By Type

Most metal detectors fall into one of three categories: Very Low Frequency (VLF), Multi-Frequency, and Pulse Induction (PI). Each type of device has its own set of benefits and is useful in different situations. For newcomers to the world of metal detecting, it can get a little confusing trying to figure all the scopes and settings of your next potential device.

There are lots of variables to determine what machine is going to be best for you but if you start by settling on the type of detector, the rest can fall into place a lot easier.

Let’s look at each of the three categories, their pros and cons, and what scenarios they are most useful for.


Very Low-Frequency Metal Detector

This is the most common type of metal detector. The best word to describe this type of device is versatile.

They can be used in lots of locations to detect lots of different metals, depending on how high-quality a device you go for.



  • Excellent price range to suit any budget for beginner or professional
  • User-friendly build and design with simple to read control boxes and lightweight body
  • A good all-rounder that is useful in lots of different situations with effective discrimination and resistance to signal interference
  • Good battery life



  • Only work on one frequency
  • Not as impressive for use on mineralized soil


Best Time to Use a VLF Metal Detector

These devices are great for long searches because of their superior battery life. For example, a VLF detector is great for a long walk through your local park searching for coins.


Multi-Frequency Metal Detector

This less-common design offers a wider range of detection by using more than one frequency at once.

Often these metal detectors offer the option to select certain frequencies and adapt them on the move.



  • Better for mineralized soil than VLF
  • Adjustable frequency, which can be altered during a search
  • Better depth detection



  • Less user friendly with some more complicated features
  • Inconsistent efficiency dependent on the signal
  • Not so many effective budget options


Best Time to Use a Multi-Frequency Metal Detector

Because of the adjustable frequencies, these machines are great for searches with a mix of terrain or uncertain mineralization levels.

As an example, multi-frequency detectors work well for hunts through fields and farmlands because of their depth detection and resistance to mineral interference.


Pulse Induction Metal Detector (PI)

These metal detectors are pretty high-tech and very effective. A common choice amongst professionals, Pulse Induction is an extremely effective way to search for hidden metal.

These are by no means the best choice for a beginner or casual hobbyist, but their ability to detect deep-buried trinkets is very impressive.



  • Perfect for searching for precious metals
  • Not impacted by mineralized soil at all
  • Impressive depth detection
  • Work excellently in saltwater



  • By far the most expensive devices
  • Heavy and not so easy to hold
  • Not for beginners
  • Discrimination settings are not as good as the rest of the functions


Best Time to Use a PI Metal Detector

Pulse indication is the best way to search on the beach and is also the type of model used by most serious gold hunters.


Go deeper

On this page, you would find more articles about the various types of Metal Detectors, so I invite you to enter one or more of the articles down here.

Enjoy :)