Garrett Ace 250 Reviews – In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

Positioned squarely in the middle of the Garrett range of metal detectors, the Garrett Ace 250 is promoted as a lightweight detector that is suitable for beginners but also packed with features that can often only be found in more expensive detectors.

The Garrett ACE 250 is one of Garrett’s worldwide best sellers of all time.

Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector with Submersible Search Coil Plus Headphones

In this review, we investigate why the ACE 250 is such a good seller and how it lives up to its reputation as one of the most popular detectors in the Garrett range.

Garret ACE 250 Reviews

The ACE 250 is the little brother of the newer ACE 300 metal detector. It is an entry-level detector that operates at a fixed frequency of 6.5Khz. The VLF frequency makes it a good choice for coin, jewelry and relic hunting.

Some of the key features include

  • Electronic Pinpointing
  • Accept/Reject Discrimination
  • Five Search Modes
  • Continuous Coin Depth Indicator
  • Interchangeable Coils

Our Verdict (If you’re in a hurry)

The Garrett ACE 250 is one of the best selling metal detectors of all time for good reason. It is a low cost, highly featured, entry-level detector for beginners that is packed with features and value for money.

The control panel is easy to use and the legends make it easy to discriminate between different targets without having to understand the numbers on a VDI display. It is also highly sensitive and often needs to be operated at half signal strength to avoid false positives.

We recommend that you get a headset with volume control. The unit itself doesn’t have a way to adjust the volume and the speaker is quite loud.

At this price point, it makes an ideal backup detector for experienced detectorists.

Overall, you can’t go wrong by getting an ACE 250. It will hold its resale value and will serve you well for years to come.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very lightweight and easy to swing all day
  • Excellent price
  • Nice tone ID
  • Very sensitive

Cons

  • External speaker is loud with no volume control (get headphones)
  • Pinpointing is not very sharp
  • Sometimes it is too sensitive (Stay between 4 and 6)
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All about the Garrett ACE 250

Design

ace250 diagram - Garrett Ace 250 Reviews - In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

Assembly of the unit is very straight forward and only takes a few minutes.

There are detailed instructions included in the box. When the unit is disassembled, it breaks down to 24 inches and it can be assembled and disassembled without tools. You will require a screwdriver if you want to adjust the arm cuff – bt this is normally a one-off exercise when you first get unbox the unit.

Weighing in at around 2.7 lbs, the ACE is lightweight and extremely comfortable to use. The arm cuff is adjustable and provides greater comfort when you are using the unit for extended periods of time.

By adjusting the length of the stem, the total length can range between 40 and 53 inches. This makes the unit suitable for the height of most people. At its shortest length of 40 inches, even an 8-year-old can manage the unit with ease.

The Garrett ACE 250 has a 1/4 inch headphone jack and runs off four AA batteries that are included in the box. There is no volume control built into the unit. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing a headset, as you will probably want to get headphones that have their own volume control.

You can expect the batteries to last for between 20 and 25 hours. To save money, you should consider investing in a set of rechargeable AA batteries. This will slightly reduce the running time – but the long term savings will be worthwhile. Even with the reduced run time, you are not likely to run out of power over a two or three-day hunt.

To make it easier to transport the unit around, the box also includes a 3-piece storage or travel bag.

When considering a purchase, keep in mind that there are different packs available. Some packs include headphones or different search coils, so you will want to check what is included before making a purchase.

Search Coil

The ACE 250 is normally supplied with the 6.5" x 9" concentric PROformance™ coil. This is the same coil supplied with the ACE 150, 200 and 250 metal detectors.

ace250coil - Garrett Ace 250 Reviews - In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

It is an ideal choice for using over trashy ground and has a good range of depth.

However, like most metal detectors, the coil can be changed for different models and purposes. Larger coils will allow detection at greater depths but may mask targets that are close together. While smaller coils will give greater sensitivity and separation at the expense of covering less ground with a single sweep.

The 250 is sensitive to small objects and gold and you will find it performs like detectors costing three times as much. The 12-inch coil will get you another 2-3 inches in depth and operates and pinpoints just like the standard coil. The Sniper coil is hot in trashy areas and gets great depth for a small coil and is sensitive to small objects

You may also want to consider getting a DD search coil for even more depth and separation.

However, keep in mind that the standard coil will probably give the best overall performance. Not only because of testing carried out by the manufacturer – but also because it is one of the best selling metal detectors in the world for good reason.

