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Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs
Weather resistant/rust resistant
Low battery indicator
A comfortable, adjustable grip and long battery life offset the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV’s hefty weight for the casual hobbyist.
Deciding which metal detector to use on the trails can be a challenge. For those who want an intermediate option, the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is a great choice. The older cousin to Bounty Hunter's Junior line, it enhances the detecting experience with two-tone indicating and metal eliminating technology. Over the course of two weekends, we tested its design, battery life, and performance.
At 3.7 pounds, the Tracker IV is one of the heaviest detectors we've tested. It’s also one of the larger ones, at 28.8x10x6.2 inches. Thankfully, Bounty Hunter offset its size and weight by offering a thick, padded hand grip and an armrest to ensure you can keep it steady while trekking the trails. However, keep in mind that those who don’t spend their evenings pumping weights at the gym may feel the poundage as they hunt for buried treasure. 3.7 pounds may not sound like much on paper, but after hefting it for several hours the muscle fatigue is very real.
At 3.7 pounds, the Tracker IV is one of the heaviest detectors we've tested.
The bulkiest piece of the Tracker IV, the interface box with internal battery port, sounds complex but is actually very simple. It consists of a flip-switch two-tone indicator, a power/sensitivity setting, and a disc/notch setting. Extra points go to the headphone jack Bounty Hunter added to the interface, making it possible to keep the alert tones quiet when necessary, especially since you can't alter the volume. Smack in the center of the interface is the target indicator, making it easy to see how strongly the detector pings without craning your neck.
The cord circles down around the adjustable stem to an eight-inch waterproof coil, and can be replaced in the event it gets damaged. We especially liked the waterproof, rust-resistant coil, built to withstand harsh conditions.
Initially, we expected the Tracker IV to be an easy assembly. Opening the box, everything came in separate but seemingly simple parts. However, the reality was much more frustrating. You have to put every single piece together. That part is easy considering most of the instructions are in the picture booklet. The part where the stem connects to the handle and the coil, however, is where we got confused.
The stem should be interchangeable with either side. It’s not. When we put it together, we attached the stem upside down and had to disassemble and rebuild it. Once everything clicks into place, the last item needed is the two 9V batteries (not included) that need to be inserted into the back of the interface. After you shove the batteries back into the interface and close the lid, it’s ready to be tested.
The rest routine requires a penny minted after 1982; a quarter, and a nail. Turn on the detector and slowly slide the objects one at a time under the coil. The detector should detect the metals and alert you. If it doesn't, play with the sensitivity settings until a tone sounds. Once it registers all three objects, it’s ready to go.
We took the Tracker IV on heavily wooded trails and to a local city park. Leaving the settings on default, we walked around the park to see whether it would register anything. In less than five minutes, the detector’s target indicator twitched and beeped. Sure enough, the detector found an aluminum candy wrapper buried under a light layer of earth.
Its 3.7 pounds don't feel heavy initially. As we trekked further and further out, the weight increasingly became more of a burden. It’s definitely not a dealbreaker, but something to note if you’re planning on extended use. You can also offset some of the awkwardness of carrying the object by extending or retracting the stem length to suit your height, which was a very nice feature.
The woods are where this detector shined. As we walked through the woods, the detector dinged on a number of items less than eight inches deep, including bottle caps and barbed wire. Our favorite piece we found put the detector’s large target detection to the test: an old boundary marker located under a good foot of soil.
The woods are where this detector shined.
While this proved it can reach down to at least one of the two feet promised for large objects, the boundary marker posed a mild issue. While it alerted us to nearby objects, it didn’t alert us to the depth of each item. Lacking knowledge of the location underground was a huge detriment. There were a few moments when the target indicator jerked and the detector loudly beeped, but we never found anything.
It was time to test it on the most sensitive, challenging terrain of all: sand. With other detectors, sandy conditions are the hardest for metal detecting thanks to complex mineral compositions. Unfortunately, the Tracker IV disappointed us a little by falling for the same false positives. We shifted sensitivity settings, swapped between different modes, all to no avail. It takes a lot of tinkering to get it to a reasonable, optimal setting on sand. Proceed with caution in the sand with the Tracker IV.
Because we were in the sand next to a river, we feel it’s important to mention that we don’t recommend submerging the entirety of the metal detector. The battery port isn’t waterproof and can only go in up to eight inches of water. If you’re looking to do some light detecting over shallow waters, however, the Tracker IV would suit your needs.
The pair of 9V batteries we slotted into the Tracker IV lasted around 20 hours. Thankfully, the interface features a low battery indicator, making it pretty clear when you need to swap in a fresh set.
The Tracker IV retails for around $100, a reasonable price for a mid-tier metal detector. It comes with more specific modes for metal detecting, but lacks some of the bells and whistles of more expensive models.
For those who don't want to spend $100 on a metal detector, Bounty Hunter also makes a more budget-friendly option in the form of their Junior model, which retails for $50. However, it's a case of getting what you pay for.
Whereas the Tracker comes with three modes as well as waterproof capabilities in up to eight inches of water, the Junior is a basic detector for kids. It only comes with the basic metal elimination features and a lightweight 1.5-pound handle grip—no arm or detector rest. While both are adjustable, the Tracker IV really is the one for those interested in investing in detecting as a beginning or casual hobby. If you simply want to test the waters to see whether your kids like metal detecting, then we recommend the Junior Detector.
A great adult starter detector.
For the price of $100, the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Metal Detector is a great, if heavy, option for any hobbyist. We liked the eight inches of waterproof capabilities the detector boasts, and while a depth indicator would be nice, it’s definitely not a deal-breaker for such a good detector.