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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Metal Detectors Reviewed

Choose a high-quality machine to help handle your detecting requirements while staying within budget.

by

As you begin your search for a high-quality metal detector, it will quickly become evident that finding the right one is no walk in the park. You might even say that hunting for the right metal detector is more difficult than finding buried treasure. With so many models out there catering to all metal detecting skill levels, it’s easy to give up the search and just settle for any old detector.

But with our help, it’s possible to find the perfect high-quality metal detecting machine that is meant for your skill level, and that remains in your budget. Let the treasure hunting begin with this list of the 10 best metal detectors on the market, plus everything there is to know about prospecting for buried treasure.

Image

Model

Sensitivity Levels

Frequency

Check Price

Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800 Metal Detector,...

Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800

25

5kHz - 40kHz

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Garrett AT Pro

8

15kHz

Minelab CTX 3030

Minelab CTX 3030

30

1.5kHz - 100kHz

Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector with...

Fisher F22

10

7.69kHz

Minelab Excalibur II 1000 Bundle with Headphones,...

Minelab Excalibur II

Low to High (knob)

1.5kHz - 25.5kHz

Garrett 1140900 Pro-Pointer AT Waterproof...

Garrett 1140900 Pro-Pointer AT

3

11.5kHz

Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector

BountyHunter TK4

Low to High (knob)

6.7kHz

White's Spectra V3i HP Metal Detector -...

White's Spectra V3i HP

8

2.5kHz, 7.5kHz, & 22.5 kHz

Fisher CZ21-8 Underwater Metal Detector

Fisher CZ21-8

10

5kHz & 15kHz

Garrett Ace 200 Metal Detector

Garrett Ace 200

4

6.5kHz

How Do Metal Detectors Work?

The first step in buying a metal detector is to have a solid understanding of how they operate. Metal detectors work by first sending out electromagnetic signals. Objects containing certain types of metal have an electromagnetic field of their own, so they respond to the signals that are transmitted from the metal detector.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the detector’s search coil. Most detectors contain two coils that send and receive the signals, and a detector’s overall performance depends on the quality of this essential part. Once the search coil receives a signal from a target, the device will alert you that buried treasure has been found, usually through a pair of headphones.


Choosing a High-Quality Metal Detector

Type of Detector

All good metal detectors serve the same purpose, but they operate in several unique ways. There are 3 main types of detectors to choose from, including VLF, Pulse Induction, and Multi-Frequency. VLF (very low frequency) detectors are the most common, partly because they are the cheapest, but also because they can differentiate between different metal types. If you're new to the hobby, a VLF detector is a great choice. 

Pulse induction detectors are slightly more expensive, but they come with a few added perks. While VLF detectors use two search coils to send and receive signals, PI models use only one. The more advanced technology makes PI detectors more capable of handling ground mineralization (like iron), so this is the optimal choice if you want to take your treasure hunting to the beach.

Last comes the Multi-Frequency detector. VLF and PI detectors operate on just one frequency, but MF models can operate on several different frequencies. This adds to the device's versatility - you can even use an MF detector in salt water. For beginners, this isn't an essential feature, but for expert detectorists, it can be beneficial to operate on multiple frequencies.

Detector Weight & Dimensions

The more compact and lightweight a detector is, the easier it will be to handle. The majority of the best metal detectors weigh no more than 3 pounds - anything above this can be challenging to carry for long periods. If you're buying a detector for your little one and want to get years of use out of it, look for one that has height adjustment.

Sensitivity & Frequency

Metal detector sensitivity is the thing that allows the device to detect objects from varying distances. The majority of top-rated detectors come with adjustable sensitivity settings. This is because a detector performs differently in each unique environment. One area might do just fine with low sensitivity, while another is better off with a high sensitivity setting. It's OK if you don't fully understand this yet, just look for a device that has 3+ sensitivity levels.

Frequency in metal detectors is similar to the frequency in top-rated speaker systems. Operational frequency refers to the number of times your detector transmits signals into the ground. It's easy to assume that a high frequency is best, but this isn't always the case. While high frequencies are better for detecting small objects like coins and nuggets, low-frequency devices can penetrate deeper into the ground. 

Search Depth

If selecting a device with an impressive search depth is your main priority, you'll do just fine with a VLF detector. Ideally, you'd be able to have it all with an impressive search depth and the ability to target small objects, but typically you have to choose between the two. To determine which one is more important, think about what you’re searching for. For unearthing large relics that are buried deep, choose a low-frequency detector with a large search coil.

