This buying guide will get into detail on the very best metal detectors and make clear what to search for when choosing.
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But first, some hard truth.
There is absolutely no universal “best” metal detector.
The question you have to be asking is, “what’s the very best metal detector for the sort of hunting I would like to do, where I live, my experience, and my budget.”
To answer that question, here are a few factors that may or might not exactly affect your decision-making process.
The objective of this article is to break everything down in real terms, and that means you have a far greater notion of which detector is most beneficial for YOU!
First and foremost, let’s speak about your experience metal detecting.
Perhaps you have ever detected before?
If yes, you skip this section and move on.
If no, then you’re likely to want to get started on with a beginner metal detector that’s simple to use. There’s no quicker way to be frustrated with the hobby than investing in a complicated detector you don’t understand.
All metal detectors find metal – exactly like all cars lower the road. Why is one detector much better than another (like cars) may be the additional features and enhancements.
Search for a beginner detector in the $150-300 range. Anything below that isn’t really considered a detector – it’s considered a toy.
This may be the largest factor of these all, in particular when you’ve never tried a metal detector.
Not everyone has $800 to drop on a spare time activity they aren’t sure they’ll even like.
Most new hobbyists have a tendency to spend $150-$300 on the first detector. Luckily, that buys sufficient machine to truly get you hooked.
The kind of hunting you intend on doing makes a significant difference in what machine you get.
While most machines were created as all-around detectors for coin, jewelry, and relics, additionally, there are specialty machines for different uses.
Coin and jewelry
Most machines are suitable for coin and earrings hunting – especially those priced under $600 roughly.
A very important factor you want to make certain of here is you don’t buy a machine with too much frequency – i.e., one suitable for gold prospecting (you can read our guide here on the very best metal detectors for gold nuggets).
So long as you stay under 15 kHz, you’ll be just fine for coin shooting. Frequency and depth have an inverse relationship, therefore the higher you get, the less depth you’ll can get on coin-sized targets.
You’ll also want in order to avoid a pulse induction machine – or PI for short. They are built more for saltwater hunting and gold prospecting.
For all-purpose coin and earrings hunting, stick to an individual frequency VLF detector when starting out.
Read more about the very best metal detector for coins.
The same rules make an application for relic hunting. Most all-round machines can do just fine for relic hunting.
If however, you’re buying more complex relic hunting machine, you’ll want to find features like these:
Large search coil – preferably DD
Slightly higher frequency (10-20 kHz)
Both manual and auto ground balance
Best Relic Hunting Metal Detectors
Saltwater beach hunting
If you intend to do almost all of your hunting around saltwater, you’ll desire a specialty machine.
Note that you don’t desire a specialty machine if you’re hunting on the dry sand of a saltwater beach.
If hunting in the wet sand, surf or water, you’ll desire a machine that’s either PI or multi-frequency.
Do NOT buy an individual frequency machine for saltwater – regardless of the marketing material of the business!
Will they work? Sure. But you’re depth will be severely limited by the stage where it’s not even worthwhile to detect.
While either PI or multi-frequency will continue to work, there are some benefits and drawbacks to each.
See our complete guide on best beach metal detectors.
Pulse induction in saltwater
Pulse induction machines aren’t designed to discriminate. If you intend to hunt beaches where there’s plenty of trash, go with a multi-frequency.
PI machines also have a tendency to be somewhat heavier since many are designed for diving. So you’ll also need it something similar to a chest/shoulder harness to bear the weight.
The major benefit to PI machines is their superior depth in highly mineralized areas like saltwater beaches. You merely can’t beat it.
Most serious beach hunters use pulse induction.
Whenever choosing any detector for the beach, it’s understandable you want a machine that’s fully waterproof and submersible – which most detectors aren’t.
All you need is usually to be hit by one wave while digging your hole, and the device is toast if it’s not waterproof.
Multiple frequency in saltwater
The advantage of by using a multi-frequency detector in saltwater is you could discriminate out undesired targets.
You can also utilize the same machine for all your hunting instead of the PI where you should only really put it to use for beach hunting.
Really the only con to by using a multi-frequency machine on the beach is that you won’t get the sort of depth you’ll with a PI – though it it’s still excellent.
Freshwater hunting is a Easier beast to tackle.
The only factors you should consider here is that you will get a completely submersible machine with good discrimination – that’s really it.
There are several different technologies you should become acquainted with whenever choosing which detector to get.
I’ll summarize each below very broadly:
Suprisingly low frequency (VLF)
Suprisingly low frequency (VLF) may be the technology included in most detectors – virtually any machine under $1,000.
They are signal frequency machines used for coin, jewelry, and relic hunting. If you’re just getting started, get hold of a VLF.
Pulse induction (PI)
Pulse induction (PI) is a technology found in specialty machines for regions of high mineralization – i.e., salt water beaches and gold country.
These machines will punch through ground minerals like salt and iron and can report on all metal objects without the capability to discriminate.
Multiple frequency (MF)
Multi-frequency (MF) detectors are usually machines that choose over $1,000 & most commonly within the high-end Minelab detectors.
They are best if you’re seriously interested in metal detecting and also have the budget to back it up.
They’re also ideal for doing both saltwater and throughout detecting and never have to buy two machines.
I take advantage of the Minelab CTX 3030 because of this very reason.
One more thing to consider may be the stock search coil that is included with your detector. Here are a few points you should think about when deciding on a coil.
