Remember...the way to get the best deal on a metal detector is to make sure you know how to use your equipment.
So support your expert, and your expert will support you!
"What is the BEST metal detector?" This is the most common question I get,
(followed by "What is the DEEPEST metal detector?")
So let Big Valley Metal Detectors help you to choose the best metal detector to meet your personal needs and budget. After I got the above question numerous times I decided to add a 'Best Detectors' page as a guideline, which helps all who visit my site avoid mistakes in choices brought on by the voluminous amount of information and opinion on the internet. Yes, I have my opinions, but those are based on my experience as a detectorist and a multi-line dealer.
Below are general purpose metal detectors. There are many more, and if I have not mentioned the one you are interested in, it is not necessarily because it is no good. More than likely I just decided to keep this page from attaining a daunting length. Also, this is one of the last pages to be updated on a regular basis, as I spend more time with my customers in person, and the web really does come last. Just give me a call and I'll give you my honest assessment if you don't see what you are interested in.
NEWS FLASH! A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY presented itself with the failure of the Oroville Dam's spillway. Much of the gold containing bedrock was exposed after the dirt was washed away by the wild flow of water out of the reservoir. People are starting to realize this and are taking their gold detectors up to that area. We are seeing a MINI GOLD RUSH.
If you want to find gold nuggets, you'll need a metal detector that can hunt for gold. Please go to my Best Gold Detectors page for that. Although... the humble Tesoro Compadre, a great all around metal detector and incredibly simple to operate, can find fine jewelry, including gold.
Comments: There is a good reason this is a popular seller at Big Valley. The Compadre's 12 kHz circuit will see the smallest fine jewelry deeper than almost any other metal detector on the market. And... it has the quickest target response on the market today thanks to its two filter circuit and 5.75” loop size.
You can even use it for electronic prospecting since it's sensitive to gold nuggets from match head size on up.
It boasts excellent audio characteristics. While most other metal detectors play the guessing game as to trash vs. good targets, the Compadre, like the rest of the Tesoro line, has analog audio with lightning fast target sampling. A target response that exhibits a smooth, continuous tone is one worth going after. Choppy, sputter or harsh audio responses are almost always trash.
I am so confident in the Compadre's ability to sniff out elusive gold rings, it remains one of my preferred choices in a rental for lost valuables. One knob operation makes it a nice and simple detector presence in the under $200.00 range.
Price Range: to $350.00
Comments: From 2004, the White’s Prizms dominated the lower end of the professional market. Garrett in later years came out with their Ace 150, to compete with the Prizm line. They added some features to their basic Ace, and came up with the Ace 250 and Ace 350.
This has been some time, and Garrett has never looked back. They now have a new basic model, the Ace 200, which is very reasonably priced, and the Ace 300 and 400 for those who like a few more things of which to keep track..
Price Range: $400.00 to $900.00
Comments: Tesoro's Vaquero operates at just under 15 kHz with a 3 position frequency shifter to further avoid noisy cross talk from other detectorists or powerlines.
This is one of the Umax detectors, which makes it about the lightest in its performance class.
The Vaquero has a manual 3 3/4 ground balance, which works the all metal and discrimination mode. The Vaquero's circuit is also found in the Cibola, which has its ground balance point set internally by Tesoro.
Comments: with this incarnation Fisher has hit a home run. This series can be used for coin shooting, relic hunting or gold prospecting, and is considered a crossover.
Comes in various packages that include different accessories.
Comments: In 2004, the Garrett GTP 1350 came on the scene, replacing the GTAx 1250 and adding a sizing feature called target profiling, which placed the target into one of three size categories; A, B, C.
The Garrett GTP 1350 has a well balanced feel and is light enough for most folks.
Digital tone, including Garrett's bell tone response. Full featured. Depth is above average, as well as Garrett's visual discrimination and electronic pinpointing. The rear battery compartment can pull off and hip mount, decreasing the weight on your arm.
