It can be difficult to choose the right metal detector.
In fact, there are many factors you should look for when choosing a detector:
- Ease of Use
- Type of Detector
- Type of Treasure Desired
Each of these factors weigh heavily on what type of detector you should purchase. This article will detail the 10 best all-around metal detectors available. These detectors work well for almost all types of treasure, all types of terrain, and have a variety of features. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned professional, these detectors will work for you!
In this article, I’m going to share with you my list of the best all around metal detectors that cost less than $1,000. Below, please use our interactive table to compare some of the top metal detectors we’ll be discussing today against one another:
|Garrett AT Max||$$$||Waterproof to 10 feet|
|Fisher F22||$$||9″ Triangulated Concentric Coil|
|Garrett Ace 400||$$$||8.5 x 11" DD coil|
|Minelab Vanquish 540||$||Search Modes: Coin, Relic, Jewelry, Custom, All Metal|
Minelab’s CTX-3030 is one of the best all-around detectors on the market. This is my top pick for best detector in this lineup, although it is the most expensive. If you watch shows like The Curse of Oak Island or The Curse of Civil War Gold on the History Channel, you may recognize the name Gary Drayton.
He is a professional metal detectorist and he recommends and uses the Minelab CTX on and off television. This model is multi-frequency, from 1.5 kHz to 100 kHz. The CTX-3030 has many features that make it a fantastic detector:
- FBS 2: Uses multiple frequency transmissions and coil-to-detector communication to find more targets
- Smartfind 2: Provides digital signal processing and FeCo discrimination, with color target information to better target ID results
- GPSi: Very high sensitivity for accurate geo locating
- Wi-Stream: Creates fast wireless audio without loss of sound quality
FeCo (Ferrous and Conductivity) target resolution combines with adjustable Tone ID Profiles allows users to detect desired targets and ignore all others. Target Trace and Target Separation allow identification of multiple targets at once for accurate results.
GPS locating allows users to see where you’ve been and where you’re going by using the Map screen and Navigation tool. GeoTrails shows areas already covered, WayPoints mark points of interest, FindPoints mark treasure locations, and GeoHunts record your entire hunt. All detector settings and GPS information can be uploaded to your PC along with photos and text.
You can also view locations on Google Maps and download the data to your detector to explore later. The CTX-3030 also has 9 languages to choose from: English, German, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Spanish.
The CTX-3030 has quick menus allowing easier access to on-the-go adjustments. Smart functions like Sensitivity, Noise Cancel, Audio, and Ground Balance allow fast changes to the most used controls while detecting. There is also a customizable User button. This model is ergonomically designed with the battery weight located behind the armrest to allow more comfortable detecting. It is adjustable to fit your specific needs.
The Minelab CTX-3030 is fully submersible up to 10 feet and has wireless connectivity for use with Bluetooth headphones. This model comes with an 11” waterproof Double-D smart coil and weighs slightly more than some models, at 5.2 pounds. Minelab offers a 3-year warranty on the CTX-3030.
The Garrett AT Pro is a great all-purpose all-terrain metal detector. The AT Pro is fully waterproof up to 10 feet and has 40 different discrimination settings to notch out ferrous metals like iron. Proportional (Pro) Audio mode lets users hear the subtle changes in target response and the properties of targets before digging.
Different tones correspond to different depth levels and materials. Pro Audio lets the user judge the size, shape, and depth of the target. Iron Audio lets you hear discriminated iron to avoid digging iron targets. The AT Pro has 3 Standard audio modes providing full-strength beeps regardless of the targets amplitude for detectorists who prefer a simple, binary target response.
This model has an LCD screen with digital target ID showing ferrous targets between 1 and 40 and more conductive metals between 41 and 99. Iron Audio allows users to identify the target if a large ferrous target is interpreted as non-ferrous. This model has Fast Track ground balancing, which is an automatic feature that allows the user to quickly ground balance for highly mineralized soils. An electronic pinpoint mode precisely locates a target’s position.
