Buying a budget-friendly metal detector is a great option for a lot of reasons:
- You are new to the hobby
- You are on a tight budget
- You want decent features that won’t break the bank
- You want a less expensive model for your children
- You want good performance without a premium price
Although some inexpensive metal detectors are aimed specifically at children and considered little more than toys (they will no doubt detect metal, but you’ll be lucky if its anything other than a pull tab on or just below the surface), the metal detectors on this list are great options for beginners, children who have outgrown the toy models, or anyone looking to find a detector with great features minus the premium price tag.
All the models on this list are under $400, with the bulk of them falling into the $200 to $300 price range. Despite the lower price tags, each of these detectors offers features suitable for beginner or intermediate level metal detectorists.
Below, in an effort to help you find the best budget metal detectors on the market, please use our interactive table that showcases some of the top detectors on the market:
|XP Deus Wireless||$$$||11” DD Coil|
|Garrett AT Max||$$$||Waterproof to 10 feet|
|Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV||$||8” Waterproof Coil|
The Fisher F22 is one of my favorite inexpensive metal detectors. It comes with many features you will find on more expensive machines for a fraction of the price. The F22 is a lightweight model, at just 2.3 pounds, making it easy to carry for long periods of time. It is well balanced, durable, and comes with a waterproof search coil. The control box is not fully waterproof but is weatherproof. So, a rainstorm won’t stop you from hunting, but make sure you don’t drop it in the river!
The F22 has 4 search modes: jewelry, coin, artifact, and custom. It comes with 4 audio tones: bass, low, medium, and high. This model has an operating frequency of 7.69 kHz, meaning it will not be great for finding gold and may have difficulty in highly mineralized soils, saltwater, and wet sand. Fisher has also included Iron Audio on the F22. This feature allows you to adjust the volume of ferrous targets so you can decide whether to dig them or not. The F22 has 10 sensitivity levels, numerical Target ID on an easy to read control box, preset notch discrimination, and depth indicator. The F22 comes with a 9” waterproof concentric search coil. Standard headphones can be used with this model and it operates on
Fisher offers a 5-year warranty on the F22.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling metal detectors available for sale on Amazon (and see how they compare to the detectors we’ll discuss throughout this article):
|1) Garrett AT MAX|
|2) Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV|
|3) Bounty Hunter Gold Digger|
While Minelab is typically known for their high-end premium metal detectors, they also produce more entry-level, cost effective models, such as the X-Terra 305. This model is aimed at beginners or detectorists on a budget. The 305 is an all-purpose metal detector designed to find coins, relics, and jewelry, and can even be used on beaches. The control box features a large monochrome LCD screen, 5 depth indicators, coin and treasure detection modes, 12 segment discrimination scale, and 2 factory discrimination patterns than can be personalized, as well as all metal mode.
The 305 comes with Minelab’s patented VFLEX technology. VFLEX utilizes state of the art digital electronics to enhance single frequency detection and provides dependable performance and improved immunity to outside interference (electromagnetic, etc.). The 305 can also utilize different coils. VLFEX allows users to change the detector’s operating frequency simply by changing coils. The standard coil on the 305 is a 9” concentric, waterproof coil, with frequencies ranging from 7.5 to 18.75 kHz, depending upon the coil chosen. This model can use standard headphones, although they are not included.
Another great feature of the 305 is that is has memory that will remember your settings even if the 4 AA batteries are removed. Threshold is adjustable from -5 to 25, target volume is adjustable from 0 to 10, and noise cancelling has 3 channels. Ground balancing is manual, ranging from 0 to 20. This model also features an audio and visual pinpoint mode. This is a lightweight model, at just 2.9 pounds.
Minelab offers a 3-year warranty on the 305.
Garrett’s Ace series has always been popular for beginning detectorists and those on a budget. These models are all easy to use and have a lot of features making them a great value. The Ace 300 is the middle model in the Ace line. It features more modes than the Ace 200 and enhanced features to help find treasure. This model has 4 iron discrimination segments, adjustable notch discrimination, 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments, pinpoint mode, and 5 search modes.
