You’re looking to become a metal detector but still not sure which detector to buy. Already, you’ve ransacked various websites and forums for answers but with little success. It seems all the case studies and reviews you found were either biased or not straightforward…leaving you all the more confused.
If this describes you, then I encourage you to read on.
Finding the best metal detector for the money is not easy. With so many options available in the market, each designed to address different situations and needs, making the all-important choice can be a daunting task. But not to worry, we are here to help.
First, we will like to let you know upfront that there’s not one detector that is "best for everything." What is BEST is what is RIGHT for YOU.
And what is right for you depends on your particular needs, which encompass your location, budget, and what you're hoping to find.
In this article, we will be reviewing the top ten metal detectors available in the market for both newbies and experienced users.
Best Metal Detector Comparison:
Garrett Ace 400
Garrett AT MAX
XP DEUS Metal Detector
Fisher F22 Weatherproof
Garrett ACE 250
Teknetics T2 Classic
Bounty Hunter TK4
SUNPOW Metal Detector
RM RICOMAX Professional
10 Best Metal Detector Reviews:
The market is filled with numerous brands and models of metal detectors. So, it can be a daunting task when you have to make the big decision.
We have reviewed the top ten products to make your life a whole lot easier.
1. Garrett ACE 400 Metal Detector - Best Value Metal Detector
To kick off the list, we have the top product from the ACE series – the Garrett ACE 400. I personally consider this to be the best value metal detector in the market because it's so hard to find anything that can beat the price.
Although it takes its place amongst the mid-level metal detectors, it is also a great choice for beginners who can afford to spend a little extra to gain more value.
The machine comes with a digital ID of 0-99, which you will not find in the other members of the ACE series. Included with ID is an LCD screen, which is simple to read.
Compared to the ACE 350 and others, this unit also gives a more precise presentation of your targets by telling you the exact metal in view – whether it's silver or copper. It even goes further to tell you whether the metal is clad or unclad.
The machine also has an iron audio feature, which is a great deal for its price. With this feature, you don't have to worry about being deceived by bottles and other stuff, which aren't metals.
So, you won't be wasting your precious time digging up trash. However, bear it in mind that the Iron Audio feature won't work in the "Zero Disc Mode," as this mode doesn't treat iron as a distinct object.
With iron audio, you will be sure of what you are digging up as you have the option to double-check it. You will hardly find this feature in an entry-level detector.
In addition, this detector comes with adjustable frequency. This feature comes in handy when you are hunting as a group.
You can adjust the frequency of your machine so that it won't interfere with another detector operating the same frequency. Although you will rarely use this, it’s still something you should bear in mind.
The device is also equipped with Camlocks for enhanced stability. There are five different search modes you can activate to narrow down your search.
Overall, this is a great tool to consider if you want to do serious metal hunting. You will hardly find a better detector with the same price point.
Read our exclusive detail review on Garrett ACE 400.
2. Fisher F75+ Metal Detector - Best All-Round Metal Detector
The Fisher F75+ is a great choice if you need something built for strength and versatility. It's another mid-range metal detector that qualifies as a top contender for the best all-round metal detector in the market.
You will be glad to know that the machine has great ergonomics to complement its superb performance and can be used in various environments.
One of the things I find fascinating about this machine is that it gives you the option to set an audio sound – thanks to its audio variation technology. So, if you're not happy with the default sound it provides, feel free to tweak it to what you like.
The operating frequency is rated at 13 kHz, which is quite impressive for its price. You will find this very effective for coin and relic detection.
This device has a sharp accuracy in detecting clean targets. It also features a dual filter that can discriminate iron while still retaining its precision.
The 11-inch search coil it comes with is more than you would find in most detectors in the same category. You will also be impressed with its large LCD screen. It features a two-digit target ID and has manual and automatic modes. Then, inclusion of a backlight makes it suitable for hunting in low light conditions.
Overall, I think the Fisher F75+ is a great choice for beginners and intermediate hunters. It is highly recommended! Check my full review here.
3. Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector - Best-Rated Metal Detectors
This Garrett metal detector is another popular option known for being highly reliable. It is one of the best-rated metal detectors on the counter at the moment.
And this doesn’t come as a surprise given the incredible reputation Garrett has gained over the years, not only as a pioneer of metal detecting in the US but also as one of the top brands in the industry.
This metal detector will help you hunt coins, relics, jewelry, and other valuable stuff. And it does this effectively. It can also get up to 3 meters below the water surface, which makes it suitable for underwater hunting.
One scintillating feature we found with this machine is the built-in Z-Lynk wireless technology. This technology helps you get a signal immediately when your coil is over your target.
It is six times faster than what you will ordinarily find in many metal detectors. So, there's no concern about missing any signal.
The machine has a waterproof coil that can go up to 10 feet below ground level. This includes both freshwater and saltwater.
As with other Garrett detectors, this one also comes with a headphone. To connect your headset to the machine, you need to first pair it with the detector. And this is easy to do.
Just hold the detector and headset close to each other and press the frequency buttons simultaneously to connect. You will have to repeat the procedure to unpair.
If you want to detect stuff underwater, you need to take off your wireless headset and wear wired earphones as it doesn’t work in water.
Other notable features of the machine include digital target ID, audio tone ID, freshwater and saltwater search mode, LED backlight screen, and so on.
4. XP DEUS Metal Detector
If you’re looking for something a bit “sophisticated” and specifically designed for serious hunts, then you will not go wrong with this excellent detector from XP DEUS. Although a bit expensive, this machine is one of the few options built with quality and performance in mind.
The first things you will probably notice about the machine is that it has a foldable design, which solves the challenge of storage.
This device is powered by three lithium batteries; one battery powers the coil, one the headset, and the other the remote. These batteries are also rechargeable, and so you are not going to be spending on batteries.
The machine works great for both professional and mid-level metal detectorists. It is not only simple to use but also comes with a few advanced features which anyone can benefit from regardless of their skill level.
There are many ground balancing modules that you can choose from as well as different modes you can use to operate it. The device also has multiple tones, which gives you an idea of the metal you are digging up.
As expected, the unit comes with an LCD screen, which is easy to read and interact with. The volume will be better if you are using a headphone. Lastly, this device can be folded for storage.
5. Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector – Best Metal Detector for the Money
Another easy to use metal detector built with cutting edge technology is the Fisher F22. Released in 2015, this unit comes with features beyond the normal entry-level model.
These features include additional modes of searching, iron audio, better coil design, and volume adjustment.
And the big one is; all these are controlled from a small compact box. However, the box isn't waterproof.
This device is basically an "on the go" metal detector and is also well suited for entry-level detectorists as well as more experienced users. It is powerful and a good all-rounder that will satisfy all your coins, jewelry, and relic detection yearnings.
The machine also features a thin coil that separates iron and trash. And it's ideal for negotiating tight regions in rocky places and grounds. You will be glad to know that the coil is submersible, although the box is not. So, you need to be careful with the box.
There are four modes - jewelry, coin, artifacts, and custom. This helps you to narrow down your search and discriminate against whatever you don't want. The LCD screen is also helpful and features a lot of sweetness. You will be able to detect the category ID, whether gold or silver, or whatever type of metal.
Interestingly, the machine also has target ID, which tells you more about the type of metal detected. This includes the conductivity, size, and placement of the metal in the ground.
Its iron detection function helps you identify your coins and relics while separating out iron trash. This is usually displayed on the screen. There is also a "current search mode," where you can change your preferences without hassles.
Other useful information on the screen are battery level indicator which tells you about the battery charge, and the target level indicator, which tells you the depth of your target.
6. Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector – Best Metal Detector Under $500
This metal detector will serve you uncompromisingly and will deliver much beautiful metal finds to you.
It is versatile and comes from one of the most popular brands, which makes it highly reliable.
The machine has a frequency of 6.5 kHz. So even though it can be used to hunt coins and relics, it will not do so with great sensitivity, like other higher priced metal detectors. It features a Accept/Reject notch that allows you target for specific objects and avoid those you don’t want.
