The Garrett Ace 250 metal detector is a popular multipurpose machine, having earned a solid reputation as a tough and rugged detector that gets the job done. It also gets a big, green tick as being a very “novice friendly” unit. But, don’t be deceived!
As you would rightly expect, most metal detectors that are well-suited to beginners are fairly basic machines. This, however, is not the case with the Garrett Ace 250.
According to the manufacturer, Garrett Electronics, the Ace 250 is not only an ideal starter metal detector for anyone new to the hobby, BUT it is also a machine that includes a number of advanced and professional features to satisfy the needs of the more experienced detectorist.
The ‘Ace™ series’ from Garrett, especially the “250″ model, have been top selling machines in the U.S. metal detecting hobby industry since its release in 20005. And, the reason for this is pretty straightforward. You get a quality product with a realistic price-tag.
So, if cost is a concern, you’ll be happy to learn that the Ace 250 detector won’t hit your wallet hard. Even with it’s long list of features, the machine is in a price range that will fit into most peoples’ budgets.
And, as Charles Garrett states in his “Founder’s Message”:
…we focused on making the best metal detectors and selling them at a fair and reasonable cost. Since that time , we have been dedicated to making sure our customers are our number one priority…
Founder’s Message: – http://www.garrett.com/mediasite/founders_message.aspx
Is The Garrett Ace 250 Too Technical For A Beginner To Use?
This is a valid point to consider. And, if you’re just starting out in the metal detecting hobby, the mere mention of technically advanced features might scare you off. But don’t let it!
When you read further into the review of the Garrett 250 Ace, you’ll see that these advanced features are quick to learn, and can make finding targets or “treasures” that much simpler and faster.
Yes, there is a learning curve, just like with any new technology or gadget you might try, but it isn’t steep.
“…[Ace 250]..highly dependable, has almost no problems, if it is used correctly! and the users manual is read and followed. There just isn’t a greater detector on the market for its price!!!”
Still a bit shaky, or uncertain when it comes to “tech talk”?
This little snippet about one of the included features of the Ace 250 might ease your concerns.
One of the great features of the detector is it’s ‘Touch-n-Go Operation’. This technology allows you to start detecting as soon as you’ve assembled the machine. That means no fiddling with any settings! Just turn it on, and go with the factory presets.
It’s an ideal solution for anyone who prefers to get their ‘hands dirty’, then start tweaking the search settings once they feel comfortable with the machine. Also, it’s a perfect way to get the kids up and running with treasure hunting!
O.K., if you’re still with me, let’s delve into the review of the Garrett Ace 250, and see if it’s the best metal detector for your needs.
You can read through the review from top to bottom (recommended), or, for your convenience, use the Table of Contents (below) to jump to particular sections you’re interested in finding out more about.
Garrett Ace 250 Treasure Hunter Package
Included in this Package:
Garrett Ace 250 Adventure Pack Fall Special
Included in this Package:
Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector ONLY
Included Features in this Package:
Large 10" Scan Area
Garrett Ace 250 Best Price & Warranty Info.
Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector comes with a 24
month limited warranty,
(limited parts & labor). The full details of the warranty can be
found in the Owner’s
is the standard type of warranted cover you would expect when
purchasing most tools or equipment, however, please note the
sure that you keep proof of purchase (your receipt) in a safe place.
It is required for any warranty claims or repairs. (I say this
because I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve “misplaced” a
receipt for something I’ve bought, and had to jump
through hoops to
get claims verified!)
costs are not covered by the warranty.
buyers must confirm the warranty specifics with the seller. Sometimes
the details change depending on country of purchase.
what is said above, it may sound as though the manufacturer is
difficult to deal with, but that couldn’t be
further from the truth. Comments on forums indicate that the staff at
Garrett are very friendly and helpful.
List of Features
As you will see from the list below, the Ace 250 is feature-loaded. This is what makes the detector appealing to many buyers. You definitely get good value for your money.
- The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen is a good size that makes it easy to configure your settings. And, while it is not backlit, users said that they had no trouble reading the screen in normal daylight conditions. (If you can’t see the screen, then you’re out too late anyways!)