Coil Size & Type

Coil size is one of the main determining factors in search depth. The larger the coil, the deeper your detector will be able to go. Larger coils aren’t always the better choice, though. With a larger coil comes more weight, making these detectors more difficult to handle. On top of that, a large coil often picks up more false signals from ground minerals since it penetrates deeper and covers more earth.

There are two main search coil types: Concentric and Wide scan (also called DD). A detector with the concentric coil type is less able to handle minerals in the ground than a wide scan coil. The wide scan coil type is better for hunting in any highly-mineralized ground settings, but concentric is more capable of discriminating between different objects. If you plan on hunting in an area with ground minerals, go with wide scan.

Functionality Features

It doesn't matter where you search for buried treasure; the soil will contain a certain amount of trace minerals. These minerals can interfere with a detector's performance, but a ground balance setting can help to prevent this. A ground balanced detector ignores the minerals that don’t matter, leaving you to focus on finding valuables and relics from the past.

Discrimination and target identification are two more helpful functionality features. Discrimination is a device’s ability to differentiate between different types of metal. It’s basically like sorting through trash; the detector won’t send signals for the types of metal that you would consider junk (like bottle caps, soda tabs, and rusty nails). Some of the more advanced models even come with target ID, a feature that gives you a clear picture of what the target might be.

Waterproof vs. Submersible

There are a few terms that are used to describe a detector’s ability to handle water, like water-resistant, waterproof, and fully submersible. Water-resistant detectors can typically handle things like dewy grass, wet mud, and unexpected rain.

A waterproof detector will come with a completely waterproof search coil, and some can even be fully submerged to search for underwater treasures in shallow lakes, rivers, and streams. It's up to you to decide if you need a fully waterproof detector or one that is just water-resistant to a certain point.

Price & Warranty

We won't lie - getting into metal detecting isn't the cheapest hobby. But the potential to get a significant return on your investment is there, and even if you don't find many valuables, the hobby is a fantastic excuse to spend more time outdoors. Since there is such a wide range in cost for the best metal detectors, set your budget early on.

Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly detector or a top of the range model, always choose a detector with warranty coverage. Just as prices vary, so do warranties, but try to find a detector with at least 2 years of coverage.


10 Best Metal Detectors Reviewed

1. Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800

Best Metal Detector for Gold

Sensitivity Levels

25

Depth

Up to 24”

Weight

2.96 lbs

Search Modes

4

Frequency

Multiple (5kHz to 40kHz)

Warranty

3 years

Minelab has been manufacturing some of the best metal detectors on the market since 1985. Their #1 product - and the #1 product on this list of metal detector reviews - is the Minelab Equinox 800. This is a great choice if the main treasure you're focusing on is gold; the Equinox comes with several search modes, and one of them is specifically meant to detect buried gold. This gold metal detector has four unique modes to choose from: Park, Field, Beach, and Gold.

When in gold-hunting mode, the device

“operates the high single frequencies of 20 kHz, 40 kHz or multi to detect gold nuggets in mineralized soils.”

The Beach search mode is another setting that Equinox 800 users love, which is why we’re also dubbing this as the best metal detector for beach treasure hunting. It has a waterproof design and a completely submersible search coil up to 3 meters (or 10 feet) deep. No matter what mode you’re using, the Equinox 800 has fast recovery speeds and impressive target ID accuracy.

Included with the metal detector is a pair of Low Latency Bluetooth wireless headphones, so you can start treasure hunting with the Equinox right out of the box. It's up to you to decide what target information you want to hear, thanks to the advanced settings on this detector. The detection mode or operating frequency can be changed at the touch of a button on the large LCD screen.

Each search mode features 2 custom search profiles (that's 8 in total), each user can save his/her favorite settings for each mode. Even with so many advanced features, this sleek and lightweight machine is easy to handle, weighing just under 3 pounds. There's nothing bad to say about this Minelab detector, especially if you're hunting for gold or detecting on the beach.

