The major demand that the best 2020 metal detector has to meet is universal performance. Universal means, firstly, watertight – the user has to be able to search under rain, in wet weather, on wet soils, and underwater. Secondly, the equipment should provide several frequencies for finding targets of different size and kind. Thirdly, the machine should provide the user with an extended range of settings, including ground balance, frequency shift to avoid noise, etc. Although such a wide functionality may seem complicated to newbie users, eventually, it means the machine is worth the money it costs.
To provide an adequate metal detectors reviews, we use a system of ratings. The key criteria include:
If the machine is included into our set of reviews, it means the combination of these specifications is optimal for the user, both in terms of what the user has to invest into working with the equipment, and in terms of what the user gets from the equipment.
What is the Best Metal Detector?
New brands of metal detectors become available literally twice a year, as leading manufacturers compete for attention of potential customers. Every company claims they make the best metal detectors and accessories. However, the competition is so high that it is impossible to find the best metal detector for yourself without researching the market. There are so many different options that the buyers feel lost without comprehensive information from reliable parties. That is why it makes sense to check out metal detectors reviews by other users.
Each treasure hunter wants the best metal detector for the money they can afford, not for all the money of the world, and this is reasonable, since every detectorist has specific experience, preferences, skills, and budget. To choose the best metal detectors for sale that are expected to be in trend in 2020, check out detailed metal detector reviews and ratings on each top design below.
If you’re looking for the best metal detector for the money that is affordable, Nokta Makro Simplex+ is one of the best options, especially for newbies, but to be honest, treasure hunters with medium level of expertise will also find it handy and effective, and for a good reason (several reasons!).
Simplex+ is kinda revolution on the market, because it combines on-budget cost with noob-friendly settings, and yet it is very effective. The tech specs and features make it all-terrain and almost all-purpose detector, and it is easy to set and use at the same time. This machine is waterproof and fit for underwater search on the depth of up to 10 feet, supports wireless headphones, has a DD coil, and is equipped with decent discrimination, ground balance, and even vibration mode. In other words, all the most effective features for less than all money of the world.
The majority of beginners are most likely to be totally in love with Simplex+, and while it allows some advanced search features, it is still a newbie level machine. Treasure hunters with expertise may want to pay attention to such machines as Nokta Anfibio Multi, Minelab Equinox 800, and Garrett AT Max.
How to Choose Metal Detector?
How do you choose the best metal detector for your needs? Buying a new metal detector is not always easy, especially if you do this for the first time and are largely unfamiliar with the process and the features to look for. Pricing should be the last thing on your mind as most metal detectors in the same class usually have more or less of the same features. Here is a simple metal detector buyer’s guide that you can use to choose a device which is the most appropriate for your needs.
There are several leading brands on the market, each offering highly innovative metal detector designs that you can choose from. Some of the market leaders are Garrett, Minelab, Fisher, XP, Nokta & Makro, White’s, Bounty Hunter, Quest. Brand considerations alone, however, are not sufficient and you have to look at other factors and features.
The frequency of use is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a metal detector. If you use the detector more frequently, then you will need a sturdy and durable product that you can use over the long term.
The location of use is also an important consideration. These can vary from beaches to the Gold Country, or marshes and water surfaces. You need to choose a “special purposes” metal detector that will be most suited to your area of operation. For example, for underwater applications, some of the metal detectors are built with supreme waterproof features.
Who Will Use the Metal Detector?
There are different metal detectors for different categories of users. For example, some devices are more suited for the professional users while others are the best for beginners. There are also machines which are specifically made for kids. You need to keep this in mind when you are shopping for your metal detector.
Metal detectors are built with several features to help you maximize your relic hunting or coin shooting. Based on your unique needs, you have to consider a variety of features when buying your metal detector, such as the Pinpoint Mode, Target ID segments, the Discrimination settings, the custom notching settings, the type of coils, and the detection depth, amongst others.
Ratings and Reviews
Each of these products has ratings and reviews left by customers who have already used the product. The ratings measure factors such as the performance and usability of the product, advanced features, and the degree of customer support and responsiveness by the company. Good ratings and reviews usually imply the product is great.
Who Sells Best Metal Detectors?
While it may seem that the best seller is the manufacturer, in reality, this is not true. Firstly, big companies make not only metal detectors for treasure hunting; more often than not, they also produce metal detectors for different industries like airport security, etc. They sell those products for huge money and in large quantities, often exporting them to other countries. This is why their own websites will most probably be focused on this type of items. Selling single metal detectors for treasure hunting by retail is not their first and foremost priority (unfortunately).
On the other hand, big sellers like Amazon or similar websites focus totally on your user experience as a potential buyer, and will provide you all the possible info about every brand or machine. You will be able to find ratings and reviews there, read feedback and comments by experts and actual users, and will even find comparison charts of similar models by different brands. Moreover, big selling sites often offer additional perks, like subscription to a community, or free accessories in the box.
So, if you want a new machine, check the brands’ sites and big selling platforms for more info. If you want a used machine (which is always cheaper), you should check out forums and communities on the web. But before you buy, make sure you know exactly what brand and model you’d like to have.
Garrett Metal Detectors
Garrett is among the true leaders of the niche. Being the pioneer of American metal detecting, it holds an exceptionally pragmatic approach to metal detecting machines. Products by Garret are comprehensive for usage, efficient, and last long. Most people use their first Garret machine for years, without losing efficiency. Devices by this company keep their reliability, allowing the users to learn as they practice, and gain experience along the way. Despite this rare feature, Garret machines are on budget for most people; even buying a used machine, one knows they purchase outstanding quality for years to come.
