Minelab E-trac Metal Detector Review

Written By: Marc McDermott
Last Updated:

The Minelab E-trac metal detector is ideally suited for experienced coin and relic hunters.

Here is some of what the E-trac has to offer:


  • Multiple frequency FBS transmission (1.5 – 100kHz) which allows you to find deeper targets, ignore highly mineralized soil, and have precise discrimination and target ID. This feature alone makes the E-trac a silver magnet.
  • Precise target ID through Minelab’s SmartFind technology. This allows you to see how conducive AND how ferrous your target is which will help you distinguish trash from treasure, and even silver from clad.
  • Ability to quickly shift between your normal discrimination pattern and “Quickmask” screen to check your target before you dig. This helps tremendously for those ‘iffy’ signals and those you suspect are being masked by other nearby trash targets.
  • Four pre-set standard user modes so you can use the E-trac right out of the box. There are also four user mode slots that allow you to create and save your own programs and discrimination patterns based on your hunting needs.
  • USB connection that allows you to create and save new user modes and discrimination patterns right on your PC. Share your settings with a friend or download popular modes from the internet.


The E-trac can seem quite intimidating at first, but it can be as easy or as hard to learn as you want it to be. You can customize every inch of the E-trac, or just use the default settings right out of the box. Either way you’re going to find your dream targets.

The E-trac uses a large, 11” lightweight Double D coil. Detect deeper, separate targets faster, and hunt longer. The E-trac also has a 8” DD accessory coil available (not included with E-trac).

Use Minelab’s factory modes or create your own. A mode is simply a combination of settings and discrimination pattern. The Minelab factory includes four pre-defined modes for your to use right out of the box: coins, beach, relic & high trash.

What’s in the box?

  • Koss headphone set
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Alkaline battery Slim Pack
  • Xchange Installation Disk
  • USB cable (to connect E-Trac to a PC)
  • Instruction Manual
  • Field Guide (fold-up)


How does the E-trac compare to the Explorer series?

The Explorer series started in 1999 with the Explorer S and XS and progressed through the years until their final model was released in 2008 – the Explorer SE Pro.

The E-trac was also released in 2008 and was built off the SE Pro with numerous enhancements such as:

  • Expanded SmartFind scaling
  • Better iron masking
  • USB connectivity
  • More user modes
  • Continuous sensitivity recommendation
  • Lighter weight and more well-balanced

​How does the Minelab E-trac compare to the CTX 3030?

Minelab released the CTX 3030 in 2012 as one of the most technologically advanced and versatile metal detectors to ever hit the market. Here are some of the core improvements made over the E-trac:

  • Completely waterproof and can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water.
  • Integrated GPS technology.
  • Wireless audio capabilities
  • Full color target ID LCD screen.
  • Faster processor and the ability to identify two targets simultaneously.

You can do a side by side comparison of all the features at minelab.com.

How heavy is the E-trac?

The E-trac weighs just less than four pounds at 3.9lbs. While that may seem heavy compared to other detectors of similar weight, the E-trac is surprisingly lightweight. Minelab designed such a well-balanced machine so that your arm will never get tired. And if it does there’s a chest harness available for purchase.

How hard is the E-trac to learn?

Learning the E-trac can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. You can decide to start hunting right out of the box with Minelab’s factory modes, or you can choose to study all the features in depth and create your own modes. Whichever you decide, always remember that it’s important to fully understand any metal detector you use.

What other items would you recommend with the E-trac?

Here are a few items that we recommend with purchase of the E-trac:

  • The Minelab Explorer & E-trac Handbook by Andy Sabisch – essential reading since the Minelab stock manual lacks detail in our opinion.
  • Pinpointer. Whether you chose the Garrett Pro Pointer or the Minelab Pro-Find, a good pinpointer is essential for fast recovery.
  • Quality Digging tool. If you’re coin hunting on any type of manicured land, you’ll want something like a lesche digging tool or even a nice coin probe. If you’re beach hunting make sure to get yourself a nice sand scoop depending on if you’re hunting dry sand or wet. For relic hunting you’ll want to go with a larger digging tool such as the ones found here.
  • Finds/trash pouch. Since you’re buying a Minelab E-trac you can expect to have plenty of finds during your hunts. Invest in a nice pouch to store your finds securely.
  • Quality Headphones. The Minelab E-trac comes stock with a pair of Koss headphones which are great for everyday hunting. The more extreme relic hunters may want to opt for a better set such as the ones offered by DetectorPro.

Detailed Specs

Intended UseCoin, Relic, Jewelry & Salt Water Beach (not submersible)
TechnologyFull Band Spectrum (FBS)
FrequencyMultiple frequencies: 1.5 – 100kHz
Stock Coil11″ Double-D lightweight, waterproof.
Accessory Coil Upgrades8″ DD
Headphone Jack1/4″
Stock HeadphonesKoss 100 ohm headphones.
Modes4 pre-programmed user Modes (Coins, High Trash, Beach and Relics) and 4 user customisable Modes.
DiscriminationSmartfindTM 2 dimensional Discrimination: Ferrous 35, Conductivity 50. 10 discrimination patterns (Coins, All-Metal, Fe Coins, Jewellery, Foil, Pull Tab, Iron, Crowncap, Screwcap & Nail) & 10 user slots.
Ground BalanceAutomatic ground compensation – advanced digital filtering. Ground settings Neutral & Difficult.
Pinpoint ModesNon-motion with modulated audio and visual crosshair on LCD, 2 modes: normal and sizing.
Sensitivity AdjustmentsFully automatic with adjustable offset, manual setting 1 to 30.
ThresholdFiner adjustment level from 0 to 50.
Battery1600mAh NiMH or alkaline batteries.
Weight1.6kg (3.5lbs) (excluding battery).
Warranty3 years control box & coil.