To enjoy an exciting hobby like metal detecting, you need a good detector. Of course, there’s no shortage of options in the market, ranging from ridiculously cheap models to those that cost over a thousand dollars.
As someone who’s just starting out, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics, and then step up your game when you gain enough experience. Thus, you’re better off with a metal detector that has robust features aimed at beginners or children.
Going for a complex model that has advanced features you don’t need will only confuse you.
Sadly, finding the best metal detector for beginners can be a big decision. And this is because most of the products that fall into this category are usually “toys” that are not effective for real detecting. You can easily identify them by their price tag as they usually cost below $150.
The goal of this guide is to help you avoid such items so you won’t end up disappointed and give up before the fun begins. We will not only show you how to choose a detector that is best for you but also present you with the top products in the market.
Best Metal Detector for Beginners Comparison
Garrett ACE 300
Canway Metal Detector
Bounty Hunter Gold
Fisher F22 Weatherproof
RM RICOMAX Metal Detector
OMMO Metal Detector
Minelab X-TERRA 305
7 Best Metal Detector for Beginners Review:
Below is a review of the top options currently available in the market. And we tried to make everything discussed here completely unbiased.Without wasting any more time, let’s hit the review!
1. Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector
To kick off the list is one of the most popular metal detectors in the market for beginners – the Garrett ACE 300. Like the other models in the ACE series, this one prides itself on being super easy to use while also offering robust features that make it very useful even for professionals.
So what makes the ACE 300 more preferable to other models in the series and one of the best detectors out there?
For its price, the unit comes with some excellent features that you would normally find in more expensive models. It is not only simple to use but also lightweight and sturdy.
One of its premium features is the improved iron resolution. Unlike the previous member of the ACE series – the 200 and 250, this machine provides you with more segments for detecting iron. In other words, it’s more effective in identifying iron targets and also separating trash from the valuable stuff.
You will also be glad to know that the machine has an adjustable frequency. Although it’s specified frequency is 8kHz, you can adjust it slightly when the need arises, such as when hunting with someone or a group of persons whose detectors are operating at the same frequency.
Apart from other machines, electromagnetic interference can also come from phone towers and power lines. Personally, I don't think you will be using this feature as a beginner, but it's still a good idea to know that you have it.
It will also interest you to know that the machine offers up to five search modes, which allow you to narrow your hunt to specific targets. This includes modes for searching relics, jewelry, coins, custom, and zero discrimination.
The machine also has a depth indicator that tells you how far you have dug to get to the target.
Overall, the ACE 300 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to explore metal detecting as a hobby.
2. Canway Metal Detector
Though not as popular as Garrett and Fisher, Canwayis another brand that provides a good balance of performance and price. So if you’re looking for an entry-level detector that will not disappoint, then you should consider the machine.
One of the first things you will notice about the unit is that its "humanization" design, which ensures you have a comfortable experience working with the equipment. This includes retractable poles to support different heights of users as well as an armrest design, which ensures you expend less energy.
The adjustable stem makes the machine suitable for both kids and adults, making the detector a great choice if you want something you can share with the kids.
Apart from its stability, the machine also provides highly accurate detecting, much better than what you get with many detectors in the same price range.
One of its exceptional features is the distinctive Audio tones, which enables you to know the exact type of metal that has been detected. You will also be glad to know that the machine has a pinpoint function.
Thus after getting the approximate range of targets with the DISC or ALL METAL mode, you can use pinpoint to obtain a higher level of accuracy.
In addition, the machine is equipped with an intuitive LCD that has a backlight. Some of the information you will find on the screen include battery level, sensitivity level, operation mode, target type, and so on.
Overall, this is a decent entry-level detector with reasonable pricing.wehave no doubt you will find it valuable.
3. Bounty Hunter Gold Digger Metal Detector
Another budget-friendly detector you can consider for a great first-time experience is the Bounty Hunter Gold Digger.
This model is specifically designed for newbies shopping on a tight budget but still want a machine that delivers on its promises.
For the price, the equipment is half times the cost of most beginner metal detectors in the market. And just so you know, this is a true detector – not a toy like most products that sell for the same price.
So apart from its incredible price advantage, what other thing is there to benefit from the Gold Digger?
Well, as the name suggests, the machine is designed to help you discover buried treasure under the ground, especially precious metals like gold and silver. Whether you are interested in gold prospecting or you want to get into jewelry and coin hunting, you will find the machine highly adequate.
In terms of appearance, the unit adopts a very simple bare-bones design, much like what we had in the 80s. This includes a control interface containing two knobs and a meter with an analog needle.
From here, you can optimize sensitivity and screen out unwanted targets. The device can identify coins up to 6-inches deep and detects larger objects up to 24-inches deep.
The machine also features a built-in speaker, which alerts you when a metal is detected. Although you can use the speaker without a headphone, we still advise you to use one, especially when hunting in a noisy area. Luckily, the unit is supplied with its own headphones, so you don't have to worry about purchasing one.
