A strangely addictive hobby, metal detecting is a fun mix of treasure hunting and old world discoveries. With each beep that you hear, you get a special thrill of excitement at the possibility of digging up a rare, historic coin or treasure (depending on where you live). Each find can be a fun discovery into the history of the area you are searching in, and you never know what might turn up next!
It is important to choose the best metal detectors for gold for the level of experience you have and the type of treasure hunting you have planned, so you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- How often will you be hunting?
- What will you be searching for?
- Where will you be hunting?
- How much experience do you have?
- How much do you want to spend?
- What are the best metal detectors for gold in December 2020?
- 1. The Best All Around Metal Detector for Gold, Silver and Coins: Minelab GPX 5000
- 2. Best Underwater & Waterproof Metal Detector: Garrett AT Gold Waterproof
- 3. Best Cheap Metal Detector: Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
- 4. Best Beach Metal Detector: Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade Detector
- 5. Best Lightweight Metal Detector: Fisher Gold Bug-2
- 6. Best Gold Coins Detector: Gold Bug Pro 2 Coil Combo
- 7. Best Gold Nugget Detector: Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000
- 8. Best Metal Detector for Beginners or Kids: Fisher Gold Bug Pro
- 9. Best Jewelry Metal Detector: Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ
- 10. Best LCD Display: Fisher Gold Bug Metal Detector
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Buying Guide – Metal Detectors for Gold of 2020
- Minelab GPX 5000
Many factors go into choosing the right gold metal detectors, which can be vital to enjoying and being successful with your hobby.
What are the best metal detectors for gold in December 2020?
If you have the best cheap metal detector for gold and silver that is too heavy to carry around, your treasure hunting experiences will end quickly. If you have a detector with electronics that aren’t strong enough to find anything, or the detector misreads its targets, you will get frustrated. If you have more electronic options than you need, you can become frustrated, trying to figure out all the different frequencies and knobs.
Ideally, you want a gold detector that is powerful, yet simple enough to guarantee that you have an excellent treasure hunting experience. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best metal detectors for gold, and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
|Technology||Frequency, kHz||Search |
|Minelab GPX 5000|
|MPS, DVT & SETA||Pulse Induction||11" Round Double-D plus |
15 x 12-inch Monoloop
|Garrett AT Gold Waterproof|
|Bounty Hunter TK4|
(Best Budget Choice)
|Garrett ATX |
|PI||Pulse Induction||12" DD|
|VLF||71||6 1/2" |
|Gold Bug Pro 2 |
|VLF||19||5" and 10" DD |
GOLD MONSTER 1000
|VLF||45||5×10 DD |
and 5 DD
|Tesoro Lobo |
1. The Best All Around Metal Detector for Gold, Silver and Coins: Minelab GPX 5000
Today we’re going to review the Minelab GPX 5000 metal detector. Minelab’s GPX500 is the most advanced gold prospecting metal detector available. No other metal detector is capable of finding gold, both large and small, in such a wide range of ground conditions.
Gold generally occurs in mineralized ground, so to find it, you need a detector that can handle mild to substantial mineralization levels. The GPX5000 has a range of different soil timing options to optimize the detector’s performance to a wide range of ground conditions and target sizes, giving you the GPX depth advantage.
The GPX5000 also has improved electronics and software, resulting in several operational improvements. Among those improvements is improved ground balance, which is more stable and operates quieter than any of Minelab’s GPX predecessors. Also, the enhanced soil timing feature is improved. You will be able to go over old ground and find the gold that you’ve previously missed.
Super quiet coil
The detector is equipped with a super quiet and versatile 11-inch Double D Commander Coil and comes with an additional 11-inch Monoloop Commander Coil for extra depth and sensitivity. It is ideally suited for the new fine gold soil timing. There is also a wide range of other Commander Coils available to allow you to further customize these detectors to the conditions you’re detecting.
The high-performance GPX 5000 is capable of finding more gold than ever before. It’s easy for the beginner to use, as well as the seasoned pros, due to its switch on and go factory preset search modes and automatic functions. Now let’s take a look at its features.
