Buying a metal detector can be quite expensive, as some models can cost consumers several thousands of dollars. But you don’t need to spend that much to get a great quality metal detector. Whether you are looking for a specific brand, or a model designed to hunt a certain type of treasure, you can find a good quality machine at an affordable price.
In this article, I’m going to share with you my list of the best metal detectors that cost less than $1,000. So let’s kick off this article by discussing the popular FIsher F75.
The Fisher F75 is a versatile detector with great depth, good target separation, and excellent audio features. This detector uses 3 levels of FeTone: Iron Audio Off, Low, or Medium. It has adjustable audio pitch in the discrimination mode. The F75 weighs 3.5 pounds and is great for relic or general-purpose metal detecting. This model has a large backlit
LCD screen with numerical target ID, double filter discrimination modes for trashy areas, magnetic mineralization bar graph, FASTGRAB ground balancing, and non-volatile memory to save settings. Ground balancing can be done manually or automatically.
The F75 comes with an 11” elliptical Double-D waterproof search coil. It runs at a frequency of 13 kHz and has a pinpoint mode. This model can run over 40 hours on 4 AA batteries. This model is recommended for coin shooting, relic and beach hunting, and gold prospecting. It comes with Digital Shielding Technology which can be turned on or off to electromagnetic interference suppression. Wired headphones can be used with the ¼” jack. This model is great for beginners, but anyone can use it to find treasure. The F75 comes with a 5-year warranty.
- You also might like: Fisher F75 review
The Garrett AT Pro is an all-terrain metal detector with single frequency that is waterproof up to 10 feet. This model features iron audio, notch discrimination, manual and automatic ground balancing, pinpoint mode, and numerical target ID. The AT Pro is best for coin, relic, and jewelry hunting, but because it runs at 15 kHZ, it can often find gold nuggets.
This detector comes with an 8.5” by 11” Double-D search coil that offers good target separation and depth and is great at finding small targets. You can also purchase other coils for the AT Pro, including a 9” by 12” concentric sniper coil. This model weights 3.03 pounds and is simple to use. There are 8 sensitivity modes on this model and a coin depth indicator.
Audio mode includes Pro and Standard. Standard is good for beginners, using 3 audio tones depending on conductivity. The Pro mode offers more information about the target, depth, and composition. Iron discrimination on the AT Pro consists of 40 segments where you can completely block all ferrous targets or dial the discrimination back. This detector also has notch discrimination with 12 segments that can be rejected or accepted. With both manual and automatic ground balancing, you can adjust the balance depending on the mineralization of the soil.
This means the AT Pro works well in areas with high mineralization and even saltwater. As with the Fisher F75, the AT Pro is a fantastic detector for beginners, but even more advanced detectorists will appreciate its features. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on all their detectors.
- You also might like: Garrett AT Pro review
Minelab’s Equinox 800 uses Multi-IQ technology making is great for all-purpose detecting. This model is great for beginners or serious detectorists. This detector has a specific Gold Mode, running at a higher frequency between 20 and 40 kHz. This means the detector is great at finding nuggets of all sizes in highly mineralized soils. This model is better than some dedicated gold detectors at finding gold nuggets.
The Equinox 800 can shift non-ferrous tones and volume making it great for those who hunt by ear rather than relying solely on the screen readout. Advanced settings allow for more tuning of different options. It has 8 levels for fine tuning even the most mineralized or high iron soil.
The Equinox 800 has User Profiles allowing you to jump from one detection mode to another quickly. The LCD screen has 3 backlight settings. Automatic Noise Cancel helps in areas with high electromagnetic frequencies or areas with other metal detectors. It is also completely waterproof up to 10 feet.
The machine weighs just under 3 pounds and is powered by a rechargeable battery. The Equinox 800 comes with wireless headphones with case, USB charging cable, auxiliary cable, and manual. This detector is easy to use for beginners, and great for more advanced detectorists, too! Minelab offers a 3-year warranty on this detector.
The MXT All Pro is a newer take on their highly regarded MXT line of detector. This model is great for relic, coin, and jewelry hunting, and even prospecting. This model offers a new keypad, energy efficient backlit LCD screen, tone ID, and ground grab settings. It comes with a 10” Double-D search coil and is well suited to all types of hunting and ground types.
The MXT All Pro has 3 programs to give versatility with different target responses, display, and audio frequencies for prospecting, relics, and coins/jewelry. Relic mode can identify buttons, buckles, and bullets specifically with 3 tone ID options. Prospecting uses an iron grunt for targets with a likelihood of being iron. Coin and jewelry mode has target ID with 7 tones telling you what type the target is before you dig.
The MXT All Pro has simple controls: Gain, Threshold, and Dual. Gain maximizes the sensitivity and depth. Threshold allows you to hear only the detected targets or hear a slight hum. Dual control functions differently with each program. This detector runs at 14 kHz and runs on 8 AA batteries giving it around 40 hours or working time.
IT has automatic and tracking ground balancing. Audio can be heard through an external speaker or headphones via the ¼” jack. While beginning detectorists can certainly enjoy the MXT All Pro, it is more geared toward intermediate and advanced detectorists. White’s offers a 2-year warranty on the MXT All Pro.
