The Treasure Ace 250 is the second detector I ever owned, and the first one that I think was a serious machine I could consider more than a toy.
My first one was a Garrett Treasure Ace 100, which I don’t believe is even manufactured anymore, and probably for good reason. It was, indeed, a very simple, turn-on-and-go machine. Quick to set up and easy to use, with just a single knob to operate for target elimination. But it did come with headphones and was very affordable.
That simplicity came at the price of not offering much in the way of functionality, however, and I quickly became frustrated with its lack of depth, clear target discrimination or visual display of target type. I also didn’t own a hand-held pinpointer at the time (didn’t even know they existed!), so my holes were the size of trash can lids. It was often frustrating to use, but served its needed purpose: to get me hooked on the hobby.
From there, I did some research and discovered some information online, then asked for the Ace 250 for Christmas, based on lots of positive comments.
I wasn’t disappointed. The Ace 250 was my first game-changer, and everything it was cracked up to be. Simple to set up and use, with a clear user manual and a great DVD to learn from, relatively lightweight, took interchangeable coils for different purposes, had decent depth and more than decent performance right out of the box.
I had it about a year or two when I finally learned about pinpointers, and got one of those for the next Christmas. That was my second game-changer.
My third came a few years later, when I was looking for more depth and bought the Double-D search coil. At that point, the machine became pretty close to what the Ace 350 is from the factory. The only real difference is in operating frequency: the 350 is at 8.25 kHz, while the 250 runs at 6.5 kHz. There’s not quite a half-pound of weight difference with the heftier DD coil, and the extra inch or so of depth that Garrett says you get with the DD coil is off. I consistently noted at least twice that—and more in damp soil—compared to the stock 5″ x 8″ coil.
So I jumped up from the Ace 100’s single analog knob to a digital control interface with six soft-push buttons. As you can see in the photo above, these control the
- Power – A simple on/off switch.
- Mode – Rocker soft-touch switch has + and – symbols on either end, to allow you to move up and down with ease. Choose from All Metal, Jewelry, Relics, Coins or Custom, which allows you to adjust the elimination to reject or accept more targets.
- Sensitivity – Same rocker soft-touch switch allows you to move up and down with ease, tuning out interfering signals, ground noise, etc., and monitor where you are on the digital readout, immediately above that button.
- Discrimination –Same rocker soft-touch switch lets you manually eliminate signals from unwanted targets to create custom mode, but beware: Gold rings up in the same range as aluminum, so if you eliminate pulltabs, foil and can slaw, you’re unlikely to ever dig a nice ring. Discrimination indicators run along the top of the readout.
- Elimination – A simple on/off switch that you press to accept or reject a certain type of signal, outside of the Mode setting.
- Pinpoint – Also an on/off switch, but you can hold it down to lock in the pinpointing function, which comes in handy when the signal feels like it’s drifting and you may never be able to pinpoint it exactly.
The Ace 250 is a little workhorse machine, simply but sturdily built. I wouldn’t recommend bashing it around, but mine took a lickin’ and still kept tickin’ over the ten years I used it. Only once did I have to replace a broken arm cuff, and I received the free replacement part in the mail 3 days after I ordered it by phone. Garrett’s customer service is second to none.
How It Compares
I only recently upgraded machines, because the 250 competed solidly with many mid-range machines. I found all my best stuff with it to date, as of this writing in 2016. The value in this machine on a strictly performance-for-dollars-spent ratio is incredible. The MSRP on this machine is $250, but you can generally get a new one for a bit over $200. That’s hella cheap for the hours and hours of fun it will give you, and it won’t break the back eating up batteries, either. It runs on 4 AAs, and because I only have limited time to hunt, one fresh battery refill in the spring would last me all year, past the Holidays. You just can’t beat that.
Having since used the newer White’s machines in their beginner line, I might choose those now instead of the Ace 250, simply because I think the onboard pinpointing is more accurate and therefore less frustrating. And I do very much like the color digital readout, backlight on the TreasurePro, and the VDI number indicators. But they are slightly more pricey, so if your budget is tight, the Ace 250 is still your best choice.
Overall, there’s a lot to like and not much to dislike about this machine. It’s a proven favorite, and there’s a reason it’s the most popular metal detector on the market today. I know that, no matter what else I ever swing, I’ll never get rid of my Ace 250. It’s a solid backup machine in case something happens to the primary one I’m using. I trust it to perform and would never hesitate to use it on a serious dig if my primary machine had issues. I keep it with me whenever I’m digging, because it has frequently served well as my “bribing tool” to get homeowners to give me permission when I tell them I can show them how to use it and they end up hunting right alongside me.