Modern super technologies for treasure hunting
The GPX 5000 is stacked with Minelab’s exclusive technologies like multi-period sensing, dual voltage technology, and a smart electronic timing alignment to ensure that you detect the highest amount of treasure.
With eight soil/timings, an amazing range of features, and the legendary ability to see through ground mineralization, the GPX 5000 sets a new gold detecting benchmark. It’s like having eight detectors in one. For example, the salt/gold timing is great for all nugget sizes in mineralized soil.
The Minelab GPX 5000 also comes with the new Pro-Swing 45 for Minelab, a revolutionary detecting harness that increases time and comfort. This ergonomic harness features a unique weight distribution system that evenly redistributes the detector’s weight and the battery around the body. No more sore arms!
Industry-leading technology and unique features like motion control, iron reject, and a lithium-ion recharge
With improved electronics to increase target sensitivity, the Minelab GPX 5000 comes equipped with 8 preset search modes that make it easy to switch and start detecting. All of the modes can be modified to your preferences, plus it features an increased RX Gain adjustment that lets you have more accurate sensitivity control for optimal performance.
The MPS, DVT & SETA Technology gives you the ability to find those small nuggets with the most technologically advanced detector. It features new timings, including Coin/Relic, Fine Gold, and Salt/Gold, making it incredibly versatile.
Best gold detector for saltwater beach
The Fine Gold timing has even more sensitivity and depth than the enhanced mode so that you can find even more nuggets deep in the ground. The Salt/Gold Timing is ideal for searching for nuggets at the beach. Lastly, the Coin/Relic Timing is best for benign ground conditions, while the Improved Enhance Timing provides increased ground balance performance and target sensitivity.
You have the option to adjust the detector to work with any type of ground conditions and adjust the audio to maximize on any target signals while making it easy to adjust the detector audio to your personal hearing ability. Plus, Iron Reject is adjustable to suit the level of iron trash wherever you are detecting.
- MPS, DVT & SETA Technology delivers to you the most technologically advanced detector yet making small hard to hear nuggets more obvious
- Automatic Ground balance options make it easy to adjust the detector to suit all ground conditions
- Audio adjustments to maximize target signals for your personal hearingAutomatic and Manual options to minimize electrical interference
2. Best Underwater & Waterproof Metal Detector: Garrett AT Gold Waterproof
Another good metal detector for those just starting out or on a budget is the Garrett AT Gold with its easy to understand controls and its ability to upgrade as your skills improve. It’s also very versatile and submersible, although you can’t use it in saltwater.
The Garrett AT Gold also includes 18kHz frequency for increased detection of jewelry, smaller gold nuggets, coins, and relics! It also features three sensitivity levels and is quick to pinpoint objects working two to three times faster than many of its competitors.
Designed to find small gold nuggets, even in the most challenging detecting environments, the Garrett AT Gold works at a high frequency that is optimal for gold prospecting in shallow freshwater. It also includes a True All Metal Mode, which has high sensitivity and large possible depth. It has a constant audio response that allows you to hear any small detection signals that can be created by faint targets!
Highly recommended for prospecting, the Garrett AT Gold works well for jewelry, coins, relic hunting, cache hunting, and shallow freshwater hunting. It features a Double-D submersible search coil, plus Garett MasterSound stereo headphones for dry land hunts.
The Garrett AT Gold is a Motion All Metal detector, which means that there always needs to be some slight motion of the search coil to continue detection, although it is possible for static target detection when it is in Pinpoint mode.
Included with the Garrett AT Gold is a manual and an exclusive Ground Balance Window feature to increase the performance of the detector when used over the highly mineralized ground.
This waterproof detector has a maximum depth of 10 feet when searching in freshwater lakes and streams. Plus, it has the versatility of a coin and a relic hunting machine with its two Discrimination Modes. You can also choose DISC 1 or DISC 2 mode to gain more Tone ID information from targets and the capability to tell the differences from unwanted trash targets.
