Most treasure hunters wouldn’t go metal detecting if there weren’t any real prospects of finding lost golden items. What’s treasure if there isn’t any gold? Well, picky as the attitude may seem, it could come in handy. If you have the best metal detector for gold, you can spend your limited time finding lost golden treasures.
The best metal detectors for finding gold vary with your skill levels, target area, and budget.
These models suit the most common gold-hunting needs:
- Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof – best if you have a generous budget.
- Minelab Equinox 800 with EQX – best rated for its high benefits/price ratio.
- Fisher Gold Bug Pro – best for treasure hunters with a limited budget or the skepticism of anxious beginners
Please note that different brands tailor-make their metal detectors to suit the particular needs of their target customers. Brands also target diverse clients and differentiate their products to meet the varying needs of a diverse clientele.
Thus, models differ in size, color, and features.
Any model can be the best metal detector for gold. It depends on your situation. Are you fashionable or style-conscious? What’s your budget? Will you search for gold in dry or wet areas? How skilled are you as a gold hunter? Will you gold hunt professionally, or is it just a hobby for you?
All these questions could lead to making the best decision for your situation. There’s never any ideal gold metal detector for all treasure hunters. As a beginner, the best way to buy an effective gold metal detector for your needs is to understand how these devices work.
In this article, I’ll take you through the working mechanisms of the best metal detectors for gold so that you know what to look for when making your investment.
Additionally, I’ll look into 13 of the best gold metal detectors on Amazon and other online stores. I’ll go into in-depth detail when explaining each of the products and their unique features/benefits.
Read on for insights into making a worthwhile investment when starting your golden treasure-hunting journey. Assess and judge some of the gold metal detector reviews that I’ve compiled herein.
Please feel free to share some of your opinions, insights, and gold detector reviews in the comments section. I’ll research your comments, and I’ll use the insights to update this post regularly.
There are lots to cover, but I always like to start with the most frequently asked questions on gold metal detectors.
Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?
Metal detectors are not reliable for finding gold. Metal detectors do not detect gold because they operate using electromagnetism, which means a metal detector will detect the presence of any metal or magnet.
Unfortunately, the operating principle of general metal detectors cannot distinguish between the different types of metals and magnets buried underground with lost golden items or nuggets. Thus, don’t use regular metal detectors to look for lost golden valuables.
A gold detector could also help in indoor and outdoor gold searches.
Do all metal detectors detect gold?
Although all metal detectors can find gold underground, most of them would make it impossible to find gold. They keep reading interferences from other metals. Thus, you’ll need to use a different type of metal detector for gold.
The best machine would be one with an all-metal mode, which skips non-ferrous metals and only reads iron, nickel, copper, or silver.
You can also use the prospecting setting if your machine has it because it is similar, although less effective. With this setting, you could still find some trash readings, but they’ll be much fewer. Thus, you can focus on valuable finds.
These machines are not cheap. Still, you need a high-quality model that’s effective on land and in shallow water when locating gold deposits. If you cannot afford them, then consider some of the entry-level models that I’m reviewing later in this article.
Many beginners believe they just need a detector that can detect and identify coins, but coins vary in material constitutions. Some are metal, some silver, some copper, and others are golden. Generalized metal detectors are general coin finders, but unspecialized models will keep wasting your time with junk discoveries.
A tip for coin hunters: coins don’t travel far from where they get lost unless the shifting sand on the beach moves them. Thus, if you can’t get them on the first sweeps, it means that there’s nothing to find.
All metal detectors can find gold. However, most gold deposits are mixed with other metals, so only the best gold metal detectors can help you. They eliminate bad indicators and only alert you when there’s something golden to find.
You could use a prospecting setting instead. It could give you some readings from other metals besides those I’ve mentioned earlier.
How do Metal Detectors Detect Gold?
They send out electromagnetic pulses and read the return signals for golden frequencies (14-48 kHz.)
What Is the Difference between a Metal Detector and a Gold Detector?
The main difference between a metal detector and a gold detector is that a metal detector generally detects metal objects, and a gold detector specializes in finding gold. Although there are other differences, these two are by far the most important.
A person can use any of the devices to search for either metal or gold. There are many different types of metal detectors and gold detectors on the market today.