Pros

  • Multiple frequency operation
  • Easy to use LCD
  • Multiple search profiles
  • Great for the beach
  • Wireless audio

Cons

  • Signal issues around power lines

2. Garrett AT Pro

Best All Round Metal Detector

Sensitivity Levels

8

Depth

Up to 12”

Weight

3.03 lbs

Search Modes

6

Frequency

15kHz

Warranty

2 years

Garrett metal detectors are some of the best out there, and the AT Pro model lives up to all the hype surrounding this company. This is the best mid-range metal detector with all the features you could ever want or need from a new metal detector. It is an all-terrain detector that is submersible up to 10 feet and features like fast recovery speed, target separation, and detection depth. The main reason we are loving the Garrett AT Pro is the detector's Pro Mode Audio.

"Proportional Audio response and Tone Roll Audio features allow a user to hear subtle changes in target's response to better judge conductivity, size, shape, and depth," 

says the Garrett company.

There's also an Iron Audio setting that allows you to detect trash better before you spend time digging it up. This setting lets you hear discriminated iron that is typically silenced on other detectors, so no more wasted time digging up bottle caps or washers. The AT Pro comes with 3 standard audio modes that signal a user with a full-strength beep regardless of a target's amplitude. The majority of detectorists prefer this simple method of target response. Another loved feature is the Fast Track Ground Balance, which means you’ll never have to fumble around with ground balance settings in mineralized soil conditions.

AT Pro's LCD offers a digital target ID between 0 and 99. These numbers represent a metal's conductivity level, which is how the detector differentiates between different types of metal. For locating a target's exact position, use the Electronic Pinpointing mode. Our only complaint is that the included headphones aren't high in quality, so you're better off investing in an additional pair.

Pros

  • Impressive iron discrimination
  • Fast Track ground balance
  • Electronic pinpointing feature
  • Great entry-level model

Cons

  • Low-quality headphones
  • No Bluetooth audio

3. Minelab CTX 3030

Top of the Range

Sensitivity Levels

30

Depth

Up to 24”

Weight

5.2 lbs

Search Modes

10

Frequency

Multiple (1.5kHz to 100kHz)

Warranty

3 years

If you're on the hunt for the best metal detector for the money, you can skip the Minelab CTX 3030 altogether and move on to the next top-rated metal detector. But if you're looking for a top of the range machine to take your metal detecting to the next level, you'll want to hear about this professional metal detector. Although this certainly isn't the best cheap metal detector, a lot of detectorists are saying that the CTX 3030 is worth every penny.

The CTX 3030 is a waterproof all-terrain detector that is considered to be the ultimate high-performance treasure hunting device. It uses multiple operating frequencies and coil-to-detector data communication to find targets more accurately. Not only does it work to detect target location precisely, but it does so in a variety of ground conditions. This is just the first of 4 advanced features that the CTX 3030 has to offer.

The second advanced feature of this device is the Smartfind 2

"which "provides digital signal processing and precision FeCo discrimination, with color target information, for the best target identification results."

Third, comes the GPSi, which is a high sensitivity setting for better recording of geo-locations. The fourth feature that is unique to the CTX is the Wi-Stream, a tool that creates almost-instant wireless audio signals with no loss in sound quality.

The Quick Menus on the Minelab's LCD makes it easy to navigate through the cool features just mentioned. You can set Smart Functions like sensitivity, noise-canceling, audio, and ground balance and even customize your settings to your exact preferences. Of course, you can't expect all these cool features to be cheap; a high price tag is the only downside of choosing the CTX 3030 as your next metal detector. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is not a tool for beginner-level detectorists.

Pros

  • Waterproof up to 10 ft
  • Impeccable discrimination
  • Advanced features
  • Full-color display
  • Wireless audio

Cons

  • High cost
  • Heavy design

4. Fisher F22

Best Metal Detector for Beginners

Sensitivity Levels

10

Depth

Up to 9”

Weight

2.3 lbs

Search Modes

4

Frequency

7.69kHz

Warranty

5 years

The last model wasn’t necessarily the most beginner-friendly detector on this list of metal detector reviews, but this next one is. The Fisher F22 is the best metal detector for beginners and the ultimate choice for anyone on the hunt for a kids metal detector. Fisher metal detectors are great for detecting coins, jewelry, and artifacts - even if you have no experience under your belt.

The ultra-lightweight machine is easy to handle, weighing just 2.3 pounds. It has 25 to 30 hours of battery life and uses two AA batteries at a time. There are 10 adjustable sensitivity levels, a handy pinpoint mode for better target accuracy, and 4 modes of operation (jewelry, coin, artifact, custom). The durable search coil design is capable of detecting metal up to 9 inches deep.

