Metal detecting is a strangely addictive hobby, a fun mixture of treasure hunting and old world discoveries.
With each beep, you hear, your heart races, and you get a special thrill of excitement at the possibility of digging up a rare, historic coin or even treasure.
Sure, it’s less likely you’ll strike it rich, but metal detecting is a fine hobby indeed and will guarantee lots of fun.
It gets you outdoors and active; it’s also a fantastic activity for the history buffs, and there’s always a chance you might stumble across a medieval hoard or even a pile of rare gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.
However, for successful metal detection, you need the right metal detector for the job. Unfortunately, detectors don’t come cheap, and the last thing you would want is picking up a detector that doesn’t suit your needs.
At the same time, metal detectors greatly vary in design and usage; each detector is specifically made for a unique task. For instance, metal detectors for the beach are vastly different from the underwater detectors.
But there’s no need to beat about it because, in the best metal detector review guide below, we shall highlight the best options in the market. We’ve also included a handy buying guide, and hopefully, by the end of the guide, you’ll have found a detector that suits your needs.
Table of Contents
The Best Metal Detectors For The Money
#1 XP DEUS - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The X Deus is a multi-frequency detector, perfect for the seasoned metal detectorists looking for an upgrade.
It’s packed with plenty of advanced features, which is why it’s such a popular option.
However, it’s not cheap, but if you can afford it, then you won’t be disappointed.
Features and Benefits
If you’re going to be on particularly long hunts and lack the upper body strength, you’ll need a lightweight metal detector, and it’s what DUES offers.
It’s not the lightest on the list, but it’s hard to find a detector that beats the XP DEUS for the quality and number of features.
Another fantastic design feature is the “S Telescopic” stem, making it easier to store the detector as it allows folding in less than five seconds.
The wireless performance for the Deus eliminates the need for wire connection. The remote control headphone and coil communicate through radio signals.
More importantly, the coil features a digital circuit for processing and analyzing detection signals, thus increasing the signal quality and better detecting sensitivity.
DEUS has options ranging from 4 kHz to 18 kHz, along with a plus/minus shift, meaning it’s the perfect option for a variety of metal detection applications.
So, whether you need to hunt coins, relics, or even beach hunting, the Deus is up to the task.
Additionally, the detector has an option for gold prospecting.
Another selling feature for this detector is the reactivity. In particular, the recovery speed is fantastic, letting you locate multiple objects rather than a single signal.
The reactivity is so fabulous that the folks at DEUS recommend re-hunting, as the detector can find objects previously masked by other detectors.
Settings and Pre-Set Programs
As you would expect from a premium metal detector, DEUS has an extensive range of settings and features, including audio response, sensitivity, reactivity, and discrimination. It also includes a notch option helping with the detection ranges.
The detector also incorporates different ground balance modes to use depending on the soil environment.
While the detector allows plenty of customization depending on the soil, the folks at DEUS have also incorporated several factory programs.
- Gold filled: Counters high mineralization.
- Wet beach: For hunting in wet beaches
- Deep: For locating deeper targets with moderate discrimination
- DEUS FAST: For locating small targets in iron-rich environments
#2 Minelab GPX 5000 - Best Metal Detector for Gold
Minelab GPX500 comes with every desirable feature for hunting gold, both large and small, in a wide range of ground conditions.
To counter mineralization, GPX5000 has a range of different soil timing options to optimize the detector’s performance.
Features and Benefits
Tailored for Gold Hunting
Generally, gold occurs in mineralized ground, but the GPX5000 has several unique features, giving it an advantage over the regular detectors.
The range of soil timing options helps with the gold detection on different ranges of ground conditions.
These options include:
- Fine gold: This soil timing is ultra-sensitive to small nuggets of gold, and will even allow you to pick up pieces you previously missed on your first search.
- Salt gold: This timing is capable of detecting new depth even in the highly conductive salty grounds.
- Coin/Relic: This timing has exceptional detection on areas with low mineralization.
Along with the already listed timings, this detector has four more different soil timing, which is like having eight detectors in one.
Super Technology for Hunting
The folks at Minelab stacked the GPX5000 with plenty of Minelab’s exclusive technologies for an even more enhanced treasure-hunting.
Some of the notable technologies on this metal detector include dual-voltage technology, smart electronic timing alignment, and multi-period sensing. Combined, all the technologies on this model will guarantee you detect the highest amount of treasure.
Another technology that won over our hearts is the new Pro-Swing 45, a revolutionary detecting harness for increasing time and comfort. The ergonomic harness features a unique weight distribution system, evenly redistributing the detector’s weight and battery around the body for a no-fatigue operation.
8 Pre-Set Search Modes
Along with the improved electronics and technologies for improved target sensitivity, the GPX5000 features eight preset search modes making it easier to switch and start detecting.
