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Pulse induction (PI) technology promises a lot, and for the price, it better deliver.
But, there shouldn’t be any sugar-coating on what it can and cannot do.
Is it a featherweight metal detector a beginner is ready to head out the door with?
Is it good at discriminating?
Not even close.
Then what is a pulse induction metal detector good for?
To understand and appreciate what PIs offer, here is your 101 guide on the deep and intricate metal detector type.
Plus, here’s more than a few, good options to consider putting at the top of your shortlist.
Best Pulse Induction Metal Detectors In 2020
PI detectors can detect deeper than most. They’re impervious to salt and high-iron content environments. They’re excellent for working the beach and searching for gold nuggets. All true statements.
Do you know why they can provide these benefits?
It comes down to the tech. A PI is just another type of metal detecting technology, a new one, but a viable one that is starting to become more popular among manufacturers, and therefore more popular among consumers – who can afford them.
The metal detectors in this lineup pick up where VLF and multi-frequency detectors have met their limits.
Because they provide such performance, they come with high price tags. But, all is not lost if your budget doesn’t stretch that far.
This lineup was tailored to provide a multitude of top pulse induction metal detectors with affordable prices to those that only deep pockets can afford.
Best Pulse Induction Metal Detector Reviews
1. Minelab GPX 5000
If all you see and dream about is gold, then you need a pulse induction metal detector. Oh, and deep pockets, too.
Pros & Cons
✔️ 8 Timings
✔️ Rx Gain
I’m 99% sure you have no clue what the list of pros means. Acronyms mean nothing when you’re looking for explanations. Let’s break it down.
The GPX 5000 is a gold prospecting machine. It’s not priced lightly, as it offers some of the best technology you can have in a PI. Multi Period Sensing (MPS) enables you to punch deeper into the ground without neglecting the tiniest of nuggets.
Dual Voltage Technology (DVT) consists of two voltage levels used at different timings to enhance depth and sensitivity detection so you don’t miss a thing.
Smart Electronic Timing Alignment. EMI interference and earth’s magnetic field are no match for SETA. It monitors it and allows pulse releases at the perfect time to ensure you’re getting maximum depth and sensitivity regardless of potential interference.
8 Timings are the different pulse release timings used like search modes to tailor your pulse induction patterns. Rx Gain offers 20 levels of adjustment so you can crank up sensitivity without the “noise.”
There’s so much more the GPX offers, but we’d be here all day if we went through them all. Suffice it to say that it comes with a bunch of essential accessories, it’s super high-performing, but it’s also super expensive, and heavy, like 7 lbs heavy. Got a chest harness in your kit?
2. Garrett ATX Extreme
Ah, the good, ol’ ATX Extreme. It’s a favorite of many despite its high price tag. Here’s why.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Ground balance
✔️ Iron Check
✔️ Frequency Scan
The ATX Extreme is a pulse induction metal detector that you’re more likely to be able to understand off the bat. It has similar features that advanced VLF models sport such as Ground Track, Iron Check, and Frequency Scan.
Even though PIs are immune to mineralization, it doesn’t hurt to ensure ground balancing stability if it’s ever needed. The ATX offers discrimination with its Iron Check, Iron Audio, and adjustable threshold features that may prove to be fair and valuable when you attach a DD coil. You can also change the frequency slightly for any EMI interference.
The ATX is extremely versatile for a PI, and it’s easy to see why it’s a winner. Plus, saltwater and freshwater hunting is not off limits. It’s submersible to 10 feet.
However, like most other PIs, it’s heavy at almost 7 lbs. This is an inherent feature of PIs, so start working out those shoulders or get a harness.
3. White’s TDI BeachHunter
If you’re a beach bum by nature and your VLF just isn’t cutting it to find the real goods, you need a pulse induction beach metal detector. Thanks to White’s, you have it.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Dual-field searchcoil
✔️ For the beach
✔️ Harness included
❌ Battery life
Any good beach detector should at least be waterproof, but the TDI is submersible to 25 feet and the included headphones are also waterproof.