The AT Pro does not have wireless technology but does come with standard ¼” plug-in MS-2 headphones. This model has 6 search modes (3 Standard, 3 Pro) and 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments. Ground balancing is automated and features a “spread” utilizing a range of values to compensate for highly mineralized ground conditions.
The AT Pro weighs 3.03 pounds and operates at and adjustable 15 kHz. This model is not fully multi-frequency but can be subtly adjusted to account for electromagnetic interference. The AT Pro comes with an 8.5” by 11” Double-D search coil and runs on 4 AA batteries. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the AT Pro.
3) Fisher F22
The Fisher F22 is my top recommendation for inexpensive metal detectors. This all-around metal detector is recommended for beach, jewelry, or relic hunting, as well as coin shooting and inclement weather hunting. This model has a good-sized LCD screen with numeric target ID and 4 operating modes: Jewelry, Coin, Artifact, or Custom.
The F22 operates at 7.69 kHz and has a built-in pinpoint mode. There are 10 levels of sensitivity adjustment on the F22 and 20 audio levels. Targets fall within 1 of 4 tone audio ID signatures. The notch feature on this detector allows you to exclude any metal of your choosing easily and quickly.
Some more advanced detectors show on screen what type of object is found, the F22 only shows how close to the conductivity range of silver, gold, or iron the target is. Target ID numbers correspond to the metal’s conductivity. This model has a pinpoint mode to help narrow down a target’s location. Depth is indicated in 3 sections on the screen with one notch equaling about 3 inches.
The F22 is lightweight at only 2.3 pounds and comes standard with a 9” concentric elliptical waterproof search coil, and it will search up to 9 inches underground. The control box is weatherproof, but not fully waterproof so it should not be submerged. This model operates on 2 AA batteries allowing users 25 to 30 hours of operation. Fisher offers a 5-year warranty on the F22. This is a great, ready to use, inexpensive metal detector for beginning or intermediate detectorists who don’t want to spend a fortune!
The Minelab Equinox 800 is a multi-function, multi-frequency all-around metal detector. This model features Multi-IQ and 5Fx8 technology and has 4 detect modes: Park, Beach, Field, and Gold, and 8 custom sub-modes (2 per detect mode).
Multi-IQ is a simultaneous multi-frequency technology covering a much broader range of targets than any single frequency can. If excessive ground noise is present switching to a single frequency can help eliminate the noise. 5FX8 (5 Frequency times 8) provides 5 individual transmission frequencies in the Equinox 800, with each frequency optimizing the detector for different targets and conditions. Individual frequencies in this model are:
- 5KHz – Very good for large silver coins
- 10kHz – Very good for small Roman hammered coins
- 15 kHz – Good for general treasure detection
- 20 kHz – Ideal for general treasure detection and gold prospecting
- 40 kHz – Optimum sensitivity for very small gold nuggets
The Equinox 800 has a backlit monochrome LCD screen and comes with a rechargeable battery pack allowing users 12 hours of use. This model comes with Bluetooth and aptX Low Latency headphones (not waterproof). Ground balancing on the Equinox 800 can be done automatically or manually.
Automatic noise canceling can be done manually or automatically. The Equinox 800 has 25 sensitivity levels, 25 volume levels, 25 threshold levels, and 25 threshold pitches. This model has a 50-segment notch discrimination, and differing audio tones. A 5-level depth indication is shown on the LCD screen.
The Equinox 800 weighs 2.96 pounds and features an 11” waterproof (to 10 feet) Double-D search coil with skid plate. Software on this model is upgradeable via USB on a computer. This model is great for beginners, but also has enough features to keep a more advanced detectorist happy. The Equinox 800 comes with a 3-year warranty.
