Way back in the mid 70’s when I first started detecting the whole notion of “pinpointing” centred around keep your eyes firmly fixed on the centre of the search coil whilst moving it away from the target and then digging in the hope that you had kept watching the same spot all the time. Bit hit and miss but generally it worked. These days most detectors come with a pinpoint mode which makes life a lot easier but to make things easier still we have the hand held pinpointer.
The pinpointer has become a staple tool of most detectorists tool kits and it is easy to see why. Digging holes and feeling around in the dirt with your hands certainly works but it takes time and occasionally the target is so small it is very easy to miss. With a pinpointer you can quickly hone in on that elusive target and it is also easier to check for other targets in the same hole. So whilst not essential, it certainly helps.
Probably the most familiar pinpointer out there is what has become affectionately known as the “Garrett carrot” or to give it its proper title the ‘Garrett Pro-Pointer’. I also think it would be safe to say that this is the pinpointer by which others are measured. It is definitely a nice bit of kit and built to Garrett’s high standards however that comes at a cost and quite a large cost at that. In the UK right now the Garrett Pro-Pointer will set you back around £120.00 which is no small chunk of change.
So given the relatively high price of the Garrett Pro Pointer it is no surprise that other manufacturers brought out their own versions and all the big names now have one or more pinpointer probes with prices ranging from around £69.00 to £130.00. More choice is always a good thing in my book especially if it saves a few quid.
Enter the Chinese! Ever ones to spot an opportunity, enterprising Chinese manufactures jumped firmly on the bandwagon and started producing even cheaper versions of the market leading Garret Pro-Pointer. Many of these can be had for around £20.00 or less. The trouble of course is that most of them are not that great. However, amongst the dross of look-a-like “garrett carrots’ there are a few exceptions and it is one of those I want to talk about here. The GP-Pointer.
You see what they did with the name there? For GP read “Garrett Pro”. Very clever. It even looks…on first glance like the real thing. Imitation is often the sincerest form of flattery but I am pretty sure Garrett doesn’t quite share that sentiment.
Questions about who is copying what aside, what we really want to know is, at a cost of less than £20.00 how does the GP-Pointer measure up against the market leading Garrett Pro Pointer?
In terms of build quality I really cannot fault the GP-Pointer. It is strong and “appears” to be made from the same quality materials that the Garrett is made from. It is water resistant although not waterproof, has a flash light built in and scraper down one side. Options are…well there aren’t any. It is either on or off and thats it but then what else do you need?
As far as detection range goes I would say it is not quite as good as the Garrett Pro-Pointer but not far off. The GP-Pointer is around 1-2cm behind the Garrett but then again we are talking about a price difference of around £100.00 and given that you would generally be “probing” around in a hole you have already dug I would say the GP-Pointer stands just as much chance of locating the target as any other pointer no matter how expensive the price tag.
If you can afford it and want the best, go for the Garrett Pro-Pointer. If your pockets are not so deep but you would still like the advantages of a decent pointer you could do a lot worse than spend £20 on the GP-Pointer.
Alternatives to the GP Pointer:
DR.ÖTEK Pinpointer £39.99 (waterproof to 10 Meters but vibration only, no sound)
Nokta Pointer Pinpointer £90 (waterproof IP67)
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