Best Metal Detectors
How many times in your life have you stopped and thought how great it would be to have a metal detector? It is not as if you can sense if buried treasure is near but at the same time, it is the thrill of knowing you could discover something huge that makes you want to make the investment. Well, today, our goal is to relay to you, the buyer, all the vital information you need to make that investment. While there is a lot that goes into making a final decision, you also need to know beforehand what you intend to use the detector for. Doing so will narrow your search down.
- XP DEUS
- Collapsible shaft and stem
- Molded rubber handle
- Garrett AT Pro
- Fast recovery speed
- Weatherproof housing
- Tesoro Sand Shark
- Pulse width control
- Best saltwater model
10 Best Metal Detectors
To be honest, this model detects deeper than you are probably willing to dig. All things considered, that is certainly not a bad trait to have but there is a learning curve.
Even without the remote control, the WS5 headphones can operate the main unit. Plus, you can control the ground balance, tones, frequency, factory programs, coil change, volume, and sensitivity.
All the aforementioned design features can be controlled via the large LCD display. But, as mentioned before, there is a bit of a learning curve so be patient with the interface.
Though the functionality of this unit is impressive, the construction may be more so. After all, the coil is fully submersible in water, the cup is made of a plastic resin and the handle is designed with ergonomics in mind.
Weight and Portability
The product description has this labeled as a two-pound device. In addition to this, the shaft and the stem are collapsible to make it much easier to transport.
The simple reality is if you are willing to spend the money, you can own the best metal detector in the world. However, it is fair to assume that this will be well-past the average consumer’s price range.
The shaft and stem are collapsible
Built with a molded rubber handle
You can update the software at any time
There is a bit of a learning curve to get past
Garrett AT Pro
No matter where you want to use the AT Pro and what you intend to use it for, it will perform very well. This includes as a coin, relic, cache, and jewelry hunter at the beach, in the water, or in ghost towns.
You can switch from either standard or professional search modes with the latter having enhanced audio features.
Using the integrated digital interface, you can use the touchpads to set the discrimination that you prefer (one of 40 levels). Plus, the digital target ID can be seen from the interface.
Thanks to the weatherproof housing, this unit can be immersed in the water down to 10 feet. Oh yeah, this housing also makes it suitable for operation in dusty, wet, and humid conditions.
Weight and Portability
The AT Pro, despite its advanced features, is actually one of the lighter models on this list. At just over three pounds, it should make for easy travel.
At the end of the day, it is difficult to come up with any reasons why you would not want to invest in the AT Pro. When that can be claimed for a product, it must be special.
It is ideal for hunting coins, caches, gold nuggets and relics
Has a fast recovery speed
Designed with a weatherproof housing
Trying to work around salt water can be tricky
Tesoro Sand Shark
Tesoro designed their Sand Shark with advanced digital pulse induction technology. What this does is combine time-proven pulse induction with the latest digital technology.
There are two main operating modes. One of which is VCO mode and this is ideal for pinpointing. The other is the normal mode and this works efficiently for beachcombing.
The interface of the Sand Shark is actually not digital. Instead, it is comprised of control knobs but the redeeming quality is that they are still simple to operate.
Based on your settings, you can get roughly 10 to 20 hours of battery life. In addition, this unit can be submerged down to 200 feet, which is beyond impressive.
Weight and Portability
Amazon has this listed at 6.35 pounds and that is a bit heavy. While not exactly cumbersome, this extra weight can be a bit of a nuisance.
In a way, this feels like an old-school design. Perhaps it is the lack of a digital interface but it just seems that Tesoro focused most of their time on the performance end of things, which is fantastic.
Depth rated for down to 200 feet
Includes a pulse width control
Considered to be the best saltwater model in its price range
Struggles to pick up gold chains
Garrett Ace 300
For both quick and accurate target identification, this sports the coveted digital target ID system. With it, you can hunt down coins, relics, and all sorts of treasures.
In addition to the digital target ID system, the Ace 300 also implements discrimination patterns and an adjustable frequency (which will only come in handy for specific situations).
This is where things could have gotten really bad for the Ace 300. However, Garrett avoided this by designing an interface that packs all of the features into an easy-to-use system.
Even though the search coils and the poles are waterproof, the control box is not. As such, this is only suitable for shallow water detecting as the control box can’t be submerged.
Weight and Portability
At a listed weight of 5.15 pounds, this pretty much falls into the middle of the road in terms of its weight class.
