Metal Detecting is a fun hobby for sure that could bring some great rewards along the way! Yet, there are some challenges that you need to be aware of beforehand …
… One of these challenges is the ground conditions especially mineralized soil! Indeed, if you detect in such circumstances without doing the proper things, then your machine will end up picking up many false and misleading signals that won’t help you to find what you are looking for …
… So, what is the Best Metal Detector for Mineralized Soil? There are many detectors that can operate very well even when the ground is highly mineralized! The Minelab CTX 3030 is probably one of the best out there. Yet, you can still opt for cheaper options like the Minelab Equinox 800 which is a reliable one. If you are on a budget, Garrett ACE 250 is a decent option too.
In this Post, I will give you more helpful details about each one of those! So you will understand exactly what they can do for you, thus you will make a proper choice … for sure!
Garrett ACE 250 (The Cheaper Choice)
Generally, machines that can operate properly in difficult ground conditions are significantly pricy. The good news is that there are some few exceptions to that and the ACE 250 is one of them!
Indeed, it is reasonably priced for sure …
… In addition, there are 3 factors that make it able to operate well whether on conductive or magnetic soil:
- Sensitivity levels: It has 8 levels of sensitivity which is a significant range! You can adapt it depending on your target and the soil … In fact, if the ground is heavy in conductive elements (like black sand), just start with a low sensitivity level and go up from there little by little until you figure out the right level that you should stick to.
- Target awareness: There is a little indicator on the screen that will tell you approximately what you’ve just come across to. In other words, it will tell you whether you’ve detected Silver or Bronze or Gold or you are just about to dig an aluminum cap or Iron junk! This indicator is pretty accurate and will save you the time digging due to false signals or unwanted items!
- Discrimination: this is a very important feature that you can adjust so you will simply discriminate not only conductive soil false signals but also those coming from targets you are not interested in.
Other helpful features for magnetic soil …
If you choose to combine it with a reliable pinpointer like the Garrett pro, then you will get even better results! Yet, you can still do well without that, as the ACE 250 has an electronic pinpoint (non-motion) mode for even faster recovery …
One of the main concerns that come with such a soil is the depth, yet, the ACE 250 still operates on decent depth around 7 inches that could reach fairly more than 8 inches for significantly larger targets!
Speaking of the depth, the screen displays almost exactly at what depth is your target! This will save you time and energy as you won’t dig deeper than necessary …
Generally the minerals will start to sound louder when the ground’s wet! This is not an issue in many cases as this Garrett machine operates well on wet sand too…
… You might need very few usages to get used to the tones … Indeed, once you get to that point everything will fall to its places and you will perform much better!
Finally, there are many detecting modes that you can choose from:
- Custom (In this mode you can configure the setting that will suit the ground condition of your area)
More useful features…
This device has other things that I would like to share with you:
- This model is very popular amongst hobbyists. So, it is very easy to find information about it, especially while troubleshooting. I mean if you face any issue, for sure others have faced the same issue before and you will find the solution to that online using forums for example!
- It is one of the few machines that are adapted for beginners but still used by seasoned detectorists as well!
- Lightweight …
- The battery has longue longevity, thus you can keep using it for long hours!
- Assembly is easy and straightforward.
- The manual it comes with is practical and you can refer to it whenever you need to.
- Don’t use it underwater as the control box is not waterproof.
Where to Order?
You can check it right Here on Amazon!
Minelab Equinox 800 (My Preferred Choice)
I just love this machine; it represents the new detection technology in its purest forms (You can have a look at its current Price Here on Amazon)…
… In fact, it was designed to operate literally on every type of ground that you can possibly think of! Including the scary mineral rich soil …
Anyway, I would like to start with some basic information about this machine that you should know about before moving on to its real strong points:
- The machine seems to be heavy, yet it is totally a Lightweight (less than 3 pounds).
- It has 8 Custom searching
- Can Operate on multiple frequencies (quick note: its little brother the NOX 600 only operate on the first 3 frequencies)
- The manufacturer offers a 3 year warranty for this machine. The battery has one year warranty though! This surprises me a little bit as there are some other models from other brands that are not as good as this one and still offer more years in term of warranty …
- Fully waterproof (coil and control box) up to 10 feet deep …
- The Li-ion Battery is USB Rechargeable.
