Nokta Makro Simplex vs Minelab Equinox 800: Which is Better?

  • By: Chris
  • Last updated on December 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 18 min.
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When it comes to metal detectors, there are a lot of different options to choose from. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. You can choose a detector specifically for finding gold or pick up an all-purpose machine for all your adventures.

So, how do you know which is the best detector for you? In this article, I’ll compare two of the more popular metal detectors on the market, the Nokta Makro Simplex and the Minelab Equinox 800.

So, let’s get down to business and find out why these metal detectors are so popular among coin shooters and dirt fishers alike.

A Side by Side Comparison

Nokta Makro Simplex+
  • Brand: Nokta Makro
  • Item Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 10 feet
  • Detection Depth: Up to 20 inches
  • Frequencies: 12 kHz
  • Detection Modes: 4 + All-Metal
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer (12 hrs)
  • Sensitivity: 6 Levels
  • Target ID: 0 - 99
  • Technology Type: VLF
  • Competitive Feature: Collapsible Shaft
Minelab Equinox 800
  • Brand: Minelab
  • Item Weight: 2.96 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 10 feet
  • Detection Depth: Up to 16 inches
  • Frequencies: 5, 10, 15, 20, 40 kHz
  • Detection Modes: 8 + All-Metal
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (12 hrs)
  • Sensitivity: 25 Levels
  • Target ID: -9 - 40
  • Technology Type: Multi-Frequency
  • Competitive Feature: 2 Gold Search Modes

Before we dive into each metal detector and all they have to offer, let me make a quick clarification on what we are comparing.

There are actually two differently packaged Nokta Simplex+ options available. You have your choice of the Simplex+ or the Simplex+ WHP. They are essentially the same machine. The big difference is that the Simplex+ WHP comes with wireless headphones, while the other doesn’t

All other features are the same. For the purposes of this comparison, we will be referencing the Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP. However, if you are interested in the Simplex without the wireless option, you can follow the link here for all the pricing details.

Otherwise, let’s jump in and examine all that the Simplex has to offer.

Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP Waterproof Metal Detector

Nokta Makro Simplex+
Nokta Makro Simplex+
  • 12 kHz frequency
  • 4 detection modes + all-metal
  • Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Comes with wireless headphones
  • 3 (EMI) noise-canceling frequency shifts
  • Depth indicator

The Nokta Simplex was released in 2019 by a Turkish manufacturer, Nokta Makro. It was designed to be an entry-level machine but still, packed in enough features to satisfy even the most experienced detectorists.

With the United States being predominantly populated with a variety of models made by Garrett, Minelab, and Bounty Hunter, Nokta set out to grab a foothold in the US market share by offering a unique product at a third of the cost.

Nokta succeeded in this goal with the Simplex+. It offers easy-to-use controls without sacrificing features or performance.

While this multi-frequency device was intended for beginners, the advanced features will satisfy even the most experienced hobbyists.

Physical Attributes of the Simplex

Physical Attributes of the Simplex
There’s so much to love about this lightweight and comfortable design.

Let’s start examining this innovative detector by looking at what it provides the user physically.

From top to bottom, the Simplex+ was made to make the user feel comfortable with their decision. Weighing only 2.8 pounds out of the box, you can assemble and disassemble the collapsible shaft for easy and lightweight travel.

Speaking of the collapsible shaft, this is not a one size fits all kind of machine. You can retract the height as needed for each user.

Furthermore, the armrest was designed to provide comfort and stability. It’s fully adjustable and won’t crack at the slightest of pressure.

If you’re the type of digger to get lost in the adventure and lose track of time, then you’ve found a perfect hunting mate as the battery life gives you a full 12 hours of use before needing a recharge. And yeah, I said recharge.

The rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery charges to full in a mere 3 hours so you’re turnaround time is quick.

The controls on the Simplex+ are simple and straightforward. On the face of the control box, you have 6 buttons that allow you to adjust the settings and power of your device to your liking. The buttons are coated in a smooth rubber material designed for better protection with consistent use.

display is backlit and can be easily read
The backlit display is perfect for night hunting and the area’s the sun just won’t reach.