Too bad the control box was not waterproof as then this unit may have landed even higher on this list. Still, the Ace 300’s ideal combination of versatility and simplicity make it worth the price of admission.
Offers more segments of iron detection
Designed with specific search modes
Both innovative and user-friendly
The control box is not waterproof
There is no adjustable ground balance
Fisher Gold Bug
Again, this system is specifically designed to find gold. If you are not interested in finding this mineral, then it is better to look for a different metal detector.
There are two search modes designed into this unit (all-metal and discriminate). Additionally, there is computer-assisted ground balance and regular ground balance.
What is nice is the large LCD display is very easy to see. But, the tones can be difficult to decipher. However, viewing the numeric target ID system has never been easier.
Thanks to the best ergonomics in the world, controlling this detector is quite enjoyable. However, the control box needs to be kept out of the water (light rain is okay).
Weight and Portability
One inclusion that would have been nice is a case. But, the unit itself is easy to transport and the 4.6-pound weight certainly helps.
For the right people, the Gold Bug is going to be the best model on this list. It really comes down to how much you want to pursue gold as if you do, pick this unit up right now.
Designed with elite ergonomics
Built with a large LCD screen
It will specifically find gold
It can be hard to decipher the tones
An arm strap should be included
In spite of everything that is good about the F22, the accuracy is questionable at times. It does not necessarily make it unusable, but it can be frustrating at times.
Past the 10 levels of sensitivity that you can adjust, the F22 also has a pinpoint mode. What this allows you to do is receive an even more accurate reading of what has been picked up.
While the user interface is far from an issue, some buyers may not like that it only notes whether an object is near the conductivity range of either iron, silver or gold.
The F22 is not going to be suitable as an underwater unit even though the search coil is waterproof. But, the 25 to 30-hour battery life provided is quite impressive.
Weight and Portability
One of the best selling points of the F22 is its 2.3-pound weight. As opposed to various other models on the market, this is easily one of the lightest that you will find.
The thing about this model is you may just have to live with inconsistencies from time to time. Given its price range, though, most consumers will be able to do just that.
Only weighs 2.3 pounds when fully assembled
You can expect 25 to 30 hours of battery life
Designed with 10 levels of sensitivity
The accuracy and difficulty can be concerns
Teknetics Delta 4000
One buyer noted that the Delta 4000 can be overly-sensitive at times. But, with it, you can find all sorts of gold, relics, and coins.
This is loaded with all sorts of vital design features. Among them, the most notable is the adjustable sensitivity, adjustable discrimination, and static push-button pinpoint.
The included software is pretty self-explanatory and all the buttons on the interface are clearly labeled and easy to use. You can’t really ask for much more, honestly.
Beyond the fact that this can run for around 25 hours with a single nine-volt battery, the coils are actually interchangeable and can be submerged in water.
Weight and Portability
Be aware as one consumer noted how the supposedly included arm sling, which would be useful for operation and portability, was not inside the box.
As an unbiased buyer, it is easy to see why this unit poses concerns. Now, what also needs to be remembered is despite the slight setbacks, the Delta 4000 is still a highly competent model.
Only weighs 3.5 pounds
Sports a large and easy to read LCD display
It is ideal for coin shooting and relic and gold hunting
Will not remember your settings
Does seem to be a bit overly sensitive
While this is certainly far from the most efficient model on this list, it does a suitable job picking up coins, jewelry, relics, gold, and silver.
Included with this model are headphones with a 3.5-millimeter audio jack. Also, this sports electronic pinpointing, three types of audio alerts, and even adjustable sensitivity.
The GC-1028 actually sports a large, fully-colored LED screen. With its integrated backlight, you can easily view any of the parameters on the screen. Of course, you will have to play around with it to get accustomed to it.
On top of being waterproof, the search coil and the rod are also fully adjustable. This can come in handy with people of differing heights who want to use it.
Weight and Portability
Included with your purchase is a case and also a portable shovel, for digging. As compared to other models, though, the metal detector itself is fairly lightweight.
For weekend or vacation uses, this is pretty much perfect. But, as you probably can guess, if you plan to use it on a regular basis, you may be disappointed with what is provided.
The search coil is waterproof
Will search all kinds of metal
Is not powerful enough for serious metal hunters
Will go through batteries quickly
One of the benefits of this device is that it can track all types of metals. But, as the seller indicates, its detecting range is limited to three feet.