Coil Cover

The standard unit is not supplied with a coil cover. A coil cover can help avoid scratches and damage to your coil, and the detector can be operated with the coil cover in place as they do not affect the coil depth. Getting the cover on in the first place can be a little tricky. The fit is tight and perseverance will pay off in the end. Once the over is in place, you won’t need to worry about it falling off all the time.

It’s worthwhile considering the investment – but keep in mind that a coil cover can be easily added at a later date and that you may decide to upgrade the coil to a larger model or a different design once you get more into the hobby.

Covers can be purchased from Amazon or most leading metal detector stores.

Target ID and Discrimination

Knowing the difference between a silver nickel and an iron nail will make all the difference between finding treasure and wasting time digging unnecessary holes.

Instead of using a numerical target indicator, the ACE 250 has a panel with 12 segments that make it easy to identify what has been found.

control panel2 1 - Garrett Ace 250 Reviews - In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

Each segment has a simple legend above it that tells you whether the object is likely to be iron, gold, bronze or silver. The gold and silver sections are broken down further into different coin sizes.

Individual segments can be enabled or disabled by selecting one of the preset modes down the left-hand side of the panel or by disabling individual segments as they are detected. The detector has three different tones, and with a bit of practice, you can quickly identify if you are over iron or silver without needing to keep looking at the control panel.

When a segment is disabled, the metal detector will stop making a tone when those types of items are detected. Even though the tone is disabled, the top indicator will still be visually highlighted.

The right-hand side of the panel gives an indication of how deep the target is below ground level. The scale is calibrated for the different coin sizes and works for other metal objects. Items that are smaller than coins will be shown at a greater depth than they really are.

Search Modes

The ACE 250 comes with five preset search modes. These preset modes turn on and off the various bars mentioned above.

Mode Description
All Metal This mode detects every type of metal. You will notice that every bar is enabled. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, this is the right choice.
Jewelry This mode is designed to find watches, bracelets, rings, and necklaces. You will find that the two leftmost bars will be disabled. This will allow the detector to ignore nails, bottle caps, and other trash items. In some cases, the metal detector will confuse pull tabs with rings.
Custom This mode allows you to save a custom set of enabled bars. The settings will be stored even when the detector is turned off.
Relics This mode ignores small iron items while still detecting brass and lead objects.
Coins Instead of targeting jewelry, the coin mode is designed to ignore trash, pull tabs and iron objects. Its primary focus is to make coin hunting easier. The coins shown are a guide to the size of the coin/object and not a limitation of specific coins. Foreign and historical coins of a similar size and metal composition will be shown under bars that are relevant to their size.

Control Panel

As well as setting search modes and enabling or disabling individual targets, the ACE 250 panel has several other buttons that control various aspects of the metal detector

control panel3 - Garrett Ace 250 Reviews - In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

Button Purpose
Mode The mode button is used to select different search targets. The modes are described in the previous section.
Sensitivity The sensitivity button cycles the search depth between one and eight bars. You will need to balance the sensitivity against the targets you are detecting. Setting too high a sensitivity will often result in more items of trash being detected and more false signals. In our experience, you are better off leaving the sensitivity at a lower value.
Discrim and Elim These two buttons work together to enable and disable various targets. Use the Discrim button too select the target type (eg 10c, 50c etc). Use the Elim button to toggle the bar on or off.
Pwr use this button to turn the metal detector on and off
Pinpoint Enable pinpointing mode (described below)

The panel can be easily read in bright sunlight. The use of target bars instead of a digital number makes it extremely easy for beginners to understand what has been found.

Frequency

Operating at a fixed 6.5Khz, the ACE 250 is ideal for coin, jewelry or relic hunting.

The VLF frequency is not as useful if you are prospecting for tiny gold nuggets (vs gold jewelry) or searching over ground that has a high level of mineralization.

In this case, you might want to opt for a model like the ACE 300 or 400, which operate in the 8 and 10kHz ranges. The higher frequencies also make it easier to find small objects and are a lot more sensitive to jewelry and small gold nuggets

Is the Garrett ACE 250 Waterproof?

Using the search coil underwater will be fine. It works up to 10 feet deep. Just make sure you don’t get the control box wet or drop it in water. It is not waterproof and even leaving the unit out in the rain can cause the electronics to fail.

Once you begin to recognize the various tones and have set up your custom discrimination, invest in the control box cover to protect the electronics from rain, mist, and mud.

The cover is one of those things you wish you had when you are a mile from your car and it starts to rain.

Pinpointing with the ACE 250

The ACE 250 is equipped with a Pinpoint button that can be activated to make pinpointing more accurate.

After detecting a target, hold the pinpoint button down while slowly sweeping from left to right, and front to back. The maximum sound should be heard when the center of the coil is directly over the target. As well as listening to the tone, the signal strength scale will be at its maximum when you are directly overhead the object.

