Minelab Explorer SE

Price: $1200
Avg. Score: 4 stars 4.44
Based on 25 reviews

Avg. Durability: 5 stars!5.00
Avg. Ease of use: 4 stars4.00
Maximum detection depth

Submit your review for Minelab Explorer SE

Compare to ▼
Blisstool LTC64X v3 $1000
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Minelab Safari $1000
Whites Spectra V3 and V3i $1500

Iron Mask Optimum Setting, Weight and Support

February 13, 2009
Hi All,

Just to share a couple of experiences with you. I seemed to have difficulty optimizing the Iron Mask at first having bought and test-ran the machine. It could be set to "blank" nails and washers etc, but here is the acid test. Our British decimal coins of 1p and 2p were originally copper/bronze but later became copper plated iron. (Just try a magnet on them)! Anyway, I specialise scouring beaches and do not wish to bend down every ten paces for 1 or 2 pence pieces. Well anyway, a setting pattern can be had which now even blanks iron coins, ignoring the copper plate. Obviously the earlier copper/bronze ones will continue to bleep. In other words, the Iron Mask is at its absolute maximum performance in combination with other settings. The SE appears to have a lot of hidden interaction between functional settings. If interested, 'can list the settings on my machine.

The weight can be greatly improved by a shoulder strap, if anyone would like a picture of this, just let me know through here. Finally, the battery pack contributes a good deal of weight be it NiCad or Alkaline. The answer is LITHIUM AA cells! They weigh a feather and last until the cows go home, (should you be in the middle of a field)!

Happy Hunting,

Overall Rating 5 stars!



January 09, 2009
I started my detecting 10 years ago with a second hand Fisher 1266-x with a large spider coil. In the early days I searched 3-4 days a week 2-5 hours a time for 2 years. I had a lot of luck but I had a collegue who came with me on many occasions with an Explorer xs and every time out found me. Even on several occasions on a really good site I had a gold, some large rare hammereds and other stuff he would still out do me. I found it frustrating how he could cover double the ground in a fraction of the time it took me. I was digging all sorts of iron with my machine and he hardly dug any.

I could not afford these at the time which were easily still making £1000. Over the next 2 years I watched the pages of Ebay as always found cheapest machines were nearly new machines as so many people come into the hobby on a fad and give up quickly. In this time I purchases a Minelab sovereign, Fisher cx-5 and something else can't remember its name and all these I struggled with ground balancing and learning the signals and always ended falling back on my trusty 1266.
Eventually re-listing the others on Ebay and sometimes even making a few quid in the deal.

Often my friend would hear a signal and ask me to take a listen. One thing I found is the 1266 could keep up with the depth but not the Id and on many occasions my friends XS was hearing hammereds where I was not and frustration was growing as I had a passion for these coins.

The Minelab launched the SE and suddenly the 'must have' people in society rushed forth to sell thier XS machines to buy the latest SE and my chance came to pick up a used XS on Ebay for £400. My first full day with the machine and that night I wanted to cry when I could see how many years and hundreds of years I strained myself to headaches concentrating with the Fisher and well with the XS when they say switch on and go they can not be more right as in the factory set quick start mode you are ready to find.
Ive never seen another machine so ready to do this with. I followed the next 4 years very successfully paying for this machine with my finds many times over. Even saving money as no longer the need for batteries with the rechargeable battery pack.

Over time I learnt to experiement with the settings although it is easy to get over whelmed to begin with so thank goodness for 'quickstart' At any time getting my self in a know you simply turn off and when restarting hold down the on button and the machine is back in factory preset mode. My friend upgraded to the SE and this is at last where I get to the point of this review.
The first best thing the SE offered was the larger headphone socket. My old xs has broken but contry to a review further up I found Minelab in Ireland more then helpfull and a stunning service back up even long after warranty. Pin point when I had a go with my friends machine was also I thought better.
Now over time we drifted apart and last year with the lauch of yet another machine from Minelab the E-TRAC suddenly again an influx of SE appeared on Ebay and again I acquired one for £590. This time I was braver to pay more as no the potential returns after finding hundreds of pounds worth of stuff with the XS. My time these days is a lot less and I'm lucky to get out once a month but after my first 2 sessions I was close to tears as suddenly I felt I no longer knew the machine.

I went in a well know site to me but this new SE kept falsing and was so unstable. I was used to my XS being maxed out on sensitivty (32) but I had to turn the SE down to 15 to get anything close to stable and I was still unhappy. The amount of new features was dazzling with different response settings and many more. I took a hammmered out of my collection and dropped it on the floor and it hardly registered. I started to feel sick what had I done. I tried factory settings as by now I usually search the XS on iron mask of about 7 so a solid line down the screen. I dig a little iron but all signals are good and those hammered althogh quite are plainly there. But the SE in ironmask mode piped and sqeaked and falsed out all the time. I was now pulling my hair out.

