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Garrett GTAx 550
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|Options||Fisher F44||Garrett GTAx 550|
|Battery Type||2 AA||8 AA|
|Target ID||9-Segment viisual and numerical|
|Tone ID||Adjustable Iron Audio|
|Ability to change coils||Yes||Yes|
|Ground balance||Computerized Ground Balancing + Manual GB||Auto|
|Waterproof||Weatherproof, waterproofcoil||Coil only|
|Number of Reviews|| 4
|Avg. User Rating||3.50||4.11|
|Avg. Durability Rating||3.88|
|Avg. Ease of Use Rating||4.75|
|Avg. Depth Rating||No data available yet|
Most helpful review for Fisher F44Fisher f44-great detector for the money
The F44 provides a lot of performance for a machine a little over $300. No other machine on the market has near the features of the F44 for the money. The custom mode, where tones can be assigned to each category, is an industry first that I'm sure many others will copy. Depth is very good for a low priced machine, and separation is decent.
Fisher advertises it as weatherproof, but I've found that if you're water hunting and happen to drop it, it won't leak. I wouldn't intentionally submerge it though. The build quality is good and light. Just because it doesn't weigh five pounds and made of steel doesn't mean it's not durable. Fisher machines are a lot tougher than they look.
This would be a very good beginner machine, as it's not too complicated. But I've got over 40 years in the hobby and don't feel at a disadvantage using it.
John Samsky from Manassas, Va.
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Most helpful review for Garrett GTAx 550Agreed, a good unit for the money
I have used the GTAx-550 for about two years and have found an 1850 large cent, and a six-inch-deep 1877-S dime in a park I've hunted for nearly 20 years, not to mention a small silver cache and a number of other coins and relics. It is a good middle-of- the-line detector. I used its predecessor, the old GTA-500, for about twelve years, and that machine paid for itself four or five times over, at a conservative estimate. I found coins dating back to the colonial era with that detector, and a rare War of 1812 US Light Dragoons beltplate that I sold for $1,000, despite its being bent, corroded, and ugly.
Here are some minor criticisms of the Garrett machines I have used:
1. Jumpy target ID (though I have learned to "read between the lines" and interpret some of those strange readings. To be fair, most if not all machines will perform erratically over certain targets, like large iron).
2. Less accurate discrimination than other brands I've tried (when set to reject something, the machine still beeps and ID's targets in that range sometimes). Is my sensitivity set too high? Maybe. But I still say the Bounty Hunter, Fisher, Tesoro, and Troy detectors I have used had much cleaner discrimination.
3. Fairly poor salt water beach performance, even when sensitivity is reduced. I could never get my old GTA-500 to work at all on the beach, despite the manufacturer's claims. I have gotten the GTAx-550 to work, but I felt its performance wasn't great. I've seen other folks with cheaper Garrett detectors do okay on the beach, though. I think my lack of success there is due partially my own lack of beachcombing expertise, but not entirely so.
4. The owners' manuals I have read were long on hype and short on useful information. They provided some useful info, but they also tooted their own horn too much and gushed about the product.
Those are my only real criticisms. Everything else is good.
I have noticed that nail and bottlecap rejection on the Garrets I have used (GTA-350, GTA-500, GTAx-550, GTI-2500) is pretty good, at least in my soil conditions, and better than some other brands I've used. I've used Fishers that seemed to love nails- I guess every machine must have that one trash item it really loves. The Garretts seem to like foil- it often reads in the nickel range.
Overall I have more experience with the GTA-500 and its modern counterpart, the GTAx-550, than with any other model or brand of detector. Sure, they have their quirks, but the fact that I've used them for more than a decade should tell you something- they're good machines.
Rob Shinnick from Golden Isles of Georgia
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