21 Metal Detecting Essentials to Never Leave Home Without

When you are going to go metal detecting, you may think you just need to grab your metal detector and a shovel and head out the door. While you can certainly do this, there are a few metal detecting essentials that you’ll want to bring along to help make you detecting hunt much easier.  

In this article, I’m going to provide you with over 20 tools you can use to make your metal detecting experience much more enjoyable and effective.

Metal Detecting Essentials You Need

If you’re in need of one big grab bag set of metal detecting tools, then why not consider a tool kit?

Metal Detecting Tool Kit

There are many items you want to have with you in your metal detecting tool kit. These items make your metal detecting hunt easier and more efficient, which is always the goal! The more efficiently you can metal detect and dig, the more chance you will find treasures. 

Metal Detector

Your first and most important item is your metal detector. Having the right metal detector for your soil type and desired treasure is especially important. Manufacturers make metal detectors for most types of treasures, and many make detectors for use in difficult soil conditions. If you are looking for all types of treasure, you will want an all-around metal detector. 

One of my favorite models is the Nokta Simplex +. This model is easy to use but has features that even an intermediate or more advanced detectorist will like. It works well in difficult soil conditions, has several search modes, and is fully waterproof up to 10 feet. 

If you are looking for specific treasure, like coins or gold, manufacturers will have a model for your needs. Gold prospecting requires a special type of metal detector. Most areas where gold can be found have highly mineralized soil, black sands, and hot rocks. All these factors make traditional metal detectors give false readings and even overload. 

Models like the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 or Fisher Gold Bug 2 are specifically designed to compensate for these issues while still being sensitive to small and fine gold. If you are coin shooting or looking for jewelry, Garrett’s AT Max or Ace Apex are great models to choose from. 

Do some research on your area to find out which type of detector will work best for your soil. Look into the different manufacturers and their models and see which one you think will work the best for your needs. 


A good handheld pinpointer is necessary in every metal detectorist’s toolkit. A handheld pinpointer makes narrowing down your search area much easier. These smaller metal detectors can better zero in on a target location with more accuracy than a full-size metal detector. 

This also means you can spend less time digging. You can dig an initial hole, then use the pinpointer to narrow down the search area within the target hole. You can also use the pinpointer to check small cracks in rocky areas, underwater (if it is waterproof, as many models are), and the dirt pile from the hole you have dug. 

Carrying Case

While not a necessary item, a carrying case for your metal detector and accessories is a nice thing to have. It keeps everything together in a neat and orderly fashion. It is much easier to have one case with all your items in it to load into the vehicle than 20 random items to grab. This makes it less likely you forget something when you go out detecting. 


When you are metal detecting, you will want to take along extra batteries, if your detector takes batteries. There is nothing worse than being on a target and your detector dies. If you have fresh batteries along with you the problem can be alleviated. 

Best Metal Detecting Finds Pouch

There are lots of metal detecting finds pouches on the market. Each have similar qualities. The best ones I have found are the ones that fit like a belt or strap on to your belt. This makes it so much easier to keep the pouch on your hip. This way, when you find a target, you can easily deposit the item into your pouch for safe keeping. 

My top choice for a finds pouch is the Garrett Digger’s Pouch in camo. This pouch is high quality, has a good zipper closure, and different sized pockets for all your finds. It sits comfortably on your waist for easy access and has sturdy loops on the front to attach your accessories and digging tools. 

This pouch is 10 inches deep with an interior zippered treasure pocket that allows you to keep trash separate from treasure. It features MOLLE type webbing grid for attaching pinpointers and other tools and secures with its own adjustable belt. It fits up to a 48-inch waist. 

Metal Detecting Gear List

Let’s begin this list by discussing the need for knee pads.

Knee Pads

Knee pads are a great piece of gear. They keep your knees safe when working in rocky areas, or any areas, really. Have you ever knelt on a pebble? It does not feel good. Knee pads help keep your knees protected when you are bending down to dig or sift through the dirt. They are a good idea for anyone with knee problems or anyone who wants to prevent knee injuries.


Metal Detecting gloves are another great piece of gear. They not only help keep your hands cleaner, but they also keep them safer. Your hands can be cut by a piece of glass or metal in the ground, scraped or poked by sharp rocks or metal items. These cuts and scratches can easily become infected while you are out metal detecting, especially if you do not have a first aid kit immediately on hand. 

You can also prevent tetanus infections with decent quality cut proof gloves. Gloves are a great piece of equipment and one of the metal detecting essentials. 


A metal detecting harness is a terrific addition to your metal detecting kit. These harnesses are typically chest or hip mounted. They take the weight of your metal detector from the arm to the chest or hip. This makes it easier to metal detect for longer without the arm fatigue.


A magnet may seem like an odd item to pack along on a metal detecting trip. However, it does have a purpose. Often, when you find a target, you may not be completely sure of its composition. Sometimes metal detectors will show the item as one composition, but they seem to be another. A magnet can help you determine if an item is ferrous. Most ferrous metals have magnetic properties.

Search Coil Covers

Search coil covers are a great tool when you are searching in rocky areas. Because you need to sweep your coil close to the ground, in rocky areas the coil may sometimes sweep the rocks. This can damage the sensitive search coil and even ruin it. 

Search coil covers are plastic covers designed to fit snuggly over each individual search coil and protect it from damage. Manufacturers make coil covers for each model, so they are tailored to each type. These will extend the life of your coils. 


Metal detecting headphones are a great item to have when metal detecting. If you are detecting in a noisy area, like a city park or beach, they help tremendously. Headphones not only block outside noise, but they also help you hear faint signals easily. They can also help you differentiate between close signals. 

