You’re thinking about taking up the fun and exciting hobby that is metal detecting. Good for you! But first, you need to get a metal detector. There’s no shortage of metal detectors out there; in fact, it seems like there’s an endless supply. With so many options to choose from, trying to figure out which one to pick can seem like a daunting task.
While there are plenty of inexpensive metal detectors that are geared toward beginners, the problem is, a lot of them are nothing more than toys. Sure, they can detect metal, but usually, they can only target metal items that are located near the surface of the ground. You want something that offers robust features and can be used to help you score some real treasures. Fortunately, there are several metal detectors that offer high-quality features and will accommodate all types of budgets.
To assist you with finding the right tool, we’ve put together this handy guide. In it, you’ll find our top three picks for metal detectors for beginners, as well as some valuable information that you can use to help you make your selection.
Top 3 Picks
- 1 Top 3 Picks
- 2 Metal Detector Reviews
- 3 Minelab Equinox 600
- 4 Other Best Selling Options
- 5 Metal Detectors for Beginners Buyer’s Guide
- 6 Metal Detector FAQs
- 7 Conclusion
- Best Pick: Garrett Ace 300
Garrett is one of the most trusted names in the metal detecting industry, and their Ace 300 certainly lives up to the manufacturer’s reputation. With enhanced audio capabilities, a submersible coil, frequency adjustment, and electronic pinpointing, it can locate all types of buried treasure at varying depths. It also comes complete with three free accessories: a search coil cover, headphones, and an ACE environmental cover up.
- Best Premium Pick: Minelab Equinox 600
If you have a healthy budget and don’t mind spending a bit more, consider our pick for the best premium metal detector: the Minelab Equinox 600. It’s lightweight, versatile, easy to use, waterproof, and offers a wealth of features, such as six custom search profiles and simultaneous multi-frequency, you’ll be able to target an assortment of items, from antique coins to gold nuggets – and so much more!
- Best Budget Pick: Fisher F22
The Fisher F22 is a great option for beginners who don’t want to break the bank, yet want a reliable and durable metal detector that they can use to target more than just surface-deep rubbish. It’s weatherproof, so it can be used in all types of conditions, and it boasts an iron audio feature that can help you tell the difference between bottle caps, pull tabs, and other metal bits that aren’t worth your time digging for from actual scores, such as coins.
Metal Detector Reviews
Garrett Ace 300
Beginner metal detectors will get everything they need (and more) without having to spend a fortune with ]the Garrett Ace 300. This metal detector is durably constructed, easy to operate, and provides reliable readings.
The Ace 300 replaced the previous (and now defunct) Ace 250, one of Garrett’s most popular metal detectors. The manufacturer made some enhancements on their Ace 250; for example, a digital target ID (0-99) has replaced the notch target ID on the previous model, which makes for identification faster and more accurate.
- Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector with submersible Searchcoil
- Includes 3 FREE Accessories:
- Volume control Garrett ClearSound Easy Stow headphones
- ACE Environmental Coverup
- 7" x 10" Searchcoil Cover
It also boasts more advanced audio features and a larger search coil with better iron resolution, and higher frequencies, which makes it easier to detect an assortment of targets, such as jewelry, coins, precious metals, and relics.
The stem of the Ace 300 is outfitted with cam locks, which provides a lot more stability. Plus, the price is just right for novice metal detectors who don’t want to invest a lot when they’re just starting out.
- Digital Target ID. The addition of a digital target ID coupled with a segment-based discrimination system has really made the Ace 300 a step up from its predecessor, the Ace 250, as it makes it easier to identify targets. The Digital Target uses a numerical scale that ranges from 0 to 99 and identifies the conductivity of a target. The higher the number on the scale the higher the conductivity of the target. Precious metals have a higher conductivity while low-conductivity metals will have a lower reading on the scale; for example, silver targets will reach somewhere in the 90s, metals with a mid-range conductivity, such as aluminum or gold, will range between 40 and 60 on the scale, while targets that are made of iron will likely range somewhere between 0 to 30 on target ID. With this technology, you can accurately tell the difference between a penny that’s made of zinc or copper simply by reading the numbers on the digital target.
- Improved iron resolution. In regard to iron detection, the Ace 300 offers more segments than the Ace 250; in fact, it offers twice as much iron detection segments. As such, it does a better job of screening out rubbish targets that are made of iron. Additionally, it enhances the metal detector’s ability to differentiate between garbage targets from neighboring worthwhile targets.
