Pros / It was above average in our tests for correctly identifying the type of metal we buried.

Cons / It’s not easy to use.

 Verdict / The Minelab X-Terra 305 had above-average accuracy in our tests, but it’s more advanced and not a great choice for beginning detectorists.

Minelab is one of the few metal detector manufacturers that specializes in high-tech detectors for gold, underwater use, mine clearance and forensic purposes. The Minelab X-Terra 305 is one of its all-purpose metal detectors from the X-Terra series. These metal detectors are ideal for coinshooting and treasure hunting on all types of terrain. The X-Terra 305 comes with a greater learning curve than most metal detectors in this price range, but its accuracy was above average in our tests.

To test the metal detectors in our review, we buried coins and other metals in a grid system on an open field. We buried items at depths ranging from 2 inches to 12 inches. We then walked across the grid and recorded the readings from the metal detector to see how accurate the device was at recognizing the metal and the depth at which it was buried. Once we finished, we swept across the field again.

In these tests, the Minelab X-Terra 305 detected the buried metal 90 percent of the time, which was above average. It missed many of the items buried at 12 inches, but that’s expected because the depth rating for this metal detector is 8 inches. That said, it still detected several of the items at 12 inches, most of the items at 10 inches, and all the items buried at 9 inches.

The X-Terra 305 correctly identified the type of metal 32 percent of the time, which was above-average. It came close to a correct identification 30 percent of the time. While neither percentage is particularly great on its own, when considered together, you get one of the more accurate metal detectors in our lineup.

The depth indicator was average. It accurately identified the depth of the buried metal 41 percent of the time and came within 2 inches 16 percent of the time. As with most metal detectors, it was the least accurate with guessing the depth on shallow items, often erring on the deep side.

The biggest issue with the X-Terra 305 is its ease of use. It lacks graphic target IDs like most of the metal detectors in our lineup. Instead of having the display point to a particular coin or a ring or a nail, a number pops up on the screen. The number corresponds to the detected metal’s conductivity, which is used to determine the size and composition of the metal. With time, you learn what numbers correspond to various coins and metals, but this requires time and experience. It’s definitely a more advanced way of treasure hunting.

The coil is circular and concentric with a diameter of 9 inches. It comes with 12 different tones that help you determine the type and size of the metals buried. Most detectors only come with three tones. This goes back to the learning curve issue. Having so many tones certainly gives you better tools to determine what is buried, but it takes time to learn what each tone means.

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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. 8  Minelab X-Terra 305
    90.0 %
  3. 98.0 %
  4. 85.0 %
  5. 72.0 %
  6. Category Average
    86.4 %

Summary

The Minelab X-Terra 305 is a metal detector designed more for an intermediate detectorist than a beginner. All around, it was above average in our tests for accuracy and depth, but not exceptional. The learning curve, however, is steep.

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