How To Set Discrimination On A Metal Detector?

How To Set Discrimination On A Metal Detector

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to properly set discrimination on a metal detector! Having a metal detector with great discrimination capabilities is an invaluable asset for any detectorist. It allows you to identify buried targets based on their conductive and/or ferrous properties, helping you distinguish between valuable treasures and mere trash.

To set discrimination on a metal detector, adjust the discrimination knob to filter out unwanted metals, focusing on valuable targets. Consult the device’s manual for specific instructions.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of discrimination, guiding you through the process of optimizing this feature to enhance your metal detecting experience. Let’s unlock the true potential of your metal detector and embark on a journey to uncover hidden treasures!

What Is Metal Detector Discrimination?

Metal detector discrimination is the art of deciphering the composition of buried targets based on their metallic properties. By accurately identifying the type of metal an object is made of, you can make informed decisions about whether to dig it up or pass it by.

Discrimination enables you to filter out unwanted targets, such as iron nails and other junk items, so you can focus on finding the more desirable treasures.

Metal Detecting Discrimination Settings: Properly Set Your Metal Detector Discrimination

1. Familiarize Yourself with Your Detector’s Controls

Many metal detectors come with a discrimination dial or a digital interface that allows you to adjust the discrimination settings. Take the time to understand your detector’s controls and the various discrimination modes it offers.

2. Coin Mode and Other Discrimination Settings

Some detectors feature specialized modes like coin, relics, jewelry, and custom modes. Activating the coin mode, for instance, ensures your metal detector focuses on coin-shaped targets while ignoring iron targets like nails. Familiarize yourself with these modes and utilize them based on your detecting environment.

3. All-Metal Mode and Zero Mode

The all-metal mode is the opposite of discrimination, as it detects all metals without filtering any out. The zero mode, on the other hand, discriminates against zero metals while offering different sensitivity levels. Experiment with these modes to find the best fit for your metal detecting needs.

4. Creating a Custom Discrimination Profile

Some detectors allow you to create a custom discrimination profile tailored to your preferences. This feature grants you the flexibility to fine-tune your detector’s settings, optimizing it for specific target types and conditions.

5. Consider Sensitivity Settings

While discrimination focuses on target identification, sensitivity settings control how strong or weak a signal your detector will accept. Higher sensitivity levels may detect non-ferrous objects or those buried deeper in the ground, but they might also alert you to junk items. Balance sensitivity and discrimination for optimal results.

Discrimination Control On A Metal Detector: Factors That Do Not Impact Discrimination

1. Frequency

The frequency of a metal detector affects target detection but has little impact on discrimination capabilities. High-frequency detectors are more sensitive to small targets, while low-frequency detectors offer greater depth on larger targets.

2. Coil Size & Type

Coil size influences detection depth and sensitivity but does not significantly affect discrimination. Larger coils cover more ground but may lose sensitivity to smaller targets, while smaller coils are more sensitive to shallow objects.

Leveraging Discrimination Presets for Metal Detecting: Maximum Success

1. Notch Discrimination

Notch discrimination is a powerful feature that lets you accept or reject specific ranges of targets based on their conductivity. Customize your detector to reject undesirable targets like pull tabs and iron nails, while accepting desired items such as coins.

2. The ACE Apex Metal Detector with Notch Discrimination

For those seeking a detector with exceptional discrimination capabilities, the Garrett ACE Apex is an excellent choice. This lightweight and multi-frequency metal detector come equipped with the Notch Discrimination feature, offering 20 levels of discrimination, including 8 levels for iron. Its high-resolution ground balance ensures adaptability to various terrains, from saltwater to ferrous ground.


Q: Does discrimination affect the depth of detection?

A: Yes, discrimination settings can impact the depth at which your metal detector detects targets. Higher discrimination levels may reduce the detection depth, while lower levels may increase it. It’s essential to strike a balance between discrimination and detection depth based on your specific hunting goals.

Q: Can discrimination completely eliminate all junk signals?

A: While discrimination can help reduce signals from undesirable metals, it may not eliminate all junk signals entirely. Some valuable targets may share conductivity traits with unwanted metals, leading to potential misses. Regular field testing and experience will aid in minimizing false signals.

Q: How does discrimination affect different types of terrain?

A: Discrimination can behave differently based on the ground’s mineralization and the types of targets present. In highly mineralized soil, using higher discrimination levels may help eliminate false signals caused by mineral content.

Q: Can discrimination settings vary for different metal detector brands?

A: Yes, discrimination settings are not standardized across all metal detector brands. Each manufacturer designs their discrimination algorithms, so it’s essential to understand the specific settings for your detector model.

Q: Is discrimination necessary for all metal detecting activities?

A: While discrimination is a valuable feature for most metal detecting activities, some hobbyists prefer not to use it, especially in relic hunting or when searching for a wide range of targets.

Q: Can discrimination settings change over time?

A: Yes, discrimination settings can change based on factors like soil conditions, mineralization, and user preferences. Regularly check and adjust your discrimination settings to adapt to changing conditions.

Final Thoughts

Discrimination is an essential skill for any metal detectorist, enabling the precise identification of buried treasures. If you’re a beginner, start by digging everything and taking notes on the tones and VDI numbers of your finds. With experience, you’ll learn when to activate discrimination and when to dig deeper. Remember, finding valuable targets is a thrilling journey that requires practice and patience.

As you venture into the world of metal detecting, equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to make the most of your detector’s discrimination capabilities. Unleash the power of precision with proper discrimination settings, and watch as your detecting prowess reaches new heights. Happy hunting!