The Best Metal Detectors and Buying Guide 2021

Introduction

Spanning from leisure to work to safety, metal detector technology is a massive part of our lives with a range of uses. Some people use cheap metal detectors to best underwater metal detectors for combing a beach in search of coins or buried treasure. Professionally, the best metal detectors are used for airport security, or the handheld scanners at some celebrity event, concert or sporting event, archaeological exploration, and geological research.

Finding the best metal detectors being a non-tech person can be a bit of a hassle as there are many brands and models with various features existing in the market. Therefore, we are putting up a guide for your convenience to help you buy the top metal detector within your money range.

The first thing for buying the best and cheap metal detectors is to know the targeted soil and the targeted metal for which you are deciding to buy the metal detectors. The purpose of this guide is to help you answer as many questions related to buying metal detectors for beginners.


Evaluation Criteria before Buying a Metal Detector

If you are the kind of person who always goes for top-of-the-line products enriched with all features, then buying the best all-around metal detector is no exception. It can’t be bought solely as a mere suggestion from someone close. A techy person should always buy a product after some research, although there is not one top metal detector there are quite a few that stand out due to their quality and features in multiple categories. There are several characteristics that should be weighed upon while looking out for the best metal detector for the money. These characteristics must include:

  • Size and Weight
  • Ease of Usability
  • Ergonomic Design
  • Impermeability
  • Metal Detection Indicators
  • Accessories
  • Reliability and Durability
  • Price Figure
  • Consumer Feedback
  • Weatherproofing
  • Waterproofing

For each one of these factors, we can further evaluate the best metal detector on the basis of:

  • Best value
  • Best of Beginners
  • Best of all

Best Metal Detector for Gold Jewellery, Coins, and Rings

If you have developed a new hobby of treasure hunting or coin shooting and searching for the best gold detector then this guide will help you find one. Choose a metal detector with a frequency of 10-15 kHz and a depth range of 6-8 inches. If you are trying to find gold nuggets using cheap metal detectors you won’t find any luck as it is a whole different ball game. A sneak peek into the best metal detectors in 2021

  1. Garrett AT Pro: best value all-around, coins, relics, freshwater
  2. Nokta Makro Simplex: best performing entry-level
  3. Fisher F22: best value entry-level, kids, coins
  4. Minelab Equinox 800 – nice metal detector
  5. Minelab Excalibur II: best for saltwater and beach hunting
  6. Minelab CTX 3030: best of the all

1. Minelab CTX-3030

If you want to discover more available historical treasures with the most accurate and high target identification then Minelab CTX-3030 is the best option for you. The best thing is that it can simultaneously identify multiple targets under the coil, both visually and audibly. The CTX 3030 is waterproof, all-terrain, and the ultimate versatile treasure detector providing high performance. Being an all-rounder and best of the best metal detector it can detect in any type of soil. Equipped with the following technologies:

FBS 2: Under variable ground scenarios FBS2 allows for multiple frequency transmission and coil-to-detector data communication is then used to find more targets.

SMARTFIND 2: For the best results of target identification including target color information, this technology combines digital signal processing and precision Ferrous (Fe) and Conductivity (Co) (FeCo) discrimination.

GPSI: It provides very high sensitivity for accurate recording of geo-locations.

WI-STREAM: It generates extremely fast wireless audio without any loss of sound quality.

The Multi-language option allows you to choose from nine multiple languages. PC Mapping helps you to upload all of your detector settings and relevant treasure locations to your PC using the XChange 2 application. Full-color LCD display helps in clear target information.  Moreover, for specialized and accurate detection there are multiple options of coil sizes available.