- The detector comes with the standard (6.5″ x 9″) search coil that is interchangeable with other Ace compatible coils, such as the 4.5″ Ace Sniper Search Coil. The nut & bolt assembly at the end of the lower shaft makes changing coils quick and simple. No tools required.
- Factory Preset “Ground Balance”. Garrett have engineered and preset the Ground Balance feature of the Ace 250 to accommodate most common soil mineral compositions. It adapts to the areas where you search. This saves you the trouble of configuring this setting each time you change location.
|• Large LCD Display
|• Electronic Pinpointing (Tone and Visual)
|• Microprocessor Controlled
|• 6.5″ x 9″ PROformance™ Concentric Search Coil with Cable (included)
|• Interchangeable For “Ace Series” Search Coils
|• Light Weight: 2.7lb – (1.2kg)
|• Graphic Target I.D. With 12 Element Notch Discrimination For Greater Accuracy
|• 5 Pre-Set Search Modes – (All Metal, Jewelry, Relic, Coins & Custom)
|• Discrimination “Accept / Reject Notch”
|• 8 Settings For Sensitivity and Depth Adjustment
|• Coin Depth Indicator
|• Tone ID, 3 levels
|• Clear Speaker Tone
|• Push Button Controls
|• Factory Preset Ground Balance
|• ‘Touch-n-Go’ Operation (Push the Power Button and begin hunting using Factory Presets)
|• Battery Condition Indicator (Constant Display Battery Life Meter)
|• 1/4″ Headphone Jack
|• Length: Adjustable 42″ to 51″
|• Disassembles to 24″ (3 pieces) for Travel/Storage
|• Adjustable Arm Cuff
|• Comes with a 50-page Instructional Manual & DVD + “HowTo” videos on Garrett website
|• 24 Month Limited Warranty (Parts & Labor)
“Techs & Specs”
• Length: — Adjustable – 42″ to 51″ (approx. 107cm – 130cm) – (N.B. 3-piece travel/storage, disassembles to 24″)
• Weight: — 2.7lbs – (1.2kg)
• Frequency: — 6.5kHz (Single Frequency Technology also known as ‘Continuous Wave’)
• Power Source: — 4 x ‘AA’ Alkaline Batteries (recommended & included) N.B. NiMH rechargeable batteries may also be used. (see “Batteries” for more information)
Operation – How the Detector Detects!
As mentioned in ‘Features’ section, the Ace 250 can operate in five (5) modes – All Metal, Jewelry, Relic, Coins and Custom. Added to this is the Pinpointing mode, so it actually detects in 6 separate modes.
Essentially, the 250 is a general, or multipurpose metal detector. This allows use of the machine in a wide variety of environments. And, going by the majority of customer feedback, it performs well in each of the 5 settings, especially in the coin and relic hunting modes.
You should note that the electronic pinpointing button is not positioned with the other mode selectors, as it needs to be pressed and held during the pinpointing operation. And, to make access and operation easier, the button is conveniently located on the lower middle section of the control housing face.
Changing the mode of operation is easily done by pressing the ‘Mode’ button, using the “+” or “-” to go up or down. Adjusting the Sensitivity and Discrimination settings, shown in the lower part of the visual display, is also achieved in the same manner. Once again, users found the manipulation of these control buttons a simple and intuitive process.
Custom mode is a highlighted feature of the Garrett Ace 250 metal detector. As the name suggests, this mode allows you to customize and save your favorite search settings.
The final button on the control panel is the ELIM (Elimination) setting. This is a very handy control option. By pressing the push-button you can alter the discrimination patterns of each mode. If you locate unwanted targets while searching you can ‘eliminate’ them. So, next time the detector passes over this “trash”, it will not react.
From our research, we could not find negative comments regarding the modes of operation, either in layout or manipulation of the push-buttons. One thing, however, did stand out. Even though the Ace 250 can be used right out of the box, (‘Touch-n-Go’ Operation), most users will want to tweak the settings at some stage.
