Categories: Outdoor

The 11 Best Metal Detectors for Gold – Buyer’s Guide

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 and you never know what might turn up next.
It is important to choose the best metal detector 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?

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right metal detector which can be vital to enjoying and being successful with your hobby.

Best metal detectors for gold of 2018

If you have 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 misreads its targets, you will end up getting frustrated. This can also happen 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 metal 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 best metal detectors for gold and a few reviews to help you start shopping.

Bounty Hunter TK4
(Best Budget Choice)
VLF6.68"4.2 Check Price
Garrett 1140680
AT Gold

(Editor’s Choice)
VLF185x8 6.0 Check Price
Minelab GPX 5000
Metal Detector
11" Round
Double-D plus
15 x 12-inch
Check Price
Garrett ATX
Pulse Induction
Metal Detector
12" DD
5.0 Check Price
Gold Bug-2
Metal Detector
VLF716 1/2"
2.9 Check Price
Garrett AT Gold
Metal Detector
VLF185x8 DD
6.7 Check Price
Gold Bug
Pro 2
Coil Combo
VLF195" and 10" DD
2.8 Check Price
VLF455×10 DD
and 5 DD
6.8 Check Price
Fisher Gold
Bug Pro
Metal Detector

VLF196.5"2.5 Check Price
Tesoro Lobo
Metal Detector
VLF17.510"3.5 Check Price
Gold Bug
Metal Detector
VLF195"4.6 Check Price

1.Bounty Hunter Tracker IV – Best Budget Overall Metal Detector

With a streamlined appearance, the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV has removed the hardest part of operating a metal detector by featuring a mode selection switch and only two operating controls.
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 that include 2-Tone audio mode, Discrimination Mode, and Motion All-Metal mode. This is a great tool to use in any soil type with its ground balance feature that is preset neutralizing it’s 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.

The control interface allows you to quickly move between modes while eliminating unwanted targets with discrimination control and maximize 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.

This is one of the more popular units on the market with its proven performance for finding treasures and it’s easy to use technology. This is the recommended metal detector if you are hunting for jewelry and coins and even precious metals like gold and silver.

Plus, it comes with a ¼ inch headphone jack that will work with most headphones.

  • Easy to use in any type of soil
  • An affordable metal detector that is great for beginners
  • Easy to follow manual
  • Volume in headphones is not adjustable
  • Only the pole is not made of plastic
  • Weak adjustment pole that could easily break if treated a little rough

2. Garrett 1140680 AT Gold Metal Detector – Best Value Detector

Highly recommended for prospecting, the Garrett 1140680 AT Gold Metal Detector works well for jewelry, coins, relic hunting, cache hunting, and shallow fresh water hunting. It features a Double-D submersible search coil, plus Garett MasterSound stereo headphones for use on dry land hunts.

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.

Final Verdict – Another good metal detector for those starting out or on a budget is the Garrett 1140680 AT 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.
  • Easy to understand controls
  • Affordable
  • Can change out the coils and upgrade them
  • Can’t use it in saltwater

3. Minelab GPX 5000 Metal Detector – The Best Metal Detectors for Gold, Silver and Coins

With improved electronics to increased target sensitivity, the Minelab GPX 5000 Metal Detector comes equipped with 6 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.

The Fine Gold timing has even more sensitivity and depth than the enhance mode so you can find even more nuggets deep in the ground while the Salt/Gold Timing is ideal for searching for nuggets at the beach. And the Coin/Relic Timing is best for benign ground conditions while 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.

Final Verdict – The Minelab GPX 5000 Metal Detector is perfect for the individual that likes to fiddle around with dials and change modes. With 6 different modes to choose from, the GPX5000 will not only help you find treasure, it will also keep you entertained.
  • Very sensitive and programs easily
  • Lightweight and uses fewer batteries than other brands
  • Has a great ability to change coils
  • Coil isn’t waterproof

4. Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade Metal Detector – Best All Terrain Detector

Featuring a design that works on any terrain, the Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade Metal Detector can be used in either wet, humid, or dusty environments. 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.