Weight: 5.20 pounds (Although the detector is heavy, it is well-balanced and also comes with a harness to relieve the strain for long period usage)

Frequency: 1.5 kHz – 100 kHz

Waterproof: Up to ~10 feet

Warranty: 3 years limited


2. Garrett AT Pro

AT Pro is inarguably a high quality and famous metal detector that provides great value for money as it provides professional performance at a very reasonable price. There are various notable features like:

  • Lightweight machine
  • Battery-powered
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Iron Audio with 2 modes Standard and Po
  • both Manual and Automatic ground balance
  • Notch Discrimination
  • Digital or Numerical Target ID
  • Pinpointing Mode for accurate target locations
  • Waterproof Design
  • Brilliant target detection and target separation
  • Coin Depth Indicator
  • VLF technology
  • Excellent Detection Stability
  • 8 Sensitivity Segments for a deeper search
  • Professional Control Panel and Display
  • Accessories with different coil sizes, headphones, and DVD manual

Weight: 3.02 pounds

Frequency: 15 kHz

Waterproof: Up to ~10 feet (3 meters)

Warranty: 2 years limited


3. Nokta Makro Simplex

Nokta Makro Simplex Waterproof Detector with 11" Coil

It is simply an unrivaled, simple but impressive enough for both newbies and experts, waterproof, and easy to use detector offering extreme depth and high-end features at a low price. The following are the features of Nokta Marko:

  • Lightweight & easy to use
  • VLF Technology
  • Auto Ground Balance
  • Adjustable Iron Volume
  • Notch Discrimination of unwanted metals’ target IDs
  • 4 Preset modes including a beach mode
  • Fabulous Lighting for Night & Underwater Use
  • Battery-Powered

Weight: 2.86 pounds

Frequency: 12 kHz

Waterproof: Fully submersible up to ~10 feet (3 meters)

Warranty:  Warranty available


Best Metal Detectors for Relic Hunting

The relics scattered all around the world fascinates metal hunters.  There are a lot of historical events to be uncovered. It’s where archaeology meets metal hunting enthusiasts. Relic hunting is not a piece of cake. Therefore, a tough, rugged machine is needed at relics having a depth range of 12-14 inches and frequency between 12-15 kHz with some extra coils that are a minimum of 12 inches wide to detect at deeper depths and for good target separation.

For hunting war relics one should have a true all-metal mode machine having zero discrimination because of the abundance of iron for example horseshoes, railroad spikes, and shell fragments which can’t be detected if discrimination settings are high. Usually, the metal detectors used for relic hunting require a harness due to their weight to avoid any strain.

1. Minelab GPX 4500

Minelab GPX 4500 Metal Detector for Relic and Gold Prospecting with 2 search Coils

GPX‑4500 is versatile, having Multi Period Sensing (MPS), Dual Voltage Technology (DVT), and Smart Electronic Timing Alignment (SETA) technology. Let’s have a look at these technologies before we go further into details.

MPS: It is an advanced Pulse Induction (PI) technology that not only transmits pulses of different time periods but also samples the received signal at multiple time periods hence separating target signals and ground signals.

DVT: Advanced PI that uses pulses with two voltage levels that work in combination to further enhance MPS for incrementing detection depth and sensitivity.

SETA: It is a method of increasing the detector’s performance and sensitivity by matching the characteristics of individual timings with continuous measurements from the surrounding electromagnetic environment.

It has shown great performance on all sizes of gold and has the ability to penetrate the mineralized ground deeper than all the basic PI detectors. It is immune to interference but thanks to the powerful feature of versatile timing setting. There are 6 timing options that can be adjusted in a way to increase the efficiency and minimize the noise by magnetic interferences. Under noisy conditions, turning down the stabilizer control provides a smooth threshold whereas in quiet conditions it can detect the faint target signals easily. It has a ground balance that is good in the cases of low mineralized and salt-saturated soils along with loam or sandy soils. There are 6 pre-programmed modes available that can be easily modified for detecting purposes.

The feature of Iron reject is helpful for accurate detection in areas having a high volume of ferrous junk just by setting the desired level of discrimination to filter out the target object. The availability of built-in amplifiers boosts the soft signals from the target. It also has a backlight to enable you to detect at night or in dark areas. In accessories, two extra coils are also available for deeper detection.

