How to use a pinpointer?

You’ve just bought your first pinpointer, and you’re wondering how to use it, maybe find some buried treasure even! The only thing stopping you from finding some gold or silver is that you don’t entirely know how to use the thing. But, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. 

People who are new to the metal detecting hobby and those who don’t have the mastery of using a pinpointer aren’t aware of the many pros and cons a pinpointer has.

Here, in this guide, I’ll help you know about all the possibilities of using a pinpointer for metal detecting purposes, explain what it does, how they work, and answer commonly asked questions related to pinpointing.

So, let’s get started.


What is a pinpointer?

A pinpointer is a small portable static metal detector. It’s a battery-powered device that’s small, light, and completely automatic.


What does a pinpointer do?

A pinpointer helps you precisely identify a target’s location, helps dig smaller holes, reduces the time for target recovery. In addition, Pinpointers help you reduce the detection field of the target in the hole in no time.

They work by comparing the frequency or volume of a sound to the strength of the signal received from the item by the pinpointer.


How do you use a pinpointer for metal detecting?

Even though pinpointers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they all serve the same purpose. Turn it on, scan, and point it towards your target, and you’ll be able to recover it.

These are the general rules for handling a pinpointer, although the operating instructions may differ significantly.


Steps for using a pinpointer

  1. Switch on the pinpointer with the pinpointer facing away from any metallic items. It will beep several times to notify that it is turned on and adjusted to the ground conditions.
  2. If you’re working in highly mineralized terrain (type of soil with a high amount of magnetism), you may need to press the ground balancing button with the pinpointer’s tip immediately in the soil, sand, or seawater. Depending on the manufacturer and model, this button may be referred to as Retune, Calibrate, or other similar titles.
  3. If the pinpointer continues to respond to the environment, retune it or lower the sensitivity.
  4. While listening to the audio, begin scanning your hole with the tip of the pinpointer. Most pinpointers use a proportional audio tone mechanism, which means that as you get closer to an object, it beeps faster or changes pitch. The idea is to move the tip towards the place where the beeps become closer and quicker together until they produce a consistent tone. This implies you’re within ½” of the target.
  5. Use your digging equipment to dig deeper if the pinpointer isn’t detecting a target, but the metal detector says it’s there. Repeat step 4.
  6. If the pinpointer acts unstable, go back to step 2 or 3.
  7. Using the pinpointer’s detection as a guide, find your target.
  8. Turn the pinpointer off.


Steps for after using a pinpointer:

  • To avoid damaging your objective, clean it with your designated cleaning tools. Examine it.
  • Whether it’s a good or bad find, put it in a bag.
  • Don’t forget to return your pinpointer in its bag, pocket, or holster.
  • Fill up your hole.
  • Now is the time to move on.


How to use pinpointer to find gold, silver, and coins

Finding Gold

It’s important to know what kind of gold you’re looking for, and natural gold is rare and difficult to come by. On the other hand, Gold nuggets are best discovered in places where they have already been found.

Stick your pinpointer in spots where gold bits or nuggets are likely to become stuck, such as dredge tailing heaps and placer deposits or cracks between rocks near lakes.

Pinpointers can also identify heated stones and show no signs of difference. Simply place the pinpointer in a crack, listen for a beeping sound, pull out the precise area where the pinpointer beeped, and analyze the dug-out pile for gold bits or nuggets.


Finding silver

The ability to discriminate between detector noises with your ears is a basic talent, but it’s worth another look when you aim to find silver. Silver emits a louder, steadier signal, similar to a zing zing sound.

Silver is a pure element with great electrical conductivity. It is a more efficient conductor than copper. This is what allows you to hear unique sounds when you hover your pinpointer over silver.

Simply listen for a distinct sound, and you’ve most likely discovered silver. They come in the form of small irregular flakes, threads, and masses.


Finding coins

Hover your pinpointer in the general area where you heard it beeping and stick it in and dig out. Coins are usually found in old, abandoned houses around your neighborhood. Look on front porches, rear doorsteps.


Adjusting a pinpointer

Pinpointers are simple and easy to understand devices. There isn’t much to it, but it can be a little tricky when it comes to making modifications because of the one-button feature. So here’s a guide to figuring out configurations.



Some pinpointers feature adjustable sensitivity and can be set to 3-5 levels. You should examine how these adjustments are made on a pinpointer because it may influence your choice.

The Minelab Pro Find 35, for example, features + and – buttons, whereas the Garrett AT Pro Pointer just has one button for all adjustments.


One button for all

The majority of the time, a single button serves for all. For example, the on/off, settings adjustment, and retune button.

A single press starts the pinpointer, a rapid press retunes it, and when you hold on the button, it activates settings, where consecutive presses pick the sensitivity, vibration, and audio options.


Q & A

Which are the best pinpointers to use?

Other models have been around for a long time, while pinpointers have come and gone.

However, the Minelab Pro Find 35, Garrett AT Pro Pointer, and Fisher F-Pulse are undoubtedly the most popular pinpointers that the general public has ranked and rated as the best on the market.


Can pinpointers detect unnecessary items, or do they ignore them?

A few can, but a pinpointer’s job is to help you narrow down a target’s location and detect it precisely when you’re close enough. The majority of pinpointers are one-tone devices that detect both ferrous and non-ferrous metallic objects.



Pinpointers are a great help to your treasure-finding needs. I hope this guide covered all the basics and helped you with the necessary know-how regarding pinpointer metal detectors. Happy hunting! 

How to use a Pinpointer?
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Shimon Leizerovich
Shimon Leizerovich
I like to Find Gems and Treasures Around My Area, So Enjoy From My Biggest passion, Metal Detecting. I fall in love with the Metal Detecting area, and it connected with me to another hobby I had as a child, that to find gems and "treasures" around me and my area.