Final Verdict – For those treasure hunters that covers all types of terrain, the Garrett ATX is a great middle of the road detector that is easy to set up and perfect for those that already have a little experience. It is heavier than its competitors, so make sure you have the strength to carry it everywhere you want to go with it.
  • Works on all terrains
  • Has just the right amount of options and settings
  • Easy to set up, great machine for those that have some metal detecting experience
  • On the heavy side

5. Fisher Gold Bug-2 Metal Detector – Best Ultra-High Frequency Detector

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.

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 its features Quartz-crystal locked electronics and a dual-knob ground control for fine and coarse adjustments.

Final Verdict – Although it is a little expensive, the Fisher Gold Bug 2 is very accurate and easy to handle. With its many features and frequencies, this is a great detector for those that know the differences in frequencies and want to maximize on that sensitivity.
  • Very accurate and easy to use
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Easy setup out of the box and you are ready to go
  • A little on the expensive side

6. Garrett AT Gold Waterproof Metal Detector – Best Waterproof Detector

Designed to find small gold nuggets in even the most challenging detecting environments, the Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector works at a high frequency that is optimal for gold prospecting, even in shallow fresh water. It also includes a True All Metal Mode that is preferred due to its sensitivity and large possible depth. And, it has a constant audio response that allows you to hear any small detection signals that can be created by faint targets

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 increases 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 relic hunting machine with its two Discrimination Modes. You can also choose either DISC 1 or DISC 2 mode to gain more Tone ID information from targets as well as the capability to tell the differences from unwanted trash targets.

Final Verdict – Waterproofing is a necessity for some treasure hunters and the Garrett AT Gold allows you to search lakes and streams. Plus, it also features good ground balance to search over the mineralized ground. This is a motion metal detector, so be prepared for the constant motion that it needs to keep working.
  • Well-designed and built
  • Good produce, waterproofing is a nice feature
  • Easy to learn to use
  • Headphone connector is difficult to connect to the control unit

7. Gold Bug Pro 2 Coil Combo – Best Discrimination Detector

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 are low conductivity metals.

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 formulas and uses multi-purpose capability with a 19kHz Operating Frequency to become a standout machine for Gold Prospecting.

Final Verdict – Some individuals just enjoy the hunt while others enjoy the technology that goes into the search. For those that are into working with sophisticated search systems, the Gold Bug Pro 2 Coil Combo gives you a unique discrimination system to help you find those small nuggets, plus it is great for fitting into those small spaces.
  • Lightweight and affordable
  • Has a lot of features, easy to make adjustments
  • Great for fitting into small places
  • Instructions are not very good

8. Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000 – Best Sensitivity Metal Detector

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.

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.

Final Verdict – Treasure hunters that appreciate a higher level of technology will enjoy the ground balance and improved discrimination of the Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000. With easy adjustments, it is easy to use and can locate nuggets several inches down. It is not a good tool to use in the dark, however, as the screen doesn’t have a backlight.
  • Easy to use
  • Can find nuggets three to four inches down
  • Easy adjustments and has waterproof coils
  • Doesn’t have a screen backlight so hard to see in dark places

9. Fisher Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector – Best Beginner Detector

One of the most versatile metal 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 breakpoing 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 metal detector weighing only 2.5 pounds.

Final verdict – The Fisher Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector is a great metal detector for those just starting out, especially with its lightweight design. It provides constant ground condition readouts and real-time computerized ground balancing with a really simple to use interface that will help you get your feet wet with a new hobby.
  • Great model for beginner to intermediate levels
  • Comes with a great instruction manual
  • Great for finding coins
  • Have to purchase an arm strap separately

10. Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ Metal Detector – Best Gold Prospecting Detector

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, plus 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.