Even better, the modes are adjustable to your treasure hunting preferences. Plus, the modes come with an increased RX Gain adjustment, letting you have more accurate sensitivity for optimal performance.
The salt/gold timing mode is a unique search mode that lets you search for gold nuggets at the beach.
While it doesn’t allow submersion into the saltwater, it gives you superior performance in the wet sandy environments.
The best part with this detector is it gives you the option of adjusting the settings and search modes to work with any type of ground conditions to maximize target signals.
#3 Garrett AT Gold Waterproof - Best for Underwater Hunting
The Garret AT is a good metal detector, especially for beginners on a budget.
With easy-to-understand controls and an ability to upgrade as your skills improve, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular option with the beginners and intermediate metal detectorists.
It’s also a versatile option, but it’s winning feature is the waterproofness, letting you take your treasure hunting to the lakes and rivers.
But is the Garrett AT Gold, alongside it, features the right option for you?
Features and Benefits
Like the GPX5000 we had reviewed above, this option is a single frequency option.
However, the 18 kHz frequency offers increased detection of treasures, including jewelry, coins, relics, and smaller gold nuggets.
Along with the single frequency, the detector has three sensitivity levels, and users love how quickly it pinpoints objects, working two or three times faster than many of its competitors.
Ideal for Gold Prospecting
Garret AT Gold, like its name suggests, is tailored for gold detection.
The detector excels at finding even the small gold nuggets in the most challenging detecting environments.
By employing a high-frequency mode, it’s the perfect option for gold prospecting the shallow freshwater.
Garret Gold includes a True Metal Mode with high sensitivity and large possible depth along with the gold detection technology.
Even better, the detector has a constant audio response, allowing you to hear any small detection signals created by the faintest of the targets.
Garret AT Gold prospecting goes beyond gold, but it also works well for other items such as coins, jewelry, relic hunting, cache hunting, and shallow freshwater hunting.
The two Discrimination Modes (DISC1 & DISC2) are perfect for coin and relic hunting and will let you gain more Tone ID information and sort the unwanted trash targets.
The Double-D submersible search coil, along with the Garret MasterSound stereo headphones, makes it possible for the dry land hunts.
AT Gold is a Motion All Metal detector, meaning there’s always a need for some slight motion for the detector to continue detection.
However, with the AT Gold, there’s the possibility for static target detection, thanks to the PinPoint mode. This way, you don’t have to keep on shifting the detector to prospect.
Also included with the AT Gold is a manual and Ground Balance Window, which increases the detector’s overall performance, especially when used over mineralized environments.
AT Gold is the perfect metal detector for water use as it comes with a generous water depth of 10 feet.
However, it’s not to be used on saltwater hunting, but perfect for freshwater lakes and streams.
#4 Bounty Hunter Tracker IV - Budget Option
Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is an inexpensive and beginner-friendly metal detector suitable for various treasure hunting detection.
It’s simple to use the detector, and with only two operating controls and a streamlined appearance, this metal detector has removed the hardest part of operating a metal detector.
But is the Bounty Hunter, alongside it, features the right metal detector for metal detecting needs?
Features and Benefits
Automatic Ground Trac
A built-in Automatic Ground Trac offers a much-needed balance during metal detection.
Plus, the feature can detect metal even in the harsh environments, from the highly mineralized to salty water conditions, without losing sensitivity or making circuitry changes by the operator.
Bounty Hunter boasts three modes, including 2-Tone audio mode, Discrimination mode, and Motion All-Metal mode.
All three modes are performance-oriented and will let you find larger objects up to three feet deep and coin-sized objects up to eight inches deep.
Additionally, they can be used on any soil type, with the ground balance preset neutralizing the response to the mineral content in your environment.
We also found the Disc/Notch control quite an awesome addition as it allows detectorists to distinguish between unwanted metal and targets. This way, it’s easier to locate relics, jewelry, and coins among the unwanted targets in the soil.
It’s easy to move between the different modes with a simple-to-use interface while eliminating unwanted targets with discrimination quickly.
At the same time, the metal detector maximizes the detection depth with the power/sensitivity controls.
The Bounty Hunter is a versatile option, and like most detectors on our list, it can detect various metal targets, including steel, aluminum, iron, brass, gold, and silver.
Aside from performance and low cost, another winning feature for the Bounty Hunter is its complete submersible, so you can use it even in shallow water conditions.
#5 Fisher F75 - Best for Relic Hunting
Last on our list of the best metal detectors is the Fisher F75. It’s a quality VLF detector suitable for hunting relics and coins.
The Fisher F75 is also an inexpensive option, yet it has all the high-end models’ performance and comfort features on the list.
But is it the right option for you?
Features and Benefits
Design and Ergonomics
The folks at Fisher describe the F75 as the lightest metal detector and with the “best ergonomics” in the market.
It’s not entirely true, but with a modest weight of 3.5 pounds, it’s not too heavy to carry.
