Garrett ACE Apex metal detector, search coil, and control box

The Garrett ACE Apex brings modernity to the reliable and long-time beginner favorite metal detector series. Its introduction of simultaneous multifrequency to the ACE series elevates its performance to operate more reliably across a wider variety of terrains and soil conditions compared to its peers.

Below I’ll be taking a deeper dive into one of the latest devices for hobbyists Garrett has released. Evaluating the metal detector on its technical capabilities but also providing some insight into how it stacks up against other machines in the space.

Initial Thoughts on the Garrett ACE Apex

Positioned as the pinnacle metal detector from the Garrett ACE metal detector line, the ACE Apex is a reliable and versatile metal detector that’s suitable for beginner and intermediate treasure hunters. Its standout feature is its Multi-Flex technology, which enables simultaneous multi-frequency options that help further reduce issues caused by soil mineralization. Additionally, the ACE Apex offers six detection modes, adjustable frequency options, and an impressive battery life.

With an MSRP on Garrett’s official website ranging from $499 to $599 depending on your selected package at the time of writing, the ACE Apex offers a decent value for its feature set but falls short of the capabilities offered by cheaper models of competitors like the Minelab Vanquish 540 with its Multi-IQ frequency that puts out a wide range of frequencies, and Nokta’s The Legend which provides both better performance with added accessories for a slightly high price.

If you’re a fan of Garrett’s quality and longtime standing as a stalwart in the metal detector industry, I would definitely recommend this metal detector over their other devices. If you are hunting for the best value or the best performance, I would take a look a the other options on the market like the Vanquish 540 or Nokta’s The Legend before making your purchase.

Pros of the Garrett ACE Apex Metal Detector:

  • Multi-Flex Technology
  • Adjustable frequency options
  • Six search modes
  • Z-Lynk Wireless Technology
  • Waterproof search coil
  • Lightweight and ergonomic design

Cons of the Garrett ACE Apex Metal Detector:

Key Features of the Garrett ACE Apex Metal Detector

The ACE Apex is a well-rounded machine feature-wise, offering a more modern frequency technology, and an easy-to-read user interface that keeps everything simple. Below are a few of the more notable features you should be aware of to properly evaluate the device:

Multi-Flex Technology

The standout feature of the ACE Apex is its Multi-Flex technology, which allows the detector to operate in multiple frequencies simultaneously. This technology significantly enhances the detector’s performance, providing increased depth and target separation while also reducing the impact of ground mineralization.

There are also two simultaneous options pre-built into the device. One is a sult-optimized option, and one is more suited for general soil conditions. This added option specifically for salty beaches helped land this metal detector on this year’s best metal detector for Beaches and best multipurpose metal detectors of 2023 lists.

Adjustable Frequency Options

The ACE Apex also offers adjustable frequency options beyond simultaneous multifrequency, allowing users to fine-tune their detecting experience for optimal performance. With four single frequencies (5, 10, 15, and 20 kHz) and two simultaneous multi-frequency modes, the ACE Apex sets itself up to be easy to use and controllable for more advanced users.

The frequency control options, while not exactly necessary when you have simultaneous multifrequency settings, are a nice addition. I would probably never use those settings as a major fan of simultaneous multifrequency, but it adds a level of controllability that some devices are moving away from. Allowing you to have and save a custom search mode with a specific single frequency helps this metal detector surpass the likes of the Garrett AT Max and Garrett AT Pro which are both solid single-frequency VLF metal detectors.

Z-Lynk Wireless Technology

Garrett’s ACE Apex also includes built-in Z-Lynk Wireless Technology, enabling the use of wireless headphones for a more comfortable and convenient detecting experience. This feature is meant to help reduce latency and provide a more immersive experience for the user that prefers to cut the cord.

Wireless is becoming more and more expected in a metal detectors as the years go by. It is a simple quality-of-life upgrade that both improves comfort and allows detectorists to explore more advanced metal detecting headphones that can feature vibrations and other signals. This is almost a baseline for accessibility in my mind outside of the built-in vibration options you can find in Minelab and Nokta devices.

