If you’re like many people, it’s fun to take out the metal detector to the beach and search for gold, silver, coins, and more. Finding the best metal detectors on the market means focusing on the type of metal detecting you plan to do.
This buyer’s guide should help you learn about the 10 best options and how to buy a metal detector. Since it’s so in-depth, you’re going to get the main points to consider and understand the difference between the metal detecting options available. Whether it’s your first metal detector ever or you’ve been using them a while, I’ve got you covered.
Those who want to find treasure and are experienced may prefer to upgrade to a different machine. The XP Deus works well for gold prospecting, and it’s a multi-frequency metal detector with a wide range of features.
You’re going to be amazed that it’s a wireless detector. The coils, wireless headphones, and remote communicate through a radio signal, eliminating the need for a wired connection. Plus, the coil uses a digital circuit for analyzing and processing the detection signals.
When you’re finding relics or gold nuggets, you get a better signal quality from the machine.
There are also various frequency options, including 8kHz, 4kHz, 18kHz, and 12kHz. It’s suitable for coin, relic, and beach hunting, but you can’t submerge the control unit in water.
From such a high-end metal detector, you know you’re going to get great settings and features from the XP Deus. It tells you the iron level, sensitivity, reactivity, and much more. Plus, there’s a notch feature to define ranges.
Though it only has a 9-inch search coil, there are upgrades. With it, you also have four different ground balance modes for the environment you’re working on. That way, you can find small targets and other treasure options.
- LCD screen with backlighting
- Remote control features
- Large coil
- Goes through batteries quickly
- Must download software updates
Fisher F22 Metal Detector
Another great model is the Fisher F22, so if you’re a beginner to the world of metal detecting, this machine is for you. It’s a VLF (Very Low Frequency) machine, and it features a weather-resistant design. Plus, it’s also lightweight and offers 10 different sensitivity levels, which are perfect for gold prospecting and dealing with iron.
Whether you’re trying to find a coin or a piece of gold, this metal detector is a great choice. Plus, it offers a fast recovery speed and has a detection depth of about 9 inches (but this depends on the soil.)
Like other modern metal detectors, this one features a digital screen to make it easier to see what you’re doing. I like the depth gauge, though it’s not fully accurate. Still, it helps you target iron and other metals.
Whether you’re gold prospecting or coin hunting, you’re sure to appreciate what it can do for you. Plus, there’s a two-digit target ID. These numbers offer you a guide to determine what’s been found, such as coins. It’s a time-saver so that you don’t keep getting duds.
As with other metal detectors, it does offer the right coils. However, you don’t get waterproof coils. You can submerge them, but that’s it. There’s an operating frequency of about 7.69kHz, so it’s excellent for coins and other things. Plus, you get a 5-year warranty.
- Adjustable iron audio
- Doesn’t offer accurate depth gauges in all soil types
If you want the best model for your metal detector, the Fisher F75 is an excellent machine for coin and relic hunting. Plus, it’s cheaper than a lot of other models. Still, it’s comfortable to hold and offers many features.
Though it isn’t the lightest metal detector out there, it’s not too heavy. Plus, the machine is well-balanced, so you can target your finds without getting tired.
This metal detector is excellent for various types of treasure and offers a 13kHz frequency. It’s higher than some other entry-level model options, so it is suitable for coin hunting and the like.
I feel that this option is excellent in iron-infested areas. Because of the dual-filter discrimination modes, you can ignore the iron signals. Plus, there is a great depth, too. You can easily find coins and other treasure items with this machine.
You’re going to appreciate the 11-inch fully waterproof search coil. It’s bigger than on some models, and you can be metal-detecting larger areas without spending too long. Plus, there is an LCD screen and a two-digit target ID feature.
Though the coils might be waterproof, there is no waterproof control box. Therefore, you must be careful when metal detecting at the beach. However, you do get manual or automatic ground balance modes for more or less control.
While it’s a single-frequency metal detector and doesn’t offer wireless technology, it’s still great for finding coins and other relics.
- Large LCD screen
- Can filter out trash
- Can be hard to get started
- Armrest position is challenging for some
Garrett AT Max
You’re going to appreciate the Garrett AT Max model. It’s slightly different than the Garrett AT Pro, but they are also similar. It features Z-Lynk wireless technology, so you don’t have to deal with cords while coin hunting. It also features the true all-metal mode, which means it can search for coins and other things without a lot of interference.
The Garrett brand is designed for use in dry sand, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to certain hunting grounds. In fact, you can use it in fresh water, and it’s waterproof to 10 ft. Plus, it can filter out iron and other ‘junk’ like trash and bottle caps. That way, you’re not scouring the ground and coming up with duds all the time. However, it isn’t suitable for salt water conditions.
This model is quite lightweight and has a frequency of 13.6kHz. As with other detectors in this price range, it features more than one search mode. That way, you get the sensitivity you need and the right depth. I also like that the battery lasts up to 20 hours.