The display is backlit and can be easily read, even in direct sunlight as the intensity of the lighting can be altered whenever it is needed. Also, an LED flashlight comes built into the control box for your convenience.

If you’re hard of hearing or aiming for some privacy in your search, then you’ll love the wireless Nokta headphones this model comes with. Or even better, the rubber-treated handle is equipped with a vibration feature to alert you of any findings without making a sound.

And I don’t want to forget about the 11″ DD waterproof coil. It’s fully submersible in water up to a depth of ten feet and was given an approved IP68 rating to make you comfortable knowing your coil won’t let in any water or loose minerals.

But if you’re looking for a smaller coil for some specialized detection, there are compatible coil replacements available.

Finally, the Nokta Simplex is built for use well into the future with its 2-year warranty and updatable software for all the latest advancements.

Featured Technology of the Simplex

Featured Technology of the Simplex
The Simplex has a powerful punch of advanced features.

The Nokta Makro Simplex isn’t just pretty and tough, it’s also a metal detector that can keep up with the big boys.

This VLF machine operates on a main frequency of 12kHz. But don’t be fooled by its seemingly simple design, the Simplex+ is a multi-purpose machine that can handle most tasks you throw at it. While the 12 kHz frequency is ideal for just about any target and even better for beginners, the Simplex offers more than enough features to make sure you find what you need.

There are 5 search modes available with this device. All-metal, Park 1, Park 2, Field, and Beach.

All-metal is great for a general sweep of the area as it will detect all types of metals. Just know that you get all the junk too, like iron nails, tossed aside vape pens, old bottle caps, etc.

all metal mode for the simplex
The all-metal mode will pick up everything without any discrimination.

If you’re set on finding only the good stuff and going deeper than the other detectorists around you, you’ll want to use the Park 1 mode. Just be sure to take your time and swing at a slow and steady pace. Moving too fast will give you false readings or cause you to miss signals altogether.

Park 2 can find valuable items just like Park 1, but you’ll lose an inch or two of depth due to the higher recovery speed it gives you. The recovery speed is ideal though if you’re dealing with heavily mineralized soil as it will help to move faster from target to target for identification.

Field mode is perfect for searching in more open, non-trashy areas. This mode will ignore small pieces of iron with the notch discrimination, while still picking up on those bigger finds like coins, jewelry, and other valuables. Field mode will also give you a good range of depth for your targets.

Beach mode is great for, you guessed it, the beach (or wet surfaces in general)! But it can also be used in highly mineralized soil like you might find near old mines or even in the desert.

There is more features to like about the simplex
The Simplex offers features that you won’t normally find on a beginner metal detector.

If that isn’t enough to convince you of the power the Nokta Makro Simplex has, then how about these other features that come packed in this little machine.

  • Auto and Manual Ground Balance
  • Depth Indicator
  • Pinpoint Mode
  • 6 Sensitivity Levels
  • 0-99 Target ID
  • 3 Audio Tones
  • Adjustable Ferrous Specific Volume Control
  • 3 Frequency Shifts for Canceling out EMI

I mean, come on! For a machine that’s simple enough for a beginner, it has all the features and then some of what you might find on more expensive models.

Performance of the Simplex

If you’re no stranger to metal detecting on some highly mineralized ground, then the Nokta Simplex+ is a great tool to bring along with you. You’ll easily reach depths of 20 inches for metals that have a high conductive current.

underwater or shallow depths with the simplex
The submersible coil is great for detecting treasures at shallow depths.

If underwater or shallow depths like in creeks and ponds are more your thing, then the Simplex can still outperform most entry-level machines! With the included 11″ DD coil, you can submerge the Simplex up to 10 feet to get to those areas where other machines just can’t reach.

It’s so lightweight that I almost find it hard to believe. The build and feel of it in my hand is tough and makes me think it could take a beating against some rocky terrain, and still detect flawlessly.

I had some trouble getting the target ID to give back consistent readings in Park 2, but speeding up my swing seemed to help.