Final Verdict – Some treasure hunters are just in it for the gold and the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ is designed for these individuals. With great discrimination and electronics, the Tesoso SuperTRAQ has very accurate readings and will help you find the gold from all the other metals.
  • Great electronics and calibration
  • Great lifetime warranty
  • Easy to set up and very accurate
  • Some customers found it had a hard time discriminating between gold and metal

11. Fisher Gold Bug Metal Detector – Best LCD Display

Specifically designed to find a small gold nugget in highly mineralized soil, the Gold Bug metal detector 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. Plus, it features depth readouts, alerts for large targets, a running signal strength indicator, and 1/4 and 1/8 inch headphone jacks.

Final Verdict – Some people prefer really clear displays and the Fisher Gold Bug gives you a large LCD screen with easy to read target identification. With its large target alerts and depth readouts, you won’t miss any treasure on this screen.
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Manual is very easy to read
  • Very sturdy, great product
  • Need a bit of metal detecting background to read it correctly

Buying Guide – Metal Detectors for Gold of 2018

How Does Metal Detector Technology 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 as it reacts to the transmitter coil’s energy, the magnetic polarity change is detected and a signal is transmitted to the loudspeaker using a tone that is based on the strengths and characteristics of the charged metal.

Important Features in a New Metal Detector?

When you are out shopping for your new metal detector, there are several features that you should use to compare between metal detectors in order to choose the best one for your needs.

Coil Construction

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 usually circular, although you may also find them oval.

Concentric circles emit a cone-shaped search field that will be about as deep and wide as the coil is itself, so if you have a concentric coil with a diameter of 8 inches, your magnetic field will also be 8 inches deep and wide. Since magnetic fields are cone-shaped, you will find that your field is the narrowest at the deepest point meaning that your effective depth is probably less than the full width of the coil.

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 which is better at differentiating between closely spaced metals since metal detectors can only identify one type of metal at a time. The second advantage is that a DD coils has a magnetic field that a cone-shaped field only has small pinpricks at its deepest point while a DD coil has about half to two-thirds of its coil’s diameter at its maximum depth, so it is more precise at that depth than a concentric coil with the same maximum depth.


You can often find a discriminator, or a microprocessor-controlled analyzer, on many high-end metal detectors. The discriminator works by comparing signals that are sent by the receiver coil to the signals known of different types of metals like the signal for gold is a lot different than sent by aluminum.
The discriminator can also be set up to ignore the signals that are received from junk metals like aluminum and steel which allows you to focus on more valuable metals like silver and gold.

Search Depth

This 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 if that is what you are looking to uncover.

Ground Balancing

With this feature, you have the ability to cut out interference that you can get from natural metals like iron. A good ground balancing metal 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.

Target Identification

With some user-friendly metal detectors, you will get a graphic target ID that analyzes any distortions and determines what possible metal you will find. With a more advanced detector, it will show you a number between one and 100 that will match to a certain type of search field distortion.

Operating Frequency

Metal detectors with multi-frequency detection can help you discriminate between the targets you are searching for and unwanted targets. The only place it will not work as well as on the beach, so if that is your main place for treasure hunting this feature will not help you.

Other Metal Detector Features

There are other special features that a metal detector can have including informational displays that can make them stand out in the metal detector market. When you are considering purchasing a metal detector, it is important to figure out which features appeal to you and which you feel you will not need.

• Volume Knob – Since your metal detector will beep regularly, it may be important to you 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 allows you to filter out junk metal and just focus on the valuable metals.

• LCD Screen – Many basic models will not come equipped 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 important to find something that won’t strain you.

• Waterproof – Depending on the model and manufacturer, some metal detectors are totally waterproof with some having the ability to be submerged 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 choise

Our recommendation for the Best Overall Metal Detector is the Minelab GPX 5000 Metal Detector with its improved electronics and increased target sensitivity. This metal detector is loaded with great features including 6 preset search modes that can be modified 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 Metal Detector. This is an affordable metal 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 finding objects two to three times faster than many of its competitors.

When searching for a new metal detector, it is important to do your research well. Watch some youtube videos, and read lots of reviews. Comparing metal detectors with key features including operating frequencies, discrimination, target identification, and search depth are vital. You have a metal 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 experience, you are ready to hit the ground running for hours of fun!

George Carlyle :