- Adjustable frequency. Though it isn’t a feature that’s likely to be used too often by beginners, it can certainly come in handy if you ever need it. The frequency of the Ace 300 is 8 kHz, but that can be slightly adjusted when the need arises. For example, if you’re hunting with a group of people who are also using 8 kHz frequency metal detectors, you can adjust the frequency on your device. The same is true if you run into interference from WiFi signals or cell phone towers.
- Search modes. Also known as discrimination patterns, search modes can be a real help if you would ever like to focus your hunt to targets of a specific nature; jewelry or antique coins, for example. There’s a total of five search modes on the Ace 300:
- Zero, or no discrimination
These search modes eliminate specific segments from the advanced Target ID Scale. Though targets will still show up on the display, if they don’t match segments that correspond to the selected mode, an audio sound will not be emitted. In other words, you can overlook the things you aren’t hunting for.
In addition to the key features listed above, the Garrett Ace 300 metal detector also boasts:
- 8 sensitivity adjustments that control depth and prevent false targets.
- 3 audio tone levels, including low, medium, and high.
- Electronic pinpointing mode, to better lock-in on your targets.
- A depth indicator that provides a basic idea of how deep you’ll need to dig your plug.
- A 7”x10” submersible search coil
On top of all that, it also comes complete with three additional accessories:
- A search coil cover
- Garrett’s ClearSound, easy stow, volume control headphones
- An ACE environmental coverup
- A 7”x10” submersible search coil
- Digital Target ID with a 0 to 99 scale
- Adjustable frequencies
- Enhanced iron resolution
- Five search modes (zero, jewelry, custom, relics, coins)
- Easy to operate
- Comes with three extra features
- Affordably priced
- Lacks iron audio
- Missing adjustable ground balance
Minelab Equinox 600
For the novice who doesn’t mind spending a bit more money and would like to invest in a higher-end device, the Minelab Equinox 600 is our premium pick. Minelab is known for the premium-quality products they offer, and the Equinox 600 is no exception.
Yes, it’s a bit pricier than other models that you’ll see featured on our list, but that’s because it offers some pretty advanced features.
This high-end, top-quality metal detector is comfortable to operate and easy to use, so it definitely won’t overwhelm those who are just beginning to explore metal detecting. In fact, it’s marketed toward those who have no previous experience in metal detecting; experienced hunters will enjoy the advanced features, too.
For example, multi-frequency technology will let you comb over a location with multiple frequencies all at once and can detect all types of objects at all sorts of depths. That’s thanks to the lower frequencies, which work deeper and on bigger treasures, and higher frequencies can detect smaller sized objects that are located at a minimal depth.
- MULTI-IQ TECHNOLOGY: Minelab’s revolutionary technology combines the power of multiple detectors into one, allowing you to effectively search all metals, all soils, all the time.
- FULLY WATERPROOF: Don’t stop at the beach or the bank, this fully submersible model allows you to detect under the surface of oceans, rivers, streams and lakes up to 3m (10 ft).
- 3 DETECT MODES: Easily select from Park, Field or Beach modes to focus on target types or ground conditions.
- ACCURATE TARGET ID: Identify your targets quickly and confidently to efficiently sort between trash and treasure.
- CUSTOM SEARCH PROFILES: Enjoy 6 custom Search Profiles and save your favorite 2 settings in each mode.
That means that you won’t need to switch the frequencies and scan over the same area several times to ensure you didn’t skip offer something that could be valuable.
Another handy feature that the Equinox 600 offers is wireless headset compatibility, which enhances your comfort while you’re scanning. Three pre-set search modes (park, beach, and field) allow you to pick the best indications for the locations you’re hunting.
It also has six custom modes, two for each of the preset modes. The Equinox 600 is also waterproof and can be submersed up to 10 feet, meaning that you can search for targets underwater, too! Highly versatile, durable, easy to operate, and comfortable to use, it’s no wonder why this metal detector is our top premium pick.
