Where to Buy:
Your BEST Source to buy a Metal Detector is locally from a Local Professional Metal Detector dealer who is experienced with a passion for the hobby himself. If this is a Difficult Task due to Distance or the Dealer is a Doof, with little or no knowledge, then you still have a choice and contact the RIGHT Dealer by Phone.
The Right Dealer/Source for you is to get a sense of making sure that the Source you choose is willing to take the time and effort to teach you how to Optimize Your Metal Detector to deal with various conditions. Generally a Home Based MULTI-Line Dealer is a Dealer with the Passion and Love for the Hobby and knows his Detectors and what may work BEST for you in your area of the country. Again, first make contact with a Local Dealer closest to you to begin with, because you are probably going to have issues and questions of operation AFTER your purchase, and the Local Dealer can provide that level of service that most mail order only concerns cannot.
Trans Bay is a Multi-Line Metal Detector Dealer since 1983, with experience with most metal detectors sold past or present. Since most folks entering the hobby are confused on just what to buy, the simplist way to look at it is along my perspective, looking at the MAJOR Brands in the US Market Today. First Step in doing your research is going to Youtube.com.
Watching some of the Videos can better prepare you. Most of the Videos on Metal Detecting are interesting but there is lots of mis-information out there. Visting Big Valley Metal Detectors Web Site will allow you to visit Larry's Short but Informative Videos on Various Makes, Models and Accessories. Larry like myself, is a Master Detectorist and is one of the Top Dealers in the USA Today. Larry is one of the Major Distributors of Metal Detectors in the USA along with being a Multi-Line Dealer of Different Brands.
What separates the men from the boys is the ability of your metal detector to balance out ground conditions and to do this, some metal detectors have many many controls. Here now is my personal take on what's out there and a bit of history. But before I do, let me say that I have 40+ years of experience and a Professional Dealer since 1983 first starting with the Compass Electronics line and then acquiring White's Electronics, Fisher, Tesoro, Bounty Hunter, Hays, Garrett, Minelab etc. I have written for such publications as Western & Eastern Treasures, Lost Treasures, Treasure Hunters Newsletters, White's Electroics, and Tesoro's Up and Coming MDI Booklet.
My favorite choice for most folks! I've been hunting with their Detectors since the 1980s when the Deep Search Series was Introduced. Key Strengths in Market: Lightweight, Lifetime Warrantee, Exceptional Discrimination Performance, BEST Audio Response and Excellent Price Point Value vs Performance. Available from your Local Dealer. Even at MSRP Retail, Tesoro Metal Detectors are simply the BEST Performance/Value Combination in the Market Today. It is not IF but When your Metal Detector is going to require servicing or repair and YOUR COVERED as the Original Owner by Tesoro's Lifetime second to none Warranty. The other part of Tesoro's Success is their second to none AUDIO Circuit which is ANALOG Based. This means that unlike the Fully Digital Detectors produced by other Brands, you will realize the Analog Advantag which give you the subtle Clues in determining Trash from Treasure. I am very confident in my Tesoro's 'Language' which enables me to walk away confidentally up to 85% of the Trash Items out in the parks and beaches saving me much physical effort and time.
Needed Improvement: Territorial Protection, Refining E-Commerce Pricing. The Term 'WE TRY HARDER' is certainly in Tesoro's Playbook and we as Local Dealers are DELIGHTED with the leadership that Vince Gifford has provided as late after taking over the head reins from his father, Jack Gifford. Vince has surrounded himself with some 'pitbulls' including Nathan, 'The Marine' that are really pushing for more Value Support to the Dealers and Performance for YOU, our customers.
Started by Jack Gifford in 1980, formally of C&G Detectors, Jack came out with the most sophisticated VLF-TR Detectors whose strength was in the ability to DEAL with Challenging Ground Situations which can break that Backs of lessor detectors. His first motion detector, the Cortes, slowed down the sweep speed needed to see your DEEPER Targets by over 1/2 and still gave you a TR Circuit for excellent trash elimination.