What will be interesting is the TDI’s accuracy with its dual-tone discrimination. It’s somewhat crude, but it works to help with identifying possible foil and pull-tabs from targets like coins. For finding gold, you may want to turn this off.
Because this is a submersible metal detector, there isn’t a digital display – everything is audio only. You do have adjustable gain, but there is no volume control.
Another well-thought-out design is the dual-field searchcoil. It’s a 2-in-1 system with a 12” outer coil and 6” inner coil to get the best of both sizes.
However, you’ll definitely want the battery pack with the TDI as the internal battery only lasts 4-6 hours. It goes without saying that the good tech needs a lot of power.
4. Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II
The Sea Hunter Mark II is one of the most affordable pulse induction metal detectors in the market. If you’re a mermaid or merman at heart, this Garrett metal detector will fit the bill and your needs.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Headphone jack
✔️ Audio only
✔️ Optimized frequencies
❌ Don’t rely on discrimination
The Sea Hunter is a true submersible metal detector with its lack of a digital display and with its knob interface. Everything is interpreted by audio, so of course, you have a headphone jack to plug in and adjustable threshold.
Get your scuba gear out because you can dive to a deep 200 feet with the Sea Hunter. The included headphones are also waterproof, and the entire system is retractable in four configurations to find the best length for underwater metal detecting.
The Mark II comes with two, crude trash elimination modes. While it does provide for some level of discrimination, you don’t want to rely on it too much. It’s not just a flaw of the Garrett metal detector, it’s an inherent design of pulse induction.
You can also use this as an appropriate land metal detector. Again, you’ll be relying only on audio, and you’ll have to dig everything. Stick to the sands with a sand scoop to make fast work of it.
5. Nokta Makro PulseDive 2-in-1
Why buy a pinpointer separately when you can have it in a compact, handheld detector? That’s the concept behind the PulseDive. It’s a 2-in-1 tool that’s priced like a pinpointer.
Pros & Cons
✔️ 2-in-1 design
❌ Not for small and thin targets
The PulseDive 2-in-1 may be hard to wrap your head around. It’s approximately 26” long and it’s a detector and pinpointer in one. Attach the 4” searchcoil and you have a pulse induction metal detector. Remove the searchcoil, and you have a pinpointer.
The nifty, little tool is made to supplement a full-size metal detector on land, but it’s extremely versatile as its own detecting tool when diving. It’s actually made for diving. It’s submersible to 200 feet and is compatible with wireless waterproof headphones.
Target detection is provided with audio only, vibration only, or audio and vibration. There’s also an LED indicator that can prove helpful if you can see anything at that depth.
Like a pinpointer, the PulseDive 2-in-1 has a retune button, lost alarm, and replaceable hardshell case. It might not be what you were thinking, but for the price, it’s one heck of a pulse induction detector worth buying just to try out.
What to Look for in a Pulse Induction Metal Detector
This is a relatively new metal detector technology. You likely don’t know a whole lot about it. So, before you break the bank to buy something you know is good, but you know nothing about, get clued-in first.
What is a Pulse Induction Metal Detector?
A pulse induction metal detector is another type of metal detector technology. It is immune to mineralization that other metal detector types would struggle with.
The detection range and performance of a PI is unaffected to the medium in which they’re used to find a metal target, meaning, it doesn’t matter where you use it be it sand, dirt, water, rocks, air.
How do Pulse Induction Metal Detectors Work?
A PI uses a single coil that completes a 2-in-1 job as it serves as both the transmitter and receiver. There are PIs that may have multiple coils working together.
The coil transmits currents in short pulses lasting only milliseconds. As the transmitted currents in that given pulse end, they reverse in polarity and collapse – a process we can call reflected pulse length. The entire pulse process repeats again with approximately 100 pulses per second. However, this can vary between PI models and manufacturers.
