In this article, we will discuss the 10 best metal detector brands to help you find buried treasure. Not only will I cover some of the top metal detector manufacturers, I’ll go into depth of some of the top detector models each brand has produced, and breakdown what I think makes these detectors so impressive.
Also, if you’re in the market for a great new metal detector, please use the table below to directly compare some of the best detectors on the market against one another:
|XP Deus Wireless||$$$||11” DD Coil|
|Garrett AT Max||$$$||Waterproof to 10 feet|
|Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV||$||8” Waterproof Coil|
Without further ado, let’s start by discussing Garrett, which is one of the most well known brands for metal detectors.
Garrett has been making metal detectors since 1964. Charles and Eleanor Garrett founded the company with the intent of making the best metal detectors and selling them at reasonable prices. Garrett has always prided itself on being customer centered and has made a name for itself in the metal detecting world. They have made it their mission to focus more on customers than on gimmicks. Garrett makes metal detectors for sport, security, and countermine services. Their sport line has detectors that work on land or underwater, are all purpose or more specific, like gold.
In their sports line, some of the most popular and successful metal detectors are the Garrett ATX and the Garrett AT line.
The Garrett ATX is Garrett’s pulse induction (PI) metal detector. While it is costly, at $2,500, it comes with some amazing technology. PI technology works extremely well in wet sand, saltwater, and underwater conditions. This model is fully submersible up to 10 feet, comes with a 10” by 12” Double-D search coil, adjustable Iron Audio, 25 setting Discrimination, 4 ground balance settings, and a 2-year warranty. It is the heaviest detector in Garrett’s sports line, at 6.9 pounds (most PI machines are heavier than very low frequency (VLF) detectors).
The AT line is aimed at more intermediate and advanced detectorist, and consists of the:
Each model is designed for all-terrain use (hence the AT in the name) and fully submersible up to 10 feet. Each model has 40 + discrimination segments, various search modes, proportional audio, quick recovery speed, 8 sensitivity and depth levels, digital target ID, pinpoint mode, and automatic/manual ground balancing. The AT Max operates at an adjustable 13.6 kHz, the AT Gold operates at an adjustable 18 kHz, and the AT Pro operates at an adjustable 15 kHz. Each detector comes standard with Garrett’s PROformance™ 8.5” by 11” Double-D search coil. This line is a great example of Garrett’s technology and quality.
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Fisher Labs has been making metal detectors since 1931. This company makes detector models for gold and treasure, security, and utility and industrial uses. The company was founded by Dr. Gerhard R. Fisher who was a world-renowned engineer and inventor who was the first ever to receive a patent for his metal detector. This is the world’s oldest metal detector company and remains one of the most trusted manufacturers in the metal detecting world. Fisher Labs makes metal detectors for gold prospecting, relic hunting, underwater hunting, and all-purpose metal detecting.
The Fisher Gold Bug 2 is one of the best gold hunting models on the market. This detector operates at a frequency of 71 kHz, making it perfect for finding even the smallest bits of gold. This machine is very sensitive to gold nuggets. It does not have an LCD screen and the control box features various knobs for adjustment making it reliant upon tone changes for target ID. It comes with 3 search modes, ground rejection, iron discrimination mode, quartz-crystal locked electronics, and audio signal boost. This model is lightweight, at just 2.9 pounds, but can also be hip or chest mounted to lower arm fatigue. The Gold Bug 2 comes with a 5-year warranty.
Fisher’s F22 is one my favorite entry-level metal detectors. This model is very easy to use, has a decent LCD screen with numerical target ID, adjustable iron audio, and 9 segment visual target ID. It comes with 4 operating modes: Jewelry, Coin, Artifact, and Custom. It also has a pinpoint mode, 10 levels of adjustable sensitivity, 20 levels of adjustable volume, 4-tone audio ID, and non-volatile memory allowing for settings to be saved. This model is very lightweight, at just 2.3 pounds, and operates at 7.69 kHz.