Minelab Metal Detectors
Minelab company comes from Australia, but they are well-known among all the treasure hunters around the world. While Minelab provides cool designs and always goes innovative with their new models, there is one feature that makes it stand out from the crowd. This company builds machines mostly for unusual and complicated search conditions, hot soils, and locations that require complex approach. Gold prospecting was the first niche for the brand back when it was founded, and since then, Minelab keeps backing up both gold prospectors and all other metal detectorists in the most crazy and hard search conditions imaginable.
Fisher Metal Detectors
Fisher is a giant of the metal detecting world – the oldest among the global brands, holding tons of experience, and still at its full strength. The curious thing about Fisher is that it managed to keep its positions among a huge pool of young and kicking competitors. Machines by this company are very decent, but innovation and technology would not enabled Fisher to stay alive that long, so what’s the secret behind it? Fisher management team took a genius approach to their marketing, putting user’s satisfaction first. Products by this manufacturer may not be the most innovative or technically crazy, but they always address the current needs of the buyers – because the company constantly collects feedback and minds it. Buying Fisher metal detectors, you know they have your back, and if you speak to them, they listen.
Bounty Hunter Metal Detectors
Bounty Hunter is a comparatively new brand (considering all those old companies out there), but it has a solid reputation on the market. Items by it are totally loved in US, and this is especially true for noobs and beginners. Bounty Hunter provides high quality, efficient, and reliable machines, but their tricky part is that they cater for newbies. Their devices are very easy to use, have no complicated schemes of operation, in other words, they make user experience as effortless and pleasant as possible. This also means that the products by Bounty Hunter are very affordable. If you would like a metal detector for a kid, look at Bounty Hunter as well.
White’s is another pioneer in US metal detecting, White’s survived major changes in the niche back when it was young, and this experience has probably defined the company’s approach to business in the long term. Being extremely flexible in designing their products is a feature about White’s brand. They make all kinds of machines for all kinds of tasks, and all levels of skill. Another feature is smooth operation in any case. Putting it all together, even a complete newbie can get seamless, as well as effective, search with a White’s metal detector.
XP Metal Detectors
The best brand in Europe and one of the best in the world, XP Metal Detectors is an Apple of the metal detecting niche. Apart from outstanding quality, cool design, and consistency, machines by XP usually feature unique solutions and revolutionary approach to technology. Currently, XP holds several breakthroughs they apply to their metal detectors, and no other company in the world has a matching product to compete. This also means higher price, of course, but the feedback on devices is overwhelmingly positive, and those owning an XP machine use them proudly for years.
Nokta & Makro Metal Detectors
Nokta and Makro company new player on the market, this company is ready to take the game by storm. This is one company made of two united Turkish brands. They produce some high quality, but lower costing machines, undermining the European market. The trick is, making metal detectors in Turkey is cheaper than in Europe or US, so they can afford selling cool quality devices for more budget-friendly price. There is not much feedback on those yet, but the first users are happy with their purchase and report efficiency and convenience.
Quest Metal Detectors
Once known as Deteknix, Quest is comparatively young, being around since 2000s. However, the quality they provide, together with budget-friendly price for their machines, already made them a favourite among beginners and those who holds metal detecting as an entertaining hobby. Machines by Quest meet current quality standards of the niche, are affordable and easy to operate, which is totally enough to make the majority of buyers happy.
Metal Detector Reviews
These metal detector reviews are created purely for your convenience and enable to reader to find real and honest information on the best metal detectors available on the market. There are no promotional texts by the manufacturers here. We check out feedback by users from all over the world, test each piece of equipment we can, and always indicate disadvantages of every item, even the best and the most expensive one. You will always be able to find out the real value of all those expensive devices by posh brands, and decide whether you want to spend money on those, or not.
We are constantly in the process of research, looking for updates and recent data on each manufacturer, series, model, and accessory one may want to use. Here, you will find reviews on all the new innovative items, as well as on the old and reliable stuff everybody is already in love with. You will be able to make an informed choice and check out all the options, depending on your skills, experience, budget, preferences, and expectations.
A lot of research is done for creation of each review; we use to combine own experience with the recommendations and advice of other users, including real experts in the field. You are provided with the most objective and unbiased information on each piece of equipment we discuss.
Minelab Equinox 800 is the first one in our rating of metal detectors and one of the best metal detectors for today. Currently, it suggests the best matching of the price, quality, and technical specifications, among the items available on the market. It employs the newest technological innovations, being the item released in 2018. In 2018 and 2019, this item became one of the most frequently bought metal detectors.
The first cool feature is multifrequency – the treasure hunter can choose from five options, 5, 10, 15, 20, 40 kHz + Multi Mode custom option. The next feature is outstanding discrimination combined with depth of search. The equipment is literally watertight IP68, the available depth is up to 9 ft. As it is obvious by now, this metal detecting equipment is perfect for any situations, but it shows especially good results when looking for coins, relics, or searching on the seashores.
Except the opportunities already discussed, there are other advantages: the item is not heavy, has eight search modes, convenient control panel, and suggests a decent package when purchasing.
The people who already purchased the item and have used it for a certain time, are totally happy with this metal detector. It is durable, reliable, adjustable, and displays seamless performance. So, if you consider buying this equipment, you will definitely be satisfied with all the opportunities it suggests. The best thing is that it has already been tested in field many times by different people, and keeps its brilliant reputation since it has been released to the market.
