When I first got my Minelab CTX 3030, not long after being released, I described it as being similar to a Minelab E-TRAC but with a lot of bells and whistles. To some this wouldn’t sound very appealing considering the cost but when you understand how important the bells and whistles are you quickly learn why this machine is so popular.
Before I discuss the bells and whistles I want to discuss some of the performance upgrades from past Minelab FBS machines. The processor is faster than anything else before and the recovery time from target to target is amazing. With the Minelab E-TRAC, I fell in love with the 2 tone ferrous program but dreamed of more tones and I got my wish with the Minelab CTX 3030. I would say performance wise it is better than the E-TRAC but not leaps and bounds better. I find myself only using the 2 tone ferrous or the 5 tone ferrous program.
Now let’s look at the bells and whistles. One of the first things I was excited about with the CTX 3030 is its wireless module freeing me from being tethered to my machine. I was initially disappointed in the size of the wireless module when I seen it in pictures, it looked heavy and bulky but it is neither and it can easily be clipped anywhere and there is no lag or loss of sound quality. I had the CTX 3030 for months before I began using the GPS but quickly learned just how valuable it was. As a relic hunter who often hunts in fields I would use a handheld GPS unit to get me on locations deep in the woods or out in the middle of fields then turn it off and I was done with it. I didn’t see a need for anything else. One day while out hunting a field I decided to play with it and I used it on almost every hunt after. Having the ability to watch your screen to see exactly where you are and where you have been and being able to quickly toggle back to your main screen will ensure you cover the whole site without missing anything and you can also mark where you found targets to find the hotspots. If you’ve ever hunted fields or large yards you know how easy it can be to get off track which is no longer a problem when using the Minelab CTX 3030. Not that it mattered too much to me but it is also waterproof up to 10 feet. Being a coin and relic guy this doesn’t matter so much but when you are caught out in the rain it’s nice to know your machine isn’t ruined.
Minelab CTX 3030 Design
There are some other positive changes to the Minelab CTX 3030 that are definitely worth mentioning as well. Anyone who has used a Minelab Explorer or E-trac will tell you it was often hard to see the screen especially on extremely bright days. With the CTX 3030 this is no longer a problem! The CTX 3030 is a monster coming in at over 5lbs. and that’s a little scary if you ever swung an e-trac or Explorer because you know they will wear you out and they are around 4 ½ pounds. You will notice right away though that the CTX 3030 is balanced so much better and you can swing twice as long as you could with your e-trac! Battery life is amazing and you can go sun up to sun down on a full charge and the same goes for the wireless module. With the large carbon fiber shafts this thing looks more military than civilian and it will take about any beating you can give it. The Minelab CTX 3030 is as strong as it is sleek and appealing looking.
One Metal Detector with Many Uses
I consider the Minelab CTX 3030 the most versatile machine out on the market. It’s not just the most versatile but for water,relic and coin hunting I consider it at the very top. Although I have not used it in saltwater a trust worthy source has told me how him and many of his friends have sold their top of the line water machines because they are finding performance wise the CTX 3030 is doing as good as their water machines but they love the GPS. Just like with field hunting it is easy to lose track of exactly where you are at in the water.
Minelab CTX 3030 – Pros
I usually hate bells and whistles, I want performance and the Minelab CTX 3030 has both!
Better balance than any other Minelab FBS machine making it much easier on your body during long hunts
Wireless module keeping me from being tethered to my machine
The built in GPS
Better and easier to see screen than all past Minelab detectors
Minelab CTX 3030 – Cons
Shaft can be hard to slide in and out
Limit on coils – you can only use Minelab and Coiltek coils
Price – After using the CTX 3030 I think it is worth every penny but coils, shafts, battery packs and other accessories (if ever needed) are very pricey.
No machine is perfect but I consider the Minelab CTX 3030 to be the closest thing to perfection to ever hit the market. I remember when Minelab first announced the 3030 and was surprised with the price tag like so many others were. Once having the opportunity to actually have one I fell in love with it and with all the upgrades from past Minelab machines and all the great features packed into one machine it made much more sense to me. With the hefty price tag it’s not for everyone but if you’re as serious about metal detecting as I am it’s worth every penny.
By: Louis Swidowski
“I can’t say enough good things about the Minelab CTX 3030. Whether you’re a relic hunter, coin shooter, or working the beaches, it’s a very versatile machine.
The CTX 3030 has been the ultimate machine for me. Most of the sites I research and detect are either old farm fields, or heavily wooded terrain. The CTX 3030’s rugged design holds up to the toughest of these conditions like no other machine on the market.
I’m constantly using its GPS features at larger locations where a lot of the surroundings look the same so it can be difficult to tell where I have already detected. Having the ability to record my find points helps me zone in on the areas that are producing good targets. The built in GPS is an invaluable tool for me and helps maximize efficiency. With no other detector on the market that encompasses all of its features, the CTX 3030 is truly in a class of its own.”