You can find a variety of search coil sizes for most metal detectors and while you likely have your favorite, there are times that one size is better than another. It’s often assumed that the bigger the coil, the better the finds will be. And that is true in some situations, but there are also times that larger coils may weaken your search efforts.

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Cons of Using Larger Search Coils

There are a number of challenges that accompany using larger coils on your metal detector. Here are a few of them:

  • You’ll get tired faster. Bigger means heavier, and that means that your arms will get fatigued much quicker when you are using larger coils. It may not seem like a huge weight difference, but even a few ounces will feel much heavier after a day of detecting. To offset this, you can always pick up a metal detector harness to reduce weight on your arm.
  • It’s harder to get into small areas. Some prime areas for searching will not accommodate larger sized coils. If you are searching in areas where there are cracks and crevices, you’ll want to be able to get into those spots, or you could miss great finds.
  • Less sensitivity for small targets. When you are using larger coils on your metal detector, you may miss smaller targets as you sweep over the ground.
  • Picks up more ground noise. While you can make adjustments to your metal detector to allow for different ground conditions, larger coils will pick up more chatter and general ground noise.
  • Challenging in areas with a lot of trash. If you have searched in areas where there is a lot of trash, you know that it’s difficult to isolate the different sounds that your metal detector is making. Using larger coils in those areas makes it even more challenging.

Pros of Using Larger Search Coils

There are also advantages to using larger coils on your metal detector. The biggest two are:

  • You can find deeper targets. This is the main reason that detectorists will choose to use larger coils on their detectors. They are able to detect targets that are deeper than what smaller coils can “hear.” The deeper an item is, the more likely that it has been there a while, and may be of greater value than what you find near the ground’s surface. Additionally, larger coils may help you find targets that other detectorists have missed.
  • You can cover more ground. Larger coils will cover a lot more ground when you are patch hunting. You can search more ground when you are swinging a larger coil.

Use the Right Size Search Coil for the Situation

When you look at the advantages and disadvantages of using larger coils, it may seem that there are more downsides. However, the truth is, using larger coils is very useful when you want to be able to detect deeper items or cover more ground, while smaller coils have the ability to narrow your search detection and find smaller targets. When you consider those two benefits against the drawbacks, you may find that it’s worth it to use larger coils or smaller coils depending on what you are hunting for. It really boils down to  determining which search coils will be right for the area that you are searching.