3. Best Cheap Metal Detector: Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
A built-in Automatic Ground Trac provides balance when detecting minerals, plus it can detect metals in harsh ground conditions from inland sites that are highly mineralized to salty wet beaches without any loss of sensitivity or the need to make circuitry changes by the operator.
With the ability to find larger objects up to three feet deep and coin-sized objects up to eight inches deep, the Tracker IV has three modes: 2-Tone audio mode, Discrimination Mode, and Motion All-Metal mode. Use in any soil type with its ground balance feature that preset neutralizes its response to the mineral content you encounter.
You can also distinguish between unwanted metals and targets with the Disc/notch control so you can easily find coins, jewelry, and relics among the unwanted targets in the soil.
Looking for gold in water
The control interface allows you to quickly move between modes while eliminating unwanted targets with discrimination control, maximizing your detection depth with the power/sensitivity control. It has the ability to detect metals that include steel, iron, aluminum, brass, silver, and gold and is completely submersible so you can even use it in shallow water conditions.
Plus, it comes with a ¼ inch headphone jack that will work with most headphones.
- Rugged metal detector ideal for detecting treasure in extreme ground conditions
- Motion All-Metal mode, Discrimination mode, and 2-Tone audio mode
- Preset ground balance neutralizes response to mineral content in the ground
4. Best Beach Metal Detector: Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade Detector
Do gold metal detectors work underwater?
It also features weatherproof housing that can be immersed in water up to 10 feet. And, with advanced ground balance, you have a wide range to ground balance including heavily mineralized ground to saltwater without having to worry about switching to a special mode.
The Garrett ATX is also fully collapsible and can be operated with the stem either fully collapsed or extended anywhere in between. It gives you optimal performance that is based on your metal hunting preferences and condition, so it can be used in either Motion or Non-Motion Modes. With its advanced new DD search coil, the ATX gives you enhanced detection and easy pinpointing of small items.
- ATX with 12" DD coil
- Land headphones (waterproof headphones sold separately)
- Soft storage/travel case
5. Best Lightweight Metal Detector: Fisher Gold Bug-2
When you are ready to take detecting to the next level, the second generation Gold Bug will help you get there. With ultra-high frequencies including the highest operating frequency on the market, the Gold Bug 2 was created for finding gold nuggets with its extraordinary sensitivity. The Gold Bug 2 also features dust and moisture resistance, iron-discrimination, audio-boost and its capability to work in mineralized soil with its three position mineralization switch.
Best Ultra-High Frequency Detector
The Iron Disc mode will reject iron trash target and hot rock with its powerful 71 kHz operation for its extreme small gold nugget sensitivity. It is convertible to either a hip mount of chest mount and only weighs 2.9 pounds. Plus, it features Quartz-crystal locked electronics and a dual-knob ground control for fine and coarse adjustments.
- Powerful 71 kHz Operation for extreme sensitivity to small gold nuggets
- 'IRON DISC'' mode rejects iron (trash) targets and hot rocks.
- 6.5 inch coil included.
6. Best Gold Coins Detector: Gold Bug Pro 2 Coil Combo
With features tailored to gold prospecting, the Gold PLUS Metal Detector can find gold as well as relics and coins. It features a sophisticated ground balancing system that can separate control over signal gain and threshold. It also has a unique discrimination control system making it a great relic-hunting detector.
When outfitted with the optional 11″ DD search coil, the Gold Bug Pro becomes a highly effecting Coin-shooting detector. When used as a coin-shooter, it has a slightly lower sensitivity to high conductivity coins like U.S. quarters, which is a result of a specialized design that emphasizes sensitivity to small pieces like gold nuggets that have low conductivity metals.
Best Discrimination Detector
With its revolutionary metal detection technology, the Gold Bug Pro features extreme ground and target information with an ability to find the smallest gold nuggets in any highly mineralized soil. The Gold Bug Pro also includes a new state of the art advanced formula and uses multi-purpose capability with a 19kHz Operating Frequency to become a standout machine for Gold Prospecting.
