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Garrett Ace 250 Switch on and go usage

The detector is easy to use and pretty much self explanatory with basic buttons that allow you to choose detecting mode, what you want to discriminate against and general sensitivity / power. I've never quite got the sensitivity button on basic metal detectors because 99% of the time detectors have the power sensitivity set to maximum else you may as well just use your eyes and look on the surface!

The two main modes you would use would be jewellery and coins because the rest will discriminate almost everything except a gold bar! That said, you should be aware that coin mode failed to detect a 10mm thin silver coin at all, which is not great, but I suspect typical at this price range. In jewellery mode it detected it at around 4 to 5 inches in air.


The display is quite straight forward but pretty useless other than for depth pin pointing (by pressing the middle button) and target I.D. I say useless because the displays at this end of the market are less accurate at predicting what the object is than your ears are with the change in pitch and duration of the beeps. That said, it does give you a bit more information to reassure you before committing to a major excavation if that is your thing and you need it in order to customize discrimination.

I think what is more frustrating is that the cheap LCD display on almost all metal detectors which is no better than the 25 year old one on the XLT despite technology moving on so fast in the screen tech market. You can buy high resolution OLEDs for a few pounds and trust me, the screens used on all of these metal detectors will not cost more than a dollar!

If metal detector manufacturers what a vision of the future then drop me a line as I have a brilliant idea which will push the world of detecting into the 21st century! In fact I may make one myself.

Garrett Ace 250 screen

Ace 250 Weight

Light and easy to use; it will make your arm ache to start with but they all will until you get used to it.


The batter life on the Garrett Ace 250 is very good. It takes 4 x AA 1.5v batteries which is typical. The voltage at which metal detectors use is a little discussed area, but in basic terms the higher the voltage they run on and the more power they use, the more depth they will have. From my previous experience of Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF), when you double the voltage pulse the field strength goes up by a factor of four. Bear in mind the Spectrum XLT for example uses 8.

Garrett Ace 250 finds

Field test

The Ace 250 is quite a good machine for a starter-plus machine, it picks up 1 inch diameter coins at about 7 to 9 inches with no real problem. The discrimination works well and you can tell iron from good finds with no real problems. The biggest issue for me was with smaller targets. Despite what other reviews that are associated with shops or affiliates etc, I found that it really struggled with small coins, roman denarius, dimes etc. On a 10mm hammered silver coin, it struggles to detect it at more than about 3 to 4 inches, which is pretty much on the surface or you'd miss it. Depending on where you live and what you are looking for this can be a problem. In England with 1000s of small coins it is a problem for me.

20 years ago, I found the ones I tested with a Tesoro Silver Sabre II at about 6 inches but the Garrett Ace 250 would struggle in the preset mode and I must say that the rate of progression of metal detectors over 25 years has been shocking. If you think back to an 1980s mobile phone and an iphone you will see my point. And yes before you all start shouting about budgets and market size well that does not excuse building off the back of phone tech which is obsolete in two years.

I have made reference to the spectrum purely because it is what I used and that you would expect detector tech from 20 years ago to be in basic models today - but it is not and in fact far from it!

Ace 250 Could not identify a gold coin

I.D a Huge Gold Double Eagle Coin?

So I decided to see how it would get on picking up and identifying a 1oz Gold USA Double Eagle. To my amazement, it FAILED to recognise it as gold! Serioulsy, I would be interested to see what Garrett have to say about this? If it cannot recognise a massive 1oz solid gold coin, I would say that is inexcusable.

Will I keep it?. My children like it because it is light, simple and bright coloured! But in the back of my mind I always had this rule that if you going to scan a piece of land, the scan it once and know you have missed nothing. Much like a paint roller, you don't want to paint the same bit twice. I used to nick name my Spectrum the Trawler because you knew you got it all! but with the shocking performance on the gold double eagle I would no use it.

I think if you want some fun, do not want to spend a silly amount of money on one and are happy that you may miss some very small coins and rings but not bigger items, then it is a good all round metal detector for the money. I am pretty sure that the Garrett Ace 250 is the best of the bench in the bracket.

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