Garrett AT MAX is one of the best metal detectors proposed by the Garrett company. It is a reliable and high-quality metal detector that has already earned a positive reputation among the users. It is functional on all terrains, the depth reaches up to 9 ft, which makes it perfect for quest in various situations.
The principal features of the Garrett AT MAX are as follows:
watertight, the depth of underwater search is up to 9 ft
suggests quality discrimination, enables to ignore worthless targets
LCD display with tap light allows to search in the darkness
3-tone response signal is combines with the feature of volume control
Generally, this is professional level item that is good for quest in any situations, but it shows especially fruitful performance when searching for coins and relics, and it also performs outstandingly well on the seashore.
There are, however, two disadvantages that put Garrett AT MAX on the second place in our review. The first disadvantage is only one frequency available. Of course, the 13,6 kHz is a universal frequency that works good for the majority of target kinds, but a professional equipment should have proposed more than that.
The second disadvantage is that this item is generally just an enhanced version of the Garrett AT Pro, and actually the company could invest more into it and make it better than just an update with a new name. So, if you consider buying Garrett AT MAX, keep these peculiarities in mind.
This is an interesting item to discuss. XP Deus was released in 2009, which means the design is ten years old already, and yet, it is extremely popular until today. This is possible due to the fact that this machine is high quality and employs all the classic technologies that are always handy. The best thing is that even a newbie can use it and get a lot of finds without additional efforts. So XP Deus is definitely a equipment to consider.
multiple frequencies, including 4 kHz / 8 kHz / 12 kHz / 18 kHz and frequency shifts to avoid noise
all accessories are wireless, including the coil, control unit, and headphones.
the equipment software is updated on a regular basis, so each user can get their machine enhanced when necessary.
thousands of happy users all over the world are satisfied with the machine’s performance
the buyer can choose different accessories for the kit during the purchase
all accumulators are charged via USB cables and power banks
the equipment performs perfectly in any weather situations (except underwater)
shows high results when searching for coins, relics, and on the seashore.
high quality discrimination combined with depth of reach
These features explain why the item is still on the peak of its popularity, despite the fact the design is ten years old. It suggests almost unique user experience due to smart kit and updates.
However, it still takes the third place in our review, because of two principal reasons. Reason number one is the machine is not watertight, the user can submerge it only to the level of the control unit. Reason number two is new technologies are invented each year, and the design simply becomes outdated, even if it functions smoothly.
three frequencies and Multi-frequency mode (the 800 mark suggests five)
These are the differences. Whatever they are, if not comparing the two machines, Minelab Equinox 600 is a very decent option.
It is watertight and the depth can reach up to 9 ft. It works smoothly in any weather situations and generally quest locations. The discrimination and depth of reach are decent and provide reliable performance. The item is especially efficient for seashore search, and finding coins and relics.
The best thing that can be said about this item is that it is reliable, proposed by a reputable company, generally universal, and will suit the majority of treasure hunters. Perhaps it does not propose anything special, but the machine is easy to set, easy to use, it has all the most necessary functions and enhanced features, and at the same time, the price is very reasonable. So, if you are looking for a good option, this is a good option.
Nokta Anfibio Multi is a new model released by the Turkish manufacturer Nokta. Nokta is a reputable company that is known for some really good products, the principal disadvantage for the majority of buyers is that it is Turkish and sometimes users lack information on it.
Anyways, one of the principal reasons why this item takes the fifth place in the review is that it is comparatively young, and there are not much feedback on it yet. Therefore, it is yet impossible to form an adequate opinion based on the data. However, it must be said that the feedback available is very positive. Perhaps with time, after the item is tested by a larger number of detectorists all over the world, it can rise to top three suggests in 2020. It has potential due to the features it suggests to the users.
The principal features of the equipment include as follows:
impressive testing results
decent discrimination combined with depth of target reach
multifrequency is available, but the user can also choose single-frequency version which is a good choice
the item is watertight, the depth is standard, up to 9 feet
shows perfect performance in any situations, in different weather, on various locations and types of soils
especially efficient when searching on the seashores, or searching for coins and relics
As it can be seen, the equipment is very promising, so you can consider buying it and test it yourself.
It should be said immediately that Fisher F75 is a very high quality and reliable metal detector you can trust your finds to. It is super versatile, shows steady performance in different situations, and can manage almost any unusual situation you can face. The design of the equipment provides good balance and reasonable weight, so that the treasure hunter could work for several hours without pause. What is also important is the ability to discriminate well in trashy areas.
The principal advantage of the design is cool technical specifications that provide all necessary features, and yet it is pretty simple to use, and even a newbie can manage it. The item enjoys high popularity and extremely positive feedback from detectorists all over the world. It finds coins and relics best, and indicates targets at considerable depth.
So why it takes only sixth place in our list of the best metal detectors in year 2020? Well, the technical reason is that the item is not totally watertight; it can be submerged only to the level of the control panel. The general reason is that the design is pretty old by now; it was released to the market in 2009-2010, and the mere technologies it uses slowly become outdated.
However, it is not a relic itself yet. So if you need a reliable, on budget, and what is more important, heavily tested machine, Fisher F75 is definitely what you need. Being on the market for such a long time, it proves reliability and efficiency, and thousands of users enjoy working with it, for years.
The item was presented to the market in 2016. What it means is that it was developed and created with the usage of truly modern technologies and some unique inventions. It has been created specifically with the aim to make it modern in the first place. New technologies are proposed on a regular basis, so it makes little sense ignoring them. Whites MX Sport is a good example of innovative steps in the industry.