The Fisher CZ-3D is a great all-purpose detector specializing in coin, relic, and saltwater beach hunting. As with the Tesoro Sand Shark, the CZ-3D doesn’t have an LCD screen, but rather a series of knobs on the control box adjusts all settings. This detector is great at finding older coins and working on older sites.
It is designed to find more quality metals like brass, bronze, copper, and silver. This model is easy to use on old sites as you can select Enhanced Mode with the Salt/Enhanced switch with no special adjustments or programming. This model weighs 3.7 pounds and operates on multiple frequencies from 5 to 15 kHz. Target response is as follows:
- Iron ID – 200 Hz (low tone)
- Foil – 250 Hz (Mid Low tone)
- Pull Tabs – 450 Hz (Mid tone)
- Coin ID – 1 kHz (Hi tone)
- Auto Tone – 500 Hz to 1 Hz (VCO)
- Pinpoint/Depth – 500 Hz to 1Hz (VCO)
This model has manual ground balancing, manual threshold tuning, works well in wet sand, can be handle or hip mounted, and can be used with headphones. The CZ-3D has 6 operating modes including VLF Slow Motion, Lock On, VLF Motion, All Metal, Pinpoint/Depth, and 7 categories auto tune. This model comes with an 8” concentric search coil which is submersible (just the coil, not the control box) and interchangeable.
This detector requires 2 9-volt batteries and will last from 10 to 20 hours depending upon settings. As with most Fisher models, this detector will work well for beginners but will have features to keep more advanced detectorists happy, too. Fisher offers a 5-year warranty on this model.
The Sea Hunter Mark II is a PI machine that operates on a microprocessor for advanced operation. It is recommended for coins, jewelry, relics, beach hunting, prospecting, surf hunting, and diving. This detector is fully submersible up to 200 feet. The detector works very well in water or on land. This model features Garrett’s Discrete Trash Elimination technology allowing it to filter out most pull tabs or tin foil without giving up sensitivity. The Sea Hunter Mark II has good immunity to moderate electromagnetic interference.
The Sea Hunter comes with an 8” mono search coil (also available in 10” by 14”), waterproof headphones, and hip mount. This model comes with adjustable audio threshold and non-motion all metal deep seeking mode with PI discrimination. This detector has 22 frequencies, 3 search modes, and operates at 750 pulses per second.
The Sea Hunter Mark II weighs 5.1 pounds (the hip mount will help carry the weight of this detector) and runs on 8 AA batteries. The Sea Hunter Mark II is easy to use and simple to master, making is appropriate for all skill levels. This model has a 1-year warranty. Fun fact, it was also used and trusted by the late expert treasure diver Sir Robert Marx.
You also might like: Garrett Sea Hunter MK II review
The Goldmaster 24K has a 50% increase in coil voltage over previous White’s models and comes with their new XGB ground balancing system. This system can handle mineralized soils better than a lot of very low frequency (VLF) machines. For more advanced users, TracLock and Ground Grab can be used to ground balance. As the name implies, this machine is built specifically for finding gold nuggets. To help prospectors who prefer dry washing, sluicing, or panning, the Goldmaster 24LK features Ground Scan to help show paystreaks in streambeds and washes. It operates at 48 kHz and features a large backlit display. The Target Graph shows Ferrous, Gold, and High Conductor ranges, mirrored in the Target ID numbers.
The Goldmaster 24K has 10 levels of adjustable sensitivity, adjustable audio volume featuring 2 levels of boost, adjustable discrimination, non-motion pinpointing, Tone ID mode, and vSAT adjustable threshold. It comes with a 6” by 10” Double-D concentric coil. The Goldmaster 24K requires 8 AA batteries giving you at least 40 hours of battery life. It is weatherproof, but not fully waterproof. Despite the advanced features of this gold metal detector, it is very easy to use. You can basically turn it on and go and can use the advanced features once you are comfortable with the machine. This makes is a beginner friendly detector, but it also has features that a seasoned professional will appreciate. White’s offers a 2-year warranty on this model.
The Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ is one of the best gold prospecting machines available. This model weighs 3.5 pounds and has computerized ground tracking. The discrimination features allow you to hunt for jewelry, coins, and relics, too! The Lobo SuperTRAQ features 3 modes: all metal, discriminate, and no motion as well as 3 ground tracking modes: Normal, Alkali, and Black Sand. This model has adjustable threshold control, max boost sensitivity, and is extremely sensitive and deep searching.
This machine functions extremely well in heavily mineralized soils. It operates at 17.8 kHz and features a 10” elliptical wide scan search coil. Audio frequency ranges from 330 to 550 Hz. The Lobo SuperTRAQ features an external speaker with ¼” headphone jack. It requires 8 AA batteries giving you 20 to 30 hours of operation. As with most Tesoro metal detectors, this model does not have an LCD screen, but relies on knobs and tones to identify targets. This detector will keep professionals and beginners happy. Once again, this machine comes with Tesoro’s famous lifetime warranty.
