There is a range of noob-friendly machines on the market today. The majority of brands, both old and new, offer simpler and cheaper titles to attract all kinds of potential buyers, not just experts who have already been in this hobby for years. As a result, a newbie gets a lot of options, and a lot of confusion about the best metal detector for beginners.
To choose the best beginner metal detector, one has to understand what criteria should considered. Good metal detectors are not obligatory the most expensive ones. For those who only starts, best cheap metal detector is the one that combined affordable price with decent functionality. To get the best metal detector for the money you can afford, research, read the reviews, and check out our rating table below; this will enable you to spot the best budget metal detector, or the best mid range metal detector, to suit your case.
Nokta Makro Simplex Best metal detector for the money
Garrett ACE 400 (400i) Best entry-level metal detector
Minelab Vanquish 540 The best user-friendly metal detector
Garrett ACE 300 (300i) Best middle-price metal detector
Bounty Hunter Tracker IV The cheapest metal detector that works fine
To choose a metal detector machine can be a complicated task for a beginner detectorist. You have to read the reviews, decide upon many factors that would influence your choice, etc. However, this can be even more complicated for those who are not yet aware of the main terms, notions, features, or specifications.
Those are metals that contain iron in their chemical composition. Items made of ferrous metals are magnetic, and in terms of metal detecting, they are rarely valuable to dig out.
Those are metals and alloys that have a very low percent of iron in chemical composition. Items made of those have more chances of being valuable, from different points of view.
These are metal detectors that show decent performance and productivity on different (most popular) locations, and work well with various types of targets most often searched for.
This is a technology that allows the metal detector to scan the location using more than one frequency at a time, thus offering more possibilities to spot several different targets quickly.
This technology suggests using operating frequencies that are lower than 18-24 kHz. Such frequencies are suitable for all kinds of metals, except gold, so they are used widely.
This feature enables the metal detector to register and analyze chemical composition of the soils, and adjust the scanning to prevent false signals from highly mineralized soils, or trash.
These are metal detecting search coils, or loops, that have one outer coil, and one inner coil, on a certain distance, sending and receiving the signals from the scanned location and targets.
Search coils of such structure have only one loop, which contains two coils - the transmitting one and the receiving one - wired around each other, without distance between the coils.
This structure of the search coil has two coils of the D shape combined in a butterfly-like manner, creating a more ellipse-shaped coil, considered one of the best types.
This feature enables the metal detector to register and filter signals from metal types, or targets types, the detectorist is not interested in, for example, in highly trashy locations.
These are preset combinations of tuning, in other words, programs of the metal detector, suited specifically for various types of search, locations, or potential targets to be detected.
This feature allows to make detecting really focused, in order to scan and locate the potential target really accurately, to prevent physical damage for the target when digging out.
In order to be able to spot top metal detector, a newbie detectorist should be aware of the main requirements the instrument has to meet. The most important aspect is simplicity of use. Without experience that can be gained only with time, and through constant learning, it is impossible to immediately cope with all the complicated additional settings that more advanced items provide. Instead of searching, the person will waste time and effort on simply turning all the needed settings on. This may be totally frustrating, and the results will be poor.
The next aspect is price. More expensive items offer more features, which allows to spot more finds. Lower price means less features and therefore less chances of spotting some cool finds. In other words, you do not want to pay for fancy stuff you just will not use, but you do want to pay for the most vital functions, without which metal detecting makes little sense at all. Quality tool gives you finds, and without finds, you will get bored and disappointed quickly.
To learn what are the most crucial features the instrument should include, check out the rating and review offered below. They will give you an idea of what you should seek in your first metal detector.
To get the rough idea on criteria the noob-friendly metal detector should meet, and to understand how we personally rate all the models that you can read about in this review, check out these aspects:
Garrett Ace Apex is a brand new model of metal detector by the famous Garrett manufacturer. It works on Multi Frequency technology having four frequencies in your service. There are six search modes, DD coil, and wireless audio technology. Apex promises to become one of the top in the niche.
As for today, let’s face it, it is actually one of the most expensive metal detectors for beginners. And yet, it is also one of the most stuffed with cool features and functions. It has all the advantages of really modern metal detectors, including updatable software you can download for free from the official manufacturer.