- Simultaneous Multi-Frequency technology. The multi-frequency capabilities of the Minelab Equinox 600 are powered by the manufacturer’s advanced Simultaneous Multi-Frequency technology. This feature uses Multi-Frequency In-Phase and Quadrature Synchronous Demodulation. Basically, when a frequency is combined with a location, the field of the metal detector’s coil adjusts based on the amount of rubbish, as well as the changes in mineralization in the soil. In other words, with multi-frequency technology, several frequencies are sent into the ground at the same time. As such, this metal detector is both stable and time-sensitive.
- Multiple detect modes. The Equinox 600 boats three pre-set detect modes – beach, field, and park – and there are two custom search profiles for each detect mode, for a total of four search modes. Each detect mode provides optimal search capabilities for the most commonly scanned terrains. When scanning in environments that are prone to high levels of trash, park mode is the setting to use; it’s also the metal detector’s default mode and the ideal setting for novice hunters. The field mode setting is ideal for areas where trash levels tend to be low; on farm land, for example. It’s more sensitive to smaller items, too (but do be aware that it does detect more rubbish than park mode). Beach mode is specifically designed to scan both the sand and the water. This setting ground balances for sand and salt water, yet still maintains a high degree of sensitivity. Since each detect mode offers two custom search profiles, you can save your favorite setting for each of the three modes.
- Waterproof and fully submersible. The Equinox 600 is fully waterproof and is safe to submerse in depths of up to 10 feet. That means you can use the detector to scan more areas than you would be able to with most standard metal detectors that are geared toward beginners.
In addition to the above-mentioned key features, the Minelab Equinox 600 also boast the following features, which make it a highly versatile, stable, reliable, and easy to use metal detector:
- 4 frequency options: 5 kHz, 10 kHz, 15 kHz, and multi
- Wireless headset compatibility
- 11-inch DD coil
- The software can be updated
- Large screen with multiple backlight modes
- Automatic and manual ground balance
- Volume control
- Noise canceling technology
- Rugged design and durably built
- Lightweight and easy to operate
- Advanced features make it easier accurately detect targets in various locations
- Customizable search modes
- Waterproof up to 10 feet
- Large, 11 inch DD coil
- It has an in-built battery and the battery life is relatively short
- Wireless headphones are not included
- The length can’t be adjusted
- While the price is affordable for the technology offered, it does cost more than comparable metal detectors
If you’re on the market for a budget-friendly and easy to use, yet reliable metal detector, the Fisher F22 is a great choice. As the first manufacturer of mass-produced metal detectors, the Fisher brand is highly reputable and their products are well-designed, durably built, and boast some pretty great features, as their F22 model clearly illustrates.
The updated version of the previous F2, which was the leading metal detector for beginners since 2007, the F22 offers more advanced technologies and features that are usually only found on higher end metal tools.
It offers more search modes than its predecessor, the F2, it has an enhanced coil design, the volume can be adjusted, and it offers iron audio. The control box is more compact than that of the F2, and it’s weatherproof, too.
- ALL PURPOSE METAL DETECTOR: Weatherproof metal detector that can detect Jewelry, Coins, and Artifacts on land and shallow water. Finds metal targets on the surface and buried up to nine inches deep.
- TREASURE HUNT IN ANY CONDITION: This metal detector is weatherproof for use in the harshest weather and environments. Rain or shine, this metal detector can find treasure.
- JUST TURN-ON-AND-GO: A metal detector made for adults but easy enough for a child to operate. Easy-to-use features like discrimination, sensitivity, notch, and pinpoint make finding treasures buried deep underground a breeze.
- ACCURATE ALL METAL DETECTORS: This underground detector distinguishes between valuable targets and unwanted metals. Quickly identify all types of buried targets by Target Categories and a 0-99 numeric Target-ID, enhanced with a 4-Tone Audio-ID System.
- LIGHTWEIGHT ERGONOMIC & COMFORTABLE: This well-balanced weatherproof metal detector weighs approximately 2 pounds and has a padded hand grip and arm cup for comfortable treasure hunting.
No previous knowledge or experience is needed to operate this easy to use metal detector, making it the perfect option for entry-level hunters who want a reliable tool that can be used to find an assortment of treasures in various settings.
