Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector Review

Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector Review

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Is the Garrett ACE 400 an entry-level metal detector?

What are the ACE 400’s features?

There are a few, notable features about the ACE model that makes it a winner in all fields.

However, it’s not without its limitations as it is designed as a starter model with a few perks that makes it worth the buy.

To understand what it offers and what it doesn’t, here is the telling information you need.

At a Glance…

✔️ Best Feature: Iron audio

Worst Feature: No ground balance

👌 Ideal For: Shallow Water, Coins, Gold, Silver, Jewelry, Beginners, Older Kids

Our Verdict: The ACE 400 is an ideal beginner metal detector for the new hobbyist looking for quality in an inexpensive setup. It has more than the basics that will teach you the necessary skills needed to get started the right way in metal detecting.

Who is the Garrett ACE 400 Best Suited to?

The ACE 400 is an inexpensive metal detector aimed to beginners. It comes with multiple, preset detector modes with enough adjustable features to learn the tricks to the trade. It does not have ground balance as its preset at the factory, and this is acceptable to beginners as it takes one of the most frustrating features out of the equation.

However, due to its limitations, it’s not a metal detector that will appeal to intermediate and advanced users. While it provides a tad more than the basics, it’s not the most advanced tool that will cut it for difficult terrains.

For most situations though, an amateur will get a hand up in discriminating between ferrous and non-ferrous items, learning how to use adjustable settings, and how to pinpoint with a searchcoil.

How Does the Garrett ACE 400 Perform?

For the most part, the ACE 400 performs well for its price. As an entry-level metal detector, it’s able to discriminate between various types of metals and provide necessary information on the LCD display. This info includes metal type, conductivity, and depth.

The detector also has a built-in speaker, and the ClearSound Easy Stow headphones provide volume control. With discrimination and notching, you can be more specific about what targets you want to detect and ignore. You can also listen to the different types of tones produced with Iron Audio to determine if it’s junk or worth digging up.

The ACE 400 is a great, starter metal detector that gets you busy out of the box with some room to grow. When you’ve mastered the ACE 400, you’ll be able to justify an upgrade.

Features & Benefits

Iron Audio

If you’re trying to avoid trash items like caps and washers, you’ll be excited to have Iron Audio on this inexpensive metal detector. It produces a unique tone for iron targets instead of a signal that sounds like a coin. If you activate Iron Audio, a trash item will provide an intermittent tone that sounds like grunts.

You need some level of discrimination in order to use Iron Audio, so you cannot use it while in Zero Disc mode. If you’re suspect of a good target, just switch on Iron Audio and listen for the difference.

Adjustable Frequency

As an inexpensive, entry-level metal detector, it has a pretty good frequency for all-round detection of 10 kHz. This is much higher than the 6-7 kHz frequencies offered by most of the 400’s competition.

It’s also adjustable, meaning, you can slightly change the frequency if you’re experiencing interference such as electric interference from power lines, other metal detectors, etc. This is a very helpful feature if you often hunt with friends, in groups, or when the unexpected circumstance calls for this feature.  

5 Search Modes

The ACE 400 has five preset detection modes: Zero Disc, Jewelry, Custom, Relics, and Coins. Zero Disc allows you to hear signals on all targets that are detected with zero discrimination. You also have the other search modes that are specifically tailored with discrimination patterns that are best suited to those types of targets.

To further customize a detection mode, the Custom Mode allows for notching out specific target groups to home in on detection of your desired object. For example, while coin hunting, you cn notch out nickels if you wanted to only focus on finding silver coins.

Target ID LCD Display

This ACE is one of the models that actually features an LCD screen with Target ID. This is a similar feature to most other detectors that have Target ID with its scale of 0-99. Upon detection, the display will indicate what type of metal it is and what its conductivity value is.

This is a great feature that provides quick identification of a target, but hardcore hobbyists know that audio can tell you more as target ID isn’t always accurate. Besides, if in doubt, dig it up and you’ll know for sure.

Cam Locks

Cam locks are a great upgrade to have on an affordable metal detector. They provide the stability and durability you need to keep a shaft straight and strong. Even though the cam locks are made from plastic, they provide the resilience a shaft needs where they’re at their weakest – the assembly points.

With an upgrade in build quality, the ACE 400 is likely to last longer and provide reliable performance for a long time to come.


No Ground Balance

The ground balance is fixed, so there is no ability to adjust it for abnormal soils and terrain conditions. This is okay as an entry-level feature as it’s designed to be suitable for average conditions, but setting it anywhere near hot rocks, black sand, wet sand, saltwater, or any ground where there are minerals that can affect detection, you’re outta luck trying to adjust for it.

What can you do? You can try do discriminate higher and lower sensitivity to help with the inaccurate readings due to the ground conditions.

If you plan on hunting in soils where minerals will pose an issue such as gold prospecting or beach hunting, you may be better off with a metal detector that has ground balancing.

Popular Questions

What Accessories Come with the Garrett Ace 400?

There are multiple package types available online, but the standard package includes the ACE 400, the ClearSound Easy Stow Headphones, ACE control box coverup, searchcoil cover, and 4x AA batteries.

Is the ACE 400 Metal Detector Good for the Beach?

The Garrett ACE 400 is not designed for saltwater, so it’s not a performer for the beach. It will do just fine on dry, white sand, but if you go beyond the towel line, it will start to act up.

Minerals in wet sand and saltwater will cause false signals and the metal detector to sound off. This will become frustrating to use since you cannot ground balance it. You may be able to improve performance by turning down sensitivity and increasing discrimination. It will limit what you can find, but it should minimize some of the “noise” you hear from minerals at the beach.

Will the Garrett ACE Metal Detector Find Gold?

This is not a metal detector designed for gold prospecting. However, it will detect gold such as gold jewelry and large gold nuggets. The Target ID may or may not show the conductivity accurately as it falls within a notch range that also includes other trash items.

The best way to go about detecting gold is to get your shovel out and dig all items within its known Target ID range.

Is the ACE Metal Detector Waterproof?

The searchcoil and shaft is waterproof, but the control box is not. You can metal detect in shallow water, but do not submerge the system. You should also be careful not to turn the searchcoil above the control box so that water does not enter the control box.

Is the Garrett Metal Detector Good for Kids?

The Garrett ACE 400 would be a good metal detector for older kids as it’s designed for adults. It weighs 2.9 lbs, so it’s lightweight and can be used without strain for long periods of time. The shaft length is also adjustable from 40” to 53”, so it can be retracted down somewhat for shorter users.

This is not a kid’s metal detector, but older users from 12+ can be taught how to use it and can use it comfortably.


The Garrett ACE 400 is a well-constructed metal detector for its low price. It has more than the basic features such as Iron Audio, Electronic Pinpointing, adjustable notching, and cam locks. It has the upgrades necessary to deem this tool as a high-functioning, entry-level metal detector.

Although it has its limitations, it’s not a deal-breaker for an amateur just starting out in the hobby metal detecting field. It has acceptable potential to grow with this model and can easily be passed on to another beginner when you’re ready to tackle additional features in harder terrains.

As is, the ACE 400 does its job with some nice perks that makes it a worthwhile buy for a beginner to the sport.

Further Reading:

Back to Best Metal Detectors for Coins

Back to Best Metal Detectors Under 500