Garrett Ace Apex vs Minelab Vanquish 540

Garrett Ace Apex vs Minelab Vanquish 540

When looking for a new metal detector, there are so many options on the market. It can be confusing to weed through the hundreds of models out there and determine which one is right for you. Garrett and Minelab are 2 of the best manufacturers of metal detectors in the world. They have many models for all different skill levels. Garrett’s Ace Apex is one of their newest models. It is a great multiple frequency metal detector perfect for all skill levels. 

Minelab’s Vanquish 540 is part of its newest Vanquish line of metal detectors. These are designed for entry level to intermediate metal detectorists and are also multiple frequency. Both detectors feature top of the line technologies and are an excellent choice. In this article we will discuss the Ace Apex and the Vanquish 540 and attempt to decide who wins: Garrett Ace Apex vs Minelab Vanquish 540.

Garrett AT Max$$$Waterproof to 10 feet
Fisher F22 Fisher F22$$9″ Triangulated Concentric Coil
Garrett Ace 400 Garrett Ace 400$$$8.5 x 11" DD coil
Minelab Vanquish 540$Search Modes: Coin, Relic, Jewelry, Custom, All Metal

Garrett Ace Apex

The Ace Apex is one of Garrett’s newest metal detector models. This detector is perfect for all skill levels. It features Garrett’s Multi-Flex technology, allowing the detector to operate on multiple frequencies at one time.

This detector can operate at:

  • 5 kHz
  • 10 kHz
  • 15 kHz
  • 20 kHz
  • Multiple Frequency
  • Multi-Salt

Each of the single frequencies listed can be used on their own, or the Ace Apex can be used in multiple frequency, which scans over all frequencies simultaneously. The lower frequencies offer better detection on large and highly conductive targets like silver. Higher frequencies offer better detection on small and less conductive targets like gold and hammered silver coins. This model comes with iron Volume, which allows users to control the volume of iron targets while other non-ferrous targets remain at the normal tone levels. This model has 8 iron volume adjustments.

The Ace Apex comes with a large LCD screen and numerical target identification and backlight. It features 5-tone audible target identification and provides target identification correlating to the numerical target identification for better target recognition. 

The Ace Apex has 6 detection modes and a pinpoint feature: Zero, Coins, US Coins, Jewelry, Relics, and Custom. It offers high resolution ground balancing, giving 175 points of ground balancing resolution. This is extremely helpful in areas with high soil mineralization and saltwater. Both areas are known for giving false readings. It also has high resolution discrimination with 20 notch levels and 8 iron discrimination segments.

Garrett’s Ace Apex has 8 sensitivity adjustments, 8 depth adjustments, iron audio, and Bluetooth connectivity. This means you can use wireless or wired headphones with this model. It comes with rechargeable battery pack and is very lightweight at only 2.5 pounds. Another excellent feature about the Ace Apex is it has updateable software. Software can be downloaded to your computer and using a USB cable to connect the detector to the computer. 

The Ace Apex can be purchased in different packages. You can choose from a 6” by 11” Double-D Multi-Flex Viper search coil, this coil plus wireless headphones, an 8.5” by 11” Double-D Flex Raider search coil, or the Raider coil with wireless headphones. The prices are relatively close, so it is up to each user which package you choose. 

All the search coils are waterproof, but the control box is only weatherproof. This means great care should be taken near water and it should never be fully submerged in water. 

The Ace Apex is a strong finisher in the battle of the Garrett Ace Apex vs Minelab Vanquish 540.

Minelab Vanquish 540

The Minelab Vanquish 540 is the top tier detector in their new Vanquish series of metal detectors. This model comes with Minelab’s patented Multi-IQ technology. The Vanquish detectors were designed to cater to detectorists of all skill levels.

Use the Minelab Vanquish 540 to find awesome treasure on the beach!

The Vanquish 540’s Multi-IQ technology allows the metal detector to operate on multiple frequencies simultaneously. It can operate at:

  • 5 kHz
  • 10 kHz
  • 15 kHz
  • 20 kHz
  • 40 kHz

The higher 40 kHz frequency makes this detector good at finding gold. Any frequency above 18 kHz is good for gold, but the higher the frequency the more sensitivity to small and fine gold. This detector cannot operate on single frequencies, it can only operate on multiple frequencies. This model has 5 search modes: Coin, Relic, Jewelry, Custom, and All Metal. Noise cancelling has 19 channels to help eliminate excess noise in highly mineralized areas. Iron bias adjustability lets users customize the user preference. 

