In this article, I’m going to go over the ten best metal detectors under $500 you can buy.
And, to better help you find the right detector for your needs, we encourage you to check out our interactive guide below, where you’ll be able to compare some of the top detectors on the market against one another.
|Garrett Ace 300||$$$||★★★★||Great for Advanced Users Detecting Coins & Jewelry|
|Fisher F22||$$||★★★★||9″ Triangulated Concentric Coil|
|Garrett Ace 400||$$$||★★★★||8.5 x 11" DD coil|
|Bounty Hunter Land Ranger||$$||★★★★||11” DD Coil|
|Bounty Hunter Tracker IV||$||★★★★||8” Waterproof Coil|
|Minelab X-Terra 705||$$$||★★★★★||Two Pinpoint Modes|
|Garrett AT Gold||$$$||★★★★||Prospecting, Coin, Jewelry, Cache Hunting, Relic Hunting|
|Teknetics T2||$$$||★★★★||Waterproof 11-inch Open Frame Bi-Axial Search Coil|
|Minelab X-Terra 305||$$||★★★★★||Multi-Tone Target ID for more flexibility|
|Bounty Hunter SS2 Sharpshooter II||$$||★★★★||8" Concentric Coil|
|Garrett AT PRO||$$$||★★★★||Use in Water up to 10 ft|
Why Metal Detect as a Hobby?
Metal detecting as a hobby can not only be enjoyable but also rewarding. With the potential to turn any trip to the beach or walk through the woods into a profitable venture, it makes perfect sense why the hobby has been increasing in popularity.
With a flood of different brands and models on the market, it can be very easy to get caught up in the marketing and buy something you don’t need. To make it easier for entry level hobbyists, I have made a list of ten metal detectors under $500 to get you started.
I have selected each of these based off of price and ease of use, to help provide you with the lowest barrier of entry into the hobby as possible.
What to Look for in a Metal Detector
With so many different kinds of metal detectors out there, picking the right one can be difficult. One of the first questions to ask yourself would be, “what am I trying to find?”
For most people getting into the hobby this could be jewelry, gold or coins. A lot of detectors can look for all of these things but under different settings. The type of coil you get will determine not only what types of metals you can find but also their depth.
For a beginner, I highly recommend something more broad in nature. A detector that has a range of different metals and depths that it can search for would be best for a beginner. It is also important to think about the weight and duration of use. If you plan on using the metal detector for extended periods of time, it might be best to find one on the lighter side.
Where To Look for a Metal Detector
As for finding a detector that’s right for you, where do you look? Well the answer could be as simple as Walmart or Amazon, but you will more often than not end up the detector you don’t need. Whether that may be too many or too little features.
There are a good amount of online metal detector retailers dedicated to just selling Metal Detectors and accessories for them and the hobby. As for brand names, there are a few that stand out.
Some have been around since the beginning of the hobby, one of them is the original commercial producer of metal detectors (Fisher Labs). But what they all have in common is a quality product.
Where Should You Start?
Most if not all of these manufacturers offer a detector at or under the $500 price point, I recommend that is where you start. There is no point to go out with a $1,000+ detector if you are just getting into it, you will be overwhelmed and more than likely burn yourself out on the hobby.
That’s why I recommend a cheaper model to start with more limited features, that way you can develop your skills and interest in the hobby at a steady rate. Now just because their cheap and don’t have as many features doesn’t mean that they don’t have more than enough for what you need. T
This is where this list aims to point you in the right direction and get you started down the right path for your metal detecting hobbying adventures.
1) Garrett Ace 300 – $300
The Garret ACE 300 is a great entry level hobbyist metal detector for a number of reasons. With a low price point while still maintaining a lot of features. Adjustable frequency, helping you to eliminate interference, Coin Depth Indicator and Electronic Pinpointing are some of the most helpful features for a beginner.
All of these together can really help someone hone in on a specific spot or item, a huge difference from the cheaper entry level Detectors. It is a great general purpose detector also, one that allows for its user to search for a good amount of different types of metals. That is one of the top things to look for in a starter Detector, making the Garret ACE 300 a top metal detector choice.
Check out our Garrett Ace 300 review!
2) Garrett Ace 400 – $399
The next in the line from Garret. The ACE 400 is a refinement of previous technology found in the 300 and a few extra bells and whistles to make the operators life easier.
It does sit higher on the price point as compared to the previous version, but for good reason. At a higher frequency with a slightly larger coil, it is definitely worth the small jump up in price.
Check out our Garrett Ace 400 review!
3) Fisher F22 – $290
An entry from Fisher Labs, a company known for being one of the first manufacturers of metal detectors. The Fisher F22 shows that they have it down to a science. As a weatherproof detector the F22 is perfect for longer out excursions.
Now weatherproof is not the same as waterproof, it is not submersible. But that doesn’t mean it can’t withstand some light rain. It also is a lightweight model, perfect for those starting out at a younger age or those who plan to use it for extended periods.
Check out our Fisher F22 review here.
4) Bounty Hunter Land Ranger – $275
Another company that has been making detectors for a long time is Bounty Hunter. So it makes sense that they are able to produce a quality Metal Detector for a fair price.