Overall, I was really impressed with what this simple machine had to offer. It’s clear that Nokta Makro put a lot of thought into the design and performance of their entry-level machine, the Simplex+.

I would recommend this machine to anyone who is just getting started in the metal detecting world or even if you’re a seasoned pro looking to upgrade from your Garrett ACE series detector.

struggled with less conductive metals
The only thing lacking on the Simplex is a stronger detection for the less conductive precious metals.

The only thing I didn’t like about it was it struggled a little on the less conductive metals. But it’s not a deal-breaker. Also, I know people tend to complain about the audio tones being so different from other manufacturers, but I didn’t have a problem with it.

And you might be thinking the cost is so low, there must be something wrong with it! Well, you’d be wrong. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s an amazing machine and because it is made in Turkey where the cost of materials needed is cheaper, they can pass those savings on to us, the consumer.

So, given the price is a third of the cost of the Equinox and you still get a ton of the same features, it’s a no-brainer to see why the Simplex is becoming one of the more popular metal detectors.

  • Great detection depth
  • 5 search modes
  • Fully waterproof up to10 feet
  • Durable and affordable
  • Audio tones different than American made detectors
  • Not great in saltwater
  • Buttons can be difficult to depress
  • No gold search mode

Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector

Minelab Equinox 800
Minelab Equinox 800
  • 5 frequencies
  • 8 detection modes + all-metal
  • Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • 25 volume levels
  • 8 recovery speeds
  • Adjustable threshold level

Now, let’s take a look at the Minelab Equinox 800. The Equinox was released by Minelab in 2017. Minelab is an American-owned company but they design and manufacture their products in Australia, among other countries.

The biggest selling point for the Equinox is that it’s a multi-purpose machine with simultaneous multi-frequency technology that puts your old VLF detector to shame. You can use it to search for coins, jewelry, relics, and even gold nuggets! It doesn’t matter if you’re searching on the beach, in the park, or even diving into a lake or river, this product was made to withstand any environment.

When it comes to an all-purpose device, the Equinox 800 has little competition.

Physical Attributes of the Equinox

Physical Attributes of the Equinox
There’s so much to like about the Equinox, but I’m not a fan of the arm cuff or the non-collapsible shaft.

The Minelab Equinox 800 weighs in at low 2.96 pounds. However, after trying out the Simplex, I’d be lying if I said that the non-collapsible shaft didn’t bother me. It is lightweight so carrying it isn’t a big deal but picking up a bag for transportation might be a good idea.

And while the feel of the metal detector is loose and easy to swing, I have to admit that the adjustable arm cuff just doesn’t do it for me. It feels flimsy and uncomfortable. A friend of mine actually replaced his after it broke, with a compatible alloy arm cuff by Detect-Ed.

It’s not necessary but I’d definitely consider an upgrade if you have or plan to get the Equinox.

But hey, let me stop complaining already. Because honestly, this is a heck of a metal detector!

The Equinox comes with Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries that run for 12 hours, which is pretty impressive with all the features it’s using. In order to get a full charge, you’ll need 4 hours, which is 1 hour more than the Simplex, but really not a big factor.

love the display of the equinox
The wide display on the Equinox is one of the finer selling points of this metal detector.

What I absolutely love about this metal detector is the display! The large, bright screen is easy to see even in direct sunlight. This is great because there are a ton of adjustable features you can play around with.

Like the Simplex, the Equinox comes with an 11-inch DD waterproof search coil that is submersible up to 10 feet. So, no limitations when it comes to the kind of terrain you are looking to search.

Finally, you can feel safe and sound knowing that Minelab, one of the better metal detector companies around, offers a 3-year transferrable warranty.

Featured Technology of the Equinox

I touched on it before, but the Equinox is a multi-purpose machine with simultaneous multi-frequency technology that puts your old VLF detector to shame.

So, what exactly does that mean?

multi frequency better than vlf
You have a greater chance of detection with the Multi-IQ multi-frequency technology.

