Minelab Vanquish 540 Review

by Chad Eicher

Minelab Vanquish 540 Review.png

Welcome to the ultimate Minelab Vanquish 540 review.

The Minelab Vanquish 540 is a tremendous all-around metal detector.

VLF and Multi IQ allow frequencies from 5 to 40 kHz.

The Vanquish is ergonomically designed and lightweight at 2.8 lbs, allowing several hours of use. Easy-to-understand and user-friendly LCD menu options allow the elimination of iron and junk. 

MINELAB VANQUISH 540 – Key Points

🔎 About

A beginner detector from Minelab.

😍 Pros

Easy to learn, lightweight, Multi IQ, great sensitivity.

😖 Cons

Not completely waterproof.

💰 Price

Great features for the price point. Compare prices here and here.

📜 Verdict

A great detector from Minelab. Easy to use but with advanced features.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.4)

The best metal detector?

The Minelab Vanquish is an easy-to use, fun metal detector with advanced technology.

Although it is quite good for the price, it doesn’t make the top of our list…

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The Minelab Vanquish 540 Review

If you are looking for a straight-out-the-box, easy-to-use metal detector, the Minelab Vanquish 540 may tick all the boxes. It is geared for use on any terrain and is water-resistant to 1m (3.3 ft).

So let’s unpack the Vanquish 540 and take it for a walk. 

Minelab Vanquish 540

First Impressions 

At first glance, it is a well-built metal detector that is easy to assemble with straightforward instructions. The box includes the following:

  • One waterproof 12″ search coil
  • A red backlight LED control panel
  • Four AA rechargeable batteries
  • USB charger unit
  • An arm strap
  • A control panel rain cover
  • One Minelab wired headset
  • Instructions
  • Warranty

The instructions make assembly easy. The unit is divided into two sections, with the top arm housing the control panel. The grip is rubbery, making it slip-proof, especially in the rain. The control panel feels solid and well assembled onto the arm. It doesn’t feel shaky or loose.

The bottom arm fits into the top and is secured with a snap connector for a quick and easy release. This is especially helpful when traveling with limited space because the Vanquish 540 is a mere 30 inches once collapsed. 

It is lightweight, only weighing 2.8 lbs, and can easily fit into a duffle bag or medium-sized backpack. The bottom stem is lightweight aluminum and ribbed to create a better grip once assembled. The coil has the main cable already attached, which is coiled around the length of the rod and plugged into the bottom of the control panel.

The ribbed rod is easily attached to the coil with a self-tightening screw. The two rods are then connected by sliding the ribbed rod into the top arm and snapping down the connector. The armrest section that attaches to the back end of the grip has a wide enough angle for any size forearm.

First Performance Test On A Beach

This machine can be used on any terrain, and we will test it on a beach first. However, considering that the air always has more moisture by the ocean, it’s a clever idea to use the included waterproof cover when going to the beach. 

The cover will also prevent fine beach sand from accumulating around the LED display and between the buttons. Low tide is the best time to hit the beach, giving you more search area.

Minelab Vanquish 540 control box

When you arrive on the beach, you must switch on the Vanquish 540. You do this by putting the coil onto the sand and pressing down on the power button. The LED will start up, and now you can play with the settings. 

For a beach, you can set the determination to cut out particular objects, and the sensitivity levels can be high while engaging the jewelry button.

A great point to note is that the Vanquish 540 machine is both wired and wireless. The Vanquish 540 has the option to connect to any Bluetooth headset and is not limited to Minelab headsets exclusively.

This feature is convenient if you own a good set of wireless headphones that cup the ears and have a noise-canceling feature. You want to hear all the essential sounds coming from the Vanquish 540 without other sound interference. 

Most top-end headphones allow you to still hear a conversation at a certain decibel which can be lifesaving. Unfortunately, the Minelab Vanquish 540 is not a Pro metal detector. Still, it is an excellent machine for any beginner or more advanced hunter. 