Weight: 5.3 pounds

Frequency: Bi-Level, Advanced Pulse Induction

Waterproof: No

Warranty:3 years limited including control box & coil


2. Garret AT MAX

Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer

Garret AT MAX features the proprietary Z-Lynk wireless technology inclusive of  MS-3 Z-Lynk headphones. It is usable on land and in water as well as having a backlight feature for dark areas. The following are the various characteristics of Garret AT MAX:

  • 44 Iron discrimination segments to properly filter out metal junk
  • 4 search modes (all metal, custom, coins, and zero discrimination)
  • Adjustable Volume and notch discrimination
  • Iron Audio for both discrimination mode and all-metal mode
  • 8 sensitivity and depth adjustments
  • Numerical/Digital Target ID
  • Automatic Ground Balance
  • Battery Life of 15-20 Hours

Weight: 3.4 lbs

Frequency: 13.6 kHz (adjustable)

Waterproof: Up to 10 feet

Warranty: 2 years limited


3. Garrett ACE Apex Metal Detector

Garrett ACE Apex Metal Detector with 6x11" DD Multi-Flex Viper Searchcoil, 20kHz

Following are the features of Garrett ACE Apex:

  • Z-Lynk Wireless Operation
  • Multi-Flex technology
  • Single and multi-frequency options available
  • Fast target separation and recovery
  • Backlight for darker areas
  • Iron audio and volume control
  • 8 iron discrimination segments
  • 20 selectable notch discrimination segments
  • Digital target ID
  • Both manual and automatic ground balance
  • Pin-pointing
  • Sensitivity and depth adjustments

Weight: 2.5 lbs

Frequency: 5, 10, 15, 20 kHz, Multi-frequency, Multi-salt

Waterproof: Waterproof search coil; Rainproof control box

Warranty: 2 Years, Limited Parts/Labor


Best Metal Detectors for Gold

Gold hunting is not only lucrative but also a fun activity. Metal detectors have made the job of gold hunting a lot easier. Usually, all-metal detectors can detect gold but for gold hunting, specific detectors having more features have been designed over the past few years that are more sensitive to gold. Nowadays, modern detectors can detect half a grain-sized gold. In order to find gold nuggets under the soil, you have to Avoid low-frequency VLF machines that are <15kHz, as they don’t have the required sensitivity.

Through a metal detector, you can detect a single grain-sized nugget at a depth of 1-2 inches. One thing to focus on while buying a metal detector for gold hunting is that gold is often found in highly mineralized soil so usually the frequency of 20 kHz or higher is great for gold in order to filter out the iron clutter. Moreover, the detector should be waterproof having a manual ground balance.

1. Minelab GPZ 7000

Minelab GPZ 7000 Gold Nugget Metal Detector

Minelab’s innovative GPZ 7000 provides maximum sensitivity and extreme depth in order for the next level of gold detection. It is packed with the world’s best metal detecting technologies for gold prospecting, treasure hunting, and other mine operations. This machine has the following technologies:

ZVT: Zero Voltage Transmission technology helps to dig deeper than it was ever possible for gold prospecting.

Super D-Coil:  Super D-coil has the next level sensitivity for gold, now you can have a clear advantage over others with all the gold that has been missed out by other detectors.

Other than the technologies there are many other features that give this machine an edge over others.

  • Precision ground balance for severe ground conditions (both auto and manual)
  • Automatically tracks with ease
  • Enhanced noise immunity with 256 noise cancellation channels
  • GPS locating and PC mapping services
  • Simple Menu system with quick access to all settings
  • Wireless Audio with WM 12 Wireless Module
  • Visual Display
  • Backlight for darker areas
  • Accessories available

Weight: 7.32 pounds

Frequency: ZVT

Waterproof: Standard waterproof coil submersible to 1m/3ft.

Warranty: Three-year limited control box & coil


2. Minelab Gold Monster 1000

Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000

If you want to be an expert in gold hunting then the GOLD MONSTER 1000 has this ability as it was designed to turn beginners into experts. It is fully automatic in operation easy-to-use and a high-performance detector. Let’s have a look at the features of this monster.

