Metal detecting is a rewarding hobby that many people love. It can add a sense of exploration and adventure to a walk around the block or a leisurely stroll along the beach. We made this guide to showcase the best metal detectors on the market and to educate you on factors to consider before you buy.
Buying Guide for Metal Detectors
Why buy a metal detector?
Most people buy metal detectors for their hobby. With a metal detector, you can explore your surroundings like never before and may even locate a fantastic find that was hiding right under your nose. However, metal detectors can also be a practical investment. For instance, what if you drop your house key in a large pile of sawdust while splitting wood? Although finding your key in normal circumstances would be incredibly tricky and time-consuming, a metal detector can accomplish the task quickly, with a friendly beep to let you know where to reach for it.
What should you look for in a metal detector?
- Size/Weight: A metal detector’s size and weight are key factors since not every metal detector will be comfortable for you to carry and operate. Keep in mind that heavier models will likely need to be used for shorter periods and might require frequent breaks.
- Weatherproofing: Is your metal detector weather-resistant, or will exposure to rain cause it to rust, corrode, or stop working? While some metal detectors can actually be submerged in water, most entry-level models should be kept relatively dry.
- Ease of use: Luckily for beginners, some of the most affordable metal detectors you will find are also some of the easiest to use. However, if you increase the cost you’re willing to invest in a metal detector, you can unlock a number of nifty features. However, advanced metal detectors might be too complicated for many beginners, so investing in an easy-to-use model isn’t a bad idea if you’re new to the world of metal detection.
What key features should you look for in a metal detector?
One of the most sought-after metal detector features is discrimination. This feature will allow the detector to only alert you when it locates certain metals, which makes it easier when looking for a specific object that you’ve lost. Additionally, be sure to research a metal detector’s ground balance quality, as this feature will help prevent false alerts due to the ground’s mineral content. Of course, investing in a model with adjustable sensitivity and long-lasting battery life is also a great idea.
Our Picks for the Best Metal Detectors
National Geographic Junior Metal Detector
This kid-friendly metal detector is incredibly simple to use and surprisingly adept at detecting metal objects.
Pros: Featuring a lightweight design that is perfect for young children, the National Geographic Junior Metal Detector is ideal for fun-filled days exploring the beach, backyard, and everywhere in between. This metal detector is incredibly easy to use and comes with a clear instruction book and handy learning guide that is perfect for beginners. Despite its low price, it’s surprisingly effective at detecting metal objects on the ground and even buried objects.
Cons: If you’re buying this product for a child, you’ll probably want to note that this metal detector’s build quality leaves something to be desired. As such, if you anticipate your kid banging this metal detector around instead of using it correctly, it’s unlikely to last a long time.
Bottom Line: While this metal detector is a far cry from some of today’s most technologically impressive models, its ease of use and surprisingly capable metal detection makes it a steal at its budget-friendly price point. However, this product isn’t exactly the most durable option for youngsters, so make sure it’s handled with care.
Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector
This affordable metal detector scores points for its easy-to-adjust controls.
Pros: If you’re seeking an affordable metal detector that doesn’t disappoint in terms of performance, the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector is well worth a look. This product minimizes false signals via its penchant for ignoring the ground’s mineral content and is easily adjustable in terms of sensitivity and discrimination. This model also sports a waterproof search coil and sturdy, lightweight build, making it one of the best entry-level metal detectors on the market.
Cons: While this is overall a fantastic metal detector for beginners, it does require a slight learning curve and some user adjustments in order to really shine. Also, it’s not the most accurate in terms of “hit” location, so digging up underground treasures may leave a slightly larger hole in your yard when compared to other premium metal detectors.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a metal detector that can quickly find your partner’s gold necklace in a grassy meadow, this offering from Bounty Hunter is unlikely to disappoint. While it’s not the most accurate model on the market, this metal detector is incredibly reliable for the price, and its easy-to-adjust search modes are perfectly suited for beginners and seasoned users alike.
RM RICOMAX Metal Detector
This handy metal detector kit comes with a handy shovel and travel case.
Pros: Featuring an easy-to-read LCD display that is visible in both direct sunlight and the dark, the RM RICOMAX Metal Detector combines powerful metal detection with a number of nifty extras. This metal detector sports four detection modes and gives users the ability to filter the specific type of metal they are searching for in order to minimize false alerts. It also comes with a portable shovel, which will come in especially handy since this metal detector is great at locating buried objects.
Cons: While the metal detector, shovel, and travel case are all winners, the headphones that come with this kit are fairly low-quality and should be replaced with a better set for optimal results. Also, this product doesn’t come with the two 9-volt batteries that it requires to run, so be sure to stock up on batteries before you put it through its paces.
Bottom Line: This metal detector kit outperforms similarly-priced models in terms of detection range and accuracy, making it a fairly enticing deal for its price tag. It’s also worth noting that this product scores very well in terms of battery life, but you’ll have to provide your own starter batteries since they’re not included in the kit.
Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector
This premium metal detector combines advanced functionality and a weatherproof design.
Pros: Featuring a lightweight, weatherproof design that is easy to maneuver into tight spaces thanks to its compact coil, the Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector is hard to beat at any price point. This metal detector is user-friendly enough for beginners but still includes some nifty features for advanced users, such as its target depth indicator and handy iron audio technology. As such, it takes some of the aggravating guesswork out of metal detecting while being rugged enough to use in nearly any situation.
Cons: Given that this metal detector is considerably more expensive than similar metal detectors with comparable features, some people will justifiably wonder whether it’s worth the investment. Unlike other metal detectors at this price point, the Fisher F22 is geared toward user-friendliness and ease of use, so those seeking next-level features that cater to power users may need to look elsewhere.
Bottom Line: While this probably isn’t the most advanced metal detector at its price point, it might be the most user-friendly and reliable. If you’re interested in purchasing a metal detector that can be used in uncompromising weather conditions without skipping a beat, this product is accurate and reliable enough to justify its price tag.
Kuman Pin Pointer
This affordable pinpointer will simplify finding metal objects with your metal detector.
Pros: Many pin pointers can be just as expensive as your high-end metal detector, but this offering from Kuman provides exceptional sensitivity and a lightning-quick response time for a fraction of the cost of similar models. As such, this product can save you a lot of time when locating metal objects that you’ve dug up while exploring with your metal detector. To sweeten the deal, this pin pointer also includes an integrated LED light which really comes in handy when visibility is at a minimum.
Cons: While this pinpointer rates well compared to the competition in terms of accuracy and sensitivity, its detection depth isn’t quite on par with premium products. That being said, it should be more than adequate for most users.
Bottom Line: Pair this high-quality pinpointer with your metal detector of choice to save some time and limit strain on your back after digging up some ground. While this product doesn’t take the place of a dedicated metal detector, it’s a worthy companion that’s well worth its budget-friendly price tag.
When you use a quality metal detector for the first time, it’s easy to see why the hobby has grown wildly in popularity over the years. However, doing your research and purchasing the right metal detector for your needs is every bit as important as finding the right location to use it.