Field Tests and Comparisons
There have been more complaints over metal detector field tests and advertising hype than almost anything else. Almost no one gets what they want out of them. First of all you must understand that to perform a field test and report it accurately you must note all the features of the machine and then give important information on how it works in the field.
Here is where the problem comes in. Some folks think that you should publish an article trashing a detector and adding the comment that you shouldn’t buy it because it is a piece of junk! Come on folks, get real now. Any article must be accurate and informative with enough field tests under different conditions so that you can obtain an idea of what it is capable of. No one is ever going to write a field test and publish it with the commentary “don’t buy this”.
You must be an intuitive reader but more than that you need more information before you plunk down money from the kids college fund for your next beeper. One of the best places that I have found to get this information is from the club hunts. Often representatives will show up with an entire line of detectors at these meets, especially the larger ones and you can take one and try it out for yourself. I agree that there is way too much hype but if you worked for years to produce a new detector you might be inclined to advertise a mite heavy yourself. Most of the ads that we have all got burned on are those that state “this unit goes deeper than…..” Blah, Blah, Blah etc. We are all sick of them, and with good reason. Many of us have sunk thousands of dollars into machines or coils because of false advertising.
If you can’t find a representative at your club hunt, then find someone with one of the detectors that you are interested in and check it out yourself. If what you are interested in is raw power and depth then find yourself a clean bit of soil and plant coins down to 10 inches deep and then try different detectors. You will quickly see what works and what doesn’t. For years I looked for a certain type of detector that would do what I wanted, but I couldn’t make use of the advertising because it all sounded too much alike. A Fisher representative showed up at our club hunt and I just reached up on the shelf and pulled one off and checked it out quickly on the test plot. In only seconds my mind was made up because I could see that I had found what I was looking for but I could never have found it by the advertising.
Perhaps in the future I might add something on this site that will help you to compare. For instance my hearing is very bad and I simply cannot hear the sounds put off by some detectors. I would like to have an article with the sounds of many different detectors so that people like me could tell which ones that they can hear. One reason that I like the CZ20 that I use is that it has a weak signal boost and when I pass over a coin over a foot deep it beeps as loud as one on the top if I have the amplifier set up for that. I can’t miss the deep ones like that, even with my bad hearing.
For the most part you can tell what kind of detector that you would like to get by the test plot methods however there are notable exceptions. Some detectors are good for special purposes like ignoring iron trash and pointing out good signals in piles of rusted nails. You wouldn’t be able to test this well at a club meet but you might if you hunted with different partners now and then and swapped detectors with them to try in your difficult areas like beds of rusty nails.
There are other considerations that most hunters never even think about like where is a detector most sensitive at the upper end of the scale in the coin range or the lower end of the scale where it might pick up gold rings. You can find this out for yourself in only seconds if you know what to do and how to do it. Bring along a gold ring or coin and a silver coin about the same size. Measure the difference for yourself. Almost every detector is quite a bit stronger on one side of the scale or the other. You might be looking for old Civil War buttons that show up mostly on the lower end of the scale and a detector that is hot for coins might be weak for buttons. Always select the right tool for what you are hunting and for the type of conditions that you will encounter on your hunt!
Air tests can tell you more than you think!! For instance there is another effect that we see in detectors today, where some detectors work best in moist ground some work better in dry ground. This is very important to you if the areas where you hunt are generally always moist or dry. I noticed that some high end detectors had very bad performance in the air tests but it turned out that they work well in moist ground. You definitely need to know this before you buy. Generally these detectors just can’t detect a shallow coin if it is in freshly dug ground or very dry ground. I use different detectors for different conditions but most hunters just don’t know that there is a difference. Some detectors will detect very deep iron just fine while others ignore it. This would be important to me if I was looking for a site that was very old or deep and I might find it by the sensitive iron tones like perhaps an old trash dump from a very old farm where the old bottles could be found. Some detectors are very good for locating deep iron which might be useful for you to know if that is what you are hunting. Take a look at the old cannon balls that are so heavy they might sink out of range and be lost forever. It would take a specialized tool for what ever it is that you want to do. Information is what we all need and I am doing my part to share all mine with you. If you have specific information about certain detectors then share it with me and we will all benefit. Don’t just buy a detector because of the advertising hype. Take the time to use one and test it yourself for your purposes.