  • Automatic ground balance and sensitivity
  • Gold (Iron reject), Deep All-Metal detection modes available
  • Easy to use controls
  • Monochrome LCD for visual display
  • Enhanced ferrous/non-ferrous discrimination
  • Copes with conductive/salty soils perfectly
  • Adjustable volume with 6 volume levels
  • Covers a wide range of grounds with shaft adaptability
  • Sensitivity boost due to combination of a 24-bit signal processor with 45kHz VLF

Weight: 2.94 pounds

Frequency: 45 kHz

Waterproof: Waterproof coil submersible up to 1 m / 3 ft & rainproof control box

Warranty: Two years limited for control box and coil


3. XP ORX Metal Detector

XP ORX Wireless Metal Detector with Back-lit Display + FX-02 Wired Backphone Headphones + 9" X35 Search Coil …

This detector is for newbies who want to go for gold or coin hunting. It is the lightest and fastest detector with the following available features:

  • HF coil technology with 21 frequencies (13-18kHz)
  • Easy to use
  • 99 sensitivity levels and 4 reactivity levels
  • Pin-pointing with advanced remote settings for zoom target
  • Battery-powered
  • Target ID enabled
  • Go-terrain mobile app compatibility enabled
  • 4 factory program with 2 extra user programs
  • 99 discrimination levels with 5 extra levels for gold (IAR discrimination)
  • Manual & automatic ground balance

Weight: The lightest machine on the market at only 770grs (remote hip mounted)

Frequencies: 13 Khz – 81 Khz

Waterproof: Non-waterproof

Warranty: 5-year warranty


Best Metal Detector for Saltwater and Beaches

Beaches are one of the best places where you have a high probability of finding metals and lucrative stuff. Being a public place you can find tons of rings and coins. The type of detectors to be used at such a place should have manual ground balance. Saltwater has the same impact as mineralized soil for detectors therefore, a multi-frequency detector is the best to filter out the interference of noise because at beaches the ground is continuously changing from dry to wet to other stuff. The detector should be waterproof and must have a ground tracking feature as well.

1. Minelab Excalibur II

Minelab Excalibur II is encapsulated in a rugged platform for deep diving purposes to locate and detect treasure hidden underwater. It has the multi-frequency Broad-Band Spectrum (BBS) and Receive Coil Boost (RBS) technology which is defined as:

Multi-frequency BBS: Ranging from 1.5 kHz — 25.5 kHz, the transmitted and received signals are simultaneously analyzed in order to impart substantial accurate discrimination, detection depth, and high sensitivity.

RBS: This technology boosts up the signals from faint and deep objects by minimizing the noise interference which amplifies weak and faint target signals inside the coil.

  • 2 detection modes (all metal or discriminate)
  • Variable discrimination modes
  • different tone for each frequency
  • Sensitivity adjustable (both auto and manual)
  • Adjustable turn control for both threshold and target volume
  • Pinpoint mode
  • Battery-powered
  • Automatic ground balance with precision

Weight: 5.1 pounds

Frequency: 17 frequencies from 1.5 kHz – 25.5 kHz

Waterproof: Up to ~200 feet

Warranty: 1 year limited control box & coil


2. Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Underwater Metal Detector with 2 Search Coils

If you are planning to go treasure hunt and scuba diving at the same time then this machine is designed to meet your needs. Equipped with underwater headphones and electronic housing helps in mounting under the sea at different locations. It is also enriched with the following features:

  • Pulse Induction (PI) with 22 frequencies
  • Multiple user control functions available
  • Battery-powered
  • Two trash elimination motion modes available in search modes
  • Fixed Discrimination and Sensitivity/Depth adjustments

Weight: 5.1 pounds (stem-mounted)

Frequency: PI — 750 pulses per second

Waterproof: Submersible up to 25m/200 feet

Warranty: 1 year limited parts/labor


3. Minelab Equinox 600

Minelab Equinox 600 Multi-IQ Metal Detector with EQX 11" Double D Smart Coil

Minelab Equinox 600 is good to use in any ground condition as it easily adapts to any target type and ground condition. The following technology is enabled:

Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency: switching between single and multi-frequency for maximum and accurate results over a broader range of targets, it operates across the full spectrum of frequencies.