The only obvious drawback of Garrett Ace Apex is that the machine is not totally waterproof. Only the coil can be submerged, allowing to search on wet sand and in shallow waters, but not deeper than 1 ft. However, this is already good enough for newbie detectorists.
Simplex Plus metal detector by Nokta Makro is one of the most innovative metal detectors in the niche, at least in terms of the manufacturer’s approach. While Nokta Makro Simplex+ is budget-friendly and totally affordable, it promises the combination of tech specs and features almost unseen in any other machine. For the money you pay, you get the quality, and customer support, that costs way more.
Simplex+ is really easy to master. It is powered by VLF technology, and has one operating frequency, but there are also four search modes and pinpoint. The detector features automatically or manually tunable Ground Balance, which helps filter false signals from soils with higher mineralization. Users also state that the saltwater beach search mode shows extremely high quality operation, so you can definitely rely on Ground balance here. Another good news for a beginner-level detector is Simplex+ being waterproof up to 10 feet, making deeper underwater search possible. All these features make Simplex+ one of the best choices a beginner can make.
Minelab Vanquish 440 is the middle brother in the Vanquish series, and it combines the advantages of adequate, medium budget-friendly price, and reasonable tech specs needed in a newbie-friendly metal detector.
This Multi-IQ powered, multi frequency metal detector enables the user to scan the location applying more than one frequency at a time. This is actually a unique feature (and provided for adequate money) for a noob-friendly detector, and it will allow the detectorist to comb through the location more thoroughly, in a faster manner, and sometimes, make their search even more productive than one would expect from a beginner.
This machine has four search modes – Coins, Jewelry, Relics, Custom – and having a Customizable slot for personalized settings is another pretty much unique feat for a beginner-friendly machine. The ability to tune the machine on their own also contributes into faster learning and mastering for the detectorist. Minelab Vanquish 440 is waterproof and lightweight, making a good choice for beginner level.
Minelab Vanquish is also a comparatively new machine, released in 2020 by another giant of the industry, Minelab. Being the most sophisticated model in the Vanquish series, model 540 is perfect for beginner detectorists for a bunch of reasons, starting with design and basic tech specs like small weight, and ending with some fancy features to stimulate the detectorist’s skill and mastery.
This machine is backed by Multi-IQ technology, and has multifrequency feature in its sleeve. Multi frequency is a rare treat for a newbie, and will allow to spot more finds, faster. There are several compatible DD coils for Minelab Vanquish 540, potentially making the machine very versatile, and suitable for different tasks.
The other features include Pinpoint mode, the biggest number of Discrimination segments in the series, wireless audio technology for more comfort and freedom of movement. Minelab Vanquish 540 can be compared to Apex in many ways, being a good choice for a newbie.
This super cool instrument is the top in our review because, firstly, it is manufactured by the Garrett company, one of the most well-known and reliable brands in the niche, and secondly, Garrett ACE 400 is the top item in the series. This is high quality, reliable machine, which at the same time is very simple to set and use. Due to its features, it is considered a universal tool – it shows stable and seamless performance on any location for any objects; however, the best results are currently achieved with coins and relics.
Garrett ACE 400 combines a very distinctive discrimination with the depth of reach. It is perfect for beginners and good enough for experienced seekers. Buyers from around the globe provide tons of positive feedback about this machine. Taking all this into consideration, we have to say that the price for the item is very fair.
This is a single frequency tool with DD type of coil and five search modes. It also has a pinpoint which is a super cool thing for a newbie to try out, and three audio tones for signals, allowing to customize the experience a bit. The tool is powered by four AA batteries, which is more than a standards of two batteries, and it is comparatively heavy. Another disadvantage is that you can submerge it underwater only to the level of control panel. On the other hand, it is stylish, and its ergonomic design will make the search more comfortable.