In addition to the all-metal mode, there is also a discrimination mode. What this allows you to do is eliminate the possibility of detecting junk metal. Plus, the sensitivity is adjustable.
Although the LCD interface is user-friendly (and backlit for night time operation), it still takes practice to get accustomed to.
As with most other models on this list, the search coil is safe for full submersion. However, the control panel should be kept away from the water as electrical components are involved.
Weight and Portability
When need be, this can easily be expanded. As for the weight, Amazon has it listed at 6.3 pounds, which actually could be considered heavy for metal detectors.
Accepting this for what it is is crucial. The reason for this is that you could either end up severely disappointed or happily satisfied; it just depends on your expectations.
Backed by a lifetime warranty
Perfect for beaches
Designed with an all-metal mode and discrimination mode
May not be what serious hunters are looking for
National Geographic PRO
The PRO Series gets a lot right; let’s just say that right off the bat. But, one of its faults is that it can be sporadic in its performance from time to time. Sometimes, it will detect something that is not even there.
In spite of the slight performance issues, the pro features that come included in this system are fantastic. This includes three detection modes, four sensitivity levels and a pinpoint location feature.
Even though this is advertised as being simple to use for all ages and skill levels, there is something that is not claimed. While this may be true, some prior understanding still will be necessary.
No matter in rain or shine, the waterproof coil allows you to find treasures at any time.
Weight and Portability
Being both lightweight and collapsible, this unit is very easy to transport. Its collapsible dimensions are just 22 inches.
Simply put, this is one of the better models for travel on this list. Then again, its limitations may be too much for some buyers to get over.
It is compact and collapsible
Designed for all ages and skill levels
It is backed by a two-year warranty
Not the most accurate model in the world
Can be complicated at times
Criteria Used For Evaluation
What They Are Designed For
If you did not know any better, you could assume that all metal detectors will find all types of metal. While there may be some truth to that statement, they are typically designed to better find particular types of metals. Of course, there are all-purpose models out there that will find everything from relics to coins, jewelry to gold, and even rings. If you really do not have a certain metal that you are attempting to find, an all-purpose model may be the ticket. But, maybe you are more so looking for buried coins, treasure caches, and artifacts.
For minerals such as these, you are going to want a model that can detect deeper depths. As you probably assumed, this does mean you will have to spend a little extra money. But, it is worth it to find what you truly want. Of course, you may also just be looking for all-natural gold. Often referred to as gold nuggets, those of you who treasure hunting for gold will want a model such as the Gold Bug (which was documented). No matter which type you ultimately end up getting, though, ensure it performs well and is designed with accuracy in mind.
Their Design Features
When it comes down to it, there are a number of key features that you should keep your eye on when you are in the market for a metal detector. For starters, you should always assess the sensitivity of the unit. The reason this is important is it will determine what you can detect (which goes back to the first point). Lower operating frequencies will be ideal for penetrating deeper in the soil to detect metal. But, you should be able to adjust this sensitivity and this can be critically important if you are looking for different types of metals.
Speaking of different metals now is a good time to talk about discrimination. This is a feature found in most models and it allows the system to differentiate between different metals. The more options a unit has, the more precise it can be at detecting a specific metal. Finally, you should also keep an eye on a pinpoint mode. This also increases the precision of your search as it automatically aligns the response point to the center of the coil.
The User Interface
Okay, so now you may be thinking how you use all of the features that were just mentioned. Well, to be perfectly honest, this is where things can get a little dicey. For the most part, these systems will not be too convoluted and complex but you may need to live with the fact that a learning curve could be in order. With that said, there are a number of top-end models who claim to be ideal for beginners. Thankfully, most models will sport a digital, LCD (sometimes LED) screen. What this will do is simplify the operation as all the data will be clearly displayed in front of you.
Again, though, take some time to familiarize yourself with the system as that can pay dividends in the long run. Also, if you need to, search online tutorials to better understand the logistics behind the interface.
Their Physical Construction
One of the most important qualities for a metal detector is their weight, but that will be alluded to in a bit. However, the reason it was just hinted at is because it has a direct tie-in to this section. After all, just because it is a good aspect when they are light in weight, you do not want them to be cheaply made. They may not need to be able to withstand 50 feet drops, but they should be durable enough to handle mild abuse (perhaps a casual drop here and there). But, what about if you want to use them in water?
