I recently did a review where I put the Makro Multi-Kruzer in the number 1 spot of my all-time favorite detector. While I was writing the article it made me think that I should follow up with an article discussing my top three favorite. After the response I received on that review now I believe it is important to not only do this article but do some explaining. I am going to be very blunt and just say it how it is. Here is a list of my top three and some of my other favorites.
Before you read this I will say this. These are my favorites from my personal experience in the ground conditions I detect in and for the styles of metal detecting I do. So what kind of detecting do I do and where? For the most part I am a relic hunter often finding myself in heavy iron. I also enjoy hunting older parks, houses and schools. I am usually in pretty neutral soil. From time to time I will do some water detecting as well.
Minelab E-trac – No other detector on the market that I’ve ever used properly identifies deep silver better than the Minelab E-trac. There are so many things I am not a huge fan of but I have managed to find hundreds of silver coins with the E-trac. It’s slow swinging but it has a way of sniffing out deep silver even among junk and iron. I ran my list past a few people and they asked me how the E-trac beat out the Minelab CTX and its simple. I found the E-trac to have a little more stable target ID numbers, the lack of coil options for the CTX and I find the E-trac a little more stable in two tone ferrous when relic hunting. Something else that is great about the E-trac is the depth meter. If the target is a coin size object then the depth is right on and every time. When you’re hunting a site that everything old tends to be at a certain depth and deeper, the E-trac will save you a lot of time.
The E-trac has some faults. It is very heavy, slow swinging, pricey, expensive accessories and not the best relic detector although it can do a decent job but if you’re looking for one of the best coin detectors out there I don’t know of anything better than the E-trac.
The Rutus Alter 71 – I think this will come as a shock to many (at least here in the U.S) because most have never heard of it. The Alter 71 is lightweight, crazy fast, unmasks targets incredibly well, will go deep, 120 target ID points, well built, multiple frequency adjustable from 4.4 Khz to 18.4 Khz by increments of .2 and it is one of the most customizable detectors I’ve ever seen. You can adjust the speed to lightning fast and the tones are adjustable to anything you would like making the Alter one of the most versatile, best and affordable detector I’ve ever come across.
Something the Alter lacks is several choices of coils but they do offer three, an 11 inch DD, a 9 inch concentric and recently they released a 4 ¾ inch concentric sniper coil. I would also love to see this detector waterproof. I became interested in the Alter 71 after coming across a video showing a guy going back over a spot he pounded with his XP Deus and he wasn’t surprised he was finding more due to the Alter’s ability at locating masked targets. After a few more videos I was hooked and I have found out first hand this detector is a performer!
Makro multi-Kruzer – No detector is perfect and like I said in the original review there are even detectors that outperform the kruzer in some areas but my personal opinion is the multi-kruzer is the most versatile detector I’ve used to date. I’ve seen extreme depth capabilities, it is very quick, has the iron audio function which is now something I can’t live without when relic hunting, wireless headphones, lightweight, well built, easy to use, easy to customize, waterproof all in one of the most affordable packages on the market. It’s made by a great company who stands behind their detectors and take good care of us end users.
Fisher F-22 – In the beginners price range I really like the fisher/Teknetics line. I’ve used the Fisher F-22 and even though I’ve been hunting with high end detectors for over 20 years I still enjoy taking out the F22. It’s simple but adjustable and is a little work horse. It has Iron audio feature as well that allows you to turn iron audio down or even off making it a great relic detector at a very affordable price. Lightweight, well-built making it a great detector. Although I haven’t used any of the other lower, mid-price range Fisher and Teknetics I often hear great things about them. The F44, the Patriot, liberator and many others often come up in conversations and I only hear positive comments. The G2 in my book is underestimated, although I’ve never used one I’ve hunted with someone who uses one. The G2 has crazy fast recovery speed before that was even really a thing.
Tesoro Outlaw – Although many discount Tesoro these days I still love my Tesoro’s. I’ve heard so many things like they are outdated, nothing new coming from Tesoro, they look like toys and the list goes on and on. I would still put a few Tesoro detectors against the hottest machines on the market for relic hunting and I guarantee they would hang with the latest and greatest if not outperform them. Although Tesoro makes some great detectors I chose the Outlaw because in my book 550 dollars with 3 coils and 3 shafts is a great price and a lifetime warranty. I’ve seen the 160 dollar Compadre work an iron infested field site better than a lot of detectors over 500 and even a 1,000 dollars. If you’re a relic hunter you’re making a mistake if you discount Tesoro detectors.
Garrett A/T Series – This article couldn’t be written without mentioning the A/T series. I have often said that the A/T series made metal detecting affordable. Before the A/T pro came out I wasn’t seeing anything under 1,000 dollars on the market that could really do it all. Great depth, separation, great relic hunter, waterproof and affordable. I have said it many times and I will say it again, the A/T pro revolutionized the metal detecting industry. Even if you don’t like the Garrett A/T pro they are responsible for the trend we are seeing now from other manufacturers, less expensive, versatile metal detectors.
Nokta Impact – If you are familiar with the Makro/Nokta line up you’re probably confused at how the Multi-kruzer sits in number 1 spot with the Impact not even making the top three. The Kruzer is very similar to the Impact and without a doubt share most of the same features. The biggest differences are the Kruzer is waterproof, lightweight and with a few less programs. I picked the Kruzer over the Impact simply because it is more versatile. It’s not that the Impact didn’t make the list its more like I put it in a sub category of the #1 spot.
Detectors I haven’t used
Maybe this list can’t be completed because if you’ve read this far you know that probably the two hottest detectors out right now are missing off of this list. The Minelab Equinox and the XP Deus. Without a doubt I know these detectors are great, there are too many happy users and great finds being made with these detectors that I know they are good. Although I haven’t had the chance to swing either I have hunted with a few people with the Deus and I am fortunate enough to talk to many people in this hobby, several of which have used one or the other or both. Do I think either of these would make it in my top 3? I honestly don’t know but I have my doubts. Although I’ve heard great things about both I have heard things that I don’t like. I keep hearing about the Equinox and a wobbly shaft and I prefer a larger target ID scale. There are a few other things I’m not a fan of. If the internal battery goes bad (it will eventually) you can get buy running a battery bank but it’s no longer waterproof. It hasn’t been confirmed yet but I am only hearing of two optional coils being made and they will probably continue the trend of denying aftermarket coil manufacturers the ability to make coils.
The XP Deus is a pricey detector especially when you factor in accessories. Again, I don’t like that you’re limited on coils and can only be purchased from XP. I can say the tones I’ve heard from the XP are not appealing to me but maybe it was just the way the one I heard was set up. I know most people don’t care and probably actually prefer it but I think I would prefer a wired coil. One less battery to worry about especially when I’ve heard about brand new coil batteries being bad.
With all that said there’s no denying that these are both great detectors but the question arises again, do I think either would make it to my top three? There’s no way to know until I get a chance to find out for myself but I don’t believe so. Even if I am wrong I can tell you that right now I am very happy with the three that sit at the top of my list.
Something I think that is important to mention is this. Whatever works for you is the best detector on the market. What works for me might not work well for you. Through the years I have used some of the hottest detectors on the market and not all of them I liked. Even though others loved them, found great things with it, the detector just wasn’t for me. Proving that what works for one person won’t work for the other. It doesn’t matter how popular a detector is it’s important to find what works for you!