Today, Tesoro is best known for its ultra light-weight RELIABLE High Quality UMAX series with EXCELLENT AUDIO Response. What I mean by AUDIO is that most metal detectors are hunt by ear. However they also resort to Digital Toneality that by itself is OK for determining a give degree of phase angle or conductivity but horrible for determining the Good Conductive Vs a Trash Conductive Object. NOT so with Tesoro...famed for the so-called Gold or Round Sound.
This is best demonstrated by your Local Professional Tesoro Gold Star Dealer of which I and Larry at Big Vally are One. Most of the Effective Tesoro's give you a Manual Ground Balance control which under MOST ground conditions is the BEST way to go with the exception at a Beach where Wet Salt and Changing Black Sands can change the ground balancing points where other steps have got to be taken as Tesoro does not yet have a ground tracking system in their Discriminating Metal Detectors.
At the Beach, Tesoro's new PI Sand Shark has all the control you need at the most difficult BLACK sand Conditions such as Lake Tahoe in California-Nevada. The Fully Submergible Tiger Shark with its 12 kHz circuitry AND Salt Mode glides over the Wet Sand as Quieter than any other VLF Detector on the Market using frequency domain circuitry.
Almost EVERYtime I use my Tesoro Metal Detectors I find Gold Jewelry/Rings and Deep Coins. Latest Model is the OUTLAW offering Complete Ground Control, THREE Search Heads and Lower Rods and a 10.6 kHz + which offers STRONG Audio Detection on Gold AND Silver yet providing quiet high conductive IRON rejection and Tesoro's Round Sound. Add the new 12x10 Epsilon Concentric Coil and you have the BEST VLF American Detector for Cache Hunting of all sizes of treasures.
My FIRST Professionally engineered Detector Purchase was back in 1980 which I took back to Australia; 6000 D Series II! Strong points Full Range Visual Discrimination (Large Easy to Read Screens), with Factory Authorized Sale Pricing (have to go to zip code area on their web site to get legitimate specials), Two of the Handsomest Dealers in the WEST, Larry @ Big Valley in Citris Heights and myself in the Senior Category in Foster City, CA not to mention Ron 'The Situation' in Raritan, NJ. Industry's BEST Ground Tracking System in the Industry. Our newest White's Dealer is Andy Sabisch, Grand Mater Hunter, Author of many books and Field Testor for Lost Treasure, just opened up a new store in Oklahoma.
Just a Two Year Warrantee BUT.... White's will work on and repair VIRTUALLY everything they have produced with the White's Name, something that every other MFG just can't do EXCEPT Tesoro Electronics. CAVEAT.... Is White's Electronics lately starting to GRAVITATE away from what made them successful.... Support of their LOCAL Dealer Basej. Since 2013, White's 1500 Strong Dealer Base has shrunk to under 500 under new leadership at the factory. Hopefully their new All Digital MX-Sport which is fully submersible down to 10 feet will compete with Garrett's very successful All Digital AT-PRO.
Complete Line-Up starting at under $200.00 (formally $450.00 Technology in 1999). My favorite was the Coinmaster IDX although no longer in the line.
In my opinion, their current Pearl Performer is the MXT Pro and their Top of the Line Spectra V3i, although Superior in terms of Visual Discrimination with the Industry's first TRULY Colored Screen, does not quite meet the MXT Pro in terms of In The Ground Performance under more difficult conditions.
GARRETT ELECTRONICS: Strong Points are Bells and Whistles, Outstanding Broshures with a Bit of Hype, but what else is new? When Garrett started to Invest Heavily in his Security Walk Throughs and Paddles, his Technology which foremally kept pace with Whites, Teknetics, Tesoro, Fisher kind of fell down. Charles Garrett who passed earlier in 2015 was a master of marketing and will be missed.
