Guide to the Best Metal Detectors of 2022
What are the best metal detectors on the market today?” Unfortunately, there’s not a simple answer to that question. There are many “best detectors” because there are so many different types of metal detecting.
We’ve created this buying guide to answer the question as completely as we can. Along the way, we will tell you about some of the various criteria you should consider when buying a metal detector, and we’ll give you some of the main factors to consider, depending on the type of metal detecting you plan to do.
Choosing The Best Metal Detector
There isn’t one metal detector that’s better than all the rest, although there are a few stand-out best metal detectors in multiple categories. This buyer’s guide for the best metal detectors will examine the specific features that make for a good detector in a number of those categories. We will make recommendations based on many category-specific criteria, as well as some criteria that are common between several categories.
Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned professional, this guide will help you make an informed decision on which metal detector is the best fit to become your next detector. After all, once you’ve been bitten by the metal detecting bug, there is no such thing as owning just one metal detector.
Best Metal Detector for Coins, Rings, and Jewelry?
Using a metal detector to search for coins has a fun name: coin shooting. Whether you’re coin shooting or looking for rings or other types of jewelry, we recommend searching areas where lots of people visit on foot. Parks, beaches, schools, churches, even sports complexes, and bleachers are great places to look for these items.
Some of the very best locations for coin shooters are places that are abandoned today but were very busy in the past.
When you shop for a metal detector for coins, rings, or jewelry, choose one that’s easy to use and has good target separation or discrimination. That allows you to filter out what you don’t want. Parks mean you have a high chance of finding coins and jewelry, but these areas also have a lot of “junk” like foil and pull tabs.
Some machines include a feature called notch discrimination, which is very useful for this kind of hunting. That allows you to pick a target and filter out everything else that is outside that target’s feedback range.Choose a machine with a frequency of 10-15 kHz and a depth range of 6-8 inches.
This is Minelab’s highest performing all-around metal detector. It can find objects in every type of soil, including mineralized ground where gold is found. This machine has five preset search modes and is also fully customizable for more advanced detectorists. This detector works in any terrain, including the ocean and wet beach sand.
Our customers say that CTX 3030 metal detector is heavy but well-balanced. If you plan on using this for an extended period of time, a harness is available to help relieve some of the strain.
Best Metal Detector for Relic Hunting?
Relics are a big draw for metal detecting enthusiasts. There are relics scattered across the world from past wars and other historical events, and it can be very exciting to uncover a colonial buckle or part of a musket. This is where metal detecting meets archaeology and true history buffs thrive!
The best places to search for relics include churches, old homesites, and areas where people used to congregate in the past. Think about abandoned train depots, large trees in the middle of town square — commonly referred to in the hobby as a money tree — and old steamboat landings.
To be an effective relic hunter, you’ll want a tough, rugged machine, because you can wind up pretty far off the beaten path for long periods of time.
The main features prized by relic hunters include good target separation. This is important because coins can be masked by old construction materials like nails or railroad spikes. Highly effective discrimination is important because you need to kill the audio for iron targets and focus on what’s valuable.
A good relic machine should have a depth range of 12-14 inches and use a frequency between 12-15 kHz. To be effective, you’ll probably want more than one coil. Coils that are a minimum of 12 inches wide allow you to detect at deeper depths, which is important when hunting for relics. Waterproof coils are an important feature to look for as well, because you never know what terrain you’ll encounter when you’re out looking for historical locations deep in the woods.
A machine that has a true all-metal mode or zero discrimination is useful if you’re not on an old homesite because many Civil War relics tend to ring up as iron. Horseshoes, railroad spikes and shell fragments would be not be heard, for example, if your discrimination settings are too high.
Many top-performing relic machines are fairly heavy, so consider a harness or guide to help you distribute the weight.
Minelab GPX 4500
This detector features SETA technology and is immune to interference. SETA stands for “Smart Electronic Timing Alignment.” Noises that are caused by magnetic interference are minimized in each of the six timing options, and each timing option can be independently adjusted and operated for greater efficiency.
GPX 4500 metal detector has many special features. It has a backlight on the screen so you can detect at night or in dark areas. The stabilizer provides you with a smoother threshold to pick up the faintest of signals, and the “iron reject” option lets you filter out junk metal.
Best Metal Detector for Gold?
Panning for gold or using a pickaxe for hours on end isn’t necessary anymore if you use a metal detector. Detectors made specifically for gold hunting make the hobby a whole lot easier. Visit mountains or areas like rivers, streams, and exposed rock bed to increase your chances of finding gold.
Look for a metal detector that works well in highly mineralized soil. A frequency of 20 kHz or higher is great for gold. You’ll also want a waterproof coil, but the machine itself doesn’t need to be waterproof. As with relic hunting, a harness or guide will be helpful to distribute the weight of heavier machines, since finding gold can take a long time.
