Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector Review

When the Equinox 800 hit the market, it was picked up by the masses like it was the next best thing, and the next best thing it proved to be.  Part of the reason could be due to its actual quality and performance, and the other part is likely due to Minelab’s positive reputation in the industry. 

With multiple frequencies and adjustable settings to customize and fine-tune the detector, no area is off bounds and old hunting sites can be revisited with a fine-tooth comb.  It should be everyone’s go-to multi-purpose detector. 

At a Glance…

✔️ Best Feature: Multi-IQ

Worst Feature: Battery Runtime

👌 Ideal For: Water, Submersion, Gold, Prospecting, Silver, Coins, Jewelry, Relics, Intermediates, Experts

  • Multi-IQ
  • Auto, Tracking & Manual Ground Balance
  • Adjustable Threshold
  • Auto & Manual Noise Cancel
  • Adjustable Recovery Speed

Our Verdict: It’s incredible to see the Minelab Equinox 800 offered to the consumer under $1000.  It has several premium features including true multi-frequency capability.  Every feature has been carefully calibrated to provide optimum performance in various terrains.  The expert who wants high-end for under a grand must have the Equinox on their short list. 

Who is the Minelab Equinox 800 Best Suited to?

The bad news is, the Equinox 800 will be challenging to use for the beginner.  As with all detectors, there is a learning curve that must take place, and it will take much longer for a beginner to get a handle on it.  The good news is, it does have many automatic features that may make it easier for a beginner, and as long as you start out easy in quiet ground conditions, you’ll soon come to understand the 800 and its potential. 

Intermediates and experts may even struggle at first to learn all the intricacies, and again, start off easy.  There are up to 50 audio tones, five frequencies, and eight custom search mode profiles to name a few features.  There’s certainly a lot to learn. 

How Does the Minelab Equinox 800 Perform?

This is a loaded question, but the Equinox was made to provide exceptional performance, and when you get it into your hands, you’ll see it proves true.  Each detection mode, Park, Field, Beach, and Gold is calibrated to provide optimal parameters for searching in that terrain, and each search mode allows for two custom profiles for conservative and aggressive settings. 

For example, Profile 2 allows for more target-specific detection in difficult conditions.  There are 50 notch discrimination segments with Target IDs from -9 to 40.  Then you also have adjustable sensitivity, ground balance, and threshold to further fine-tune the detector.  It’s extremely lightweight at 2.96 lbs, and it has a built-in, rechargeable Li-ion battery as a power source.  Oh yeah, it’s also waterproof up to 10 feet.  How do you reckon it’ll perform? 

Features & Benefits

Multi-IQ

Multi-IQ is the multi-frequency technology that is just one feature that makes the Equinox 800 an excellent detector.  It has five frequencies: 5, 10, 15, 20, and 40 kHz.  It’s recommended that you use all frequencies simultaneously, but you also have the option of using a single frequency when conditions call for it, like in some noisy areas where noise cancel doesn’t eliminate the chatter or when you want to hone in a specific target.  For example, finding very fine gold jewelry in shallow depths on dry sand may call for using 20 kHz or 40 kHz versus multi. 

Each detection mode is also calibrated with varying selections of the single frequencies.  For example, while Gold mode uses 5, 20, and 40 kHz frequencies, Park and Field modes all of them.  You can also customize up to two profiles within each detection mode. 

Auto, Tracking & Manual Ground Balance

The Equinox 800 has a full range of ground balance from -9 to 99.  All detection modes except Gold has a default setting of 0.  Gold has a Tracking Ground Balance as its default.  Ground Balance changes within detection mode profiles is local and not global, so if you move into a different detection mode, you must redo ground balance. 

You can use Manual Ground Balance if you prefer.  Automatic Ground Balance will allow the detector to determine the best parameters for the soil conditions, and Tracking Ground Balance will automatically adjust ground balance while detecting and moving over rapidly changing or highly mineralized soil conditions.  This is the mode that is best recommended for Gold and Beach custom profile 2 when submerged in saltwater.