The Multi Kruzer is a multi-function metal detector that can find all types of treasure in all terrains. This model works well for finding relics, gold, jewelry, and coins, in water or on dry land. The Multi Kruzer has selectable frequencies of 5 kHz, 15 kHz, and 19 kHz, and is lightweight at just 3 pounds. The Multi Kruzer has 3 target ID depth levels and 6 search modes:
- Gen (All Metal)
- 2 Tone
- 3 Tone
- 4 Tone
This model has vibration settings to aid the hearing impaired and underwater detectorists. E.U.D. (Extra Underground Depth) functionality allows metals masked by ground conditions or at fringe depths to be detected. The Multi Kruzer has very good discrimination and unmasking ability and comes with Advanced Beach Mode, allowing for smooth and stable operation on dry or wet sand and underwater.
The Multi Kruzer has a built-in rechargeable battery pack that is good for up to 19 hours of use. This model is waterproof up to 16.4 feet. The Multi Kruzer comes with an 11” by 7” Double-D search coil and custom LCD screen. Wireless headphones come with the machine.
This is a good machine for beginning detectors, but has enough features for more advanced detectorists, too! Updates to the firmware can be accessed online via USB on PC to keep the detector’s software current. Nokta Makro offers a 2-year warranty on the Multi Kruzer.
6) Tesoro Mojave
Tesoro’s Mojave is another great, inexpensive metal detector perfect for jewelry or relic hunting and coin shooting. This model operates at 12 kHz and has 2 ground conditions: High and Low. Low setting gains more depth in low to moderate ground conditions.
High setting overcomes the worst mineralization conditions and maintains a smooth target response. This model does not have an LCD screen. It is controlled by knobs and relies upon audio signals to identify targets.
The Mojave is very lightweight, at only 2.2 pounds and runs on a single 9-volt battery. The weight of this unit will allow for longer hunts because it is so lightweight. This unit performs a battery check each time it is powered on, with a specific tone corresponding to the amount of battery life left. It does lack volume control, which some users may find annoying. Without a visual target ID, you won’t know what you’ve found without digging. It also lacks a pinpoint mode button, though manual pinpointing can be done.
The interface has 3 simple controls: sensitivity, ground condition, and discrimination. You can choose 6 levels of sensitivity, switch between low or high ground settings, and discriminate against metals you don’t want to hunt for.
The Mojave comes with a 7” search coil which is ideal for trashy areas. This coil creates a cone shaped search field penetrates approximately 7 inches. This model also has a pinpoint mode. The search coil is waterproof, but the control box is not. This model has a ¼” headphone jack. As with all Tesoro models, the Mojave has a lifetime warranty. For the price, this is a great, easy to use model for beginning or intermediate detectorists.
White’s Spectra V3i is White’s premier metal detector. This model has a full-color HD display showing the depth and metal type of all detected objects. The screen takes customization to a level all its own. This detector works well for all detectorists and comes with 9 presets allowing turn-on-and-go versatility.
The V3i is a multifrequency detector that operates at 3 frequencies: 2.5 kHz, 7.5 kHz, and 22.5 kHz. These frequencies can be used separately or all at once. This makes the V3i great for finding jewelry, coins, relics, or gold nuggets. Discrimination has 3 settings: Visual, Tone, and Notch.
The Spectra V3i comes with a rechargeable battery pack and has an onboard reference guide. This model has wireless connectivity for use with Bluetooth headphones. The Spectra V3i comes with a waterproof 10” Double-D coil but can be interchanged with any of White’s Eclipse Series coils. The V3i has 6 languages available on the machine: English, German, French, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
The Spectra V3i weighs 4.2 pounds and runs on 8 AA batteries giving the user 8 to 10 hours of detector usage (lower than others due to the LCD screen). Beginning detectorists will love the easy preset search settings, and more advanced detectorists will love the dozens of optional settings that can be changed in real time with dashboard controls. White’s offers a 2-year warranty on the Spectra V3i.
The Garrett AT Max is an all-terrain fully submersible (to 10 feet) all-around metal detector designed to find relics, jewelry, and coins. While not designed to replace the AT Pro, the AT Max is a follow-up to the Pro with more features for detectorists who want more from their machines.
