Ever since I started using the Garrett 5×8 coil I’ve fallen in love with the use of smaller coils and the NEL Snake is the logical evolution of that. I’ve used it almost exclusively for about a half a year now, most of which I spent on the beaches of Germany. During this time the coil has easily paid for itself and is the coil I always keep on, which probably shows how well I like it. My home beach is a perfect testing ground for coils because it is so crazily ridden with trash, but there are lots of good targets to be found. I seldom leave there with less than 10€ in my pockets now that I use the Snake.
The small form factor comes with a variety of advantages
- First off the much better target seperation in trashy areas with a highly increased findings rate because there is no masking – good targets not sounding off due to close by iron nails or bottlecaps – anymore .
- No need to pinpoint anymore, when something comes under your coil you know immediately where to dig. This might not sound like much at first but it saves a huge amount of time and lets me dig more targets.
- The coil is so small that the AT Pro with the Mars Universal shaft fits into any backpack with ease. For me that is very important as I get around by bicycle 90% of the time.
- You can get in tight spots like between roots and such. For me that comes into play on the rocky parts on the beaches with the big stones, that’s exactly where you can expect good stuff to pile up but with the stock coil you often could not get to it. The same is even more true for detecting in rivers with all the pebbles and stones, there the smaller coils really shine.
In addition to that I really like how the coil behaves. With the Garrett Stock coil you spend a lot of time figuring out if you should dig a target or not, often chasing erratical signals that turn out to be two euro coins or other signals that should come in loud and clear. With the Snake coil all signals are crispy clear and even though you still get jumpy numbers when targets are close by trash there is a completely different feel to it. I would describe it as a “I think there might be something there” with the stock AT and “There is deninitely something there and I want to know what it is” with the Snake.
There is also one more important aspect that’s easy to forget: With the solid form and the very tight coil cover I have no problems at all with sand getting in between coil and cover, resulting in less time to clean it. Due to the surface being solid you can also not get stuck on branches and wire. All in all the handling is very hassle-free and leaves more time for detecting. For me saving time on non-detecting and getting my equipment ready is very important so the Snake fits right in.
The depth seems to be about what you would get out of the big stock coil, I’ve dug coins from easily 25-30 centimeters (10+ inches) that still sounded off very clearly. Basically if it’s too deep for the Snake to detect I’m not overly keen on digging that deep anyway.
Of course there are a couple of negative points:
- It’s small and you need to swing two times instead of one with the stock coil, but that’s the tradeoff and pretty obvious. I am easily twice as fast however because of the more precise reactions to metal in the ground.
- You can also not longer stand the detector upright so it stands upright while you dig targets. I used to do that frequently with the stock coil. Now I just lie it down on the ground and whip it up with the tip of my foot when I get back up, that works as well.
- To fit it into the Mars Universal Shaft I had to drill a bit and use different washers, but that wasn’t hard to do and if you use the stock Garrett stock (heh) they will fit perfectly, that’s just a problem between two aftermarket products by different companies.
So in Summary I can’t find many bad, but a whole lot of good points about the NEL Snake coil and as stated earlier I use it 99% of the time now.
In a direct comparision to the Garrett 5×8 I also own I have found not too much of a difference to be honest, but the closed form factor makes my life much easier and there seems to be a small advantage in depth, but nothing I could scientifically prove with how little testing I have done.
So if you do not already have a smaller coil I can recommend the Snake, if you already have the 5×8 it’s likely just as useful.