According to the product description,

 "it has superfast retune speed with excellent target separation and easy to use Discrimination, Sensitivity, Notch and Pinpoint features. Easily identify buried targets with the 9-Segment Target Categories and a 0-99 numeric Target-ID enhanced with 4-Tone Audio-ID System. Custom made to allow users to set their own tones."

Even though this is the perfect beginner-friendly choice, it's not short on features. Even some pro detectorists prefer this easy-to-use device for its versatility and cutting edge technology. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, the Fisher F22 should remain on your radar. The only deal-breaker is that the depth readout is not always 100% accurate, but it's usually accurate within 1 or 2 inches.

Pros

  • Long warranty coverage
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight design
  • The ideal choice for beginners

Cons

  • Depth detector lacks accuracy
  • Only detects up to 9”

5. Minelab Excalibur II

Best Waterproof Metal Detector

Sensitivity Levels

Low to High (knob)

Depth

Up to 24” (on land)

Weight

4.6 lbs

Search Modes

2

Frequency

Multiple (1.5kHz to 25.5kHz)

Warranty

1 year

For beach detectorists who plan on spending a lot of time near the water, finding a high-quality waterproof metal detector is a must. The award for best waterproof metal detector goes to the Minelab Excalibur II, a rugged device that was built for all terrains, including the underwater world. It’s not just waterproof… it’s the best deep-diving underwater treasure detector available.

The Excalibur II is waterproof up to 200 feet. You can bring this on a SCUBA dive to an underwater shipwreck in the morning, and in the afternoon remain on dry land to hunt for relics, coins, gold, and jewelry. The design features a slimline 8 or 10” search coil for reduced weight and improved balance, operating on multiple frequency levels ranging from 1.5kHz to 25.5kHz.

The rechargeable battery pack lasts up to 12 hours on a full charge, and this specific Minelab model comes with tons of extra accessories. The Special Bundle includes high-quality Minelab headphones that can even be worn underwater, extra rechargeable batteries, a car charger, and a side mount shaft for shallow and surf-wading treasure hunting.

If you plan on diving or using your detector near the water, no product compares to the Excalibur II. But unfortunately, it's not a purchase that is within every detectorist's price range. But the high price is something you need to be willing to pay if you plan on diving to great depths for buried underwater treasure.

Pros

  • Waterproof up to 200’
  • Extra accessories included
  • Multiple frequency technology
  • Rechargeable battery pack

Cons

  • Short warranty period
  • Heavy 4.6-lb design

6. Garrett 1140900 Pro-Pointer AT

Best Pinpointer Metal Detector

Sensitivity Levels

3

Depth

Up to 10”

Weight

9 oz

Search Modes

2

Frequency

11.5kHz

Warranty

2 years

A pinpointer metal detector is a small device, sort of resembling a flashlight, that is meant to pinpoint the exact location of a buried object. This type of handheld metal detector is the perfect tool for use after a full-size detector. Once you get into the hobby and are willing to start investing more in extra tools and accessories, buying a high-quality pinpointer metal detector like the Garrett 1140900 is a must.

With dozens of pinpointers on the market, you're probably wondering why we have rated the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT as the best pinpointer metal detector of them all. It's very simple; out of all the best handheld metal detectors, this one is the most accurate, most durable, and easiest to use. The majority of Pro-Pointer AT metal detector pinpointer reviews all agree that no pinpointer compares to this fully submersible device.

"The Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Metal Detector is ideal for beginners and turns a day at the beach into a possible underwater treasure hunt," says the Garrett company. "It's a snap to use and offers three levels of sensitivity to find smaller nuggets and other items."

The 3 sensitivity levels are perfect for finding small objects on land or in shallow water. The Garrett pinpointer alerts users through sound and vibration, and it comes with an LED light for treasure hunting in low visibility conditions.  Another perk of choosing the Pro-Pointer AT is its affordable price tag. It's a simple device, but it can still make all the difference in your metal detecting routine. The main disadvantage of choosing a pinpointer is that it doesn't come with the same level of functions and features as a full-size detector. This is why the Pro-Pointer AT is often used as an add-on detection tool.

