This metal detector has an 11-inch elliptical concentric searchcoil and a deep search field compared to several other detectors in our lineup. The F44 displays a target ID number that corresponds to the conductivity of the metal it’s detecting underground. A very handy explanation of what these numbers mean is available in the instruction manual. For example, it states that numbers 1-19 mean the object is iron and numbers 80-90 mean you’ve found a large silver coin.
In our tests, the F44 detected 50 percent of the objects we buried, a mid-range number in our comparison. The F44 accurately identified 43 percent of the objects we buried, which was also an average accuracy rate. While the screen doesn’t display exactly what you might have found, it does note whether the object is in the iron range, gold range or silver range of objects. The beep tone also corresponds with what you’ve found, with low tones signaling iron, high pitches signaling silver and gold tones in the middle.
The F44 has a whopping 20 sensitivity levels, which is helpful for finding the sweet spot. This is a much wider sensitivity range than some detectors we reviewed have, like the Garrett Ace 400 which only has eight. This machine’s default sensitivity level was set at 12, which we were able to leave it on during our tests because it picked up buried objects but didn’t go into fits of beeping while stationary despite being indoors.
When this metal detector beeps and displays a target ID number, depth is also shown on a notch scale on the detector’s screen. The F44’s notch scale is larger than most of the detectors we tested: One notch means the object is buried less than 2 inches deep, three notches means the object is 4-6.5 inches underground, 6 notches means the object is buried deeper than 6.5 inches, and so on. When every notch is illuminated, this indicates whatever is underground could be buried 10 inches deep – or it could be a very large object that is actually several feet deep, according to the instruction manual. In our tests, the Fisher F44 gave an accurate depth reading 18 percent of the time, a low accuracy score compared to others we tested.
Just like the smaller Fisher F22 model, the F44 requires a screwdriver for assembly. Putting it together is relatively intuitive. It runs on two AA batteries, a unique feature compared to most of the other metal detectors we tested that run on a 9-volt battery. The F44 is rated to give you 25-30 hours of metal detecting before you have to change the batteries, which is about average. It’s also quite light at 2.3 pounds.
If you live near the coast and want to check out the area beaches, be careful when you’re looking for buried treasure. The searchcoil is waterproof, but like all metal detectors the machine shouldn’t be fully submerged in water. This detector also comes with a five-year warranty should anything suddenly go askew.