When I was a young beginner in the metal detecting world I had to do my fair share of research to find out which metal detector I would want to use. Since I didn’t know much at all I began looking for weeks and weeks it seemed to find what would be a good fit for me. I asked myself why so many people would choose the Ace 200 from Garrett when there were so many options out there.
Here’s the quick reason why people get the Ace 200:
Very affordable ($170 to $215 depending on if bought in a kit or not from Amazon).
Very simple to use
Helps beginners learn the ropes of detecting
Needs no added fluff to work well
So, because of those reasons I found is why most people get the Ace 200. Luckily for me, I got the chance to see how it worked up close and personal. It is by no means and luxury detector and is meant for basic hunting.
Size & Weight
It is a very light unit that did not tire out my arm weighing in at only 2.75lbs. That is light enough to swing all day long and not have my arm get tired even after hours of running it. I still always prefer to use some time of sling on my metal detectors. Using a sling of some kind will help ensure that it doesn’t get dirty, doesn’t get wet in a puddle or water I’m working around and saves my arm even more from fatigue.
I am the average height of 5ft 9in and using the Ace 200 at full length works perfectly for me. My wife is 4ft 11in and she used it on a shorter setting to make it easier for her. This is quite simple to do since the shaft has a 13in. adjustable pole that goes from 40in. all the way to 53in. Even people 6ft 4in have found it usable without any problems at full-length extension.
Type & Capability
It is a VLF or Very Low-Frequency metal detector which makes it great for finding treasure around the yard, dry beach, parks, fields and so on. Because it uses the VLF setup it makes it really easy to find items in depths of 0in to 8in. Although it can find items 8in. in depth its coin depth gauge only reads out to 6in. The reason it can find items deeper is that the coin depth gauge is based on items in similar size to US coins.
So this means that if you found a cannon ball, it could be 10in. deep and ring up at 4in. or 6in. because the target is so large. Yet on the flip side if the target is extremely small like the size of a nail head then it could be much closer to the surface than the gauge says. So keep this in mind if you decide to go with this unit as you go out hunting for lost treasure.
This is definitely a beginner model. This is a very good unit to learn how metal detectors work, get used to different tones, learn how different metals appear on the gauge and get used to hunting for lost treasure. It is definitely one of the most affordable ways for people to get into the sport and see what it is they like, would like and dislike. The user manual was definitely very helpful to go through as well as the instructional DVD.
What to Get
When buying this unit on Amazon I definitely recommend going with the kit that comes with all the accessories which is closer to $215. My first detector I bought I just got the detector and nothing else. Within the first 5 minutes of treasure hunting, I realized I definitely needed a coil cover, treasure pouch, trash pouch, shovel, headphones and so on. The accessories really come in handy and you will save a lot of money by getting everything together at once the first time rather than buying everything individually.
My biggest question when I first started looking into metal detecting and was a beginner myself was what can the Ace 200 find? I personally was most interested in finding precious metal rings and coins. I was after the money in my opinion at the time. The good news is that the Ace 200 is set up in different preset options. The first of course being all metal or “No-Discrimination.” My personal opinion, especially when a beginner, is to use the all metal setting with the sensitivity all the way up and dig every single repeatable tone.
The experts that trained me taught me this and it was invaluable to learn the different tones, how different items read, and how to identify trash and treasure targets. It is easy for some people to think they are getting a tone because they will hear one little blip then stop, start scanning in the same spot, and then hear nothing else. That can happen because of the cable wrapped around the shaft. This will happen more often if the coil is being swung or moved rapidly. It can also happen if the cable wrapped around the shaft is not tight to the shaft. It is best to use zip ties or hook and loop straps to secure the cable around the shaft to keep it from moving around while scanning.
The Ace 200 will find shallow rings and coins no problem when in those modes. But it is important to keep in mind that rings and coins will ring up differently sometimes on the screen and may appear to be trash but in fact, are a treasure. This is why it is important to dig every repeatable tone.
What Can’t it Do?
