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Some fun evaluations of 10 Brand New Detectors you can buy for $550 or Less.

November 01, 2020 07:56AM avatar
My Multi-Detector Evaluation of '10' select new models for $550 and under:

First, I have acquired a few models from individual sources, but want to give a sincere 'Thank You' to these Detector Dealer sources I also used:

Joel Liebelt


I acquired my first Garrett Apex w/wireless MS-3 Z-Lynk headphones from Joel, as well as my 2nd Nokta / Makro Simplex + and the new Midi Hoard kids detector. Picked up a few other models in this past couple of years as well.

Detector Electronics Corp.
23 Turnpike Rd.
Southborough, MA 01772
1-800-446-0244 US
1-888-627-5295 Canada
1-508-460-6244 International
SMS Text: 1-508-231-5377


These good folks have been around for a long, long time and are the biggest Distributors / Dealers in the USA. I have relied on their service through the years for many products, and for this evaluation I'm doing I purchased the following through them: Fisher F5, Teknetics Omega-8500 package and Teknetics T2+ GWP package, plus needed environmental covers for the T2+. I also acquired the new NEL Super Fly search coil for the T2+ from them that is exceptionally light-weight and perfectly balanced. I'll be using it in a search coil review I'm also working on.

Next, a generalized Model-by-Model Description:

Fisher F5
$299.95 'special' at metaldetector.com w/4" Concentric coil and more.
7.8 kHz
10" Concentric elliptical coil (measures 5½X9¾)
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: 2-9V batteries

Fisher F44
$309.00 'special' at metaldetector.com w/4" Concentric coil and more.
7.69 kHz
11" Concentric 'egg-shape' standard (Note: I bought mine with the 7" Concentric coil.prior to this evaluation project.)
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: 2- AA batteries

Garrett Apex
$499.95 MSRP .. Check with the above Dealers for about $424.96.
15 kHz default frequency. Selectable 5, 10 and 20 kHz, plus MF and MS Multi-Flex Simultaneous Multi-Frequency options.
⅛" 'mini' Headphone Jack
Built-in Li-PO rechargeable battery

Makro Racer 2
$499 MSRP .. Check with above Dealers.
14 kHz
7X11 Double-D coil. (Note: I bought mine with the 7" Concentric & 5" DD coils prior to this evaluation project.)
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: 4- AA batteries

Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro Pack
$499 MSRP .. Check with above Dealers.
Multi-IQ SMF only
9X12 Double-D and 5X8 Double-D in the Pro Pack
⅛" ‘mini’ Headphone Jack
Powered by: 4- AA batteries

Nokta / Makro Midi Hoard
$119.95 MSRP .. Check with above Dealers.
15 kHz
7” Concentric round, fixed coil
‘NO’ Headphone Jack
Powered by: 2- AA batteries

Nokta / Makro Simplex +
$299 MSRP Check with the above Dealers for pricing, plus price w/wireless headphones
12 kHz
11 Double-D round coil
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: Built-in Li-PO battery

Teknetics Omega-8500
$749 MSRP $389 ‘special’ at metaldetector.com w/4" Concentric coil and more.
7.69 kHz
11" BiAxial
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: 1- 9V battery

Teknetics T2+ GWP
$649 MSRP $549 'special' at metaldetector.com w/Tek-Point Pinpointer and ‘The Digger’ tool
13 kHz
11" BiAxial coil
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: 4- AA batteries

White's MX-7
$599 MSRP $549 at metaldetector.com w/special package items.
14 kHz
950 Concentric coil
¼" Headphone Jack
Powered by: 8- AA batteries

Now for Detector Comparisons, but using My Preferred Coil for Day-to-Day Coin Hunting:

I show the search coils I used in this evaluation of 10 new detectors. I have a good bit of shopping $$$ invested and with this review finished I'll be looking to sell as many of these detectors as I can. All the evaluation was done by having Test Samples randomly paced on the ground where two homes had been removed from the lot. That meant there was some unknown and unseen metal discards about the area, making it more of a natural Coin Hunting experience. Then they showed up to start some grading so I moved the Test Samples to my home where I positioned them as close as possible to duplicate some of the unseen metal challenges I had at the lot.