- Multiple search modes. The Fisher F22 metal detector features four different search modes:
- Jewelry – this setting discriminates all types of iron targets
- Coin – in addition to discriminating iron objects, this mode also discriminates common types of trash, such as pull tabs and screws
- Artifact – this setting does not discriminate any item and includes signals from all types of iron
- Custom – using a notch feature, you can set a custom patter with this mode
- Search coil. The F22 boasts a triangulated, elliptical concentric search coil that measures 9” in size. This coil is smaller than the coil that was featured on the F2, and it does a great job of selecting targets that are worth your while. The compact, narrow design is also idea for using in tight locations; between rocks, for example. Additionally, the coil can be fully submersed in shallow depths of water; however, do keep in mind that the control box is weatherproof only, so avoid submersing it in water.
- LCD ID Screen. The Fisher F22 features a nicely sized, easy to read LCD screen. From the screen, you can read several indicators, including:
- A two-digit number target ID, which ranges from 1 to 99. This target ID take the conductivity of the metal found, the size of the target, and the position of the target in the ground. Objects that contain high iron levels will receive readings between 1 and 19, zinc coins receive readings between 50 and 59, the readings of copper coins range between 60 and 69, and for silver coins, the reading is between 70 and 79. The target ID makes it a lot easier to determine what objects you’re scanning over and whether or not a target is worth digging for.
- Target depth indicator, which lets you know approximately how deep a target is.
- An iron indicator, which lets you discriminate between signals that are being sent from iron trash; perfect when you’re targeting jewelry, coins, or precious metals.
- Current search mode, which lets you switch back and forth between different discrimination patterns quickly and with ease.
- 4 audio tones. The F22 from Fisher has four different tones: base, low, medium, and high. These tones can be used in combination with the 1-99 target ID to give you a better idea of the target that you’re scanning.
- Iron audio. Iron audio, or FeTone, is a feature that usually isn’t offered on beginner metal detectors. It magnifies iron signals so you can avoid digging trash targets. If you’re planning on hunting for jewelry or coins, this feature will come in super handy.
- Iron identifier icon
- 69 kHz operating frequency
- Static pinpoint
- Adjustable sensitivity and volume
- Non-volatile memory for saving settings
- Waterproof coil
- 4 operating modes
- 4-tone audio ID
- Iron audio tone
- Notch discrimination system
- Lightweight design
- Easy to ready display
- Easy to operate
- Target ID (1-99)
- Fast recovery speed
- Weatherproof control box
- Affordably priced
- Lacks manual ground balance
- The coil is only 9”, which is smaller than the coils on other metal detectors featured on this list
Other Best Selling Options
If you are looking for something else, these are the top 4 best selling metal detectors right now.
- 🌺🌺POINTER SCREEN DISPLAY & SIMPLE TO USE: New OMMO metal detector with a pointer screen to display, it is more convenient that you can see the detection mode, sensitivity level, and battery condition. When the metal target is found, the meter pointer swings to the right. Rotate the switch counterclockwise to OFF to turn off the unit. Rotate it clockwise away from OFF to turn on the unit. When you rotate the SENS from 0 to 10, the sensitivity is gradually increased
- 🌺🌺4 MODES OF OPERATIONS: OM-C011 metal detector has four distinct modes that make you can optimize from in detecting metals.①DISCRIMINATION-- Deselect the metal you don't want, In this mode, the unit comes with auto ground balance. ②TONE--- Upgraded OM-C011 can discriminate the metal type by emitting a high or low tone. ③PINPOINT---To pinpoint the target accurately by lowering the sensitivity. ④ALL METAL---To search for all kinds of metal objects
- 🌺🌺WATERPROOF & ACCURACY: The diameter of OMMO gold metal detector search coil is 10 inches, the bigger the search coil is, the higher the sensitivity, the metal detector kit detects coin-size targets up to 8 inches deep, and larger target up to 4 feet. Let you detecting more efficient and time-saving. Waterproof search coil enables you to use detecting to underwater, Perfect for outdoor, like beach, stream, yard. (Note: the control box is not waterproof)
- 🌺🌺HUMANITY DESIGN & ADJUSTABLE: Don't worry about the length of the stem, the gold and silver metal detectors from 30 inches to 43-inch adjustable stem, suitable for different height people. With the simple pointer display design, this is an amazing metal detector for adults and kids. The armrest design helps you to save more effort, more comfortable and less stressful. Let's start your treasure hunt with the lovely OMMO metal detector
- 🌺🌺FULL ACCESSORIES, MEET YOUR NEEDS: You can not only get 1×Metal Detector but also have 1×Carrying Bag, 2×9V Battery, 1× Shovel, 1×Headphone, it has a headset jack that can be used with conventional headsets. if you're a beginner, OMMO Metal Detector is always suitable for you. If you have any problems, please feel free to contact us
- HIGH ACCURACY & WATERPROOF SEARCH COIL: The diameter of this metal detector’s search coil is 10 inches. As you know, the bigger the search coil is, the higher the sensitivity, let you detecting more efficient and time-saving. Waterproof search coil enables you to use detecting to underwater, perfect for outdoor, like beach, stream, backyard. (Note: the control box is not waterproof)
- THREE STRONG MODES & TRUE DISCRIMINATION MODE - metal detector has three operation models: ① All Metal Mode - the metal detector notifies you whenever it sees any metal. ② Disc Mode - you can utilize this metal detector to discriminate against other types of metal for a specific one. ③ Notch mode –press “NOTCH”, then press “+”or ”-” button to select the target to be notched(eliminated). And you can simply eliminate the metal you don’t want through Discrimination Mode & Notch mode.
