I started detecting back in the 70’s and one constant that’s still around today is the debate over which detector is the best. Back then it didn’t matter what machine your buddy was using or what he was finding yours was better. Or at least YOU thought so. The head to head, mine is deeper comparisons usually resulted in exchanges like “Well you can’t compare a TR to a BFO” or “Maybe here but I’d kick your ass in my backyard” or“not fair, you have a more expensive machine” et al….
The battle for supremacy and being king of the hill was ongoing and losing it was cause for reflection, retaliation and sometimes even a new detector. Yup it hurt to think that Bubba’s machine went deeper than yours and it made you study those magazine ads again. Worse yet you worried that you were leaving a lot of good stuff in the ground.
This argument continues today and it’s not unique to our pastime. People will draw battle lines over all kinds ridiculous things – which pickup truck is the best, which golf clubs are best and even which fast food chain makes the best burger. We love to argue, we love to compete and we love to be the best. The problem however is that there are no real defined winners when it comes to the “best detector” and anyone who says otherwise is just blowing smoke.
THINK ABOUT THIS
Today’s metal detecting buzzwords? Nox, Simplex, Vanquish and Deus. Why? Well because Minelab, Nokta and XP know how to market. They know how to get your undivided attention and they know how to get the word out that there’s something new and something extra special about to hit the market. More importantly they get you to put your buying plans on hold and tease you with ads and videos until you can’t stand it. Then when the much anticipated product finally does show up (via Skydivers, mermaids and stallions) you’re placing your order, field testing and reviews be damned.
THE ROCK STAR FACTOR
Social media, as in Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, also play a big, big part in this debate as well. Certain makes and models get their share of glowing endorsements and compliments via company spokespeople/personalities/entertainers (take your pick). Their posts, their comments, their videos and yes even their appearance (a wink and a little cleavage never hurts) is worth a lot to a manufacturer. They appear at events, have a huge following and add a lot to the “best detector” debate. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two have more videos than you have finds…
The rock star factor (from top, left to right) Beau Ouimette, Jocelyn Elizabeth. Dominque Ivy and Brandon Niece…
Remember too the older, rarer treasures you see these tekkies recover are not always because they’re using brand X detector but because they happen to be in an area that offers up a greater chance of finding them and because ‘somehow’ they seem to get out detecting every single day, or at least it seems so.
IS THERE A BEST DETECTOR?
Now I’m pretty sure a lot of you would chime in and share you experience testing your detector against a particular make and model but how did it do against ALL the others out there? Was the competition VLF vs. VLF or PI vs PI? Might your opponent have kicked your ass if the competition was held where he or she lives? And what exactly were you looking for? Coins, relics, beach swag, nuggets? Would your detector still come out on top in every category?
You have to also factor in user expertise. You (or your opponent) might have the most expensive detector on the market today with every damn bell and whistle imaginable but do you know how to put them to good use? Do you know how to set up and use all the programs, functions, touchpads, switches and combinations? I’m guessing probably not. Oh I know you’ve been using it for over a year now and you’ve found a lot of great things but might a newbie with a Simplex or an Ace have found them too if they were hunting with you? Sorry, just way too many variables….
So what do I think is the best detector on the market? It’s the one that’s lightweight, easy to use and the one I can afford. Yup, not going into debt when there’s a damn good chance I could find exactly what you’re finding if I too just happen to “walk over it”. As for my user expertise? It’s based on the “been there, done that and know better” philosophy.