This is a cool tool to consider. The reason why it is ranked so high in our review is because this is a semi-professional instrument, all-purpose, with single frequency of 7,69 kHz, DD coil and five search modes. On the other hand, it goes after Garrett ACE 400 because this one is more required due to its price and because this is an updated version of the Garrett ACE 350, a very popular tool that has long been among the top models in the niche, was sold in thousands of copies and loved by thousands of buyers. Fisher F44 also has four audio tones, manual ground balance (which means the user can adjust to the soils better), only two AA batteries are required to power it, and the weight of the machine is just beautiful – only 2,2 lbs.
Being all-purpose, Fisher F44 is widely universal and extremely versatile; with it, the user can explore any locations, from fields to abandoned houses, and spot a range of finds, from ancient coins and relics, to treasures and military objects. Fine discrimination combined with a very decent depth of reach makes this machine gandy and efficient. Also, it has a pinpoint mode, allowing to spot the target more accurately, and save time and efforts when digging it out.
This is a single-frequency machine with five search modes, generally repeating the design and features of the ACE 400. It is a bit heavier than its older brother, and also a bit cheaper. The tool is ergonomic, showing stable performance, easy to set and use. There are no fancy features and complicated settings it in, and yet, it offers a full range of functions a detectorist needs for success.
It is one of the best options for buying when you only start pursuing this hobby. According to massive feedback, the tool is very durable, including even the most sensitive parts, for example, the coil. Also, while not being totally isolated, it performs well in wet weather or on wet soils, like on the beach. There are some cons, however: many beginners state it is quite complicated to interpret the signals the item sends. It takes time – at least several sessions – to learn and interpret the signals correctly.
The Bounty Hunter brand is so confident in its Land Ranger Pro that it gives a five years warranty against defects in workmanship and materials. This is a somewhat heavier – weighting 2,4 lbs – model with adjustable length. The operating frequency is 7,69 kHz, a DD coil, the device is powered by one 9-Volt battery. So it is all splendid for now. It also offers seven operation modes plus the pinpoint mode, manual ground balance, and also four tones allowing to adjust the signalling – how cool is that!
The reasons why it is roughly in the middle of the list is, firstly, its weight. Some users claim they have difficulty walking with it the whole day, even regardless its ergonomic design and comfortable armrest. Next, it needs to be set properly, with its seven modes of search and all that jazz, so a beginner detectorist may need some on-field learning with this machine. The device also does not operate very well in wet conditions, even considering that its coil is isolated and can be used for underwater search.
Another disadvantage is that it is pretty hard to find comprehensive info on this tool in the web, so, if a newbie buyer wants to learn something about their machine, they have to rely mostly on YouTube videos and limited feedback.
Generally speaking, Minelab makes really cool metal detectors, so an item by Minelab just can’t be bad. However, talking about models for newbies, and comparing it with the previous two items, we can only give it the third place in our review. It is a reliable machine by a well-known brand, but the set of features it offers is more limited than in the previous two items, and the general power of the tool is smaller.
The main disadvantages of this model include the fact that in this particular case, the manufacturer was focused more on design than on functionality and perfect performance. The design of the tool makes it stylish, but very flimsy due to foldable structure. As for the set of functions, they could really make it better. The combination of functions and price places this item behind Garrett and Fisher in the top of the list.
You will still have finds with it: it is portable and lightweight, so you can work with it for long periods of time; the signal is clear and response time from the targets is pretty short. Four search modes plus the pinpoint mode, five sensitivity levels and volume levels, powered by four AA batteries. So, to conclude, it is decent, but has a bunch of disadvantages that make it worse than other models in the same price range.
This foldable adjustable tool has a design very similar to the Minelab Equinox. It is the most primitive item in the series, therefore it will be user-friendly for a beginner detectorist. One of the main difference about it is the built-in 1200 mAh Li-Po battery promised to function for 20 hours of search.
Generally it has some basic functions – 9 kHz of operating single frequency, partially waterproof, with three search ranges and two audio signal tones, fixed automatic ground balance, and this is basically all. That’s why we have placed it by the end of our review list; its price is higher than average for the same range of functions in other models available on the market.
Another disadvantage is that, regardless of pretty limited set of functions, this instrument is not that easy to use for a newbie. The display indications could be more comprehensive, and the kit could also include the headphones (considering the price).