- INTUITIVE LCD DISPLAY & DEEPER DETECTION - it is obviously more accurate and convenient that you can see the detection mode, sensitivity level, battery condition, and volume level. Even in the night time or dark light area. You can get information intuitively from the LCD screen and it can detect metals up to 8.7 inch depth.
- ADJUSTABLE & HUMANITY DESIGN – metal detector from 41.3 inch to 47.6 inch adjustable stem, suitable for both adults and kids. Save more effort with arm rest design, makes you more comfortable and less stressful. Let's start your treasure hunting with this lovely PalliPartners metal detector.
- FULL ACCESSORIES & YOU WORTH TO OWN IT: not only you can get 1×Metal Detector but also have 1×Carrying Bag, 1× Shovel(more durable & strong than other shovels), it has a headset jack that can be used with conventional headsets, two batteries are included. Whatever you're a beginner or advanced metal detectorist, PalliPartners metal detector is always suitable for you. If you have any questions about metal detector or metal detecting technicality, please feel free to contact us.
- 💰【High Sensitive Metal Detector】The metal detector allows you to scan large areas quickly, then use precise positioning tips to narrow and precisely locate the target before excavation. The bar probe design allows you to insert a hand-held metal detector into the hole for detection.
- 🎷【Easy Operation】Single button, when the metal object is detected, the LED light will light up. At the same time, there will be 'Bi-Bi' sound and vibration as an alarm. When the detector is close to the metal target, the intensity of the alarm will increase. This unique feature helps the user determine the exact location of the target.
- 💖【Light Weight to Carrying】1/3 of the weight of traditional metal detectors. Equipped with plastic elastic roll belt, belt sheath and handbag, easy to carry or hang on to prevent falling or losing.
- 🏕️【Partial Waterproof】The needle pointer of the dustproof metal detector is partially waterproof. You can sink this part into the water to check for metal in the water. But it can't be used in water, switches and horns are not waterproof.
- 🎁【Widely Application】This metal detecting pinpointer can do various types of jobs like finding coin, gold, silver, relics, jewelry to help you easily find treasures or missing metal objects whether indoors, outdoors, in wall, sand, grass or soil, even in a extreme temperature range of -35ºF (-37ºC) to 158ºF
- 【Professional metal detector】 The professionalism of our metal detector comes from its inherent - high-end DSP chip. Compared with ordinary chips, it has a larger search range, higher sensitivity, stronger anti-interference and richer functions. It has excellent performance and can detect quarter coins up to 10 inches underground.
- 【5 detection modes】 Our metal detectors are specially designed for adults with more powerful detection capabilities. It has 5 detection modes: 💎All Metal Mode 💎Coins Mode 💎Memory Mode 💎Jewelry Mode 💎PINPOINT. You can choose different detection modes according to the environment and your own preferences and needs to collect all gold, silver, jewelry and coins.
- 【Don't miss the treasure in the water! 】 Our detector de metales is equipped with a large 10'' search coil, which increases the chance of finding treasures, so that buried treasures are not missed! The search coil is IP68 waterproof, allowing you to search for treasures in rivers, seaside or lakes, and treasures in water are not to be missed!
- 【Adjustable rod for kids and adults】 The 40-51 inches adjustable rod is not only for adults, but also suitable for kids. It has an ergonomic design with comfortable arm rests. The detector weighs only 3.5 lbs and won't get tiring for extended periods of time. All accessories (batteries, carry bag, shovel, earphone) are included in the package, you can start the treasure hunt immediately after receiving the package, and go on an outdoor adventure with your family and friends!