The LCD screen is easy to read and features digital target ID. The Ace 300 operates at a frequency of 8 kHz and is adjustable. There are 3 audio tone ID levels and a target depth indicator. This model comes standard with a 7” by 10” concentric PROformance™ search coil. This model has an adjustable stem so it can be customized to the user’s height. It is lightweight at only 2.8 pounds. This model operates on 4 AA batteries. The Ace 300 comes with standard headphones, ACE cover-up, coil cover, and owner’s manual.
Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the Ace 300.
- You can read our Garrett Ace 300 review here.
While some of Bounty Hunter’s models are considered more toys than true detectors, the Tracker IV is a good option for a budget-friendly metal detector. This model is very cost-effective, and unlike toy machines, comes with adjustable sensitivity and discrimination, as well as all-metal mode and 2-tone audio. This is an extremely simple to use model with no LCD screen. It functions on a simple 2 knob design. The analog meter shows the signal strength indicating the target’s depth and size.
The Tracker IV operates at 6.7 kHz with 3 search modes and is designed to be rugged so it can be used in all terrains. This model is slightly heavier than some other models, at 4.2 pounds. This model does not have ground balance adjustments and as such would be very difficult to use on saltwater beaches or areas with high mineralization levels. Despite this, beginners will find this model easier to use without these features. The Tracker IV can be used with headphones. Remember, this model does not have adjustable volume control so headphones will come in very handy. This model comes standard with an 8” waterproof concentric search coil. The control box is not waterproof and should be kept dry.
Bounty Hunter offers a 5-year warranty on the Tracker IV.
- You can read our Bounty Hunter Tracker IV review here.
Garrett’s Ace 400 is the top tier of the Ace line. It has features that the 300 and 200 do not have. This model is one of the more expensive on this list, so if you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, you should seriously consider the Ace 400. In comparison to the 300, the Ace 400 has Iron Audio, a Double-D search coil, higher operating frequency, and volume control headphones. As with the 300, the Ace 400 has 4 discrimination segments, pinpoint mode, 5 search modes, adjustable notch discrimination, and 8 sensitivity modes.
The Iron Audio feature of the Ace 400 really sets it apart from the rest of the Ace line. Iron Audio allows the audio signal to alter depending on the ferrous properties of the target. This helps you pick out trash before you dig. The Ace 400 operates at 10 kHz, the highest in the Ace line. It comes with 3 audio tone ID levels, target depth indicator, and an 8.5 by 11” Double-D PROformance search coil. It weighs just 2.9 pounds and has an adjustable stem. As with the Ace 300, this model comes with headphones, ACE cover-up, coil cover, and owner’s manual.
Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the Ace 400.
- Check out our Garrett Ace 400 review here!
Minelab’s Vanquish 340 is the lowest priced model in their new Vanquish series. This is fast becoming my favorite line of metal detectors. All the Vanquish line are affordable and come with Minelab’s patented Multi-IQ technology. Multi-IQ is a game changer for single frequency metal detectors. This technology allows the Vanquish 340 (as well as the 440 and 540) to operate at multiple frequencies simultaneously.
Rather then the traditional single frequency, this model operates at: 5, 10, 15, 20, and 40 kHz at once. This helps with quicker recovery speed and extends the range of findable metals. The lower end frequencies are more responsive to high conductive metals like silver, while the higher frequencies are more responsive to lower conductive metals like gold. Most single frequency machines with high frequencies to find gold are more expensive and specialized gold finding machines.
This is a lightweight model, at just 2.6 pounds and features a collapsible snap-lock stem making it simple to pack up and go. The Vanquish 340 comes with Minelab’s V10 (10” x 7”) Double-D waterproof search coil. The control box is not waterproof and should never be submerged. The control box features a monochromatic LCD screen with numerical target ID. It comes with 5 segments of discrimination and 4 depth indicator levels. It does not have a pinpoint mode. If a pinpoint mode is a must for you, I would suggest the Vanquish 440 or even 550, if your budget permits.