The pinpoint location is almost always in the center of the coil.

If you have trouble with a target turn ninety degrees to the target and scan it again and you’ll hit it right on.

For maximum effectiveness, the search coil should be in direct contact with the ground. This ensures the distance between the coil and the ground remains constant throughout the process. This is called “coil scrubbing”.

Video Review

The following video by Carolina Coin Hunter shows the ACE 250 in action and explains what many of the options and buttons on the control box are used for.

Warranty

The metal detector is made in Garland, Texas. It comes with a 2 year parts and labor warranty. The warranty card is included in the box.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the correct Garrett Ace 250 Gold Setting?

Instead of selecting the jewelry or coin setting, manually enable the 2nd, 3rd and 4th block on the discriminator. Most gold will register in the same area as the 5 cent and foils.

ace250gold - Garrett Ace 250 Reviews - In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

When you use this setting, the search is optimized for gold rings and bands. The leftmost block picks up the small white gold and platinum rings that read quite low in the foil range.

However, if you are looking for gold nuggets, it would be better to get a model with the digital VDI display. A two-digit (99) VDI display will make it easier to discriminate gold from other metals. (Eg the Delta 4000) Another option is to get the ACE Sniper coil. It is only 4.5″ wide – but it can detect pellets as tiny as 0.177

Number Probable Target
56 Nickel
58 10 karat Gold
64 14 karat Gold
68 18 karat Gold
77 Zinc cents and Indian head cents
82 Older pre 1983 Copper cents, Clad dimes, Silver dimes
Mid 80’s Quarters
High 80’s Halves
60 Aluminium pull tabs
58 to 68 Natural Unrefined Gold

Unfortunately, the ACE250 doesn’t have a VDI readout – so you will need to make do with the earlier tip of manually enabling 3 of the discrimination blocks and getting used to the tones for each type of metal. If you have the money, you can upgrade to the ACE 300 or the Delta 4000 to make use of the digital target id (VDI).

What are the i models?

Many of the Garrett metal detectors have a sister model that ends with the letter “i”. For example, the ACE 400 and the ACE 400i.

The “i” models are targeted at the international market and have a few key differences to the US market.

garrettimodels - Garrett Ace 250 Reviews - In Depth Analysis, Tips and Comparison

In the image shown above, the international version has had the coin marking removed (as they were USA specific), the depth marker is in cm instead of inches, and the iron (or ferrous) bar has been extended. When it comes to the various tones the detector makes, the coin tone has been expanded to sound when Europe/UK and Canadian coins are found, and the mid-tone is reserved for ferrous/non-ferrous transition (ie foil range)

Garrett ACE 250 Coil Upgrade

A standard 6.5″ x 9″ concentric PROformance™ coil comes with the ACE 250 metal detector.

It is a good all-round coil that can be used underwater and matches the control box when it comes to depth and signal strength.

If you are considering upgrading your coil, you have several options available to you. Selecting the correct coil will largely depend on your target metal and the quality of the ground you are covering. Some coils are better over trashy ground or near metal poles and benches.

If you are looking for more depth, better detection in mineralized soils, and better separation, consider getting the 8.5 x 11 inch DD coil. (Garrett Part# 2222000)

A similar (non Garrett) coil is the NEL Tornado 12 x 13 DD coil. It copes extremely well with high and medium soil salinity.

If you’re looking for gold nuggets, which can sometimes be very small, you will want to opt for a smaller sniper coil. The ACE Super Sniper™ is an ideal choice. (Garret Part# 2221800)

Because of its small size, the sniper coil gives excellent separation and can pick up items between trash and near playground equipment that would otherwise be missed with a larger coil. They are also excellent for hunting along chain link fences where jackets are often tossed and lots of good targets can be found.

Garrett ACE 150 vs 250

The is an earlier version of the ACE 250 with fewer search modes and without pinpointer functionality. The control panel has fewer buttons and a simpler layout.

Feature ACE 250 ACE 150
Discrimination Segments Adjustable Fixed
All-Metal Mode Yes Yes
Jewelry Mode Yes Yes
Coin Mode Yes Yes
Relic Mode Yes No
Custom Mode Yes No
Pinpoint Yes No
Sensitivity Scale 8 4
Digital VDI Target ID No No

You can normally find the 150 model online for $50 to $60 less than the ACE 250. However, in our opinion, you are much better off paying a little bit extra and getting the 250 if you can afford it.

