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What is the Best Metal Detector for Gold?

Gold Find

In a world where multi-use metal detectors are everywhere you look, it may be hard to distinguish the importance of a specialized metal detector. When searching for gold nuggets or flakes, there are a few keys that will get you started on the road to success. Let us guide you into the best gold metal detector that suits your goals.


First, while multi-purpose detectors are perfect for locating mixed metals such as jewelry and relics, gold prospecting often requires a specialized gold detector and quality accessories. Establishing an overall budget for the metal detector and quality accessories can be helpful when choosing your new gear.

TWO TYPES OF DETECTORS: How do metal detectors detect gold?

Gold prospecting metal detectors can be split into two different categories: high-frequency, VLF circuit detectors and pulse induction detectors. A high-frequency VLF circuit detector features a superior sensitivity to gold and other minerals. Fortunately, these gold detectors also have specialized features that help you navigate the other minerals in the soil that are present in high-yielding gold country. A Pulse Induction gold prospecting detector functions at a lower frequency allowing it to effectively search extreme depths for large quantities of gold and large gold nuggets.

We have broken down a few different levels of the best gold prospecting metal detectors according to their price point and operation skill level. Take a look:

Type: Entry Level Gold Prospecting Metal Detectors

Specialty: Entry level, affordable

Type: Mid Level Gold Prospecting Metal Detectors

Specialty: Well-rounded, balancing added features with affordability

Type: Top Gold Prospecting Metal Detectors

Specialty: Enhanced features for highest quality performance

Now that you have an idea of the range of gold prospecting metal detectors and their uses, let's talk about a few features of the metal detectors that will help you choose your new set up.

GOLD PROSPECTING SEARCH COILS: What do you need to know?

Types: Gold Prospecting Search coils are separated into two main categories. Concentric search coils that excel at soil discrimination, and Widescan search coils that are perfect for navigating harsh soil conditions effected by ground mineralization.

Size: Search coils come in a wide variety of different dimensions. A good rule of thumb is this: the larger the coil, the wider the search area. The smaller the coil, the higher the sensitivity. How does this affect your search? With a larger coil, you will cover more ground, but you will sacrifice some of the smaller finds in the process. A smaller coil means added sensitivity and increased small finds, but you will not be able to cover as much ground.

DEPTH: How far is far enough?

Having an overall understanding of your target search depth is key to purchasing the correct equipment. As the depth increases, so does the size of the gold nuggets you can find. Most contemporary prospecting detectors can detect pieces of gold as small as a half a grain. From there, the larger the pieces of gold, the deeper the search area. Single grains of gold and gold flakes can be found in as little as 12 inches of soil; a nugget the size of a match head can be found at approx. 35 inches; and nuggets as big as a US half dollar can be found at much deeper levels closer to 911 inches. As the depth increases, the features of the metal detector need to be able to search those depths effectively, and the accessories need to be more specialized. For example, a Pulse Induction style detector can seek gold that is over a foot in the ground; this type of detector would need to be accompanied by digging accessories that would allow you to retrieve your find.

GROUND BALANCE: Why is it important?

Ground balance is crucial to a gold prospecting metal detector. Since gold is generally found in highly mineralized soil, the detector must be able to adjust the ground balance, allowing you to filter out iron and other minerals. Consider the available features on the gold prospecting detector you have in mind. If you would like to adjust the ground balance less frequently, select a metal detector with automatic ground balance; if you would like to have more control, choose a model with manual ground balance adjust.

METAL DISCRIMINATION: Does my detector do it for me?

While gold prospecting metal detectors can assist you in filtering out junk such as iron and steel, the detectors are designed to find all metals, since gold also contains other metals in its composition. A Pulse Induction detector will not filter out trash items; a high-frequency VLF metal detector will provide some added tuning features.

FINAL TIP: Mind your search area.

Adequate soil research is crucial to finding gold. The best gold prospecting metal detector cannot help you find gold if you are not looking in the right place! Use the resources around you such as the internet, library logs of your area and soil, or a book about gold nugget hunting. Learn about your area, and be sure to verify who owns the land where you are searching, and gain the proper permissions. Have fun! Enjoy the hunt for hidden treasures, and may the journey be as fruitful as the results.


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