This is an interesting equipment with its own unique design. Its weight is considerably reduced, which adds a lot to user experience, and more people actually get the ability to try detecting, which often believed to be physically exhausting. With a lighter equipment, this hobby becomes accessible to women and teenagers.
Another really outstanding feature of this machine is its being totally watertight, and we mean it. For those treasure hunters who works mostly in wet situations and underwater, it is the best choice currently.
Well, you may think, if it is so perfect, why only seventh place? The equipment does not have any tangible technical disadvantages. One of the cons is its single frequency. However, the principal problem is, despite the fact it performs well in any situations, it is still more suitable for seashore and underwater search. This narrows the suitable audience for the equipment, obviously. With this being said, it is still one of the cool options among recent brands.
Garrett AT Pro has already been outmatched by the AT MAX, but due to its super user-friendly matching of price and quality, and because of a huge number of positive feedbacks from happy users, this brand is still on the market and therefore, we could not ignore it in out review.
This item is reliable and high quality; while it suggests a bunch of handy features and settings, it is easy to set and adjust for custom use in different situations. Even a newbie detectorist is able to cope with it, since the learning curve is not very steep.
One of the best things about this equipment is that it is universal and can be used for quest in various situations. It is also watertight, reaching the depth of up to 9 feet, plus highly efficient discrimination and depth of reach on different soils.
To cut the long story short, the Garrett AT Pro grandpa is still cool and rolling. The majority of treasure hunters will find it handy, convenient, easy to cope with, and reasonable priced. However, it is still on the eighth place in our list because of the two principal cons. Firstly, it suggests only one 13,6 kHz frequency, which is not an option for many users anymore. And secondly, its technological solutions slowly become outdated purely because the time goes by, and new brands propose more advanced approaches.
The ninth place in our list is occupied by the Garrett ACE 400, a decent and reliable machine. According to numerous opinions, it is simple to set and easy to use. Due to simplicity of usage and matching of a bunch of cool features, it will be suitable both for a total noob and for an experienced seeker.
One of the cool features is actually the equipment’s price; you do not overpay, and yet the machine is worth the money it costs. It is universal, and shows stable performance in different situations. It can actually be compared to Garrett AT Pro, the differences are the depth of reach, and also isolation.
This item boasts decent discrimination, enabling the user to soft off worthless targets. The efficiency is the highest for coins and relics, but generally it performs well for other kinds of objects. With enough skills in setting it, the detectorist will be satisfied with the finds even on littered locations.
The reason why it occupies only the ninth place is the fact that this equipment is created rather for newbies than experienced users. While it is cool in terms of practical application, this model definitely lacks some settings and the ability to customize it for particular situation.
Another drawback is that this model is not totally watertight; you can submerge it only to the level of control unit.
Generally, this is a fine metal detector which newbies will find very handy.
We have to inform you right away that this item is basically an enhanced version of the Garrett ACE 350, and currently it has all the same features that Garrett ACE 400 has. The problem is that Garrett ACE 400 is more well-known and popular, because it is also an enhanced version of the Garrett ACE 350. The prototype of these two enhanced items, Garrett ACE 350, was the top item in the niche for years, and it enjoyed positive feedback from thousands of happy buyers. In addition, Garrett ACE 400 has a more attractive price.
So, while it is generally not clear why one should buy one enhanced version of the Garrett ACE 350 over the other, it will be honest to underline that Fisher 44 is generally a decent metal detecting equipment. It is universal, accurate in targeting the objects, has all the necessary functions, and will suit both novice and experienced detectorists.
Of course, it has some disadvantages, for example:
it is single frequency, and the frequency is not a universal 7.69 kHz
its being watertight is somewhat doubtful
this particular brand has a very unreliable plastic armrest that breaks easily
The unique advantages include:
easy to cope with
big and convenient display
The machine is fine for newbies who want to try the hobby, but are not ready to invest much in it yet.
Minelab Equinox 800, XP Deus and Garrett AT Max are currently the best items you can buy. Equinox 800 deserves high five due to the multi-frequency mode, while Minelab attracts with its fresh approach to technical solutions. However, they all have several decent competitors, Nokta Anfibio Multi in particular.
This review of the top ten metal detecting equipments that will continue to be popular, or that are expected to enjoy increased popularity in year 2020, will enable you to choose a machine that will totally suit your needs. You can pick the top ones to advanced search, medium ones to improve the user experience or to get access to a specific feature your current machine does not provide, or the last ones in the list to get a cheap and decent machine. The best things about this review is honest and objective assessment of each model available on the market.
18 Experts Reveal The Best Metal Detector
What is the best metal detector? Well, I have had the same question, so I had reaching out famous experts for many years. My question to these 18 treasure hunting experts was simple…
What is your favorite metal detector
What is your #1 tip for someone just starting out treasure hunting
Their wisdom certainly helped me and I hope this resource will help others!
Big Thank You!
I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed! This has been a fun project contacting all of you and getting your tips. If you have anything to add please use contact page.
So, what is the best metal detector?
Tony Hunt / Detectorbits
There is only one answer as far as I am concerned, the CTX. I have had all the Explorers from day one and loved them all, I tried the Quattro and Sovereigns along the way but never felt really comfortable that they did the same business. I had the Deus for a year and also the Fisher F75 special and T2 but none of them squared up with the returns that my Minelabs gave. I loved the ETrac also and the CTX is basically a better more refined version of that with extra Bells and Whistles. I love the ability with the CTX to be able to sit in the comfort of my home, link with Exchange 2 and work out the screens I want to use and the tone sounds I personally like. I love and make use of the GPS out in the field to take me back to findspots again and again. I could go on and on. The only way Minelab will improve the CTX is to make it lighter maybe than the competition. It has the best of everything else already.
