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Minelab Excalibur II
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Fisher 1280x Aquanaut


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Minelab Excalibur II
Fisher 1280x Aquanaut
Feature comparison between Minelab Excalibur II and Fisher 1280x Aquanaut
Options Minelab Excalibur II Fisher 1280x Aquanaut
Detector Type VLF Beach Detector VLF Beach Detector
Price $1200 $800
Manufactured in 2008 1985
Battery Type NiMH Pack 8 AA
Weight (Lbs.) 4.6 5.1
Operating frequency 1.5 - 25.5 kHz. 2.4 KHz.
Display None
Backlight No
Target ID Audio Audio+LED Light
Tone ID Multi Tone
Search Modes
  • Discriminate
  • Pinpoint A/M
Ability to change coils No No
Ground balance Auto Auto
Waterproof 200 feet 250 feet
Warranty 1 Year 5 Years
Number of Reviews graph 13
graph 5
graph 3
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graph 8
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Avg. User Rating 3.80 4.31
Avg. Durability Rating 2.78 4.80
Avg. Ease of Use Rating 3.11 4.80
Avg. Depth Rating
Depth value
Depth value

Most helpful review for Minelab Excalibur II

Can't beat the Excalibur II for beach hunting
I have owned the Excalibur 800 blue version just prior to the newest Excalibur II and now own the Excalibur II 1000.

The Excalibur II 1000 is one awesome beach machine.

I really like the coverage of the 10 inch coil and the new electronics in the II's. The newest version seems to be more stable than the older versions. I also like the design of the new coil as the new 10 inch coil is as easy or easier to pull through the water as the old 8 inch. It is lighter for sure and also is slimmer which aids in the movement through the water.

Pin pointing is a snap with the Excalibur II. It does take practice but the pin pointing will come to be natural after a very short while.

I like to run in all metal all the time and use the discrimination mode to check to see if the target is iron or something of value.
All metal mode does seem to be deeper in most instances.


I would highly recommend getting a straight shaft for the Excalibur as the ergonomics of the Excalibur's factory shaft is really uncomfortable.
The older versions of the Excalibur had the older headphones which were uncomfortable and not really all that good. The new Koss yellow headphones are a marked improvement over the older blue headphones. Not having to change the headphones to after market headphones will save you around $175.

I would also recommend getting an extra battery pod for the Excalibur as you will be spending lots of time on the beach with this machine.

Don't sell the Excalibur II 1000 short for land detecting. I use mine for land detecting and it is as deep as the Sovereign which is the land only version of the Excalibur which is to say that it is very very deep. 17 frequencies running all at the same time allows for most targets to be detected even in some pretty bad conditions like black sand.

Don't forget that you will need a good sturdy sand scoop if you are using the Excalibur on the beaches. Hit those beaches at low tide and watch what you will find. Amazing!

If you are looking for a great amphibious detector then the Excalibur II 1000 is a very good choice.
Steve from Ohio from Akron, Ohio USA

Thumbs up! 119
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Most helpful review for Fisher 1280x Aquanaut

5 stars for using it for what it was designed for
I have owned a Fisher 1280X for about 14 years. In those 14 years I have used this machine to find many gold, silver and diamond rings. I have also found many silver coins (Pre 1965) and tons of old pennies plus tons of clad coins.

I have also used it as a rain detector for days when it is raining...which by the way is the best day to hunt due to ground conductivity being better when wet.

I have found that this detector is best used for
freshwater swimming holes and lakes, and
land searching where there is not a lot of trash.
It does discriminate but with noise. It will make a chit chit chit noise and not a smooth tone when finding good targets.

As far as saltwater and beach hunting goes, It is a great dry sand beach hunter with a fairly good discrimination to let you know if it is a good target or not. I have found a few gold rings down to about 13 inches with the 1280X on beaches. Just stay away from the water line at saltwater beaches. The black sand and the movement of the water under the coil will cause the machine to bark and it is very annoying making the 1280x almost useless. But get this machine's coil totally into the water away from the shoreline and this machine almost acts like a PI machine with discrimination.

I really like the idea of being able to submerse the whole machine including the headphones. The 1280X is at home best underwater. You never know when you might trip in the water and get dunked all the way. I have seen guys cover their land machines not designed for water hunting with plastic bags and watched them ruin their machines as they fell in the water. The 1280X was designed for water and for that it is fantastic.

That is why I have kept this machine for so long. It is a great fresh water hunter anywhere and a great salt water hunter if you stay away from the shore line.

This machine is very easy to use. Just 3 control knobs. Volume, Sensitivity and Discrimination. Very easy to use and understand. That is probably why so many professionals use this machine. Very simple and very effective.

The battery life is about 50 hours, 8 AA penlight batteries. I have never had any mechanical problems with the Fisher 1280x.

Once you learn how to use the 1280X and what makes what noises, you will find this machine a joy to use.

Just remember, use it for what is was designed for and it will reward you with lots of finds.
Steve from Cleveland, OH

Thumbs up! 124
Read all reviews for Fisher 1280x Aquanaut