One of the most important features in a detector used for gold hunting is that it is stable (meaning less noise) in mineralized ground. Soil out west has a lot of iron ore that will interfere, so having a detector that can find a gold nugget that’s surrounded by iron ore is really important.
Minelab GPZ 7000
With the Minelab GPZ 7000, you’ll find even the smallest gold nuggets you might miss with other detectors. The Super-D Smart Coil consists of a central transmit winding and two outer receive windings, which greatly decreases interference from magnetic and/or mineralized soils. This detector finds nuggets that are up to 40 percent deeper than previous Minelab GPX models.
This is the most expensive metal detector in our guide, but we think that the payoff is worth it for this Zero Voltage Transmission machine.
Best Metal Detector for Saltwater and Beaches?
Beaches are one of the best places to metal detect because of their popularity over the years. People lose all kinds of things at the beach, and, of course, things wash up on the shore, too. Beaches are especially known for “fresh drops.” Imagine a beach filled with hundreds of people each day being tossed around by waves and slathering their bodies in sunscreen. It’s a perfect storm for finding gold rings and chains.
Being able to manually adjust ground balance is important when you’re detecting at the beach. Saltwater affects metal detectors in the same way highly mineralized soil does. It becomes difficult to focus on valuable items when those items are surrounded by so much potential noise. A multi-frequency detector will be very useful because the ground is continuously changing at the beach, from dry sand to wet sand to surf. Ground tracking is another important feature so that the machine itself can detect what kind of soil or sand conditions you’re on as you hunt.
Beach detectors need to be waterproof. A wave could knock you down while detecting and ruin any machine that is not waterproof.
Simplex Metal Detector
Simplex metal detector is multi-frequency, and also has a wide range of single frequencies. These frequencies have a high level of accuracy. One customer reported that he was detecting at the beach and fine-tuned his frequency settings. It beeped in the dime range, and sure enough, he found a dime. It’s good at filtering out the junk and does well in freshwater or saltwater.
Best Metal Detector for Freshwater?
Many beaches are hunted with metal detectors every day, but the shoreline of freshwater areas is not. Because of that, you may have more luck at a lake, creek, stream or river than you would at a beach. You can find a lot of jewelry and coins in freshwater areas.
Since freshwater won’t have the interference from the salt that beaches do, you have greater flexibility in picking a freshwater machine. You do, however, want to make sure it’s waterproof and sturdy. If you only plan to go ankle deep in water, a waterproof coil may be enough, but going this route always comes with risks. A dropped machine that is not waterproof can result in a dead machine and lost investment. Because of this risk, we never recommend using a machine that is not waterproof anywhere near water.
You may also want to consider a coil cover, since you may be scraping your detector along rocks and more rugged terrain.
Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi
The Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi is waterproof up to 16 feet. It’s rugged, durable and reliable and the menu features a simple design that is very easy to use. Multiple search tones make this great for finding a wide variety of objects. It’s very stable on dry or wet sand, meaning it isn’t picking up signals for “junk.”
The Anfibio includes a vibration mode, which is specific to this manufacturer for the hearing impaired. This machine offers nine search modes, including a deep mode and a cache mode. It also features an adjustable armrest, which most other machines don’t have.
Best All-Purpose Metal Detector?
All-purpose metal detectors can be used pretty much anywhere and in most conditions. These machines are often the choice made by detectorists who are looking for a workhorse to do more than one job.
These machines can be outperformed by the best-in-class machines described in the various categories above. However, because they are highly capable machines that have a “do-anything” attitude, they are often the first purchase (and sometimes only purchase) by thousands and thousands of metal detectorists across the country.
This category of metal detector represents many of our best sellers. Think of these as go anywhere, do anything machines. They are the utility infielder of the metal detecting world.
Minelab Equinox 800
The Minelab Equinox 800 can be used on every type of ground and is great for coins, relics, and gold. The gold mode is great for gold nuggets. This detector has eight custom search profiles and is fully submersible up to 10-feet. It’s lightweight, and holds up well in any environment, including around saltwater. The LCD screen features target numbers that allow you to know your target ID at a glance.
This machine set the metal detecting world on its ear when it was introduced to the public. The only machine with true simultaneous frequency technology that Minelab refers to as Multi IQ, this machine is revolutionary and is changing the game in metal detecting. It has the fastest recovery speed and target separation of any machine on the market today. It has been a perennial bestseller since its introduction and created massive waiting lists and production backlogs when initially introduced.
The Best Metal Detector of 2022
We hope this guide helps you decide which metal detector is best for you. There are many things to take into consideration, including where you will use your metal detector and what all you’re looking for.
In our experience, once you start metal detecting, you never want to stop. There are so many different adventures you can experience with a metal detector. Visit our Treasure Finds page to read about all the different items our customers have found over the years.
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