Minelab CTX 3030 Review (2020 Updated)

If you are looking for the best new metal detector, welcome to the confusing and overwhelming world of metal detectors where every new metal detector you look at appears to be better than the previous detector seen.

The truth is that there are many options for you. Though the detectors seem to do one thing, they have some subtle (and major) differences in their features and functions. So, for you to find the best metal detector that best suits your needs, you should first consider the intended use of the machine and then look for the device that bears all the features needed for the detector to do the job it’s supposed to.

Minelab CTX 3030 is one of the good ones as it boasts a wide range of high-end features, including a wireless audio system, a smart D find discrimination system, not to mention a noise cancellation mode, and our best feature – the GPS and Google Maps.

But before we explore all the other impressive features of this metal detector, let’s first look at the things you should consider in your search for the best metal detector.

Features to Consider

  • Lightweight design
  • Affordability/ price matching your budget
  • Waterproof search coil
  • Ground balancing ability
  • High Sensitivity
  • Search mode options
  • Discrimination control
  • Ease of use/ intuitive design
  • An ergonomic grip handle, an adjustable armband is recommended
  • Ease of use of the control buttons

Uses, Features, and Benefits of the Minelab CTX 3030

Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof Metal Detector Special with 17" Smart Coil

If you are looking for a metal detector that offers the most advanced features and functions, then this Minelab CTX 3030 could be the best option for you.

But first, you need to keep in mind that this metal detector is on the pricey side of things meaning that you should only buy it if you can afford it or if you’ve been saving up for it. The good news, however, is that despite its high price tag, it’s incomparable to no other models on the market. It’s chock-full of all the features you need to hunt for those precious relics, coins, ghost towns, and jewelry, among other items.

So, if you are an advanced or a professional metal hunter looking for a metal detector that comes second to none, this one by Minelab could be your best fit.

It boasts a state-of-the-art design, but beware that it’s a bit heavier than most other options on the market.

CTX 3030 Features

Design and Usability

The design of this CTX 3030 is more stylish, but also professional. It’s available in black and gray, it has a matte finish, and it also sports the Minelab logo.

But as mentioned above, this metal detector is rather heavy as it weighs 5.2lbs. This weight is double the weight of most mid-range metal detectors. So, why should anyone bother buying this expensive and heavy piece of equipment?

Well, it’s interesting to note that despite the weight, this metal detector boasts a high level of balance through its control box’s location. The control box is located higher on the detector’s shaft, and since this control box is fixed to the rest of the machine, it easily counterbalances the weight of the coil. At the end of the day, you won’t even feel the weight of the detector.

The only catch is that you will not get used to the weight, its grasp, or the balancing of the machine the first time you hold it. You will, however, get the hang of things within a few hours of use since the detector is quite comfortable. Comfort comes from the conveniently designed armrest made of top-quality materials that hold the arms snug without cracking should you move the armrest in the wrong direction. The armrest is also adjustable.

Besides the comfort of your arms, you might also like the high adjustable shaft that allows the use of the detector at different heights and by individuals of different heights. The adjustable height ranges from 37” to 55.3”. And the best part is that you can either fold or unfold the detector without worrying about scratches on different parts.

The other feature that enhances the ease of use of this treasure detector is its no-wires design, on top of the sturdy design of the machine. Its headphones, plus the loudspeaker, are wireless, meaning that you can easily put down the detector without having to worry about endless cables. The absence of wires also enhances the accuracy of the readings and the sensitivity of the device.

The other important design feature of this metal detector is its waterproof search coil. Note, however, that this waterproof design doesn’t mean that the detector can be submerged. If you need a detector for underwater use, get additional accessories.

Controls

Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof Metal Detector Special with 17" Smart Coil

CTX 3030 features different control functions, easily adjustable for accuracy of your findings. The LCD screen is a bright, full-color screen that works well during the day and in low light conditions.

This control unit is mounted at the upper end of the shaft, and it counterbalances the weight of the search coil.

There are 11 buttons on the control panel, and depending on your searches, the screen displays different results. On the status bar are the currently activated functions, but you can control the entire device quite easily using the customizable modes and the quick menus.

While the control box isn’t portable, it boasts a variety of adjustments and settings that work in synchrony to ensure the smooth operation of the device. These, along with the intuitive tuning functions of the machine, make the detector easy to use, and the best part is that the intuitiveness allows first-time users of the device and newbies in treasure hunting to get the hang of things fast.

The other impressive feature that enhances the ease of use of this metal detector is its LCD screen display. As mentioned above, the screen large enough to keep all the data you need visible, regardless of the time of day or the amount of light out.

It’s worth noting that even though most other manufacturers are releasing metal detectors with LCDs displays, left, right, and center, Minelab is the company that pioneered the large-colored display screen for the detectors. These screens were designed using the best technologies allowing for the effortless use of the screen with or without sunglass or eyeglasses.

You should also bear in mind the fact that the LCD screen has no default screen setting, and it will show a different screen, depending on the selected mode of search. You might also like the ease with which you can edit the indications on the screen, besides viewing the raw data collected.

Basically, this LCD screen is convenient, informative, and though it might be overwhelming for newbies, it’s easy to appreciate what it offers once you get the ropes.

The main drawback when it comes to the controls is the fact that the data and the indications on the screen require some experience and knowledge for the interpretation of the data.

Power

Our research indicates that most metal detectors, to be specific, the ones in the middle-range price category, rely heavily on 4 AA batteries. CTX 3030 is different from the rest of the metal detectors in that it runs on an in-built rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This battery recharges pretty fast, and one charge lasts for a maximum of 11 hours. The 11-hour runtime is the expected run time when you are using all the features of the detector, including the GPS and Google Maps. Obviously, battery life runs and lasts longer when these functions are not in use.

