Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Minelab Excalibur VS. Fisher CZ21

As you can see below, this is a ford vs chevy thing. There is no right answer. There are guys that are die hard for one or the other. Both machines are high end for VLF detectors. You are trying to split hairs. Pick one and be done with it. Since I own both I have compared them to no end. I have concluded that the Excal is probably better on the wetsand and CZ is better on the dry sand and in the water. I also think that the person behind the detector makes the biggest difference here. Read below to hear why and see the comparisons from each category:


I have seen tests where the CZ was deeper and tests where the Excal was deeper. I have seen tests where a standard CZ beats a heavily modded Excal and tests where a heavily modded excal beats a CZ. It seems like this depends on how well you know the detector, if its 'hot', and know how to get it to its max depth. Overall they are both probably equal depending on the place you are hunting. I believe that Excal is the deeper sand machine and that the CZ is the deeper water machine. Here are links to a few depth tests:

Test Results Data photo added - Friendly Metal Detecting Forums
CZ 21 Vs Excal 1000 air test - Friendly Metal Detecting Forums
Tom... question concerning CZ6a/CZ3d vs. Sovereign GT...

And if you are concerned about air depth tests read this post. The general conclusion is that a machine that doesn't air test well won't ground test any better vs a machine that does air test well: http://www.garysdetecting.co.uk/hoard_test.htm
Air tests are great for the CZ and can show its maximum depth. However, with the Excalibur, you really can’t rely on an air test because it has automatic ground balance. I have not had problems air testing my Excal but others have reported it.

Do you want an automatic ground balancing unit ( Excal) or a manual gb unit ( CZ) ?

Automatic is nice because you don’t need to ground balance when switching from water to wetsand to dry sand. This is why many people prefer the automatic on the excal. But being able to ground balance can give you extra sensitivity which can translate to extra depth, which is why people prefer the ground balance on the CZ. I prefer manual. I do not trust anything automatic on my detector. I really hope the next version of the Excal allows you to do it yourself.

Do you like DD coils ( Excal) or concentric coils (CZ) ?

Perks of the CC:. If the mineralization isn't bad enough to where the DD might come into it's own depth and stability wise, then the concentric in theory should have slightly more depth right at the very center of the coil, and at that fringe edge of the field it should in theory also have excellent separation from any angle, where as a DD will have it's best at only certain angles. Contrast that though with a DD tending to have better left/right separation over more of it's vertical span into the ground.

Perks of a DD: Better stability/depth in mineralization after a certain point, better left/right separation, better coverage length wise at depth, though as said a concentric can have better depth at the very tight center of it if both coils are the same size.

Multiple tones ( Excal) or 3 tones ( CZ ).

The 3 tons CZ is probably easier for a beginner to pick up and go but the Excal tones can tell you a lot about the target once you get to know them. One of the reasons I prefer the excel for the wetsand is that it can tell you so much about what is in the ground. This is great in trashy areas.

Do you want the unit to null on iron in discriminate mode ( Excal) or do you want to hear iron ( CZ) ?

The excel will just be silent (null) when you go over iron. On the CZ you will hear the iron. I prefer the null because if there is a good target it will tell you. On the CZ in that case you will get a mixed signal and will need to dig to determine what it is.

How do they perform in an iron infested area?

Some people prefer the excal so they don’t have to hear the iron and other like the CZ because they can hear the iron. The CZ has been known to false on rusted iron (like rusty nails). It is said this can be overcome by going over the target a few times and it should correct itself. The Excal takes longer to process iron so you will need to go slow so you do not miss good targets.

Tones on deep targets?

As the target gets deeper, discrimination begins to falter and cannot be relied upon. If the target is deep, one should dig regardless of tone. This goes for both machines. That means that as you get deeper the machine becomes less reliable. Thus you dig all deep targets on both machines.

Can they dig tiny gold?

The general belief is that multi freq machines are not very good on small gold compared to other detectors out there because they are locked in salt mode, which translates to masking out small gold. However no detector is really great on chains/earrings. That said you can still find small rings/earrings but I have seen videos of someone going over a gold chain with both machines and the machine not even making a peep. Neither of these machines is great on small gold. The technology isn't there yet. Here is a link where I asked about a machine on the beach that detects small gold: http://www.dankowskidetectors.com/di...d.php?2,104459

Check out this other link to read about the technology of these machines and how they detect gold. This post starts out about the CZ but discusses the excal and sovereign as well. And what they say applies to all 3 machines. - CZ owners - Salt training 101


1 yr (excal) vs 2 yr (CZ)
I don’t think this makes a difference. If your machine is going to fail it will happen pretty quickly or not work when you first get it. Minelabs warranty is transferrable while Fishers is not.

Customer Service

CZ probably has overall better customer service. However, you can get Minelab machines serviced at Kellyco which evens out the time for repairs.


Each is $1500. Each requires some mods to be comfortable. Also, be sure to contact the dealers they will offer discounts on these machines just for calling/emailing.


CZ cannot be modded. Excal can be modded like crazy but its not recommended while under warranty. The mods can add a lot of functionality. If you like to 'tinker' with your toys then the excal is probably for you. If you do not want to mess with it get the cz.


The CZ is known for being built like a tank. The Excal is known for being more fragile. However both should be taken care of and rinsed after salt water use. Taking care of each should make each last for years.


Excal includes a rechargeable battery that lasts about 15 hours. CZ requires 4 9 volt batteries which last about 40-60 hours.


Each can be mounted. The CZ comes with a belt mount. Many people mount each on their belt/chest. I also see people just use both on the shaft. I use the CZ on the shaft and I have a friend that uses the excal on an Anderson shaft. There is a new mount on feebay for the cz21 for $16 that allows me to swing it all day long on the shaft.

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