Adjustable Threshold

If you’re one that likes to hear that constant hum to determine good targets from junk items and to also detect the weakest signals, you’ll appreciate the Threshold Level adjustment.  It has a range from 0-25.  At 0, you will not hear a nulling or silencing of rejected targets.  This can be recommended for high-trash areas as continuous blanking or nulling can be disruptive.  Gold mode has a default threshold of 11 to significantly improve the weakest signals from small or deeply buried gold nuggets. 

You also have an adjustable Threshold Pitch feature that further allows you greater control of the target audio response and to obtain the most comfortable pitch for your hearing. 

Auto & Manual Noise Cancel

Being able to cancel out interference from either the air, ground, or nearby detectors without reperforming ground balance or lowering sensitivity is a convenient feature.  There is both Manual and Automatic Noise Cancel.  The Equinox 800 has 19 channels from -9 to 9.  In Manual mode, you can choose the one with the least interference. 

Automatic mode allows the detector to automatically choose the quietest channel based upon an algorithm that provides the best criteria, although, minimal interference may still be heard.  Whenever you change frequencies, you must carry out Noise Cancel again.  It will be saved only under the current detection search profile. 

Adjustable Recovery Speed

The time it takes for a detector to differentiate between targets or to recover to detection after a ferrous item has been detected is called recovery speed.  Recovery speed is an important feature to investigate when buying a metal detector.  Slow recovery can cause good objects to be missed when multiple targets are within proximity and especially if you’re in a trashy area. The Minelab Equinox has eight recovery speeds. 

You must also consider your swing rate.  Increasing recovery speed and may allow for faster swings and minimal to no ground noise, but it could still cause you to miss targets.  Slowing down may help to maintain depth and target detection. 

Limitations

Battery Runtime

The built-in Li-ion battery only has an approximate runtime of 12 hours.  With so many features at work, it’s almost expected that it will run out quickly.  However, it charges quickly from completely flat to full charge.  With a high capacity charger, it’ll only take four hours.  You can also use a power bank with the included USB cable to power the 800 even if the battery is flat.  But, when it’s connected to a power bank, you cannot use the detector under water. 

Popular Questions

What is the Difference Between the Equinox 800 VS Equinox 800 Multi-IQ Pro Find 35?

There is no difference between this model and the Equinox 800 Multi-IQ Pro Find 35.  The latter is the same Equinox 800 metal detector in this review.  The difference lies in the package with the latter including the Pro Find 35 Pinpointer and its accessories. 

Are the Included Headphones Waterproof?

The ML 80 headphones that are included with the Minelab detector are not waterproof.  Waterproof headphones must be purchased separately.  The ML 80 is wireless using Bluetooth with aptX Low Latency technology. 

What is the Wireless Module for?

The included WM O8 wireless module receives wireless audio to improve fast and clear audio without any delay.  It must be paired to the Equinox 800 before it can operate.  It doesn’t have a speaker so headphones must be used with the module, but the connection jack is 1/8”.  You’ll need an adapter if you’re using ¼” headphones.  The module allows you to use your choice of headphones or ear buds, and since the module can be clipped to your side, wired headphones will not inhibit detection as it’s not physically connected to the detector. 

What Coils can be Used with the Minelab Equinox 800?

The standard searchcoil included with the Equinox is an 11” DD Smart coil that comes with a skidplate.  There are also 5” DD and 15” DD Smart Coils that can be purchased separately.  They’re designed specifically for the Equinox series of detectors. 

How Deep can the Equinox Metal Detector Detect?

There are many factors that govern depth detection and that deserves an entire page of its own, but there are many users that report up to 15” successfully.  Depths from 16-24” have also been reported. 

Conclusion

The Minelab Equinox 800 is said to be the best detector that you can ever buy.  Once you get to know the intricacies of the machine, you’ll never look back.  Its performance on land and underwater is superb and that’s not hype.  The proof is in the pudding, or should I say gold?  For a price under $1000, the Equinox 800 proves you don’t have to spend a penny more to get the best metal detecting technology available.

Further Reading:

About Simon Owen

I’m Simon and I love finding things. From a young age I always had the knack to find coins, notes, wallets and more. All of that was without the use of technology. I look forward to sharing with you some amazing tech that will make your treasure hunt a lot easier.