I get asked a lot of metal detecting questions, with the most common being “what is the best metal detector” so I’ll do my best to answer that question and review some of the more common questions at the same time.
The first thing you need to know is that there is no 1 best metal detector. There are so many different detectors available on the market that each serve a different niche. So it’s important to understand what it is you want to find, so you can make the best possible metal detector choice.
Best All Round Metal Detector
When it comes to being a gun all round metal detector, my favorite metal detector to recommend is the Garrett AT Pro (Check out this extensive Garrett AT Pro Review). It’s one of the best metal detectors that I have ever owned, and it packs in so much value when compared to other more expensive metal detectors.
Most people just starting out with metal detecting will probably find it to be a little on the expensive side at around $600, but it is also the type of metal detector that’s going to last you for years and years. It has enough features to keep even seasoned experts happy, while it is simple enough to operate for the novice.
It’s really in a sweet spot when you compare price and functionality. Sure there are plenty of bigger and better detectors available, but they can cost up to $5,000, and many aren’t what I consider user friendly.
There are also plenty of less expensive metal detectors available, but I find that they are lacking in features and most people soon get frustrated with the lack of available functionality or depth the detector can penetrate.
I also understand that many people just aren’t ready to pump $600 into a metal detector when they have never tried it before, and so that’s why I have included this next section.
Best Metal Detector For Beginners
If you can afford it, I still recommend the Garrett AT Pro, however, if that’s outside of your budget there are plenty of cheaper alternatives that will suffice to allow you to get started with treasure hunting.
If you are super price conscious, consider the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV. It starts at less than $100 and will allow you to explore the basics of metal detecting. The machine itself is quite limited, but it is super cheap.
If you can afford to spend a bit more, I highly recommend looking at the Garrett ACE 250 (detailed Garrett ACE 250 review) or the Garrett ACE 350 (Garrett ACE 350 review) which has a better search coil and a couple of extra features. The detectors are more in the $200-$300 range, but are a far superior detector that the bounty hunter and they are (in my opinion) easier to learn to operate.
If you aren’t a fan of Garrett metal detectors, the Fisher F2 (see more information) is also a great metal detector to get started with and is great at coin shooting.
What Is The Best Metal Detector for Experts?
The expert category is the most difficult. The reason for that is because when you move into being more of an expert, you are usually looking to find just a single type of target. As an example, you might want a great coin shooting metal detector, or if you’re looking gold nuggets, you will be looking for a nugget hunter.
About the only thing I think everyone will agree on is that when you get into the top end of the market, there are plenty of great detectors to select from. The king in terms of price ($5,000 – that’s not a typo) and functionality is the Minelab GPX5000 (Gary’s GPX 5000 Review), however, there are cheaper detectors you can buy if you just want to go for more of a specialist detector.
What is the Best Coin Shooting Detector
The first thing you need to know when looking for a good metal detector to find coins, is that pretty much all metal detectors will find coins – if you configure it correctly (Metal Detecting Coin Shooting Tips). Having said that, there are some great machines that are targeted more to the coin shooting hobbyists among us.
The metal detectors that I have had the most success with when coin shooting are the XP Deus ($1,500) and the Garrett GTI 2500 ($1,000). The XP Deus is the better of the two, but it is also more expensive. I know I’ve already told you earlier to buy the AT Pro, but if you need another reason – I have found a heap of coins with my AT Pro and I suspect it would meet the needs of 99% of coin shooters out there for about half the price of these other two.
What is the Best Metal Detector for Gold?
Normally when I go out treasure hunting for the day – I’m looking for gold. Normally I don’t find any, and when I do, it’s normally very small, but sometimes you can hit a big one and it really does help to have the right tools.
When I go gold nugget hunting I use the Garrett ATX – it’s a fairly new metal detector, but it’s very nice to use. The controls are different from the standard Garrett unit, but it doesn’t take very long to get used to, with most people likely to be able to start using it straight out of the box.
The Garrett ATX will set you back about $2,500, so it isn’t cheap, but if you stick with metal detecting long enough, you should make that money back – it really is top notch at finding gold.
If you decide that $2,500 is too expensive for you, there are plenty of mid range metal detectors that are also good at finding gold. Both the Garrett AT Gold and the Fisher Gold Bug-2 come to mind with both being well under $1000.
Is there a Best Kids Metal Detector?
Metal detecting isn’t just something us grownups get to do and enjoy, it’s also great to get kids involved too. Most kids aren’t going to be interested in the latest and greatest functionality or depth penetration, rather they are going to want ease of use and something that’s not going to be too heavy for them to carry around. I know that you can pick up some metal detectors for kids for under $50.
What’s the Best Metal Detector When Treasure Hunting in the Water?
Many people just assume that all metal detectors can be used in the water, however, it’s just not the case, and you will likely break your detector and void your warranty if you do so. If you do plan on using your metal detector in the water, please ensure you read up about it and confirm that it is able to be used in the water. Some can have the search coil in the water, others can’t have anything in the water, while others can go fully under.
For me, I use the Garrett AT Pro whenever I decide to get wet when treasure hunting. It works flawlessly when submerged and doesn’t give me any unusual feedback. It is important to note though that the standard head phones that come with the AT Pro aren’t waterproof (so don’t use them in the water). Buy yourself some quality headphones that are rated to go into the water – you won’t regret it.