Chris's Metal Detecting Page
Can a metal detector with just one knob-- and no visual meters-- possibly be any good?
In this article we're going to find out!!
Tesoro Electronics is an American company that specializes in making simple yet very effective metal detectors. With the exception of a couple models in their line, Tesoro doesn't use visual meters or multi-tone audio. They concentrate mostly on making traditional "beep-dig" machines, and they do it better than anyone.
The Compadre is their simplest metal detector of all, having only one control knob. The coil is permanently connected, unlike their other units.
One of the first questions any metal detector buyer will ask is, "How deep will it find coins?"
There is a rule of thumb in VLF metal detectors. The depth on a quarter-sized object is roughly the same as the coil diameter in inches. Thus, you should be able to get a repeatable signal eight inches away if you're using an eight-inch searchcoil. (The really "hot" detectors can apply this rule to a dime-sized object.)
The Compadre is offered with a 5.75-inch coil normally. I ran an air test on a clad quarter and found that it could get a repeatable signal out to 6 inches.
Tesoro is also making a Compadre with 8-inch coil. This can find stuff deeper than the 5.75 version.
The Compadre has a specific purpose: finding goodies amid trash, where other detectors fail.
After using several deep-seeking detectors, the Compadre is like a breath of fresh air. Instead of spending most of your detecting sessions tunneling deep into the earth's crust, only to uncover bent nails, you can actually enjoy some easier, more pleasant digging. (I'm not saying it isn't fun to chase deep targets, but sometimes you need a break). The discrimination is excellent.
What I really like about the Compadre with its one control knob is that it's really easy to thumb the knob while you detect. Got a good signal at "pulltab"? Thumb it higher, up around "zinc penny" and see if it breaks up. After a while you will get pretty good at identifying stuff before you dig it. Zinc pennies can be pretty easily ignored this way.
There is a price advantage in buying the Compadre: it's one of the least-expensive "serious" metal detectors you can get.
A Silver uMax offers more depth and a couple more features, but of course it costs about $100 more.
The Compadre's strengths:
- Low cost
- Great discrimination
- Agility / ultra-fast signal recovery in iron
- Best metal detector for finding very small items (thin gold chains, etc.)
- Ultra-light weight
The machine runs on a single 9-volt battery (shown here with battery door removed). As you'd expect, it has good battery life.
As you can see, it also has a headphone jack, so you can use regular 1/4" stereo headphones.
Now that Tesoro makes a Compadre with an 8-inch coil, it's kind of a tough choice between the two. The 8-inch searchcoil has more all-around usefulness because of the added depth and wider coverage. The 5.75, on the other hand, really stands out in those high-trash areas where you need signal recovery more than depth. Since there are still a lot of neat relics and coins in the 0 to 6-inch depth range, the 5.75 is still a viable choice for "whatever" detecting, too. Bigger objects, obviously, will be detectable at greater depths.
Tesoro makes great metal detectors, but at first I thought, "Who would buy a one-knob detector with a 5.75 fixed coil?"
Then I tried the Compadre.
Such a great little machine!!
At many sites, the only coins remaining near the surface (other than Zincolns) are the ones that are masked by nearby trash. Most detectors with their 8+ inch coils will miss these. Right now I'm thinking of a small patch of ground where you'd be lucky to pull any non-ferrous objects at all from all the iron. The only coin I ever found there was a large cent that weathered out of the ground and was sitting on the surface... I actually saw it without the use of a metal detector. This would be a prime location for the Compadre with 5.75-inch coil (currently $160.65 here).
On the other hand, if you can give up a little bit of agility in high-trash areas, the Compadre with 8" donut coil offers more depth than the 5.75.
The Compadre w/ 8" coil is currently $169.95 here.
The Tesoro Compadre has such a high "fun factor", and it finds coins so easily, that I can recommend it to almost anyone. It also makes an ideal "first metal detector" for that junior treasure hunter in your family.
Don't forget a good digging tool (Lesche about $44 here; Wilcox about $20 here) and a pair of headphones (typical price about $29, here). That's another advantage of such a low-priced detector... more money left for accessories.
In the under-$200 price range, if you're looking for a fun, low-cost metal detector, just get a Compadre. No doubt about it.
I hope you've found this review helpful. You can help me out by purchasing your detectors or any other gear through the links on this page.
Thanks for reading!!