What I did was to get the most expensive machine that I could, got disappointed, and continued to dig. I have found lots of treasures, some had value many didn't. I guess you can say that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Now that I'm a lot older it's just the act of hunting that satisfies the need. Buy one machine first and both try it while the other retrieves. See if you really like it and go from there. Equinox 600 is a good place to start. It has a good price point for what you get and is easy to use, light weight and waterproof. Have fun and stick with it. If you get disappointed put it down for awhile and try again later. I've been doing it for 45 years on and off and I still love to go out with my wife and dig and discuss life. And how much she spends on Amazon. She has her own machine now so we can be together and go on our our adventures at the same time. It's fun!