Some examples of general-purpose devices include:
- Handheld metals detectors (handhelds)
- Beach hunting metal detectors (beach sweepers)
- Pin-pointing metal detectors (pinpointers)
- Vehicular mounted metal detectors (vehicles)
- Fixed-mount coin shooting machines; and waterproof units
There are also specific designs that cover certain areas of treasure hunting, including:
- Relic hunting
- Digging for coins in saltwater (saltwater fishing)
- Coin and relic shooting in freshwater (freshwater fishing)
One difference between metal detectors used for hunting treasure versus those that are not is that the treasure hunting metal detectors offer a wider frequency range than standard recreational devices.
These higher frequencies allow the detector to find smaller objects. By selecting high-frequency settings on one of these devices, people can identify coins more accurately than with their eyes alone.
The several other features that they share include:
- Sensitivity control
- Ground balance control
- Search head discrimination control
More about The Advanced Features for Gold and Silver Detectors
These advanced features help you to find more targets in less time while eliminating unnecessary signals from trash items like bottle caps and foil.
Most models also have a target strength/depth indicator. The indicators easily signal to you how deep a target object is in the ground and even the chemical composition of the detected object.
Another difference between recreational units and most treasure hunting units (even those that don’t suit coin shooting) is their ability to discriminate trash signals from good ones. They eliminate signals from unwanted items like rusty nails, bottle caps, foil tops, etc.
These models eliminate the unwanted signals via discrimination capacitance controls or notch filters instead of just rejecting targets altogether. Thus, you get a more accurate reading on targets like coins that may be deeper in the ground than competing systems will allow you to go.
In addition to eliminating unwanted signals, many of these devices have modes that allow you to ignore signals that may be coming from several feet away, such as a jewelry store’s security system.
The treasure hunting modes of these devices often have features like automatic ground balance and sensitivity controls. These features reduce the need for you to make fine adjustments during your hunt.
Some devices also offer LCD or computerized displays with digital target identification. It allows you to see if you’ve found a coin or other valuable metal objects.
And of course, there are those models designed specifically for hunting coins made by companies like:
- Minelab (Coin Master)
- Fisher (F75)
- Garrett (GTI 2500)
- Teknetics (Eureka Gold Bug 2)
Just remember that no matter what device you choose, it’ll work best if you bother learning how to use it. Next, you need to decide the type of hunting you will be doing by deciding between beach hunting metal detectors (beach sweepers) and land hunting metal detectors.
Again, these options count for both coin shooting and relic hunting.
Base your decision based on whether or not any valuable relics are likely around your target area. A land-based detector could find more targets because there would be fewer chances of an object surviving erosion over time.
However, if no other relics came into discovery, then a beach-based unit could provide greater returns – like the Spanish Treasure discovery.
Where Can I Find Lost Gold in the United States?
Gold nuggets and gold jewelry are lost underground all over the United States, and most local laws allow treasure hunters to keep the spoils they find in public spaces. It all depends on where you’re going, but you should go with your gold metal detectors to find your treasure.
With that in mind, here are the 13 best states for metal detecting
1. South Dakota
The Black Hills are full of history and treasure. The gold mining culture has thrived in this area since 1874 after locals discovered gold along Iron Creek northeast of Custer.
It’s legal to detect gold on federal land, and you can go metal detecting in numerous South Dakota state parks. The Black Hills is one of the best places to find American Indian relics and gold nuggets.
Not many people live here, so there’s not much chance of getting caught. There are also more than 350 ghost towns throughout this great state, so why wouldn’t you want to come and metal detect here?
Wyoming is one of the best states for hunting, fishing, rockhounding, horseback riding, camping, and sightseeing.
While many people come seeking gold in this state, which has over 150 ghost towns that are great places for relic hunting, you can also find other minerals such as silver, lead, zinc, and copper. There’s plenty of compelling reasons for you to visit Wyoming for metal detecting.
You might think of this state as cold or snowy in the winter months, but how about summer? You’ll be glad to know that it’s legal to treasure hunt in Alaska when you’re out on the tundra with an icebreaker shipwreck located within 20 feet of shore.
