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 right metal detector 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 a good metal detector and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
|Minelab GPX 5000|
DVT & SETA
|11" Round |
15 x 12-inch
|Garrett ATX |
|VLF||71||6 1/2" |
|Garrett AT Gold|
|VLF||19||5" and 10" DD |
|VLF||45||5×10 DD |
and 5 DD
|Tesoro Lobo |
1. Minelab GPX 5000 Metal Detector – The Best Metal Detectors for Gold, Silver and Coins
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.
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.
- Very sensitive and programs easily
- Lightweight and uses fewer batteries than other brands
- Has a great ability to change coils
- Coil isn’t waterproof
2. Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade Metal Detector – Best All Terrain Detector
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.
- 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
3. Fisher Gold Bug-2 Metal Detector – 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 its features Quartz-crystal locked electronics and a dual-knob ground control for fine and coarse adjustments.
- 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
4. Garrett AT Gold Waterproof Metal Detector – Best Waterproof Detector
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.
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.
- 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
5. Gold Bug Pro 2 Coil Combo – Best Discrimination 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 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.
- Lightweight and affordable
- Has a lot of features, easy to make adjustments
- Great for fitting into small places
- Instructions are not very good
6. Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000 – Best Sensitivity Metal Detector
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.
- 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
7. Fisher Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector – Best Beginner Detector
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.
- Great model for beginner to intermediate levels
- Comes with a great instruction manual
- Great for finding coins
- Have to purchase an arm strap separately
8. Garrett 1140680 AT Gold Metal Detector – Best Value Detector
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.
- Easy to understand controls
- Can change out the coils and upgrade them
- Can’t use it in saltwater
9. Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ Metal Detector – Best Gold Prospecting Detector
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.
- 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
10. Fisher Gold Bug Metal Detector – Best LCD Display
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
This is the measurement of how deep the device can detect coin-sized pieces of 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.
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.
With some user-friendly metal detectors, you will get a graphic target ID that analyzes any distortions and determine 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.
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 is 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 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 you research well. Watch some youtube videos, and read lots of reviews. Comparing metal detectors by 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!