- All-metal mode available
- Pair headphones to Z-Lynk pinpointer
- Wireless headphones included
- Constant ground balance needed
- Requires hours to learn how to use
- Doesn’t perform well in saltwater
Garrett Ace 400
The Garrett Ace 400 might be a bit more expensive, but it does offer other features that you can’t find with the cheap detectors.
You’re going to get the digital target ID, which has a scale ranging from 0 to 99. You also get iron discrimination at the low end. There are also segments for other metals, such as gold, copper, and more.
You’re going to appreciate the Iron Audio feature from Garrett. It helps you with your hunting so that you can target whatever you need. In a sense, it filters out the ghost signals so that you only hear the discriminated targets.
I like that it has a search coil that’s waterproof. Plus, you can create your own notch discrimination patterns. However, beginners are sure to start off with the preset ones.
There is a drawback here, though. For example, you don’t get automatic ground balancing, which could be problematic in wet sand. Most other models in this price range don’t include that feature, so it’s not a huge deal.
- Includes pinpointer
- Adjustable frequency
- No auto-ground balancing feature
- Only works well on dry ground
If you’re interested in a high-performance model, the Minelab 3030 might be what you want. It can find items in all soil types, such as mineralized ground. You have five different preset searching modes available, and it’s customizable for those advanced detecting needs.
I like these metal detectors because they work on any terrain, such as sand and the ocean. However, when hunting, be prepared that it might not work to find gold nuggets. It just depends on if you’re in shallow water or on dry land.
You’re going to appreciate that it’s waterproof to 10 feet. However, it is a little heavier than other options at 5.2 pounds. It’s possible to purchase a harness to help with arm fatigue. You may also find that it’s not as deep as pulse-induction machines, but it’s still a great metal detector!
- GPS to help track finds
- Highly Accurate target identification
- Programmable for your needs
- Weighs over 5 pounds
- Slow processor compared to others
- High price point
Nokta Makro Simplex
If you want a simple and easy-to-use detector, then the Nokta Makro Simplex is ideal. You’re going to appreciate the automatic ground balancing option, and there are four pre-set modes for searching.
This model also offers a beach mode and has an 11-inch coil. The search coil is waterproof up to 10 feet, so you can be hunting for coins in the water. In fact, you’re going to appreciate that you can use this to find coins. Relics are also possible to search, and you’re going to be impressed with the lighting. That way, you can use it at night and be detecting when no one else is around.
Though the coil is quite large and it’s basic, you’re still going to appreciate it. For one, you can turn it on and go. Plus, it’s lightweight at 2.9 pounds, so the balance is pretty good on it, too.
- Don’t get false signals
- Well-balanced and lightweight
- Turn it on and detect
- Large coil
- Very basic
- Amateur tones
Whites Goldmaster GMX
If you want an amazing high-end model, the Whites Goldmaster GMX is for you. It offers high-tech prospecting, and it’s IP-68 rated to be submersible up to 10 ft. in water. Though it’s slightly heavier at 3.5 pounds, it’s still suitable for all types of hunting.
I also like the ground balancing system, so you can go even further. Detectors like this should have everything imaginable, but it doesn’t offer pulse-induction. Still, there is great depth and discrimination. Plus, you get the VLF (Very Low Frequency) detection technology, so you’re going to be enjoying your hunts more without the hassle.
UPDATE: Garett announced acquisition of certain assets of White’s Electronics, and therefor, White's had announced the suspension of operations on June 18, 2020.
- Highly sensitive
- Ground scan option
- Pinpointer included
- Hard to use
- Shuts off automatically
Bounty Hunter Platinum Pro
The Bounty Hunter brand is quite powerful, and its newest model (Platinum Pro) is even more so. This one replaced the concentric 8-inch coil with a larger 11-inch option (Double D). With that, the unit can work better in mineralized situations and can have a greater depth and discrimination.
When hunting with this detector, you’re going to enjoy that it works in various situations. Plus, it offers a mid-frequency, so it can find jewelry and coinage in different conditions. I think this detector is a great choice for beginners who are just starting out, but it’s versatile enough for professionals who need something that’s easy to use.
With a 7.81kHz frequency, it’s an all-purpose detector. Plus, it offers auto or manual ground balance. This detector provides two preset modes, enhanced target identification, and so much more. You’re going to enjoy using it every day, though you may want to get a separate pinpoint tool.
- Visual and audio identifications
- Customization for modes
- Large screen
- Mid-frequency – might not find gold easily
Teknetics T2 Classic
Metal detectors are often considered for relic hunting, but the Teknetics T2 Classic is ideal for other needs, too. It offers great sensitivity, and you have a larger screen. That way, you can see what’s out there without straining your eyes. Still, the screen isn’t backlit, so it’s less convenient if you’re working in low-light conditions.
I also like that it’s easy to use. You’re going to find your target, whether you’re searching for coins or relic hunting. It also works to find other metal objects.
You’re going to appreciate the powerful detection, but it also has great depth and discrimination. There’s also a higher frequency used, so it can find coins that are buried 15 inches deep. Though it doesn’t offer automatic ground balance, I still think it’s a great choice for those who have been detecting for a while.