The Flint Hills is the site of a Civil War battle between proslavery and free-state forces, and they are rich areas for metal detecting and archaeology.
The Upper Plattsmouth Archaic Culture was a cultural phenomenon in the region from 5500 to 3500 years ago. It’s illegal to go metal detecting on federal land, but you can metal detect (with permission) on private property here.
After historic events such as Lewis and Clark passing through en route to the first contact with natives along the Missouri River, who wouldn’t want to hunt for treasure here? It’s a great place for relics and gold.
The first Europeans in the area were thought to be Spanish conquistadors from Mexico, who might have passed through here on their way to California during the 16th century. They left behind pieces of various treasures, and it’s out there for gold hunters to find.
Oh yeah! We have beaches too, but you may not want to search for lost gold in California public beaches because of all the people. But go right ahead when hunting for gold nuggets and relics.
Many Southern Californians are aware that the alias of Lassen Peak was once ‘the only volcano in the world with a ski jump on top.’
Embrace the ghost and pirate treasure stories abound in the kids’ stories based in Florida. Did you know that shipwrecks lost Spanish gold and remnants of homesteads from the 19th century?
There’re more than 250 ghost towns throughout this great state. Georgia is so full of history that you’d be crazy not to come and metal detect here.
12. Texas and Louisiana
If you like the heat, then this is where you want to be. It’s significantly hot in these two states. But there’s a treasure to be found too, so bring your metal detector with you.
These states have been popular gold-mining locations since 1849. Don’t forget about all those oil rigs out at sea that go down over the years.
13. South Carolina: The Cherokee
Native Americans inhabited this area from 800 AD until the American Revolution when British military forces defeated them catastrophically.
In Which Kind of Rock Is Gold Usually Found?
You can find gold in its native form (i.e., nuggets). However, about 90% of the gold ever mined is in the form of a metal alloy. Most of the gold in supply from mines originates from a rock called ‘auriferous quartz veins.’ Auriferous connotes ‘gold-bearing.’
These are narrow zones of quartz rock that contain high concentrations of gold and other minerals like silver.
The ore is blasted out, crushed to minute particles, and mixed with water. The next step involves treating the aqueous (watery) material to extract the gold from it. Other impurities remain in the tail’s waste.
This process leaves what is called ‘gold doré,’ an alloy mostly consisting of pure gold. You can cast it into various shapes. People mostly cast it into bars and coins.
Refineries produce gold ingots by directly smelting the original nuggets without any intermediate steps, although this method produces imprecise results.
Most gold does not come from quartz veins. It comes from alluvial or placer deposits—a kind of sedimentary deposit that forms when gold-bearing rocks are eroded and transported by water into new environments. Then accumulation happens.
The largest source of this kind is in the Witwatersrand basin, SA, which contains six million ounces (170 metric tons) of gold. These deposits were formed as early as 2.7 billion years ago by hydrothermal activity during the cooling of igneous intrusions inside the Earth’s crust.
What Is the Best Metal Detector for Finding Gold and Silver?
There are many metal detectors that people use for different purposes. One of the most important uses for a metal detector is to detect precious metals like gold and silver underwater. Because these metals are not magnetic, a regular metal detector cannot isolate them.
Some machines are specialized, though they cost thousands of plus dollars. Some are reasonably priced, but others are for the most experienced treasure finders in the world. Some companies even specialize in retrieving lost jewelry from water sources like lakes and rivers.
These machines have an antenna that drags behind them while connected to a power source via thin wiring. The other end of this wire has what looks like a circular saw blade with teeth on it, which cuts through any material without doing much damage to whatever is there.
These machines also don’t cause any interference to the targets it scans.
Reputable manufacturers make the blades out of tempered steel to cut through all of the sediment and dirt. They don’t chip or break when cutting through hard material like concrete.
The two main categories of waterproof metal detectors:
- Submersible metal detectors with underwater headphones
- Submersible metal detectors without underwater headphones
The ones with underwater headphones usually cost twice as much because they are more complicated than those from their competitors.
This category has a longer cable connecting them from the machine to each other. The detectors are wired: not wireless like stream-side units. It’s best to set up on dry land, while others need to be placed in the water with floats holding it to the surface.