Also, this device is not a great option for hunting gold. Notwithstanding, it is designed to be simple and can serve the basic needs of hunting. However, it won't do well in soils with a high level of mineralization.
It weighs 2.7lbs, which makes it one of the lightest options out there.
The controls are easy to manipulate, and the panel is great. It is powered by four AA batteries. And you can choose whether to run primary cell batteries or rechargeable ones. The rechargeable batteries will save you some bucks but will not last as long as the primary cells.
It has an LCD screen that features the five search modes, the depth indicator, and discrimination.
This device, however, may have a cheap and uninteresting outlook, but it packs a lot of punch. And it will satisfy the desires of an entry-level detectorist. It is still one of the best metal detectors for the price. Check our full review for more information.
7. Teknetics T2 Classic Metal Detector
This is a high-performance metal detector with many interesting features. I personally think it’s a worthy competitor for the top mid-level metal detectors in the markets.
The device will suffice for all the adventures of mid-level detectorists. But beginners will also find it easy to use. It is multi-purpose and highly adjustable.
One of the things you will really enjoy in this metal detector is its excellence in gold detecting. Thus, if you’re looking for something for gold prospecting, this is the unit to go for. Its LCD also displays the search modes.
There are five search modes altogether, and they include All Metal, Coin & Treasure, Gold, Auto Tune and Discrimination. All these are designed for different things but with the intent to enhance the overall performance of the machine.
While you may be able to set it at "all metals" to detect every metal in your path, the discrimination mode will help you narrow down your search.
When you detect a target, the pinpoint mode saves you from the hassle of digging the ground by giving you the exact location of the metal.
This device might not be cheap, but it has a lot of functionalities. Its durability is also non-negotiable. As expected, the search coil is waterproof, but the control box is not. So, the device is only suitable for shallow water conditions.
That said, this is an excellent detector with good quality and reliable performance. For its price, you will hardly find a better alternative.
8. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector
If you need a metal detector designed for treasure hunting in extreme ground conditions, then you should consider the TK4 Tracker by Bounty Hunter. The machine features a simple design. Thus, even if you have never handled a metal detector, you can use it.
Basically, this device has three search modes, and its stem is also adjustable.
The Bounty Hunter TK4 was made to take in rugged hits. And so, you can use it in very harsh environments.
This device detects metal by actual movements. So, you can't place your coil over metal and expect to detect it. That's not going to work. You have to sweep the coil gently over the target for it to catch the signal.
It has a built-in speaker. However, you might want to block off noise and distractions in crowded areas by purchasing a headphone. You won't find anything complicated with this device. Everything is clear and easy to explore, making it a great option for beginners.
There are two knobs with which you can handle just about anything. The machine weighs 4.2lbs. So, you won't find it hard to carry during long hunting escapades. And your children can also carry it. It's for everyone.
It doesn't offer manual ground balance adjustment. Therefore, it won’t do well in marine waters and beaches with high mineral soils. In addition, there’s no iron audio and no digital target ID. But you can't fuss about that because the device is extremely cheap.
The three adjustable settings you will find are discrimination, search mode, and sensitivity.
Overall, this TK4 Tracker is a great choice if you’re looking for something simple and affordable yet effective. For its price, you might not find a better alternative.
9. SUNPOWER Metal Detector High Accuracy Metal Detector
This metal detector is an all-rounder and is capable of satisfying all your metal detection needs. It features three modes of operation. And these modes will greatly increase efficiency. They are the motion mode, the non-motion mode, and the notch mode.
The machine can also detect a wide variety of metals including, gold, silver, iron, bronze, aluminum, and so on. And so, you can easily make your choice of target metals and eliminate rubbish.
It has an upgraded DSP chip and a waterproof coil, making sure you can use it anywhere, ranging from fields to beaches to even marines. You get all these in addition to the ability to reach up to a depth of 8.7 inches, which is considerably deep.
With 6.25 pounds of weight, this is obviously not the lightest detectors out there, but it's also not the heaviest.
