Pinpointer with discrimination: a unicorn or a reality?

(This post may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.)
pinpointer with discriminationPinpointers are mini metal detectors with basic functionalities and limited range. Their sole mission is to locate precisely a buried metal.

But all of them (including the most popular: the Garrett carrot) do not have discrimination.

But you may be wondering, what the point of having the discrimination feature in a pinpointer if my metal detector already has one?

If you chose to ignore iron and focus only on coins, for example, your metal detector will emit a beep only if it detects an object with high conductivity (like coins).

You can use your pinpointer to figure out where it is exactly and recover it quickly.

One might say: if this is the case, I do not need discrimination in my pinpointer.

This may be true in many cases. But, not always…

If there is a gold nugget with many iron objects in close proximity and your detector is set to detect only gold, you will get a signal.

You will put your detector on the ground, grab your pinpointer and try to locate the golden nugget, but…

You get a lot of confusing signals from the plethora of metal objects buried underground

In this case, having a pinpointer that can distinguish between different types of metal will be super helpful.

Ok, know we get it…

A pinpointer with discrimination is useful even if the metal detector has already this feature.

But, does this pinpointer really exist or it is a corn of a unicorn?

Well, check this out…

Minelab PROFIND 35 pinpointer review

The Minelab PROFIND 35 is the only pinpointer in the market that can discriminate ferrous objects.

It emits two different tones for iron and other items. An interrupted tone for ferrous targets and continuous one for the rest of the items.

The discrimination feature will save a lot of time when metal detecting in a trashy soil.

To enable it you need to keep the pinpointer away from any metal object then press the plus button for three seconds.

When you hear a long beep, you ready to go…

To disable the discrimination, just hold the minus button for three seconds. You will hear a long beep too.

But Why would I turn it off? I will leave the discrimination always on. This is what distinguishes this pinpointer from the rest of the probes on the market.

The sensitivity is adjustable and you can choose between five levels by using the plus and minus buttons.

It is fitted with an LED flashlight, which is useful to work in low light condition and to see well what is inside the holes.

Like most pinpointers, a 9 Volts battery (included) powers it. The battery life depends on many factors but you can expect to hold for about 30 hours.

One of the factors that affect the battery life is the chosen sensitivity. The user’s manual recommends choosing the third sensitivity level for longer battery life.

It weighs 6.82 oz. It comes with a holster attachable to the belt and with a lanyard and the instruction manual.

Be careful when you order this pinpointer. Minelab sells two version: the first is the Minelab PROFIND 35 and the other is Minelab PROFIND 15

They look exactly the same from the outside. However, the PROFIND 15 does not have discrimination.

It is waterproof and submersible up to 10 feet. The detection isn’t only by the tip. Any object around it will be detected.

But, you need to lubricate the battery cap O-ring with silicone grease. Whenever you replace the battery, make sure the O-ring is clear of sand.

The power and the (+) and (-) buttons are for adjusting audio, sensitivity and putting on and off the discrimination

It has a low battery indicator. The LED will start flashing.

However, I think this is useless. Because you will simply know that the batteries are dead when the pinpointer is turned off automatically.

And there is no need to know that the batteries are low since this has no impact on the performance of the pinpointer.

You only have to change them when they are completely drained.

I did not try this for pinpointers. But, I think this is true since that is the case for metal detectors and they both have the same working principle.

Update: most pinpointers will keep emitting a low battery alarm and will not stop until you replace them.

To know more about the impact of low battery on the performance of a metal detector, check this article.

You will find on the box of the Minelab PROFIND 35 this expression: DIF (Detector Interference Free).

I do not know what that is and whether it is something interesting or a marketing mumble jumble.

The detection range of pinpointers and metal detectors are limited.

So if you keep them away from each other, there will be no interference and thus no false signals.

Or, you can just turn them off.

So apparently, this DIF thing is a marketing mumble jumble (this my humble opinion)…

When the probe detects a metal you will get a vibration and a beep. As you get closer to the target, the vibration and the frequency of the beeps will intensify until it becomes continuous.

If the audio signal is annoying you or the bystanders, you can mute it and the pinpointer will vibrate instead.

Many detectorists forget their pinpointer after they recover the buried metal and some of them even fill the holes they dug with the pinpointer inside.

The Minelab PROFIND 35 has a lost alarm. If it is on and no detection occurs in 3 minutes, an alert beep will be emitted. But it will shut down automatically after 5 minutes.

So this alarm only helps if you are still close to the pinpointer.

Minelab PROFIND 35 vs Garret pro pointer AT

Garret pro pointer AT or the Garrett carrot is one of the most popular pinpointers out there. It shares with the Minelab PROFIND 35 many features.

They both have clearly visible color so that you do not lose them while recovering buried objects.

They both have LED flashlight to help you see what is inside the holes and to help you to hunt coins in low light conditions.

Both of them can give audio and vibration responses.

Both of them are waterproof and submersible up to 10 feet. They have the same weight and roughly the same size.

But the Minelab PROFIND 35 is the only pinpointer in the market, so far, that can discriminate ferrous objects. (This is how it stands out from the competition)

Another difference between the two is the way you adjust the settings.

To adjust the setting of the Garrett carrot or to put it on or off, you have to use only one button…

This is boring since you have to choose between nine different combinations of settings by using the on/off button.

If you used the good old MP3 player. You know what I am saying…

To reach the song number 30 and you are listening to the number 1, you have to keep pushing the “next” button 29 times.

Man, this is really boring. Luckily, in Garret pro pointer AT you only have to push the same button 9 times only.

For an in-depth review for the Garret pro pointer AT, go check out this article.

Adjusting the settings of the Minelab PROFIND 35 is easier since you have three buttons to use: the power buttons, the minus, and the plus buttons.

To increase the sensitivity, press the (+) button and to lower it, press the (-) button. When you exceed the maximum or the minimum, you will hear a long Beep.

To activate the audio, press the plus button when the pinpointer is turned on. And to mute it, press the (-) button, after turning it on.

If you press nothing after turning the pinpointer is on, it will be set automatically to the last audio mode.

To reset the pinpointer to the default factory settings, turn it off. Then press and hold the power button.

You will hear two long beeps. Keep pressing for 5 seconds. And when you get one long beep then 2 short ones, everything is set back to normal.

Turning on and off the discrimination is already explained. But, I will not mess with that. I like to keep it always on.

The Garret pro pointer AT has a scraping blade and the Minelab PROFIND 35 doesn’t. It is a little plastic blade to scratch the ground.


After the release of the Minelab PROFIND 35, a pinpointer with discrimination is no longer a corn of unicorn!

So if you find one for sale for a reasonable price, you should, definitely, check it out.

This is a nice added to feature to the pinpointer to make recovering buried items a lot easier and faster especially in trashy soil.

I suggest that they improve it a little better by addding a small screen to show the current settings.

This will be a cool functionality to add. Tell me what do you think about it in the comments.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.