The ones without the underwater headphones are called stream-side units. You can place them in or along any body of water, and you’ll only need enough clearance for the antennae wire.
These detectors usually have a claw on them that catches what they find, so it does not get swept away by moving water when it’s pulled out.
Both types are used by trained professionals who study how the equipment works and their maintenance needs. These experts recommend the dimensions and material made of replacing wires and cutting blades.
They also suggest how frequently you should add oil to parts that need lubrication.
Both categories come in different sizes, just like regular metal detectors do. Models that are small enough to carry around easily are popular among most beginners and hobbyists.
Reviews of the 13 Best Metal Detectors for Gold
1. Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof Metal Detector Special with 17-Inch Smart Coil
Hooray! Now you can swim in the ocean with your metal detector and not worry about ruining it or your day too. The Minelab CTX is a rugged, lightweight underwater machine. It can locate not only metals but also coins and other objects 60 feet underwater.
Minelab CTX 3030 Waterproof Metal Locator: this new addition to their line of products allows for better performance topside. It offers enhanced sensitivity via an Automatic Ground Tracking mode. This mode minimizes ground noise from areas like tall grasses, rocks, trees, etc., while amplifying conductive metals underground.
Admittedly, though, it’s best used on dry areas. It’s even garnered a steady rating of 4.8/5 after 22 customer reviews on Amazon.
2. Minelab Equinox 800 with EQX
There are many detectors out there, but nothing like this one. When you enter the world of Minelab, you get to decide where the treasure is buried and walk confidently to it with total directional control.
Minelab engineers designed Equinox 800 from the ground up for ease of use in any terrain or climate around the globe. Thus, this detector suits your needs no matter what location you’re hunting.
Minelab Equinox 800 with EQX benefits from a design by an engineering team that includes people who grew up on vast land-grabs with geologically rich soil. They had a passion for finding lost wealth since their first experience using a metal detector between 15 and 19 years.
Its top benefits include:
- Waterproof up to 10 feet deep
- Lightweight (2.95 pounds)
- Multi-IQ tech
- Four detect modes
I bet that nobody understands exploration better than Minelab. From my treasure hunting adventures, fellow hobbyists, and on my own, I find this model simply irreplaceable. No wonder it rates at 4.8/5 after 653 customer reviews on Amazon.
3. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV
Bounty Hunter is known for its entry-level metal detectors, perfect for new enthusiasts and hobbyists. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV is a neat addition to their range.
There’s no fancy gadgetry, digital display, or knobs galore on this product. It’s designed for heightened ease of use, making it the best metal detector for beginners.
It’s a 6.7 kHz VLF detector, which means it can only detect gold close to the surface and when moving. Simply holding it over a target won’t trigger a signal.
The Tracker IV control box features a tone switch, a sensitivity dial, and one discrimination knob.
It has three modes:
- Full Discriminate (for varied environments)
A drawback is that the ground balance isn’t adjustable, limiting the number of different terrains it can detect.
All-round, the Tracker IV is an ideal solution for newcomers to this fun hobby. It’s priced lowly, with minimal features and a durable build, making it quick and easy to learn.
- 8-inch waterproof coil
- Three operation modes (low-battery indicator)
- Built-in speaker
What I loved about it are its multiple modes. It also has batteries that last up to 30 hours on a single charge, and it’s always ready to use once it comes out of the box.
- The lack of a ground balance adjustment is the one thing I don’t like about it.
Nonetheless, it still scored 4.5/5 after 9,695 customer reviews on Amazon.
4. Fisher Gold Bug Pro
Do you live in an area near water? Do you have a boat that enables you to fish often? Then Fisher Gold Bug Pro is the right metal detector for your gold hunting needs. With a depth reading as low as 25 inches, it will track up to 18-carat gold nuggets and targets from two feet away.
It gives excellent results on caches of lost treasures.
Fisher Gold Bug Pro comes with two deep-scan search modes. It also offers additional scanning abilities that are perfect for any hobbyists wanting to discover treasure without trekking through bushes and swamps. Who wants to keep fumbling endlessly for coins in the mud?
This metal detector features state-of-the-art side sensing technology. You can perform pinpoint searches thanks to its three-stage ground balancing system, which eliminates unwanted signals caused by metal objects at extreme depths underground!
