Choosing a metal detector for gold, the future buyer has to know certain important nuances of gold prospecting. The conditions of search are usually extremely hard both for the people as well as for the equipment. People have to endure the difficult terrain as well as weather conditions. As for equipment, it has to be flexible plus accurate enough to cope with highly mineralized soils, different types of soils combined on one location, etc. Therefore, quality is on the first place.
Discrimination is crucial in the majority of cases, but not when seeking for aurum. Here, frequency plays the major role; the higher the frequency the better. All frequencies higher than 18 kHz are suitable for slugs search.
The depth of reach is another crucial aspect, as slugs are often located on different levels, so small depth can be the reason of missing considerable deposit. If you would like more flexibility plus variability, look for piece that allows to charge coils from smaller to bigger and back. Smaller coils are applied in highly littered grounds to filter trash from valuable metals. Bigger coils are usable on clean soils without iron or trash.
The buyer has to remember that high quality device costs a lot, but it will allow to find many slugs, compensate the cost of the equipment to eventually even earn some decent money. Expensive models have tons of features, advanced settings, etc. On-budget tool will not provide as many possibilities for tuning, so as a result the percent of finds will be lower.
When creating our rating lists for metal detecting pieces, we consider not only certain specifications necessary for each separate type of the task. For example, in the case of metal detectors for aurum, we consider not only frequency or depth of reach. There are several typical criteria we base our opinion on:
- technical specifications
These aspects are assessed in the combination with particular features for each type of task. When rating the devices, we always include our own experience with each item, plus also the opinion of experts in the field. In addition to data research, we pay attention to positive or negative feedback to the model provided by buyers from all over the globe. Thus, you get a highly objective assessment for each, even the most expensive, item, with all advantages as well as disadvantages exposed.
To make the rankings more comprehensive as well as convenient for the reader, we also develop lists of devices that are suitable for particular users, or for particular tasks. These lists intercross so you are able to choose or compare models across niches, prices, or functions. So take advantage of our ratings with lists for the best results!
Top 4 Best Entry-Level Detectors for Gold
On the one hand, the very concept of “entry-level aurum detecting” does not make a lot of sense, because generally aurum prospecting is equal to business, so one has to acquire impressive expertise as well as skills to even dip a toe in the water of aurum seeking. Having said that, seekers just need to start with at least something. So, yes, entry-level aurum prospecting sounds weird but it exists; more and more people are engaged into aurum slugs digging, hoping for getting rich. If you are one of them, consider option for one of the following tools.
#1 Garrett AT Gold
This piece is very high quality as well as reliable, but at the same time it is very easy for the noobs to cope with. The main specifications include: single frequency of 18,75 kHz which is totally suitable for nuggets search; ground balance is manual (can pose some difficulties for inexperienced users); two search modes including Discriminate mode plus pinpoint; LCD display; the detector is waterproof so it can be submerged to the depth of about 9 feet.
The piece weights 3 lbs, is powered by four batteries of the AA type, plus is topped with a two-year warranty. Additional features are digital target ID, adjustable sensitivity with audio tones. Garrett also offers a bunch of coils that are compatible with this instrument, but perhaps not each one of these coils is good for aurum seeking.
Buyers state that this instrument is able to spot even the tiniest aurum pieces, both in land or water. Being specifically created to seek for aurum, this Garrett product offers decent features combined with simplicity of operation. Newbie seekers should definitely consider it as an option for their first tries with aurum.
#2 Fisher Gold Bug Pro
Being created by the oldest metal detecting equipment manufacturer in the world, this product promises high quality as well as smooth operation for years and years. Its weight is 2,5 lbs, the piece is powered by one 9-volt battery. Two-tones audio, manual or automated ground balance, all-metal plus pinpoint modes, adjustable sensitivity, LCD display make it meeting all the current requirements to a high-end performance tool. Its frequency is 19,2 kHz; the company gives five years warranty for this item! So Fisher seems to be among the top options for newbies but for one slight problem.
While the coil is waterproof, one cannot submerge the tool underwater deeper than the level of the coil, because the rest of the shaft with the control box are not isolated. This is a serious drawback, considering that aurum slugs are often met in the rivers or lakes. Also, weather conditions can be different, so owning a non-isolated piece make it very inconvenient. This is the main reason why this high quality as well reliable piece by an old and well-known company is listed on the second place.
#3 Minelab Gold Monster 1000
Minelab Gold Monster 1000
Minelab has presented this product to the market by the end of 2017. This is superior piece that offers an incredibly high frequency of 45 kHz, which is extremely suitable for efficient aurum search. This is almost a middle-level product which is only a bit more expensive than the previous two. Currently we put it on the third place in the entry-level list of items, but it starts to win the love of detectorists all over the world, so by the end of the year, it will probably take the first place.