My number one tip for anybody starting out in metal detecting is go for the best detector from day one that you can afford. Buy a second hand top of the range rather than a cheapie thats going to be lacking in everything you need. Next step is to learn it thoroughly, read all the books and do your research on the Web. Most newcomers first mistake is to fire it up and go out in the field without even reading the basics. They want to get rich quick and that is rarely going to happen best of times. Talk to others with the same detector If possible and learn the wrinkles and try and gain from their experiences.
Unfortunately, I am now old and decrepit and don’t get out detecting. I have NEVER regarded myself a ‘treasure hunter’ and abhor the term. We are metal detectorists.
I have little advice for those setting out and don’t regard myself as an expert. My advice is to join a good forum and ask that same question. There are so many improbables – like price and whether you intend sticking to beach detecting, etcetera.
Tim / Anacondatreasure
Garrett AT Gold because it’s a really good all-around machine. It’s lightweight, waterproof, (no rain jacket needed!), has a great recovery time, and is relatively easy to use. It comes with some preset coin searching modes, and can switch frequencies so 4 of them can be used in the same vicinity.
If you are just starting out, my number one tip is PATIENCE. Without it, you will get frustrated. I often compare metal detecting to playing a musical instrument. It takes practice. Nobody sounds like Eddie Van Halen the first time they pick up a guitar.
Bart Davis / Bigboyhobbies
I cant choose just 1. I use the Minelab CTX 3030 and the XP DEUS exclusively. Be prepared to dig lots of trash. If you aren’t digging the trash you will miss the good ones.
Allyson / Detectingdiva
If I could only use one of my metal detectors it would be the Minelab E-trac. It was my third machine, and I haven’t used anything else since the day I got it. I’m also a firm believer that the more you know your machine, the more success you will have in the field. I’ve seen some people switching back and forth, or buying machine after machine, hoping to have better luck, but that can be confusing and affect the learning curve.
My number one tip for someone starting out is patience. Did I say patience? Yup, patience. Occasionally treasure will just jump out at you, but for the most part, you search.
Dick Stout / Stoutstandards
Well, it would have to be the White’s MXT Pro. I love it. It’s got great depth, is easy to understand and I’ve gotten used to all its various audio responses. I also love the LCD readout.I also own a White’s 6000di Series 2, hipmount, A Garrett Groundhog VLF/TR, a Garrett Freedom III and a White’s Liberty.
No need to spend a lot of money when starting out. A detector in the $200 to $400 category will do a good job. Be patient, learn you machine and most important, RESEARCH because if you aren’t hunting in the right place it won’t matter how much you paid for your detector.
David Villanueva / Metaldetectingworld
If I could only use one of my detectors it would have to be the Detech EDS as this is my main detector anyway. The Detech EDS performs extremely well on inland sites and although it is not the best wet beach detector, it does work reasonably well on salt wet beaches, albeit rather noisily.
My number one beginner’s tip is: Get out and search regularly. That way you’ll learn your detector, stay in tune with it and keep bringing home the finds. You have to be in it to win it as they say!
John / Mrmetaldetector
I love my Garrett AT Pro, I find that it is the perfect all round machine that is really simple to use and feature rich enough to keep even seasoned treasure hunters interested.
Get to know someone else who enjoys the hobby or join a club that goes treasure hunting. If you are a part of a bigger group you will be far more likely to learn from some of the guys that have been doing it for a while, and you can ask around for good spots to go detecting.
John Volek / Theringfinders
The machine I use varies from job to job and depends on what and where the search is being done. I favor my Minelab CTX3030, but the price point is beyond most peoples budget. I think most people who are just venturing into metal detecting as a hobby are not looking to spend 2000.00 dollars on a detector, but the upside, it’s a great machine. I now personally use three different machine, the CTX3030 for most of my general metal detecting, Minelab Excalibur II for underwater work, and the Fisher Gold Bug 2 for very small gold items that most other machines will not detect.
Don’t by cheap, I don’t own one, but I hear the Garrett AT Pro is an exceptional machine for both professional and hobbyist. After deciding on you machine, build a test bed of the items you will be searching for most frequently (coins, jewelry, relics). Learn the machine on your known items, and the rest should be pretty easy after that. I guess that’s actually two tips and not one.
Ben / Blog Benhere
Right now, if I only could have one detector, it would be the XP Deus. It is small and compact and light weight, which makes it great for traveling. It is so fast at processing signals, you can swing the coil very fast. Pinpointing targets is also very fast. For coin shooting at parks or schools it is a great machine. If I lived near the beach or did much water hunting, then I would have to say the Minelab CTX-3030. It is water proof to 9 feet and provides more information on the target than any other detector. I guess that is why I have both.
Always be a good representative of the metal detecting community. Always have permission before you hunt. Leave the area you hunt better than you found it. Carefully repair your holes and carry out the garbage. If you are looking to get rich, you should find another hobby. Do it because you love history or love the excitement of never knowing what is going to come out of the ground.
Mark Ellis / emds.ca
If I could choose any metal detector to use right now, it would be my Tesoro Cibola. Anything by Tesoro is great.