However, before you jump in and start altering the settings, sound advice was given in forums, and by the manufacturer. It is very important to read the Owner’s Manual, watch the videos, and do the Bench Test. Doing these things will help you understand the workings of the machine. Added to this, the emphasis is to practice, practice, practice! The more you use it, and get to know your detector, the better ‘hunter’ you’ll become.
Garrett recommends that 4 x ‘AA’ Alkaline Batteries should be used for the optimal performance of the detector. However, they also say that rechargeable Ni-MH batteries are O.K. to use. This is where personal preference comes into play.
Many people will opt for the convenience of Alkaline batteries, and absorb the costs involved. Of course, the on-going expense of these disposables can be offset if you buy in bulk, or search for discounts. And, there always seems to be discounted offers available.
On the other hand, there are probably just as many hobbyists who will prefer to use rechargeable batteries as the power source for their 250. (** N.B. Garrett recommend using ‘AA’ Ni-MH rechargeable's if you decide to go this way).
Are there any performance concerns with Alkaline vs Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries?
According to comments by users in the forums, there doesn’t appear to be any major differences. The only concern that was raised was the worry that rechargeable's might run out of charge faster than Alkaline batteries. Once again, there are conflicting opinions about this matter.
However, from the research we have done, the new breed of rechargeable batteries should not pose a problem. In fact, manufacturers of these batteries claim that they discharge at a more consistent rate and at a higher voltage than alkaline. And, if you check out several of the leading brands of rechargeable, you’ll see that they carry a guarantee of the number of recharges – 500 to 1000 times and higher.
In our opinion, if you are going to use rechargeable batteries for your detector, just choose good-quality Ni-MH batteries and decent charger. And, make sure you recharge them correctly. Also, when installing batteries, make sure they are all at the same charge and type, don’t mix and match. A weaker or dead battery will block the flow of current and cause problems.
Design and Look
The Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector, with it’s black shaft, bright yellow control housing and arm cuff, give the unit a sporty, streamlined appearance. And, weighing in at an ultra-light 2.7lbs (1.2kg), makes it very maneuverable. This also makes it great for kids, as well as the less robust treasure hunter.
• Many consumers noted how light the detector was even when they used it for extended periods of hunting. Arm strain, or fatigue were not problems. In fact, users also commented that the adjustable arm cuff and strap was a great design feature that added to the unit’s comfort and ease of use.
• Easy manipulation of the unit due to the “S-shaped” upper shaft, and the cushioned hand grip.
• Attaching different size search coils to the shaft is done via the “no tools required” nut and bolt system that is described (and illustrated), step-by-step, in the Owner’s Manual.
• The extendable shaft allows the detector to be set at a comfortable length, 42″ to 51″, so it can be adjusted to suit most people.
• The detector’s search configuration buttons (from left to right), Mode – Sensitivity – Discrimination, are of a decent size, and are easy to press. The buttons have “-” and “+” controls on either end to make Mode selection and/or increasing and decreasing Sensitivity or Discrimination ‘push-button’ simple.
• The unit can be broken down into 3 pieces. And, with a disassembled length of just 24″, it makes the detector easy to transport or store away.
Overall, the Ace 250′s build has been well thought out. It’s not only a good-looking machine, but it’s design features are ergonomically tailored for the comfort of the user. Easy to assemble and manipulate, as well as transport or stow away, it gets both “thumbs up” for it’s design features and visual appeal.
Update: A new Ace Detector from Garrett, The Ace 400 was released in 2016 (read more here)
Actual Owner Reviews of the Ace 250
“I like this detector…”
“Great Entry Level Detector…”
“The best detector for starters…”
“way better then average…”
The PROS and CONS Of The ACE 250
The Price. Considering the number of included features, usually associated with top-of-the-range detectors, the Ace 250 is very affordably priced. (click to check current price )
(Graphic Target Analyzer) technology.
Many users commented on how well the 12
Notch Discrimination, Graphic Target I.D. and the 3 Tone Audio
together to assist in greater target identification accuracy. There
were also numerous positive comments about the accuracy of the *Coin
Depth meter, and how all of this combined technology could be
included in a detector at such a low price.