- 【Intuitive LCD screen】 The LCD screen of The Gold Metal Detector is convenient for you to get the target id cursor, target value, detection mode, battery indicator, depth and sensitivity level, allowing you to have an intuitive feeling of the current detection situation. The detector comes with a buzzer and an earphone jack (volume adjustable), no matter which way you can hear the prompts when the treasure is detected, so that you will not miss the treasure.
- 【5 Modes of Operation】PANCKY adults metal detectors has 5 distinct modes allow you to effectively search for the desired metals. 🚩All METAL MODE , 🚩DISC MODE , 🚩MEMORY MODE , 🚩JEWELRY MODE, 🚩PINPOINTER We are equipped with a full range of accessories and you can start your treasure hunt as soon as you open the package.
- 【10inch Waterproof Search Coil】PANCKY IP68 waterproof metal detector enables you works well in shallow water. Perfect for beach, stream, and rainy day. which means that you can freely dive with it and find treasures hidden from the eyes of the majority. Metal detectors can be easily cleaned and save. (Note: the control box is not waterproof).
- 【Upgraded DSP Chip】Upgraded DSP chip metal detector which improves search range and sensitivity, greatly conducive to detecting efficiency. It’s so powerful it can locate a quarter coin up to 10" underground. It can find larger objects at even greater depths.
- 【Intuitive LCD Display 】Large color LCD display allows you to get the detection dynamics at any time. It’s convenient for you to get the type of metal target, depth, recognition, sensitivity level, operating mode. which let you detecting more efficient and time-saving.
- 【Ergonomics Design】 Equipped with 39.37" to 47.24" adjustable stem applicable to different height gold detector enthusiasts. It has got an ergonomic design that involves adjustable armrest and an anti-slip handle that equips your hunting experience with comfort. Besides, we also provide one Backpack, convenient to carry and store the metal detector.
Metal Detectors for Beginners Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve reviewed our three top metal detectors for beginners picks, let’s dive in and discuss what you should be looking for when you’re shopping.
First, it’s important to note, that there isn’t a specific all-around “best” metal detector for beginners. The truth is, each of the products listed in this guide – and various other metal detectors that you’ll find when you’re shopping – are high-quality and boast a range of features.
With that said, when looking for the best metal detector, you really need to take into consideration your specific needs. In other words, what type of treasures you’ll be aiming to target, what you intend on hunting, your price range, and of course, your experience level.
Below, we’ll look at each of these factors so that you can choose the “best” metal detector for you.
Level of Experience
The first factor that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for a metal detector is your level of experience. Have you ever been metal detecting before? If you haven’t, then starting with a metal detector that is specifically designed for entry-level use is highly recommended. Choosing a metal detector that’s too advanced for your skill level is a sure-fire way to end up getting frustrated. You want to enjoy your experience, and choosing the right metal detector will help you do just that.
Every metal detector detects metal; however, the additional features and enhancements is what makes the difference between a metal detector that will find actual – and potentially valuable – targets, and trash. The goal is to locate items that are worth your while, such as coins, relics, jewelry, and precious metals; not pull tabs from soda cans and rusty nails.
Choose a metal detector that’s geared toward beginners and is easy to use, yet offers more advanced technologies that can differentiate between targets that are worth your while and those that you shouldn’t bother with.
Metal detectors vary largely in price. Really high-end models that are geared toward advanced hunters can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, if not more! When you’re just starting out, there’s absolutely no need to spend that much; and, there’s no need to have all of the features that higher-end, costlier models offer.
You can also find metal detectors that are priced at under $100. While the price is certainly appealing, avoid the temptation to buy one of these super low-priced metal detectors. Essentially, there nothing more than a toy and while they may be able to detect metal, typically, they lack any features that can be used to differentiate between garbage and targets that are actually worth your time. Therefore, unless you don’t mind locating and digging up bottle tops and screws, you’ll be wasting your money on a super low-priced metal detector.
How much should you be looking to spend? For beginners, the ideal price range is between $150 and $300. Anything that falls underneath this price range just isn’t worth it. Machines that are priced in this range offer plenty of capabilities for a beginner to discriminate between rubbish and potentially valuable targets, are durably built, and are easy to use; all factors that are important for hunters that are just starting out.