Pros

  • Compact handheld device
  • Underwater detection
  • No false signals
  • One button operation
  • Great for beginner detectorists

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Lacks features of full-size detectors

7. BountyHunter TK4

Best Cheap/Budget Metal Detector

Sensitivity Levels

Low to High (knob)

Depth

Up to 3’ (large objects)

Weight

4.2 lbs

Search Modes

3

Frequency

6.7kHz

Warranty

5 years

Metal detecting is a fun way to spend more time outdoors, offering infinite opportunities to unearth buried treasure. But even with the potential for a big payday with gold nuggets and valuable coins, metal detecting can quickly turn into an expensive hobby. Luckily, there are a few cheap metal detectors on the market, but many of them offer cheap performance at best. This isn’t the case for the BountyHunter TK4.

The TK4 Bounty Hunter metal detector is not just the best metal detector under $100, but it’s also the best overall metal detector for kids. It’s lightweight yet also rugged with the ability to handle even the most extreme ground conditions. As the best budget metal detector, you’ll be able to stay within budget as you hunt for buried treasure up to 3 feet deep.

There are countless Bounty Hunter metal detector reviews out there singing this machine’s praises. One of the best features of the BHTK4 easy to use interface that has only 2 operating control knobs. Make adjustments on these knobs to look for relics, coins, jewelry, and household items. It comes with built-in ground balance, so it balances for minerals in the ground as you detect.

At such an affordable price, you can’t expect to have it all. The BHTK4 has a bad habit of giving false signals when not used properly, but there are ways to avoid this. Some reviewers have pointed out that accidentally touching the ground while moving back and forth can cause this false positive tone. With a little practice, though, you'll be a pro in no time.

Pros

  • Long warranty
  • Under $100
  • Easy to use knob control
  • Adjustable length
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Prone to false positives
  • Heavy for young detectorists

8. White's Spectra V3i HP

Best Metal Detector for Coins

Sensitivity Levels

8

Depth

Up to 24”

Weight

6.35 lbs

Search Modes

9

Frequency

Multiple (2.5kHz, 7.5kHz, & 22.5 kHz)

Warranty

2 years

Another top of the range model is the White’s Spectra V3i HP. This high-end detection machine is the best metal detector for coins, so it’s the perfect choice if you’re a lover of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel or the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. It uses a standard 10" wide scan coil and multi-frequency detection for finding small buried objects.

The White's Electronics company gives the perfect description of their most popular product:

 "The beautiful, full-color HD display clearly explains the depth and metal type of detected objects. The V3i is always ready to go with its rechargeable battery and ready to help with an onboard reference guide. If you're just starting out, the V3i has 9 presets, giving you turn-on-and-go versatility that fits your terrain and target, whether it's coins, jewelry, relics of the past, or gold nuggets."

Thanks to the 9 turn-on-and-go preset settings, using the V3i is like having 3 different detectors in on. It's one of the most customizable detectors on the market with unlimited combinations of settings and the option for interchangeable search coils. There are 3 options for frequency operations - 2.5, 7.5, and 22.5 kHz - that can be changed based on oil composition and intended search items.

There is one unique drawback to the White’s Spectra detector. If you normally wear polarized sunglasses, you might want to rethink your lens choice when using this machine. The screen itself has a polarized cover, which means that viewing it with additional polarized lenses can be challenging. But even with this slight flaw, the V3i is still a great choice for finding new additions to your coin collection.

Pros

  • Advanced customization
  • Adjustable backlit display
  • 10 preset hunting programs
  • High-quality wireless sound
  • Automatic ground balance/tracking

Cons

  • Difficult to read w/ polarized glasses
  • High cost

9. Fisher CZ21-8

Best Underwater Metal Detector

Sensitivity Levels

10

Depth

Up to 24” (on land)

Weight

5.3 lbs

Search Modes

3

Frequency

Multiple (5kHz & 15kHz)

Warranty

2 years

The first underwater metal detector covered within these metal detector reviews was the Minelab Excalibur II, which is submersible up to 200 ft. If you thought that was impressive, just wait until to read about what the Fisher CZ21-8 can do. Similar to the Excalibur II, the CZ21-8 is great for deep-dive treasure hunting. But instead of a 200-ft depth limit, this device operates in water depths of 250 feet.

This is the best underwater metal detector, not just for its impressive depth capacity, but also for the fact that it can operate in both fresh and saltwater settings. Many detectors struggle with handling saltwater, and some models even develop rust from salty air - but not the Fisher CZ21-8.

