Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster 1000

Introduction – Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster 1000

Fisher Gold Bug 2 equipped with 6 inch coil and 5.5 gram nugget. Gold Prospecting Equipment.
Fisher Gold Bug 2 equipped with 6 inch coil and 5.5 gram nugget. Gold prospecting equipment.

VLF (Very Low Frequency) gold detectors are in a class of their own due to many reasons like price. With this in mind since the Monster’s debut in 2017 the Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster 1000 has been a popular topic. While I do not claim to be an expert with either detector I will share my opinions being a very experienced prospector and detectorist. I have found quite a bit of gold with both units due to frequent use.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Sensitivity
  • Ground balance
  • Battery life
  • Battery types
  • Coil options
  • Control box setup
  • Design and ergonomics
  • Detection depth
  • Sounds
  • Ferrous discrimination
  • Pinpointing targets
  • Price comparison

The Sensitivity Factor – Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster 1000

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 5 inch round coil with small gold nuggets.
Minelab Gold Monster 1000 5 inch round coil with small gold nuggets.

First of all you have to keep in mind that sensitivity is only one factor in a capable gold detector. It’s an important factor. To be clear the higher the kHz is on a VLF gold detector the more sensitive it is. To illustrate this point we will look at three models and their respective kHz. The Falcon MD 20 operates at 300 kHz. The Gold Bug 2 operates at 71 kHz. The Gold Monster 1000 operates at 45 kHz. Of all three the Falcon will undoubtedly find the smallest gold. The difference between 45 kHz (Monster) and 71 (Gold Bug 2) kHz is 26 kHz. I am not an electronics expert. My strength is in finding of gold in the field. I don’t need to know all of the technical aspects just the basics.

Bottom Line:
  • The higher the operating frequency in kHz the more sensitivity
  • Gold Bug 2 operates at 71 kHz
  • Gold Monster operates at 45 kHz
  • The Gold Bug 2 operates on a 57% higher kHz than the Gold Monster

Sensitivity Part Two

To be clear the difference in the kHz between the Monster and the Gold Bug 2 is enough that the Gold Bug is more sensitive. It’s just the way it is as higher frequencies equate to more sensitivity. I am skilled enough with both machines to notice a difference in real use. The difference is not a big concern to me and it should not be to you either. I’ll explain why in the next section.

Ground Balance

Another key point to remember is that the Monster and the Bug 2 share common ground as they are both VLFs. It is important to realize that they are generations apart in technology however. Keep in mind that the Gold Bug 2 is a manually balanced detector only. The Gold Monster has better ground balance thanks to it’s newer 24-bit processor. The Gold Monster offers both automatic ground balance and manual ground balance. The automatic ground balance is the equalizer with capabilities of each unit especially given the different kHz sensitivities. What the Monster lack in kHz it more than makes up for with newer technology. The Monster has better ground balance.

Sensitivity vs Ground Balance Wrap Up

The put it differently with sensitivity vs ground balance, each factor is important. To be clear the Monster will find small gold nuggets that the Bug missed in hotter ground due to better ground balance. The Bug will find smaller gold nuggets in milder ground due to it’s higher sensitivity. Do not let sensitivity vs ground balance factor be a purchase decision point. Both of these detectors will find extremely small gold nuggets and specimens and both are capable gold detectors. In other words, buy either one. They both do the job.

Bottom Line:
  • Manual Ground balance is “Do it yourself”.
  • Automatic ground balance is “Do it for me”.’
  • The Gold Monster will handle mineralized ground better than the Gold Bug 2 due to new technology and automatic ground balance option

Battery life and type

The Gold Bug 2 uses two 9 volt batteries. The Gold Monster comes with both a rechargeable battery pack and a AA adapter (8 AAs). Both units will run six to eight hours a day on a fresh set of batteries. The Monster’s battery pack will run all day as well.

Bottom Line:
  • Both the Gold Bug 2 and Gold Monster use standard battery types
  • The Gold Monster also has a rechargeable battery pack
  • Both the Gold Bug 2 and Gold Monster will run all day on a fresh set of batteries


The Gold Bug 2 comes with one 6.5″ elliptical coil. The Gold Monster 1000 comes with two coils, a 5 inch round coil and a 10 inch elliptical coil. It’s important to realize that having two coils is a real bonus given the price of each detector is nearly the same. Coils for both machines are waterproof.

Bottom Line:
  • The Gold Bug 2 comes with one coil
  • The Gold Monster comes with two coils
  • Coils for either machine are waterproof

Control Box Comparison – Interface – Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster 1000

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 control box.
Minelab Gold Monster 1000 control box.

It’s important to realize that the control boxes of the Monster and the Bug are very different. The Monster’s interface is expectedly digital given it’s newer technology. The Bug’s interface is analog with knobs and switches. Both do the job well. Nevertheless I’m not going into all of the details how to work each control box because there are plenty of quality articles online about this.

