PREFACE: Gold Detectors are ALL Metal Detectors that respond to ALL metals, be it Gold, Copper, Lead, silver, Nickel, Iron etc. There exists NO Technology Detector that will find JUST Gold and Ignore all other metals. There are however subtle tips and tricks that your Local Dealer knows to help you to Differentiate metals.
What makes a Metal Detector an Effective Gold Nugget Detector is based on the detector's circuit design, frequency and ability to handle changing difficult ground conditions. A Manual Ground Balance is a must, otherwise your ability to hear that deep gold nugget is almost impossible.
Your VLF Detectors are the most popular. On the other hand MOST metal detectors will hear the GOLD nugget provided that it is large enough to be detected in lieu of the model metal detector being used. Don't expect a Cheap Low Frequency detector to detect that average GOLD at 5" in the ground because it will not. There are many other Factors that determine whether your going to be successful with your GOLD Detector. Please contact me to make an appointment and I'll give you a Free Demonstration.
Another type of Gold Detector is the Super PI or Pulse Induction detector. Their strongest advantage is their ability to virtually ignore most hot rocks and difficult soil condition that will challenge most General Purpose Metal Detectors. They turn the ground's negative bias into a plus.
Generally, the Super PIs from Garrett, White's and Minelab have been developed to hear the very small nuggets and will hear deeper because their PI Receive Circuits are so Quiet in Difficult Ground that can Challenge the BEST of a VLF Detector like a Goldmaster GMT or Fisher Gold Bug PRO, II, or my current favorite; the Tesoro Lobo Super Traq.
I would avoid some of the European Models which are imported into the country because Europe is a Low Mineral Environment and faced with our West Coast Mineral, Larry at BIG Valley has been disappointed with the results. With one of these Euro Detectors in its so-called gold mode, Big Gold, his hunting partner found a nugget and called Larry over. Larry was using the latest software and could NOT hear what turned out to be a Penny Weight Nugget at JUST ove 2 inches in that high elevation California Mineralized Soil!!! Big Gold was using a GPX 5000 at the time, Minelabs Top of the Line, now replaced by the NEWEST GPZ 7000 (Zed) Detector.
TDI SL: Newest in the TDI series. VERY quiet on higher gain levels and developed to be used with NMHI Battery Systems. Much Lighter in Weight but has a Single Turn Ground Balance. Makes an exceptional coin hunter but training is definitely warranted. Priced under $1500.00 with choice of a Dual Field 12 or 7.5. Drawback; constant tweaking of the tuner. White's has re-designed the TDI SL in a Brand New Straight Handle Configuration like the Original Pulse Scan. An all new Sand Colored Control Box. I have one on order so it may very well be the BEST Value and Performer for the Price.
Goldmaster GMT: White's Flagship VLF Detector operating at 50 kHz ensuring extreme sensitivity to even sub-grain nuggets. The GMT employs a State of the Art Ground Tracking System along with an IRON v NON-IRON LCD and Follow the Black Sand Mode and overall Ground Strength Indicator. Not recommended for heavy alkalai due to the high sensitivity but excels in California Sierra's difficult Red Dirt and Arizona Deserts.
White's MXT Series: A general purpose detector, it sports three separate programs; Coin/Jewelry, Relic and PROSPECTING. At 15 kHz, its Target Response on a 2 Grain Number is reduced compared to the GMT or GMZ, however, MATE this unit to an optional 4x6 Eclips Loop and you would be hard to tell the difference. It has a Back Light and Ground Grab to Supplement its sophisticated Auto Track System. If you want just one detector that can do it all under $1000.00 including effective Prospecting, the MXT PRO is the Bomb.
The Minelab GP Series are King of the Hill in handling Gold Bearing Mineralization. The Flagship is the 7000 GPZ but reports I received from Alan Cannon were, Alan prefers the way the 5000 Operated in the Outback of Australia as his 7000 was Noisy over Alkalai. The latest GPZ 7000 and GPX 5500 has seemed to have been resistant to atmospheric noise like Lightening Strikes.
SDC 2300: At just over $4500.00 and Map Pricing for less, reports from the field are this unit will see small Gold better than the GPX 5000 and much lighter. Kevin Hoagland, longtime Minelab Dealer and actively working with the GPAA prefers the performance and configuration of the SDC 2300. Gerry McMullen of Gerry's Metal Detectors in Idaho, a Master Detectorist and Teacher put out at video where he goes back with one of his customers on worked over desert areas and the SDC is finding small nuggets missed by the others. Worth looking at since 95% of our nuggets found are around match head size.