The tech specs are as follows: 45 kHz frequency (insane!), automatic ground balance, decent discrimination with iron reject, volume tuning range from one to six, automatic audio boost, headphones are included, DD coil, weight 3,2 lbs. The disadvantage of this model is absence of the pinpoint mode. The power supply is variable, either a lithium-ion rechargeable unit, or eight AA batteries.
One of the innovations not available in other aurum prospecting products in the niche is GM1000 automatic sensitivity setting. Also, many experts claim that this 45 kHz frequency is within an optimal range for efficient search, as both lower and higher frequency ranges show weaker results. Gold Monster 1000 combines the best frequency range plus decent depth of reach, leaving few part of the soil uncombed due to automatic ground balancing.
#4 XP ORX
ORX by XP is a new tool announced in 2018. According to the manufacturer’s claims, it is the younger brother of the mighty XP Deus, the one loved and cherished by the metal detecting community for many years. ORX is full of cool features like 21 operating frequencies, 99 sensitivity levels, 20 threshold levels, 99 levels of discrimination, 5 special modes of discrimination, 00 to 25 soil rejection, and six search modes. This tool is specially developed for gold prospecting, and all the features and settings enable the user to tune if for the optimal accuracy and productivity.
Another important innovation is ultra-light telescopic shaft that was improved specially for enhanced user experience. The instrument is currently one of the most advanced and yet among the lightest machines on the market and in the niche.
There are only three drawbacks about this instrument. Firstly, it will be more expensive than average machine on the market. This is totally understandable, of course, look at its features and stuff. But for beginning detectorists, this is a bit costly.
The second disadvantage is the fact this metal detector is not waterproof. At all. Not even IP 68. Considering that many prospectors seeks for sold in freshwater mountain streams, or look for dropped jewelry on the beaches, this is ridiculous.
And the third aspect that does not allow us to assess this product more objectively and put it higher in the rating is its recency. It has just been introduced and lacks enough feedback from real users.
Top 3 Best Middle-Level Detectors for Gold
Middle level for a treasure hunter or aurum prospector is a weird situation when one is experienced as well as skillful enough to master some unusual locations or targets, but yet gets lost in really complicated situations. Many noobs actually fail to even reach this middle level of expertise, being not ready to go out of their comfort zone. However, with gold prospecting this is a dead-end road; the one who does not accept challenges will not find enough aurum to even compensate the cost of the equipment.
To help the skills grow constantly, you should, ideally, upgrade the old piece or buy a new one every year or two. Even if you purchase the toppest top of the products, in several years it will be considered outdated, as the technologies move forward in huge leaps. To leap from newbie to middle-skill level, check out the top three middle-level devices for slugs search.
#1 Minelab SDC 2300
Minelab has manufactured another efficient tool for satisfaction of the gold prospectors who would like to try themselves out on more complicated ground. The technical specifications of this item include: 5,7 lbs which is rather heavy; powered by four C-Cells promising battery life up to seven hours, monocoil that cannot be replaced by other types of coils, waterproof for operation on the depth of 9 feet, adjustable tone, automatic ground balance, multi-period pulse induction frequencies.
The benefits of this item are cool compact as well as easily unfoldable design, waterproof, automatic ground balancing meaning the user does not have to scratch the back of their head guessing the type of soil, plus there are two different search modes for normal as well as high-salt environment. However, there are numerous drawbacks as well.
The first drawback is price – the tool is very, very expensive. Next, its weight is higher than typical. The battery life is pretty short, seven hours sounds just ridiculous. There is no discrimination of any kind, the volume cannot be adjusted, no audio boost or no pinpoint mode. Generally, one has to wonder what was the reason for such price. Additional coils of different sizes cannot be used, so we have to hope that the main reason for price is reliability with durability.
#2 Garrett ATX
Garrett is one of the companies that generally produce some good stuff which makes metal detectorists, treasure hunters as well as gold prospectors happy. This particular model is 5 lbs of weight, can be submerged for 9 feel, is equipped with DD coil, powered by either AA or rechargeable batteries, has 25 (twenty five Karl!) modes of discrimination, plus automatic pinpointing. The bestest thing about this tool is its impulse principle of operation – it combs any type of terrain with 730 impulses per second, reaching to the depth of up to 19 inches.
Other advantages include – thirteen sensitivity levels available for tuning, from 10 to 24 hours of battery life, ability to detect several targets at a time, can operate in collapsed condition, but still very easy to set up.
The disadvantages are its weight, price (it is not budget-friendly at all!), no display available, no target ID, no automatic ground balance (only manual regime is available). Plus, please keep in mind that the model is on the market since year 2013, so perhaps it will soon be outmatched by more advanced technologies. However, currently this item seems pretty decent for seeker with middle level of skills.
#3 Fisher Gold Bug 2
This is an absolutely unique piece that needs each gold prospector’s particular attention. Firstly, created by the oldest metal detecting company in the world, it promises amazing quality plus reliability till its last day of operation (which will come after many years of exploitation). But the most amazing part is that this very model was first released in 1995! It is extremely popular on the market for already more than 20 years. Surprisingly, to this day no manufacturer has managed to develop a better product for small slugs search. Fisher Gold Bug 2 is a real classics that keeps aurum seekers happy (and rich!) for years.
