Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)

With the Garrett Ace 250 being one of the best selling metal detectors in the world, we compare it to the Garrett 300 and discover nine key differences.

How does one detector compare to the other when it comes to sensitivity, features and its ability to detect different metal types at various depths?

We cut through the jargon and explain the differences in simple terms.

We also look at a couple of features that probably won’t make any difference to your decision and find out that one of the differences is nothing more than marketing hype.

By the time you finish reading, you can be confident in selecting the model that will best serve your needs, and balance features and performance against their associated cost.

Our Verdict (If you’re in a hurry)

For an extra twenty or thirty dollars, you can’t go wrong getting the Garrett ACE 300.

It has a better discrimination circuit and can detect a single coin between two bits of iron.

When you factor in the two-digit VDI display and the new low tone when you detect iron, you simply have to admit that it is the better choice.

However, with that said, if you are on a tight budget, the ACE 250 is a top performer and is one of the most popular detectors in the world for good reason.

In the end you can’t go wrong selecting either model – but the Garrett ACE 300 (or 300i) is the winner in our eyes.
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best pick - Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)
 
Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector with Submersible Search Coil Plus Headphones
Garrett Metal Detectors Ace 300 Metal Detector, GAR1141150
 
Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector with Submersible Search Coil Plus Headphones
Garrett Metal Detectors Ace 300 Metal Detector, GAR1141150
General Specifications
Brand
Garrett
Garrett
Model
ACE 250
ACE 300
Key Specs
Circuitry Type
VLF
VLF
Coil Type and Size
Concentric 6.5″ x 9″
Concentric 7″ x 10″
Size and Weight
Adjustment Length
42″ to 51″
40″ to 53″
Weight
2.7 lbs
2.8 lbs
Detection
Operating Frequency
6.5 kHz
8 kHz
Modes
All Metal, Jewelry, Relic, Coins, Pinpoint, Custom
ZERO-DISC, Jewelry, Relic, Coins, Pinpoint, Custom
Detection Depth
10″ for coins, 24″ for large objects
10″ for coins, 24″ for large objects
Sensitivity
8 adjustments
8 adjustments
Ground Balance
Preset
Preset
Features
Display
LCD
Backlit LCD
Audio Identification
2 Tones
3 Tones
Target ID
12 segment discriminator
0 to 99 VDI scale
Water resistance
Waterproof coil and shaft
Waterproof Coil and shaft only (not the control box)
Batteries
4 x AA
4 x AA
Warranty
2 years
2 years
Extras
Interchangeable search coils, Adjustable arm cuff, Pinpointing, 1/4″ headphone jack
Volume control, Control box cover, Camlocks, Pulse-width modulated audio, Pinpointing

Things to consider before buying

Digital VDI Display and Target Discrimination

One of the most significant differences comparing the Garrett Ace 250 vs the Ace 300 relates to the way it notifies you of what it has discovered under the soil or sand.

It’s all good and well knowing that you have discovered metal – but the sign of a good metal detector is its ability to discriminate between targets. If you can be confident that you have come across a pull tab instead of a coin, you can avoid the need to dig and move on to the next target. This is especially true when covering trashy ground.

The Garrett 250 comes with a 12 segment discriminator panel

control panel2 1 - Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)

Each of the segments can be individually turned on or off. They can also be enabled and disabled in various combinations by using the preset modes shown at the left of the detector control panel.

The segments allow you to discriminate between iron, copper, silver, gold, etc. The icons shown at the top are purely informational and are not a limitation of what can be detected. The problem with a 12 segment display is that it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a pull tab and some gold (or white gold) jewelry targets. However, with a bit of practice, you can start to tell the difference and can speed up your scanning skills.

The Garrett Ace 300 enhances the 12 segment display by adding a VDI digital target identifier.

garrett ace 300 vdi - Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)

This 2 digit readout allows you to more accurately identify different metal types without needing to dig. Targets that are close together within the scanning spectrum can be separated by their unique values.

While this is not 100% exact, the majority of 10 karat gold will indicate a value of 58, most 14 karat gold will indicate a value of 64, and pull tabs (which often indicate on the same bar as the gold items on the 12 segment display), will be shown with a value of 60 or 61. You have to exercise caution though because unrefined gold nuggets can register anywhere in the 58 to 68 range – depending on their purity and composition.

In our opinion, the ACE 300 wins at providing the best discrimination (even if you don’t take the differences in search coils into account)

Audio Tones

Learning the tones of your metal detector saves having to refer to the LCD display as targets are found.

In the case of the Ace 300, the detector emits three different tones. In comparison, the Ace 250 only offers two distinct tones. In the real world, the third tone can be a real help.

In the Ace 250, iron registers with a standard low tone. Coins laying on their side register with a higher pitch single beep.