As far as any tips for the beginner, I would ignore any detector’s screen and just dig everything that beeps. Learn to use your ears, not an LCD panel. Also, fill all of your dig holes in and carry out the trash you’ve dug. Always, always leave a site better looking than you found it. Take pride in what you do and you will be rewarded over and over again.
Ray Burr / Loveyourrv
When I decided to go full time in the RV I had to choose which detector to pack with me in our travels. I chose the Garrett ACE 250, I find it a good all around unit, small and lightweight, great battery life, easy to pack and store in the RV. Also because it is fairly inexpensive I’m not as worried about thief or damage so I take it everywhere with me when I travelling. Never know when a good area presents itself for a hunt.
My #1 tip to folks new to the hobby is to turn off your discrimination, put the unit in all metal mode for a while and dig everything, pay close attention to the sounds different items make and how they react to the sweeps of the coil and pinpointing. After you have developed a good understanding of the target types and get a feel for how the sound then start to use the discrimination features.
James Oliver / Detectingblackpool
My Minelab Explorer SE Pro. I’m a Minelab fan and I know this machine “inside and out”, I feel completely comfortable with it! Everything about minelab speaks quality and sophistication,I feel they are one of the best machines on the market, with multiple functions of the highest standard.
Don’t be discouraged by the amount of time the learning curve takes to complete. Get to know your machine intimately, until it becomes an extension of yourself and everything about it like the sounds, tones, how the machine behaves to different metals etc. all become second nature to you. It is a great advantage for one to be able to recognize the different responses from ones machine and feel totally at ease with them, a great comfort to feel a reassuring confidence in what one is doing. Build that confidence with lots and lots of practice!
DJ Yost / Dj Digs
Right now my go-to machine is my MXT all pro with the 10″ D2 coil.
My number one tip is to have patience, stick with it, and most importantly -learn your machine.
Evan Granger / Gonehuntingforhistory
I would say, because of my location I coin hunt a lot. So the Minelab CTX3030 is to me, one of the better machines at target Identification. It’s not the deepest nor is it the fastest. The main reason of choosing the CTX is I don’t get to hunt much, so when I do, I want to spend the least amount of time guessing what I am digging. Of course silver is in the cross hairs when I am coin hunting. The FBS technology seems to really zero in on those higher conductive targets. It seems after griding a property with the CTX there doesn’t seem to much left on return trips. Now coming back with a different frequency or quicker machine might yield some missed targets, but it isn’t usually coins, more relics. I think the fbs id’s the more perfect pure signal targets,(copper, brass, silver) than the odd or mixed alloy relics and tokens. Just an opinion, but seems to be the most accurate the way and area I hunt.
Number one tip? Research not only the area’s you will hunt, but your machine. When I started there wasn’t Google or YouTube. It can make a newbie really be successful in a much shorter amount of time. If you have a specific name brand machine there is probably a video showing its use somewhere on the net. Now with the research portion, most of my time was spent in the library. Fast forward to today’s “internet has everything society”, there is usually some kind of good information out there about the area you live or want to hunt. Usually, the state’s university websites will have a historical record that is a wealth of knowledge. The local historical societies and museums can also help.
Rob Hill / Floridarob
My detector of choice is the White’s V3i. It tells me more about the target in the ground than any other machine. Great depth and White’s service is second to none. My number one tip for a newbie is to start out with a middle of the road detector. Do not buy the cheapest one available as that can discourage you very quickly. Start out detecting in your yard first and then expand with permission to other yards, school yards, parks etc. Dig every target while watching and listening to your detector with every dig. It can take 100 hours to really get a feel for your machine. If you are very observant to what your machine is telling you by sound and by visual from digging all those targets you will enjoy the hobby much more. You will feel confident that you are not missing good targets by skipping over those readings that you have come to know. When you are able to skip over known trash you will dig more quality targets and that is very rewarding.
Jess / Noreasters
Thanks but I will hold off in answering about the best metal detector. But as a tip for a beginner use more than less descrimination as it will deter you from digging a lot of trash and cause you to loose faith in your detector. Once you have mastered and have confidence In your detector then start with medium descrimination and go from there.
Carl Fismer / The Treasure Experience
My favorite machine is the J.W. Fisher Pulse 8X. I do most of my recovery work underwater, and the Pulse 8X has a sensitive meter as well as a bone phone. I believe using the meter helps me keep my concentration on what I’m doing plus I set it a little on the high side. This causes a few false hits, but a quick check will confirm or deny. I use the same machine on the beach as it disassembles for easy beach use. I have recovered thousands of coins with this machine.
My number one tip is, if your going to buy a machine, use it. You will go through stages where you wonder if it working, or has a problem, you feel like quitting, but the truth is the more you use it the better you become with it. I also tell people about the healthy thing. You won’t be sitting too much on the couch, you will be outside, and moving a lot, bending over, digging. I believe using a metal detector could add time to your life. Quality Time.
Low Cost Metal Detectors
I will be honest with you that, several years ago, low cost metal detector meant cheap device which could not provide decent quality. In other words, there were no proper low cost machines on the market, because the technology was less affordable. But today, the situation is way different.
Today, the technologies become more and more advanced and complicated; the time of primitive metal detectors is gone. But the point is, more and more technologies become digital, which means, as soon as technology was invented and developed into something marketable, it is no longer hard to implement. The practical result of it is that nowadays, technologies for detecting become cheaper, but at the same time more advanced.