Comments: this machine shows that Garrett is paying attention to customer demand. This is a machine you can submerse in water and then take it to hunt the highest mountain peaks.
The available search modes include both standard and professional settings and the new 11"DD coil it ships with make this machine a huge breakthrough for technology at this price point.
Comments: All three share Tesoro's lightning fast discriminator target sampling and lifetime warranty.
The DeLeón and Cortés (top dog in Tesoro's line-up) have visual target ID, but the display is very small compared to other visual discriminators. The Cortés also has a feature similar to White's Signagraph system, but again, the visual lacks resolution, so dimes, quarters, halves, and dollars read as 'COINS'.
Tesoro's real strong point has always been its analog audio response. Simply put, smooth targets that are coin size are always worth digging and broken and/or harsh sounding targets are worth avoiding.
The Tesoro Tejón is Tesoro's deepest detector, operating at a 17.5 kHz. This is a bit on the high side for silver hunting, but reports from the field say that the Tejón is bringing in a lot of silver normally masked by trash targets and unseen by the competition.
The Tejón uses a twin level discriminator that can be set in a variety of ways. I set the higher level to barely pop on a zinc penny so I don't have to dig them. Because of its higher frequency, the Tejón is a bit more reactive over the small iron, but that can be a positive as far as seeing through the nails etc.
The all metal modes on both the Vaquero and Tejón have a preset gain level, so the sensitivity is really a stability gain control in the discrimination mode.
Last time out with the Tejón, my associate dealer, Greg @ Trans Bay Metal Detectors, scored a beautiful white gold wedding band in the bark and it is one of my favorites.
Price Range from about $1000.00
Comments: Garrett's has a new machine in their AT line-up. This is a pulse-induction machine, and seems to be well thought out, keeping the roaming treasure hunter in mind.
Due to its radically changed design, you'll find it much easier to store and transport.
Comments: these metal detectors use FBS circuits or full band frequencies (28 actually), Minelab's unique way to filter out negative ground and magnetic interference. The active frequency may be about 3kHz and the other harmonics act in concert to sample and neutralize ground noise and power lines. When the noise is neutralized, your ability to hear the deeper targets is enhanced.
The 3 kHz will double the signal on deep silver vs other f requencies. The output is digital, and although the Explorer makes it easier to hear that deep silver without having to tweak, your lower conductors (gold, nickels and other jewelry) are usually ignored by most of the Explorer users. Foil, shards of aluminum and crown caps sound a little too good, where competitor's circuits chop those targets up.
The Explorer has great gain and a smart find screen. The Explorer SE lacks a audio and visual pinpointing system; it uses a more conventional VCO pinpoint.
All in all, these are nice, pretty deep metal detectors and are nice silver shooters.
Depth is above average for a single frequency detector at approximately 7 kHz and seems sensitive enough for gold rings. Ground tracks in the all metal mode. I suspect that the discrimination mode and ground balance point is automated in the chip and cannot be manually manipulated.
This detector actually can be programmed to talk to you using a female voice. A poster on one of the forums, who is a single bachelor, actually put it on voice mode and slept with his GTI 2500... now that's love!!!
this is the "minesweeper" for silver coins in parks.
"Site to Site, Season to Season"
Located in Citrus Heights, California, we are an easy drive from Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Roseville, Rocklin, Orangevale, Folsom, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Loomis, Placerville, Antelope, Antioch, Auburn, Cameron Park, Chico, Colfax, Colusa, Concord, Courtland, Davis, Dixon, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Elverta, Galt, Granite Bay, Isleton, Jackson, Lakeport, Lincoln, Lodi, Marysville, Napa, Newcastle, North Highlands, Oroville, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Redding, Rio Linda, Sloughhouse, Stockton, Tahoe, Vacaville, Vallejo, Walnut Creek, Walnut Grove, Williams, Wilton, Winters, Woodland, Yuba City and many more places. Call for directions. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.
California Gold Country is one of the US ten top destinations. Why not come see me at Big Valley to start your trip off right?