Well, a lot of detectors previously used Very Low Frequency or VLF. This meant that they were only able to use one frequency at a time, which limited their ability to find certain types of metals.

The Equinox uses multiple frequencies ranging from low to high and can switch between them quickly and efficiently.

This means that you’ll be able to find more metals, more accurately.

In fact, the Equinox 800 currently offers 5 different frequencies. These are 5 kHz, 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 20 kHz, and 40 kHz. Whereas the Simplex used the 12 kHz frequency as its main operating frequency.

When it comes to detection modes, this Minelab model comes with 5 search modes. Or, should I say 9 search modes?

9 total search modes
There are 4 standard search modes, an all-metal mode, and 4 custom search modes for the Equinox 800.

Right out of the box, you get the all-metal mode, the field mode, park mode, gold mode, and beach mode. However, each detection mode allows a second custom profile for greater detection (except for all-metal mode).

Here are the details for each detection mode available.

As usual, the all-metal mode is going to give you the broadest detection range. This is because it doesn’t discriminate between types of metals.

Park modes are good for areas where you are expecting or experiencing a lot of trashy signals. Park 1 is great for those just starting with your metal detector. It offers an ideal learning curve for understanding tones and is best at finding coins and larger pieces of jewelry.

Park 2 is used for those detectorists looking for fine jewelry and low conductive metals within an iron-rich or trashy area. In this mode, you’ll also be picking up all non-ferrous metals such as copper, brass, and silver.

field mode for the minelab equinox 800
While park modes are great for zeroing on your specific target, you’ll also pick up some less desirable signals.

Field mode is used when you are searching for a range of metals in all types of terrain with low to moderate levels of trash. This detection mode is also great at finding good targets in an area where previous or current occupants resided.

Specifically, Field 1 is used for finding coils and artifacts in high trash environments. This is a kind of general detection mode. The default discrimination setting is set at target IDs 1 and 2 to reject any coke signals. Coke refers to the charcoal and carbon by-product of burnt coal, often a good indicator of previous inhabitants.

Field 2 mode is similar to Field 1 but it reacts more favorably to smaller-sized coins, at even greater depths.

Beach 1 and 2 are used in wetter conditions or high salt conditions. Beach mode is great for finding lost jewelry, coins, and other valuables in these environments. While Beach 1 is more for wet or dry sand and shallow water conditions, Beach 2 is primarily used when submerging the coil or detector below water.

gold search modes on the equinox
The 2 gold search modes is something that the Simplex is lacking.

Finally, we have the Gold search modes. These modes are used for…yes, you got it, gold. Gold 1 is used when you are searching for smaller pieces of gold in a mild iron mineralization ground environment. Gold 2 will detect larger gold nuggets in more difficult soils where iron presence is much more prevalent.

Not to skimp on the rest of the incredible features the Equinox has to offer, but here is a list of the honorable mentions.

  • Threshold Level Adjustment
  • 8 Recovery Speeds
  • -9-40 Target ID (-9 to 0 for ferrous metals)
  • 25 Volume Levels
  • 25 Sensitivity Levels
  • Auto and Manual Ground Balance
  • Built-in Pinpointer

Performance of the Equinox

I think you’d find it hard to come away disappointed with the capabilities of the Minelab Equinox 800.

Performance of the Equinox
The conditions around you will always affect the performance of your metal detector.

For most conditions, I’ll usually hit a depth range of 14 to 16 inches which you can count on being mostly accurate. But even greater depths have been found with this machine. As with any metal detector, your results are going to vary depending on the type of metal you are looking for and the condition of the ground you are detecting.

Of course, you’ll lose some of your depth as you bump up the recovery speed. But that’s nothing new. Compared to any beginner detector and many of the mid-range models, the Equinox still comes out near the top in the depth detection department.

At first, I thought the display was a little too bulky, but I quickly became a big fan. The screen is very easy to read in all types of lighting conditions. And I like that the buttons are big and easy to press, even with gloves on.

I found it extremely accurate (and convenient) when the Equinox automatically ground balances whenever I switch to a new detection mode. It’s a great time saver.

