Metal detecting is an extremely rewarding hobby and a fantastic way to spend more time outdoors, get some exercise, and potentially find treasure! Choosing a metal detector can be confusing. There are so many makes and models available, so how do you know if you are looking at a good one?
In this article, we will discuss two different metal detectors (the Notka Makro Simplex+ and Garrett AT Pro), talk about what makes them great, what they lack, and why you should consider them. Both metal detectors come from industry leaders in metal detecting manufacturing, and both have a wide variety of features that make them amazing.
The Nokta Makro Simplex + is one of my favorite entry level to intermediate metal detector. I personally use this model quite a bit and have found it simple to use and very efficient. The Garrett AT Pro is one of Garrett’s best selling models and has enough features to keep an intermediate detectorist happy, while being easy to use for a beginner. So, who will win in the battle of Nokta Makro Simplex + vs Garrett AT Pro?
Nokta Makro Simplex +
Nokta began in Turkey in 2001 and acquired Makro Detectors in 2014. The combined company makes some of the best metal detectors on the market. The Simplex + is one of their best-selling models. It is designed for use by entry level or intermediate metal detectorists. The Simplex + is designed to find all treasure types and has 5 search modes:
Field – Best for relic hunting. This mode provides low tones for ferrous objects and higher tones for non-ferrous objects.
Park 1 – Best for coin hunting. This mode has 3 tones with low tones for ferrous, mid-tones for non-ferrous and gold objects, and higher tones for silver and copper. Searches deeper than Park 2 mode but is slower.
Park 2 – The same as Park 1, but with quicker response and shallower depth.
Beach – Designed to be used in areas with highly conductive soils. Saltwater is inherently conductive. This mode has more ground balancing options than the other modes.
All Metal – This mode requires ground balancing and has a threshold tone consistently in the background.
One of the best features on the Simplex + is it is waterproof. This model can be fully submerged up to 10 feet. This allows for use in more locations like rivers, shallow lakes, and beach areas. You can also use this model in inclement weather without worrying that the moisture will ruin your metal detector. While this model has a specific beach mode, it will not perform as well as a pulse induction metal detector in saltwater areas, but it does outperform many traditional single frequency metal detectors. If you do metal detect in saltwater areas, be sure to clean the metal detector after use so the saltwater does not damage the machine.
The Simplex + features Iron Volume. This allows you to turn off or adjust the volume of iron targets. This feature emits a low grunting tone when iron is detected. This can help you differentiate between iron targets and other targets and can be especially helpful in areas with high trash where targets might overlap each other. It features automatic and manual ground balancing.
It also has 20 notch segments so you can accept or reject any type or target to better tailor the detector to your needs. Notch does not work in All Metal mode. This model has a large, easy to read LCD screen with backlight. It also has a flashlight built in for low light searching. The LCD screen has numerical target identification and target conductivity readings. Target conductivity readings help identify the type of metal found.
The screen also shows a sensitivity bar graph, depth indicator bar graph, battery level, and magnetic mineralization indicator. The Simplex + comes with an 11” Double-D search coil. This model operates at an adjustable frequency of 12 kHz. This does not mean it is a multiple frequency metal detector, but rather, you can shift the frequency up or down slightly to compensate for electromagnetic interference or soil mineralization.
This frequency is a good range for finding all treasure types, but the detector will struggle to find small or fine gold. Gold is best detected at 18 kHz or higher, so this detector will detect gold, but may struggle with finer pieces or fine jewelry.
The Simplex + is lightweight at just 2.9 pounds. One of my favorite features on this detector is the vibration upon detection alert. This is an excellent feature for detecting in areas where you need to be quiet, while underwater, or if you are hard of hearing. You can also use headphones with this model, and there is an option purchase wireless headphones that work well with this detector from Nokta Makro’s website.
This model also has a pinpoint mode to help narrow down the search area easily. It comes with rechargeable battery, online firmware updates, and a retractable shaft for easy storage and travel. Nokta Makro offers a 2-year warranty on the Simplex +.
So far, the Simplex + is a strong contender in the battle of the Nokta Makro Simplex + vs Garrett AT Pro.
Garrett AT Pro
Garrett is the oldest manufacturer of metal detectors and consistently make some of the best metal detectors on the planet. They recently acquired White’s Metal Detectors and are in the process of combining models from the 2 companies. The AT Pro is one of Garrett’s tried-and-true models in their AT line of metal detectors.
This model has been on the market for 12 years and is still one of their top sellers. The AT Pro is an all-terrain metal detector designed to find all treasure types. Like the Simplex +, the AT Pro is fully submersible up to 10 feet. This is great for anyone who wants to metal detect near rivers, streams, lakes, and beaches.
The AT Pro comes with 6 search modes, with 3 standard modes and 3 pro modes. Standard Modes allow the AT Pro to give off a full-strength audio response regardless of the target’s amplitude. Pro Mode allows users to hear more target information including the size, depth, and conductivity range.