Drawback on the this Platform is you have a voluminous amount of Timing Swtiches and Controls so the wrong Flip and you have Digitally cancled out that Nugget depending on a variety of factors. White's TDI Series seems to be more straight forward and error Free in this respect. Although Minelab has struggled to reduce the Weight of the Unit and Simplify, you can go wrong and lose that edge if you lack the guidance of a professional like Larry at Big Valley, and if weight factors into your choice, it is still significantly HEAVY compared to the White's, Garrett, Competition.
Minelab GOLD MONSTER!!! La ry at Big Valley reports that his Customers are going back to their worked over gold areas and uncovering additional gold with one of Minelab's newest gold detectors. Larry at Big Valley has the experience using this model and as an Authorized Minelab Dealer, offers the BEST Pricing and stock.
Tesoro Electronics (Best Value and Performance):
Lobo Super Traq: My #1 Choice due to a variety of factors.... Very Smooth Tracking, similar to White's GMT and MXT but much more conservative as to avoid tracking out a tiny nugget. the Lobo Super Traq ignores the alkalai, superior to the other Brands out there. Tesoro's LST can be Belt Mounted, Rear Poll Mounted or Chest Mounted giving you additional flexibility and enable you to Shallow Water Wade without fear of dropping it in the water. Operating at 17.5 kHz like its sister unit, the Tejon, response on small nuggets is impressive in the all metal mode. By not crossing that 20 kHz line, the LST maintain's a smooth threshold over the most difficult ground conditions and will pick up down to sub-grain nuggets. One BIG advantage over most of the other Brand is their Silent Search 180 Degree Discriminator which when operated properly enables you to readily identify Iron from Non-Iron and its Amplified Second Channel is simply amazing.
Tejon: Similar 17.2 kHz Frequency as the Lobo Super Traq but uses a 3 3/4 turn manually ground balance and uses a concentric coil which is not recommended for extreme ground conditions. Trans Bay and BIG Valley recommend the new Wide Scan Coils with HOT Technology to Calm that noisy ground, increase area coverage as well.
Vaquero: Very Smooth Operator with Manual Ground Balance operating at nearly 15 kHz, similar to White's MXT with the Prospecting Program. Performance is adequate and it can handle most mineral environments for its lower Price Point. Wide Scan Accessory Coil like the Tejon strongly Advised for successful Gold Prospecting.
Sand Shark: Although not marketed as a Gold Prospector, it will Ignore Most Difficult Mineral and deliver on about 3 Grain Size. I recommend the 8" open Loop Mono as it will hit harder than the 10". Tesoro uses an exclusive Spiral Circuit Board for Consistency rather than conventionally winding its PI Coils. The only drawback on the San Shark is you have to use its dedicated underwater Headphones, and in the Hot Climates when your Desert Hunting, this can be a drawback for some.
Outlaw: Operating at 10 kHz, not the hardest hitting on smaller nuggets but still quite capable with its manual ground balance, auto tune assisted single filter all metal mode. Add that 5.75 Wide Scan or the Larger Wide Scans and you have a Capable Package for electronic prospecting at a price point that is unmatched, not to mention an excellent Relic and Coin Package.
When it comes to the Super PI Class, the new Garrett ATX is hard to beat at just over $2500.00. One Drawback is like Most of the Minelabs is the Weight. A Variety of Different Size Search Coils are available but quite pricy. The Infinium is also available and is submergeable to 200 feet. There is some Ground Slur Response brought on by a Lack of Manual Ground Balance Control. At $1250 List and Mapped at around $1000.00, a very good detector at the Beach or Gold Fields or for diving for Gold Rings.
A water resistant, submergeable to 10 Feet and VLF operating at around 18 kHz +/- with semi-auto ground balance control and a Small but Detailed LCD Display. Lightweight and will definitely cut into Fisher Gold Pro Sales. I love that AT-Gold smaller DD coil that comes standard on it.
Fisher Metal Detectors:
Fisher Gold Bug II employed a much higher frequency when it replaced the original Gold Bug back then as it's Flag Ship Unit. Its 72 kHz is a bit High for its current design but it is among the smoothest manual ground balancing detector optimized for Gold on the market today. Fisher wrote the book on the 1980s by coming out with the 20 kHz Gold Bug One that set the Standard. The Gold Bug II still hangs in their but better technologies are competing against it, like the Gold Bug Pro. Teknetics has a sister unit, the G2, that employs the smaller Wide Scan as a Standard Coil which has been well received. Noisy over wet Alkalai.