With the advanced threshold levels, the range of sensitivity options, and my choice of 5 different frequencies, I was pretty happy with the consistent tones I was receiving. Especially in the far less mineralized areas.

use the noise cancel button
The noise cancel button should be used whenever powering up your device.

Just a word of advice. Get in the habit of pressing that noise cancel button whenever you turn on your machine. Even if you don’t see any power lines directly over your head, they could be running underground and wreak havoc on your detector’s performance. It’s one of those better to be safe than sorry kinds of things.

I don’t have much I dislike about the Equinox, besides what I’ve already mentioned. But I do think I should offer some words of wisdom for the newer detectorists. This is a metal detector meant for taking your treasure hunts to the next level.

While you don’t need a degree or 10 years’ experience to figure it out, I do think the functions of all the various settings and understanding the many outputs of the machine, in general, could be a bit overwhelming for the beginner.

So unless you’re already proficient with another machine and are looking to upgrade, or have done your research and are confident in your abilities, I would recommend spending some time with the manual and watching some real-life how-to videos if you’re set on picking up this device.

  • Wide display
  • 2 built-in gold programs
  • 9 detection modes
  • Fully waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Not collapsible
  • Arm cuff feels flimsy
  • A learning curve for beginners
  • Some complaints of weak coil mount

The Simplex vs The Equinox: My Conclusions

simplex vs equinox my conclusions
Both are great metal detectors, but I find myself leaning more toward using the Nokta Makro Simplex+.

So, which machine is right for you? If you’re just getting started in the world of metal detecting, then I think the Nokta Makro Simplex is a great choice.

It’s simple to use and you can start enjoying your new hobby without feeling bogged down by too many features. And the price is definitely right!

Even if you’ve been detecting for years and you’re looking for a new machine as a backup or even your go-to detector, I think the Simplex is more than capable of keeping up with any Minelab or Garrett mid-range model.

It has surprisingly outstanding depth for a “beginner’s” metal detector. The Simplex is durable, comfortable, and shares many of the same desired features that the Equinox offers.

One aspect of the Minelab Equinox that I think surpasses the Simplex is its ability to detect gold. With its dedicated gold search mode, adjustable threshold (gold is 11), and other targeting features, finding gold with the Equinox is a breeze.

For a look at some other metal detectors that are great for finding gold, check out our 2022 review here.

I’m not saying you can’t find gold with the Simplex, I just think the Equinox is more equipped for it.

the choice is up to you
Depending on your needs, your choice of ideal metal detector may not be the same as mine.

In the end, the choice of which metal detector is right for you is ultimately your call. You’ll have to account for the targets you are searching for, the ground conditions, and of course, your budget.

Let me be clear, there is no wrong answer here. They are both fantastic detectors! Minelab is a trusted brand with a reputation for quality products that will last for years. Nokta Makro is a newer company in the US, but they have quickly become one of the most trusted names in the business.

My personal choice is the Nokta Makro Simplex. Minelab makes an amazing product and the Equinox 800 is better than most. But when you look at the two side by side, the similarities are impressive. And it isn’t just the price moving me. The Simplex just feels really good in my hand and keeps finding ways to stun me.

But, as I said, there is no wrong answer here. Both will knock your socks off. Just do your research, ask around, and make the best decision for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Nokta Simplex and Minelab Equinox 800

FAQ about simplex vs equinox
Keep reading for some more popular questions about these two devices.

Is the Equinox Good for Metal Detecting?

The simple answer is yes! The Minelab Equinox 800 is an excellent metal detector for a variety of tasks. It’s loaded with advanced technology that allows it to go toe-to-toe with other high-end machines.

It excels in a variety of environments, from the beach to your backyard. From iron to gold. No matter where you take it, the Equinox 800 will perform without disappointment.

Is the Minelab Equinox 800 Worth the Money?

The Minelab Equinox 800 is worth the money if you’re looking for a top-notch detector for a serious metal detecting enthusiast. It’s packed with features that make it one of the best machines on the market.

