Choosing a Metal Detector

Metal detecting is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and find interesting treasures. Not only is metal detecting a fun hobby, but it’s the only hobby we know of that pays for itself with the money and valuables you find! But how do you go about choosing the right metal detector for you?

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. Ask yourself the following five questions to find the right metal detector for you.

Choosing a Metal Detector for Gold, Relics or Jewelry

Different metal detectors are better at locating different things. Define your interests before you decide on a metal detector. You’ll need a different model for gold than you would for relics or artifacts, for example. If any of your plans include searching across a riverbed or shallow stream, you’ll want to make sure you get a waterproof model or one that’s designed to be submerged. 

Many metal detectors 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 Garrett Ace 300, Garrett AT Pro, or Minelab’s Equinox Series are perfect for finding just about anything you could want.

If your main goal is to have fun and 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 pinpointing abilities and discrimination features to eliminate trash and junk targets. Look at the Minelab Go-Finds and White’s Coinmaster. These are customer favorites with affordable prices and automatic features. They’re easy to tune and easy to use.

If you’re 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 Anfibio. These detectors will also allow you to filter out other things. 

For real hidden and buried historic artifacts, Minelab’s GPX 5000, Makro Deephunter 3D Pro Package and the Nokta|Makro INVENIO Pro Pack are some favorites of hobbyist relic hunters. These can be more expensive, but they provide a lot more depth.

If it’s gold nuggets or gold flakes that you’re after, you’ll need a detector that operates at a higher frequency with smaller or special-shaped coils and is more sensitive to smaller gold, which is harder to register on standard detectors. Look at Nokta|Makro Kurzer Gold, Garrett’s AT Gold and Gold Bug 2. Higher priced and super-deep gold detectors from Minelab and Nokta are world-wide favorites.

Choosing the Right Metal Detector for the Beach, at a Park, or at a Historic Site

Think about where you’ll be hunting the majority of the time. Do you have easy access to the beach, parks, fairgrounds, mountains or water? 

More gold rings and jewelry are found on beaches and lake shores than anywhere else. If you live close to the ocean, a river or lake, 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. You’ll also want one that can find things without the signal being disrupted by the conductivity in salt water or on a wet sandy beach. 

Check out the Minelab Equinox Series for this too, as well as the Minelab Excalibur II, Minelab CTX-3030 and Garrett Sea Hunter. All are excellent options that will help you find items on land and water.

How Often Will You Metal Detect?

Do you want to metal detect on the weekends or whenever you can? Are you retired and planning to search for objects as much as possible — even taking your detector with you on vacations? 

Most people who start metal detecting find that they truly love the hobby, so you want to consider how your detector stands up to repeated use. 

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 it gets dropped on rocky terrain. The bottom line is that you’ll want a rugged machine that is built to last. Most detectors today are built to rigorous international standards to stand up to hard use.

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 searching for treasures for many years to come. And if you ever need to send your detector in for repairs, these manufacturers will provide excellent service.

Choosing a Metal Detector Based on Experience

Even if you’ve never metal detected before, most machines feature quick start settings that make metal detecting 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 Garrett ACE 200, Garrett AT Pro and the Minelab Go-Find Series will give any beginner tons of hassle-free relic hunting adventures. Other machines like the Teknetics T2 and the MX7 by White, are designed with intuitive features that keep the learning curve low for newcomers and experienced detectorists alike.

What Price Range Works for You?

Metal detecting is a hobby that can pay for itself. Think of it as an investment for fun, adventure and excitement.

The better your detector, the more sensitive it will be and the deeper it will penetrate. Most higher-end models have more features and automation, which makes it easier to tune. 

The wealth you find with your detector can add 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. Visit Treasure Finds to see what folks like you are finding every day.

Pro tip:

If you’re looking for big caches that are buried deep, you need a detector with serious power. Detecting devices from OKM can penetrate anywhere from a few feet deep to as much as 80 feet!

The Nokta|Makro INVENIO can identify gold targets at astounding depths of up to 8-meters using real time 3D imaging.

For 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.

About The Author
Carolyn Harwick
Stomping in the woods and at old home sites is where you can find Carolyn on her days off. She loves finding relics and pieces of the past. Her go-to machine is the Minelab CTX 3030 and the Garrett AT Max as a backup. She would detect everyday if she could because she loves the hobby!