However, it’s important to note that the detector lacks most of the features normally found in higher priced models. This includes target ID, pinpointing mode, and Iron Audio. Also, there's no notch discrimination. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given how much the machine costs.
Overall, this is a decent entry level detector that is straightforward and simple to use. You can also check our review of Bounty Hunter Tracker IV here.
4. Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector
If you’re operating on a low budget but still need a metal detector that will not disappoint in terms of performance, then you will not go wrong with the Fisher F22.
This machine packs a lot of value for its price; it provides some interesting features that you will only find in higher priced models. Even though it’s mostly popular among beginners, there are still many experienced users that choose it over more expensive models due to what it brings to the table.
It has a simple design, which makes it very easy to maneuver. With only 2.3 pounds, this is undeniably one of the lightest options out there. There are many heavy models that weigh twice as much. However, with the F22, you don’t have to worry about your arms even if you use the equipment for extended periods.
Like most models, the coil is fully waterproof, which makes it suitable for wet conditions. It will do just fine in shallow water.
You will also be glad to know that the unit comes with Iron Audio, which allows you to differentiate targets so you won't waste your precious time digging up an unwanted item.
Interestingly, the machine offers up to 10 sensitivity settings and has a VDI readout that lets you know about the target object. To use the pinpointer function, you have to hold down the pointer button. While this might not always be convenient, it is not a big deal for its price.
The LCD also shows useful information such as the target ID numbers. You can even set up your own configuration and save it so you can use it whenever you want.
Overall, this machine is a great choice if you want a detector that will provide good value for your money, we consider it best for beginners and intermediate-level users.
5. RM RICOMAX Metal Detector
I found it difficult to end the list without mentioning this not so popular metal detector by RM RICOMAX – the RM Metal Detector for adults and kids. Although not as famous as some of the other products on the list, the machine is one of the best options available in the market.
You can use it to detect various metals such as aluminum, bronze, iron, gold, and silver. Its True Discrimination Mode allows you to screen out unwanted metals by setting the target range. This makes the device a great choice for hunting for specific metals.
You will also be glad to know that the machine coil is highly sensitive. This is mainly due to its large size. Bigger coils are known for being more sensitive and thus more effective for detecting deeper and larger items.
In addition to its big size, the coil is also waterproof so that you can use it for underwater exploration in outdoor areas like beaches or shallow streams.
The device also features a LCD that is quite intuitive. From the screen, you can see the battery condition, sensitivity level, volume level, target depth, and detection mode. This design is definitely more accurate than dial and knob. It's also more convenient to use.
In addition, the detector offers pinpoint functions and comes with various audio tones that alert you for different metal types.
As we mentioned earlier, this machine is great for all ages and skill levels. So whether you're a beginner, an experienced user, a kid, or an adult, you will definitely benefit having this in your hunting arsenal.
6. Ommo High Accuracy Metal Detector
Another bare-bones detector that seems to offer all the right features for beginners while being very affordable is the OMMO Metal Detector. But beyond its budget-friendliness, this device is more than just a basic detector.
It has a rugged construction, which makes it highly capable of handling even tough conditions. So if you need something for regular use that will last you a while, then you won't go wrong with this unit.
One of the first things you will notice about the detector is that it has a big coil, which makes it suitable for detecting larger objects instead of just coins. Also, with the big size of the coil comes higher sensitivity, which will make your search more productive and time-saving.
Furthermore, the coil is completely waterproof so that you can use it for underwater detecting. However, the control box is not waterproof, so the machine is only suitable for shallow water.
The machine is equipped with three operation modes, which you can switch between to narrow down your search, especially when hunting on mineral-rich soils. This includes a Disc mode, Pinpoint, and Motion All-Metal.
As expected, discrimination helps you to focus on valuable stuff instead of trash. Here, you can target specific metals by discriminating against other targets. The Motion All-Metal mode alerts you to all kinds of metal while pinpoint allows you to set various positioning strengths for metal detection by beeping.
Althoughwepersonally consider these features a bit less for finding particular targets, they are still very useful for real detecting.
Because the ability to distinguish between real treasure and trash should be the most important function of any real detector, or else you will waste a lot of time digging up things you would normally ignore.
You will be glad to know that the detector is supplied with all accessories you need to get started right away – batteries, a carrying bag, headphones, and shovel.
Get this for a loved one, and they will never forget it!
7. Minelab X-TERRA 305 Metal Detector
For rounding up the list, we have this isa premium unit from one of the most reputable brands in the industry.
Minelab is widely known for having some of the most expensive high-end metal detectors in the market. But not too ago, they came up with an entry-level model which seems to be doing well from every indication.
And the good thing about the machine is that it comes at an affordable price, which makes it even more desirable.
The Minelab X-TERRA is a VLF detector specifically built to cater to the needs of anyone looking to get into metal detecting as a hobby.
While it cannot be compared with the more costly models, it still provides everything you need to start real treasure hunting, which makes it one of the best metal detectors for beginners.