While the 250 comes with 5 search modes and pinpointer functionality, the 150 only includes All-metal, Jewelry, and Coin modes. You also can’t turn off individual discrimination bars and the sensitivity bar has fewer segments than the 250.

Garrett ACE 200 vs 250

The ACE 200 model is one of the simplest metal detectors in the Garret range. It has only three buttons and three search modes. It doesn’t have pinpointing capabilities or the ability to enable and disable individual discrimination bars.

Like the 150 model, it can search for all-metal, coins and jewelry.

Feature ACE 250 ACE 200
Discrimination Segments Adjustable Fixed
All-Metal Mode Yes Yes
Jewelry Mode Yes Yes
Coin Mode Yes Yes
Relic Mode Yes No
Custom Mode Yes No
Pinpoint Yes No
Sensitivity Scale 8 4
Digital VDI Target ID No Yes

As well as the symbolic panel representing different metals and coin sizes, the ACE 200 includes the new 2 digit VDI readout which is not included with the ACE 250.

Garrett ACE 250 vs 300

The next step up from the ACE 250 is the ACE 300 model. It costs around $50 more and includes several additional features.

Instead of two iron discrimination segments, this unit has 4 segments. It also operates at 8kHz instead of 6.5kHz. When you combine this with the larger concentric coil, this gives greater depth and accuracy of detection.

One of the main differences is that the ACE 300 includes the VDI Digital Target ID. This two-digit display makes it easier to sort between different target types. (Eg 10k and 18k gold)

Compare Garrett ACE 250 and 350

The ACE 350 is shipped with the 11 inch DD coil. This gives you increased separation and better handling of ground mineralization.

When you combine this with the higher operating frequency of 8.25kHz, the ACE 350 is more sensitive to smaller low conductive targets like foil, nickels, gold, and pull tabs.

While both metal detectors utilize 12 target id cursor segments, the Ace 350 incorporates four iron discrimination segments instead of the two found on the Ace 250. This may be beneficial to relic hunters interested in finding some, but not all, iron targets.

Garrett ACE 250 vs Fisher F2

A lot of detectorists find the Fisher F2 metal detector to be superior to the ACE 250.

It has a much faster recovery rate and can identify items that are closer together than the ACE is capable of identifying.

One of the key reasons experienced detectorists prefer the Fisher F2 is because of the accuracy of the two-digit VDI display which lets you know what type of metal you have found without having to dig.

While the ACE 250 has twelve segments, the two-digit VDI display on the Fisher F2 can display values between 00 and 99. It can accurately separate 10, 14 and 18 karat gold (as well as a wide range of other metals).

If you are not located in the USA, you will quickly figure out the values that relate to local coins and metals to create a custom chart for your area.

Fisher F2 Pros

  • Very accurate location pinpointing. A targetted shallow 2″ plug will almost always result in a find
  • Much faster recovery rate
  • Dual digit target ID system instead of a 12 segment discriminator gives more accurate identification
  • Comes with a 2nd 4.5″ coil for playgrounds or trashy areas.
  • 5-year warranty (vs 2 years on the Ace)
  • Better sounds
  • Ability to have quieter sound output
  • Lighter weight
  • Doesn’t give false targets as often as the Ace
  • No random beeping with the sensitivity turned down just slightly
  • 4 audio tones (vs 3 on the Ace)
  • Significantly better target separation if 2 targets are sitting close (some people say the F2 beats out many $1500 machines)
  • Very deep Iron detection (reports of up to 1/2 meter deep for larger war relics)

Fisher F2 Cons

  • Requires 2 x 9V batteries that last for 10 hrs (instead of 4x AA’s used by the Ace that lasts much longer)
  • Lighter duty construction over Ace
  • Coins below 6 to 8″ can give strange readings or are hard to find
Fisher Labs F2 Metal Detector w/ 11" DD (F2-11DD)
  • 8-Segment visual target identification and 4-tone audio ID
  • 2-digit numeric target value
  • One-touch pinpoint with numeric depth readout
  • Coin depth indicator in motion search mode
  • 8" concentric search coil

Teknetics Delta 4000 vs Garrett ACE 250

When you talk to experienced detectorists, you will find the overwhelming opinion is that the Delta 4000 is a better choice than the ACE 250.

The Delta 4000 has a VDI 2 digit display that provides accurate analysis of targets. The 12 segment discriminator of the ACE 250 is good for beginners.

When the Delta indicates a value of 58, 64 or 68 (on a scale of 1 to 99), there is a good chance that the item is made of gold. Aluminum pull-tabs fall right in the middle of this range of numbers and tend to show up with a value of 60 on the digital display.