I searched the net and starting finding forums like this one where people were writing similar things about unstable machines and wishing they had not upgraded and I was also one. I found some talk of a batch of faulty coil heads and was think I've got one.
Minelab was offically denying this but I was told if you contact them and told them you thought you had one there appeared to be a no quibble exchange which was odd. I got hold of my old friend and asked him how he got on and he was still happy but told me how his regualr finds of hammered coins had dryed up which was noted. He told me to go back to factory setting the go in the select mode and you will find coins already selected and then select jewelly as well. Then don't touch anything else.

On doing this I had a usable machine and started to get a few silver Georgian coins and loads of other bits. I was however getting no iron which I think does not hurt so you know you are not over descriminating. Also I'm getting one way signals which is new to me and sometimes a surprise when you dig. I no longer get those lovely little gentle deep signal that reward and its took some getting used to how the SE increases the soft signals with GAIN to make them sound better although wierd. Falseing still a problem though, but not nearly as bad and sensitivity about 25 is the max. This is supposed to be a more powerful machine so decided to accept that is the same as max on the xs. If had finds lately still no hammereds.

Now last week I started reading about the DETECH SEF search heads. Ive looked for second hand ones and cant find any which I started to think this is a good sign so the first ever detecting thing I've bought new I've purchases one.

The 10x12 head after much reading everyone said larger is less sensitive on small items. I was a little annoyed to find I was charge £10 more then the advertised price but told due to the collaspe in the pound it had to be but anyway £159 later (more then I paid for my first machine) It came and today was my first time out with it.

First job was to fit it and this was a nightmare on my se and luckily I own a fishing tackle shop as after an hour of trying I had to use fishing line to pull the lead through the body of the machine. The head was a squeeze to fit but eventually I got it on and set off to a known very dug out 3 acre field. Switched on and off I went.

With in 10 mins I knew money well spent. The machine's senitivity maxed out to 32 and at long last a stable machine. Now I'm not talking miricles but its improved the stabilty and the sound responses on finds just enough to make it fun to search again and improved the machine to a standard I could recommend.
Although cost a lot of extra money to do so. Now I finished a 3 hour session with 20 Georgian grots and some buckles and bits. This site was always nortious as it has 2 sets of main Telephone calble for the entire village under it. My old Fisher you could not even turn it on in the fiels. The XS was so much better and I had decide the field had been finished with yet here is was comming home with so much more. Still no hammereds though or anything at a depth I could boast about but again this is one day with a machine which I can say at long last I'm happy to use again.
The only point also is the SE has a slightly different battery then the XS. These are interchangeable and the SE is supposed to be better. But my XS battery out lasts the SE for some reason and is also much much older and used. Now I'll finish with my verdict.

If I could take one thing from the SE and thats the larger headphone jack socket and put this onto the XS I would say DONT BUY THE SE!!! This is just my humble opionion but it is based on using both machines in some very challenging conditions. Ive been in a position to start my father in law in searching recently with a very reasonable budget for a machine and I would recommend to anyone this course of action.
Go on to EBAY and buy a good condition XS they are now available for as little as £225 I saw one make lately. If you get had and it turns up with a broke bit or dogy jack socket no problem just get Minelab to do a once over on the machine its so easy to do and not dear. The XS is the best machine I've ever used and so so easy and at this sort of money there is no other machines as good and east.

The SE I wish I had not but now I have I'm making the most of it and if you have to then spend the extra on another search head.

Overall Rating 3 stars


Don't buy minelab

December 11, 2008
First 6 months of using The Se was alot fun to learn. It pinponted like a champ and could sniff out the old coins. After first 6 month the detector started to have problems pinpointing and coin reading change as well. But i could fix the problem by holding in the button and setting it back to factory settings. Then I would put in my old settings and go back to finding old coins.

I ran in
22 sense
6 gain

After 1 1/2 yr this problem became perment holding the turn on button to go back to factory setting stop working.

pinpointing was like hell and coins have different readings at same sites. I called minelab becuase the detector was still under warranty and the guy started out like this. Well you know how circuit boards get when they get old?????? He was blaming it on the age of the detector and that it was normal for 1 1/2 yr old detector when circuit boards gets old?????? No joke this is what the man said and why i'm giving a rating of 1.

buddy use white 5900 pro that 10yrs old if not older and he's still works like new. I used the se right next to the 5900 and must say the 5900 was good as a detector can get. Xl pro my father use that he bought used still works like new And they don't even make these detector any more. I used white mxt before i got the minelab se. Now I wish I would keep the mxt and just got a back up instead.