With adjustable sensitivity settings and Auto Ground Balance, the user is given high end features at an affordable price. As well as including 7 search modes and a pinpoint mode for an extra in-depth search.
Check out our Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro review here.
5) Teknetics T2 – $499
The T2 Classic is just that, a classic. Everything from previous versions, refined and updated to reflect today’s technology. A lightweight unit with target separation and large LCD screen makes it easy for a new user to pick it up and start going.
The price point from their website is at ($699) but they give you the option to use a coupon that drops it right under the $500 threshold. You can also found this same model at different online metal detector retailers at varying prices.
6) Minelab X-Terra 305 – $260
Described directly by the manufacturer as a good all around detector for individuals and or families. If you are a beginner or looking to get a metal detector for someone else starting out in the hobby, this is an excellent, user friendly turn-on-and-go machine.
Even though it is designed with new users in mind, the Minelab products are still used by some advances treasure seekers. Even for one of the lower end devices, Minelab makes sure to pack it full of enough features and give it a high enough frequency to make it a useful detector.
The sleek black design is attractive to many buyers, and the simple LCD display clearly indicates settings and conductivity levels. This model would also be perfect for finding coins and jewelry on a beach or shallow areas.
7) Bounty Hunter SS2 Sharpshooter II – $350
Although Bounty Hunter lists this as one of their serious hobbyist metal detectors, it still comes in at only $350 from the manufacturer. This versatile model allows for some use near water, as it comes with a 9 inch waterproof coil. You are able to discern between metals easily with 3-tone audio, and four different modes of operation.
Equipped with a small, easy to read LCD display, controls are easy to set with a convenient touch pad directly below the display, making it easy for those still new to metal detecting. The display directly shows whether there is a specific coin found, or just pull-tabs and caps. This model is perfect for the enthusiasts searching for coins and small caches.
Check out our Bounty Hunter SS2 Sharpshooter review!
8) Tesoro Mojave – $279
The Tesoro Mojave is the newest addition to the bran’s line, and it comes in at less than $300 for the brand new model. It comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, so you can ensure to get the best deal for years to come.
This low frequency detector is perfect for both a novice and expert in the metal detecting field. It is lightweight, at only 2.2 pounds, so you can expect to spend all day searching for treasure without getting tired quickly. Most of the settings on the Mojave are customizable, so you can enter specifications for the certain environment you are searching in.
The easy to read interface only has a few downsides: there is no LCD display and it cannot indicate the exact depth of the materials that have been found. Despite this, the Mojave is an excellent contender for an inexpensive metal detector.
9) Fisher F5 – $350
Another entry from Fisher Labs, a staple in metal detecting, the Fisher F5. Much like the other Fisher model mentioned it has much of the same features.
However, this version is much more preferred when doing beach detecting. With a water-proof coil and high quality anti-rust materials in use, it is designed for prolonged exposure to slight moisture (not entirely submersible).
It is perfect for those looking for coins, relics, and some simple gold prospecting. This model does feature an LCD screen, and it indicates from 0-99 the conductivity of the material found.
Directly from their site it comes in a little above our price range but a quick search of online retailers and you can find it for, on average, around $350. That puts it right in a good spot within that $500 price range.
10) Garrett Ace 250 – $215
Perhaps the cheapest entry on the list, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t stack up in quality compared to the others listed. Garrett with another reasonably priced work horse metal detector.
Including some of the same features seen in the ACE 300 and ACE 400 makes the ACE 250 a great introduction into detecting and the hardware involved. This model was made with the user in mind, so you can rely on it to be perfect as a turn-on-and-go metal detector.
It is lightweight can versatile in that you can search for all-metal or find a specific metal you have already identified. Even though some would call this a beginners metal detector, it still features some options that are seen on some of the highest end of metal detectors on the market. If you’re looking for something a little less intimidating right out of the gate, this would be the pick.
Check out our Garrett Ace 250 review!
Our Top Metal Detector Selection?
Out of the 10 detectors under $500 that I have highlighted here, it has been whittled down to one top metal detector pick.
Now that’s not to say that the other metal detectors on the list don’t hold merit, in fact, every single detector on this list was researched and handpicked.
These are all in fact some of the best metal detectors you can find on the market for $500 and less in 2019. With all of that said, my top metal detector pick goes to, the Garrett ACE 400. There are several reasons that the ACE 400 comes out on top as the best of these 10 for under $500.
First would be the price point, it’s not incredibly low like the ACE 250 and not pushing the threshold even with a coupon like the T2 Classic. It sits nicely at $399, a solid price for a detector of this quality from a brand like Garrett. Second, the features, the ACE 400 is packed full of features.
It has the most different and useful features out of any sub $500 Garrett product. It has taken everything from the earlier models like the 250 and 300, then ran with it and perfected it.
The 400 has more than enough settings for any entry level hobbyists and even intermediate and lower level experts. Being so versatile in nature and sturdy in fabrication is ideal for someone who might not know exactly what they’re doing or looking for. Allowing the detector to lead a novice into the joys of the hobby. That’s why, out of the 10 mentioned on the list, the Garrett ACE 400 stands out as the best Metal Detector for under $500.
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