Only a couple-of my own detectors have seen dirt. Outdoors, samples were on hard dirt and covered. We got some very cold weather so I didn't get a Test Garden planted yet, so there is no 'Depth Test' included at this time. My veggie garden has twelve raised beds and I am going to plant a few coins at measured depths, and then cover the Test Bed with a hospital blanket to prevent any of the detectors from getting soiled or scuffed or scratched. I hope to do a Depth Test in the next week or so and I'll add those results to this evaluation when finished.

In the break-down of how these different makes and models performed, they will be listed in Alphabetical Order by Brand and not by performance results. I'll add that later. I did evaluate all of the detectors with the 'standard' coil they come with (as shown in the description of the 10 detectors above), but the listed results coming up are those I gained using a search coil I would generally have mounted for common urban Coin & Jewelry Hunting places, such as around houses, vacant lats, parks, picnic area, etc., etc. Common-use places where pocket-carry can easily be lost, but where we also encounter a lot of modern trash. Perhaps some iron nails from a structure demolition, and other things, such as a 'spill' or congested batch of coins we might like to isolate if close together, and also a test using a palm-sized rock to simulate a rock-strewn environment such as a parking lot, an old drive-in theater, a rocky area around a river or reservoir or lake where there is frequent human activity.

Detectors and coils will be listed under the following heading Let me explain what the different abbreviations are, and describe each of the different Test Scenarios I put every detector and search coil to-the-test on:

--→Possible Points→→ 8 ←---→ 6 ←---→ 6 ←→ 2 ←←→→ 2 ←←---→→ 2 ←←→→→ 14 ←←←--→→→ 2 ← = 42
Detector and Coil *** NBPT *** 1-5-1 *** 5-1-5 *** SS *** N on Button *** N-5-N *** Separation Stick *** P Under Rock

The top row describes the possible number of 'points' a detector / coil can score for each test, and at the end is the total number of points possible ... '42.'

The second row describes the different Test Scenarios I used, and those are explained below:

NBPT: This is simply my Nail Board Performance Test and is an exact duplicate of the four iron nails surrounding an Indian Head Cent I spotted on the ground as I crested the old 'school hill' in the ghost town of Frisco Utah. That was Memorial Day Weekend of '94 and it has been used by a lot of people to help them learn if or how their detectors might provide performance in a very iron nail littered site. It was a natural-setting so it has made a really useful test evaluation this past 26+ years.

To work this teat, a search coil must be swept from off to one side across the four marked routes on the NBPT across the nails and coin and off to the opposite side of the board. This is to demonstrate what might be an allowable sweep speed to get the most good-target hits. The center-axis of the search coil should follow the marked routes. It is NOT done by using a tight little wiggle of the coil over the coin. That's something a person might do later, but it should be encountered as if hunting a nail littered site.

Some detectors do not allow a low-enough Discriminate level to Accept Iron Nails while many others today DO Accept Iron Nails .... if you want to hear them. Most Coin Hunting 'Hobbyists' do not like trash, including nails, and adjust the Discrimination to Reject Iron Nails. It's a personal choice, but with that much rejection some detectors can't handle the processing and respond-to (aka 'unmask') the 1¢ coin that's close-by. On the other hand, some makes and models handle Iron Nails quite well, and that's why I enjoyed hunting most nail-infested ghost tons for the past 37+ years ... because I used a tool that worked well.

Today, with the modern design digital circuitry models, we have some that not only Accept Iron Nails, and other ferrous debris, but they also features an Iron Audio Volume control to reduce the loudness of ferrous targets we hear in that Rejected or Iron Audio range. I used the best method to not hear the iron but still achieve the highest possible score. There are 8 Points possible. One for a left-to-right sweep and one for a right-to-left sweep along the 4 marked sweep routes.