- 5" And 10" Dd search coils
- Total weight - 2. 8lbs. (1. 13 kgs. )
- Frequency - 19 kHz
7. Best Gold Nugget Detector: Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000
When optimizing metal detector performance, there is always a compromise between sensitivity and frequency since higher frequencies are more sensitive to small gold nuggets and lower frequencies are more sensitive to large nuggets. The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 has an extra sensitive 45 kHz VLF performance that is highly adaptable, plus it has a high speed 24-bit signal processor.
You will find that most detectors can find large nuggets that are just under the surface, but high-quality detectors can find a lot of small nuggets from farther down at a greater depth. With the Minelab’s combination of performance and processor, it has a boosted sensitivity to gold than other VLF detectors without giving off false signals and excess noise.
Best Sensitivity Gold Detector
It also has an improved discrimination of ferrous and non-ferrous materials, and it works better with salty soils than other higher frequency detectors making it a great choice for gold recovery. With automatic noise cancellation and auto ground balance, the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 also features an automatic sensitive with a fully automatic operation, plus an easy, quick start and two included search coils.
- Fully automatic operation
- Extra sensitive 45 kHz VLF performance
- Highly adaptable
8. Best Metal Detector for Beginners or Kids: Fisher Gold Bug Pro
One of the most versatile gold detectors on the market, the Fisher Gold Bug Pro, has incredible sensitivity to the smallest gold nuggets. Having been on the market for quite a few years, the Fisher Gold Bug Pro has already proven itself to be a very capable metal detector for finding gold nuggets, especially in highly mineralized soils. It also features the industry’s first variable breakpoint tone discrimination system and a 19kHz operating frequency with an ultra-simple user interface.
With real-time computerized ground balancing, the Fisher Gold Bug Pro provides constant ground condition readouts. The ground phase value is capable of indicating the type of mineralization, plus it includes a static pinpoint with depth indicator and dual headphone jacks. This is also an ultra-lightweight gold detector weighing only 2.5 pounds.
- Finds the smallest gold nuggets in highly mineralized soils - v-break tm; industry's first variable breakpoing tone discrimination system - computerized ground grab tm
- Real-time computerized ground balancing - v.c.o. audio in all metal & discrimination mode - independent control over treshold & gain - continuous ground condition readouts
- Ground phase value indicates type of mineralization - fe3o4 graphic indicates amount of mineralization - static pinpoint with depth indicator - dual headphone jacks
9. Best Jewelry Metal Detector: Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ
One of the best metal detectors for gold prospecting is the Tesoro Lobo SuperTraq. With computerized ground tracking capabilities, the Tesoro sets its self apart from its competitors. Its discrimination capabilities also let you hunt for jewelry, coins, and relics, and it has the ability for extremely deep searching that works well with any type of ground condition. Both beginners and pros will appreciate the features on the Tesoro Super TRAQ.
The Tesoro is a very stable metal detector with good depth and has simple ground balancing without the need to turn knobs. It also features a 17.5 kHz processor and includes auto ground tracking that changes as you move over the ground without requiring you to constantly ground balance manually since soil can with within a foot or two. The controls are conveniently found on top of the machine and you can easily remove the receiver to attach it to your belt.
10. Best LCD Display: Fisher Gold Bug Metal Detector
Specifically designed to find a small gold nugget in highly mineralized soil, the Gold Bug can find more gold than many of its competitors. It also works well when you are hunting for jewelry and coins. It features two search modes including discriminate and all-metal, plus it has a large LCD screen with target identification displays between one and 100.
The no-motion pinpoint and continuous ground mineralization and ground phase readout are handy when you are out on the hunt. Additionally, it features depth readouts, alerts for large targets, a running signal strength indicator, and 1/4 and 1/8 inch headphone jacks.
- Threshold and gain adjustments - 1/4 and 1/8 inch headphone jacks - lightest weight / best ergonomics in the industry
- 2 search modes: all-metal and discriminate - large lcd screen with 0-99 numeric target identification display - large target alert - depth readout and running signal strength indicator
- No-motion pinpoint - computer assisted ground grab and ground balance - continious ground phase and ground mineralization readout
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best gold detector for Victoria, Australia nugget prospecting?
