Many factors go into deciding what features make the best metal detector, and in this article, we’re going to dig into these many different traits and features to hopefully better help you determine what detector is best for you, why you should purchase it, and where and how it should be used. While it may be somewhat impossible to discover the absolute best metal detector in the world, we hope that this article helps narrow your choices in locating a detector that fits your needs and hunting locale.
And below, please take a quick moment to compare some of the top metal detectors available on the market today. You can compare these detectors amongst one another based on everything from price to average customer ratings:
$ = $99 and below | $$ = $100 to $199 | $$$ = $200 and up
|Garrett AT PRO||3 lbs.||$$$||4.7/5||Use in Water up to 10 ft|
|Fisher F4||2.6 lbs.||$$$||3.8/5||11" Bi-Axial Search Coil|
|Bounty Hunter SS2 Sharpshooter II||4 lbs.||$$||4.3/5||8" Concentric Coil|
|Garrett Ace 350||2.8 lbs.||$$$||4.2/5||8.5 x 11" DD coil|
|Minelab Excalibur II 1000||5 lbs.||$$$||5.0/5||Underwater Detector|
|Tesoro Compadre||2.2 lbs.||$$||4.5/5||8" Search Coil|
|Fisher 1280X-8||5 lbs.||$$$||5.0/5||Submersible up to 250 ft|
|Cobra Wader||4 lbs.||$$$||4.5/5||10" Coil|
Finding the Best Metal Detector
As mentioned, everyone has a favorite device, and it’s usually very feature and purpose-specific. Some will be metal detectors that have been carried for years, and others will be brand new ones with state of the art technology. When you think about the best selling metal detectors on today’s market, there are several features that it must have.
- Target ID
- Automatic ground balance
- Water proof
- Coil size and technology
- Tone ID
- Several modes
Now let’s dig into these features point by point.
The ideal detector will definitely have the target ID feature. The target ID shows the users what has been found so they can decide whether they want to dig it up or not. Some categories that might be shown are coins, iron, foil or nickel. If you are searching for coins, this is especially important so you can distinguish between the coins you want and the trash that might be buried. Usually, you will get a visual cue on your display that will tell you what has been found.
Another feature the best metal detector will have is to be lightweight. While four pounds may not sound like much, after several hours of carrying a detector, it will seem like a hundred. Always check the weight of any device you are looking at and find one that is between two and three pounds, if possible.
Automatic ground balance is especially important to newbies. With everything you will be learning as it pertains to detecting, trying to remember to adjust the ground balance is just a downright hassle. Even experienced hunters appreciate the automatic adjustment so they can search any type of ground without changing a thing. This setting adjusts the machine in highly mineralized ground so you don’t get a lot of false positive signals.
Even if you don’t plan on searching near water, having a waterproof coil and shaft is important. With this, you can hunt in the rain and also check out shallow creeks and along the beach without worrying you are damaging your detector.
The size and technology of the coil is very important. The larger the coil is, the bigger the area you are detecting is. While this may sound like a great feature, if you are searching for coins, the larger coils might miss your coins. Plan on using a larger coil for deeper searches when you are looking for large objects, such as relics.
The technology used in your coil is also important. Most detectors feature Very Low Frequency technology and this can be used in shallow water or on land. If you plan to search in deep water or want to search land deeper, you should consider a pulse induction metal detector. These are not sensitive to ground interference so they are much better suited to places with high mineral content.
Detectors with Tone ID are favorites of experienced hunters. The detector uses different tones to let you know what it has found. This saves you from digging for trash or objects you do not want.
The ability to switch between modes is another feature a great metal detector should have. Some modes that are desirable are “all-metal,” “tone discriminate,” “pinpoint,” and “full discriminate.” These modes will allow you to search for only what you want to find and ignore trash that might be buried beside your treasures.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling metal detectors available for sale on Amazon:
- Bounty Hunter Junior
- Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
- Garrett Ace 250
- National Geographic PRO Series
- Fisher F4
What Can the Best Detector be Used For?
A highly desired detector will have the ability to search for all types of metals. There may be detectors that specialize in certain types of finds, such as gold or coins, but the best one will be able to find it all. Unless you are only looking for one type of metal, your detector needs to be able to find relics, jewelry and coins and should also be able to ignore any trash that might be laying around.
The Best Metal Detector for Under $500
An awesome metal detector can and should be able to be purchased for under $500. Our choice for a strong, quality detector for under $500 goes to the Fisher F4. At a cost of about $400, it has all of the features that you would want to see in a metal detector. The coil that comes with the detector is 11 inches and it can find a coin up to a depth of 10”. The awesome display shows what you have found and how deep it is, so you can decide whether to dig or not.
It also has a pinpoint mode, which isn’t found in all detectors, but comes in handy. You will especially like this feature since the Fisher F4 has such a large coil and covers so much area with every swipe. Since few people constantly stare at their displays as they walk, having audio tones is important and this one has four different ones so you will know just what you have found.
This metal detector also has 11 target ID segments. This means it can be even more precise when letting you know what you have found. Another great feature of this machine is that it has 7 discrimination settings so you can avoid anything you don’t want to find. The custom notching feature is wonderful, as it allows you to basically “turn off” the machine at certain frequencies. This means you won’t be bothered by any metals you don’t want to find.
This is an incredibly easy metal detector to use and is built for the comfort of the user. It also includes a five-year warranty and instructional videos.
The Best Metal Detector Over $500
The greatest metal detector that costs more than $500 is the Garrett AT Pro, a machine that is in high demand despite its estimated price of approximately $700. It has an 8.5” x 11” coil that is submersible to ten feet. It can also be used in both fresh and salt water, so hunting at the beach or near rivers is not a problem for this amazing detector.
The Garrett AT Pro can be used to find anything you want – coins, jewelry, and relics – and is a favorite for experienced hunters that like to participate in field competitions. It is a tough machine that has been built to go anywhere you want to search.
It includes both automatic and manual ground balance adjustments so you can be sure you will not have a problem with interference. The Pro-Mode audio makes sure you will hear everything you find and the target ID is digital and numerical. Every setting you could want for discrimination and sensitivity is included in this easy to use machine. It is a turn on and go machine, even with all of these cool features.
For every hunter you ask, you will be told a different machine is the best one to use. But we based our choices on the features the metal detector had and how easy it was to use. Both of these are guaranteed to offer you fun, excitement and treasures to dig up.
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