Normally, different mineral levels can instigate errors in metal detectors. But with different modes of balancing, this device will be able to separate trash and give only true signals.
It features an adjustable stem and an armrest that makes it comfortable for you while you are working. The LCD is also inch-perfect, combining both mixed and transparent colors.
The device uses 8AA batteries, which are long-lasting, ensuring you have enough power to spend a considerable amount of time out there. However, you will have to purchase the batteries separately as they are not supplied with the product.
10. RM RICOMAX Professional Metal Detector – Best Metal Detector Under $300
I found it difficult to end the list without mentioning this not so popular metal detector by RM RICOMAX – the RM GC-1037. Although not as famous as some of the products on the list, the RM GC-1037 is one of the best options out there.
This device is great for detecting special metals. And it does that with a great deal of accuracy. It features a high-end discrimination mode that enables you to search for only special metals.
You can search for targets up to 7.1 inches deep, and can stamp out unwanted metals. The search coil is large. Probably, the largest you will find for its price. You will be glad to know that the coil is also waterproof, so you can use it anywhere, including marine, damp areas, and even beaches.
It also has an LCD control box. And with this box, you will be able to set whatever you desire, including sensitivity level, volume, detection mode.
In this control LCD, you will also see your battery status and know how much life your battery still has and when to charge. It will also show detected metals and the depth of such metals.
As you keep using this device, you will be able to tell, with time, what metal your device has found, even without looking at the screen. This is because each metal has a different audio sound. So, you will get accustomed to the sounds over time.
It also comes with a headphone jack, with which you can connect a headphone. This device is good for beginners. And not just that, professionals and everyone with high skill will also find it useful. It will enable them to try out different options and hone their skills further.
How Do Metal Detector Works?
You will hardly find two metal detectors that look exactly the same, except they are from the same manufacturer. Notwithstanding, despite the differences in design and looks, all detectors still operate the same way.
Below is a summary of the working mechanism of metal detectors.
Each detector is made up of four main parts – the control box, shaft, antenna, and stabilizer. By knowing what each one of these is, we can better understand how the machine works.
Located at the top of the machine, the control box houses most of the important components in the machine. This includes stuff like the circuitry, the microprocessor, controls (if any), speakers, as well as batteries (power source).
Also known as the "coil," "loop," or "antenna," the search head is a round disc responsible for sensing. It is usually located at the base of the detector. In most cases, search heads are waterproof, which is important if you intend to use the machine in wet conditions.
There are two major parts of the coil – the receiver and the transmitter.
The shaft is a lengthy rod that connects the search head and the control box. It is usually adjustable to accommodate different heights.
As the name suggests, the stabilizer helps to keep the machine steady for easy control.
Power is generated in the control box from the batteries and then transmitted to the antenna through the cables. A magnetic field is formed in the process.
Thus, when the metal detector comes across a metal hidden in the ground, it places the magnetic field over the target so that the current is directed through the metal and then back to the machine through the coil or antenna.
In other words, whenever the coil receives current, it indicates metal has been detected. Most detectors will give a beep sound when this happens.
Types of Metal Detector
Although all metal detectors have the same basic function, they are not always built with the same technology. You will find 3 major types of detectors in the market based on the type of technology used.
This includes Very Low Frequency detectors (or VLF), Pulse Induction detectors (or PI), and Multi Frequency detectors (or MF). The one you end up choosing will largely depend on your budget and purpose.
Let’s take a close look at each one.
Most detectors in the market today use VLF technology, which basically features two coils for detecting metals. Both coils work together to set up a magnetic field, which then detects the magnetic field set up by the target metal.
This type of detector is usually lightweight and cheap. They are also simple to use and thus are often targeted towards beginners. However, it is common for them to be affected by high mineralization. The machines are best suited for hunting relics, jewels, and coins.
Pulse induction detectors usually offer more useful features and benefits than VLF detectors, especially for specialized applications. As such, they tend to be more expensive. Instead of two coils, the machine uses only one coil for creating an electromagnetic field.