The weight of this piece is 2,9 lbs, power supply is provided by two 9-V batteries. There are three discrimination modes, but unfortunately, no pinpoint available. The good news is coil is waterproof, while also the user can exchange the coils, using either 6,5 or 10 inches. The control box can be removed for deeper underwater search. There are options with shaft, chest, plus hip mount, adding flexibility to the search. The frequency is also totally suitable for gold prospecting, being 71 kHz.
The disadvantages include strong signals on salt wet soil, no pinpoint, plus headphones not included into the kit. In all other aspects, Fisher Gold Bug 2 is one of the supreme devices specifically for gold search.
Top 3 Best Pro-Level Detectors for Gold
Expert level aurum detectors are few on the market, but still opting for one that would suit each seeker’s particular situation is not that easy. These powerful pieces are stuffed with tons of fancy tuning, so even making head or tail out of this stuff will take time as well as skills. If you are ready to invest into such a serious equipment, you have to be sure about future profits, otherwise, it will make little sense.
Picking the most suitable option for yourself, consider not only your skills, but also potential locations. The qualities and features to look for in each item have to meet the requirements of the environment, and be able to withstand the abuse and complicated conditions of the search. So choose the device that will make your life easier, not harder.
#1 Minelab GPX 5000
This Minelab product was first offered on the market in 2010 and it still being produced. The technology in application is Ground Balancing Pulse Induction, the frequency of pulse is 1100-4500 PPS. The motion mode has four options – very slow, slow, medium, fast; there are fine regimes of ground rejection. Eight modes of soil adjustment, ten discrimination modes, 20 volume levels, 100 tone levels, four audio boost regimes, frequency offset from 0 to 255 in manual mode make this device hella adjustable for every preference and taste! It it literally stuffed with variables.
The coils are either Mono or DD, and the user can buy up to 100 coils as additional accessories! This is an outstanding advantage, making this tool extremely universal in terms of nuggets search. No other item in the list offers 100 coils as available accessories. This monster is powered by rechargeable battery with 14-15 hours of battery life. It is pretty heavy – 5,3 lbs – and the battery has to be carried separately in the backpack, connected to the control bow by the wire. However, the number of tuning is so overwhelming that this device definitely needs your special attention.
#2 Minelab GPZ 7000
This item is 4 years old (released in 2015) and is still in demand. It operates based on the technology of Zero Voltage Transmission. The ground balance can be chosen from automatic, semi-automatic, and fixed regimes. There are also three modes for adjustment to the type of soils – from Normal through Difficult to Severe. No discrimination and no pinpoint, while volume and tone can be tuned. Standard coil is GPZ 14 Super-D, but can be replaced with GPZ 19 giving a more universal spin to the device.
The battery is lithium-ion, the promised battery life is eight hours or a bit more. The piece is extremely heavy – 7,32 lbs will not make the prospecting very comfortable. The device is weatherproof, but not waterproof. It is also very, very (very!) expensive, so experts do not recommend to buy it if you are not an expert yourself.
Users state it is easy to set and operate. On the other hand, the tool is hard to balance because of its weight and design. The sensitivity is said to decrease on salty and mineralized soils, so the user has to keep an eye on indications. Generally, this is a decent piece, but it has its drawbacks.
#3 Minelab GPX 4500
This one has been on the market since 2008. More affordable than the two previous models, it is still rather costly. The technology is Ground Balancing Pulse Induction with 110-4500 PPS. In terms of tuning variability, it is very much alike to its GPX 5000 brother. The other tech specs include: six search modes, including five custom ones. Keep in mind that the headphones for the kit are by Koss which is good. The company gives three years warranty for this piece, suggesting it is worth your money and trust. Generally, it is just a little bit weaker than the 5000 model, but more affordable.
If you are not sure which one to choose, keep in mind that the 5000 model is the next (and upgraded) one after 4500, but the 4500 is still in production and enjoys demand all over the world. So if you would like a more on-budget option, you can opt for 4500.
We have to confess it is rather hard to choose from a bunch of really cool pieces. So, when you are picking your next device for gold prospecting, watch the specifications carefully, as they have to meet all requirements put by your future location and search conditions. Also, you have to be sure that the learning curve is not too steep; in other words, define whether you want an entry-level, middle, or expert-level item.
For entry-level, Garrett AT Gold is a nice pick since it combines efficiency with simplicity of use. Middle-skilled prospectors should consider Minelab SDC 2300 with its durability and reliability. If you are among the expert league, pay attention to Minelab GPX 5000 which offers pulse technology, a versatile range of tuning for each feature, and some overwhelming 100 variations of coils as additional accessories, making the tool almost universal and suitable for any aurum prospecting conditions.
Take advantage of our review to pick the supreme piece for your supreme gold slug prospecting.