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Minelab has been manufacturing metal detectors for 35 years and has become one of the main leaders of the metal detecting market. Minelab has focused on making metal detectors that work well in difficult soil conditions including high mineralization, iron rich soils, and saltwater. Minelab produces metal detectors for all treasure types, but has several detectors specifically designed to find gold. They have one of the newest technologies to aid in finding gold and other treasures, called Multi-IQ. This is a true multiple frequency detection technology allowing some Minelab machines to scan on multiple frequencies simultaneously.
The Minelab Vanquish series is my new favorite line for entry level metal detectorists. This series consists of the:
- Minelab Vanquish 340
- Minelab Vanquish 440
- Minelab Vanquish 540 (also available as the 540 Pro Pack with one additional search coil).
Each model is designed to be easy to use for beginning detectorists. The 340 and 440 are perfect for complete newbies, while the 540 has enough features to keep even an intermediate detectorist happy. Each operates on Minelab’s Multi-IQ mode, like their Equinox line of detectors. This means the detector uses frequencies from 5 kHz to 40 kHz simultaneously, allowing it to find more treasure in more soil types more of the time.
The Equinox line is more expensive and features the Multi-IQ technology. One major difference between these and the Vanquish line is the Equinox 600 and Equinox 800 can operate on multiple or single frequencies, while the Vanquish line can only operate on multiple frequencies. These would be more appropriate for intermediate or advanced detectorists. This technology allows users to hunt areas considered “hunted out” and areas with difficult soil conditions. The Equinox line is also fully submersible up to 10 feet, while the Vanquish line only has a waterproof search coil.
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White’s Electronics is a family-owned company offering metal detectors for recreation, security, and industrial purposes since 1950. During the uranium scares of the 1950s, Kenneth and Olive White were among the explorers. The White’s created a Geiger counter used without headphones, which led to the creation of their metal detectors. The company is now under the direction of the founder’s son, Kenneth White and wife, Mary White. White’s makes metal detectors for coins, jewelry, industrial/law enforcement, prospecting, relic hunting, and beach hunting.
One of the best White’s models is the White’s Spectra V3i. This model comes with all of White’s treasure hunting features and a 2-year warranty. The display is a full color HD screen detailing depth and metal type. It runs on a rechargeable battery, comes with 9 preset search modes, and dozens of optional settings that can be changed in real time. It operates on multiple frequencies: 2.5 kHz, 7.5 kHz, and 22.5 kHz. The search coil is waterproof, but the control box is not.
The Whites Goldmaster 24k is another great White’s model. This machine operates at 48 kHz, making it perfect for finding even small bits of gold. It also features a large, backlit display, target graph showing ferrous, gold, and high conductor ranges, and target ID numbers. This model features White’s XGB ground balancing technology allowing the machine to handle highly mineralized soils very well. Ground Scan mode allows users to find valuable paystreaks in streambeds and washes.
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Tesoro was founded in 1980 by Jack Gifford. He retired from the company in 2004 and, per Tesoro’s website, passed away in 2015. There has been a lot of confusion on the state of the company over the past few years.
According to the Better Business Bureau’s website, many people want to know the answer to this key question: Is Tesoro metal detectors out of business? Well, the company’s Facebook page has many posts from customers stating they cannot get anyone to answer the phone (which I also tried to call, and was met with a “mailbox is full” message after several rings), and it appears to some that even their building was listed for sale. This is causing concern for some Tesoro fans, as Tesoro’s metal detectors have always come with a lifetime warranty and people are confused as to what the closure will ultimately mean. This is definitely a story well have to keep our eye on.
Despite all of that, the truth is that Tesoro makes very good metal detectors that become fan favorites. The Tesoro Sand Shark, for instance, is a great Tesoro model built for beachcombing and saltwater hunting. This model utilizes PI technology to combat the highly mineralized soil and moving saltwater found at beaches. This model comes with adjustable pulse width, tone adjustment, variable pitch or single tone, and hardwired headphones.
