For a beach detectorist, a sand scoop is just as important as a good metal detector. New beach detectorists realize quickly the design of a scoop adds to factoring whether a day at the beach is good or bad detecting. When people first get into the hobby, they often start with a plastic sand scoop and then upgrade to metal. They continue to upgrade until they find what works for them and the sand at beaches they frequent. Below is the evolution of my sand beach scoops I used and owned as I progressed in beach metal detecting.
Quality beach scoops are not cheap, and a collection of failed choices sitting around isn’t cheaper. Thus I would like to teach some of those getting into beach detecting what to look for and what to consider when purchasing a beach sand scoop. It will help you save money and not have a sizable collection of scoops as I do.
The Plastic Hand Beach Sand Scoops
Plastic hand sand scoops; let’s just say if you live near a beach and you are going to beach detect more than twice a year, avoid them. If you get one for free, great, but expect to add it to your kids, or grandkids, beach toy collection and to be upgrading to something metal.
Metal Hand Beach Sand Scoops
So much better than the plastic hand sand scoops, but if you go at least once a month to the beach detect you will find that bending over and digging gets old. However, for those who travel and need something small and compact to put in a suitcase, it is a smart choice. They range from $30 to $100 usd and can be found in aluminum or steel.
Metal Beach Sand Scoops with Mid Size Handles
The range is $33 to $150 usd. They are great for travel because a majority of them collapse to fix in suitcases or a small trunk. They are usable, but a serious beach detectorist, will want a real size handle.
Metal Beach Sand Scoops with Full-Size Handles.
Beach sand scoops with full-size handles are the way to go. There is less bending over and quicker retrieval of targets. When starting to beach detect and looking into purchasing a beach scoop with a full-size handle, you will see prices are steep, from a cheap $50 to what I call a boutique beach sand scoop teetering at $700. Beach sand scoops come in a range of designs, metals (aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium), and weights. When considering which scoop to purchase, you need to think of the kind of beach and or water hunting you will do with the following factors, the hole size that the sand filters through, scoop size, and the weight. For regular beach hunting, you want a light shovel because you will be carrying or dragging it long distances. If you are going to be detecting in the water with rough waves, for your safety you want a heavier shovel to help you balance when a wave hits you.
The handles come in various materials, from wood, aluminum, wood, steel or carbon fiber. Here are the pros and cons to each material as a handle:
Wood: Not the lightest but affordable. The issue is by time it will stress and possibility to fracture and or complete break. They tend to break when you are out detecting, making the outing cut short.
Aluminium: Lighter, but your hands will get dark grey marks, as well if you rest your scoop on your shoulder your clothing will get black. Some metal detectorists wrap their aluminium handles with hockey stick tape or duct tape to not have the aluminum rub off on hands or clothing.
Steel: Durable, but very heavy
Carbon Fiber: One of the best options. Pricier but it makes the beach scoop light.
The Durability of Beach Sand Scoops
If you are going to be beach metal detecting often, the durability of a sand scoop is extremely important. Poor design, poor welding, low-grade metals, bad handle design, and the amount you beach detect all add to the factor of how long a sand scoop will last. I see some detectorists need a new beach sand scoop yearly or every couple years because they detect often and the stress of moving heavy sand by force does make beach sand scoops to weaken and break. I have tracked all the different sand scoop manufacturers and probably had each one in my hand at some point because a detectorist friend owns one. The areas sand scoops mostly break are
- The handle, they snap,
- Where the handle connects to the shovel, it gets weak and breaks
- Where the detectorist puts its foot to push the scoop into the sand, the metal gets frail and breaks
- The tip starts off somewhat pointy and sharp but dulls and sometimes even bends and breaks.
Will it get Clogged or Not, Beach Sand Scoop Hole Size
As stated earlier, when considering which scoop to purchase, you need to think of the hole size that the sand filters through. This is subjective to the beaches you detect. Some beaches have finer sand, and some have coarse sand. The holes should be a size that a small coin or gold earring or chain can’t fall through, but sand can seep out. This is really an area of trial and error of what size holes are ideal for where you detect. Some sand beach scoops are mesh wire, or round holes or hexagon holes.
Extending the Longevity of a Beach Sand Scoop
First and foremost wash it off with freshwater after every use. Second don’t ignore any stress fractures, things that become loose, or wear or tear. Be proactive in fixing them.
Recommend First Beach Sand Scoop
For those avoiding to end up with a collection of scoops like I have as you navigate what suits you best. I would recommend starting with one of the following stainless-steel scoops and a carbon fiber handle.
No beach scoop is perfect, but these are really good. Either one of these beach sand scoops will last as long as you metal detect and or if you get into detecting often and long hours, long enough for you to understand exactly what you want in your next beach scoop.
Beach detectorists from beginners to seasoned pros use CKG Scoops. The company has been around since 2005, their scoops are the most recognized scoop on the beaches. They are priced right, made from anti-corrosion stainless steel, and have great customer service.
I own one and it is my main scoop, it is beautifully light and breaks down easily to fit in any trunk size, and make for easy storage. By starting with the Hex 9, or Hex 9 Large, CKG Scoop you will get closer to the right scoop versus ending up with a collection as I have. I also would recommend going right to the Carbon Fiber handle if you can afford the extra cost. It really makes a difference with the weight. Dede Towry a detectorist friend states “I had the wooden handle on my CKG Scoop, however, I needed something lighter and upgraded the carbon fiber handle, it made a big difference in weight and my endurance, of how long I could metal detect and how sore I was after metal detecting. I highly recommend the carbon fiber handle.”