- When it comes to the Wireless Audio it is compatible with 3 technologies:
- Bluetooth obviously!
- Qualcomm aptX Low latency
- Wi-Stream Technology: Which was developed by Minelab (at the best of my knowledge) and, as for now, only available for Equinox series, the CTX3030 and the monster GPZ 7000.
- The Standard searchcoil is a Double-D 11 inches large!
- Several search modes … I will develop that a bit later..
Why the NOX 800 is a great machine for mineralized soil?
There are several reasons why I am recommending this machine for such a ground condition:
Coil compatibility: I’ve just said that the Nox 800 comes per default with 11 inches searchcoil … But also; you should note that it is compatible with 6 and 15 inches EQX coils! This will help you cover more or less space while swinging depending on the coil …This will also allow you to get more or less depth according to what you actually want … In magnetic ground, this flexibility is very helpful!
Location selection option: It has a predefined location setting that will allow you to adapt to each environment …
- Park: In case you are dealing with trashy area, this location setting will allow you to discriminate as much unwanted object as possible and only focus on what matter the most!
- Field: In case you are dealing with a fairly clean environment and your targets are easy to come across.
- Beach: This where this machine performs at its full potential as it operates on simultaneous frequencies at the same time.
- Gold: In this mode, the device will operate solely at its higher frequencies 20 et 40kHz so you will have better chances to come across smaller finds like little gold nuggets even in mineral rich grounds!
Battery: It can hold up to 12 hours straight! In fact, when you are dealing with difficult ground conditions, it generally takes time to figure out the right settings to implement, plus finding valuables takes generally some time. Thus, a longue operating battery is crucial in this case!
Software: What makes from this Minelab model so powerful is its Software! Better yet, you still can upgrade it whenever the company releases a new version only by using a USB connection from your Windows or Mac OS Computer.
Minelab CTX 3030 (Pricy but extremely powerful!)
To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend this machine for a newbie! Simply because it represents a significant learning curve before you figure out how this detection engine works …
… However, if you’ve got some prior experience and some significant money (Check its current Price Here on Amazon!), then investing in a CTX 3030 is totally worth it!
Once you figure it out, you will start looking through highly mineralized soil like it is nothing!!
In fact it can operate on lot of frequencies, starting from 1.5kHz up to 100kHz!
Basically and like the Equinox series you can submerge it underwater up to 10 feet deep … But other people have used it up to 30 feet and still worked just fine! I am not recommending to try that, but it is still good to know …
It has the possibility to tell you through GPS where you are exploring and memorize places that have proven to be valuable!
Also you can set the discrimination more precisely than any other machine you’ve used before. In fact, it is based on the metal nature (ferrous, non-ferrous) and the level of its electrical conductivity…
… Better yet, each time you come across a potential find it displays in a 2D scheme showing how magnetic and how conductive your item is.
I would love to mention that the Minelab Post-sale services are one of the best, if not the best in the market today! They will take care of you …
… Other than that, there are couple of Cons that I want to share with you:
- The manual it comes with is not as helpful as it should be (maybe they’ve changed this, I don’t know), so you need to download and read the online manual, or to check “The Minelab CTX 3030 Handbook” by Andy Sabisch, it explains things very well.
- Such a pricy model should normally have much better headphones than what the package actually include. I believe they should include better ones for sure …
- For someone like me (I’ve did some bodybuilding before lol) I still consider it as a lightweight. It weights under 6 pounds (maybe 5.6 lb!), yet this is a little bit heavier than most machines in the market as they are generally around 3 pounds.
I am not claiming that the models above are the absolute Best or something like that! They are just recommendations based on what I know and what I’ve experienced …
Obviously, I’ve done my best to recommend metal detectors depending on your budget! So, you won’t find yourself spending more money than what you actually have …
… Just start with a machine that you can afford and you can always upgrade it later once you have the necessary money!
Finally, if you are looking to know more super helpful tips about how you should deal with such a ground! You should definitely have a deep look at this gold detecting guide! You will learn how you to look straight through conductive soil and extract valuable targets such as Gold and Gems!