In order to be able to spot the most suitable instrument for detecting, a newbie detectorist should be aware of the main requirements the instrument has to meet. The most important aspect is simplicity of use. Without experience that can be gained only with time, and through constant learning, it is impossible to immediately cope with all the complicated additional settings that more advanced items provide. Instead of searching, the person will waste time and effort on simply turning all the needed settings on. This may be totally frustrating, and the results will be poor.
The next aspect is price. More expensive items offer more features, which allows to spot more finds. Lower price means less features and therefore less chances of spotting some cool finds. In other words, you do not want to pay for fancy stuff you just will not use, but you do want to pay for the most vital functions, without which metal detecting makes little sense at all. Quality tool gives you finds, and without finds, you will get bored and disappointed quickly.
To learn what are the most crucial features the instrument should include, check out the rating and review offered below. They will give you an idea of what you should seek in your first metal detector.
To get the rough idea on criteria the noob-friendly metal detector should meet, and to understand how we personally rate all the models that you can read about in this review, check out these aspects:
- Technical Specifications – this is one of the first things to keep in mind. Technical specifications include operation frequencies, size of the coil, batteries used, headphones, plugs, operation time, performance on different soils, and so on and so forth. For this particular review, we looked for those features that can make detecting simple and comprehensive for a newbie, and also productive. Some technical specifications make sense only if the user activates additional settings; if not, the user will only pay money for software he does not use.
- Main Features – these include actually things the instrument does, or allows the user to do. Main features also define the level of complexity for the tool. The potential buyer can analyze the features himself to find out whether the tool is suitable for him or not. By the way, it also does not make sense to pay for features you won’t apply.
- Usability – metal detecting and treasure hunting is fun and also can be a profitable activity. However, not each session brings worthy finds, and not each session is successful. Sometimes, the location is crappy, or the weather if awful, or just the day is not lucky. When you do find treasures, it all makes sense, but if you do not, you will quickly become disappointed. If the metal detector is not usable for a newbie, it will be impossible to apply it efficiently and eventually get pleasure from detecting. Therefore, usability is a must.
- Quality – quality, in fact, is very easy to check. If the tool is manufactured by a well-known brand, the quality is decent.
- Price – this aspect is also crucial for beginners, because people are not always sure they will be into detecting, and therefore are reluctant to waste big money into this hobby immediately. On the other hand, a more expensive tool will give more finds and more pleasure, so it makes sense to invest. We analyze if the price corresponds the quality and features, so that the buyer knew what he pays for.
Garrett ACE 400
This super cool instrument is the top in our review because, firstly, it is manufactured by the Garrett company, one of the most well-known and reliable brands in the niche, and secondly, Garrett ACE 400 is the top item in the series. This is high quality, reliable machine, which at the same time is very simple to set and use. Due to its features, it is considered a universal tool – it shows stable and seamless performance on any location for any objects; however, the best results are currently achieved with coins and relics.
Garrett ACE 400 combines a very distinctive discrimination with the depth of reach. It is perfect for beginners and good enough for experienced seekers. Buyers from around the globe provide tons of positive feedback about this machine. Taking all this into consideration, we have to say that the price for the item is very fair.
This is a single frequency tool with DD type of coil and five search modes. It also has a pinpoint which is a super cool thing for a newbie to try out, and three audio tones for signals, allowing to customize the experience a bit. The tool is powered by four AA batteries, which is more than a standards of two batteries, and it is comparatively heavy. Another disadvantage is that you can submerge it underwater only to the level of control panel. On the other hand, it is stylish, and its ergonomic design will make the search more comfortable.
This is a cool tool to consider. The reason why it is ranked so high in our review is because this is a semi-professional instrument, all-purpose, with single frequency of 7,69 kHz, DD coil and five search modes. On the other hand, it goes after Garrett ACE 400 because this one is more required due to its price and because this is an updated version of the Garrett ACE 350, a very popular tool that has long been among the top models in the niche, was sold in thousands of copies and loved by thousands of buyers. Fisher F44 also has four audio tones, manual ground balance (which means the user can adjust to the soils better), only two AA batteries are required to power it, and the weight of the machine is just beautiful – only 2,2 lbs.
Being all-purpose, Fisher F44 is widely universal and extremely versatile; with it, the user can explore any locations, from fields to abandoned houses, and spot a range of finds, from ancient coins and relics, to treasures and military objects. Fine discrimination combined with a very decent depth of reach makes this machine gandy and efficient. Also, it has a pinpoint mode, allowing to spot the target more accurately, and save time and efforts when digging it out.
Minelab Go-Find 66
Generally speaking, Minelab makes really cool metal detectors, so an item by Minelab just can’t be bad. However, talking about models for newbies, and comparing it with the previous two items, we can only give it the third place in our review. It is a reliable machine by a well-known brand, but the set of features it offers is more limited than in the previous two items, and the general power of the tool is smaller.
The main disadvantages of this model include the fact that in this particular case, the manufacturer was focused more on design than on functionality and perfect performance. The design of the tool makes it stylish, but very flimsy due to foldable structure. As for the set of functions, they could really make it better. The combination of functions and price places this item behind Garrett and Fisher in the top of the list.
You will still have finds with it: it is portable and lightweight, so you can work with it for long periods of time; the signal is clear and response time from the targets is pretty short. Four search modes plus the pinpoint mode, five sensitivity levels and volume levels, powered by four AA batteries. So, to conclude, it is decent, but has a bunch of disadvantages that make it worse than other models in the same price range.
Garrett Ace 300
This is a single-frequency machine with five search modes, generally repeating the design and features of the ACE 400. It is a bit heavier than its older brother, and also a bit cheaper. The tool is ergonomic, showing stable performance, easy to set and use. There are no fancy features and complicated settings it in, and yet, it offers a full range of functions a detectorist needs for success.
It is one of the best options for buying when you only start pursuing this hobby. According to massive feedback, the tool is very durable, including even the most sensitive parts, for example, the coil. Also, while not being totally isolated, it performs well in wet weather or on wet soils, like on the beach. There are some cons, however: many beginners state it is quite complicated to interpret the signals the item sends. It takes time – at least several sessions – to learn and interpret the signals correctly.
Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro
Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro
The Bounty Hunter brand is so confident in its Land Ranger Pro that it gives a five years warranty against defects in workmanship and materials. This is a somewhat heavier – weighting 2,4 lbs – model with adjustable length. The operating frequency is 7,69 kHz, a DD coil, the device is powered by one 9-Volt battery. So it is all splendid for now. It also offers seven operation modes plus the pinpoint mode, manual ground balance, and also four tones allowing to adjust the signalling – how cool is that!
The reasons why it is roughly in the middle of the list is, firstly, its weight. Some users claim they have difficulty walking with it the whole day, even regardless its ergonomic design and comfortable armrest. Next, it needs to be set properly, with its seven modes of search and all that jazz, so a beginner detectorist may need some on-field learning with this machine. The device also does not operate very well in wet conditions, even considering that its coil is isolated and can be used for underwater search.
Another disadvantage is that it is pretty hard to find comprehensive info on this tool in the web, so, if a newbie buyer wants to learn something about their machine, they have to rely mostly on YouTube videos and limited feedback.
This is an average instrument, however still manufactured by a well-known brand, which makes it worth your money in any case. It is a beginner-level single-frequency tool suitable for all types of locations and objects. Four search modes and four audio tones together with pinpoint mode make it easy to set and simple to use. Other features include fixed ground balance, DD type of coil; it is powered by two batteries and very lightweight.
You will not be able to search underwater with this item, because it is waterproof only to the level of headphone jack, but in wet weather or on the beach, it functions seamlessly. One of the cool things to consider is a custom search mode you can set and save if none of the existing pre-fixed modes fits the conditions.
To make the long story short, this is a worthy machine with all stuff necessary for detecting.
Garrett Ace 200
Garrett ACE 200 opens the series of Garrett ACE machines, being functional and affordable. It is a beginner-level, all-purpose, single-frequency machine with three search modes and two audio tones. It is not very heavy, and is powered by four AA batteries.
The main difference of this model from ACE 300 and 400 is that there is no pinpoint mode and only 3 search modes.
Fine for noobs, but really a disadvantage for those who has already got hand in this hobby.
The instrument shows the highest results when searching for coins and jewelry; this is one of the most affordable and yet quality options for a beginner to purchase.
The youngest of all Fisher F models, this guy is definitely created for beginner detectorists.
All purpose one frequency item with three search modes is so simple to use that you will literally turn it on and go searching.
It is super lightweight, increasing the user’s comfort, and saves your money being powered with one 9-Volt battery.
The main disadvantage is that it is equipped with mono coil, and in the areas with a lot of trash, the user will find it hard to spot anything worthy.
For littered areas, it makes sense to buy a DD coil additionally to the basic Fisher F11 kit.
This foldable adjustable tool has a design very similar to the Minelab Equinox. It is the most primitive item in the series, therefore it will be user-friendly for a beginner detectorist. One of the main difference about it is the built-in 1200 mAh Li-Po battery promised to function for 20 hours of search.
Generally it has some basic functions – 9 kHz of operating single frequency, partially waterproof, with three search ranges and two audio signal tones, fixed automatic ground balance, and this is basically all. That’s why we have placed it by the end of our review list; its price is higher than average for the same range of functions in other models available on the market.
Another disadvantage is that, regardless of pretty limited set of functions, this instrument is not that easy to use for a newbie. The display indications could be more comprehensive, and the kit could also include the headphones (considering the price).
Bounty Hunter TK4
This machine is the cheapest one in out list. It is so super easy and simple that even a child will be able to cope with it. The concept of performance is basically turn it on and go searching.
The functions of it are as plain as day – lightweight, waterproof, easy to adjust and set. No manual setting required, and yet, this instrument will help even the most nooby noobs to get their bunch of finds, and this is the reason why we have included it into the list. In fact, this very model has long been available on the market as one of the most noob-friendly machines among all.
This is a cool choice for those who does not think they will make detecting their constant hobby, but yet would love to give it a try within a reasonable budget.
Hopefully, this long and detailed review is informative enough for you, and you will take advantage of it when choosing your machine. Obviously, Garrett ACE 400 and Fisher F44 are the favourites, as among all the noob-friendly items, they combine affordable price and simplicity of use with the fullest set of features. The next models in the same series with these tools are usually even cheaper, but the set of functions is also limited.
If you are not sure you are ready to spend money on Garrett or Fisher, classic Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is also a very decent choice. It will allow to save money, and you will get a nice and stable performance without any additional fancy stuff.
To simply have fun and try the hobby out on an easy location, grab a Bounty Hunter TK4 and head to the local park. You will find some coins, maybe a ring, and generally will spend a good time breathing fresh air.