We also love how balanced the detectors are, so you won’t have trouble swinging it for long hunting sessions.
The F75 is a single frequency metal detector, featuring 13kHz frequency, which is slightly higher than the list’s entry-level models.
Still, it’s a decent frequency, and will easily detect targets the lower frequency detectors might miss, without sacrificing too much depth.
While it will not pick up gold, it excels at picking coins, jewelry, and relics.
More importantly, it will even pick the relics in iron-infested areas, thanks to the dual-filter discrimination modes, which ignore the iron signals.
Manual/Automatic Ground Balance
The F75 includes manual and automatic ground balance modes, tailoring your overall metal detection depending on the control you need.
The modes are also practical and will ignore most signals from ground minerals such as iron and dissolved salts.
This feature makes the F75 better suited to the harsh conditions than models with pre-set balance. When in use, you get less chatter and more depth, especially when the detector is properly ground balanced.
That said, it would be a stretch to say the F75 can handle the toughest ground conditions, such as gold prospecting. The machine is highly sensitive, meaning the conductivity of saltwater sand is likely to cause much chatter.
The standards F75 package features an 11” elliptical D search coil.
It’s larger than what we see on some budget option detectors, but more importantly, it’s waterproof, so it can be used on the shallow creeks and streams.
It also has wonderful performance and does a fantastic job of pinpointing, so you’ll be fairly sure of a coin or relic on your underground when the sound is loudest.
Best Metal Detector Buying Guide
There’s no “best” metal detector, at least when it comes to treasure hunting.
Each detector is built for a unique metal detection task, and the best option will depend on the type of hunting you do.
So, what is the best metal detector for hunting?
In the text below, we shall look at some of the factors to consider when selecting a metal detector;
When selecting a metal detector, you first need to consider your experience in metal detecting.
If you’ve not done it before, we recommend starting with a beginner detector that’s easy to use.
See, there’s no quicker way to become frustrated with the hobby than purchasing a sophisticated detector you don’t understand.
Another thing; metal detectors are expensive, and you don’t want to spend on a costly detector, yet you’re unsure whether you’ll love the hobby.
As we had mentioned earlier, each metal detector is designed for a particular activity, so when picking one, consider what you’re going to use if for.
Some of the common types of metal detection activities are:
Coin and Jewelry
Choose a metal detector with a low frequency, preferably below 15 kHz.
Frequency and depth have an inverse relationship, so the higher you get, the less depth you get for the coin-sized targets.
Saltwater hunting requires the use of specialty machines.
Avoid choosing a single frequency machine for saltwater to avoid depth limitation.
A metal detector for freshwater should be submersible and should feature good discrimination.
The two common types of technology used with metal detectors for gold nuggets are Very Low Frequency (VLF) and Pulse Induction (PI).
VLF technology is commonly used in metal detectors made for finding coins, relics, and jewelry.
The VLF detectors operate at frequencies anywhere from 3 kHz to 70 kHz.
The technology is a fantastic option for those just starting.
PI technology transmits pulses and is measured by the number of pulses it produces per second.
The PI metal detectors are the preferred option for the experienced detectorists and those looking to hunt for gold nuggets.
Not all soil is the same. This is because it comes with a combination of minerals, chemicals, and more, thus creating magnetism.
Magnetism is what metal detectors measure to discover gold.
So, how do you tell which soil is mineralized and which isn’t?
Age is a good place to start. The older ground is likely to be mineralized. Often, mineralization is caused by rain bringing iron compounds to the surface in for of red or black sand.
The catch-22 is gold often found in this type of soil, but fortunately, there’re specific metal detectors that can surpass mineralization. Often, they’ve high operational frequencies.
Manual Ground Balance Capability
Manual ground balance capability can also be used to overcome mineralization. It registers the mineralization of the soil before calibrating the setting of the detector to ignore it.
Your hunting locations will determine what you’re likely to find in your search expedition.
For instance, if you’re in the US, you’ll typically find larger nuggets in Alaska, medium-sized in the western states, and smaller ones in the east.
Normally, lower frequency VL and PI detectors can easily find bigger nuggets and deeper depth. This is a contrast to the higher frequency models.
To get the best results, you need to know the kind of nuggets in the ground, what you’re hunting, and at what depths.
The operational frequency, typically measured in kilohertz (kHz), refers to the number of waves a detector can transmit into the soil.
For instance, 20 kHz transmits 20,000 waves per second.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
All the recommended products are fantastic, but I would recommend the XP DEUS
if I were to choose one.It’s unique for starters because it has a multi-frequency operation, standing out from the rest. Multifrequency performance gives it greater versatility, allowing you to tailor your search depending on the soil conditions.
It’s also lightweight, though not the lightest on the list; but for its features and performance, you’ll see why it’s considered lightweight.
Finally, this metal detector’s performance is on top of the roof, particularly the recovery speed, which is simply fantastic.