The Fisher F11 was my very first metal detector. This is what introduced me to the wild world of metal detecting! I ordered 2 of them, and my family headed up to the Boise National Forest to try them out on a camping trip. On that first trip we dug nothing but trash targets as we learned more about the detector and the process involved with finding hidden treasure. But it did not matter, I was hooked!
The Fisher F11 is a great option for those just starting out in the metal detecting world. This is an inexpensive model from a well-known and reputable company. It does not have complex settings that take ages to master. This is a true turn-on-and-go model.
Who is the Fisher F11 Made For?
The Fisher F11 is a great model for beginning metal detectorists or teenagers. This detector is simple to use, lightweight, and gives the user a great introduction to the wonderful world of metal detecting! There are no complicated settings to master. Each search mode is pre-programmed so you will learn what each metal sounds like and looks like on the display quickly and easily.
Overview of the F11
The Fisher F11 is great for beginners. There are no complicated settings or controls to master. This detector comes preset for normal ground conditions, so it is simple to use. If you live somewhere with highly mineralized soil, this model may struggle.
There are lots of minerals in my soil and this detector has a lot of problems in this area. I have used it in other areas (southern Idaho, southern Nevada, and eastern Oregon), and it performs very well.
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The F11 has decent discrimination, adjustable sound, and an easy-to-read LCD screen. It is lightweight, at just 2.3 pounds, and has a waterproof search coil. This detector has 4 audio tones for targets: bass, low, medium, and high.
Each tone corresponds to a range of metals. Visual target ID has 9 segments, ranging from iron to silver, that work with each audio tone.
This detector also features adjustable sensitivity, notch discrimination, volume control, pinpoint mode, and a headphone jack. It is inexpensive to operate because it uses only a single battery. I also like that you can interchange search coils on this model. Fisher sells additional search coils that work with this detector.
Frequency and Sensitivity
The Fisher F11 operates at a frequency of 7.69 kHz. This is a good frequency for all-around metal detecting. It is too low to find small gold flakes and nuggets but will still find other metals or large pieces of gold!
Sensitivity is adjustable on the F11 from 1 to 6. The default setting when the detector is powered on is sensitivity level 5. Low sensitivity will detect targets up to 2 inches deep, while maximum sensitivity will detect about 8 inches deep (in normal soil conditions).
Search Modes and Target ID on the Fisher F11
This model has 3 pre-programmed search modes: Jewelry, Coin, and Artifact. Each mode is designed to be best suited to that target type. It should be noted that this detector is not intended to find small or fine gold, fine jewelry, or for use in saltwater areas. It does, however, have a built-in setting to eliminate some ground minerals.
Target ID on this model is a 9-segment numerical digit that corresponds to an audio tone. Lower numbers (2-5) indicate metals like foil, nickel, aluminum, and zinc. Higher numbers (6-9) indicate items like coins.
The display on the Fisher F11 features target ID icons, mode indicator, depth indicator, battery level, and menu category icons. There are also buttons featuring a + and – sign that adjust the volume. Volume has 6 adjustable levels.
Other controls are the sensitivity adjustment, from 1 to 6, and notch discrimination. Notch discrimination allows you to reject or accept certain types of metals for each target group. Each of the pre-set search modes has certain metals notched out so you will find more high-quality targets.
The Fisher F11 also features a pinpoint mode. This is a great feature, especially for new detectorists, because it allows you to center in on your target more precisely. Simply press the pinpoint button and move the detector coil over the target. The depth indicator and volume will show the center of the target.
Battery and Power
The Fisher F11 uses one 9-volt alkaline battery. The user manual states that you should not use zinc carbon batteries or those labeled as “heavy duty.” The control box LCD screen features a battery life indicator, and you can expect between 20 and 25 hours of use from a single battery. Rechargeable batteries can also be used and will give around 8 hours of use per charge.
This model comes with a 7” round elliptical waterproof search coil. This search coil can be fully submerged in water. It is worth noting that the control box is not waterproof, nor even water resistant. So, take caution around water! Never fully submerge the F11 in water.
Fisher also sells 5 additional search coils that can be used with the F11. These range from a 4” round search coil to an 11” Double D elliptical coil. Each one has its benefits. They also offer search coil covers to preserve the longevity of your search coil. Learn more about Fisher Search Coils here: http://fisherlab.com/hobby/detector-searchcoils.htm
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Comparison With Other Metal Detectors
There are several other entry level metal detectors that can be compared to the Fisher F11. Each one has its pros and cons, and each one is a great introduction to the world of metal detecting!
The Fisher F22 is another entry level metal detector. It costs more than the F11 but has more options. This model has 4 search modes compared to the 3 on the F11: Coin, Artifact, Jewelry, and Custom. It has 10 levels of adjustable sensitivity compared to the 6 on F11.
