Guide to Schonstedt Magnetic Locators | Engineer Supply - EngineerSupply

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Schonstedt Magnetic Locators Guide

Infographic schonstedt magnetic locator guide

If you need to locate an iron or steel object underground, the best option is to use magnetic location. Tools made by Schonstedt and others can find magnetic fields emitted by ferrous objects, allowing surveyors, construction workers and more to practically see underground. If you are interested in a Schonstedt magnetic locator, you may be wondering which model is the right one for you.

infographic schonstedt magnetic locator guide

What Is a Magnetic Locator?

As the name implies, a magnetic locator is a tool that can locate magnetic objects. Anything that emits a magnetic field (primarily iron and iron-alloy objects) can be found using one of these tools. For example, you can use it to find surveyors’ nails, manhole covers, rebar, magnetic markers and more. Anything that a magnet will stick to can be found using a locator. Many models can identify the polarity of the detected field. So, you can identify the difference between the negative and positive poles of the object. Using one of these tools, you can map find specific objects, identify any possible obstructions when digging and plan your work accordingly. It is a must-have surveying tool.

What Are Schonstedt’s Top Models?

Schonstedt is among the best brands in the location tool field. These are several of the Schonstedt’s most popular models for locating magnetic fields:

  • Maggie: The Maggie combines the easy, ergonomic use of the GA-92XT with the precision and sensitivity of the GA-52Cx. It is often viewed as the best of both worlds. This is a highly durable locator that is as easy to use as it is effective.
  • Spot: For a highly affordable and impressively effective locator, consider the Spot. It has a simple form factor that packs a punch. Despite its very attractive price, this has the same sensors used in our flagship models.
  • GA-52Cx: If you want a highly reliable and very sensitive locator, you can’t do much better than the GA-52Cx. It is one of Schonstedt’s flagship models and it has helped to earn the brand its impressive reputation for reliability and effectiveness.
  • GA-72Cd: This highly versatile locator has a visual display plus two audio modes. It is among the most rugged of Schonstedt’s lineup. It is an especially popular option for UXO and demining operations.
  • GA-92XTd: If you want a highly portable locator, this is the choice for you. It has a pistol-grip setup that makes it easy to use one-handed. Plus, the ultra-portable, telescoping design means that you can transport and store it easily.

Which Model Is Right for You?

Unsure which model is right for your needs? You’re not alone; Schonstedt makes so many great locators. The following comparison table should help you decide.

  Maggie Spot GA-52Cx GA-72Cd GA-92XTd
Schonstedt’s Descriptor “Highest Sensitivity” “Lowest Cost” “Most Rugged” “Most Versatile” “Most Portable”
Grip Style Pistol Straight Straight Straight Pistol
Weight 2.6 pounds 2 pounds 2.5 pounds 2.5 pounds 2.4 pounds
Gain Settings 4 5 5 4 4
Audio Output Y Y Y Y (Dual Mode) Y
Digital Screen Y N N Y Y
Engineer Supply Price $709 $639.99 $769 $849 $819

How Do You Locate Underground Items?

Locating iron and steel objects underground is surprisingly easy with a Schonstedt. The key is to follow a few simple steps to first find then precisely mark the item:

  1. After turning the instrument on, set the initial gain. Typically, beginning with medium will work well unless you expect a lot of interference or need to find a very deep object.
  2. Make sure to remove any magnetic items such as watches. Steel-toed boots are okay if you point the device away from your body.
  3. Moving slowly, sweep the device back and forth in an arc.
  4. As you home in on the object, adjust the sensitivity and device position as necessary.
  5. The signal is strongest at the poles of the object. Use this to find the outside edges of the item and mark them above ground with a stake, nail or paint.

Order Your Schonstedt Locator Today

Engineer Supply has all the above Schonstedt magnetic locators available for sale. We also have their pipe and cable locators such as the REX available. Check them out today and decide which is the right one for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Order a Schonstedt Locator?

You can order a Schonstedt online at We also have other locators including utility locators available for sale. Simply explore our selection to find the right one for you. Whenever you need surveying equipment, construction gear or other tools, we have what you need.

What Types of Work Is This Tool Used For?

Magnetic locators are most often used for finding magnetic nails used by surveyors. However, they can also be used in construction to find manhole, rebar and more. Any time you need to either find an iron or steel object underground or need to sweep an area for hidden items, a locator is helpful.

How Do I Locate Non-Ferrous Items?

Many non-ferrous items such as cables and pipes can be found with a utility locator. This uses electromagnetic field detectors to find items that don’t have natural magnetic fields. Often, these two locators should be used in conjunction.

Can a Magnetic Locator Find Underground Cables?

Typically, it will not be able to locate cables because they are rarely made of magnetic materials. However, a pipe and cable locator can find any type of cable. Some can be located with their existing EM fields and others can be found using an EM transmitter and receiver combination.

How Do I Find a Surveyor’s Nail Underground?

Surveyor’s nails are typically magnetic. So, they can be found using the above-described search procedure with a locator. It is typically easiest to find them if you already have some idea of where they may be located based on the surveyor’s plans.

Which Is the Best Locator From Schonstedt?

This depends on what you need. Each Schonstedt device is designed to be the best in a specific category. For example, the GA-52Cx is the most rugged and has the most sensitivity levels. Conversely, the GA-92XTd is the most portable. Review the table above for more information.

Do I Need a Locator If I Am Digging?

Unless you are confident that there are no metal hazards underground, it is a good idea to use a locator to sweep before digging. Furthermore, you should always use a utility locator. In many cases, it is legally required to scan the ground before digging.

How Do Magnetic Locators Work?

They have sensors that can detect magnetic fields. By sweeping with different gain levels, you can locate the poles of underground objects. This will help you to map out the exact location of the item and mark it accordingly above-ground.

What Accessories Can I Buy for a Schonstedt Locator?

Most Schonstedt models come with carrying cases. These can also be purchased separately as replacements if needed. Furthermore, many models have built-in 3.5-millimeter audio jacks for using headphones with the locator.

How Accurate Are Magnetic Locators?

Schonstedt has developed a reputation for making some of the most accurate devices in the business. Their advanced sensors can detect magnetic fields with impressive accuracy. Additionally, the output data on polarity makes it easy to fully map underground items.
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