On the ACE detector, it can be hard to tell the difference between gold items and pull-tabs with the more limited 12 segment display.

When it comes to warranty, the Delta 4000 comes with a 5-year warranty and the ACE 250 comes with a 2-year warranty.

Delta 4000 Pros

  • Dead on exact location pinpointing (literally dig a 2″ plugin most cases for shallow finds) vs the Ace
  • Much faster recovery rate over Ace
  • Doesn’t give false targets as often as the Ace
  • Dual digit target ID system
  • 5-year warranty vs 2 years on Ace
  • Even lighter than the Fisher F2
  • Better target separation if 2 targets are sitting close
  • Only needs 1x 9V battery lasting 25 hours
  • Adjustable volume control
  • True “All Metal” mode which will get very deep coins, and also works on wet beaches
  • Works over snow

Delta 4000 Cons

  • Comes with headphones & pinpointer but no 2nd coil
  • 3 audio tones vs 4 of the F2 (3 on the Ace)
  • More expensive than the F2
Teknetics Delta 4000 Metal Detector
  • User-friendly metal detector ideal for coin shooting, relic hunting, and gold prospecting
  • Large, easy-to-read LCD display with 2-digit numerical target ID system
  • Running depth indicator identifies target depths from 0 to 8 inches
  • Discrimination and All Metals modes; 3-tone audio discrimination
  • Runs for up to 25 hours on single 9-volt battery; 7.8 kHz operating frequency

11 Expert Tips for the Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector

The Garrett 250 is excellent to use in the field. It is light and easy to learn. We like the fact it can be easily handled by children and adults alike.

Tip 1. Tape the coil cable straight up the lower rod. That way you can run sensitivity much higher without too many false signals.

Tip 2. Hunt in the Relic or All Metal Mode. If you start notching out more you will easily lose 2 inches of depth.

Tip 3. If an area is too noisy, switch to coin mode as it will filter out most of the trash without missing coins,

Tip 4. If you get a weak signal, try to swing the coil faster over the target. That improves target ID and depth.

Tip 5. If the target just jumps in the coin range, it is a deep coin most of the time. If it jumps all over the ID range it is trash.

Tip 6. If you use the sniper coil run sensitivity as close to max as you can. You can still get coins 6 to 7 inches deep! This small sniper coil is important for trashy sides (around old houses, around trees in parks). The standard coil sees too many targets at once and good targets will be masked by trash.

Tip 7. If the pinpointing area seems too large, go to the side of the target and press and immediately release the pinpoint button. Then press and hold it and go OVER the target, as normal. That is called “detuning” and the target will shrink and be in the center of the coil.

Tip 8. Try to concentrate on the sounds and ignore the screen as much as possible until you are more familiar with your machine.

Tip 9. For general hunting, keep the sensitivity at between 4-6 and don’t go too slow with your sweeps. Use an even lower sensitivity around 2 when you are close to metal poles and benches.

Tip 10. Most newbies will make a simple mistake when they first get the unit. Because of their keenness to find things, they will wind the sensitivity up to the maximum value (of 8 bars). The ACE 250 is highly sensitive. Using a sensitivity value of 4 will give much better results and avoid much of the trash and wasted digging time.

Tip 11. Finding gold rings: Set the detector to coin mode with an extra block added to the left of the nickel block. This is because small white gold and platinum rings tend to appear in the foil range. Because the bars are quite wide, you will need to dig a few pull tabs to ensure you don’t miss these targets.

Bonus Tip: Good places to search are grass areas near public swimming areas, parks, jogging trails, where frisbees are thrown etc. Other places to check are volleyball courts, swimming holes and kids playgrounds.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very lightweight and easy to swing all day
  • Excellent price
  • Nice tone ID
  • Very sensitive

Cons

  • External speaker is loud with no volume control (get headphones)
  • Pinpointing is not very sharp
  • Sometimes it is too sensitive (Stay between 4 and 6)

Conclusion

The Garrett ACE 250 is one of the best selling metal detectors of all time for good reason. It is a low cost, highly featured, entry-level detector for beginners that is packed with features and value for money.

The control panel is easy to use and the legends make it easy to discriminate between different targets without having to understand the numbers on a VDI display. It is also highly sensitive and often needs to be operated at half signal strength to avoid false positives.

We recommend that you get a headset with volume control. The unit itself doesn’t have a way to adjust the volume and the speaker is quite loud.

At this price point, it makes an ideal backup detector for experienced detectorists.

Overall, you can’t go wrong by getting an ACE 250. It will hold its resale value and will serve you well for years to come.

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Image credits: amazon.com, garrett.com