It also has more volume settings. One of my favorite features of the F22 is the numerical target identification. Rather than using a number line to show what the target likely is, the F22 uses a number that corresponds to a metal. These run from 1 to 99.
The F22 is also weatherproof, unlike the F11. This means you can metal detect in rain. It is not fully waterproof so never submerge the F22 in water!
This model also allows you to notch out metals within each metal group, instead of notching out the entire metal group. This model also has interchangeable search coils so you can build your detector in the manner that best suits your needs.
Learn more about the Fisher F22 here: http://fisherlab.com/hobby/fisher-f22-metal-detector.htm
Garrett Ace 250
Garrett’s Ace 250 is one of the best-selling metal detectors of all time. This model costs more than the F11 but is tried and true. The Ace 250 has 5 search modes: Coins, Jewelry, Relics, All Metal, and Custom. It is lightweight, and easy to use.
This model requires 4 AA batteries, so it will cost slightly more than the F11 to operate. Battery life is 20 to 40 hours depending on soil conditions and settings.
The Ace 250 operates at a lower frequency than the F11, at 6.5 kHz. One thing I love about this detector is it saves your last used settings. This is very convenient when you plan to metal detect in the same location, the settings you last used there will be ready to go.
One thing I do not love about this model is the volume level is not adjustable. It also features a pinpoint mode to easily narrow down your target location.
As with the F11, the Ace 250 has interchangeable search coils. Learn more about this detector here: https://garrett.com/sport/ace-250-metal-detector
Nokta Makro Simplex +
The Nokta Makro Simplex + is one of my favorite metal detectors. I have used this detector personally for the past 2 years and I absolutely love it! This is a great option for new or intermediate detectorists.
The Simplex + operates at a higher frequency than any other on this list at 12 kHz. This is also an adjustable frequency meaning you can slightly adjust it up or down to compensate for electromagnetic interference.
This model has 5 search modes: Field, Park 1, Park 2, Beach, and All Metal. The beach setting works very well for me because I typically detect in an area with high soil mineralization.
This mode helps block out some of the interference caused by the soil and gives me better signals. This detector is also completely waterproof up to 16 feet.
If you want to learn more about the Simplex +, read my review of this detector here: https://metaldetectingtips.com/nokta-makro-simplex-review/
Pros and Cons of the F11
As with any product, the Fisher F11 metal detector has pros and cons. Consult this chart for a quick list of some pros and cons so you can decide if this detector is a good fit for you!
|Affordably Priced around $159||Limited detection depth|
|Easy to use, designed with beginners in mind||Not great in highly mineralized soils|
|Lightweight at just 2.3 pounds||The LCD can be hard to read in direct sunlight|
|3 search modes||Button placement is not ideal, especially when wearing gloves|
|Visual Target ID with volume control||Limited features, so it will not appeal to more advanced detectorists|
|Adjustable sensitivity and discrimination||Sensitivity adjustments severely impact detection depth|
|Comes with a 5-year warranty||Not waterproof or weatherproof|
Discoveries with the F11
One of my favorite finds with the F11 was an old railroad tie found in the Boise National Forest along a service road. This was my second detecting trip, and I was overjoyed to find that old piece of iron!
I also found several newer coins, and pieces of unidentifiable metal near a campsite in the Ashley National Forest in Utah. The metal detector read silver, but the chemical metal test kit was inconclusive.
Where The F11 Works Best
The Fisher F11 will work best in areas with low soil mineralization, low electromagnetic interference, and away from saltwater. This detector struggles in all the conditions mentioned and will give false readings or overload and shut down.
There are some settings that can be adjusted to help compensate for some of these issues. Read the manual to learn how to adjust the detector properly! Access the manual here: http://www.fisherlab.com/hobby/manuals/MF11-Reader.pdf
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One Last Sweep with the Fisher F11
The Fisher F11 is a great option for a beginning detectorist or a younger detectorist. This model is not complicated to use, yet still offers enough settings to get you read to move to a more advanced detector in the future. I used this detector for several years before I upgraded, and I was always happy with its performance.
Although there are cons for this detector, the price to value ratio is worth the purchase. This detector will teach you how to adjust sensitivity, how to use discrimination, and how to use the pinpoint feature. These will all help you to become a well-rounded metal detectorist.
Fisher’s warranty is a great reason to purchase from them. They stand behind all their products and help you feel good about the purchase. This detector will be a fantastic way to get you out and about and find treasure!
Malory Ericksen discovered metal detecting in 2015, initially unearthing nails and pull tabs in Idaho. The finding of an old railroad tie cemented her passion for the hobby. Now in Utah, she delights in uncovering historical treasures, driven by her love for history.
Read Malory’s complete bio 👉 About Malory Ericksen