"The CZ-21 has a reputation for being the best saltwater metal detector ever made but can be used in freshwater," says Fisher. "The CZ-21 is easy to use and designed to handle the toughest mineral concentrations on any salt or freshwater beach."

The good news is that you can use the CZ21 both underwater and on land. If you choose to stay dry, you'll have to manually set the ground balance feature (it's not automatic). It has adjustable discrimination to help you differentiate between types of metal. If you don't plan on doing much underwater detecting, this is not the ideal choice. But if your treasure hunting location of choice is beneath the water's surface, no machine compares to the Fisher underwater detector.

Pros

  • Submersible up to 250’
  • Dual-frequency settings
  • One-touch pinpoint mode
  • Works well in saltwater

Cons

  • No display screen
  • No automatic ground balance

10. Garrett Ace 200

Best Metal Detector Under $200

Sensitivity Levels

4

Depth

Up to 12”

Weight

2.75 lbs

Search Modes

3

Frequency

6.5kHz

Warranty

2 years

You already know that Garrett is a manufacturer you can trust, but did you know that Garrett offers one of the best affordable metal detector devices on the market? The Garrett Ace 200 is the best metal detector under 200 dollars, and it’s the cream of the crop when it comes to cheap metal detectors that are lightweight, easy to use, and accurate at pinpointing buried targets.

All Garrett metal detector reviews say the same thing about the Ace 200; this is one of the best learning devices for new metal detecting hobbyists. Beginners love the Ace 200 for its one-touch operation, and even some pro detectorists prefer the simplicity of this detector. Even with its low cost, the Ace 200 allows you to know what you've found before you spend time digging it up.

This is possible because the

 "Digital Target ID scale and target depth indicator help you know what you might be digging AND how deep it is."

Browse through the Garrett Gallery to get a better idea of the hidden treasures you could find with the Ace 200, like coins, relics, and jewelry. Other features of the Ace 200 include a responsive audio package, 3 search modes, 5 sensitivity levels, low battery indicator, and lightweight 2.75-pound design. On top of all this, it disassembles into 3 pieces for easy storage and travel.

Since this is a relatively basic metal detector, you can't expect it to come with all the same features that you'd get from a $2000 machine. Unlike a pricier model, the Ace 200 comes with no iron discrimination audio, no pinpoint targeting mode, and no frequency adjustment. It's a great entry-level detector, but for more advanced treasure hunting, you'll want to go with a more advanced detection device.

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • Simple one-touch operation
  • Low battery indicator
  • Easy storage & transport

Cons

  • No frequency adjustment
  • No pinpoint targeting mode

How to Use Metal Detectors

Home Depot says that when learning how to use a metal detector, the first step is to

 “be familiar with your metal detector before heading out on your first hunting mission. Reading the instruction manual will help you understand the basic functions and detection modes for your model, but the best way to learn how to use a metal detector is to practice.”

Once you’ve got all the basic functions figured out, you can start practicing in the yard. Place small metal items all over the yard and start hunting. This is a great way to learn how to adjust settings like sensitivity, discrimination, and ground balance. Before heading out to public land, familiarize yourself with the Metal Detecting Code of Ethics.


Other Metal Detector Buying Considerations

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a new metal detector. We’ve already covered all the essential buying considerations, but here are a few more to simplify the buying process even more:

How often will you be hunting?

If this is just a side hobby and you don’t plan on hunting for treasure that often, there’s no need to spend thousands on a new detector. But if you consider yourself a serious detectorist, it might be worth it to dish out some extra cash on cool added features.

What will you be searching for?

Your intended search items play a major role in the detector you choose. Some detectors are better at finding small items like gold and coins, while others target larger relics. Don’t just consider the size of the buried treasure you’re hoping to find, but also think about the type of metal it contains.

Where will you be hunting?

The search location is another biggie. For the best metal detector for beach areas or near rivers, lakes, and streams, you'll want to invest in a waterproof detector. For land hunting, it's a good idea to look into the soil composition of your area. Soil that contains lots of minerals will require a metal detector with automatic ground balance.

How much experience do you have?

Most beginner detectorists start with a very low frequency (VLF) metal detector. This type is the most affordable, but it still comes with all the extra features that a beginner could ever need. Whether you're looking for a beginner metal detector for yourself or the best metal detector for kids, try to find a detector that is easy to handle. Pro detectorists are used to carrying around heavy high-tech machines, but if you're new to detecting, start with a device that is less than 3 pounds.

How much do you want to spend?