Bottom Line:
  • The Gold Bug has an analog control box
  • The Gold Monster has a digital control box

Gold Bug 2 Control Box

Gold Bug 2 control box.
Gold Bug 2 control box.

Design and Ergonomics

For the purpose of personal preference I will mention this. Both the Bug and the Monster are setup to be ergonomically friendly. The advantage of the Bug is in the fact that it can be hip or chest mounted. If you have arm or shoulder issues this is one factor to consider. The Monster approaches height adjustable with the control box sliding up and down on the shaft. The Bug has a telescoping adjustment in the lower shaft for height. Both work equally well. The Monster’s shaft is screw together while the Bug’s is the traditional snap button type. Both work well. The Monster comes with an optional part that will allow you to mount the control box and coil on a broomstick or piece of wood, pvc, etc. In as much as this is neat in concept it’s proven to be a useless feature for me.

Detection Depth

With the intention of not making this confusing these machines are just about equal with detection depth. There are times where one unit will outshine the other e.g. hot ground and mild ground coupled with the ground balance. Equally important coil size is a major factor in depth when you consider target size.


The Gold Bug 2 has the traditional VLF threshold sound. Not surprisingly this sound gets on some people’s nerves after a few hours. My better half is one of these people. The Monster makes sounds like a video game but is largely silent in operation compared to the Bug.

Ferrous Discrimination

Both unit offer ferrous vs non-ferrous discrimination. While the Monster offers digital (visual) discrimination the Bug’s is audio based. Neither is 100% reliable in my experience. By all means dig all targets.

Gold Monster in Action

Check out this video where we use the Monster to detect some very nice nuggets.

Pinpointing Targets- Gold Bug vs Monster

Another key point to consider is the ability to pinpoint small nuggets and flakes. Certainly both machines have this capability and you can become proficient at using the coil as a pin pointer very quickly. With VLFs I’ve always preferred to pinpoint with elliptical coils as the ends of the ellipse are normally very sensitive and small. As an illustration, elliptical coils are easier to fit into cracks and crevices in bedrock. Since the small coil that comes with the Monster is round you will have a learning curve if you don’t know how to pinpoint with a round coil. Don’t worry its easy.

Basically with a round coil the dead center is the most sensitive. You can however, use the edges of a round coil to pinpoint with. This is even easier when you can increase the sensitivity of the machine. Doing this requires practice but soon you’ll be able to hear the small sounds that indicate that the edge of the coil is directly over the gold. With this in mind I prefer the machine in manual balance mode with the sensitivity turned all the way up. Give it a try next time you have a tiny target trapped in a bedrock crack. You’ll quickly the discover that the edge will work to pinpoint the smallest targets.


For one thing both units sell for under $1,000.00. I recommend Rob Allison or Bill Southern as reputable, honest dealers. Vis a vis you can click the photos below to enlarge.

Fisher Gold Bug 2 Price.
Fisher Gold Bug 2 Price.
Gold Monster price.
Gold Monster price.

Final Thoughts Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster 1000

To conclude Fisher Gold Bug 2 is a legend. Without a doubt the Bug has been around for a long time and is a proven and capable gold detector. The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is the new kid on the block. And if you read the gold detecting forums you will see both machines finding gold often. Both detectors are manufactured by legendary and trustworthy companies. Both units will find gold for you.

Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster Comparison Chart
Gold Bug 2 vs Gold Monster Comparison Chart. (Click to enlarge the comparison chart)

I like and use both detectors frequently. Regardless of which unit you decide to buy you are making a quality choice. Each unit has it’s advantages and disadvantages. All things considered the Bug is more sensitive, the Monster has more ground balance options. The choice comes down to your experience and expectations. Either gold detector will serve you well. Good luck!

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Sam Finlay
Sam Finlay

Thanks Rod. This is the best article ive read between the monster and the bug. both work well.


Like the way you broke it all down about the detectors…I have the 19kHz gold bug and its a very powerful machine too…picks up very tiny pieces of metal down 3 inches or so in Disc. mode,with the 5″ coil… no gold yet but I have to hunt where gold has been found before.Thinking about the Gold bug 2 next but like the Monster 1000 also…got to decide on which one I want.This have nothing to do with the detectors mention but I found out a Cen-tech pin pointer is very powerful will pick up .1g of gold while… Read more »


I like the way you layed it all out. Easy to read and understand. Thanks for recommending honest dealers you actually know.


I’ve used a gb2 for a long time…found a lot little gold with it. Good and reliable machine!

Bedrock Bill
Bedrock Bill

Good read, thank you. I am considering the Whites 24k as a dedicated nugget detector. The PIs are just getting too heavy in my old age. The 24k has similar to the Monster but is more pricey if a guy wants 2 coils. I’ve read the 24 sits better on the ground too like the GMT did.


Thanks for this write up Rod. It’s good to read a fresh perspective with useful insights about these two detectors.


How about the equinox?


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