The detector is fully waterproof up to 200 feet, including the headphones, making it perfect for divers. The model is supposed to come with a lifetime warranty, as all Tesoro products do, but with the business closure and lack of response from the company, this is unverified at this time.
The Lobo SuperTRAQ is another great Tesoro model. This unit is great for gold prospecting as it operates at 17.5 kHz and works well in highly mineralized soils. It offers computerized ground tracking and great discrimination. Tesoro models do not have LCD screens, so they are reliant upon tone ID. Again, this model states it comes with a lifetime warranty that is unverified currently. Despite the problems with the company, Tesoro metal detectors are still great detectors and work very well in most soil conditions.
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Nokta Detectors was founded in 2001 in Istanbul, Turkey. The company acquired Makro Detectors in 2014, and today, exports to over 150 countries on 6 continents. The company is highly focused on customer satisfaction and offers products at various price points to make all buyers happy. The Nokta Makro facility has been certified as an official research and development century by the Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology of Turkey since 2017.
One of my favorite detectors is the Nokta Makro Simplex+. This model is a great unit for entry-level metal detectorists. It is a very easy to use model with automatic ground balancing and preset search modes. This unit is great for finding coins, artifacts, jewelry, and even works well on beaches. The entire unit is fully submersible up to 10 feet, and features adjustable iron volume, notch discrimination, and 4 search modes.
It also has one of my favorite features of any metal detector: vibration upon target detection. The Simplex+ features wireless technology for use with Bluetooth headphones, backlit LCD screen, and LED flashlight. Nokta Makro offers a 2-year warranty on the Simplex+.
The Nokta Makro Kruzer is another great metal detector. This model is fully submersible up to 16.4 feet, has excellent discrimination and unmasking abilities, and an advanced beach mode. This model is extremely stable in dry sand, wet sand, and underwater.
It also features Nokta Makro’s E.U.D. function, Extra Underground Depth, which detects metals masked by ground conditions at fringe depths. The Kruzer comes with 6 search modes and 3 selectable target ID depth levels. It also comes with wireless headphones, online firmware updates, vibrating detection, and is lightweight (3 pounds).
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XP has been based in Toulouse, France, since 1998. XP combines engineering with professional metal detectorists to create new, ergonomic, state of the art metal detectors that focus on customer’s real needs.
The XP Deus (pronounced dey-os) is the first in a new generation of metal detectors offering a more user-friendly design and optimal performance. This detector is the first wireless metal detector and has a fully telescopic S-shaped stem.
The coil, remote control box, and headphones communicate with each other via digital radio link. The search coil processes the signals itself with no need to be sent by a wire in the control box. The signals are digitized and analyzed directly at the source by a digital circuit which improves the quality of signal acquisition.
The headphones for the XP Deus can also control all major settings and functions on the detector wirelessly. The coil can be changed very easily and quickly and the whole machine can fold up in just 5 seconds. One of the coolest features of this machine is its adjustable frequencies (35 of them) from 3.7 kHz to 27.7 kHz. This model is extremely lightweight, at just 1.9 pounds.
Another great XP model is the XP Orx. This model also has an adjustable frequency (21 of them with the HF coil ranging from 13 kHz to 81 kHz, and 35 of them with the X35 coil, like the Deus). The higher frequencies of the HF coil will allow it find even the smallest pieces of gold. This model comes with 4 factory preset programs: 2 for gold prospecting and 2 for coins and relic, along with 2 user modes. As with the Deus, the ORX has wireless technology and is ultra-light, at just 1.7 pounds. Other notable features of the ORX are:
- Rechargeable batteries
- 99 sensitivity levels
- 20 threshold levels
- 4 reactivity levels
- Automatic and manual ground balance
- Salt mode for ground rejection
- Target ID with iron probability
You can also read our XP Deus review here.