1-5-1: This is a short string of a Penny, Nickel and Penny, or 1¢-5¢-1¢ with the left-to-right coins distanced as follows: Left to Middle coin is 3" center-to-center, and Middle coin to Right coin is 2½" center-to-center. That would be a left-to-right sweep and then you sweep back the other way. You do that with a search coil close enough to try and allow each coin to produce a 'Beep' and that's a possible 3 Beeps to the left and 3-Beeps to the right for a total of '6' Beeps on this Test Sample.

5-1-5: This is the same test as just mentioned using the same distances from center-to-center of the three coins. But it can be a difficult challenge for some detectors which might, or might not, handle processing and recovery when they encounter a lower-conductive coin and then a higher-conductive coin before another lower-conductive coin. Again, both left and right sweeps have a total of '6' possible.

SS: This is my 'Short-Stack of US Silver coins to simulate a small 'stash' similar to some I used to find when hunting old demolition projects. It consists of 5-Walking Liberty 50¢ pieces on top of a Silver Peace Dollar.. And since I found most of them in and around old houses or their foundations, or in a dense 'spill' after the house was hauled off the foundation, it is quite possible for there to be iron nails or other ferrous metal close by.

You would think this should be an easy test for a metal detector to pass, responding to six larger-size 90% Silver Coins stacked together .... but it isn't. I can demonstrate, with some detectors, how an errant Ground Balance setting that is tied in with the Discriminate mode can be too positive and then ignore, reject or simply not-respond to that very high conductive stack of silver coins. But not all detectors today allow or provide GB control of the Discriminate mode. Because so much is 'programmed-in' to a lot of circuitry designs, some really good detectors will NOT 'Beep' on that Short-Stack of Silver Coins. There are a few detectors that might produce an audible 'Beep' in one or both directions, but they will NOT produce a proper visual VDI read-out. Typically it will be jumpy and cover anything from very low to very high in the display. In case there is any nearby offending ferrous metal, I swept a coil over the Short-Stack as if from N-to-S and then at 90° as in E-to-W, so two directions for a possible '2' points.

N on Button: This is another in-the-field encounter. It is an old Button Front with a train engine on it. It shines up almost as if it were brass, but it is a lower-conductive target close to that of a US Nickel coin. You could eyeball the Button Front and the Iron Nail on top of it. The Button Front is almost exactly the diameter of a US 1¢ coin, and the Iron Nail is about 3½" long. The task is to sweep the coil's center-axis across the Button Front both length-wise and cross-wise for a possible '2' points. Sometimes I use this Test Sample and consider it a possible 4 instead of 2 because some detectors struggle in some directions due to the search coil size or type. But for this evaluation, there is a possible '2' points.

N-5-N: In this case, the 'N' represents old square Nails and the '5' is a US 5¢ piece. I use a Buffalo Nickel positioned between the two Nails, one on either side of the Nickel and running parallel. The Iron Square Nails are only 2" apart with the Nickel roughly centered between them. I sweep crosswise and then I sweep lengthwise, and while I could score 1-Pt. for each direction, I am only counting '1' - Pt. for both ways when swept crosswise and '1'-Pt. for sweeping both ways lengthwise, thus there is a possible '2' points.

Separation Stick: Separation is often confused with unmasking. True, you need to have good response and recovery in order to respond to a good non-ferrous target positioned too close to some ferrous or non-ferrous target, but 'Separation' is just a bit different. This is a 'test' that might apply more to urban Coin Hunters who can often work a site that has quite a few non-ferrous targets very close. Some simply tossed into a small space, or in the case of a 'pocket-spill', there could be several coins very close. It's often handy to be able to 'isolate' individual coins when several are very,, very close in order to help pinpoint or find them and not accidentally damage a close-by good target.

They can't be 'separated' if they are at more of a distance from the search coil as the EMF is too large, but if they are a commonly shallow 'spill' they would be closer to the coil. I position any search coil as close-as-possible to not 'overload' but still give the better quick-response-and-recovery to the targets on my 'Separation Stick.' To make this a challenge and try to replicate some of the multi-coin encounters I have come across, I used 7 Trade Tokens. They are all just about the same diameter and thickness of a US Nickel or 5¢ coin. One of the 7 is of a lower-conductivity level, somewhat close to a 5¢ coin, but the other 6-out-of-7 are higher-conductive 'brass' or 'copper' type metal targets.