So, the Pro Modes are the same as the Standard modes but provide more audio information. You will be able to hear very subtle changes in target response with Pro mode and it helps when targets are close together or overlapping each other.
- Zero Mode – All-Metal mode designed to find all metal types.
- Coins Mode – Designed to find most types of coins.
- Custom Mode – Can be customized by the user and the detector will retain the changes made when the detector is switched off. This mode allows you to discriminate and notch different metal types.
The AT Pro features Pro Iron Audio, which lets you hear discriminated iron so you can decide whether to dig it or leave it. Iron Audio requires some level of discrimination to be set to function. It does not work in All Metal mode as all metals are already emitting sounds. Volume is not adjustable on the AT Pro. This model has 40 levels of iron discrimination which can help you separate good targets from undesirable targets. It comes with Fast Track ground balancing and manual ground balancing.
The AT Pro has 8 depth and 8 sensitivity level adjustments, digital target identification, 3 audio tone identification levels, and pinpoint mode. The AT Pro operates at 15 kHz and will be great at finding all metal types. Again, this detector will struggle to find small or fine gold nuggets or jewelry because of the lower single frequency. The frequency of this detector is also adjustable to help compensate for high electromagnetic interference levels or high soil mineralization.
Garrett’s AT Pro comes standard with an 8.5” by 11” Double-D PROformance search coil. It is lightweight, at just over 3 pounds and operates on 4 AA batteries. Garrett offers a 3-year warranty on the AT Pro.
Nokta Makro Simplex+ vs Garrett AT Pro
Both the Nokta Makro Simplex + and Garrett AT Pro are fully submersible up to 10 feet. Both have automatic and manual ground balancing. Both have an 11” search coil. Both have adjustable sensitivity and depth. Both models have a pinpoint mode, easy to read LCD screen, and option to use headphones.
The Nokta Makro Simplex + has vibration on target alert, which is a great option. It also has a built in LED flashlight to help in low light situations. This model also features beach mode, which is helpful not only in saltwater areas, but in areas with high soil mineralization. I had a metal detector that did not have this feature, and it struggled with the high soil mineralization in my area.
I constantly got false readings, and even metal detector overloads with the other detector. The Simplex + on beach mode helps tremendously in this area due to the amount of soil minerals. I do not get false readings like I used to, and the adjustable frequency of the detector allows it function smoothly in almost all areas.
The AT Pro uses a slightly higher frequency than the Simplex +, 15 kHz compared to 12 kHz. The Garrett AT Pro has more search modes than the Nokta Simplex + because of the Pro Audio modes. Pro Audio is a great tool for anyone who wants to hear all metal types, even those that are discriminated out.
The Simplex + historically has quicker recovery speed. It also has a rechargeable battery pack, which the AT Pro lacks. The Simplex + has updatable software via computer and download from Nokta Makro’s website. This is a huge bonus because any bugs can be fixed with these software patches. This model is much newer than the AT Pro, and some detectorists feel the AT Pro is outdated and could use an upgrade.
I genuinely believe most metal detectorists will be happy with either the Simplex + or the AT Pro. So, who is the overall winner in the Nokta Makro Simplex+ vs Garrett AT Pro? If I had to choose one over the other, it would be the Nokta Makro Simplex +. Nokta Makro makes some fantastic metal detectors and the Simplex + is no exception. This model was made to cater to beginning or intermediate metal detectorists. It is amazingly simple to use. With the preset search modes and automatic ground balancing, you can literally turn the machine on and get detecting right out of the box.
There are several reasons why I prefer this metal detector over the AT Pro. One of my favorite features on this metal detector is the vibration alert upon target detection. This is a great was to find treasures while having your volume low, while diving underwater, or if you are hard of hearing.
Not everyone wants to wear headphones to metal detect, and honestly, it can be dangerous to do so depending upon your surroundings. Having a vibrational alert makes finding treasures easy in all situations. The pinpoint mode on this model works very well too and is quite accurate.
I also like that this model is waterproof. The AT Pro is also submersible. It makes detecting in and around shallow waters much less stressful because you are not constantly worried about dropping the detector into the water and causing damage to the control box. I also like the ability to adjust the volume on the Simplex +. The AT Pro does not have this feature, so the volume is always the same.
As I mentioned, I have used this detector in extremely mineralized soil conditions. The soil where I live in northeastern Utah has exceedingly high mineral content and metal content. With many metal detectors I have used I get dozens of false readings. The detector will hit on a target, so I start to dig. And I dig. And I dig.
When I recheck the dig site, the target reading had shifted one way or another and was no longer in the initial area. This is when I realized how difficult the soil is here. The Nokta Makro Simplex + has made this issue lessen greatly. In some modes, I can still get false readings, but if I keep it in Beach Mode or customize the other modes, I have had impressive results.
I hope this article has been helpful in choosing a new metal detector!
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