By Steve Herschbach
Update January 2019 - I started reviewing detectors on the internet over twenty years ago. At the time it seemed I was providing a service since good information was hard to find. I enjoyed reviewing machines in detail for those who were interested. The internet was more friendly back in those days.
Times have changed, and these days everyone with a video camera is a metal detector expert. In particular there is a trend where industry insiders like me are considered tainted sources of information, not to be trusted. Personally, I don’t need people questioning my integrity. I was doing this for fun and that sucked all the fun out of it. I am therefore no longer accepting invitations to test or review metal detecting equipment.
That said, my thanks to those of you who have expressed your appreciation for my efforts over the years. You can find my collected detector reports here. The focus on this website going forward will be individual user reviews as part of the new Metal Detector Database with User Reviews. Check it out!
By Steve Herschbach
What features should be standard in a 21st century metal detector? Going forward I have a couple basic features I would like in any new detector model I get. Given the current state of the art, the detector may as well be waterproof. This used to incur a penalty by way of limited features, increased weight, or lack of coil options, but those days are past. And at this point built in wireless headphone capability is a must for above water use (hardwired phones are required underwater). The following detectors are all waterproof to at least ten feet, and all have built in wireless headphone capability. All have built in waterproof speakers and optional interchangeable search coils. Click chart for larger version.
21st Century Metal Detectors - Waterproof and Wireless Headphones
21st Century Metal Detectors (Waterproof & Wireless)
Makro Kruzer 14
Minelab Equinox 600
Garrett AT Max
Makro Gold Kruzer
Makro Multi Kruzer
Nokta Anfibio 14
Nokta Anfibio 19
Minelab Equinox 800
Nokta Anfibio Multi
Minelab CTX 3030
All these models although waterproof feature coils that can be swapped out. Back in the day waterproof detectors usually came with only a single hardwired coil, but there is no need to settle for that now. All these models have three or more coil options available.
If a detector is truly new, less than a year on the market, then I want it to have the ability to be updated via the internet. Once a detector has been on the market over a year this is not quite as important but still desirable. All these models except the Garrett AT Max and Quest 40/Pro may receive firmware updates via the internet.
All the models listed have built in sealed rechargeable batteries, except for the Garrett AT Max, which uses removable AA batteries. Sealed batteries provide for better waterproof integrity, but eventually the batteries will have to be serviced.
The operating frequency options vary with these detectors. If the detector is to be used in or around saltwater very much, do consider multifrequency as the preferred option for most saltwater use. The Makro Gold Kruzer is a special case, with a very high 61 kHz frequency making it more an option for gold prospectors, jewelry hunters, or relic hunters looking for very small non-ferrous targets. Because of this high operating frequency the Gold Kruzer is the least saltwater friendly detector in this roundup.
Although all these models have built in wireless, they all feature proprietary systems with the exception of the Minelab Equinox, which has a proprietary system but also offers standard Low Latency Bluetooth. Right now proprietary solutions can offer less audio lag but at the price of being locked into using the proprietary headphone options, which tend to be limited. Low Latency Bluetooth is fast enough for most people and no doubt will be faster in the future, so look for proprietary offerings to fade away.
21st Century Metal Detectors - Waterproof & Wireless
Hi Everyone. I am new to this forum but have been gold prospecting and metal detecting for many years. I have used machines from just about every major maker of metal detectors with except XP. I recent bought a Equinox 600 and have been testing it out. I have been making a lot of test comparisons with my fishers etc. And I realized today that the 600 does not have a true all metal mode like my fishers. Closest setting is Park 2' with iron detect turned on, but thats it. The 600 is not as sensitive as my F70 on small gold either when using the 15 hz setting. It says in the manual that single freqencies (machines) may have an advantage over multi freqs in certain situations. That fact really Shocked me. What's the point of using a multi freq machine if it is not superior in all situations? I tested the 600 against my Fisher F44 and F70 using the standard 11 in Dd coils on the fishers and the standard 11 in dd on the equinox 600. The fishers out performed the 600 in just about every test. The one exception was on wet sand saltwater beaches, The 600 was slightly better there using beach 2, but that's it! The F44 with sensitivity turned down was almost as good. The F44 is lighter by a half pound, which matters a lot in all day hunts And finally it may be my familiarity with Fisher products but the fishers handle much better then the minelab 600 (coil wabble) That said, The minelab is not a bad machine but I'll take the fishers over it any day.
By Mike Hillis
You either have the right metal detector for micro jewelry detecting or you don't.
I hunt gold jewelry on land. It is my desired target. I focus on it to the near exclusion of all else. I hunt for hot spots and when I find them I prep them for efficient recovery of new losses. It is what I like to do. And I find pretty small jewelry. Too small to even take good pictures of with my current camera. So I thought I was doing pretty good. Maybe using the term 'Micro' was splitting hairs.
I had asked Tom Dankowski what to use for a Micro Jewelry test piece. He replied back that a 10k White Gold 4 or 6 prong stud earring capable of holding, what? a 1/4 or 1/2 caret stone would be a recommended test object. So I went searching for something and finally obtain something at the right price off of ebay; 3mm solid 10k white gold 4 prong stud earring. Silicone backing. So its just the earring stud itself with a topaz stone in it. Pretty tiny. Smaller than I thought it would be when I ordered it.
Ok. The Gold Bug Pro is a proven prospecting unit, and my G2+ is nothing more than a Gold Bug Pro on a different rod set up. I've seen the pictures of the small gold pickers it can find. So surely it will hit this earring no problem, Rght?
Well, I put the 5" DD on it, and start bench testing. All metal gets a hit on it out to about 1-1/2" if the prong end of the earring is facing it. Horizontal and Vertical orientation presentations are much less. In Disc, I can get a signal about an 1" away with the prong facing the coil and the other orientations are about 1/2" with mostly non-ferrous responses. That is at maxed out sensitivity. Wow. I thought it would be better than that.
I have a V3 with a 22kHz single frequency option with a hot gold program on it that will hit it good, too. Right?
Well I put the 4x6 DD on the V3, load up my hot little gold program and start my test. Hey, I'm getting something, thinking positive...better depth than the gold bug, oh...wait....its picking up my hand. So I transfer the earring stud to a ruler and try again. This time no response. Or at least no usable response. Did some tweaking to the program and still no thing. Wow. Got to try some programming changes and see if I can at least equal the G2.
Not done yet......what about the Omega 8500. No. Not a chance of every finding one these little earrings with that. Put it up.
Still not done yet....what about the F75LTD? Lets give it a try. I put the little football concentric on it, maxed it out and frequency shifted for stability and give it a try. WOW. In both JE and Boost mode it did better than the G2. The G2 audio wasn't that strong but the F75 audio was great in all orientations. And I was getting at least an 1" in the vertical and horizontal orientations and about a 1-1/3" with the prongs facing the coil. And it was giving mostly non-ferrous TID. This reminded me again of what a top notch detector the F75 is and will always be.
Wow. Just Wow. I ended up sitting there thinking about how much time I have wasted at some sites thinking that if 'any' gold was there I would have gotten it. I got over it a day or so later as reality set in and reminded me that hunting really small jewelry has its own little focus and that I need not worry about unless I'm specifically hunting for it. But that if I'm going to hunt for it I need to equipment myself for it.
And that is the back story to my pre-order of the Makro Gold Kruzer.
After reading and rereading all the comments of the forum, decision for model 600, I think that for my needs, that is enough for me. I arrived yesterday and did a little test at home, since Steve has said many times that he does not have the gold program but that he can do equally well in other programs. This test is in park 2 mode and sensitivity to 12, since I am inside the house