Tesoro Compadre Metal Detector Review

Written By: Marc McDermott
Last Updated:

The Tesoro Compadre is one of our favorite picks for both adults and children who want a metal detector that’s high performance, quality-built, simple and inexpensive.

Unlike some other machines that are appropriate for kids to use, the Compadre is sophisticated and powerful enough for serious detectorists who are looking for a great performance for less money.

The Compadre is built like a tank, has a lifetime warranty and a super quick recovery speed, so you won’t miss any potential signals.

What we like:

  • You can choose between the 8-inch coil or the 5.75-inch coil for the same price
  • Super lightweight at 2.2 lbs
  • Powerful enough for even the most experienced detectorists
  • Simple one knob operation
  • Designed for any age to use
  • A generous lifetime warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Although it doesn’t affect performance, the Compadre doesn’t have a screen. That may bug some detectorists, while other detectorists will welcome that


This detector doesn’t have a lot of high-end features because of its affordable price. But for the money, it’s a great choice.


It offers silent search all-metal and discrimination modes.

That allows you to determine which signals you’ll hear and lets you screen out some of the trashy signals you’ll hear.

The discrimination mode on this detector works well — Tesoros are known for their ability to cut down on the junk.

That’s always a great thing as far as detectorists are concerned.

Digging nails and bottle caps is one of the biggest frustrations we face!


In addition to the modes it offers, the Compadre is one of the easiest metal detectors to use.

It’s a fantastic choice for people who are easily confused by technology or don’t want to bother with learning how to work a complicated machine.

With the Compadre, all you do is turn one dial. That’s the only adjustable part on the control box!

Because of its simplicity, low price and scaled-down appearance, the Compadre may look like a toy, but it’s a very sophisticated, powerful and well-made detector.

Detector comparisons

How does the Compadre stack up to other detectors that are similarly priced? Let’s look at some comparisons.

Compadre vs. Silver uMax

The Silver uMax is also made by Tesoro, so many of the features are the same.

You’ll get the same excellent discrimination with both machines, as well as the all-metal mode.

You can change the coil size with either machine, and the weight is the same for both. Although on the Silver uMax (like most detectors), you don’t have the choice of stock coil when you purchase the machine.

But one main difference is that you have the ability to adjust the sensitivity level with the Silver uMax while you can’t with the Compadre.

Having the ability to adjust sensitivity is ideal for when you’re hunting in areas of high mineralization, or near other electromagnetic interferences like power lines.

But the Compadre has a slightly higher operating frequency than the Silver uMax, which makes it a bit better for hunting things like gold nuggets.

Compadre vs. Mojave

For slightly more money, the Tesoro Mojave does better in varying ground mineralization conditions.

It has a two-position (high and low) ground condition switch that lets you select the amount of ground balancing you need.

In challenging conditions, using the high setting of the ground balancing feature will help you avoid false positive signals.

That will save you a lot of dig time and frustration!

The Mojave also has adjustable sensitivity and a tri-colored zone discrimination.

Compadre vs. Fisher F22

The F22 has a display screen, which will appeal to some detectorists who don’t like the fact that the Compadre doesn’t have one.

It also has five search modes compared to the Compadre’s two. The search modes on the F22 are jewelry, coins, artifacts, custom and pinpoint.

The F22 also has two-digit target identification, which can help take the guesswork out of whether you should dig a signal or let it be.

If the numeric target identification indicates the signal is in the junky range, you’ll know you probably want to pass it by.

That can be a tremendously helpful feature.

But the F22 doesn’t offer a lifetime warranty as the Compadre does.

Both terrific machines with the main difference of visual vs. audio target ID.

For more on the F22, read our complete review here.

Compadre vs. Garrett Ace 200

The ACE 200 also offers a display screen with two-digit target identification.

It has three modes — zero discrimination, jewelry, and coins.

It also shows you the probable depth of the item you’ve located.

Like the Compadre, the ACE 200 is easy to operate. It only has three buttons — a power button, a sensitivity button and a button that lets you switch modes.


What age is the Compadre good for?

The Compadre is light enough and simple enough for anyone to use.

Children (as young at 8), women and men will all be able to handle this machine and even experienced detectorists will like the power it offers at such a low price.

So it’s a great machine for beginners and even those with years of metal detecting under their belts.

What’s included in the box?

You’ll get the detector, your choice of an 8-inch coil or a 5.75-inch coil and the instruction manual.

Which coil size you choose depends on what your needs are.

If you plan to hunt in really trashy areas, like old dumps or busy parks, you may want the smaller coil.

If you plan to cover a lot of ground or hit deeper targets, you might want to go for the 8-inch coil.

What accessories will I need?

You should have a treasure pouch and a good digger at your side.

Other items that will make your hunt easier are a pinpointer and headphones.

What size batteries will it use?

It only uses one 9-volt battery. That single battery will last a long time (20-30 hours), so you’ll happily be hunting for quite some time before a replacement is needed!

What is the operating frequency?

The Compadre has an operating frequency of 12 kHz, which makes it an excellent choice for overall coin, jewelry, relic hunting and a decent detector for gold nuggets.

Is it waterproof?

The coil is waterproof, but the control box isn’t. That means you should never submerge this unit underwater!

How much does it weigh?

The Compadre is only 2.2 pounds, which means anyone will be able to carry it comfortably on extended hunts.

Final thoughts

This machine reinforces Tesoro’s reputation for offering high-quality machines at a low price.

With this unit by your side, you’ll have a lifetime of finding treasure and adventure!