Australia has a “Golden Triangle” where many tours and prospectors go to find gold nuggets in the bush of Australia. In fact, the largest nugget in the world (2520 ounces!) was found in Victoria, Australia. Fifty-one nuggets weighing more than 500 ounces have been found in Australia.
So, now that you know Australia is the place to go for gold nuggets, what is the best gold nugget detector for Australia? The professional tours in Australia use Minelab detectors. A popular Minelab model is the GPX 5000 or GPZ 7000 on the higher end. The SDC 2300 is also popular for a slightly cheaper pick. Good luck mate!
- Compact - Folds to small portable size - 8.5 in x 15.7 in. Fits into carry-on luggage and most backpacks
- Waterproof Capability - Fully submersible to 10 ft. for detecting riverbeds and shorelines, allowing you to transition with ease from land to water
- Rugged & Assembly Free - Military grade construction, one piece detector designed to perform in the toughest conditions
Where can I find gold metal detectors for sale?
For new gold metal detectors, Amazon is a good bet. If you are looking for a used detector, Ebay and Craigslist can work. Craiglist will be tough, as it will depend on where you live and getting lucky finding someone selling their metal detector. You can pickup a nice, good condition Minelab SDC 2300 metal detector for sale on Ebay for around $3,000, a nearly $800 savings from new.
Ebay can be hit or miss on used detectors for sale (people like their gold finding equipment!), so if you need a metal detector now, Amazon is your best bet for a good and fast shipping. Pricing does not seem to vary much for these better detectors, so you aren’t going to find a much better price then Amazon for new gold detectors.
How does a gold metal detector work?
Found inside a metal detector’s circular base are a large transmitter coil and a small receiver coil. As the sweep begins and the detector is activated, electricity from the battery goes into the outer transmitter coil, which creates a ground-penetrating electromagnetic field.
When a metal object receives this electromagnetic charge, the transmitter will become animated at an atomic level and create a kind of magnetic glow around that metal object.
As the transmitter becomes animated from a metallic object in the ground, the small receiver coil starts to work, looking for any change in the charged ground’s magnetic field.
As a second magnetic current is sent out from the metal object while it reacts to the transmitter coil’s energy, the magnetic polarity change is detected. A signal is transmitted to the loudspeaker using a tone based on the strengths and characteristics of the charged metal.
What is a good price for a gold metal detector?
I see three price tiers in the gold metal detector market. A low-end, really just for fun, gold metal detector can be found for about $100. A mid-tier semi-professional gold metal detector will in the $500-700 price range. A professional gold metal detector will be priced at several thousand dollars. The popular Minelab detectors used by professionals and tours in Australia’s Victoria gold triangle are the $4,000 and up Minelab 5000, GPZ 7000 and SDC 2300 models.
What is the cheapest gold detector?
I would not recommend a cheap gold detector. However, if you must hunt for those gold nuggets for under $100, the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV will work as the cheapest gold detector I would buy at $97.80 as of Dec 2020. The problem with cheap metal detectors is the sensitivity compared to a professional level detector just is no there. This can lead to more frustration then fun while trying to find those gold pieces.
Buying Guide – Metal Detectors for Gold of 2020
Important Features in a New Metal Detector?
When you are out shopping for your new gold detector, there are several features that you should examine to compare gold detectors to choose the best one for your needs.
You will find that there are two types of coils: either DD or concentric. The most common are concentric coils that are metal rings that nest inside each other and are usually circular, although you may also find them oval.
The other type of coil is the DD that received its name as it looks like two Ds facing one-another. The DD coil has a blade-shaped magnetic field instead of a cone-shaped, and the size of the coil determines the size of its magnetic field with a common DD magnetic field measuring 2 to 3 inches wide, 10 to 11 inches long, and 10 to 11 inches deep.
