Pros / It was the most accurate in our tests and the easiest to use.

Cons / It doesn't have a DD coil.

 Verdict / The Garrett Ace 250 is the ideal metal detector for a beginner because it's accurate. It's easy to find treasure with this detector in your hands.

The Garrett Ace 250 is one of the most popular metal detectors and has been for years. It's often the metal detector that expert detectorists recommend to beginners. Our tests showed why. This metal detector was both the most accurate at identifying the types of metal and the easiest to use. Anyone, from adults to kids, can take the Ace 250 out of the box and begin hunting treasure. For these reasons, the Garrett Ace 250 earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best metal detector.

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  • Objects Detected
  • Correct Identification
  • Approximate Identification
  • Accurate Depth
  1. In our tests, this is the percentage of metal objects it detected.
    Higher is Better.
  2. 1  Garrett Ace 250
    98.0 %
  3. 85.0 %
  4. 72.0 %
  5. Category Average
    86.4 %

Treasure Hunting Performance

To test each metal detector in our review, we laid out a grid in a field and buried pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters as well as silver-plated and gold-plated beads. We also buried trash metals like soda pull-tabs and nails. We planted these metals at depths ranging from 2 to 12 inches. Then we swept across the field and recorded the type of metal or coin that the detector found and at what depth the device claimed the metal to buried at. Once we finished sweeping over the grid, we swept over it again.

The Garrett Ace 250 was almost perfect in terms of finding buried metal. It detected 98 percent of the metal we planted, which was the second-highest rating in our tests. Only one metal detector found everything.

The best feature of the Ace 250 is the accuracy. It accurately recognized 40 percent of the coins and came close with 27 percent. It may seem strange to call it accurate when it failed to recognize most of the coins, but it's actually quite impressive, especially considering the detections that were almost accurate.

The depth indicator was accurate 56 percent of the time, which was also the highest depth accuracy in our tests. It was close to within 2 inches an additional 19 percent of the time. However, most of this accuracy was in the 6- to 8-inch and higher range. In the shallow area of the grid between 2 and 4 inches, the Ace 250 often said that the metal was 6 to 8 inches deep. In other words, it errs on the deep side, which is common with metal detectors in this price range.

Ease of Use

The Garrett Ace 250 received an A for ease of use. There is no learning curve with this metal detector. Above the LCD screen is both words and symbols for various metals. When it recognizes something, an arrow points the type of coin or metal that it thinks is buried. At the same time, a bar graph on the right side of the screen, labeled in 2-inch increments, indicates the estimated depth of the item.

On the left side of the screen are the various modes: All Metal, Jewelry, Custom, Relics and Coins. Each mode excludes metals that are uncommon to that group so that you only receive hits on the types of metals you're hunting. For example, choosing the coin mode will silence hits for trash metals like iron and foil.

Once you get a hit, you use the pinpoint tool, which is prominently featured and easy to reach with your thumb. When you press this button, the detector emits a tone that gets louder when you're closer to the metal and quieter as you move away. This helps you pinpoint the exact location before you dig.

Design

The Garrett Ace 250 has a 10-inch concentric coil. The concentric coil isn't as good as a DD coil, but it makes the metal detector more affordable. That said, you can upgrade the coil to a DD as you become more advanced.

The coil has a specified depth of 9 inches, which isn't the deepest reach among the other detectors in our review. However, it detected coins at 10 and 12 inches with better accuracy than some metal detectors that have deeper ratings. In other words, it outperformed the expectations set by the manufacturer, which is always worth noting.

Help & Support

Garrett's short two-year limited warranty is disappointing, especially when you consider that most metal detectors have a five-year warranty. However, the company does its best to make up for it with plenty of user support, including great customer service, detailed FAQs and intricate online instructional videos. Its devices also tend to be particularly rugged, able to stand up to years of detection without a hiccup.

Summary

After thorough testing, it's clear why expert treasure hunters recommend the Garrett Ace 250 to beginners. It's not only the most accurate metal detector that you can get in this price range, but it's also the easiest to use. It outperformed the manufacturer's specifications for depth and had the most accurate target ID results. If you're curious about the metal detecting hobby, this is an excellent tool to have in your hand.

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