These years, low cost is no longer cheap. You are totally able to purchase a budget-friendly machine that will function seamlessly and meet all your requirements. We live in amazing times.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. If you are looking for, say, the best gold metal detector, chances are most of the decent machines will be more costly than average. The same can be stated about deep underwater search – these technologies are still not that simple, so they can’t be super affordable. Yet, even in these niches, the prices slowly go down, because companies compete with each other and invent new approaches.
Eventually, today, there is a bunch of new, recently established, and ambitious developers that want to bring all those old monopolists down. So, low cost machines that show high quality are reality for detectorists today.
The Difference Between Brand Named And Cheap Metal Detectors
Now, let’s discuss the other edge of low cost and highly expensive machines. The very first thing to remember is low cost has to be by a well-known brand. No, really. If you don’t want to spend all money of the world on a detector, research well-known and reputable brands in the niche of low cost devices, and shop those machines. You will get both quality and adequate price.
When you shop from big non-low-cost brands, yeah, you pay some money for the brand. But this is not paying for name on your detector’s shaft and that’s all. You purchase reputation, reliability, and warranty. You purchase quality materials, and ergonomic design. You purchase a thing you won’t have to bring back with a sticky tape in a month of usage, or if your kid drops it. When you pay for brand, you still pay for quality and user experience – even if this is a company on the low end of the market.
On the other hand, you have a rich choice among no-name Chinese companies and replicas that offer you an even lower price, and some people may believe there is no big difference. At least they won’t give their money away to a cocky brand. Funny, but you will still waste these money on repair. You will most likely fail to find spare parts, or compatible accessories. Eventually, you will have to go back to your laptop and google another machine, this time from a reliable manufacturer.
The main difference between a branded machine and a cheap (Chinese) one is not in tech specs, because the tech specs can be replicated. It is in user experience, in the way the machine functions, in the level of water isolation, in the time of battery life, in whether the plastic arm rest will die in a month of usage, or will stay on its place for years. You get – or don’t get! – upgradable software, compatible details, updated accessories, Customer Support, and warranty.
So, next time when you are having a greed attack, think twice. Brands are brands for a good reason.
Underwater Metal Detectors
In addition to simply underwater search when you can submerge the machine to the depth of 10 feet for around half an hour, there is also a deep underwater search. While the first type is useful when you search along the beach and would also like to explore the shallow waters, the second type is more expensive, and also much more complicated.
Underwater search is cool, because far from everybody is ready to get wet while detecting on the beach, plus, this activity needs additional equipment and skills. This even more true about deep underwater metal detecting, when the seekers dive with their machines to ship wrecks or some deep underwater crevices, in hope of finding a treasure. Search conditions so deep underwater require physical skills, good physical shape and fitness, psychological readiness to spend so much time underwater (sometimes without the ability to rise to the surface immediately if you panic), sometimes in darkness.
Besides underwater metal detector, the treasure hunter requires additional equipment, plus, the detector has to be expensive and of high quality. But, while it all seems so complicated, deep underwater detecting is extremely promising, firstly, because few people can do that, and secondly, there are so many ship wrecks out there that stay undiscovered and unresearched! Even beginner detectorists have high chances of spotting something really outstanding, and even become famous because of their find.
If you are interested at underwater detecting, conduct a good research in terms of equipment. Make sure you are fit enough for that. Plus, please keep in mind that you won’t be able to cope without company and some assistance.
Beach Metal Detectors
Beach metal detectors are quite popular today, for a good reason. Firstly, the majority of these machines are good enough for non-wet soil conditions, and will bring nice finds in the fields and along the roads; in other words, unless this is a very specialized machine, it is pretty much multifunctional.
Secondly, beaches are lucrative in terms of potential finds, since people drop their stuff like jewelry, or money, in the sand and fail to find it. In addition, there are high chances of spotting some ancient objects, in case you hunt on some historically important location. Also also, if there is a port nearby, you can find really big treasures (if you are lucky, of course).
Therefore, little surprise beach metal detecting is so popular. Most of the people combing through the sand are simply enthusiasts; but there is also an opportunity to join a group of more experienced seekers and comb through more deserted and more historically important places to stumble across some really excellent finds.
There are certain nuances about choosing a device for beach detecting. Mind the frequencies, the salty water noise discrimination if you hunt on the seashore, check out the level of waterproofness (you don’t want it to be water isolated only to the level of control box). Consider that you may need a pinpointer, a digger, and some special clothes like rubber boots.
Headphones are a must for beach detecting, by the way. You don’t want people around you listening to your machine squeaking, plus, you may fail to hear the signals yourself because of children screaming, wind blowing, or the noise of the waves. So, you may use vibration mode, but headphones are the best option.
If all this water and underwater nonsense is not your preference, maybe you should forget location-specific machines, and think about target-specific detectors. I always say that locations and targets are interconnected, and influence the choice of the detector to a certain degree. In case you are interested in specific targets, opt for gadget that will bring you the corresponding finds. These may be relics, old jewelry, modern jewelry, weapon parts; but the most popular objects are coins.
Coins were easy to drop and lose, and therefore now, coins are easy to find. They can be spotted everywhere, even in the most unexpected places, like somebody’s fruit garden. But not each and every machine will spot them, to be honest – even if they are right under your feet. The range and depth of reach, and also sensitivity to small objects are different in different machines. The best metal detectors for coins have high sensitivity to small objects, and at the same time high quality discrimination to avoid small metal trash.
Also, mind the metals and look for frequencies that are the most suitable for those metals. Of course, everybody wants to find gold, but golden coins were comparatively rare, and machines spotting them need to meet certain requirements. So, if you are into coin hunting, you can find tons of coins, but the more exacting you become, the more complicated device is needed.