The Vanquish 540 has a large LCD screen with red LED backlight. It has 10 levels of sensitivity adjustments and 10 levels of volume adjustments. There are 5 different target tones. This model has 25 segments of discrimination letting users fully customize what metals are rejected or accepted. The LCD screen shows numerical target identification. This model has a pinpoint mode and maintains accurate target identification at maximum search depth. 

The Vanquish 540 features rechargeable AA batteries. It is lightweight at just under 2.9 pounds. It comes standard with a V12 12” by 9” waterproof Double-D search coil but can be used with any of the Vanquish search coils. The search coils are all waterproof, but the control box is only weatherproof. 

This model can be used in shallow water but should never be submerged in water. It features Bluetooth connectivity and can be used with wireless or wired headphones. 

The Minelab Vanquish 540 also comes in a Pro Pack, which includes an extra search coil. It comes with the standard V12 12” by 9” search coil, and a V8 8” by 5” Double-D search coil.

Another strong contender in the battle of Garrett Ace Apex vs Minelab Vanquish 540.

Garrett Ace Apex and Minelab Vanquish 540

Both the Ace Apex and Vanquish 540 feature multiple frequency technology. Both detectors can operate on multiple frequencies simultaneously allowing you to find a wide range of targets. The Ace Apex, however, can operate on each frequency by itself, while the Vanquish 540 can only operate in multiple frequency mode. The Ace Apex has one more search mode than the Vanquish 540. The Vanquish 540 does not have an adjustable ground balance setting, but it does have automatic ground balancing that adjusts itself as needed. 

The Ace Apex can be ground balanced manually to help compensate for high ground mineralization. This is done by hitting the ground balance button and pumping the detector up and down. A reading is then given showing the amount of ground mineralization. This is an extremely helpful function in areas with naturally high soil mineralization. 

I have used several metal detector types in northeastern Utah, and if they cannot be ground balanced or do not have settings to ease the effects of ground mineralization, I cannot detect a single thing. I constantly get false readings and even overloaded metal detectors. 

Both detectors have easy to read LCD screens. The Minelab Vanquish 540 has a red backlight, while the Garrett Ace Apex has a standard backlight. The red backlight is meant to help in low light areas without straining the eyes. The Vanquish 540 uses rechargeable AA batteries, while the Ace Apex has a rechargeable battery pack. 


We have discussed both the Garrett Ace Apex and the Minelab Vanquish 540 in detail. Both are great metal detectors. Both have multiple frequency mode to ensure you do not miss treasure types while metal detecting. Both are easy to use for detectorists of all skill levels. Who is the ultimate winner in Garrett Ace Apex vs Minelab Vanquish 540?

I would recommend the Garrett Ace Apex over the Minelab Vanquish 540. The Ace Apex has multiple frequency mode but can also be used in single frequency mode. This is a huge advantage if you are in an area with a lot of electromagnetic interference or soil mineralization. The Ace Apex also has a multiple frequency salt mode, which is extremely helpful when metal detecting in saltwater areas. Saltwater is notoriously difficult for metal detectors because salt is conductive. The Salt mode on the Ace Apex helps nullify the effects of salt on a metal detector. 

I do like that the Minelab Vanquish 540 has frequencies all the way up to 40 kHz. This is much better for finding small and fine gold than the lower 20 kHz frequency of the Ace Apex. Despite this, the Vanquish 540 cannot run in single frequency mode. The Vanquish 540 also comes with a larger search coil, 12” compared to the 11” search coil on the Ace Apex. However, this is not enough for me to recommend it over the Vanquish 540.

The Garrett Ace Apex is quite a bit more expensive than the standard Minelab Vanquish 540 pack. It also more expensive than the Vanquish 540 Pro Pack. So, if your budget is tighter, the Vanquish 540 or 540 Pro Pack is still a great option. If you can, I would still go for the Ace Apex because it can search in multiple or single frequency mode. This is certainly not a feature found on many, if any, entry level metal detectors. 