You see, some will be built with waterproof housings that make them completely safe to be submerged in water. Then again, other models will only be suitable for shallow water as the search coil will be waterproof, but not the control box. Either way, keep that in mind. Finally, pay close attention to the handle. Superior models will integrate an ergonomic handle to make them comfortable for longer uses. Trust us, you will be thanking yourself later.
Portability and Weight
Now it is time to fully address the weight and yes, it plays a critical role. In addition to being more cumbersome to transport, heavy metal detectors will also cause more strain on your muscles. It may not be a big deal right away but around 20 minutes in, you will be wishing that you went with a lighter model. While this alone is critical for the portability, you can also assess to see if the detector is collapsible. If it is, you can shrink it down for transport (which can save room).
Q: How Deep Will They Detect?
What is so ironic about this question is it may be the most asked one across the consumer base of metal detectors. Yet, it can’t even be answered straight up. This question is like a math equation that is filled with several different variables. In other words, there are too many factors that come into play to provide a direct answer to this question. For example, the length of time an object rests underground can have serious implications on if the detector can actually detect it. This is because, after a while, the metal will corrode due to the soil.
Also, the size of an object can play a role. If it is smaller, it will be more difficult for the machine to detect the piece of metal. Finally, the conductive properties of the soil (if it is heavily mineralized) can reduce the penetration power.
Q: Are There Any Laws In Regard to Treasure Hunting?
Would it not be nice if you could go on any piece of land and look for treasure? Well, unless you are a tad bit ignorant, you know that this can’t be justified. As such, yes, there are laws that are in regard to treasuring hunting. In the United States, specifically, every square inch of space is owned by something. Whether this is by an individual, a group, or the government, it is all occupied.
So, you will have to perform some heavy research on the area you are considering searching for treasure. Some may allow you to search but will not allow you to keep what you find; so, be wary of that.
Q: Is Bigger Better for Search Coils?
This guide has made reference to search coils quite a bit and it is an essential component of any metal detector. But, different sizes are typically offered and some may even be interchangeable. The question then becomes, however, is it simply better to go bigger? Well, it could be but it will not always be the case. For example, a smaller search coil can actually pick out ideal targets more when they are in a bunch of trash targets.
On the contrary, the larger the search coil, the more the detector can penetrate. But, they are better suited for low-mineralization areas. Honestly, a standard size (eight-inch) should suffice for most situations.
Q: What Exactly is Target ID?
Okay, so we are going to try to explain this next concept so everyone can understand it. So, essentially, a target ID for a metal detector is an accurate way to measure a target’s phase response. Basically, granted you have a unit with a discriminate level control, you can increase the discriminate level until the target disappears and then that will tell you where your target is.
Well, that is exactly what the target ID is going to do for you. This becomes important as it allows you to better triangulate the position of the target that is underground. But, many targets will have identical responses so the technology is not foolproof. In short, it is something that most models will feature and it will be a user-friendly tool (even if it sounds too complicated at the moment to understand).
Q: Why Do Serious Users Use Headphones?
Have you ever seen someone with a metal detector and a pair of headphones on? Well, chances are, they were not listening to their favorite tunes when you saw them. Instead, headphones are used to greatly enhance the experience. There are several reasons why they do this with one of the primary reasons being they can greatly reduce outside noise. When you are trying to listen to a specific audio alert, background noise can quickly become a nuisance. Oh, speaking of which, headphones can also boost the audio target signal.
This becomes essential as you can easily decipher between different signals to either ignore or capitalize on. All in all, if you are serious about this activity and are really looking to find special minerals, either invest in a pair of headphones or buy a model that comes with a pair.
Q: Can They Find Lost Rings or House Keys?
Okay, so these types of devices are a luxury. However, they can also be a great tool to help find a missing item of yours. But, if you have dropped a valuable piece of metal inside your house, a metal detector is not going to help a bit. If you think about what goes into a house’s foundation and construction, you should know that this device will be rendered useless inside. After all, there are electrical currents and metal all around your home.
But, if you happen to drop a ring or your house keys outdoors and have a general idea of where then yes this could be a useful tool. However, they are more beneficial to find metal that is underground as you can physically see minerals that are on the surface.
Even though you are probably not going to become an instant millionaire by investing in a metal detector, it can still become an entertaining hobby of yours. After all, a long day at the beach could be made better by searching for buried belongings. Of course, now you know that there are a plethora of vital features that you need to assess. As the buyer, though, you should be ready to go!