Buying a Magnetic Locator is a decision that many surveyors and municipal employees decide to make. It seems most
purchases are based on someone seeing the product
used by another department or someone that has been
on the job for a long time.
The need for a magnetic locator is usually to locate
ferrous objects under ground, under water, or in
snow. Objects such as PK nails, iron pipes, buried
metal objects, valve covers, masonry nails, manhole
covers, wires, cast iron water and gas lines, valve
boxes, septic tanks and well casings, and surveyors'
Survey markers or pins are such a strong magnetic
target that almost any magnetic locator will find
them. Therefore a customer has to look at other
factors in determining which locator is the best to
Things to consider when buying a locator would
1. Do you need a case? If yes, a hard or soft case?
2. Do you need a visual indicator, such as an LCD?
3. Do you need a headphones (in case you are in a
noisy area and need to hear the locators sound
better)? If yes, get a locator with a headphone
jack. (*See the negative side of using headphones
4. Battery life and battery level indicators.
5. Sound level adjustment knobs.
6. Size of the locator itself. Do you need one that
9. Weight of the locator. How long will you have to
carry it around?
10. Initial Cost of the purchase.
EngineerSupply.com sells brands of magnetic locators
like; Dunham & Morrow, Schonstedt, Subsurface
Instruments, and CST (Chicago Steel Tape) Survey.
All of these locators are professional grade
instruments and are built to withstand the rigors of
aggressive environments. We do recommend taking care
of your magnetic locator since it is an electronic
device. Return your locator to it's case after each
use is a great way to help protect your investment.
If you're concerned with cost of the locator you're
planning to buy, consider the useful life
expectancy. Some locators are used for twenty or
thirty years by some surveyors. We have seen some
surveyors with locating instruments that last them
their entire career. You should consider the price
being spread out over these years and not be as
concerned with price in our opinion. We always think
of the nice steak supper for $50 that lasts only a
few hours. Thats a good way to think about where
your money is going.
The Dunham & Morrow Magnetic Locators come with a
Lifetime Warranty. The Schonstedt's warranty's vary
from model to model. The Schonstedt Model GA-52Cx
comes with a 7-year Warranty and the Model GA-72Cd
comes with a 5-year Warranty. The CST Magna-Trak's
come with a 5-year Warranty.
The use of headphones when operating a locator is
considered to be dangerous due to the user cannot
hear other sounds on a construction site, or in near
highways. We do not recommend using headphones. If
you do, it would be something to consider where and
when you are using them.
Some customers have stated they like the soft case
better than the hard case. You need to ask yourself
if you want a case, and if so, what type. Some cases
have shoulder straps that makes carrying the case in
the field easier.
OPTIONS AND SIZE
If you are looking for a locator that is easy to
carry in the field, we recommend the Schonstedt
MAC-51Bx if you want magnetic & cable locating
abilities. The MAC-51Bx has optional accessories
that can enable it to do a few more tasks than other
locators. We have had many satisfied customers that
have purchased the Dunham & Morrow brand of locator.
It all depends on what you want to do and where you
will carry your locator.
Some recommend that you contact the manufacturer every
five or so years and have your locator calibrated
and/or tested, especially if you are locating UXO
(Unexploded Ordnance) or Weapons. Some manufacturers
say that the need for calibration is unnecessary so
its really a decision to be made by the customer if
this type of maintenance is needed.
We recommend taking the time to think about what you
want to accomplish with a magnetic locator. Then,
putting your criteria in ranking order before you
make the purchase.
Click here to View our Selection of Magnetic
Disclaimer; By reading this guide on our
website, you agree to not hold anyone responsible
for any misuse or misunderstandings that you may
make. EngineerSupply.com does NOT assume any
responsibility with providing this information.
The EngineerSupply.com Product Team