Minelab CTX 3030 Review

by Chad Eicher

Minelab CTX 3030 review

This is a review of Minelab’s CTX 3030 metal detector.

If you’re serious about metal detecting, a standard consumer-grade device isn’t going to cut it. Despite all of the great capabilities conventional metal detectors offer, they’re not built to provide you with that fine-tuned searching experience you’re after. To achieve that, you’ll need something a bit more robust.

The Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector is one of the most feature-rich metal detectors on the market.

The Best Metal Detector?

We’re on a mission to find the best metal detector. Aside from researching and reviewing the metal detectors ourselves, we take into account real reviews from sites like Amazon and KellyCo.

The Minelab CTX 3030 is one of the best detectors we’ve reviewed so far…

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It’s far more advanced than what most hobbyists are used to. Thanks to its onboard processing units, this detector blows all of the others out of the water when it comes to performance and efficiency.

In this review, we’re going to take a look at what makes the Minelab CTX 3030 different from some of the other detectors out there. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to decide if this device is the right one for you.

Minelab is one of the leading metal detector brands when it comes to technology. Based in South Australia, Minelab has come a long way since it was first established in 1985. The company has won a bevy of awards and continues to produce some of the finest equipment around for hobbyists, military personnel, and law enforcement.

The CTX 3030 is the culmination of decades of refinement and development. The metal detector has a lot to discover. It’s packed with some unique technology and a load of features that you won’t find in your average metal detector.

Minelab CTX 3030

Minelab CTX 3030 Overall Design

First things first, let’s talk about the design of the CTX 3030 metal detector. This is a beautifully made device with all the bells and whistles you could ever need when metal detecting.

Like most detectors on the market these days, this unit has an integrated arm cuff and a comfortable handle for easy maneuverability in any environment. Minelab takes things a step further by strategically balancing the weight.

On the back end of the detector, you’ll find the rechargeable battery. It helps to counterbalance the large control box.

The metal detector ships with the most accurate target identification on the market today, and wireless audio (Wi-Stream), making treasure hunting a breeze. And using the XChange 2 application, you can upload all of your metal detector settings and treasure locations to your PC.

With a full color LCD display and advanced Target Trace discrimination you will find more treasure, no matter the ground conditions.

With a total of 10 search modes, the CTX 3030 provides five preset search modes for different types of hunting, such as M1 for coins, M2 for beaches, M3 for relics, M4 for silver, and M5 for high-trash areas.

But it’s also fully customizable, so the more advanced detectors can take full advantage of it. It also features 20 discrimination Patterns (2 per Search Mode).

This versatile treasure detector comes with two different search coils! Really!

The first is an 11-inch Double-D coil. The Double-D coil is capable of penetrating much deeper in the soil than a standard coil. If you want even more searching power, you can use the massive 17-inch Smart Coil. The larger coil is specifically designed to interact with the complex processing units within the control box. As a result, you can take advantage of features like signal boosting, digital processing, and more.

1. Waterproof Build

One of the biggest hurdles detectors have to face these days is water and mud. While you could stick to dry land to find treasures, some of the most valuable metal detector finds were uncovered on the beach.

Unfortunately, most detectors aren’t equipped to deal with the challenges of water, which severely limits where you can search.

Minelab addresses this problem with the CTX 3030.

This device is completely waterproof up to 10 feet. You can submerge the entire thing, not just the coil. All of the delicate components are sealed within a protective body. Meanwhile, the parts that are exposed to water are protected against corrosion. You can even go metal detecting at the beach where saltwater is notorious for causing unwanted oxidation.

2. User-Friendly Control Box

The Minelab CTX 3030 has the modern control box. Rather than using a series of analog gauges, this machine comes with a fully digital system.

A large LCD display is used to provide you with all the detection information you need at a glance. It’s a full-color screen with intuitive menus and a user-friendly interface. The control box has tons of functionality built-in. Use the physical buttons to navigate the various menus and make adjustments on the fly.

It’s a sleek control box that’s highly effective in any environment. Thanks to the many brightness levels, you can adjust the screen to your liking and ensure that all the information you need is visible.

Minelab CTX 3030 Key Performance Features

CTX 3030 metal detector

The Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector does not disappoint when it comes to performance. While this machine still relies on the basics of electromagnetism to find hidden treasures, some more advanced features take the concept even further.

1. Pulse Induction Technology

The CTX 3030 metal detector uses pulse induction technology rather than VLF technology to find objects. Pulse induction (PI) metal detectors work very differently. Rather than producing a continuous signal, the detector creates short bursts. It pulsates at a particular speed and uses reflections to determine whether or not there’s something of value beneath you.

When a metal object is found, it will interfere with the reflected pulse, letting the detector know that there’s metal in the area. It’s an advanced system that’s highly effective for difficult environments.

You see, PI technology is capable of ignoring ground mineralization. Trace amounts of minerals in the soil can make the ground more magnetic, which is known to cause issues with traditional detectors. Pulse induction units aren’t affected by mineralization as much. So, you can go metal detecting and find small nuggets or metals with a low conductivity rating.

The Minelab CTX 3030 takes things a step further as well. MPS or Multi Period Sensing complements the pulse induction technology. Instead of using a single pulse rhythm, the detector will alternate between long and short pulses. This helps to remove the ground signal even further so that you can find deeper objects without any issues.

2. Multiple Operating Frequencies

The operating frequency range is an important factor to consider when shopping for a metal detector. Cheaper models limit you to one frequency setting. This could prove to be problematic if you ever want to search in difficult areas.