Imo your better off to buy 2 detectors like white mxt with xl pro and using the money you save for a good sand scoop and pocket the rest.

Minelab Se when new is top notch dectector but when the circuit boards get old "I guess 1 1/2 yr is old" don't expect any help or service from U.S.A minelab and it's a damn Shame to.

Overall Rating 1 star


This is a real DETECTOR!!!

August 12, 2008
First of all sorry for my english,I'm spanish speaker.

I started to detetc on the beach with the GARRET ACE 250 It was working good and so fast but... when I changed it for the "Minelab Explorer SE" I found a new world in Detection mater also I realized that the "ACE 250" was just a toy!.

the Minelab Explorer SE found everything!!!! Also found very old and deeper coins that my previous detector could find on the same place.

The diferent sounds of the Explorer will tell you what is there, its very accurate and the Pin Point as well. Is not easy to understand the manual from the begining.

Last weekend I was on the beach and there was one guy swepping the beach with the Minelab Souvering and I thought "No chance to get any coin" But once again my Explorer surpriced me with a lot of cions at same place that this guy have been working.

I bought a Buterfly Coil SEF 12x15 and it goes realy deep!!! I test it on the beach and I found coins 15" inches and more deep that I couldn't take because it's not easy to make a hole in the sand.

Every time that I go to the places for detecting I learn something diferent from my Explorer. This is highly recommended.

Good luck and happy detecting!!
For any question please contac me at sanchezaramayo@hotmail.com

Overall Rating 5 stars!


It does what it does very well..learn it and it will reward

March 16, 2008
I have own the Explorer SE now for slightly over a year.I paid $600 for it. Found a great deal and pounced on it.

Here is what I think about the Explorer SE.

If you are new to metal detecting, then go to another machine. Stay away from this one at first.

I have found that there is no one great overall machine. Each detector has its advantages in certain situations. It seems that the complaints about this machine are a direct result of too high expectations because they paid so much for it. I see too many people with the thought that if I paid over $1,200 for a machine, then it should be the best machine ever. It should do this or that.
Advertising is to blame for that.

I own 6 detectors.....
And each one has its advantages and I make sure I don't think that any one detector is the answer to all my needs. They don't make a detector that does that and probably never will.

I have found that the Explorer SE does exactly what it was designed for. It is a very accurate, deep seeking although slow recovery detector that is probably the best at identifying what is in the ground. Good for trashy areas with lots of Iron. You will need a smaller coil.

It has a lot of bells and whistles that allow me to decide to dig or not to dig. It is the best machine in my opinion for highly mineralized ground. It works best when you work slow and easy.

I cannot say the Explorer is the deepest machine available. Any machine can go deep if conditions are right. I have used the Explorer SE after a rain storm and have found silver dimes at almost 15 inches. If I go out during a dry spell, I have a hard time finding anything below 7 inches. But I have had problems with other machines in the same situations. So to say it is the deepest is really stretching things a bit. I think every manufacturer of metal detectors have said that they have the deepest machines.

I see comparisons to the White's machines quite often . I own a Spectrum and I will say that the Spectrum has advantages in certain circumstances. It is faster in recovery and so I can cover more ground with it, especially with a Bigfoot coil. I do have a problem with the White in that it is not as good on silver as the Explorer SE.

Yes the White's are easier to use. The Explorer requires learning it to bring out the best it can be. Don't sell the Explorer SE short. If you learn it, the finds will come.

To spend a couple of hours on a weekend with it every other week will not cut it. If you don't plan on making metal detecting your passion, then find a less expensive machine. The Explorer SE is meant to be used by people who are serious about metal detecting. I can't for the life of me figure out why people spend over a grand for a detector, use it once or twice and then put it in their closet, never to be used again.

To sum it up, the Explorer SE is meant for those who want a very accurate multi frequency detector and use it. It is great for highly mineralized ground. It is a bit slow on recovery. It can in many instances go deeper when other machines do not even register the targets. The multi frequency advantage is the real deciding factor for having this machine. If you cannot figure out how to use the Explorer SE, then get some advice from the people who sold it to you. If they can't or won't help you, then you shouldn't have bought it from them in the first place.

Overall Rating 5 stars!


Not For Newbies

February 22, 2008
This detector is the best but if you are new to the hobby you can get swamped with all the "stuff" you do not know about. Too many people go to the advanced area and try to program etc.. Let me say that again ..ADVANCED. This means your not a beginner. When you buy this machine you should not mess with it until you have a least a season of detecting under your belt. (some people get out more than others so this is a tough call) When you are familiar with all the tones and the displays that corispond with these then you can move up. THIS IS A GREAT MACHINE. I like it because I knew I would grow with it and thats what you need to do. If you are not patient and do not have alot of time to spend on this hobby more specifically this machine buy another. If you do learn it you'll find all the stuff the others do not even know is there. Happy Hunting.