I used two 12" wooden paint stir-stocks that are marked like a ruler. On either end I stuck a Trade Token so that they were half-on and half-off the end of the stick to be centered at the '0' and 12" marks. The other 5 Trade Tokens are centered at the 2", 4", 6", 8" and 10" marks, making all 7 Trade Tokens just 2" apart, center-to-center. I sweep both left and right to give any type search coil design and detector circuitry an opportunity to respond as best they can. There cold be 7 'hits' each direction so the total possible is '14' points.

P Under Rock: The 'P' stands for a US 1¢ Penny and the rock used measures about 4" X 2⅞"AND 1¼" at the thickest point. This is another tough test for some detectors when searching a rock-covered site with medium-size rocks about palm-size due to the length and/or width of the rock, and how the rock's thickness might vary. I refer to these as an "Intense Mineral Body" and they can easily mask a good target. When hunting these types of sites, and knowing some detectors have a tough time because the solid-body rocks can degrade a good-target response, making them produce an Iron Range Audio and/or Visual read-out, I use the least Discrimination I can .... to Accept Iron ... and then IF I get a response, regardless of the VDI range or audio report, I then move the offending rock out-of-the-way and re-sweep to get a better target response. Then I'll know if the offending 'IMB' was hiding a desired target or trash.

In this Test Scenario I sweep both length-wise and width-wise of the rock for a possible '2' points.

Add up the scored from these Eight Test Scenarios and you have a possible score of '42' Points.

Below I have listed the 10 New detectors models available today for $550 or less, as I tested using the search coil I have on-hand for them if I were to set out for a day of Coin Hunting in typically-encountered locations. Later today, I hope, I will post a follow-up that will list the total scores I received using these 10 new detectors with all of the coils I have for them, in order of the final score. I am also going to include the scoring I got from my other detectors, some I have on-hand for my seminars, and some results we got when OregonGregg stopped by with his White's M6 and MXT Pro and an assortment of search coils. In all, I believe there were 29 Detector & Coil comparisons done, and only ONE detector and coil got a 'perfect' score of '42' Points. You'll see when I post the results.smiling smiley

Now, here are the results using my search coil picks for each model for Coin Hunting using the available coils on-hand:

--→Possible Points→→ 8 ←---→ 6 ←---→ 6 ←→ 2 ←←→→ 2 ←←---→→ 2 ←←→→→ 14 ←←←--→→→ 2 ← = 42
Detector and Coil *** NBPT *** 1-5-1 *** 5-1-5 *** SS *** N on Button *** N-5-N *** Separation Stick *** P Under Rock

F44 w/7" Concentric ....... 3 ........... 4 .......... 4 ........ 2 ............... 1 .................. 1 ................... 6 ......................... 1 ... = 22
F5 w/7" Concentric.. ....... 7 ........... 6 .......... 6 ........ 2 .............. 1 ................... 0 ................. 14 ..........................2.... = 38
Apex w/6X11 DD ............ 7 ........... 6 .......... 6 ........ 0 .............. 1 ................... 1 .................. 14 ......................... 2 ... = 37
Racer 2 w/7" Concentric . 8 ............4 .......... 4 ........ 2 .............. 2 ....................1 ................... 8 ......................... 2 ... = 31
Vanquish 540 w/5X8 DD . 5 ........... 6 .......... 6 ........ 0 .............. 1 .................. 1 .................. 14 ......................... 2 ... = 35 .
Midi Hoard w/7" Con. ...... 8 ........... 4 .......... 4 ........ 0 .............. 0 .........,,,....... 0 ................. 14 ......................... 2 ... = 32.
Simplex + w/5X9½ DD .... 8 ........... 6 ......... 6 ......... 1 .............. 1 .................. 1 .................. 14 ......................... 2 ... = 39
Omega-8500 w/11" DD ... 2 ........... 6 .......... 6 ........ 0 ............... 0 .................. 0 .................. 14 ........................ 1 ... = 29
T2+ w/11" BiAxial (DD) .....5 .......... 6 ..... .... 6 ........ 0 ............... 1 .................. 1 ...................12 ........................ 2 .... = 33
MX-7 w/6½" Concentric ... 7 .......... 4 ....... .. 4 ........ 1 ............... 1 .................. 0 ................... 6 ......................... 1 .... = 24

