Minelab Explorer XSPrice: $800
Based on 36 reviews
Avg. Durability: 3.80
Avg. Ease of use: 3.40
Explorer XS - A Good Secondhand Choice
Firstly the bad points: It is heavy, it is hard to learn, the small headphone socket has to be converted to a large one with an adapter and these are always dreadful, pinpoint is poor, iron can sound like copper.
Now the good points: If tuned properly it can provide a lot of target information, it is capable of finding very small, and also large deep targets with just the one coil, build quality is good (I abuse mine disgracefully and generally it takes it), it can be tuned heavily if so desired.
I hunt UK farm sites only, using the XS with a standard Explorer II 10" coil (more on that in a minute) - some are very quiet, some are heavily mineralised. The XS is capable of hunting down very small Roman coins (right down to minims weighing just 0.2 grams), small hammered pennies and (so far), has found me 2 gold celtic quarter staters both of about 1.5 grams in weight. It seems to excel at winkling out small objects which give a characteristically low 'blap', though a slow swing speed is a must in such circumstances. It is chattery in iron soil, and I also find that with low discrimination 'blingy' iron can sound remarkably like a large copper coin. The coin gives a cleaner signal if 'scrubbed' but the similarity must result in lost targets (I don't scrub all targets all the time!)
By way of demonstration I recently detected a Roman site under moderate Winter wheat (March), found 15 Roman 'grots' then bumped into a bloke with a Minelab X Terra 70. He had not found a thing. I demonstrated the presence of the grots by finding 3 within a couple of yards of where we stood. He changed coils (7.5KHz which isn't ideal for grot shooting I do agree), detected until 11pm and got just one 'grot'. The XS would have picked up perhaps a dozen in that time. So the multi-frequency works. - I have found 30 + grots in a day on heavily mineralised Roman sites several times by slowly scrubbing the ground with the XS and listing for that low 'blap blap'.
Other informational 'nuggets': My original XS coil failed after 3 years. Too much abuse. The XS workings suffer in very heavy rain. If the circuits get slightly damp the screen fails but the detector keeps on working (!). I once got muddy water into it, took the case off, washed the board in distilled water, gave it a few days to dry out, then got right back on detecting with it. The default settings should never be used when hunting for grots or small hammered coins - just descrim out the top left hand corner of the screen. Only use Audio 3 mode in the quietest of conditions - it turns the coil into a dustbin lid and the noise will be deafening in trashy soil.
In all the XS is a powerful, very tuneable multi-frequency unit capable of winkling out the small coins found on UK farmland sites. It isn't perfect but at £300 - £400 is a very good secondhand buy indeed.
Charles from London UK
Chas from England
Deepest on salt
I never use the multifrequency minelabs on inland sites. For those, I stick to my trusted tesoros on iron littered sites or to the minelab advantage, which is very deep too.
Jacques from Netherlands
Moss from New Mexico
While the programmable functions are great the
discriminator leaves a lot to be desired. Beach hunting in high trash beaches produce many coins but little or no jewelry unless your willing to dig everything.
I like the explorer xs but it was overpriced.
Mike b from Lynn Mass
Minelabman from Old park
Bill from Savannah, GA
Terry from Mo
The deepest coin I located was a quarter at 7". Maybe in high mineralized soil things would be different but in my area's low mineralized soil my other machines (Fishers) had several inches depth advantage over the XS. I owned it for 16 months and it was slightly better than my DFX but when I tried some Fishers there was no going back.
I'm not bashing this machine, it's a top end unit and has secured a place above most other machines, but there are detectors that are measurably better.
Joey from USA
I mainly hunt in constant,iron mask 12,audio 3,volume 10,limits 9,variability 9,gain 8.A lot of explorer users search with too much sensitivity, dont be scared of turning it down, i use 14 quite often and rarely go over 22, turn it down till you have a stable threshold then turn it up another 2.
I always use the 15 inch wot coil and never have any problems. Most of my sites are junky roman and medieval. Just go slow and scrub the soil lightly as you do, 1.5 seconds a sweep till you find a productive area then 3 seconds a sweep when you hit a productive area,your finds rate will increase 3 fold.It"s the tops.
Neil Jones from ?