, I don't care for Garrett's they sound like an ice cream truck.

10-03-2013, 07:00 AM
The significant other said she will let me spend NO MORE than $1000 on everything.... Not a penny more at the risk of severe bodily injury. haha

You'll miss her sometimes.

10-03-2013, 07:47 AM
Welcome! I really like my White's Coinmaster, however I would go for the Coinmaster GT because you can adapt a small coin on to it. I would also recommend, like others have said, a Lesche digger and a propointer by Garrett. No matter what machine you get, if you spend the time and research your locations, you will make some nice finds! With $1000 you could also look at an ATPro or a used MXT from Whites. There are quite a few good quality used machines out there because so many have up graded to all the fancy machines over the past couple of years.

10-03-2013, 10:25 PM
Hello and welcome.
I would suggest going to a local detector store (not a walmart or chain store) and trying a few different machines in your price range for a complete package (detector, digger tool, headphones, pouch and pinpointer) deal price.
Having been in your position many years ago, I would recommend a Garrett (American Made) AT-Pro as it is a waterproofed all weather versatile machine that also does a fair job in saltwater surf and comes with a two year warrantee, and would be a great backup/loaner when you decide to upgrade someday.
Best of luck on your quest, John. :interesting:

10-04-2013, 09:48 AM
I am really new to this hobby having only owner a cheap walmart special metal detector. I have gotten hooked on this hobby and would like to know what the best detector to obtain would be. I have several early 1900 houses and deserted railroad towns that I have permission to hunt. most are just cellars and foundations and don't know what kind of detector and/or equipment i should purchase. Any and all help, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Welcome WilyBuck.

I'm no expert but I would look for a machine that is good at Discriminating out Iron/from coins/and other Relics because you will be in alot of trashy area's do alot of research watch video's they help.Also you must have a good Pro pointer saves you a ton of time.you can save some money on digging tools look at Fiskars digging tools they are fairly rugged and inexspensive.this way you can put more money towards a really good machine and upgrade tools later.Good luck and Happy Hunting :detecting: