Garrett is one of the oldest and most reliable metal detector manufacturers in the world. It as founded in the 1960s by Charles and Eleanor Garrett. They wanted to create a better metal detector than what was on the market at that time. Garrett was the first metal detector manufacturer to eliminate oscillator drift with independently operated search coils. This improved the efficiency of metal detecting and Garrett’s Zero Drift technology became the industry standard for all metal detectors.
Garrett is known for delivering quality products and great customer service. They have consistently manufactured metal detectors for all skill levels, and they have specialized models, security detectors, school security equipment, and countermine detecting equipment. Garrett continually introduces new technology and product which keeps them at the top of the metal detecting world.
In this Garrett Ace Apez review, I’m going to give you my thoughts as to whether this new metal detector is worth your hard earned money. And, to better help you, please take a moment to view our interactive guide below, where you can directly compare the Garrett Ace Apex to other notable detectors on the market:
|Bounty Hunter Gold Digger||$||7" Weather Resistant Coil|
|Garrett Ace 400||$$$||8.5 x 11" DD coil|
|Bounty Hunter Discovery 3300||$$$||8” Waterproof Coil|
|Garrett AT Max||$$$||Waterproof to 10 feet|
|Bounty Hunter LSTAR Land Star||$$||8" Search Coil|
|Fisher F22||$$||9″ Triangulated Concentric Coil|
|Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV||$||8” Waterproof Coil|
|Minelab Equinox 600||$$$||Ideal for beach, rivers, streams and lakes|
|Minelab Vanquish 540||$||Search Modes: Coin, Relic, Jewelry, Custom, All Metal|
Meet the All New Ace Apex
The Garrett Ace Apex is the newest detector in Garrett’s successful Ace line. The Ace Apex features Garrett’s Multi-Flex technology which is a broad bandwidth digital platform offering simultaneous multiple frequency detection capabilities. This detector can also function on single frequencies to enhance detection on certain targets. As with all detectors, low frequencies are best for large and highly conductive targets like silver, while higher frequencies are best for small and less conductive targets like gold and hammered coins.
The frequencies the Ace Apex detector can operate on are:
- 5 kHz
- 10 kHz
- 15 kHz
- 20 kHz
- Multiple frequency
- Multiple frequency – Salt
The Ace Apex features Iron Volume, which allows users to decrease the volume of iron targets while non-ferrous targets remain at full volume. This lets users hear all targets but differentiate the iron targets from other targets. It features 8 Iron Volume adjustments. This detector features 5-tone audible Target ID to provide greater audible target identification. It also features a hybrid audio system. The Apex target audio provides the simplicity of binary audio with additional benefits of subtle proportional audio for faint targets.
The Ace Apex features 6 detection modes and a pinpoint mode:
- US Coins
The Ace Apex features Hi-Resolution ground balance with 175 points of ground balance resolution ranging from ferrous ground to saltwater. It features a large backlit LCD screen with numerical target ID. It comes with Hi-Resolution discrimination with 20 pixels of Notch Discrimination and 8 pixels of iron discrimination. The Ace Apex has 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments and features Z-Lynk wireless technology for use with wireless headphones. This technology is faster than Bluetooth by about 6 times. This detector can also be used with wired headphones.
The Ace Apex is lightweight, at just 2.5 pounds, and operates on a rechargeable lithium ion battery. It has an adjustable stem and comes standard with a 6” by 11” Double-D Viper™ search coil. The search coil is waterproof, but the control box is only rain proof, so care should be taken around rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the Ace Apex.
The Ace Apex is not yet available as of the writing of this article (late August), but is expected by the end of August or first part of September.
Garrett Ace Apex VS Garrett AT Pro
Garrett’s AT Pro is one of Garrett’s best-selling metal detectors. It is part of the AT line which includes the AT Gold and AT Max. It offers a professional standard metal detector for a reasonable price. The AT Pro is an all-purpose, all-terrain metal detector with a rugged build and durable exterior. The AT Pro is best for coin shooting, relic hunting, and jewelry hunting. It can also find larger pieces of gold but due to its lower frequency of 15 kHz, it will struggle to find small bits of gold or fine gold jewelry.
The AT Pro is fully waterproof up to 10 feet, so it is perfect for shallow water hunting. One of my favorite YouTube metal detectorists, Nugget Noggin, uses the AT Pro when he dives in rivers and lakes and it performs well every single time. The AT Pro features an LCD screen with numerical target ID. It has 40 Iron Discrimination segments and adjustable Notch Discrimination. This model does not have a backlight on the LCD screen, volume adjustment, or All-Metal Mode.
The AT Pro has 6 search modes: 3 Standard Audio modes and 3 Pro Audio modes. Standard Audio Mode is great for beginners or those who want a simple metal detecting hunt. It features 3 audio tones depending on conductivity. The Standard Audio tones do not give a lot of information about the target’s conductivity range but is easiest to use. Standard Mode has 3 discrimination patterns: Zero, Coins, or Custom. There are 12 Notch Discrimination segments that can be rejected or accepted using the ELIM button. Notch can be used in Custom mode but not in Zero Mode as Zero Mode is like All-Metal mode.
The Pro Mode gives more information about the target’s depth and composition. You have all the discrimination options, but deeper targets give a fainter tone and the composition of the metal changes the tone. It takes some practice to get used to Garrett’s Pro Audio, but it can help improve hunts especially in trashy areas. Pro Mode also features Tone Roll Audio. This lets the user hear more target information to help identify targets and is especially helpful with flat iron targets. Tone Roll Audio provides a variance of target tones as the search coil approaches and passes the target. The varying tone gives more information for easier identification.
It has 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments, Iron Audio, and automatic and manual ground balancing. It does not have threshold adjustments. The AT Pro has a built-in pinpoint mode and can be used in saltwater. The operating frequency is adjustable so it can compensate some for the effects of saltwater and highly mineralized soil conditions. The AT Pro has an adjustable stem and weighs 3.03 pounds. It comes standard with a 5” by 8” Double-D PROformance™ search coil. It operates on 4 AA batteries. Garrett’s AT Pro is great at finding small targets and offers excellent target separation. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the AT Pro.
- Check out my Garrett AT Pro review here.
Garrett Ace Apex VS Minelab Equinox 800
Minelab’s Equinox 800 features Minelab’s Multi-IQ technology and SFx8 technology. This makes this detector perfect for all terrains and all treasure types. The Equinox 800 is a multiple frequency metal detector that can also operate on 5 single frequencies:
- 5 kHz
- 10 kHz
- 15 kHz
- 20 kHz
- 40 kHz
The lower frequencies of this detector are great for highly conductive metals like silver and the high, 40 kHz frequency is extremely sensitive to small gold and fine gold jewelry. The Equinox 800 is fully submersible up to 10 feet. It features 4 detect modes: Park, Field, Beach, and Gold. It also has 8 custom search profiles, with 2 for each detection mode.
- Park 1 and Field 1 – Best signal to noise ration for general detecting and coin shooting.
- Park 2 and Field 2 – More sensitive to high frequency and low conductivity targets but has more ground noise.
- Beach 1 – Best for use on dry and wet sand.
- Beach 2 – Best for use in surf and underwater.
- Gold 1 and Gold 2 – Specifically optimized for gold prospecting.
Each of these modes are specialized by Minelab engineers to give users better accuracy and better settings for use in highly mineralized soil and saltwater conditions. This model has an LCD screen with numerical target ID and adjustable backlight. It operates on a rechargeable battery pack and has updatable software. This is a simple procedure that can be accomplished by going to Minelab’s website and clicking on the software update section. Download the update then connect the control box of the metal detector to the computer. Users can also uninstall updates if they are not happy with them.
The Equinox 800 is lightweight at just 2.96 pounds and features Bluetooth and aptX™ Low Latency technology for use with wireless headphones. This gives users a wire-free operation with no lag in target ID sounds. It can also be used with standard headphones. Headphones will help users hear faint or deep targets easier. The Equinox 800 has 3 search coil options: a 6” round Double-D, an 11” elliptical Double-D, and a 15” elliptical Double-D.
Minelab offers a 3-year warranty on the Equinox 800.
- Check out my Minelab Equinox 800 review here.
Garrett Ace Apex VS Minelab Vanquish 540
The Vanquish 540 is the top tier detector in Minelab’s new Vanquish line. This is an entry level series of metal detector with higher end features. This detector has Minelab’s Multi-IQ technology, like the Equinox 800. This allows the Vanquish 540 to use multiple frequencies simultaneously. It cannot operate on signal frequencies like the Garrett Ace Apex or Minelab Equinox 800 can. The operating frequencies range from 5 kHz to 40 kHz, like the Equinox 800. Again, the lower frequencies are best for higher conductivity metals like silver and the higher frequencies are best for lower conductive metals like gold.
The Vanquish 540 features an LCD screen with red backlight. It has 10 adjustable levels of sensitivity and volume and 5 target tones. This model has 25 segments of discrimination allowing users to accept or reject a variety of metal targets. It operates on rechargeable AA batteries and is very lightweight at just 2.9 pounds. The Vanquish 540 comes with a V12 12” by 9” waterproof search coil. All the Vanquish search coils are interchangeable so the 540 can use different search coils. It should be noted that this model is not fully submersible. The search coil is waterproof, but the control box is not. So, caution should be exercised around water.
The Vanquish 540 has Bluetooth connectivity so it can be used with wireless headphones. Traditional wired headphones can also be used with this detector. The Vanquish 540 also comes in a Pro Pack. This package comes with the Vanquish 540 metal detector, V12 search coil and a V8 8” by 5” Double-D search coil. It is more expensive than the regular package, but the smaller search coil is great for searching trashy areas and areas with high soil mineralization, while the larger search coil gives the most depth.
Minelab offers a 3-year warranty on the Vanquish 540.
- You can read our Minelab Vanquish 540 review here!
- Garrett Ace Apex – $500
- Garrett Ace Apex with Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones – $580
- Garrett AT Pro – $650
- Minelab Vanquish 540 – $369
- Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro Pack – $499
Garrett’s Ace Apex is a game changer for the Garrett Ace line. This is the first multiple frequency metal detector in the line and promises to be a great buy! Aside from the multiple frequencies of the Ace Apex, it can also operate on single frequencies for more concise searching. This is hugely helpful when targeting a specific metal type. The 20 kHz frequency is great for finding gold (anything 18 kHz and above is good for gold) so this metal detector is truly all purpose. It also features a multiple frequency salt operation mode so it will counteract the effects of saltwater, which is notoriously difficult for single frequency metal detectors.
I also like that this metal detector has wireless technology so it can be used with wireless headphones. Removing the headphone wires makes it much easier to detect and dig. The Ace Apex has quick recovery, quick target separation and Iron Audio. Iron Audio is helpful when differentiating between targets close together. I also like that this model has a specific search mode for international coins and U.S. coins. This makes it great to use here in the States or abroad. Automatic and manual ground balancing means the detector can be customized to the soil conditions wherever you search.
The Ace Apex is lightweight and looks to be ruggedly built. It is not fully waterproof so it should not be submerged. We should hear more about this model in the coming weeks. There is no firm release date as of now, but I expect one to come very soon. There should be more information about the detector including more field tests. I do believe this detector is going to be great, though!
Garrett’s AT Pro metal detector is one of its best-selling models and for good reason. It has excellent iron discrimination, adjustable notch discrimination, and 6 search modes. I really like the Pro Audio on the AT Pro. This helps users identify targets easily and quickly but does have a learning curve. The AT Pro features 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments, Iron Audio, and automatic and manual ground balancing. This model is also waterproof up to 10 feet, so it is perfect for shallow water diving. This is a single frequency metal detector, operating at 15 kHz, so it will not be the best at finding small gold or fine gold jewelry, and may be noisier in saltwater or heavy soil mineralization.
Minelab’s Equinox 800 is a fantastic metal detector. This model has Minelab’s Multi-IQ technology making it multiple frequency. I also like that this detector operates up to 40 kHz, making it more sensitive to small gold and fine gold jewelry. The Equinox 800 can also operate on 5 single frequencies so it can be used to target specific types of targets. This model has a specific Gold Mode, so it is optimized for finding small bits of gold. The Equinox 800 is fully submersible up to 10 feet and has a backlit LCD screen. This model has wireless connectivity to users can cut the cord on their headphones.
Minelab’s Vanquish 540 is another great multiple frequency metal detector. It operates on the same multiple frequencies as the Minelab Equinox 800. The higher frequency of 40 kHz makes the Vanquish 540 good at finding smaller bits of gold and fine gold jewelry. This is something not often seen in entry level metal detectors. The Vanquish 540 has 5 search modes, adjustable noise cancelling, adjustable Iron Bias, and a backlit LCD screen. This model has interchangeable search coils so it can be used with smaller or larger search coils in the Vanquish family. The Vanquish 540 also comes in a Pro Pack that includes an additional search coil. This gives users more flexibility in their hunts.
Each of the metal detectors on this list are fantastic and would be great choices for all detectorists. I like the multiple frequency options on the Garrett Ace Apex, Minelab Equinox 800, and Minelab Vanquish 540. This is a unique feature that is not seen too often and can really help in hunted out areas. I like the ability of the Ace Apex and Equinox 800 to use single frequencies along with the multiple frequency operation. This lets the user search or specific metals easily or eliminate ground noise further.
I always recommend metal detectorists pair their detector with a few items. Firstly, a good quality handheld metal detector, or pinpointer. This help narrow down the search area easily and quickly. While most metal detectors have a pinpoint mode, these smaller handheld pointers make narrowing the search area down even more which helps eliminate unnecessary digging. One of my favorite pin pointers is the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT. This little pointer is waterproof up to 20 feet, lightweight at 6.5 ounces, operates on 1 9-volt battery, and has a 2-year warranty.
The Garrett Pro-Pointer AT also has a vibration setting so the sound can be turned off, called Stealth Mode. IT also has sensitivity adjustments, ruler, and scraping blade. I have used one of these for a couple of years now and I absolutely love it. It is incredibly sensitive and makes for less digging.
I also recommend taking along high-quality digging tools. It is awful to be in the middle of the woods with a crummy shovel and it breaks. A well-built shovel may cost more but it is absolutely worth the cost to know your shovel will not break while you are on a target. I also recommend a smaller handheld digger, like the Lesche digging tool. This tool is part knife and part shovel, so it is perfect for digging small holes easily.
You will also want to take along extra batteries (unless your detector has rechargeable batteries or packs), a good finds pouch, a secure container when searching for gold or other precious metals, and a bag to collect trash items. Even if it is not fun, we should always try to pack out any garbage we run across. Help keep the area clean (even though others clearly do not). We can make areas better than we found them!
A few more tips for all detectorists: always make sure you follow the metal detecting code of ethics. This includes no trespassing, get permission from landowners, keep the area cleaner than you found it, do not contaminate water sources, respect all laws, never litter, leave no sign of your passing, and always fill in holes completely. These codes are important because if we do not follow them, we will find more areas we are not allowed to metal detect. Also remember to alert the proper authorities if you ever come across something dangerous or historically important. Many areas have codes and laws regarding historically important finds and the proper authorities must be contacted.
It is also incredibly important to make sure you know and follow all metal detecting laws. There are laws for metal detecting at all levels: city, county, state, federal, and diving. It is your responsibility as the detectorist to make sure you are familiar with all the laws pertaining to your area. If you do not, you run the risk of being fined heavily. There are certain areas where detecting is completely prohibited, other areas where permissions are required, and some areas that require a permit to detect. The City of Boise, Idaho, for example, requires a permit to detect in city limits (I live near Boise and our town does not require a permit). So, make sure you know your laws and stay within them!
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