At times Garrett would compete with his own Dealers, a Big Mistake, and by such Marginalization his Dealer Base has Shrunk as well as his market place standing. To make up for this deficiency, Garrett has elected to sell in BIG BOX Department Concerns like Frys, and Mail Order on Amazon and Ebay Stores using MAP pricing Strategy but when you need assistance on issues... who you going to ask that knows anything about the hobby at Frys???
Such Silly Decisions have continued to ERODE his Local Professional Dealer Base and Support resulting in him Designing most of his Coin and General Purpose detectors by his staff without dealer help.
WITH PRESET Ground Balance Points so your Hearing Some of Your Deep Targets is compromised. Why would Garrett Do this...? Well, if you have an Eroded Dealer Base, understanding Ground Balance and Tuning is going to mean that those Mail Ordering Customers are Not going to be happy and confused.... so, Automate the Process by putting everything in a Chip. But the Chip is set up and can't be changed. Garrett to its credit has come out with excellent quality DVDs which are included to help their customer understanding of tuning their particular model but Local Dealer help is still needed.
In Napa County, they have 120 different Soil Types so if you are trying to Run Your PRESET Detector like the 2500 GTI is and most of the other line, your not going to be TRULY Ground Balanced and performance starts to suffer depending on ground conditions. Strongest Unit is their AT-PRO which has a Manual Ground Balance but still I find it Noisy when I've run this unit up at Lake Tahoe the Standard of Severe Mineralization I use. When a Detector can't handle difficult ground conditions whether it has a limited ground balancing range or preset, it is going to False or overload. Again, Most of the Line Up is Preset in the Discrimination Mode. Lately however, Garrett has introduced the AT-Pro and AT-Gold with semi-manual ground balancing and plans to bring out a submersible pulse detector with added ground tracking.
MINELAB ELECTRONICS: Strong Points are their Quiet Smooth Technology and Pulse-Domain Hybrid Technologies found in their Explorer and Sovereign Series. Their GPX Series are among the Most Expensive, yet Quietest of the Super PI units thanks to Bruce Candy, their Lead Engineer who first developed the Super Pulse off of Eric Foster's Writings along with Charles Garrett coming out with the Analog 2000 Series. Bruce Candy is signed to a Lifetime Contract with Minelab and also had developed an Esoteric Line Up of Stereo Amps which would explain the Experience in developing so quiet a metal detector in adverse ground conditions. Price Points are way above Average. Minelab has no real interest in competing in the entry level market and his new 3030 Flagship in the general purpose metal detectors is nothing more than an E-Traq with Lipstick (but its screen PALES compared to White's V3i and Vx3 Technology/Screen).
Minelab's Greatest Sins are their Marketing Strategy resulting in erosion of his Local Dealer base in each State which translates to less than adequate support and Service. Initially they came to White's Electronics to buy them out to absorb their VAST Professional Dealer Network. Forget About that!!! I have attended a San Francisco Minelab Seminar and then two National Seminars in Las Vegas and all the Marketing Presentation that Minelab put on and promises made to their Supporting Dealers regarding Service, Delivery and Costs have been BROKEN. At one point they were going to reduce our costs and make it more profitable for the Dealers that actually worked with their customers in training them.
One of the many reasons I chose to NOT sell Minelab Products in spite of their good technology. Like Garrett, they won't guarantee continuing servicing of any of their detectors that have been replaced by newer models. They don't keep parts or boards available. One Craig's list AD recently had a guy wanting to trade his 2500.00 Minelab for a Fisher F2, a $249.00 unit commonly discounted to $215.00. Problem with that was it was a Gamble because although the Fisher F2 is currently an active model with support, that particular Minelab Model was NOT and any problems that are active or should arise with a used detector such as that, cannot be addressed as it is nearly impossible to service without the proper parts, no longer supplied and the sophisticated equipment Minelab uses to service their current line. Even Lower Rods are so expensive; 50 to over 100 dollars.