In the Ace 300, iron registers with a significantly lower pitch than the Ace 250. This difference in tone between coins and iron is very obvious and cannot be mistaken. Coins laying on their side gives a double beep, and coins that are close together will also give a double beep (vs a single beep with the Ace 250)

The ability to pick up (and indicate) more than one target and the improvements in the iron tone makes the Ace 300 the winner of this category.

Search Coil Options

Both detectors allow you to swap the standard search coil when you are hunting for specific targets or working in areas with limited space, high trash content, near metal poles, fence lines or over mineralized soils.

The ACE 250 is supplied with a concentric 6.5″ x 9″ PROformance™ coil.

ace250coil - Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)

This is a good all-round coil that can be used over a range of soil and sand types. The coil and associated rod is waterproof and can be used underwater. However, care needs to be taken not to get the control box wet. Both the ACE 250 and ACE 300 do not have waterproof control modules.

The ACE 300 is supplied with the larger concentric 7″ x 10″ PROformance™ coil.

From a practical point of view, the larger coil allows you to search slightly deeper and to cover more ground. However, other than the difference in size (and search depth), there is very little difference between the two coils. They are both concentric coils and work in exactly the same way.

Even though the larger coil gives slightly better depth, we don’t think one detector is significantly better than the other. This is especially true when you take into account that the coils can be swapped out and that the same coils can be used on both models.

Air Tests

Youtube user ziggyjinx has done Air tests of the ACE 250 and the Ace 300i (International version of the Ace 300)

Check out the following video to see the results:

As well as showing how deep each detector can locate items, it also shows how well the two units can discriminate coins lodged between ferrous or iron objects.

As you will see in the video, the Garrett Ace 300 has significantly better performance than the Ace 250. It can pick up coins lodged between iron items that would otherwise be completely missed with the Ace 250.

Zero Disc vs All-metal

The Ace 250 has All-Metal mode, and the Ace 300 has the Zero Disc mode.

You may be wondering what the difference between the two modes is. However, in this case, the two names are referring to exactly the same thing.

On both machines, the Zero Disc and the All Metal mode will emit a tone on every metal object. In effect, these modes are not using Discrimination.

There is no difference between the two models.

Cam Locks

The cam locks included with the ACE 300 are a simple, plastic locking mechanism that adds strength and stability to the detector when you adjust the shaft length.

camlocks - Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)

Using a cam lock eliminates the need for a spring or buttonhole design to lock in the shaft length.

Volume Control

One of the annoying features of the ACE 250 is that the unit doesn’t have a built-in volume control. This can be easily overcome by using a headset with its own volume control. This is highly recommended because the sounds emitted into a headset without a volume control can be very uncomfortable.

The Garrett ACE 300 improved on the design by including a volume control on the unit itself. By turning down the volume, you can avoid unnecessary attention if you need to scan without a headset. You can also purchase a cheaper headset (or use the one supplied with the detector)

The volume control on the Ace 300 makes it the winner of this category. However, if you use a headset with a volume control with the Ace 250, there is no difference between the two models.

Backlit LCD Display

A nice addition to the ACE 300 is the backlit LCD display.

The Ace 250 relies on ambient light for you to see the display. If you are detecting in low light or darkened areas, the backlight is a welcome addition.

Garrett 300 vs 300i

On some websites, you may see the Garrett ACE 300i and wonder how the ACE 300i is different from the ACE 300.

On a feature by feature basis, the two models are practically identical. The only real difference relates to the LED display on the control box.

garrettimodels - Garrett Ace 250 vs 300 Metal Detector (9 Important Differences)

The “i” range of metal detectors are aimed at the international market. Instead of being calibrated in inches, they refer to depths in centimeters.

They also have the coin icons remove from the plastic panel. This makes the detector more generic (but doesn’t change the functionality). Non-US coins have a different metal composition and can show up on segments on the discriminator.

One final difference is that the panel indicates ferrous (or iron) over the first four segments (instead of two)

Field Test

For a bit of light entertainment, join the guys from South Coast Detecting with a head to head challenge of the ACE 250 vs the ACE 300i in a local park.

There is no clear winner in the video, but you can see both detectors in use.

Conclusion

For an extra twenty or thirty dollars, you can’t go wrong getting the Garrett ACE 300.

It has a better discrimination circuit and can detect a single coin between two bits of iron.

When you factor in the two-digit VDI display and the new low tone when you detect iron, you simply have to admit that it is the better choice.

However, with that said, if you are on a tight budget, the ACE 250 is a top performer and is one of the most popular detectors in the world for good reason.

In the end you can’t go wrong selecting either model – but the Garrett ACE 300 (or 300i) is the winner in our eyes.
VIEW ON AMAZON

Image credits: amazon.com, garrett.com