Metal Detectors: Which One Should I Buy?
If you are new to the hobby or a seasoned detectorist, then you are aware of the large number of metal detecting machines on the market. It can be incredibly overwhelming to decide on the right one. Hopefully, once you finish reading this article, you’ll feel a little more comfortable with making a decision on which detector is best suited for you.
In this article, you will find:
- Features To Consider When Purchasing Your Next Metal Detector
- Top 5 Price-Friendly Beginner Metal Detectors
- Top 5 Metal Detectors for Advanced Detectorists
Features to Consider When Purchasing Your Next Metal Detector
Whether you are purchasing your first machine or upgrading to one with more features, you will want to know a few key factors to help you to decide which metal detector is best for you. Not all machines are the same and not all metal detecting conditions are either.
- What Search Conditions Does the Metal Detector Perform Well With – Say you live in a state like mine, Ohio. We don’t have saltwater beaches here, and I don’t frequent beaches in my travels. So, when I purchase detectors, I don’t necessarily pay attention to how well they do in salt water or on ocean beach settings, if you do, then having a machine that performs well in these conditions is a must.
- Submersible or Waterproof – If you will be out detecting in rain or in rivers and other waterways, you’ll want a metal detector that is submersible, not just waterproof. Waterproof is fine for light sprinkles, but it is not able to be submerged in water. When a metal detector boasts it is submersible, you can safely assume it can be fully submerged up to a certain distance for underwater searching.
- Coil Selection – Are there multiple coils available to purchase?
- Power or kHz Options– If you are a gold hunter that uses a metal detector, you will want a metal detector that can be programmed to run anywhere from 14 to 18 kHz. If you prefer coin shooting, then multi-frequency (MF) or the option to select a target kHz setting for the type of metal (ie silver, nickel, etc). Make note, kHz will make your machine more sensitive to certain metal compositions, but will also still indicate other metals in the ground.
- Weight of the Metal Detector – Some machines do weigh more than others and that should be considered if you plan to detect for long periods of time.
- Price – There are great metal detectors out there for all budgets. Just because a detector costs more, does not always mean it’s a better machine.
- Features – Does the metal detector have preprogrammed options to hunt certain settings such as parks, fields, or trashy sites? What features are offered compared to other metal detectors?
- Ease of Use – How easy will the machine be to begin using?
- Rechargeable or Battery Powered – If you want to metal detect on a budget then looking for a metal detector that is rechargeable will eliminate the cost of purchasing batteries repeatedly.
- Bluetooth or Headphone Options – I like to metal detect with my wireless headphones on. I tend to hear the smallest sounds much easier and it helps to keep people from talking to me when I’m in my zone detecting.
- Warranty and Service – Most good metal detectors come with a good warranty. The thing you want to pay attention to is where you’ll have to send or take your metal detector should it need to be serviced. Is it overseas or can it be shipped and repaired stateside? How is the metal detector brand’s customer care program?
Top 5 Price-Friendly Beginner Metal Detectors
Metal detecting may seem like a hobby that takes thousands of dollars to enjoy, but that is not the case at all. There are incredible detectors out there for reasonable prices. When I first got into the hobby, I purchased a SunPow metal detector from Amazon for under $100. I found a lot of cool stuff with it. I didn’t want to jump into the hobby and start spending a lot of money, and I’m thankful I didn’t. I did not know enough about the machines to make an informed decision on the best detector for my hunting needs.
I’ve compiled a list of the top five metal detectors for hobbyists on a budget. These are simply suggestions and there are more than the ones I list. However, I have scoured metal detecting forums, YouTube videos, and social media for insight from people who have used the machines.
Refer to the ‘Features to Consider’ portion in order to choose which machine suits your needs. These metal detectors all currently cost under $500. You can purchase used detectors and they will work great too, but be sure to buy from a trusted source. Some metal detecting dealers will have great deals on used detectors so be sure to reach out to them before making a purchase. Don’t think you need to spend a lot to start enjoying this hobby. If you’re just starting out your best option is to buy an affordable detector in order to make sure you actually enjoy the hobby.
Each of the following metal detectors listed may come at different prices because they may include bonus items or bundle sales. Some may include a pinpointer, shovel, extra coils, or other tools used. Do not feel obligated to buy the bonus packs, sometimes they just come with a bunch of junk you won’t use.
- Nokta The Legend
- Nokta Simplex+
- Garrett ACE 200 or 300
- Minelab Vanquish 340
- Bounty Hunter T4/Tracker IV
Top 5 Metal Detectors for Advanced Detectorists
If you’re looking for a more advanced metal detector, do not assume price is the main selling point. Price is simply what the maker has put as the value of their item. It doesn’t mean we will value the item accordingly. Quite frankly, the top machine on the list below is currently just at the $500 price point and is an incredible machine.
I’ve recently started using the Legend and I love it. I would suggest it to beginners or advanced detectorists. It is easy to turn on and begin using immediately, but it has a lot of options for advanced detectorists to tune to their needs.
Some of the detectors in the list below I haven’t used yet, but I have friends who are great detectorists that have, and they’ve given solid reviews of each one I selected. It’s up to you to decide which one will have the features and options you need. Be sure to refer to the ‘Features to Consider’ section above in order to help you decide which metal detector is best suited for you.
- Nokta Makro Legend
- XP Deus I or II
- Garrett AT Max or AT Pro
- Minelab Equinox Series
- Garrett ACE Apex
In conclusion, I hope by providing a list of the top metal detectors and the features to look for it helps to eliminate some of the uncertainty that can interfere with enjoying the hobby. If you are still at a loss as to which metal detector will be the best fit for you feel free to reach out to me via email or on social media, or visit the Focus Speed metal detecting group on Facebook. There are a lot of knowledgeable people in the group and we can get you on the right track to purchasing a metal detector so you can get out there and search for all that hidden history. Happy hunting.
Nicole Bauer resides in western Ohio. She is passionate about local history and works to preserve it for future generations as a member of multiple historical societies in her area. She has written for local newspapers as a lifestyle columnist and photojournalist. Nicole has been a lifelong relic hunter and has enjoyed metal detecting for over five years. She is a mom to two sons ages twenty and eighteen and has been married to her husband, Chad, for over twenty years. Metal detecting is a daily part of her life and she can usually be found out walking creeks, woods, and fields searching for items from the past. You can follow her explorations of Ohio on social media and YouTube at Ohio Metal Maven.