The AT Max is suitable for nearly all environments and offers great depth for land and shallow water detecting. True All Metal Mode provides maximum depth and sensitivity. The AT Max has a backlit LCD screen with numerical target ID. This model has 44 iron discrimination segments and a slightly higher resolution than the AT pro (which has 40 discrimination segments).
The AT Max features automatic and manual ground balancing. This allows the AT Max to work well in highly mineralized soil conditions. While this model can hunt in saltwater conditions, it will struggle like all VLF (very low frequency) detectors. The AT Max has 4 search modes, all Pro Audio, and 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments. The AT Max weighs the same as the AT Pro, at 3.03 pounds.
The AT Max comes with an 8.5” by 11” PROformanceTM Double-D search coil. Garrett offers other specialized coils, also. The AT Max operates at an adjustable 13.6 kHz and runs on 4 AA batteries. It should be noted that the AT Max is not a multi-frequency model, but the frequency can be adjusted subtly to remove interference.
The AT Max includes the MS-3 Z-Lynk wireless headphones, like the AT Pro. This model works well in fresh or saltwater settings and is appropriate for beginners as well as more advanced detectorists. The AT Max also has a built-in pinpoint feature. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the AT Max.
9) Fisher F75
The Fisher F75 is a great all-around machine for coin shooting, relic or beach hunting, and gold prospecting. This model has new Fisher technology making it more versatile including DST Mode (Digital Shielding Technology) for electromagnetic interference suppression, FA (Fast processing) for improved target separation, 3 levels of FeTone® (Iron Audio Off, Low, or Medium to complement the existing High setting), adjustable audio pitch in discrimination mode, and electronically stored serial number.
The F75 comes with a large backlit LCD screen with numerical target ID and trigger actuated target pinpointing. Double filter discrimination modes allow for easier searching in trashy areas. This model features a magnetic mineralization bar graph and readout and trigger actuated FASTGRAB™ ground balancing. Ground balancing can be done manually or automatically.
The F75 operates at 13 kHz and weighs 3.5 pounds. It comes with an 11” waterproof Double-D search coil. The F75 has a ¼” headphone jack but does not come standard with headphones. The entire metal detector is not waterproof but a rain cover for the control housing and battery pack can be purchased separately. The F75 runs on 4 AA batteries giving users up to 40 hours of operation. The F75 is easy enough for beginning detectorists to use and has more advanced features that intermediate or even advanced detectorists will appreciate. This model comes with Fisher’s 5-year warranty.
White’s MXT All Pro is one of the latest models in the company’s MXT line. This model is recommended for intermediate to advanced detectorists but is not difficult to learn for a beginner.
It has an all new keypad, small energy efficient backlit LCD screen, Tone ID and Ground Grab settings. This model operates at 14 kHz and has automatic and tracking ground balancing. The MXT All Pro comes with 3 different programs:
- Relic: Identifies buttons, buckles, and bullets with 3 options for tone ID
- Prospecting: Iron grunt for likely iron targets
- Coin/Jewelry: Coin, jewelry, and trash target IDs with 7 tones to distinguish targets
The Gain setting maximizes depth and sensitivity. The Threshold control allows you to hunt with a slight hum or hear only detected targets. The Dual control functions differently in each of the 3 programs.
The MXT All Pro weighs 4.2 pounds and comes with a waterproof 10” Double-D search coil. This model runs on 8 AA batteries giving users about 40 hours of operating time. The MXT All Pro has an external speaker and ¼” headphone jack. The MXT All Pro comes with one of the best manuals and DVDs of operating tips of any detector out there. White’s offers a 2-year warranty on the MXT All Pro.
There are so many great metal detectors on the market today. Remember to decide what features are the most important to you and search for a detector that is just right. Always compare brands and always shop around. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good metal detector! Some on this list are quite expensive, but there are others that are very reasonably priced and have a lot of great features.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try a new brand or type of detector. Always remember to buy a metal detector that is in line with your experience level. You won’t be doing yourself any favors if you buy a machine that is above or below your experience level! Hopefully this guide will help you choose a great all-around metal detector for your hunting needs!
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