This is an average instrument, however still manufactured by a well-known brand, which makes it worth your money in any case. It is a beginner-level single-frequency tool suitable for all types of locations and objects. Four search modes and four audio tones together with pinpoint mode make it easy to set and simple to use. Other features include fixed ground balance, DD type of coil; it is powered by two batteries and very lightweight.
You will not be able to search underwater with this item, because it is waterproof only to the level of headphone jack, but in wet weather or on the beach, it functions seamlessly. One of the cool things to consider is a custom search mode you can set and save if none of the existing pre-fixed modes fits the conditions.
To make the long story short, this is a worthy machine with all stuff necessary for detecting.
Garrett ACE 200 opens the series of Garrett ACE machines, being functional and affordable. It is a beginner-level, all-purpose, single-frequency machine with three search modes and two audio tones. It is not very heavy, and is powered by four AA batteries.
The main difference of this model from ACE 300 and 400 is that there is no pinpoint mode and only 3 search modes.
Fine for noobs, but really a disadvantage for those who has already got hand in this hobby.
The instrument shows the highest results when searching for coins and jewelry; this is one of the most affordable and yet quality options for a beginner to purchase.
The youngest of all Fisher F models, this guy is definitely created for beginner detectorists.
All purpose one frequency item with three search modes is so simple to use that you will literally turn it on and go searching.
It is super lightweight, increasing the user’s comfort, and saves your money being powered with one 9-Volt battery.
The main disadvantage is that it is equipped with mono coil, and in the areas with a lot of trash, the user will find it hard to spot anything worthy.
For littered areas, it makes sense to buy a DD coil additionally to the basic Fisher F11 kit.
This machine is the cheapest one in out list. It is so super easy and simple that even a child will be able to cope with it. The concept of performance is basically turn it on and go searching.
The functions of it are as plain as day – lightweight, waterproof, easy to adjust and set. No manual setting required, and yet, this instrument will help even the most nooby noobs to get their bunch of finds, and this is the reason why we have included it into the list. In fact, this very model has long been available on the market as one of the most noob-friendly machines among all.
This is a cool choice for those who does not think they will make detecting their constant hobby, but yet would love to give it a try within a reasonable budget.
If you are a beginner detectorist choosing a metal detector for yourself, this is a short summary on the most suitable machines.
The best correlation between cost and quality is shown by the Simplex metal detector. If you can afford a higher budget, and would like to give a try to machine with multi frequency, it makes sense to choose Garrett Apex or Minelab Vanquish. In case you follow a minimal budget and would like to dip your toe in the water, take good old Garrett Ace 300 and 200, or Minelab Vanquish 340. Switch them on, and go dig out the coins right away.
Hi detectorists! I’m Michael Moore, founder of this website, and a dedicated treasure hunter since 2013. If you want to be posted about the most recent news and updates in metal detecting, releases, and trends, subscribe!
Success of search depends on the person, not on the tool. A lot depends on how the person uses all the equipment, the success also depends on location, on the seeker’s attention and ability to interpret the signals, on experience. On group searches, experienced detectorists are usually able to spot more finds using a simple tool, compared to noobs with a really expensive recently purchased toy. So you should also consider attention, ability to understand how the tool works, and also the actual location.
On-budget tool does not mean it is crappy. Such item is a happy middle ground between toys that only beep to every bottle cap, and full-fledged equipment with additional features and settings. Low-budget items have everything necessary - the depth of reach, discrimination, tone modes, etc.
In case of limited budget it is better to buy a used metal detector by a reliable brand, having decent features, than a cheap poking-stick unable to tell an ancient coin from a hole in the ground. With such an item, the newbie will quickly lose interest to this hobby, and his money will be just wasted.
Definitely not. In the majority of cases their metal detectors are just poorly designed crappy replicas of famous American brands, that can be used for fun by your children at the backyard, at best. They never provide decent quality and will never bring many finds.
The fact is pretty obvious that old and reputable brands have already sold tons of machines, it is possible to find a lot of feedback on each model, these brands work on updating their series and removing the defects. They provide warranty, quality, and enough variety to choose a tool exactly for every particular user. With old well-known brands, it is easy to understand whether this or that item is simple to use, functional, etc.