Overall Rating 5 stars!


Short review SE

October 24, 2007
I now have many hours with the SE, these are my findings :

HEAVY : yes, much to heavy
DEEP : very deep
EXPENSIVE : yes, to expensive
DISCRIM : very good, good tone and visual target ID
LOOKS : very good looking
SWING : feels like a sponge, not sturdy enough
LEARNING CURVE : very difficult, but interesting
SENSATIVE : could be better

Overall Rating 4 stars


Minelab SE worth the bucks!

July 20, 2007
I have been a Minelab user now for several years. I have had the Explorer, Explorer II and now the SE. Minelab continues to improve the machine every time I purchase the next model up. I started metal detectuing with the DFX and soon realized I was not really finding the treasures. Once I switched to Minelab, my finds increased and I was having more fun. No to belabor this review with technicalities I would say that in order to switch to the Minelab, be prepared to use your ears more than your eyes. It's a "sound machine" and will find the deep silver. I have no need for other detectors...I have the best.

Overall Rating 5 stars!


My first detector.

May 24, 2007
I put a lot of time and thought into my first purchase. This site was the best source of info I could find.

I wanted a machine I could grow into, not out of. My 2 choices were narrowed down to the Minelab Explorer SE and the Whites DFX. After speaking to many people who have used both, I chose the SE.

It is an amazing machine. I have tested it in my yard, as well as tests at the beach trailing people with different machines. I was shocked at how many targets they had missed.

The "learning curve" is not as bad as some would have you believe. I plucked coins out of the ground from day one. After reading the manual and the expert advice from this forum I pretty much eliminate this mysterious learning curve.

Of course I can not compare the SE to other machines as this is the only one I have owned since childhood. However I can tell you that if the metal is in the ground, this machine will find it.

In 2 weeks I am at well over 100 clad coins, many trinkets and a 1919 wheat penny in great shape. I have found items below 12 inches on the wet beach. This machine is so much fun to use.

I will assume that others who don't like this machine may be used to a lesser quality product and don't want to be bothered with so much information on what lies below the surface. However if there is a coin next to a nail, I want that coin. The SE will signal both. To each their own, but for me I wanted the best and feel like I made the right decision.

I will submit another review in 6 months once I have mastered this product.

I hope this helps.

Overall Rating 5 stars!


Honest se review.

May 21, 2007
Well here is another Minelab Explorer Se review for your reading pleasure , aimed at the potential buyer with as honest a review as possible. I am a Previous experienced user of loads of top of the range and a few bottom of the range detectors and everthing in between over the last many moons (20 + years). Metal detecting can be fun on a site that has good finds buried/lost underground, even the cheapest detectors will find buried coins however you will get about half of the depth with a cheap detector on coins compared with the se , se will give good sweet signals on coins down to around 7 inches , past 7 inches the signal will start to go weaker and many coins will only repeat with a signal from 1 sweep angle , so dont expect loud repeating "flute signals" on deep coins past 7 inches because they sound bad trust me. To get the real deep coins that eveyone is talking about is hard , be prepared to dig alot of rubbish in the process of hunting the 7 - 10 inch+ deep coins. The depth is good on the Explorer se but don't expect to be finding coins at 10 -12 inches because you won't , you will need tons of practice and i mean hundreds of hours experience to know how to get really deep good targets. On sites like grassy parks that have been worked with xlt's the explorer will find deeper silver and copper coins missed with xlt's. The depth is not as good as the hype you hear on the internet like 12 -14 inch deep coins is just rubbish. Expect 8 inches to be mostly the depth you will get coins down to with reasonable signals at 6 -7 inches , at 8 inches coins start to repeat from only 1 sweep angle , this is something i have learned over time. Also iron even 7 inches away from a buried coin can cause the se to go quiet on certain sites. You need to search in a criss cross method because poor or no signal and bad repeatabilty from different search directions are common problems i have encountered in the field. Also i thought i would mention the price , here in the uk the new price is about £1100!. What ever you do don't pay this amount the se detector is no where near worth this amount , the best option is to buy an ex demo unit or a almost new secondhand unit, then if you decide you dont like your se you wont loose hundreds and hundreds of pounds so don't say i didn't warn you. If you are a bill wyman of the world with millions of pounds stuffed into your bank account then go ahead and waste your £1100.When you come to re sell you will be lucky to get half your money back.

Overall Rating 4 stars


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