The Ace 200 is definitely not designed to be used for finding nuggets of gold or relics. Even though it can find gold rings it does not do well trying to find nuggets up in old mining towns or anything like that. One of the biggest reasons is simply because the coil does not reach deep into the ground. A lot of gold can often be found deeper in the ground since it is a heavier metal. Gold rings obviously haven’t been sitting in the ground for 1,000’s of years like gold nuggets have and so it is not possible in 99% of the situations for it to pick up the nuggets.
Usage in Water
One of the key good features that I liked about this metal detector is that is has a submersible coil. The entire unit is submersible up to the readout box. So this means the whole shaft can be submerged if needed. I don’t recommend going any deeper than 6” or so into water. Mostly because if the detector falls into the water, it’s toast. The Garrett 200, 250, 300 and 400 are not meant to go into the water. This is one reason I always use a sling on my detectors because it ensures it doesn’t fall into any water that I may be searching in.
Though the coil and shaft are submersible, it will only work in fresh water, not salt water. This is because salt water is mineralized whereas fresh water isn’t always mineralized. I found this out the hard way since I was a beginner and my mentors didn’t mention it since I went out on my own to a salt water beach. I got so excited every time I got near the water line because my Ace 200 was going off like crazy! I thought I had hit the motherload and there were dozens of gold rings and clad coins sitting just under the surface. After digging at least a dozen time and found nothing but shells and twigs, I started connecting the dots.
Luckily there was another metal detectorist there and I asked them if they knew why my metal detector was getting so many false readings. He explained the mineralization to me and that’s when I fully understood. Even fresh water can have some mineralization in them especially on the shore. This is definitely not a waterproof or underwater unit. To keep it protected from rain, dirt, mud and so on there is a handy little box cover that is good to use and very cheap.
This does not have a ground balance on it. Ground balance is when you are in a very mineralized area and the detector is making all sorts of noises and getting lots of readings. Ground balancing is much more common in PI or Pulse Induction units. Because this isn’t meant to be used in salt water or heavily mineralized earth it is important to avoid those areas. Ground with really red dirt will be high in iron and can cause a problem getting good readings. It is meant more for the parks, dry beaches, yards and so on.
One of the things I really do like on it is that it uses a 0-99 Target ID numbers as well as a Target ID bar. This makes it really nice once used to the different numbers that different metals ring up as. For example, gold rings often ring up between 34 to 38. Silver rings ups around 88. Trash iron is often around 3 to 12 and so on. Once used to the numbers and the different types of metals it makes it much easier to decipher between trash and treasure.
On the downside though it doesn’t have a custom discrimination option on the Ace 200. It only has preset discrimination for jewelry and coins. This means that it could be possible to barely miss out on some treasure by using those presets. This is one of the major reasons I always recommend digging every repeatable tone.
Because this is a very simple unit it uses a fixed 6.5kHz frequency which is great for finding jewelry, coins, clad, and trash targets in semi-shallow earth. But it does have 3 different metal tones low, medium and high which make it easier to hear what you’re hitting once you’ve found a target. I find that when I’m metal detecting on the dry beach and get a low tone plus a high town that repeats as I continue to scan will almost always be bottle caps.
One of the things I dislike is that it doesn’t have a battery level indicator on the screen of the Ace 200. It’s truly a deal breaker or anything but it is not fun when you’re cruising along and even worse when you’ve found a good area and the unit just dies. It does have a low battery indicator but sometimes it’s too little too late at that point. So with the Garrett Ace 200, it’s definitely necessary to carry around some extra AA batteries to ensure this doesn’t happen. The good thing is that the battery lasts quite a long time so it takes a while to reach that point. The only bad thing is because it takes so long to get to that point most people will never carry the extra batteries with them and then it happens and they’re out of luck.
It does come with the full 2-year warranty from Garrett. Having the extra long warranty with Garrett is always beneficial in case you get a lemon unit which I did not experience. I’ve never needed to send any of my Garrett units in because they work so well. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with Garrett and for beginners, the 200 is definitely a good beginner unit.
All in all, it is a good unit, to begin with. I got to try it out as a beginner and it really helped me learn everything I needed to get into metal detecting as a real hobby. The best pricing I have found is on Amazon where it is easiest to find for sale.
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