There are two advantages of the DD coil design over concentric coils, including a thin magnetic field that is better at differentiating between closely spaced metals. Gold detectors can only identify one type of metal at a time. The second advantage is that a DD coil has a magnetic field with about half to two-thirds of its coil diameter at its maximum depth, whereas a cone-shaped field only has small pinpricks at its deepest point.
You can often find a discriminator, also known as a microprocessor-controlled analyzer, on many high-end metal detectors. The discriminator works by comparing signals sent by the receiver coil to the signals known of different types of metals – like the signal for gold is a lot different from the one sent by aluminum.
The discriminator can ignore the signals from junk metals like aluminum and steel, which allows you to focus on more valuable metals like silver and gold.
Search depth is the measurement of how deep the device can detect coin-sized pieces of the metal underground. Even though you may find a metal detector that covers a large area, this wide range may make it harder to locate an exact area to start digging. With a smaller coverage area, it can often be easier to zoom in on a ring or coin.
With this feature, you can cut out interference that you can get from natural metals like iron. A good ground balancing gold detector will focus on finding the minerals in the soil that are unnatural. You will fill find that most metal detectors will have three different types of ground balance, including auto, preset, and manual.
With some user-friendly metal detectors, you will get a graphic target ID that analyzes any distortions and determines what possible metal lies below. A more advanced detector will show you a number between one and 100 that will match a certain type of search field distortion.
Gold detectors with multi-frequency detection can discriminate between the targets you are searching for and unwanted targets. The only place it will not work as well on is the beach, so if that is your central place for treasure hunting, this feature will not help you.
There are other special features that a metal detector can have, including informational displays that can make them stand out in the gold detector market. When you consider purchasing a metal detector, it is important to figure out which features appeal to you and which you feel you will not need.
Other Metal Detector Features
• Volume Knob – Since your metal detector will beep regularly, it may be important to have the ability to control the volume so you can reduce or increase the volume as the situation warrants.
• Headphones – Many people also prefer for others not to know what metal they are picking up, so using a set of headphones can help you keep all your business to yourself.
• Sensitivity Knobs – Some hunters prefer to have a range of sensitivities that filter out junk metal and just focus on the valuable metals.
• LCD Screen – Many basic models will not come with an LCD screen, but if you are interested in having an interface to collect information, you may want to check out models that include one.
• Custom Notching – Similar to discrimination, notching allows you to filter out unwanted results.
• Weight – The weight of the metal detector is also an important consideration considering how much time you plan on walking around with it, so it is essential to find something that won’t strain you.
• Waterproof – Depending on the model and manufacturer, some metal detectors are waterproof. Some can submerge up to 10 feet. Others may have waterproofed coils but can’t be totally submerged.
• Coil Size – One of the best features a metal detector can have is the amount of ground that it can cover. With a small coil, you may miss things if you are sweeping too quickly; however, a larger coil can reduce this issue.
Our recommendation for the Best Overall Gold Detector is the Minelab GPX 5000 with its improved electronics and increased target sensitivity. This metal detector has great features, including six preset search modes you can set to your preferences and an increased RX Gain adjustment that gives you accurate sensitivity control for optimal performance. You can also adjust the detector, depending on the type of ground conditions you are working with, giving you the ability to find those small nuggets with the most technologically advanced detector.
Our other recommendation for the Best Value Metal Detector is the Garrett 1140680 AT Gold. The Garrett 1140680 is an affordable detector that you can upgrade as you can afford it or as your skills improve. It features three sensitivity levels and is pretty versatile in finding coins, jewelry, gold, and relics. It is also pretty fast at finding objects two to three times faster than many of its competitors.
When searching for a new gold detector, it is essential to do your research thoroughly. Watch some youtube videos and read lots of reviews. Comparing metal detectors with critical features, including operating frequencies, discrimination, target identification, and search depth, is vital. You have a gold detector that suits your level of experience and the type of treasure hunting you have planned. Once you have the metal detector that suits your needs and expertise, you will hit the ground running for hours of fun!