Teknetics was founded in 1983 and became part of First Texas Products family of metal detectors in 1989. Teknetics has always been a brand known for quality and performance. In the early 2000s, Teknetics set out to redefine the industry and created the T2 detector, followed shortly by an entirely new line of detectors. The current detector in this series is the T2+GWP ($649).
The Teknetics T2+GWP utilizes all the original features that made the T2 so popular and incorporates a Boost Mode for additional depth. This model has double filter discrimination, FASATGRAB ground balancing, variable audio pitch, pinpoint mode, magnetic mineralization bar graph, easy to read backlit LCD screen with numerical target ID, and a waterproof search coil. The unit operates at 13 kHz and is recommended for hunting coins, jewelry, relics, beach hunting, and gold prospecting.
Another great Teknetics model is the Teknetics Liberator. This model comes with V-Break® variable tone breakpoint, pinpoint mode with depth indicator, discrimination mode (both motion and non-motion), variable notch, numerical target ID, adjustable discrimination and sensitivity, 2 search modes, and 2 audio tones. It comes with an 11” waterproof search coil and features Ground Grab ground balancing. This model, as well as the T2+GWP, are great for beginning detectorists as well as more intermediate detectorists.
Quest metal detectors is based in Lippenhuizen, the Netherlands, with their United States branch in Irvine, California. It was founded by experienced metal detectorists. Quest’s line of metal detectors is based off the desire to find all types of treasure at an affordable price.
The Quest Pro is one of my favorite Quest models. It comes with selectable frequencies, of 5 kHz, 13 kHz, and 20 kHz. This means it can find a range of treasure from silver to gold.
This model is touted as the world’s first Smart Detector as it has a built in Bluetooth module for connection to a Smart Device to track and map your quests. Available on Google and Apple smart devices, the QuestGo is a free app allowing users to track their locations and treasures. This model comes with 5 preset search programs, and 2 customizable programs with LED indication.
The LCD screen is backlit for low light conditions, and includes depth reader, metal ID, battery status, numerical target ID, and automatic and manual ground balancing. This model is fully submersible up to 20 feet and features magnetic charging for its rechargeable battery pack.
The Quest Q20 is a cheaper model detector. It is not fully waterproof. It is weatherproof, though. It operates at 9 kHz, features rechargeable batteries and USB charging. It does not have a backlit screen, or wireless technology. The 20 features 2 search modes, 3 ID tones, and automatic/manual ground balancing. The LCD screen features numerical target ID. This model would be great for beginning detectorists as it is simple to use.
Bounty Hunter metal detectors are aimed at beginning detectorists, but some more intermediate detectorists lie their products. As with Teknetics and Fisher, Bounty Hunter is owned by First Texas Products. A lot of more experienced metal detectorists look down upon Bounty Hunter detectors because they tend to be inexpensive and somewhat low-end. Despite that, they make metal detectors for kids and adults alike.
For young children, ages 6 to 11, the Bounty Hunter Junior is a great option. While it does not have a ton of features, it is plenty to get your kiddos active and outside metal detecting with you without spending a fortune. It is sturdy and gives the kids the same thrill we get when they find a target. This detector is very lightweight (1.5 pounds) and adjustable from 20.5” to 31.5”, so it can grow with your child. It even has a discrimination mode to help filter out some trash. It can find a coin sized item up to 5” underground is good conditions. It does not have a display screen but does have a need that shows the depth of the object.
The Bounty Hunter Lone Star Pro is tailored to more experienced metal detectorists. This detector has 3 search modes, adjustable discrimination, and auto notch modes. The Lone Star Pro has 9 segments of digital target ID, and a large, easy to read display screen. It is also water resistant. Ground balancing is preset, and it operates at 7.69 kHz. While not the most advanced detector on the market (and as a model that is discontinued and could be more difficult to find), this detector works well for finding many types of treasure. The lower frequency may prove difficult in highly mineralized soil conditions and will not work well for finding gold.
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