Finding the Very Best Detector…

Which detector is the best? Which brand or model will outdo all the others on the market? Is it the most expensive one? The one with more bells an whistles? Or is there a lesser expensive one that can perform equally as well? More importantly IS THERE such an animal, and if so, who is it that determines that?

This topic is an old one, and one that’s been beaten to death over the years. I even remember a time when tekkies would try to make a case for this or that model by borrowing detectors from friends and running them over a predetermined course that had specific metallic items buried at varying depths. It was intriguing, but as I remember they would usually proclaim the winner to be the one “they” were using. Funny how that happened….


Anyway, I got thinking about this while reading an excellent article on wine and how proclaimed wine authorities could get it all wrong when doing a blind tasting. That is to say, a lot of lower priced wines were often given much better grades when ingested blindfolded. To put it in even simpler terms, a lot of what you read about wine is just snobbish bullshit.

Wine drinker or not, click on the following and watch the video…very enlightening.


Now, before you jump all over my ass, I know there are more definitive ways to determine winners when it comes to metal detectors.  The problem however lies in how the tester(s) know the particular nuances and characteristics of each model they are using. I suspect comparing the lower end models would be somewhat more accurate in that there are only so many features or controls to set, whereas the mid and high-priced models would offer more varied and more complex settings.

And what about soil? Would not a comparison test be a lot different in extremely mineralized soils, compared to more bland or neutral soils? Then too we now have a wide variety of coils to choose from.  So many it makes my head spin and makes me laugh.  What about depth? Would that be the determining factor in naming the winner, or would it be how a particular detector is able to find the most items amongst the trash. i.e., how fast is it’s recovery speed.

Next, “who” would determine what detector was best?  What would the criteria be that makes them the official tester(s)? How long would it take them to learn each model, and feel confident that they would have them operating at peak performance? Would they be chosen based on how long they have detected, how much they have found, how valuable their finds are, or how many videos they were able to knock out?   So many questions, and so complex that I think trying to proclaim a winner would be a waste of time.

Personally I think the best detector on the market is the one you just purchased. I know for a fact that each detector I bought over the years was always better than the last. Why? Because it was new and I had to take time to learn it’s features and nuances. These learning experiences were always time-consuming, and as a result, I slowed down, listened more intently, and yep, I found more treasure.  At that very moment I had the “best machine” on the market.

So don’t drool over that $2,500 detector.  I know it has a zillion bells and whistles, and that guy on the TV show finds a lot of cool stuff with it, but will it work like that for you and find the kind of treasure you seek?  Remember in order to find GOOD THINGS you have to be detecting GOOD SITES.  Sites that have a known history, and that can produce the type of treasure you are looking for. Finding those places is so much more important than going in debt for equipment.

Having that top of the line metal detector might make you look more professional or hip, but finding old and valuable coins is a helluva lot more fun. Give it a try some time.



My sister made me aware of this and I wanted to share it here.  Hope you will watch it, consider it’s purpose, and maybe make a big difference in someone’s life.




Filed under Metal Detecting

15 responses to “Finding the Very Best Detector…

  1. Dick, your note on wine evaluation reminded me of this story:

    Audiophiles (people who think nothing of spending thousands of dollars to get the very best stereo equipment) swear by Monster Cable speaker wire. Monster Cable audio cables are made of really thick braided cable, and cost something like a hundred bucks. Well, at a convention of audio engineers, a roomful of audio experts were asked to evaluate the sound difference in a test where Monster Cable speaker wire was randomly interchanged with zipcord (like the cord that plugs your lamp into the wall). Result: These experts could not tell tell any difference. At all.


    • I suspect it’s true of so many things…. Fay and I once took a class of wine appreciation. Think we attended one class and never went back. Just couldn’t seem to find the hint of charcoal, buttery, complex earthiness or something like that.

      I might splurge once in a while, but for the most part a 10 to 15 dollar bottle will almost always work for me.

      • Someone once asked “What is the best detector ? ” Among all the responses I knew I had it right when I said “The one somebody else has” Sometimes you have to make ’em feel good.

  2. Packrat

    Hey Dick On the subject of the best detector… The best detector for me in competition hunts is still the compass 76 Auto. Made in the mid to late 70’s. I have three plus parts from others. I found over 1200 coins in 7 events at a hunt in Southeast Washington State over Mother’s Day weekend, with my best event of 333 targets in an hour. Not bad for an old guy (62) Over 40 silver prizes, $100 cash and a detector on tokens.

    Just because it is new does not mean it is the best for everything. I still like my new Fisher F75ltd for regular hunting but have used them all in over 40 years of hunting.

  3. Good post Dick. If there was a BEST detector we’d all be swinging it, even if this best detector costs around £5,000 we’d somehow get it. At the moment in my opinion there are a lot of good detectors around, but as yet there isn’t a best one.

  4. Jimnick

    I don’t think there’s an “universal” very best metal detector, as there are so many different guys swinging different detectors in different branches of the hobby.

    My humble experience taught me to stay away from screens and to ban “ground tracking” metal detectors. But who says I’m right? Who says this will work for you, or in another branch of the hobby than mine?

    Don’t worry, sweep happy !


  5. To paraphrase the great angler Charles Ritz, who said of high priced fly rods…though all rods will catch fish, success comes from the hand that uses them.

    Perhaps it’s the same with treasure hunting?

  6. Bigtony

    Wow, where can I get a compass 76 Auto? I am terrible in competition hunts……
    I tell folks nowadays to buy a used detector – you can’t go wrong because if you don’t like the hobby or the machine – it’s a small loss to sit in your closet.

    • Hya Tony:
      Another Compass machine, the 77b, was always known in the UK as the ‘Nighthawks’ machine,’ and even in legitimate daylight hands it was the earliest and best machine for doing the biz on roman and Celtic sites plucking the tiniest gold and silver coins from the ploughsoil.

      Racing, they say, improves the breed, and in this case the DNA of modern machines is I suspect traceable.
      John H

  7. Tony, the manufacturers estimate that 30% of all purchasers give up after getting involved. They call it “the closet factor”…

  8. coin25...aka Bigtony

    interesting fact, I’ll have to go to more garage sales

  9. Bob Sickler

    Trust me, the best detector is the one that has a productive huntsite underneath it! Wow, the weather down there… Are you thinking about returning to NJ yet! 🙂

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