Iron Volume

Iron audio is nothing special in 2023 but I do feel the need to note Garrett’s iron volume feature in this list. You still get the benefits of Iron audio which helps the iron clearly stand out, but the added volume controls of the Iron audio can further help you design your experience to your preference and ultimately help you to find more of your preferred targets. 

We don’t have many queues in this hobby to base our decisions on while we metal detect, it’s always going to be nice to see more controllability for what we do have available.

How does the Garrett ACE Apex compare to other metal detectors?

Comparing the Garrett ACE Apex to the Garrett ACE 400 (and other ACE detectors)

The ACE Apex earns its name as the best device in the Garrett ACE series, the Apex offers several significant upgrades that set it apart from the next best ACE series option, the Garrett ACE 400. 

The most significant difference between the ACE Apex and ACE 400 is the Apex’s Multi-Flex technology. This feature alone puts the Apex in a different league than the ACE 400 which only offers a single VFL frequency of 10kHz. This upgrade also enables the to operate at several fixed frequencies including the ACE 400’s 10 kHz, which cements the Apex as a far superior device performance-wise.

This upgrade alone cannot be overstated. Multifrequency enables better performance across more soil conditions. It also enables the detector to pick up objects with varying conductivities, at varying depths, and with varying sizes more reliably. The overall coverage and separation of targets are significantly better in every way taking less responsibilities off the user and building off of features like automatic ground balance which is included on both devices.

Outside of the clearly superior frequency options, the ACE Apex is wireless-compatible, allows you to control the volume of the iron audio, and has a much more robust interface that better communicates its more advanced settings.

Comparing the Garrett ACE Apex with the Garrett AT Max and Garrett AT Pro

I’ve combined these two comparisons into one because I think by this point of the review you know where it’s going. The Garrett ACE Apex is simply a more well-rounded machine compared to the more limited capabilities of single-frequency VLF metal detectors like the Garrett AT Max and AT Pro.

These two devices, the AT Max and AT Pro, are great examples for this comparison since they are among my top rated single frequency VLF machines, but their great performance at a focused level is simply not comparable to the flexibility and separation simultaneous multifrequency provides. 

Garrett AT series detectors are reliable and sturdy so they can take decent abuse and I would be happy to own either, but if I’m buying a new metal detector, especially as a beginner, I would rather spend less money for better performance over a wider range of ground conditions by opting for the more modern Garrett ACE Apex.

Comparing the Garrett ACE Apex to Minelab’s Vanquish 540

This is where the comparisons get a little more nuanced as these devices are much more comparable to each other than the previous comparisons. 

Minelab’s Vanquish 540 has a wider range of frequencies included in its version of simultaneous multifrequency (Multi-IQ), spanning from 5 kHz to 40 kHz, and they opt to allow that offset the need for ground balancing. The Garrett Ace Apex, on the other hand, does have automatic ground balancing but its simultaneous multifrequency ranges from 5 kHz to 20 kHz. The Apex also enables you to select single-frequencies while the Vanquish only offers its Multi-IQ frequency.

The range of the multifrequency setting is the biggest performance difference between the two devices and the added ground balance is a nice addition in the ACE Apex. If budget is an issue, the performance is close enough to give the Vanquish 540’s pricetag of ~$379 an edge.

Comparing the Garrett ACE Apex to Minelab’s Equinox 600 and Equinox 700

The Equinox series is the first step up into the higher-end metal detector category and provides a higher level of performance and customizability over the Garrett ACE Apex. With the Equinox series, you’re getting all of the benefits of Minlab’s superior Multi-IQ simultaneous frequency technology, and the benefits of automatic ground balancing, full waterproofing up to 10 feet, and more notch discrimination segments. The Equinox 700/900 also has a built-in vibration option improving its accessibility to those with difficulty hearing.

