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Least Expensive Pi

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In which country are you wanderer?  

Yes, you can get used PI machines. Just make sure they are not fakes.  Always best to try and get one with some warranty left too.  

Getting a used one though a dealer may also give you some peace of mind that they have checked it over and it is in good working order even if it is out of warranty. 

If you are in Australia the QED is getting some good reviews and is a very light and relatively inexpensive PI machine.  I'm not sure if the QED is available overseas at present or if it ever will be due to the small size of the business.   

Im sure others on here will be able to help you more re: prices across the many brands. 

And, of course, check out Steve's Gold Detecting reviews - I doubt there is a more comprehensive review page with pricing included.  


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You have missed out in my opinion the most important piece of information and that is your budget !! no point in asking for some suggestions if the machines are over your budget.Are you taking about ultra cheap Pulse machines or reasonable top brand one ??

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In the us.  The reason I ask is all of the pi seem the 2000ish.  I am in California will be looking for nuggets of any size.  In what I think will be highly mineralized rock.   I am trying to determine a budget.   

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The Whites TDI is the least expensive New for $1200 and used ones can be found for $600-$700 at times. Next would be used Minelabs. I just picked up a used GPX 4000 with 3 coils and signal enhancer and 3 batteries and control box cover for $1350, so they can be found. Try all the forums classifieds and Craiglist. Another option would be the Minelab Gold Monster 1000. It is a VLF but does good in highly mineralized ground and can be found for about $600 used  or about $800 new.

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If your going to look at Craig's list or Ebay be very careful of deals that are "too good to be true" because they are. Also be very careful about buying any Minelab that you can't get your hands on before purchase so that you can have a dealer verify that it's a real Minelab.




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I assume you are asking about pulse induction metal detectors for gold prospecting. There are two main types of PI. Those that ground balance and those that do not. Those that do not are relatively inexpensive beach detecting machines. Only consider ground balancing PI detectors for gold prospecting.

Right now the least expensive new with warranty option is the White’s TDI SL Special Edition which can be had brand new with warranty for $1049.95

If I was on a budget looking for the most power for under $1000 I would be looking for a used Minelab GP detector. The GP 3000 can be found used under $1000 on a regular basis. If you shopped hard you might even find a GP 3500 for under a grand. Assume the batteries will need replacing.

Minelab only supports detectors for 5 years after they are discontinued. There may be alternative third party service options but I would assume that with any Minelab more than 5 years after being discontinued you are on your own if there is a component failure in the control box. Since the GP 3500 was the last of the series and was discontinued in 2006, all Minelab GP and the earlier SD models are outside Minelab’s official support period.

The GPX 4000 was discontinued around 2009 and so is also outside the support period but because all GPX detectors share components there is probably less issue there. The GPX 4500 and GPX 5000 are still in production.

You don’t have to worry too much about older Minelab SD and GP models when it comes to counterfeits but the GPX is another story. Counterfeit GPX models are very common.

Minelab Stop Counterfeits Page

Known Counterfeit Manufacturers

Bang for the buck brand new I recommend the GPX 4500 for around $2600.


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Couldn’t agree more with Steve, you would be well served with a Minelab 4500. I have used many detectors over the past 39 years, up to the GPZ. If I was only able to have one detector it would be the 4500, and the coil of choice would be a 16” nugget finder mono. But depending where you will be detecting smaller coils may be more appropriate. Good luck.

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