Set your budget early on. Although it’s possible to find a top-rated metal detector that won’t break the bank, some of the best metal detectors cost between $2000 and $3000. If you’re looking for the best metal detector for the price, just check out our list of best metal detector reviews above - there are several budget-friendly models on there.


Metal Detecting Tools & Accessories

A metal detectorist is only as good as his/her tools and accessories. OK, this isn't entirely true, but investing in the right metal detecting accessories will not only make your treasure hunting tasks easier but also more enjoyable.

  • Gloves
    Treasure hunting can be a messy business, so invest in a pair of gloves to keep dirt from getting under your nails. Gloves will also be helpful in cold weather climates.
  • Pinpointer
    A pinpointer metal detector is a small device, similar in shape and size to a flashlight. Just like a full-size metal detector, it detects metal that is buried under the ground or underwater, but its small size and pinpoint technology gives you a more accurate reading.
  • Headphones
    Try not to use your gaming headset for your metal detecting hobby. Invest in a nice pair of headphones that are meant specifically for treasure hunting. You won't be able to hear the alert signals as clearly with a cheap pair of earbuds as you would with a high-quality pair of noise-canceling metal detector headphones.
  • Coil Covers
    Protecting the search coil should be your #1 priority. Without it, your detector would be unable to send or receive signals. Keep the coil(s) protected with a cover while your metal detector is not in use.
  • Scoop
    Metal detecting on the beach can be tricky, but a scoop can help. A metal detector scoop helps you to recover your targets quickly and easily, even in the sand and surf.
  • Magnet
    Magnets can be especially handy, particularity if you’re hunting in shallow water. A strong enough magnet can pick up metal beneath the sand, allowing you to keep your hands dry.
  • Finding Bag
    What happens when you score an awesome find but have nowhere to put it? Bring a bag along so that you don't have to store your newfound valuable in your pockets.

Frequently Asked Questions

How deep can gold be detected?

The best metal detector for gold can find buried gold as deep as 3 feet, but this is only possible with a detector that has a concentric search coil. Wide scan coils aren't as capable of detecting deep into the ground, but they are better for more accurate detection at shallow depths.

Where are good places to metal detect? Can I metal detect on public land?

One of the best places to use a metal detector is on your property - you never know what could be buried in your backyard. Once you've hunted on your own land, move on to friends' and family members' properties. When hunting on land that isn't yours, always get permission from the property owner first.

Treasure hunting on public land is another great option, so head to the beach, the forest, or your local park. But before you take your metal detector to a public area, check the legislation on metal detecting. Don't just focus on the state legislation, but also on city and county laws.

Where is the best place to look for gold with a metal detector?

If you want to get into the specifics of exactly where to find gold, the best US states for gold treasure hunting are Alaska, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. But don't rule out the possibility of finding gold if you don't live in one of these 5 states. Metal detecting on the beach, park, or any outdoor public gathering space is a great place to find gold jewelry, like rings, earrings, and bracelets. 

What is ground mineralization?

According to Minelab, ground mineralization

"refers to how magnetic the ground is. This does not necessarily mean that mineralized ground has its own magnetic field, but it does mean that particles or grains in the soil will produce a magnetic response and/or be attracted to a magnet..."

Mineralization levels range all over the globe, and Minelab says that "geologically new ground that has been created through glacial scraping or the erosion of mountains during the last Ice Age, is usually weakly mineralized. Old grounds that have been at the surface for a long time often have high levels of mineralization." When in doubt, always choose a metal detector with ground balance settings to help offset ground minerals.

What are some smartphone apps for metal detecting?

Start browsing your phone's app store, and you'll see that there is a variety of metal detecting apps to choose from. Some of them bring additional value to your metal detecting hobby, while others transform your phone into a mini metal detecting device. For help enhance your full-size metal detector, check out these metal detector mobile apps:

Where can I buy metal detectors?

The best place for where to buy metal detectors is online. You can shop directly on the manufacturer's website, but for the best deal possible, focus your shopping efforts on buying an Amazon metal detector. All of the best metal detector brands sell their best-rated metal detectors (plus metal detector accessories) on Amazon.


Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for the best entry-level metal detector or something to take your treasure hunting to the next level, the Minelab Equinox 800 won’t disappoint. This high-end metal detector doesn’t come with a high-end price, but it does come with all the features you could ever need - especially if finding gold is what you’re after.

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