Kids Metal Detectors
Considering how many kids are totally in love with spotting some trash around, and collect the most unusual stuff, little wonder many kids are excited with the idea of metal detecting. Now, if your kid is all over the place to get their hands on your expensive underwater-gold-searching-super-duper metal detector, maybe it makes sense to buy them a separate one.
Your next task is to overcome your greed attack, and purchase a brand machine for your kid. I know you will be tempted by the idea of buying a cheap Chinese toy, but please don’t do that. As we have already made it clear, cheap Chinese devices are never worth their money – and of course they are never worth more than peanuts you pay for them. So don’t expect nice performance from a $10 machine, and don’t be surprised your kid will not like it. Or the machine breaks the next day, and you will have tons of headaches buying a new one.
Buy a low-budget and simple metal detector from a decent brand. It will function properly, will bring finds (which means the kids will be happy), and will not fall apart after the first week. Hopefully, if your child will not use it as a golf club, this metal detector will serve for years. Even if the kid eventually loses interest to the activity, you will have a reliable and functional spare machine.
The best metal detector for kids is not only low cost, and suggest a small learning curve. Remember that it should also be lightweight and easy to carry.
Metal Detector Headphones
You may think that headphones is not the most important accessory and you won’t actually need them, but actually… you will, in the majority of cases.
Firstly, metal detector headphones are necessary to make head or tail of the signal. This is especially true if you are a newbie and have difficulties telling the tone of the sound signal from your machine. Using headphones will help you learn all the nuances faster, and easier.
Secondly, headphones will block unnecessary noise like the wind, or rain, or kids screaming on the beach, or birds trying to mimic your machine’s sound (that is annoying!). The headset should not be totally vacuum and have to enable you to hear your friends calling you, or a car approaching behind. But overall, being able to focus more on the sound of the machine rather than noise around you is helpful.
And thirdly, in many cases you will be happy to avoid additional attention of people (or animals!) around you. Using sound signal without headphones will be frustrating when you are in a crowded place, or dangerous when you are in the wild. Vibration is less informative for many people, so headphones are the only option.
To choose proper headphones, better look which set is compatible with the device you already have. Wireless sets are the most convenient, of course, but far from every model supports such.
5 Basic Metal Detecting Tips
One of the best place to go and look for tips is specialized forums where a lot of noobs and experts alike spend time sharing the info. If you are lucky enough and also attentive enough, you will even notice someone telling occasionally where they have found a rare coin or jewerly piece (check out our best metal detectors for beginners rating). Actually, it is good to go to such forums even before you buy your first machine. With the wisdom of the previous generations in mind, you can start with the hobby.
Treasure hunting is an exciting and educational activity. Once you find a fruitful spot, you can uncover valuables all day long. Riches may not come in the form of money and wealth, but in historical worth. And yet, whatever you bump into, you definitely don’t want it to be problems with your equipment.
You want a device you can hold comfortably. Metal detectors come in different weights. When you purchase a hand-held metal detecting equipment, you must be able to carry it around all day without discomfort. At the same time, you want it to distinguish a bottle cap from a golden ring.
Whatever tips you find on whatever resource, you should always do your own additional research and see what other people say. Only constant learning and updating the information will make you successful in your hobby.
Below are just a few tips my friends gave me when I was searching for my first metal detecting equipment.
Reliability and durability (You won’t believe what I’ve put it through)
A good warranty (Because of what I have put mine through)
Lightweight/or light enough for you to carry comfortably (I’m not a weightlifter)
High quality headphones (You want to block out background noise, yet still be able to hear when your partner shouts “SNAKE!”)
A bright, lucid display (If you can’t read the display, then what’s the point?)
Consider your level of skills, locations available, targets you would like to spot, and your budget. Cost and brand are not the most crucial elements when you choose a machine for yourself. First of all, you have to understand what exactly you need, and what you will expect from the device. After that, you look what those brands have to offer, and then opt for the most budget-friendly option. Making it the other way round is not the best idea, because you can purchase something that does not really fit you.
Of course, modern metal detecting equipment with a lot of additional customizable settings is more costly than a simpler equipment. However, if you are a newbie and will search for treasures only several days a year, buying an expensive toy makes no sense. It is not only the price that matters; more expensive items have tons of additional settings, so, instead of enjoying your hunt, you will be busy making head or tail out of the settings.
One of the principal criteria people look at is depth of reach, and in this term, tolls that cost alike show similar characteristics. However, depth of reach is not the only criterion, and in terms of other features, the equipments can differ greatly.
High quality and expensive metal detecting equipment is only 50% of success, because the success also depends on skills of the detectorist and particular situations of the search. Also, some places simply have less targets to propose.
Generally, newer equipments propose better accuracy and identification of the targets. They have deeper reach and filter the noises better. However, today the market is full of various machines that will suit any need.
The best metal detector is the one which enables you to get the most finds. The choice depends on your own skills, the locations you are more likely to search on, and the targets you are more likely expected to find. If you manage to combine those three criteria when choosing a machine, you will buy the best one specifically for yourself.
Double-check the warranty, the weight, the number of automatic and manually tunable features. If you are looking for a waterproof device, check if it is all waterproof, or is it only the coil (you don’t want that). Check if there is a pinpoint mode. In case the machine is higher than beginner level, find out if it has a mobile app, or whether its software can be updated. There are all things that seem not to be connected to the search directly, but they will eventually influence your user experience.