You really cannot go wrong with either the Ace Apex or Vanquish 540. Both are great metal detectors and have many more features than a lot of entry level metal detectors. These will keep intermediate and even advanced metal detectorists happy. Both will undoubtedly find you treasure. The Ace Apex, however, just edges out the Vanquish 540 because it can operate on single and multiple frequencies. This is something you do not find on many metal detectors unless they are expensive. 


There are laws and rules at every level that govern metal detecting. You need to ensure you are following your city, county, state, and federal laws when metal detecting. When I lived in Idaho, my town allowed metal detecting in city parks, but Boise City required a permit prior to detecting. State and National parks are typically off limits to metal detectorists, and if you are concerned or in doubt, always check with the proper authorities.

You also need to follow federal guidelines such as the Antiquities Act and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Remember, it is your responsibility to know and follow all laws and rules. You will not be able to say you did not know. You can have your equipment and finds confiscated, pay a fine, and even serve jail time.

Do your research!

Remember, with written permission from the landowners, you can metal detect on private property and avoid many of the laws and regulations that govern metal detecting in public spaces or on state or federal property. My favorite place to go metal detecting is the National Forest near my home. Many national forests allow metal detecting, but again, always double check with the forest ranger before metal detecting to keep yourself on the right side of the law!

Both the Garrett Ace Apex and Minelab Vanquish 540 will find gold for you. Frequencies above 18 kHz are the best for finding gold. Frequencies higher than 18 kHz will find smaller and finer gold. The Vanquish 540 can search up to 40 kHz, so it will find small and fine gold very well. The Ace Apex searches up to 20 kHz, so it will still find gold but may not find as much small and fine gold as the Vanquish 540.

One good thing about the Ace Apex is you can search only in 20 kHz and customize the detector, so you can find gold and ignore some other metals. Remember, areas rich in gold often have high soil mineralization which can give false readings and can be difficult for metal detectors. Always ground balance frequently as you detect to keep these false readings lower. If you have a piece of gold or gold jewelry in your home, test your detector before you go out in the field. This will give you a good idea of how the detector will react when you find it while out prospecting.

A: Coins and jewelry that have been in the ground or in saltwater for extended periods of time are typically tarnished or corroded. Gold rarely ever oxidizes, staying shiny and new all the time. Other metals can turn different colors as they oxidize and corrode. Cleaning a metal detecting find can be a delicate matter. Artifacts should never be cleaned by anyone other than a professional. You could damage them irreversibly cleaning them at home. Non-historical findings like jewelry and coins can be cleaned at home. 

The best way to clean non-artifact finds with things around most homes are with mild acids for coins, baking soda for silver, ammonia or white vinegar for silver or gold, distilled water for coins and jewelry (soak overnight or several days), or olive oil (considered to be one of the safest ways to clean old coins).

You only need a metal detector and a digger for metal detecting. But there are several accessories that make the process easier and more fun. When choosing a digger, make sure it is decent quality. It will do you no good if your shovel or hand trowel breaks while you are digging out a find. You may also want a handheld pinpointer. These make it simpler to narrow down a search area by finding the target more accurately. I also like to have a finds pouch along to store my finds safely in. 

Take a shopping bag for trash, as you will undoubtedly find more trash than treasure. Such is the nature of the game! No matter what season you metal detect in, make sure you take extra water. Dehydration is much more common in the wintertime because you do not feel as thirsty and naturally drink less. 

So, stay hydrated!

You may want to take along a map or GPS device, if you will be metal detecting in the wilderness or very rural areas. You an also use these items to mark places you find treasures!

Absolutely! Metal detecting is the perfect activity for the pandemic era. It will get you outside and moving around, but you will not be in direct contact with other people. You can take your family and close friends along and make it a real outing. I like to take my metal detector when my family goes camping, before and during Covid. 

If your town or city has strict Covid restrictions, make sure to follow all recommended guidelines. If you intend to detect in a city park, and there are other patrons of the park, you may be required to wear a mask if you cannot keep the proper distance from others. I prefer wilderness areas so I do not have to wear a mask and can detect at will. 

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