This coil functions both as a transmitter and a receiver. Unlike VLF detectors, PI detectors work well in high mineral areas such as beaches. However, they are not as good as the VLF when it comes to metal discrimination.
As the name suggests, multi-frequency detectors are the most versatile options. They give you the ability to set the machine to different frequencies depending on the application. However, they are usually very expensive – usually cost over $1000.
Accessories You Need with a Metal Detector
Much like many specialty devices, a metal detector doesn't work independently. Most of the time, you will need extra pieces of tools and accessories to effectively use it.
In my experience, I have found the ones listed below to be most important:
After you get a signal from your machine, the next thing is to dig up the target. For this, you will need a hand trowel. The market is usually filled with special trowels specifically designed for digging up metal from the ground.
These trowels tend to be thinner and longer than the normal hand trowel we’re all used to. However, I personally recommend using your normal hand or garden trowel if you already have one. It will do just fine.
Another accessory you will likely need when searching for metal treasures is a sand scoop. It basically acts as a mesh for grabbing a target before it gets carried away by sea. For a rocky area, it is best to use a scope that has a pointed tip.
Headphones are necessary for blocking out noise when you go out to hunt. Noise sources include humans (like when hunting in a crowded place such as a beach or park), waves, and wind.
You will also need headphones when you’re hunting with a group. Wearing a headphone is generally recommended as it helps you to stay focus.
If you’re planning to hunt for a long time, which is the case most times, then you need to wear a harness to remove the weight from your shoulders and increase your balance.
Carrying a pinpointer is not required, but it's still great to have. This will save you from guesswork when digging and ensure you don’t waste valuable time.
Some machines might come with a pinpoint function. In this case, you don’t need to carry an external pinpointer.
It is easy to get discouraged when you’re hungry. So try to carry some snacks along. Keep your appetite under control so you can focus on your hunt.
How to Use a Metal Detector?
Despite being a specialty and technical machine, a metal detector is generally simple to use. All you need is some practice to understand the various settings and be able to interpret the readouts.
So how do you actually use it?
Power the Machine
Start by turning on the equipment. Although this sounds like the normal thing to do, there are actually many newbies who totally skip this step out of excitement and end up asking funny questions.
Check the Battery
If the machine doesn’t work after turning it on, then it’s possible the batteries are bad or have a low charge. In this case, replace the batteries. Most expensive models usually display the battery level on the screen.
This way, you can tell when the machine is running low on power. But it’s not every detector that has this feature. In any case, always carry a spare battery set along. Once the machine is powered up, you can now begin to use it. How?
Start by sweeping it sideways repeatedly in front of your feet. Do this gently and make sure it’s very close to the ground in order to enable the magnetic field it creates to infiltrate the sand or soil.
But it shouldn’t be too low such that the coil or antenna touches the ground as this might lead to damage, especially if the ground is filled with stones or other debris.
Start to move slowly and maintain a steady pace. Swinging fast will make you lose a lot of targets. Also, avoid standing in one spot as some detectors won’t pick a signal if they aren’t moved.
Most detectors will make a “beep” sound when they spot something. When this happens, use a pinpoint to identify where the signal originates from and then start digging!
Who Sells the Best Metal Detectors?
When buying specialized equipment like a metal detector, it is usually recommended to opt for well-respected brands with a good reputation. Such brands usually provide a better guarantee in terms of quality and performance. So, it's only natural to expect the best products from such brands.
Following are the top brands that produce the best metal detector products:
Except you're completely new to metal detecting, the chances are that you've heard about Garrett or came across one of their products before. Garrett is not only the pioneer of metal detecting in the US; they are also one of the leading brands in the niche.
They have some of the highest quality and budget-friendly metal detectors in the market. Thus, if you’re looking for machines that top the chart in terms of performance and durability, then you won’t go wrong with a Garrett detector.
It is important to note that all Garrett detectors are designed in America. So, make sure you avoid any Garrett brand affiliated to China or any other place.