But, if you plan to use this high-performance metal detector in remote locations without immediate access to electricity, then you will like the dual-power design of this detector. You can easily replace the lithium-ion batteries with AA batteries, if necessary.

Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof Metal Detector Special with 17" Smart CoilOperational Frequency

The other impressive feature of this metal detector has got to be its operational frequency. While most of the metal detectors on the market boast a single operational frequency, this detector is a multi-frequency detector with a bunch of operational frequencies on a large range from 1.5kHz – 100kHz. We were sold the moment we saw this, not to mention the fact that the detector allows for the simultaneous scanning of locations.

To be specific, this device boasts a huge coverage of over 28, all running at the same time. With this range, your chances of picking all your targets are very high.

Search Modes

Don’t buy a metal detector before you check its search modes. This CTX 3030 boasts 10 search modes, five of which are automatic presets, although you could switch them on and off. The preset modes include Coins, Relics, Beach Mode, Silver, and the High Trash mode, which works well for locations that have too much trash.

The other five modes are the customizable modes, and you can use them to fine-tune the detector depending on the specific condition on the ground.

Ground Balance

Ground balance is the most important feature of a metal detector. CTX 3030 has manual and automatic ground balance functions that come in handy at different times.

The manual adjustment is essential when working on soil that boasts largely homogenous properties or a ground whose qualities can be assessed comprehensively.

On the other hand, the automatic adjustment function kicks in when you are dealing with the soil of different qualities or highly mineralized soils. Using this function, you get to recognize and filter noises, ending up with a smoother search.

Along with the 5 presets from the 10 search modes, and the 5 custom presets, and the discrimination index, ground balance enhances the potential of success for your results.

2D SmartFind Discrimination

Discrimination control is a critical factor in metal hunting, and Minelab has taken discrimination to a whole new level. This discrimination function is capable of running different tasks at once, including the analysis of metal conductivity, determination of iron percentage, depth indication, size determination, as well as the differentiation of ferrous from the non-ferrous objects.

In addition to these functions, the Smartfind Discrimination feature has a Target Separation and a Target Trace feature that makes it easier for you to detect and identify the valuable piece sitting next to a worthless item.

The other function for discrimination is the Fe-Co Discrimination mode, which boosts the sensitivity of the metal detector.

GPS and Google Maps

If you are planning a treasure hunt or have been to one in the past, you know the importance of a portable GPS that is not only reliable but accurate. You also need Google Maps by your side at all times. But what happens if your smartphone’s battery dies or if some other misfortune befalls you and you don’t have a navigational system?

Well, Minelab had this in mind, and they came up with a state-of-the-art metal detector that features a portable GPS system. The GPS is built into this CTX 3030, meaning that you can see all the routes, as well as the directions and indications right on your screen. The best part is that you get to mark the exact locations you are or could be interested in.

But that is not all; the detector’s GPS could be easily synchronized with your laptop or PC to enable you to make accurate maps of different scouted locations and the potential treasure locations you could visit later. So, if your little expedition is cut short by the weather, you only need to mark the location you last worked on or the next spot you intended to dig.

The integrated Google Maps function also serves the same purpose. Just save and then check your routes, as you scour the most promising locations, avoiding the areas that aren’t worth your time.

Wireless Audio Technology

If you are new to metal detectors or if you’ve used one in the past, you know that the weakest link in the detector is its wires. The main reason for this is that the wire could be trapped by a branch ending the life of the device or stopping its performance, albeit temporarily. In other cases, if the detector falls, then it means that it could get damaged because of disconnected cables. Therefore, a wireless audio system for the metal detector is a big win.

The only catch is that the wireless design makes the detector unfit for underwater usage.

Noise Cancellation Mode

The other impressive feature of this metal detector is the noise cancellation function. This is a powerful addition to any metal detector since most detectors become completely disoriented when they enter an area with a powerful electromagnetic field, for example, if you are trying to find treasure under an electricity transmission line.

Thanks to the noise cancellation function, this CTX 3030 will normally run in environments that would, otherwise, be destabilizing.

Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof Metal Detector Special with 17" Smart Coil

Waterproof Design

The CTX 3030 is a waterproof multi-purpose metal detector that works very well on different weather and soil conditions. The search coil is waterproof up to a depth of 9feet, meaning you could spend a lot of time in shallow water without worrying about damage.

Pros

  • 28 frequencies of operation
  • Wireless system
  • Waterproof and submersible to a depth of 9ft.
  • Inbuilt GPS/ Google Maps
  • Smartfind Discrimination
  • 10 Search options (5 are customizable)
  • Multi-frequency mode of operation
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion and battery-operated power options
  • Multilingual display
  • Large LCD screen
  • 11” DD search coil
  • Fe-Co discrimination
  • Numerical ID targeting
  • Recovery options
  • Automatic ground balance
  • Editing of data is possible

Cons

  • Considerably heavy
  • It’s not ideal for diving
  • It’s expensive
  • The settings are a little complex for beginners
  • Poor performance in shallow ground objects

Concluding our Minelab CTX 3030 Review

Though heavy, this metal detector has a stabilized design. CTX 3030 is the best metal detector for coin and relics hunting since it’s packed with advanced features that promise the best results. Besides use on dry land, it works well in shallow water, beaches, and pastures.

Its FBS technological installation, target separation, large frequency range, depth separation, and the small target separation make this an excellent investment for any detectorist.

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