Some of those features do come at a slight cost in terms of ease of use, but they elevate the overall capabilities of the Equinox series above the Garrett ACE Apex. While the performance of the Equinox series is better, I would give the Garrett ACE Apex the edge in the beginner category with its easier-to-understand interface and simplified setting options. 

FAQs for the Garrett ACE Apex

Is the Garrett ACE Apex waterproof?

The Garrett ACE Apex features a waterproof control box and search coil, allowing it to be used in shallow water environments like a stream or beaches. However,  the control box is only water-resistant, so you shouldn’t submerge it completely.

Can the Garrett ACE Apex be used on the beach?

Yes, the ACE Apex has both simultaneous multifrequency and ground-balancing features making it a great option for the beach. These features help reduce the impact of ground mineralization, a necessity on wet beaches and even more so on wet saltwater beaches. It also has a pre-designed multi-salt search option which will give you a quick and easy way to get up and running when you head to wet, salty conditions.

How does the Garrett ACE Apex perform in highly mineralized soil?

The ACE Apex performs well in mineralized soil thanks to its Multi-Flex technology and automatic ground-balancing features. These enable the detector to reduce the impact of mineralization, improving target separation and detection depth in a wider range of environments.

Does the Garrett ACE Apex come with a warranty?

Yes, the Garrett ACE Apex comes with a 2-year limited parts and labor warranty provided by Garrett from the date of purchase. Be sure to register your metal detector on Garrett’s website to activate the warranty.

Can I use wireless headphones with the Garrett ACE Apex?

Yes, the ACE Apex is equipped with built-in Z-Lynk Wireless Technology, allowing you to use compatible wireless headphones for a more comfortable and convenient detecting experience.

Videos covering the Garrett ACE Apex

Below are a few videos featuring the Garrett ACE Apex to help you get some additional information on the metal detector including a fuller list of features and the device in action!

Reviewing the features of the ACE Apex by Garrett Metal Detectors

This is a great video covering all of the features they packed into the Apex. It also covers all of the smaller videos they have featured on the ACE Apex’s official product page.

Another great video from the Garrett team follows Senior Design Engineer Brent Weaver as he explains the technology in the Ace Apex. Here’s a quick link: https://youtu.be/EKQEfsWZpME

The Garrett ACE Apex in use on the Hoover Boys

In this video, you’ll get to see the Garrett ACE Apex in action as the Hoover Boys take it out on one of their hunts. You’ll get to see the metal detector in use in both a tilled field and an untilled area, as they find coins, a buckle, and a few other surprises.

Getting a little more advanced with NQExplorers

In this video, the NQExploers dive deeper into the settings of the machine but they also do a great job of communicating some general challenges for detectorists as well.

Manuals for the Garrett ACE Apex

As always, for the technical specification nerds and thorough product researchers out there below are links to the English and Spanish versions of the Garrett ACE Apex user manual. If you want to know the full details of the device, there is no better place to look than the user manual.

Garrett ACE Apex Manual Link – English

Garrett ACE Apex Manual Link – Spanish

More languages can be found on the official product page here: https://garrett.com/sport/ace/apex

Final Thoughts on the Garrett ACE Apex

The Garrett ACE Apex is a well-rounded metal detector that offers the reliability of the Garrett brand combined with more modern metal detector features. This makes it an attractive option for detectorists looking for a solid entry-level device and budget-minded detectorists looking for a good balance of budget, performance, and ease of use.

With its Multi-Flex technology, adjustable frequency options, automatic ground balancing, and other modern features, the ACE Apex provides an exceptional detecting experience that sets it apart from other models in the Garrett ACE series. 

While its well positioned in terms of performance in its own brand circle, when you start to look at other metal detectors like the Minelab Vanquish 540, Minelab Equinox 600 or 700, or even Nokta’s The Legend, its performance at its current price starts to look less appealing.

It’s a solid metal detector that I would be happy to own, but if I’m searching for a new metal detector, I would be strongly considering the options mentioned above before making my purchase.