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Minelab CTX 3030 vs Minelab Equinox 600 vs Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector - Which Is The Best?
Are you looking for a good Minelab metal detector? Did you know that there are actually several models made by this brand? How do you choose the best unit from a reliable brand, in the first place?
Minelab’s CTX 3030, Equinox 600, and Equinox 800 are all different units but with overlapping similarities that make them excellent candidates for hobbyists. If you’re looking to compare all three, these are important stuff you should know:Lets dive into a comprehensive review and put all the myths to the sword and see who emerges victorious!
Table of Contents
A Thorough Comparison
Features of the Minelab CTX 3030
Comes with FBS 2
This all-terrain metal detector adapts with the changing landscape of your search area. With this particular feature, you should be able to experience quick data communication between the control box and the coil, ensuring that there’s no area left undetected before you move on with your scan.
The FBS 2 stands for Full Band Spectrum 2 and is patented by Minelab. It carries a total of 28 frequencies starting from 1.5kHz to 100kHz. This ability improves the sensitivity and target separation of the model.
This particular feature offers precise discrimination of all types of metals. It works together with the color target information displayed on screen, making it easy for you to discern exactly what type of metal is underground. More importantly – this gives you an idea of whether you should dig or not – therefore saving your precious time in finding the really valuable items. It’s a feature that’s viewed as game changer because the CTX 3030 actually manages to distinguish between Ferrous and Conductive materials. With this immediate recognition, separating the trash from the treasure becomes even easier.
An advanced feature of the Minelab CTX 3030, this particular feature basically offers you an electronic GPS recording of your locations. This is perfect for those who would be prospecting on a fairly large area and want to make sure that they cover every possible ground before moving on. More importantly, the accurate GPS location provides a possible pattern which gives users the chance to predict the spots that will offer them the best rewards. With one look, you know exactly where you found valuable items and could go back to the same location or nearby with the promise of finding something just as good.
This particular feature of the CTX 3030 is compounded by the PC Mapping capability which lets you upload all this information to your PC for easier viewing via Google Maps. Use an app to personalize the scanned area by attaching pictures and notes – giving you a personal book of your adventures.
This feature of the CTX 3030 lets you easily separate targets found in the same location. Is there a coin lying underneath the can of soda? The target tracing will tell if this is the case so that there’s a zero chance of missing even the smallest metal.
WI-STREAM with UR 30 Headphones
The product features wireless headphones that offer instantaneous audio response whenever the metal detector managed to find something interesting. This is definitely a plus since the traditional wired headphones can be quite bulky and prone to tangling. With a wireless set, you can walk freely without worrying about tripping on your own wires. The unit also comes with a built-in speaker if you don’t need the headphones on the trail.
This unit comes with two coils that you can swap with each other, depending on your needs. There’s the 17-inch Smart Coil and then there’s the 11-inch DD Smart Coil. The size of the coil matters when it comes to area of coverage. Specifically, a large coil can scan a larger area each time, making it perfect for scanning through a larger portion of land. The smaller coil however would work better for uneven terrain, allowing you to work through uneven patches of land to better scan the area.
Adjustable Tone ID
The Adjustable tone ID of the CTX 3030 gives you the option to customize what you hear upon detection. With this feature, you can tune out certain metals so that the detector wouldn’t hum if you come across something insubstantial such as a can of cola or a nail. You can also increase the sensitivity of the unit so that precious metals, coins, jewelries, and relics will be easily noted.
Waterproof for Fresh and Sea Water
Made to be waterproof, the CTX 3030 can detect target metals up to 10 feet or 3 meters from the surface. The control box itself is not waterproof though so you have to be careful when using it outdoors as the splash can cause damage to the control box.
The CTX 3030 also comes with Ground Balancing capabilities. This gives you the chance to use the product even on highly-mineralized surfaces like the beach. With this feature, the CTX 3030 can be set to ignore small signals of minerals and hone in on larger deposits of possible treasure.
This is a feature that you likely won’t find with other metal detector units. The CTX 3030 comes an auto charger and charging cable – which means that you don’t have to constantly carry a fresh set of batteries on the trail. With a battery indicator, you can charge the batteries to their full capacity when you leave the home, giving you hours of scanning time without worrying about running out.
Features of the Minelab Equinox 600 and 800
The Minelab Equinox 600 and 800 are practically the same unit. In terms of features, the difference between these two are very slight – which is why it’s so much better to showcase their features side by side with each other.
The main reason why people are confused between the 600 and the 800 is because of their exterior build. Inch by inch, these two models look exactly the same. They even weight the same at 2.96 pounds and measures at a length of 1440 mm. Looking at these two models, you’ll have a hard time differentiating between the two – until you start working on the LCD screen and find the smallest variations between the two models.
Multi IQ Frequency Feature
This feature simply allows the device to work through different levels of frequency in order to find valuable metals underneath the ground. The technology works simultaneously so there’s really no need to adjust. The metal detector simply moves through the spectrum so anything worth digging underneath will be found.
The difference between the two models is with respect to the extent of the frequency. The Equinox 800 boasts of a higher capacity with a range of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 40 kHz. The 600 on the other hand only has 5, 10, and 15 kHz.
