Minelab makes some of the best metal detectors in the business. Their Equinox 800 is superb, but Minelab’s top-of-the-range CTX 3030 is cited as the ‘king of detectors’ and priced in the $2000-3000 range (ouch). Is the CTX 3030 really worth all that extra money?

What's Better? Minelab CTX 3030 vs Minelab Equinox 800

A Detailed Comparison of The Minelab CTX 3030 vs The Minelab Equinox 800


Both models have Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency tech. This enables them to cover a broad range of frequencies in one swing.

The Minelab Equinox 800 has five single frequencies 5 kHz, 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 20 kHz, and 40 kHz, whereas the Minelab CTX 3030 combines 28 frequencies between 1.5-100 kHz.

Basically, the CTX 3030 is going to find everything which is why it’s fine-tuning capability is so important. If you don’t want to spend your time fine-tuning stop reading and buy the Equinox 800.


The 800 has adjustable backlighting whereas the CTX has a full-color LCD with backlight and adjustable brightness.

Both models have target ID, a depth gauge, multi-notch discrimination, numerical target ID, and manual/automatic sensitivity modes on the display screen.

In addition, the CTX has a GPS tracking system called Geostore on which you can save up to 100 locations and later upload the data points on your PC via Xchange2.

This is a great way to record your searched areas, what you found there, and avoid searching the same place twice.

We’re starting to see why the 3030 costs more.

Ground Balance

The Equinox 800 and the CTX 3030 have manual and automatic ground balancing.

Target Identification and Discrimination

The Equinox 800 has four detect modes which are park, field, beach, gold.

The CTX has ten customizable modes that include five pre-sets modes of coins, beach, relic, silver, and high trash. The remainders are custom modes for you to create.

The CTX’s pre-set modes can be adjusted and saved in two patterns of discrimination. It makes the CTX one of the best models for cutting out the trash by scanning conductivity and ferrous properties at the same time.

Iron Audio

Both models have four-tone iron audio with the capability to change non-ferrous tones and volume which helps if you like to detect by sound rather than display.


Both metal detectors are waterproof to ten feet and will work in fresh and saltwater.

The CTX 3030 also has a seawater function that maximizes sensitivity and reduces false signals from wet sand.


The 800 Equinox and CTX 3030 have single tone, two-tone, five-tone and fifty-tone options with noise cancel options and a manual override.

When it comes to headphones, they are both wireless.

The 800 has a WM-08 wireless module with Bluetooth headphones, and the CTX 3030 has wireless audio with WiStream tech for instant sound that’s rechargeable with a USB or battery charger.


Both detectors have Minelab’s 11-inch DD Smart coils with a skid plate.

Length and Weight

The Equinox 800 weighs 2.96lbs whereas the 3030 is 5.20lbs so there’s a big difference in weight. Some of the CTX’s extra weight is the lithium-ion battery pack which you can forgive it for as this will save a fair amount of cash on batteries.

Both detectors start at 37” and extend to 55.3”.


The CTX 3030 costs around $1500 more than the Equinox 800.

The Best Choice

The Minelab Equinox 800 is a top-rated detector that I’d recommend to everyone.

It has all you need including a wireless set up, iron audio, ground balancing, and Minelab’s excellent multi-frequency technology.

The CTX 3030 goes further into ‘pro’ territory with everything the 800 has to offer and more.

Its Geostore function is top tech and an efficient way to record your tracks plus the massive frequency detecting ability is second to none.

Be prepared to read the 3030’s manual several times and fiddle with sensitivities to get your money’s worth. If you can put in that amount of effort the Minelab CTX 3030 can’t be beaten.

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