If you are not in the mood to dig for junk, this is the metal detector for you. The way to eliminate iron and bottle caps with everything in between is to use the stock high iron bias. The Vanquish 540 has a high iron bias, saving time digging for trash.

The coil is waterproof up to 3 ft allowing for safe exploration in low-tide pools and between rocky areas with tidal pools.

Always clean off the metal detector with warm water and a soft cloth after being at the beach. It helps prevent a salt buildup on any parts. 

A quick walk up and down the beach uncovered the following items – 1 stainless steel ring on 10/12, 1 silver chain on 6/7, 1 penny on 20/22, and 1 copper penny at 25. Considering the beach has black sand below the surface, which tests the discrimination of a metal detector.

The Vanquish 540 has four modes:

  • Jewelry
  • Custom
  • Relic
  • Coin

Each mode has 5 tones, and the recovery speed is not adjustable. There are weighted frequencies, but no setting exists to show what they are. It may be challenging to determine what the Vanquish is picking up as the unmasking is not as accurate as hoped. 

Performance Test On Dry Land

The metal detector’s box states that it has an iron bias, which should mean more treasure and less trash, but it should be put to the test regardless. Many metal detectors claim to have iron bias so let’s see how the Vanquish 540 did.

A great way to test would be to place several objects on the ground and see how the Vanquish 540 performs. Items you can spread out can be the following – 

  • A nickel
  • A dime
  • A rusted nail
  • An aluminum tag
  • A bottle top

Run the metal detector over these items, see the readings, and make notes. Another exercise you should try is to bury the things and do the test again, see if the results are similar, and then go out to a site you don’t know.

It is a good idea to always have a pinpointer on hand to detect depth and exact location. Pinpointing always minimizes digging time, especially if you are unsure that the Vanquish 540’s pinpoint mode is not giving you accuracy.

There were a couple of good finds, some nickels, a relic, and a buckle. You can try putting the Vanquish in different modes to understand its sensitivity and discrimination. Practice helps a lot, so the more you use it, the easier it becomes. 

Test On A Lake Beach 

Inland lakes are great for hunting treasures, as weekend visitors may lose jewelry and other valuables like coins. Using the jewelry mode on the lake beach is a good start, and you can walk the shore and into the water up to 1m deep.

The lake beach sensitivity on an 8 is excellent, and to a 6 in the water. The remarkable thing about the Vanquish is that there are no in-between noises.

It only makes a noise when it picks up on something valuable, and there isn’t much falsing either, which is fantastic. 

Items located on the lakeside beach included:

  • Silver earring
  • Gold chain
  • 3 nickles
  • Bungee cord bracelet with steel clasp

Test On A Relic Site 

Taking the Vanquish 540 metal detector to a site you think may produce some relics is the most exciting place to be. Of course, you would immediately put the Vanquish 540 on Relic mode

In relic mode, there is very little falsing, the accuracy is pretty good, and the need for a pinpointer is minimized.

However, considering that there may be some patches where the soil is different below the grass, you need to go out as often as possible and practice.

Overall, the detector did what it was supposed to do: find treasure. Here are some items found in and around an old abandoned house:

  • Old silver spoon
  • Silver coin
  • Cast metal toy truck
  • Car badge

In relic mode, the Vanquish is a pleasure to use. Still, a pinpointer can be helpful if you like hunting at night or if the soil is particularly muddy.

Frequencies

The packaged box shows that the Vanquish 540 has Multi-IQ technology, but what does that mean?

Multi-IQ means the metal detector uses several different frequencies simultaneously when searching, while most other detectors only use a single frequency. 

The detector uses frequencies between 5 and 40 kHz simultaneously. That is advantageous because the lower frequency range allows for deeper identification. 

The higher range frequencies help discover items such as platinum and gold while low-frequency detectors battle to find precious metals.

Why Does The Vanquish 540 Use Multi-IQ?

The Multi-IQ technology is only available to the 540 and the Equinox series, and no other machines possess this technology. 