Minelab offers a 3-year warranty on the Vanquish series.
Tekentics’ EuroTek Pro metal detector has a lot of features that most detectors within this price point do not. It comes with FeTone adjustable iron audio, which allows users to adjust the volume of ferrous and non-ferrous targets. The EuroTek Pro also features V-Break variable breakpoint which is the industry’s first variable breakpoint tone discrimination system. It also has variable iron discrimination which allows a full range of discrimination adjustments. Iron identifier is also on this machine, which features an LED light that illuminates when iron is detected, regardless of discrimination settings.
Volume is adjustable on the EuroTek Pro. It has 5 segment depth indicator, 3 tone audio ID, large numerical target ID, ferrous ID, and non-ferrous ID. Discrimination is adjustable from 1 to 79, and sensitivity is adjustable from 1 to 10. The EuroTek Pro also has a large target overload warning. Settings are saved as default. This model can also be used with standard headphones.
The EuroTek Pro operates on a single 9-volt battery and weighs just 2.4 pounds. It operates at 7.81 kHz. Because of its lower operating frequency, it will not be great for finding small pieces of gold or in highly mineralized soils or saltwater settings. The length is adjustable so it can be customized to the user’s height. This model comes with an 8” concentric waterproof search coil.
Teknetics offers a 5-year warranty on the EuroTek Pro.
This is one of the least expensive entry-level metal detectors on the market. It was specifically made for new detectorists and does not have as many features as some of the other models on this list. Despite this, it is a great machine for newbies and children. The LCD screen is simple and displays target depth, target ID, and battery life. This is truly a turn on and go metal detector. This model has 3 modes, and you can discriminate by pressing the Mode button. Sensitivity is also adjustable, and the readout gives the approximate depth accurately.
The Discovery 1100 has a 3-segment target ID, 4 segment depth display, and push button discrimination and depth control. It can detect coin-sized metals up to 6” deep and larger objects up to 2” deep. It uses 2 9-volt batteries and it weighs 4 pounds. This model comes with a 7” concentric search coil and operates at 6.6 kHz. Again, this lower frequency will not be good for finding gold or in highly mineralized soils or saltwater areas.
Bounty Hunter offers a 2-year warranty on this model.
The Simplex+ is one of my favorite metal detectors. It was designed to appeal to new metal detectorists or more intermediate detectorists. This is Nokta Makro’s first entry level machine and it is a simple to use machine. It has automatic ground balancing and 4 search modes: All Metal, Park, Field, and Beach. The Simplex+ is fully submersible up to 10 feet; something not often seen in and around the lower price point. This model has notch discrimination, iron volume, and Bluetooth connectivity for use with wireless headphones.
One of my favorite features on the Simplex+ is the vibration upon target detection. This is a hugely useful feature for underwater metal detecting or for hearing impaired detectorists. This model is single fr3quency at 12 kHz but offers frequency shift. Frequency shift helps eliminate electromagnetic interference by slight shifting the single frequency up or down very slightly. This does not make it a multiple frequency machine like the Vanquish series. While the operating frequency is not ideal for gold or saltwater conditions, it does a decent job on beaches, but it does have more chatter in these areas.
The Simplex+ features a pinpoint mode and comes with an 11” waterproof Double-D search coil. This model is lightweight at just 2.9 pounds and is ruggedly built for use in all terrains. It features a built-in rechargeable battery pack. It also has updatable software by connecting it to a PC.
Nokta Makro offers a 2-year warranty on the Simplex+.