Stock coil size
Generally speaking, the bigger the coil, the better the depth.
So common sense orders you to buy the major coil, right?
There are other things to consider. First, ground conditions and mineralization play an enormous role where size coil to use.
While large coils progress depth, in addition they see more of the bottom this means your detector must process more signals in mineralized soil that may cause very bad falsing, poor target ID and missed targets.
When that occurs, you’re forced to lessen your sensitivity, and so reducing your depth.
A smaller coil would see less of the bottom, process less ground signals and let you boost your sensitivity to the main point where you could be obtaining the same depth as you’ll with the bigger coil in neutral ground.
Make sense up to now? Ok, let’s confuse this further now…
Not merely would a smaller coil offer you comparable depth in mineralized ground, nonetheless it would also offer you better target separation in order to better identify multiple targets under your coil (picking right up good targets amidst trash).
And talking about target separation, let’s speak about coil configuration.
Stock coil type
There are many types of coil configurations – the hottest being the concentric and the double d (DD).
Without getting into an excessive amount of detail, DD coils are certain to get you better detection depth and manage ground mineralization much better than a concentric.
Concentric coils are usually more cost-effective. Really the only advantage it has over the DD (for me) is that it might be much easier to pinpoint your target. Pinpointing with a DD coil just takes more practice.
Accessory coil sizes
Ground mineralization aside, there are many other reasons why you should have additional coil sizes in your bag.
If you’re hunting small, tight areas like playgrounds or very rocky areas like in gold country, you then should think about a smaller coil for better maneuverability. These coils are called sniper coils.
Alternatively, if you’re seeking to cover large, open areas like beaches and farm fields, a more substantial coil may be an improved option.
Remember, larger coils is a lot heavier so you might need to get some form of harness if you need to find more than 30 minutes.
Screen vs. no screen
Most experienced hunters find largely by sound, but an LCD screen (VDI) will come in handy.
It can reveal things such as depth of the mark, what it thinks the prospective is, where our sensitivity and discrimination are set, battery life and several other things, according to the detector.
Some people think it’s silly to possess a machine with out a screen, while others are simply fine with a Tesoro-type detector that has only knobs.
The Fisher F5 integrated both of these worlds. It includes a screen and knobs. For many who just like the best of both worlds, that could be a detector worth looking at.
Metal detectors with out a screen are commonly known as beep and dig machines since there’s no display letting you know what the detector thinks it has within the ground
Some metal detectors are light as a feather while some are designed like bricks and may be quite heavy.
Assuming you have elbow or shoulder problems or another ailment that limits exercise, it’s recommended to have a lighter detector.
Fisher and Tesoro have reputations to be the lightest in the market. Mid and high-level machines just like the AT Pro are very a little heavier but nonetheless not a monster.
When contemplating your first machine, absorb just how much it weighs, particularly if you intend on treasure trying to find several hours at the same time.
After you have narrowed your choices right down to several detectors, watch them doing his thing on YouTube.
There is nothing beats seeing them and hearing the owners speak about them to provide us a good idea what the machine is similar to and how it operates.
YouTube features from reviews to testing to actual hunting scenarios, and everything among.
That one may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many persons buy a detector ‘completely blind’, as they say, having never read an individual review on the device.
So, when you are thinking about the Fisher F22, for instance, type Fisher F22 reviews into your internet search engine and read as much as you will find. They truly do help.
There are also my in-depth overview of the Fisher F22 by clicking here.
Whether watching youtube videos or reading online reviews, take everything with a grain of salt.
Don’t let a poor review affect your buying decision. Most negative reviews certainly are a result of someone purchasing the wrong detector.
Remember, the ‘right’ detector is determined by factors like skill, budget, use, location, etc.
A perfect example of that is when persons say the AT Pro rocks ! in salt water.
Look at where they’re located. Are they near to the Gulf coast of florida where salt levels aren’t as extreme as the Atlantic and Pacific oceans?
They more often than not are.
Another example is when persons make an effort to use an basic level detector in areas just like the pacific northwest where in fact the soil is incredibly mineralized.
It’s not that the detector is bad, it’s just the incorrect application.
I typically recommend you adhere to the known brands because of their quality and customer care.
Those brands are:
You should also know how the warrantee works for the brand you select.
Most brands could have a warrantee ranging 2-5 years aside from Tesoro which is lifetime.
If you’re investing in a water machine, the warrantee is generally significantly less (1-2 years).
Also if you opt to buy used, make certain the warrantee is transferrable as some brands don’t allow this.
Finally, you could also want to consider any accessories that may include your detector – particularly if you’re trying to remain on budget.
If you’re not used to the hobby, some accessories you’re likely to find yourself buying at some time are:
Scoop (if beach hunting)
Don’t be fooled by some retailers who include cheap accessories with their detectors – especially with pinpointers and diggers. We call these ‘dollar store accessories’.
Usually, these things are a comparable quality as you’d find in the dollar store – regardless of the retailer claiming “a huge selection of dollars in value!”
Metal detecting is a spare time activity you can grow into overtime. There’s you don’t need to buy the priciest detector immediately and also have no idea what you’re doing.
Don’t overthink your first purchase. This article discusses a lot of things to consider, but it’s not designed to scare you from your first purchase.
So long as you stick to your price with among the major brands, you truly can’t go wrong.
I am hoping this guide was helpfu