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How to Choose the Right Metal Detector

A guide by Certified Metal Detector Experts to help find the Best Metal Detector for You!

Metal Detecting for treasures opens up a new world of excitement and outdoor adventures not only for you, but can also be a great way for your family and friends to join in America's fastest growing hobby. Metal Detecting is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors exploring for valuable treasures of all kinds. Not only is Metal Detecting a fun hobby & sport but it's the only hobby we know that pays for itself with the money and valuables you find. So, what's the best metal detector for you?

The best metal detectors are the ones that are right for your personal wants and needs. Depending on where you live, your budget, and what you're interested in finding - there are a number of different metal detectors you can choose from. This article is a practical guide for you, written and maintained by real Experienced Certified Metal Detector Experts who test, use and understand the metal detectors we write about!

1. What is it you want to find? Define Your Interests - Coins, Rings, Jewelry, Gold Nuggets, Relics, Artifacts & Antiques?

Trinkets and Gold

Most metal detectors manufactured today, are "all-purpose" detectors that will find everything from coins, rings and jewelry to relics and even Gold – and they're available within every price range. Detectors such as the Bounty Hunter Pioneer 505, Garrett ACE 250, Garrett AT Pro, Minelab’s X-Terra Series or the New 2015 Minelab GO-FINDs and Whites Coinmasters are perfect for finding just about anything you could want. All are easy to use for beginners, retirees and Seniors, and very affordable.

If your main goal is to have fun and adventure plus get some exercise, there are plenty of places to go "coin shooting and jewelry hunting". You'll want an all-purpose metal detector with exceptional (X marks the spot) pinpointing abilities and discrimination features to eliminate trash and junk targets. Look at the Titan 9000, Fisher F5, Whites Coinmasters and Treasure Commander Series, all are customer favorites with affordable prices and very automatic features... Easy to tune and easy to use.

Searching for relics, artifacts, buried coins and treasure caches? You'll need a deeper seeking detector like the Garrett GTI 2500 with Eagle Eye and Nokta FORS CoRe Pro are recommended. For real hidden and buried treasure, Minelab’s GPX 4800, OKM Black Hawk and Nokta Golden King are some favorites of serious treasure hunters, a little higher price for a lot more depth.

If it's natural gold (Gold Nuggets - Gold Flakes) that you're after, you'll need a detector that operates at a higher frequency with smaller coils or special shaped coils and is more sensitive to smaller gold which is harder to register on standard detectors. Look at Nokta FORS GOLD, Garrett's AT Gold and Fisher's Gold Bugs, all are medium priced. Higher priced and Super Deep gold detectors from Minelab and Nokta are world-wide favorites. All are worth checking out. You do NOT need a gold detector to find gold coins and gold jewelry. They are also found with all-purpose metal detectors.

2. Where will you be metal detecting most of your time, parks, schools, fairgrounds, mountains, beaches, in the water?

Detect on beaches and fields

Think about where you'll be hunting the majority of the time. If you plan to be searching in your neighborhood parks, playgrounds, old school yards, fishing- hunting camps, and many other dry ground sites, then an all-purpose metal detector is the one for you, and there are many to choose from. If you live close to lakes or rivers and want to hunt the edges of the water for lost rings coins and jewelry, most all- purpose metal detectors have waterproof search coils that are safe for shallow water.

However, if you live close to a salt water ocean, rivers or lakes and want to go into the water where the entire metal detector can be submerged or dropped into the water, then you'll need an underwater/beach/land metal detector that has a waterproof housing, and one that can find treasures without the signal being disrupted by the conductivity in salt water or on a wet sandy beach. You'll want to check out the Cobra Beach Magnet, Viper Trident, Minelab Excalibur II, Minelab CTX-3030 and Garrett Sea Hunter. All are excellent options that will help you find treasure on land and water for many years.

NOTE: More Gold Rings and Jewelry are found at ocean beaches and lake swimming areas than anywhere else.

3. How often will you be detecting?

How often will you be detecting?

Do you want to metal detect on the weekends or whenever you can? Are you retired and planning to treasure hunt as much as possible even taking your detector with you on vacations? Are you an active or inactive Senior looking for a fun activity that adds exercise benefits? Chances are you'll become addicted to this great hobby just like the rest of us, so you'll want to consider how your detector stands up to repeated use.

Be honest with yourself. How rough will you be on your machine? You might not plan on dropping it, but you probably will. Think about all the bumps and jolts your machine will have to handle in the trunk of your car or if dropped on rocky terrain. The bottom line is that you'll want a rugged machine that is built to last and you’re lucky, most detectors today are built to rigorous international standards to stand up to hard use if encountered.

Before you buy, make sure you read the reviews for your detector and look at the warranty. All detectors carried by Kellyco offer exceptional warranties that will keep you happily searching for treasures for many years to come! And if you ever need to send your detector in for repairs, these manufactures will give you excellent services!

4. How much experience do you have?

How much experience do you have?

Don’t worry if you’ve never metal detected before. Most modern machines feature Quick Start settings that make treasure hunting as easy as installing batteries and turning on the detector. With the push of a button, pre-set discrimination settings let you zero-in on finds like old coins, diamond rings, and gold nuggets while filtering out iron junk. Automatic tuning helps you calibrate your detector for different ground conditions and cancel out interference from power lines. You don’t have to master everything about your detector right away – the in-depth features will be waiting for you when you’re ready for them

There’s no shortage of detectors that are powerful, yet simple enough to guarantee an excellent experience for operators of all experience levels. The Bounty Hunter Pioneer 505, Titan 9000, Garrett AT Pro and New 2015 Minelab GO-FIND Series will give any beginner tons of hassle-free treasure hunting adventures. Other machines, like the Treasure Commanders, Teknetics T2, and Minelab X-Terra’s, are designed with intuitive features that keep the learning curve low for newcomers and experienced detectorists, alike.

5. How much do you want to spend? Spend $ Find $$$$$

How much do you want to spend?

Metal detecting is a hobby that pays for itself, so don’t think of your new metal detector as an expense; think of it as an investment for fun, adventure and excitement for you, your family and probably friends once they see all the money, rings and other valuables you find!

Our advice is simple – Buy the best you can afford! The better your detector, the more sensitive it will be and the deeper it will penetrate. In general, the more expensive the detector, the more features and automation it will have, the easier it will be to tune, and the more versatile and durable it will be. Whatever your budget, be it $200, $500, $1000, or more, you can find THE BEST option for you by checking our "Metal Detectors by Price" section.

Remember...the wealth you find with your detector adds up quickly. A single killer find like a diamond ring, gold bracelet, or an old coin with a rare mint mark could pay for your detector and then some. We hear from people nearly every week about that "one find" that paid for their detector – it's far more common than you think. Click on Treasure Stories/Finds/Pics to see what folks like you are finding every day.


If you’re seriously looking for BIG treasure caches that are buried DEEP, you need a detector with serious power. Detecting devices from OKM can penetrate anywhere from a few feet to as much as 80 FEET! The Nokta Golden King can identify gold targets at astounding depths of up to 8 meters using real time 3D imaging, and for serious and professional water searches, Kellyco has in stock the world-famous Aquascan/Aquapulse detectors. You can investigate these and other devices in our Professional Metal Detectors section.

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