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How to Pick the Best Metal Detector

How to Pick the Best Metal Detector 2022

So you’ve decided you want to get into metal detecting as a hobby, that’s great! Your most important purchase for your hobby will be your metal detector. Perhaps you are brand new to metal detecting or you are upgrading your detector. Whichever it is, you may need some help deciding which detector is best for you. This buying guide will help you choose the best detector for your needs and budget.

What will you be using the detector for?

Are you going to start treasure hunting? Or are you looking for security options or is it just for around the house or workshop? Some may suggest that the best place to start is with a budget, however it is first best to consider how much time you will be devoting to treasure hunting. Perhaps you are just testing the waters before you jump in full hog into a new hobby or you may be an experienced detectorist. Either way, if you are going to be spending a lot of time out in the field, then it is best to invest in a good quality model. As a general rule of thumb with metal detectors, the more you pay the more advanced features the machine has.

What is your budget?

Do you have a set budget in mind? Is this your overall budget including the detector and accessories or just for the machine alone? Some essential accessories you will need for treasure hunting are gloves, digging tools and a cover to protect your search coil. Find out what you need in a basic kit for a day out in the field here.

No idea where to start? We recommend comparing this purchase to what you would spend on other hobbies or sports. Oftentimes it also comes down to a matter of personal preference.  Are you the type of person who just wants the basics? Or do you want the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles. This also has to be taken into account when choosing a metal detector.

Metal Detector Technology

Are you good at adapting to new technology? The basic functions of any model are easy to grasp but if you want to do some serious prospecting and find specific targets you will need to adjust the detectors functions to get the best performance. Not so good? It is recommended to stick with a beginner or intermediate model. No problems adapting? Advanced level and up are suitable for you. If you have detected before then advanced level and up would be our recommendation for you.

Teaching Yourself

There can be a lot of industry jargon on product descriptions so it pays to familiarize yourself with the basics of metal detecting, the lingo, functionality and if you really want to but not absolutely essential, some technical background helps too. This will give you a general understanding about different types of metal detectors and their capabilities. Once you are familiar with the features you can decide which are most important for you to have and compare different models.

Who will use the metal detector

Who is the detector for? It is for yourself, a child or for a gift? The Bounty Hunter Junior model has been made especially for children and suits the height of children six years and up. All other models are suitable for older children and adults.  If you are buying for yourself, it should be relatively easy to figure out which detector is best for you but if you are buying for someone else you may need to think hard about what will suit them.

Types of Detector

Are all metal detectors the same? The simple answer is ‘no’. There are a number of manufacturers, producing different detector models, with different technical and operational features and different performance characteristics. Read our technical background page to find out more about the different types of metal detectors.

Metal detectors can be used for a wide variety of prospecting activities and most detectors are designed to suit a specific range of metal detection functions. All our detectors suit general purpose treasure hunting.

Some brands have distinctive features and characteristics which some treasure hunters love and others not so much, again this is down to personal preference. Generally, treasure hunters can become quite attached to a particular brand and if you know anyone who is already into prospecting they will likely recommend the brand they already use. Be sure to do your own research and consider your own wants and needs before making your purchase.

How deep does a Metal detector go?

You will notice that no brand lists this specification. Why? It’s because it’s impossible to answer.

The depth of metal detector will detect to will be based on a number of variables, including:

  • Size of the object
  • The ground it is buried under
  • How long the object has been buried
  • Moisture in the air and ground
  • Metal type
  • Coil size
  • Electromagnetic interference (power lines) etc.
  • The orientation of the object

Lots of these variables are outside of your control. Finding a 50 cent coin 15cm underground is normally well within the range of all entry level detectors.

Is bigger better when it comes to coils?

Short answer: no. Different coil sizes are used differently. A smaller coil would be better in high trash areas when several targets are close to each other, where a large coil is great for low-mineralisation areas and deep searching. Not all coils are round, some are oval-shaped for getting in between those hard to reach places.

Why do people always use headphones?

Sound isolation. A good set of headphones significantly increases your chances of finding buried objects by blocking background noise.

Using headphones will also improve your detector’s battery life and won’t attract unwanted attention from curious onlookers.

Gold Detector or Relic Detector, what’s the difference?

  • Gold detectors are designed to find unrefined gold nuggets not jewellery.
  • Relic detectors will find gold in its refined form such as gold rings and bracelets, as well as other metal objects.
  • Some relic detectors also have a gold nugget mode, however a gold detector will typically outperform a relic detector in gold mode.

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