What You Intend on Hunting
The type of targets you intend on hunting should also be taken into consideration when you’re shopping for your first metal detector. Though the majority of metal detectors for beginners are designed to be used for multi-purpose hunting – they can be used to detect various types of precious metals, coins, and relics – some machines are better at detecting certain types of targets.
- Jewelry and coins. While most metal detectors are made to locate jewelry and coins, it’s important to note that you should avoid purchasing a machine that has a frequency that’s too high; in other words, one that is made to locate gold. Another point to make, frequency and depth are inter-related. The higher the frequency, the less depth you’ll be able to locate objects that are the size of coins or jewelry. Metal detectors that have a kHz of less-than 15 are what you should be looking for if you’re planning on hunting for jewelry and coins. A VLF, single frequency metal detector will do just fine for all-purpose hunting of jewelry and coins.
- The same kHz rules discussed above apply to hunting for relics. Most machines that are made for beginners will work to locate relics. However, if you’re planning on searching for more involved relic hunting, you should consider investing in features like a large coil size, a frequency that’s a bit higher (10 to 20 kHz), iron audio, and an adjustable threshold.
Key Features to Consider
So, what type of features should you be looking for in a beginner metal detector? Here’s a look at some technologies that will make your experience easier and more enjoyable.
- Multi-frequency. Metal detectors that offer multi-frequency settings will help you find a larger array of targets at varying depths. However, do keep in mind that these machines tend to have a higher price tag.
- Concentric or DD stock coils. There are several kinds of coil configurations, but the most commonly used are concentric and DD. The former are more budget-friendly and can make it easier to pinpoint a target, while the latter offers better detection depth and can better handle mineralization in the ground.
- Size of the stock coil. The size of the stock coil is another important factor to consider. Typically, the larger the coil, the deeper the metal detector will be able to go. With that said, however, going with the largest sized coil isn’t always the best option. It really depends on what you’re looking for, as well as the conditions and the mineralization of the ground. Larger coils do get better depth, but they also see more ground, so they have to process more signals in mineralized ground, which can result in missing targets, ineffective target ID, and a lot of falsing. As such, a smaller coil is a better option because they are more sensitive and are better at targeting.
- A screen. The majority of experienced hunters rely mainly on sound to locate their targets; however, for beginners, a screen is definitely useful. Screens display various types of important information, such as the depth of a target, the possible identification of a target, batter life, and more.
- Lastly, you should consider the weight of the metal detector. Generally, the lighter the metal detector, the easier it will be to handle and operate. However, do make sure that the machine is durably constructed and made of high-end materials.
Metal Detector FAQs
Though our guide to metal detectors for beginners has covered a lot of information, there may be some things that you’re wondering about that we didn’t cover. Here, we’ll go over some of the most frequently asked questions that beginners have about metal detectors to further ensure that you can find the answers to any questions that you may have.
How do Metal Detectors Work?
Metal detectors feature a search coil, and that coil sends out an electromagnetic field into the ground. Metal objects (known as targets) that are located within the electromagnetic field the metal detector puts out become energized, and those objects retransmit their own electromagnetic field. The search coil of the metal detector than receives the retransmitted field that the metal objects have created and sends a signal to the detector, or a “target response”.
What is “falsing”?
The term “falsing” refers to false signals, or “phantom” signals. They appear whenever a metal detector responds to metal when in reality, no metal is in the area. Typically, false signals are the result of naturally-occurring iron oxides in the ground; hematite and magnetite, for example. Machines that offer automatic and manual ground balancing can help you deal with falsing. In areas of high ground mineralization, lower the sensitivity of the detector to reduce phantom signals.
How do operating frequencies affect results?
Generally speaking, the lower the frequency, the deeper it will be able to penetrate the ground. However, at low frequencies, the sensitivity to small targets that have low conductivity is minimized. The higher a detector’s frequency is, the more sensitive it will be to small targets; but, it won’t penetrate as deeply.
Metal detecting is a fun and exciting hobby that, with the right metal detector, can be really enjoyable and grow into a pastime that you may become really passionate about. When you’re just starting out, you don’t need to invest a bundle or get the highest end model. Keep the information discussed in this guide in mind and consider purchasing one of the three metal detectors that we highlighted.