For example, if you have an iron target close to a gold ring, the iron target may overpower the ring signal. With headphones, you may be able to faintly hear the gold ring target. Headphones also block the sound of your metal detector from other detectorists.

Gold Container

If you plan to prospect for gold, you will want a gold container to hold your precious metals. You do not want to keep these in your traditional finds pouch. And no, I don’t mean it literally needs to be a container made of gold.

You can simply use a small glass or plastic vial or jar to hold your gold nuggets. If you have small flakes or tiny nuggets, you will want a snifter to keep your gold safe. These snifters require a small amount of water in the bottom. 

You will turn the bottle upside down and squeeze. The straw end will go over your gold flake or small nugget. When you release the squeeze, it will be sucked into the bottle and safely kept in the water. Replace the cap to ensure the gold stays safely inside.

Metal Detecting Digging Tools

Digging tools are one of the most important tools you can have when metal detecting. Excellent quality digging tools make all the difference. If you have inferior quality diggers, you run the risk of them breaking, or taking longer to dig. 

This expends unnecessary energy and will lead to you burning out faster. If your digging tools are doing more work than you are, you can search for treasure longer.


The type of shovel I recommend is a pointed shovel with teeth on both sides, like the Grave Digger series of shovels. These make it easier to pierce the ground and dig through tough soils. I live in an area with hard compacted soils and high clay content. Some areas feel like digging through concrete. 

These pointed shovels with teeth make it much easier. They are shorter than traditional shovels but give you more leverage and control. They also make a much cleaner plug when digging in grassy areas allowing you to replace the plug more cleanly when you are finished digging up your treasure.

Hand Trowel

A good hand trowel is necessary. These come in handy when you need to be more precise with your digging. They allow you to dig smaller holes easily. Lesche makes some great hand tools for metal detecting. They will cost a little more than a standard garden hand trowel, but they are well worth the cost. 

A hand trowel makes digging so much easier. They have a knife-like design, with a pointed tip and teeth along one edge. They are great at cutting through even the toughest soils. These knife-like diggers are also great at cutting through roots that may be harboring treasure or blocking you from your targets.

Sand Scoop

When digging on a beach, a sand scoop will be your best friend. Have you ever tried to dig a hole in the sand? It is not an easy task. As quickly as you can dig, the hole is refilling itself. A sand scoop can help you with this. This scoop is like a basket of sorts. It has dozens of holes so you can take large scoops of the sand, the sand will fall out of the holes, and the treasure will be left inside the scoop. These are perfect for combing the beach for lost jewelry and coins. 


A pick might not seem like a metal detecting tool, but if you are prospecting or working in a rocky area, you may need one. A lot of gold is found in rocky areas, in between rocks, in crevices, and so forth. Using a pick to get into these crevices and open the rocks can help you find more gold. Combining the pick with your handheld pinpointer when prospecting can lead to much more gold being found. Picks also help in areas like mine, with the hard compacted ground, when you are digging for a target. 

Soil Rake

A soil rake can help you move loose dirt and clay away from your target area. These are like miniature versions of the typical garden rake, but handheld. They come in 2 different varieties, one designed for clay and one designed for lighter soils. 

Metal Detecting Brush

Brushes are a valuable tool to keep with you to help clean your equipment and your finds. Be aware that some brushes can damage delicate finds, so it is recommended that relics and other delicate treasures be cleaned only with water or with an exceptionally fine bristled brush. There are many types of brushes on the market that make cleaning items easy and quick. 

One type has synthetic bristles on one side and brass bristles on the other. It is conveniently attached to a carabiner and retractable zip line so you can clip it onto your finds pouch or belt loop. Be aware that brass bristles and synthetic bristles are both abrasive and can damage more delicate items. 

Extra Supplies

Let’s begin this section discussing the need for a first aid kit.

First Aid Kit

When you are active, a first aid kit comes in handy. I like to metal detect in the forests, so I always keep a first aid kit with me. This way I can immediately address any injuries. You likely will not need anything too elaborate. I like to keep a medium sized kit with me. 

This kit includes band aids, bandages, alcohol wipes, antibacterial cream, a tourniquet, gauze pads of assorted sizes, antiseptic solution, calamine lotion, tweezers, adhesive tape, gloves, scissors, an instant cold pack, pain medication, and a splint. You can build your first aid kit according to your wants or needs.

Trash Bag

This might seem like a silly item to bring. But trust me. You will find trash. Lots of trash. As much as I would like to say you will find all the treasure in the land, you will find more trash than treasure. Try to look at it as a good thing, though. You are helping to clean up the environment. Pack out any trash you find and make the area better than you found it. 


I always keep as many of the supplies I take along metal detecting in my backpack as I can comfortably carry. I do not want to overload the pack and make it too heavy, or it will make for a sore back and ruin the metal detecting trip. But once you find a suitable location to detect, you can set your pack nearby (unless you are in a public space, then it is not recommended to leave your backpack unattended). 

Make sure you keep some extra water in your backpack, too. Dehydration is common, even in the winter months, so you do not want to take this risk. I also keep extra dry socks in my backpack. I really dislike when my socks get wet and if the air is chilly wet feet are plain dangerous!


When metal detecting, it helps to have along a few essentials. They make your metal detecting hunt easier, more successful, and more efficient. The more efficient you can make your metal detecting, the more successful you will be. Taking along some items like a pinpointer, the right metal detector, excellent quality digging tools, a finds pouch, and quality accessories will make your metal detecting more enjoyable. 

The more enjoyable your activities are, the more likely you are to continue with them. Metal detecting can be frustrating at times because we tend to find more trash than treasure in some locations. Keep at it and you will eventually produce some treasure! 

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