The Vanquish 440 is the middle model in the Vanquish series. This model features the same Multi-IQ technology at the 340, meaning it searches on multiple frequencies simultaneously. It comes with a pinpoint mode, which the 340 lacks. This model works well on all metals and in all terrains. It comes with 5 Find Modes: Coin, Relic, Jewelry, All Metal, and Custom. Custom mode is not found on the 340. It also has more discrimination than the 340, with 12 segments (the 340 has 5). This makes the 440 have more control over what metals are accepted or rejected. Iron Bias is preset to high and is not adjustable (the 540, the highest model in this series, offers adjustable Iron Bias).
The Vanquish 440 weighs just 2.6 pounds and comes with Minelab’s V10 (10” by 7”) waterproof search coil. This model is not fully waterproof, and the control box should not be submerged. This model can use standard headphones (included) and has a monochrome LCD screen with numerical target ID.
Minelab offers a 3-year on the Vanquish series.
White’s Coinmaster metal detector is a ruggedly built entry-level machine. It has Five-Range Discrimination so you can hear every target or just a specific target. It is simple to operate and allows you to spend more time hunting rather than learning to use the machine. Ground balancing is preset but can be trimmed manually. This machine is optimized for coin shooting and jewelry hunting. The display features a visual display indicator which helps use numbers to identify the target as well as sound.
The Coinmaster features a depth reading so you know the approximate depth of your target. It works in conjunction with the target ID and visual display indicator to determine the depth very accurately. It is very lightweight at just 2.5 pounds. It comes with a 9” waterproof Spider Coil and operates on 2 9-volt batteries. The control box is water resistant but not fully waterproof and should not be submerged. It operates on a frequency of 8 kHz and can be used with standard headphones. This model also has a pinpoint mode.
White’s offers a 2-year warranty on the Coinmaster metal detector.
Fisher’s F11 is one of the more affordable Fisher models. It does not have as many features as their more expensive brands, but as the owner of an F11, it gets the job done. The F11 is preset for normal ground conditions, making it very easy to use for new detectorists. This model has a large LCD screen with 9 segment target ID, from iron to silver, and works with 4 audio tones: bass, low, medium, and high. The F11 features a pinpoint mode to accurately find targets. This model also has 6 levels of adjustable volume and sensitivity.
The F11 has 3 search modes: jewelry, coin, and artifact. From my experience, this model does have some chatter issues in highly mineralized soils, but it is still able to identify valid targets. Last time I use this machine in the mountains of northeastern Utah, I found lots of junk (pull tabs, soda cans, foil, etc.), but also came away with several coins and even a few pieces of native silver.
This model is lightweight, at just 2.3 pounds, so it is easy to use for long periods of time. It operates at a frequency of 7.69 kHz and uses one 9-volt battery. The F11 comes with a 7” waterproof concentric search coil. The control box is not waterproof or even weatherproof, so make sure you purchase a rain guard for the box or keep it put away if inclement weather sets upon you.
Fisher offers a 5-year warranty on the F11 metal detector.
- Check out our Fisher F11 review here.
Each of the metal detectors on this list will be a great option for new metal detectorists or for more intermediate detectorists who don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want detectors with great features. Each machine has its pros and cons, so be sure to do your own research prior to purchase. Each of the detectors on this list is $400 or less, with the majority being $300 or less.
- $100 – $199: Bounty Hunter Tracker IV and Discovery 1100, Minelab Vanquish 340, Fisher F11
- $200 – $299: Fisher F22, Minelab X-Terra 305, Teknetics EuroTek Pro, Nokta Makro Simplex+, Minelab Vanquish 440, White’s Coinmaster
- $300 – $399: Garrett Ace 300
- $400+: Garrett Ace 400
These metal detectors have enough features to keep a beginner or intermediate detectorists happy. Just be aware that many of these are single frequency models with lower operating frequencies and you may encounter issues in saltwater conditions, wet sand, and highly mineralized soils. Always test your metal detector at home to familiarize yourself with the machine and its sights and sounds. Most metal detector manufacturers are introducing more advanced machines at entry-level prices allowing even beginners to have a great machine at an affordable price. So, get out there and find that treasure!
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