The Minelab X-Terra 705 Dual Pack comes with VFlex technology, allowing you to change search frequencies by quickly swapping between two search coils: 5” by 10” Double-D and 9” Concentric. The smaller coil operates at 18.75 kHz and the larger coil at 7.5 kHz. The large coil is great for all metal detecting and the smaller coil works well for finding small gold nuggets. This model has target ID stability to help effectively search areas with high concentrations of trash. It also has great discrimination and a numerical target ID. Adjustable Iron Mask is designed for Prospecting Mode and allows you find desirable targets lying close to ferrous metals. It also has 2 pinpoint modes: Auto and Sizing. Sizing gives the user more information about the target including shape and size with graphic and variable tone indicators.
The X-Terra 705 features automatic and manual ground balancing. Automatic ground balancing eliminates ground noises to you can hear small gold targets. This also allows for good searching in wet or dry sand and hot rock locations. The LCD screen is backlit in dim light conditions in order to save battery. This model weighs 2.9 pounds and runs on 4 AA batteries giving users 20 to 25 hours of use. You can use headphones with this model with the ¼” headphone jack. The advanced features of this model may be too much for beginning detectorists but should keep intermediate and advanced hunters happy. This model has Minelab’s 3-year warranty.
The Fisher Gold Bug 2 is one of the most sensitive gold hunting metal detectors ever made. It offers great sensitivity due to its ultra-high frequency of 71 kHz. The Gold Bug 2 also features iron discrimination, dust and moisture resistance, audio boost, and operates very well in soil with extreme mineralization. It has a 3-position mineralization switch so it can be adjusted for different levels of mineralization. This model also has dual knob ground balancing for fine or coarse adjustment. Boosted audio signal allows you to hear small and deep targets easily.
The Gold Bug 2 metal detector comes with either a 6 ½” or 10” elliptical search coil. It weights 2.9 pounds and runs on 2 9-volt batteries. This model does not have an LCD screen but can be adjusted with knobs on the control box. It can also be hip mounted to keep your arms from getting fatigued. As with most detectors, headphones can be used with this model via the ¼” headphone jack. This model is easy to use and would be appropriate for beginners. Because of its high frequency and ability to find small nuggets, more advanced detectorists would also benefit from this model. The Gold Bug 2 comes with a 5-year warranty.
The Nokta Gold Kruzer is great at finding gold nuggets. It operates at a high frequency of 61 kHz, so it can detect even the smallest piece of gold. This model is fully submersible up to 16.4 feet and has great discrimination. There are 4 search modes: all metal, fast, boost, and micro. It features a function called Extra Underground Depth (EUD) allowing the detector to find nuggets masked by hot rocks or buried deeply. Ground balancing can be done automatically, tracking, or manually. The Gold Kruzer has a pinpoint feature, also.
This model features wireless connectivity, so wireless headphones can be used. Firmware can be kept up to date with a USB connected to a PC. The Gold Kruzer weighs 3 pounds and comes with rechargeable battery pack. Numerical target ID on the backlit LCD screen makes finding quality targets simple. You can get 2 different coils with this model: 10” by 5.5” waterproof concentric or 7.5” by 4” waterproof Double-D. As with most of the detectors on this list, this model can be used by any skill level. Nokta Makro is a great company that listens to their customers. Many of their customer’s suggestions helped shape the Gold Kruzer. This model comes with a 2-year warranty.
Tesoro Sand Shark
The Tesoro Sand Shark is a pulse induction (PI) metal detector making is a great choice for hunting wet saltwater beaches. Very low frequency (VLF) machines struggle in saltwater conditions, so having a PI machine for hunting saltwater beaches or underwater is a must! The Sand Shark operates in 2 modes: Voltage-Controlled Oscillator (VCO) and Normal. In VCO mode, when targets get closer to the coil the threshold emits a louder, higher pitched tone like a pinpointer. Normal mode works with a single tone for beachcombing or long searches. An added microprocessor allows you to customize the detector to your needs. Pulse Width allows the detector to be tuned to the best balance of depth, sensitivity, and battery life. This model doesn’t use an LCD screen, just a knob driven control box.
The Sand Shark comes with a hardwired printed spiral search coil, in either 8” or 10 ½”. The larger coil costs slightly more at $709. If you want the coil changed you can send it to the factory, which could be a nuisance. Even at the more expensive price, this is a great deal for a PI detector. This machine operates at 600 pulses per second at a frequency of 220 – 450 Hz. Headphones can be used with the ¼” jack.
This model requires 8 AA batteries giving it 10 to 20 hours of battery life depending on settings. The Sand Shark is fully submersible up to 200 feet, making is great for diving. The Sand Shark is the heaviest model on this list, weighing in at just over 6 pounds. This means it may be difficult to detect for long periods of time on land, unless you get a hip or chest mount. This model is made for advanced detectorists and beginners alike. One of my favorite things about the Tesoro brand is they offer a lifetime warranty on all their products. So, you don’t have to worry if something goes wrong with your detector!
I hope this list has shown you that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great quality metal detector from a reliable and trusted manufacturer. There are many more models than these 12 that are under $1,000 and quite affordable. So, don’t think you have to break the bank to have a fantastic metal detector!
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