NOTE: In the next day or two I'll post the overall testing results as mentioned, with other makes and models and with different coils on the above New detectors. I will also do a write-up of my observations of each of the above Ten Models and how I had them set-up for the evaluations I did.

Enjoy reading this part of the evaluations, and if you have any questions you can ask them here or simply drop me an e-mail. Also, if interested in purchasing any of the above new detectors, just e-mail me a reasonable offer and we'll see what we can work out before I get them listed.

"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells Trading Post
Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
I'm now located in Clyde, Texas
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
Detector Outfit: A selection of my favorite makes and models, with the best coils mounted, for the tasks I'll take on.
Apex .. FORS CoRe .. FORS Relic .. Bandido II µMAX .. Silver Sabre µMAX
Pinpointers: Pulse-Dive Pointer and AT Pro-Pointer .. Headphones: 'Hornet' & 'Wasp' .. MS-3 Z-Lynk ..
*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/01/2020 06:34PM by Monte.
Subject Author Views Posted

Some fun evaluations of 10 Brand New Detectors you can buy for $550 or Less.

Monte 484 November 01, 2020 07:56AM

#4→→ The Compass Coin Hustler and why the '42' Point high score?

Monte 234 November 05, 2020 04:55AM

Re: #4→→ The Compass Coin Hustler and why the '42' Point high score?

D&P-OR 195 November 05, 2020 10:50AM

#3→→ GROUND BALANCE --- Some can be, some can't. ... Another Lengthy Post.

Monte 255 November 04, 2020 11:03AM

Rambling a bit about: Ground Balance ... Target ID ... Search Coils.

Monte 198 November 07, 2020 11:42AM

GB, Target ID, Search Coils.

UtahRich 168 November 07, 2020 05:08PM

Re: GB, Target ID, Search Coils.

Monte 195 November 08, 2020 07:32AM

Great Post

OregonGregg 209 November 05, 2020 06:40AM

Re: #3→→ GROUND BALANCE --- Some can be, some can't. ... Another Lengthy Post.

EL NINO 183 November 05, 2020 03:36AM

'Thank You' for the kind comments. ---- I put 'SAT' on my to-do list.thumbs up N/T

Monte 181 November 05, 2020 03:50AM

Re: #3 another Lengthy Post. Great post Monte thumbs up Thanks for that informative lesson!!!!! N/T

Hombre 218 November 04, 2020 10:26PM

Randy, my pleasure. As always, I learned things myself.

Monte 176 November 05, 2020 03:47AM

#2→→ My comments on the 10 New Detector Models Tested ... Very Lengthy..

Monte 241 November 03, 2020 04:17PM

Re: Some fun evaluations of 10 Brand New Detectors you can buy for $550 or Less.

WM6 160 November 02, 2020 06:03AM

Re: Some fun evaluations of 10 Brand New Detectors you can buy for $550 or Less.

diggindeep 192 November 01, 2020 11:02AM

Back to you, Andrew.

Monte 210 November 01, 2020 02:30PM

Re: Some fun evaluations of 10 Brand New Detectors you can buy for $550 or Less.

Timbertodd 200 November 01, 2020 10:35AM

A quick reply to you 'Timbertodd.'

Monte 194 November 01, 2020 12:46PM

#1→→ Evaluation Scores w/Detectors and Coils ... plus the 100% performer.

Monte 264 November 01, 2020 09:38AM

Re: Follow-up #1.. Evaluation Scores w/Detectors and Coils

Kickindirt 179 November 02, 2020 12:31PM

Joel, an interesting guess .... but wrong. Let me comment.

Monte 217 November 02, 2020 01:37PM

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