There’s no disputing the ROI of this model at an average rating of 4.6/5 from 185 Amazon reviews.
5. Garrett at Gold Waterproof Metal Detector with Headphones and ProPointer at PinPointer
Detecting treasure and metals is an exciting adventure, especially when you have the Garrett at Gold Metal Detector from Bounty Hunter. It has tone elimination circuitry to eliminate interference caused by headgear and adjacent metal objects.
The ProPointer will help you search more efficiently by focusing on target areas with its accurate pointer beam of light.
It’s a triple-threat:
- Hearing protection
- Detector guidance
This metal detector set also includes headphones to shield your ears from loud tones produced by other metal detectors or discarded nails in construction sites.
This model is so impressive that 107 Amazon customers bought it, used it, and gave it an average rating of 4.7/5.
6. Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Gold Detector
The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Gold Detector is the newest and fastest-rising top-of-the-line gold detector on the market. The intuitive design gives you powerful detection options that will help to locate the best spots for finding gold nuggets.
This model detects and discriminates mineralized ground, and it proves areas hazardous to work. Its design is a breeze for beginners to metal detecting, but it also caters to more advanced users who’re looking for shortcuts in their treasure hunting.
The kit includes:
- An 18-inch coil
- An Eight-inch probe extender
- A belt pack battery holder with cable
- A combo carrying bag
- Weather-proof gear bag
- Six-month warranty against damage or defective artistry
The good news is you have seven days after purchase to test drive your detector and tell if you’d like to keep or return it. Hey, how else would it score a rating of 4.6/5 after 165 reviews?
7. Garrett ATX Extreme
This bad boy pairs perfectly with today’s changing treasure hunter, whether you’re hunting for gold on the beach, rocky mines, swamps, or simply making your way through the suburbs looking for lost antiques.
It’s a high-performance instrument with high-standard designs that accommodate both beginners and seasoned pros.
Garrett ATX Extreme is as ruggedly sturdy as they come – perfect for even those who prefer a tough look and feel. It gives back almost twice what you put in with its LCD screen housekeeping and intuitive weight distribution system.
It also features an EasyFind mode (so no need to panic if a signal disappears right before your eyes,) plus automatic ground tracking capabilities to make hunts even easier.
This model has a perfect rating from the three Amazon clients who bought it.
8. NALANDA 18KHz Metal Detector with All-Metal, Discriminate, Custom, and Memory Mode
This lightweight, ergonomic metal detector scans through soil and ground for lost coins, jewelry, or other metal objects. It has an LCD and instructions that are easy to follow.
NALANDA 18KHz Metal Detector features three modes- All-Metal, Discriminate, and Custom. These modes make it easier to find the type of object for which you’re looking.
You can also create your scan pattern by tapping on the screen using a provided stylus pen! It’s also water-resistant for use in wet environments like stables, garden ponds, or at the beach- just don’t drop it in saltwater!
There’s no disputing the ROI of this model at an average rating of 4.1/5 from 160 Amazon reviews.
9. Garrett GTI 2500
Garrett GTI 2500 is the best two-inch continuous metal detector on the market. Its features include:
- Adjustable sensitivity
- A quality rubber card with a threaded hole for attaching to any handle
- Weighting adjustment nuts on the top of the shaft
Unlike other models, this one has a patented “double V” search coil that provides unparalleled detection depth over most models on today’s market.
The headpiece also features permanent lubrication to cut down long-term maintenance time for its owners. The lubrication also improves retrieval speed and reduces noise levels so that you can spend more time detecting.
You don’t need to keep troubleshooting your machine if you get this gold detector! Why else would it garner a steady rating of 4.6/5 after 26 customer reviews on Amazon?
10. XP DEUS Metal Detector
XP DEUS Metal Detector is the latest and greatest in metal detecting technology. This machine works faster and more accurately than any other metal detector before it, allowing you to find precious metals even better.
This model comes with a search coil of 30x36cm (12″x14″) for high detection performance.
It’s also upgraded from previous models to make your treasure hunting all much easier! It’s ideal for beginners or experienced hunters looking to take their game up a notch. No wonder it rates at 4.7/5 after 21customer reviews on Amazon.
