18th June 2024
Three Reasons Not To Buy The Garrett Ace Apex

Three reasons not to buy a Garrett Ace Apex? Quite a statement, but if you are serious about your metal detecting, read on, and you will see why it may also be a valid one.

The Garrett Ace Apex looks like a great machine. It combines a choice of single-selectable frequencies with two simultaneous multi-frequency modes. It is weatherproof, has wireless audio, a large backlit display, and is very easy to use. But, is this simply more of the same from Garrett? In detecting terms, is the Apex better than what has gone before? Read more about the Ace Apex here.

Calabash Digger put the Garrett Ace Apex up against the Minelab Equinox, which is fitted with a 6″ coil. It was very clear that the Ace Apex was either missing targets completely or misidentifying them as iron. He produced a video that demonstrated the problem; however, the video has since been removed from his channel. The three reasons he gave NOT to buy the Garrett Ace Apex were as follows:

  1. Iron masking – When a good target was placed near an old iron nail, the Apex would detect the nail and ignore the good target. (If you run in custom mode and lower the discrimination level slightly it does then detect the good target. The issue is that the machine down averages quite a bit. 
  2. Slow recovery speed – The Apex would miss targets that were just a few inches apart. It would detect the first one, but due to the slow recovery speed from that first target, it missed the target next to it.
  3. Poor signal processing – The different modes in the Apex are simply preset discrimination patterns. Unlike the Minelab Equinox or XP Deus, which change signal processing to suit the mode and help to better focus on different search criteria, the Apex uses the same signal processing for all modes.

I would love to have seen Garrett produce a machine that, in sheer detecting power, was the equal of the Minelab Equinox and Vanquish. So far, I have seen nothing to convince me that they have achieved this with the Ace Apex. Perhaps when they bring the technology to the machines further up the price point, we may see some big improvements in detection depth and target response. We can only wait and see.

[Editor’s note: Since this article was first published, Garrett has released a firmware upgrade for the Apex. The upgrade has improved the machine considerably. Recovery speed is faster, and iron masking has improved. Having tested it myself on the beach, I would have no hesitation in recommending the Apex as an option, certainly for beach detectorists.]




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  1. That is indeed the case but that doesn’t mean that Calabash is wrong. However as a big fan of the Apex myself, I have had three of them, everything needs to be taken in context. My own experience bears out what Calabash says about signal processing in the Apex. It doesn’t seem to change with the mode you are in. In other words changing mode simply changes the discrimination range and probably the ground balance too.

    In my own testing on a very trashy beach. The Apex correctly identified iron every time. I dug every target that was indicated as being iron and it was a 100% hit rate. So a huge plus in that category. I also found it to be very sensitive to small jewellery and it was definitely a coin magnet.

    So, it may well be true what Calabash says but in real world detecting, are you going to notice? I think most will not and I would still have no hesitation in recommending the Apex, certainly for the beach.

  2. Good point Jesse. The article originally contained a video by Calabash Digger in which he explained his three reasons not to buy a Garrett Ace Apex. I have updated the article with these three reasons, Iron masking, recovery speed and signal processing but thanks for mentioning it👍

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