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Steve Herschbach (Inactive)

Results Of Nugget Detector Survey

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A week ago I started an informal survey on seven US metal detecting oriented prospecting forums including this one.

The survey was not meant to prove anything per se. I was basically just curious to see what the detectors were that were employed to actually find gold nuggets in the last year.


The survey has many shortcomings. It only polls people who were on the US forums in the last week who cared to respond. The forums have tended as a whole to be Minelab oriented and so it is not surprising results might skew in that direction. Still, I got a large number of responses and so some conclusions can be drawn.


I eliminated duplicate and joke responses. I eliminated a couple borrowed units. It was winnowed down to just detectors that found gold for their owners in the last year. Everything else was pretty straight forward. The only thing of note is I put a couple Gold Bug SE responses under the Gold Bug Pro because they are basically the same detector. The SE was just a precursor model. Everything was compiled on a spreadsheet and totaled.


114 people responded as having used 220 detectors to find gold nuggets. That is an average of a couple detectors per person but the reality is a lot of people owned three detectors, and then quite a few just one detector. In general you could say many nugget hunters own a couple PI detectors (or a PI and a GPZ) plus a good VLF detector. If you really want to generalize things your could say people own a couple Minelab PI type detectors and a Fisher VLF. The Gold Bug 2 and the Gold Bug Pro were the runaway favorites in the VLF category.


Tesoro is conspicuous in their absence. Only one Lobo ST listed. I was a bit surprised to see not one Garrett AT Gold listed. Except for a few ATX units Garrett is pretty much a no-show. White's does a little bit better but still only just over a dozen units out of 220. The TDI PI models are the most popular alternative to the Minelabs with 8 listed.

As I noted Fisher totally dominates the VLF detectors with the Gold Bug 2 and Gold Bug Pro. And I was surprised at the very large numbers for both the SDC2300 and GPZ7000. The GPZ in particular due to it being very expensive and out for only the last 6 months. The adoption rate is phenomenal in my opinion.


Here are two sets of results. The first is simplified for easy digestion. I have lumped similar models together and not listed onesies and twosies. The second list is the full per model breakdown. Make of it what you will, and thank you for participating!


Simplified Results:


51 GPX5000/4500/4000
33 GPZ7000
33 SDC2300
32 Gold Bug 2
15 Gold Bug Pro
13 GP3500/3000/GPExtreme
8   White's TDI/DIPro/TDISL/SPP
5   White's GMT/GM3/VSAT
5   Nokta FORS Gold
4   Makro Racer
4   X-Terra 705
3   Garrett ATX


Full Results:


33 GPZ7000
33 SDC 2300
32 Gold Bug 2
31 GPX5000
15 Gold Bug Pro
11 GPX4500
9   GPX4000
6   GP3000
5   GPExtreme
5   FORS Gold
4   Makro Racer
4   X-Terra 705
3   Garrett ATX
3   White's GMT
3   White's TDI
3   TDI Pro
2   GP3500
2   Fisher F19
2   CTX3030
1   TDI SL
1   White's SPP
1   Troy X5
1   XT17000
1   SD2200V2
1   SD2100V2
1   Tesoro Lobo ST
1   White's GM3
1   White's V/SAT
1   Minelab F1A4
1   Garrett Scorpion

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Just a thought in examining your results; as I am shopping for a detector here in Colorado.  Could you classify results geographically.  I've been talking to experienced detectorists here and White's GMT and Garrett's AT Gold are very popular.  Also Golden Detectors in Golden Colorado is reputedly the highest selling store in the US for White's detectors - as they perform in Colorado soils much better than other brands for the price.


I'm betting the majority of your respondents were in this order: 1. California 2. Arizona 3. Nevada 4. Oregon 5.Washington 6. Canada and perhaps you had at least 1 reply from Colorado.  Local conditions most likely have a large influence on what works.


Enjoy your columns and comments.



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