Fisher is another brand to consider if you’re looking for a detector with unbeatable performance and quality. Although the company doesn't boast of having the most innovative products, they’ve managed to secure a comfortable position in the market despite the huge competition.
One of the secrets to their long-standing reputation is their incredible commitment to customer satisfaction.
Although relatively new in the industry, Bounty Hunter has managed to build a solid reputation ever since they came on the scene. Their detectors are very popular among newbies and intermediate detectorists.
Not only do they offer good quality products, but they also have a reliable customer service that is always ready to attend to your needs. Apart from being very easy to use, their metal detectors are also very affordable. They make a lot of great kid and beginner-friendly detectors.
Minelab is another popular brand known for providing reliable, good looking metal detectors. Located in Australia, the company thrives on innovation and quality and has over 30 years of experience.
Their machines are mainly built for tough search conditions and sites that are not easily pliable. As such, they are mostly used by gold prospectors and the military.
In other words, any Minelab model would make a great choice for professional metal detecting.
XP is a famous brand in Europe, without doubts one of the top performers on the globe. Their detectors stand out in terms of design, quality, and performance. However, this often comes at a higher price.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re new to metal detecting, then renting a detector seems like a better plan. At least, this will allow you to try out different brands of the machine until you find one with the features and functionality you're looking for.
But even then, there’s nothing like having your own machine. So, we advise getting your own metal detector once you find a model you like.
If you’re a newbie, then you don’t need to pay much attention to coil size. However, for more experienced users, knowing about the coil size gives you an idea of what you can accomplish with the metal detector. Usually, the large the coil, the more ground it can cover.
Coil sizes may range between 6 to 10 inches. The 6-inch coils are generally considered small, while the standard 8-inch coils are medium-sized and are better suited for newbies. Metal detectors with 10-inches coils tend to be much heavier than others and maybe considered large.
There’s no one answer to this question. The level of ground penetration of a detector depends on the specific product and a number of variables such as soil type, the size and shape of the object, the time it was buried, the type of metal detector, and its coil size.
As the name suggests, a depth indicator tells you how deep the target object (metal) lies in the ground. This is usually represented by a number which is shown on the display screen.
Most of the time, the reading you get back from a depth indicator will be inaccurate. So always consider taking the dig a little farther if you don’t find anything at first.
You are likely going to come across different metals during your hunt, but it's not everything you will need. Discrimination allows you to differentiate the targets. It most cases, this feature is activated with a dial or button on the top of the machine (usually the control box).
It’s important to resolve discrimination before you set out for your hunt. Low discrimination means the machine would practically pick up any metal in the soil, including cans, foils, and even soil minerals. But as discrimination increases, some metals are ignored, leaving you with the more valuable stuff.
The idea is to get your discrimination properly set so the machine can be able to pick up useful metals while screening out the trash.
This largely depends on your location. If you lack ideas, a good place to start is in your yard. This is probably the best place we would recommend for you as a beginner.
You might not find much, but you will be comfortable using the machine here since it's your yard. This is a good place to explore the machine to see what you can do with it.
Another good location you can hunt for treasure is a beach. A lot of people visit the beach to do various things – party, relax, play games, and so on. As such, the area usually has an endless supply of valuables such as coins and jewelry, which people often drop mistakenly.
You might require permission to hunt here, especially if it’s a private beach. So, take note!
Other places you can explore for treasure are parks, churches, stadiums, fields, woods, deserted towns, other people’s yards, and so on. In most cases, you will need to get permission to have access to these areas.
Well, this depends on the particular detector. Some machines have a gold detecting mode, which makes it possible for them to identify gold.
The metals normally picked by detectors are those that conduct electricity such as copper, iron, tin, silver, aluminum, lead, and so on.
Although not without a share of frustration, metal detecting can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re using the right equipment.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get the best detector for the job.
Although there are a lot of different parameters to consider, you don’t have to spend too much time thinking about your first purchase. The most important thing is to access your needs first and then go for a model that offers what you’re looking for.
We hope this article was helpful, and you’re now in a better position to make the big decision.
Now, go out there and find some treasure. Happy hunting!