Rank 13: Minelab Safari
Overall Rating: 63.1/100
Capability Rating: 38.6
The Minelab Safari is a sentimental favorite of mine. The video that is showcased above is an interesting case study. It has a nose for silver and highly conductive targets. In the video (at the height of the pandemic) the Safari pulls a seated dime in a high traffic section of New York's most hunted park. In terms of variables, the Safari had a limited amount of options to choose from. There were four main detecting modes (Coin, Coin & Jewelry, Relic and All Metal). These modes would affect what was notched out. There was also a way to modify the discrimination pattern and create a user mode. I would most frequently hunt in Coin & Jewelry mode. I recall that I could only run it in Auto Sensitivity and that I would have to frequently noise cancel. New York dirt outside of all of the trash is benign (not much mineralization) but the EMI is everywhere. I could never run the machine hot (high sensitivity) in any condition and that puzzled me. It was a capable park and beach detector but one that is below the capabilities of the current fleet of detectors. If you see one for less than 200 dollars, grab it but otherwise use your money on a more modern solution.
Depth: 7.5-8.5 inches in bottle cap rich, New York dirt with an extra inch when the ground is wet for a dime sized target. This is a slight amount below modern standards. You would need perfect conditions to get that depth,
Separation: While the above sounds just shy of Equinox depth, it can't touch the Equinox in separation. It is clunky and not crystal clear in busy New York soil. But you could count on decent performance in the high trash mode (even if you give up some depth).
Sound Inference: Limited tones and sound options, Plain vanilla. Then again, I did not experience this detector with headphones. I used it in an era when I would use the audio from the control unit and listen from a distance. Nothing spectacular here.
Target ID (Visual) Inference: An Equinox-esque -10 to +40. Plain valilla.
Ergonomics: 3.63 LBS. does not sound heavy, but that does not count the batteries. I threw on the Coiltek WOT coil and called it a shoulder workout.
Build Durability: Very sturdy. The detector did malfunction and had to be sent back to Minelab once, but for the amount that I used it, that was understandable.
Battery Life: Battery life depended on if you chose Duracell or Energizer!
Swag (Add On's): There were a variety of add on coils. I had the WOT (Wild Orange Thing) coil from Coiltek.
Pinpoint: Nothing spectacular or inferior about the pinpoint of the Minelab Safari.
Navigation: Very easy it was a very simple metal detector
Handles EMI: Yes this detector is affected by EMI perhaps more than average.
Utility In Water: Not waterproof but submerging the coil is fine. Still, compared to the new generation of submersible detectors, the Safari is archaic.
Saltwater Beach: Very capable on a saltwater beach. A notch below the performance of the modern fleet in saltwater beach performance.
Trashy Park: It had a mode to mitigate the trash but it was nothing like the Equinox.
Handles Iron: Mediocre in iron. Slower and clunkier than modern solutions.
Relative Value: This detector is no longer sold new. It was very much like the Vanquish of its generation. A good value with compromised performance compared to the E-Trac and CTX 3030.