Their GPX 5000 retails for over $5500.00 but is MAP priced at 4999.00. Then they change the Model in a couple of years and make a few changes sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse and UP to price 500.00, but they have broken this tradition. Enter the GPZ 7000, now priced MSRP at $12,000.00 and MAP'd at $10,000.00. Of course, certain Mail Order Dealers have a reputation for Dealing well under that MAP pricing. We call them the Un-ethical Cheaters.
Product Availability is inconsistant, among the WORST in the Industry. Delivering the Product to the Dealers is a like taking a chance and Suspiciously, who get's what pricing is up to question. Typical Answer from your Local Dealer is I'm sorry, I don't have an Explorer in stock and I don't know when I can get them. Some of the National Mail Order Houses will take your money telling you they have it in stock when they don't.
Minelab is a Mess and it's too bad because their Technology in many respects at one time rivaled Tesoro and White's, but now is questionable. Would you rather buy a GPZ 7000 priced at $12,000 / $10,000 or buy a Tesoro Sand Shark at $679.00 / $577.15
If you buy a Used Minelab it is at this time no longer covered under the warrantee if some warrantee is still intact and they are pricy to fix with LONG Waits.
Several Years ago, Minelab stopped the manufacture in Ireland and chose to have them assembled over in Malaysia. This has caused a rash of problems and resulted in poorly put together Excaliburs that eventually wound up having to go back to Australia where Minelab is situated. Minelab several years ago was purchased by another Corporation, Codan (sp?) and hasn't been the same since. To this Date I can only guess on where their models are being made.
My advice to my Customers.... In my Opinion, like myself... Stay Away and for the sake of your wallet, don't purchase a USED one no matter what the price because you'll find that great deal to be a waste of money when you try and get it fixed. The other problem is the Chinese have replicated knock offs that visually look almost perfect and sell them for 50% less.
Where to buy? On the WEST Coast... Larry at BIG Valley Metal Detectors servicing the Greater Sacramento Area OR on the East Coast, my Goomba, Ron at Gold Diggers in Raritan, New Jersey servicing the East Coast. Ron Manufactures one of the most effective Sand Baskets in Stainless and offers arguably the BEST Pin Pointer in terms of Price/Performance (See Pinpointer) in the NEW Land and Sea.
FIRST TEXAS: About 5 or so years ago, FIRST TEXAS acquired one of the Better Engineers, Dave Johnson of Fisher M Scope when Fisher was its own company and brought you a successful line up of X-Series and CZ Series Models. I worked with Dave Johnson on the Development of what arguably is White's BEST General Purpose Metal Detector, the MXT, when Dave was an Out-Sourced Engineer 'Gun' for Hire. Dave developed primarily the auto track system for the GMT, MXT and before that, Tesoro's Lobo Super Traq. Still, the X-Series are rumored to being manufactured to one degree out of the Far East yet the Quality is still there and the performance and quality is still up to my level of expectations. Today, their Detectors are sold under the name Fisher, Teknetics, Bounty Hunter and Discovery. Each Model Line has a Different Feel and Circuit. Some of the Frequencies they choose in their Fishers are a bit vulnerable to EMI and cause me to scratch my head and wonder why such frequencies were chosen. The Bounty Hunter and Discovery Line are sold through most Amazon Stores and Electronic Giants such as Wal Mart and Frys and come with little or no help. I prefer their Teknetics Chassis and Software.
Nonetheless, they are hiring excellent employees such as the Aforementioned Dave Johnson and Felix who makes sure their service is first rate and will take care of the Local Dealers and their Customers and Dealers. They recently acquired Carl Moreland who jumped ship from White's Electronics along with several of their Engineers.
The Same Models are SOLD under Various names: Viper, Sand shark, MDX (sounds like MXT huh? & confusing to a newby), and others.