But, if you’re just getting started in metal detecting, I would recommend something a bit simpler and less expensive, like the Nokta Makro Simplex. The Equinox 800 is an excellent machine, but it might be more complicated for most beginners.

complicated for beginners
The Minelab Equinox is definitely worth it but beginners might struggle with understanding all the options.

What Metal Detector Is Better Than the Equinox 800?

There are several metal detectors that I consider better than the Minelab Equinox 800. To name one, the Minelab CTX 3030 is an excellent machine that’s loaded with features. It offers incredible performance and is one of the most popular detectors on the market.

Minelab CTX 3030
Minelab CTX 3030
  • 2 top-notch search coils
  • Comes with loads of accessories
  • 5 search modes
  • GPS locator & PC mapping
  • Target trace discrimination

Its performance and customizable settings give the user a noticeable boost from the Equinox 800. But you will pay for the upgrade accordingly.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a machine. The Equinox 800 is an excellent metal detector, but there are several detectors out there that can give you more bang for your buck.

Which Is Better, Equinox 600 or 800?

The Equinox 800 is better than the 600. When comparing the two, the 800 has a few more features and better performance.

Minelab Equinox 600
Minelab Equinox 600
  • 3 search frequencies (5, 10, 15 kHz)
  • 3 recovery speeds
  • 3-year warranty
  • 5 depth indicator levels
  • Multi-IQ multi-frequency technology

The Equinox 600 may be less expensive but you are limited to just 3 frequencies, the 5 kHz, 10 kHz, and 15 kHz.

Also, only the Equinox 800 has a gold search mode, the manual override for the auto noise cancel feature, and an option to adjust the backlit feature.

In addition, the Equinox 600 only has 3 levels of recovery speed instead of the 8 offered in the 800.

Is the Simplex a Good Detector?

The Simplex is an excellent detector for a beginner or someone on a budget. It’s simple to use yet still packed with features that allow it to find a variety of targets.

It’s lightweight and easy to swing, which makes it comfortable to use for long periods of time. Plus, the price tag is hard to beat!

It was built for beginners but has the power to be considered a top-tier metal detector.

How Deep Can the Nokta Makro Simplex Go?

How Deep Can the Nokta Makro Simplex Go
The Nokta Simplex+ usually averages around 15 or so inches, depending on the environment.

The Nokta Makro Simplex has a maximum depth of upwards of 20 inches in the right conditions. This is one of the deepest depths for a beginner-level machine.

However, the average depth for the Simplex sits around 12 to 16 inches and between 6 to 10 inches for less conductive metals like copper and brass.

Just keep in mind that detection depths will vary based on ground conditions, the type of metal being targeted, and even the charge of your battery. Averages are good to set an expected standard, but the true answer is to test it yourself.

Does the Nokta Simplex Have a Headphone Jack? 

Yes, the Nokta Simplex has a jack for headphones. While you can connect wireless headphones without using the jack, the 1/4″ headphone jack allows you to connect an adapter or other pair of wired headphones.

Where Is the Nokta Simplex Made?

Where Is the Nokta Simplex Made
The Nokta Simplex is designed and made in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Nokta Simplex is made in Turkey.

Nokta Makro is a Turkish company that’s been making metal detectors since 2003. In recent years, they’ve become one of the most popular brands in the metal detecting community.

While their base of operations is out of Istanbul, Turkey, they do have facilities throughout the world. Specifically, their facilities have landing spots in Europe, Russia, the UK, and the United States. There are countless dealers throughout the US but Nokta’s service center is located in Ringgold, Georgia.

Their simplex model was released in 2019 and quickly gained popularity for its simple design and great performance.

Wrapping Up

I really hope this comparison of the Nokta Simplex and the Equinox 800 has helped you make a decision on which metal detector is right for you.

Both are excellent machines and would add a valuable tool for your treasure hunts. I know some detectorists who love their Minelab products and are resistant to change, but if you’re in need and open to something new, I’d definitely recommend giving the Simplex a trial run.

No matter which metal detector you choose, I hope you have lots of success and fun out there on your adventures. Thanks for reading!

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