Coin Depth Meter.
As noted in the previous point, the depth indicator is seen as a very
useful feature. However, several experienced hunters mentioned that
it’s best to pinpoint a target’s exact location to get greater
accuracy of a target’s depth. In other words, don’t just rely a
target’s depth as being totally accurate when sweeping with the
it’s worth pointing out that the depth meter is calibrated in 2″
intervals. This means that a “find” that shows a depth of
6-inches may, in fact, be 4 1/2″ or 5″ below the surface –
meaning, always insert “up to” when reading the depth indication
unit is easy and quick to assemble. Tip When
wrapping the cord around detector’s shaft, make sure that it is
loose enough at either end, so that it is not pulling on the
connections to the search loop or the control housing.
machine is ultra-light, weighing in at only 2.7lbs (1.2kg).
Being so light, you have the advantage of being able to hunt for as
long as you like with little risk of arm fatigue. Also great for
layout of the push-buttons/pads on
the control housing screen are all within finger or thumb’s reach.
This enables quick adjustment of settings while operating the unit.
search coil or loop.
Great if you are searching in shallow, fresh water, or areas where
the grass is long and wet.
access to batteries.
Located on top rear of control housing; slip off the cover to check
connections or replace batteries when required.
on” battery life indicator display.
Located on right-hand side of the control screen, next to ‘Coin
Depth’ meter. You will always know the condition of your batteries.
Easily readable, and well set out. (see image in “Operation”
“Touch ‘n Go” technology allows
for immediate use of the detector. Press the power button, and start
hunting in the factory
ability to search in a wide variety of modes – All
Metal / Coin / Relic / Jewelry / Custom.
Each of these factory
preset modes of operation, apart from ‘Custom’, make
it easy for you to get hunting right away. And, just in case you
think you’re restricted with the presets, you’re NOT —
you can adjust the settings to your liking.
This mode allows you to select your own favorite/personal search
settings. Set them however you want, and they will be ‘saved’ by
the detector. Your customized settings will remain in the detector’s
memory even when you turn the machine off, ready for you to use next
time you go exploring.
in “Custom” mode will your settings be saved.
If you alter the settings while operating in the other 4 modes, they
be saved when
the detector is turned off. They will return to the factory presets.
The Few Not So Good Points!
committed to being totally unbiased with the review of the Garrett
Ace 250 Metal Detector,
finding ‘Bad Points’ about it was difficult. It is a popular
machine that performs well. However, I have set out in point form
aspects of the detector that I could find. You’ll note, though, in
most cases there are suggestions on how to overcome these alleged
weaknesses of the unit.
not a widespread complaint, a few users have mentioned that the
shaft develops a bit of a “wobble”.
Apparently, it is where the two sections of the adjustable shaft are
joined, and not being as tight fitting as they could be.
even though these customers see this as a “fault”, they are
quick to suggest possible remedies for the “wobble”. e.g.
Applying a single strip of duct, or electrical tape, or even shrink
wrap, and slipping the sections back together seems to do the trick.
What is surprising though, is that very few people have considered
this flaw to be a justifiable reason to return their machine to the
manufacturer. They say that it is simple enough to stabilize the
movement of the detector’s shaft if needed, and doesn’t detract
from the Ace 250′s overall performance.
thing that was noted was that there’s no
volume control of
the built-in speaker. It is located in the control housing, and is
quite loud. Now, while some people might not see this as a problem,
because it would definitely help with the detection of possible
targets, the loudness could be very distracting for other nearby
hunters. You certainly wouldn’t earn any merit points from fellow
detectorists, or anyone living in the vicinity of your hunt.
is a solution to this problem. Buy a set of headphones. Most popular
brands on the market today come with volume control. And, you don’t
need an expensive set, but that again is your choice. You will find
that metal detector enthusiasts nearly always hunt with headphones,
and often remark that, “…most people eventually hunt by sound
alone…”. A good set of headphones will help pick up the softer,
less audible signals, and possibly prevent you missing out on a
Video: Get a Closer Look at the Garrett Ace 250