  • 3 detection modes and 6 search modes
  • Auto noise cancel
  • Auto and manual ground balance
  • 5 levels depth indicator
  • 50 segment notch discrimination

Weight: 2.96 pounds

Frequency: 3 single frequencies: 5, 10, and 15 kHz; multi

Waterproof: Up to 10 feet/3m

Warranty: 3 years limited control box and coil, 1 year for battery


Best Metal Detectors for Freshwater

You might want to check your luck at the shorelines of streams and lakes as beaches are hunted more often for metals, rings, and gold but there is a high chance that you will find more across freshwater as there is less interference due to salt conductivity. The condition of the detector to be waterproof is valid in this case as well but not cheap metal detectors can also do the job as compared to the case of beaches and saltwater.

1. Minelab Excalibur II

Minelab Excalibur II is encapsulated in a rugged platform for deep diving purposes to locate and detect treasure hidden underwater. It has the multi-frequency Broad-Band Spectrum (BBS) and Receive Coil Boost (RBS) technology which is defined as:

Multi-frequency BBS: Ranging from 1.5 kHz — 25.5 kHz, the transmitted and received signals are simultaneously analyzed in order to impart substantial accurate discrimination, detection depth, and high sensitivity.

RBS: This technology boosts up the signals from faint and deep objects by minimizing the noise interference which amplifies weak and faint target signals inside the coil.

  • 2 detection modes (all metal or discriminate)
  • Variable discrimination modes
  • different tone for each frequency
  • Sensitivity adjustable (both auto and manual)
  • Adjustable turn control for both threshold and target volume
  • Pinpoint mode
  • Battery-powered
  • Automatic ground balance with precision

Weight: 5.1 pounds

Frequency: 17 frequencies from 1.5 kHz – 25.5 kHz

Waterproof: Up to ~200 feet

Warranty: 1 year limited control box & coil


2. Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi

Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi Detector Bundle w/ KR24 Search Coil, Waterproof AA Battery Case, Digger, and Cap

Nokta Marko Anfibio Multi is packed with so many features to make hunting easier. Enclosed in rugged housing leads to its durability and reliability.

  • Excellent discrimination for detecting targets and Unmasking Ability for less digging
  • Vibration mode for hearing impaired people
  • Adjustable armrest
  • Stable operation in any soil/ground condition
  • Extra Underground Depth (EUD) function helps detect certain target metals in fringe depths
  • 9 search modes with 3 Selectable Target ID Depth Levels

Weight: 3.7 pounds

Frequency: Three Frequencies: 5kHz / 14kHz / 20kHz

Waterproof: Fully submersible up to 5meters/16.4 feet

Warranty: 2-year limited


3. Minelab Equinox 800

Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800 Metal Detector, Black

Minelab Equinox 800 is good to use in any ground condition as it easily adapts to any target type and ground condition. The following technology is enabled:

Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency: switching between single and multi-frequency for maximum and accurate results over a broader range of targets, it operates across the full spectrum of frequencies.

  • Fast recovery speed and accurate target ID for valuable targets
  • 4 detect modes included with each having 2 custom search profiles
  • Friendly user interface
  • Both auto and manual ground balance and noise cancel
  • 50 segment notch discrimination
  • Accessory coils available for specialized targeting
  • Advanced control setting for target info

Weight: 2.96 lbs

Frequency: Multi, 5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz, 40kHz

Waterproof: Fully Submersible upto 10feet/3m

Warranty: 3-Year Limited Detector, 1-Year Battery


4. Minelab Equinox 800

Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800 Metal Detector, Black

Minelab Equinox 800 is good to use in any ground condition as it easily adapts to any target type and ground condition. The following technology is enabled:

Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency: switching between single and multi-frequency for maximum and accurate results over a broader range of targets, it operates across the full spectrum of frequencies.

  • Fast recovery speed and accurate target ID for valuable targets
  • 4 detect modes included with each having 2 custom search profiles
  • Friendly user interface
  • Both auto and manual ground balance and noise cancel
  • 50 segment notch discrimination
  • Accessory coils available for specialized targeting
  • Advanced control setting for target info

Weight: 2.96 lbs

Frequency: Multi, and 5 single frequency: 5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz, 40kHz

Waterproof: Fully Submersible upto 10feet/3m

Warranty: 3-Year Limited Detector, 1-Year Battery


5. Garrett AT Pro

AT Pro is inarguably a high quality and famous metal detector that provides great value for money as it provides professional performance at a very reasonable price. There are various notable features like:

  • Lightweight machine
  • Battery-powered
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Iron Audio with 2 modes Standard and Po
  • both Manual and Automatic ground balance
  • Notch Discrimination
  • Digital or Numerical Target ID
  • Pinpointing Mode for accurate target locations
  • Waterproof Design
  • Brilliant target detection and target separation
  • Coin Depth Indicator
  • VLF technology
  • Excellent Detection Stability
  • 8 Sensitivity Segments for a deeper search
  • Professional Control Panel and Display
  • Accessories with different coil sizes, headphones, and DVD manual

Weight: 3.02 pounds

Frequency: 15 kHz

Waterproof: Up to ~10 feet (3 meters)

Warranty: 2 years limited


6. Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro-Pack

Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro Pack Metal Detector with Water Proof 12x9 and 8x5 Double-D Coil, Multi-IQ VLF Operating Frequency

In addition to Multi-IQ technology, audio control and pinpoint Vanquish 540 Pro pack has also mainly introduced and added the Iron Bias Control technology. It is the ultimate need of all the experts.

Iron Bias: Adjustable Iron Bias control helps in finding more treasure and avoiding more trash. It lets you switch between High (default) and Low.

Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency: switching between single and multi-frequency for maximum and accurate results over a broader range of targets, it operates across the full spectrum of frequencies.

  • 5 search modes and 19 auto noise channels
  • Pinpoint mode for extreme precision
  • 19 channels for Noise cancellation and audio control
  • 10 levels of volume and sensitivity
  • 5 target tones

Weight: 2.8 lbs.

Frequency: Multi-frequency

Waterproof: Coils are waterproof up to 3.3 feet

Warranty: 3 years limited control box and coil


Conclusion

We have discussed many types of detectors for various hunting targets and grounds. When it comes to the question of picking one best detector we cannot say a particular name as the market is full of many brands having different varieties of detectors to suit your needs. We have discussed some of the best detectors based on their features and your hunting needs with reference to the target and ground condition. We hope this guide helps you with your hunt whether it’s for beginner level or expert level.

Related Terminologies & Definitions 

Before you choose the best metal detector for you, let’s have a look at the basic terminologies and definitions to get acquainted with so that you don’t have a hard time standing in the market.

Ferrous: The word ferrous is related to iron. Anything that contains iron and has a magnetic property is ferrous. On the contrary, non-magnetic metals like brass, copper, gold, silver, nickel, tin, and lead are non-ferrous.

Operating Frequency: Metal detectors have different operating frequencies which in turn are used for different metals detection for example in order to detect gold based on its characteristic frequency and conducting capability you will have to buy the best gold detector which will have a frequency to detect it. Moreover, frequency is the measure of signals that the metal detector transmits and receives in a second.

Mineralization: In soil sciences, mineralization is the chemical oxidation which refers to the amount of magnetism due to the presence of particles that have the properties of the metal. For example, cave formations, black sand due to iron on beaches, redness in dust due to the presence of iron, etc.

Interference: As good metal detectors detect by generating a magnetic field with the help of a metal coil, therefore anything having an electromagnetic field e.g, mobile phones, and electric towers with power lines can interfere with the magnetic field of the detector disrupting the detector’s signal.

Control Box: Any cheap to best all-around metal detector has a control box with all the circuitry including the microprocessor, batteries, control, and speaker.

Search Coil: By the name, we can say that it searches or “sees” the metal is hidden in the ground and is also known as ‘search head, loop or antenna’. Different shapes, types, and sizes are being used in the metal detectors used for different purposes. The coil size is directly proportional to detection depth and sensitivity.

Discrimination: Just by adjusting the settings you can discriminate different types of metals and objects based on their conductive or ferrous properties.

Notch Discrimination: It is a feature used for special kinds of coin shooting or treasure hunting because it allows you to choose and pick a target and filter out everything else that is outside that target’s feedback range.

Ground Balance: It allows for the variable setting to increase the detection depth in the case of mineralized grounds. When the detector transmits a field, minerals respond in the same way as the target does.

Target Separation: It is the ability of a metal detector to detect and extinguish the targets that happen to be in close proximity to each other.

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