This pulse technology allows a PI to be immune to highly-conductive minerals in the ground. The only thing it’s looking for is metal.
Once a metal has been detected, a sampling circuit measures how long the reverse polarity and collapse process (reflected pulse) occurs. If it’s no longer than it usually is when no metal is present, there is no target. If it takes longer, even microseconds longer, it’s very likely it has detected a metal target.
Where to use Pulse Induction?
PI metal detectors perform extremely well in highly-mineralized soils because they’re essentially immune to it while maintaining high sensitivity. Areas that would otherwise render VLF detectors useless are where PI detectors come in to save the day. They can be useful in and around:
- Magnetite hotrocks (high iron content)
- Dry and wet black sand
Other areas that may pose issues for some unknown reason could be a good excuse to test out a PI. It may be worth it to borrow one and see if it makes a difference. You could determine that it’s worth the investment.
Pulse Induction & Discrimination
The PI has a weak spot – discrimination. While they don’t care for the medium in which they’re detecting, they’re unable to provide accurate discrimination between metal types. This is because the detector is unable to easily separate the reflected pulse length between various metal types.
Some PI detectors are seen to offer some level of adjustable discrimination, but when it comes down to it, it may not be useful due to its design. The short of it, the PI is a dig-it-all metal detector.
Types of Metal Detecting with Pulse Induction
Because of a PI’s significant depth detection thanks to their immunity to minerals, they’re highly sought after for:
- Gold prospecting
- Beach hunting
While they’re good for these types of terrains, there are exceptions. If there is a lot of trash at the beach, you’re probably better off with a multi-frequency metal detector that offers accurate discrimination.
Pulse Induction Metal Detector Accessories
But, you may find that a PI’s weight is difficult to manage with just a grip and adjustable arm strap. Consider purchasing a chest or shoulder harness to help balance the metal detector.
A carry bag will be a useful item to help transport the detector and keep disassembled parts together.
Don’t Forget the Usuals
You’ll still need to pay attention to other specs and features just as you would any other type of metal detector. These things can help to further improve performance for your metal detecting style.
- Searchcoil size
- Continuous ground balance
What is the Best Pulse Induction Metal Detector?
The best pulse induction detector will likely be between $1000 to $2000. This is only because it’s more affordable, and more people can provide feedback about it because there are more owners.
The metal detector that has been put through its paces, has been tried and abused, and has seen it all and not only survived but continues to produce real results at max performance is one heck of metal detector.
For the money, the pulse induction metal detector that is known is better than the metal detector that sits clean and sparkly in its packaging. Until it’s earned its stripes, it’s hard to pull the trigger on an expensive buy. Very high-end pulse induction machines are excellent, but only a handful know that, and most importantly, can afford it.
What is the Most Accurate Metal Detector?
Not intending to be the definition police, but what is “accurate?”
If accuracy is measured by discrimination, it’s certainly not the pulse induction metal detector.
If accuracy is measured by accurate Target IDs and audio, it could be any high-quality VLF or multi-frequency metal detector.
If accuracy is measured by the ability to detect metal in mineralized soil, then it’s definitely the pulse induction metal detector.
What Metal Detector goes the Deepest?
There are so many factors that affect depth detection that are out of your control such as soil conditions and all the unknowns about the unknown target that may or may not be buried in the ground you’re hunting.
What is in your control is the metal detector. You have user adjustments you can take advantage of to help with maximum depth. The type and size of searchcoil can also be a factor in achieving maximum depth.
The detecting technology that has the ability to achieve maximum depth is certainly the pulse induction metal detector.
PIs aren’t for beginners or amateurs. These are the big boy machines that are bought after you’ve mastered what you can out of a VLF.
If you’re ready to take your skills or prospecting goals to the next level, you may be ready for pulse induction.
The only factor left to solve in the equation is your budget. To get deep performance, you must have even deeper pockets.