The Multi-IQ technology combines the best technology in one machine, eliminating the need for 2 or three devices. The Vanquish 540 is like having multiple machines in one.

A machine with a low-frequency setting, around 5 kHz, will find prominent relics and pieces but will miss a small gold nugget or silver ring. A metal detector with a higher setting, like 40 kHz, can easily pick up on the smaller treasures. This means you won’t miss any gems. 

The Minelab Vanquish 540 vs The Equinox 600

Putting the Vanquish 540 up against the Equinox 600 was quite interesting. Here are the differences between Minelab’s two metal detectors:

Minelab Vanquish 540 VS Equinox 600

Vanquish 540

12-inch search coil

Waterproof to 1m

Multi-IQ technology

4 modes

Equinox 600 

11-inch DD smart search coil 

Waterproof up to 3m 

4 single frequencies and Multi-IQ 

3 modes: Park, Beach, and Field

The Equinox 600  has a much faster recovery speed than the 540. It is also able to identify coins and valuables quicker and deeper with accuracy. The Equinox is incredibly accurate in determining what the object is and its depth.

The disadvantage of the Equinox 600 is that it is very noisy in between, with lots of frequency jumps. On the other hand, the Equinox is more stable and quieter when it’s in Beach mode. 

What Makes The Vanquish 540 Metal Detector A Good Buy?

Considering the detector’s reasonable pricing, it is the perfect choice for anyone wanting to treasure hunt, irrespective if you’re a beginner or a pro hunter. Because it is so well put together, lightweight, and easy to use, it gets a thumbs up as a build-and-go machine. 

The Multi-IQ technology allows you to search through all the possible frequencies without pressing a button. It is waterproof and lightweight enough for a young child to use. Its overall ease of use and Bluetooth ability mean you have more maneuverability and fewer wires dangling around. 

The Vanquish 540 has a pinpoint function and 5 search modes, including a custom setting giving you the freedom of choice. 

The other advantage of the Multi-IQ technology is that you can use the metal detector on any soil type or terrain. It works perfectly fine on mineralized soils, high salt content soils, black soil, and iron-rich areas. 

The beach is where the it seems to excel. It’s highly stable and performs optimally. A great feature of this metal detector is that you can hide bottle caps or crown corks. They show up in the iron area, but you can completely eliminate them by selection. 

Many other metal detectors do not have this feature, and it causes frustration when you dig for a few minutes only to find yet another crown cork.

The S-Frame design of the vanquish is so ergonomic, and the frame is light. The whole machine weighs 2.8 lbs, so there is little strain on the shoulder, elbow, and back.

What Is In The Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro Pack?

Aside from the Vanquish 540, there is an upgraded version available in the form of the 540 Pro Pack. There is no difference in the control panel, but it has a few added extras, as follows:

  • 8” waterproof search coil
  • 12” waterproof search coil
  • ML 80 Wireless/ Bluetooth headphones
  • Carry bag
  • Four rechargeable batteries and charger

Pros And Cons

Like all metal detectors, some pros and cons could ultimately sway your decision when buying this metal detector. It must ultimately suit your needs and expectations. Here are the pros and cons to consider.

Pros
  • Ultralight
  • Waterproof to 3ft
  • Waterproof rain cover for the control panel
  • Advanced Multi-IQ technology
  • Easy to switch modes
  • Three machines in one
  • Suitable for beginners to advanced hunters
  • Compact for traveling 
  • Rechargeable batteries 
  • Highly affordable 

Cons
  • Advanced treasure hunters may find it lacking in identification accuracy
  • Only 1 coil in the Vanquish 540 box
  • Beginners may find it hard to adjust
  • Does not have wireless/Bluetooth headphone capability

Conclusion 

After using the Minelab Vanquish 540 in different settings and comparing it to single-frequency machines, it is undoubtedly one of the best metal detectors for its price class. 

The metal detector took every obstacle and delivered what we wanted.

We recommend you getting the Pro Pack so you have the extra coil and wireless headphones.

Happy hunting!

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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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