While the frequency is quite high on this model, the control box isn’t waterproof. You still get waterproof coils, allowing you to use the detector almost anywhere.
- Searches trashed areas easily
- Fast grab feature offered
- No backlighting on display
- Only manual ground balancing
What Is the Best Metal Detector?
I believe that you can’t go wrong with any of the detectors listed here. However, if you want a great all-around detector, consider the Fisher or Garrett brand. They are both budget-friendly (to a degree) and work just as well as some of the high-end models.
Best Metal Detector for Beginners
Most beginners don’t have a high budget to shift to an expert machine, but an entry-level model can still be great. They’re often cheaper, and they’re easy to use. There’s also a smaller learning curve. Though you may not be able to search for gold, such a detector is going to help you find relics.
You don’t want to kill the joy of your hobby by spending many hours just learning the functions on the detector.
Entry-level options are suitable for dry ground, but they don’t have the extra features and functions. Ultimately, though, they all do the same thing and are easier to figure out how to use. I feel that the Fisher F22 and Garret Ace 400 are two top models for beginners. These detectors aren’t ‘toys,’ and they’re good enough to give you a feel for the sport.
Best Metal Detector for Gold
It is entirely possible to find a nugget or gold flake with a detector, but you need the right tools. Most detectors do well at finding old coins, jewelry, and other items. However, gold is much different. You need a high frequency because it’s more sensitive to such metal. There are also pulse induction models out there that work well for gold.
Typically, VLF (Very Low Frequency) circuits are cheaper to buy and can tune out some iron and steel. However, they’re highly sensitive to the minerals found where gold is located. PI (Pulse Induction) detectors often ignore the minerals and can search at higher depths, but they can’t filter out the trash.
The detector type you choose isn’t the only factor to consider. Your budget also plays a part. When you want a detector for gold, it can easily run $10,000 or more. Still, there are some reasonably-priced options. I feel that the Tekntics T2 Classic is a budget-friendly option that can handle basic hunts for gold.
What Is the Best All-around Metal Detector on the Market?
It really depends on what you want to do and how much money you have to spend on detectors. There are plenty of great options. For example, Tesoro metal detectors, Fisher, Minelab, Teknetics, Garrett, and Whites are all very popular metal detector brands. They also feature great training materials and support.
However, if you want the best performance, consider the Nokta Makro. Those who want the best value should consider the Fisher F22.
Features to Consider
There are plenty of features and settings available for detectors. Therefore, you need to know what they are and how they might hinder or benefit you.
The coil is the circular part at the end of the detector. You place the coil close to the ground to ‘find’ all the metal items. Typically, the coil should be wide enough to cover a decent area, but it also needs to have the right frequency. In general, the coil is connected to the machine, and you wear headphones to hear the beeping, which indicates that something is there to dig up.
Soil contains small amounts of elements and minerals, and these can interfere with your detector.
If it has a ground balance setting, this ‘ignores’ the minerals so that you can focus on the objects you prefer to find. Detectors come with various ground balance control options, such as:
Your machine is likely to have at least one preset from the manufacturer. They work well for regions with medium or low mineralization, though you can’t adjust them for other areas.
A modern detector can figure out the mineralization amount automatically. It then adjusts itself without your help.
Manual settings mean that you have to adjust it based on the type of soil. It requires you to have some knowledge of the area, but it also gives you more control.
Newer and more modern machines let you switch between automatic and manual mode, depending on the control you need.
The detector’s frequency indicates how often its circuitry switches the current’s direction. This is going to affect the size of the object and depth.
Typically, lower frequencies can offer greater penetration and see things deeper. However, this also means it might not find small objects.
High frequencies are often used for gold and small items. Many newer models offer multi-frequency features. This means you can change it as needed to fit whatever you’re trying to find. However, they’re also more expensive.
Submersible or Waterproof
Most detectors nowadays have waterproof coils, meaning you can use them in some water. However, if you plan to take it underwater, you need one that’s completely submersible. Though you may not think you need it, remember that hunting on the beach could mean unexpected waves.
Sometimes, the detector can tell you what target you’ve found. They can adjust the visual and audio outputs to tell you if it’s junk or not. This saves you a lot of time when digging your plugs, so you’re not unearthing things you don’t want or need.
When you buy a new detector, all you want to do is start digging. However, you need the right product so that you can do what you want. This is especially true for beginners and hobbyists. Since there are plenty of features and price ranges, you can easily find what you need or want.
The key here is to pick a detector that ultimately matches your experience level, budget, and needs. If you’re a beginner, I recommend that you go with entry-level options. That way, you learn what to do and can practice.
You shouldn’t get overwhelmed, even though it’s a confusing thing. The truth is that many VLF (Very Low Frequency) detectors do a good job and are ideal for beginners. Therefore, you can focus on learning and enjoy finding items in the dirt. Once you have more experience, you’re going to know what you need from the detector. In fact, the Fisher and Garrett brands are my top choices!
Regardless of your experience and budget, these 10 models are excellent choices. Happy treasure hunting! 🙂