Both the 600 and the 800 come equipped with the ECQ 11-inch Double D Smart Coil with Skid plate. If you’ll remember, the CTX 3030 also comes with an 11-inch coil but has an added 17-inch coil for those who prefer a bigger size. A bigger coil just gives you the chance to scan through a larger area at a faster pace so the 6-inch difference between these three doesn’t really matter. Note that for all three, the search coils are waterproof.
Both units come with ground balancing capabilities, making them usable in high-mineral surfaces. This is a feature that’s available in all three products and very useful when activated on the beach.
Both models come with a depth indicator of 5 levels. Fortunately, this is a feature that’s also offered via the CTX 3030 and is actually a fairly common feature for metal detectors, regardless of their price range. The depth indicator tells you how fat to dig in order to get the metal detected by the machine. Unfortunately, none of the units seem to have an in-built pinpointer which should help narrow down the search area of the user during the hunt. Still, the detection features of all three are accurate enough to speed up the find.
Pre Set Search Modes
The 600 and 800 come equipped with the same search modes, but with just a slight difference. The Equinox 600 has 3 search modes which are: Park, Beach, and Field. The Equinox 800 comes with the additional Gold search mode. If you’re scanning through an area packed with trash, the Park Mode is your best bet as it is built to ignore the low-value metals and opt more valuable finds. For low-trash areas, the Field Mode is built to perform. The function of the Beach Mode and the Gold Mode are fairly obvious.
As you can see, the search modes for the Equinox are remarkably different from the CTX 3030. With the CTX 3030, the modes are adjusted depending on what you’re looking for – such as coins, relics, and gold.
Detect Speed Tuning
This particular feature isn’t really a big deal and not something users will have to worry about. Those who want variety however may use this as their final deciding factor when choosing between the 600 and the 800. Essentially, the 800 has 8 levels of tuning while the 600 only comes with 3.
When it comes to waterproofing, both units perform beautifully. The 600 for example is fully submersible with a capacity of up to 10 feet, even though salt water. In fact, both models are designed to work in salt and fresh water. It’s advertised as fully submersible so chances are the control box is also good for underwater use. You’d want to read through the manual before dipping it in however.
LCD Screen and Display
All three models come with large LCD screens that showcases all the necessary information when prospecting. There’s the frequency, the depth, the Target ID, and even the battery display of your power source. The LCD screen of all the models have a backlight which is fairly standard nowadays. The backlight makes it possible for you to continue searching through the surface even at night – or even when the sun is at its peak.
Drown out the unnecessary noise with the noise cancellation feature of both the 600 and the 800. This is a feature that works best if you’re scanning through an area with high electrical interference. Perhaps there’s a nearby tower which messes up the signal. The Noise Cancellation lets you tune that out so that you focus on the right sounds.
The Equinox 600 and 800 come with built-in rechargeable batteries with a capacity to run for 12 straight hours. Unfortunately, the built-in feature of the batteries means you can’t just bring a fresh batch with you as a safety net. Instead, you have to make sure that the metal detector is fully loaded before taking it out.
Pros & Cons Of All Models
Minelab CTX 3030
Minelab Equinox 600
Minelab Equinox 800
Differences of the Three
So now, let’s look into the differences of all three products from Minelab. Depending on your needs, these differences might shift your decision from buying one to the other.
Both the Equinox 800 and the CTX 3030 come with a customizable audio tone that tells you when the detected material is ferrous or non-ferrous. Even the volume can be customizable, allowing you to rely primarily on the audio to find out if something is worth digging underneath. Unfortunately, the Equinox doesn’t come with this particular feature.
It bears repeating that the search modes of the CTX 3030 are very different from those of the 600 and 800. Keep in mind that only the 800 comes with a Gold Search Mode which simply means that when finding gold nugget, the 800 would give you more promising results. There’s also the fact that the CTX 3030 has customizable modes as opposed to the 600 and 800 which only comes with preset builds for very specific situations. Simply put, you can explore more with the CTX 3030.
PC Mapping and GPS
What makes the CTX 3030 stand out from the other two would be its GPS Tracking. In fact, some might say that the GPS capability of the CTX 3030 is the primary reason why it is priced to highly. This isn’t the case at all as the CTX 3030 obviously has superior features – such as the frequency which goes all the way to 100.
As mentioned, the CTX 3030 is fairly expensive while the Equinox 600 is more on the affordable range. If money is your primary limitation when buying a metal detector, then there’s really no need to think too much about which one to purchase.
To wrap it up, the CTX 3030, the Equinox 600, and the Equinox 800 are different levels of metal detecting tools built for different levels of hobbyists. Your choice therefore depends on how you will be using the product in the long run.
If you’re a complete beginner and just want to learn the ropes of metal detecting, the Equinox 600 is your best bet. This will give you a feel of the excitement and offer a pretty easy learning curve. The model comes with all the basic necessities for a beginner in the hobby with the price to match.
Those who are getting used to metal detecting and want to upgrade their hardware can go for the Equinox 800. It’s also the better mid-range option for gold searches because of its Gold Mode and higher frequency level, ideal for finding gold nuggets. It’s marginally more expensive than the Equinox 600, but that’s the price you pay for added features and quality.
Finally, we have the CTX 3030 which is heads and tails above the Equinox 600 and 800 when it comes to pricing. Really, this model is best used by the serious hobbyists who have a more refined or specific searches when on the field. It’s also a pretty purchase for the wallet so no one but the most serious users who know what they want should use this.