In fact, depending on your situation, you might actually find this more useful than models like the F22 or Garrett.
The machine uses Minelab’s VFLEX technology, which allows you to tweak the operating frequency. You can choose either 7kHz or 18kHz, depending on the application. This is done by changing the coils. You also have the option to adjust the threshold and cancel the noise.
Fortunately, the machine allows you to adjust ground balance manually, which makes it perfect for soils with high mineral content. Although you will rarely need this as a beginner, it is a nice feature to have.
Targets are better represented – thanks to its Target ID feature. The device also offers up to three tone IDs for greater flexibility. Check Minelab CTX 3030 review here.
What to Look for Before Buying?
If you’re serious about pursuing metal detecting as a hobby, then you will need to get a real metal detector. This doesn’t have to be something pricey or sophisticated. In fact, as a beginner, you should aim for a cheap detector as long as it offers the essential features required for real detecting work.
Here are the factors you should consider before going out to buy such a machine:
Like any other specialty equipment, a metal detector requires some level of technical knowledge for you to be able to operate it successfully.
As a beginner, it is assumed you have no previous experience with the machine. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to go for an entry-level detector with basic functionalities that won't confuse or overwhelm you, or else you might end up being disappointed.
Luckily, all the products on the list are beginner-friendly, easy to use, and high quality. So you can't go wrong with anyone of them.
When learning a new hobby, it wouldn’t be wise to spend thousands of dollars on a machine you might not be able to use.
Luckily, the market is filled with many cheap metal detectors, which are great to start with. By "cheap," we don't mean a $100 detector or something in that price range. Although you want a cheap unit, you must be careful not to end up with a "toy" model. Most of the cheapest detectors in the market are no better than "toys”.
Even though you want a cheap model, you should make sure it's something that comes with robust features that will enable you to do real detecting.
The idea is to have a budget and then choose the best detector within that price range. In most cases, the best starter metal detector costs around $130 - $400.
Luckily, most of the products we reviewed above are some of the most affordable options out there.
Another important consideration you need to make while purchasing a metal detector is the weight of the device. You want a detector that is comfortable to use and won't cause you any pain, especially when hunting for a long time. Using something heavy will only limit you as you would likely develop fatigue sooner.
Ideally, you want to choose a machine that matches your strength. For instance, a young muscular person might easily handle a 6 pounds detector for hours without experiencing any hand fatigue.
However, this will likely not be the case for a kid or a senior. Also, if you already have any physical condition, then it’s advisable to go for a lightweight model.
Various detectors have different operating frequencies; some are single, while others can operate on more than one frequency.
As a beginner, you're better off with a single frequency detector. Most entry-level models are usually single frequency – around 5 kHz to 12 kHz.
(Also check our guide on metal detector tips and tricks for beginners.)
Choose a detector that allows you to set discrimination as this allows for the segregation of your targets. It helps to separate the valuable items from the non-valuables. You will also find it useful for identifying specific targets.
Metal detectors come with various coil sizes. Smaller coils are better suited for small areas as they are much easier to maneuver. They also do better when it comes to target discrimination. On the other hand, larger coils are better for large, open spaces.
For beginners, small coils are generally recommended.
Are These Detectors Suitable for Kids?
Yes. As you can see, all the metal detectors reviewed above are not only cheap but also simple to use; thus making them suitable for both newbies and kids.
However, there are still a few things you should bear in mind if you plan on getting the machine for a kid. The child's age and skill level are the main ones.
Also, you should be sure the kid is strong enough to handle the machine. In other words, you have to mind the weight of the machine. You want to choose a model that is lightweight and very easy to handle.
Mind you, these factors should be taken more seriously than the machine’s own features as they have to do with your child’s safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Interference usually occurs when you’re using you’re using your metal detector very close to another detector operating at the same frequency. The only way to resolve this is to change your frequency or get as far as you can from the other detector.
Yes, you can. One of the ways to know if your detector is suitable for gold hunting is to check if it has gold detecting mode.
This depends on the location you intend to use the equipment. Each country or state has different rules for exploring metals on a beach. In some cases, you will only be allowed to hunt at specific times.
In general, hunting on public grounds or beaches is allowed. But try to stay away from private beaches. Always do your research before exploring some places in order to avoid trouble.
Yes, you can. There are various ways to make money from metal detecting, and you don’t even need to be a veteran to succeed. Some of these options include helping people discover lost items, working for a museum, clearing the way for underground plumbing work, and opening a YouTube channel.
This depends on several factors such as the conductivity of the soil, coil size, how long the object has been buried in the ground, and it’s size and shape.
There you have it – the best metal detector for beginners. Whether you’re looking to hunt for a specific target or you want something that is all-purpose, you will definitely find a detector from the list to meet your needs.
All the machines provide the best balance of price and performance. With the right one, we have no doubt you will come to appreciate metal detecting as a fun and exciting hobby.
If you have any questions about choosing the right entry level metal detector for your treasure hunts, then drop a comment below, and we would do my best to help. Until then, happy hunting!