I was approached by Email unsolicited and could buy MANY of these models for $50.00 a unit in quantity. China has also counter-feited many of the aforementioned Brands but they are not the same inside, just about a match on the outside. When they break down and they WILL.... the Service Centers of the various Brands will not fix them so you are STUCK. Becareful and purchase from a reputable Dealer like BIG Valley Metal Detectors, Gold Diggers, Trans Bay Metal Detectors, or Tesoro GOLD Star Dealers throughout the Country.
You'll see these Detectors on one Mail Order Site I refer to the 'Beast' from the East, retailing for $900.00 ON SALE for $325.00 or less. Another retailer sells the identical unit with a different name for $250.00. That same Chinese Detector sells it for $179.00 in the Harriet Carter Mail Order Catalog..... BE CAREFUL.
I have such a detector called the 'Sand Shark' purchased through Amazon's ECommerce. Let me tell you, Poorly Designed, Preset, and coudn't penetrate a gold ring in a bowl of Oat Meal. Most of these Foreign Produced Detectors from the Far East are truly a piece of S#$%t and unfortunately Karen, brought it in as a trade in. Thoroughly Frustrated, she came to me and unloaded the Chinese Unit and wound up with a White's M-6 and now is quite happy with her new detector's performance, especially at our beaches.
Moral: Mail Ordered Detectors can be expensive, if you purchase from the wrong source.... it takes you at least three purchases to get one that may be right for you but not necessarily the BEST and even if you think you know what your doing because you watch Youtube Videos, Lurk on the Forums or Listen to what someone said on an internet site, doesn't make it true and your bound to walk over a valuable in the ground without evening hearing it for a variety of so many factors. Deal with your Local Professional like Larry, Gayle or I and you'll experience more success and less frustration.
MISC Brands: Too many to mention. Most come from Europe and are made from one man operations. Some have fairly high retail pricing but are indeed a quality unit but with limited Distribution by Contract from just One Entity who wants to be the only 'ACT' in town to sell them so they can charge an inflated price. These Detectors are usually made in Europe which by the way has very little mineralization, so over in the States these European Detectors are faced with HIGHER Mineralization which can Deplete 50 to 100% of their Depth, especially on the West Coast. Some do work OK and some are very Noisy.... On average though, they perform much better than their NON-American Chinese Circuits.
RECOMMENDED DEALERS: Because of their Knowledge and Ability to TRAIN their Customers on the secret tuning tips on your detector so you can tackle those real field conditions with complete confidence. Their prices are competitive with the large Mail Order Houses like Kellyco and Detector Electronics (Both East Coast Locations) but a better Value since you have someone locally that can guide you and enlighten you so you don't miss those targets in your soil. Unfortunately, I hear from this customers who purchased new on line from Ebay or Amazon and don't even know who the Dealer Affiliate was. They need Help and I do invite them to come see me in person and I will train them for $50.00 or $50.00 in Accessory Purchases.
IN Northern California....
Greg Moscini @ Trans Bay Metal Detectors, Foster City, SF Greater Bay Area since 1983 with over 40 years of experienc
'Trapper Larry' @ BIG VALLEY Metal Detectors, Citris Heights, Sacramento Area (Greg and Larry are experts on White
White's and Tesoro Metal Detectors as well as most of the other majors). Whether you buy your Detector from either Greg or Larry you get support from BOTH of us once that fact is confirmed.
Bob Van Camp @ Comstock Metal Detectors, Paradise, CA almost 50 years of experience and an Expert Prospector
recently found SEVEN Gold Rings in worked out Park with new Super Value and Performing Sierra Super Track!
Located near the Jersey Shore, Ron 'The Situation' @ Gold Diggers Metal Detectors, Raritan, NJ now moved into a new Brick and Motor Store! When you want the Best Long Handle Sand Scoop for Salt Water or Fresh Lake Hunting, Ron has has it. Rob is the Supplier of the NEW Land & Sea Electronic Pin Pointer which I favor over the other models in terms of
Value, Performance and Features.... be sure to check out my website's page on BEST Electronic Pin Pointers.