Luckily, the Minelab CTX 3030 offers several frequency choices. You can choose settings on the control box. This multi frequency detector has a massive range. You can choose from multiple settings between 1.5 kHz and 100 kHz!

The lower frequency settings are good for finding larger items with a high conductivity level. Meanwhile, the higher frequencies are best-suited for small objects. The cool thing about the CTX 3030 is that you can fine-tune your settings based on your target. You may even uncover objects other metal detectors overlook.

Minelab CTX 3030 Advanced Detection Features

The most noteworthy aspect of the Minelab CTX 3030 is the technology it uses. This isn’t some simple detector. Hidden within the control box are multiple processing units. You can take advantage of computing power to take your prospecting to the next level.

1. FBS 2

FBS 2 is Minelab’s second-generation Full Band Spectrum technology. Basically, this processor is designed to fully analyze the signal that’s produced. You’re not just relying on basic sounds to determine what’s hiding beneath the soil.

The machine will convert the signal to digital data, which can then be used for in-depth analysis. All of this works behind the scenes in an instant. What you’ll experience is more accurate detection and better identification. You’ll have more information about the object before you dig it up, which can be useful in fields with a ton of junk metals.

2. Smartfind 2

Smartfind 2 is Minelab’s advanced discrimination system. In the metal detecting world, discrimination is the ability to overlook certain parts of the conductivity spectrum. It allows you to ignore potential junk metals and focus on things of value. Basic detectors typically do this through notch discrimination that you can easily adjust with a knob.

On the Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector, Smartfind 2 is able to discriminate between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. It also has target resolution and Tone ID profiles to separate targets based on conductivity levels. Everything is done based on digital signal processing. The powerful microcontrollers are capable of providing accurate information in an instant.

When you hover over an object, it’s information is displayed on the screen. You can then choose to ignore similar targets or accept them to find other potential treasures in the same area.

One standout feature of Smartfind 2 is the ability to detect more than one target. Thanks to Target Trace and Target Separation, you’re able to learn information about multiple objects at once from the same LCD screen.

3. GPS Navigation

Ever wish that you could record location information for your finds? With the Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector, you finally can. It has a GPSi system that records your location whenever you need it.

The CTX 3030 comes with integrated GPS that allows you to mark points of interest, record your detecting path, and locate hotspots that have a high probability of containing valuable items.

It’s particularly useful for military applications and geocaching. The system communicates with GPS satellites. Small positioning engines record your coordinates, which can then be used in several different ways. You can mark finds, create waypoints, and more. You can even record your entire journey so that you can keep track of the ground that you’ve already covered.

You can upload your detecting data from your PC when you get home for viewing on Google Maps (via XChange 2)

CTX3030 Pros and Cons

Depending on your preferences and goals, Minelab’s CTX 3030 has its strengths and weaknesses, like all metal detectors.

  • Advanced technology (FBS 2)
  • Wireless audio feature
  • GPS functionality
  • Waterproof design
  • Long Battery Life
  • Comes with 2 Coils
  • Quite expensive
  • Heavy weight
  • A bit complicated to use, due to the advanced features

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the Minelab CTX 3030 good for saltwater?

This metal detector can do just fine in saltwater. Not only does it have automatic ground mineralization to overcome performance issues, but it uses pulse induction technology. It can ignore typical mineralization problems that you face with standard detectors. In fact CTX 3030 hit the list of our top metal detectors for beach & saltwater.

2. How deep can the CTX 3030 detect?

The depth capabilities of CTX 3030 depend on several factors. On average, you can expect it to penetrate up to 10 inches below the surface of the soil. However, the pulse induction technology and MPS feature may help you achieve greater depths.

3. Is the CTX 3030 good for gold?

The Minelab CTX 3030 does a fine job of finding gold. It has operating frequency options up to 100 kHz, which is good for low-conductivity metals. Plus, the pulse induction system is considered to be much better for finding small gold nuggets that standard VLF technology.

4. Is the Minelab CTX 3030 waterproof?

The Minelab metal detector is waterproof up to 10 feet.

Check out our list of the best metal detectors for gold


cox 3030 on grass

Metal detecting is a wonderful hobby that lets you uncover treasures lost to the sands of time! However, most metal detectors just aren’t powerful or feature-rich enough to help you search everywhere. Soil conditions can vary dramatically based on the environment you’re in. Unless you have the features to overcome those different challenges, you’re not going to get very far in your treasure hunting endeavors.

The Minelab CTX 3030 is built to help you search untethered. It’s equipped with advanced features that can help you solve the challenges you face as you search.

It uses pulse induction technology to overcome ground mineralization issues. This alone is enough to let you search in tough environments where other detectors can’t go. However, the more advanced processing units inside the detector take things even further. With the FBS 2 and Smartfind 2 features, you can search deeper than ever before. These systems all work in tandem to provide you with accurate readings regardless of where you’re searching.

This is a really professional metal detector and the price reflects that. Waiting for the (uncertain) release of the new Minelab CTX 4040 is not a good idea, after all these years of rumors. Find a Minelab CTX 3030 for sale today and see how much of a difference its technology can make.

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Article by

Chad Eicher

Detectorist Chad is passionate about metal detecting since he got his first metal detector as a gift when he was 12 years old. He created Metal Pursuits to share his knowledge and create the ultimate metal detecting resource on the web.


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