Now, don’t let those shiny things just sit there on the ground! Grab XP Deus Metal Detector today!
11. Minelab SDC 2300
Minelab has you covered if you’re committed to finding gold, and this model should already be on your buying list. Minelab SDC 2300 and GPZ 7000 are premium-priced machines that will scan about five inches below the hard-ground surface.
Minelab’s cutting-edge Multi-Period Fast tech empowers this model to detect fast-decay signals. The ‘no-motion detection’ capability also mitigates the risk of ignoring signals from precious metals.
SDC 2300 lets you detect metal 10 feet underground or underwater. You can also go deep-diving to find sunken gold, thanks to its waterproof design.
- Collapsible build empowers you to hike before reaching your target area.
- 5.1 pounds weight makes it easily portable.
- PI & MPF to detect fast-decaying signals
- Considerably expensive
With an SDC 2300 on board, you’ll probably find gold. It even scores an average of 4.3/5 out of four Amazon ratings.
Some hobbyists could find this model expensive, but you can always go for the more affordable Fisher F2 Metal Detector, which offers similar benefits.
12. Fisher Gold Bug-2
Fisher Gold Bug 2, with a high frequency of 71 kHz, is one of the easiest-to-use land-based detectors under $1,000. It makes this list because of its ability to find tiny gold nuggets over multiple terrains.
The makers of Fisher Gold Bug 2 specialized it for detecting gold. However, it doesn’t feature automated ground control, a digital display, or any presets for various metals like silver and copper. The only controls it has are three knobs and two switches in the analog control box.
This metal detector is perfect for intermediates. Its high-tech buttons and meters will empower you to read your targets without needing any extras that don’t need ground control.
Audio boost and iron discrimination modes reject all signals from iron or its ions in mineral soils, especially other metallic signals. It would help to use headphones when operating in this mode, given its sensitivity to even slight changes in frequency.
A disadvantage to this model is that while the coils are waterproof, the control box isn’t.
When it comes to finding gold, this detector is perfect for someone who knows how and has a bit of money. Gold Bug 2 costs just under $700, and the ground control adjustments will provide the ultimate flexibility while you hunt for gold with your new detector.
Its features include:
- Internal speaker
- Deep-target audio
- 71 kHz frequency
- High-accuracy dual-control
- Three operating modes
Its benefits include:
- All American-American construction
- It only needs two 9V batteries to work
- A control box makes simple operations and monitoring possible
I didn’t like that it had no presets. Still, I ranked it favorably, like the 67 Amazon users who gave it an average rating of 4.3/5.
13. Bounty Hunter Discovery 3300
If you want to find lost gold and are on a budget, here’s an option: Bounty Hunter’s Discovery 3300. It goes for about $300, and it’s a competitive detector for intermediates and beginners with a zeal for learning. It will upgrade your metal detecting from analog operations.
This metal detector for gold has buttons for controlling ground balance and a toggle switch on its interface.
The switch helps you to engage or turn off one of three adjustable modes, including:
- Increased discrimination
- All-metal mode
These modes allow for better customization of metal detection.
It detects three types of metal, the standard type plus guide audio. It flashes five times when it handles ferrous objects and jewels, while three flashes indicate gold.
This metal detector operates at 6.6 kHz, which is not enough for experienced users or people who take gold-hunting seriously. It may not have the bells and whistles of an Equinox 800, but it does provide a pleasing experience at about half the price point.
It’s the best model due to premium features such as:
- Five modes of operation
- 11 segment target identification
- Three-level iron discrimination
- Waterproof coil
This detector is suitable for finding gold in beaches and shallow waters. It has a manual ground balance that produces clear audio feedback, making it easy to use. Its impressive quality has earned it an average rating of 4.6/5 out of 784 Amazon reviews.
In conclusion, the best metal detector for you depends on:
- Your personal preference
- Your budget
- How long you’ve been using metal detectors
The most important thing to remember when selecting the best model is that users love using it! If necessary, purchase the best metal detector for gold nugget hunting.
Do you have any questions about these review products? If so, please go ahead and ask in the comments or contact me section. I’ll try our best to answer all your questions as soon as possible. Don’t forget to share this post with other treasure hunting enthusiasts.