I’ve been asked a lot of questions in my life. Anything from personal secrets to whether or not I had any hidden money anywhere that I had not disclosed – true story; IRS agent, and I said, ‘if I had hidden it, why would I tell you?’. Yes, I had legal protection already in place, lol! ANYWAY, I’ve faced some hard questions, but I’m not sure any of them are harder than when people ask me, ‘which metal detector should I buy?’. This question makes me want to run for the hills!
To begin maze, start HERE:
There are a lot of really good metal detectors on the market right now. I’ve only had experience with a few of them, and I do have strong recommendations based on that. However, I do realize all those other detectors out there really shouldn’t be underestimated, and I’ve wished many times that I could get my hands on them just for a test run. Features such as precise discrimination, ease of operation (important with all the menu driven systems on detectors these days), weight and ergonomics, the ability to go underwater, adaptability to hunt for various targets in the unique environments that all pose challenges to the electronic operation of any machine….and the biggie-COST.
A Previously Enjoyed Companion – No Stigma!
Man oh man…look at HER! Lightweight, sleek, looks fast just sitting still…but she has some marks and blemishes. Looks like somebody else has ‘been there, done that’ with her. Hmmm. Sure looks fun though. Why are you blushing? I’m talking about a used metal detector here! What were Y’ALL thinking about? LOL..
Yesterday’s models of metal detectors are still fantastic machines, highly capable of unearthing whatever treasure you seek. The technology of ‘detecting’ has not advanced much in terms of ability to detect metal, but in features that give you the ability to separate the unwanted metals from the ones you’re after. Keep in mind, the huge advances in that particular capability already happened a few years ago, and the current offerings are refinements to that amazing capability. But still, how do you figure out which detector is right for you?
If You’re Looking For Treasure, You Have To Be Willing To Part With Treasure
The reality is, it starts with your budget. This may be a ‘save up for someday’ proposition. After all, hunting for treasure CAN pay you back quite well, but most of the time it doesn’t, and that’s why 99% of people in the detecting world are ‘hobbyists’! Not only that, you may just decide that the work involved isn’t as much fun as you envisioned. Will you find some cool stuff? Heck yes you will. Will you be able to pay for your machine with what you find? Yes/maybe/not sure, but usually not right away. Will you just be able to go straight out and dig up old silver coins, gold jewelry and neat old tokens? Again, not usually right away-there’s a learning curve here! What I mean by all this is, BE REALISTIC. Don’t break the bank to buy the fanciest machine you can get, thinking that you will find riches and pay yourself back in short order. Has that happened? Yes. For how many people? VERY dang few.
So be willing to start small. The world of detecting is huge, and I haven’t even mentioned accessories yet!
What Is Your Quest?
Do you want to search for gold nuggets like I do? Lost treasure hidden in some cave or forest somewhere? Sunken treasure? Civil War relics? Old coins in parks or old homesites? You need to define your dreams. Sure, we want to do ALL of these things, back to back adventures preferably. However, if hunting lost jewelry on the beach is your dream, but you live in the middle of the country, that ‘special purpose’ machine you just bought is gonna sit, collecting dust, till you save up enough to go to said beach, and hopefully find a handful of jewelry like you saw some guy do on the internet. This is the exact reason so many great detectors end up for sale! So keep it real, consider what types of adventures are within easy reach, not forgetting those ‘someday’ adventures, but not putting your focus on the unattainable to the detriment of the easily attainable. Trust me on this-been there, done that.
By the way, I know the answer to all that stuff I just typed above – you want to do as many things as possible with the one machine you can afford. Well, you’re in luck! The big focus of metal detecting companies for the last few years has been in the ‘general purpose’ machine, go anywhere, do a little of everything, and do it fairly well. Enter the ‘previously enjoyed companion’ you got all worked up about a few paragraphs ago. Why would anybody sell a great, general purpose machine though? Was there a problem with that particular machine? Did it not live up to the advertising promises? Is it of a brand that some people like to bash online as ‘cheap’ or whatever other criticism they can level? It’s scary buying a used electronic device! By the way, ‘consumerism’ is the answer to the question I posed above. Some people have to have the latest and greatest. Others are upgrading to specialized machines for the niche they have chosen, and others might be moving to another general purpose machine that is just a bit better in one of the niche areas than the previous model they had. The last reason is that sometimes people overspend and never really use their detectors like they thought they would. This is good for you and your budget!
Alright, so ‘all hail the general purpose machine’! NOW, which one? I could tell you which one I have, but if you’ve been reading my blog you already know. Do you need that exact machine? That’s for YOU to decide, based on your own criteria and budget. I’m not going to give you an answer here because the blessing is also the curse here-there are so many great machines to choose from! Luckily the internet is here to help! Now I’ll warn you-the decision of which machine is not going to be easy, even after hours, days, weeks and months of research and comparing! That’s because there are so many dang good detectors out there. I can think of at least 5 brands that offer fantastic options, especially if you pick one up for a good, used price. Do some homework, the dividends you’ll gain are just as valuable to your enjoyment and continuation of the hobby as the treasure you seek!
A few great general purpose machines you can find used at great prices –
Garrett AT Pro, Ace series
Minelab Xterra series, Explorer, Safari
Whites MXT, and other models
Tesoro Vaquero, Bandido, Eldorado, others
Fisher/Teknetics F series, Patriot, others
Nokta/Makro many models, I’m not real familiar with these, but people like them
Features you want to consider –
Built in programs
Specific modes for certain types of detecting
Adjustable discrimination levels
Here’s where you go for great information on general purpose machines –
And there are others I haven’t mentioned. Oh, and don’t blame me if you find yourself calling in sick to work so you can go look for treasure with your new magic wand!